Rand and Darwin - Conflict or Not?

Doug Bandler's picture
Submitted by Doug Bandler on Fri, 2011-01-14 09:06

A common critique of the Objectivist ethics from evolutionary theorists is that it is in violation of the facts of biological reality. These critics say that Rand based her ethics on an Aristotelian meta-biology and not a Darwinian one. Thus for Aristotle, the teleology of an oak tree, the essence of the tree's existence, is the full grown tree itself. But Aristotle's biology has been replaced by Darwin's, in which an oak tree is an acorn's way of making more acorns.

The criticism is that Rand is wrong in one of her basic statements about life. She says that every function of a living organism is directed toward a single goal: the organism's survival. But this isn't true. Living organisms have reproductive organs, and the functioning of those organs is not directed to the organism's survival. Most living organisms spend a significant part of their lives living for the sake of something that will happen when they are no longer there to care about it, that something being the survival and reproduction of their descendants.

Thus the characteristics of living organisms are best explained by reproduction, not by survival. It is argued that this fact seriously undermines if not destroys the Objectivist ethics.

What are some opinions on this. I understand that Binswanger weighed in on this subject. Does anyone know what his answer was?


State Shinto

Richard Goode's picture

The Japanese believed their emperor was appointed by heavan and that was exactly the reason they were willing to sacrifice their lives for him.

During World War II, the government forced every subject to practice State Shinto and admit that the Emperor was divine. Those who opposed the Imperial cult, including Oomoto and Soka Gakkai, were persecuted.

Objectivist scholarship, FFS.

Hitler

Richard Goode's picture

Hitler often invoked god in his speeches and was supported by the Roman Catholic Church.

Hitler once stated, "We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for Germany."

His private statements, as reported by his intimates, show Hitler as critical of traditional Christianity, considering it a religion fit only for slaves; he admired the power of Rome but had severe hostility towards its teaching. Here Hitler's attack on Catholicism "resonated Streicher's contention that the Catholic establishment was allying itself with the Jews." In light of these private statements, for John S. Conway and many other historians it is beyond doubt that Hitler held a "fundamental antagonism" towards the Christian churches.

Objectivist scholarship, meh.

Mussolini...

Marcus's picture

...may have hated RC and/or religion, but he didn't attempt to create an atheistic state when he was dictator.

He was at his most popular with the Italian people when he was kissing the ring at the Vatican.

Mussolini

Richard Goode's picture

Mussolini made Roman Catholicism the state religion of Italy and established the "papal state" in Rome.

Mussolini regarded his time at a religious boarding school as punishment, compared the experience to hell, and "once refused to go to morning mass and had to be dragged there by force".

Mussolini would become anti-clerical like his father. As a young man, he "proclaimed himself to be an atheist and several times tried to shock an audience by calling on God to strike him dead." He denounced socialists who were tolerant of religion, or who had their children baptized. He believed that science had proven there was no God, and that the historical Jesus was ignorant and mad. He considered religion a disease of the psyche, and accused Christianity of promoting resignation and cowardice.

Mussolini was an admirer of Friedrich Nietzsche. According to Denis Mack Smith, "In Nietzsche he found justification for his crusade against the Christian virtues of humility, resignation, charity, and goodness." He valued Nietzsche's concept of the superman, "The supreme egoist who defied both God and the masses, who despised egalitarianism and democracy, who believed in the weakest going to the wall and pushing them if they did not go fast enough."

Mussolini made vitriolic attacks against Christianity and the Catholic Church, "which he accompanied with provocative and blasphemous remarks about the consecrated host and about a love affair between Christ and Mary Magdalen." He believed that socialists who were Christian or who accepted religious marriage should be expelled from the party. He denounced the Catholic Church for "its authoritarianism and refusal to allow freedom of thought..." Mussolini's newspaper, La Lotta di Classe, reportedly had an anti-Christian editorial stance.

Objectivist scholarship, LOL.

German/Italian/Japanese fascism...

Marcus's picture

...were not atheistic.

The Japanese believed their emperor was appointed by heavan and that was exactly the reason they were willing to sacrifice their lives for him.

Hitler often invoked god in his speeches and was supported by the Roman Catholic Church.

Mussolini made Roman Catholicism the state religion of Italy and established the "papal state" in Rome.

And all I got was this lousy t-shirt

Richard Goode's picture

Total estimated murdered under atheistic systems of Soviet communism and German/Italian/Japanese fascism in the 20th century: ~100,000,000

CommunismCommunism

My impression

Brant Gaede's picture

My impression is that governments have directly killed off closer to two hundred million people in the 20th C. rather than 100 mil., if we count the wars. You can throw in +20 million babies dead from malaria thanks to the U.S. campaign against DDT plus 1/2 billion chronically infected people. Then there's the misery of socialism--look at what decades of it did to India because to the ruling elite "profit" was a dirty word.

The convenient exclusion of religious wars from Darren's equations is suspicious. In the U.S. we have church/state separation. Is he urging us to adopt the Muslim model of the rule of the clerics as in Iran? Absent that, there were a lot of Christians in Germany before Hitler and in Russia before Lenin. C'mon Darren, better flesh out your thesis; even a lot of bones seem missing.

--Brant

Is / Ought

darren's picture

It is only an ultimate goal, and end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible.

Nice bit of circular reasoning there on Miss Rand's part. An "ultimate goal" or an "end in itself" is itself a value -- the value for which all other values are simply "means." So what she's saying is "It is only end-values that make the existence of means-values possible." Er, well, yes, Miss Rand; "ends" require "means", and "means" are obviously, er, "means TOWARD ends."

Very closely reasoned . . . in the shape of a nice, tight, little circle.

Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action.

Sounds great . . . except I have no idea what she's talking about. 1) Cells are pre-programmed to divide a certain number of times and that's it; the entire living apparatus tends toward the ultimate metaphysical end called death.

2) How does Rand know that the life is an end in itself and not a means to some other end; and

3) How does Rand know that other phenomena might not be ends in themselves? I see lots of assertions with no evidence. Rand asserts conclusions without providing -- or checking -- her own premises.

Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life.”

Another statement that means nothing. "Value" has meaning to a conceptual mind and is "genetically dependent" on a conceptual consciousness capable of forming ultimate ends and means. I see no evidence that a virus or a bacterium "knows", in any sense of that term, about values. It acts a certain way because it must act a certain way. Obviously, "values", then, pertain to those things capable of choosing amongst alternatives, which certainly aren't all living things.

To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.”

Obviously not. To a virus or a bacterium, "values" don't exist at all. They exist only for conscious beings, and only for those conscious beings capable of choosing amongst alternatives. The choosing comprises the choice of ends and the choice of means. It's only within that context that concepts like "right/wrong" and "good/evil" appear. And they appear because one of the faculties of a conceptual consciousness -- along with faculties like "intellect" and "will" -- is a moral sensory organ traditionally called "conscience."

Not everyone has it, and it certainly isn't "genetically dependent" on the concept of life, per se.

Yes

gregster's picture

I remember it well. I'm currently reading another of his great books Capitalism Unbound. It's commendable of you to step up and offer Dazzler some (im)moral support. You too can tell he's clutching at straws.

Greg

Richard Goode's picture

I clicked on your link to read the article, but then I saw it was by Andrew Bernstein.

Remember this? The usual suspects gushed over Bernstein's wretched rehash of Rand ("The clarity of that text is breathtaking"—"a brilliantly written manifesto to excite the moral passions"—"a fantastic read"—"indeed a powerful chapter"—"excellent stuff"—and so on) until I pointed out it was a steaming pile of sick.

The Spanish Inquisition was a product of the Renaissance

darren's picture

Spanish Inquisition: 1480 - 1834
Renaissance: ~1300 - 1600

As you can see, twit, the Spanish Inquisition was almost smack in the middle of your glorious "renaissance"; your glorious "rediscovery of reason." Idiot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...
Total estimated murdered by Spanish Inquisition: ~2,700

Total estimated murdered under atheistic systems of Soviet communism and German/Italian/Japanese fascism in the 20th century: ~100,000,000

Gimme that ol' time religion any day over atheism. If you're going to be an atheist, it's much better -- much safer for you -- to be one in a system that views itself as religious.

I have no doubt that the numbers murdered under various cults of atheism would be about the same even if the particular sect in control had been Objectivism itself with Ayn Rand as the duly elected Goddess of the Market. Gulags and re-education camps would be full of those with ostensibly "malevolent psycho-epistemologies", the litmus-test of which is whether or not they've read (and liked) the Bible, Tolstoy, or perhaps Jack Kerouac; or whether they've heard (and liked) any music other than Rachmaninoff, Scott Joplin, and light operettas by Victor Herbert.

A post from the past

gregster's picture

Submitted by James S. Valliant on Tue, 2010-02-02 01:31.

"In fact, the 19th Century was far, far LESS Christian than any of the previous 14 centuries had been in Europe, and I am pretty fed up with loony attempts by contemporary Christians to deny their doctrine and their history.

If Christians, in the name of their faith, did horrible things in the past, had they simply misunderstood the Bible that they were pouring over in such detail and with such devotion?

The burning of thousands and thousands at the stake for no reason OTHER THAN their heretical faith, the torturing of thousands and thousands more in order to get them to confess to any deviation from the Bible, the burning of books in the city square for being too "worldly," imprisoning scientists if they wrote something threatening to the Church's authority -- and all of it specifically, overtly and exclusively donein name of Christian "love" -- is all a matter of historical record. Can you claim that the faith bears no responsibility whatever... REALLY?!

A religion that explicitly teaches enmity to worldly knowledge and worldly philosophy, with a Christ who suggested the existence of "mysteries" to be revealed only to the select inner few, is a religion at root hostile to reason and science.

The Bible itself has witches, by the way, e.g., Saul met the powerful witch of Endor, and ghosts, and angels and demons, and demonic possession, and revelatory visions of the "levels" of heaven, and most of that other stuff you deride as "pagan." Just read the Bible's text, if you would, rather than accept what you're being falsely taught.

It's not just a crazy coincidence, of course, that Western science only got going again following the rediscovery of pre-Christian Greek ideas, starting with Aristotle's logic and climaxing in the restoration of the observational science of the ancient Ionians. Copernicus, for example, got his ideas about the earth and the sun from an ancient, pagan source, one that he suppressed upon publication.

Isn't it funny how those pagan Greeks seemed to have discovered science, but not those Divinely Chosen Jews, who, indeed, were fighting tooth and nail to keep the influence of Greek culture just as far away as possible. And, to this day, that is what Hanukkah actually celebrates.

But perhaps the most absurd example of this is the American conservative who is convinced that the U.S. Constitution and form of government are based directly on the ideas of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We are asked to believe that it took a mere 1,776 years of reading that darned Bible before any of those great and learned Christian scholars figured out its true political implications!

But scour the text of the Bible and you will not find any recommendation of political freedom or republicanism whatever. No, we are told to just "obey" the governmental "authorities" placed over us, because God has appointed them, by St. Paul himself, who likely wrote during the reign of the monster NERO! "Slaves obey your masters," St. Paul commands us in repeated passages (which were cited by slave-owners for centuries). Jesus commanded men to pay their taxes to Imperial Rome, and a Roman centurion, it seems, had more faith than any of Jesus's contemporary Jews, as Jesus himself declared. And tyrants like Louis XIV used the Bible to show that God intended a hereditary monarchy, like the line of King David. Why else would Jesus have had to be David's royal heir if this was not the divinely intended system?

Pre-Christian models of democracy from ancient Athens, and pre-Christian models of republicanism from ancient Rome -- i.e., a purely pagan tradition -- were the true models for America's Founding Fathers, who designed a state complete with two executive consuls, one with "veto" power, a Senate, a popular assembly, etc., etc. Just look at Washington, D.C.: it looks like ancient Athens or Rome, not a Gothic Cathedral, right?

What about property rights and creating wealth? Christ taught folks not to worry about what they wore, what they ate, etc., and to avoid storing up treasures here on earth. Rather, he said, attend to the Kingdom of Heaven instead. Christ taught his disciples to hold all of their property communally, that it was (at least) tricky for a rich person to get into heaven, that the "rich young man" should give up all of his property if wanted to be saved, and that poverty was even a "blessing." St. Paul held the love of money to be the root of no less than all evil. And I could go on. In short, it is socialists, not capitalists, who have the much better argument for doctrinal support in the words of the Bible.

What about basic freedoms: speech, religion, etc.? These are not to be found in the Bible, either. And, if they had been there in any way, then why was this never noticed by the Councils, saints and theologians who piously taught what they thought was good Biblical policy, century after century after century?

No, it was the horrible institution of Christian persecutions, century after century, which inspired sensitive minds to first consider the idea of freedom of conscience, and, again, only with a good deal of philosophical help from those ancient, pagan sources, from Aristotle to Cicero -- and from natural law to the experience of the Spartacus slave rebellion.

Indeed, America's Founding Fathers refused to "render unto Caesar" (even a modest tea tax) and THAT was the very basis for their refusal to obey the "authorities placed over them by God," in direct disobedience to St. Paul. Many of those Framers thought slavery was evil, too, and it was this belief that provided the basis (e.g., see the Gettysburg Address) for later abolishing it. These men were not "peace makers" but war makers. They battled, not praised, the Imperial "centurions" of their own time. And they were not "meek" about it, either.

The principal author of America's Declaration of Independence, Jefferson, cut the miracles out of his own translation of the New Testament, and the author of the most popular and persuasive political text of the age, Paine, was an even more severe critic of the Bible, and an atheist. Ben Franklin was an Enlightenment scientist. American Founders taught that the pursuit of personal happiness and material wealth were virtuous.

Sexual repression is one the great legacies of Christianity, of course, but contemporary Christians have rewritten the text and their history here, too. Jesus praises those who "become eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake," and St. Paul advised celibacy for any Christian who could handle it (like himself). For the birth of Jesus to be "sinless" his mother must have been a virgin. Monastic and priestly vows of celibacy are well grounded in Biblical text. (Just as vows of poverty are.) And, of course, simply "lusting in your heart" (along with other thought crimes) is itself a sin! Now, where is all the contemporary blather about sex being "holy" in the actual text? Answer: it ain't there.

Only the most incredible game of mental Twister has converted in people's minds the New Testament into saying anything positive about sex whatever.

Racism has its Biblical authority, as well. Jews were to keep themselves racially pure as any reader ofEzra becomes oppressively aware. The very idea that God had a Chosen People, if even only a temporary basis, is racist, and, thus, so is the Mosaic Law. And when those Chosen had killed their own messiah, as the NT asks us to believe, Christians then took to abusing them on the same racial basis.

The 19th Century which Rand praised actually begat many of the greatest threats to established religious opinion, certainly many of the greatest since the advent of Christianity itself: Darwin and evolution, women's rights, Biblical "form criticism," the discovery of a prehistoric world that long predated the generational calculations of the Old Testament, etc., etc., not to mention material comfort of the sort despised by Christ.

The Christian faith is founded on the older Jewish faith, and it was a savage one. A religion that soughtracial purity once upon a time, one that fought any injection of that scientific, Hellenistic culture just as hard as it could, one that hoped for a monarch from their ancient line of hereditary kings, and one thatslaughtered animals in order to appease their God (when its temple stood), like most of the other ancient faiths. And, before that, again, like other faiths, it almost certainly practiced human sacrifice. (Why should God have had to tell Abraham NOT to kill little boys,if the killing of little boys was not happening?) The Old Testament God also favored genocide on occasion, telling King Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, all the men, women, children, slaves, and even animals(!) When Saul failed to slaughter every living Amalekite and Amalekite beast, this was a sin of such magnitude that God took the throne away from Saul, and gave it to David, Saul's rival, and to David's descendants, like Jesus himself.

