William Paley’s Excellent Argument

[note: the author formatted this is a way that did not leave space for a page break. So I am inserting the break at the top — NR]

  1. Paley’s teleological argument is: just as the function and complexity of a watch implies a watch-maker, so likewise the function and complexity of the universe implies the existence of a universe-maker. Paley also addressed a number of possible counterarguments:
    1. Objection: We don’t know who the watchmaker is. Paley: Just because we don’t know who the artist might be, it doesn’t follow that we cannot know that there is one.
    2. Objection: The watch (universe) is not perfect. Paley: Perfection is not required.
    3. Objection: Some parts of the watch (universe) seem to have no function. Paley: We just don’t know those functions yet.
    4. Objection: The watch (re universe) is only one possible form of many possible combinations and so is a chance event. Paley: Life is too complex and organized to be a product of chance.
    5. Objection: There is a law or principle that disposed the watch (re universe) to be in that form. Also, the watch (re the universe) came about as a result of the laws of metallic nature. Paley: The existence of a law presupposes a lawgiver with the power to enforce the law.
    6. Objection: One knows nothing at all about the matter. Paley: Certainly, by seeing the parts of the watch (re the universe), one can know the design.
  2. Hume’s arguments against design:
    1. Objection: “We have no experience of world-making”. Counter-objection: We have no direct experience of many things, yet that never stops us from reasoning our way through problems.
    2. Objection: “The analogy is not good enough. The universe could be argued to be more analogous to something more organic such as a vegetable. But both watch and vegetable are ridiculous analogies”. Counter-objection: By definition, no analogy is perfect. The analogy needs only be good enough to prove the point. And Paley’s analogy is great for that limited scope. Hume’s followers are free to pursue the vegetable analogy if they think it is good enough. And some [unconvincingly] do imagine the universe as “organic”.
    3. Objection: “Even if the argument did give evidence for a designer; it’s not the God of traditional Christian theism”. Counter-objection: Once we establish that the universe is designed, only then we can [optionally] discuss other aspects of this finding.
    4. Objection: “The universe could have been created by random chance but still show evidence of design as the universe is eternal and would have an infinite amount of time to be able to form a universe so complex and ordered as our own”. Counter-objection: Not possible. There is nothing random in the universe that looks indubitably designed. That is why we use non-randomness to search for extraterrestrial life and ancient artefacts.
  3. Other arguments against design:
    1. Darwin: “Evolution (natural selection) is a better explanation”. “There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.” — The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882. Counter-objection: “Natural selection” would be an alternative hypothesis to Paley’s if it worked. But it demonstrably doesn’t, so there is not even a point in comparing the two.
    2. Dawkins: “Who designed the designer?” Counter-objection: Once we establish that the universe is designed, only then we can [optionally] discuss other aspects of this finding (see counter-objection to Hume).
    3. Dawkins: “The watch analogy conflates the complexity that arises from living organisms that are able to reproduce themselves with the complexity of inanimate objects, unable to pass on any reproductive changes”. Counter-objection: Paley is aware of the differences between the living and the inert and is not trying to cast life into a watch. Instead he is only demonstrating that they both share the property of being designed. In addition, nothing even “arises”. Instead everything is caused by something else. That’s why we always look for a cause in science.
    4. Objection: “Watches were not created by single inventors, but by people building up their skills in a cumulative fashion over time, each contributing to a watch-making tradition from which any individual watchmaker draws their designs”. Counter-objection: Once we establish that the universe is designed, only then we can [optionally] discuss other aspects of this finding (see counter-objection to Hume).
    5. Objection: In Dover case, the judge ruled that such an inductive argument is not accepted as science because it is unfalsifiable. Counter-objection: Both inductive and deductive reasoning are used in science. Paley’s argument is not inductive as he had his hypothesis formulated well before his argumentation. Finally, Paley’s hypothesis can absolutely be falsified if a random draw can be found to look designed. This is exactly what the “infinite monkey” theorem has tried and failed to do (see counter-objection to Hume).
    6. Objection: Paley confuses descriptive law with prescriptive law (i.e., the fallacy of equivocation). Prescriptive law does imply a lawgiver, and prescriptive laws can be broken (e.g., speed limits, rules of behavior). Descriptive laws do not imply a law-giver, and descriptive laws cannot be broken (one exception disproves the law, e.g., gravity, f = ma.). Counter-objection: Of all the laws with known origin, all (100%) have a lawgiver at the origin. The distinction between descriptive and prescriptive laws is thus arbitrary and unwarranted.
    7. Objection: It is the nature of mind to see relationship. Where one person sees design, another sees randomness. Counter-objection: This ambiguity is present only for very simple cases. But all humans agree that organisms’ structures are clearly not random.
    8. Dawkins: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Counter-objection: Just a corollary: since organisms indeed appear designed, then they are most likely designed according to Occam’s razor.
  4. In conclusion, Paley is right and his opponents continue to be wrong with not even a plausible alternative hypothesis.

