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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874 thoughts on “William Paley’s Excellent Argument

  1. Nonlin.org: I didn’t claim any of that. Someone else did.

    Alan Fox: Nonlin: First one is false. Second one doesn’t apply to anything.

    Alan: And yet his book was called:

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

    Allan Miller: Nonlin: Someone claimed that? Who?

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

    The discussion gets a bit surreal when one needs to constantly remind someone what his position is and what his own claims were.

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  2. Flint:

    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”

    I was using the term ‘evolutionist’ as shorthand for someone who believes in the standard account of evolution based on Darwin’s ideas suitably amended as new knowledge has been acquired. I don’t see anything wrong with using that term to describe such a person, and neither would I think it wrong for any person to describe themselves as such. I do not think it is in any way insulting to call someone an evolutionist. I consider myself an evolutionist but with differing views to the evolutionists I have described above.

    Because I eat I consider myself to be a consumer. Because I believe the earth and everything else is in motion, if I had to choose a word, I would call myself a dynamist.

    Would you not call yourself an evolutionist in any sense?

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  3. Nonlin.org:

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

    Why? How would you know?

    Because if we are designed from without with no inner creativity to call our own then we are automatons.

    Jesus is said to have answered the Jews who were accusing him, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”. He is also reported to have said, “the kingdom of God is within you”.

    A God who is within you, within me and within nature has no need to sit in some remote heaven creating a separate material universe.

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  4. CharlieM: Would you not call yourself an evolutionist in any sense?

    Never comes up in any social context I find myself in. I’ve never been challenged by an anti-evolutionist except on obscure internet sites like this one. It seems a very US sort of thing, to want to know if you’ve been saved and born again. I find it very odd which may explain my fascination. I also find it odd to talk about Evolutionary theory as a belief rather than a neat and useful explanation.

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  5. OMagain:

    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?

    And that is why I continued

    …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.

    An alien need not recognise their function as time pieces to figure out that they have been designed and manufactured by an intelligent agent.

    Look at the image below. It is one item that has been photographed from two angles and I can guarantee that there will be very few here, if any, who have any idea about its function. But everyone will know that it has been intelligently designed. And this is just one basic, continuous piece with no moving parts. Much less intricate than a watch.

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  6. Entropy: 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.)

    I think life that we know about on Earth shares a single origin because the evidence (mentioned earlier) is overwhelming but also because it was so unlikely that the chances of it happening more than once are infinitesimal.

    If Bill is proposing multiple origins, he needs to do more explaining than me.

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  7. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: Would you not call yourself an evolutionist in any sense?

    Never comes up in any social context I find myself in. I’ve never been challenged by an anti-evolutionist except on obscure internet sites like this one. It seems a very US sort of thing, to want to know if you’ve been saved and born again. I find it very odd which may explain my fascination. I also find it odd to.talk about Evolutionary theory as a belief rather than a neat and useful explanation.

    But would you mind if you were to be called an evolutionist?

    All historical sciences have some measure of belief, it’s just the nature of the beast.

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  8. Alan Fox:

    Entropy: 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.)

    I think life that we know about on Earth shares a single origin because the evidence (mentioned earlier) is overwhelming but also because it was so unlikely that the chances of it happening more than once are infinitesimal.

    If Bill is proposing multiple origins, he needs to do more explaining than me.

    The origin of life is only considered to have an infinitesimal chance of happening by those who believe that it was a fortuitous event. For those of us who believe that life produces matter and not that matter produces life, then it is to be expected that there is life on earth. It is not just down to chance.

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  9. CharlieM: But would you mind if you were to be called an evolutionist?

    Probably. I’ve only ever seen the word used pejoratively. Maybe biologists should embrace the term after the fashion of “queer” or “nigger”.

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  10. CharlieM: All historical sciences have some measure of belief, it’s just the nature of the beast.

    Even if that were true, there is still the fact that evolutionary biology is not a historical science, but a natural science.

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  11. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: But would you mind if you were to be called an evolutionist?

    Probably. I’ve only ever seen the word used pejoratively. Maybe biologists should embrace the term after the fashion of “queer” or “nigger”.

    The term ‘creationist’ is quite often used pejoratively, but many believers are still quite happy to be labelled as such.

