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Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
11:05 am
The Reliability of the Bible Saga: Part 20
As of this post, I'm retitling all previous threads where I debated with Scott, Robert, and Methyl collectively as the "Reliability of the Bible Saga", since it pertains to the group's name and Scott doesn't even appear most of the time in the Parts after Part 11. This post is a conclusionary affair, because it stands as a testament to why I ultimately ended up winning the debate, not just because Scott folded and because Robert couldn't hack debating with me at all, but also because of two fatal errors by Methyl Uno:

1) He ignored the list of links that are catalogued in Part 19, and when I tried to go into further depth about the links as displayed there, he then deleted the thread and created a new one, something even the selection of Christian and Creationist mods couldn't ignore.

2) Even worse, there's precisely what I exposed about a comment of his later on in the debate:

Me:

No. You said -

"The beneficial mutation is that his organisms had acquired the ability to metabolize citrate - or more correctly an ability to transport it through the cell wall prior to metabolizing it. This was an entirely new ability for this species - an increase in complexity provided by a beneficial mutation. This beneficial trait was then fixed in the population by natural selection."


To which, I posted papers showing:

"E. coli is normally capable of utilizing citrate as an energy source under anaerobic conditions, with a whole suite of genes involved in its fermentation. This includes a citrate transporter gene that codes for a transporter protein embedded in the cell wall that takes citrate into the cell." www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=107412


So I'm not sure of what "wordy version" you're speaking of.


Methyl Uno, you're a liar. The quoted passage appears absolutely nowhere in your cited link. When I did a Google search for the exact phrasing, what I found wasn't that website, but instead Creation.com and a whole number of other websites that presuppose Biblical Inerrancy. You are not being honest in this debate at all. The absence of that quote in the link clearly shows that you were willing to resort to falsehoods and deception in order to try and make your point. Anything from a bunch of biblical presuppositionalists (which comprises more or less *everyone* that you tout as a source for your anti-evolution pro-YEC and pro-ID claims), along with all not evidenced claims can pretty much be dismissed without evidence as per the famous quote by Christopher Hitchens. This essentially means that the rest of what you say:

And why should it if e.coli normally use citrate?
You haven't thought this one through, have you?

No. It shows the exact opposite. Lenski himself called the utility, "normal".
You really need to refer to data instead of your delusion, for concept validity.

Jon, why does this surprise you when the e.coli in an original population can adapt to metabolise citrate? Adaptation is a key feature of design and does not suppose evolution at all. This is the same nonsense put forward, as see in with nylon enzyme, nylonase.


Is rendered invalid because you didn't actually quote from the study. You quoted from a Creation.com analysis of the study, a website notorious for their anti-evolution stance even in spite of the overwhelming scientific consensus where 99.9% of the world's scientists accept evolution.

Present some evidence for evolution or admit you have none.
Simple.


I've fulfilled my burden of proof many times over, providing you both recommended books and sites that actually properly talk about how evolution works. You have done no such thing, and have proven that you are willing to sink to any depth - including USING A QUOTE DOESN'T APPEAR AT ALL IN THE STUDY THAT YOU LINK TO - in order to try and win the argument.

You've not only lost, but you've completely embarassed yourself in the process.


I feel very pleased about that outcome. Methyl spend the rest of that thread completely trolling and refusing to answer questions, and even attributed more Creation.com quotes to respected studies. He completely fell apart, and man was it ever a glorious demise.
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
7:15 pm
The Reliability of the Bible Saga Part 19
So at this point the debate had essentially switched between myself and Scott to myself and Robert to its final stages of Me vs Methyl, a.k.a. Josh. Methyl basically ignored my previous comment that was also directed at him, so I'll just allow this comment of mine to basically illustrate what the guy had been doing:

Me:

You cannot, Methyl Uno, assume properties such as omnipotence or omniscience in a creator, without actual positive evidence for them, anymore than you can assume the creator itself.

Nothing you have said has added anything cogent to your argument as demonstrated by your OP. You may as well have kept it to that one post for all the good anything else you’ve posted has done for your arguments.

Harp all you want about the complexities, unknowns, or difficulties, real or imagined, with abiogenesis theory. It does not matter. Every argument of this sort you apply against abiogenesis bounces back to you and applies with even greater force to the idea of a creator.

If a process such as abiogenesis is too complex and difficult to arise spontaneously, then a creator entity intelligent enough to direct it is even more complex and difficult to arise spontaneously. If said creator entity can be viewed as not subject to the requirement of having to arise spontaneously, then neither does the original process itself either.

Even if you can demonstrate that abiogenesis by all currently envisioned means are impossible, that does not provide you any viable argument in support of a creator of any kind. The explanation does not default to god in the event that abiogenesis or evolution or relativity or what have you turns out wrong. Any number of alternative explanatory frameworks as yet unimagined still remain as hypothetical possibilities.

You cannot logic or rhetoric your way out of the circle. It can only be broken with POSITIVE EVIDENCE.

We have POSITIVE EVIDENCE for portions of abiogenesis theory. That gives us the impetus to pursue those theories further, and look for more positive evidence.

There is NO positive evidence for creator theory, and thus we do not pursue it. If you wish for creator theory (theories, actually) to be considered, then you must provide the POSITIVE EVIDENCE to get the ball rolling.

It does not necessitate complete evidence or absolute proof. Just a small piece of real, POSITIVE EVIDENCE that a creator does exist. But you do not have even that.

Look, we humans do not yet have the nanotechnology by which we can grab atoms with little machines and assemble molecules brick by intentional brick.

“Synthetic” chemistry means creating a certain set of starting conditions, tossing in the ingredients, and letting the laws of chemistry proceed as they would.

We humans also do not yet possess the capability of altering or suspending those natural laws of chemistry.

And that means that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we can do with synthetic chemistry can occur naturally, if the those crude starting conditions that we set up should arise naturally, somewhere in the universe. Indeed, MUST occur.

If I use a bulldozer to dig a hole, in order to study how a ball might roll down its slope, that does not mean that balls would not roll down slopes without intelligent intervention.

Also, that you think that the bioenergetics of lipid membranes have nothing to do with abiogenesis is telling.

You are trying to argue against the possibility of a process occurring about which you KNOW NOTHING. Think about that for a moment.

If someone came to you wishing to discuss the moral teachings of Jesus Christ without having ever read the bible, or any of the testaments or any of the apocrypha, who went on to demonstrate that he was not even aware of Christ having been crucified, and insisted on continuing the conversation even after said deficiencies in his theological knowledge had been pointed out to him, what would you think of him?

That is how you appear to us on abiogenesis, Methyl.

Please look up “directed panspermia”.

Do you think that it is silly?

Understand that creator god theory is nothing more than the most extreme and unlikely example of directed panspermia.

Also, citation needed on the claim that Christ was crucified. Otherwise, the argument is so laughable that we can say that he was, in the same manner that one can say that Harry Potter was scarred as an infant, within the context of a discussion of the literary works of J. K. Rowling.


Methyl acts like a worse version of Daniel Wood here, being highly condescending and "wanting debate" yet clearly having absolutely no interest whatsoever in debating:

Methyl:

If you want to converse over the data, of which all supports Intelligent Design; Jon Davros Milne, you may. However, note that if you accept to involve yourself in such conversation; you must be willing to accept truth, when it is presented. I will not waste my time, or yours, by "harping on" about the science, if you're unable to discern truth for fear of the implications onto which your atheism will fall.

I'm off to work now and so, I give you the time to contemplate your involvement in such a conversation, if indeed you wish to have one.


Cheers.

Me:

Methyl Uno, it is exactly as I have written in every single comment I have made in this thread as well as pretty much everything that I said about Intelligent Design in the other thread which is now chronicled at http://meester-bond.livejournal.com . My positions are easily findable.


After he refused to read the comments or this LJ, I then talked about his OP claiming Evolution was a dead theory:

Not to mention, if the scientific theory of Evolution was really as "dead" as you claim it is, Methyl, then it would be mainstream news, and whoever would've managed to have replaced evolution with an alternative valid scientific theory would be first in line for a Nobel Prize. These sorts of occurrences pretty much ALWAYS would be hitting the really major news outlets that matter, and yet funnily enough, Creationism/ID supporters are still seen in science as extreme fringe groups comparable to 9/11 truthers and moon landing hoax conspiracy theorists.


Methyl:

How would one, go about claiming a reward in proving something that is not real, as unreal? Furthermore, you really need grasp the reality of the word 'theory' that is situated prior to the word 'evolution'.


...Yes, he really IS that fucking delusional.

Me:

How would one, go about claiming a reward in proving something that is not real, as unreal? Furthermore, you really need grasp the reality of the word 'theory' that is situated prior to the word 'evolution'.


Sorry, Methyl, but that statement is flat out not true. The vast VAST majority of the scientific consensus is that evolution is absolutely the best explanation we have for the diversity of life. Modern day biology would not make sense without the theory. And don't give me that "Evolution is only a theory" crap again, by the way. The scientific definition of "theory" is considerably different to the common layman definition of "theory". To quote Kevin Padian in his Kitzmiller v Dover testimony:

"A theory, in science, [is] a very large body of information that's withstood a lot of testing. It probably consists of a number of different hypotheses, many different lines of evidence. And it's something that is very difficult to slay with an ugly fact, as Huxley once put it, because it's just a complex body of work that's been worked on through time.


Take a good read also of http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Evolution_is_only_a_theory , which also explains the difference very well. To summarise: Theories are the single highest level of scientific achievement and nothing is just a theory - that would be like saying Bill Gates is just a multibillionaire. Additionally, one might say that the notion of evolution is "just a theory" in the same way that Cell Theory and the Theory of Gravitation (fundamental principles of biology and physics, respectively) are "just theories."


I also recounted the familiar tale of what happened at the Florida State Board of Education, as well as also bringing up how vaccines are tied to evolution, and re-posting what I had previously said to Scott in Parts 8 and 9 of my original reply to him about Intelligent Design. After doing this, I moved on to talk about this:

Methyl wants to argue that *H. Sapiens* had to have been Designed, on the grounds that ‘life can only spring from life’? Fine. If that premise is valid, *the Designer of* H. sapiens *MUST itself, have been a living thing*. Because if you grant that the Designer *wasn’t* a living thing, *you’ve just negated the life-only-springs-from-life premise which is your justification for invoking a Designer in the first place*. And since the life-only-springs-from-life premise requires that the Designer *must* have been a living thing, it equally requires that *the Designer, itself, MUST necessarily have been Designed by SOME OTHER Designer*. And this Designer-designer, in turn, *must necessarily* have been Designed by a Designer^3… who, in turn, *must necessarily* have been Designed by a Designer^4…

In short: The life-only-springs-from-life premise, *if* said premise is actually valid, *ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES* an infinite regress of Designers designing Designers designing Designers designing yada yada yada, worlds without end, amen.

One way out is to declare that the Designer of humankind is, in fact, *not* a living thing—but if you go that route, kiss your life-only-springs-from-life premise goodbye. Another escape route is to declare that your Designer doesn’t *need* to have sprung from any other life; but this response, like the previous one, just plain old *destroys* the life-only-springs-from-life premise you’re touting as your justification for invoking a Designer.

And you think it’s *rejecting* the life-only-springs-from-life premise that requires a “faith commitment”?

Here's an analogy for you: Take two 52-card decks. Thoroughly shuffle them together, and deal out all the cards in the thoroughly shuffled double-deck, face up. You’ll get a sequence of 104 cards, right? As it happens, that card-sequence you just dealt out is one of (104! 1.03*10^166 different card-sequences, which means the *particular* card-sequence you got is, therefore a 1/(1.03*10^166) longshot. But ID-pushers assure us that anything whose probability is less than 1/(10^150) is so improbable that it cannot have arisen by chance, and *that* means any such stupendously-improbable whatzit must, therefore, *be considered a product of Design*!

This is, of course, rubbish. It’s also a prime example of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Yes, the particular double-deck card-sequence you dealt out is, indeed, a 1/(1.03*10^166) longshot, and so *what*? As improbable as that card-sequence may be, it *happened*. You *did* deal that card-sequence out. And any line of ‘reasoning’ which ends with “therefore, your card-sequence must have been the product of Design” is utter garbage.

Similarly, regardless of how improbable the specific sequernce of events which led up to *Homo sapiens* may be, that sequence of events *happened*. And the mere fact that said sequence of events *did* happen, is no more evidence of a Designer’s intervention with respect to *H. Sapiens*, than the mere fact that you dealt out a specific card-sequence is evidence of a Designer’s intervention with respect to that card-sequence.

Finally, here's some resources on fossils:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/archaeopteryx/challenge.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/specimen.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part3.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC216_2.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-3.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-1.html


I'll also add these other links I mentioned in the same post:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_against_a_recent_creation
http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Teach_the_controversy
http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_3.htm
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-research.html
http://www.txtwriter.com/backgrounders/evolution/evcontents.html
http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Common_descent
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lenski_Affair

Anyhow, Methyl was naturally close minded and trollish towards the evidence...

Methyl:

Would you like to add anything else to the list of:
One Wiki page and twelve talkorigin pages, prior to engaging the data? I'm only asking because you have not really shown anything supporting your claims yet. You see, on review of your posts, the only real link that you need of posted, was the one regarding the Lenski experiment. Why, you ask? Because, Lenski, supplied the only data correlating to the subject of whether or not evolution took place, and to put it short; it never did.

What part of, variation within a species, do you not understand, exactly?

Here you have it:
The goal is to show evolution (keep this in mind).

Lenski, bred E.coli into 50,000 Generations. Of those 50,000 generations, Lenski, showed, beyond all doubt, evolution never takes place. At no point did a new feature for mechanized benefit, emerge. At no point did the E.coli evolve into a new species, kingdom or class.
At no point did any evolution take place and this leaves us with a question as to why you cited him? Lenskis' work shows one clear fact that was repeatable throughout each new generation; the bacteria de-evolved. Meaning, you have absolutely zero evidence for your nonsense delusion.

Would you like to take another run up?

P.S
As shown: evolution is only a theory. A theory yet to be demonstrated as plausible.

Cheers


Me:

Would you like to add anything else to the list of:
One Wiki page and twelve talkorigin pages, prior to engaging the data? I'm only asking because you have not really shown anything supporting your claims yet. You see, on review of your posts, the only real link that you need of posted, was the one regarding the Lenski experiment. Why, you ask? Because, Lenski, supplied the only data correlating to the subject of whether or not evolution took place, and to put it short; it never did.


Excuse me? Yes I have shown stuff that supports my position. My links all provide very clear evidence for my position, and TalkOrigins especially is held in far greater esteem by the mainstream scientific community than pretty much any of your quote-mined or otherwise flat out nonsense sources COMBINED. And you and I must be reading the Lenski experiment, because you're flat out delusional in this regard.

What part of, variation within a species, do you not understand, exactly?


I've already explained precisely what a species is and how there has been observed changes under laboratory conditions. Which part of that didn't you understand?

Lenski, bred E.coli into 50,000 Generations. Of those 50,000 generations, Lenski, showed, beyond all doubt, evolution never takes place. At no point did a new feature for mechanized benefit, emerge. At no point did the E.coli evolve into a new species, kingdom or class.
At no point did any evolution take place and this leaves us with a question as to why you cited him? Lenskis' work shows one clear fact that was repeatable throughout each new generation; the bacteria de-evolved. Meaning, you have absolutely zero evidence for your nonsense delusion.


Utter horsecrap and a shameful shameful lie. The organism is doing something it couldn't do before, and the organism is now better able to survive in its new environment — where its preferred food, glucose, was limited — so "degenerative events" would seem to be unlikely.

The beneficial mutation is that his organisms had acquired the ability to metabolize citrate - or more correctly an ability to transport it through the cell wall prior to metabolizing it. This was an entirely new ability for this species - an increase in complexity provided by a beneficial mutation. This beneficial trait was then fixed in the population by natural selection.

It is also important to notice that before acquiring this ability the bacteria acquired a previous potentiating mutation which, although it was not clearly beneficial at the time, subsequently allowed the descendants of that potentiated group the ability to process citrate after a further mutation. Furthermore frozen descendants of that group, and only the frozen descendants of that group, retained the ability to re-evolve that favorable trait.

His group did not use genetic engineering to modify the organism (to design it), it was produced entirely by the evolutionary process.

It is another beautiful example of evolution in action and a fascinating example of potentiating mutations. Although evolution has been demonstrated many times in the past the circumstances surrounding this particular experiment gave it a higher profile.

You are completely full of it, good sir.


In light of what's happened recently, tune in for the final part where we see the punch line to the kind of person Methyl turned out to be, and how it completely solidified my victory in this debate.
7:10 pm
The Reliability of the Bible Saga Part 18
So this is the last time we ended up corresponding with Robert. Afterwards, he blocked me. It's kinda sad really. Challenge a creationist on their points, and eventually they become so rattled that they try to pretend you don't exist. I'd create a sock account and kick his ass even further, but it's really not worth it.

So this conflict reignited via Robert posting in a different thread the following:

Robert:

the argument from ignorance is the neo-Darwinists domain. Even though abiogenesis and the necessary constant upward progression of complex specified sequencing of 3-D multi-layered, meanginful-useful morphology producing, epigenetic, morphology producing, communicative, computational, meta-information, of several types that would have to be added to the genome constantly lacks any mechanisms that the burden of proof requires be shown and which the scientific method of inductive inference from observation only has been shown to arise from superior intelligence, the neo-Darwnists use blind faith that evolution did it.


If you're thinking that argument looks familiar, you're absolutely right. This is the same baloney he came out with last time, as I deligtfully pointed out. His response was "interesting" to say the least.

Me:

Robert, we debunked this before. And you ran away from my explanation.


Robert:

I didnt see your responses Jon, so will get to them. But the fundamental problem that you didnt and cannot address is your vid was a joke and flat out wrong asserting absurd speculations with no evidence as factual reality in spite of contradictory evidence. It assumed w/o justification a prebiotic atmosphere, a prebiotic atmosphere with, many fatty acids, a prebiotic atmosphere with many fatty acids and hundreds of nucleotides. None of which are remotely factual and the Sutherland, Powner and Gerland experiment showed this, it started with artificial, unnatural synthetic ingredients putting them through an artificial, unnatual synthetic process with intelligent intervention at many crucial steps to purify results, remove lethal by products and add phosphate buffers. I posted the evidence from Powner himself admitting this so it isnt arguable. You are an attention seeker Jon, I have seen it on other pages and will demonstrate this shortly when I have time to get to it.


Robert at this point also engaged in a whole bunch of fallacious Arguments from Authority and quote mining, which again I called him out on...

