Origins Debates

Given the ideological opposition by the site’s founder to having ‘debates’ as a way of making progress or solving disagreements over at Peaceful Science (https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/, “In my view, science is not up for public debate.”) on topics related to human and life origins, I wonder what the attitudes of people towards ‘origins debates’ are here at TSZ. Do you call it ‘the Creation Wars’ as S. Joshua Swamidass does?

Below are a few questions for those who do not wish to play by Swamidass’ rules and who indeed, don’t mind putting their ideas, knowledge and ability to answer challenges to their theories, dogmas and biases, to the test in debate. It’s not like Joshua can actually defend ‘methodological naturalism’ other than with multiple falsehoods and having to sell his ‘Me-Scientist’ piety badge at a discount. So, let us imagine a hypothetical and suppose a ‘friendly debate’ were possible to construct and see if anyone here can play along. These are survey questions about a ‘debate’ that many people seem willing to admit they are themselves already engaged in here and elsewhere.

Questions:

1. When considered as not only a discussion, but rather as a ‘debate,’ what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?

2. Is there a particular intractable problem that you have found never gets resolved in debates about human and life origins?

3. Which debate(s) about human and life origins do you feel most qualified to participate in? Given the diversity of fields and topics involved, it’s expected that everyone should be able to openly admit many things they don’t know about human and life origins.

4. Is there a particular debate topic that you are surprised people try to raise with you because it is so obvious they wouldn’t have more than the slightest possibility of convincing an expert in the field?

5. How many women are ‘debating’ about human and life origins in contrast to men?

6. How many young people are more than superficially interested in human & life origins enough to ‘debate’ about it or to the extent that they keep track of debates on the topic in contrast with older people? Is there a level of getting fed up with listening to too much argumentation and controversy, especially in the USA, regarding this topic that late Millennials, Gen Y & Gen Z are less interested in bickering about events from 50,000+ years ago with only some vague & obscure comparison with ‘modern human beings’ (homo sapiens sapiens)? Are today’s youth much more interested in the recent understanding of humanity in the anthropocene period to worry too much if Darwin killed Adam & Eve or if instead he had just grown comfortably numb in his own unbelief?

7. Is debating about human & life origins any fun? Does it frustrate people here to endlessly ‘debate’ with a guy like ST Cordova who claims to be both an IDist & a young earth creationist, or is it actually enjoyable or valuable for anyone? Not a few people still keep coming back to do it. There must be something motivational in ‘defending the anti-creationist, anti-IDist, anti-theistic evolutionist and sometimes anti-theology and anti-religious side in the argument,’ according to the skeptics here. What is it that makes people want to debate human & life origins?

8. If you could choose one opponent, who would you most like to debate with? If you want to be nice, then don’t name the person’s name, instead just speak of what you want to debate them about. Is there a specific subcategory of IDist, or materialist or evolutionary creationist, for example, that particularly grinds your wheels to a halt when they start speaking, such that you feel you must answer them online?

9. Is it a kind of relentless opposition that is always linked with theology or worldview at its roots, rather than only natural science, which makes origins topics almost endlessly fascinating for people around the world and sometimes nearby at home?

10. Isn’t it almost comic that many participants on public forums like this one think they hold a ‘winning record’ in ‘debates’ about human and life origins on the internet (cf. Dunning-Kruger, illusory superiority) & in reality only few can really claim expertise over others on any given topic or field & if they have it, don’t need to ‘prove’ it anywhere on the internet against amateurs?

This thread ties back with a previous one about origins discussions, in the aim of helping enable conversations without vilification and with more honesty involved and encouraged.

http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/origins-discussions-what-would-be-the-first-question-youd-ask/

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127 thoughts on “Origins Debates

  1. 1: What is the debate really about?

    The debate is really about the deep seated insecurity of creationists.

    If they actually had the faith that they profess to have, then they would not be afraid of scientific research. If anything, they would welcome scientific research into origins, as they would expect it to be consistent with their theology.

    2: Is there a particular intractable problem

    Ignorance. An unwillingness of creationists to learn anything new. An apparent fear of the unknown.