Thus, Jesus's ancestors owe their royal status to the fact that David's predecessor was not as assiduous in his genocide as God would've wanted!

Christians will often suggest that it was Moses who invented laws against murder, theft and perjury (see DeMille's intro to The Ten Commandments), when most other ancients also had forbidden these things, of course. They make it sound as if Jesus actually invented the Golden Rule, when others had stated it well before his alleged birth. They make it seem as if Jesus even invented love and compassion, when, of course, the models for this also long pre-dated Christianity.

No, Jesus did give us the concept of forgiveness which would permit eternal rewards for murders and despots who simply accepted him in their "hearts," and one that condemned to eternal punishment good people who had simply failed to accept a certain belief. Yes, we have a gun to our heads, it seems, just as Jesus declared repeatedly, for we must believe or be condemned to "the lake of eternal fire," and, as St,. Paul told us, "good works" will never earn you place in heaven. It simply cannot be earned by sinners such as we.

And, why? Adam and Eve sinned. Thus, all of their descendants, all of us, apparently DESERVE to die -- no, we deserve eternal torture -- because of the sin of distant ancestors. Sound fair? Okay, we get blamed for the sins of our distant ancestors, but, just as bad, our only hope is in the sacrifice of someone else, too.

Adam sins, you get punished. Jesus dies, you (might) get saved. Ask yourself what YOU did to merit forgiveness, or what YOU did deserve eternal torture, and you're barking up the wrong tree -- YOU don't matter. God is angered. God is appeased. (And like the common ancient practice of human and animal sacrifice, apparently it requires blood-sacrifice to appease this angry God, the mere belief in which conditions our salvation.)

No, your only role is to deny your own judgment and to accept without evidence, proof or logic, the epistemological blackmail offered. Believe or be condemned to eternal torments. (Nice set up for a religious faith, right?) And don't tell me that Catholics are any different from others here, for Purgatory itself is open only to believers in good standing, as well.
Your own eyes, your own mind, your own reasons do not matter, and the only basis for belief that we are given is the threat of damnation, pure and simple. You will search the Bible in vain for any Thomistic arguments for the existence of God, for there are none. And with or without them, one is expected to believe or be damned for all time.
Doesn't all of that sound fair and compassionate?

Christianity codifies a virulent hatred of life on earth every bit as savage as any other faith in history. Fortunately, this faith significantly and substantially WEAKENED in the Enlightenment long enough for political freedom to be born and for science and industry to gain a foothold. Both science and freedom came about among European Christians DESPITE the best efforts of pious Christians to prevent their development, and only on a foundation of pagan, pre-Christian ideas, and with conservative Christians fighting each and every step of the way."

Gimme That Old Time Religion!

various points in response to Darren

Doug Bandler's picture

Did I say that there are no noteworthy Objectivist scientists?

How many "noteworthy" Christian scientists were there circa 62 AD; roughly 30 years after the death of Jesus (assuming he was real)? Intellectual history doesn't move that quickly. Rand's epistemology challenges the entire philosophical foundation of the academy. It will not be easy for her to penetrate the ivory tower. It will be generations and perhaps centuries before there are major science treatises that have been written from the Objectivist epistemological foundation. It may be necessary for Objectivism itself to develop more fully its epistemology first. A proper grounding of induction may be a necessary first step and it looks like Harriman's book is just the tip of the iceberg.

Regarding Christianity vs the Classical world: I think it must be understood that, for the most part, philosophy has been heavily religious from the start. Totally secular philosophic systems are relatively new. Even Aristotle believed in the gods. Supernaturalism and naturalism have overlapped and intersected from the beginning of philosophy as a distinct discipline. That was inevitable.

Supernaturalism was the natural development given the structure of the human brain and how it works. Neuro-science is nailing down exactly why religion arose. It was inevitable that men were going to believe in gods. Organized religion developed along with property rights and government hand in hand since the advent of agriculture. Again, this was inevitable. Religions provided the overarching framework for which humans looked at the world. Men need a philosophy or their brains just can't work (neuro-science is proving this I think). Religion provided them with that philosophical/moral framework for the majority of human history.

It was inevitable that the growth of science, industry, capitalism, and indeed moral philosophy itself was going to progress under the dominion of theistic philosophy. I think the question to ask then is this: which religions allowed the most growth of individualism, secular reason, egoism and capitalism. It is clear that Christianity allowed this to happen to a far greater extent than any other religion on Earth. The question then becomes why?

What Christianity seems to have done is preserve important texts and make the peasant equal to the king before God. This is also the moral-political if not philosophical basis of individualism.

This is plausible but I would like to see this thesis worked out more. It may be that individualism is the consequence of Christianity playing out over centuries but more scholarship needs to be done on that subject. But of the Christian world's rise I think the fact that Christianity is built on top of the ancient edifice of Classical thought and Hellenistic philosophy is the main reason. Christianity is by far the most philosophical of the Abrahamic religions. It literally grew out of the Greek influenced Ancient world. It incorporated Stoic, Cynic and Platonic elements and grafted them onto the Jewish salvation mythology. Even more, the battle between Aristotle and Plato plays out in Christianity itself through the figures of Augustine and Aquinas. So in one sense, there is a type of continuity from the Pagan era right straight through to the modern one; even if there has been a great deal of meandering along the way.

IMO, as an Objectivist, supernaturalism is wrong and it is primitive. It is now time that theistic philosophy give way to naturalistic philosophy. Rand represents the first non-skeptical secular philosophic system in mankind's history. Whether it will hold and take root is a question for history. I think there is a good chance that it will. But that will take generations if not centuries. I will live and die and never know if Rand wins the day and if the future comes to embrace metaphysical realism, contextual certainty, rational egoism and laissez-faire. I hope they do. But my world will not. Sadly, it looks like my world is about to destroy itself in the context of a gang war between the mystics on one side and the skeptics on the other.

All I can do is watch as food and gas prices keep rising. Obamanomics right now is ruling the world. John Galt will have to wait...

I'd think

Brant Gaede's picture

I'd think a big difference between 500AD - 1500 AD and that last date to now is the existence of the printing press, now sequing somewhat into electronic media. What Christianity seems to have done is preserve important texts and make the peasant equal to the king before God. This is also the moral-political if not philosophical basis of individualism.

--Brant

A shit review by a shitty

darren's picture

A shit review by a shitty reviewer in an even shittier journal. At least you're consistent, shithead.

Let's see a few statements from the reviewer, Andrew Bernstein:

This book, and others like it—along with their admiring treatment by the mainstream liberal press—are signs of the resurgence of Christianity in America.

No it isn't, you douchebag Ph.D. Objectivist fraud. It's a sign of the continuing objectivity that historians worked hard to achieve during the 20th century when researching the thousand-year period between the fall of Rome and the Italian Renaissance. Read "Inventing the Middle Ages" by Norman F. Cantor to get at least some idea of how our current notions of the Middle Ages were shaped by various authors from the late 19th century to about 1950, each operating with his own set of premises and assumptions. Bernstein, of course (who is certainly no historian, and in my view, not even a competent philosopher, let alone book reviewer) has his own set, too: post-18th century secular western assumptions. Those are not only "his" assumptions, but the only possible kind of "true" assumptions to be used in evaluating something like an argument or a piece of scholarship. The name for this practice is intellectual bigotry.

Bernstein continues:

This is all the more frightening because the arguments are being delivered and embraced at an intellectual, not merely a grassroots, level. If such arguments were sound, their growing acceptance among contemporary intellectuals would present no problem; but, as will be shown, this pro-religion thesis, although convincing to some, is egregiously and provably mistaken.

As unbiased readers of the review will quickly see, Bernstein makes no attempt to prove anything. He uses well known facts about the lack of economic growth in Europe during the Middle Ages but does NOT apply those same facts to the Classical Period. The reason is simple: intellectual bigotry. He likes the Classical Period (presumably because it was pagan and pre-Christian) and doesn't like the Medieval Period (presumably because it was Christian and post-pagan). That's about the extent of his argument.

Western Europe suffered through a period of material penury and intellectual deprivation when compared to both the Classical age that preceded it and the Renaissance that followed it.

Yeah? How about offering some proof yourself, fuckwit, eh? You might think that a Ph.D. in philosophy and an emotional dependency on Objectivism exempt you from such things . . . but you'd be wrong.

Actually, both the Classical Period and the Middle Ages were non-capitalist, so the penury you speak of was a general penury that existed continuously throughout antiquity and Middle Ages -- and even into the modern age to the extent nations did not embrace fundamentals of capitalism (individual rights, private, property, rule of law). In fact, certain facts of social life were somewhat better during the Middle Ages than during Greek and Roman classicism: women in general had greater respect and higher stations in life than they did in classical antiquity (which was, quite simply, completely misogynist -- in fact, scholars have pointed out that women began to LOSE their freedoms again during the Enlightenment period); slavery was rampant in the classical period and all but stamped out during the Middle Ages -- only to be revived again precisely during "neo-classical" colonial expansion. Bernstein provided precisely ZERO evidence and arguments to show, for example, that classical antiquity had any overall better or higher standard of living for the masses of "common people" than did the Middle Ages. He lambastes author Rodney Stark for asserting (correctly) that many technical improvements had been made to old inventions, and new intentions made their appearance, during the Middle Ages -- pointlessly and ridiculously comparing them to the Industrual Revolution -- and then commits the same error of which he accuses Stark: he waxes enthusiastic about how wonderful things were before the Middle Ages -- during classical antiquity -- and then refrains from making the same comparison! Hey, Bernstein, you schmuck! By comparison with your favorite "standard" time -- the Industrial Revolution -- classical antiquity also suffered from penury and misery and poverty and slavery and misogyny.

So, essentially what we get from Bernstein's screed is that he's against the Middle Ages because he's against the the institution of the Church; and he's against the institution of the Church because he despises religion (especially Christianity); and he despises religion because he's a militant and dogmatic atheist; and he's a militant and dogmatic atheist because he's an Objectivist; and he's an Objectivist because he read Ayn Rand in his first year of high school and never learned to get beyond her. That's really about the extent and sophistication of the argument. Facts, research, scholarship play no role in his review.

Then he continues thus:

That some advances were made during this millennium is not to be doubted, and Stark recounts them in detail.

No, we need not doubt them, but we can say -- as Bernstein will in a moment -- "Yeah, so what? They didn't invent the steam engine, the lightbulb, or the laser, so it wasn't so great -- not so great as OUR achievements!" And this fucking ass-hat has a fucking doctorate in philosophy?? Watch:

But by the standards of the post-18th-century, secular West, such progress was relatively—and enormously—insignificant. In effect, the minor advances are red herrings, for they provided little or no relief from the endemic misery under which Western Europeans suffered for centuries.

See my comments above. By the same standards of post-18th century, secular western society, the technical achievements of Greek and Roman civilization also provided little or no relief from the endemic misery under which the majority of people suffered for centuries. The idea that "it was the Church's fault!" is historical revisionist Objectivist bullshit.

Did I say that there are no noteworthy Objectivist scientists? Please add to that list: there are no noteworthy (or even barely competent) Objectivist historians, philosophers, and book reviewers.

You twits are useless for anything useful except -- maybe (we'll see) -- acting as MC for a minor television show.

Richard - You seem a little

reed's picture

Richard -
You seem a little defensive.

Are you suggesting that your lack of imagination is a stumbling block for evolutionary theory?
No.

"the Universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."
I can't imagine that.

BTW: I've read the wikipedia article before.

See here, if you'd like some

darren's picture

See here, if you'd like some help imagining the origin of sexual reproduction.

Your Wikipedia article admits that no one has a clue how sexual reproduction began, concerning itself, mainly, with why it continues. Not the same issue, of course, and not the issue about which Reed inquired. However, even the issue of why sexual reproduction is maintained rests on the usual dubious premises of Darwinism: it's maintained because it leads to an unspecifiable condition called "fitness" in the progeny; and "fitness" in the progeny came about because of unspecifiable advantages to sexual reproduction. So we get our usual, nicely enclosed circular reasoning that we see everywhere within the Darwinist model.

A much better model is this:

Sexual reproduction came about for a very important purpose: to stop further evolution of the large, interesting, "macro" variety (i.e., the creation of new orders or species), and to limit all further change to the small, generally uninteresting, "micro" variety: i.e., different varieties of roses; different breeds of dogs; etc.

Many non-Darwinist evolutionists have held to this sort of model, such as Leo S. Berg, Oskar Schindewolf, Richard Goldschmidt, Richard Broom, Pierre Grasse, Gregory Bateson, and others. You can read an interesting overview of this idea from Univ. of Vermont biology professor, John Davison at his website:

http://www.uvm.edu/~jdavison/d...

And at the ISCID website:

http://www.iscid.org/papers/Da...

Church vs Reason

gregster's picture

Big fish, small barrel

Richard Goode's picture

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is Robert Whinespiel, the man who (earlier on this thread) mistook me for a Creationist, back for another "take-down"!

A former American president once said, "Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free." Quite right, too. (Watch, ladies and gentlemen, as I provoke Whinespiel into giving us a potted biography of JFK, lambasting him for his altruistic urgings and other assorted misdeeds!)

Another former American president once said, "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Quite right, too. (Watch, ladies and gentlemen, as Whinespiel hastily infers that I idolise Ronald Reagan!)

And to back up his epistemology he uses a B.S Haldane quote which says and means nothing more than: truth is stranger than fiction.

Whinespiel thinks I quoted Haldane to "back up my epistemology". He seems to have completely missed the point of my quoting Haldane, which was to counter a potential Creationist objection to evolutionary theory. (And, of course, the quote says and means much more than just that truth is stranger than fiction.)

Whinespiel imagines that my epistemology is that "everything man perceives with his five senses is an illusion" and that "the only means of gaining a truthful appreciation of the world is by reference to faith and imagination - enhanced no doubt by hallucinogenic substances." Not so.

The greatest philosopher who ever lived once advised, "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence." Quite right, too. That's my epistemology, in a nutshell. (If one does allow oneself the epistemic luxury of beliefs that aren't proportioned to the evidence, one should label them as such, explicitly.)

Imagine...

Robert's picture

And there ladies and gentlemen is the clearest indication that you will ever get from Dr Baade about how he acquires knowledge.

Knowledge of what?
The world as he imagines it.

What is the standard by which he measures the quality and voracity of his imaginary knowledge?
Blank out.

Why Blank out? Because the universe to Baade et al. is a haunted house controlled by an invisible ghost and everything man perceives with his five senses is an illusion. That means then that the only means of gaining a truthful appreciation of the world is by reference to faith and imagination - enhanced no doubt by hallucinogenic substances.

And to back up his epistemology he uses a B.S Haldane quote which says and means nothing more than: truth is stranger than fiction.

Of course Haldane's malaise is simply due to a lack of factual information.

A deficit he could remedy by diligent and focused effort guided by the axiom that existence exists. Imagination is only scientifically useful to if it is restrained by reality. That is, you apply your imagination to the results you have on hand and come up with a testable theory. That theory gets modified in the light of the data collected and on it goes. Scientific discovery is an iterative process with reality as its standard.

But let us measure the intellectual status of B.S. Haldane by his other actions in life - actions that Baade has failed to mention. Haldane it seems is Baade's ideal of scientific discovery and as such this examination will illustrate more of Baade's philosophy than he has been willing to explicitly divulge. (Remember it took him a number of years to admit to SOLO that he believes in God)

Haldane was an enthusiastic Marxist and editor of the Daily Worker

"I had [gastritis] for about fifteen years until I read Lenin and other writers, who showed me what was wrong with our society and how to cure it...Since then I have needed no magnesia."

But he was a pragmatist who could not imagine how Britain and USA could be transformed into a Socialist society. Here I suspect that he was being coy because in the 60s he also said the following about Stalin:

"[Stalin is] a very great man who did a very good job."

