February 21, 2005

INTELLIGENT DESIGN...AGAIN:

'Extinct' plants revived via seeds from lake bed (The Japan Times, Feb. 22, 2005)

A group of researchers has succeeded in reviving plants that were considered extinct at Ibaraki Prefecture's Lake Kasumigaura by using seeds found buried in lake bed soil, they said Monday.

The plants are thought to have become extinct after the ecosystem was damaged by development projects, including bank protection work, in recent years.


Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2005 5:09 PM
Comments

Since your headline is in all caps, it's unclear whether you mean 'intelligent design' or 'Intelligent Design'.

If it's the former, it is a rather unremarkable inference; if it's the latter, the facts don't necessitate the conclusion.

Posted by: creeper at February 22, 2005 3:52 AM

Yes, isn't it haunting the way Intelligent Design resembles intelligent design. You can't tell them apart.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 8:10 AM

If I couldn't tell them apart, I wouldn't have made the comment above. It's you who confuses them, whether deliberately or not I can't tell.

So which way did you mean it?

Posted by: creeper at February 22, 2005 8:30 AM

Intelligent beings obviously made them extinct and then re-created them. That intelligence created them in the first place becomes an obvious possibility.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 8:38 AM

OJ must be the dumb one of the two. The Intelegent Designer must have missed him.

Dave

Posted by: Dave Kabay at February 22, 2005 8:41 AM

The plants are thought to have become extinct ...

Intelligent beings obviously made them extinct ...

Leaving out how tentative becomes conclusive, just how did those plants get so rare that such minor action was required for the coup de grass?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 22, 2005 9:26 AM

"Yes, isn't it haunting the way Intelligent Design resembles intelligent design. You can't tell them apart."

They don't remotely resemble each other.

If there was a designer, he was stupid and cruel.

Posted by: Brit at February 22, 2005 11:55 AM

Jeff:

We killed them.

Brit:

we're stupid and cruel, but intelligent.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 12:02 PM

That's my point.

intelligent and Intelligent don't resemble each other, as you wrongly claim above.

Posted by: Brit at February 22, 2005 12:12 PM

Why? You're saying that the Design is cruel and that the intelligent are cruel.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 12:24 PM

I'm saying that your Intelligent Designer isn't very intelligent.

Posted by: Brit at February 22, 2005 2:23 PM

Brit:

How could He be if we're made in His image? While we've never been able to find any sign of Natural Selection we've also never found a sign that intelligent life is intelligent.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 4:04 PM

If He, that is The Intelligent Designer (which is all just code for God, right? even though the Intelligent Design folks are desperately trying to keep that under wraps), isn't very intelligent as we happen to be made in His image, I say there's no way He could've come up with that little flagella with the propellers. For one thing, his fingers would be way too big.

Posted by: creeper at February 22, 2005 5:54 PM

For another thing... if we are supposed to be made in His image, then what on Earth took God so long to finally look in the mirror and say: "I know, I'll make them be just like me!"

I mean, why monkey around with dinosaurs and what not for millions and millions of years?

Orrin has latched on to this odd tactic of simply agreeing that this God person was a pretty dimwitted fellow. Since omniscience, omnipotence and benevolence went out the window some time ago, what exactly is left? Just a convenient explanation for some gaps of mystery in our understanding of the world?

Posted by: creeper at February 22, 2005 6:00 PM

creeper:

Because that's how He was made?

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 6:15 PM

"we've never been able to find any sign of Natural Selection"

This is Natural Selection:

1. IF there are organisms that reproduce, and

2. IF offspring inherit traits from their progenitor(s), and

3. IF there is variability of traits, and

4. IF the environment cannot support all members of a growing population,

5. THEN those members of the population with less-adaptive traits (determined by the environment) will die out, and

6. THEN those members with more-adaptive traits (determined by the environment) will thrive

This was shown by the finches on the Galapagos Islands.

Posted by: creeper at February 22, 2005 6:16 PM

"Because that's how He was made?

How was he made, Orrin?

Posted by: creeper at February 22, 2005 6:23 PM

Nothing died out though and nothing speciated.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 6:26 PM

"Nothing died out though and nothing speciated."

1. "Nothing died out" - the finches with the weaker beaks died out in the region of the islands where the environmental factors favor the survival of finches with stronger beaks.

2. "Nothing speciated" - you're thinking about evolution; I was only talking about natural selection, which Darwin's finches illustrate perfectly. Evolution has to include speciation; natural selection has to include only that it can cause a living being to change over successive generations.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 3:08 AM

OJ wants to insist that darwinists think natural selection alone causes speciation. That they refuse to think that must annoy him.

Posted by: Brit at February 23, 2005 4:23 AM

Come on, Orrin, pleeease tell us how God was made.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 4:29 AM

So this Intelligent Designer can concoct the Universe to a fare-thee-well, perform organic chemistry, create flagella, and be solely responsible for every species that ever lived.

I'd say that is pretty darn Intelligent, and powerful, and omniscient. Bacteria needed flagella? Who knew?

Yet this same Intelligent Designer came up with the appendix, didn't realize its uselessness in humans, and, to top it off, slaughtered babies and women in the millions because He couldn't figure out how to keep being fruitful and multiplying from being so dangerous.