    3: Qualified to participate

    I mostly watch from the sidelines. I’m not an expert in biology or anthropology. And, in any case, origins is a research topic, not a debate topic.

    4: Surprising topic

    The one that continues to surprise me, is the way that creationists repeatedly attack scientists for not realizing that origin of life is unexplained. Yet, as best I can tell, all scientists are fully aware that origin of life is unexplained and that it is a difficult problem.

    Creationists should get out more.

    5: How many women?

    In all honesty, I usually don’t pay attention until somebody corrects me on a pronoun.

    (I think I’ll skip the other questions).

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  2. With respect to question 3, I really have no expertise in any area whatever involving human and life origins. The only thing I think I can sometimes contribute is a little lukewarm water on participants who think something they say is an argument rather than an oration or who think something grandiose rather than little or nothing follows from some set of premises. Sometimes I feel like I can make useful contributions to discussions about what properties a deity must have or what constitutes intentional design or atheism.

    Other times I just hop in to muddy the waters.

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  3. I think most of G’s questions can be answered with “Gish Gallop”.

    There is no organized or coherent criticism of evolution. When one argument becomes untenable, switch to another. Repeat.

    Others have pointed out that the origin of life is unknown. We have some ideas that are being studied, but nothing definitive.

    It is always possible that the details of the origin are not critical, and that replaying the tape would result in different details and result in forms that differ extensively from the forms we observe. The “higher up” the chain you go, the more likely that chance conditions and events caused branching that would not occur in a replay.

    This brings up the likelihood that creationists really can’t accept the possibility that human life is a chance event.

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  4. Is debating about human & life origins any fun?

    Well, they don’t really debate so when I was more active at UD I just used to set goals for myself. I got Clive Hayden (some admin at one time) to admit he believes he lives in a haunted house and sees ghosts. I got WJM to talk about his wife’s alien abduction and an assortment of other wacky loonacy.

    I like to think of it as a public service. It’s out there, in “print” now that these people promoting these “sciency sounding misunderstandings” which is what ID basically is also are total buffon’s in other ways and it discredits them.

    Of course, nobody does that level of digging but it’ll all be automated before you know it. https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evolutions-religion-revealed/#comment-323445 and your belief in ghosly goings on will be on your auto-bio before you know it!

    Oh, yeah, I was also involved in “Latchgate” where we eventually found video evidence of non-latching on “original” Weasel and it was still denied! That was some great times.

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  5. 7. Is debating about human & life origins any fun? Does it frustrate people here to endlessly ‘debate’ with a guy like ST Cordova who claims to be both an IDist & a young earth creationist, or is it actually enjoyable or valuable for anyone? Not a few people still keep coming back to do it. There must be something motivational in ‘defending the anti-creationist, anti-IDist, anti-theistic evolutionist and sometimes anti-theology and anti-religious side in the argument,’ according to the skeptics here. What is it that makes people want to debate human & life origins?

    I think it maybe caused by the gap between real science and how these claims are perceived in the public. Ideology sells and science needs to raise money to keep going on any project of interest.

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  6. colewd: I think it maybe caused by the gap between real science and how these claims are perceived in the public. Ideology sells and science needs to raise money to keep going on any project of interest.

    This is very much like the basis for “Climate Change is a Hoax”: People are just saying it to make money. (It’s not that anybody is denying it to keep money.)

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  7. 10. Isn’t it almost comic that many participants on public forums like this one think they hold a ‘winning record’ in ‘debates’ about human and life origins on the internet …?

    Yes. It’s both sad and comical.

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  8. walto,

    Do you understand that climate changed is talked about differently in the scientific papers than it is in the public marketing of the problem?

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  9. Gregory, quoting Swamidass:

    “In my view, science is not up for public debate.”

    Gregory,

    Could you link to that statement? I’d like to see it in context.

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  10. I don’t find debates to be at all productive, helpful, or even all that interesting. I dislike antagonism and the very format of a debate rewards posturing, rhetoric, and scoring cheap points at the other party’s expense.

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  11. These are pretty decent questions, Gregory.

