Wednesday, January 06, 2010

ERV and me, face to face

After the evening lecture by Stephen Meyer at the local university back in late Sept 09, I had a conversation with the blogger known as ERV, Professor Broughton ("Rich" in the recording, around the 30 second mark), as well as Vox Veritatis and a bystander I don't know. I thought the conversation went well, both in terms of the attitude and tone of all involved and in the way that it turned out for my position. In case you care to listen, feel free.

66 comments:

Damion said...

The intelligent designer is deliberately tricking us by inserting orthologous ERV sequences so as to create the appearance of common descent among primates?

Damion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

The question is: What if the Designer did do that? You can treat the question or its implications with contempt all day - y'all are good at that and ERV is masterful - but you haven't given a good answer yet except argumenta ad incredulum.

Damion said...

Please do not confuse ordinary incredulity for an argument. I really didn't think you meant to claim that an intelligent designer would engage in such dupery, on your own worldview.

If you do not think the creator was deliberately deceptive, we are discussing an hypothetical designer that neither of us would put forth as an explanation for the particular evidence under discussion.

If you do think that the creator was deliberately deceptive, we have a whole other set of problems to contend with.

Damion said...

I'll grant you this, if the creator meant to subtly create the impression of common descent, he did an intelligently designed job of it.

Dr Funkenstein said...

The question is: What if the Designer did do that?

Have you still not got past the problem that an idea that predicts or that is consistent with every single data set is completely worthless? This is another of your strange stock arguments that you repeat on an almost continual basis.

eg think of astrology, which predicts, if not an infinite range of outcomes, certainly a very vast set. Is astrology therefore a good means of explaining things if it predicts or is consistent with just about any observation you can think of? you need exclusion as well as consistency in an explanation not just a net that covers the whole playing field of possibilities, otherwise you're not saying anything of note.

and if the designer made it look like common ancestry, how can people be faulted for concluding common ancestry!? it's like complaining people conclude electrons exist because all observations make it look like electrons exist.

as for a good reason to accept the ERV mechanism - a lot is known about ERVs, how they work etc and they can result into insertions into genomes to produce results similar to what is found in the genomes of living organisms. therefore there is an observable mechanism that can account for this observation, thus an inference can be made about why various parts of genomes look the way they do.

can you refute that ERVs have these effects, and do you have any alternative mechanism that accounts for how a designer makes genomes look like they have ERV insertions?

Rhology said...

it's b/c I don't accept the standard for truth you're presenting here. I prefer explanatory power and logical consistency, etc.
Also, I fully expect my position to explain EVERYthing b/c it is the true position. If your position doesn't explain everythg, maybe you should look for another worldview.

And as I've told you many, many times, the conclusion of CD is not God's fault but humans' fault for looking for some other explanation other than the true one.

As for ERVs, I bet the ID guys have specific refutations, but I need no other one other than to demand an answer to the problem of induction and the EAAN, at the basis, from your worldview. And also the problem of intelligent experimenting agents, which is what ERV and I mostly discussed.

Rhology said...

ERV mentions my post. True to form, the comment posse has gone straight to the gutter fringe and made the obligatory offensive reference to my beloved wife.

And Damion gets all upset when I say a statement like "we naturalists don't have faith" is not self-aware...

Further, I didn't exactly alert ERV when I posted this, yet somehow she gets wind of it. And *I'm* a stalker? OK.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Also, I fully expect my position to explain EVERYthing b/c it is the true position. If your position doesn't explain everythg, maybe you should look for another worldview.

Dear God, do you really still not get this point? I just can't fathom how someone fails to understand simple points on such a frequent basis

An explanation that expects every outcome is a bad explanation, not a good one. Rolling a dice or picking explanations out of a hat would be no worse.

Read the astrology comparison to understand why. Astrology is consistent with just about everything that happens in our day to day lives. does this mean astrology is a good explanation of why things happen in our lives, or that it is a good means of making predictions about what will happen to us? No - it means it's a bad explanation because it doesn't actually explain anything because it tries to play the whole board of explanations!

Surely you are smart enough to work out what the point being made is here?

As for ERVs, I bet the ID guys have specific refutations, but I need no other one other than to demand an answer to the problem of induction and the EAAN, at the basis, from your worldview.