    I don’t think there should be any embarrassment in being called an evolutionist. Don’t worry what others think, stand up and be proud to be called an evolutionist, it’s nothing to be ashamed of 🙂

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  12. Corneel:

    CharlieM: All historical sciences have some measure of belief, it’s just the nature of the beast.

    Even if that were true, there is still the fact that evolutionary biology is not a historical science, but a natural science.

    Would you call the study of dinosaurs a historical science, a natural science, or both?

    Evolutionary biology is the historical aspect of natural science. Anyone who studies evolution must look to the past for answers. Unless of course you think that it’s all a big con and the past is not real but has been implanted in our minds at this very moment 🙂

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  13. CharlieM: The term ‘creationist’ is quite often used pejoratively, but many believers are still quite happy to be labelled as such.

    CharlieM: Probably. I’ve only ever seen the word used pejoratively. Maybe biologists should embrace the term after the fashion of “queer” or “nigger”.

    The term ‘creationist’ is quite often used pejoratively, but many believers are still quite happy to be labelled as such.

    I don’t think there should be any embarrassment in being called an evolutionist. Don’t worry what others think, stand up and be proud to be called an evolutionist, it’s nothing to be ashamed of 🙂

    If I use the word Creationist, it would be shorthand for Young Earth Creationist. I can’t help but think this is a singularly daft belief set.

    I am concerned about and disappointed by labelling. Typically, say at UD, I see it used to discount inconvenient viewpoints. It’s a lazy but effective way of not engaging with people.

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  14. CharlieM: Would you call the study of dinosaurs a historical science, a natural science, or both?

    I would call it natural science. As I understand it, historical sciences are the studies of the past as described in written sources.

    CharlieM: Evolutionary biology is the historical aspect of natural science. Anyone who studies evolution must look to the past for answers.

    By that description, a lot of science is historical, including geology, astronomy and such. That doesn’t make sense to me. Evolutionary processes are not confined to the past, but are still occurring today, just like geological and astronomical phenomena.

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  15. Alan Fox: CharlieM: Not necessarily

    What does that mean?

    Well a multicellular animal begins from one single fertilised zygote and diversifies into a multitude of various cell types. The zygote did not just fortuitously appear from nowhere.

    We have no way of directly observing the beginning of physical life and so as in the case of an individual animal, it could have been a one-time event that produced all the variety we can observe directly. And as in the case of individual animal cells the individuals follow an organised sequence, the process of variation does not need to have arisen by a series of chance events.

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  16. Corneel:

    CharlieM: Would you call the study of dinosaurs a historical science, a natural science, or both?

    I would call it natural science. As I understand it, historical sciences are the studies of the past as described in written sources.

    CharlieM: Evolutionary biology is the historical aspect of natural science. Anyone who studies evolution must look to the past for answers.

    By that description, a lot of science is historical, including geology, astronomy and such. That doesn’t make sense to me. Evolutionary processes are not confined to the past, but are still occurring today, just like geological and astronomical phenomena.

    I know that there is controversy and confusion about labelling sciences historical, but here is an excerpt from Scientific American

    Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.

    So I’m not the only one who regards evolutionary biology as an historical science.

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  17. CharlieM,

    That’s cute, but Mayr is making a point about Darwin‘s revolutionary place in the history of science, not about modern molecular biology and phylogeny, so when you write

    Anyone who studies evolution must look to the past for answers.

    you are obviously wrong.

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  18. 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.

    One what bases do you think not? Your relentless faith in the simple to complex model.

    The house of cards rears its ugly head again in the only counter argument being a burden shift.

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  19. DNA_Jock: That’s cute, but Mayr is making a point about Darwin‘s revolutionary place in the history of science, not about modern molecular biology and phylogeny, so when you write

    Anyone who studies evolution must look to the past for answers.

    you are obviously wrong.

    How do they contextualise phylogenetic or molecular relationships without regard to past connections? They can disregard the past if they don’t mind getting answers that just float in mid air.

    We observe the tetrapod limb to be homologous between species. Can you give me your answer to why this should be so?

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  20. CharlieM:Because I eat I consider myself to be a consumer. Because I believe the earth and everything else is in motion, if I had to choose a word, I would call myself a dynamist.
    Would you not call yourself an evolutionist in any sense?

