Dr William Lane Craig destroys atheists' hypocrisy

Anonymous Guest's picture
Submitted by Anonymous Guest on Fri, 2012-02-10 22:38

Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnpKN7tbb-I&feature=related to see just how ridiculous and dishonest atheists are when on one hand they don't believe in a supernatural God while on the other hand getting all self righteously morally indignant when trying to assert their own objective morals. The interviewer (with his pathetic attempt at logic) tries to catch Dr William Lane Craig out but ends up getting owned himself.


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At his request ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

At his own request, I have blocked Mr Burns. Don't know why he couldn't just refrain from posting. Perhaps he couldn't handle the temptation. Goblians are peculiar people. Eye

Well, Burnsy

Brant Gaede's picture

I think you just told me to eat cake.

--Brant
salivating

How's this for a deflectory sideshow?

Burnsy's picture

My Aunty made a delicious cake the other day and had it analysed by the Nobel prize winners in physics & chemistry. The Chemist provided an eloquent breakdown of the elements that went into the ingredients. The physicist put forward irrefutable evidence of how the cake was baked and it's structural properties.
However when asked WHY my aunty baked the cake; they were dumbfounded and the Nobel prizewinners had to admit that only my Aunty (the creator) knew the reason.

Burnsy's evasion tactic

Xray's picture

Submitted by Brant Gaede on Fri, 2012-05-04 05:28.
[to poster Burnsy]:
2is not a church, so why are you preaching? Proselytizer?

--Brant" (end quote)

I'd let him preach on because this offers good material to study evasion tactics used by theists when the discussion has reached a crucial point.

Submitted by Burnsy on Thu, 2012-05-03 23:44.

"Yes it is indeed difficult for SOME ID- advocates to explain an intentional creation of ticks, roundworms by God; much in the same way it's even more difficult for atheists to really live out (or much less advocate) the logical conculsion of their "reasoning".
<...>"
(end quote)

Burnsy,

Your post is a typical example of trying to escape a direct challenge by directing the attention away from the issue.

As a theist, you are of course well aware of the dilemma one gets into with a belief in a 'divine creator'.
For going by this premise, ticks, roundworms, rat fleas, etc. must then also be the result of 'divine creation'.

So how do yo react? You choose evasion and create a deflectory sideshow instead, where you state that atheists' lives are "meaningless" without a belief in god, and that they allegedly have no basis for good and evil.
You thus equate not relying on religious dogma with 'having no basis for ethical values' (which is of course absurd).
You then end your post by stating that you rely on "the rational evidence in my faith in a Christian God".
If asked about this 'rational evidence', you'll quote the Bible - right? Laughing out loud

This

Brant Gaede's picture

SOLO is not a church, so why are you preaching? Proselytizer?

--Brant

explain an intentional creation of ticks, roundworms

Burnsy's picture

Yes it is indeed difficult for SOME ID- advocates to explain an intentional creation of ticks, roundworms by God; much in the same way it's even more difficult for atheists to really live out (or much less advocate) the logical conculsion of their "reasoning".

Where the difference lies between the respective difficulties facing both the ID advocate and atheist is that failure for an ID advocate to explain "God's intention for creating roundworms does not render their belief false.

Whereas on the other hand the difficulty facing the atheist (ie 99.9999999'% of them) is that they can't bring themselves to living out the logical conclusion of their beliefts because they'd have to:

1. admit how meanlingless their lives would in fact be and

2. stop moralising about what is good and evil, right and wrong because they have no basis for such. 

This is why an ugly frump would have more chance of finding a future husband at a hair-dressing compettion than she would finding an Objectivist atheist in the trenches of a battle.

Needless to say that in the meantime I remain totally comfortable in relying on the rational evidence in my faith in a Christian God even though I can't contemplate the meaning of life for a gnat 

 

explain an intentional creation of ticks, roundworms

Burnsy's picture

Yes it is indeed difficult for SOME ID- advocates to explain an intentional creation of ticks, roundworms by God; much in the same way it's even more difficult for atheists to really live out (or much less advocate) the logical conculsion of their "reasoning".

Where the difference lies between the respective difficulties facing both the ID advocate and atheist is that failure for an ID advocate to explain "God's intentian for creating roundworms does not render their belief false.

Whereas on the other hand the difficulty facing the atheist (ie 99.9999999'% of them) is that they can't bring themselves to living out the logical conclusion of their beliefts because they'd have to:

1. admit how meanlingless their lives would in fact be and

2. stop moralising about what is good and evil, right and wrong because they have no basis for such. 

This is why an ugly frump would have more chance of finding a future husband at a hair-dressing compettion than she would finding an Objectivist atheist in the trenches of a battle.

Needless to say that in the meantime I remain totally comfortable in relying on the rational evidence in my faith in a Christian God even though I can't contemplate the meaning of life for a gnat 

 

Malevolent Design

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Tue, 2012-05-01 21:38.

""You can call me a neo-Marcionite if you like. The basic idea is that there's a good god and a bad god. The bad god purposely caused to exist, e.g., ticks and roundworms, because he's bad. Mmmkay?"

You believe in "malevolent design", so to speak. Evil

The premise (treating the contents of a religious text as if they had status of objective fact), has of course no epistemological leg to stand on, but your answer is interesting since it shows how difficult it is for ID-advocates to explain an intentional creation of ticks, roundworms & Co. by a [good] designer god.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

Would be interesting to hear Intelligent Design advocates' explanations as to why "housekeeper type entities" purposely caused e. g. ticks and roundworms to exist.

One such ID advocate's explanation is that of Marcion.

Marcion declared that Christianity was distinct from and in opposition to Judaism... He rejected the entire Hebrew Bible, and declared that the God of the Hebrew Bible was a lesser demiurge, who had created the earth, but was (de facto) the source of evil.

Marcionites held maltheistic views of the God of the Hebrew Bible... that he was inconsistent, jealous, wrathful and genocidal, and that the material world he created was defective, a place of suffering; the God who made such a world is a bungling or malicious demiurge.

You can call me a neo-Marcionite if you like. The basic idea is that there's a good god and a bad god. The bad god purposely caused to exist, e.g., ticks and roundworms, because he's bad. Mmmkay?

In Marcionite belief, Christ was not a Jewish Messiah, but a spiritual entity that was sent by the Monad to reveal the truth about existence, and thus allowing humanity to escape the earthly trap of the demiurge.

Richard

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sun, 2012-04-29 22:34.

"'Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the clicking of my link. " (end quote)

As for the link, I can't see any connection to the question I asked of you.
Here is the the question again:
"You think they (ticks roundworms & co) developed independently from a god then?"

God.com

Richard Goode's picture

Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

That was once the case, Leonid. These days you can download it for free. To survive, religion must sell merchandise and play live shows.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

'Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the clicking of my link.

God's industry

Leonid's picture

"The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history." Robert A. Heinlein

Clarification

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2012-04-28 21:27.

"You just asked me

Do you believe ticks, roundworms & Co were 'designed' by a god?

to which I replied, "No." Now you ask me

How do you reconcile this with your belief in a god who created nature?

Huh?" (end quote)

Sorry, I somehow must have overlooked your "No" answer.
I was replying to your comment: "Nature I'm against it" and, going by the premise that you believe in the Biblical God (this is what I infer from another blog (Eternal Vigilance) where you also post), asked you how you reconcile this with your belief in God who created nature.

So you don't believe ticks, roundworms & co were designed by a god.
You think they developed independently from a god then?

Hey

Richard Goode's picture

You just asked me

Do you believe ticks, roundworms & Co were 'designed' by a god?

to which I replied, "No." Now you ask me

How do you reconcile this with your belief in a god who created nature?

Huh?

Submitted by Richard Goode on

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2012-04-28 18:12.

"Nature
I'm against it." (end quote)

How do you reconcile this with your belief in a god who created nature? Did this god make some abysmal mistakes in 'designing' the whole thing?

Thank you for posting this

Xray's picture

Thanks for posting the Attenborough video, Don.
I just wrote on another forum (before seeing this):
"I've been ruminating quite a bit in recent years about a possible 'positive cosmic energy' principle, but each time I see an animal film where a living prey is being devoured, the 'benevolent universe' premise collapses."

Nature

Richard Goode's picture

I'm against it.

David Attenborough's view

Don E. Klein's picture

Do you believe ticks, roundworms & Co were 'designed' by a god?

No

Richard Goode's picture

I could not get much out of the link.

Try clicking it.

I prefer a more direct approach and therefore ask you:

Do you believe ticks, roundworms & Co were 'designed' by a god?
If yes, for what purpose?

No.

Richard Goode wrote.[quoting

Xray's picture

Richard Goode wrote.
[quoting Xray]: "Would be interesting to hear Intelligent Design advocates' explanations as to why "housekeeper type entities" purposely caused e. g. ticks and roundworms to exist."