Me:

Robert, your sources deal with both abiogenesis and evolution and conflates the two. The burden of proof is not on the mechanism of abiogenesis since we haven't come up with with a front-runner yet. Nobody is claiming we have. As for evolution, it is accepted, therefore the burden of proof falls on the one making the assertion that it is false. Copy pasta slabs of quotes don't make the argument. Also:

Since function is arbitrarily attached to words by an outside source of information as previously described, a gradual change in the letters of the words themselves is not going to result in a gradual evolution of their meaning or function beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity.


Sorry, what? This happens all the time. It's observable.

Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, says that, "Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority. There is no publication in the scientific literature in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books that describe how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations."3


Well, this is with good reason. The required calculations are impossible, since they involve solving for the behavior of very complex systems that do not have closed-form solutions. Plus, I wouldn't put your eggs in the Michael Behe basket. You still haven't truly refuted Kitzmiller v Dover, as I explained last time: (See the Scott Rachui Saga, Part 12 where I pointed out exactly what the deal with Dover was)


At this point we now bring Methyl Uno into the discussion, who is in reality Josh Shelley, but will be called by his FB user title for convenience. He is perhaps even more brainless and indoctrinated into creationist and anti-evolutionist thinking than Robert, and even has a laughable book out for release, much like the previously mentioned Mike Pincher, although unlike Mike, Methyl's book DOES have reviews and they are all ONE STAR. I'm not kidding, the book really IS that terrible. In any case, when talking to Methyl, I repeated some stuff about how until proven otherwise, his book of holiness couldn't be considered real. Naturally Robert took neither that nor the above reply at all well:

Robert

Ok Jon, your attention seeking is over and you have now branched into blustering, lying and twisting which will now be exposed. First recant, delete or edit this mockery it isnt allowed on this page and so alerting Justin, Charles, Diane, Dan, Nate (the mods of the group), "2) Your babble is a book of mythology/fiction." This is just the dumbest thing I have read in years showing you are so desperate for attention, even negative attention you will say anything to attempt to draw it.

Next, this is the dumbest, most idiotic thing I have read in years: "1) Your imaginary deity doesn’t exist. Evidence must be shown to make it a scientific necessity, and conclusive scientific evidence used. Philosophical necessity won’t count for squat." Apparently you are in ignorance of the universal negative fallacy. And then claiming the only truths are scientific is absurd exposing your vast ignorance and attention seeking. Apparently you need a lesson on Hume, Comte positivism, logical positivism and its death with Popper putting the last nail in the coffin. Hume himself acknowledged that historical testimony is the vast majority of valid evidence. Positivism and logical positivism saying the only truths are empirically verified died a slow death starting at the end of the nineteenth century and buried in the mid-twentieth century after Popper clarified that nothing can actually be empirically verified, and that to be truly scientific a statement/hypothesis must be able to be contradicted by a possible or conceivable observation. So much for your God must be scientifically proven idea. And so historical evidence is just as valid. Further, science relies upon inductive inference assigning a probability and does not therefore prove anything. It is not absolute so it is absurd to claim the only truths are scientific and God must be proven with conclusive scientific evidence. Because of Poppers critiques of falsifiability instead of verificationism, science is philosophically based so you have no clue what you are talking about saying, "Philosophical necessity wont count for squat." Science is based upon philosophical necessity, w/o that, there is no science genius.

And the previous was the dumbest thing I have read in years, until seconds later I read this:

"All your arguments against abiogenesis based on likelihood and logic are irrelevant, because they all also apply equally to God. If abiogenesis is too comples to occur spontaneously then God is even moreso. If it can be allowed that God is eternal and needs no cause or explanation, then neither does abiogenesis."


Saying if abiogenesis is too complex to occur naturally then God is even moreso limited is just inexcusably idiotic Jon. Complete non-sequitur and bizarrely irrational. You just lost any credibility as even rabid atheists and anti-theists can see the stupidity in this. The super-natural creator is subject to and limited by the natural laws of His creation. Right. Do you realize how many logical fallacies you just employed? Strawman, non-sequitur, limiting omnipotence.

1) Your whole premise rests on a several logical fallacies such as making the creator subject to and limited by His creation, limiting omnipotence; limiting omnipotence and reducing it to your level of ignorance; attempting to make your finite ignorance the standard raising your finitude to omnipotence/omniscience.

2) Then the logical fallacy of strawmanning this issue. In order for the unbeliever to rationally approach these issues, they logically are obligated to treat them as hypotheticals and analyze them for what they claim to be. You cannot change definitions and insert your a priori biases as you have. You must take the Biblical accts with the definitions as they are and analyze them for what they claim to be, not change God into a caricature of what you want to mock in willful ignorance and bias as you have. God by definition is omnipotent, beyond, separate from and not subject to His creation. A painter is not limited to and subject to his painting but by your assertion they are.

Next, you keep making assertions and then throwing up links instead of properly quoting the section of the article you think supports you. And the reason you do this is because you are lying about what your link says apparently hoping no one will call you on your bluff. Didnt work. So in the future learn how to make an argument which means to state your claim/assertion and then quote the evidence that you think supports your assertion here for all to read, couple that with logic for a valid/successful conclusion. So making an assertion then copying a link isnt an argument or even evidence. A link is merely so the evidence you quote can be located verified. So do not try this tactic of falsely asserting and then posting a link hoping you wont get, again.

Now then, as for your false assertions. First, your vid stated hundreds of nucleotides in the alleged NATURAL PREBIOTIC ENVIRONMENT, which is obviously false and inarguable. The best you have done is falsely assert a few others. Read your own article genius, TNA is synthetic having nothing to do with the alleged natural prebiotic environment:


"Molecular evolution provides a powerful approach for investigating the functional properties of nucleic acids 6,7. Until now, this method has been limited to DNA and RNA or close structural analogues thereof (for a review see ref. , because these were the only
polymers with enzymes that could transcribe, reverse-transcribe and
amplify genetic information 8. Extending this approach to artificial
genetic systems like TNA..."


And this article has next to nothing to do with abiogenesis, it speaks of bioenergetics proposing cell membranes become less leaky so your bluster here is exposed as false,

"As far as abiogenesis is concerned, I recommend this article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867412014389 , for the latest on the research hypothesis I think is most promising:"


This has nothing to do with the universal genetic code forming naturally genius.

Finally the last thing I will expose before making one more comment to you as space constraints of comments prevent me from finishing is this is just baloney you copied from Fiona who got it wrong as I proved, these are nucleosides, not nucleotides which you blustered about here in ignorance.


Me:

Wow, what a lot of bluster, signifying absolutely nothing from your end… I don’t suppose you realised in amidst that train wreck, that your arguments don’t actually work the way you suppose they do? All you are in effect saying is “my opinion is there is a god”, for which you can adduce no evidence at all, and assemble a disastrous farrago of faulty reasoning in support of your non-argument. Any rational person would take a look at that and say, “no”. 2/10 for effort.

And I'm sorry, but we are explaining the world to someone who is flatly delusional. If your deity ISN'T imaginary (as you object to me saying), you will provide evidence for it. Physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Something equivalent to the eternally burning bush. Otherwise, all you have is you fallacious presupposition that your deity isn’t imaginary.

Likewise, your babble (another term you objected to me using) IS a book of mythology/fiction until you provide the conclusive physical evidence to show it is inerrant and the word of your imaginary deity. But, if you can’t show your deity exists first, and you HAVEN'T done that, nor can you do that with your idiotic and fallacious “god of the ever shrinking gaps” fallacious kindergartener level arguments..

I’m waiting for your evidence, say the coordinates of the eternally burning bush. Until then, blather on, but I won’t bother to read your meaningless blather and bombast. You are too stupid to realize you have already lost the argument, and can’t win it with nothing but attitude, and nothing actually solid.

As Ava so delightfully points out, either demonstrate your pseudo-science is actual science by presenting it in such a way so that it's falsifiable and verifiable and produces consistent results in its favour as well as predictions that are always right so that you'll end up getting a Nobel Prize, or kindly admit that you're wrong.

Oh, and "the Bible is a scientifically accurate document"? Seriously? http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Scientific_errors_in_the_Bible and http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Problems_with_biblical_inerrancy and http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Biblical_scientific_foreknowledge and http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Science_Confirms_the_Bible and http://biblebabble.curbjaw.com/bible.htm and http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html . All of which took me exactly FIVE SECONDS on Google to find. Are you sure you don't want to revise your claim, Mr Webb?

One more thing:

Hume himself acknowledged that historical testimony is the vast majority of valid evidence.


Wash your mouth with soap before you try to drag history into your dreck, Robert. Historians don’t just take anyone’s word for it. The most important rule of historical research is that people make crap up all the time, so parallel lines of evidence are the gold standard. Just like in any other science. Trying to elevate your opinion to the level of historical evidence is an insult to anyone who studies it.


Now, the next chapter is clock full of interactions with Methyl, but in the meantime here is a little teaser of his idiocy:

Methyl:

do you always sort Wiki for your information on science? Isn't that a tad.... off the beat?

How do you feel, any of this science, supports your atheism? I'm quite interested.


Me:

I could ask you a variant of the same question, Methyl. Do you always look to Christian Biblical presuppositional apologists for your information on science, especially if those apologists aren't even qualified in the areas of science for example that they are disparaging?

Please note, none of the sources that either you nor Robert have brought up have been biologists, or in the rare occasions when you have actually cited biologists as your sources, you have either quote-mined them or misrepresented their views. And don't even get me started on using either Michael Behe or Jonathan Wells as a "credible" source.


This was the point where Robert had blocked me. Taking the opportunity to take one last shot at Robert, as well as also taking advantage of a new creationist to debate, I posted this:

Further Me vs Robert (as well as potentially Methyl):

These are nucleosides, not nucleotides which you blustered about here in ignorance when you claimed this.


No, dear, they are bases. Just like A, T, C, G and U. Link any of those to a sugar and you have a *nucleoside*. Link a phosphate group to that nucleoside and you have a *nucleotide*. Don’t pretend you know what you’re talking about, okay?

Also, I mentioned I, Ψ, X, D, Q, Yt in addition to A, T, C, G, U. If you really want I, Ψ, X, D, Q, Yt to correspond to nucleosides, then that’s fine by me. In that case, I mentioned those nucleosides in addition to adenosine, thymidine, cytidine, guanidine and uridine. Happy?


It assumed w/o justification a prebiotic atmosphere, a prebiotic atmosphere with, many fatty acids, a prebiotic atmosphere with many fatty acids and hundreds of nucleotides.


Don’t say things that are wrong. We know a lot about the prebiotic earth ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1023%2FA%3A1009632230875 ) because it left its mark everywhere ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2F35051550 ). Take note, there is both positive evidence here which suggest theories as well as negative evidence which invalidates theories. The papers I reference are inconsistent with every creation story ever proposed by religions.

All concepts must be falsifiable in order to be useful or even considered. The intelligent design concept, for example, is falsifiable. It makes the claim that biology exhibits traits indicative of intelligent agency in their design. Every biological structure to my knowledge can be explained by unguided action, and every structure whose mechanism for origination is well known occurred entirely naturally without intelligent guidance. This is both a positive indication that intelligent design is likely wrong, and an negative indication in the systems we are certain of that intelligent design is falsified. A reasonable person, therefore, cannot support intelligent design without extraordinarily compelling evidence.


Science is based upon philosophical necessity, w/o that, there is no science genius


Lulwut? Do you actually work in any scientific field? I know the driving force for scientific genius in the fields my friends work in isn’t philosophical necessity, but a driving need from the public to find answers. Some former high school chums of mine who I still keep in touch with work in nanotechnology and opto-electronics, and the biggest driving force for people like them to find answers is the need for solar power to be cheap and the need to store vast quantities of energy (also, cheap flexible electronics. That would be cool too). We are then constrained by the materials we have access to and the theories and facts which describe systems we do understand and (most importantly) the way the world really works. Nowhere in there are we driven by philosophical babble.

Philosophy did not generate science. Human need generates science. That same human need causes us to generate philosophy and mathematics and many other disciplines.


So much for your God must be scientifically proven idea.


An idea is worthless unless it causes action. Ideas that cause action must make claims about the structure and nature of reality (which is firmly within the realm of science). All supernatural claims to date have either been 1) falsified or 2) don’t contain a cause to action. In other words, gods are either crap, worthless or both.

And this article has next to nothing to do with abiogenesis, it speaks of bioenergetics proposing cell membranes become less leaky so your bluster here is exposed as false


… really? You’re claiming that the formation of stable lipid bilayers has nothing to do with abiogenesis? I may not a biologist, but the connection here is obvious to me as someone who's actually done the research. Natural formation of separate aqueous environments is a necessary condition for the propagation of those same environments. The structure of those membranes confines the chemical reactions that allow their propagation (which we know occurs abiotically, I know people who have done it personally in a variety of solvents). Really, you should spend some time learning how things work before claiming how they must have come to be.

Oh, and of course the bible is a work of fiction. Just like every other “holy” text of every other religion humans have invented over the ages. You really don’t get to have a text treated as if it were anything other than human-invented, just on your say-so, you know. How seriously would you take someone demanding you treat the koran as the word of god? Tsk tsk.

You think it’s OK to claim the existence of an intelligence not subject to any of the laws of physics, offer no actual evidence for this other than your own opinion, and expect to get taken seriously? Oy.

Of course, if you have any grounds other than unevidenced opinion for believing this intelligence exists, and that it happens to match the contradictory figure described in various different parts of the bible and other xtian texts, please feel free to adduce ‘em. I won’t hold my breath, though.

Oh, and don’t forget Ockham’s razor. There is nothing for which adding goddidit adds to our understanding. Resorting to goddidit for abiogenesis or the big bang is no better – no cleverer, no more useful – than praying to Zeus to go easy on the thunderbolts.

Oh, and:


TNA is synthetic


So what?

Look, it’s very simple: TNA is a nucleic acid. You said there are only two types of nucleic acids, RNA and DNA. Therefore, you were wrong.


having nothing to do with the alleged natural prebiotic environment


Again, it’s very simple: TNA is simpler than RNA. TNA is capable of Darwinian evolution. TNA folds into tertiary structures. Therefore, it is relevant for abiogenesis research.


Join me in the next part where I deal with the tedium that is debating with Methyl Uno. *sigh*.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
9:33 am
The Reliability of the Bible Saga: Part 17
So here's the final part for now of my interactions with Scott. Well, I say "Scott", but it's more like "just Robert" by this point. Whatever. So how did Robert respond to my last comment? By basically ignoring everything I'd written, especially the stuff about his appeals to authority, and instead just went on a further anti-science tirade. See for yourself...

Robert Webb:

Jon, way to ignore the arguments that refute you and engage in an abiogenesis-protocell of the gaps argument from ignorance. There is zero evidence that abiogenesis is even possible so you are engaging in an abiogenesis/evolution of the gaps argument filling in the gaps of zero evidence with the assertion that natural chemical processes could yield rna/dna and an unevidenced protocell. Your vid is a fraud as I pointed out it absurdly claims "the prebiotic contained hundreds of types of nucleotides not just RNA and DNA" showing the guy knows nothing about the subject and by using this vid, neither do you. There are not hundreds of different types of nucleotides nor any evidence there were any in the prebiotic environment. By definition there are only nucleotides of rna and dna consisting of the five nucleotides (U, C, G, T, A) which are defined as nucleotides because they are the bases of rna and dna. Get it? The only reason they are nucleotides is because in order to be a nucleotide, it must be a base of rna and dna meaning there are no other types of nucleotides! There are no other nucleotides! So the vid makes an incredibly sophmoric, basic blunder. There was not hundreds of types in the prebiotic environment, there wasnt any, there is zero evidence of this. And nucleotides are defined as nucleotides by being the bases of rna and dna. Sutherland, Powner and Gerland's experiment is the most current research which started with artificial, unnatural ingredients, purified cyanoacetylene which is unknown in nature and right handed ribose isomers to intelligently design the experiment to avoid the chirality problem, artificially intervened at numerous crucial steps to purify results, remove lethal byproducts and add phosphate buffers, acknowledged as a 'synthetic sequence' by Szostak and critiqued by Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at NYU, Robert Shapiro and acknowledged by Powner, that there has been little advancements in the study of the origin and development of the genome since the inception of molecular biology 50 years ago and so all of the abiogenesis researched is critiqued by Benner et al :

"...Of course, much remains to be done. We must now try to determine how the various starting materials could have accumulated in a relatively pure and concentrated form in local environments on early Earth. Furthermore, although Powner and colleagues’ synthetic sequence yields the pyrimidine ribonucleotides, it cannot explain how purine ribonucleotides (which incorporate guanine and adenine) might have formed."

http://genetics.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/publications/Szostak_pdfs/Szostak_2009_Nature.pdf

When commenting on this research last May, Robert Shapiro, professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University, stated, “"the bases adenine, cytosine, guanine and uracil were readily available on the early earth is not supported by existing knowledge of the basic chemistry of these substances", "The chances that blind, undirected, inanimate chemistry would go out of its way in multiple steps and use of reagents in just the right sequence to form RNA is highly unlikely.”
The research, said Shapiro, “definitely does not meet my criteria for a
plausible pathway to the RNA world” because one of the “assumed starting materials is quickly destroyed by other chemicals and its appearance in pure form on the early earth ‘could be considered a fantasy.’”33
Commenting for Nature, Shapiro further argued, “The flaw is in the
logic—that this experimental control by researchers in a modern laboratory could have been available on the early Earth.”

33. Wade, Nicholas, “Chemist Shows How RNA Can Be the Starting Point for Life,” New
York Times (May 14, 2009).
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/science/14rna.html?pagewanted=2

IUBMB Life. 2009 Feb;61(2):99-111.
Origin and evolution of the genetic code: the universal enigma.
Koonin EV, Novozhilov AS.
Source
National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

"In our opinion, despite extensive and, in many cases, elaborate attempts to model code optimization, ingenious theorizing along the lines of the coevolution theory, and considerable experimentation, very little definitive progress has been made.

Summarizing the state of the art in the study of the code evolution, we cannot escape considerable skepticism. It seems that the two-pronged fundamental question: "why is the genetic code the way it is and how did it come to be?," that was asked over 50 years ago, at the dawn of molecular biology, might remain pertinent even in another 50 years. Our consolation is that we cannot think of a more fundamental problem in biology."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19117371

Which led to statements like this summating the issue by researchers in PubMed:

"The grandest of these models assumes that ribonucleic acid (RNA) arose prebiotically, together with components for compartments that held it and a primitive metabolism that nourished it. Unfortunately, it has been challenging to identify possible prebiotic chemistry that might have created RNA. Organic molecules, given energy, have a well-known propensity to form multiple products, sometimes referred to collectively as "tar" or "tholin." These mixtures appear to be unsuited to support Darwinian processes, and certainly have never been observed to spontaneously yield a homochiral genetic polymer. To date, proposed solutions to this challenge either involve too much direct human intervention to satisfy many in the community, or generate molecules that are unreactive "dead ends" under standard conditions of temperature and pressure."