Links:

https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/paleys-argument-from-design-did-hume-refute-it-and-is-it-an-argument-from-analogy/

https://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/paley.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy

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1,308 thoughts on “William Paley’s Excellent Argument

  1. PS noting your “a physical impossible” I continue to wonder whether English is your native language.

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  2. Nonlin.org: Your understanding fails. No such thing [as universal common descent].

    Yes you make free with your assertions. However the concept exists. It is accepted as a fact among biologists and the wider community. I’m comfortable that you as a pseudonymous blogger with no influence reject it as a fact on religious grounds.

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  3. Nonlin.org: Paley’s excellent argument.

    Was an argument for his Christian God as creator of the universe. It wasn’t an argument about methods.

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  4. CharlieM,

    Owen Barfield, the Inkling! I keep thinking you should be pursuing a literary career, Charlie. Have you written any poetry?

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  5. CharlieM: And its not just alien artefacts that might be difficult to recognise. A watch is easy to recognise, some stone tools can be much more difficult to distinguish.

    Well, yes. This is correct…Watches are easy to recognise if you are familiar with watches.

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  6. Alan Fox,

    Just to be clear, nonlin, you are denying the fact of universal common descent?

    What is your definition of a fact?

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  7. Alan Fox: Just to be clear, nonlin, you are denying the fact of universal common descent? More than that, you assert that this fact has been repeatedly proven impossible*!

    By whom, when, how?

    *Waits, breath unbaited*

    ETA *

    Just a pet peeve here. When people are impatient or imminently expecting something, they wait with ‘bated breath. This is a contraction of abated, which means ended or delayed.

    It has nothing to do with bait!

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  8. Alan Fox: Yes you make free with your assertions. However the concept exists. It is accepted as a fact among biologists and the wider community. I’m comfortable that you as a pseudonymous blogger with no influence reject it as a fact on religious grounds.

    One could even generalize, that religion itself exists either to manufacture or deny facts. In all the time I’ve been reading this and related sites, I have yet to find a single individual who questions evolution (or rejects it) on anything OTHER than religious grounds. Most religions seem to be in the business of fabricating gods in order to stuff them full of opinions that just happen to match those of their fabricators. Which would scarcely be necessary, if those opinions rested on factual reality. There is simply no limit to what the human mind is capable of sincerely believing, and if it’s preposterous enough, religion is there to answer the bell.

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  9. Flint: … with ‘bated breath. This is a contraction of abated, which means ended or delayed.

    It has nothing to do with bait!

    Yes, but “baited” breath is even stinkier than bated breath.

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  10. Joe Felsenstein: Yes, but “baited” breath is even stinkier than bated breath.

    That’s only reasonable, since ‘bated breath means you’re holding your breath, and not breathing at all.

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  11. Nonlin.org,

    Me: Er, no. Clearly, the space of possible alleles of a sequence of any given finite length is itself finite.

    Nonlin: Too stupid to address again.

    And therefore, per nonlin rules, you lose. You’re saying the space of all possible alleles of a finite sequence is infinite?

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  12. Nonlin.org: For one, molecular paternity must match birth and death dates. If the presumed parent died more than nine months before the presumed birth and no freezing was involved, then the molecular test is invalidated.

    That’s hardly independent verification of the paternity test, is it? All male humans of a certain age could be the father. That’s independent verification, that is.

    By the same token, we could exclude the relationship if it was strongly contradicted by the fossil evidence. But, then, we’d seek to verify by picking different genes. Which is how one would verify a paternity test, as it happens. The more genes converge on the same result, the more robust it is.

    Did you just lose again? Will you admit?

    Nope.

    Nah. Just similarities.

    Nah. A stacked, branching pattern of differences, whichever gene you pick.

    Of course. Paley’s excellent argument

    Haha. An argument from analogy independently verifies a hypothesis. OK, computer file copying independently verifies phylogeny.