Common ancestry doesn't requite the assumption of atheism - the start of a book dedicated to discussion of Plantinga's EAAN (Naturalism defeated?) even points out at the start that the argument has no bearing on common ancestry, so your point is totally irrelevant.

You also don't have an answer to the PoI as an answer would require you to be omniscient. The fact a god would be omniscient doesn't help you out on this front unless you can actually contact him to ask him for a list of things that can accurately be generalised from any specific observations we make. Again think about this slowly to realise why appealing to God does not mean you are able to avoid the PoI.

Rhology said...

?? God reveals absolute principles and absolute truth while grounding each. Sure, there's a PoI in some ways b/c we live in a fallen world and are not omniscient, but it's nothing near as acute as it is for the naturalist, where ALL statements you can make and ALL thoughts you can think are subject to the PoI. But I'm not for big questions like origins, logic, mind, morality, life, death - God has revealed them. You mistake the problem.

Damion said...

“God reveals absolute principles and absolute truth while grounding each...”

If this is indeed so, I've given you an easy way to prove it. What is my 66-digit number?

Damion said...

“...the conclusion of [common descent] is not God's fault but humans' fault for looking for some other explanation other than the true one.”

Are you saying that there is no evidence of common descent, whether deceptively planted or otherwise?

Rhology said...

To me the most useful definition of evidence is a fact interpreted within a valid worldview which lends support to one view and NOT to another.

Given that I don't think I've seen any facts that my worldview can't explain and plenty that I don't think the naturalist one can, yes, I would say that statement is probably accurate.

Dr Funkenstein said...

where ALL statements you can make and ALL thoughts you can think are subject to the PoI.

Erm, no they're not, since not everything in human thought is an inductive inference

Things like axioms, basic beliefs, necessary truths, tautologies, mathematical truths, deductive arguments etc etc all exist too and are not inductive

But I'm not for big questions like origins, logic, mind, morality, life, death - God has revealed them.

Correction - you presuppose God exists and has done all this, which is not the same thing as God actually existing and actually having done this. in the absence of a good argument (ie something better than an argument from ignorance like TAG), you'll be unlikely to convince anyone of this claim unless they already agree with you.

You mistake the problem.

i don't think it's me who's making the mistake here Rhology, since you clearly don't understand the problem of induction and how even if God exists it doesn't solve it

your claim seems to be that you can always accurately know when generalising from observed phenomena will always be correct simply because you accept the existence of God

however, you the fact God knows everything doesn't help you unless

a. you are God
b. you can tap into God's mind somehow to get an exhaustive list on the matter as to which phenomena are OK to go from specific observation--->general conclusion and which are not

Dr Funkenstein said...

Given that I don't think I've seen any facts that my worldview can't explain

again, there are very few facts that are not consistently 'explained' by astrology either

Rhology said...

Things like axioms, basic beliefs, necessary truths, tautologies, mathematical truths, deductive arguments etc etc all exist too and are not inductive

How do you know that?


you can tap into God's mind somehow to get an exhaustive list

Not exhaustive, just sufficient, and I can do that - the Bible.


OK, how does astrology answer the problem of induction, questions of basis of moral statements, the origin of the universe, and the meaning of life? Be sure to tell me which sign on which day answered them. Thanks!

Damion said...

“I don't think I've seen any facts that my worldview can't explain...”

If your worldview does not include common descent, I can think of quite a few.  Here's a personal favorite:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-gulonolactone_oxidase
 
“A dead gene in one species that is active in its relatives is evidence for evolution, but there’s more. When you look at yGLO in living primates, you find out that its sequence is more similar between close relatives than between more distant ones. The sequences of human and chimp yGLO, for example, resemble each other closely, but differ more from the yGLO of orangutans, which are more distant relatives. What’s more, the sequence of guinea pig yGLO is very different from that of all primates.  Only evolution and common ancestry can explain these facts.” — Jerry Coyne
 
 
 

Rhology said...

Ooooh, Jerry Coyne. Read his book. It wasn't very good.

So, why precisely can't my worldview explain this fact?

Damion said...

The question is *HOW* does your worldview explain pseudogenes, or other vestiges, or atavisms? Common descent predicts such things. What does Xn theism have to say?