"Here's one." (end qoute)

I could not get much out of the link.

I prefer a more direct approach and therefore ask you:

Do you believe ticks, roundworms & Co were 'designed' by a god?
If yes, for what purpose?

Dracunculiasis

Richard Goode's picture

Would be interesting to hear Intelligent Design advocates' explanations as to why "housekeeper type entities" purposely caused e. g. ticks and roundworms to exist.

Here's one.

Ticks, Roundworms & Co

Xray's picture

Submitted by darren (not verified) on Wed, 2012-02-22 22:27.

"With the sun, but without housekeeper-type entities, this whole planet would be lifeless, not to mention bookless."
(end quote)

Would be interesting to hear Intelligent Design advocates' explanations as to why "housekeeper type entities" purposely caused e. g. ticks and roundworms to exist. Big smile

It is because

Jules Troy's picture

Creationists are flogging intellectually dishonest notions and need one to suspend logic and reason in order to make the idea "stick".

mathematical structures in nature

Xray's picture

Submitted by darren (not verified) on Sun, 2012-02-19 19:15.
[quoting Xray] "We find mathematical structures and "intelligent" solutions in nature" (end quote)

"In biological nature; not in non-biological nature or in an assumed prebiotic nature." (end quote Darren)

But what about e. g. hexagonal Benard cells "dissipate heat more efficiently"? (Darren himself mentioned this elsewhere).

He also went to great lenghts with his 'housekeeper' analogy, which implied that all energy "directed" to attain a specific goal requires an "intelligent designer":

"The computer program is the product of the programmer — an intelligent designer." (end quote Darren)

Couldn't this ID argument be countered with:
So the ID creationists' position is that at the origin of every program, there must be a conscious, intelligent designer (or designers) at work who have "thought it out", like e. g. a computer programmer.

But what do the creationists make of the fact that all known intelligent designers belong/belonged to physical existence?
How can the creationist 'leap to the supernatural" be justified in view of all empirically manifest intelligent design being so firmly rooted in the physical world?

Darren

Brant Gaede's picture

Hate to tell you this, but you are a humanitarian.

--Brant
suck on that egg!

Fools Troy

darren's picture

My wife and I got Iphones iPhones this weekend.

Fixed it.

Or darren..

Jules Troy's picture

"My wife and I got Iphones this weekend"

Happy now?

Yes I work outside and am moving around every 15 minutes or so.

I am 42 and still feel young!

Hrrm can still bench 300 for reps and can still do the "russian splitz" so yes I am doing ok!

G N

Brant Gaede's picture

Another Grammar Nazi!? Grammar Nazis Must Die! I never could master Grammar--I go by sound. Frequent mistakes. Who/whom? WHAT???

--Brant
good enough with a gun--you can see the barrel of my M-16 in the pic--also with the 81mm mortar--you can see the base plate in the pic too: on the way to the Cambodian border 1966

Fools Troy

darren's picture

Actually I picked up an Iphone 4S for my wife and I me this weekend.

Fixed it.

Prepositions govern pronouns in the objective case. Alas, your iPhone 4S won't help your shit grammar.

But you can still blame it on the sun, the "ultimate" cause of all things.

Jules

Brant Gaede's picture

I hope you are young and strong and physically move around a lot in your work. If you're just doing those hours for the money you'll soon be plowing yourself into the ground.

--Brant

Derwood

Jules Troy's picture

Actually I picked up an Iphone 4S for my wife and I this weekend.

I really do work those hours and that you would seek to call me a liar is to expected from a dishonest wanker such as yourself.  Care to compare paycheques and hours you malevolent little pissant who seems to have nothing better to do than follow me around in order to justify your own worthless goblianity riddled reality evading smug pomowanker?

Derwood you even throw in your 2cents on a post I made on an excellent article I commented on just to give the author well deserved praise,  and low and behold there you are posting after me.

I actually like the method George Carlin used when figuring people out when it comes to jerks such as yourself.  It goes something like this.

Ok..(listens)...ok..he's not stupid...ok.."he's not crazy...."...

"AHAA!! He's fulla shit!!!!!"

Just because I dont use 1000 words to sum up the crap you post and say it in 5 words or less doesn't mean I am unaware of issues that you post about, I simply do not give a shit about anything you have to say.

In your favor you are an intelligent and very well educated man who does indeed know a great deal anout many things, however what you do with it in your attempts to ridicule others is pretty disgraceful and a reflection of who and what you are.

I may in fact be ignorant as to the finer points of philosophy and indeed I have not even dissected word by word the works of Aristotle butttt I am reading his works as time permits.

One thing no one can accuse me of is being dishonest or having no integrity.

 

So if Linz or anyone that actually matters would like me to scan my last 3 months of paystubs to show a fuck wit such as your self who doubts that I work the hours I say I do I would be more than happy to do so.

I may not be a Sciabarra or a Tibor Machan but one thing I am not is a fucking liar you shitbag.

Fools Troy

darren's picture

my time is precious which is why I do not waste much of it reading anything you post.

That's why you have no idea what's going on, what the issues are, what problems have been raised, etc. Like all Objerktavists, you practice self-imposed ignorance. And I know that because I waste lots of my precious time reading everything you post — from which I very quickly concluded you are an ignorant twit.

Moreover, since you so often harp on the subject of how many hours you work, I suspect that you're also a fraud regarding that, too. That you feel the need constantly to draw our attention to it in order to excuse your vacuous posts — the excuses ranging from "I worked 100 hours this week" to "my darned phone won't allow me to edit" — makes me suspect you are trying to practice some classic misdirection.

In any case, douchebag, if you really are working as hard as you say, and you really are "too busy making money", then with all that overtime pay, you can certainly afford a better smartphone — you know, like one that allows you to make edits, so that you don't misspell "atheist" as "athiest."

Of course, you could just fall back on your previous argument and claim the sun was the ultimate cause of your posts. If they're devoid of intellectual content, stylistically bereft, grammatically solecistic, and orthographically challenged, it's all the fault of the sun.

Lol

Jules Troy's picture

Ya well i worked 16 hours on the 13th so yes I took more than 2 coffee breaks.

How many hours do you work in a week duhrrren? I average 80-100 hours/week. Yes my time is precious which is why I do not waste much of it reading anything you post. It just isnt very valuable to me.  Just because I dont spend a great deal of time deciphering drivel from one that is sooo proud to be a "non objectivist" on an objectivist website doesnt mean I do not understand what is being said.

Lol..Dr. Simon Pritchett's acolyte...

Fools Troy

darren's picture

I comment while I have a spare moment of my precious time while I am at work during a coffee break.

Couldn't be that precious, because you take a lot of coffee breaks. On Monday 13 Feb., for example, you posted 7 times.

Unlike you I dont have hours on end to comtemplate housekeepers and how they do or do not violate the second law of thermodynamics.

Common sense arguments don't require hours on end of contemplation; they require a mind unfettered by Objectivist cant, rhetoric, and mantras. From what I've read of your responses, you're not capable of any contemplation whatsoever, for it's obvious that you don't even grasp the basic issues.

In other words im too damn busy making money to give you much thought

"In other words im too damn busy making money to give you much thought I'm too intellectually lazy and complacent to give anything much thought."

There. Fixed it.

No darren..

Jules Troy's picture

I comment while I have a spare moment of my precious time while I am at work during a coffee break. Unlike you I dont have hours on end to comtemplate housekeepers and how they do or do not violate the second law of thermodynamics.

In other words im too damn busy making money to give you much thought.

Fools Troy

darren's picture

The sun has more to do with arranging books or dna than god does..seeing as the sun actually exists and god does not.

(Yawn) We were speaking about a housekeeper, not god.

Your dimwittedness is boring, Fools Troy. But maybe you can still find a way to blame it on your phone.

In reality...

Jules Troy's picture

The sun has more to do with arranging books or dna than god does..seeing as the sun actually exists and god does not.

The sun doesnt have a direct correlation?  Noooo kidding thanks for stating the obvious godboy.

In reality . . .

darren's picture

With the sun, but without housekeeper-type entities, this whole planet would be lifeless, not to mention bookless.

Moreover, genius, if the sun were directly responsible for having sequenced books on a shelf, then it's obvious that it was also directly responsible for having sequenced letters on book pages; which means that the sun — not Ayn Rand — was directly responsible for having written Atlas Shrugged. In that case, why give Ayn Rand any credit for it?

I guess you must be a Sun Worshipper, Fools Troy. Rand was only a Man Worshipper. Guess she had it wrong.

Actually...

Jules Troy's picture

The sun is directly responsible Darren because without the sun this whole planet would be sitting at absolute zero.. Pretty tough to arrange books when your a goblincicle.

Peter

darren's picture

That reply doesn't make any sense to me.