    . Not only that, but the alternative hypothesis, “evolution” is a physical impossibility as proved.

    So’s Special Creation. Leaves us in a bit of a bind then, doesn’t it? 🤔

    Huh?

    Do I need to break out the puppets? You said, and I quote, “why no evidence for multiple abiogenesis events?”. Suggesting that there is no evidence for multiple origins, ie no evidence for separate Creation events.

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  13. Flint: Just a pet peeve here.When people are impatient or imminently expecting something, they wait with ‘bated breath. This is a contraction of abated, which means ended or delayed.

    It has nothing to do with bait!

    I’m suitably embarrassed! 😣. I should have said “I’m not holding my breath”.

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  14. colewd,

    I agree with Theobold on common descent being an established fact because of the huge amount of consilient evidence for and the lack of evidence against.

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  15. Nonlin.org addressing DNA_Jock: DNA_Jock: You do understand that cats and guppies share a more recent common ancestor than guppies and whale sharks, right?

    Nonlin: You mean they share some ‘similarity’, because “common ancestor” you most certainly cannot prove experimentally. You see, ‘similarity’ is not at all synonymous with “common ancestor”.

    Phylogenetic inferences are not based on similarity, but on statistical analysis of derived character distribution. But let’s leave that be and address something that struck me:

    If you believe that guppies and cats are more similar to each other than either is to whale sharks, then why group guppies and sharks together in fish? Or if you believe guppies and whale sharks are more similar, because they are both fish, then why does phylogenetic analysis (which according to you works by grouping similar organisms) NOT group them together?

    You are in seeming contradiction here. Could you explain?

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  16. Nonlin.org: This is plain dumb again. Where the fuck do you see me argue “mountains have always been the way they are now”?

    Read again. What I said was that arguing mountains have always been the way they are now is akin to saying species do not evolve. It is an analogy. An excellent one, if you don’t mind me saying so 😎

    Nonlin.org: Only when you prove any of that experimentally. Until then, we only see guppies out of guppies. Sorry, we DO require experimental proofs in science.

    Phylogenetic analysis of genetic sequences experimentally supports my hypothesis that cats group within fish. So under my definition, cats are born from fish all the time. QED.

    Nonlin.org: We group based on similarities without any presumption of origin.

    Then why did you say that we see only see guppies out of guppies? There are dozens of species within the genus Poecilia. Are they not related?

    Nonlin.org: Well, let’s apply your stubbornness to something else: “since we group by sex, it must be that only men are grandparents of other men”.

    “Since we cannot presume relatedness from similarity, all men must have been created de novo“. Are we playing silly games now?

    Nonlin.org: Circular reasoning is not evidence.

    Ignorance is bliss

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  17. Nonlin.org: This is plain dumb again. Where the fuck do you see me argue “mountains have always been the way they are now”?

    Your argument is nothing but that.

    Nothing evolved. Therefore nothing has ever changed. Therefore everything is now as it always was. As it was created.

    Therefore your argument, like it or not, is everything has always been the way it is now.

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  18. colewd: What is your definition of a fact?

    What’s yours? If anything your definition is at odds with everybody else.

    I mean, you believe it’s a fact that atoms existing proves your specific god exists.

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  19. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM,

    Owen Barfield, the Inkling! I keep thinking you should be pursuing a literary career, Charlie. Have you written any poetry?

    I’m retired so I have finished with taking up careers. I have written the odd poem now and again but at school I was always been more comfortable with mathematics than English. I preferred questions and problems that ended with a definite answer, where there was a more structured path to a solution and there was less chance of misunderstanding.

    Barfield believed that by studying the history of language a lot could be discovered about the history of human consciousness. And what he discovered was that language does not appear to have developed from a series of pointing and grunts designed to give external objects proto-names. It originated out of a more poetic and musical form of communication.

    He begins a piece on Goethe and Evolution:

    If we say that Goethe looked on man as a part of nature, there is a deceptively familiar ring about the last part of the sentence. ‘So do I’, most people will reply. Neither a Darwinian, nor a Behaviourist nor a Marxist will have any quarrel with him on that score; and most Christians will readily agree after making the distinction between a state of nature and a state of grace.