    Depends, I suppose. Context matters. Most people who describe themselves as an “ist” are referring to a profession – ecologist, dentist, economist, etc. But religious concerns have to some degree polarized evolutionary theory, rendering an “evolutionist” anyone who does NOT reject the relevant science for religious reasons. Contrast with ecologist, dentist, economist — nobody thinks of any of these as applying to those who do NOT reject the principles behind their disciplines.

    I suppose anyone who rejects the basic idea of ecology or teeth or an economy would be referred to generally as nutcases. But here we have people who reject not only the theory (explanation) of evolution but the fact that it happens at all! And the rejection arises not from pure ignorance or stupidity, but from misapplication of the principles of specific religious faiths.

    And so an “evolutionist” isn’t like someone who rejects the idea of teeth (“nutcase” would apply there), but instead is identified as someone who does not accept certain religious positions. The tern “evolutionist” really has no meaning outside a religious context. It is not a profession.

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  21. colewd: One what bases do you think not? Your relentless faith in the simple to complex model.

    The house of cards rears its ugly head again in the only counter argument being a burden shift.

    I think that the spliceosome may have evolved, based on my study of the relationship between the splicing systems in fungi and metazoans. Check out Dieter Gallwitz’s work. Ball’s in your court.

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  22. CharlieM: How do they contextualise phylogenetic or molecular relationships without regard to past connections? They can disregard the past if they don’t mind getting answers that just float in mid air.

    Gee, Charlie, how does anyone contextualise anything without regard to the past? That’s quite the bromide.
    If you had written

    Anyone who studies evolution must look to the past for context.

    then you would have a point. A mind-blowingly mundane one, but at least you would not be wrong.
    Instead, you wrote

    Anyone who studies evolution must look to the past for answers.

    Still wrong.

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  23. DNA_Jock,

    I think that the spliceosome may have evolved, based on my study of the relationship between the splicing systems in fungi and metazoans. Check out Dieter Gallwitz’s work. Ball’s in your court.

    Do you have a citation?

    The house of cards is built on arguments from similarity.

    We have common ground here. Living organisms have similar biochemistry.

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  24. colewd: Do you have a citation?

    A few. You could start here.
    6305513
    6340104
    6365330

    The house of cards is built on arguments from similarity.

    Lucky for me I am talking about the differences then, isn’t it?

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  25. Alan Fox: And yet his book was called:

    That’s fine and in agreement with what I said. You wouldn’t understand. Don’t insist.

    Allan Miller: Do you think that the set of all possible variant sequences of finite length is infinite?

    Not our problem, is it? Our (your) problem is that you add something unknown to “100%” (you pretend).

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

    Let’s recap:
    “Not only that, but the alternative hypothesis, “evolution” is a physical impossibility as proved. Not to say that H-a is true because H-b fails, but when H-a makes total sense it is “the science” at least until a new hypothesis H-c is formulated “
    First, not Paley, but Paley’s logic which is independent of mine. Second, “evolution” and “abiogenesis” are physical impossibilities. That’s independent. To your “Paley was a vicar” I retort: “all retard atheists earn a living from their nonsense… beginning with Dawkins”

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

    Huh?

    Corneel: That is the second time you claim that phylogenetic analysis groups cats and guppies, to the exclusion of whale sharks, based on similarity.

    Not my claim.

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

    Haha. Math&language-challenged indeed.

    Corneel: 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!

    Did you really “trace back their genealogical history”? Don’t lie now. Also, the “grouping” refers to all organisms not just guppies, right? Those statements do NOT contradict each other.

    Haha. Your mental gymnastics will not save “evolution”, but they’re entertaining and disturbing at the same time.

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  26. Corneel: The discussion gets a bit surreal when one needs to constantly remind someone what his position is and what his own claims were.

    I’ll second that.

    CharlieM: Because if we are designed from without with no inner creativity to call our own then we are automatons.

    Why? Who told you? How would you know?

    CharlieM: A God who is within you, within me and within nature has no need to sit in some remote heaven creating a separate material universe.

    You’re making up stuff. All you need to understand is that your (and my) intelligence is inadequate to fully understand God. Book of Job is clear on that.