That might be because you're just plain stupid. But don't worry, there are worse things in life. For example, you could be an Objectivist.

Oh, wait a second. You are an Objectivist. Well, then, I guess you're just shit-oughtta-luck.

I said that that a bomb blast cannot directly pick up and order those books, you'd need a human being for that.

If you admit that you need a human being to sequence books, then the bit about the sun's energy was irrelevant. Energy from the sun was necessary but not sufficient, ergo, it was not the "ultimate" cause.

But that human being is the result of a long chain of evolution,

So is the cat. So is the plant. Obviously, human intelligence adds something essential to the process of book-sequencing, which again means that the sun's energy is not the "ultimate" cause.

which is ultimately made possible by the nuclear reactions on the sun.

Wrong. You really should have grasped the point of all this by now. I guess not.

The point is this: even in an assumed evolution of the housekeeper (and the cat, and the plant), the sun's uniform high-entropy energy cannot, by itself, have been the ultimate driver of such evolution. At every step along the way of the housekeeper's own evolution, other little micro-housekeepers would have been necessary to do the same sort of sequencing in her biochemistry, as she did with the books.

So, no. The sun's energy is not "ultimately responsible" for the housekeeper's putative evolution; any more than the sun's energy is "ultimately responsible" for Ayn Rand having written Atlas Shrugged. Does Ayn Rand get the credit for having written Atlas Shrugged and for having been its "cause"? Or does the sun?

Darren: [quoting me] "That a

Peter's picture

Darren: [quoting me] "That a bomb blast cannot directly pick up and order the books on a shelf is of course a straw man argument.

[That sentence implies that an entity capable of expending directed energy is superfluous; ergo, anything at all could have been responsible for causing the books to appear sequenced in a position different from the floor: and since you admit that it cannot be the sun itself directly, then it must be something else, right? Like, whatever else happens to be in the room. Could be a cat; could be the avocado plant; perhaps the rug; perhaps the stack of old newspapers did it . . . after all, they, too, ultimately appeared on Earth because of a long chain of causes and effects starting with the nuclear fusion powering the sun.]"

That reply doesn't make any sense to me. I said that that a bomb blast cannot directly pick up and order those books, you'd need a human being for that. But that human being is the result of a long chain of evolution, which is ultimately made possible by the nuclear reactions on the sun. It is of course a non sequitur to conclude that therefore any creature that has evolved should be able to do that. I suppose that is creationist logic.

"Once more: without the person, there is a violation of the 2nd law."
A typical straw man, as I never said that it would happen without the person, so I'm afraid you've a reading problem.

Neo-Derwoodian...

Marcus's picture

I wonder if Derwood is now going to quietly slime away as he usually does when I present him with the facts?

His argument makes NO sense.

He said that his "creator" was a "first cause" creator that came up with the DNA code and then let evolution commence.

However now he is trying to prove that evolution didn't actually happen. So either he is inconsistent or dishonest or both.

So which is it Derwood? Did your primordial creation event evolve or was your "eye in the sky" guiding it all along the way?

Firstly, the "ey gene" is a transcription factor. Know what that is? It is a protein that directs the expression of other genes.

As far as I know it is not known what the "ey" transcription factor does in eyeless animals, but it must direct the expression of their genes not involved in eye morphology.

(I think you don't understand the expression "conserved gene" either. This does not mean 100% identical, but similar. We can recognise it is the same gene, but it will not be 100% identical. It couldn't be, could it? Genes are not even 100% identical between individuals of the same species, let alone between species.)

But let's assume for the sake of the Derwoodian hypothesis that they are 100% identical. Well, now, he has a problem, doesn't he?

According to you, the eyeless invetebrates must have eyes, musn't they?

How else are you going to explain it?

According to you, the "ey gene" causes eyes. So where are the eyes?

You have three options here,

either 1) God fiddles with his creations

or 2) The genes, which it targets the expression of, have changed.

or 3) It has no use whatsoever.

Only option three can back up your "first cause" hypothesis. However you still have the problem. What happened to the target? Why is the target not there, but then suddenly there when eyes are needed?

Only one solution. The target was there, but has substantially changed. My God! You don't mean evolution, do you?

Eureka! Has Derwood proved evolution? He has!

Let's all call it Derwoodian Evolution. It is defined thus: A process that occurs in the Derbrain of no change in order to prove creation bias.

Mucus you moron!

darren's picture

During evolution you will get gene variation.

Except that during this assumed evolution, there has been no gene variation. The ey gene in fruit flies is almost 100% identical to the ey gene in mollusks, the ey gene in mice, and the ey gene in man. So much for "variation."

Furthermore, when the researchers knocked out the ey gene in a mouse and inserted it into a fruit fly, the ey gene — now understood to be a "master control switch" for vision systems across many different phyla separated by millions of years of assumed evolution — instructed the fly's DNA to build an eye — not a mouse-eye, but a compound fly-eye — at the site of the insertion point: an antenna, a leg, a wing, wherever. The mouse's ey gene sends out a master signal in the biochemical equivalent of a "lingua franca", somehow understood by the DNA of all metazoans, including fruit flies: "hey! use your own resources to build an eye HERE."

That's scarcely an example of simplistic "convergent evolution" as the neo-Darwinians originally thought.

There has been no variation, adaptation, or convergent evolution here. It's a master control switch — a piece of biochemical technology — common to almost all metazoans.

Why would the creator place this "ey gene" into eyeless animals?

For the same reason that Apple built in icons and the nascent capacity to store things in a "cloud" of servers years before they had finished building their iCloud infrastructure. It's called FORESIGHT. Looking ahead to a desired future goal.

Indeed, it makes no sense from a neo-Darwinian point of view in which everything must justify itself according to the test of "fitness" for the goal of survival. Obviously, an organism, under the heavy jackboot of randomly occurring mutations and natural selection, would never know in advance what sorts of new capacities it will need to survive millions of years in the future. But if it were designed, then it might very well have latent capacities that would be utilized at some later point. Engineers do this all the time.

That would be a waste, surely?

Foresight for future technological development, not "waste." On the other hand, without the assumption of design, and under the assumptions of neo-Darwinism, the appearance of these elements before they are needed is simply inexplicable. Neo-Darwinists are then left sputtering into their unkempt beards muting to themselves that "the structure obviously must have been used for, uh, 'something else'"? But . . . what else? What are they basing that claim on, except coherence with their own assumptions? A perfect example (and a very typical one amongst neo-Darwinists) of circular reasoning.

Why wouldn't the creator make a separate gene for them?

Why would a creator do that if it weren't necessary for the sake of designing biological systems not yet in existence, but which he (or it) had foresight knowledge?

Your complaint doesn't make sense. It applies to Darwinian assumptions, not design.

Derwood you dawk!

Marcus's picture

The ey gene anticipated organisms that hadn't yet appeared! No doubt, the materialist "Objerktivists" on this site will not appreciate what that means, so let me state it plainly: the appearance of the ey gene prior to the appearance of the organisms that would be able to make use of it is analogous to the discovery of a 3,000 year old blueprint for a Nikon 35mm SLR camera buried in some Egyptian tomb.

Actually it proves the exact opposite. During evolution you will get gene variation. That means that this ey gene has evolved to fulfil a different function in animals with eyes. Ever heard of the process of redundancy and adaptation? Well, if a creator is responsible this makes no sense. From the evolutionary theory of the common progenitor onwards, this makes perfect sense.

However, if you were to believe a creator were responsible - it makes no sense.

Why would the creator place this "ey gene" into eyeless animals? That would be a waste, surely?

Why wouldn't the creator make a separate gene for them?

Makes no sense, unless of course, this is an evolutionary variation that has been used in a different capacity. Eureka! Yes of course.

Objectivists are so easily impressed.

darren's picture

the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.

Um, so what? Why does the possibility of the question "Who designed the designer" invalidate the first answer, that it was a designer who designed the eye, the wing, the spider, or the person? Dawkins doesn't say, but simply hopes that his readers are as biased in favor of materialism as he is.

An "infinite regress"? That's what concerns Dawkins? He needn't worry. Precisely the same worry plagues purely materialist scenarios, invoking, as they do, an infinite regressive chain of material causes and effects. stretching back either 1) infinitely, or 2) to a starting point such as the Big Bang. And applying Dawkins's own argument here: the materialist hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of what earlier material entities caused the cause? What material cause caused the Big Bang? Physics tells us, "nothing caused it. It simply happened." Fine. That's no different from saying "Nothing designed the designer. He simply was."

The whole problem we started out with was the problem of explaining statistical improbability. It is obviously no solution to postulate something even more improbable."

Ah, so a designer is "statistically improbable?" Good! SHOW US SOME NUMBERS, DAWKINS, AND PERFORM AN ACTUAL CALCULATION. Can't do it? Then you have zero basis for claiming that something is "statistically improbable".