    Explorer and Observer

    And yet there is a very great difference between what Goethe meant and what most people mean today when they speak, or think, of man as being a part of nature. When we say it, we have at the back of our minds – most of us – what I will call the outside of man, his flesh and his bones and his brain – all in fact that we can perceive of him through the senses during his life or after his death. And we think of all this as having developed by gradual process from a world in which there were once no men and at an earlier stage still no animals, and so forth. Whatever he thought about this process, Goethe also believed that the inside of man was a part of the inside of nature. There are of course those who contend, or appear to contend, that man has no inside, in the sense in which I am using the word. They say that his consciousness, including his thoughts, is a bodily process analogous to secretions. But I do not think I need pause to consider if they are right, because it follows, if they are not wrong, then there is no such thing as being right or wrong but only secretions and a making of noises. Our business is with Goethe

    And here I go along with Barfield in following Goethe’s way of studying nature.

    The ancient originators of language did not need to point to ‘external nature’ in order to reach a mutual understanding of what was there before their eyes. They already had this mutual understanding because they were united with nature. It is only very recently that we have become so detached from the world ‘out there’ that we feel the need to fathom its mysteries as outsiders peering in to some separate realm.

    Barfield termed the primal state, ‘original participation’ and the present state, ‘onlooker consciousness’. If we can reclaim our place within the whole and understand it in our new found ego consciousness, then we will be entering what Barfield termed, ‘final participation’. Goethe with his understanding of the ur phenomena was a pioneer on this road.

    First we must begin to see and understand the reality of ever-changing form, of metamorphosis, of evolution; whatever you want to call it.

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  20. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: And its not just alien artefacts that might be difficult to recognise. A watch is easy to recognise, some stone tools can be much more difficult to distinguish.

    Well, yes. This is correct…Watches are easy to recognise if you are familiar with watches.

    They are easy to recognise as timepieces if you are familiar with their function.

    They are easy to recognise as being designed by an external agent even if you don’t know their function and have never seen one before. Any intelligent being from a technologically advanced society would be able to detect something as intricate as a watch as being designed by an intelligent external agent, even if they had no idea of its function. And they would have sufficient knowledge of materials to know the processes required to bring the various components into their present condition and to know that these materials were not self-replicating.

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  21. Alan Fox,

    I agree with Theobold on common descent being an established fact because of the huge amount of consilient evidence for and the lack of evidence against.

    It is about as far from a fact by standard definition as you can be. It’s not even a tested hypothesis. There are many origin events that we cannot explain by reproduction and variation. The spliceosome and the cardiovascular system are starters.

    Everyone agrees some common descent has occurred. Universal common descent is a much bigger claim.

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  22. colewd:
    Alan Fox,
    Everyone agrees some common descent has occurred.Universal common descent is a much bigger claim.

    Not as big as celestial entities wiggling their magic fingers at vaguely specified intervals, I’d say.

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  23. CharlieM:You don’t know what I mean by the ‘ideal sphere’ so what makes you sure it has nothing to do with concepts?

    Because (a) there is no need for a separate domain of ideality or ideal reality as distinct from sensible reality in the theory of concepts that I think is correct and (b) I have not yet encountered an unanswerable objection to this theory of concepts.

    By the ‘ideal sphere’ I mean the objective inner world of ideas arrived at by reason. There are mathematical and scientific concepts that are true regardless of whose minds they happen to occupy. They belong to the ideal sphere.

    It is true that mathematical and scientific concepts have trans-perspectival validity that perceptual truths don’t, but this is because of the methods we use to arrive at those truths: performing multiple experiments, filtering out qualitative descriptions, aggregating information and analyzing data, etc. None of this involves positing non-sensible, purely intellectual awareness of non-material realities.

    Here’s the key difference: you seem to think that (1) the senses provide us sense-impressions that the intellect has to unify in order to give us knowledge of things in themselves, and (2) the intellect does so through its awareness of non-material objects called “ideas”.

    I can agree with (1) up to a point, but I would prefer the fully naturalized version of this thesis: the role of the productive imagination or the understanding that one finds in the transcendental argument is instead played by the dynamic feedback loops within and across brains, bodies, and environments.

    As for (2), I find myself in agreement with C. I. Lewis’s verdict on Platonism: “platonists prefer adoration of a mystery over explanation of a fact”.

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  24. Allan Miller,

    Not as big as celestial entities wiggling their magic fingers at vaguely specified intervals, I’d say.

    This is the argument that the whole house of cards is built on 🙂

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  25. colewd: This is the argument that the whole house of cards is built on 🙂

    I admire your candor. Very few creationists admit to that.