    Alan Fox: Never comes up in any social context I find myself in. I’ve never been challenged by an anti-evolutionist except on obscure internet sites like this one.

    And yet you’re administrator of this “obscure internet site”? Go figure.

    Alan Fox: I also find it odd to talk about Evolutionary theory as a belief rather than a neat and useful explanation.

    Yeah. The “neat and useful explanation” is a very British and Western European thing. The sane part of the US thinks you’re cuckoo, and the rest of the world doesn’t give a fuck about that nonentity called Darwin and his stupid – let’s call it – theory.

    Corneel: Even if that were true, there is still the fact that evolutionary biology is not a historical science, but a natural science.

    Haha. Actually, pseudo-science.

    Corneel: Evolutionary processes are not confined to the past, but are still occurring today, just like geological and astronomical phenomena.

    As in? Maybe we can settle this experimentally. Who knows?

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  27. And we’re at 780 “thoughts” (dreams? smokes? ramblings?) on Paley yet no clear counterargument to his excellent argument? Nothing? Crickets?

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  28. DNA_Jock,

    Lucky for me I am talking about the differences then, isn’t it?

    How do the difference demonstrate that what you are observing are from reproduction and variation?

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  29. colewd:
    DNA_Jock,

    How do the difference demonstrate that what you are observing are from reproduction and variation?

    “The house of cards rears its ugly head again in the only counter argument being a burden shift.”

    That petard is sure getting a workout.

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  30. I believe that colewd is genuinely unaware of what he just did there.
    Here’s a way of thinking about it Bill.
    Suppose that I am an advocate of Last Thursdayism, who believes that my demi-God (the GGA), Loki prankster that he is, created the universe in such a way that it appears as if Darwin was right. (Obviously, Darwin is fictitious and our memories of our conversations about him are implanted.)
    The object of the game is to find somewhere that the GGA screwed up, and created some aspect of life that could not have evolved.
    You claim that the spliceosome is such an example. I disagree, claiming that the spliceosome is not unevolvable. [The question is NOT whether the spliceosome evolved: you think it was created a few thousand years ago, I think it was created last Thursday. The question is COULD IT HAVE evolved. Try to remember this.] You ask me to support my position. I do, citing fungal splicing. You totally misunderstand my point…not that it matters.
    Whilst bitching about burden shifts, you then try to change the burden to “How does your evidence demonstrate that what you are observing are from reproduction and variation?”
    It cannot. It was created on Thursday. And I don’t need it to. The topic is whether the spliceosome could have evolved, and your unsupported claim that it could not possibly have. As you so eloquently noted

    The house of cards rears its ugly head again in the only counter argument being a burden shift.

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  31. CharlieM:
    The origin of life is only considered to have an infinitesimal chance of happening by those who believe that it was a fortuitous event.

    I don’t see the connection. It could be a fortuitous event with a high likelihood to occur. I’d say I don’t know if it was very likely or very unlikely. It could have happened more than once, but, obviously, only one prevailed, as fas as what we’ve sampled indicates. UCD means that the life we see around us has a single origin, not that life originated only once.

    CharlieM:
    For those of us who believe that life produces matter and not that matter produces life, then it is to be expected that there is life on earth. It is not just down to chance.

    That’s a beliefs-first/evidence-who-the-hell-cares-but-maybe-later position to me. It also seems convoluted and incoherent. No wonder our conversation was going nowhere.

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  32. colewd:
    One what bases do you think not? Your relentless faith in the simple to complex model.

    Every time you write something like this I wonder if you deserve any respect. Here it goes: It’s you who has faith ok? And if you find faith objectionable, then take it against yourself and come back when you gain some self-respect. Got it?

    Now, whether the spliceosome is evolvable or not is not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of understanding. The evidence for evolution is so overwhelming tahat we don’t really question it any more. What we look for today is evidence to figure out the paths taken by the several features we learn about. Like the spliceosome. But it’s not based on faith, it’s based on understanding the evidence and accepting it for what it indicates.

    colewd:
    The house of cards rears its ugly head again in the only counter argument being a burden shift.

    That’s rich coming from a creationist.