Put up, or shut up.

What Dawkins really means to say is that he personally finds the idea of a designer "improbable", and not that the concept is demonstrably "statistically improbable." He attaches no numbers and performs no calculation.

Darren

Brant Gaede's picture

If u r right, life seemingly preceded material if not energy reality.

--Brant
physics to the rescue?

Dawkins vs Reality (and Reality wins! Surprise!)

darren's picture

 

A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. 

Too bad for Dawkins and Puddin'-Head Perigo, but nature also has foresight, and has designed her cogs and springs, and plans for their  interconnections, with a future purpose in her mind's eye. In fact, one of the clearest and most recent examples of this foresight literally involves the formation of the eye across a major division of the animal kingdom called the "metazoa", i.e., all animals in the animal kingdom except for the protozoa and the sponges. Below, a brief explanation of this discovery by Darwin skeptic David Berlinski from his 1996 article in Commentary Magazine, "The Doubtable Darwin":

 

Herewith the facts. Halder, Callaerts, and Gehring's research group in Switzerland discovered that the ey gene in Drosophila is virtually identical to the genes controlling the development of the eye in mice and men. The doctrine of convergent evolution, long a Darwinian staple, may now be observed receding into the darkness. The same group's more recent paper, "Induction of Ectopic Eyes by Targeted Expression of the Eyeless Gene in Drosophila" (Science 167, 1988) is among the most remarkable in the history of biology, demonstrating as it does that the ey gene is related closely to the equivalent eye gene in Sea squirts (Ascidians), Cephalopods, and Nemerteans. This strongly suggests (the inference is almost irresistible) that ey function is universal (universal!) among multicellular organisms, the basic design of the eye having been their common property for over a half-billion years. The ey gene clearly is a master control mechanism, one capable of giving general instructions to very different organisms. 

No one in possession of these facts can imagine that they support the Darwinian theory. How could the mechanism of random variation and natural selection have produced an instrument capable of anticipating the course of morphological development and controlling its expression in widely different organisms? 

The ey gene anticipated organisms that hadn't yet appeared! No doubt, the materialist "Objerktivists" on this site will not appreciate what that means, so let me state it plainly: the appearance of the ey gene prior to the appearance of the organisms that would be able to make use of it is analogous to the discovery of a 3,000 year old blueprint for a Nikon 35mm SLR camera buried in some Egyptian tomb. How would a blueprint for such a device have been created 3,000 years ago, before the technology, or the need for such technology, have existed? The ey gene is a genetic blueprint capable of giving instructions to visual systems that weren't in existence yet. 

So the vision metaphor is apt, but Dawkins is wrong in his conclusion: nature is NOT blind, which pretty much means that Natural Selection is NOT the operating mechanism behind the appearance of new species.

Link to PDF of the above-mentioned paper:

"Induction of Ectopic Eyes by Targeted Expression of the eyeless Gene in Drosophila"

http://lepdata.org/monteiro/Ev...

"These results support the proposition that ey is the master control gene for eye morphogenesis. Because homologous genes are present in vertebrates, ascidians, insects, cephalopods, and nemerteans, ey may function as a master control gene throughout the metazoa."

[emphasis added]

Peter

darren's picture

 

Where did I say that? And where did I say that the cat did it? Or is a "book-ordering person" a cat? That would be new to me!

I realize that you are congenitally unable, or unwilling, to pay attention long enough to anything I post to grasp concepts as they are presented; can you not at least pay attention long enough to grasp what you yourself post?

That a bomb blast cannot directly pick up and order the books on a shelf is of course a straw man argument. 

[That sentence implies that an entity capable of expending directed energy is superfluous; ergo, anything at all could have been responsible for causing the books to appear sequenced in a position different from the floor: and since you admit that it cannot be the sun itself directly, then it must be something else, right? Like, whatever else happens to be in the room. Could be a cat; could be the avocado plant; perhaps the rug; perhaps the stack of old newspapers did it . . . after all, they, too, ultimately appeared on Earth because of a long chain of causes and effects starting with the nuclear fusion powering the sun.]

You can check all the energy flows in the action of picking up those books and ordering them and look where they come from. Ultimately they come from the nuclear reactions in the sun that in a few billions years made the evolution possible of a book-ordering person, and of the energy that is directly needed in that action, that comes from the food that this person has eaten, which in its turn comes from the plants that have converted solar energy or from animals that have eaten plants, etc. A long chain of cause and effect and of energy transfer, but that nowhere violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

Once more: without the person, there is a violation of the 2nd law. The person — representing a source of directed energy capable of sequencing things — is necessary to the scenario. I'm not saying the person (in the form of the housekeeper in this example) "caused herself to come into being" — no one ever made that claim. It makes NO difference to the analysis that the sun was ultimately responsible for providing the energy that brought the housekeeper into existence: without the housekeeper, there is NO sequencing of books DESPITE the sun's energy. I'm saying the person caused the books to become sequenced, and, furthermore, that the person — the housekeeper — is just the sort of entity capable of converting high-entropy uniform energy from sunlight into low-entropy directed energy, capable of sequencing books. Can other entities do the same thing? Perhaps. But they would have to be the same sort of entity as the housekeeper. So ask yourself, "what sort of entity is the housekeeper in this example that allows her to convert high-probability arrangements of particles radiating in from the sun into a low-probability arrangement of books on a shelf?

Without the housekeeper or some entity like her, any scenario that reasons from the mere fact of incoming sunlight to the fact of books sequenced on a shelf must assume a violation of the 2nd law, whether it recognizes the violation and admits it, or not. With the housekeeper or some entity like her, there is no violation of the 2nd law.

Puddin'-Head Perigo

darren's picture

Unlike you I don't claim to explain the Great Mysteries of the Universe

Unlike you, I grasp what actually makes the origin of life a Great Mystery: sequencing requires directed energy in order to make scenarios of chemical evolution compliant with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. With only undirected energy, any given scenario will violate the 2nd law.

And, no, to grasp that the problem of sequencing requires directed energy in no way requires or entails previous knowledge of where such directed energy may have come from. Makes no difference. It also makes no difference if any satisfactory answer can ever be forthcoming to that question: directed energy is required to understand how something becomes sequenced. Additionally, chemical evolution requires it in order to avoid any violation of physical law.

Dawkins vs Barren-Baade

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"The analogy between telescope and eye, between watch and living organism, is false. All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection, the blind unconscious automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker."

—Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p 5.

"The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself. In the case of a man-made artefact such as a watch, the designer really was an intelligent engineer. It is tempting to apply the same logic to an eye or a wing, a spider or a person. The temptation is a false one, because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer. The whole problem we started out with was the problem of explaining statistical improbability. It is obviously no solution to postulate something even more improbable."

—Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pp 157-158.

Darren: "Anything on which

Peter's picture

Darren: "Anything on which the radiant energy from the sun impinges will do the trick according to you."

Where did I say that? And where did I say that the cat did it? Or is a "book-ordering person" a cat? That would be new to me!

Barren and Baade

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Barren thinks a goblin did it, 'cos it's "ordered," but can't explain what ordered the goblin; Baade has been watching too many Keanu Reeves movies.

Now that Baade's a full-blown Goblian, I'm wondering which he thinks will happen first (or has already happened first, since he has told us on other occasions that the future has already occurred): the first coming of the machines or the second coming of Jeezy? If the former occurs after the latter, will Jeezy have time to drag Olivia into the trash?

And, one more time, Baade: do you believe your consciousness will survive the death of your brain (I confess to finding the evidence that this has already occurred quite strong)?

Puddin'-Head Perigo Believes the Cat Did It

darren's picture

Your homework assignment, O Illiterate Bearded One, is to study this graphic so that, at the very least, you grasp the problem.

http://i.imgur.com/81SeT.jpg

Have fun weeping into your Leonard Peikoff tapes.

I knew it!!!

Jules Troy's picture

A few weeks ago Darren makes Janet a not so flattering avatar.

Now Darren has spewed the second law of thermodynamiccosmicsleepinghousekeepers.

I tried to tell him the answer was 42 but he wouldn't believe me.

I mean the answer to life the universe and everything being 42 was good enough for Arthur Dent.

I think his talent is wasted on all this goblianity stuff. He should focus more on his artistic Janet  endeavors. Smiling Smile

Linz

Richard Goode's picture

I don't claim to explain the Great Mysteries of the Universe. But this much I do know: you can't have consciousness without matter. If that's "materialism" then a materialist I am, proudly

That's great. Since you're obviously on a roll, why not venture an opinion on substrate independence?

Substrate independence is the claim that

conscious minds could in principle be implemented not only on carbon-based biological neurons (such as those inside your head) but also on some other computational substrate such as silicon-based processors.