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  26. CharlieM: They are easy to recognise as being designed by an external agent even if you don’t know their function and have never seen one before. Any intelligent being from a technologically advanced society would be able to detect something as intricate as a watch as being designed by an intelligent external agent, even if they had no idea of its function. And they would have sufficient knowledge of materials to know the processes required to bring the various components into their present condition and to know that these materials were not self-replicating.

    Between this and your comment re stone tools, you appear to be arguing that knowledge of potential manufacturing techniques is key to design detection; in particular knowledge that the object in question cannot self-replicate.
    Are any of the IDists here going to take you to task for this heresy?

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  27. colewd: It is about as far from a fact by standard definition as you can be. It’s not even a tested hypothesis.

    Incorrect. You should read Theobald.

    There are many origin events that we cannot explain by reproduction and variation.

    Huh? Perhaps you meant to claim that there are many aspects of life, for which you find the current naturalistic explanation uncompelling. There are a few cases where I might even agree with you. Hey, do you have a better explanation?

    The spliceosome and the cardiovascular system are starters.

    Say what? I agree that the spliceosome is complicated. Maybe overly so (a problem for design explanations…). But is it unevolvable? I think not. Convince me otherwise.
    But “the cardiovascular system”? WTF? <Parent mode>Have you been talking to Sal again?</Parent mode> That’s pretty clearly evolvable. Read up on embryonic development.

    Everyone agrees some common descent has occurred. Universal common descent is a much bigger claim.

    A bigger claim, but very well supported. Why is it that so many people accept that sharks and tuna share a common ancestor, but balk at humans and bonobos?
    ‘Cuz that’s the common descent we are really arguing over.

    E2fix verb

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  28. Corneel: I admire your candor. Very few creationists admit to that.

    Yes, I was about to say similar. Think Bill might benefit from a re-read!

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  29. … but recognising what Bill meant to say, if UCD is built solely upon rejecting the ridiculousness of the wiggly-fingers explanation, what is the common descent he accepts built on?

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  30. DNA_Jock: Between this and your comment re stone tools, you appear to be arguing that knowledge of potential manufacturing techniques is key to design detection; in particular knowledge that the object in question cannot self-replicate.
    Are any of the IDists here going to take you to task for this heresy?

    CharlieM isn’t and has never been a IDist, so he’s certainly not committing any heresy.

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  31. Kantian Naturalist:

    CharlieM:You don’t know what I mean by the ‘ideal sphere’ so what makes you sure it has nothing to do with concepts?

    Because (a) there is no need for a separate domain of ideality or ideal reality as distinct from sensible reality in the theory of concepts that I think is correct and (b) I have not yet encountered an unanswerable objection to this theory of concepts.

    It is not a separate domain, it is the fulfilment of the sensible.

    By the ‘ideal sphere’ I mean the objective inner world of ideas arrived at by reason. There are mathematical and scientific concepts that are true regardless of whose minds they happen to occupy. They belong to the ideal sphere.

    It is true that mathematical and scientific concepts have trans-perspectival validity that perceptual truths don’t, but this is because of the methods we use to arrive at those truths: performing multiple experiments, filtering out qualitative descriptions, aggregating information and analyzing data, etc. None of this involves positing non-sensible, purely intellectual awareness of non-material realities.

    I am not arguing for non-material realities here. I am arguing what, the world of appearances, the sensible needs in order for it to be considered as reality.

    Here’s the key difference: you seem to think that (1) the senses provide us sense-impressions that the intellect has to unify in order to give us knowledge of things in themselves, and (2) the intellect does so through its awareness of non-material objects called “ideas”.

    I can agree with (1) up to a point, but I would prefer the fully naturalized version of this thesis: the role of the productive imagination or the understanding that one finds in the transcendental argument is instead played by the dynamic feedback loops within and across brains, bodies, and environments.

    As for (2), I find myself in agreement with C. I. Lewis’s verdict on Platonism: “platonists prefer adoration of a mystery over explanation of a fact”.

    Brains, bodies and environments are not bare perceptions. They are only understood as a combination of concepts.

    And according to both Kant and Steiner it is reason that unifies. The intellect divides.

    In the book, The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception Steiner says:

    Intellect itself is not capable of passing beyond this process of division. It holds fast to the divided members.