Benner SA, Kim HJ, Kim MJ, Ricardo A. Planetary organic chemistry and origins of biomolecules. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 Jul;2(7):a003467. Epub 2010 May 26.

Next you conceded there is no evidence of fatty acids, and no evidence of simpler protocells, yet the vid says this otherwise that the prebiotic environment contained many fatty acids and it is known the first life was simpler. Saying it just makes sense these existed is begging the question and circular reasoning, you dont get to assert that without evidence.

I will grant you that the vid could be saying only one type of nucleotide (either rna or dna) is all that is needed to polymerize and not one nucleotide,however, polymerization is also unproven, it's one of the assumptions and regarded as a problem

###################################################

For Jon, a little more on this. Powner acknowledging the intelligent human intervention in their study and Lacanzo stating the bridges between rna world and pre-rna world are 'unknown' and merely 'surmised':

From Powner et al article:

"We then took a crude sample of 11 that had just been prepared from cyanamide 8 and glycolaldehyde 10 in the presence of phosphate, and added glyceraldehyde 9 to it."

"To prevent the rise in pH during the reaction, inorganic phosphate was added as a buffer...Using phosphate as a dual-function pH and chemical buffer in this way, the arabinose anhydronucleoside 13 could be produced in extremely high yield from 12. Our finding that the reaction of the amino-oxazoline 12 with
cyanoacetylene 7 could be controlled, by the pH and chemical buffering action of phosphate,"

"It is apparent that although 1 would be one of the major products, these coproducts might interfere with any subsequent incorporation of 1 into RNA. Accordingly, we sought a means of selectively destroying these co-products."

http://nodens.ceab.csic.es/people/afernandez/files/lifeorigin/RNA-synthesis.pdf

"Antonio Lazcano, a National Autonomous University of Mexico biologist and expert in early Earth chemistry who was not involved in the study, called the work a synthetic biology breakthrough, but repeated Ghadiri’s caveat that chemical bridges between the pre-RNA and RNA worlds are “completely unknown and can only be surmised.”

According to University of Manchester organic chemist John Sutherland, who co-authored the Nature study showing how RNA’s ingredients could have formed, the new research is less important in providing primordial insight than in furthering the eventual creation of life in a laboratory."

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/06/tpna/


To put my reaction lightly: blah blah fucking blah another Gish-Gallup by Robert, what a surprise!

Me:

By definition there are only nucleotides of RNA and DNA consisting of the five nucleotides (U, C, G, T, A) which are defined as nucleotides because they are the bases of RNA and DNA. Get it?


Uh no. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleotide and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleobase - Essentially any purine or pyrimidine derivate that can be strapped on a phosphate backbone and can form base pairs via hydrogen bonds can form a nucleotide.

Also, There are nucleotides of LNA and TNA http://www.aptamers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/114-Nature_Chem.pdf .

It’s probably not completely correct to say that about PNA and GNA because they don’t have a sugar backbone, but they are analogues.

In addition to the five nucleotides you mention, there's also I, Ψ, X, D, Q, Yt and more.

Nucleotides are NOT defined as ‘the bases of RNA and DNA’. Nucleotides are biomolecules composed of a nitrogenous base (which include the primary purine and pyrimidine bases found in RNA and DNA), a 5-carbon sugar (ribose or deoxyribose) and one or more phosphate groups. Stop pulling stuff out of your ass.

As far as I can see, your argument amounts to: "you sciencey people don’t know everything yet, so you’re just ‘surmizing’ an ‘asuming’ that step X, Y, Z took place, therefore GOD."

Yeah, real convincing stuff… (/sarcasm)

Seems that you think “science” refers to the facts discovered by the process of science, and thus you are trying to refute “science” by attacking the current understanding of these facts, as well as by attacking the fact that that understanding is, as every scientist writing a grant application joyfully proclaims, still very far from complete.

What you don’t seem to understand is that the very strength of the scientific process is that it is forthrightly and proudly incomplete — we are always testing our ideas against ever-harder anvils, so that we can reject the flawed ones and adopt newer and better ones. So we don’t know everything about abiogenesis yet? So what? The way we’re gonna figure out the things we don’t know yet is still by applying the scientific process, not by swallowing Bronze Age scribblings with less factual merit than Harry Potter novels hook, line, and sinker. You want us to believe in your deity? Fine, throw away your Bible, go into your lab, and find the ineffable ol’ bastard, and then well talk. But until you do come up with some evidence, please keep your creepy, low-rent Torah fanfic to yourself.

Robert, you continue to miss the point. All your arguments against abiogenesis based on likelihood and logic are irrelevant, because they all also apply equally to God. If abiogenesis is too comples to occur spontaneously then God is even moreso. If it can be allowed that God is eternal and needs no cause or explanation, then neither does abiogenesis.

Even if there were ZERO evidence for abiogenesis (which is false – at bare minimum we have evidence that the precursors to abiogenesis actually exist, and we have evidence that all life processes are chemical reactions), since there is also zero evidence for the existence of God, parsimony states that abiogenesis must be preferred over God until more evidence is available because it is the simpler explanation.

The dilemma can only be decided in God’s favor by POSITIVE evidence that God exists, not by any amount of negative evidence about how hard it might be for abiogenesis to occur.

If you do not have such positive evidence, then you have nothing.

Still no direct evidence for your imaginary creator Robert. Your delusional thinking is amusing. You don’t know how to do science, which is you starting with the null hypothesis there is no deity. And you can’t ever get to the point where the deity is necessary, as science has it all explained. Gaps in scientific knowledge is where science is looking. Nothing to hide your imaginary deity in. Only delusional presuppositional fools like you do that. All you can do is provide imagufactured “evidence” and tortured presuppositional mental wanking that is meaningless. No presupposition your imaginary deity exists, no deity is required ever. You lose.

You want to win, show us the equivalent of the eternally burning bush. Direct and conclusive evidence. Not imaginary gaps in the knowledge of science, which is incomplete.

Serious question: Why is it that presuppositionalists, like yourself, so desperately need the approbation of science?

But I've enjoyed this debate with you, Robert. I’m interested to note that when you see “don’t know, but see no reason to *introduce* a supernatural element not needed or suggested anywhere else”, your response is to call that “abiogenesis of the gaps” – it’s positively bizarre! It’s as if you think your flavour of god can actually be demonstrated and observed anywhere else … and that, to your mind, “don’t know” is somehow an attempt to handwave away … the fact that there is something not known! Perfectly and completely arse-backwards. I’d love to see your explanation of why you think there’s evidence for any deity at all, let alone your flavour.

Robert gets maybe a sixteenth of a point for actually citing peer-reviewed scientific literature — but minus ten billion for faffing it up in a typically stupid and dishonest creationist manner.


Sutherland, Powner and Gerland’s experiment is the most current research which started with artificial, unnatural ingredients, purified cyanoacetylene which is unknown in nature


Silly creationist (tricks are for kids!)

From the abstract (ftp://quatramaran.ens.fr/pub/godfroy/articles/Powner_2009.pdf ) : “The starting materials for the synthesis–cyanamide, cyanoacetylene, glycolaldehyde, glyceraldehyde and inorganic phosphate–are plausible prebiotic feedstock molecules [12]-[15]”

What are references [12]-[15]?

[12] Thaddeus, P. The prebiotic molecules observed in the interstellar gas. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 361, 1681-1687 (2006).
[13] Sanchez, R. A., Ferris, J. P. & Orgel, L. E. Cyanoacetylene in prebiotic synthesis. Science 154, 784-785 (1966).
[14] Pasek, M. A. & Lauretta, D. S. Aqueous corrosion of phosphide minerals from iron meteorites: a highly reactive source of prebiotic phosphorus on the surface of the early Earth. Astrobiology 5, 515-535 (2005).
[15] Bryant, D. E. & Kee, T. P. Direct evidence for the availability of reactive, water soluble phosphorus on the early Earth. H-phosphinic acid from the Nantan meteorite. Chem. Commun. 2344-2346 (2006).


I see that the first one is even online with free access:

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1474/1681.full

Look at Figure 1.

The reason that the cyanoacetylene is purified is not because it is that way in nature, but to confirm that the chemical reaction is indeed the one taking place with those specific chemicals, and not with anything else. If it weren’t “purified”, you would no doubt be complaining that it was contaminated!

Arrogant, dishonest, mendacious, false-witness-bearing creationists.

Oh, and Robert? I’d still like to hear your explanation of what kind of magic it was that made “sin” cause entropy to start increasing, and how things lived for some length of time (or, well… any physical system) without it. You know: how it works and stuff. But honestly, I was surprised you decided to bite the bullet on that, but you still haven’t delivered your results. There are so much more interesting ways of losing an argument as a creationist. I recommend you try to remember why you made such an asinine claim in the first place, then find some way to change the subject again. But keep it real sciencey too. That’ll be fun.


All done. To date, Robert hasn't given a single response to the above. Neither has Scott. It's very clear that both ran from the debate because when forced to actually defend what they believe and what they intend to spread as "truth", they couldn't, end of. Force a creationist to really attempt to defend the heart of their beliefs, and they absolutely crumble. Which is a shame, because I'm sure there's some pretty good debaters out there who are wasted in defending such a dogmatic and outdated belief system.
Sunday, January 27th, 2013
4:28 pm
The Reliability of the Bible Saga: Part 16
So I would end up beginning by making one final address to our beloved Scott, even though he had taken the route of extreme lunacy and acting highly immature by refusing to address all the stuff that clearly demonstrated he was full of shit...

Me vs Scott:

The Genetic Fallacy rears its head again. What Dr. Tipler said can’t be trusted because he wrote another book that people aren’t fond of.


That’s not the genetic fallacy; the claim is not that he is wrong because he is Tipler, but that he has been demonstrably wrong in similar endeavours and thus any appeal to authority by virtue of his being Tipler is utterly compromised.

But even granting the argument for a moment…are you aware that the scientific information I draw on from Barrow & Tipler came out BEFORE Tipler turned to Christianity? Sure he’s written a couple of recent books on Christianity and Physics. But when he wrote The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, he was not a Christian. In fact, he was shocked to find that the evidence for God was so good that it LED HIM to Christianity.


Cite citations and sustain your claim, if you care to.

Here is a direct quote from him on this (from his book that you already referenced):


Again: your appeal to authority might count for something if it was in his field of expertise and not disputed by his peers; he is a known crank.

(Google “Omega Point”)



PS Are you aware of Project Steve? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Steve

Oh, and:


[Tipler] I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true


OK, let us examine some biblical “cosmology”:

"And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day." -Joshua 10:13 KJV


Or, "It is in our Magic Holy Book, so it must be true!" Scott, don’t you cringe a little when this crap gets quoted straight back at you?


Now it was time for my addressing of Robert's crap, and hoo boy was it truly an epic smackdown of the bullshit he had infested the thread with:

Me vs Robert:

And at the same point in the vid saying this stated that it only takes one nucleotide to polymerize which is an oxymoron as polymerization is when at least two nucleotides are joined by a phosphodiester bond


Oh, FFS. No such thing is stated anywhere. The video says *types* of nucleotides. Get it? TYPES. Now, “hundreds of types” may be an exaggeration, granted, but it does take one type to polymerize. Many nucleotides of the same *type*.

Sheesh. Try to read for comprehension.


At 3:10 in the vid it incorrectly states we know that early life must have been much simpler which is bluster, there is no evidence of simpler life, the simplest cell we know is incredibly complex and there is zero evidence that life ever was anything simpler.


Like I said, that depends on how you define life. If what fits the definition is already “incredibly complex”, then we postulate that before life there was something simpler that already had some life-like characteristics, namely the capability to undergo Darwinian evolution. And before it something simpler. And so on. If you pick a broader definition, then some of those simpler stages can already be called life and we can talk about a “simpler life”.

Why do we assume that life originated from something simpler? Think about it. Why do we need an explanation for life at all? Because it’s complex, right? Explaining life by postulating something *even more complex* is… not explaining anything at all. Skyhooks and cranes.

“Too complex, therefore something even more complex did it” does not explain anything. Especially when you have no other line of evidence to suggest the existence of that even more complex thing. To add “and that thing doesn’t need an explanation because I say so, so there” on top of it is just pathetic.


because of the a priori belief in neo-Darwinian evolution there was simpler life


No. It’s because it *makes sense*.

no evidence of many simple fatty acids, no evidence of any nucleotides


No direct evidence, but good reason to believe they were there when life arose.

failed to apply critical thinking to this vid


You most certainly did.

We start at the present time and look at the overall complexity of the various lifeforms we see.

We move back in time, looking at the various levels of complexity of the lifeforms in the past.

It is by no means a linear progression, but the broad outline is clear. The further back we go, the less complex things get.

Go back a little ways, and there are no big brains. A little further back, no endothermic metabolisms. A little further back, there’s nothing capable of powered flight. Further back, no amniotic eggs. Further back, nothing that spends 100% of its life cycle on land. Further back, no animals. Further back, no multicellular life. Further back, nothing with nuclei.

Finally we get back to the oldest known fossil organism, which is a prokaryote of some sort. Very simple morphology. Biochemistry still “relatively” complex. Older than this fossil we have trace and chemical evidence of life activity stretching hundreds of millions of years further back. The complexity of whatever it is that produced these traces is unknown.

So what we have is a clear broad pattern over time, the older the time point, the less complex things are on average compared to younger, newer time points, (one can argue that a plateau of complexity was reached, say about 300 million years ago, when life finally successfully colonized every habitat on earth, sea, land, and sky, after which no further additional average complexity was accrued, and the “net” complexity has simply fluctuated around the mean, but that is a different argument for a different subject), going all the way back to the earliest evidence that we have with organisms clearly simpler on average that any other point in the future.

Now we extrapolate backwards towards the origin of life, and we have two options that we can consider.

1) The as yet unknown precursor to that oldest known organism is simpler, fitting with the pattern we have observed all the way from about 300 million years ago to over 3 billions years ago, OR

2) The unknown precursor to that oldest known organism was something MASSIVELY more complex than anything every observed, ie God, completely breaking with the previously observed pattern.


Which scenario is more likely? Which scenario is it more reasonable to start with?

If you allow for God to exist as the unmoved mover, the uncreated creator, the complexity that has always been complex and needs no explanation, there is NO LOGICAL REASON THEN, having allowed for one unobserved entity to have always existed without need for explanation, not allow the same property to any other as yet unobserved entity, such as, say, the first living organism.

If God can be so, then so can life itself. If you allow the existence of God, then you simultaneously offer no logical reason why Life cannot be a thing that has always existed, always had a certain level of complexity, and from there gave rise to all subsequent life.

The very act of inserting the possibility of a creator God immediately eliminates the need to explain ultimate cause at all. And because it is far more parsimonious to simply postulate Life in eternal existence without requirement for an origin than to postulate God in eternal existence without requirement for an origin PLUS Life created by God, the first immediately becomes that much more likely than the second.

That is why the God hypothesis always, immediately, fails. It is logically incoherent. The very insertion of God into the explanatory framework instantly logically negates the need for God to be there at all. God vanishes from the equation in a poof of self-contradiction.

To invoke God as an explanation actually does not explain the origin of life (or anything else, for that matter). It is instead a convoluted way of admitted that you cannot and do not want to even try to explain it. “God did it” is just another way of saying “I know know and I don’t want to know”.If you allow for God to exist as the unmoved mover, the uncreated creator, the complexity that has always been complex and needs no explanation, there is NO LOGICAL REASON THEN, having allowed for one unobserved entity to have always existed without need for explanation, not allow the same property to any other as yet unobserved entity, such as, say, the first living organism.

################################


Another dishonest claim of Jon's is taking credentialed scholars and attempting to avoid their credentials and in a circular reasoning fallacy stating that because they support Christianity they are not scholars but apologists.


Actually, the problem is not that they’re Christians. The problem is that this topic is outside of their fields, so their credentials are not really relevant.

Tipler is not a biologist. His credentials in biology can be ignored because they’re non-existent. That Tipler wrote a book on Christian apologetics means Tipler is a Christian apologist.

But in a way you are quite right, Robert; anyone who seeks to dismiss a scholar solely and entirely on the grounds that said scholar is a Christian, is guilty of a genuine ad hominem fallacy, and we should all try to avoid making use of fallacies.

Now, what do you have to say about those who, like me, acknowledged that Tipler & Barrow do have valid credentials, but pointed out that for all of T&B’s acknowledged expertise in their respective fields, neither Tipler nor Barrow has any particular expertise in the field of biology?


How absurd and dishonest can you get?


That is an excellent question, Robert. I’m sure that if you continue to engage in discourse on the level you’ve started out with, we’ll all see plenty of data-points relevant to answering that question. In other words, seeing your arguments gives an answer to this question.

That is a priori reasoning starting from his conclusion that Christianity is invalid therefore there cannot be true scientists who support Christianity therefore we can ignore any scientist who supports Christianity they must be just apologists when Scott Rachui correctly pointed out their credentials so Jon's desperate plea for negative attention went this way:


The argument is that Christian apologists start with the presupposition that not only gods exist but their particular pet god is the default without offering any evidence not based on the presupposition to support their handwaving. Your argument about their “credentials” is answered above.

Then Jon because of his ignorance of logic and debate contradicts himself asserting an abiogenesis of the gaps argument acknowleding science doesnt know or have evidence that it occured


You’re the one making the god of the gaps argument. We say that we don’t know all the details and you latch on to this statement to claim “ah ha! You don’t know therefore god! And not only god but my favorite pet god! The one who’s super duper intelligent, super duper powerful and wasn’t created!” We don’t know means we don’t know, it doesn’t mean your god is the default.

yet claims Scott is asserting a god of the gaps not understanding the argument which is that from direct observation of complexity we know from inductive inference, he logic used in the scientific method that the complex, specified, meaningfully functional, 3-D, multilayered, computational, communicative, epigenetic, digital metainformation can only be preceded by intelligence and the research to date such as Sutherland et al's experiment requiring intelligent intervention confirms this.


You use all those words, do you know what they mean? Sutherland’s (I assume you mean Earl Sutherland, who got the Nobel Prize for his work on hormones) experiments required intelligent intervention because keeping liver cells healthy and proliferating outside the body is not easy. So your non sequitur doesn’t support your goddidit argument.

Your word salad is just a restatement of your “it’s so complicated that I don’t understand it therefore god” argument that we’ve already explicitly rejected. Arguments from ignorance and incredulity just mean you’re ignorant and incredulous, not that goddidit.