In other words

what allows you to have conscious experiences is not the fact that your brain is made of squishy, biological matter but rather that it implements a certain computational architecture.

Do you accept or reject this claim?

Delusional Darren

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Unlike you I don't claim to explain the Great Mysteries of the Universe. But this much I do know: you can't have consciousness without matter. If that's "materialism" then a materialist I am, proudly (only I don't mean by that determinism in the case of human action, where volition is a causal agent). Do you believe your consciousness will survive the death of your brain, Darren?

The sequences observed in proteins and nucleic acids are categorically the same as a shelf of books arranged alphabetically by author's surname. The latter scenario requires a housekeeper as its cause; therefore, so does the former.

Oh dear. Cosmic non sequitur to arrive at your cosmic cleaning lady. I do believe you're anthropomorhising your goblin, dear.

Things are what they are. That's it. You should have paid more attention in Peikoff's classes.

How's the memoir? Disappearing down the Scherk-hole?

Comrade Perigorsky! . . .

darren's picture

. . . How go the indoctrination sessions in philosophical materialism? Able to explain (or explain away) the great mysteries of the universe — such as the origin of life — by means of it?

Where did . . . this cosmic housekeeper, come from?!

Where did the alphabetical sequence of the books on the shelf come from?

The cat? The avocado plant? The sunlight?

Sillier and sillier.

The sequences observed in proteins and nucleic acids are categorically the same as a shelf of books arranged alphabetically by author's surname. The latter scenario requires a housekeeper as its cause; therefore, so does the former. You'll live with the idea of a housekeeper to perform the work of sequencing or you'll accept a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics in order to retain materialism.

Darren

Brant Gaede's picture

1. or

2. or

3. I don't know.

--Brant

Oh Gobby!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

So now the lonely goblin might have done it in its sleep.

Sillier and sillier.

Where did the lonely goblin, this cosmic housekeeper, come from?!

Brant

darren's picture

but it seems the first cause of life is even more obscure and problematic.

Indeed.

But why does the "director" have to be conscious?

Whatever the source of "directed energy," it must be able to discriminate amongst alternatives, because sequencing things is all about discriminating amongst alternatives, and the key macro-molecules responsible for life — nucleic acids and proteins — all depend on sequencing. "Intelligent" seems to be the most relevant way of describing such a source; whether or not that also implies "conscious" was something that Xray asked in a previous post. Can an intelligent entity also be a non-conscious one? I don't know. An intelligent entity can be unconscious, as when a human being is asleep. I don't think it would be correct to say that a sleeping person is "not intelligent", though a sleeping, unconscious person is also not actively engaged in discriminating amongst alternatives.

Now we know the sun is a nuclear furnace ignited by gravity.

Why would that knowledge require us to adopt a purely materialistic theory of origins such as chemical evolution? A nuclear furnace ignited by gravity doesn't violate any known physical law; chemical evolution, by itself, does.

To use the analogy of the messy room and the housekeeper again, the choices are these:

1. Admit that to go from a messy room to an organized room with books removed from the floor and placed on a shelf in alphabetical order requires a source of directed energy (whom we call "the housekeeper"), capable of taking random energy streaming in from the sun, and converting it into a form that permits its precise, discriminatory application to some entities in the room (i.e., the books), but not others (e.g., the old newspapers and magazines, the rug, the umbrella stand, the trash bin, and the cat), in order to lower the entropic state of the room by decreasing its disorderliness (i.e., increasing its orderliness);

or,

2. Admit that there is a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics when uniform, high-probability arrangements of particles streaming in from the sun ("radiant solar energy") enter the room and lower the room's entropic state, rather than raising it, by organizing it in the absence of any entity capable of discriminating amongst alternatives and decreasing the disorder in the room.

There's nothing wrong with purely materialist scenarios of chemical evolution, so long as one is willing to accept the concomitant violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

conversely,

If one insists on the sovereignty of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, any scenario of chemical evolution must assume a source of directed energy — a "housekeeper" — capable of converting energy from uniform, high-probability configurations into discriminatory, low-probability ones, in order to do the necessary sequencing work of biologically vital macro-molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids.

In sum,

1. A violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics; or,

2. A housekeeper.

interesting

Brant Gaede's picture

The Big Bang as a first cause of this universe is one thing, but it seems the first cause of life is even more obscure and problematic.

Isn't all matter reducible to energy--life as well? It's reducible--life--but not producible starting with matter and energy, not without "directed" energy? But why does the "director" have to be conscious? Way back when, the best science could come up with was the sun was a chunk of burning coal and would soon burn itself out. That dovetailed nicely with the idea of a few thousand year ago creationism. Now we know the sun is a nuclear furnace ignited by gravity. Can we imagine we still don't know a lot without demanding a miracle explanation for something that we know must have happened for some reason?

--Brant

Peter

darren's picture

That a bomb blast cannot directly pick up and order the books on a shelf is of course a straw man argument.

Brilliant! We don't need the housekeeper at all in this scenario! Anything on which the radiant energy from the sun impinges will do the trick according to you. So radiant energy from the sun nourishes algae, which feed the fish, which feed the pet cat (lying on the floor of the aforesaid room), and the cat then is capable of lowering the entropy of the room by discriminating between the pile of books over there and the pile of newspapers over here, and can move only the books to a shelf on the other side of the room and arrange them alphabetically by author's surname! No? The cat can't do that? Why not? It receives radiant energy from the sun every bit as much as the housekeeper. And you said that the "ultimate" source of all this lowered entropy was simply the nuclear reactions going on in the sun, right? So the housekeeper is really just superfluous.

Forget the cat. How about the avocado plant in the window? Surely that'll do, no? It's so simple! I don't know why those crazy creationists don't see it, and why they insist on hauling in a "Housekeeper-of-the-Gaps." Look: the uniform energy from the sun streams down onto the plant, which converts it by photosynthesis into nourishment for itself (that, by itself, is also an example of entropy being lowered, but it's a different question from the present one). Can the avocado plant expend directed energy (ultimately gained from the undirected energy of the sun's fusion) and pick up the books and arrange them on the shelf alphabetically by author's surname? No? How come? I thought you said that, ultimately, it's all accomplished by the sun? And now, you tell me that 1) the sun by itself can't expend directed energy only on the books and sequence them in a certain manner; 2) the cat (which receives the sun's energy) cannot expend directed energy and sequence the books in a certain manner; and 3) the avocado plant (which receives the sun's energy) cannot expend directed energy and sequence the books in a certain manner.

Maybe the conversion of undirected energy into directed energy REQUIRES an entity capable of discrimination amongst alternatives . . . you know, like, maybe . . . a housekeeper. (Too mystical for you?)

Of course, we can always just dispense with any sort of entity capable of converting undirected energy into directed energy, and just assume that, where the thorny problem of sequencing books is concerned, we'll simply live with a violation of the 2nd law, and just baldly assert that uniform energy from the sun (which represents a high-probability configuration of particles and therefore represents a region of high entropy) can cause, all by itself, a lowering of entropy in another system such as the room.

There are worse things in life than a violation of the 2nd law. For example, Atlas Shrugged the Movie, Part II.

Xray

Marcus's picture

It is irrelevant if you call it "bed" or "fragments of bed" or even "debris".

It seems the point has been completely missed.

Quite ironic, given that Derwood wrote the following:

“They're called "residues" because as the chain is formed, a molecule of water is precipitated out of the system and removed from it. If the water molecule were not removed, the amino acids would not form a chain with the needed bond (an "alpha-peptide" bond) between them and a functional protein would never form . . .”

A bond has been broken in order to form the water molecule with “energy”, but according to Derwood this must be directed and not disorderly. The irony is that a new bond had been formed in a lower energy state as a consequence. It is the initial (outside) increase in energy that has allowed this lower energy (more stable) state to arise. Now by definition of energy state levels – this bond now is of lower “order”, not higher.

Entropy increases or stays the same in a closed system, according to the second law. When you add energy to the “closed system” bedroom, “the bomb”, you have done work. The fragments are now elevated into the air and placed on top of the wardrobe. They are now of a higher “order” energy state. They now have potential energy. If you add a person into a room who puts the bed on top of the shelf, it is the same thing in terms of energy state. Derwood will tell you that this is “directed” and the bomb is non-directed, however, it no difference to the “order” whether it is thrown up randomly or placed there.

How the energy coming from

Peter's picture

How the energy coming from the sun is used in reactions that lower the entropy depends on that particular reaction and the physical conditions in which it occurs. The mere fact that in that reaction entropy is reduced is not forbidden by the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so that argument is not valid.