    The task of passing beyond this belongs to reason. It must cause the concepts formed by the intellect to pass over into one another. It has to show that what the intellect keeps in strict separation is in reality an inner unity. The division is something artificially introduced, a necessary intervening stage for our knowledge, but not its conclusion. Whoever apprehends reality only intellectually alienates himself therefrom. In place of reality, which is in truth a unity, he sets up an artificial multiplicity, a manifoldness, which has no relation to the essential nature of reality

    It is through the intellect that, even for the most superficial of differences between organisms result in them being allocated different species.

    Further on he says:

    Reason leads back to reality. The unity of all being, which had before been felt or only vaguely sensed, is completely fathomed by reason. The intellectual view must be deepened by the view of reason. If the former is looked upon, not merely as an inevitable transitional point, but as an end in itself, it does not yield reality but only a caricature.

    The theory of universal common descent is an attempt to unify life in its relatedness but it still leads to an understanding that unity is only relevant at the origin and diversity is the reality of the present. Linnaeus was the champion of diversity and then Goethe came along and taught us that through the reason we can perceive a higher unified reality within all the diversity surrounding us.

    Steiner said:

    It is true that reason is the capacity to perceive ideas. Here we must define the difference between concept and idea, to which we have hitherto paid no attention. For our purpose up to this point it was necessary only to discover those qualities of thought which are present in both concept and idea. The concept is a single thought as grasped by the intellect. If I bring a number of such single thoughts into a living flux so that they pass over into one another, become united, thought-structures thus arise which exist for the reason alone, which cannot be attained by the intellect. The creations of the intellect surrender their isolated existence to the reason, and thenceforth they live only as parts of a totality. These structures formed by the reason we shall call ideas.

    And so we have a more precise understanding of how the reason enables us to arrive at ideas through the combination of individual concepts.

    These ideas are not detached from the world around us. In this way Steiner brings Plato’s ideal sphere back down to earth. so you are wrong to accuse either of us in believing in some ideal sphere floating in the beyond.

    Goethe’s archetype is not a mystery of the free-floating imagination, it is a revelation of the reason applied to the material world.

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  32. Moved a coment to guano.

    A deliberate mis-spelling is in this case an accusation of lying. The comment author of course can resubmit with member’s correct name.

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  33. Corneel: …statistical analysis of derived character distribution…

    Fancy, redundant, convoluted, confused equivalent to ‘similarity’.

    Corneel: You are in seeming contradiction here. Could you explain?

    I didn’t claim any of that. Someone else did. Since it’s entirely bogus, I don’t care one bit what “phylogenetic” analysis thinks. And why such a stupid question?

    Corneel: What I said was that arguing mountains have always been the way they are now is akin to saying species do not evolve. It is an analogy. An excellent one, if you don’t mind me saying so 😎

    Too stupid to address.

    Corneel: Phylogenetic analysis of genetic sequences experimentally supports my hypothesis that cats group within fish.

    Haha. You don’t know what “experimental” means.

    Corneel: Then why did you say that we see only see guppies out of guppies? There are dozens of species within the genus Poecilia. Are they not related?

    Did you see something else out of guppies? Describe. No such thing as “species” or “speciation”, remember?

    Corneel: “Since we cannot presume relatedness from similarity, all men must have been created de novo“. Are we playing silly games now?

    You certainly are playing silly games… or are badly math-challenged: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_(set_theory)

    OMagain: Nothing evolved. Therefore nothing has ever changed. Therefore everything is now as it always was. As it was created.

    False.

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  34. DNA_Jock:

    CharlieM: They are easy to recognise as being designed by an external agent even if you don’t know their function and have never seen one before. Any intelligent being from a technologically advanced society would be able to detect something as intricate as a watch as being designed by an intelligent external agent, even if they had no idea of its function. And they would have sufficient knowledge of materials to know the processes required to bring the various components into their present condition and to know that these materials were not self-replicating.

    Between this and your comment re stone tools, you appear to be arguing that knowledge of potential manufacturing techniques is key to design detection; in particular knowledge that the object in question cannot self-replicate.
    Are any of the IDists here going to take you to task for this heresy?

    I welcome comments from anyone who disagrees with me. In my opinion design can be intrinsic or extrinsic. The former as seen in living systems and the latter in human built machines. To posit a god who designs life from without is the equivalent of treating living systems as machines and anyone who has read what I have said in the past will know what I think of that.

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  35. Nonlin.org: Haha. You don’t know what “experimental” means.