    You haven’t shown any proof that the spliceosome is unevolvable. You just find it too complicated to have evolved. So what? That’s just you and your preference that evolution didn’t happen. But where’s the barrier making it impossible to evolve? How do you know there’s such a barrier? See? the problem is all yours, and thus the burden to prove the existence of a barrier against the evolution of the spliceosome is all yours. Science goes on regardless of your preferences and beliefs.

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  33. DNA_Jock,

    It cannot. It was created on Thursday. And I don’t need it to. The topic is whether the spliceosome could have evolved, and your unsupported claim that it could not possibly have.

    Where did I make this claim?

    Your claim is that it might have evolved and we will need to define might. Can you make a case with any reasonable level of certainty by bringing up the differences in living splicing architectures?

    No you cannot so what are we really talking about? UCD is an untested hypothesis calling it a fact is silliness.

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  34. DNA_Jock: It cannot. It was created on Thursday. And I don’t need it to. The topic is whether the spliceosome could have evolved, and your unsupported claim that it could not possibly have. As you so eloquently noted

    “The house of cards rears its ugly head again in the only counter argument being a burden shift.“

    Ironical, as they say in South Austin.

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  35. colewd: Where did I make this claim?

    Your claim is that it might have evolved and we will need to define might. Can you make a case with any reasonable level of certainty by bringing up the differences in living splicing architectures?

    No you cannot so what are we really talking about? UCD is an untested hypothesis calling it a fact is silliness.

    Maybe he was simply asking for you to clarify your claim. I thought the scientific fact was that organisms have changed over the history of the Earth.

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  36. colewd,

    You are asking where you made the claim that the spliceosome could not have evolved?
    That’s easy.
    When I wrote:

    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?… 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.

    You replied

    One what bases do you think not? Your relentless faith in the simple to complex model.
    The house of cards rears its ugly head again in the only counter argument being a burden shift.

    that is pretty clearly disputing my statement that the spliceosome is not unevolvable.
    Now, all of a sudden, you are shifting the goal posts, and you want to talk about probabilities:

    Your claim is that it might have evolved and we will need to define might. Can you make a case with any reasonable level of certainty by bringing up the differences in living splicing architectures?

    and pre-emptorally claiming victory:

    No you cannot so what are we really talking about? UCD is an untested hypothesis calling it a fact is silliness.

    UCD has been tested (read Theobald).
    If you want to argue probabilities, you will need to learn the math involved.
    Here’s a tip: despite what gpuccio, kairosfocus et al might think, P(A∩B) ≠ P(A) x P(B)

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  37. Nonlin.org:
    Not our problem, is it? Our (your) problem is that you add something unknown to “100%” (you pretend).

    I don’t need to know anything about the members of a collection to know that their frequencies must add to 100%. If I’ve looked at 43%, what percentage haven’t I examined? Any ideas? 🤔

    First, not Paley, but Paley’s logic which is independent of mine.

    That’s what you mean by independent verification of a hypothesis? Someone else’s logic? More hilarity.

    Second, “evolution” and “abiogenesis” are physical impossibilities.

    So’s Creation.

    But anyway, this has no bearing on the ‘independent verification’ question. “My theory is independently verified by one alternative being impossible”. 🤣🤣🤣 Let’s see if I can get this bus through that argument … chugga-chugga-chugga … yep, didn’t touch the sides. Shall I try backwards? Beep! Beep!

    To your “Paley was a vicar” I retort: “all retard atheists earn a living from their nonsense… beginning with Dawkins”

    I don’t, as it happens, so there’s your black swan. But it’s not the monetary aspect anyway, but the fact that Paley was already a bible-thumper looking to justify his belief, rather than ‘independently verify’ it.

    2+
  38. colewd:
    DNA_Jock,

    How do the difference demonstrate that what you are observing are from reproduction and variation?

    Whirr … click … sproink … Bill1000 factory setting restore 93% complete.

    2+
  39. CharlieM: So I’m not the only one who regards evolutionary biology as an historical science.

    So you found somebody shares your use of “historical science” (and “evolutionist”) in the renowned evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr. Well done. In my opinion, and contra Mayr, that use of the term turns a lot of physics and chemistry into historical sciences as well.