So which Intelligent Designer is it? The all powerful one, or the witless/forgetful/impotent/pointlessly cruel one?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 23, 2005 7:43 AM

Inquiring is progress.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 7:52 AM

And since more than two-thirds of conceptions end in miscarriage or in early gestation, he's also the greatest practitioner of abortion in the known universe.

Purgatory must contain more souls than heaven and hell put together, thanks to this Designer's ineptitude in putting together the human reproductive system.

Posted by: Brit at February 23, 2005 7:55 AM

Brit;

I've heard Jeff use that formulation before, it's particularly inane. However, the suggestion that He is bound by the morality He requires of us is obviously false.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 8:24 AM

I don't have a problem with the Desinger being cruel, inept and demanding that we do as he says rather than as he does.

If there is a Designer, it seems obvious that that describes him perfectly. Luckily, I don't have to worship him.

Posted by: Brit at February 23, 2005 8:33 AM

Brit:

Yes, that's the essence of the Free Choice He gave you.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 9:04 AM

Kind of him, but X-ray vision would have been cooler.

Posted by: Brit at February 23, 2005 9:10 AM

"Inquiring is progress."

In that case I'll inquire how God was made. Not sure if I'll call it progress just yet, but I am curious what Orrin was thinking when he said that.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 9:40 AM

Orrin,

why is the God-as-abortionist argument inane? The suffering of the innocent in the same universe as an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent deity is frequently excused as being the result of the free will that God supposedly has given us.

If you're going to go with the definition that life begins at conception, then in the case of a miscarriage a life is ended prematurely, possibly/probably suffering in the process. I presume for the moment that you'll agree that it is an innocent life.

That is only one of many instances of innocent suffering that is not brought about by free will, but by the ineptitude of the Designer, presuming that you're going to go with the idea that God designed us. Human free will doesn't come into it.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 9:52 AM

creeper:

You asked why He Created such a Universe and wondered how it could possibly comport with us being made in His image. Perhaps this is how He was Created too. But we don't even understand much about Creation--we're unlikely to ever figure out much about Him--and never to understand what preceded Him. those are all interesting things to speculate about but they just don't matter. Our task is to try and live the way He told us to.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 9:54 AM

creeper:

Exactly, the "ineptitude" of the Design is quite different from the individual decision to kill. We're not all guilty of abortion just because we run the risk of miscarriage with every pregnancy. Human beings are extraordinarily complex and it's a miracle every time one is born. Hardly surprising that many don't make it.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 10:10 AM

"Perhaps this is how He was Created too."

I see inklings here of you starting to come to grips with the nonsensical 'First Cause' argument.

"those are all interesting things to speculate about but they just don't matter. Our task is to try and live the way He told us to."

I don't see how living our lives the best way we know how and trying to understand where we came from (whether by the path of mythology or scientific inquiry) need to be mutually exclusive at all.

If one rejects any scientific approach, then yes, it is all pure speculation and nothing else - perhaps God is a huge robot the size of a star system, perhaps God is on vacation somewhere else and will be mighty annoyed when he comes back and sees what a mess we've made, perhaps God came to Earth as a little bug and was squashed and that was the end of him, perhaps God is a force of nature with no purpose or intention or ultimate goal, perhaps perhaps perhaps...

I can certainly see how you'd find that this doesn't matter, since wondering how the creator was created when we have no idea who or what the creator is is about as interesting as watching paint dry. At least when you go the scientific route, there are some dots you can attempt to connect.

BTW, I don't think marching orders from a hypothetical supernatural being are required to live a moral life.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 11:06 AM

God is the First Cause of the Universe, but the Universe is likely a rather minor thing.

You're quite wrong--morality has to rest on an external authority. You can live a moral life though by believing in the morality even if you can't derive it. Y'all have still accepted authority in so doing.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 11:22 AM

"God is the First Cause of the Universe, but the Universe is likely a rather minor thing."

1. Why does the Universe have to have a cause?

2. What do you wish to call the grouping of the universe plus whatever else there is?

"You're quite wrong--morality has to rest on an external authority."

Even if you want to pre-suppose that morality does rest on an external authority, on what do you base your claim that it has to do so in order to be valid? What's wrong with developing a moral code that is beneficial for society, a combination of values that have over the course of human history proven an optimal balance between the needs of and benefits to the individual and the common good?

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 11:38 AM

creeper:

Experience demonstrates the impossibility of such a code. Note that you immediately resort to "history"? in other words, you need authority too.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 11:43 AM

Brit says:

And since more than two-thirds of conceptions end in miscarriage or in early gestation, he's also the greatest practitioner of abortion in the known universe.

You say:
I've heard Jeff use that formulation before, it's particularly inane. However, the suggestion that He is bound by the morality He requires of us is obviously false.

So, other than the "formulation" being true, and Brit saying not word one about morality, your reply is completely relevant.

The external authority morality rests upon is our evolution as social animals. Religionists are every bit as good as anyone else at murdering those outside the group. Your invocation of an outside authority presents a difference without the least distinction.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 23, 2005 11:44 AM

"Note that you immediately resort to "history"? in other words, you need authority too."