    1. When considered as not only a discussion, but rather as a ‘debate,’ what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?

    In my mind, there are a couple:
    – Both sides think the truth is at stake.
    – At a high level, one side sees it as nonsensical to claim what seems to be an extremely, intricately organized world came about by random chance and physical processes.
    – At a high level, another side feels their worldview is being fundamentally challenged, that all rational coherence will collapse if an external being intervenes in the natural world.
    – Both sides think there are fundamental human rights that will be lost if the other side’s argument triumphs: free, rational investigation of nature, and the intrinsic value of human life.

    2. Is there a particular intractable problem that you have found never gets resolved in debates about human and life origins?

    The fundamental question of how do we get the complex organization in our world is not resolved by either side. The natural processes side just hand wave “natural processes” and the other side just hand waves “intelligence”.

    3. Which debate(s) about human and life origins do you feel most qualified to participate in? Given the diversity of fields and topics involved, it’s expected that everyone should be able to openly admit many things they don’t know about human and life origins.

    I’m not qualified to participate in the questions dealing with the scientific evidence. I am qualified insofar as the questions touch on the mathematics of information theory and the capabilities of computation. So, all I can say is that insofar as there is a correspondence, there are certain limitations and certain requirements to generate information.

    4. Is there a particular debate topic that you are surprised people try to raise with you because it is so obvious they wouldn’t have more than the slightest possibility of convincing an expert in the field?

    Somewhat the reverse, I’m surprised the resident mathematical, information theory, and computer science experts in this public debate claim the mathematical theorems of ID are controversial.

    5. How many women are ‘debating’ about human and life origins in contrast to men?

    There are a few women participants that I know of: Denyse O’Leary and Ann Gauger. They have some very good points, and seem much better at not getting drawn into polemics than the male participants. The males also seem to be unnecessarily rude to them, in a manner that could be considered bullying.

    I think there are some women participants on the skeptic side, too, such as the founder of this forum. However, I am not very familiar with their arguments.

    6. How many young people are more than superficially interested in human & life origins enough to ‘debate’ about it or to the extent that they keep track of debates on the topic in contrast with older people? Is there a level of getting fed up with listening to too much argumentation and controversy, especially in the USA, regarding this topic that late Millennials, Gen Y & Gen Z are less interested in bickering about events from 50,000+ years ago with only some vague & obscure comparison with ‘modern human beings’ (homo sapiens sapiens)? Are today’s youth much more interested in the recent understanding of humanity in the anthropocene period to worry too much if Darwin killed Adam & Eve or if instead he had just grown comfortably numb in his own unbelief?

    I think most do not like to debate the issue, but also most take one side or the other for granted. And, once they are faced with questions they don’t have easy answers to, they face a crisis. I think this happens on both sides. On the religious side, it can lead to the younger generation losing their faith. On the secular side, it can lead to them losing their faith in reason, science and the intellectual establishment. It’d be good if both sides of the younger generation spent more time thinking and questioning through their major worldview assumptions in an environment where it does not feel like a crisis.

    7. Is debating about human & life origins any fun? Does it frustrate people here to endlessly ‘debate’ with a guy like ST Cordova who claims to be both an IDist & a young earth creationist, or is it actually enjoyable or valuable for anyone? Not a few people still keep coming back to do it. There must be something motivational in ‘defending the anti-creationist, anti-IDist, anti-theistic evolutionist and sometimes anti-theology and anti-religious side in the argument,’ according to the skeptics here. What is it that makes people want to debate human & life origins?

    As mentioned in #1, it seems to touch on some really foundational components of both sides’ worldviews.

    8. If you could choose one opponent, who would you most like to debate with? If you want to be nice, then don’t name the person’s name, instead just speak of what you want to debate them about. Is there a specific subcategory of IDist, or materialist or evolutionary creationist, for example, that particularly grinds your wheels to a halt when they start speaking, such that you feel you must answer them online?

    I’m very interested in debating the mathematical/comp. sci. portion of the skeptics, because I cannot see why they consider ID to be so controversial. I’ve discussed a fair amount with Swamidass, English, and Felsenstein. One remaining skeptic I’ve not talked with very much is Shallit.