That a bomb blast cannot directly pick up and order the books on a shelf is of course a straw man argument. You can check all the energy flows in the action of picking up those books and ordering them and look where they come from. Ultimately they come from the nuclear reactions in the sun that in a few billions years made the evolution possible of a book-ordering person, and of the energy that is directly needed in that action, that comes from the food that this person has eaten, which in its turn comes from the plants that have converted solar energy or from animals that have eaten plants, etc. A long chain of cause and effect and of energy transfer, but that nowhere violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

So yes, in a sense it was after all a kind of nuclear explosion that caused those books to be picked up, ordered and put on a shelf, only there happened also a few things in between. It's of course hardly surprising that we cannot explicitly follow all those steps in detail beginning a few billions years ago to the final result, but that's no argument that it therefore is not true. Of course there will be always gaps in our knowledge, but the god of the gaps is not a solution that has any scientific merit.

Xray

darren's picture

We tend to link the concept "intelligence" to mentally capable, conscious, entities but are faced with the fact that 'intelligent' actions are also performed by non-human organic entities, like for example blod-clotting agents in the body which prevent excessive bloodloss from a wound.

Yeah, but, c'mon, Xray, you're bringing up a scenario that is already part of an existing biological system with a set of coded instructions that originally "told" the blood-clotting system what to look for and what to do when it finds it. Blood-clotting is a cybernetic "feed-back" circuit. There is nothing in the pure chemistry of blood-clotting, outside of an existing biological system, in a putative prebiotic universe, that can account for it. There are computer programs that can do similar things as the blood-clotting cascade . . . but no one would ever claim that the computer program "self-organized" itself. The computer program is the product of the programmer — an intelligent designer.

We find mathematical structures and "intelligent" solutions in nature

In biological nature; not in non-biological nature or in an assumed prebiotic nature.

Can one speak of non-conscious living matter organizing itself 'intelligently' then?

One can, under two conditions: 1) within an already existing biological system that has already solved essential sequencing problems for encoding and storing information. Once that hurdle is overcome, the system can transmit, or pass on, problem-solving information to specific subsystems (such as the biochemical cascade necessary for detecting a wound, clotting the blood around the wound, and then stopping when the wound is sealed without continuing to clot everything . . . you see? There's selectivity occurring there, very similar to the more obvious kind of selectivity done by the housekeeper when she picks up the books, but STOPS picking things up when the books are on the shelf; she doesn't mechanically continue picking up everything else, such as the rug, the trash, the cat, the umbrella stand, etc.). If one thinks of a biological organism as a fantastically complex computer program (as some biochemists now do), then something like the chemical cascade for blood-clotting would be seen as a "sub-routine" of the overall program.

2) If you're already dealing with, or assuming, conscious entities — such as human beings — one can validly claim that often some product of their collective actions has been organized, or brought into existence, without the conscious intent of any one particular conscious entity. I believe this insight was F. A. Hayek's great contribution to economics in his analysis of price-formation: prices simply "emerge" — they are an "emergent property" — of exchange activity ("catallactics"). The only thing any one single market participant is really aware of is his or her own subjective scale of values: "I prefer X to Y." When everyone who values X's and Y's does the same kind of subjective valuation, an objective "price" — a ratio of exchange — emerges. If there's an accepted medium of exchange — a money-commodity — then the ratio can be expressed uniformly as a "price" in terms of money. It's a neat and tidy explanation of market activity, but, again, it assumes conscious entities with subjective value scales. I don't see this sort of model of "self-organization" or "emergent properties" as being helpful for modeling chemistry in a prebiotic world. There is nothing in chemistry as we know it today that remotely resembles it, and therefore nothing in chemistry as we believe it would have existed in an assumed prebiotic world.

This, also, is the problem with the self-organization / emergent-properties hypotheses of Stuart Kaufmann and his Santa Fe Institute. He's still at the hypothesis stage and doesn't really have solid theories. He posits "those conditions that would be necessary" for self-organization on the level of biological organisms to occur . . . but, of course, there is zero evidence that those conditions exist now or have ever existed. In other words, it's certainly true that IF pigs had wings . . .

The same applies to the late (I'm sad to say) Robert Shapiro, professor of chemistry at New York University, and a long-time vocal critic of the easy, breezy assumptions so often made by chemical evolutionists. He was more or less on the side of Kaufmann, though his particular hypothesis is known as "metabolism first"; i.e., a metabolic pathway is established first, and the rest of the material organism sort of "evolves around the pre-existing metabolism." Sweet. Any evidence? No. But who cares? After all, IF pigs had wings . . .

Though apparently an atheist, Robert Shapiro was a very fair-minded researcher, and gave credit where it was due, even to radically opposed viewpoints. In his review of one of the first serious attacks on purely materialist theories of abiogenesis — The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories by chemists Charles Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen (1984) — Robert Shapiro wrote the following:

"The authors have made an important contribution to the origin of life field. Many workers in this area believe that an adequate scientific explanation for the beginning of life on Earth has already been made. Their point of view has been widely disseminated in texts and the media, and to a large extent, has been accepted by the public. This new work bring together the major scientific arguments that demonstrate the inadequacy of current theories. Although I do not share the final philosophical conclusion that the authors reach, I welcome their contribution. It will help to clarify our thinking . . . I would recommend this book to everyone with a scientific background and interest in the origin of life."

Another researcher in origin-of-life, Dean Kenyon, rejected his own materialist theories of abiogenesis and actually became an explicit creationist after reading some of the works of chemist A. E. Wilder-Smith (specifically, The Creation of Life: A Cybernetic Approach), when Kenyon discovered (to his chagrin) that he was unable to counter the arguments in that book. Kenyon is an interesting figure in the entire controversy. He and his colleague, Gary Steinman, wrote a book that became the "bible" of abiogenesis in the late '60s through the '70s titled Biochemical Predestination. Kenyon wrote the preface to Thaxton's book mentioned above, saying, among other things:

". . . The authors believe, and I now concur, that there is a fundamental flaw in all current theories of the chemical origins of life . . . [Abiogenesis] can be regarded as a natural extension of Darwin's evolutionary views of the last century. The goal of the work is to find plausible uniformitarian mechanisms for the gradual spontaneous generation of living matter from relatively simple molecules thought to have been abundant on the surface of the primitive earth . . .

Finally, in this brief summary of the reasons for my growing doubts that life on earth could have begun spontaneously by purely chemical and physical means, there is the problem of the origin of genetic, i.e., biologically relevant, information in biopolymers. No experimental system yet devised has provided the slightest clue as to how biologically meaningful sequences of subunits might have originated in prebiotic polynucleotides or polypeptides. Evidence for some degree of spontaneous sequence ordering has been published, but there is no indication whatsoever that the non-randomness is biologically significant. Until such evidence is forthcoming one certainly cannot claim that the possibility of a naturalistic origin of life has been demonstrated.

I suspect that . . . many scientists would hesitate to accept the authors' conclusion that it is fundamentally implausible that unassisted matter and energy organized themselves into living systems. Perhaps these scientists fear that acceptance of this conclusion would open the door to the possibility (or the necessity) of a supernatural origin of life. Faced with this prospect many investigators would prefer to continue in their search for a naturalistic explanation of the origin of life along the lines marked out over the last few decades, in spite of the many serious difficulties of which we are now aware. Perhaps the fallacy of scientism is more widespread than we like to think."

The opening salvoes of Intelligent Design were all from professional scientists: The Mysteries of Life's Origin (Thaxton, et al.); The Creation of Life: A Cybernetic Approach (A. E. Wilder-Smith); Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Michael Denton, M.D./Ph.D); and the proceedings of a symposium in 1967 among mathematicians, computer scientists, and biologists, at a research facility in Philadelphia called The Wistar Institute.

It was only much later (in the late 1990s) that people such as Michael Behe wrote popular books like Darwin's Black Box, aimed specifically at a mass audience of readers who were not professional scientists or mathematicians. By that time, the "ID movement" had already been around — among professional scientists — for over 25 years.

Pockets of order

Xray's picture

Darren wrote (on Sun, 2012-02-19 05:44):

"That's why scenarios of chemical evolution violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics: the scenarios all REQUIRE, by the NATURE OF THE PROBLEM AT HAND, to make use of a concept like "useful work" or "directed energy" but the concept isn't forthcoming in classical thermodynamics, so the theorists engage in the usual sort of "hand-waving" type of argument: SOMEHOW, random, uniformly-dispersed energy, like that radiating out from a star, was able to sequence the precursors of biologically important molecules like proteins and nucleic acids. How could uniformly-dispersed, high-entropy energy like that coming from a star, impose a higher degree of order on a chemical system thus lowering its entropy? Easy. SOMEHOW. But doesn't that "somehow" assume a violation of the 2nd law? "Let's not discuss it." (end quote)

There is an interesting artice in the Scientific American (Oct 28/2008 issue) discussing just that.