I could forgive him his dalliance with Socialism in the 30s and 40s given the enthusiastic embrace this 'new' doctrine received from otherwise sensible men. As an aside, yes I am stretching my forbearance to its breaking point, but there is a larger point to be made here.

To continue to admire a fucking butcher like Stalin into the 1960s is unforgivable. Or it would be to any person of common sense. Then again, Haldane's statement will make perfect sense to those who can imagine (as Haldane obviously did) that the USSR under Stalin was a Utopia of sun-shine and lollipops despite ample evidence to the contrary.

As for Haldane's enthusiasm for reality; this facetious quote sums it up:

"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms."

I do not know a single scientist who would utter this statement sober and then let it circulate unchallenged and uncorrected.

Now, Haldane made contributions to the field of population genetics and was an enthusiastic campaigner for an independent India. I'll speculate that these were made in the brief periods when Haldane restrained himself to considering actual evidence as opposed to his imagination.

But as for the rest of his behavior: How can this man be held in any esteem in this day and age with the blood soaked history of Marxism laid bare for all to see FFS!?!

As I have stated, man is a being capable of functioning while holding fundamental false premises. Haldane appears to be a textbook example of this. As is Baade, if he can ignore Haldane's faults to that extent.

Small wonder that Baade idolizes a man whose approach to science appears to have been as ill considered and random as his experiments into the effects of high oxygen concentration.

The idiot sat in a decompression chamber and had them pump in extra oxygen without compensating for the increase in pressure. Consequently he suffered perforated ear-drums and a compressed spine.

Probably imagined that his spine and air drums weren't composed of atoms either and would therefore be immune to rapid pressure changes.

Reed

Richard Goode's picture

Richard
What about you, can you imagine evolution regarding single cell to multi-cell, the first egg, [the evolution of] sex or metamorphosis?

No. But I'm sure I could, if I really wanted to!

See here, if you'd like some help imagining the origin of sexual reproduction.

There are a number of parts of the theory of evolution that I can't even imagine.

Are you suggesting that your lack of imagination is a stumbling block for evolutionary theory? It's not. A case in point—many Objectivists are unable or unwilling to imagine that some events are uncaused, that the Universe is infinite, or that time had a beginning—and, purely on the basis of their own cognitive deficits, reject modern physics. This is no way to proceed.

British geneticist and evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane once remarked that "the Universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." Quite right, too. (Haldane also described Einstein as "the greatest Jew since Jesus" and noted that "God, if He exists, has an inordinate fondness for beetles." But I digress.)

Richard What about you, can

reed's picture

Richard
What about you, can you imagine evolution regarding single cell to multi-cell, the first egg, sex or metamorphosis?

Darren

reed's picture

I think the key is to imagine plausibly...

I wasn't going to raise the bar that high. Eye

Creative much? I'd say that

darren's picture

Creative much?

I'd say that I'm at least as creative as someone who "tracs" the weather.

Say, how's that gravity-theory of abiogenesis coming along? Any buyers?

When is this prick

gregster's picture

gonna come up with the goods?

Edit: It's a bizarre sideshow. Every crooked device combined with other bent creationist gambits.

Bullshit Dazzler

gregster's picture

Most of the prebiotic scenarios are completely implausible, and what permits their advocates to hold them is that the implausibilities often lie just outside their own field of expertise so that it's always some other scientists' responsibility to spot them and point them out. In the meantime, however, the prebiotic story-tellers can have fun fooling both themselves and their colleagues.

And your creator is plausible. Fool.

Trying not to laugh, but...

Frediano's picture

The typical nihilist NZ high school student who is merely taught rote memorization of formulae

...was uttered by a guy who endlessly analyzes P/L and income statements for a living.

Creative much?

(No subject)

gregster's picture

That's a rare moment of honesty.

I disagree with your(?)

darren's picture

I disagree with your(?) statement that "Newtonian physics cannot be disentangled from Newtonian theology". As would any 20th or 21st Century High School student of Physics and Calculus learning to apply Newtonian Mechanics to the world he sees around him.

Well, now, Dr. Chrome-Polisher, that depends on the student. The typical nihilist NZ high school student who is merely taught rote memorization of formulae by indifferent graduate teaching assistants like you in order to pass exams clearly shouldn't be expected to recognize or appreciate theological implications of a physics hypothesis. That arrives (if at all) with reflection and maturity -- two words you might have to look up in a dictionary, since you won't find them in Branden and Tooze.

However, for your brilliant insight regarding high school students, Newton, and the philosophy of science, I hereby promote you to the position of Official Cleaner of Ye Brass Grease Trap. (An ancient honor at Oxbridge. Congratulations! Schnapps all around . . .)

You've been purifying narcotics too -- through your liver.

darren's picture

substitute chemist/meth lab in the scenario above for a physicist and a nuclear reactor.

OK.

The chemist in his meth lab will kill more people than the physicist in his nuclear reactor.

That's because nuclear reactors have redundant safety features (an engineering strategy known as defense-in-depth) and meth labs do not, in large part because the former are legal and the latter are not.

(No subject)

darren's picture

Smiling

but on the intimate

darren's picture

but on the intimate relationship, the inseparable entwining, of Newton's religious and scientific views, he's right.

You're a mensch, Ellen. (I've always thought so.)

Smiling

Ha!

Robert's picture

Now there was a man who was isolated from the rest of the scientific world. And guess how he had to proceed in order to discover the principles that govern the population level genetics in pea plants...

Silly little 19th century "chrome polishing mechanic" - he could have saved the effort and waited for god to speak to him. Either that or he could have used Baade's method of cognition and smoked his plants before coming to his conclusions...

Just finished reading a historical precis of drug development. It serves as a vivid lesson to nitwits who spurn proper experimentation and the folks who diligently carry it out:

Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner was the first to purify the compound morphine. Here is a transcript of how he "tested" is new invention.

"In order to test my earlier experiments strictly, I encouraged three persons, none older than seventeen years, to take morphine with me simultaneously.
Warned by the previous effects, however, I merely administered half a grain dissolved in half a drachma of alcohol and diluted with several ounces of distilled water.
This produced a generalized redness of cheeks and eyes [perhaps due to the alcohol] and the vital functions appeared generally enhanced.

After half an hour, another half-grain was taken; the condition was aggravated markedly, while a transient tendency to vomiting and a dull pain in the head with narcosis was felt.
After another 15 minutes, we swallowed another half-grain of morphium, undissolved, as a coarse powder, with 10 drops of alcohol and a half-ounce of water. The outcome with the three young men was decidedly rapid and extreme.

It presented as pain in the region of the stomach, exhaustion, and severe narcosis that came close to fainting. I also was subject to the same fate. Being in the supine position, I fell into a
dream-like state and sensed in the extremities, particularly the arms, a slight twitching which
accompanied the pulse beats. These distinct symptoms of true intoxication, particularly the frail condition of the three young men, caused me so much concern that I, half unconscious, drank more than a quarter of a bottle (6 to 8 ounces) of strong vinegar and also had the others do the same...
"

This idiot took a 60mg dose of a crystalline narcotic, with alcohol, along side his "test" subjects without any idea of what the purity was, no idea of this formulations potency other than a 120mg dose of a previous formulation went within an ace of killing him within a short period after taking it.

So yes, the law of identity is grand because it prevents me from killing myself in the furtherance of my work. Better yet, it prevents me from making a pharmaceutical product that will kill you accidentally.

If you want to know what sort of chemistry you'll get from a chemist whose theory of chemistry is indivisible from his theology, I suggest visiting your local methamphetamine lab next time they are cooking up a batch of their finest and light a match. See if their trust in God will protect you then.

Now use you imagination and up the ante: substitute chemist/meth lab in the scenario above for a physicist and a nuclear reactor.

I wonder if it wouldn't have...

Marcus's picture

...been more appropriate to argue whether or not the Austrian Monk Gergor Mendel, the father of Genetics, was influenced by god.

Maybe god whispered in his ear the Mendelian rules of genetics while he was dusting his pea plants?

Now that would be something.

Did anyone doubt that Newton was a religious man?

Robert's picture

The University he attended and worked at was basically a seminary in all but name.

All you have shown is that Newton was involved in attempting to reconcile the observable universe with his notion of God. I would expect that the majority of today's scientists would profess to having the same goal. Do you disagree?

And I would say that his most successful moments were when he was attempting to integrate and explain observations made by him and others. That is, his best work was grounded in reality.

I disagree with your(?) statement that "Newtonian physics cannot be disentangled from Newtonian theology". As would any 20th or 21st Century High School student of Physics and Calculus learning to apply Newtonian Mechanics to the world he sees around him.

Modern science has kept (with revision) that of Newton's that worked and discarded the rest. Scientific discovery is an iterative process with reality as its standard. Do you disagree?

Thanks, Darren, for Newton material

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Adding some emphasis to a couple details from the material Darren quoted:

It was in the eighteenth century that the still-common association between Newton and the secular clockwork universe emerged. Yet the notion of a self-sustaining clockwork universe, originally wound up at the beginning by a remote deity, is precisely the sort of view of creation and providence that Newton himself OPPOSED in the General Scholium, which portrays the biblical “Lord of Lords” as a personal God with an ongoing, interventionist relationship with creation.

Newton’s conception of space and time is thoroughly imbued with a profound sense of God’s omnipresence and omnitemporality. For Newton absolute space is rigid and immovable, thus providing a stable frame of reference within which relative motion occurs. All of this is possible because absolute space is coextensive with God’s omnipresence, and belief Newton came to in part from his exposure to the Rabbinical notion of God as mâqôm (“place”). As J. E. McGuire put it, space for Newton was God’s “sacred field.” Similarly, Newton conceived of absolute time as flowing evenly and uniformly largely because it is co-terminus with God’s eternal duration. Newton’s calculus also depended on his conception of absolute time, which for Newton rested on a belief in God’s eternal, evenly flowing duration. God’s omnipresence also provided an explanation for the phenomenon of gravity, and in private Newton speculated that God was the upholder of universal gravitation. His notion of attraction may have also owed something to his engagement with alchemical doctrines. Newton saw the deity as a God of dominion who ruled creation directly and continuously, intervening with particular providence when necessary to keep history or nature on track.

And re-emphasizing:

Newton’s published and unpublished writings demonstrate that his religion interacted with his science at a high level. Newtonian physics cannot be disentangled from Newtonian theology. Although it is clear that Newton recognized disciplinary and methodological distinctions, the lack of firm barriers within Newton’s intellectual life suggests that it is problematic to speak in terms of “influence” of one sphere on another. Instead, Newton’s lifework evinces one grand project of uncovering God’s truth. Science and religion for Newton were not two completely distinct programmes, but two aspects of an integrated whole.

There's more, pertaining to Newton's mechanics, some ideas I think we've lost to our disadvantage in trying to integrate volition and physics.

Ellen

PS: Keep in mind, I'm not agreeing with Darren on *other* points he's propounding, but on the intimate relationship, the inseparable entwining, of Newton's religious and scientific views, he's right.

Experimentation...

Robert's picture

In the interests of accuracy, I feel the need to point out that 16th and 17th Century physicists shared their postulations and published the results of their experimentation privately and publicly. Prior to the establishment of a formal society dedicated to facilitating the communication of scientific ideas, results and ideas were communicated an ad hoc fashion (both privately and publicly) by the various persons involved. One example is the so called "invisible college" of which Robert Boyle was an active participant.

To gain an understanding of the depth and magnitude of correspondence between 17th & 18th Century learned men; take a look at the content and the number of letters and publications (all preserved for posterity and available for examination at any library) written by men such as Jefferson and Franklin or pamphleteers like Thomas Paine.

Considering this and remembering that the Royal mail was established in the 1500s, only the glibbest of entities would assume that Newton et al. worked in a hermetically sealed universe deriving their insights without reference to reality -- assuming that the only experimental data they could have had access too would be that gathered by their own effort.

Thus the observations of Tycho Brahe form the basis for Kepler's theory of planetary motion and Kepler's work forms the basis for part of Newton's work. This is one example, there will be others.

In effect, what you are observing here is the manifestation of an informal division of labor. The division is between the empirical scientist and the theoretical scientist. That a scientist should strive to be both in equal measure according to his talents is not in question (in my view they should). That history's successful theoretical scientists still grounded their theories in fact (ie in the work of a diligent empirical scientist) was.

I refer financial analysts and Baade Doctors who cannot understand the division of labor to Adam Smith's treatise (The Wealth of Nations) on the subject.

Despite protestations to the contrary, Newton's work is based upon experimentation even though he did not do the observations himself. He benefited from Brahe's empiracal observations of the real work via the written word -- at the time the informal language of science was Latin. This is why Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica was published in Latin. Thus it did not matter that empiricists and theoreticians spoke different languages; they could communicate.

Later, the lines of communication that made the division of labor possible became be formalized in the 17th century with the foundation of institutions like the Royal Society (of which Boyle and Newton were members) in 1660 and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The latter came complete with a professional 'chrome polishing mechanic' (the Astronomer Royal) tasked with the job of providing the empirical evidence required to advance scientific understanding of (and navigation within) the natural world.

Wrong again.

darren's picture

The only actual experiment I found at your link was the one I already mentioned: prism and darkened room. The rest of the link -- his so-called "chymical" experiments -- were his efforts in alchemy, not experiments in chemistry, or even early chemistry, as we understand that term today. Alchemy was more of a religious ritual than a scientific endeavor.

Nice try, boob.

Darren

Richard Goode's picture

Assuming that you even accept the premise that Schmuck=Schmuck, etc., is a fundamental tenet of science (I predict not), then you need more help accepting it then I am able to provide.

One of man's attributes is that he is able to hold false premises and still function effectively, provided that he (or someone in his social group) adheres to a minimum extent to the axioms encompassed in the concept Schmuck is Schmuck. This is part of the lesson of Atlas Shrugged and it is a fact of man's nature that Objectivists do not dispute.

Ain't the Law of Identity grand?

imagination - plausible and implausible

darren's picture

I think the key is to imagine plausibly. That's the hard part for the Neo-Darwinbots to get right. They can always imagine a scenario that is completely implausible, because the purpose of such imaginings is to save the "framework", i.e., Neo-Darwinism, materialism, chance, and necessity. That's what really guides and informs their thinking, not the pure facts of the matter.

I think it was Richard Feynman who said something like "The hard part [in asserting a theory or hypothesis] is not to fool yourself. If you can be alert to that and manage to avoid it, then the easy part will be not fooling your colleagues, because that simply takes ordinary honesty." I think he meant "ordinary honesty" versus "intellectual and scientific integrity" in which truth for the sake of the truth is held as the standard and the highest value.

Most of the prebiotic scenarios are completely implausible, and what permits their advocates to hold them is that the implausibilities often lie just outside their own field of expertise so that it's always some other scientists' responsibility to spot them and point them out. In the meantime, however, the prebiotic story-tellers can have fun fooling both themselves and their colleagues.

