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. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: I’m sure there are aspects of the big bang story that are true and there will be aspects that if not overturned will need to be greatly amended in the future.

    Maybe. Maybe the alternative of an infinitely old universe bouncing through expansion and contraction without actually getting to (or from) a singularity, just very close. What difference that makes to our lives, dunno.

    This is speculation about the future of the body of the universe. It takes no account of its soul and spirit.

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  2. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: We could describe the life of a person from conception to death in terms of all the chemical and physical processes that have taken place in their bodies. Although this could be very accurate and in accord with reality it leaves out the most important aspect of a human life, the personality, feelings, thoughts, wilful actions and interactions.

    Well, in my view, all life is physical. I think the distinction you make is illusory. Just because we don’t understand how physical processes work in humans to produce the result of what and how we are doesn’t mean we necessarily need to invent something.

    Rational thinking and emotions are what I would call spirit and soul qualities respectively. Any amount of speculation doesn’t alter the fact that these qualities exist. The universe has produced thinking and feeling just as truly as it has produced physical matter.

    In the book, ‘Catching the Light’ Arthur Zajonc writes:

    The majority of physicists by far simply do not concern themselves with the meaning of their quantum calculations. Nor do they trouble themselves about the implications of archetypal quantum experiments. Science is not, they say, concerned with truth of meaning, but only with prediction and control: it is an instrument. Nineteenth-century scientific arrogance here changes to twentieth-century cynicism. Power we have and that is enough; true knowledge we relinquish forever. according to this view, modern science is like the astronomy of ancient Babylonia three thousand ears ago. Without any physical notions about the solar system, astronomer-priests could predict the course of the stars, sun, moon, and planets with amazing accuracy by applying purely arithmetic procedures to data from the past. Likewise, we can apply a quantum algorithm to make predictions about quantum phenomena without any notion of what a photon, an electron, etc., really is. Yet there is a difference. Babylonian astronomer-priests sought relentlessly for the meaning of their observations, but it was a spiritual meaning wedded to rituals, practical life, and their participation in the life of their gods and goddesses. With this they were content. We have shed every spiritual framework for science. The instrumentalist view would also abdicate hope for a true physical understanding.

    As the gods disappeared the Greeks fashioned a rational, geometric cosmos to replace the dying spiritual one. In the sixteenth century, matter joined reason, and the universe gradually became a clockwork.

    And now once more our view of the universe has changed. The findings of modern physics have forced us to abandon this clockwork view of the universe. But what are we putting in its place? Zajonc gives his answer, demoralising nihilism. The relatively recently discovered subatomic ‘particles’ have been reified and made into idols. In reality they are purely mathematical models.

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  3. CharlieM: This is speculation about the future of the body of the universe. It takes no account of its soul and spirit.

    Of course not. Soul and spirit are human inventions. They are imaginary concepts or (if I’m wrong) they might as well be for all they add to understanding.

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  4. CharlieM: Rational thinking and emotions are what I would call spirit and soul qualities respectively.

    There’s no way forward except to agree to disagree on this. I’m sure I’ve no chance of persuading you from your beliefs and I’m not motivated to do so; your beliefs are harmless. You have no chance of persuading me to the idea of spirit and soul being physical rather than imaginary simply by writing words. So there we are

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  5. CharlieM: The relatively recently discovered subatomic ‘particles’ have been reified and made into idols. In reality they are purely mathematical models.

    Reified by whom? Particles are what they are and do what they do. Mathematical models are what humans use as tools of explanation and prediction.

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  6. CharlieM: The findings of modern physics have forced us to abandon this clockwork view of the universe.

    You are about a century late with this statement!

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  7. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: Water is the product of a seeming cascade of emergences springing from fundamental ‘particles’ which do not follow the rules of spacetime governed by classical physics. So water might not emerge directly from this realm but it does purportedly emerge indirectly through a series of stages if there is such a thing as quantum reality at the base of matter.

    Again, a bit of naïve speculation is fun. Talk of “this realm” suggests you think there are others. Sure there may be but they don’t interfere of impinge on our corner of the universe.

