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Comments on: “Mindless-Process” Design: on being students without a teacher https://stonescryout.org/?p=172 If they keep silent... Tue, 13 May 2008 15:58:27 +0000 hourly 1 By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-1234 Tue, 13 May 2008 15:58:27 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-1234 Psi,

I’ve posted a response, here.

Rusty

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-1098 Tue, 06 May 2008 06:38:39 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-1098 Hi Rusty,

Gentle reminder.

Regards,

Psi

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-1025 Mon, 21 Apr 2008 20:57:48 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-1025 Thanks Rusty,

Regards,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-1023 Mon, 21 Apr 2008 05:14:37 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-1023 Psi,

Thanks for your comments.

Just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about your request for analysis of the “ethics and God” link. I’ve been incredibly busy, as of late. I will be getting to it… hopefully soon.

Rusty

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-981 Sat, 12 Apr 2008 16:09:32 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-981 Design by evolution does not, by it’s very nature, require a mind. Adaption results from natural selection and reproduction with variation.

You think this is unreasonable but you don’t say why.

– – –

It’s not the case that we can’t quantify or measure the supernatural Rusty, we can’t detect it at all.

I asked for falsifiable predictions arising from your world view and you replied with a short list of things we already know. They don’t count as falsifiable predictions.

You have not responded to many of the examples of bad design I gave, and continue to state that either the design is good enough or it could be a feature of the designers intentions we don’t know about, or even a result of Eve and the Apple – this simply illustrates the unfalsifiable position you have built, and underlines why it is intrinsically unscientific.

You said this;
“I don’t approach claims of supernatural occurrences in quite the manner it seems you are asking me. I’m not particularly interested in whether or not someone can bend spoons with his mind. I am interested, however, in the account of Jesus resurrection. I believe the account. I place a thoughtful trust in the resurrection account, vs. the claims of bending spoons, because of several reasons, including: evidence, personal experience, thinking, history, testimonies of others, etc.”

My entire point is that there is more “evidence” by your own use of the word evidence, for the spoon bending – more accounts, personal experience, thought, historical accounts, testimonies of others etc. We even have films, we even have living eye witnesses who will testify that the spoon bending happened.

But you believe the bible and not the spoon bender, whilst I don’t believe either simply because none of the “evidence” is convincing when looked at rationally.

– – –

Antony Flew has been rather despicably manipulated by some rather unsavoury people. As for the rest then they do not use my “bit of common” (or rationality) as an argument at all. They claim as you do that this is the case but I have yet to find or be shown a logical argument that held up to even the briefest examination.

It is logical argument based on evidence which counts.

– – –

Your response to my pointing out you are using a common fallacy in your argument i.e. the anthropic principle is to simply repeat it with a different analogy.

With regards to the playing cards – you ignore the fact you don’t know how many of the hands are winning hands at this game. To work out if something is improbable you need both sides of the fraction. Without numerator and denominator you can’t make claims about the size of the end resulting fraction. This is basic maths.

– – –

You believe in Noah’s flood. With the dinosaurs on the Ark and everything?

– – –

Re ERV’s you completely ignore my comments and all the evidence which goes against your case.

– – –

You said;
“- regarding scientific papers by the fellows I recommend – no I don’t have any knowledge whether or not they have papers or studies to their credit.

Does that affect the veracity of their hypotheses or does that simply mean they have no papers? (or, is it a convenient way of ignoring their arguments?)”

Yes it does, it is the scientific validity of their arguments which determines whether or not they are published – nothing else.

– – –

I look forward to your posting on ethics and religion.

– – –

I thank you once again for your manners and patience and I hope that my postings might give you or one of you readers pause for thought.

All the best to you and yours.

Best Regards,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-958 Sat, 05 Apr 2008 01:02:19 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-958 Hi Psi,

I would agree, in part, that our discussion touches on the Natural and the Supernatural, although my post has to do with the inherent aspects of design, we find within Nature, and how design, by its very nature, is the product of a mind.

I understand how the process of science precludes the direct measurement of the supernatural, indeed, based on its (supernatural) definition, we cannot directly measure or quantify supernatural events of the primary variety. Yet, such an inadequacy of science does not render the supernatural as non-existent, nor does it disallow the supernatural as a causal factor. And it certainly does not mandate that only the natural exists. It seems that, if the supernatural does exist, we are limited in that we only have the ability to analyze the effects of primary or secondary supernatural events on the natural realm.

Yes, you have asked me to provide falsifiable predictions or items which could be tested against a creation model, and I provided two lists in my last response. With regards to whether or not any one of these will nullify the God hypothesis, I think that there are very few “silver bullets” of that sort. Yet one could nullify the entire Christian religion if they could produce the remains of Jesus Christ, couldn’t they?

I have related the concepts of design as related to engineer / designer intentions for a very good reason – it seems that too many evolutionists make very sloppy arguments with regards to the notion of design, and apparent design flaws. As I’ve stated, I work around the process of design reviews, and I’m well aware of how complex the notion of a design flaw really is.

As I see it, there are at least two fundamental failings in the arguments evolutionists use, with regards to promoting so-called design flaws in nature: 1) The proposed design flaw, when seen in its proper context, is optimally functional and, therefore, works as designed. The blind spot of the eye is a good example of this. When operating in normal conditions, the blind spot is canceled out and, therefore, rendered irrelevant; and as I’ve referenced, Michael Denton makes a good argument for the reasons why such a design, rather than being flawed, is an optimal design. So, the claim that the eye is an example of a design flaw becomes a subjective claim. In becoming a subjective claim, it loses its case-closing power. It may certainly turn out that the eye is an example of bad design, but the arguments proposed thus far have not been convincing. 2) The notion that producing an example of a flawed design is somehow closing the door on an omnipotent designer. The problem with this notion is that it assumes that the designer is creating for “perfect” operating conditions. Are we to expect that an omnipotent designer is required to produce “perfect” products? Exactly what is a “perfect” product? Does it make sense to design products with lifespans (and, would such products be considered “flawed”)? With physical limits? Given the law of decay, and the Christian view of the fallen condition, would we expect natural breakdowns in originally optimally designed structures? You see, before you can claim that the designer created a bad product, or that a bad product indicates no designer, you’d better have a good idea of who the designer is, and what intentions the designer might have. But this means that the designer, having a mind, is personal – something that is posited for the God of the Bible. These topics, as well as how we would go about determining the intentions of the personal God of the Bible, are covered in the books by Rana and Ross.

And, again, nowhere have I stated that the designs are not flawed simply because an omnipotent God can do whatever He wants, much less that his intentions are forever unknown to us. Quite the contrary, I’ve offered analogies to human design processes and indicated that we can ascertain the intentions of God.

I don’t approach claims of supernatural occurrences in quite the manner it seems you are asking me. I’m not particularly interested in whether or not someone can bend spoons with his mind. I am interested, however, in the account of Jesus resurrection. I believe the account. I place a thoughtful trust in the resurrection account, vs. the claims of bending spoons, because of several reasons, including: evidence, personal experience, thinking, history, testimonies of others, etc.

So, with regards to Jesus’ resurrection, should I simply “use a bit of common”, as you state? Certainly! And by using a bit of common, one notes that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Now, if one requires absolute evidence one is not going to come to the conclusion that Jesus rose from the dead (or much of anything else, I’m afraid). However, if one takes a look at the evidence that is available, one comes to the conclusion that there was an empty tomb and, despite intense persecution, Jesus’ followers multiplied and spread. A bit of common tells me that people don’t willingly go to their deaths for something they know to be false (of course, that’s a nutshell rendition of a complex topic).

Also note that that is just one approach to understanding and coming to believe in the veracity of the Bible and Biblical claims. There are other approaches which I would imagine you are well aware of, such as: the ontological argument, the Kalam cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the argument from mind, etc. When I look at these arguments I see that they dovetail into, and answer the big questions of life very nicely. When I look at Naturalism, I see an empty worldview, with no power to address the realities of the abstract, relying solely on the mindless determinism of the natural. I see someone like Carl Sagan who, just prior to his death, despite his rational atheism, reached out to those theists within the small circle of cosmologists he was a part of (per comments from Reasons to Believe scholars). I see Antony Flew come to grips with the implications of complexity and indicate leanings towards theism. I see Francis Collins and Simon Conway Morris wrestle with what a bit of common tells them of God (each in a different manner). I read of C.S. Lewis using reason to conclude, much to his chagrin, that God exists. Note that all of these thinkers stepped beyond the mere natural, not all coming to the same conclusions, mind you; but they did so because their very being demanded it.

You’re correct when you state that you can’t prove your view on paper – neither can I. Yet, the evidence remains, all the evidence, and we each make our conclusions based on it.

Regarding your comments on the anthropic principle:
If you were scheduled to be executed by a firing squad, and they stood you up against a wall, and the squad of a dozen riflemen aimed, and fired – would you be justified in concluding, upon discovering that you were still alive, that all the shooters had accidentally missed? Or would you use a bit of common and conclude that the occasion of your continued existence was, in some fashion, a contrived matter? I’ve heard the “pothole” naturalism argument before, and it fails to take into account the fact that we have a very good understanding of what conditions we humans can exist in. It’s from this knowledge that we are able to ascertain how finely tuned the universe is in providing a place for humans to live. You’re free to speculate on possible alternative life forms or even alternative universes… but, not to belabor the point, can you deliver any evidence for these alternatives? (papers, experiments?)

The other error people make, with regards to the fine tuning argument, is to only consider the effect of improbability alone. When I’m dealt a particular hand of cards, I’m not concerned with the improbability of the hand but with the improbability of getting the winning hand. I could have taken the text from this, my latest comment, and had some software randomly rearrange all the letters, spaces, and punctuation marks. What are the odds that the resulting arrangement of the text would be in the order found? Pretty low, I’d imagine. And, a bit of common would tell me that you’d probably have no way of knowing what information I actually meant to convey. So, it’s not just the probability or the complexity – but the probability, complexity, and specification.

A few final points
– regarding the speciation powers of the 3 pillars – I have given you reasons why I think that it is incapable of accomplishing speciation, yet you have yet to demonstrate why it should work (other than the continued unwarranted extrapolation). You have assumed that it must work from the get-go (e.g., “large scale change is just a whole lot of small scale change” – no, it isn’t, necessarily), and then asked for reasons it can’t work. Why can’t you demonstrate that it does, in fact, accomplish speciation?
– regarding Noah’s Flood – I believe that the flood was real, but that it was local in scope. It was intended to destroy humanity and the higher intelligence animals influenced by humans (e.g., dogs). God’s judgments are always specific and limited to the extent needed… if humanity, and its influence, had not spread beyond a certain region (in this case, the Mesopotamia Valley), then there would have been no reason to have a flood beyond that area.
– regarding ERVs – no, Dr. Rana really does understand them, but you’ll have to get more info from his book.
– regarding scientific papers by the fellows I recommend – no I don’t have any knowledge whether or not they have papers or studies to their credit. Does that affect the veracity of their hypotheses or does that simply mean they have no papers? (or, is it a convenient way of ignoring their arguments?)