A few examples: (1) the original school of Neo-Darwinists from the '40s and '50s never made attempts to calculate whether gradual changes over long periods of time could plausibly change one species into another. When a group of mathematicians and computer scientists did the calculations for them at a famous symposium at the Wistar Institute (Univ. of Pennsylvania) in the early 1960s, the evo guys were so shocked, they just didn't believe the numbers. (2) In 1953, after Stanley Miller and Harold Urey performed their famous discharge experiment and produced a few amino acids, it was the geochemists who informed them that the gas mixture they had used did not resemble the prebiotic atmosphere of Earth. When Miller repeated the experiment with the correct gas mixture, his electrical discharge produced useless tar. (3) When the same Miller (again!) demonstrated a route by which the nitrogenous base cytosine could be produced prebiotically by means of concentrated urea, it was Robert Shapiro -- professor emeritus of chemistry at NYU -- who wrote a critique of their work for PNAS and showed that (i) their reaction led nowhere since the produced cytosine turned itself into uracil at a faster rate than the original reaction produced cytosine! And (ii) the whole thing would have to take place away from the assumed prebiotic oceans with their assumed "rich soup" of prebiotic elements because -- since the end result of all this is supposed to an archaic RNA "ribozyme" molecule that is both an encoder of genetic information and a kind of enzyme -- the backbone of RNA is ribose, and ribose won't form in the presence of other reactions involving nitrogen. So Shapiro pointed out that the scenario would now involve a vast ocean of prebiotic materials producing ribose; vast decaying lagoons with plenty of concentrated urea producing cytosine; and then some other unspecified step supposedly bringing those two elements together.

A good story but -- as usual with prebiotic scenarios -- completely implausible.

A is A; Schmuck is Schmuck

darren's picture

What I mean is that God is irrelevant to Newtonian physics, Newton's religious believes played no role in the process of discovery and description of laws of mechanics and gravitation.

A schmuck is a schmuck, whether in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, or Hexadecimal. Ain't the Law of Identity grand? It explains so much about you, Leonid.

Here are some links you'll find interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/Newton-R...

Over the past twenty-five years - since the very large collection of Newton's papers became available and began to be seriously examined - the beginnings of a new picture of Newton has emerged. This volume of essays builds upon the foundation of its authors in their previous works and extends and elaborates the emerging picture of the `new' Newton, the great synthesizer of science and religion as revealed in his intellectual context.

Go to the following link, where you'll find many articles from reputable scholarly references, on the direct influence of religion and mysticism on Newton's scientific thinking and achievements:

http://www.isaac-newton.org/

I know you're too fucking lazy -- and just plain scared -- to navigate to the above site, so I've excerpted from one of the articles that appeared in the Encyclopedia of Science and Religion. You can download the entire article in PDF at:

http://www.isaac-newton.org/pd...

To make it easier to read, I am not putting the excerpt in italics (though I will add underlines and bolding for emphasis. My own comments will appear indented, between square brackets).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Newton’s science and his religion

When the young Cambridge-educated clergyman Richard Bentley was called upon in 1692 to deliver the first Boyle Lectures for the defence of Christianity against infidelity, he buttressed his natural theological arguments for the existence of God with support from Newton’s Principia. While revising his lectures for the press, he wrote the author of the Principia to determine if his deployment of its physics would meet the approval of the great man himself. In his first reply to Bentley Newton confirmed: “When I wrote my treatise about our Systeme I had an eye upon such Principles as might work wth considering men for the beleife of a Deity & nothing can rejoyce me more then to find it usefull for that purpose.” Newton went on and asserted that “ye diurnal rotations of ye Sun & Planets as they could hardly arise from any cause purely mechanical . . . they seem to make up that harmony in ye systeme wch . . . was the effect of choice rather than of chance.”

["Choice", Leonid, means that Newton, even then, recognized that there seemed to be an element of arbitrariness, or non-necessity, to the laws of physics; something that was reiterated in the late 20th century by the great astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle, who asserted that physical constants "appear to have been monkeyed with by a super-intelligence." Hence, "choice", in Newton's vocabulary, meant "designed."]

Even though Newton’s letters to Bentley were published in 1754 and thus became part of the public record, the Principia’s original theological backdrop receded in the wake of the profoundly successful Enlightenment portrayal of Newton, which made him the patron saint of the Age of Reason. It was in the eighteenth century that the still-common association between Newton and the secular clockwork universe emerged. Yet the notion of a self-sustaining clockwork universe, originally wound up at the beginning by a remote deity, is precisely the sort of view of creation and providence that Newton himself opposed in the General Scholium, which portrays the biblical “Lord of Lords” as a personal God with an ongoing, interventionist relationship with creation. Enlightenment apologists and later positivist scientists also developed the two variations of the “Two-Newton” thesis: first, that Newton only turned to theology with old age and dotage (and thus after the “first Newton” had produced his great works of science) and, second, that Newton kept his science separate from his religion in a kind of early modern anticipation of methodological naturalism. Although the vestiges of the second variant of the Two-Newton thesis can still be found in current literature, the recent availability of Newton’s long-inaccessible manuscripts for study has made such claims untenable. A steadily increasing body of scholarly literature is both explicating Newton’s theological views (the main contours of which were mainly in place prior to or around the time of the appearance of his Principia) and revealing ways in which his theology interacted with his natural philosophy. Although some of the conclusions will remain tentative until the manuscript corpus has been thoroughly analyzed, the view of Newton now emerging is that of a natural philosopher who was both profoundly religious and who saw no firm cognitive barrier between theology and the disciplines now called scientific. Isaac Newton the natural philosopher cannot be understood apart from his religion.

[Get it? Newton did NOT keep science and religion distinct, and as the article goes on to explain, he felt confident to employ certain modes of reasoning in his physics precisely because he believed they had been vindicated in his theological explorations. I was also quite correct in my earlier assertion that Newton's mysticism -- indeed, his reliance on his mysticism when engaged in his scientific work -- was whitewashed by intellectuals during the Enlightenment.]

Like other natural philosophers of his age, Newton believed that natural philosophy had as one of its chief ends the understanding of God and his attributes. Thus, he held that one aim of experiment, which he promoted assiduously as President of the Royal Society, was to discover God’s attributes. Moreover, because Newton also was committed to the topos of the Two Books—that God has revealed Himself in both the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature—Newton employed similar methods of analysis in his natural philosophy and his theology. Strong analogies between Newton’s prophetic hermeneutics and his natural philosophical methodology can also be explained by his commitment to the Two Books. Newton used the distinction between the absolute and relative in both his science (to distinguish absolute and relative time and space) and his theology (to distinguish between the absolute and relative use of the term God). In his theology Newton adhered to an epistemological dualism in which he divided knowledge into open and closed levels. This esoteric-exoteric divide, which may owe something to Newton’s involvement with alchemy, was also operative in his natural philosophy. Even Newton’s animosity towards Jesuit critics of his optics can be illuminated by an understanding of Newton’s theologically- inspired animus against Catholicism.

Newton’s aforementioned letters to Bentley confirm his adherence to natural theology.

[The same sort of theology subscribed to by William Paley in the 19th century]

Newton’s belief in the argument from design was given public acknowledgement when he added his General Scholium to the conclusion of the second edition of the Principia in 1713. In this new appendix Newton states confidently that “This most elegant system of the sun, planets, and comets could not have arisen without the design and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.”

[Marcus claimed that it was "hilarious" when I used the term "elegant" to describe the genetic code; yet here is Newton using the same word to describe universal gravitation and planetary motions.]

The theological part of the General Scholium concludes with the claim that discoursing of God “from phenomena is certainly a part of experimental philosophy” (“natural philosophy” in the third edition of 1726).

["Natural Philosophy" was the term in Newton's day for "physics" or for any science of nature in general. So he's saying that "discoursing of God" from our study of natural events -- "phenomena" -- is CERTAINLY a part of experimental philosphy.]

This was not Newton’s only public articulation of the design argument; the later editions of his Opticks also conclude with powerful expressions of natural theology. In one of his unpublished papers he wrote “God is known from his works,” thus confirming a natural theological empiricism that he shared with such contemporaries as Boyle. In a document dating from the early 1690s, Newton stated: “there is no way (wthout revelation) to come to ye knowledge of a Deity but by the frame of nature.”

[An unnervingly modern idea: scientific investigation of the "frame of nature" is the ONLY way to know God, short of direct revelation. In other words, "faith" won't do it; the purpose of science, the reason for studying "the frame of nature" is to gain knowledge of God.]

There was also an apologetic edge to Newton’s use of the design argument, and in one place he wrote that “Atheism is so se[n]seless & odious to mankind that it never had many professors,” and then went on to speak about symmetry and unity in nature, citing the fact that animals share homologies in their physiological structures.

[Right again. Very few people have really professed atheism throughout history. Newton would have been deeply saddened, no doubt, had he known of the carnage to come in the 20th century, wrought by explicitly atheistic systems such as communism and fascism.]

Newton’s adherence to the Two Books tradition is made plain in his early treatise on the Apocalypse, where he argues that the same “God of order” who embedded simplicity in creation also ensured that the fundamental meaning of biblical prophecy would be simple. This analogy between parsimony in Scripture and nature helps explain why Newton believed that similar inductive methods could be utilized in the interpretation of both Books:

It is ye perfection of God’s works that they are all done wth ye greatest simplicity. He is ye God of order & not confusion. And therefore as they that would understand ye frame of ye world must indeavour to reduce their knowledg to all possible simplicity,so it must be in seeking to understand these visions. For Newton all truth (God’s Word and God’s Works) is a unity because all Truth comes from the same, powerful Deity.

Newton’s conception of space and time is thoroughly imbued with a profound sense of God’s omnipresence and omnitemporality. For Newton absolute space is rigid and immovable, thus providing a stable frame of reference within which relative motion occurs. All of this is possible because absolute space is coextensive with God’s omnipresence, and belief Newton came to in part from his exposure to the Rabbinical notion of God as mâqôm (“place”). As J. E. McGuire put it, space for Newton was God’s “sacred field.” Similarly, Newton conceived of absolute time as flowing evenly and uniformly largely because it is co-terminus with God’s eternal duration. Newton’s calculus also depended on his conception of absolute time, which for Newton rested on a belief in God’s eternal, evenly flowing duration. God’s omnipresence also provided an explanation for the phenomenon of gravity, and in private Newton speculated that God was the upholder of universal gravitation. His notion of attraction may have also owed something to his engagement with alchemical doctrines. Newton saw the deity as a God of dominion who ruled creation directly and continuously, intervening with particular providence when necessary to keep history or nature on track.

Newton’s published and unpublished writings demonstrate that his religion interacted with his science at a high level. Newtonian physics cannot be disentangled from Newtonian theology. Although it is clear that Newton recognized disciplinary and methodological distinctions, the lack of firm barriers within Newton’s intellectual life suggests that it is problematic to speak in terms of “influence” of one sphere on another. Instead, Newton’s lifework evinces one grand project of uncovering God’s truth. Science and religion for Newton were not two completely distinct programmes, but two aspects of an integrated whole. For Newton, the unity of truth meant that there was ultimately one culture, not two

[That last phrase of the author's -- "one culture, not two" -- is a reference to a famous essay by a British physicist/novelist named C.P. Snow entitled "The Two Cultures." Snow claims that the two "cultures" are, broadly speaking, the quantitative sciences (namely, physics and chemistry) and the traditional liberal arts humanities (namely philosophy, economics, political science, etc.). Snow claims that the liberal arts people were essentially stuck in the past, holding onto qualitative concepts in ethics and psychology, while the "hard" sciences were beyond all that and confidently pointing the way to the future, if only the "common man" -- steeped as he is in the liberal arts, old fashioned way of thinking about things -- would give himself up to a scientifically-trained, technocratic elite, who will make life into nirvana. Libertarians, especially, cackle at this sort of 1940s/1950s technocratic confidence and naivety, since most of us recognize that in many ways it's the other way around: much of the problem with contemporary society is that the technocratic elites who run a lot of things don't know a thing about philosophy, political science, and (in my view) especially economics.]

Anyway, dweeb, I think that does it for you and your notions about some sort of "purity" of Newton's intellect regarding his physics as distinct from his religion: there was no distinction. Much of this knowledge -- while known "underground" for many decades -- has only recently begun to be studied in earnest by scholars. It's important to smack Objectivists with these facts as soon as possible and as hard as possible since Objectivists have a nasty habit of attempting to rewrite intellectual history in the image of Ayn Rand, rather than letting history and its personages speak for themselves.

There are a number of parts

reed's picture

There are a number of parts of the theory of evolution that I can't even imagine.

A few examples... single cell to multi-cell, the first egg, the evolution of sex and metamorphosis (eg. pupa to adult insect.)

I'd be interested if anyone here can imagine (and hopefully give a brief explanation of) the evolution of any of these.

But it wasn't right, Robert! (N's theory of gravity)

Ellen Stuttle's picture

In effect, the argument is that because Newton was correct about gravitation, then he must be correct about everything else - including the existence of god. This is a galactic sized package deal being smuggled in under the guise of an argument over non-essentials. These men saw further than others when, and ONLY when, their observations and integrations were founded on provable fact.

Newton *wasn't* correct about gravitation.

Absolute space and time; Galilean transforms; force of attraction acting instantaneously at a distance.

His formula gives pretty accurate results for short distances and slow speeds. But the theory is wrong.

That's my point re his thinking of God as the geometer who laid out the coordinates and taking this belief as a premise to the theory. I wonder if he'd have come up with the theory without that mistaken premise. Fortunate for the advancement of science that he formulated his theory. It's a case of a mistake being very fruitful but later needing to be corrected.

His views on God were also involved in his understanding of "vis." (As I said, I'll have to wait to provide material on that until later.)

Ellen

Ellen

Leonid's picture

What I mean is that God is irrelevant to Newtonian physics, Newton's religious believes played no role in the process of discovery and description of laws of mechanics and gravitation. Moreover, it is significant that Newton's religious studies terminated his scientific inquires. Evidently, faith, when taking seriously, is incompatible with science.

Gregster...

Robert's picture

I fear you are getting bogged down in debating the pros and cons of Newton's philosophical views. This is contra to the matter at hand.

The assertion being made, in essence, is that reality should conform to the beliefs held by the scientist (Boyle, Newton and Keppler) rather than the other way around. That is, the beliefs of the scientists should conform to reality (your position and mine) and further that even if the scientist's beliefs do not conform to reality - reality is unmoved and unaltered by his choice to be irrational. A remains A no matter how hard you wish it wouldn't.

Take this debate for example: it has been implied that because Newton, Boyle and Keppler were exceptionally successful at integrating their perceptions into a coherent and largely correct view of a portion of reality; it follows (so a certain entity implies) that ~every~ integration they made, regardless of its evidential basis, must therefore be true. That is false.

In effect, the argument is that because Newton was correct about gravitation, then he must be correct about everything else - including the existence of god. This is a galactic sized package deal being smuggled in under the guise of an argument over non-essentials. These men saw further than others when, and ONLY when, their observations and integrations were founded on provable fact.

Beyond that they were as susceptible as anyone else -- before or since -- to the prevailing political and philosophical fashions of the time. They were men, and as such they were free to choose when to stringently adhere to the provable, the real, and when to goof off and subscribe to mysticism. And when they deviated from stringently validating their concepts by reference to reality (properly controlled experimentation or celestial observation etc.) they were proven to be spectacularly wrong. Newton's dalliance with Alchemy is one example.

Another is Newton's dismissal of the possibility that a mechanical solution to the Longitude problem could ever be found. John Harrison, a self-educated, self-made, (largely) reality-grounded "chrome polishing mechanic" (to use a euphemism popular with certain entities) proved this statement to be false a mere ten years after Newton's death.

The formative years of these men occurred in and around the most tumultuous and religiously charged times in England and Europe. Newton, Keppler and Boyle were bona fide geniuses but they were as susceptible - as all men are - to holding to false premises. And reality is the standard by which one adjudges premises. And because man is a being of volitional consciousness, the act of adjudication requires conscious effort - it is a choice.

One of man's attributes is that he is able to hold false premises and still function effectively, provided that he (or someone in his social group) adheres to a minimum extent to the axioms encompassed in the concept A is A. This is part of the lesson of Atlas Shrugged and it is a fact of man's nature that objectivists do not dispute. Indeed, teaching men to identify and eliminate false premises in order to improve their life is objectivism's goal.