Here is a link to the preview site: http://www.scientificamerican....
[quote] In Brief:
Waste is unavoidable—a sad fact of life quantified by the famous second law of thermodynamics. But if the world is steadily becoming more disordered, how do you explain the self-organization that often occurs in nature? At root, the trouble is that classical thermodynamics assumes systems are in equilibrium, a placid condition seldom truly achieved in the real world.

A new approach closes this loophole and finds that the second law holds far from equilibrium. But the evolution from order to disorder can be unsteady, allowing for pockets of self-organization. [/quote]

"Intelligent" actions performed by non-conscous organic entities

Xray's picture

Darren wrote (on Sun, 2012-02-19 02:53):

"[quoting Xray: Was it on purpose that you left out in your reply the "conscious, volitional entity listed in my post?]

Nah. Just typing fast and trying to save time. But I do think "intelligence" is the more general term, and really, the more relevant and useful term. " (end quote)

Thanks for clarifying.
We tend to link the concept "intelligence" to mentally capable, conscious, entities but are faced with the fact that 'intelligent' actions are also performed by non-human organic entities, like for example blod-clotting agents in the body which prevent excessive bloodloss from a wound.
We find mathematical structures and "intelligent" solutions in nature; the scienc of "bionics" studies and applies the methods of biological systems to advance engineering systems and modern technology.

Can one speak of non-conscious living matter organizing itself 'intelligently' then?

The bed smashed to pieces is no entity anymore

Xray's picture

Marcus wrote (on Fri, 2012-02-17 11:54):

"The bomb has done work, in that context. The bed is now in a higher energy state." (end quote)

But does it make sense to still speak of a "bed" (that has been smashed to pieces by a bomb), when this bed (as result of the bomb blast) does not exist as an entity anymore?

Peter

darren's picture

The notion "useful" is not relevant to the laws of thermodynamics,

But it is relevant to the problem at hand.

That's why scenarios of chemical evolution violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics: the scenarios all REQUIRE, by the NATURE OF THE PROBLEM AT HAND, to make use of a concept like "useful work" or "directed energy" but the concept isn't forthcoming in classical thermodynamics, so the theorists engage in the usual sort of "hand-waving" type of argument: SOMEHOW, random, uniformly-dispersed energy, like that radiating out from a star, was able to sequence the precursors of biologically important molecules like proteins and nucleic acids. How could uniformly-dispersed, high-entropy energy like that coming from a star, impose a higher degree of order on a chemical system thus lowering its entropy? Easy. SOMEHOW. But doesn't that "somehow" assume a violation of the 2nd law? "Let's not discuss it."

That's no different from saying: SOMEHOW, a bomb blast was able to pick up books from the floor of someone's room (but NOT pick up anything else from the floor, such as the rug, the trash bin, or the cat) and place them on a shelf (NOT the kitchen counter or the top of the fridge, but, specifically on a shelf) and sequence the books in alphabetical order by author's surname. How did a high-entropy event like a bomb blast impose more order, and therefore lower entropy, on the room? Easy. SOMEHOW. But doesn't that "somehow" assume a violation of the 2nd law? "Let's not discuss it."

What sort?

Brant Gaede's picture

"What sort of energy . . . ?"

Confined nuclear?

--Brant

Xray

darren's picture

Was it on purpose that you left out in your reply the "conscious, volitional entity" listed in my post?

Nah. Just typing fast and trying to save time. But I do think "intelligence" is the more general term, and really, the more relevant and useful term. After all, that an entity might be conscious and capable of exercising volition doesn't vouch for its intelligence — just look at some the posts on this board by Peter, Mucus, Moeller, gruntster, et al., for proof.

The central problem (but not the only problem) in biochemistry and the origin of life is: what sort of energy could have sequenced either the amino acids in a functional protein (assuming proteins appeared first); or sequenced the nucleotides in RNA or DNA (assuming a nucleic acid appeared first)? "Energy" by itself won't do it, and there is no "self-ordering" tendency in amino acids or nucleotides.

Question to Darren for clarification

Xray's picture

Darren wrote:
[quoting Xray]: (bolding mine) "Do you think all "directed energy" must always have an intelligent, conscious, volitional entity factoring in?" [end quote]

Darren's reply:
"Thank you! I guess the light bulb in your head just clicked on!

I would say that "directed energy" in fact, always does have intelligence "factored in", just as a matter of empirical experience and observation. " (end quote)

Darren,

Was it on purpose that you left out in your reply the "conscious, volitional entity" listed in my post?

Hold your horses

Xray's picture

Darren wrote:
Still waiting for an answer to that one, coward. (end quote)

Hold your horses, there's no need to get testy.
Your not getting an immediate reply does not warrant the conclusion that I won't address what you said.

The notion "useful" is not

Peter's picture

The notion "useful" is not relevant to the laws of thermodynamics, these concern only variables like energy, transferred heat, entropy etc. (It is sometimes said that the Helmholtz free energy is the amount of "useful" energy that can be obtained from a closed system at constant volume and temperature, but this is "useful" in a different meaning, namely the amount of work that can be done, irrespective of what kind of work). The 2nd law states only that the total entropy in a closed system cannot decrease, not that entropy nowhere can decrease, so it isn't in contradiction to evolutionary mechanisms. The 2nd law is indifferent to what kind of work is done ("useful" or not) in the entropy lowering system.

This notion of "useful work" is not some special kind of physics, it comes from the special character of evolutionary mechanisms, namely that the principle of replication with modification introduces what we call a "purpose" of this mechanism. This purpose is to keep the mechanism going, it emerges automatically, as those actions and modifications that result in not "procreating" are automatically weeded out. In the early stages of evolution these purposeful actions (i.e. actions that automatically lead to better odds for surviving by procreation) will be rather simple, the system itself doesn't yet "know" its purpose, although we may infer it, but as the complexity and the possibilities of those systems during billions of years increase, the purposeful actions become also more complex and sophisticated, and as a side effect they may result in actions that do not immediately improve the odds for survival of the species (for example the building of sand castles). More about probabilities in the other thread.

Xray

darren's picture

Do you think all "directed energy" must always have an intelligent, conscious, volitional entity factoring in?

Thank you! I guess the light bulb in your head just clicked on!

I would say that "directed energy" in fact, always does have intelligence "factored in", just as a matter of empirical experience and observation. Do you know of any kind of non-intelligent directed energy, capable of — once again — picking up ONLY books from a floor, but not the other things (such as the rug, the trash bin, and the cat) and arranging them in alphabetical order on shelves?

At least now you seem to be admitting that there's a difference between the effect the housekeeper has on the room and the effect of a bomb blast, even though both are examples of "energy." The former is directed at specific objects and performs specific sequencing tasks — it lowers the total entropy of the room-system, because the room is more organized (or less disorganized); the latter affects everything in its way, and actually raises the total entropy (i.e., disorder) of the room-system.

Xray

darren's picture

Good. So you admit that undirected energy can be transformed into directed energy.

No we're getting somewhere!

Now, the next step in your education is to grasp the fact — using the housekeeper example again — that what life requires (by analogy) is energy that specifically picks up books BUT NOT THE RUG, and arranges them in a certain useful sequence on the shelf. For example, sequenced by first letter of the author's surname.

Can undirected energy do that? Can a bomb blast specifically affect only the books, but not the rug, the trash bin, or the cat, all of which are on the floor?

Or would the undirected energy of a bomb blast (or the vortex from a powerful fan, let's say) pretty much affect everything that got in its way?

Still waiting for an answer to that one, coward.

Darren wrote: ... unlike the

Xray's picture

Darren wrote:
" ... unlike the uniform shock-wave of energy eminating from a bomb explosion, which imparts its energy to everything indiscriminately, the housekeeper — because she is intelligent — can direct specific amounts of energy toward specific tasks"
(end quote)

Just curious: Do you think that all "directed energy" can only be directed by an intelligent, conscious, volitional entity?

Darren's strawman fallacy

Xray's picture

Darren wrote:
" Ah! So one kind of energy never, ever, transforms into another kind of energy. Got it! Thanks for that clarification." (end quote)

Since my statement "So both undirected and directed energy exist within the system 'cosmos'" in no way implied this, your sarcastic remark is a typical strawman fallacy: misrepresenting what the opponent stated, and then attacking this misrepresention to create the illusion of having refuted the opponent's position.

Pop Quiz, Xray!

darren's picture

The law of conservation of energy says that the sum of all the energies in a system is constant.

The law of conservation of energy is the First Law of Thermodynamics. We're speaking of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

So both undirected and directed energy exist within the system 'cosmos'.

Ah! So one kind of energy never, ever, transforms into another kind of energy. Got it! Thanks for that clarification.

Where do you build in your 'god' here? (I suppose this is where you are headed, but as always, correct me if I'm wrong).

I was truly hoping you weren't as much of a moron as, for example, Mucus Microbrain or Flimsy Lindsay with his operatic whimsy. Guess I was wrong.