    But let me accept your use of the term as “trying to explain past events”. So how does that involve “some measure of belief”? For example, in the Sci Am paper Ernst Mayr refers to the Alvarez hypothesis as an explanation for the K–Pg extinction event. If I recall that story correctly, that involved zero faith, but instead required months of painstaking experimental analysis of iridium levels in sedimentary samples. You know, hard work to gain objective experimental evidence that will either support or falsify your hypotheses. THAT is the nature of the beast.

    1+
  40. Nonlin.org: Not my claim.

    Whenever you get yourself into hot water, you respond by denying obvious stuff. Let’s look at the complete exchange, shall we?

    Jock said:

    You do understand that cats and guppies share a more recent common ancestor than guppies and whale sharks, right?

    You responded:

    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”.

    So here you clearly suggest that the grouping of cats and guppies in phylogenetic analysis is based on similarity.

    I make a remark

    Phylogenetic inferences are not based on similarity, but on statistical analysis of derived character distribution.

    Then you repeat your claim:

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

    And in the same comment you deny you made this claim:

    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?

    I point out your own claim to you a second time

    That is the second time you claim that phylogenetic analysis groups cats and guppies, to the exclusion of whale sharks, based on similarity.

    And now you deny again. The rooster crowed twice. Now, I suppose it is possible that you meant to deny that cats and guppies are grouped to the exclusion of sharks in phylogenetic analysis. That too would be flat out denial of established facts, but this seems to be the way you roll. If not, I am at a loss of reading your comments any other way than saying that cats and guppies look similar, and this is the reason why they are grouped in phylogenetic analysis.

    1+
  41. Flint:

    CharlieM:Because I eat I consider myself to be a consumer. Because I believe the earth and everything else is in motion, if I had to choose a word, I would call myself a dynamist.

    Would you not call yourself an evolutionist in any sense?

    Depends, I suppose. Context matters. Most people who describe themselves as an “ist” are referring to a profession – ecologist, dentist, economist, etc. But religious concerns have to some degree polarized evolutionary theory, rendering an “evolutionist” anyone who does NOT reject the relevant science for religious reasons. Contrast with ecologist, dentist, economist — nobody thinks of any of these as applying to those who do NOT reject the principles behind their disciplines.

    I suppose anyone who rejects the basic idea of ecology or teeth or an economy would be referred to generally as nutcases. But here we have people who reject not only the theory (explanation) of evolution but the fact that it happens at all! And the rejection arises not from pure ignorance or stupidity, but from misapplication of the principles of specific religious faiths.

    And so an “evolutionist” isn’t like someone who rejects the idea of teeth (“nutcase” would apply there), but instead is identified as someone who does not accept certain religious positions. The tern “evolutionist” really has no meaning outside a religious context. It is not a profession.

    I really didn’t think by slipping in the word, ‘evolutionist’, I would have touched a nerve in this way.

    0
  42. Nonlin.org: Corneel: 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!

    Nonlin: Did you really “trace back their genealogical history”? Don’t lie now.

    LOL. Let this “math-challenged” bloke show you his “mental gymnastics”.

    Every guppy alive today has a mommy and a daddy. Agree? For simplicity, let us assume non-overlapping generations and two generations of guppies per year. I have no idea of current population size, but let’s assume 1 million guppies alive today (it doesn’t really matter to the argument).

    If we “trace back their genealogical history” one generation, then to ensure non-relatedness of all guppies alive today, they ALL require their OWN mommy and daddy. That makes a population size at generation t-1 of 2 million. If we go back another generation to t-2, we need 4 million.

    Let’s go back into time say, oh, 500 years. Then to make sure all modern guppies are unrelated, the population 500 years ago needs to have had a size of

    2^{2 \cdot 500} \cdot 1000000 \sim 1 \cdot10^{307}

    guppies

    That’s more than the number of particles in the universe, so clearly one of our assumptions is wrong. Can you, math-savvy genius that you are, figure out which one that is?

    0
  43. CharlieM,

    CharlieM: I really didn’t think by slipping in the word, ‘evolutionist’, I would have touched a nerve in this way.

    Honestly? It’s quite frustrating, I think, that “evolutionist” is used to undermine scientific theories and facts as though evolution is akin to religious fervour. “We don’t need no stinkin’ facts, evolutionist”. This thread is witness to the paucity of thought given to alternative explanations for what we observe. Religious stories don’t fit the facts? Then facts are fake news.

    0

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