And Jon exposes his ignorance and likely false claim he used to be a Christian referring to entropy as a response to Scott's correct statement God is the God of order.


As for what educated Christians believe about their god, so what? Don’t you know that I'm not a Christian and other people inside and outside this group aren't Christians and therefore do not accept your Bible as being authoritative. We’re certainly not going to accept a 2000 year old book written to push a religious view and heavily edited, revised, redacted and rewritten for centuries by many people all with different agendas actually has something to say about something in modern physics?

and correlates decay as corruption/sin so the sin Adam and Eve brought into the world started the entropy causing the move towards disorder in the universe


So let me make absolutely sure I understand this: If we look at the geological and palaeontological record, then at some point in the Pleistocene, we should see a sharp difference in how physics works; no entropy before a point corresponding to the Fall; and entropy existing after that point?

If we look at the distant stars, their physics will be completely and utterly different if they are more than however many hundreds of thousands of light-years away? Heat will not flow from hotter to cooler, but will… what, stay the same? Flow from cooler to hotter?

What would a non-entropic or anti-entropic universe look like?

You’re asking us to accept a specific religious myth as the basis for thermodynamics? You’re not arguing with your buddies in Sunday School, you’re arguing with a group of atheists with scientific interests or backgrounds or both. Please keep this in mind when talking to us.


So it is likely Jon blustered saying he was a Christian and now asserts his knowledge of science but doesnt know the basics of science from the Christian perspective.


A good chunk of us here are former Christians of various types, and in terms of the overall atheist population, the same fact also applies. Why should we be interested in the Christian perspective rather than the Hindu or Shinto or Taoist perspectives? When Pierre-Simon Laplace was asked why there wasn’t any mention of god in his book, he replied “I have no need for that hypothesis.” Note that Laplace, who was a Christian, wasn’t claiming that god does not exist. Laplace thought god doesn’t intervene to break the laws of science.

Also, yeah, because there’s totally exactly one Christian perspective on science. All Christians are in complete agreement on this and Eurasia has always been at war with Eastasia. (/sarcasm)

We can use the “X cannot possibly come from anything but X” principle, on which you and Scott rely on, as follows:


"Our experience tells us that physical things are never produced by anything other than physical things. The universe is a physical thing. So if the universe was produced by anything, that thing was a physical thing."


As far as abiogenesis is concerned, I recommend this article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867412014389 , for the latest on the research hypothesis I think is most promising: abiogenesis in honeycombs of metal sulphides in alkaline hydrothermal vents into an early acid ocean (it could well be compatible with Szostak’s work on membranes and RNA). Of course it could turn out to be wrong, but it’s clear scientists working on abiogenesis are able to formulate and test specific hypotheses about the emergence of life.

I notice that both you and Scott are distinctly cagey about what you actually believe. At one stage there is an admitting that evolution may have contributed to the development of life, then blaming the existence of entropy on two fictional characters. Let’s have cards on the table here, Robert: we’re quite open about the scientific account of human and universal origins, including the gaps in it; what account do you have to compare with it?

Ultimately, Robert, rather than allow you your presuppositions, in order to convince me you aren’t a fraud, it is time to restart your arguement with the following null hypotheses:

1) Your imaginary deity doesn’t exist. Evidence must be shown to make it a scientific necessity, and conclusive scientific evidence used. Philosophical necessity won’t count for squat.

2) Your babble is a book of mythology/fiction. This can change, but you are the one to evidence parts true, and only those parts are considered true. To get inerrancy you must show everything is true, and one non-truth is enough to bring the whole book into question.

3) Evidence isn’t opinion offered by presuppositionalists, which is almost all religious people and religious beliefs.


More may come into play, but the main point is that you must lose the presupposition your deity exists. Evidence it into existence. I’ve been waiting many years to see that evidence. And nothing you showed above is that evidence.


I then signed off with something that completely blew all the attacks about me by Robert and Scott out of the water, by completely owning them on their hypocritical positions while admitting my mistakes at the same time.

Me:

Finally, I'll just comment about my qualifications. You know what? Screw it? I'm not a biologist. I'm not a theologist. And even though I think what I've achieved with regards to my courses in English Literature and Enterprise have proved particularly useful in my life, they also aren't biology and theology. Okay, fine. I will quite happily admit that I'm unqualified.

But you know what? In terms of qualifications in these relavent fields? Neither is Scott Rachui. Neither is Robert Webb. Indeed, Scott's admission that he has a degree in Psychology doesn't give him any expertise in biology, despite what he says about his supposed "understanding" about how the brain works. If anything, I'd say that diminishes him further as otherwise he wouldn't be trotting out this unscientific crap about Wiring that he did earlier up thread, and it also conflicts with his Christian beliefs as the advanced knowledge we have about how the brain works has long since replaced everything that religious groups including Christianity have before credited to being the work of the "soul". Scott also makes appeals to his Computer Science qualification, but that just sends the irony meter into overload as he nonetheless uses a centre-piece of scientific genius to broadcast his anti-science rants, and furthermore he also hypocritically chooses to disparage the importance of entrepreneurs while quite happily using a website owned by one of the most famous young entrepreneurs of them all to do so. As for Robert, I've seen nothing convincing to back any qualifications he claims he has.

So overall? We're a bunch of guys with no relevant qualifications arguing about the subjects we don't have qualifications in. I will hold my hands up and admit that quite frankly, the one big mistake I made was attempting to defend myself using non-relevant qualifications. I only did it because I was sick and tired of the petty insults and refusals to engage that Scott and Robert were guilty of. But I admit I erred there, and that's fine.

But like I said, me and Scott and Robert don't have the qualifications, so what's meant to differentiate us in terms of who has shown the most quality debating? I would say it's the one who's done more research. And while I've showed I've read plenty of both secular and religious resources(*), Robert and Scott haven't been so forthcoming as to whether they've fairly read lots on both sides of the fence. There's also quite simply the arguments that have been presented. Quite frankly, any neutral observer on a neutral group would see that Scott and Robert have been completely crushed here, although Robert has shown at least more willingness to tackle the arguments than Scott has. But still, the vast majority of my 11 part response to Scott remains unaddressed, as does the vast majority of my second official response to Scott after he finally bothered to take on Part 8. And likewise for any official responses after that. What's largely happened in response to my comments actually looking to advance the debate is a whole lot of insults thrown in my direction including ad hominems and tone trolling. I posted long posts because in this debate I've been given lots of stuff to address, and I promptly addressed it. That they didn't like my responses isn't my problem.

*And yes, in lieu of the fact that I don't own any religious books aside from the ones I've mentioned above - namely the Bible, quran, Greek mythology, Narnia and Life of Pi - as well as also pointing out having read Darwin's Black Box, Of Pandas And People, CS Lewis essays and having read a good deal of stuff from Answers in Genesis and Discovery Institute in addition to other "Holy Books", linking to a RW article on notable Christian authors was perfectly acceptable to do, as without the books right in front of me it would be impossible for me to list them all in the way that I've been able to display the secular resources that I listed up thread.

One more thing, Scott Rachui claims upthread that ID doesn't rely on Biblical Inerrancy. Now I recognise that there's also forms of ID/Creationism endorsed by people like, say, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs, as well as cults that don't worship Gods but worship aliens as the Raeliens do.

But then here's the problem: can Scott point to me a single example of an atheist who is still an atheist who accepts the idea of an Intelligent Designer? Doesn't this kinda suggest, especially in lieu of the fact that in Kitzmiller v Dover the ID crowd even got exposed using a creationist book derided in Edwards v Aguillard, that ID clearly has its roots in a belief in God and thus a wholehearted belief that whatever Holy Text from whatever version of God the creators of ID believe in is something believed by the believers to be inerrant? Therefore, surely despite all pretense to the contrary, ID relies a LOT on the presupposed inerrancy of whatever Holy Book it originated from?


We know Scott wouldn't respond, but what about Mr Webb? All will be revealed in Part 17!
Friday, January 25th, 2013
4:20 pm
The Reliability of the Bible Saga: Part 15
Recognising that perhaps my initial rebuttal of what Scott had said hadn't gone into quite enough detail, I then did a "re-debunking" of the post Scott had initially made when responding to my criticism of his views of ID. Here is what transpired from this:

Me:

What I rely on is the work done by John Barrow and Frank Tipler in their book “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle”…
Frank Tipler is a professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University and John Barrow is a professor of Astronomy at Sussex.


Newsflash, Scott: Expertise in Topic X does *not* automatically confer expertise in a different, unrelated Topic Y. John Doe’s uninformed opinion on Topic Y is as worthless as any other uninformed opinion on Topic Y, *regardless* of how great a level of expertise the uninformed-on-Topic-Y Doe may possess with respect to Topic X.

So, okay: You’ve got a dude with expertise in the field of Mathematical Physics, and another dude with expertise in the field of Astronomy… and they’re writing about the field of *biology*, said field having *no significant relationship to EITHER of the fields those dudes actually DO have expertise in?*

Hmm. A bit of a red flag, that. Still, it’s at least *possible* that Tipler and Barrow might actually have troubled themselves to acquire sufficient biological savvy that they genuinely do know what they’re talking about, so let us continue…


In their book “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle” (pp. 562-564), [Tipler & Barrow] … list 10 crucial ingredients that must be present for life to develop.


“must be present for life to *develop*“? Okay, so T&B are talking about the origin of life—abiogenesis. Presumably, the ’10 crucial ingredients’ they cite must, therefore, *necessarily* be common to *all* life, because otherwise, they wouldn’t have cited whatever-it-is as being ‘crucial’ dealies which ‘MUST BE PRESENT for life to develop’ (emphasis added). So, what are these ’10 crucial ingredients’?

1. The development of the DNA-based genetic code


The last time I checked, the concensus among abiogenesis researchers—the people who *actually do* have the most expertise in this topic—is that DNA is a bit of a Johnny-come-lately, and it *couldn’t* have been involved with the actual origin of life. So I’m curious to know the grounds on which T&B assert that DNA is a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

2. The invention of aerobic respiration


There are critters whose metabolic processes are anaerobic , hence this point *cannot* be a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

3. The invention of glucose fermentation to pyruvic acid


Well, conversion of glucose into pyruvate to produce energy does occur in all cellular organisms*, although not always via the same pathway (see Entner-Doudoroff and Embden-Meyerhof, I seem to remember reading something a while back about the former being the oldest). I guess if you take a metabolism-first approach you could say that that particular piece of chemistry had to be present right at the very beginning of the process. Even then, I’m not sure about calling it a “crucial ingredient” for life to develop. It’s more like a “crucial step” of the development of life.

_

*with the exception of one or other obligate intracellular parasite. Incidentally, and relating to the discussion above, if you are too demanding with your definition of life you may end up unintentionally ruling out some of them.


4. The origin of autotropic photosynthesis


There’s plenty of critters that aren’t photosynthetic autotrophs, hence this point *cannot* be a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

5. The origin of mitochondria


There’s plenty of critters that don’t have mitochondria, hence this point *cannot* be a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

6. The formation of the centriole/kinetosome/undulipodia complex


“Undulipodia”? [shrug] A flagellum by any other name… There’s plenty of monocellular critters that don’t have flagella/undulipodia/etc, hence this point *cannot* be a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

7. The evolution of an eye precursor


There’s plenty of critters that don’t have eyes, hence this point *cannot* be a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

8. The development of endoskeleton


There’s plenty of critters that don’t have endoskeletons, hence this point *cannot* be a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

9. The development of chordates


There’s plenty of critters that aren’t chordates, hence this point *cannot* be a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”.

10. The evolution of Homo Sapiens in the chordate lineage


Since when is *Homo Sapiens* a “crucial ingredient” which “must be present for life to develop”?

By my reckoning, here’s the final tally:

*8 (eight) BLATANTLY, GRINDINGLY WRONG claims that Thing X is a requirement for life to develop

1 (one) POSSIBLY VALID claim that Thing X is a requirement for life to develop

1 (one) claim that Thing X is a requirement for life to develop, said claim being starkly at odds with the concensus of people *who ACTUALLY DO know what they’re talking about*

For some strange reason, Scott Rachui, what you wrote here does not inspire me to regard Tipler and Barrow as being any more reliable when it comes to abiogenesis, than is the dude behind the counter at the local Little Caesar’s.

Well, maybe you garbled T&B’s message a little—maybe T&B didn’t mean to discuss the origin of *all life on Earth*, but, rather, just the origin of *one particular species on Earth*, said species being us humans. If so, I’m still not impressed, because in that case, what you’ve got is yet another variation on the time-honored Creationist argument “Very Low Probability! Therefore GOD DID IT!” The main problem with any such argument is that it *assumes*, up front, that humans are somehow a *necessary* product of… whatever processes were involved with the history of life on Earth.

Analogy: Take two 52-card decks. Thoroughly shuffle them together, and deal out all the cards in the thoroughly shuffled double-deck, face up. You’ll get a sequence of 104 cards, right? As it happens, that card-sequence you just dealt out is one of (104! 1.03*10^166 different card-sequences, which means the *particular* card-sequence you got is, therefore a 1/(1.03*10^166) longshot. But ID-pushers assure us that anything whose probability is less than 1/(10^150) is so improbable that it cannot have arisen by chance, and *that* means any such stupendously-improbable whatzit must, therefore, *be considered a product of Design*!

This is, of course, rubbish. It’s also a prime example of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Yes, the particular double-deck card-sequence you dealt out is, indeed, a 1/(1.03*10^166) longshot, and so *what*? As improbable as that card-sequence may be, it *happened*. You *did* deal that card-sequence out. And any line of ‘reasoning’ which ends with “therefore, your card-sequence must have been the product of Design” is utter garbage.

Similarly, regardless of how improbable the specific sequernce of events which led up to *Homo sapiens* may be, that sequence of events *happened*. And the mere fact that said sequence of events *did* happen, is no more evidence of a Designer’s intervention with respect to *H. Sapiens*, than the mere fact that you dealt out a specific card-sequence is evidence of a Designer’s intervention with respect to that card-sequence.


But it’s more than just not having the answers. It’s this untenable faith commitment that life can spring from non-life.


Nonsense.

You want to argue that *H. Sapiens* had to have been Designed, on the grounds that ‘life can only spring from life’? Fine. If that premise is valid, *the Designer of* H. sapiens *MUST itself, have been a living thing*. Because if you grant that the Designer *wasn’t* a living thing, *you’ve just negated the life-only-springs-from-life premise which is your justification for invoking a Designer in the first place*. And since the life-only-springs-from-life premise requires that the Designer *must* have been a living thing, it equally requires that *the Designer, itself, MUST necessarily have been Designed by SOME OTHER Designer*. And this Designer-designer, in turn, *must necessarily* have been Designed by a Designer^3… who, in turn, *must necessarily* have been Designed by a Designer^4…

In short: The life-only-springs-from-life premise, *if* said premise is actually valid, *ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES* an infinite regress of Designers designing Designers designing Designers designing yada yada yada, worlds without end, amen.

One way out is to declare that the Designer of humankind is, in fact, *not* a living thing—but if you go that route, kiss your life-only-springs-from-life premise goodbye. Another escape route is to declare that your Designer doesn’t *need* to have sprung from any other life; but this response, like the previous one, just plain old *destroys* the life-only-springs-from-life premise you’re touting as your justification for invoking a Designer.

And you think it’s *rejecting* the life-only-springs-from-life premise that requires a “faith commitment”?

Yyyyyyyyyyeah. Right. You bet, Scott. Sure thing. Uhh-huh.


Every attempt at an explanation has failed.


Only for values of ‘failed’ which include ‘not *yet* been confirmed’.

Every experiment (even the Miller-Urey experiment) has not met the necessary standard.


Hold it. Exactly what “necessary standard” is it that you assert hasn’t yet been met? And on what grounds do you assert that said “necessary standard” has, in fact, not not been met? I’d be willing to bet a substantial sum of money that every experiment you would dismiss as “not [meeting] the necessary standard” *wasn’t even INTENDED to address the question YOU denounce said experiment for failing to answer.*

Couple this with the fact that we DO have reasonable answers when reasoning to the origin of life from the existence of a necessary being that is himself the first cause, though He is uncaused (he exists by the necessity of his own being)…


Damn. You *are* blowing off the life-only-springs-from-life premise that you cite as your justification for invoking a Designer when it comes to human beings! Logic: U R DOING IT RONG.

I’m not going to bother fisking your god-talk, Scott. I will simply say this: When you can come up with an empirically valid experimental test for the presence or absence of whatever mode of intervention by your favorite god, *then* we can talk. Until that happy day, how about you leave your favorite god parked at the curb when you talk about science, hm?


Basically, all I got from Scott in response was more ad homs and claims that he felt perfectly justified in ignoring me from now on because I didn't have relavent qualifications, as well as of course the tone trolling and calling me childish, despite his display of petulant refusals to address the vast majority of what I had put to him. As I will demonstrate in my Part 16, this argument about qualifications was going to be an argument that would prove to be the undoing of both Robert and Scott.
4:15 pm
The Reliability of the Bible Saga: Part 14
Just to add something of mine I forgot to include since Scott also mentioned Paley's Watch:

Me:

Oh and with regards to Paley's Watch, do you know why we know a watch had a watch-maker, or a painting had a painter? It's because, we recognize that a painting had a painter not because it's complex, not because it's ordered, we recognize this from experience, all evidence points to this thing having being designed. We recognize design by contrasting it with what is naturally occurring, and that's why you can hold up a painting and a tree side by side and you would say "Oh, the painting is obviously the creation of an intelligent mind," because we have no examples of painting coming into existence on their own, we have no examples of paintings being able to reproduce. All evidence... we have millions of examples of paintings created by thinking minds, so all of the evidence points to this, the contrast though is that trees do naturally reproduce as do people and living things, we have a good understanding of how planets form out of accretion disks from suns, those things are naturally occurring, that contrast between naturally occurring and created is something that ... is how we determine whether or not something was designed, and what you're doing is kind of like, you're mentioned Paley's watchmaker analogy where you find a watch and it's intricate workings supposedly lead one to deduce that it was designed, but in reality what you have is a watch lying on a field of watches in a universe of watches, because you believe that everything is designed, so there is no point of contrast for you.

Design is contrasted against naturally occurring, order itself is not necessarily a product of design, as sand dunes in the desert look very orderly, but they're not designed, they don't give ... not everything gives the impression of design, and those things which do give the impression of design aren't necessarily designed.

People have, for a very long time, described things as appearing to be designed because the way people learn in general is to make analogies to things that they already know, so when we say how the eye works we tend to describe it in terms of things that we know how they already work, like a camera, but that doesn't mean that the eye is a literal camera.