I didn't propose a morality without any authority whatsoever, I just take issue with the notion that an external authority - one that even judges us etc. - is necessary.

The authority of history, if you want to call it that, is simply our collective learning process. If that gives a morality 'authority', fine. Since the learning process comes from within the human 'tribe', though, I propose we can call it an 'internal authority'.

One of the survival skills of the human being is to work well together, in a social group. Making that possible goes hand in hand with certain rules. The sum of those rules is our morality.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 11:54 AM

creeper:

That's the kind of antimorality that led Stephenh Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin to oppose Darwinism, justifying as it does genocide.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 12:02 PM

Altruism within the tribe and rivalry with other tribes appears to be human nature; Christianity has not preserved humans from that - on the contrary, since religion is a human construct, it contains our rules embedded within them, and that of course also goes for Christianity, which sanctioned the Crusades and preaches that those not of their 'tribe' will burn in hell.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 12:19 PM

creeper:

Yes, morality is the denial of human nature.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 12:28 PM

If that is so, then Christianity is not moral either.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 12:34 PM

If you're so durned intelligent, let's see you bring back the passenger pigeon, also believed to be extinct.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at February 23, 2005 4:10 PM

Harry:

I'll bet you a hundred bucks someone does and, of course, it was intelligent design that extincted them.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 4:23 PM

Orrin, you keep bringing up 'intelligent design' as if it is somehow significant, as if it somehow proves anything at all about 'Intelligent Design'.

I do hope you can tell the difference, but I wouldn't necessarily bet money on it.

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 8:20 PM

""God is the First Cause of the Universe, but the Universe is likely a rather minor thing."

1. Why does the Universe have to have a cause?

2. What do you wish to call the grouping of the Universe plus whatever else there is?

Posted by: creeper at February 23, 2005 8:31 PM

crepper:

Darwin observed intelligent design and mistook it for Natural Selection which he thought disproved an Intelligent Designer.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 8:53 PM

"Darwin observed intelligent design and mistook it for Natural Selection"

Darwin's theory of Natural Selection (his summary of which I posted above) and the modern theory of evolution fit the available evidence.

Now here you are, proposing the addition of an entirely speculative intelligent agent - on what available evidence?

You've been saying that God makes such blunders and imperfect systems as the human appendix and reproductive organs, but at the same time you wish him to be responsible for micromanaging the finches on the Galapagos Islands to the extent of honing the lengths and thicknesses of their beaks just so, by tiny fractions of an inch, to ensure optimal survival. Meanwhile, you're satisfied that two-thirds of human conceptions not resulting in births is the result of an imperfect design that God simply can not fix.

All things considered, Occam's Razor and all, Natural Selection makes more sense than any God that is being desperately contorted (as sometimes intelligent, sometimes not, sometimes benevolent, sometimes not) to fit the available evidence.

Why not just believe in a God that created life, then let evolution take over? Seems like an acceptable synthesis of faith and the available evidence.

BTW, "Darwin observed intelligent design and mistook it for Natural Selection" - I'm not sure if this was an oversight, but if you did mean 'intelligent design' instead of 'Intelligent Design', then who plays the role of the farmer in this scenario, and where is the evidence of that entity's presence?

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 2:22 AM

If I may paraphrase your earlier post:

Orrin observed intelligent design and mistook it for Intelligent Design which he thought proved an Intelligent Designer.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 2:25 AM

Creeper:

On this topic, OJ vastly prefers noise to discourse.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 24, 2005 7:02 AM

creeper:

You've stumbled into accidental wisdom again: all we observe is intelligent design.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 9:13 AM

"all we observe is intelligent design"

If you did mean 'intelligent design' instead of 'Intelligent Design', then who plays the role of the farmer in this scenario, and where is the evidence of that entity's presence?

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 9:56 AM

creeper:

See, you're progressing rapidly. Once we acknowledge that we see around us evidence of D/design but none of Selection then we begin to ask the important questions and get off of the dead-end that Darwinism had sidetracked us onto. So does the paradigm shift even in your own head.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 10:02 AM

"Once we acknowledge that we see around us evidence of D/design"

?? Talk about conflating the terms!

Look, intelligent design, which is man influencing his environment with a design in mind (e.g., "I want cows that give more milk", "I will build a parking lot here, even if that will make the brown spotted humdinger bird extinct") is not the same as, nor is it proof of the concept of Intelligent Design, the concept that God (sorry, an anonymous Creator that we can't call God) designed and created the world; whether intelligently or not is still to be determined, as we've seen.

You can trumpet 'evidence' of 'intelligent design' all you want, but such is thoroughly unremarkable and entirely undisputed - and completely unrelated to Intelligent Design. Doesn't even clash with the theory of evolution.

"but none of Selection"

The finches on Galapagos Islands, as mentioned before.

The theory of evolution happens to cover both the finches and the reproductive problems; the notion of the Intelligent Designer does not. It also fails the test of Occam's Razor.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 10:36 AM

creeper:

I know how disorienting this must be for you, so we'll take it slow. You're making remarkable progress.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 10:51 AM

It's funny, but I can't quite recall the last time that a condescending attitude all by its lonesome, unaccompanied by any logical argument - or argument of any kind, really - ever did scrap to convince anyone of anything.