    Well, this is awkward.
    Corneel is using the term “experimentally” correctly. I conclude that nonlin doesn’t know what “experimental” means.
    Have you ever been employed full-time as an experimental scientist, nonlin?

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  36. Kantian Naturalist:

    DNA_Jock: Between this and your comment re stone tools, you appear to be arguing that knowledge of potential manufacturing techniques is key to design detection; in particular knowledge that the object in question cannot self-replicate.
    Are any of the IDists here going to take you to task for this heresy?

    CharlieM isn’t and has never been a IDist, so he’s certainly not committing any heresy.

    True. But I can and do empathise with some of their arguments. And if they encourage evolutionists to think about their arguments more carefully then I see that as a good thing. Two sides struggling with each other believing they are in opposition but in reality they are trying to achieve a common aim. To look for meaning.

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  37. CharlieM: CharlieM isn’t and has never been a IDist, so he’s certainly not committing any heresy.

    True. But I can and do empathise with some of theirarguments. And if they encourage evolutionists to think about their arguments more carefully then I see that as a good thing. Two sides struggling with each other believing they are in opposition but in reality they are trying to achieve a common aim. To look for meaning.

    Alas, the term “evolutionist” gives you away. Because this term implies a tenet of belief, which “evolutionists” believe in, and creationists do not. I see terms like evolutionist, and I wonder if I am an “eatist” because I eat, or a “rotationist” because I think the earth rotates. Instead, I understand that we eat to survive, the earth rotates because it does, and evolution happens for the same reason. Maybe we can agree on the term “realist”, which we can then distinguish from, say, “believer”.

    0
  38. Me: You’re saying the space of all possible alleles of a finite sequence is infinite?

    Nonlin: Explain to him Joe F[e]lsenstein. Earn your entertainment.

    I’m pretty certain Joe does not think that. So that leaves just you.

    Allan Miller: That’s hardly independent verification of the paternity test, is it? All male humans of a certain age could be the father. That’s independent verification, that is.

    Nonlin: Sore loser.

    Convincing rebuttal. “Do you have any corroborating evidence that this man is indeed the father?” “Yes. He’s the right age”. “Well, that clinches it”.

    Allan Miller: By the same token, we could exclude the relationship if it was strongly contradicted by the fossil evidence. But, then, we’d seek to verify by picking different genes. Which is how one would verify a paternity test, as it happens. The more genes converge on the same result, the more robust it is.

    Nonlin: Endless stupid bullshit. Not worth addressing.

    Sore loser.

    Allan Miller: OK, computer file copying independently verifies phylogeny.

    Nonlin: How? Make your case.

    Same way Paley’s ‘imagine finding a watch’ – a parable told by a vicar, yet! – is an ‘independent verification’ of Creation. ie, it isn’t.

    2+
  39. DNA_Jock: Well, this is awkward.
    Corneel is using the term “experimentally” correctly. I conclude that nonlin doesn’t know what “experimental” means.
    Have you ever been employed full-time as an experimental scientist, nonlin?

    You’re blushing too much, even for a very emotive young lady. Spelling correctly is the least he can do. And it still doesn’t compensate for his [too many] reasoning fallacies.

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  40. CharlieM: To posit a god who designs life from without is the equivalent of treating living systems as machines

    Why? How would you know?

    Flint: Maybe we can agree on the term “realist”, which we can then distinguish from, say, “believer”.

    But you DO believe in the “theory of evolution”, right? Although technically, you have not seen one single little thing “evolve”, right?

    Allan Miller: I’m pretty certain Joe does not think that. So that leaves just you.

    Maybe let him speak for himself? He did say one correct thing once. Maybe he can encore that?

    Allan Miller: Same way Paley’s ‘imagine finding a watch’ – a parable told by a vicar, yet! – is an ‘independent verification’ of Creation.

    Someone claimed that? Who?

    Alan Fox: Moved a coment to guano.

    Honest mistake. Since one impatient person already replied, here it is (with correction and apologies):
    Nonlin.org on May 22, 2020 at 7:29 pm said:
    Alan Fox: Was an argument for his Christian God as creator of the universe. It wasn’t an argument about methods.

    First one is false. Second one doesn’t apply to anything.

    Joe Felsenstein: Yes, but “baited” breath is even stinkier than bated breath.

    Look who’s enjoying the show for free.

    Allan Miller: You’re saying the space of all possible alleles of a finite sequence is infinite?