I want to address your final comments, regarding irrational belief and religion, and ethics and God, in a separate post. Look for it in a few days.

As for this thread, I think we’ve just about beat it to death. You are certainly free to leave another comment (and have the last word), but I will not be responding to this thread any more.

Regards,
Rusty

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-908 Tue, 25 Mar 2008 21:49:37 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-908 Hi Rusty,

I’m going to attempt to shorten this reply and compartmentalise it as well – if you know what I mean. If that means I miss something you want addressing specifically please point it out and I will happily oblige.

I am strangely feeling quite proud of the fact that I have been banned from both fundamentalist religionist sites and from one fundamentalist atheist site (actually a member of Rand’s Objectivist “cult”). I suppose I am pleased with this as it seems strong evidence that I am not at either extreme, but somewhere in between.

BTW I was banned from the Objectivist’s blog for asking him to unblock a (young earth) creationist who was politely making his vacuous points.

Anyway – the first topic in our discussion seems to be;

Natural vs Supernatural

Yes, I, and science, preclude supernatural explanations.

I will give you two sets of reasons for this, first those given and accepted by the judge at the Kitzmiller trial and indeed the general principles for the practical way science is done around the world, and then my own personal reasons.

From the Kitzmiller judgement; “The court concluded that creation science “is simply not science” because it depends upon “supernatural intervention,” which cannot be explained by natural causes, or be proven through empirical investigation, and is therefore neither testable nor falsifiable.”

If you recall, I have actually asked you on several occasions to provide anything which could falsify your theory that everything was created by a supernatural being that can do anything at all, and whose purpose (and design parameters) we do not know. The flip side of this is the comment I have made a few times now in response to your comments that various evidence fits your god hypothesis i.e. anything and everything you can imagine would fit your hypothesis, your god is omnipotent and you don’t and can’t know his purposes.

So that is a formal and logical reason why evolution is a better explanation for the evolved design we see in the world i.e. it is testable and falsifiable. In other words it is science.

Anyway, now turning to more personal reasons for my preference for a natural explanation rather than a supernatural one. I have come across claims of the supernatural in many many many forms. Here are a few; fairies, father xmas, mind readers, palm readers, astrologers, faith healers, psychics, religious prophets and their followers, weeping statues, virgin births are pretty common, resurrection is ten a penny, psychic surgeons abound, claims of the power of prayer to heal people, demonic possessions and exorcisms are still going on today, the list is very much longer but that will do for now.

Do you believe in any of these?

I am guessing that you don’t believe in them all.

So how do you decide whether or not believe them?

We someone claims to be able to talk to your dead relatives. How do you decide if you believe them or not? Which do you pick? The natural explanation i.e. cold reading etc. or the supernatural explanation – that they really can talk to the dead. If someone did not know what cold reading was and so went for the supernatural explanation because they had no other, then what would you think of that?

When someone claims to be bending spending spoons by the power of their mind do you look for a supernatural or a natural explanation?

When you go to see a mind reading show and you can find no rational explanation for the things you see – and they are claiming supernatural powers – which explanation do you go for? Supernatural or natural?

We can talk about fancy terms like philosophical naturalism or empiricism but I prefer to use my grandad’s descriptions for how we decide what to believe; “Use a bit of common” he would say. Common sense, rationalism, logic, thought. Call it what you will. I look at the evidence for all these claims of the supernatural and I find them all wanting. I find this in itself very disappointing. I would love to see evidence for any of these things. It would be fascinating. But so far I find that the evidence claimed for these phenomena is either deliberately faked, honestly mistaken or non existent. It vanishes in a puff of “common”.

When I read back the examples of supernatural claims I have listed above, the spoon bending and the mind reading etc. then I think they are very modest claims compared to a supernatural explanation for the existence for everything. So when I find no evidence for the modest, everyday, bizarre and silly claims of the supernatural why would I then grant the supernatural explanations any claims on the answers to the big questions in life?

Try “Demon Haunted World” by Carl Sagan for a much more eloquent version of the argument I am trying to make.

I have tried to make this argument to people of faith before and the response previously has mainly been to ignore me or a couple of times I have been challenged to prove that rationality works without using rationality, with a failure to do so labelled as circular logic. I can’t prove it on paper. Word games prove nothing.

– – –

You did say this; “But I have not claimed that “anything at all” can be claimed as evidence for purposeful, timed design. In fact, I think such a statement would be self-refuting. “Purposeful, timed design” is a process which leaves evidence of such activity (as a chaotic, “random”, unguided process would also leave its own evidence). I cannot take “anything at all” and apply it to “purposeful, timed design”.”

But your answer to my example of the eye as poor design is that we can’t say that it is poor design without knowing the purpose of the designer – the design parameters you speak of. I pointed out that this neat escape route renders your argument unfalsifiable and you are yet to give a single example of anything to even begin to argue against this.

– – –

You said; “In looking at the design of the universe, solar system, earth, and life’s history, we see the same fine tuned timing. (ref. Rare Earth – Ward & Brownlee, Creator & the Cosmos – Ross, Origins of Life – Rana & Ross, Nature’s Destiny – Denton)”

Heard the one about the puddle who was amazed at how well he fitted the hole in the ground he was in? Heard of anthropic bias? Did you know that’s what you just came out with?

Do you have any actual science done by these folks on this subject? Papers published? Experiments done?

Got a pack of cards? Deal yourself 13. What are the odds you got that particular hand in that particular order? Astronomically huge against it. Evidence for fine tuning or design? No.

You said; “My quest, however, is not to ruminate on how God could have done it, but to discover how God did do it.”

Your results so far? Experiments conducted? Working hypothesis? Suggested methods for falsification? Anything at all?

– – –

Back to the three pillars. You certainly gave me the impression that you thought speciation was not explained by the three pillars.

I said this;
We have agreed that things can change from generation 1 to say 25. So why wouldn’t they be able to continue at the same rate of change? Why do I think they will? Because we have seen 1 to 25 do it and we can’t see anything to stop the change continuing that’s why.”

You replied with this; “Essentially, because no mechanism is shown to demonstrate that the large scale change is possible, much less occurring. Evidence, such as finch beak variation or even dog breeding, indicate species survival, not speciation. The unwarranted extrapolations are applied only because of what is seen in the fossil record (but, then again, that’s what we’re attempting to understand). You want evidence which demonstrates that the unwarranted extrapolation cannot occur, and I want evidence which demonstrates that the unwarranted extrapolation occurs. Are we at an impasse?”

Large scale change is just a bit of small scale change, followed by a bit more small scale change. . . repeated say 3,000 times.

So what is to stop it?

– – –

I think that a lack of absolute certainty is a sign of sanity. I think doubt can be good. The examples I gave of evil doers from history, both religious and non religious were examples of irrational people with no doubt.

– – –

Which bits of the examples you offered were supposed to be testable?

BTW – Are you implying you think that Noah’s flood was real and covered the whole earth?

– – –

Regarding ERVs:

“It now appears that [ERVs] play a wide range of roles in the cell. One of their chief functions is protection against retrovirus infections. These DNA elements appear to be an elegantly functioning component of the human genome.”

You don’t seem to understand the way in which they support evolution and common descent. The comment you make above is orthogonal to this point.

This link may help.

– – –

My reference to a list of evil doers was in fact a list of folks who were irrational. Yes religion seems mostly irrational to me – believing in things despite a lack of evidence seems pretty irrational in most other walks f life – I don’t give religion a free pass from this test.

Next you ask me on what authority I recognise evil.

I have been asked this so many times in debates that are nominally about biology that I hope you will forgive a couple of links to pages I prepared earlier;

Being good without god part one
Being good without god part 2

If you get chance to read them I would appreciate some feedback from a religious person, I have asked several people since I wrote them, but as yet not one has bothered to give a considered response.

– – –

As a person of faith can you give me the reasons why you have this faith? Where your parents members of this faith? Where you brought up in it or did you consciously chose to join?

I am very curious but find most people don’t want to discuss it.

Regards,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-893 Fri, 21 Mar 2008 22:41:41 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-893 Psi,

Let me also say that I appreciate your demeanor in our exchange. As you are probably well aware there are too many “crazies” out there, on both sides of the debate, who are not worth even attempting to have a discussion with.

You state, “Yes, a good reason living things appear designed is perhaps because they are designed, but a better reason which fits all the evidence and does not call upon any supernatural intervention or magical activity is the process of evolution.”

Why is evolution “a better” reason? Because it does not call upon the supernatural? If so, then I see several problems with this stance. For one, what if, for the sake of argument, the God Designed process is the correct one (I would expect, if you are being intellectually honest, that you will admit that such an option is at least a possibility)? What does it say about a methodology (e.g., naturalism) that excludes a potential option which could be the correct one? The notion that naturalism is a better reason, because it does not rely on the supernatural, displays a preconceived notion that the supernatural is simply not admissible. Another issue I have with such a notion is that it doesn’t really give a good definition of “supernatural” or “magical”. In Christianity, we pretty much define supernatural in terms of primary and secondary events. Primary events would be the suspension or alteration of the laws of physics, while secondary events would be, for example, the strategic timing or placement of events. Using the watchmaker analogy, and as you admit in your comment, whenever you find structures that exhibit the qualities of design, it follows that we conclude they were, in fact, designed.

If you consider evolution a better explanation because of the evidence, then I go back to my initial post and how I think that evidence for design indicates just that – design, and if design is a thought process (as I have argued), then the design evidence we see is the product of a mind.

You state, “Please tell us which games you are referring to?

You had characterised evolution as entirely random. This ignores the non random nature of natural selection which you seem to be ignoring again now. You need to be careful with your language. Saying evolution is random ignores natural selection.”

I am being quite general here (and perhaps a bit too accusatory) – sorry. I understand the process of natural selection and how the process itself is not random. My statements on randomness apply to how the process plays out. For example, say you’ve got these big, dominant creatures roaming around the earth around, oh, 65 mya. Odds are (were), based simply on natural selection (and a relatively stable environment), that they would continue to dominate. Yet one day, as they stomp around the forests, they’re attention is suddenly directed towards the sky where they notice at least one large object heading towards them (these particular dominant creatures are (were) located close to the Yucatan Peninsula). Boom! Fire. Smoke. And that’s it for the dinosaurs.