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  12. EricMH: I’m very interested in debating the mathematical/comp. sci. portion of the skeptics, because I cannot see why they consider ID to be so controversial. I’ve discussed a fair amount with Swamidass, English, and Felsenstein. One remaining skeptic I’ve not talked with very much is Shallit.

    One way to have discussion with me and some others is to continue to read your own thread “Correspondences there between ID theory and mainstream theories”. You asked there in this comment for a specific reference to my argument about Dembski’s mapping from one CSI criterion to another. Then in that comment you declared that

    Anyways, my hopes have been dashed, and I don’t really see any substantive responses.I will have to devote my limited time elsewhere.

    Hoping against hope, I supplied the exact quote from Dembski in the very next comment there, at the same time expressing the worry that my hopes too would be dashed if you stopped responding there.

    Alas you did stop responding there. I emphasize that it was your very own thread.

    If you want meat and substance, please go there and continue that discussion.

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  13. colewd:
    walto,

    Do you understand that climate changed is talked about differently in the scientific papers than it is in the public marketing of the problem?

    Yeah, in the public marketing crap you’re getting on Fox.The scientific consensus now seems to be settling on the conclusion that we’re doomed in the near term.

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  14. walto: Yeah, in the public marketing crap you’re getting on Fox.The scientific consensus now seems to be settling on the conclusion that we’re doomed in the near term.

    More precisely, the scientific consensus is that we have very little time left to avoid a 1.5 C increase by mid-century, which would be extremely bad for all concerned. They also stress that doing so is fully within existing technical capacity. The question is the absence of any political will to do so.

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  15. I won’t dispute the consensus on change, but I’d like to hear the consensus on feasibility. How about starting with those parts of the world that have not reduced their greenhouse gasses in the last five years.

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  16. walto,

    Yeah, in the public marketing crap you’re getting on Fox.The scientific consensus now seems to be settling on the conclusion that we’re doomed in the near term.

    What do you mean by the “scientific consensus”? What is your source?

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  17. OMagain: I like to think of it as a public service,” i.e. contra “sciency sounding misunderstandings”

    Fair enough. I guess that’s what BioLogos & Peaceful Science are largely about too; cleansing non-mainstream evangelical Protestantism from it’s unnecessary vilification of science as ideology. Do you consider them your allies or as ‘on the same side’ in discussions about ‘origins’ for that reason or not?

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  18. Neil Rickert,

    To this question, “what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?” you gave the answer: ‘creationists.’ Hmm, o.k., so you are more concerned with your opponents than about the key debate topic(s) themselves? That’s why I asked in that other thread, to which the answer was indirect, if it was ‘creationists’ that motivated you to leave the religious community you once were part of. Animus towards ‘creationists’ seems to be what drives you to argue with them here & perhaps partly at PS too.

    “origins is a research topic, not a debate topic.”

    I like both/and, rather than either/or in this case.

    “I think I’ll skip the other questions”

    No preferred opponent, someone you’d really like to step into the ring with to sort out something that currently is unclear, unresolved or unelaborated?

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  19. walto,

    “I really have no expertise in any area whatever involving human and life origins.”

    I recently spoke with a First Nations man who isn’t an ‘expert’; he’s just a person who knows the origins story that he believes in his community.

    A ‘modern scientific origins story’ is all that some people have ever tried or known, walto. Surely you are aware that some people have had little to no exposure to human and life origins stories because the adults in their lives either forgot, distorted or hid them from their children. Your reflexive assessment sounds unnecessarily fatalistic.

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  20. Gregory: walto said:

    “I really have no expertise in any area whatever involving human and life origins.”

    Gregory: Your reflexive assessment sounds unnecessarily fatalistic.

    Hunh.

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  21. colewd: I think it maybe caused by the gap between real science and how these claims are perceived in the public.Ideology sells and science needs to raise money to keep going on any project of interest.

    Yes, I suspect that’s a significant part of it. The Discovery Institute, for example, published a large volume of 900 pages, “The Nature of Nature.” They don’t identify ‘ideology’ in the Index, yet the volume is chock full of ideology. Why do they leave it out? Is it because ideology sells? Or do they not realize or allow that their own ideology is visible in words & deeds to others?