    Explain to him Joe Felsenstein. Earn your entertainment.

    Allan Miller: That’s hardly independent verification of the paternity test, is it? All male humans of a certain age could be the father. That’s independent verification, that is.

    Sore loser.

    Allan Miller: By the same token, we could exclude the relationship if it was strongly contradicted by the fossil evidence. But, then, we’d seek to verify by picking different genes. Which is how one would verify a paternity test, as it happens. The more genes converge on the same result, the more robust it is.

    Endless stupid bullshit. Not worth addressing.

    Allan Miller: An argument from analogy independently verifies a hypothesis.

    2.b. and 3.c. I’ll add that we call it ‘analogy’ but in fact it’s ‘certainty’ given we know no reasonable alternative to “what looks created has always proved to be created” (also 3.h).

    Allan Miller: OK, computer file copying independently verifies phylogeny.

    How? Make your case.

    Allan Miller: Suggesting that there is no evidence for multiple origins, ie no evidence for separate Creation events.

    This is too stupid to address.

    0
  41. colewd: There are many origin events that we cannot explain by reproduction and variation.

    The theory of evolution is not an explanation for the origin of life. C’mon Bill, you’ve had this pointed out to you many, many times.

    0
  42. Nonlin.org:

    Alan Fox: Was an argument for his Christian God as creator of the universe. It wasn’t an argument about methods.

    First one is false. Second one doesn’t apply to anything.

    And yet his book was called:

    Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity

    2+
  43. CharlieM: I’m not sure what this is supposed to signify.

    There;s lots of different ways to measure time, Say aliens measured time by the diffusion of one gas into another. Would they recognise a mechanical watch as doing the same thing?

    What time is it dear?

    Snifffff About seven. Dinner?

    0
  44. Nonlin.org: Allan Miller: Suggesting that there is no evidence for multiple origins, ie no evidence for separate Creation events.

    This is too stupid to address.

    You obviously hold your views for a reason. If there is evidence for separate Creation events I’d be interested in hearing what it is and in what way it supports your view.

    0
  45. Nonlin.org,

    Maybe let him speak for himself? He did say one correct thing once. Maybe he can encore that?

    Perhaps you could just answer the simple question instead of dodging. Do you think that the set of all possible variant sequences of finite length is infinite?

    Allan Miller: Same way Paley’s ‘imagine finding a watch’ – a parable told by a vicar, yet! – is an ‘independent verification’ of Creation.

    Nonlin: Someone claimed that? Who?

    You. “Do you have independent verification of that?” “Yes. Paley’s excellent argument”.

    1+
  46. Alan Fox:
    The theory of evolution is not an explanation for the origin of life. C’mon Bill, you’ve had this pointed out to you many, many times.

    I think that Bill is saying that things with no evolutionary explanation indicate separate origins for the life forms that have them. (Bill’s comment was in opposition to universal common descent.)

    0
  47. Nonlin.org: I didn’t claim any of that.

    Tip: When you deny something, don’t put the claim you are denying right above it:

    Nonlin.org: Fancy, redundant, convoluted, confused equivalent to ‘similarity’.

    That is the second time you claim that phylogenetic analysis groups cats and guppies, to the exclusion of whale sharks, based on similarity. If cats and guppies are so similar, then why all the hoopla about cats evolving from fish? If you DON’T believe cats and guppies are similar, then your claim that this grouping is based on similarity is false. So what is it going to be?

    Please don’t deny again. It makes you look ridiculous when you deny stuff everybody can read upthread.

    Nonlin.org: Corneel: What I said was that arguing mountains have always been the way they are now is akin to saying species do not evolve. It is an analogy. An excellent one, if you don’t mind me saying so 😎

    Nonlin: Too stupid to address.

    You are being a bit too harsh on yourself, but I appreciate your honesty.

    Nonlin.org: You certainly are playing silly games… or are badly math-challenged: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_(set_theory)

    … so sayeth the guy who claims the sum of all relative frequencies won’t sum to one.

    Let’s recapitulate. You have claimed:
    1) That we group organisms based on similarities without any presumption of origin.
    2) That all guppies come from other guppies

    Oopsee! Those statements contradict each other. I don’t need set theory to see that.

    Every guppy (both male and female) was born from another guppy. Hence, tracing back the genealogical history, the most likely scenario is that all guppies are related by descent from shared ancestors. That is the reason we group them!

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