That’s random. There is very little, if any, predictability power in natural process evolution. The predictions we do see are predictions that are pasted back onto an existent fossil record.

You stated, “Yes indeed, as I said before, ANYTHING AT ALL, can be claimed as evidence for purposeful, timed design, your god is omnipotent afterall. This makes your “god did it” hypothesis unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific. (especially when the purpose can be one we can never know)”

But I have not claimed that “anything at all” can be claimed as evidence for purposeful, timed design. In fact, I think such a statement would be self-refuting. “Purposeful, timed design” is a process which leaves evidence of such activity (as a chaotic, “random”, unguided process would also leave its own evidence). I cannot take “anything at all” and apply it to “purposeful, timed design”.

I work in an industry which deals specifically with engineering, design, and construction. Some of the refinery projects I work on can take several years to complete from inception to system start-up. For the most optimum execution of the project and, as it were, the best utilization of resources, we would expect events to occur at the most optimum time. While human error typically prevents this from happening perfectly, we still see evidence of design in how the project is executed. If a piece of equipment takes 2 years to engineer, procure and fabricate, then it is expected to be worked on up front. The computer controls for a refinery, being computers, would not be expected to be delivered to the site at the beginning of the job – there would be no place to install them. If they did show up too early, then someone goofed badly. In other words, we can look at the evidence and infer purposeful, timed design.

In looking at the design of the universe, solar system, earth, and life’s history, we see the same fine tuned timing. (ref. Rare Earth – Ward & Brownlee, Creator & the Cosmos – Ross, Origins of Life – Rana & Ross, Nature’s Destiny – Denton)

Note of clarification: I certainly believe that God, being omnipotent, has the ability to create in an “anything at all” fashion. My quest, however, is not to ruminate in how God could have done it, but to discover how God did do it.

You state, “I would go further than this though. Saying that; “God did it that way because he wanted to and it doesn’t have to make any sense to us.” Is a pretty poor answer compared an answer based upon natural laws which gives explanations for the things I proposed as “poor design”.”

Yes, I agree that it’s a poor answer, although not because of its comparison to natural process evolution. Also, I’m not aware of ever making such a “God did it…” statement.

I don’t have the time to address the examples you categorize as poor design, but let me reiterate that I do not consider the blind spot of the eye issue to be an example of poor design. Again, when the eyes are operating correctly, the blind spot is irrelevant. I’m not trying to brush off the examples you give, (indeed, some of them are ones that I had not previously heard of that I’d like to look into!) but I think the avenue you are approaching misses my point about the importance of knowing the parameters of the design in question.

The design process (and that of engineering) is a very iterative process. Consider the process of adding units to an existing oil refinery (something I’ve been involved in over the past few months). We started with an initial design concept that has now grown into several concepts. Whereas we originally had one plot plan, we now have about five (or more, depending on who you ask). Whereas we originally had one completion date, we now have about three. Whereas we originally had a defined number of equipment, we now have several different numbers. Why? A whole bunch of various inter-related and unrelated factors are influencing the design of this unit; factors such as: cash flow, environmental restraints, ROI, project cost, constructibility, future development, re-use of existing equipment, safety, current operation impact, intermediate timing, and many more.

So, when all is said and done, is the final design the “best” design? Yes, it is, relative to the process in which it was chosen. Could someone analyze the final design and conclude it was a “poor design”? Certainly, depending on what design parameters it is stacked up against. Yet, to make the best assessment of the final design, one would need to have access to the design parameters, wouldn’t one?

Okay, now let me clarify something – I am not positing that the iterative process I’m describing is analogous to how I believe God has worked. In other words, it’s not an argument on how God has worked in nature. Rather, it is an argument in response to a “poor design” claim. This distinction needs to be made clear. Also, I am not stating that “god just did that because he wanted to” by offering this argument (in fact, I haven’t made such a statement at all). You yourself must understand the complexity of design, with regards to parameters and intentions, inherent in high-end structures? Hence, while can (and should) raise examples of “poor design”, simply offering them as examples has not proved the evolutionary sequence as responsible, much less indicate contradictions in the Bible (that one is interesting… what do you mean by that?).

You state, “Lightning was the wrath of the gods.”

Not in the Old Testament (if you mean that the people understood that lightning was somehow a part of God). The natural realm was categorically stated as being created by God and, as such, under his control. There are many references to God using lightning but never in the context of the lightning being some supernatural occurrence.

You state, “What I have done is called making a reasoned argument.

We have agreed that things can change from generation 1 to say 25. So why wouldn’t they be able to continue at the same rate of change? Why do I think they will? Because we have seen 1 to 25 do it and we can’t see anything to stop the change continuing that’s why.”

Essentially, because no mechanism is shown to demonstrate that the large scale change is possible, much less occurring. Evidence, such as finch beak variation or even dog breeding, indicate species survival, not speciation. The unwarranted extrapolations are applied only because of what is seen in the fossil record (but, then again, that’s what we’re attempting to understand). You want evidence which demonstrates that the unwarranted extrapolation cannot occur, and I want evidence which demonstrates that the unwarranted extrapolation occurs. Are we at an impasse?

You state, “That’s not a definition of a species. It’s a description of one evolutionary pathway. Please can you give your definition of “a species”.”

Yes, and there are species which “appear” on the evolutionary pathway I describe, aren’t there? If you don’t accept those, then no, I really can’t give you a definition of a “species” (because I don’t think I am qualified to – given how nebulous the definition is when one visits science-related websites).

You state, “You claim absolute certainty that evolution can not create a new species, which kind of implies you do have a definition of a species.”

Does my writing display that much confidence? ;^) I don’t have absolute certainty that I’m writing this right now, much less that evolution is wrong.

You stated, “You have repeated that bacterial resistance and finch beak variation are not speciation.”

I don’t recall stating that. I don’t consider those examples of speciation, but examples of the process which is unwarrantably extrapolated to produce speciation.

You stated, “You still haven’t said what would stop speciation.”

I gave the examples of limiting parameters, parameters which, I believe cast doubt on the creative capability of the three pillars. By the way, you haven’t really stated what would cause the limited process, we observe, to create the large scale changes we have evidence for – other than you consider a reasonable extrapolation. But I think it is unwarranted, and that you’re imposing your paradigm on the data.

You state, “So you say that speciation would happen if changes driving it were slow enough but they aren’t? You know this in every case? Always?

How fast does speciation happen? How do you know if you don’t know what a species is? How fast does change occur in natural environments? What is the slowest that any natural change might happen? How do you know that no species can ever evolve fast enough to survive this change? How do you know Rusty? “

Real time observations give us an indication of the rate of change (for the time observed, of course). I’ve never stated that natural process evolution is logically impossible. Certainly it is! But if the changes which occur cannot keep up other changes (environmental, etc.) will the species go extinct before it adapts? Looking at the, wolf/hippo/whatever-like mammal that evolved into the whale sequence, tells us that a certain number of changes must have occurred over a specified period of time. Can the processes we now observe account for that amount of change in the required time? The evolutionist simply looks back and says “yes”, and they do that simply because they see the fossil evidence as supporting their “conclusion”.

You state, “Anyway, most scientists I have read on the subject of extinction quote that between 95% and 99.99% of ever species that ever lived as now being extinct. So you could argue that they nearly agree with you. i.e. most of the time things go extinct as they can’t adapt quickly enough. Why do you think that they are too slow 100% of the time.”

An interesting point this brings up – how does the estimated number of species that existed line up on a per year basis? If the historical record indicates an average rate that would be observable, then why don’t we observe it now?

I suppose I could turn the question around and ask you why you think that certain species are able to make it 5% to .01% of the time? But such a question would assume that the 3 pillars is responsible – again, how do we know that the small changes are responsible?

You state, “Why are you 100% certain of this?”

I’m not. I certainly could be wrong.

You state, “It is when you claim the fact the fossil record does not contain something which it can’t contain proves your point.” and “Why should it – please show your workings. You make the claim – now back it up. How long does this take? How many should be fossilised? Please show your maths.”

Why can’t it? Fossilization is a “numbers” game, and the 3 pillars process, extrapolated over millions of years, should produce a myriad of examples. Yet the fossil record shows us periods of stasis, punctuated by new species introduction. We haven’t even touched upon the Cambrian explosion, much less the various extinction events and the quick speciation which followed. Do you have the math which tells me it cannot produce the data? If it cannot produce the data then how valid is it for you to make unwarranted extrapolations?

You state, “Then don’t discuss it – just give me one example of a testable claim made by creation science. Anything at all.”

From Origins of Life, Rana & Ross:
Life appeared early in Earth’s history, while the planet was still in its primordial state. Life originated in and persisted through the hostile conditions of early Earth. Life originated abruptly. Earth’s first life displays complexity. Life is complex in its minimal form. Life’s chemistry displays the hallmarks of design. First life was qualitatively different from life that came into existence on creation days three, five, and six. (note: in an old earth creation sense, the “creation days” are viewed as long periods of time) A purpose can be postulated for life’s early appearance on Earth.

From Who was Adam?, Rana & Ross
Humanity traces back to one woman (Eve) and one man (Noah). Humanity’s early population size was relatively small. Humanity originated in a single location in or near the Middle East. Humanity’s origin dates back to between 10,000 and 100,000 years. The origin of the female lineage (Eve) predates the origin of the male lineage (Noah). God created humanity at the “just right” time in Earth’s history. Human culture appears and expands explosively in the archaeological record since humanity’s origin. Humans share anatomical, physical, biochemical and genetic similarities with the extinct hominids as well as with great apes and other animals. Humans are behaviorally distinct (in ways that reflect God’s Image) from the earlier hominids, the great apes, and other animals. A universal but local flood, that impacted all of humanity, shaped human history. Human life spans (once longer than 900 years) became progressively shorter after the Flood. Humanity spread around the world from in or near the Middle East relatively recently. The seeds of human civilization and agriculture had their birth in or near the Middle East.

You state, “How do we do this?” with regards to determining designer’s intentions and parameters.