    This reminds me of an old British cartoon strip, The Perishers in which the dog called ‘Boot’ is frequently seen to be staring into a rock pool. The crabs at the bottom of the pool are split into two factions, those who worship the ‘eyeballs in the sky’, and those who say they don’t exist. They live in their own little rock pool world and nothing impinges on it from any greater existence. They fail to realise that they are a part of this greater existence.

    To us the sun appears as a yellow disc in the sky providing us with light and heat. But what if we were to ignore the limitations of our perceptions for a minute.
    If we could perceive gravity and the solar wind directly we would percieve ourselves as being within the sun. This higher, more extensive point of view belongs to a higher overarching reality than the realm of our senses. And that is without considering anything other than purely physical forces.

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  8. CharlieM: The crabs at the bottom of the pool are split into two factions, those who worship the ‘eyeballs in the sky’, and those who say they don’t exist. They live in their own little rock pool world and nothing impinges on it from any greater existence. They fail to realise that they are a part of this greater existence.

    Yes, I remember that cartoon strip. Another analogy is us being ants on the sidewalk unaware of the Empire State Building towering above us. We’re trapped by the limits of our physical abilities and our intelligence. Not by our imagination, however!

    And the answer is?

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  9. OMagain:

    CharlieM: But nowhere does it explain how it works. Why do these ‘particles’ ignore spacial distances and time intervals between cause and effect?

    Why shmy.

    CharlieM: It calls for a change in how we think about reality.

    It does, and we have. Some, anyway.

    Have you not noticed the pushback against, say, the idea of the multiverse from UD?

    I very rarely look in at UD.

    The multiverse is something that has been speculated upon in order to account for the findings of quantum mechanics. It is the only way that reality can be confined to the physical. It saves having to consider that there might be mind like or spiritual forces at work. That would be a step too far in thinking about reality.

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  10. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: This is speculation about the future of the body of the universe. It takes no account of its soul and spirit.

    Of course not. Soul and spirit are human inventions. They are imaginary concepts or (if I’m wrong) they might as well be for all they add to understanding.

    Thinking and understanding are activities of the spirit. Or am I conversing with just a collection of molecules?

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  11. CharlieM: Or am I conversing with just a collection of molecules?

    You are conversing as a physical entity made of molecules to other similar entities also made of molecules. What evidence is there for anything else? Your gut feeling? That’s a physical process too.

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  12. CharlieM: Thinking and understanding are activities of the spirit. Or am I conversing with just a collection of molecules?

    What is the spirit made of? Things that have rules that are internally consistent?

    Then why not just call it all molecules, until you can differentiate between them.

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  13. CharlieM: It is the only way that reality can be confined to the physical. It saves having to consider that there might be mind like or spiritual forces at work. That would be a step too far in thinking about reality.

    That’s simply not true. That’s what you want to believe, that might well what you actually believe but it has no basis in fact.

    I mean, demonstrate it!

    CharlieM: The multiverse is something that has been speculated upon in order to account for the findings of quantum mechanics.

    Find who first proposed it, then demonstrate that they proposed it because of the reasons you are stating here.

    Then, later, you can admit you were in error.

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  14. And I thought that Charlie was not someone who had bought into this ‘scientists can’t face the truth so they make shit up instead’ crowd.

    Dissapoint.

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  15. CharlieM: I was. Subatomic ‘particles’ are entities that are not restricted by the classical rules of time and space. In saying that they are ‘beyond’ I might have implied that they do not have a spacial aspect when they obviously do.

    Thanks for the clarification.

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  16. CharlieM: Thinking and understanding are activities of the spirit. Or am I conversing with just a collection of molecules?

    You are conversing through a physical medium , so somehow the spirit has to interact and manipulate the physical, any ideas how that occurs?

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  17. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: Or am I conversing with just a collection of molecules?

    You are conversing as a physical entity made of molecules to other similar entities also made of molecules. What evidence is there for anything else? Your gut feeling? That’s a physical process too.

    More from Zajonc’s book; on the single photon double slit experiment and the interference pattern he writes:

    The root structure of quantum mechanics, and our idea of light, must accomodate this experimental fact. We have found an archetypal phenomenon but lack the ideas with which to see it rightly.