    Yes, scientists do need to raise money for research, agreed. That’s the (social) economics of science. Not sure in what way you’re suggesting that impacts what makes people want to debate human & life origins.

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  22. walto, “Hunh.”

    Translated: sorry to hear such unnecessary fatalism. No expertise needn’t mean no care or attention (apathy). Instead say yes to origins? Hint: it’s not just about looking backwards.

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  23. 1. When considered as not only a discussion, but rather as a ‘debate,’ what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?

    EricMH:
    In my mind, there are a couple:
    – Both sides think the truth is at stake.
    – At a high level, one side sees it as nonsensical to claim what seems to be an extremely, intricately organized world came about by random chance and physical processes.
    – At a high level, another side feels their worldview is being fundamentally challenged, that all rational coherence will collapse if an external being intervenes in the natural world.
    – Both sides think there are fundamental human rights that will be lost if the other side’s argument triumphs: free, rational investigation of nature, and the intrinsic value of human life.

    It all boils down to both sides arguing for their faith, and nothing else…

    Neither side can experimentally prove their arguments no matter what they call their theories: science, faith, inference, fact, whenever…

    Neither side has the necessary evidence beyond any doubt to prove their conclusions exactly…

    Materialists have not been able to recreate life, but if they do, they will only prove that the creation of life requires intelligence…

    Nobody has observed, or induced, one kind of life to evolve into another kind…
    So, while debates continue, and many get really into them, in the end, the debates remain only in the realm of speculative science…or faith… It is up to each individual to decide which faith is more reasonable…

    BTW: Up until Darwin, atheists had no arguments for their disbelief system. As Dawkins said it:
    “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”

    In other words, up until Darwin atheists had no answer for the overwhelming evidence for design in nature. After Darwin they have no answer for the overwhelming evidence of design in nature either but now they have an excuse for their apparent lack of faith – the appearance of design.

    That’s why I find debating people – who choose excuses rather than the overwhelming evidence of design in nature – pointless…

    Why try to convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced?

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  24. Challenge: “human life is a chance event.”

    I disagree. And I suspect the author who said this doesn’t realize the philosophical weight of the claim & that more people would wish to debate that position than support it. They key would be how the statement was framed. As an endorsement of atheism, it would be rejected by many highly established, qualified and less nihilistic natural scientists. Who here among majority agnostics & atheists actually agrees with petrushka that “human life is a chance event”?

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  25. Gregory: you gave the answer: ‘creationists.’ Hmm, o.k., so you are more concerned with your opponents than about the key debate topic(s) themselves?

    That’s a misreading.

    I am, of course, interested in the topics themselves. But debates won’t answer the big questions. Some of the discussion (as contrasted with debates) is interesting.

    Looking only at the debates (which I took to be your question), watching the creationists does provide some insight into human psychology.

    Animus towards ‘creationists’ seems to be what drives you to argue with them here & perhaps partly at PS too.

    There’s no animus. I try to help them with their misunderstandings, unless they are too stubborn.

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  26. Gregory: Who here among majority agnostics & atheists actually agrees with petrushka that “human life is a chance event”?

    This is a perfect example of what I wrote above…
    Why not ask: how many people have stronger faith in this speculation than in the other speculation?
    Why not take a vote in establishing what is scientific proof? 🤗

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  27. J-Mac,

    “debates continue, and many get really into them”

    Yes, that is true.

    “Why try to convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced?”

    That doesn’t have to be the only possible goal of origins debates, and instead might be considered secondary. In fact, seeking truth seems a higher goal that facing the opponent.

    Besides, thoughtful, meaningful debate is more about the judges (or audience), than the opponent, the latter who in a most important sense ‘doesn’t matter.’

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  28. Neil Rickert: The debate is really about the deep seated insecurity of creationists.

    If they actually had the faith that they profess to have, then they would not be afraid of scientific research. If anything, they would welcome scientific research into origins, as they would expect it to be consistent with their theology.