Now the first response I got that actually touched the topic was indeed from Scott, albeit again only addressing a tiny portion of what I wrote, namely about the reliability of the authors who Scott referenced, this was the only relevant section in a post that was otherwise filled with the same old "petulance!" and "childishness!" and "tantrums!" accusation bullshit:

Scott Rachui:

Aha! The Genetic Fallacy rears its head again. What Dr. Tipler said can't be trusted because he wrote another book that Jon isn't fond of.

Let me first say this, Jon...you demand that we accept your sources and you ridicule ours. There hypocrisy is stunning. It's logically fallacious reasoning (and let's be honest...virtually everything you say is logically fallacious reasoning) and all it does is make you look foolish.

But even granting the argument for a moment...are you aware that the scientific information I draw on from Barrow & Tipler came out BEFORE Tipler turned to Christianity? Sure he's written a couple of recent books on Christianity and Physics. But when he wrote The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, he was not a Christian. In fact, he was shocked to find that the evidence for God was so good that it LED HIM to Christianity.

Here is a direct quote from him on this (from his book that you already referenced):


"When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics."


I very quickly pointed out his "Argument from Authority" fallacy again as well as his views being in a fringe minority in science considering that NAS puts the number of religious scientists at only 7%, and then got a response from Robert Webb:

Robert Webb:

Now then lets' deal with a couple of Jon's assertions about which he has no clue, the vid he links to is absurd and isnt Jack Szostak's research, the vid is a bunch of demonstrably false pseudo-intellectual babble. It presents pure speculation as face. It states the prebiotic atmosphere had 'many simple fatty acids', 'hundreds of nucleotides only one of which is needed to self-polymerize' and 'we know that early life must have been very simple.'

At 5:02 the vid claims the prebiotic environment had hundreds of nucleotides and that it only takes one to 'self polymerize'. Completely false. The current research of which Jon is ignorant yet on which he hypocritically challenged Rachiu's knowledge, is from Sutherland, Powner and Gerland which failed to show even nucleotide precursors can form from a natural process starting with natural ingredients, they started with chemicals not found in nature, right handed ribose isomers and purified cyanoacetylene, and then at many crucial steps intelligently intervened to purify results, remove lethal byproducts and add phosphate buffers. And at the same point in th vid saying this stated that it only takes one nucleotide to polymerize which is an oxymoron as polymerization is when at least two nucleotides are joined by a phosphodiester bond:


"Polymerization of Nucleotides (Phosphodiester Bonds)

Nucleotides are joined together similarly to other biological molecules, by a condensation reaction that releases a small, stable molecule. Unlike proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, however, the molecule that is released is not water but pyrophosphate (two phosphate groups bound together). When pyrophosphate is cleaved by the addition of water, a great deal of free energy is released, ensuring that the reverse process (hydrolysis of the phosphodiester bond to give free nucleotides) is very unlikely to occur.

1. The 5' group of a nucleotide triphosphate is held close to the free 3' hydroxyl group of a nucleotide chain.

2. The 3' hydroxyl group forms a bond to the phosphorus atom of the free nucleotide closest to the 5' oxygen atom. Meanwhile, the bond between the first phosphorus atom and the oxygen atom linking it to the next phosphate group breaks.

3. A new phosphodiester bond now joins the two nucleotides. A pyrophosphate group has been liberated.

4. The pyrophosphate group is hydrolyzed (split by the addition of water), releasing a great deal of energy and driving the reaction forward to completion."

http://chem.wisc.edu/deptfiles/genchem/netorial/modules/biomolecules/modules/dna1/dna13.htm

At 3:10 in the vid it incorrectly states we know that early life must have been much simpler which is bluster, there is no evidence of simpler life, the simplest cell we know is incredibly complex and there is zero evidence that life ever was anything simpler. This is an ad hoc/post hoc invention and a tacit acknowledgement that life is too complex to ever have evolved so therefore because of the a priori belief in neo-Darwinian evolution there was simpler life, question begging and circular reasoning.

At 3:50 the vid incorrectly states the prebiotic atmosphere contained many simple fatty acids. Again, this is an unproven speculation.

So, there is no evidence of many simple fatty acids, no evidence of any nucleotides and no evidence that life ever was any simpler. Jon didnt know this yet presented this bluster as an argument because he doesnt know how debates are won, he doesn't know the scientific method requiring hypotheses to bested, doesn't know logic requiring assertions to be backed with evidence and to be tested and verified, doesnt know debate uses this logic and borrows from the scientific method to test assertions just like a scientific hypothesis so he failed to apply critical thinking to this vid, didnt have the knowledge to test it yet threw it up in a post as evidence of his claims.

Another dishonest claim of Jon's is taking credentialed scholars and attempting to avoid their credentials and in a circular reasoning fallacy stating that because they support Christianity they are not scholars but apologists. How absurd and dishonest can you get? That is a priori reasoning starting from his conclusion that Christianity is invalid therefore there cannot be true scientists who support Christianity therefore we can ignore any scientist who supports Christianity they must be just apologists when Scott Rachui correctly pointed out their credentials so Jon's desperate plea for negative attention went this way:


"What I rely on is the work done by John Barrow and Frank Tipler in their book "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle". You're welcome to pick that book up and read it, but here is a summary statement I put together from the book that explains this:

Frank Tipler is a professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University and John Barrow is a professor of Astronomy at Sussex. They are both well-respected scientists and are not writing as Christians, but as scientists.


So let me get this straight: these guys are totally not Christian apologetics, and yet Frank J. Tipler wrote a book called The Physics of Christianity. Would you like to revise your claim?"


Then Jon because of his ignorance of logic and debate contradicts himself asserting an abiogenesis of the gaps argument acknowleding science doesnt know or have evidence that it occured yet claims Scott is asserting a god of the gaps not understanding the argument which is that from direct observation of complexity we know from inductive inference, he logic used in the scientific method that the complex, specified, meaningfully functional, 3-D, multilayered, computational, communicative, epigenetic, digital metainformation can only be preceded by intelligence and the research to date such as Sutherland et al's experiment requiring intelligent intervention confirms this.

And Jon exposes his ignorance and likely false claim he used to be a Christian referring to entropy as a response to Scott's correct statement God is the God of order. Any Christian educated on science knows that the Bible says the universe is subject to decay (Genesis, Romans 8, Hebrews 1) and correlates decay as corruption/sin so the sin Adam and Eve brought into the world started the entropy causing the move towards disorder in the universe. So it is likely Jon blustered saying he was a Christian and now asserts his knowledge of science but doesnt know the basics of science from the Christian perspective.


I'm still working on a full response to Robert, but the response to Scott can be seen in Part 15...
4:02 pm
The Reliability of the Bible Saga: Part 13
And now for my full response to Scott's claptrap.

Me:

I am not relying on any Christian apologets source for this, Jon.


You essentially are. Show us your imaginary deity/designer really exists with solid and conclusive physical evidence, not mental masturbation. You need to provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Something like the eternally burning bush. Tell us where to find it.

Your mental masturbation about the anthropomorphic principle doesn’t qualify, as science does have explanations, which you ignore. And the probability of life as we know it somewhere in the universe is 1. Low probability is meaningless with a large number of suns and planets to overcome your inane probabilities.

Try again with real evidence. Leave the philosophy about your imaginary deity where it belongs, in the sewer, with the rest of the Xian apologetics.


What I rely on is the work done by John Barrow and Frank Tipler in their book "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle". You're welcome to pick that book up and read it, but here is a summary statement I put together from the book that explains this:

Frank Tipler is a professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University and John Barrow is a professor of Astronomy at Sussex. They are both well-respected scientists and are not writing as Christians, but as scientists.


So let me get this straight: these guys are totally not Christian apologetics, and yet Frank J. Tipler wrote a book called The Physics of Christianity. Would you like to revise your claim?

In their book "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" (pp. 562-564), they note the vast improbability of life developing anywhere in the universe.


And yet it did.

Also, so much for the "finely-tuned for life" claim you made back in Part 4, then.


They list 10 crucial ingredients that must be present for life to develop.


If they do, you didn’t list them. Those things you listed aren’t “ingredients that must be present for life to develop”, they’re things that evolved after life developed. All of them.

each of these are so improbable and would take so much time to develop through blind evolutionary processes


You will need more than an argument from incredulity to establish that. Saying “OMG I cannot possibly imagine how that evolved!” is not an argument. Do you understand why?

There is a lot to be said and a lot you could learn about the evolution of each one of them, but really, you can go do that on your own. Or pick one that really intrigues you and we can try to discuss it.

Now before we get to your ten listed things, I just have to say one thing: Dear gods, probability does not work that way! You’re not looking at one person rolling one die a billion times trying to come up with a specific sequence of events. You’re looking at a billion people rolling a billion dice a billion times! These events did not occur in isolation:


1. The development of the DNA-based genetic code
2. The invention of aerobic respiration
3. The invention of glucose fermentation to pyruvic acid
4. The origin of autotropic photosynthesis
5. The origin of mitochondria
6. The formation of the centriole/kinetosome/undulipodia complex
7. The evolution of an eye precursor
8. The development of endoskeleton
9. The development of chordates
10. The evolution of Homo Sapiens in the chordate lineage


Besides that, THIS does not equal the 10 crucial ingredients for life. This is a list of the 10 crucial ingredients for humans. There is likely some planet somewhere else in the entire vast, VAST, VAST universe where some species exist without an endoskeleton, or without eyes, or without a DNA code, or without aerobic respiration. You and all the other god botherers see life and think “people” but life can mean something completely foreign to us.

The anthropic principle is a stupid, stupid way to look at the universe cause you’re in the universe! If the universe wasn’t such that we weren’t here, then we wouldn’t be here to wonder why the universe isn’t such that we exist. Some other type of life might surely exist and wonder why the universe is such that they exist, and not some other kind of life form. Savvy?

You do not seem aware that our bodies are not intelligently designed. A head that is too big to get through the pelvic bone? Nerves that goes from the brain, around the heart before it goes back to the head? Knees? The structural weakness in males that allows for the genitalia to be held out of the torso but leaves males open to hernias? Not to mention backbones that are actually not very well adapted at walking upright. The human body, and that of most vertebrates actually, is a pretty piss-poor job if it was intelligently designed. That designer must have been one incompetent arse.

In fact I take back something I just said, it's not even 10 crucial ingredients for humans, as they don’t do number #4 in that list.

I guess it’s a list of… random things that the authors find puzzling. Or something. Now that I think about it, what are a “professor of Mathematical Physics” and a “professor of Astronomy” doing telling biologists and biochemists that those ten things are highly improbable and couldn’t have evolved? Ever wondered about that, Scott?

None of those events are necessary for life. In fact, there are lifeforms today that don’t follow one, several or all of those steps. The exception is step 1, but that’s only because RNA-based viruses straddle the definition of “life”.

Besides, this is a classic error of probability, confounding the probability of a specific sequence of events with the probability of any sequence. If you don’t get a full house, that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with no cards on your hand. If life didn’t evolve to be us, it would be something else.


It’s this untenable faith commitment that life can spring from non-life. Every attempt at an explanation has failed.


Well then, if you hold life cannot come from non-life, then your god must be alive. But since your god is alive, its life must have come from something else that was alive. (What living thing made your god?)

Also, define “life”. Trust me, this is important. It’s also very tricky, but I’m hoping that in your attempt to do so you will understand that there’s a continuum between life and non-life, so getting life from non-life doesn’t sound so mysterious any more.


Your view requires FAR more faith than I'm able to muster. You leverage a naturalism of the gaps (a true argument from ignorance) to reach your conclusions.


That’s because you don’t question your faith in the supernatural, and thus discount it as faith. (I don’t need faith in the natural; there it is all around me!)

Then let me help you…we don’t say “they can’t explain the origin of life, so God must have done it”. No, we have positive arguments for God’s existence, which are scientific, logical and philosophical in origin.


Saying “goddidit” ain’t an explanation.

Saying *how* god did it would be, if it didn’t boil down to “it made a miracle”.

(Also, what specific scientific, logical and philosophical positive arguments lead you to believe that your god merits the male pronoun?)

Now here's what's wrong with your "analogy":


Suppose that you decide you’re going to study the origin of rain. And before you get started, you determine that rain cannot come from clouds


First, no one determined that life cannot come from an invisible supernatural being before they got started. We merely concluded that it is an unparsimonious non-hypothesis after analysing it.

because maybe you don’t believe in clouds, or whatever


Second, clouds aren’t invisible supernatural beings that show no sign of existing and aren’t even well defined.

I then proceed to offer you the evidence that rain does come from clouds


Third… do I really have to point out that you have NOT done the equivalent to this? Or are you going under the belief that saying “Oh yeah, I’ve got loads of evidence” is the same as actually presenting it?

But you’ll never explain the origin of life because you reject the source of the origin of life.


You haven’t explained it either, you’ve just said a magical being poofed it into existence.

Also:


even though we have no explanation (and no hope for an explanation) for how life spontaneously appeared from non-life
...
abiogenesis is a profound gap that you guys can’t cross (and will never be able to cross, in my view).


Tell me, Scott, how up to date are you with abiogenesis research to make those assertions with such confidence? What were the last papers you read on prebiotic chemistry research? Seriously, name a few. I mean, the way you talk about it, the way you say there is “no hope for an explanation”… surely you wouldn’t be pontificating on it like that if you weren’t very familiar with field, right?

Having said that, there are certain things we can know about the designer just from observing the design (and I’m using ‘He’ here for convenience):

- He exists


How do you know that? Which specific observations are supposed to support this?

- He is immaterial and timeless (because material and time are part of the creation)


How do you know that? (Feel free to keep repeating that yourself as we go on.)

- He is quite powerful


How so? More powerful than what? Is he bigger than a breadbox? If "He" is truly male, how about what he's "packing", if you catch my drift?

What would it even mean to say there’s something “powerful” which is immaterial and non-temporal? We observe material stuff exerting forces on other material over some amount of time. That’s actually what our observations are, of any bit of this purported “design,” and there are none of immaterial non-temporal “powers” floating about (nowhere, presumably) being “powerful” in some undefined way. Why do you think that is?


- He is incredibly intelligence


By “incredibly,” you must mean unbelievably rather than amazingly, because I have no idea how an immaterial non-temporal whatchamacallit is supposed to be intelligent. How about you stop groveling and lavishing praise on your cosmic buddy Jesus for a second, so you could try telling us something useful? (You’re not talking to him right now. Remember?) Does he know everything there is to know or only everything he could know? If the latter (the only option that would make sense), what sorts of things is he unintelligent about? If you can’t at least say something about that, then why say he’s “incredibly intelligent” at all? What good is it?

- He is a creator that values order


Then why is entropy increasing? Did he get bored performing miracles? Or is he more incompetent in his old timeless age? Or maybe he doesn’t value his creation as much anymore? Or what? (I mean, besides a god not existing, obviously, those are the only options that pop into my head.)

- He is interested in being known by His creations


What makes you think you know he has interests? Explain that and how that could work, then we’ll get to whether and how you know what at least one of his interests is. That’s also after we know we’re dealing with your specific god, give or take a Jesus, a Satan and who knows what else.

- He is not dependant on the universe (in other words, He is not a component of His creation)


So, according to you, why does a god exist? (Would there need to be another god to make him, and another, etc.?) Was existing one of his many interests? Was it the intelligent thing to do? Was he powerful enough while non-existent (which, oddly, seems to be the same “while” as it is for the existent-and-timeless version) to make himself exist? Is it because there just had to be someone to make the things-he-hadn’t-yet-made orderly (then more and more disorderly) — and that’s the reason why a god exists?

Looks to me like you haven’t “deduced” jack. Start over without a god, then see if one is actually needed anywhere along the way, to do anything other than preach at people about nonsense. (Hint: it won’t be.)


So how did he end up responding? With stupid comments about me being immature and using more tone trolling of course. View Part 14 for when I actually got comments that addressed the topic!
3:46 pm
The Reliability of the Bible Saga: Part 12
So when we last left off, I was exposing the sheer weight of misunderstandings Scott held in truly epic fashion, going through 11 parts to correct his woefully wrong positions. Let's get one thing straight first off. Scott NEVER ANSWERED ALL 11 PARTS. Instead, it took some extreme negotiation for me to even get him to address ONE part. And even then he never properly tackled my subsequent response. In the meantime, he kept calling me childish because I used a few naughty words and treated his views with exactly the respect they deserved: namely as being overly-repeated claptrap that got debunked years ago but which still gets attempted to be forced into the science classroom. In other words, zero.

So let's start with Robert Webb, another apologist, spreading bullshit about the Dover Trial:

Me vs Robert Webb:

And you can add the Dover trial claim of yours that I will be refuting as well. The trial actually is beneficial to ID because the judge's bias and extreme inaccuracies have been exposed, he used the ACLU brief as the template for writing his decision copying word for word absurdly inaccurate and false twists of the actual trial testimony in it that the actual trial record exposes.


So let's tackle this. Firstly, this is hardly an original accusation. The creationists have criticised Jones for supposedly copying something like "90%" of what he said from the ACLU brief, but an actual statistical analysis puts it at more like 35%: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-conversation-with-mark-mathis . Nonetheless, close examining of the similarities reveals that only the "findings of fact" in the opinion were thus transcribed, not the entire opinion as the Discovery Institute misrepresents. It should be noted that incorporation of a brief in an opinion's findings of fact is standard and appropriate, and is often used by the court to avoid a duplication of effort where the argument coincides with judicial opinion, which is also explained in the link.

And I've asked this question several times and only gotten vague answers. What precisely did the "Dover" side's lawyers expose about the witnesses testifying against Dover that the Kitzmiller lawyers managed to expose so very well about Michael Behe and Alan Bonsell (who offered testimony so suspicious and facetious that the judge took the prerogative to examine the witness himself). Allow me to remind you of what was admitted by the most key ID supporter Behe on the stand:

- That no peer-reviewed scientific journal has published research supportive of intelligent design's claims.
- That Behe's own book was not, as he had claimed, peer reviewed.
- That Behe himself criticizes the science presented as supporting intelligent design in instructional material created for that purpose.
- That intelligent design seems plausible and reasonable to inquirers in direct proportion to their belief or nonbelief in God.
- That the basic arguments for evidence of purposeful design in nature are essentially the same as those adduced by the Christian apologist Rev. William Paley (1743–1805) in his 1802 Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected From the Appearances of Nature, where he sums up his observations of the complexity of life in the ringing words, "The marks of design are too strong to be got over. Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. That person is GOD."
- That the definition of "theory" supplied by the US National Academy of Sciences did not encompass ID, and that his broader definition would allow astrology to be included as a scientific theory.
- That he had claimed in his book that evolution could not explain immunology without even investigating the subject. He was presented with 58 peer reviewed articles, nine books, and several textbook chapters on the subject; he insisted they were "not good enough."