    Goethe was right. Try though we may to split light into fundamental atomic pieces, it remains whole to the end. Our very notion of what it means to be elementary is challenged. Until now we have equated smallest with most fundamental. Perhaps for light, at least, the most fundamental feature is not to be found in smallness, but rather in wholeness, its incorrigible capacity to be one and many, particle and wave, a single thing with the universe inside.

    Maybe we as individuals are more fundamental than the matter of which we are composed.

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  18. OMagain:

    CharlieM: Thinking and understanding are activities of the spirit. Or am I conversing with just a collection of molecules?

    What is the spirit made of? Things that have rules that are internally consistent?

    What is matter made of? Asking what the spirit is made is a product of ‘clockwork universe’ thinking.

    Then why not just call it all molecules, until you can differentiate between them.

    The molecules of my body come and go while I remain consistently individual.

    Was it the motion of molecules in your brain that enticed your fingers to format your reply?

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  19. OMagain:

    CharlieM: It is the only way that reality can be confined to the physical. It saves having to consider that there might be mind like or spiritual forces at work. That would be a step too far in thinking about reality.

    That’s simply not true. That’s what you want to believe, that might well what you actually believe but it has no basis in fact.

    I mean, demonstrate it!

    We demonstrate it every time we have an original thought.

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  20. OMagain:

    And I thought that Charlie was not someone who had bought into this ‘scientists can’t face the truth so they make shit up instead’ crowd.

    Dissapoint.

    Well I think most scientists are probably hard at work doing their day jobs. They will have their own individual thoughts on these philosophical issues I’m sure, which in most cases will be unrelated to the work they do.

    You are putting words into my mouth. Are scientists not individuals like the rest of us?

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  21. newton: Thanks for the clarification.

    No problem.

    newton:

    CharlieM: Thinking and understanding are activities of the spirit. Or am I conversing with just a collection of molecules?

    You are conversing through a physical medium , so somehow the spirit has to interact and manipulate the physical, any ideas how that occurs?

    You are thinking in a dualistic way that sees spirit and matter as separate. They cannot be separated in this way.

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  22. CharlieM: You are putting words into my mouth.

    If I am then you stand guilty of projecting your thoughts into other peoples minds:

    It saves having to consider that there might be mind like or spiritual forces at work. That would be a step too far in thinking about reality.

    Did you notice I asked you to support that claim? How do you know what other people are thinking or their motivations for making what, appear on the surface, to be statements unrelated to theism or spiritual forces.

    You might think the multiverse was thought up to avoid considering spiritual issues, but I’m asking you where you got that idea from and to support it. Did you convince yourself or did others convince you? How?

    CharlieM: They will have their own individual thoughts on these philosophical issues I’m sure, which in most cases will be unrelated to the work they do.

    That seems to be a nice way of saying that they are unconsciously lying at work?
    Or lying at some level, or that there is some contradiction there somewhere.

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  23. CharlieM: Rational thinking and emotions are what I would call spirit and soul qualities respectively. Any amount of speculation doesn’t alter the fact that these qualities exist. The universe has produced thinking and feeling just as truly as it has produced physical matter.

    The universe has produced thinking and feeling as biological qualities. Which is to say that they certainly do exist, but not as anything non-physical, immaterial, spiritual, etc.

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  24. CharlieM: You are thinking in a dualistic way that sees spirit and matter as separate. They cannot be separated in this way.

    I am , which way can they be separated?

    If “Thinking and understanding are activities of the spirit.“ is it also true , thinking and understanding are activities of matter?

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  25. OMagain:

    CharlieM: You are putting words into my mouth.

    If I am then you stand guilty of projecting your thoughts into other peoples minds:

    When did I ever say anything like ‘scientists can’t face the truth’?

    It saves having to consider that there might be mind like or spiritual forces at work. That would be a step too far in thinking about reality.

    Did you notice I asked you to support that claim? How do you know what other people are thinking or their motivations for making what, appear on the surface, to be statements unrelated to theism or spiritual forces.

    Thinking is a personal activity and by means of thinking we can grasp shared concepts. All of us have a reasonable idea of the concept of a multiverse. For those who in their thinking cannot envision a higher reality beyond our average understanding then parallel (but not higher) realities are an attractive alternative. Anomalies in the world of our experience can be attributed to the multiverse.