It certainly is a difficult process (ask any detective). This, again, is where I think your approach is faulty. It seems that you are attempting to show examples of poor design, thereby indicating some lack of omnipotence in a supposedly omnipotent God. In essence, I think this attack pattern bites off way more than it can chew. Not to mention the complexities involved in determining design intentions and parameters, one also gets drawn into theological and philosophical aspects as well. It is certainly a doable argument, but the complexities involved make it less than “cut and dried” in the manner you present. A better approach, I think, would be to attempt to demonstrate that a structure is not designed (e.g., mindless-process design) vs. designed. Such an approach is much more manageable, and focuses on primary issues first. But… we’re left with structures that appear designed, aren’t we?

You state, “Fossils don’t contain data on such. Scientists never claimed they did though. So to paraphrase your arguement why transitional fossils are not such, you change the defintion of a transitional fossil to something that it isn’t and so claim that it isn’t one – neat trick.”

Neat trick? Thanks. I’ve always wanted to be a magician. Actually, maybe it’s just a misunderstanding. I re-read your statement and you asked “Why do things have to have had successors surviving to the present day to count as having existed at all?” I missed the “present day” part… what do you mean by successors to the present day? I haven’t asked for such phenomenon. I was addressing the fossil evidence (data) that is interpreted to be evidence of transitional species. Where have I changed definitions?

You state, “I see, and because we can never know those intentions then no such design flaw can ever be claimed to exist. QED – nice neat argument for ignorance – I would rather keep investigating though.”

I didn’t say we could “never” know those intentions or parameters. Why do you give up so easily? Can’t intentions be inferred? Doesn’t more knowledge about an environment and the systems in it give us a better handle on the parameters involved? (e.g., understanding why only bacteria dominated earth’s ecosystems so early on). You’ve made an argument for poor design, but have failed to address the complexities of the system you criticize by not addressing the parameters. If you were to produce such a claim in a design review (of the above-referenced oil refinery expansion) you’d be thrown out of the meeting. It’s not so easy…

You state, “This goes back to my opinion that evolution is science and creationism is not because evolution is falsifiable and creationism is not. Fossils could easily falsify evolution theory in loads of ways e.g. fossils rabbits in the Cambrian,…”

A couple of points. Whether or not creationism is science isn’t my point or contention (there is a Ross book Creation As Science, which I’ve yet to read). As I stated above, if creationism is true, then it must be addressed (note, this is certainly not an argument for creationism). However, in terms of falsifiability, I’ve given some testable creation predictions above. And, with regards to finding rabbits in the Cambrian, let’s be clear that both the creation model (I’m referencing) and the evolutionary model don’t expect rabbits in the Cambrian. (and, I think it would take more than just a single or few anomalous discoveries like that to dissuade both the ardent creationists and evolutionists)

You state, “Again I ask why would your god create all these separate lines of evidence that are all consistent with evolution theory when any of them could easily falsify it?”

As I’ve said, the separate lines of evidence point towards design (hence my initial post on the hallmarks of design found in a supposedly unguided process). You beg the question.

You stated, “Anyway, you asked for it, so now here you go. Now I will list some of the main lines of evidence which are the reasons why I think evolution theory is in some sense true;”

Nice list. I’ll get to it the next time I write a book. ;^) Or, if you don’t want to wait that long, you could reference the previously mentioned books by Rana & Ross (or visit Reasons to Believe website, or listen to their weekly web-radio program, or listen to their podcasts, or visit their daily blog). I do notice some vague items on the list, though (e.g., genetic rates? – how is that evidence for evolution which contradicts what the Bible states?), as well as others I would dispute (e.g., cladistics? – I’d argue for cladistic methodology to be tantamount to imposing an idea on the data). Here’s a comment from the book Who was Adam? regarding ERVs:

“It now appears that [ERVs] play a wide range of roles in the cell. One of their chief functions is protection against retrovirus infections. These DNA elements appear to be an elegantly functioning component of the human genome.”

There is more substance, of course, in the book.

You state, “You are happy not to question god… If there is a god then I don’t think he would make the evidence lie.”

That’s not a true statement. God welcomes sincere inquiries, of which I have many.

And your claim that the evidence is lying is, imo, based on your interpretation of the evidence.

Now, you make an interesting segue to the notion of evil. Why would you do that? Up to now you’ve been discussing scientific notions, empirical data, testable methods, etc. Yet here comes the abstract notion of evil. Are you equating the existence of evil with the notions of religious thought? Based on what data? Hitler? Pol Pot? Mother Teresa? The human condition?

But beyond that, how does a purely naturalistic methodology, in a purely natural realm, produce an abstract notion (e.g., evil)? And further beyond that, how does one’s mind, built purely by mechanistic forces, not only comprehend that something is evil, but that evil is wrong? For that matter, why would something – anything – be considered wrong? On who’s authority?

Regards,
Rusty

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-861 Wed, 12 Mar 2008 19:08:38 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-861 Hi Rusty,

I have no problem with us both taking our time with these exchanges. Can I just say I appreciate your good humour and manners.

I am happy to go with “mindless-process-design” or even “evolved-design”.

Yes, a good reason living things appear designed is perhaps because they are designed, but a better reason which fits all the evidence and does not call upon any supernatural intervention or magical activity is the process of evolution.

It’s a funny thing about those polar bears… their numbers aren’t dwindling. Evolutionists love to play games with the notion of random processes. I won’t fall for it. You know good and well that the randomness I’m speaking of has to do with the predictability power of evolutionary theory. You can’t predict whether or not the polar bear will go extinct not simply because of the complexity of the systems involved, but because the natural processes (the non-random ones) do not necessarily occur in non-random fashion.

Please tell us which games you are referring to?

You had characterised evolution as entirely random. This ignores the non random nature of natural selection which you seem to be ignoring again now. You need to be careful with your language. Saying evolution is random ignores natural selection. Saying that we can’t predict the future to your own unrealistic standard so evolution theory is wrong, is just as hollow an argument as claiming Einsteinian mechanics is wrong because we can’t predict the movements of a three body system, or the position of the planets in 10,000 years time. It simply does not follow.

Chaos theory is a fascinating area of maths – I recommend “Deep Simplicity” by Gribbin (I think) as a great introduction to this.

Tiktaalik roseae can just as easily be given as evidence for purposeful, timed design.

Yes indeed, as I said before, ANYTHING AT ALL, can be claimed as evidence for purposeful, timed design, your god is omnipotent afterall. This makes your “god did it” hypothesis unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific. (especially when the purpose can be one we can never know)

I would go further than this though. Saying that; “God did it that way because he wanted to and it doesn’t have to make any sense to us.” Is a pretty poor answer compared an answer based upon natural laws which gives explanations for the things I proposed as “poor design”. Lets list them again; wiring in the human eye blocking light, blind spots, wisdom teeth, wearing glasses and shoes. Here are some more things which evolution theory explains; toes, lanugo, goosebumps, hiccups, the human tail, the fused chromosome 2, ERV’s, the vitamin C pseudogene.

Lightning was the wrath of the gods. Now we know it is weather. Some folks thought about it and investigated it and what do you know, not only do we have an explanation that does not involve the supernatural or magic but those folks helped bring electricity to mankind. Isn’t science cool?

So when you say that “god just did that because he wanted to?” I don’t buy it. Why would god want to plant evidence that supported evolutionary theory and contradict it in “his own” holy book?

Two, you demonstrate that unwarranted extrapolation is the basis for your paradigm. When you state, “But when you compare generation 10,000 with generation 1 you might say – wow its a new species therefore the species in generation 1 is extinct.”, you haven’t produced a clear progression from generation 1 to generation 10,000. You’ve simply extrapolated based on limited data and an idea of how you already perceive it to be.

What I have done is called making a reasoned argument.

We have agreed that things can change from generation 1 to say 25. So why wouldn’t they be able to continue at the same rate of change? Why do I think they will? Because we have seen 1 to 25 do it and we can’t see anything to stop the change continuing that’s why.

How would the genome know how far it had moved form its starting point? What mechanism would kick in to prevent changes. Why would the change stop. Are you suggesting some kind of finite supply of “change” which runs out?

The ball is dropping. We have seen it drop the first meter. I think it will continue to drop until it hits the floor, I see noting in it’s path. This is not unwarranted extrapolation but reasoned argument.

You can respond to my argument and argue against it by pointing to any evidence that this ignores or contradicts or by pointing out errors of logic. You haven’t done any of these things yet – but be my guest. Just saying it doesn’t seem reasonable to you don’t count. You have to say why it is unreasonable.

You said, “I will be happy to try to give evidence of speciation if you will give me your definition of a species – I asked before and I ask again now.”

Ah, you raise a very good question… just what is a species? That’s where it gets very muddy, isn’t it? You see, what usually happens is that evolutionists have a low bar, with regards to species definition, while creationists have a higher bar. How about this? Let’s put the bar somewhere in the middle – let’s go from a land-based mammal (either hippo-like, wolf-like, or whatever-like it’s now thought to be) and get to a salt-water-based whale.

That’s not a definition of a species. It’s a description of one evolutionary pathway. Please can you give your definition of “a species”. You claim absolute certainty that evolution can not create a new species, which kind of implies you do have a definition of a species. Will you give it to us please.

Science does not have a clear definition. Science does not make the claim about them being inviolate, that is your claim, so what is your definition?

You said, “My question was what is it that you think stops the small scale evolution within species which you have said you agree exists, from breaking out of the “Species barrier”?”

Actually, you asked if, essentially, my motivation was due to a particular religious book.

As to your question, there’s no evidence that such small scale evolution produces large scale evo (the unwarranted extrapolation that keeps coming up). It’s not a matter of what can stop this from happening, it’s a matter of what can make it happen.

The three pillars make it happen;

Not all offspring are identical (variation).
Not all offspring reproduce (in part thanks to their differences and how these interact with the world and other organisms around them). (Natural Selection).
Traits are inherited.

So what is to stop them?

You have repeated that bacterial resistance and finch beak variation are not speciation. I never claimed that they were, I am not aware of any scientists claiming they were. There are examples of observed speciation but I think it more productive at the moment to ask why you are so certain the three pillars can never ever achieve this.

You still haven’t said what would stop speciation.

Look at it this way for a moment; we have a map with species being different towns on the map, some are closer together and others are farther apart, lets say that the further apart the species are then the less alike they are. The opposite being true as well.

On the one hand you accept that the three pillars produce change within each town (species) i.e. movement on the map within the town, a bit of a wander out into the country for a short distance perhaps. But you have so far to tell me how you define the end of one town and the start of the next (you have not given a definition of a species) and you are still declining to comment on why movement would not eventually take you from one town to another. In this analogy you seem to be saying that either, the movement must stop after a while (why?) or there is a barrier that gets in the way (what is it?).