Dr Funkenstein said...

How do you know that?

You do realise what axioms and so on are Rhology, and how they aren't inductive inferences?

Not exhaustive, just sufficient, and I can do that - the Bible.

The bible contains a list of things that you go from the specific to the general on without fear of error? For all the billions (perhaps more) of things we can potentially make inductive inferences about? I see....


OK, how does astrology answer the problem of induction, questions of basis of moral statements, the origin of the universe, and the meaning of life? Be sure to tell me which sign on which day answered them. Thanks!

Again, words nearly fail me as you completely miss the point of the analogy yet again. If I hadn't read this blog before I'd call Poe's law. Surely you don't need me to explain why astrology has no explanatory power despite it being consistent with almost all observations?

Since it appears I do - astrology aims to predict and/or explain what will happen in our day to day lives based on the arrangement of the planets and so on. although this doesn't deal with absolutely everything about the universe, the potential set of predictions/observations it covers is astoundingly large, ie there aren't any events in our day to day lives that are inconsistent with having been influenced by the alignment of the planets.

Accordingly, the predictions it does make tend to be extremely vague to avoid refutation. However, as most people are aware making a vague prediction isn't very useful as an expanlanatory tool, nor does it further our understanding of why the planets influence our lives. it's like a meteorologist predicting 'there'll be some kind of weather today'. Well, yes that's quite an insight, but we already know that some kind of weather had to happen, so it's hardly telling us anything is it? if it doesn't exclude any potential outcomes, yet only one outcome will actually happen, it has no predictive or explanatory value, does it?

i think I'll give up now, discussions are no fun when you have to explain every point in excruciating detail to someone because they seem unable or unwilling to grasp even the most basic of ideas.

Rhology said...

Damion,

God put them there. He reused the design from one organism in another.


Dr Funk,

How do you know these axioms are universally applicable? THAT is an inductive judgment.

Dr Funkenstein said...

I'll indulge this final question seeing as it was just one and I'm nearly done for the day

How do you know these axioms are universally applicable? THAT is an inductive judgment.

you claimed all thought was inductive. I gave examples of things that are non-inductive.

eg an a priori truth is one which is derived independent from experience (ie so is therefore not based on induction) such as all vixens are female foxes (since a female fox is by definition a vixen. if it wasn't a female fox it wouldn't be a vixen so it's true simply by virtue of what vixen means)).

look up the rest of the terms if you don't know what they mean

Damion said...

“God . . . reused the design from one organism in another.”

How do you know this?  It is an ad hoc hypothesis or does it logically flow from the doctrine of creation? 

Moreover, how could inserting broken genes which don't code for anything in humans (e.g. PsiGLO, OR genes) possibly count as intelligent reuse?    

Damion said...

Every time I query a trusted source, they tell me that 'vixen' means (in one sense) a female fox. This is an inductively derived truth about how English speakers use letters or sounds to convey meaning to one another. It may be that someday that defintion will fade out of use and be wholly replaced by 'an ill-tempered female human' or the like.

Damion said...

"He reused the design from one organism in another."

I've another question about this hypothesis.  Does it predict whether design reuse will flow in branching tree sort of way, so that, say, mammalian novelties such as hairy bodies or placental fetal development will exist only in certain clades?  Common descent requires that such novelties would be limited to descendents of common ancestors, but design reuse cannot begin explain why features are distributed this way.  

How does design reuse account for vestiges such as the extensor coccygi or arrector pili?  What is the functional design in providing humans with the genes that might wag a simian tail or fluff up our useless fur?  Common descent explains (indeed requires) these sorts of vestigial features, but design reuse cannot do so, unless we posit an intelligent designer who deliberately includes pointless features.  Similarly, it seems impossible for intelligent design reuse to  explain atavisms such as horse's toes or human's tails or whale's hindlimbs, since those are not features, but bugs.

Rhology said...

Dr Funk,

And outside your experience, are you certain those axioms hold?


Damion,

Comparing a multi-thousand yr old worldview with the 150 yrs that Darwinism has been around is gonna lose you the ad hoc battle every time.

possibly count as intelligent reuse?

More of your arrogant dysteleological argumentation. You create some life and then we'll talk.