I know you know all this, but it needed to be restated because the debate cannot progress until the fundamental metaphysical and epistemological issues are hammered out. In reality this is where the difference lies whether one side chooses to see it or not.

Leonid, re Newton

Ellen Stuttle's picture

#97247: [...] can you demonstrate where Newton put god in his equations? As far as I remember, he managed to formulate laws of mechanics and gravitation without a need to introduce god into his formulas.

It isn't that god was in the formulas. But would Newton have come up with his universal law of gravitation without the assumption of absolute space and time? That's one place where he discarded Aristotle where Aristotle was right.

I think of the error as having been fortunate for the development of science, even though later correction was needed.

On the laws of mechanics, there are features of Newton's thinking which were set aside in the post-Newton process of firming up classical mechanics as an entirely mechanistic theory.

I haven't time just now to quote some sources -- coincidentally, I'm preparing to leave for a physics conference, and next week I have taxes to do. I'll try later to get back with some discussion of Newton's idea of "vis" (which was transmogrified into our modern idea of "force").

Ellen

Another point

gregster's picture

Your dazzling assertion, Except for his famous experiment with a prism and camera-obscura, Newton did no experiments at all, certainly not for his theory of universal gravitation. This is inaccurately put. Why say Newton did no experiments at all, then say except for..? Dumb. I can tell you're no scientist -I hope for your sake your financial analysis is less sloppy. Then after asserting Newton did only one exceptional experiment with light and prisms (can we blame him for Pink Floyd's artwork too?), you add certainly not for his theory of universal gravitation. I got it the first time. If he did only one experiment, one it surely is. But you're incorrect here too. So your earlier post is in tatters, like your designer's reputation. Here is one link to many of Newton's experiments.

Darren

Leonid's picture

I knew that soon or later you'll disintegrate and start to rave. Relationships are metaphysically given facts of reality but codes, which describe these relationships are man-made concepts. DNA is metaphysically given reality as well as the chemical affinity of certain triplets of nucleotides to the certain amino acids. It does what it does because it is what it is. It acts in accordance with the law of Causality which is Law of Identity applied to action. To claim that DNA is intelligently designed code is as to claim that gravitational force is intelligently design code which defines Earth's rotation around Sun. But, I suppose,you are quite able to make such a claim and it would be too much to expect from you to grasp the difference between metaphysically given and man-made. The first belongs to the realm of existence and the second to the realm of human mind which you obviously don't possess. Besides, you don't believe that existence exists.

99% of species extincted in the process of natural selection because they couldn't adapt to the changing environment. If they had been designed as you claim, than their designer is as demented as you are. You are so dumb that you are even unable to understand sarcasm. So you can safely sign your post with " Moron", that is your code and essence.

"Look, Leonid! The U.S. Navy teaches geocentrism!"

Is this the reason that their missiles so often hit wrong targets?

The difference here is that

darren's picture

The difference here is that the Navy use this convention knowingly and will not be put behind bars or excommunicated for it.

They wouldn't be put behind bars, but if they tried to assert that these terms are not merely conventions, but the literal truth, they would find it hard to publish, hard to get tenure, hard to get grants for research . . . and possibly even get fired from their posts and various academic positions (sort of like what happens to many who question Darwinian dogma today).

The idea that these terms are merely conventions -- convenient phrases that quickly and efficiently explain our common everyday perceptions of things -- was precisely how Ptolemaic astronomy had been taught . . . up until the time of Copernicus and later, Galileo. Instead of saying "New observations [such as the phases of Venus and the moons orbiting Jupiter] convince us that it is more convenient to explain both our common everyday experiences, and these new observations, by assuming that the earth revolves around the sun, rather than the other way around," they claimed that these new models were "literal" truth.

That's something quite different.

Had Galileo phrased it that way -- and had he not ridiculed his former friend (Pope Urban) by making him look like a fool in his dialogue comparing the two models -- he would not have been put under house arrest. In fact, it was the Pope who had originally tasked Galileo, and encouraged him, to write the dialogue . . . as long as it "fairly" presented both hypotheses: geocentric and heliocentric, and as long as Galileo did not try to turn the entire enterprise into an outright advocacy of the heliocentric model.

As I posted earlier, I forgive no one in this historical episode . . . not even Galileo, who obviously acted foolishly.

Dazzler

gregster's picture

There never was a clash between scientific inquiry and the Church. That scenario was a myth invented by the anti-clergy intellectuals of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire. They were also the ones, by the way, who started the project of "white-washing" the biographical knowledge of Isaac Newton, who -- until recently -- has come down to us as a "pure intellect." In fact, he was nothing of the sort; he was a mystic,

There was and will always be such a clash.

Who brought Newton into it? I agree Dazzler, he was in great part a mystic and you are perhaps best qualified to recognise this. He progressed science despite that handicap. But, as I put earlier; That design supposedly played "a starring role" is unlikely to further your cause, dimwit. They in fact made their discoveries despite the "design" steering them in all the wrong directions. It was only after the Platonic method of introspection, of forming the theory and twisting the observations to fit it (your favoured method of viewing the universe), advanced to experimental observation that facts were uncovered and better theories confirmed.

So the scientists who moved from introspection to experiment and observation, were the modern, real discoverers. Who was the first to really break the chains of dogma? I'm not sure.

Dazzler

gregster's picture

The dispute was not between the abstractions of "Science" and "Religion." That was read into the dispute later. Specifically, in the case of Galileo (and Copernicus before him), the dispute was between "Aristotelian Science" and "Non-Aristotelian Science."

That wasn't what was put forward. The conflict between Galileo and the Inquisition is not merely the conflict between free thought and bigotry or between science and religion; This was what Russell wrote.

I wholly agree with between "Aristotelian Science" and "Non-Aristotelian Science."

More false argument

gregster's picture

You can obtain the times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, transits of the Sun and Moon, and the beginning and end of civil twilight, along with information on the Moon's phase, by specifying the date and location in the form below and clicking on the "Get data" button at the end of the form.

Look, Leonid! The U.S. Navy teaches geocentrism! It says so right in the paragraph I quoted. Why else would it use scientifically incorrect phrases like "sunrise", "sunset," "moonrise", "moonset," and -- most incorrect of all -- "transits of the sun and moon"? The only explanation is geocentrism. Same as the Bible excerpts you linked to.

The difference here is that the Navy use this convention knowingly and will not be put behind bars or excommunicated for it.

596F752C72652061207363686D75636B3B204C656F6E6964

darren's picture

Just show me one non-material or non-physical code ...

No sweat, boychik; all codes are non-material.

Observe:

Below is the sentence LEONID IS A MORON. in hexadecimal characters:

4C454F49442049532041204D4F524F4E2E

The hexadecimal characters have material substance; the English characters have material substance; but the CODE -- which is the relation, or mapping, between the hex characters and the English letter characters, is non-material . . . pretty much like all relations. Read Aristotle's "Categoriae" (Book I of the "Organon") and look under "Relation." It appears after "Substance."

By the way, the reason that "Moron" at the end of my previous post was obviously a sentence -- an elliptical construction for "You are a moron." -- and not anyone signing one's name, is that a period followed the word. Get it,

847769743F
Twit?

As for the obvious robustness of the genome, you've forgotten one little detail (known as a "fact of reality"):

Unless you want to engage in circular reasoning about Neo-Darwinian theory (and most of the time, it appears you do), the fact of the matter is that no one has a clue as to how or why so many species became extinct. Dinosaurs were probably simply smithereened by some catastrophic event (asteroid/comet impact), or starved when their food supplies were blasted out of existence; but there's precisely zero evidence that any species disappeared because of "inherent fragility" to its own genome. Similarly, if a species is hunted into extinction, that doesn't say anything one way or the other about its genome.

That pretty much mirrors the other major problem in evolutionary theory: no one has a clue as to how all these diverse species came into existence, let alone how life itself began.

You'll be far, far less of a 6477656562 when you can drop the Darwinian pretensions to knowledge and admit this.

Ellen

Leonid's picture

You are right. Newton was deeply religious man. However can you demonstrate where Newton put god in his equations? As far as I remember, he managed to formulate laws of mechanics and gravitation without a need to introduce god into his formulas. It's also worth to mention that when Newton became preoccupied with his biblical studies, he stop to deal with physics.

Re Galileo and Newton

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I have to mostly second Darren re Galileo and Newton.

A central issue with both Galileo and Newton was their countering the Aristotelian cosmology and physics which had become Church dogma.

Also, Newton's belief in God was strong and basic, no lip-service. (I know little about Galileo's views on God.) God was included as a premise (the architect of absolute space and time) in Newton's forming his law of universal gravitation and even in his laws of motion (God as providing the initial "kick" of motion). During his later years Newton devoted a great deal of effort to the quest of finding a code in the Bible -- a code with a message for him, Newton, as God's translator. Newton was anything but modest. Astrological and alchemical investigations were strong among his pursuits. He wrote multiple works on alchemy which were well regarded at the time. (Alchemy was a mixture of attempted chemical exploration and mystical spiritual quest.)

Here is a webpage which gives a quick overview of Newton's "complexio" -- that's an alchemical term -- of beliefs and pursuits.

Ellen

Non-physical codes? How so?

Leonid's picture

" First of all, all codes are non-material or "non-physical."

Just show me one non-material or non-physical code and I will say "amen" after every nonsense you have pronounced so far. You ignore that code is material system which describes or defines other material system. How it could be non-material only your leprechaun knows. In case of DNA-RNA we have one material system which defines another material system-proteins- via mechanism of chemical affinity.
Incidentally you failed to address one single issue in my post-for example: what is the ground to your claim that all codes always have to be intelligently designed?

"So what we have here, moron, is a mechanism -- the genome, with its code -- that has survived in remarkably robust fashion for over 3.5 billion years,"

99% of species became extincted during this process. If any human designer were creating technological process with 1% of output, we wouldn't call him intelligent but rather an idiot.

Your argument is based on describing of what we don't know and ignoring of what we do know, all available evidence notwithstanding. Like a primordial savage you claim that if we don't know X,Y,Z then there is god, leprechaun, Big Foot or Big Codifier.

"Moron."

Nice to become acquainted with you. And my name is Leonid. I thought your name is Darren, but if you prefer to sign your post with " Moron", I will call you so with pleasure.

Leonid

Nice job, as usual, Leonid.

darren's picture

Even we in our present state of scientific knowledge could have done much better job. Was it really necessary to design a code based on very fragile DNA

See how fucking stupid you are?

1. First of all, all codes are non-material or "non-physical." A code is a conceptual apparatus: it's a mapping; an arbitrary assignment of one set of symbols as pointing to, or referencing, another set of symbols. The symbols might have physical representation (voltage differences in a computer representing a "0" or a "1", or ink squiggles on a piece of paper); but the mapping between the two sets is not physical at all. You don't know what "non-material" means? Or are you simply afraid of the term because it conflicts with your empty tautological mantra "Existence Exists!"?

2. Sorry that you don't like DNA code; it's not everyone's cup-a-tea, I'll grant you. But consider: it's ubiquitous throughout all living Kingdoms, and it's essentially the same: all living things use DNA with the same nucleotides, the same triplet codon system, the same DNA-RNA transcription/ translation system. And it appears to be very, very ancient. So what we have here, moron, is a mechanism -- the genome, with its code -- that has survived in remarkably robust fashion for over 3.5 billion years, despite meteorite bombardment, plate tectonic shifts, fires, floods, ice-ages, warming periods, comet-or-meteorite-induced wipe-outs of whole species, etc.

And you're claiming that it's "fragile." Good going!

Moron.

Bertrand Russell, eh? That's

darren's picture

Bertrand Russell, eh? That's Big Boy reading! You're a Big Boy now!

Regarding Galileo, the Church, and the Inquisition:

The dispute was not between the abstractions of "Science" and "Religion." That was read into the dispute later. Specifically, in the case of Galileo (and Copernicus before him), the dispute was between "Aristotelian Science" and "Non-Aristotelian Science." The geocentric system was formalized by Aristotle and later classical Greek thinkers, synthesized into Christian theology by Thomas Aquinas, and then declared part of official dogma.

It also had a lot to do with the fact that Galileo -- a colorful personality, for sure -- treated his intellectual opponents like shit. Unfortunately, some of these opponents (who, ironically, had liked him and supported his work in earlier years, since I'm sure, as classic "second-handers", they all loved the idea of being associated with a genius), were politically powerful. I don't excuse anyone in this affair . . . not even Galileo.

Try studying a subject before commenting on it, Leonid.

darren's picture

http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/...

You can obtain the times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, transits of the Sun and Moon, and the beginning and end of civil twilight, along with information on the Moon's phase, by specifying the date and location in the form below and clicking on the "Get data" button at the end of the form.

Look, Leonid! The U.S. Navy teaches geocentrism! It says so right in the paragraph I quoted. Why else would it use scientifically incorrect phrases like "sunrise", "sunset," "moonrise", "moonset," and -- most incorrect of all -- "transits of the sun and moon"? The only explanation is geocentrism. Same as the Bible excerpts you linked to.

Though the Church in Galileo's time taught geocentrism, the reason it did so had nothing to do with any Biblical phrases since the phrases regarding earth and sun in the Bible are not meant to convey cosmology, but simple observational, experiential fact; just as the phrases from the U.S. Navy link above are not meant to convey anything about cosmology or astrophysics, but, rather, simple observational, experiential fact. The reason the Church taught geocentrism was because it had deferred, long before Galileo, to the "wise" men of the day: the philosophers and the scientists, most of whom were Aristotelian. Geocentric cosmology, as an actual system, was Aristotelian cosmology, and it became official Church dogma -- meaning, Church officials could read Aristotelianism into Holy Scripture -- since the days of Thomas Aquinas.

Therefore, to attack Aristotelianism (by attacking the geocentric system) was perceived as attacking both Church and scripture.

In fact, there is nothing in the Bible, neither Old Testament nor New, that asserts that the earth is at the center of anything. Geocentrism, as a theory of cosmic structure, was a Greek notion, upheld by many eminent classical thinkers, including Aristotle.

Regarding Galileo's trial before the Inquisition:

Before becoming Pope Urban VIII, Cardinal Maffeo Barberini was an admirer of Galileo, who merely insisted that Galileo publish a dialogue (i.e., a work written along the lines of one of Plato's dialogues) and present the case both for and against Copernicanism; he also insisted that Galileo include his (i.e., Pope Urban's) views on the matter (which were geocentric). Galileo did just that: but he used the arguments and the verbatim phrases of his friend and benefactor, Pope Urban VIII, in the mouth of a character named "Simplicio" -- "Simpleton" -- who played the role in the dialogue that Leonid usually plays here on this board: that of "stupid jackass sidekick." Unlike Leonid, however, Pope Urban VIII actually had some standing in the world, and therefore went ahead and sided with the Inquisition in its accusation of "heresy" against Galileo.

Not a very nice thing to do, I agree. But Galileo's nasty personality -- he liked rubbing an opponent's nose in it, even if the opponent was a friend and benefactor -- was also partly to blame. The Wiki article Leonid linked to says this:

Earlier, Pope Urban VIII had personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism. He made another request, that his own views on the matter be included in Galileo's book. Only the latter of those requests was fulfilled by Galileo. Whether unknowingly or deliberately, Simplicio, the defender of the Aristotelian Geocentric view in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was often caught in his own errors and sometimes came across as a fool. Indeed, although Galileo states in the preface of his book that the character is named after a famous Aristotelian philosopher (Simplicius in Latin, Simplicio in Italian), the name "Simplicio" in Italian also has the connotation of "simpleton".[48] This portrayal of Simplicio made Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems appear as an advocacy book: an attack on Aristotelian geocentrism and defence of the Copernican theory. Unfortunately for his relationship with the Pope, Galileo put the words of Urban VIII into the mouth of Simplicio. Most historians agree Galileo did not act out of malice and felt blindsided by the reaction to his book.[49] However, the Pope did not take the suspected public ridicule lightly, nor the Copernican advocacy. Galileo had alienated one of his biggest and most powerful supporters, the Pope, and was called to Rome to defend his writings.