You did kindly clarify/ repeat with descriptions of different types of “fitness” and then this;
Factors such as these should indicate that, apart from species such as bacteria or cockroaches, virtually all others are headed to extinction. Unless it can be demonstrated that such species can change fast enough, why should we simply accept the extrapolations provided?

So you say that speciation would happen if changes driving it were slow enough but they aren’t? You know this in every case? Always?

How fast does speciation happen? How do you know if you don’t know what a species is? How fast does change occur in natural environments? What is the slowest that any natural change might happen? How do you know that no species can ever evolve fast enough to survive this change? How do you know Rusty?

Both sexual selection and arms races are two ways that natural selection produces change in a way which is independent of the natural non living environment. It can proceed by changing both the males appearance and the females desire for such, or the speed of the lions and the speed of the antelope in stepwise or parallel fashion, together changes occur in the two side of the arms race or in both sexes.

Anyway, most scientists I have read on the subject of extinction quote that between 95% and 99.99% of ever species that ever lived as now being extinct. So you could argue that they nearly agree with you. i.e. most of the time things go extinct as they can’t adapt quickly enough. Why do you think that they are too slow 100% of the time.

Why are you 100% certain of this?

Note: as a point of clarification, this argument addresses why I think that the 3 pillars is incapable of accomplishing the speciation necessary to produce life’s diversity. It does not address the specific wording of your question (i.e., what is “stopping” the 3 pillars) because I think that wording assumes that the 3 pillars is doing the speciation. I see that as imposing the data onto the paradigm, rather than letting the data drive conclusions.

Thanks Rusty, I understand your point now – I think I have addressed it above.

Whether or not the fossil record is likely to produce such evidence is irrelevant to it being my answer.

It is when you claim the fact the fossil record does not contain something which it can’t contain proves your point.

And with regards to the fossil record, I would argue that it is sufficient to give us the data I’m asking for – if it were there. Consider that, if the by-’acc process operates as you state, then we should expect countless by-’acc offshoots, evolutionary dead-ends, species which didn’t cut the mustard. If the process of going from 1 to 10,000 generations (or more) leaves us with variations galore, then despite the fact that a tiny fraction of species get fossilized, we should still have a good database with which to work off of.

Why should it – please show your workings. You make the claim – now back it up. How long does this take? How many should be fossilised? Please show your maths.

Re falsifiability;
No, not based on the testable creation model as posited by Reasons to Believe. My post wasn’t on that, and I don’t have the time to discuss it here. But their intent is to develop a model with testable predictions (i.e., falsifiable).

Then don’t discuss it – just give me one example of a testable claim made by creation science. Anything at all.

You said, “You did bring up design flaw but now claim that as we don’t know what the designers intentions are then any flaw could be part of a plan we don’t know about.”

Just to clarify: I brought up design, you offered examples of what you consider to be poor design. My comments on designer’s intentions still stands. Before any design is deemed flawed or poor, it must be ascertained just what the parameters and intentions were.

How do we do this?

Re transitional fossils;
They don’t count because . . . Because it would readily demonstrate the succession of species, as posited by the by-’acc model.

Fossils don’t contain data on such. Scientists never claimed they did though. So to paraphrase your arguement why transitional fossils are not such, you change the defintion of a transitional fossil to something that it isn’t and so claim that it isn’t one – neat trick.

You said, “What is your definition of a design flaw?”

An engineered design which operates outside the parameters originally intended, through some error in principle, material, operation, or integrity. BTW, your definition is way too fluid.

I see, and because we can never know those intentions then no such design flaw can ever be claimed to exist. QED – nice neat argument for ignorance – I would rather keep investigating though.

– – –

A re-wording along the lines of, “what evidence do we have that the 3 pillar process can produce the changes necessary to give us what we find in the fossil record?”

When the question is posed that way, then it’s not permissible to simply point to the fossil record as a source of evidence. It would be self-referential.

Great.

Up to now I have simply covered what I see as logical errors in your arguments. I wasn’t claiming the fossil record as the only, the best or conclusive line of evidence re evolution, it was simply the area of evidence you chose to attack. I can see why. It is by far the weakest line of evidence IMHO, but then by the nature of how fossils form then that’s only to be expected.

I would say that the fossil evidence does support evolution theory in the sense that it could so very easily disprove it in one fell swoop in hundreds of different ways, but it does not.

This goes back to my opinion that evolution is science and creationism is not because evolution is falsifiable and creationism is not. Fossils could easily falsify evolution theory in loads of ways e.g. fossils rabbits in the Cambrian, Insects in the pre-cambrian, monkeys in the devonian. etc. etc. In other words any fossils which are out sync with the tree of life as understood from all the other evidence for this tree (I will list some below).

Again I ask why would your god create all these separate lines of evidence that are all consistent with evolution theory when any of them could easily falsify it? Again you answer that “we don’t know why god did it that way but he did”. This is not a satisfying answer to me.

Is it really for you?

Why put the evidence into the world and yet then give you a holy book which contradicts it?

Anyway, you asked for it, so now here you go. Now I will list some of the main lines of evidence which are the reasons why I think evolution theory is in some sense true;

A consensus universal phylogeny
Cladistics and phylogenetic reconstruction
Maximum parsimony
Maximum likelihood
Distance matrix methods
Statistical support for phylogenies
Unity of life
Nested hierarchies
Convergence of independent phylogenies
Statistics of incongruent phylogenies
Transitional forms
Chronology of common ancestors
Anatomical vestiges
Atavisms
Molecular vestiges *
Ontogeny and developmental biology
Present biogeography *
Past biogeography
Anatomical parahomology
Molecular parahomology *
Anatomical convergence
Molecular convergence
Anatomical suboptimal function
Molecular suboptimal function
Protein functional redundancy
DNA functional redundancy
Transposons
Redundant pseudogenes
Endogenous retroviruses *
Genetic Change
Morphological Change
Functional Change
Stages of speciation
Speciation events
Morphological rates
Genetic rates

Once again, for the record, any and all of these lines of evidence could produce facts which would overturn evolutionary theory. They all line up neatly behind it. All of them. All the time. No matter who looks at them, no matter what religion they are or what country they come from.

Why would your god do all that and then give you a book which says it is impossible for things to evolve? Sorry – I know you don’t know why – you don’t know all gods intentions do you?

You are happy not to question god.

I’m not.

If there is a god then I don’t think he would make the evidence lie.

If there is a god I don’t think he/she/it would respect or cherish a willingness to ignore the real world evidence. I think this because it is irrationalism and illogical argument which most often seems to lead to evil in this world.

Either the irrational atheism/catholiscism (depending on your view) of Hitler or Pol pot or the irrationalism of the 9/11 bombers, the anti condom brigade in Africa, AIDS deniers or the inquisition. But anyway that’s just what I think. And I don’t even have a magic book telling me to think that, it’s just what I have worked out by thinking about things 😉

I don’t expect you to address all of the lines of evidence I have listed, but perhaps you could pick one or two out and tell me why they are not consistent with evolution (I know they are consistent with your omnipotent god (that’s what omnipotent means after all) ). My personal favourites in terms of “that’s interesting – ness” are marked with a *.

Let’s quickly list the outstanding issues shall we;

Your definition of a species?

What mechanism prevents the three pillars leading to new species over time (sometimes – when there is enough time for the speciation before extinction wipes out the species)?

No rush.

Regards,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-854 Tue, 11 Mar 2008 20:31:05 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-854 Hi Psi,

Here’s the excerpt:

Regarding the 3 pillar mechanism and speciation. You are well aware that examples such as antibiotic resistance and finch beak variations are not robust enough to declare speciation. It’s the extrapolation that is made, from such examples, that argues for speciation (when such extrapolation is then taken in a reverse direction by looking at the fossil record). Yet, there are some issues to consider, with regards to natural process evolutionary speciation. Consider how these factors affect the liklihood of extinction vs. speciation:

Body size – where are the best examples – current examples – of “evolution”? In bacteria. What’s the chance that large bodied animals, such as whales, will go extinct vs. survive?

Population – how many bacteria are there vs. whales? Or, for that matter, how about the number of ants, roaches, termites, etc.? While we have to bend over backwards to keep from wiping out the whales, we fully expect roaches to watch us go extinct.

Offspring per adult – directly related to population. How many offspring does a female whale have vs. other, smaller creatures? Natural selection wipes out species that can’t keep up – and having few offspring doesn’t give you much of a fighting chance.

Gestation period – how quick does bacteria reproduce? Cockroaches? Rats? Now, how about whales, or elephants? Again, with natural selection doing its selecting, you’d better be able to replace your losses at a higher rate than they’re being removed.

Environmental adaptability – how varied are the environments that a cockroach can live in? Now, how about a whale?

Food adaptability – again, how varied are the food choices of a cockroach, or a rat? Now, take away the bamboo forest from a panda.

Factors such as these should indicate that, apart from species such as bacteria or cockroaches, virtually all others are headed to extinction. Unless it can be demonstrated that such species can change fast enough, why should we simply accept the extrapolations provided?

Note: as a point of clarification, this argument addresses why I think that the 3 pillars is incapable of accomplishing the speciation necessary to produce life’s diversity. It does not address the specific wording of your question (i.e., what is “stopping” the 3 pillars) because I think that wording assumes that the 3 pillars is doing the speciation. I see that as imposing the data onto the paradigm, rather than letting the data drive conclusions. A re-wording along the lines of, “what evidence do we have that the 3 pillar process can produce the changes necessary to give us what we find in the fossil record?” When the question is posed that way, then it’s not permissible to simply point to the fossil record as a source of evidence. It would be self-referential.

Regards,
Rusty

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-853 Tue, 11 Mar 2008 18:34:09 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-853 Hi Rusty,

Can you point this out/repeat it?

Thanks,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-852 Tue, 11 Mar 2008 14:54:43 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-852 Psi,

Just a quick comment to note re: your question, “What mechanism do you propose for preventing the three pillars of evolution which you have accepted work within species from achieving speciation.”

You seem to be ignoring what I wrote regarding the reasons why mindless-processes (aka the three pillars process) cannot produce the types of changes needed for all-out speciation.

Regards,
Rusty

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-847 Tue, 11 Mar 2008 05:30:57 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-847 Hi Psi,

With regards to “some other, non-mind-based, term,” that’s why I initially chose Mindless-process Design (MD). However, it still references “design” which, in reality, is not going on with evolution. How about we use the term “by-‘acc”?* So, we would see references to nature producing some structure through the by-‘acc process.

You said, “I think the difference is one which comes from the human view of the world – living things do look designed after all.”