    It’s actually the opposite.
    So called scientific research, which is faith based speculative fiction, is used as the propaganda to relieve the insecurities of atheists very often as an excuse for bad behavior…

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  29. Neil Rickert,

    Yes, I find watching anti-religious or just irreligious atheists in debates with creationists provides some insight into human psychology too. Watching anti-religious or just irreligious atheists in debates with non-creationist theists (i.e. the majority of Abrahamic monotheists) provides even more insight into how far people can and have diverted themselves from goodness, truth, beauty, hope and love by instead choosing a worldview of self-elevation into gods of their own making.

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  30. Gregory: Who here among majority agnostics & atheists actually agrees with petrushka that “human life is a chance event”?

    I would agree with petrushka. But I take petrushka to be making a relatively weak and obvious statement. You appear to have a very different reading of what petrushka intended.

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  31. Kantian Naturalist:
    I don’t find debates to be at all productive, helpful, or even all that interesting. I dislike antagonism and the very format of a debate rewards posturing, rhetoric, and scoring cheap points at the other party’s expense.

    At all? No help? No interest in the clearest & most practical example of intellectual chess? Philosophistry is of course ruinous of clear thinking, which is needed in serious debate.

    Debate is not really about ‘antagonism’. It’s actually rather much healthier than the caricature of it you’ve set up for yourself. Careful with that ‘safe space’ in which you virtue-signal a haughty moral disdain for edifying argument and rigour in disagreement.

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  32. J-Mac: So called scientific research, which is faith based speculative fiction, is used as the propaganda to relieve the insecurities of atheists very often as an excuse for bad behavior…

    Yes, exactly right.

    That’s why airplanes don’t fly, automobiles don’t work, cell ‘phones don’t work — because they are all based on speculative atheist fiction.

    </sarcasm>

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  33. Neil Rickert: Yes, exactly right.

    That’s why airplanes don’t fly, automobiles don’t work, cell ‘phones don’t work — because they are all based on speculative atheist fiction.

    </sarcasm>

    If aeronautical engineers used the same loose definition of science in their work, every day five planes would fall out of the sky, and they would proudly proclaim, ‘Well, just goes to show you, air is very complex. It doesn’t mean we were wrong. Quite the contrary, it’s just like we predicted! ‘

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  34. Gregory: In fact, seeking truth seems a higher goal that facing the opponent.

    It’s a noble idea but unfortunately in most cases it seems that preconceived ideas, or bias, are hard to avoid…

    Can you imagine Behe and Swamidass debating about common descent?

    They both believe in it they just differ at what point in the evolution God guided it.
    Neither has proof but if they were really seeking the truth they would acknowledge that many evolutionary scientists now realize that for one kind of animal to evolve to another the major changes would have to take place at the molecular level, such as during embryo development. However, those changes, mutations, are well established to be the most lethal.
    Why would God hide Himself behind a mechanisms that are deadly, as mutations have been proven to be leading to cancer and developmental issues?

    Is God behind natural selection selecting some mutations and leaving others?

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  35. EricMH: I’m not qualified to participate in the questions dealing with the scientific evidence. I am qualified insofar as the questions touch on the mathematics of information theory and the capabilities of computation. So, all I can say is that insofar as there is a correspondence, there are certain limitations and certain requirements to generate information.

    EricMH captures two questions important to the OP:
    1. To what extent do we need to address the antecedent “insofar as there is a correspondence” before addressing “limitations and certain requirements to generate information”.
    2. How important is knowledge of the relevant science to addressing that correspondence?

    One side of the debate thinks we have to use science to assess the correspondence first. The other side thinks we can don’t need to understand the extent of the correspondence, or that if we do, it can be assessed without science.

    I am tempted to call this a clash of the empiricist worldview with the rationalist worldview, but given the context I think I will resist that temptation.

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  36. J-Mac: However, those changes, mutations, are well established to be the most lethal.

    Citation please.

    J-Mac: Why would God hide Himself behind a mechanisms that are deadly, as mutations have been proven to be leading to cancer and developmental issues?

    That’s a question for you to answer. And it seems that rather then answer it you simply ask it.