A number of logical arguments have been presented, Orrin, and they contradict your stance; I don't entirely see how you think they represent 'progress' from your perspective, but hey.

Also, questions have been presented regarding certain claims you've made - the First Cause argument, for example. Instead of responding, you've retreated into a bizarre stance of pretending that I'm coming around to what I presume you take to be your point of view, and fail to address any of the contradictions in your worldview, as well as any of the questions asking to explain yourself further on specific points.

If you disagree with the following statements, please explain specifically on what grounds.

A. 'Intelligent Design' and 'intelligent design' are not the same. One is not proof of the other.

B. The theory of natural selection, as stated thus -

1. IF there are organisms that reproduce, and

2. IF offspring inherit traits from their progenitor(s), and

3. IF there is variability of traits, and

4. IF the environment cannot support all members of a growing population,

5. THEN those members of the population with less-adaptive traits (determined by the environment) will die out, and

6. THEN those members with more-adaptive traits (determined by the environment) will thrive.

- represents a perfect explanation for the different variations of finches on the Galapagos Islands.

C. The finches also demonstrate that 2 and 3 above occur not just in captivity or under the guidance of a farmer, but also in nature.

D. Since the theory of evolution covers the varieties of finches on the G. Islands, the appendix and the imperfect reproductive system, but the notion of an Intelligent Designer who keeps such a close eye on some birds on some islands that he specifically adjusts their beaks to help them live but at the same time does not make similar efforts to perfect the human reproductive system is internally contradictory as well as unnecessary in addition to the theory of evolution, the notion of the Intelligent Designer fails the test of Occam's Razor.

E. I'll try these questions again:

"God is the First Cause of the Universe, but the Universe is likely a rather minor thing."

1. Why does the Universe have to have a cause?

2. What do you wish to call the grouping of the Universe plus whatever else there is?

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 11:29 AM

A: that's correct

B: that's correct it's just not Natural Selection which is supposed to lead to speciation. Indeed, that the natuiral selection we observe faiils to lead to speciation is nearly dispositive of Natural Selection as science.

C: Except that 3 seems almost entirely insignificant in nature and in captivity. Finches are still just finches and dogs are still dogs.

D: The finches demonstrate the failure of Darwinism. continued belief on the part of rational secularists procedes from the same source as Creationism and Intelligent Design: faith.

E:

1: Everything has a cause.

2: That's above our payscale. God had us name the stuff He Created along with us:

"And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the
field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam
to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called
every living creature, that was the name thereof.

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air,
and to every beast of the field"

Presumably His Creator had Him name the stuff outside the Universe.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 11:48 AM

B: that's correct it's just not Natural Selection which is supposed to lead to speciation. Indeed, that the natuiral selection we observe faiils to lead to speciation is nearly dispositive of Natural Selection as science.

Flightless birds on oceanic islands.

Just because you are incapable of observation untainted by crippling antipathy doesn't mean observations aren't there to be had.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 24, 2005 12:48 PM

A: "that's correct"

Okay - so can you please not use the two terms interchangeably any more, or act as if one proved the other?

B: "that's correct it's just not Natural Selection which is supposed to lead to speciation. Indeed, that the natuiral selection we observe faiils to lead to speciation is nearly dispositive of Natural Selection as science."

How so? Natural Selection is a subset of the theory of evolution, and has been shown to be valid on its own terms. Whether it achieves a larger goal in another, more encompassing theory does not take away from its validity.

Also, AFAIK, some of the variations of finches were shown not to be different species on account of the fact that they could and did interbreed - but not all. If some of them were in fact separate species, then speciation did occur. The finches can not be written off in their entirety as evidence of speciation just yet.

C: "Except that 3 seems almost entirely insignificant in nature and in captivity. Finches are still just finches and dogs are still dogs."

The fact that 3 "seems almost entirely insignificant" to you is entirely insignificant in determining whether the mechanism of Natural Selection is valid as far as it is described.

3 is important to variations occurring in successive generations. How far those variations go is another matter.

D: "The finches demonstrate the failure of Darwinism."

The finches demonstrate Natural Selection; how is that the failure of Darwinism?

E:

1: Everything has a cause.

Then the universe stretches into infinity behind us, and there can not be any such thing as a first cause.

It is a logical contradiction to say that everything has a cause and then to posit that there was a first cause. The two can not exist in the same logical universe. One term is invalidated by the other.

"2: That's above our payscale. God had us name the stuff He Created along with us."

Come on, Orrin, that's a pretty strange cop-out. I know for a fact that your conversation consists of considerably more words than the names of the beasts of the field and the fowl of the air, and I'm even willing to bet that you use English words for the fowl and the beasts - not the words Adam handed out back in the day. Rather than answer the question, you tell me that there's some hypothetical creator of the hypothetical creator who apparently hands out all words for things as if they were Internet domains.

How, then, do we humans glean the meanings of words as they were intended by these made-up beings?