Yes, they do. And a good reason they appear designed is because they are.

You said, “No one asks you to “believe” anything, people are simply exploring the evidence, huge swathes of which support evolution theory.”

Come, now. You walk into the science dept. of a university and declare that you don’t believe in evolutionary theory and they’ll certainly say you’ve got that right… they’ll also think you’re crazy and not pay any attention to you.

You said, “OK, how about polar bear living on the sea ice dying out when and if the sea ice melts -oops it’s happening already. 😉

Are you seriously suggesting that things live and die based upon utterly random processes?”

It’s a funny thing about those polar bears… their numbers aren’t dwindling. Evolutionists love to play games with the notion of random processes. I won’t fall for it. You know good and well that the randomness I’m speaking of has to do with the predictability power of evolutionary theory. You can’t predict whether or not the polar bear will go extinct not simply because of the complexity of the systems involved, but because the natural processes (the non-random ones) do not necessarily occur in non-random fashion.

My argument is most certainly not intellectually dishonest. One, you yourself admit the world is complicated – too complicated, in fact, to make any potent prediction with regards to species extinction (or speciation, as I asked). As I’ve written in other posts, Tiktaalik roseae can just as easily be given as evidence for purposeful, timed design. Two, you demonstrate that unwarranted extrapolation is the basis for your paradigm. When you state, “But when you compare generation 10,000 with generation 1 you might say – wow its a new species therefore the species in generation 1 is extinct.”, you haven’t produced a clear progression from generation 1 to generation 10,000. You’ve simply extrapolated based on limited data and an idea of how you already perceive it to be.

Hugh Ross is one who refers to astronomy as a soft science (when compared with biology).

You said, “Talking about replaying life’s history and not being able to predict it does not count as an argument about the likelihood of lions catching antelopes based upon chase/evasion skills being false.”

I didn’t offer it as such an argument. I offered it as an example of the randomness of the result of the natural processes you describe as the 3 pillars.

You said, “I will be happy to try to give evidence of speciation if you will give me your definition of a species – I asked before and I ask again now.”

Ah, you raise a very good question… just what is a species? That’s where it gets very muddy, isn’t it? You see, what usually happens is that evolutionists have a low bar, with regards to species definition, while creationists have a higher bar. How about this? Let’s put the bar somewhere in the middle – let’s go from a land-based mammal (either hippo-like, wolf-like, or whatever-like it’s now thought to be) and get to a salt-water-based whale.

You said, “My question was what is it that you think stops the small scale evolution within species which you have said you agree exists, from breaking out of the “Species barrier”?”

Actually, you asked if, essentially, my motivation was due to a particular religious book.

As to your question, there’s no evidence that such small scale evolution produces large scale evo (the unwarranted extrapolation that keeps coming up). It’s not a matter of what can stop this from happening, it’s a matter of what can make it happen.

You said, “Hang on though – you didn’t actually answer the question? You mention several characteristics which you want evidenced from the fossil record which the fossil record would be very unlikely to produce.”

Yes, I did answer the question, but I gave you an answer you didn’t like. Whether or not the fossil record is likely to produce such evidence is irrelevant to it being my answer. And with regards to the fossil record, I would argue that it is sufficient to give us the data I’m asking for – if it were there. Consider that, if the by-‘acc process operates as you state, then we should expect countless by-‘acc offshoots, evolutionary dead-ends, species which didn’t cut the mustard. If the process of going from 1 to 10,000 generations (or more) leaves us with variations galore, then despite the fact that a tiny fraction of species get fossilized, we should still have a good database with which to work off of. But the data shows us something different, whether it be recovery after major extinction events or the need to posit punctuated equilibrium.

You said, “…your demands are unrealistic to say the least.”

I said it was a tall order.

You said, “As for evidence fitting a designer hypothesis, any and all evidence fits this. He is omnipotent and omnipresent remember, there is no evidence that could go against this hypothesis.”

No, not based on the testable creation model as posited by Reasons to Believe. My post wasn’t on that, and I don’t have the time to discuss it here. But their intent is to develop a model with testable predictions (i.e., falsifiable).

You said, “You did bring up design flaw but now claim that as we don’t know what the designers intentions are then any flaw could be part of a plan we don’t know about.”

Just to clarify: I brought up design, you offered examples of what you consider to be poor design. My comments on designer’s intentions still stands. Before any design is deemed flawed or poor, it must be ascertained just what the parameters and intentions were.

Let’s, for the sake of argument, say that you are correct – that the examples you provide really are what we would deem “poor design”. Now, let’s stack the myriad upon myriad of examples in nature that exhibit exquisite design. Oops, forgot – exquisite by-‘acc.

Regarding the fins transitioning to limbs, is that story referencing Tik roseae? If so, then it’s an example of a fossil which is intermediate in form and not transitional in nature (essence).

Regarding the feather PDF, I quickly scanned it, but wasn’t able to see where any definite transition to feathers was demonstrated. It did say something about the oldest known feathers from the Jurassic being modern in form, along with tubular impressions in some fossils which could be interpreted as precursors to feathers (or… scales).

You said, “Why on earth doesn’t this evidence count. Why do things have to have had successors surviving to the present day to count as having existed at all?”

Because it would readily demonstrate the succession of species, as posited by the by-‘acc model. Instead, scientists begin to fashion fossil histories together (what is it? cladistics?) imposing the idea on the data.

My junk DNA comment had to do with the thinking that the by-‘acc process would be expected to produce copious amounts of junk; by the same token, the by-‘acc process would also produce “junk” species.

You said, “What is your definition of a design flaw?”

An engineered design which operates outside the parameters originally intended, through some error in principle, material, operation, or integrity. BTW, your definition is way too fluid.

Your last questions are answered, in some form or another, in my response. (although you probably won’t like my answers)

These comments are getting quite long (as is always the case when I get into this debate) and are taking a good deal of time to write (for me, at least). Don’t be surprised, or offended, if I take a bit longer to respond in the future.

Regards,
Rusty

* from the Latin, byae accidentus. If you don’t like that one, then just use mindless-process (sans design).

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-846 Sun, 09 Mar 2008 14:55:03 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-846 Hi Rusty,
You said; In my opinion, to avoid confusion, all references to design in nature should be replaced with some other, non-mind-based, term.

Any suggestions?

Think of it this way, star formation occurs through natural processes. Yet do we apply design terms to the processes involved? Waves, naturally crashing on a seashore, produce patterns in the sand. Despite the beautiful and complex patterns that may be produced, we don’t attribute the terms design or engineered to such processes.

I think the difference is one which comes from the human view of the world – living things do look designed after all.

We are asked to believe that these natural processes are guiding, designing, tinkering, and engineering. Well, guiding presupposes anticipation, designing presupposes intentions, tinkering presupposes experimentation, and engineering presupposes tradeoffs. All of these presuppositions are actions of minds.

No one asks you to “believe” anything, people are simply exploring the evidence, huge swathes of which support evolution theory. The three pillars are what is suggested – nothing else. I’ll repeat them here for ease of reference;

– – –

Evolution has three central “pillars” – tell me which one won’t/can’t work;

Not all offspring are identical (variation).

Not all offspring reproduce (in part thanks to their differences and how these interact with the world and other organisms around them). (Natural Selection).

Traits are inherited.

– – –

And, to illustrate a term definition point, I take issue with the “it’s not random” argument. If natural selection is not random, then please tell me whether or not certain species will go extinct. When? Where? Will they speciate into another species? What kind? When? Where? You see, I understand that there is a method proposed for the changes (the 3 pillars), but the method has no way of telling me what will happen, specifically.

OK, how about polar bear living on the sea ice dying out when and if the sea ice melts -oops it’s happening already. 😉

Are you seriously suggesting that things live and die based upon utterly random processes?

You don’t think that the faster running antelope tend not to get caught by the lions or the slowest running lions don’t catch less antelope?

Why on earth not?

Your argument is flawed in any case because extrapolating from this aspect of evolution theory to a demand for a prediction of the future in the form of the extinctions of entire species is intellectually dishonest in two ways.

First of all the world is a complicated place. An inability to make a prediction at your demand does not mean that it can not make any predictions at all. Tiktaalik roseae was a beautiful example of evolution predicting evidence.

Physicists can not work out a simple three body problem accurately. Do you therefore conclude that Newtonian and Einsteinian mechanics is false? No of course you don’t.

Secondly evolution does not happen exclusively or even much of the time by extinctions anyway – it happens through the non random accumulation of very small changes over long periods of time. When you look at the fist generation and the next one you see little change, the second and the third gen. is the same etc. etc. But when you compare generation 10,000 with generation 1 you might say – wow its a new species therefore the species in generation 1 is extinct.

– – –

Who refers to astronomy and physics as a soft science? I have only ever heard the opposite until now – please give me a reference or two, I am curious.

– – –

Talking about replaying life’s history and not being able to predict it does not count as an argument about the likelihood of lions catching antelopes based upon chase/evasion skills being false.

This simply does not follow logically.

I will be happy to try to give evidence of speciation if you will give me your definition of a species – I asked before and I ask again now.

With regards to a particular religious book, yes, I am certainly influenced by one in particular (in many ways, just as someone like Richard Dawkins is influenced by his disbelief in it).

My question was what is it that you think stops the small scale evolution within species which you have said you agree exists, from breaking out of the “Species barrier”?

What is to stop this from happening? What mechanism or system do you propose which would achieve this?

I asked you for you definition of a transitional fossil. You answered with this;

With regards to evidence, I’d like to see truly transitional fossils. Virtually everything I’ve seen, touted as transitional, has merely been intermediate in form. Intermediate in form is not the same as transitional in nature. Showing me fully formed, functional structures, which existed in tightly constrained ecosystems, does not convince me, even if some of them appear at “the right time”. Such evidence fits perfectly well within a designer hypothesis.

Hang on though – you didn’t actually answer the question? You mention several characteristics which you want evidenced from the fossil record which the fossil record would be very unlikely to produce.

If you stop to think what a tiny tiny fraction of any animals which do get fossilised and what a tiny tiny fraction of the earth’s surface we have yet looked for them then you realise that your demands are unrealistic to say the least.

As for evidence fitting a designer hypothesis, any and all evidence fits this. He is omnipotent and omnipresent remember, there is no evidence that could go against this hypothesis. You did bring up design flaw but now claim that as we don’t know what the designers intentions are then any flaw could be part of a plan we don’t know about. So your hypothesis is unfalsifiable and so is not a scientific one, it does not enable predictions to be made and it is not testable.