    J-Mac: Is God behind natural selection selecting some mutations and leaving others?

    Again, that’s a question for you to answer. Science cannot speak to that.

    It’s your god. You tell us.

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  37. phoodoo: If aeronautical engineers used the same loose definition of science in their work,

    What is your evidence that in biology the definition of science is not as it is in other disciplines?

    Or is this just more of your “gut feelz”?

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  38. J-Mac: They both believe in it they just differ at what point in the evolution God guided it.

    And they can both, if they choose, do good science regardless of their opinions on that. The difference between them and you is that they know where the line is between personal speculations and demonstrable truths (alright, Behe not so much).

    When do you think in the evolution god guided it J-Mac? Or are you too afraid to go on record, like so many others here?

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  39. Gregory: Who here among majority agnostics & atheists actually agrees with petrushka that “human life is a chance event”?

    Suppose you were an investigator either from another galaxy or a godike simulator of various ecosystystems. Suddenly you came across a society of wolves or cats or porpoises or whatever (but not people). Would your position be that that might have been an accident or that there must have been a designer? Now consider again where you just found bacteria or a virus or some fungus or something. Same question.

    What i’m trying to understand here, is whether your question is more about the human part or the life part.

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  40. Gregory: Who here among majority agnostics & atheists actually agrees with petrushka that “human life is a chance event”?

    If it was not designed, then how could it not be?

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  41. phoodoo: If aeronautical engineers used the same loose definition of science in their work,every day five planes would fall out of the sky,and they would proudly proclaim,‘Well,just goes to show you,air is very complex.It doesn’t mean we were wrong.Quite the contrary,it’s just like we predicted! ‘

    Hate to break the news , lots of designs created by engineers fail, they analyze those that do not, and modify their designs.

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  42. OMagain:

    Gregory: Who here among majority agnostics & atheists actually agrees with petrushka that “human life is a chance event”?

    If it was not designed, then how could it not be?

    Is directionality provided by natural selection “chance”? For example, fish getting good at swimming, or birds good at flying?

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  43. BruceS: To what extent do we need to address the antecedent “insofar as there is a correspondence” before addressing “limitations and certain requirements to generate information”.

    There is no correspondence. Or, more completely, there is no necessary correspondence.

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  44. Joe Felsenstein: Is directionality provided by natural selection “chance”? For example, fish getting good at swimming, or birds good at flying?

    Are accumulations of changes to the selecting environment designed?

    I have two points:

    One is the the physical history of earth is unique and the details and the timing of events are important.

    Second is drift. Brains may be an “inevitable” result of drift and selection, but I see lots of brainy animals that haven’t developed writing, or something equivalent, such as the cultural transmission of tool making from one generation to the next. That, to me, is the defining behavior of “human”.

    “Tool making” is a catch-all.

    My understanding of history is that humans underwent a bottleneck, and might easily have gone extinct before inventing agriculture and civilization.

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  45. “Would your position be that that might have been an accident or that there must have been a designer?”

    No, I don’t fall into the ‘chance vs. design’ pattern of the IDM & by now quite a few of its opponents.

    I deal with ‘designers’ every day in my work. I theorize about ‘design’ in my work, but not as a kind of ‘scientific theology’ as the DI invites coming from largely protestant margins. ‘Design’ is not nearly so ‘controversial’ as the DI makes it out to be with self-professed ‘revolutionary’ (evangelicalist) zeal.

    If you wish to have a conversation with me, then please don’t treat it like a conversation with ‘them’ (i.e. IDists). Other language of expression is both possible & preferred.

    “Suddenly you came across a society of … whatever (but not people)”

    Ah yes, the anthropomorphic renaming things game. It’s a Dr. Seuss theme? Society … not people. LOL.

    “What i’m trying to understand here, is whether your question is more about the human part or the life part.”

    Human & life origins is the full topic within origins debates. Choose what you’d like within that to focus on. Answering without theology or religious philosophy on the table for serious consideration as you typically do will leave your answer “about the human part of the life part” profoundly lacking, merely ‘socio-biological’ at best.

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