There is really no need to enter into such a bizarre fantasy world just to avoid answering a fairly straightforward question.

We communicate with words. You proposed that the universe (not a word, incidentally, stemming from Adam's naming-of-the-beasts session) was a part of something larger: what do you want to call this larger thing, even just for the purpose of this discussion?

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 1:06 PM

Jeff:

No one's observed bird speciation.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 1:24 PM

creeper:

A: No. You're confusing faith and science. There can be no proof of I.D. or Darwinism because they aren't sciences. But the fact that we see intelligent design is adequate for those who believe in I.D. as intelligent design and natural selection is adequate for those who believe in Natural Selection.

B: No. Speciation via Natural Selection is Evolution. "Not written off in their entirety" is what I mean by you making progress.

C: See B.

D: No. They demonstrate natural selection. See B.

E:

1: Exactly. Logic is a mugs game. We know existence must be infinite, but it can't be. Thus does reason destroy Reason.

2: Either of your terms seem adequate: "this larger thing" or "Universe plus."

There's little point in trying to name something about which we can know nothing whatsoever.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 1:41 PM

A. The modern theory of evolution is a scientific theory. You can keep insisting that 'Darwinism' (not the same as the modern theory of evolution, though related) also has some characteristics of a 'religion' or 'faith' - it can serve as a creation myth, for some, I suppose (though the theory of evolution does not address the origin of life) - but that does not make the theory of evolution not be a scientific theory.

Natural Selection has been shown scientifically, as we have discussed even in this thread for a while.

B. Speciation via Natural Selection may represent evolution, but Natural Selection is still just a subset of the theory of evolution, since it does not automatically include speciation.

The progress you think I'm making is simply me being open to the evidence before me and defining it as accurately as I can so I can gain as clear a picture of the world as possible. You read that two of Darwin's finch 'species' interbred and were therefore not different species according to one criterium of the most common definition of species; from that you jump to the conclusion that the whole thing is a hoax. I note that only some of the different 'species' were shown not to be different species and we don't know about the other ones, and we know that in any case different variations did evolve that did not rise to the taxonomic level of species, but did indeed adapt to their environment in order to ensure survival, did indeed have varying traits and did indeed pass on traits to their offspring - hence the principle of Natural Selection as such is validated.

C: see B

D: Please explain how you define the difference between 'natural selection' and 'Natural Selection'.

E:

1. "We know existence must be infinite, but it can't be."

Why can existence not be infinite? Think about it and answer as honestly as you can.

2. "Either of your terms seem adequate: "this larger thing" or "Universe plus.""

I'll go with "This goes up to 11"; I think that's the best way to describe what you're talking about here.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 3:30 PM

OJ:

They didn't walk.

And now sightless fish in caves at one time had eyes.

Your notion of "observed" distorts it completely beyond recognition.

No surprise there.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 24, 2005 3:31 PM

You know what's funny Orrin? I've never actually seen grass grow.

I mean, I've mowed grass and then found myself having to mow it again a few weeks later. 'Cos it was longer than right after I'd mowed it. But I'll be danged if I've ever actually seen grass grow.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 3:58 PM

creeper:

Grass is an excellent example. observe and measure your lawn this summer and you'll see growth. we've observed and measured every species we could find for several thousand years and none has ever speciated. Thus is Darwinism a faith without scientific basis.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 4:04 PM

creeper

A: No, it isn't, as Jeff's example shows. It is the insistence that because there are different species then Natural Selection must explain speciation despite all evidence to the contrary. It is antiscientific because it has no predictive value, is not based on observation or experimentation, and was contrived to fit existing evidence so that it can never be disproven. It's I.D. for atheists.

B. Yes, you folk come here misinformed and malindoctrinated, still buying into the finches and peppered moths and the like; imagining that the leaders of your movement don't comprehend it to be philosophy rather than science; convinced that your faith in Darwin is a sign of your superior intelligence; and thinking that your teleological/determinist belief that we "earned" our position atop the tree of life differs in some coherent fashion from other creation myths; but are here disabused of these notions and left clinging to threads like "Not written off in their entirety" or Harry's absurd fruit flies and Jeff's mantra about how no intelligent being could fail to get rid of the appendix. You guys are like millenarians when the calender turned to 667.

D: natural selection can give us varieties of finches with differences so minor that only the devotees who spend their lives obsessed by them can tell supposed varieties apart. It can't ever arise to the level of Natural Selection such that it can clear the bar Darwin set himself originating new species.

E:

1. Because it would be a causeless effect.

2. "11" is fine if it has some meaning for you.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 4:22 PM

Orrin,

You do realize that several thousand years is a very short time span in terms of evolution? That was roughly where my little lawnmower analogy was going.

Even though it is a very short time span in terms of speciation, Natural Selection has been shown on the variation level time and time again, whether we observe animals in captivity with human beings making mating decisions or in the wild with survival pressures calling the shots.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 4:23 PM

No, natural selection is shoown repeatedly, never Natural Selection. That awkward fact has driven the hoaxes for which Darwinism is infamous.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 4:31 PM

I found this interesting:

Orrin: God is the First Cause of the Universe, but the Universe is likely a rather minor thing.

creeper: Why does the Universe have to have a cause?