Just as I said before regarding those in Rand's inner circle who were excommunicated by her: Galileo didn't play the politics of his day very wisely.

Finally, I'll say this about the Galileo Affair:

Part of what was at stake was not only Aristotelianism vs. Copernicanism (Copernicus being an outright Platonist, by the way;) but a new idea as to the relation between "truth" and "hypothesis." Following the classical Greeks, the medieval academic world believed that "truth" -- as in "ultimate truth" -- was unknowable; the purpose of a hypothesis was simply to "save the phenomena" or "save the apperances", which meant: to organize the observed facts in such a way that everything was accounted for and everything made sense from an intellectual and "esthetic" point of view. One method of saving the phenomena was as good as another, as long as it did its job. That actually was science up until the time of Copernicus and a bit later, Galileo. With Copernicus, there was a kind of "sea change" in the way a naturalist investigator looked at the world and looked at the notion of "truth." The sea change was this: it occurred to Copernicus, that if a hypothesis could prove itself superior to others, it wasn't merely "saving appearances", it was describing a literal representation of the truth. It was "true" in an "ultimate" kind of way that hadn't occurred to those in the past. This was part of the revolution that the classical Aristotelians and the Church dogmatists of Galileo's day were fighting against: by their lights, man, by nature, does not and cannot have access to ultimate truth, but only to truth so far as it does a satisfactory job of explaining sets of data (which implies, again, that any hypothesis is as "true" as any other hypothesis as long as the data get explained). This, in fact, had been how Ptolemaic cosmology had been taught: just a hypothesis, grounded in Aristotelian notions, canonized by the Church since St. Thomas, and made retroactively to fit in with scripture.

For more on this aspect of the Galileo affair -- and on geocentrism vs. heliocentrism in general -- see "Le Systeme du Monde. Histoire des Doctrines Cosmologiques de Platon a Copernic." P. Duhem, Paris 1913-1917.

Leonid pretends he's done some background reading on these subjects, but all he does is surf Google and link to Wikipedia. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln:

"It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt."

More dazzling lies

gregster's picture

As Leonid points out you're proving to be very economical with the truth, and a ready subject for medical practitioners regarding the insidious consequences of compartmentalised thought.

Re Galileo and the Church, you are (not surprisingly) completely ignorant.
Galileo was actually urged by some members of the clergy to publish his theories; since the Bible says nothing one way or the other about geocentrism or heliocentrism, what differences would it make to them? None.

They'd have been incarcerated at very least.

The reason Galileo was put under house arrest was for a similar reason that Ayn Rand ex-communicated most of her inner circle with the exception of Leonard Peikoff: he didn't play the politics right. Turns out he used an old friend of his -- one who had been impressed by his theories and studies on kinematics -- in a book he published, and foolishly portrayed this person as "the dumb sidekick" who asks the appropriately naive question at the right moment of the lead character. Alas, this old friend eventually became Pope and eventually discovered how he had been portrayed in this well known "Dialogue" by Galileo.

You're almost correct by chance on this count Dazzler, according to my links to Russell's book:

"[Galileo] came in conflict with the Inquisition at the end of his life for maintaining that the earth goes round the sun. He had had a previous minor encounter from which he had emerged without great damage, but in the year 1632 he published a book of dialogues on the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems, in which he had the temerity to place some remarks that had been made by the Pope into the mouth of a character named Simplicius. The Pope had hitherto been friendly to him, but at this point became furious."

There never was a clash between scientific inquiry and the Church. That scenario was a myth invented by the anti-clergy intellectuals of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire.

Bollocks. You accuse me of being "completely ignorant." Fool. It may be reasonably asked, "Who to believe?" Dazzler and the Holy See, or Bertrand Russell's account.

"it was decreed in the Holy Congregation, held before his Holiness on the twenty-fifth day of February, 1616, that his Eminence the Lord Cardinal Bellarmirie should enjoin you to give up altogether the said false doctrine; and if you should refuse, that you should be ordered by the Commissary of the Holy Office to relinquish it, not to teach it to others, nor to defend it ; and in default of acquiescence, that you should be imprisoned ; and whereas in execution of this decree, on the following day, at the Palace, in the presence of his Eminence the said Lord Cardinal Bellarrnine, after you had been mildly admonished by the said Lord Cardinal, you were commanded by the Commissary of the Holy Office, before a notary and witnesses, to relinquish altogether the said false opinion, and, in future, neither to defend nor teach it in any manner, neither verbally nor in writing, and upon your promising obedience you were dismissed.
And, in order that so pernicious a doctrine might be altogether rooted out, not insinuate itself further to the heavy detriment of the Catholic truth, a decree emanated from the Holy Congregation of the Index prohibiting the books which treat of this doctrine, declaring it false, and altogether contrary to the Holy and Divine Scripture. And whereas a book has since appeared published at Florence last year, the title of which showed that you were the author, which title is The Dialogue of Galileo Galilei, on the two principal Systems of the World the Ptolemaic and Copernican; and whereas the Holy Congregation has heard that, in consequence of printing the said book, the false opinion of the earth's motion and stability of the sun is daily gaining ground, the said book has been taken into careful consideration, and in it has been detected a glaring violation of the said order, which had been intimated to you; inasmuch as in this book you have
defended the said opinion, already, and in your presence, condemned; although, in the same book, you labour with many circumlocutions to induce the belief that it is left undecided and merely probable; which is equally a very grave error, since an opinion can in no way be probable which has been already declared and finally determined contrary to the Divine Scripture. Therefore, by Our order, you have been cited to this Holy Office.."

And they've since apologised over the affair. Edit: If the dates above are correct he was in trouble with the Church before "Simplicius."

Troll Darren

Leonid's picture

"the Bible says nothing one way or the other about geocentrism or heliocentrism, what differences would it make to them? None."

Really? I wonder whether you ever read Bible?

Biblical references Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 include text stating that "the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved." In the same manner, Psalm 104:5 says, "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Further, Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that "And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place" etc

"The reason Galileo was put under house arrest was for a similar reason that Ayn Rand ex-communicated most of her inner circle with the exception of Leonard Peikoff: he didn't play the politics right."

Wrong on both accounts- about Galileo and about your silly attempt of Rand's denigrating.

"By 1616 the attacks on the ideas of Copernicus had reached a head, and Galileo went to Rome to try to persuade the Catholic Church authorities not to ban Copernicus' ideas. In the end, Cardinal Bellarmine, acting on directives from the Inquisition, delivered him an order not to "hold or defend" the idea that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still at the centre. The decree did not prevent Galileo from discussing heliocentrism hypothesis (thus maintaining a facade of separation between science and the church)...Pope Urban VIII had personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism...Galileo was found "vehemently suspect of heresy", namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions.[50]
He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition. On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.
His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...

Do you really think you can fool all people all time? As in case of life's origin your claim is completely unsubstantiated and easily refuted. Don't understand why you continue to make such obviously false claims? Are you leprechaun's worshiping troll?

Intelligent designer? I doubt...

Leonid's picture

"No cigar. No cigarette. No chewing tobacco. No gum."

You'd settle for a joint. All your arguments 1-5 are arguments from ignorance. Essentially what you say is: we don't know for sure how life emerged, ergo-there is creator. What is this creator, how he emerged, how he created "non-material codes" (whatever it means), how he inserted these codes into the material cells remains a mystery. You simply substituted one unknown for another without a shred of evidence of such creator's existence. And you simply ignore the all evidences which refute your arbitrary claim-like chemical affinity, self-organization, laws of thermo-dynamics and natural selection etc... Besides, you simply ignore or deny all the facts and explanations which answer your 1-5 arguments. But even if you are right, to claim that the absence of plausible explanation necessitate creator is a fallacy of non sequitur. The claim that all codes always have to be intelligently designed because that what we do, is akin to the claim that Universe has to be created because we make watches. Even you should admit the total idiocy of such a claim.

But if I'd accepted your argument for intelligent designer for 30 seconds, I'd say that he is lousy designer and not intelligent at all. Even we in our present state of scientific knowledge could have done much better job. Was it really necessary to design a code based on very fragile DNA and RNA molecules, complicated multi-step process of translation from DNA to RNA to messenger RNA to transport RNA to ribosome? Each and every step prone to misreading, mistakes, which is a cause of numerous genetic ,metabolic diseases and cancers. Moreover, what for he created codes at all? He could create much more stable basis for life than proteins or nucleotides, which wouldn't require continual synthesis. Moreover, why he has to store information on unstable DNA molecule when he could use silicon nanochip? And finally, why he, as a demented civic engineer, put the sewage draining system via entertaining area of the body?

But I think I know why you call your leprechaun intelligent designer. You simply created him in your image and likeness. No wonder!

You've "induced" and "implied" the wrong conclusions, genius.

darren's picture

The scientific achievers used the method of experiment

Except for his famous experiment with a prism and camera-obscura, Newton did no experiments at all, certainly not for his theory of universal gravitation.

Re Galileo and the Church, you are (not surprisingly) completely ignorant.

Galileo was actually urged by some members of the clergy to publish his theories; since the Bible says nothing one way or the other about geocentrism or heliocentrism, what differences would it make to them? None.

The reason Galileo was put under house arrest was for a similar reason that Ayn Rand ex-communicated most of her inner circle with the exception of Leonard Peikoff: he didn't play the politics right. Turns out he used an old friend of his -- one who had been impressed by his theories and studies on kinematics -- in a book he published, and foolishly portrayed this person as "the dumb sidekick" who asks the appropriately naive question at the right moment of the lead character. Alas, this old friend eventually became Pope and eventually discovered how he had been portrayed in this well known "Dialogue" by Galileo.

There never was a clash between scientific inquiry and the Church. That scenario was a myth invented by the anti-clergy intellectuals of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire. They were also the ones, by the way, who started the project of "white-washing" the biographical knowledge of Isaac Newton, who -- until recently -- has come down to us as a "pure intellect." In fact, he was nothing of the sort; he was a mystic, intensely interested in things like the Kabbalah (the book of Jewish mysticism from the Middle Ages), and actually wrote and published more on mystical topics than he did on science . . . which latter he believed was intellectual support for mystical investigation.

No cigar. No cigarette. No chewing tobacco. No gum.

darren's picture

Chemical principles govern specific RNA interaction with amino acids.

But not the interactions that we've been talking about on this thread: protein synthesis. The sorts of interactions mentioned in your citations have to do with gene regulation (not protein synthesis), especially by "riboswitches", which are one of several regulatory mechanisms. The other mechanism cited often in your sources is an "aptomer", which is an intelligently designed bit of RNA -- laboratory engineered with some difficulty -- that is designed to bind with specific kinds of molecules.

None of this has anything to do with what actually occurs in the genome regarding protein synthesis: nucleic acids and amino acids don't meet and shake hands; they correspond through the veil of a non-material mapping called code.

The researchers posit, of course, a presumed, unproven prebiotic world of RNA soup (for which there is zero independent geochemical evidence) full of their ribozyme aptomers, and then evolving -- er, somehow -- into the true code mechanism we see today. Those sorts of assumptions are ideologically-driven, not scientifically-driven, because the whole idea behind the research is not "discovery of truth, whither it may lead" but rather "what sort of scenario must we posit in order to save Darwinism?"

Here's how one of your sources -- Michael Yarus of U. of Colorado -- engineered his aptamer:

RNA was synthesized by Dharmacon. GUGGC = 5’-GUGGC-30 ; GCCU – 5’P-GCCU-3’ ; 5’OH-GCCU = 5’-GCCU-3’ ; GCCU20dU = 5’-GCC-2’-dU; GCC = 5’-GCC-3’ ; dGdCdCrU = 5’-dGdCdCU-3’ . RNA GCC3’dU was prepared by first synthesizing 5’-O-(4,4’- Dimethoxytrityl)3’-deoxyuridine as follows: 3’-deoxyuridine (MP Biomedicals; 991 mg, 0.434 mmol) was dissolved in 5 mL anhydrous pyridine and pyridine was then removed under vacuum while stirring. Solid was then redissolved in 2 mL pyridine. Dimethoxytrityl chloride (170 mg, 0.499 mmol) was dissolved in 12 mL pyridine and slowly added to 3’-deoxyuridine solution. Solution was stirred at room temperature for 4 h. All solutions were sequestered from exposure to air throughout.

Reaction was then quenched by addition of 5 mL methanol, and solvent was removed by rotary evaporation. Remaining solvent evaporated overnight in a vacuum chamber. Product was then dissolved in 1 mL acetonitrile and purified through a silica column (acetonitrile elution). Final product fractions (confirmed through TLC, 1.1 hexane:acetonitrile) were pooled and rotary evaporated. Yield was 71%. Dimethoxytrityl-protected 30dU was then sent to Dharmacon for immobilization of 30-dU on glass and synthesis of 5’-GCC-3’-dU.

PheAMP, PheUMP, and MetAMP were synthesized by the method of Berg (25) with modifications and purification as described in ref. 6. Yield was as follows: PheAMP 85%, PheUMP 67%, and MetAMP 36%.

Looks like a lot of intelligent intervention by Yarus and his team. I wonder who performed all of this synthesizing, dissolving, sequestering, quenching, and purifying in a world that was prebiotic and therefore pre-Yarus? The paper also notes the following:

Even more purification and isolation steps under controlled conditions, using multiple solvents at various temperatures, were needed to prevent cross-reactions. It is doubtful such complex lab procedures have analogues in nature.

I wonder if "doubtful" is too mild a word?

Here's a brief summary of problems with the whole RNA World hypothesis:

1. The early prebiotic atmosphere was not "reducing" and therefore it inhibited the sorts of chemical reactions that might spontaneously create organic elements like amino acids. Ironically, it was Stanley Miller's experiment in 1953 that proved all of this. Miller himself admitted that without a reducing atmosphere, you're simply not going to get the sorts of reactions that create organic elements.

2. There are no plausible routes to creating the nitrogenous bases of RNA. One of them, cytosine, isn't even found in nature outside of the actual contemporary genome. Some possible chemical pathways have been proposed -- such as one making use of large amounts of urea -- but they are completely implausible.

3. There is no plausible route by which the sugar backbone of RNA -- ribose -- could have been created prebiotically. The prebiotic chemistry used for explaining it has also been shown not to function in the presence of nitrogenous bases, which means that ribose and the 4 bases that normally attach to it to form RNA, would have to have formed apart from each other and then brought together in a separate step. Ribose more plausibly came about by means of an enzyme, but since the enzyme itself must have come about by means of RNA, this creates a chicken-and-egg dilemma.

4. There is no plausible explanation, based strictly on physics or chemistry, to explain why enantiomer symmetry was broken by living organisms: i.e., biological organisms are not racemic; they do not use randomly dispersed molecules of left-and-right handedness. The handedness symmetry is cleaved: the proteins all make use of nothing but left-handed amino acids, while the nucleic acid sugars and bases are all right-handed.

5. No plausible path has been described showing how we get from an RNA world governed by randomness and necessity, to a world in which an arbitrary mapping between two symbol sets governs protein synthesis. This would be like trying to show how a combination of randomness and necessity could have "evolved" the mapping between the set of (0,1) and its repetitions, and the set of letters in the English alphabet. Such mappings are caused by intelligent agency, not by chance and necessity.

Your citations have done nothing to answer any of these fundamental problems with the materialistic RNA World hypothesis.

Remove the blindfold Dazzler

gregster's picture

Brant: That’s right good soldier. You haven’t completely lost the skill of identifying the enemy of truth.