Jones himself concluded rather aptly:


"One consistency among the Dover School Board members' testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID… We disagree."


Another theist had a different appeal to a different law:

Josh Rayburn:

The law they passed that so long as a teacher presents the required material for the state testing then that teacher can also supplement whatever material they want to present to the children as well.


Me:

The Louisiana law, as well as the one in Tennessee, are lawsuits waiting to happen. Especially since the part of the text includes the sentence: "[...]including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." - all things, which not so coincidentally, are, of course, all targets of the right's War on Science. The last one - human cloning - is also out of place here as it isn't even a 'theory'.

The bill also allows the use of "supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials" for the above purpose by teachers, "unless otherwise prohibited" by the board. This could mean, for example, that the SBOE would have to explicitly ban a given creationist textbook to prevent a teacher from utilising it to teach creationism in the guise of "promote[ing] students' critical thinking skills". A whole bunch of Nobel Laureates have criticised it, and when both Lousiana and Tennessee get subject to the lawsuits they'll eventually get, they'll go exactly the same way as Kitzmiller v Dover.


Finally, after educating Scott on exactly what a tone troll is, and negotiating to address just one part, he responded with this:

Scott Rachui:

With regards to "1.", which “studies” would those be? More details about the specifics of your claim would be very helpful


I am not relying on any Christian apologets source for this, Jon. What I rely on is the work done by John Barrow and Frank Tipler in their book "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle". You're welcome to pick that book up and read it, but here is a summary statement I put together from the book that explains this:

Frank Tipler is a professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University and John Barrow is a professor of Astronomy at Sussex. They are both well-respected scientists and are not writing as Christians, but as scientists.

In their book "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" (pp. 562-564), they note the vast improbability of life developing anywhere in the universe. They list 10 crucial ingredients that must be present for life to develop. Interestingly, each of these are so improbable and would take so much time to develop through blind evolutionary processes alone that before they occurred (and we're talking each of these processes independently...not all 10 of them happening together), our sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have burned up the earth!

Here are the 10 steps (EACH OF WHICH is highly improbable):
1. The development of the DNA-based genetic code
2. The invention of aerobic respiration
3. The invention of glucose fermentation to pyruvic acid
4. The origin of autotropic photosynthesis
5. The origin of mitochondria
6. The formation of the centriole/kinetosome/undulipodia complex
7. The evolution of an eye precursor
8. The development of endoskeleton
9. The development of chordates
10. The evolution of Homo Sapiens in the chordate lineage


On your "2.", if you’re referring to the fact that abiogenesis is a topic for which we don’t have all the answers, then yeah, you’re right: We *don’t* have all the answers.


That is what I'm referring to, Jon. But it's more than just not having the answers. It's this untenable faith commitment that life can spring from non-life. Every attempt at an explanation has failed. Every experiment (even the Miller-Urey experiment) has not met the necessary standard. Couple this with the fact that we DO have reasonable answers when reasoning to the origin of life from the existence of a necessary being that is himself the first cause, though He is uncaused (he exists by the necessity of his own being) and you have a good reason to doubt naturalistic explanations.

[shrug]


This is the problem, Jon. Your view requires FAR more faith than I'm able to muster. You leverage a naturalism of the gaps (a true argument from ignorance) to reach your conclusions. You conclude that even though we have no explanation (and no hope for an explanation) for how life spontaneously appeared from non-life, it MUST be a natural explanation. So you've conveniently wedged "unknown natural cause" into that gap. I can't leverage 'gaps' arguments and I can't argue from ignorance. I don't have enough faith to do that.

I don’t quite see how you get from “I don’t know” to “therefore, God”, but if that’s what makes you happy, go for it.


Then let me help you...we don't say "they can't explain the origin of life, so God must have done it". No, we have positive arguments for God's existence, which are scientific, logical and philosophical in origin. And with this evidence we are able to use that evidence to conclude that God is the best explanation for everything. Thus, we don't rely on your lack of ability to get the answer. We rely on our evidence to conclude that God is the source of everything. We just recognize that abiogenesis is a profound gap that you guys can't cross (and will never be able to cross, in my view).

I just hope you recognise that this argument-from-ignorance doesn't fit well school curricula, okay?


I agree completely. This is why you should stop saying that evolution (without the guidance of an intelligence) is a decided fact. It isn't. And when you claim it is, you're arguing from ignorance.

If you are, instead, arguing that we have *absolutely no clue whatsoever* about abiogenesis, well, that’s just wrong. We *know* that mindless, undirected chemistry is perfectly capable of generating amino acids without any need for a Designer’s intervention; we *know* that random concatenations of amino acids *can and do* have biologically-relevant chemical properties. Both of these facts being the case, it’s pretty clear that we have *more* than just a clue about abiogenesis


Let me offer an analogy on this, Jon.

Suppose that you decide you're going to study the origin of rain. And before you get started, you determine that rain cannot come from clouds (because maybe you don't believe in clouds, or whatever). You spend a significant amount of time and get some tantalizing details (rain comes down, not up...it tends to occur when there is thunder and wind...the ground is typically wet during a rainstorm, etc.). And you say "we're closing in on the source! Look how much we know about rain!"

Suppose then that I come to you and say "sure, you've got some interesting data. But it does not explain the source of rain. And it never will because you reject the idea that rain comes from clouds." Your response is "you are just arguing from ignorance when you say that since I haven't proven the source of rain, it must be clouds."

I then proceed to offer you the evidence that rain does come from clouds (to demonstrate that I'm not arguing from ignorance, but have good reasons to believe rain comes from clouds).

This is what's happening here, Jon. You've got some interesting information. But you'll never explain the origin of life because you reject the source of the origin of life. And I don't say that as an argument from ignorance. I have the evidence which leads me to the conclusion that God is the source of all things. This is why I believe. It's a deductive conclusion. Yours, however (the belief that life sprang into being purely through natural means) IS an argument from ignorance, and it's a 'gaps' argument as I've already explained.


The two that spring to mind are: An unidentified ‘intelligent designer’ doesn’t lead to the conclusion of ‘therefore, God’ – which is often how ID is used to justify the belief in God, despite the fact that there could be any other number or kinds of ‘intelligent designer’ that would not be considered deities – particularly when we allow for unknowable unknowns.


I actually agree with this statement, Jon. ID is a good discipline and it has given us some very interesting information. I believe a designer is behind everything, but I agree with you that some people try to do more with it than is justified by the science. And I also agree that knowing there is an intelligent designer does not mean it's the God of scripture.

Having said that, there are certain things we can know about the designer just from observing the design (and I'm using 'He' here for convenience):

- He exists
- He is immaterial and timeless (because material and time are part of the creation)
- He is quite powerful
- He is incredibly intelligence
- He is a creator that values order
- He is interested in being known by His creations
- He is not dependant on the universe (in other words, He is not a component of His creation)

There are other things we could deduce, but this gives you a sense of it. We certainly can't know everything about the creator from knowing that He exists and created all things. But there are certain things we can know for sure.


The problem with this is that in order to prove that a thing demonstrates specified complexity, the argue-er must first demonstrate that it is both complex and designed.


I don't think that's what they do, and I don't think it falls prey to the trap you've set. I think people like Stephen Meyer would say that things like cells demonstrate design and from this we can infer a designer (this is certainly the view I take). For me Paley's watch argument is quite convincing. I know that there has been an attempt by atheists to discredit it, but no one will ever be able to convince me that someone stumbling upon a watch lying in the grass (even for someone who was unfamiliar with watches and time-keeping) would not lead them to conclude that someone designed the watch. It's simply never going to happen no matter how many times that scenario plays out.

Carl Sagan even proved my point for me in his book 'Contact'. In there, Elle determined that radio signals from outer space had an intelligent origin because they were transmitted in a specified pattern (prime numbers). So she heard the information, recognized the pattern, understood design, and concluded a designer.

She didn't fall into your trap (though she certainly was an advocate of ID when it came to those signals) and the ID movement doesn't either, in my view.

I'll agree with you that some take ID and use it to say "the God of scripture is real" without any additional reasoning. But it's not wrong to take the findings of science and conclude there is a designer of some sort. And that's all this argument is intended to do...lead to the conclusion of a designer.


These two fatal flaws in ways that Intelligent Design is commonly used to justify belief in a cosmic designer are, well… fatal


They really aren't, Jon. Partially because they don't do what you claim they do.

All the same, given that you are an advocate of Intelligent Design, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on my critique of ID//

I think you've attacked a straw man

I’ve presented these problems that I have with ID to other ID proponents and been met with silence or a change in topic. You’re under no obligation to do so, of course. I’m just curious as to what you think.


One thing I don't do is simply go silent or try to change the subject. I am interested primarily in truth. I will follow it where it leads. Thus far, the quest for truth has led me to conclude that God exists, that Jesus lived and taught and died and rose again, and that the Christian worldview is true.

What I won't do is engage with someone who liked to throw insults and speak derisively. It's a waste of my time. But I do appreciate your attempt to be more civil this time.The two that spring to mind are: An unidentified ‘intelligent designer’ doesn’t lead to the conclusion of ‘therefore, God’ – which is often how ID is used to justify the belief in God, despite the fact that there could be any other number or kinds of ‘intelligent designer’ that would not be considered deities – particularly when we allow for unknowable unknowns.


I'm leaving it here, for space reasons. Don't worry, my full rebuttal comes in the next post.
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
9:07 pm
Part 11 of Problem of the 3 Os - David and Daniel
So when last we left Part 10 over at http://meester-bond.livejournal.com/16567.html , a thread largely targeted at how completely inane Daniel Wood had been instead got targeted with stuff not really relevant to the overall moral questions being asked by David Wolcott. As we've seen from the previous post, what we instead got bogged down in was irrelevant bullshit about how David essentially can't accept any secular-supporting source that disagrees with his presuppositions. In this part, we see exactly why this is the case.

We start off as Part 10 did, with David addressing only small part of the smackdown that was delivered.

David Wolcott:

The vagueness. I would kill for an example of stuff that contradicts each other


Harris says Jesus never existed. Erhman states emphatically that Jesus did. Which of your sources tells the truth, for those are two diametrically opposed views that CANNOT both be truth, under the logical standard of law of non-contradiction.

Care to start again with reality?


Me:

Ehrman never states a divine Jesus existed though and if you asked him he would agree with Harris's conclusion in that regard. Plus, if,you asked Ehrman, he'd also understand why Harris takes the position he does, because of the lack of contemporary evidence.

What other contradictions then? And notice how I responded with actual specifics when defending my position.


David Wolcott:

because of the lack of contemporary evidence.


Shows how little you know about Erhman. You do bother researching these things before posting them, right? Or do you just copy-pasta whatever uneducated mumbo-jumbo ironchariots and rationalwiki post without bothering to research it first?

Oh, and stop making assumptions and straw-man arguments. I never said Erhman believed in a divine Jesus. I just demonstrated that two of your sources stand in mutual-exclusive opposition to each other on a key factor and otherwise unresolvable factor.

Care to address why you don't have a problem with that?


At this point in the conversation, my compadre Jeff rightly pointed out that “To my knowledge, he (Ehrman) accepts the existence of a person named Jesus around whom Christianity was derived, but not the deistic character of magic and wonder portrayed in the bible.”, and I dropped a very quick line saying I agreed with him, as I only had my mobile phone on me at the time to make a comment. David continued like this...

It's been too long since I've read that; unfortunately, that was one quote I didn't save.

Accordingly, if it will make you happy, I will be fine dropping that claim. Jon already provided me another of his immediately, that proves he has never bothered to research any of this, nor his own sources. I will be more than happy to uphold that....


Then at long last, Daniel made his appearance. Much like David, he didn't address the topic either, doing another load of bogus questioning of any qualifications I had to criticise him and his God, ignoring of course the fact that I don't need to be a mechanic to notice when a car is completely fucked up and unable to be operational.

Daniel Wood:

Nice report JDM. I would encourage you to try to ask a university professor to evaluate your work in the proper field of study but I am afraid you would take me seriously and it may damage your emotional sensibilities when he trashes your report as being equivalent to a bad high school report full of bias.

So the alternative is to help you see the flaws for yourself.....

You conclude with this:


"Daniel and other theists like him are not interested in actual fairness. They want to promote a faux theories that deliberately take short cuts in order to indoctrinate itself into the gullible masses where religion can then go about stripping those individuals of their critical thinking skills, and learn to demonise and be intolerant and bigoted towards anyone who dares to hold their beliefs to the same critical scrutiny as everyone else."


Do you have scientific evidence for this conclusion? I will save you the time, no you do not have such scientific evidence. You mention philosophical justifications to promote your conclusion but you would deny theists the use of using philosophical justifications when you demand empirical evidence. Very revealing that you condemn the theists for not using a criteria that you are also incapable of using.

Normally I wouldn't really bother pointing out your self-contradiction so directly but allow me to ask you another question.... since your conclusion is not scientifically based and you reject the use of philosophy, how can your conclusion be anything but your own "faux theory that deliberately takes a short cut in order to indoctrinate itself into the gullible mass of the atheist religion as it strips away their critical thinking skills as it learns to demonize myself and other theists by being bigots towards anyone who dares to hold atheist superstitions to the same critical scrutiny as academia?"

Considering that I witnessed you deliberately misquoting other theists or quoting them out of context within this facebook forum and in your wonderful blog, how can your counterclaims be anything but fallacious? Shouldn't you learn what a theist actually says before you can begin to comment upon his words? I have seen no comprehension of theist words from you.

But.... perhaps if you contemplate some more.... ?


Un. Believable. He was picking up right from where he left off. For the moment, our priority was David, but it wasn't going to be long before I took on Daniel as well.

Me vs David:

Jon already provided me another of his immediately, that proves he has never bothered to research any of this, nor his own sources. I will be more than happy to uphold that....


No, David Wolcott, all of the resources I provided in terms of books are all books I own. It's simply the case that in terms of people like Harris (and also Dawkins), I haven't read their works for a while largely out of distaste for how they've behaved post-Elevatorgate. But I assure, I am perfectly familiar with Harris, I just got muddled a little bit. See again, unlike you I admit my weaknesses. And again, I've explained clearly why there isn't a contradiction between Harris and Ehrman. And unless you can give me a citation from when of Ehrman's books where he actually says that there is any kind of evidence dating from when Jesus actually would have lived in order to prove Jesus, I can safely say you're wrong on this one.

Also, please note, I am the only one who has provided any kind of sources in this thread. When I provided the other resources consisting of numerous websites and books, you dismissed them all mere seconds after I provided them. I refuse to believe that you have read all of the books that I suggested, and the fact that you dismissed them all in mere seconds also makes it clear that you didn't even do some Googling. And you still haven't addressed the most key point about how science when done properly eliminates bias as well as the general history of science relating to theology, namely [the stuff about the advantage of the scientific method regarding bias].

And of course, there's also the fact that I asked you upthread to "produce one not-biased source for YOUR claims and then JUSTIFY why it's not biased", which you still haven't done, so sources that are generally held in high esteem by mainstream scientists beats no sources at all. And also you didn't address the most neutral link I provided, namely: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=47 . Now why can't you address all those, David?


Me vs Daniel:

Nice report JDM. I would encourage you to try to ask a university professor to evaluate your work in the proper field of study but I am afraid you would take me seriously and it may damage your emotional sensibilities when he trashes your report as being equivalent to a bad high school report full of bias.


My series of posts was essentially about the social sciences. I'm sorry, but you are the one throughout the exchanges insisting that the only kind of moral standard we can judge things on is when derived by God, or by religion. I would be more than happy to ask numerous university professors not only about the secular based morality vs religious based morality debate, but also about generally the nature of morality as depicted in the Bible and how we assess whether it is objectionable. If you can link me to a variety of university professors, I would be more than happy to engage them, just as I was more than happy to engage the person from Investigating Atheism who them promptly flunked out of the debate. Please include a healthy mix of atheist, theist, and middle-ground professors please.

Do you have scientific evidence for this conclusion? I will save you the time, no you do not have such scientific evidence. You mention philosophical justifications to promote your conclusion but you would deny theists the use of using philosophical justifications when you demand empirical evidence. Very revealing that you condemn the theists for not using a criteria that you are also incapable of using.


Sure I do have evidence. I have archived details of you and other people like Mike and Rick and Douglas J Bender and Lucki Candoff willing to go to any lengths to defend completely immoral and monstrous actions when they are sanctioned and/or condoned by your God. I have you spouting more slander against the reliability of secular methods of deriving morality. I have the very simple fact that even though no God claim has ever passed the most reliable method we have of discerning truth, a lot of theists still promote God claims as absolute truths. Speaking of which, you have still yet to provide a coherent alternative to science in terms of a method that discerns truth beyond vague appeals to philosophy while not getting specific about which ones, probably because of the data presented to you that shows that within philosophic academics the question of atheism vs theism is largely considered a settled question as in the studies we have showed to you, statistically six times more people within the philosophy profession directly accept atheism than those who directly accept theism, and atheism is also a more accepted hypothesis among philosophy and science academics than any other possible explanations COMBINED.

Normally I wouldn't really bother pointing out your self-contradiction so directly but allow me to ask you another question.... since your conclusion is not scientifically based and you reject the use of philosophy, how can your conclusion be anything but your own "faux theory that deliberately takes a short cut in order to indoctrinate itself into the gullible mass of the atheist religion as it strips away their critical thinking skills as it learns to demonize myself and other theists by being bigots towards anyone who dares to hold atheist superstitions to the same critical scrutiny as academia?"


I don't "reject the use of philosophy" - I consider some elements of philosophy, like those that are based on secular reasoning, to be considerably more reliable than others. And I used the social sciences as well as the science of deduction when producing the records of the Problem of the 3 Os saga. It's not my fault you never addressed my OP from that thread, nor for that matter is it my fault when you resorted to just throwing accusations and ad hominems around when I completely demolished your faulty ants to humans analogy as well as explaining even more clearly what secular morality means, not to mention the fact that I also clearly explained what a kangaroo court is and why my thread wasn't one. It's all there, documented in full clarity. And the unique feature of a religion is a belief in a supernatural agency, which is something that atheism does not have. Calling atheism is a superstition is like claiming that not believing 13 is an unlucky number or not believing walking under ladders is unlucky is a superstition. They're not, and neither is atheism. Atheism also doesn't have any rituals or devotional observance, and like I said it's only when you combine atheism with secularism viewpoints that you get any kind of moral viewpoints, but by itself it doesn't. Nor does atheism by itself make any claims about the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, since atheism is simply the rejection of one claim - namely that about a God or Supernatural Agency existing. Not to mention of course the evident Tu Quoque fallacy inherent within such an accusation of course. And as mentioned above, the study on philosophy academics shows that most of them accept atheism, and the National Academy of Sciences put the number of atheist scientists at NINETY PERCENT. But you'll reject this because of your presuppositions.