Hey, let's try this tack instead:

What do you NOT grasp — conceptually, that is — about a housekeeper entering someone's apartment, picking up books from the floor, arranging them alphabetically by author on a shelf . . . but purposely NOT picking up the wastepaper basket, even though it, too, is on the floor, next to the books? Is this a particularly difficult or tricky scenario for you to grasp?

And, unlike Mucus Microbrain, do you not grasp the difference between that sort of application of energy and the setting off of a bomb in the room? Hint: neither the housekeep nor the bomb violates the law of conservation of energy. Given that, tell us the difference between the two applications of energy to the system called "the room."

Finally: wouldn't it be simpler just to admit that you're incapable of answering my arguments?

Mucus the Microbrain

darren's picture

I only cry and moan when I think of the loss to humanity because you chose to become a professional clown in the Circus of Objectivism rather than a professional scientist in the real world. (sniffle)

Keep up the great work. Looking forward to more insightful statements of yours regarding intact buildings having low energy and piles of rubble having high energy. Ludwig Boltzmann would've been proud to know you.

conservation of energy

Xray's picture

Darren wrote
"Again — because it's the crux of this issue — it's not just the addition of "energy" into a system; it's the addition of directed energy." (end quote)

The law of conservation of energy says that the sum of all the energies in a system is constant.
http://library.thinkquest.org/...

So both undirected and directed energy exist within the system 'cosmos'.
Where do you build in your 'god' here? (I suppose this is where you are headed, but as always, correct me if I'm wrong).

Derwood the Derbrain...

Marcus's picture

You can cry and moan all you like, but you don't know what you are talking about when it comes to science.

If your entire rebuttal involves emotional foot stomping and pouting, then you might as well just dispense with any pretence of a scientific veneer to justify your own irrational beliefs.

If

Brant Gaede's picture

If atheists' hypocrisy has been destroyed then they are no longer hypocrites? Doesn't this contradict the 2nd law?

--Brant

Professor Mucus Moron!

darren's picture

If a bomb blows your bed up on top of the shelf, that is an increase in "order".
Don't you get it?
The bomb has done work, in that context. The bed is now in a higher energy state.

Sure. That's extremely astute of you, Mucus.

Essentially, you're saying that the World Trade Center was in a low-energy, high-entropy state here:

And after the 9-11 attack, the buildings were brought to a higher energy state, corresponding to lower entropy:

By your lights, the first image represents the buildings in a state of low energy; the second image represents the buildings in a higher energy state caused by the attacks.

Brilliant. Your obvious talent for science is wasted on this board. You should be teaching at the university level.

The term will appear in the 2013 Edition

darren's picture

"Directed energy" is not a scientific meaningful term.

Then you're up a creek. If your science has no meaningful term to describe a simple phenomenon like a housekeeper who specifically picks up books on the floor and places them in alphabetic order on a shelf, then you'll get nowhere trying to describe the origins of nucleic acids and proteins.

Since scientific problems are what they are, they obviously don't give a shit if your Big Official Book of Scientific Meaningful Terms (2009 Edition) contains, or doesn't contain, a term or concept to describe what the problem calls for. You might have to apply that mind of yours to the existing problem at hand by actually inventing a meaningful term. (Scientists do this all the time. It's actually how the Big Official Book of Scientific Meaningful Terms got started in the first place.)

You can do one of two things:

1) You can invent a meaningful term and add it to your Big Official Book. For example, a term like "Directed Energy" might do.

2) You can make use of already existing terms. You've got a term from physics like "Work", which is defined as Force x Displacement, and you also have a term from chemistry, biochemistry, and computer science, like "Specificity", which is the ability of a molecule (or an algorithm) to discriminate amongst alternatives and CHOOSE a specific one.

So if you combined "Work" with "Specificity" you get something like "Useful Work", which is not so very different from "directed energy."

Be brave. Other scientists have been. Why not you, too?

Re snow-crystals and sand dunes:

Neither snow crystals nor sand dunes have anything in common with the structure of specifically-sequenced molecules like nucleic acids and proteins.

Like all crystals, snow crystals are periodic: simple repetitions of a crystal subunit called the "unit cell." Neither DNA nor proteins are simple repetitions of their subunits. Crystals are PERIODIC. Nucleic acids and proteins are APERIODIC. The two have nothing in common.

Like all random structures, sand dunes are non-specific: makes absolutely no difference to a dune which grains of sand go where, or what order they're in; it makes no difference if a dune is bit higher or a bit lower; makes no difference to the dune on which side there's a steep slope or on which side there's a shallow slope. Neither DNA nor proteins are non-specific; it makes all the difference in the world to a nucleic acid what order its bases are in, just as it makes all the difference in the world to a protein what order its amino acids are in (just as it makes all the difference in the world to a protein what spatial configuration it folds into).

In sum: snow-crystals and sand dunes have zero in common with nucleic acids and proteins as explanatory models. Snow-crystals have lots of specificity but they are completely periodic and repetitive; sand dunes are aperiodic but lack specificity. Neither is an apt model of DNA or proteins.

DNA and proteins are 1) highly specific (i.e., their subunits are precisely sequenced), and 2) aperiodic (i.e., their subunits are not mere endless repetition of some smaller unit segment).

The combination of "specificity" + "aperiodicity" was dubbed by biochemist Leslie Orgel "Specified Complexity."

Nucleic acids and proteins exhibit specified complexity; snow-crystals and sand dunes do not. Therefore, snow-crystals and sand dunes are not apt models for nucleic acids and proteins.

Specified complexity requires directed energy to appear (not just "energy" randomly or uniformly applied to a system of precursors, but "directed energy"). It requires useful work to be done on its precursors (not just "work" or "force x displacement", but "useful work" or "the right amount of force x the right amount of displacement to some new area that makes the entire system more useful").

More appropriate models than snow-crystals and sand dunes for nucleic acids and proteins would be ice-sculptures and sand castles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I...
http://tinyurl.com/79wqmdf

Ice-sculptures and sand castles exhibit a similar kind of specified complexity as nucleic acids and proteins. And it should be quite obvious — even to a militant materialist and Objectivist — that ice-sculptures and sand castles come about by means of "directed energy" or "useful work" . . . quite different from the mere periodic repetition in ice-crystals or the non-specific aperiodicity in sand dunes.

It would be quite silly, looking at these images of ice-sculptures and sand castles, to claim that the really important thing is to know the name, address, and telephone number of the person responsible for designing them. Wrong. The important thing is to recognize that they are highly improbable structures to have appeared simply on the basis of bonding forces inherent in water, or sedimentation forces inherent on loose particles of sand. It's the extremely low probability of their configurations that tell us "directed energy" or "useful work" had to have been applied to their precursors.

"Directed energy" is not a

Peter's picture

"Directed energy" is not a scientific meaningful term. By whom or what is the energy directed in the forming of lower entropy structures like snow crystals ( http://www.its.caltech.edu/~at... ) or sand dunes ( http://wallpaperstock.net/sand... )? These have more structure and a lower entropy than the water vapour and the amorphous sand hills from which they were formed. Not at all in contradiction to the 2nd law of thermodynamics and a counterexample to the notion that the 2nd law would forbid the spontaneous emergence of more ordered structures by decreasing entropy.

Derwood you dolt!

Marcus's picture

Are you really so simple as to think "order" in this context means "orderly".

I can't get over how dumb you are.

This takes the biscuit, really.

If a bomb blows your bed up on top of the shelf, that is an increase in "order".

Don't you get it?

The bomb has done work, in that context. The bed is now in a higher energy state.

Brant

darren's picture

"Directed" by whom or what?

Precisely!

The alternative to a "by whom" or a "by what" with the ability to direct energy for the sake of lowering the entropic state of a system is to assume that some non-intelligent source of energy — stellar radiation, for example — that has greater disorder and higher probability than the system on which it's acting (a system of prebiotic chemicals, let us say) can, nevertheless, lower that system's entropic state and make it both more energy-rich than it was before and more highly ordered.

Any such assumption, however, rests on a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

If one wishes to preserve the 2nd law as universal, any chemical-evolution scenario will require an intelligent "by whom" or "by what" capable of directing energy toward concrete, specific tasks that lower the entropic state of a prebiotic chemical system. If, conversely, one doesn't care about preserving the supreme sovereignty of the 2nd law — or, if one balks at the notion of an intelligent "by whom" or "by what" out of philosophical prejudice — one can proceed to assume anything one wishes, including the thermodynamic miracle of a nuclear bomb detonation having the effect of cleaning the streets of a city, neatly depositing street rubbish in plastic bags and placing them in dumpsters, and rebuilding demolished skyscrapers out of piles of rubble. The assumptions of chemical evolution scenarios are of the same kind.

Darren

Brant Gaede's picture

"Directed" by whom or what?

--Brant

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