    You might think the multiverse was thought up to avoid considering spiritual issues, but I’m asking you where you got that idea from and to support it. Did you convince yourself or did others convince you? How?

    I do not think it was hypothesised as a conscious decision to keep out thoughts of higher realities, but I do think it can be used in this way.

    A theoretical two-dimensional being, a flat-lander, might propose multiple parallel two-dimensional flat-lands to account for spooky action at a distance in flat-land. But the reality would not be infinite flat-lands, it would be a single three-dimensional existence. The flat-lander would be so used to thinking in flat-land terms that a higher third dimension would be beyond its comprehension.

    CharlieM: They will have their own individual thoughts on these philosophical issues I’m sure, which in most cases will be unrelated to the work they do.

    That seems to be a nice way of saying that they are unconsciously lying at work?
    Or lying at some level, or that there is some contradiction there somewhere.

    Differences of opinion are not lies. How would someone unconsciously lie?

    I’m sure many scientists go through a day’s work without the multiverse even entering their minds. Unless they are cosmologists or doing something related, why would it?

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  26. Kantian Naturalist:

    CharlieM: Rational thinking and emotions are what I would call spirit and soul qualities respectively. Any amount of speculation doesn’t alter the fact that these qualities exist. The universe has produced thinking and feeling just as truly as it has produced physical matter.

    The universe has produced thinking and feeling as biological qualities.

    Biological processes and consciousness are correlated. But do you have uncontroversial, incontestable evidence that thinking is biologically caused?

    Which is to say that they certainly do exist, but not as anything non-physical, immaterial, spiritual, etc.

    I think you should have qualified that statement with, “In my experience” or “In my opinion”.

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  27. newton:

    CharlieM: You are thinking in a dualistic way that sees spirit and matter as separate. They cannot be separated in this way.

    I am , which way can they be separated?

    If “Thinking and understanding are activities of the spirit.“ is it also true , thinking and understanding are activities of matter?

    As I understand it, matter is condensed thought. Spirit and matter are of one ‘substance’.

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  28. CharlieM: As I understand it, matter is condensed thought. Spirit and matter are of one ‘substance’.

    As you understand it:

    Do all thoughts result in matter, do different thoughts result in different matter, could we reverse the condensation and reveal the thought, does the condensing require energy?

    Have your thoughts created matter?

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  29. newton:

    CharlieM: As I understand it, matter is condensed thought. Spirit and matter are of one ‘substance’.

    As you understand it:

    Do all thoughts result in matter, do different thoughts result in different matter, could we reverse the condensation and reveal the thought, does the condensing require energy?

    Have your thoughts created matter?

    By thoughts I do not mean the products of everyday ‘thinking’ which we engage in. This everyday activity we call thinking is more in line with day dreaming, mind wandering and thoughts instigated by external perceptions.

    I doubt if any human is capable of the type of thinking that would create matter. The best we can do though the power of thinking is to manipulate pre-existing matter in novel ways. Human inventions will have existed in thought before they are physically realised.

    The ancients had a word the overarching creative power, it is the Logos.

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  30. CharlieM: Biological processes and consciousness are correlated. But do you have uncontroversial, incontestable evidence that thinking is biologically caused?

    Of course not. Absolute certainty is impossible. But it’s entailed by all currently available scientific evidence.

    I think you should have qualified that statement with, “In my experience” or “In my opinion”.

    I will not do that, because that phrase is anti-intellectual. It suggests a view in which reasons and evidence do not count for anything, and that all discussion is a mere show-and-tell of personal preferences. If reasoning doesn’t count for anything, then we might as well concede that might makes right and the fascists have won.

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  31. OMagain: Blind belief is not necessary when you have actual evidence.

    …said the blind man.

    OMagain: Shhh, you are not supposed to be saying that! ID is ‘Creation’ in it’s ‘scientific’ form.

    Creation has always been scientific. Hence Paley. Unlike the retard Darwin. Btw, what’s your “fitness”? No? Crickets? How is “natural selection” to select you without your “fitness”?

    OMagain: Nonlin.org: Adaptation doesn’t require and doesn’t have anything to do with “evolution”. Again. prove me wrong!

    Then how does antibiotic resistance spread through a population.