Considering that I witnessed you deliberately misquoting other theists or quoting them out of context within this facebook forum and in your wonderful blog, how can your counterclaims be anything but fallacious? Shouldn't you learn what a theist actually says before you can begin to comment upon his words? I have seen no comprehension of theist words from you.


Slander, buddy. Either provide an explanation on what supposed "context" I'm missing, or zip it.


Daniel Wood:

A-->You don't have my views on the issue you claim to have, you have my responses to your rhetoric and your fallacies and your sophistry.

B-->You have archives of responses on questions based upon a poor methodology and you have not used ethical standards from the social sciences to engage in such interviews.

C-->I did not ask you to consult professors on how to engage on a research, I pointed out that your current output is flawed and pseudo-academic drivel.

If you can't understand this very issue, how can any of us trust your understanding of what you were told? You don't even have proper journalism with your interpretations of your archived recordings. Taking context out of the equation and making yourself sound rational by taking out your less rational comments while placing the more irrational sounding words of your opponent is pure intellectual dishonesty, bad journalism and definitely not worthy of a social science report...... High school may tolerate such papers, but not proper scholars who engage in rational methodologies, something not seen in your rant.

You are continuing in your fallacies; in fact, since you brought it up, I would recommend you follow your own advice of zipping it because there is more evidence that you are guilty of slander with your poor methodology than of my challenge to you to submit your poor work to the scrutiny of academic peer review. My objections would lose credibility if you found a recognized university to support your drivel. Until you gain credibility, my critique of your work is as justified as your work. But I submit that a proper analysis of your work and of my critique, your work would be found lacking in ethics, accuracy and proper methodology, and my critique points this out.


Me:

A - Oh yes I do. I have you responding to the issue with a faulty ants to humans analogy and also asking on what moral standards we can declare the actions in the Bible wrong, which I promptly destroyed, afterwards you engaged in nothing more than accusations that you haven't at all proven the merit of. I'm giving you one last chance to actually point out specifics about any "rhetoric, fallacies, and sophistry" I allegedly used, otherwise you lose, because debates are not won by throwing accusations with no certified proof behind them at your opponent. I have accused you of things, and backed it up. You haven't done the same.

B - Be specific about the methodology, and I have used secular philosophical understandings of morality quite clearly in such a way that if I were to present it to the considerably reliable academics I listed up thread, they would all agree with me, and they would class you as an idiot.

C - With no proof. As per your standard repertoire. Just vague nonsense as usual from you.


If you can't understand this very issue, how can any of us trust your understanding of what you were told? You don't even have proper journalism with your interpretations of your archived recordings. Taking context out of the equation and making yourself sound rational by taking out your less rational comments while placing the more irrational sounding words of your opponent is pure intellectual dishonesty, bad journalism and definitely not worthy of a social science report...... High school may tolerate such papers, but not proper scholars who engage in rational methodologies, something not seen in your rant.


And again, I asked you upthread to actually provide the "proper" context, and yet again you refuse to do so, because you know you don't have a leg to stand on. I quoted your responses specifically to me in full. The burden of proof is on you to prove otherwise. And quit with the Tu Quoque and Ad Hominem fallacies already. Either put up specifics and actually engage the argument, or I'm blocking you.

You are continuing in your fallacies; in fact, since you brought it up, I would recommend you follow your own advice of zipping it because there is more evidence that you are guilty of slander with your poor methodology than of my challenge to you to submit your poor work to the scrutiny of academic peer review. My objections would lose credibility if you found a recognized university to support your drivel. Until you gain credibility, my critique of your work is as justified as your work. But I submit that a proper analysis of your work and of my critique, your work would be found lacking in ethics, accuracy and proper methodology, and my critique points this out.


That's why I asked you to provide a list of university professors to contact. I have nothing to hide. You suggest I engage with people in academia? I'll do it gladly, under the condition that you do the same AND you share your correspondence with them with me via email. By allowing YOU to choose the university professors, I was simply giving you the benefit of the doubt, and all I did was simply give you the perfectly reasonable request that we have a healthy mix of atheist, theist, and middle ground scholars for us to respectively contact. The reason I am not choosing the university professors and academics to contact is that I know damn well how solid my position is but you'd accuse me of being unfair, hence allowing the ball to be in your court in terms of choosing the academics. But in the face of that challenge, you once again run away from it, because you know damn well that you'd get ripped apart. Indeed, we've had people qualified in the social sciences, philosophy, and even fellow theists with qualifications illustrating to you how full of crap your positions are.

Oh, and since I've provided resources in the form of websites and books upthread and, well, you and David Wolcott HAVEN'T, I also challenge that you actually provide some resources of your own, otherwise the guy with a whole bunch of resources held in high esteem by actual credible scientists and philosophers within the mainstream beats the guy with no sources at all.


At this point, the guantlet had well and truly been laid down. Oh, Daniel would spend another couple of posts making excuses as to why he couldn't actually provide a response to the issues I had brought up, but from this point the clock was ticking. Daniel was running out of options, and it was well and truly only a matter of time before he'd end up having to actually clarify his position. Part 11, however, consists of me royally ripping David apart both on his claim about the evidence I was presenting, and his ass-backwards views on abortion.
9:54 am
And after that brief interlude... Part 10 of POT3Os
So after having posted my final perspective on the Problem of the 3 Os, I did what I usually do, and posted the link to the entire chronicled debate. This provoked some... "interesting" to say the least responses from not only the main focus opponent of that debate, one Daniel Wood, but also a return from our old buddy David Wolcott of the "20 Questions" fame. It's for that reason that not only is this getting tagged as a continuation of the POT3Os debate, but also, since it does in fact get touched upon, the "20 Questions" thread will be tagged too.

So we begin with David, and his typically minimalist response to my final perspective, picking only a really small point and then completely missing what it's about.

David Wolcott:

Daniel and other theists like him are not interested in actual fairness.


Wait, this coming from the types of people that deny historical reliability where it's due? Who's not interested in fairness?


Yes, at this point, David's still trotting out his remarkably original complaints about how people deny Jesus ever existed. I let him have it in my response, only for him to set the pattern for what he would do in the entire thread and only address one really small point.

Me:

You're talking about the difference between a divine Jesus and a purely flesh and blood Jesus. We apply the same standards to everything when it comes to proof. If we didn't have evidence for Julius Caesar that would have come from within his time living, we would have pretty good reason to doubt that he ever existed. As it is, since Caesar supposedly lived at the same time as Jesus, we have tons of contemporary evidence for Caesar but bugger all for Jesus. The earliest evidence we have for Jesus's existence is dated only AFTER HIS DEATH. That's the point. And like I said, many people accept that a human man named Jesus may have existed and that he could have been the inspiration for the formation of Christianity - but there's VASTLY different standards of evidence required in proving two different claims. So even if we grant the premise of a flesh and blood Jesus, that does NOTHING to advance your claim of a divine Jesus who did supernatural stuff.

Anyhow, shouldn't you be actually answering my responses to your demonstrably lame answers in the "20 Questions Christians Have Yet To Sufficiently Answer" series?


David Wolcott:

I notice you changed the name to your series of questions. Suddenly realized it was based on lies?


Me:

Really? I don't see the difference between "failing to sufficiently answer" and "having yet to sufficiently answer" buddy. The key word there is SUFFICIENTLY. I'm pretty sure I acknowledged that Christians do in fact answer the questions, it's just what they reply with doesn't make for good answers to the questions at all. "Fail" and "Have Yet To" are synonyms, buddy. They mean exactly the same thing when it comes to the nature of providing anything "sufficient".


David Wolcott:

And on whose authority are you defining "sufficiently"?

Because keep in mind, I can build a far LARGER list of questions that atheists actually do fail to "sufficiently" answer, if we are removing any basis for who defines what "sufficient" is.

And no, YOUR authority is irrelevant. So is any biased man or woman you choose.


At this point in the conversation, I quipped that David clearly hadn't bothered to read the Final Perspective link at all, and transcribed it in full. His reaction was highly predictable:

Sorry, all biased sources, cannot trust them. Give me a non-biased source that agrees with you.


Witness first hand how David proceeds to them promptly reject whatever source I throw at him, without tackling any of the content:

Me:

Rationalwiki, as well as Evowiki and Iron Chariots, is held to be reliable by some of the best academics on the planet, including Richard Lenski, Daniel Dennett, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, Ed Brayton, Richard Carrier, and many others. I will take their actually qualified opinions above yours any day of the week. Nice try though. I also mentioned Skeptical Inquirer and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry as well, unless you want to claim they're biased too? Now how about actually addressing those points I raised?


David Wolcott:

All 3 of which I have seen are HIGHLY biased.

So, care to give me one NOT biased?


Me:

Skeptical Inquirer and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Try reading. Again, what makes you more qualified than the opinions of people with actual credentials and expertise on God claims like the names of those I mentioned who actually endorse those websites? Also, I'm sure you can produce 20 questions for atheists. Problem is, everything you'd think HAS in fact been answered, like here:http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/1365/


Hey, I had to throw in that quip at the end there. I wouldn't object to answering any "questions to atheists" David would like to pose to me, but there's nothing to indicate in what happened afterwards, nor for that matter in his behaviour in other threads, to indicate that his questions would have been any different to the ones Richard Carrier so beautifully took down. Continuing...

David Wolcott:

Again, more biased sources. I want a non-biased source. Can you give me ONE?

Again, what makes you more qualified than the opinions of people with actual credentials and expertise


And what makes you more qualified than the legal, historical, philosophical, scientific, and archaeological experts that I have brought up numerous times?

Also, I'm sure you can produce 20 questions for atheists. Problem is, everything you'd think HAS in fact been answered, like here:


As have all of the questions you asked of Christians. So, again, on what basis are you defining that the questions have been "sufficiently" answered, or that all the questions I have actually have been answered?


Me:

Other resources: Websites: www.godisimaginary.com , The Skeptic's Annotated Bible, the Skeptic's Dictionary, Talk Origins, Infidels.org, Free Inquiry Magazine, Truth Saves, Freethought Blogs in general, the Anti-Intellect blog, Greta Christina, An Apostate's Chapel, AronRa, Atheism: Proving The Negative, The Atheist Experience, BioDork, Carrier, Brayton, Myers, EvolutionBlog, Non Stamp Collector, Reasonable Doubts, Religion Dispatches, Skepchick, Singham, Why Evolution is True, Christina Rad.

Books: 50 Reasons People Give For Believing In A God (Guy P Harrison), Amazing Conversions: Why Some Turn to Faith & Others Abandon Religion (Altemeyer & Hunsberger), Atheism: The Case Against God (George H Smith), Breaking The Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (Daniel C Dennett), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Dennett), Doubt: A History (Hecht), The End of Biblical Studies (Avalos), The End of Faith (Harris), God: The Failed Hypothesis (Stenger), God vs Darwin (Singham), God's Defenders (Joshi), How We Believe (Shermer), stuff by AC Grayling, Irreligion (Paulos), Letter to a Christian Nation (Harris), Misquoting Jesus (Ehrman), Why Darwin Matters (Shermer), Why Evolution Is True (Coyne), Why I Am Not A Christian (Bertrand Russell, and also one of the same name by Carrier)


Now let's bear in mind here that David's next response addressed this last comment of mine, and also came literally only seconds after I had published it. And what did he say?

All biased. Got one not biased?


There is no fucking way the guy had read all those books, and certainly there's no way he even did a Google search. The guy was being completely intellectually dishonest, and I truly let him have it in my response.

Me:

And what makes you more qualified than the legal, historical, philosophical, scientific, and archaeological experts that I have brought up numerous times?


You sure as hell didn't bring them up when you were given the 20 Questions, or if you did then they failed for exactly the reasons I highlighted in one of the quotes from the Final Perspective (namely the quote about the testing process. I then took David to task on him dismissing the above provided resources)

Bullshit, David, you will dismiss anything as "biased" if it will disagree with your worldview. And also, a lot of those books and websites are operated by actual scientists [and there’s no bias as evidenced from the quote in the Final Perspective]

How about you produce one not-biased source for YOUR claims and then JUSTIFY why it's not biased?


David Wolcott:

Besides the unproven hypothesis you base your entire argument on, you still have yet to prove any SUFFICIENT reason for me to accept anything you say as true.

Oh, besides the fact that your own sources explicitly contradict each other, and deny your own claims. But too bad you never bothered to read your own sources to find that out.

Now, as an admin: cuss me out again and I'm banning you. I'm sick of your repeated attitude of Dawkins-syndrome: ridiculing any you don't agree with.

As a debater, however: now you know how we feel when you reject our sources or answers, simply because they don't agree with you.

So, until you are willing to accept sources and answers that don't agree with you, I will follow your own "expert" opinion, and deny any sources or answers you give that do agree with you. Any questions?


Well, I quite simply wasn't gonna let him get away with THAT kind of vague bullshit...

Me:

Besides the unproven hypothesis you base your entire argument on, you still have yet to prove any SUFFICIENT reason for me to accept anything you say as true.


Uh, maybe because I've actually cited sources that are held in high regard by actual established scientists? It's not my fault you have a conspiracy theory complex where you believe that the mainstream scientific establishment is out to oppress your beliefs, even though there's no good reason financially or otherwise for them to do so. A far simpler explanation is that scientists are treating your beliefs under actual careful scientific study the same way they treat everything else.

Oh, besides the fact that your own sources explicitly contradict each other, and deny your own claims. But too bad you never bothered to read your own sources to find that out.


Oh, one other consistent aspect. The vagueness. I would kill for an example of stuff that contradicts each other, as well as stuff that disagrees with the claims I make. Within the links provided, please demonstrate this.

Now, as an admin: cuss me out again and I'm banning you. I'm sick of your repeated attitude of Dawkins-syndrome: ridiculing any you don't agree with.


And you think that your Ray Comfort style of debating is any better? Seriously? Y'know, what with the faux politeness but passive aggressive tone combined with all the underhanded dismissals you make of very very clear evidence, like say this http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=47 which goes into detail about how evolution is actually helpful in a wide range of areas in our day to day lives?

As a debater, however: now you know how we feel when you reject our sources or answers, simply because they don't agree with you.


No, I disagree with them because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. As someone who recognised he was wrong once before and became an atheist and evolutionist and secular humanist as a result, I am more than open to the possibility that I could be wrong again. You're the one professing absolute 100% faith here to the point where nothing will convince you. It's not me doing that.

So, until you are willing to accept sources and answers that don't agree with you, I will follow your own "expert" opinion, and deny any sources or answers you give that do agree with you. Any questions?


So does that mean you're going to disregard the Bible, then, since as per http://meester-bond.livejournal.com/5390.html this post you didn't address and also the Bible verses listed in http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Slavery and http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Rape, slavery and rape are in fact condoned in the Bible? Way to back yourself into a corner there, buddy.


So that's Part 10. Join us again when we delve into Ehrman and Daniel makes his first appearance in the thread!
Friday, January 18th, 2013
12:04 pm
Me vs Scott Part 11 Argument from Authority and Incredible Claim I'm Being Overconfident
In fact, I'll leave you with a couple of quotes that may help


You are making a series of uncited claims from authority. Either back up your claims with a citation to the peer reviewed scientific literature (any website claiming a biblical perspective isn’t scientific, it is religious), or you aren’t doing science. You are making unevidenced claims that can and will *POOF* be dismissed as nonsense.

Arguing from authority is the opposite of science. It doesn’t work, especially when the authorities you cite, being astronomers, know very little about evolution.

Here is a list of books for your edification. They should be available either in your local book-shop or online. By the way, the difference between a book and a quote from authority is that in the book, there is a description of the evidence and the facts that buttress a theory. If not (see Darwin’s Black Box), then the book is worthless.

First start off with the chapter in a quality biology textbook on DNA and how it works

Then go to the following:

Snake Oil Science – R. Barker Bausell — A discussion of CAM including placebos.
Darwin in the Genome – Lynn Helena Caporale
From DNA to Diversity – Sean B. Carroll et al — Dr. Carroll has several other books relating to the relation between DNA and evolution showing how small changes in DNA lead to major changes in the organism. Read them all.
Only a Theory – Kenneth R. Miller — an excellent debunking of the whole ID concept by a biologist who happens to be a devout Christian
Creationism’s Trojan Horse – Barbara Forrest & Paul R. Gross
Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics — Robert T. Pennock, editor
All of Stephen Jay Gould’s books that are collections of his columns from Natural History (?) – read as many as you can find. The chapters are just a few pages long, and most of them illustrate some aspect of evolution that is at work today. Start here after you understand DNA.

Your post sort of conjures up the image of a third grader who is still shaky on long division telling a group of PhD mathematicians that you can, too, divide by zero. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings too badly, but you really, really don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about. Read those books and many others along the same lines before you venture forth again into the jungle of the internet.


Bottom line, Jon Davros Milne, your confidence in this matter is quite overblown. You may assert all you'd like. But the facts do not support your certainty. It is as leaky as a sieve...


I think you’ll find it’s quite the other way around. You have exactly no reason to be in any way confident that your brand of theism is right. 0. You have no ground to stand on. You might as well believe that Zeus or the Easter Bunny are real. It’s all the same to us atheists: fiction. Thanks for playing, but you lose.

You say the facts that don't support my "certainty" that I apparently have? Neither do they support yours. Thanks for playing.
12:04 pm
Me vs Scott Part 10 Accusations against Me
In summary, Jon, it seems that you're quite willing to mischaracterize Christians, post things that are unsubstantiated claims without any support or evidence, and proclaim victory. That doesn't work here, I'm afraid. If you want to make the case that Christianity is at war with science, you're welcome to do so. But I can show you a number of very prominent scientists who arrived at their faith based on the very science you claim is conclusively against Christianity.


You’re doing quite a bit of projecting here. In your whole post you have not made a single supported claim.

Honestly, every single one of your arguments is something most of us secular atheists have probably seen a few hundred times in the past. You haven’t presented any amazing new evidence or proofs for theism that are going to awaken anyone’s eyes. This isn’t a case of anyone here being close-minded (ok, possibly some). Rather, in the past we’ve all been open minded enough to see questions like these, accepted that such were initially valid questions when we first encountered them, and instead of just unskeptically swallowing them, sought out valid explanations that did need unwarranted assumptions to answer them. At the very worst/best, we were willing to say “I don’t know,” instead of simply saying “God did it” as a stop-gap explanation.