So, instead of seeing a fin-limb structure, I’d like to see examples of fins transitioning to limbs.

You mean like this;

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v440/n7085/edsumm/e060406-01.html

Instead of fully formed feathers, I’d like to see examples of a transition to feathers. I realize it’s a tall order… but you asked.

No problem – here you go;

http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/40/4/687.pdf

Of course if you don’t accept these please tell me why and I will have another look.

Next you said this;

Oh, by “dead end” fossil, I’m referring to evolutionary dead-ends or sidebranchs (I think Archaeopteryx falls into that category) in which the species is thought to have no successors.

Why on earth doesn’t this evidence count. Why do things have to have had successors surviving to the present day to count as having existed at all? Why should a species have to have survived to count as transitional – if it has “transitioned” this actually means the old forms have gone anyway remember?

Regarding junk DNA, the argument, before we began discovering function for non-coding DNA, was that we expected to find copious amounts of junk DNA precisely because natural process evolution is a mindless-process. If that reasoning holds, then we should also see junk fossils in the fossil record.

This is illogical. An animal can live if part of its DNA does not function. Why does this mean that non functioning animals must have existed?

– – –

And I understand that you are arguing that, if I believe in an omnipotent designer, how do I explain design flaws?

Your answer to this is?

You didn’t give one but changed the subject; But herein lies the crux… designed artifacts, being products of a mind, should indicate intentions, and naturally derived artifacts, being produced in a mindless fashion, should demonstrate haphazard adaptability.

Yet instead of finding a world resplendent with haphazard adaptability, we find a world in which products of mindless-process design are studied for their marvelous engineering and design principles. This is the complete antithesis of what should be expected.

You still haven’t addressed the examples of this haphazardness I gave you – and I have offered to list lots more once you have.

What is your definition of a design flaw?

It seems to me that if you will give some definitions we can try to move the debate forward.

My own definition would simply be – something which can be improved.

– – –

So lets round up the questions I have posed for you;

What term do you want scienctists to use when referring to the results of evolution in nature?

My definition of a transitional fossil is the one in use by science – an intermediary form. What is your definition?

What is your definition of a design flaw?

What is your definition of a species?

What mechanism do you propose for preventing the three pillars of evolution which you have accepted work within species from achieving speciation.

Regards,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-827 Thu, 06 Mar 2008 04:57:52 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-827 Psi,

This is a complex issue in that there are many tangential offshoots, not to mention that terms need to be well defined. I am not ignoring the natural selection aspect of evolution, but I am questioning the application of a mind-based process (e.g., guiding) with a mindless-process.

To reiterate the stance of my post: natural process evolution, by the very nature of its description, is driven by natural processes. The process of design (or similar terms) is, by its very nature, driven by thoughts (which can only come from a mind). Hence, any attribution of design in nature must reduce to the thoughts of a mind.

If this is not the case (and, obviously, it is not what natural process evolutionists argue), then any references to design in nature should be qualified as mindless-process design. I believe such a term to be a paradox at best, and an oxymoron at worst. Yet that is exactly what is proposed in the Blind Watchmaker argument. In my opinion, to avoid confusion, all references to design in nature should be replaced with some other, non-mind-based, term.

Think of it this way, star formation occurs through natural processes. Yet do we apply design terms to the processes involved? Waves, naturally crashing on a seashore, produce patterns in the sand. Despite the beautiful and complex patterns that may be produced, we don’t attribute the terms design or engineered to such processes.

Yet we are asked to believe that natural processes alone have the ability to produce structures that thinking human beings now use as guides for design and engineering problems. We are asked to believe that these natural processes are guiding, designing, tinkering, and engineering. Well, guiding presupposes anticipation, designing presupposes intentions, tinkering presupposes experimentation, and engineering presupposes tradeoffs. All of these presuppositions are actions of minds.

And, to illustrate a term definition point, I take issue with the “it’s not random” argument. If natural selection is not random, then please tell me whether or not certain species will go extinct. When? Where? Will they speciate into another species? What kind? When? Where? You see, I understand that there is a method proposed for the changes (the 3 pillars), but the method has no way of telling me what will happen, specifically. The soft sciences, such as astronomy, have an easier time making such predictions, because they work primarily off of well established natural processes. But the hard sciences, such as biology, are too complex. Hence, biologists such as Peter Ward come up with books imagining what species will evolve into, and Stephen Jay Gould states that if you took the tapes of life’s history and replayed them, they would turn out different. That’s the randomness I’m speaking of.

Regarding the 3 pillar mechanism and speciation. You are well aware that examples such as antibiotic resistance and finch beak variations are not robust enough to declare speciation. It’s the extrapolation that is made, from such examples, that argues for speciation (when such extrapolation is then taken in a reverse direction by looking at the fossil record). Yet, there are some issues to consider, with regards to natural process evolutionary speciation. Consider how these factors affect the liklihood of extinction vs. speciation:

Body size – where are the best examples – current examples – of “evolution”? In bacteria. What’s the chance that large bodied animals, such as whales, will go extinct vs. survive?

Population – how many bacteria are there vs. whales? Or, for that matter, how about the number of ants, roaches, termites, etc.? While we have to bend over backwards to keep from wiping out the whales, we fully expect roaches to watch us go extinct.

Offspring per adult – directly related to population. How many offspring does a female whale have vs. other, smaller creatures? Natural selection wipes out species that can’t keep up – and having few offspring doesn’t give you much of a fighting chance.

Gestation period – how quick does bacteria reproduce? Cockroaches? Rats? Now, how about whales, or elephants? Again, with natural selection doing its selecting, you’d better be able to replace your losses at a higher rate than they’re being removed.

Environmental adaptability – how varied are the environments that a cockroach can live in? Now, how about a whale?

Food adaptability – again, how varied are the food choices of a cockroach, or a rat? Now, take away the bamboo forest from a panda.
Factors such as these should indicate that, apart from species such as bacteria or cockroaches, virtually all others are headed to extinction. Unless it can be demonstrated that such species can change fast enough, why should we simply accept the extrapolations provided?

With regards to a particular religious book, yes, I am certainly influenced by one in particular (in many ways, just as someone like Richard Dawkins is influenced by his disbelief in it).

With regards to evidence, I’d like to see truly transitional fossils. Virtually everything I’ve seen, touted as transitional, has merely been intermediate in form. Intermediate in form is not the same as transitional in nature. Showing me fully formed, functional structures, which existed in tightly constrained ecosystems, does not convince me, even if some of them appear at “the right time”. Such evidence fits perfectly well within a designer hypothesis.

So, instead of seeing a fin-limb structure, I’d like to see examples of fins transitioning to limbs. Instead of fully formed feathers, I’d like to see examples of a transition to feathers. I realize it’s a tall order… but you asked.

Oh, by “dead end” fossil, I’m referring to evolutionary dead-ends or sidebranchs (I think Archaeopteryx falls into that category) in which the species is thought to have no successors.

Regarding junk DNA, the argument, before we began discovering function for non-coding DNA, was that we expected to find copious amounts of junk DNA precisely because natural process evolution is a mindless-process. If that reasoning holds, then we should also see junk fossils in the fossil record.

I’m not shifting goal posts and, as we both seem to agree, definitions are playing an important role here.

My Mindless-process Design post is meant to illustrate the difference between design, which I posit is a process guided by a mind, and natural process evolution, which is a process that is not guided by a mind. In that sense, “design” should not be applied to natural processes. Yet proponents of natural process evolutionary theory identify various biological structures as “bad” or “poor” design. But, again, this is tantamount to sneaking in the back door. If natural processes, by their very nature, cannot design, then claiming that something is a “bad” design is admitting that it was designed (albeit in a “bad” fashion).

Of course I realize that you are not admitting to these structures being designed, but that you consider their design flawed. And I understand that you are arguing that, if I believe in an omnipotent designer, how do I explain design flaws? But herein lies the crux… designed artifacts, being products of a mind, should indicate intentions, and naturally derived artifacts, being produced in a mindless fashion, should demonstrate haphazard adaptability.

Yet instead of finding a world resplendent with haphazard adaptability, we find a world in which products of mindless-process design are studied for their marvelous engineering and design principles. This is the complete antithesis of what should be expected.

As I stated, regarding the examples of design flaws (some of which I did address), designer intentions must be understood before any comprehensive declaration of design flaw is made (as in my 300 dpi vs. 600 dpi printer example). You acknowledge that when the eyes are functioning properly, that the blind-spot is irrelevant. So how, then, is it declared a design flaw?

Now, when you ask “why design it that way?”, you’re asking a very good question. But if the design flaw is not demonstrated to be a bona fide flaw, then it is more a question which seeks to know the reasons for choosing a design pathway, and not necessarily an argument for why design is not a valid option. I touched on this topic in a couple of posts at my blog New Covenant, regarding the design of pipeways in oil refineries (see here and here).

I’m not defining the design flaws out of existence. I’m addressing the fact that there are explanations for them (you’ll have to read Denton’s analysis for the specifics on the eye), just like you are presenting explanations from a natural process evolutionary perspective. So, in one sense, I could turn it around on you and simply claim that you’re criteria for defining design flaws is too wide. In fact, since you brought up the topic of design flaws in nature, why don’t you give the definition of what exactly that is?

Regards,
Rusty

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-817 Tue, 04 Mar 2008 22:50:06 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-817 Hi Rusty,

Lots of questions for you I’m afraid. . .

Now, if evolutionists want to be consistent, they need to drop all the references to mind guided activities, such as design, engineering, tinkering, etc., and refer simply to chance arrangements through chance circumstances.

You seem to have forgotten the “natural selection” bit of evolution theory, this is not random. So there is a guiding force, albeit a blind and unthinking, mindless one.

Regarding the “three pillars”, yes I certainly agree that they work, insofar as within species. To extrapolate their influence to the point of speciation is, I think, unwarranted. . . . because . . . ?

What mechanism do you propose to stop the three pillars leading to speciation?

If you agree a man can take a step then how can you say he can’t walk THAT far?

This is a crucial point. What do you think stops the process? Why do you think this is so? Does it have anything to do with a particular religious book? Or is it based upon evidence?

I understand the argument of evolution that it occurs “very slowly and steadily over many millions of years.” Yet this is the unwarranted extrapolation I speak of… As I said, it is certainly logically possible for it to occur, but my beef isn’t with the logic, it’s with the probability (and the lack of real evidence).

What do you think probability has got to do with it? What would count as evidence in your opinion?