Right there Leonid. There is plenty of evidence to ruin Dazzler’s party tricks. (I’m surprised no-one’s had a go at the missing fossil record comment.)

You fuckhalfwit. The "design part" was an absolutely essential part of how they made their discoveries. Like all know-nothing O'ists, you mistakenly believe that great achievers in the past were -- unbeknownst even to themselves -- acting in accordance with O'ism as "proto-O'ists." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Haha. "Truth" from the slimy lips of a superstitionist. I don't mistakenly believe anything. If I do find I'm wrong, I change my mind. Unlike hackneyed god-botherers. The scientific achievers used the method of experiment and observation. That's the scientific method. In that sense, yes they were objective. Objectivism had nothing to do with it.

Here's a proto-O'ist (?):

The Inquisition stated that Galileo’s fate should be “a warning to others to abstain from delinquencies of this sort.” In this they were successful, so far, at least, as Italy was concerned. Galileo was the last of the great Italians. No Italian since his day has been capable of delinquencies of this sort. It cannot be said that the Church has altered greatly since the time of Galileo. Wherever it has power, as in Ireland and Boston, it still forbids all literature containing new ideas.

The conflict between Galileo and the Inquisition is not merely the conflict between free thought and bigotry or between science and religion; it is a conflict between the spirit of induction and the spirit of deduction. Those who believe in deduction as the method of arriving at knowledge are compelled to find their premises somewhere, usually in a sacred book. Deduction from inspired books is the method of arriving at the truth employed by jurists, Christians, Mohammedans, and Communists. Since deduction as a means of obtaining knowledge collapses when doubt is thrown upon its premises, those who believe in deduction must necessarily be bitter against men who question the authority of the sacred books.

The Scientific Outlook, published 1931, by ?, p. 19.

Objectivist metaphysics

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm sure there must be Objectivist scientists, but not posting much on the Internet. Anyway, a scientist doesn't use "existence exists," he merely doesn't pretend otherwise. Objectivist axioms are just there to hold up the philosophy on an intellectual foundation, otherwise it might go floating off above the troposphere. Some might say that that doesn't work. However, scientific endeavor must be grounded or there'd be no scientific method commonly understood. Scientists, of course, can be as dopey as the rest of us* and still do great work.

--Brant
*I must recluse--I mean recuse--myself (and the other 200,000 saved) because I'm not dopey

Darren

Leonid's picture

"Nice! Unfortunately, none of your citations, so far as I can tell, cites actual evidence that "self-organization" occurred prebiotically"

"The prior existence of thermodynamically ordered pathways for organosynthesis opens the possibility for a natural sequence of steps from proto-metabolism to the first macromolecular phase of life. Geochemically ordered primordial pathways would favor the preservation of any randomly formed polymers that increased pathway fluxes, thus producing more of the raw materials from which the polymers were made. The capacity for molecular replication could have been completely sequence-independent in its very earliest stages. If the first polymers were rare in a world where a nascent metabolic order already existed, their sequences would originally have been selected on the basis of their interactions with metabolites. Only at a later stage, when many such sequences were present, would we expect them to have taken on relations to each other that aided in their replication."

(Michael J. Russell and William Martin. The rocky roots of the acetyl-coA pathway. Trends Biochem. Sci., 29:358–363, 2004.)

This is only one of the many evidences which confirms that life emerged spontaneously from the abiotic elements and which you could have easily find by yourself if you weren't so dazzled by your faith.

"Find any current published biochemists or molecular biologists who make your claim."

"Chemical principles govern specific RNA interaction with amino acids. Experiments with aptamers showed that some amino acids have a selective chemical affinity for the base triplets that code for them.[45] Recent experiments show that of the 8 amino acids tested, 6 show some RNA triplet-amino acid association.[46][47] This has been called the stereochemical code. The stereochemical code could have created an ancient core of assignments. The current complex translation mechanism involving tRNA and associated enzymes may be a later development, and maybe protein sequences were directly templated on base sequences .The standard modern genetic code grew from a simpler earlier code through a process of "biosynthetic expansion". Here the idea is that primordial life "discovered" new amino acids (for example, as by-products of metabolism) and later incorporated some of these into the machinery of genetic coding. Although much circumstantial evidence has been found to suggest that fewer different amino acids were used in the past than today,[48] precise and detailed hypotheses about which amino acids entered the code in what order have proved far more controversial.[49][50]
Natural selection has led to codon assignments of the genetic code that minimize the effects of mutations.[51] A recent hypothesis[52] suggests that the triplet code was derived from codes that used longer than triplet codons. Longer than triplet decoding has higher degree of codon redundancy and is more error resistant than the triplet decoding. This feature could allow accurate decoding in the absence of highly complex translational machinery such as the ribosome.
Information channels: Information-theoretic approaches see the genetic code as an error-prone information channel.[53] The inherent noise (that is, errors) in the channel poses the organism with a fundamental question: how to construct a genetic code that can withstand the impact of noise[54] while accurately and efficiently translating information? These “rate-distortion” models[55] suggest that the genetic code originated as a result of the interplay of the three conflicting evolutionary forces: the needs for diverse amino-acids,[56] for error-tolerance[51] and for minimal cost of resources. The code emerges at a coding transition when the mapping of codons to amino-acids becomes nonrandom. The emergence of the code is governed by the topology defined by the probable errors and is related to the map coloring problem.[57]"

^ Knight RD, Landweber LF (September 1998). "Rhyme or reason: RNA-arginine interactions and the genetic code". Chem. Biol. 5 (9): R215–20. doi:10.1016/S1074-5521(98)90001-1. PMID 9751648.
^ Michael Yarus, Jeremy Joseph Widmann, Rob Knight (2009) 'RNA–Amino Acid Binding: A Stereochemical Era for the Genetic Code', Journal of Molecular Evolution, 10.1007/s00239-009-9270-1
^ Michael Yarus (2010) Life from an RNA world, p. 170
^ Brooks DJ, Fresco JR, Lesk AM, Singh M (October 2002). "Evolution of amino acid frequencies in proteins over deep time: inferred order of introduction of amino acids into the genetic code". Mol. Biol. Evol. 19 (10): 1645–55. PMID 12270892.
^ Amirnovin R (May 1997). "An analysis of the metabolic theory of the origin of the genetic code". J. Mol. Evol. 44 (5): 473–6. doi:10.1007/PL00006170. PMID 9115171.
^ Ronneberg TA, Landweber LF, Freeland SJ (December 2000). "Testing a biosynthetic theory of the genetic code: fact or artifact?". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 97 (25): 13690–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.250403097. PMC 17637. PMID 11087835.

As you see your premise of intelligent designed code collapses even after casual examination of the current basic biochemical studies. Besides, life began with emergence of semi-permeable membranes, which is pure self-organizing process even in modern cells and has nothing to do with DNA "codes".

""God", of course, like "matter" for the Objectivist, "always was."

This is simply a fallacy of equivocation. Besides, it brings you to the fallacious premise of primacy of consciousness. Your little trick which allows consciousness to exist simultaneously with existence but separately from it, doesn't work. To exist without to be part of existence is contradiction in terms. Existence is regress stopper, but god isn't.

Your claim that "codes" are evidence of god is another fallacy-a fallacy of argument from ignorance. But doesn't any religion is based on such a fallacy, even your pseudo-scientific chatter about intelligent design? As any other superstition this "theory" is based on the fear of unknown and the laziness to learn. Contradictory premises which based on primordial believes of sensory deprived caves's dwellers and poison mushrooms' eaters and which you adopted , apparently completely obscured your mind. No matter how many evidences which refute your idea of the need for intelligent designer I or anybody else will present-you'll always deny them in your obtuse way-mind is incompatible with faith.
You yourself never bother to present one shred of evidence of god except your importunate idea that "codes" necessitate him. Even village half-wit would tell you that this is another of your many fallacies: begging the question. Your premise includes conclusion. It based on the assumption that codes of life require intelligent design, contrary to all evidences available. This is also a fallacy of non sequitur. Codes of life is a result of self-initiated goal orientated process which is life itself. Such a process doesn't permit any antecedent cause, or, as Rosen put it " material system is an organism if and only if it is closed to the efficient cause." ( Life Itself pg 156). It means that life is its own designer and prime mover.

But enough of it.
I leave with your superstitions and your many fallacies until you'll grow up and learn how to think.
As I said before I have no patience for the leprechaun worshiping punk.

Have another mushroom.

You're either ONTO something, or ON something. Hard to tell.

darren's picture

...by someone who can't fathom the ordering impact of gravity gradient

Right-ho! As I posted previously, your notion that gravity creates order -- and therefore, might even be responsible for the creation of life itself -- is brilliantly original. You should develop it and publish.

You go, girl!

Nice try. No cigar. Have another double-espresso.

darren's picture

Nice! Unfortunately, none of your citations, so far as I can tell, cites actual evidence that "self-organization" occurred prebiotically -- in which case, self-organization is not much good as a theory of abiogenic origins. In fact, Kauffmann has even been accused by one of his own mentors in the field of practicing "fact-free science."

Do you have any shred of evidence that God, martian, or Leprechaun exist

Yes. The existence of something called code in the genomes of biological organisms. That's the evidence.

and if you do, where they came from?

Probably from mommy and daddy martians or Leprechauns. "God", of course, like "matter" for the Objectivist, "always was."

Don't you see that you premise doesn't solve the problem of life origin, but creates the problem of infinite regress?

So does materialism.

Beside, I already mentioned that what you call "codes" is a misnomer.

Find any current published biochemists or molecular biologists who make your claim.
Your claim is based on ideology, not science. Your claim is based on the fear of uncomfortable and unanswerable implications of accepting what everyone else accepts: that the sequence of nitrogenous bases in DNA and RNA is isomorphic to all known code systems, including ASCII and Morse Code. A system that is "isomorphic" to an intelligently-designed code like ASCII is, itself, code. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck -- even if you can't figure out how the duck got there.

Your so called codes are simply an expression of chemical affinity of nucleotides' triplets to amino acids.

Deny, deny, deny. I've already gone over this and you, you little dweeb, are making me repeat myself: there is no physical "touching" or "chemical affinity" or "chemical recognition" between the set of amino acids and the set of nucleic acid bases. The two sets meet only in a non-physical relation called a "mapping", just as ones and zeroes in ASCII are mapped to the 26 letters in the English alphabet. In short, nucleic acids and amino acids meet only in the world of code.

Leaps of the imagination

gregster's picture

"Scientific achievers of the past were not "proto-Objectivists" making Randian "Logical Leaps"; to believe so is to rewrite history."

Logical Leaps? Randian Logical Leaps! All this from a snivelling god-botherer?

Darren

Leonid's picture

"Zero evidence in favor of spontaneous self-organization is valid falsification of the theory."

Little bit more than zero

"Few doubt that the self-organization of matter generates much of the complexity of the inorganic world, from molecules to galaxies (Haken 1977; Yates et al. 1987; Bak 1996; Ball 1999; Lehn 2002). That self-organization is also exploited by living systems is evident in the formation of proteins (Anfinsen 1973), the formation of the spindle apparatus and other microtubular forms (Kirschner and Mitchinson 1986; Nedelec et al. 1997; Surrey et al. 2001), the cell membrane and various vesicular forms (Singer and Nicholson 1972; Trinkaus 1984), and in the construction of the nests of social insects (Franks et al. 1992; Camazine et al. 2001). The possibility that self organization might be a general mechanism for generating robust adaptive complexity— at all levels of the biological hierarchy, from the molecular to the organismic— is evidenced by the current interest in the subject in many different fields, including cell biology (Mitchinson 1992; Harold 2001; Misteli 2001), developmental biology (Nijhout 1990; Salthe 1993; Goodwin 1994: ch. 4 and 5; von Dassow et al. 2000; Newman 2002; Gardner et al. 2003; Keller et al. 2003), the origin of life (Kauffman 1993; Weber 1998; Woolfson 2000: ch. 11) and the evolutionary origin of
organic form (Lewin 1992: 32–43; Newman 1993; Salazar-Ciudad et al. 2001a, b; Newman 2002). Given the adaptive advantages of self-organization as a means of generating complexity, including its genetic economy (Camazine et al. 2001: 38–39, 63) and robustness (Camazine et al. 2001: 37, 337–338) we believe it likely that self organization will turn out to be used by living organisms in many different types of biological systems...All organisms are complex, far from equilibrium systems or dissipative structures (Wiley and Brooks 1982; Depew and Weber 1988).
Nonetheless many biological self-organizing systems organize themselves with only minimal input from outside, apart from energy. Organisms and their component self organizing systems are as Wiley and Brooks (1982) comment, ‘‘open ended in terms of energy and closed in terms of information and cohesion.’’ That they are indeed closed in terms of information and cohesion and uninfluenced by any external informational input is indicated by the increasing success in artificially simulating protein folding (Srinivasan and Rose 2002; Chivian et al. 2003), the formation of insect nests (Camazine et al. 2001), and microtubular cytoarchitectual forms
(Nedelec et al. 1997; Surrey et al. 2001) in computers.

The unexpected emergence of self-organized complexity has been described as ‘‘magic’’ by Kauffman (2000: 35, see also Lewin 1992: ch. 2) and something of its ‘‘magical’’ quality is
illustrated by the complex emergent patterns—sometimes fantastically intricate— generated by cellular automata programmed to follow remarkably simple rules (Levy 1993; Wolfram 2002).

Anfinsen’s and subsequent work has shown that the formation of the native form of a protein is created by energy minimization resulting from local interactions between the amino acids in the linear polypeptide chain (Srinivasan and Rose 2002; Chivian et al. 2003). The complex 3D forms of proteins are not specified in a genetic program but arise epigenetically via self-organization (Monod 1972: 89–97).

Self-organization is also widely held to have played a role in the origin of life (Kauffman 1993; Weber 1998; Woolfson 2000: ch. 11; Morowitz, 2002) and in the origin of evolutionary novelties, including body plans (Goodwin 1994; Newman 1993, 1994)"

(Biol Philos (2007) 22:579–601)

"Nothing mysterious about the way intelligence moves. Whether God, martian, or Leprechaun, it can choose a goal out of many possible ones."

Do you have any shred of evidence that God, martian, or Leprechaun exist and if you do, where they came from? Who created codes for them? Don't you see that you premise doesn't solve the problem of life origin, but creates the problem of infinite regress?

Beside, I already mentioned that what you call "codes" is a misnomer. Your so called codes are simply an expression of chemical affinity of nucleotides' triplets to amino acids.

"What you're too uneducated and natively too stupid to understand, Leo, is that design played a starring role in the founding of modern science "

I really have no patience for the medieval scholastic punk like you, who misuses and abuses science in order to prove unprovable arbitrary premise and commits numerous fallacies in the process. If I have to deal with leprechaunist I'd rather prefer Jesus' freaks. At least they don't exploit and defile science in order to support their weird ideas.

Being called a moron

Frediano's picture

...by someone who can't fathom the ordering impact of gravity gradient on species of different density in solution is not remotely close to being perceived as an insult. To the contrary, it is buoyant, so to speak.

Credibility is like virginity, you only lose it once. You may or may not yet have an orifice that is still virginal, but when it comes to credibility, your cherry's been long busted.

You'd need some credibility before your insults carry any weight at all, and yours, under the actions of gravity, would no doubt be floating at the top of your sea of
cargo cult science, like the flotsam they are.

If you had any credibility at all, they'd be jetsam. In lieu of that, if your argument was weighty enough, it might yet be lagan; alas, no hope, fully beyond derelict, sorted by the missing weight of its logic, mere surface junk.

Darren: Metaphysics = zero use in science.

Robert's picture

Ah.