Orrin: Everything has a cause.

creeper: Then the universe stretches into infinity behind us, and there can not be any such thing as a first cause. It is a logical contradiction to say that everything has a cause and then to posit that there was a first cause. The two can not exist in the same logical universe. One term is invalidated by the other.

Orrin: Exactly. Logic is a mugs game. We know existence must be infinite, but it can't be. Thus does reason destroy Reason.

creeper: Why can existence not be infinite? Think about it and answer as honestly as you can.

Orrin: Because it would be a causeless effect.


You can tie the end of this seamlessly to the beginning and make a loop.

Orrin, can you explain why existence can not be infinite?

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 4:43 PM

creeper:

That's the point. Reason is circular. That's why it is subordinate to faith.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 4:49 PM

"natural selection can give us varieties of finches with differences so minor that only the devotees who spend their lives obsessed by them can tell supposed varieties apart. It can't ever arise to the level of Natural Selection such that it can clear the bar Darwin set himself originating new species.

The difference between 'intelligent design' and 'Intelligent Design' is a valid and qualitative one.

The difference between 'natural selection' and 'Natural Selection' that you present here is a Fallacy of Exclusion. "I can't tell a fraction of an inch, so how can it possibly matter?" It mattered to the survival of these finches, and it is significant.

It also is significant in illustrating the Principle of Natural Selection (which is synonymous with the principle of natural selection until you can come up with a coherent non-fallacious definition of the difference).

The principle of natural selection is valid; whether it rises to speciation is another matter. I think it is misleading and unnecessarily confusing the term 'natural selection' to have it mean both 'natural selection' and 'natural selection resulting in speciation'.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 4:59 PM

In other words, you can not explain why existence can not be infinite.

And to make this point you resort to claiming that Reason is circular, and therefore infinite.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 5:02 PM

creeper:

Charles Darwin didn't write "The Origin of minor variation within species" did he?

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 5:07 PM

No. Reason is finite. We made it up.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 5:08 PM

"Yes, you folk come here misinformed and malindoctrinated, still buying into the finches and peppered moths and the like;"

I read them one by one and make up my mind as I go along. A blanket dismissal is warranted for neither the finches nor the peppered moths.

Which proper indoctrination procedure should I have followed?

"imagining that the leaders of your movement don't comprehend it to be philosophy rather than science;"

I didn't get the memo: who are the leaders of my 'movement'? It's so exciting to be part of a 'movement'!

"convinced that your faith in Darwin is a sign of your superior intelligence;"

I don't have faith in Darwin the way a Christian has faith in Jesus. He's just a scientist presenting a theory; I read his writings and if the evidence supports his theories, fine; if not, I dig around elsewhere. Unfortunately, the Creationists and I.D.ers are having a hard time coming up with a coherent set of evidence to support their worldview. That's why they so quickly flee to something as vague and all-purpose as 'faith'.

And of course, being aware of their position, they feel the need to drag others down to their level.

"and thinking that your teleological/determinist belief that we "earned" our position atop the tree of life differs in some coherent fashion from other creation myths;"

That was an example of how one can impose a moral tale on anything, including human evolution. And like I said earlier in this thread, just because the theory of evolution is capable of encompassing a creation myth does not disqualify it from being a scientific theory.

You could interpret the big bang theory as a creation myth, but that alone would not disqualify it from being a scientific theory.

"but are here disabused of these notions"

For that you would have to do considerably better than redefining words as you see fit, ignoring arguments put before you, and baselessly putting on a condescending attitude as if you were succeeding in any way in persuading anybody with these tactics.

"and left clinging to threads like "Not written off in their entirety""

Hardly clinging to a thread; merely accurately defining what is in front of me. If two of the many combinations of 13 species of finches are morphologically different but can interbreed and therefore differ as a variation, not a species, then so be it. It's not the end of the world for me.

"or Harry's absurd fruit flies"

What is absurd about them? If you want to see speciation in your lifetime, you have to go with an organism that will form successive generations quickly - you won't be able to do that with, say, elephants or humans.

"Jeff's mantra about how no intelligent being could fail to get rid of the appendix."

Umm - that's super intelligent being to you. Omniscient.

About that appendix... why is it there, seriously? Surely this can't be the same creator who made sure all those different birds had just the right beaks, down to the last little fraction of an inch? There's an inconsistency there, Orrin, whether you like to admit it or not (no prizes for guessing Orrin's choice). It's only an inconsistency if you insist on a creator taking the place of the theory of evolution, because under the theory of evolution as it stands it happens not to be an inconsistency.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 5:32 PM

"No. Reason is finite. We made it up."

We also made up the word infinity.

Are you seriously proposing that because we made something up, it has to be circular?

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 5:34 PM

"Charles Darwin didn't write "The Origin of minor variation within species" did he?"

No, but I don't think he wrote "The Origin of 13 Species of Finches on the Galapagos Islands" either.

Must've been some other guys.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 5:36 PM

creeper:

No, that Reason proves itself to have a foundation of faith rather than reason. It has no existence outside our minds (which assumes it, us, and mind).