Does it predict whether design reuse will flow in branching tree sort of way, so that, say, mammalian novelties such as hairy bodies or placental fetal development will exist only in certain clades?

I don't know, and I'm sorry to tell you that asking about 'predictions' all the time is uninteresting to me.


since those are not features, but bugs.

Prove it. I don't see why anyone should accept this Darwinism of the gaps.

Damion said...

Calling something 'arrogant dysteleological argumentation' isn't even an argument. Natualistic common descent explains all the atavisms and vestiges (in both phenotypes and genotypes) which we've observed to date. Meanwhile, intelligent design explains none of them. Unless you can show how those are designed features rather than merely useless holdovers from common ancestors, your theory is facing some serious and glaring lacunæ in it's inability to account for the evidence to hand.

Bonus evidence:
Human fetal lanugo
Baleen fetal teeth

Now maybe I am a bit arrogant (my wife can confirm this) but that shouldn't affect the validity of this dysteleological argumentation.

Rhology said...

No, I wasn't saying YOU are arrogant per se, I was saying that kind of argument in which you presume you know better and could do better is arrogant. It's a BEAR and been seen and dispensed with many, many times. You need a better argument.

Damion said...

“You need a better argument.”

Well, Rho, I could always use a better argument, but you’ve yet to disprove this one.  Here are the premises again:

1) If a theory logically entails features about the world which are confirmed via observation, it is more likely to be true than a competing theory which lacks any such confirmation.

2) Common descent logically entails that features of later species are inherited from earlier ones, and thus explains:

a. Atavisms such as horse’s toes and human’s tails

b. Phenotypic vestiges such as the extensor coccygi, arrector pili, sightless eye sockets, etc.

c. Genotypic vestiges (pseudogenes) such as the phiGLO

d. Cladistic distribution of novel features such as the placenta, furry coats, or feathers.

3) Creationism entails none of these features about the world, and may well rule out the possibility of useless features 2(a) through 2(c).

4) Creationism makes no other predictions which have been shown to be verifiable and true, which may be balanced against those of premise (2).

5) Therefore, common descent is more likely than creationism, because it explains more of the features of life on Earth.

I could have gone on for a bit longer on premise (2), but I imagine you are already aware of these evidences if you read through Coyne’s book.  I’m not sure where exactly I assumed that I am a good designer (of anything) but you still have yet to address the argument as it stands.  Which premises do you consider false, and why?

Rhology said...

A few things.
1) You are clearly running afoul of the BEAR I linked to. If you don't see that, so much the worse for your argument. I'd suggest you read it.
2) You smuggled in "predictions" in P3 when you were talking about explanations in P1 and P2. You need to rework that - it's ambiguous terminology, moving the goalposts, special pleading.
3) Creationism explains 2a-d just fine. God put them there. Mock "Goddidit!" all you want; it's a perfectly logical explanation.
4) P4 is BEAR2. You need to read those, seriously.

Coyne's book stunk mostly b/c he kept saying stuff like "Creationists have no answer for this", which was, every time, an ignorant statement. I guess he watched a couple of Ken Ham vids and figured he could write a book on what creationists do and don't say. Pretty pitiful performance.

Damion said...

3) Creationism explains 2a-d just fine. God put them there. Mock "Goddidit!" all you want; it's a perfectly logical explanation.
 
I do not see how it is logical to assume that God created atavisms and vestiges.  How does that follow from the theory of creationism?  If it doesn’t follow from the premises of the theory, you cannot rightly call it an explanation at all.  An explanation is what happens when the theory entails the observations.
 
Mock “BEAR!” all you want, you’ve yet to provide *any* explanation of these observed features of the world.  You just say that whatever shows up is precisely what God did, for some reason or another.  So we have one theory which entails a whole list of facts, and another theory that (AFAIK) entails anything at all, which is to say, nothing in particular. 

Damion said...

To pick a specific example, what you are implying in the particular case of GLO is that God was designing the human and chimp genomes and decided to deliberately use a copy of a gene which works in most mammals, but to break it on purpose because, after all, we usually get plenty of Vitamin C. He also decided to break the guinea pig's and fruit bat copies, in different ways, but for similar reasons. He could have used any inactive sequence at all, but for some reason decided to include a sequence which is usually useful and might well lead all the geneticists to infer common decent.