And this is the origin of your problem. You have no idea what science does and what it needs in order to function. Your definition -- as far as I can tell -- is based on a Popperian circumlocution.

Science studies reality - period.

It hasn't dawned upon you that it is imperative that you first define what reality is being studied, that in the ~2400 years since Aristotle, there has been much written - a large portion of it in religious texts - about alternate realities superseding the one in which we live. These alternate realities are controlled by the invisible had of some super-being who doesn't just bend the laws of Physics, he rewrites them with a waive of his sceptre.

It hasn't dawned upon you - even though you have spoken highly of Newton's, Boyles', and Keppler's religious leanings - that scientists have not been immune to believing in the existence of this super-reality and as such have let it affect their analysis of the reality in which they actually live, the reality they are attempting to study.

It hasn't dawned upon you that science and mysticism (the belief in alternate unknowable beings in alternate superior realities) are mutually exclusive. Science - because it relies on our methods of perception - is a useless waste of time if those methods of perception cannot perceive the actual forces that govern the universe.

Thus science is the hand-maiden of philosophy, specifically the metaphysical and epistemological axioms derived from philosophy. Philosophic examination being the only way to figure out whether what you see, hear, smell, feel and taste are true representations of a world that is independent of your consciousness. A universe that behaves in a consistent and knowable manner as opposed to one that is an elaborate construct designed and implemented by the mischievous, unknowable, unpredictable and unidentified part of your mind or the mind of an equally mischievous, unknowable unpredictable and unidentified super-being.

The validity of everything scientists have discovered is founded upon the metaphysical axiom that there is only this reality and the epistemological axiom that man is able to correctly perceive this reality -- from its largest components to its smallest -- provided his mind is free to integrate the signals from his senses or the tools used to extend them. And further, that the components of this universe have a single knowable identity that cannot be another thing in the same way at the same time (the Law of Identity).

I am dragging you back to these very first principles of how man comes to acquire knowledge because you have just admitted to a total and complete ignorance of this fundamental requirement of both science and every human endeavor requiring forethought and planning.

Assuming that you even accept the premise that A=A etc. is a fundamental tenet of science (I predict not), then you need more help accepting it then I am able to provide.

A good teacher understands his topic from every angle of approach. This way he is equipped to assist students over every conceivable conceptual hurdle. As yet, philosophy is something I understand only from a relatively limited perspective that suits my own needs. So before you utter it, do not ascribe to me the title Objectivist. I do not consider myself one, having yet to read, digest and accept all that has been written about it.

No doubt this honest admission will provide yet more grist for your insult mill.

You should save your electrons though because I don't care what you think of me. And for my part I shall think of you no more. As Fred points out, you buried your intellectual credibility long ago and with this latest post you have placed a tombstone over its casket.

Even if you had not written the epitaph (Metaphysics = zero use in science) of your intellectual credibility, I would not care for and have not cared for the task of correcting you. This is because I have already weighed your moral credibility and adjudged it to be equivalent to reptilian excrement.

Your behavior on this thread bolstered my case. The new evidence includes your unjustified slurs not only upon those of your opponents who were civil to you, but also by smearing my former colleagues for the express reason that they were my former colleagues.

Thus, I've done what I set out to do: to prove that you do not understand science because you do not understand or care to know (and probably even deny) its fundamental axioms. And because of that, there is no more point debating you.

In short: if you don't believe in reality, there is no point discussing the finer points of reality with you.

Fred and Marcus on the other

darren's picture

Fred and Marcus on the other hand have been fairly civil to you.

Baloney. Marcus has been one rude, uncivil, motherfucker, who has shown that he can neither dish it out nor take it. Fred, on the other hand, is simply a moron.

Oh dear. You don't understand the role of metaphysics do you?

Sure I do. Precisely "zero" as far as its role in scientific explanation.

If you accept that there is one reality, the one in which we live

A very nice truism. Explains nothing in science, however.

And once you do you are in a position to discover that reality - you are in a position to DO science.

Newton DID more science in one paragraph of his "Principia" than you will do in a lifetime, and he was an outright mystic who not only believed that the universe was rationally designed and ordered, but made use of that notion in his own scientific work. Apparently, therefore, the votes are in on this one: it's far more productive to posit a rationally designed cosmic order than it is to recite, mantra-like, "Existence Exists! Existence Exists!" The latter might be why there are no Objectivist scientists of any note whatsoever. In fact, to be guided by a naive-materialist philosophy like Objectivism actually holds one back in a creative field like science.

Pot & kettle?

Robert's picture

Yes, I did. And I explained at the time why you deserved it.

But the puerility to which I was referring wasn't our witty banter - I fully accept that I'm not innocent. Fred and Marcus on the other hand have been fairly civil to you.

"Try publishing a paper on biochemistry [already done several times] and explaining anything by claiming "It must be so -- that's the Law of Identity, and besides: Existence Exists."

Oh dear. You don't understand the role of metaphysics do you? If you accept that there is one reality, the one in which we live. It is self-evident that reality exists and is what it is. And once you do you are in a position to discover that reality - you are in a position to DO science.

If it is otherwise, and you believe that there is an alternate reality that is greater than the one we live in and is unknowable to us, what you are studying is religion.

In other words the Science papers already state these principles implicitly. Every statement in them is backed up by experimental evidence, either research conducted by the authors or others whose work is referenced.

Scientists don't reiterate this stuff explicitly because (1) Aristotle already pointed this out, (2) journals are commercial publications with word limits and editors don't take kindly to people restating discoveries that are 2400 years old. (3) Lastly, most scientists take this for granted as being self-evident common sense.

What you should be asking is how far you would get if your opening line in the paper started with the opposite premise, that there is another reality over and above the one in which we live and the former controls the latter.

But this is what you believe isn't it Darren?

So?

darren's picture

Now, I could just tell you where I got my PhD but I don't want to distract you from the topic under debate.

It's publicly available information, mate. Massey University (1998-2004). So?

Take the headphones off and think.

darren's picture

They in fact made their discoveries despite the "design" steering them in all the wrong directions.

Exactly the opposite is the historical truth, twat-for-brains. You're just too much of a dumbshit illiterate in a topic generally known as intellectual history to know anything. You've been editing too much loud music through headphones to think straight (or even to think at all).

Scientific achievers of the past were not "proto-Objectivists" making Randian "Logical Leaps"; to believe so is to rewrite history. Tough on you if you can't accept that.

Prion Excrement

darren's picture

The interesting thing about your insults isn't there puerility or even that they are a transparent diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the catastrophe that is your argument.

Pot-Kettle-Black, ass-hat. You're the first one to call others "reptilian shit." You deserve to be compared -- unfavorably -- to extruded umber prion shit . . . though that's an insult to prions and their bathroom habits (apologies).

I await any arguments relevant to the topic of Origins Of Life research. So far, all you've done is have your intellectual peer, gruntster, pull textbooks out of your ass with his teeth. Then you applaud fraudster -- who might be one of the few persons on this site even stupider than the two of you -- for inspiring you with the brilliant idea of "filters."

Try publishing a paper on biochemistry and explaining anything by claiming "It must be so -- that's the Law of Identity, and besides: Existence Exists."

To the extent you cling to O'ism is the extent you'll continue to be a 4th-rate "bench scientist" polishing and cleaning other people's lab equipment.

The analogy doesn't aid your case

gregster's picture

What you're too uneducated and natively too stupid to understand, Leo, is that design played a starring role in the founding of modern science by luminaries such as Kepler, Boyle, and Newton. Only later on was it made verboten. Read some history of science books. [..]

The "design part" was an absolutely essential part of how they made their discoveries.

Dazzler, let me rewind it back a bit and explain for you. That design supposedly played "a starring role" is unlikely to further your cause, dimwit. They in fact made their discoveries despite the "design" steering them in all the wrong directions. It was only after the Platonic method of introspection, of forming the theory and twisting the observations to fit it (your favoured method of viewing the universe), advanced to experimental observation that facts were uncovered and better theories confirmed.

You're an intellectual blank cartridge

darren's picture

"Always?" From what lightweight under-educated perspective comes this requirement for 'always?'

From the defintion and identity of entropy. Don't blame me if you don't like it, twit-for-brains. Blame Boltzmann.

Go to your kitchen. After putting the Captain Crunch away, and placing your bibb in tha hamper so that Mum doesn't have to pick up, take some oil and pour it into half a glass of water. Stir it up 'randomly.'

You make two errors:

(1) you assume for no good reason that the natural state of oil floating atop water represents order and structure, and that mixing them creates a "chaotic" solution. You then claim, in contradiction to a long-known and well understood law of thermodynamics -- the Second Law, otherwise known as "entropy" -- that such "chaotic mixture" (and "chaos" in entropy means essentially "having a high probability of existing") moves of its own accord from a state of high probability (the mixture) to a state of low probability (separate layers) due to internal "filtering" forces like "density sorting." Unfortunately, it's the other way around: layers of oil atop water are the high-probability chaotic state; stable mixtures of the two -- which require a third element called an emulsifier -- are the low-probability ordered state.

(2) you are technically incorrect that oil and water don't mix because of differing densities. Recent research in colloid chemistry proves that oil and water will readily mix -- without an emulsifier -- if one removes the dissolved gas in water (e.g., by means of repeated freezing/thawing cycles, and pumping out the evaporated gas). Evidence also indicates that the resultant mixture is stable.

I see you've abandoned your magic gravity filter and are now attempting to run with a magic density filter. So far, you're having as much success explaining things with the latter as you did with the former. But keep on trying.

Did I say two errors? I meant three:

(3) You're so incredibly dumb, fraudster, that you even managed to misspell "bib" as "bibb".

You twat. The design part was

darren's picture

You twat. The design part was all wrong then too!

You fuckhalfwit. The "design part" was an absolutely essential part of how they made their discoveries. Like all know-nothing O'ists, you mistakenly believe that great achievers in the past were -- unbeknownst even to themselves -- acting in accordance with O'ism as "proto-O'ists." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Interesting.

Robert's picture

The interesting thing about your insults isn't there puerility or even that they are a transparent diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the catastrophe that is your argument.

No, the interesting thing is that you demonstrate -- once again and without solicitation -- that you are an useless researcher. This goes someway towards explaining why you came to believe what you do.

Here we are in the 21st Century with the awesome power of the internet at our fingertips, and there you are unable to obtain public information with which to color your ad hominem.

A competent person would have realized that when scientists publish, the institute wherein the research was conducted is listed also.
A internet savvy person might have looked at Facebook or Linked In and found the information he wanted.
Even a person of severely diminished mental capacity could have managed to find the information he sought in the copy of the old old curriculum vitae he used to obtain my employment history.

And I do have an interest in micro-fuckwitology, this is why I am interested in conducting a philosophical examination of specimens like you. As we have seen thus far, your macro-incompetence is both axiomatic and intrinsic.

Now, I could just tell you where I got my PhD but I don't want to distract you from the topic under debate.

I'd be particularly interested your rebuttal of my previous posts wherein I counter your assertions that (1) religion is verboten from modern science and (2) that you know something about the nature of proteins that is actually true.

I'm sure that others would like to see you directly answer my charge that you don't accept the Law of identity or the primacy of existence or both.

"always"

Frediano's picture

To show that gravity is an ordering filter, you'll have to show that it works opposite to entropy. You'll have to show that it always takes things that were in positions of high probability and moves them to positions of much lower probability,

"Always?" From what lightweight under-educated perspective comes this requirement for 'always?' Why not locally, in some circumstances, in conguence with other factors sufficient to create order, as in, density sorted species in solution? Which, as a side effect result in cascading gradient(gradient of concentration of species w.r.t. either space of each other)? As is often and well demonstrated. Are folks making up the evidence of 'density sorting?'

Go to your kitchen. After putting the Captain Crunch away, and placing your bibb in tha hamper so that Mum doesn't have to pick up, take some oil and pour it into half a glass of water. Stir it up 'randomly.' Put the glass on the table, then go back and watch your cartoons. Come back in an hour, and tell us what you see. Did the oil magically order itself, or was it density sorted? Then, go back and finish watching the cartoons.

I don't understand your perseverance on the singular, nor do I begin to understand where your mirthfully barked out authoritarian 'rules for the universe/God' come from. It for sure does not come from any exposure to logic or science, pther than a severely flawed one.

But then again, I don't spend a lot of time with my eyes rolled into the back of head, getting messages from God and/or childishly raging out my deep set paternalistic megalomania.

Parlez-vous Twiteze?

darren's picture

So it isn't English. I didn't think so.

Two more points about your silly notion that gravity filters things, and by so doing, creates order: (1) Regarding crumbling brick walls, you mentioned that a brick wall was a human structure that appeared only much later. True, but the problem is this: are you suggesting that your "gravity filter" distinguishes objects manufactured by humans from those that are not manufactured by humans, and acts different on them? If it's a naturally occuring object, well, then, the magic gravity filter adds order; but if it's a man-made object, then the magic gravity filter senses that fact and subtracts order. Odd.

(2) "Order" refers to something that is the opposite of entropy. Entropy takes things from positions of low probability -- such as clay appearing as bricks stacked vertically into a smooth, flat plane -- and puts them into positions of high probability -- such as clay appearing as random piles of rubble from a decaying brick wall.Under the influence of gravity, the wall reverts from a position of low probability to a position of high probability.

To show that gravity is an ordering filter, you'll have to show that it works opposite to entropy. You'll have to show that it always takes things that were in positions of high probability and moves them to positions of much lower probability, such that the final state is unexpected because not predictable from the initial conditions. If we can predict with certainty the final state of the entity in question from its initial conditions, then the ending state is not, by definition, unexpected, so the probability of reaching that state is very high -- in fact, it's 100% or "1."

Now, what's your native

Frediano's picture

Now, what's your native language? Just curious.

One in which the jarring lurch from 'gravity is not a filter/does not create order' to 'there are no multiple possibilities for the way something responds to it' is met with the mirth it deserves.

The voyage from 'got nuthin' to do with nuthin' to 'it's a slam dunk' was a short one, best taken on the short bus.

Well, I'll be . . .

darren's picture

. . . what do you know about that. I thought Waikato awarded you an honory doctorate for having spent your time so generously toward advancing the science of micro-fuckwitology (in which you are an acknowledged master).

You mean you have another other kind of Ph.D? From a different school?

Well I'll be. Does KU know?

Wrong again...

Robert's picture

You'd expect that you would have gotten one right by now just through dumb luck.

Waikato was where I got my Bachelors and my Masters. I see you are as well versed with Google as you are with science and history.

Please tell me you are better at analyzing financial data then you are at doing background searches.

congrats

darren's picture

those 'density-sorted crystals' arranged themselves without gravity.

Since gravity is ubiquitous and always has been, it follows that there are no multiple possibilities for the way something responds to it. One cannot remove gravity from an experiment to test where a particle would move in its absence. This is obviously completely different from coin tosses, dice rolling, code mappings, and anything else that is not strictly determined by chemical or physical determinism (such as the order of nucleotides in RNA and DNA.

Your posts have become progressively more stupid, fraudster. Pretty soon, Whiney will have to hand you his honory Ph.D. from Waikato University.

Let me be the first to offer congratulations . . . you deserve it.

Now, what's your native language? Just curious.

Greg...

Robert's picture

Don't you realize the brilliance here? Darren - with a tin foil zucchetto firmly ensconced on his head - is merely asserting a conspiracy on the part of every atheist to muzzle religion in science.

I myself am awaiting a check from the League of Scientific Illuminati as we speak. It's profitable work debating crusaders like Darren.

Oops, again

gregster's picture

What you're too uneducated and natively too stupid to understand, Leo, is that design played a starring role in the founding of modern science by luminaries such as Kepler, Boyle, and Newton. Only later on was it made verboten. Read some history of science books.

You twat. The design part was all wrong then too!

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