    And the connection is? Also, let’s not forget antibiotic resistance disappears 100% of the time eventually. And that’s absolutely CONTRARY to the “evolution” dogma. Reconcile that!

    Corneel: The people denying this are on your side of the fence.

    Nope. They think “evolution” makes SOME sense. We both know it doesn’t. Right, guy that cannot produce his “fitness” function therefore cannot be selected?

    Corneel: But this bloke has quite the history of contradicting himself and then denying he did so.

    Is that bloke also named Corneel? Because that fits awfully well the profile.
    Why must I always explain the basics? There’s design and there’s Intelligent design. See? Two different things. To demonstrate ID (aka design of the universe), one must FIRST demonstrate [little case] design. And that’s Paley’s great idea.

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  32. Nonlin.org: There’s design and there’s Intelligent design. See? Two different things. To demonstrate ID (aka design of the universe), one must FIRST demonstrate [little case] design. And that’s Paley’s great idea.

    LMAO! And there goes the argument from analogy down the drain. Well done, Nonlin. Didn’t you know? The entire case of ID creationism rests on denying that these are “two different things”.

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  33. Kantian Naturalist: If reasoning doesn’t count for anything, then we might as well concede that might makes right and the fascists have won.

    On a day like today, that seems to be true.

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  34. Kantian Naturalist: Of course not. Absolute certainty is impossible.

    Nonsense. Nonlin demonstrates otherwise with every post.

    But it’s entailed by all currently available scientific evidence.

    Evidence is antithetical to absolute certainty. You must choose between them.

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  35. Flint: Nonsense. Nonlin demonstrates otherwise with every post.

    Ah, then would you accept “absolute certainty is completely unjustifiable”?

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  36. Kantian Naturalist: Ah, then would you accept “absolute certainty is completely unjustifiable”?

    I usually wouldn’t put it that way. I’ve always said that you can be absolutely certain or you can be probably correct, but you can’t be both. If your goal is to be absolutely certain, and you’re content to be wrong, then it’s justified.

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  37. Nonlin.org,

    Also, let’s not forget antibiotic resistance disappears 100% of the time eventually.

    Chortle. Nonlin has determined that something adds up to 100%. Smirk.

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  38. But OMagain, that’s plasmid-borne antibiotic resistance.
    The Designer made those plasmids so that DNA jocks like me would be able to clone genes and study His great creation.
    Pan-resistant Enterobacteriaceae is just an unfortunate, but clearly necessary, side effect.
    That’s how you reconcile.

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  39. OMagain,

    What Nonlin seems to be saying is that evolution demands, dogmatically, that adaptations once acquired can never be lost, even if a challenge disappears. We know that’s not something evolutionary theory demands, let alone dogmatically. However, I have quitted explaining things to Nonlin because the kid seems unreachable.

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  40. Entropy: However, I have quitted explaining things to Nonlin because the kid seems unreachable.

    Yeah, nonlin, seems you now need to either publish or perish as we’re a bit bored of you now.

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  41. Corneel: The entire case of ID creationism rests on denying that these are “two different things”.

    This is stupid. If I design something, I do not claim to be God.

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  42. Allan Miller: Nonlin.org,

    Also, let’s not forget antibiotic resistance disappears 100% of the time eventually.

    Chortle. Nonlin has determined that something adds up to 100%. Smirk.

    What, if some things do, then all things must do? All Allan Miller things? How retard is that?

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  43. Entropy: What Nonlin seems to be saying is that evolution demands, dogmatically, that adaptations once acquired can never be lost, even if a challenge disappears. We know that’s not something evolutionary theory demands, let alone dogmatically.

    Sneaky or stupid? Not “can never” but “sometimes” / “most times”. When in reality they’re ‘always’ lost when the stimulus disappears. Hence no “evolution” whatsoever.

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  44. Err, Nonlin.org,
    colistin resistance persists in the absence of “the stimulus”, by which I guess you mean “ongoing selective pressure”.
    Or did you not understand the links OMagain provided?

    P.S. Please try to behave.

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  45. Nonlin.org: What, if some things do, then all things must do? All Allan Miller things? How retard is that?

    Very. But don’t be so hard on yourself, I’m sure you are doing your best with what you have.

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