Now I'm not saying I could do better, I'm saying this doesn't make any sense. Why include a pseudogene anywhere in any genome, unless you're trying to create the false impression of genetic relatedness? What is the purpose of pseudogenes from the perspective of ID?

Damion said...

On ID, everything is there for a reason. On CD, stuff just persists. One of these theories makes sense of atavistic whale hindlimbs as an ancestral vestige while the other one has to posit an intelligent reason for those genes to exist. Why include back leg genes in a cetacean?

Dr Funkenstein said...

And outside your experience, are you certain those axioms hold?

an axiom is defined as a self evident fact or starting assumption from which other truths are inferred, and while you may not agree on what is and isn't a self evident fact with someone else, but that doesn't change what an axiom is

do you honestly not get the difference between

"all As I have observed thus far are Bs, therefore all As are Bs" (inductive generalisation)

vs

"there are no square circles as a square is by definition something that has 4 sides and a circle is by definition something that is round and does not have sides" (necessary truth)


?

it's not complicated to see the difference between inductive generalisations and the other things I mentioned.

do you never stop to think that maybe the reason folk on blogs such as ERV's give you so much of a hard time is because you just wear people down with continual nonsensical questions such as this until they lose patience?

MikeTheInfidel said...

"I prefer explanatory power and logical consistency, etc."

And that's a massive problem. If something is logically inconsistent, it is definitionally wrong. It does not matter if an ad-hoc explanation can be generated from it. The basis is neither sound nor valid.

eanwen1 said...

"I don't accept the standard for truth you're presenting here. I prefer explanatory power and logical consistency, etc."


"I don't know, and I'm sorry to tell you that asking about 'predictions' all the time is uninteresting to me."

haha

Rhology said...

Damion,

It follows b/c God created EVERYthing, and atavisms and vestiges are a subset of EVERYthing.
I don't just "mock" with "BEAR", I'm pointing you to stuff I've already written that rebuts your bad arguments. I don't want to reinvent the wheel every post.

Anyway, as we've discussed, God makes some things imperfect in the here and now. We're not in the Eschaton yet. Also some things He made good have been degraded over time. I don't know of a foolproof way to tell the difference, but I don't see why that matters.


might well lead all the geneticists to infer common decent.

The heart of man is deceptive and wicked. In the past things God has made have led ppl into worshiping monkeys and stars b/c ppl refused to give glory to God. This is no different. It's predicted (I know you like that word) in Romans 1:18-28, which I commend to your reading.
You should know that the CD conclusion is wrong b/c it's based on a failed naturalistic worldview that leaves God out of the equation and b/c of numerous arguments against it and b/c a great deal of evidence doesn't fit and b/c Christianity explains the evidence just as well or better, but you're just desperate for some other history that you'll ignore rebuttals. It's a heart problem.


Now I'm not saying I could do better, I'm saying this doesn't make any sense

Sorry, I don't see why making sense TO YOU is the touchstone of truth. Unless you can do better, why act like you have a good basis for criticism?


Dr Funk,
Yes, I understand the diff. I'm asking you how you can be sure even of axioms.
If my questions are so nonsensical, I'd expect better answers. And the ppl at ERV are so filled with hate that they just can't help it. I feel sorry for most of them, actually; they're like rabid dogs in the way they speak to dissenters.


MikeTheInfidel,

Yes, I agree. It is a massive problem with naturalism, which suffers from serious internal inconsistencies.

eanwen1,
Troll on!


Peace,
Rhology

Damion said...

It follows b/c God created EVERYthing, and atavisms and vestiges are a subset of EVERYthing.

You do not have a valid and sound argument that God created anything at all, but let’s suppose that God created everything.  That in and of itself does not rule out the possibility that atavisms and vestiges are throwbacks to ancestral forms, a possibility strongly implied by the fact that only the alleged descendents of tailed beasts have atavistic tails, only the alleged descendents of tetrapods have atavistic hindlimbs, and so forth.

I don't just "mock" with "BEAR"

BEAR doesn’t address atavisms at all, as far as I can tell.  Or neutral vestiges, really.  BEAR addresses suboptimal designs, which is another phenomenon and a later chapter in Coyne's book, as you may recall.