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 5:46 PM

I also see I may have overstated the case or you overread it for natural selection, because the evidence demonstrates that varieties don't fail for lack of fitness.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 5:47 PM

The appendix is useful, but assume it wasn't dfor the sake of Jeff. The same reason Yugo's had speedometers that went to 120mph and there's a "No Smoking" sign on every airplane made even though legal changes made them outdated years ago.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 5:50 PM

"No, that Reason proves itself to have a foundation of faith rather than reason. It has no existence outside our minds (which assumes it, us, and mind)."

And do you propose that our minds are not capable of understanding the concept of infinity?

It's possible, I suppose, but I find the solution - to then simply make up something else that happens to be able to encompass those traits (like infinity and eternity) - simply ludicrous.

If something called God can be bigger than the universe, than the universe is simply bigger than we thought it was to begin with. And if God himself requires a creator that created him, the logic falls apart completely - because then you're just talking about a cycle of creators, one after the other, creating the next one...

... all the way back ad infinitum.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 6:02 PM

creeper:

Exquisite, isn't it? Like a Hailite salt bag with the bear holding a Hailite salt bag...

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 6:06 PM

"I also see I may have overstated the case or you overread it for natural selection, because the evidence demonstrates that varieties don't fail for lack of fitness."

Not sure what you're talking about here; could you be more specific?

If God is so attentive that he files down the beaks of those finches or carefully addes extra beak thickness, why should he bother with such

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 6:08 PM

... sloppy bits dangling here and there?

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 6:08 PM

By which I meant the appendix. Sorry, got a little trigger happy on the send button there.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 6:10 PM

Exquisite? You still owe me an explanation of why the universe can not be infinite, and this only complicates your task.

Posted by: creeper at February 24, 2005 6:11 PM

creeper:

Because it had a Beginning.

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2005 6:24 PM

What makes you think it had a Beginning?

And what is the difference between a beginning and a Beginning?

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 2:55 AM

"Reason is circular. That's why it is subordinate to faith.

You've made it pretty clear in the course of this dialogue that it is faith that is circular, not reason.

Also, you have not been able to explain why the universe can not be infinite; merely that you believe it isn't. The First Cause argument falls apart on closer scrutiny.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 3:07 AM

It is the insistence that because there are different species then Natural Selection must explain speciation despite all evidence to the contrary.

OJ, I wasn't aware that Natural Selection explains speciation. Since you are such an expert on the subject, perhaps you can describe for us precisely upon what the morphological variation we see is based, and how Natural Selection causes it.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 25, 2005 7:07 AM

Jeff:

Darwinism is a concotion of five theories:

1. Evolution as such. This is the theory that the world is not constant or recently created nor perpetually cycling, but rather is steadily changing, and that organisms are transformed in time.

2. Common descent. This is the theory that every group of organisms descended from a common ancestor, and that all groups of organisms, including animals, plants, and microorganisms, ultimately go back to a single origin of life on earth.

3. Multiplication of species. This theory explains the origin of the enormous organic diversity. It postulates that species multiply, either by splitting into daughter species or by "budding", that is, by the establishment of geographically isloated founder populations that evolve into new species.

4. Gradualism. According to this theory, evolutionary change takes place through the gradual change of populations and not by the sudden (saltational) production of new individuals that represent a new type.

5. Natural selection. According to this theory, evolutionary change comes about throught the abundant production of genetic variation in every generation. The relatively few individuals who survive, owing to a particularly well-adapted combination of inheritable characters, give rise to the next generation.

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 9:43 AM

creeper:

Yes, faith is circular. It is the fact that reason is based on faith that makes it circular. The lesson to take away is that circularity doesn't matter. Faith suffices.

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 9:53 AM

creeper;

I note with amusement that you here place the capstone on your religion. Not only did Man "earn" his place at the top of the evolutionary tree of life but the Universe is unique, so we are the pinnacle of everything. No wonder you believe all this stuff--it's pure flattery.

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 9:55 AM

"Yes, faith is circular. It is the fact that reason is based on faith that makes it circular. The lesson to take away is that circularity doesn't matter. Faith suffices."

Reason without the capital r is the capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought. If you would like to pose a different definition for what Reason with a capital r is, please do so.

Reason without a capital r is not based on faith, and does not allow circular reasoning.

I have certainly learned that to you faith suffices, and circularity doesn't matter, but please don't pretend that this falls under the realm of reasoned or logical argument. Simply admit that to you faith and maintaining your belief system trumps any logical or rational consistency.

The First Cause argument fails as a logical argument and, since it is intended as a logical argument to serve as proof of God's existence, this failure renders it meaningless.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 10:11 AM

Orrin, it is you who sees yourself created in the image of the most awesome being ever, and endowed by him with the status of the master race on our planet. Your lack of belief in man's evolution means that we have always been so and will be so in perpetuity - or until judgement day, if you believe in that kind of thing. It excludes the possibility that human beings may improve in future and therefore that we are not the pinnacle of all life.