I say this because as a believer in the past, I’ve made nearly these exact same arguments both to myself and others, before I became open minded enough to seek out answers for myself.

I don’t mischaracterise Christians. You pulled a single quote from me calling creationists dishonest, and appear to be extrapolating that to infer that all atheists mischaracterise Christians. It appears you’re also quite willing to mischaracterise atheists.

How kind, wait sorry, condescending of you to give us permission. I don’t think there’s a war. There are scientists who are interested in discovering more about reality, and there are religions which react badly to scientific findings they don’t like. It’s more like a temper tantrum than a war.

And yeah, yeah, we know there are Christian scientists. We also know there are scientists of every other religion as well. In fact, here’s a list of Muslim scientists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Muslim_scientists
12:03 pm
Me vs Scott Part 9 More on ID from Part 8
Just some further stuff about that last Intelligent Design point. You have erred very badly to include "The absence of any explanation for how life sprang into being out of non-life" as one of the reasons for your conclusion that belief that ID is true.

This is a transparent argument from ignorance, or god-of-the-gaps argument. The absence of a naturalistic explanation is not in and of itself evidence for a supernatural one.

I expect that you included that without realizing that it was an erroneous point to be including. That doesn’t of itself undermine everything else you said, but it is still an irrelevant and fallacious point.

It’s also (sort of) untrue. Abiogenesis is still a field in its infancy so no hard conclusions have been drawn just yet. But it’s also not a field devoid of hypothesized chemical pathways that could reasonably result in the formation of proto-life from simple prebiotic chemistry.

The explanation that strikes me as the most beautiful and satisfying is Szostak’s vesicle-first model. Note that this isn’t the final word however, Jack’s work is almost certainly incomplete at this stage. But it’s still a very nice demonstration of what a naturalistic explanation looks like. And it could very well turn out to be a very significant and correct part of whatever the whole turns out to be.

For a crash-course, CDK007 has a very good introductory video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg . The original research by Szostak labs can be found at their website: http://molbio.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/publications.html .

Do follow through on those links. Szostak’s work on this subject is fascinating and beautiful. At least, it is to me. Even if you disagree with it or find it problematic in other ways, I hope you still get something out of it. It struck me as a particularly poignant reminder to be intellectually humble (I hope you’re not rolling your eyes at me for that). Because, before going through that CDK007 video and reading the underlying research, I never would have been able to imagine that scenario as being valid. But after watching and reading and learning, it seems obvious.

Why do you think that our solar system isn’t old enough for evolutionary processes to have been responsible for life’s present complexity? If you understood evolution, you would realize that the thing guiding it is natural selection. That is good enough to develop bacteria that can digest nylon in a period of three months.

Also, can you give me a reference for how old you think the solar system is, and for what you think the minimum boundary of time would be for life to have evolved to its current form?

I’m very interested to see if and how you can back up your point "1." at all. I’m skeptical but open-minded. Please point us to these scientific studies so we can evaluate them for ourselves. Also, RNA World: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world , and this too: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/21/lifes-rocky-start/

Ultimately, refer to the Dover case. Creationism, dishonestly rebranded to Intelligent Design, both debunked as completely unscientific. Open and shut. Evolution absolutely didn't happen alone: Abiogenesis + time + evolution = present complexity!

The onus is then on you to propose a testable (And here is the crux. Want to make creationism/ID a viable SCIENTIFIC hypothesis? Propose it in a way that makes it TESTABLE. Then do, or convince someone, to DO THE TEST. And then you can get back to us) alternative (or additional) hypotheses sufficiently distinct from the known evolutionary mechanisms that once and if demonstrated by evidence, would not simply be added into the larger framework of existing evolutionary theory. (ie, such as endosymbiosis was)
12:02 pm
Me vs Scott Part 8 Reasons Why Evolution Apparently Didn't Happen Alone
I don't think the case is as open and shut as you claim, Jon. I tend not to spend a great deal of time advocating for ID, and ID is not part of why I believe in God. I'm okay with the idea that evolution may have played a significant role in our present complexity. I do not accept that it happened alone, and I draw that conclusion for two reasons:

1. Scientific studies pointing out that the age of our solar system is not old enough for unguided evolutionary processes alone to have been responsible for life's present complexity

2. The absence of any explanation for how life sprang into being out of non-life


Short version: You provide no evidence that the age of the solar system in insufficient for evolution, and the lack of an explanation for life doesn’t mean god did it you have to prove that.

Longer version: With regards to "1.", which “studies” would those be? More details about the specifics of your claim would be very helpful, because at the moment, I’m not sure whether you’re stumping for YEC nonsense (which would, if true, preclude there being enough time for evolution to have occurred), or for Walter Remine’s nonsense (which is okay with what real science says about the age of the Solar System, but foolishly demands that evolution would necessarily take even longer than that amount of time), or perhaps for some other flavor of nonsense entirely. You might want to browse through the Index to Creationist Claims http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/index.html ; if whatever nonsense you’re arguing for is on said Index, you would be well-advised to, at minimum, read up on the real-science rebuttal(s) to your nonsense, and demonstrate that real science has gotten it wrong in this context. Or, you know, not.

On your "2.", if you’re referring to the fact that abiogenesis is a topic for which we don’t have all the answers, then yeah, you’re right: We *don’t* have all the answers. [shrug] I don’t quite see how you get from “I don’t know” to “therefore, God”, but if that’s what makes you happy, go for it. Just don’t try to force your argument-from-ignorance into school curricula, okay?

If you are, instead, arguing that we have *absolutely no clue whatsoever* about abiogenesis, well, that’s just wrong. We *know* that mindless, undirected chemistry is perfectly capable of generating amino acids without any need for a Designer’s intervention; we *know* that random concatenations of amino acids *can and do* have biologically-relevant chemical properties. Both of these facts being the case, it’s pretty clear that we have *more* than just a clue about abiogenesis, even if the clues we *do* have fall tragically short of the notarized-videotape-of-every-millisecond-of-the-process ‘standard’ of evidence you Creationists demand of real scientists while, at the same time, you *also* are perfectly happy to accept some-guy-said-so as conclusive, irrefutable ‘evidence’ for the Creationist nonsense *you* happen to accept.

But I am very glad to hear that you don’t base your Christian belief on the truth or falsehood of ID. Because there are a couple of fatal problems in the way ID is often used to justify belief in God.

The two that spring to mind are: An unidentified ‘intelligent designer’ doesn’t lead to the conclusion of ‘therefore, God’ – which is often how ID is used to justify the belief in God, despite the fact that there could be any other number or kinds of ‘intelligent designer’ that would not be considered deities – particularly when we allow for unknowable unknowns.

The other is to do with another way that ID is mistakenly used to conclude that the world is designed. The argument goes something like this:

1) X demonstrates specified complexity
2) By definition, that which demonstrates specified complexity is both complex and designed
Therefore
C) X is designed

The problem with this is that in order to prove that a thing demonstrates specified complexity, the argue-er must first demonstrate that it is both complex and designed. But if the argue-er could have proven that it was designed up front, then they wouldn’t need to bother with the argument itself. If the arge-er cannot prove that X is designed up-front, then they cannot assert that X demonstrates specified complexity.

These two fatal flaws in ways that Intelligent Design is commonly used to justify belief in a cosmic designer are, well… fatal. So it’s good to know you don’t rely on Intelligent Design in this way.

All the same, given that you are an advocate of Intelligent Design, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on my critique of ID. I’ve presented these problems that I have with ID to other ID proponents and been met with silence or a change in topic. You’re under no obligation to do so, of course. I’m just curious as to what you think.
12:01 pm
Me vs Scott Part 7 Wiring
Here, we just have a garbled mess that's a mixture of ad hominem (you don't understand probability) and false claims (your brains are wired wrong). You're likely talking about some books released about our brains being wired to believe in God, and perhaps the "God Helmet" experiments.

First, the "brain is wired" arguments have been disproven because no single area of the brain has been shown to be "the spot" for this sort of thing (I can go into more depth on this if you want to walk down that alley). And the "God Helmet" nonsense is just that...people aren't Christians because they have an ecstatic experience. We are because we have weighed the evidence, we have reasoned logically, and we concluded that the best answer is that God exists.

It's not shallow thinking. It's not bad wiring. It's rigorous deductive conclusions based on evidence of multiple sorts.


I'm really not seeing the logic here.

Putting aside your misunderstandings of what ad hominems and false claims are, that no single area of the brain has been shown to be “the spot” proves nothing. There also is no single area of the brain that stores memories, but people remember things.

You are the type of Christian that you are because that is the way you were raised. If you had been raised in a devout Jewish home, your idea of Christianity would be totally different.

Also *cough* - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporal_lobe_epilepsy - *cough*. It's also worth mentioning that no one instinctively understands probability. If that was the case, casinos would be broke.

By all means, go into the depth you said you would. Your disproof is merely a lack of evidence for something that may not even be necessary. Why is identifying a ‘single area’ required for evidence of brain wiring? Also, which God Helmet are you talking about? The one I know about doesn’t induce ecstatic experiences, just a weak, fluctuating magnetic field. The best answer, huh? Best =/= correct.

And again, which god? All evidence points only to Almighty Zeus, His Beautiful Cow-eyed Wife Hera and Their Divine Buddies. This is irrefutable and you are lying if you say otherwise. I have weighed the evidence, reasoned logically and observed the flight of sparrows. The best answer is that Zeus exists.

Please, present your evidence, as concisely and logically as possible. Then show your logical reasoning. Then we can discuss this further.
12:00 pm
Me vs Scott Part 6 Near Death Experiences
Add to this things like the peer-reviewed studies by Pim van Lommel (published in the medical journal Lancet) confirming the existence of Near Death Experiences (and by this, I mean extra-body experiences where people have verifiable experiences of people and places and conversations at geographic distance from where their body lies on an operating table...in some cases, these are people born blind who have never seen anything their whole life, but are able to accurately describe what they see while "dead")...bottom line, Jon, science is on our side here!


There are non supernatural explanations for NDE and it is not as conclusive that they are supernatural in nature. Near-death experiences can be produced with surprising ease in a laboratory for something with supposedly supernatural explanations, and the ability of the human mind to gather and process information while on the edge of death is still unknown, but is growing constantly. Near-death experiences are very interesting; however, the fact that we don’t know exactly what’s going on in an incredibly complex organ during an immensely complex period (death), isn’t proof of God or the supernatural, only that we have more to learn about how our bodies function.

How about you looking at the much greater literature disproving the NDE, and showing why it seems to occur? I saw one study where electrical stimulation of part of the brain produced just that effect in the subject, and they weren’t even close to being dead.

Let me find the exact study, but there was one where scientists placed an object on a shelf where it wouldn’t be visible to patients. They asked all patients who had a near-death experience what that item was. The result? Nada.

I’ve no doubt that people who nearly die have some crazy stuff going on in their brain. That’s not the right question. The question is: are they hallucinations, or are they evidence that consciousness exists outside of the brain? This question has not yet been answered. Lommel’s article (available here: http://profezie3m.altervista.org/archivio/TheLancet_NDE.htm ) contains one anecdote about a man seeing his dentures get removed during comatose. Not what I’d call compelling evidence for Christianity.

Let's make one thing clear, however: One article in one journal does not instantly make all of science on your side. To be accurate, science is not on anyone’s side. It doesn’t play favourites, it just explains reality. If you choose to anthropomorphise it by assigning intent, that’s your prerogative, but don’t expect anyone to be impressed.
11:59 am
Me vs Scott Part 5 Placebos
Further, the mere existence of the Placebo Effect is evidence that naturalism (which you seem to profess) is wrong. The Placebo Effect could not exist in a purely naturalistic universe where all operates on cause/effect. Given that that placebo has no causative powers, there is no effect possible. And yet the one taking it believes there that powerful medicine is at work, so there is a change (and this has been seen in profound areas like Parkinsons Disease symptoms being reduced by simply believing in the sugar pill). This points to an unembodied consciousness with the ability to impact the physical body.


Look, if it makes you believe something, then it has already *caused* a physiological response in your brain. It had an *effect*. On your physiology. So there are changes. Complex changes that we don’t fully understand, sure, but that’s not an excuse to invoke magic.

I don’t understand your assertion that the placebo effect couldn’t work in a purely naturalistic universe. There’s a range of fully-functioning explanatory principles, some biological and some psychological, that explain much of what occurs during the so-called “placebo-effect.” It’s no more magic now than colds and flu’s were before we fully understood germ-theory. Much-like the later mentioned near-death experiences, there are some things we don’t know, but this isn’t proof of god, only that there’s things we don’t know, something any good scientist or skeptic will fully admit. “I don’t know” is a fully acceptable answer if we don’t currently know (hopefully followed by “how can we find out?”) However, “I don’t know, therefore God” is just intellectually dishonest.

There is an excellent book about the placebo effect, whose title I forget at the moment, but the effects are shown to be entirely because the person believes it will happen. Thus the placebo effect is more effective in cases where the problem is physiological such as asthma. It isn’t so good in killing bacteria. In other words – we report we feel better because we think we should be feeling better.

Overall, there's a couple of points which you don’t seem to have considered:

1. Placebos don’t work on everyone.
2. Nocebos affect people negatively.

This isn’t good news for your unembodied consciousness. Apparently it’s choosy and mean. It never heals amputees. What does your unembodied consciousness have against amputees?

I think the placebo effect points to the brain, and how much we don’t know about it. Put it this way: Ever distracted a child that has skinned her knee? Notice how she stopped crying when her attention was fixated on the promise of ice-cream? No gods needed.

Yes, people’s beliefs, moods and attitudes can have an impact on their health. If they believe they’re receiving effective treatment their mood will improve, stress hormones reduce, they take better care of themselves etc. That’s without invoking explanations like regression to the mean and so on.
11:58 am
Me vs Scott Part 4 Fine-tuning
This is interesting. Because it's exactly these forms of studies that have pointed to the incredible fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe. And it's not merely Christians who are claiming this. Most cosmologists, Christian or otherwise, scratch their heads over this extraordinary finding in nature. The same can be said for the evidence pointing to the beginning of the universe out of non-being and other areas.


Is the universe fine tuned or are we fine tuned for the universe? No one fine tunes the pot hole to the water the water has properties that allow it to perfectly fit the pot hole.

Cosmological constants in no way imply that the universe was somehow fine-tuned for life, only that life is fine-tuned for the universe. If the cosmological constants were different, then the universe would likely exist in a substantially different form, and likely some intelligent life form would eventually arise claiming how ITS particular universe’s constants are proof of fine-tuning. If the universe were so fine-tuned for life, then why is 99.999999999999999999% of it incredibly hospital of it, and life has only been able to grab a toehold (as far as we know) for the last 3.5 billion out of 13.75 billion years that the universe has likely been around. If the universe were made and tuned just for the purpose of life, it needs a little more fine-tuning so it doesn’t have such a nasty habit of killing it.

You do realize that your particular train of thought has been shot down repeatedly, don’t you? If the universe happened to have other conditions, then we would be different as well, or if the conditions were so far off, then the universe wouldn’t exist. It’s like throwing a pair of sixes and saying that it must be preordained because otherwise a pair of ones would have lost the game.

Can you please go read about the weak anthropic principle - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle ? Please.

I reject the notion that our universe is finely tuned to be suitable for life. The vast majority of the universe is hostile to life as we know it, and existed for billions of years before life arose on earth. That’s crap tuning, in my opinion.

You know what those cosmologists did after scratching their heads? They get back to work trying to find more answers. You know what’s not helpful? Saying “God did it, case closed.”

Also, this could just as easily be irrefutable proof that the forebears of Almighty Zeus created the Universe, as opposed to your Christian God. However, I have one nagging question: Can you show that these values could be otherwise, or alternatively , that these are the only values that could work? (Or that, having set up the system, the Flying Spaghetti Monster didn’t retire from the scene?)

The fine tuning argument is among the most annoying arguments Goddists make, since the entire universe does its best to destroy every bit of life there is. It is only through thousands of generations of fine tuning BY LIVING THINGS that makes it possible to be alive at all.

I wonder if the fact that we, as individuals in a modern society, don’t have to have the fight for survival in our faces every minute gives these silly people the idea that the universe is somehow perfect for us. What a ridiculous notion. We are largely insulated from having our fragility rubbed in our faces every single day because of the efforts of thousands of human minds, over a period of millennia (but especially in the last 200 years or so), who learn what we needed to know to make staying alive a little easier…for a while.

Just one other thing. I infer from the above quote of yours that the fine-tuning of the universe is an important feature in your justification for your religious faith. Please do correct me on that if I’m mistaken, I do not wish to misrepresent your views.

Given that you’ve identified as an ID and Christian science proponent, I’m sure you’re already familiar with Douglas Adams’ concept of the intelligent puddle as being illustrative of some of the problems in the view of fine tuning. I’m interested in your views on that counter-argument.

Here it is reproduced, in case you need a refresher:


"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for."
11:57 am
Me vs Scott Part 3 The History of Science and Scientists of Religious Natures
Please list these experiments that you claim did this, Jon. The fact is that this isn't what happened at all. What happened is that natural philosophers explored nature as a way to learn more about God. They believed that nature was rational and discoverable because God made it and He made us with the ability to discover it. I don't doubt there were a few people here or there who tried to prove a point. But early science was an exploration of nature, and it was motivated by a belief that nature was discoverable because God made it.


People do not make great scientists because they are Christians, atheists, Muslims, wiccans, druids, or anything else. People make great scientists because their theories and subsequent tests of those theories present relevant explanatory principles that seem to shed light on the nature of reality. Simply because some scientists were Christians no more makes science and Christianity bosom buddies than some scientists being vegetarians/Muslims/Caucasians/Alchemists/etc. makes those things somehow any more or less compatible with science. Making such an argument is nothing more than an associative fallacy.

The idea that the first scientists, “natural philosophers,” were trying to study nature to see how their god manifested in it is true. However, by and large, they ran into the problem that it didn’t work and that studying nature disproved the Bible. Indeed, one of the “natural philosophers” warned against doing just that because it was obvious that nature and the Bible were not on the same page, so to speak.

Also, which god? Recall that science really got started amongst people who worshipped the Gods of Olympus. The formalisation of what they uberhaupt worshipped was quite willfully contrived by Homer. He (or those writers) was quite OK with creating them in the image of what he held to be salutary.

Plus, even if your quoted statement was true, it says absolutely *nothing* whatsoever regarding the question of whether or not there actually is or is not a God.

Whatever motivation compels a person to DO science has no impact of what the science, ultimately, ends up SAYING about reality.

The ideas that motivated Heyerdahl to build Kon Tiki did not affect even a single stone on the shores of Polynesia. (And Heyerdahl’s hypothesis was wrong.)
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