God makes some things imperfect in the here and now.

It is not the presence of imperfections but the pattern of the atavisms and vestiges that matters for the theory of common descent.  If you could point to an atavistic hindlimb on a fish, or an atavistic feather on a mammal, then we’d be talking about imperfections generally, but we are actually talking about how these phenomena make perfect sense as throwbacks to ancestors and little sense on any other theory.  You theory that sin messes up the whole world does not explain why these particular genetic misfire have the pattern that they do.

In the past things God has made have led ppl into worshiping monkeys and stars b/c ppl refused to give glory to God.

This is the best non-sequitur I’ve seen all year.  What has worship to do with science?  

It's predicted in Romans 1:18-28

Paul wasn’t just pointing out what he saw around him, but rather creating a theory which would gave rise to predictions which would be fulfilled much later?

You should know that the CD conclusion is wrong b/c it's based on a failed naturalistic worldview…

No, it is not.  Common descent is based on many various lines of evidence which occur in the natural world, but one cannot get from common descent to naturalism, or vice-versa.   As I noted above, theism does not rule out common descent in and of itself.  Only particular scriptures do that, and not even for everyone concerned with believing them.

Christianity explains the evidence just as well or better…

No, it does not.  Christianity does not logically imply that vestiges (either genetic or phenotypic) will happen at all, much less strictly require that they be found in within cladistic patterns of branching descent.  Common descent requires that this is so.  Every single time a pseudogene or anatomical vestige or throwback is discovered, it is a potential falsifier of common descent.  Thus far, every one that has been found fit the pattern of common descent.  Christianity, as far as I know, has nothing to say about this either way.

…but you're just desperate for some other history…

I call Bulverism here.  Your insistence on going to the man is unseemly and does nothing to further the argument.  If we must personal traits, though, I will note that this looks to me like a desperate attempt to change the subject rather than face up to the various evidences for common descent.

eanwen1 said...

"Troll on!"

I think I will, thanks!

re: your discussion with ERV. I think you can apply the ID logic to just about any experiment!

Suppose you drop a pen, and it fell to the ground. Now, one could come to the conclusion that the reason it fell was due to gravity. However, if you hadn't dropped it, it wouldn't have fallen, thereby proving it takes intelligence for objects to fall.

Rhology said...

1) Yes, I DO blv intelligence is involved everywhere b/c I'm a Christian. I'm glad you've finally gotten a clue about my position.

2) It's not the same at all; you can observe stuff falling all over the place, but i keep asking w/o answer for similar observations to demonstrate macroevol and all I get are intelligent-agent-enacted experiments. Try again.

eanwen1 said...

Hah. I'm not surprised that one went over your head. Like most creationists, you talk about science like you've never done an experiment in your life, but still find the need to pontificate about it. :p

Ok, I'll stop trolling for a sec (I'm no good at it anyway :( ). I have to echo Damion's response re: BEAR. if you can read this message, the importance of predictive power to science should be obvious. Saying "God made lightning" may technically be an explanation, but it's a vacuous one. Contrast that with electromagnetism.

This isn't a difficult concept to grasp, therefore I have to assume you're just being argumentative,hiding behind some pseudo-philosophical stance that doesn't stand up to minimum scrutiny.

eanwen1 said...

"You smuggled in "predictions" in P3 when you were talking about explanations in P1 and P2. You need to rework that - it's ambiguous terminology, moving the goalposts, special pleading."

I'm curious to know how much "explanatory power" you think a position has if it can't make predictions.

Rhology said...

you talk about science like you've never done an experiment in your life, but still find the need to pontificate about it.

1) You know nothing about me. Why assume?
2) Why is this relevant? I can't talk about the philosophy of science if I don't have letters after my name?


Saying "God made lightning" may technically be an explanation, but it's a vacuous one.

1) Why?
2) This is not a prediction. Why do you keep conflating them?

eanwen1 said...

Part A
1. I didn't assume, I just made an observation (notice the "as if" bit). Make of it what you will.

2. I expect, when someone is in a discussion involving a theory/experiment, that said person engage in what's actually being presented, otherwise that person comes off as clueless and/or evasive.

Part B

1.Well for one, it doesn't explain what lightning *is*.