I have also addressed this "people believe in evolution only because it is flattering" notion more than once. You may well be aware that the theories Darwin proposed were highly controversial in his day precisely because they were not flattering to human beings - a fact that you conveniently choose to ignore over and over again in favor of imposing your own apparently quite narcissistic worldview on other people. Perhaps you are embarrassed by the fact that your belief system is more narcissistic than some, and feel the need to drag them down to your level - in this case, the facts do not support it.

A belief in evolution, contrary to your repeated claims, includes the very real possibility, even necessity, that we can and indeed must change into something better if circumstances demand it.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 10:21 AM

Orrin,

What makes you think the universe had a Beginning?

And what is the difference between a beginning and a Beginning?

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 10:23 AM

creeper:

"better" You're priceless.

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 10:27 AM

Because you're saying there can not be anything better? Even if circumstances - such as a changing environment - demand it?

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 10:38 AM

"better"

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 10:51 AM

"better"

That's pretty much exactly what I read the first time, too. That's why I asked this question:

"Because you're saying there can not be anything better? Even if circumstances - such as a changing environment - demand it?"

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 11:04 AM

"better"

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 11:20 AM

This is getting pretty childish.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 11:22 AM

Include "better" in the discussion--or your other one about how Man "earned" his status--and you're no longer even pretending to talk about Darwinism as a sciencem, just a faith. Why continue? You have your faith and I mine.

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 11:28 AM

Fine, I take your point that 'better' is too vague a term in the context. I'll amend it to 'better suited to survival'.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 11:34 AM

creeper:

Yes, we changed ourselves into something better. we did so by denying and defying Nature.

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 11:39 AM

As for 'earned', I'm sure you're aware that I brought that up in response to you comparing evolution and creation as moral narratives, pointing out that one can see a moral dimension in evolution as well.

As I have previously said about the big bang theory, the fact that it can serve a purpose as a creation myth or some other interpretation does not automatically strip it of value as a scientific theory.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 11:39 AM

"Yes, we changed ourselves into something better. we did so by denying and defying Nature."

Perhaps culturally that may be the case; physically we are very much a direct result of nature. Our physical shape is not a denial of nature or in defiance of nature.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 11:49 AM

Okay--lets go with different.

5. Natural selection. According to this theory, evolutionary change comes about throught the abundant production of genetic variation in every generation. The relatively few individuals who survive, owing to a particularly well-adapted combination of inheritable characters, give rise to the next generation.

Do you see the problem here?

According to this theory, evolutionary change comes about throught the abundant production of genetic variation in every generation.

Is number one restated, with the source of change as genetic variation. This sentence has nothing to do with Natural Selection, per se.


The relatively few individuals who survive, owing to a particularly well-adapted combination of inheritable characters, give rise to the next generation.

This is essentially a truism. Regardless of what you think of the words "few" and "well-adapted" the next generation comes from preceding generation.

Which means Natural Selection explains only extinction, not speciation.


Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 25, 2005 11:49 AM

"Natural Selection explains only extinction, not speciation."

I'm confused - are you making some kind of distinction between 'Natural Selection' and 'natural selection'?

What about allopatric speciation, which comes about as per the above definition? Yes, the few and well-adapted come from the preceding generation, but this does give rise to genetic drift, and over the course of many generations can cause groups of organisms in different locations to drift in different directions (due to different environmental conditions impacting on what is important for them to survive) to the point where eventually they are not capable of interbreeding.

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 12:03 PM

Orrin,

Just thought I'd refresh this in case you have an answer and just overlooked it:

What makes you think the universe had a Beginning?

And what is the difference between a beginning and a Beginning?

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 6:27 PM

creeper:

The belief that we are all there is seems to be little more than boasting on your part, but of a piece with 'earned" and "better".

Posted by: oj at February 25, 2005 6:35 PM

Could you remind me where I said that we are all there is?

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 8:06 PM

I'm not sure if that was supposed to be an answer to this question: What makes you think the universe had a Beginning? And what is the difference between a beginning and a Beginning?

Posted by: creeper at February 25, 2005 8:18 PM

your belief that the Universe didn't have a beginning

Posted by: oj at February 26, 2005 1:50 AM

"your belief that the Universe didn't have a beginning"

Is this a response to:

Could you remind me where I said that we are all there is?

or to:

What makes you think the universe had a Beginning? And what is the difference between a beginning and a Beginning?

?

It makes no sense in response to the second one, and in response to the first one it doesn't follow.

If I posit that the universe doesn't have a beginning, how does that amount to boasting on my part? You're acting as if by universe we're talking about our own solar system or something. The universe is a mighty big place, eternity is a long, long time and we occupy an infinitesimally small fraction both of space and of time. It is ludicrous to posit that we are supposed to be the pinnacle of all this. There is nothing boastful in that.

The only way you can attempt to flatter yourself into being the pinnacle of creation is to invent somebody who looks like you but who rules the entire universe (and apparently a lot more than that) and who has tapped your kind as the zenith of, well, everything.

If that makes you feel perhaps a little embarrassed at this lack of humility, then so be it, live with it, you're more than welcome to it... but don't try to impose your narcissistic fantasy world on everybody else - some people do think differently from you.

And... what is it that makes you think the universe had a beginning?

Posted by: creeper at February 26, 2005 7:15 AM
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