Evidence needed to show the designer theory false could be clearly transitional fossils, showing the transitions posited; or a plethora of evolutionary dead-end fossils; or junk DNA really being junk; etc.

OK I am up for this. . .

What is your definition for a “transitional fossil”?

What do you mean by a “dead end” fossil?

How can anyone prove a negative i.e. that junk dna doesn’t do anything? Why do you think this would be relevant anyway?

If you can give me your goal posts I will attempt to score a goal 😉

Give me your definitions of these things, and if we can agree then I will try to provide the evidence.

Overall, Rusty, I agree that the language is difficult. But there is a “guiding force” involved here, natural selection – you seemed to acknowledge it earlier.

Yet try as they might, proponents of evolution can only come up with a handful of examples of what they define as poor design.

You haven’t addressed the examples of poor design I listed yet, and I can give you many, many more if you want. Why would an omnipotent god design things that way? Why is the “wiring” for the light sensitive cells in the eye placed in front of them, blocking the light and needing a hole in the middle of the retina to pass through to the brain? Why not have the wiring at the back out of the way? Evolution explains why this is so. How does your “god did it” hypothesis explain this?

You acknowledged the validity of non random survival earlier but now you insist that design must be the result of a mind. Natural selection produces designs.

Have you ever had an issue with the so-called blind-spot “design flaw”? My guess is no, and that’s because the design parameters are such that your eyes are supposed to operate together, and when they operate together, the blind-spot is irrelevant.

So why design it that way?

Michael Denton has also argued that the blood necessary for our visual acuity makes the blind-spot tradeoff a design feature.

How? The same blood flow can be provided from behind the retina after all with no need for either obscuring of the light sensitive cells at all or a hole in the retina. So how exactly is this a “design feature”?

If evolution explains these things, and if evolution is a mindless-process then, as I mentioned, we should expect to see countless examples of design-flaws.

How many would you like? I have plenty more.

Then again if you are simply going to say that one bloke doesn’t agree with me or that the items manage to work anyway despite the flaws so they aren’t really flaws then you have just defined them out of existence.

So what is your definition of a design flaw. Set the goal posts up and I will try to score again 😉

Regards,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-814 Mon, 03 Mar 2008 04:36:16 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-814 Psi,

My argument that “mindless-process design” is an oxymoron is not an argument on why evolution must be false. Evolution is certainly logically possible. I’m saying that design, by its very nature, is a action of a mind, so it goes to follow that design does not occur without the direction of a mind.

Now, if evolutionists want to be consistent, they need to drop all the references to mind guided activities, such as design, engineering, tinkering, etc., and refer simply to chance arrangements through chance circumstances.

Regarding the “three pillars”, yes I certainly agree that they work, insofar as within species. To extrapolate their influence to the point of speciation is, I think, unwarranted.

I understand the argument of evolution that it occurs “very slowly and steadily over many millions of years.” Yet this is the unwarranted extrapolation I speak of… As I said, it is certainly logically possible for it to occur, but my beef isn’t with the logic, it’s with the probability (and the lack of real evidence).

Evidence needed to show the designer theory false could be clearly transitional fossils, showing the transitions posited; or a plethora of evolutionary dead-end fossils; or junk DNA really being junk; etc.

With regards to demonstrating a creation model, you might want to reference the books Who was Adam?, Origins of Life, and Creation as Science, by Rana & Ross. They are creationists who accept the 4.8 b.y. and 13.7 b.y. earth and universe dating, but reject natural process evolution.

Regarding my MD post, I’m not ignoring the way evolution theory suggests such designs are produced, I’m suggesting that it is disingenuous to use a term like “design” and apply it to evolutionary processes. Again, it’s not meant to be an argument against evolutionary theory (although I certainly have arguments against it).

It’s interesting that you bring up the notion of “poor design”. Isn’t even poor design still… design? How does that alleviate the notion of a mindless-process? If evolutionary theory (the three pillars) operated the way you mention, then it would seem to follow that nature would be resplendent with examples of poor design (only the fittest of which would survive, of course, poorly designed or not). Yet try as they might, proponents of evolution can only come up with a handful of examples of what they define as poor design. The thing with design, being the action of a mind, is that the mind has intentions, the design has parameters, and the design has tradeoffs. Is a printer that prints 600 dpi better designed than a printer that prints 300 dpi? What if the 300 dpi sells for $200 and the 600 dpi printer sells for $500? Is it still better designed? What if the design parameter was that the printer had to sell for less than $400? Oops – due to the design parameters, the tradeoff was to opt for a 300 dpi unit, so the 600 dpi just got selected out!

Have you ever had an issue with the so-called blind-spot “design flaw”? My guess is no, and that’s because the design parameters are such that your eyes are supposed to operate together, and when they operate together, the blind-spot is irrelevant. Michael Denton has also argued that the blood necessary for our visual acuity makes the blind-spot tradeoff a design feature.

I guess, it depends how you want to look at it.

Evolutionists need to be careful about declaring poor design, in nature, because designer intentions are a tricky thing. Consider that eating a properly sized bite of food greatly reduces the chance of choking. Consider the design features which allow a giraffe to lower its head, to drink water, and not have hemorrhaging occur in its brain. Consider that our reproductive center’s location, when used properly, works.

If evolution explains these things, and if evolution is a mindless-process then, as I mentioned, we should expect to see countless examples of design-flaws.

Regards,
Rusty

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-812 Sun, 02 Mar 2008 14:06:41 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-812 Hi Rusty,

You seem to be arguing that “unintelligent design” is an oxymoron therefore evolution is false.

It’s the bit after the “therefore” you have yet to support. In this last post you simply call it “absurd” and then you go on to say that you are not going to address the process by which I tried to explain why it wasn’t absurd.

“You offer reproduction as an argument for the breakdown of my analogy, but I’m not sure why.”

Because that is how evolution i.e. “unintelligent design” works – look at the three pillars, without reproduction evolution can not work at all. Reproduction is absolutely integral and necessary for evolution to happen. That is why your analogy is a poor one. You are missing out an integral part of evolution. In fact you are missing out the evolution bit altogether.

Later on in your comment you seem to accept that the three pillars work but only for bacteria or within a species. Is this correct? I don’t want to put words in your mouth so please clarify this.

“You offer evolution’s three pillars, yet you don’t demonstrate how they can produce the kinds of changes, in the amount of time necessary, to do what is typically claimed (e.g., land-based mammal to saltwater-based whale, theropod dinosaur to bird). Any real evidence presented typically has to do with bacterial resistance or some other form of in-species variation (e.g. finch beaks).”

Ok, I think this line of argument could be enlightening for us both.

I assert that the three pillars do explain what we see around us. They achieve this by working very slowly and steadily over many millions of years. What would stop them? Provided each small step is generated by variation and it makes its inheritor slightly more likely to survive and reproduce then it will be passed into the next generation.

Again I ask; “What will stop it?”

– – –

What kind of evidence would show your designer theory to be false? I can give you plenty of examples of such evidence for evolution theory. How about a rabbit fossil in the Cambrian? Please demonstrate this for the “god did it” argument.

– – –

In this next comment of yours I think you highlight a key difference in our positions;

“Again, my post on MD is not meant to address issues such as genetic variation, natural selection, or inherited traits. I’m simply addressing the notion of design and engineering, actions of a mind, and how such notions are commonly applied to products of nature. And, I’m looking at scientific research as the basis for my arguments.”

By ignoring the way evolution theory suggests such designs are produced you are effectively not arguing against evolution theory at all. You are simply begging a question.

The three things you say you are not addressing at all ARE evolution.

– – –

I think that “unintelligent design” is a good label because evolutionary theory explains such things as people wearing glasses, and shoes, and having their wisdom teeth out, and human eyes having a blind-spot thanks to a fundamental design flaw, and the fact that giraffe necks have the same number of bones as our necks etc. etc. How does the “god did it” theory explain these examples of very poor design?

Why do you breathe AND eat through your mouth? Why do you have an entertainment centre in your sewage works? Why do men have nipples?

Evolution explains these things.

How does the “god did it” hypothesis explain them?

Regards,

Psi

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By: Rusty https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-809 Sat, 01 Mar 2008 17:02:48 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-809 Psi,

Thank you for the clarification.

My intentions for the MD post is to make it a regular series in which I link to examples where products from nature have design and engineering characteristics either directly or indirectly assigned to them. Hence, I won’t be taking a great deal of space, in these posts, to argue my point. I’ve written on that in other posts (such as this one, and also at my blog New Covenant).

However, I don’t think that my argument, in the MD post, is simply a matter of “it’s just obvious”. My point is that, if intelligent design is not valid or correct, then the only other option is unintelligent design (hence, the Blind Watchmaker reference). Of course, this assumes that there really are the qualities of design and engineering to be found in products of nature (perhaps a discussion for another day).

But here is the problem: the terms unintelligent design, and Blind Watchmaker, are oxymorons. Actually, the Blind Watchmaker, as posited by Dawkins, should really be designated as the Non-existent Watchmaker, because that’s what he really means. But such a notion is absurd – you don’t have non-entities doing any designing or engineering for one basic reason – minds.

To design, to engineer, to create, etc., requires thought processes. Thought processes require minds. Designing, engineering, and creating are the processes of a mind. Yet natural process evolution is just that – a natural process – devoid of a mind. It is… a mindless-process.

There’s nothing wrong with positing mindless-process design, of course, but I think that rather than use an oxymoron, it should be labeled for what it is. And if natural process evolutionists really believe in their model, they should drop any references to processes of the mind (e.g., design, engineer, tinker, experiment).

You offer reproduction as an argument for the breakdown of my analogy, but I’m not sure why. The complexities involved in reproduction certainly exhibit design and engineering aspects (not to mention proper timing).

You offer evolution’s three pillars, yet you don’t demonstrate how they can produce the kinds of changes, in the amount of time necessary, to do what is typically claimed (e.g., land-based mammal to saltwater-based whale, theropod dinosaur to bird). Any real evidence presented typically has to do with bacterial resistance or some other form of in-species variation (e.g. finch beaks).

Again, my post on MD is not meant to address issues such as genetic variation, natural selection, or inherited traits. I’m simply addressing the notion of design and engineering, actions of a mind, and how such notions are commonly applied to products of nature. And, I’m looking at scientific research as the basis for my arguments.

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By: psiloiordinary https://stonescryout.org/?p=172&cpage=1#comment-808 Sat, 01 Mar 2008 08:52:19 +0000 http://stonescryout.org/?p=172#comment-808 I have subscribed via RSS now and that seems fine.

Looking forward to a stimulating debate.

Psi

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