One interesting question was raised by the eminent commenter Albatrossity, who 17 months ago revealed to me his actual identity, biology prof at a major state university in the Midwest. I would ordinarily think that he has given over responsibility for posting his comments to some student of his, or even that he's just lying about his identity, given:
1) the general tenor, mood, and abusive nature of this commenter's posts,
2) the poor reasoning exhibited, and
3) the fact that he comments a lot at a blog such as ERV, which is not what you would call a hang-out for refined intelligentsia as no doubt a major univ biology professor must be.
However, I'd hate to charge the man with dishonesty or inflation of his credentials, especially given that his histrionics pale in comparison to those of one Professor Emeritus Vic Hutchi
Given the fairly broad nature of my initial comments, one might expect the good Professor to respond to some of them, but such has not been the case. Indeed, he exhibits a pattern of leaving scads of questions hanging, which is disappointing. And he wasn't the first to raise the question, but it has become his mantra.
So, first off, "minimalist" said:
(Rhology said) "It's completely valid to say that if science can't explain something, then therefore MAGIC!"I responded:
So, to you, any non-naturalist force in action is "magic"? There's no other name for it?Albatrossity eventually jumped in:
If so, how precisely does this argue for naturalism? Just calling the other side names doesn't mean your side is correct, as I'm sure you realise in your calmer, more sober times of reflection.
Rho, can you tell us a single objective parameter that distinguishes ID from magic? Quoting your magic book doesn't count. What I want to know is how would an objective person be able to tell if something happened via ID or via magic?My reply:
Sure. Magic is an incantation calling on the power of some mystical, barely-defined cosmic principle or power, performed out of an irrational worldview by a non-omnipotent agent, also frequently accomplishing said incantation pretty quickly. Intelligent Design is, at its base, the understanding that the characteristics of life in nature show evidence of design by an intelligent and otherwise unidentified agent, probably over the course of many hundreds of millions of years, though not necessarily. It's only in the strawman of ID that you find the major parallels to ID. A major college prof like you should know better than that. Why not just deal with ID as it is? It cracks me up to see well-established minds like you burn strawmen all over the place. Makes me think you don't have a leg to stand on and some part of you knows it.
I think you missed the point. I didn't ask for definitions of magic and ID, I asked for objective distinctions between that two that would enable an objective observer to distinguish between them as causes of any event.
Well, let's see. I would probably look at whether said occurrence were the result of an incantation calling on the power of some mystical, barely-defined cosmic principle or power, performed out of an irrational worldview by a non-omnipotent agent, also frequently accomplishing said incantation pretty quickly.
But of course, this doesn't matter. If the evidence is that it was NOT due to an unguided process working on random mutations, then the answer lies in somewhere other than Darwinian mechanisms. If you don't like the answer or where the evidence leads, that's no one's problem but yours.
Him (#60, I'm tired of linking):
Tell me HOW you would "look at whether said occurrence were the result of an incantation calling on the power of some mystical, barely-defined cosmic principle or power, performed out of an irrational worldview by a non-omnipotent agent, also frequently accomplishing said incantation pretty quickly." That's quite a mouthful of stuff, but nothing in there tells me HOW you would show me any difference between that sort of cause, and the think-poof causality that underlies ID. How, exactly, do the results of incantations look any different from the invisible hands that ID requires? Causes leave fingerprints; different causes should leave different fingerprints.
nothing in there tells me HOW you would show me any differenceHim:
Take Scenario X on a case-by-case basis and apply those criteria. Not that hard, though it might require a bit of logical and philosophical rigor, which I've not come to expect from most Darwinians, especially not most in academia, whose writings are often rife with unaccounted-for and unjustified assumptions.why did you argue with commenters above when someone suggested that ID = magic?
B/c "magic" carries quite a pejorative connotation. I dispute that connotation.
And again, the bare assumption of naturalism (especially ontological, and yes, I know the difference) is not convincing, if it's unargued-for. Argue for it. Start by answering my above questions (and you'll reveal it's a faith-based position or an infinite regress, the former of which is the same thing you accuse the hated creationists of, the latter of which is clearly irrational). If "magic" is the way things are, where the evidence leads, what merit is there in clinging to Darwinian-style naturalistic processes as the way things are? That's the stuff of cults.
the appearance of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was due to magic. You claim that the same phenomenon was due to an intelligent designer.
But this is not a good experiment, as it is a false dilemma for my position; I don't contend that the evolution of drug resistance is an example of ID "at work", but rather natural, microevolutionary forces. Who's denying that? I'm more interested in your evidence for, say, unicellular organisms developing into giraffes, etc. Things that are under dispute. I don't see why engaging the topics actually under dispute is too much to ask.
Further, please explain how naturalistic mechanisms to which you'd appeal to explain this change in the organism is distinguishable from, say, karma. Thanks.
More amusingly, you ask how this naturalistic explanation for malarial drug resistance is different from karma. That's pretty easy. It is explainable by purely natural mechanisms (changes in bases in DNA resulting in changes enzyme structure resulting in changes in enzyme function resulting in changes in drug metabolism), which can replicated in other organisms by other scientists. That's the definition of objective, in case you didn't understand that word either. Let me know when you figure out a way that ID think-poofing can be replicated or explained by natural mechanisms.
OK, and how does magic operate, exactly? Give me some info about it.
Out of what worldview are you operating? What are your presuppositions? On what power does this magic draw?
...I'll explain my 'karmic' worldview if you explain your magic one.
Him, throwing in the towel:
(Albatrossity asked) Why would it be impossible for magic to leave "evidence of design"?
(Rhology answered) It wouldn't be impossible.
makes my point for me, thanks. Magic cannot be distinguished from ID.
The onus is on YOU, not me, to show that magic can be distinguished, as a cause, from ID. You have evaded that responsibility from the beginning. I have repeatedly asked for evidence of design that could be distinguished from evidence of magic.
We've been over this. Feel free to address what I've already said, particularly on the question of karma and on the worldview underpinnings of "magic".
you have yet to give me even ONE criteria by which an objective observer could distinguish magic from ID.
And you haven't answered my setup questions that would show that you even have any idea what groundwork is necessary before answering such a question. Get on it.
You also haven't responded to my request that you show the ways in which your precious Darwinian processes are distinguishable from karma. It's all out there.
That's pretty much where it ended. Let the reader judge who left the questions out on the table.
The point is that Albatrossity is fixated on his buzzwords and Darwinian talking points, much like the former Pres of CFI in my previous post, namely: "Peer-reviewed journal!!!!!!! AAAHHHHH!!!" For Albatrossity, he has his talking point, maybe from PZ Myers or someone like that, and it's never occurred to think it through. It's kind of sad, but it helps one understand how grown-ups can desire and act to squelch dissent in universities with respect to these questions. Take Albatrossity, PZ Myers, and Hutchi
"Magic" isn't just an amorphous mass that one can pluck out the air and then apply, in a serious debate. You have to define your terms and show me precisely what you mean. Absent that, it's a double-edged sword, as my karma example shows. I can just apply something that sounds pejorative to ANYTHING, refuse to define it, and I'll have just as much justification as he does. So I did, with my karma example. Maybe we'll actually get a response, but I doubt it, as he's had lots of chances.