2. I didn't conflate them, but by all means, show me a scientific theory that has explanatory power but no predictive power.

eanwen1 said...

re: "Part A": ehh, that should have been "like" and not "as if", and I was just trolling anyway. It went far too long and too personal, derailed everything else, and even if I took this seriously, my replies would just be redundant after Damion and Dr F's comments, so I'll just drop it.

Rhology said...

Damion,

You do not have a valid and sound argument that God created anything at all

Sure I do.
Start here.
Then go here.


That in and of itself does not rule out the possibility that atavisms and vestiges are throwbacks to ancestral forms

1) True, but if we suppose YEC, that does make it more difficult, though probably not impossible, now that I think about it.
2) If that's so, why would this pose a difficulty for my position?


BEAR addresses suboptimal designs, which is another phenomenon and a later chapter in Coyne's book, as you may recall.

It also discusses why it's not helpful for you to argue like "If there's a designer, why would he ____?" Which is what you were saying.


these phenomena make perfect sense as throwbacks to ancestors and little sense on any other theory.

Why specifically do they not make sense on the Christian YEC scenario? I thought you just said they did.


In the past things God has made have led ppl into worshiping monkeys and stars b/c ppl refused to give glory to God.

This is the best non-sequitur I’ve seen all year. What has worship to do with science?


Look up the "noetic effects of sin".


Paul wasn’t just pointing out what he saw around him, but rather creating a theory which would gave rise to predictions which would be fulfilled much later?

Both, actually.


Common descent is based on many various lines of evidence which occur in the natural world, but one cannot get from common descent to naturalism, or vice-versa.

Dick Dawk, famous philosopher of science [/sarcasm] thinks, contrary to this, that evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. Perhaps you'd like to join with me in pronouncing the man an idiot?


Christianity explains the evidence just as well or better…

No, it does not. Christianity does not logically imply that vestiges (either genetic or phenotypic) will happen at all,


You're switching terms. "Explains" is not equivalent to "imply that they will happen at all". Christianity as such makes no *prediction* for that really, but it offers an explanation for what happenED. And that's not the same.


…but you're just desperate for some other history…

I call Bulverism here. Your insistence on going to the man is unseemly and does nothing to further the argument.


I say nothing more than what God has said, so call it what you like. God knows you much better than you do. Further, I *do* consider the argument settled, so it's not really an example of that at all. You disagree of course, but you're losing the argument, so...


eanwen1,
I'm glad you stopped by to show more examples of poor and disjointed reasoning on the part of Darwinists. Seriously, though, if I wanted an example of that I'd just listen to Hitchens or read an ERV combox.


2. I didn't conflate them, but by all means, show me a scientific theory that has explanatory power but no predictive power.

Most historical accounts have explanatory power and no predictive power.


Peace,
Rhology

Damion said...

It also discusses why it's not helpful for you to argue like "If there's a designer, why would he ____?"

Does it address why a designer would insert atavisms and other vestiges in a strictly cladistic pattern, so as to create the overwhelming impression of throwback to ancestral genes? This isn't something that happens once or twice, but throughout the entire animal kingdom. Especially where pseudogenes are concerned, this phenomenon is pervasive, and your answer it basically just that God likes it that way. But "that way" is the only possibly way is common descent is true. So the God hypothesis is compatible with any possible set of observations, whereas common descent requires exactly the precise pattern that we actually have. You don't need training in Bayesian maths to see the implications here.

Why specifically do they not make sense on the Christian YEC scenario?

The YEC scenario does not require, imply, or explain the pattern of the psuedogenes, flowing from ancestral forms to their descendents. Unless you posit something like this:

"God created all life on Earth so as to have only the kind of genotypic information and phenotypic expressions which we'd expect to find on the hypothesis of common descent."

Perhaps you'd like to join with me in pronouncing the man an idiot?

Perhaps you might like to join me in addressing arguments and evidence, rather persisting in attempts at personal abuse.

Christianity as such makes no *prediction* for that really, but it offers an explanation for what happenED.

An explanation fits facts into a theory. In this case, you'd have to address the particular facts that I've pointed out and somehow fit them into the theory of YEC. This requires that your theory explain why these vestiges follow the cladistic pattern that they do. You've yet to even try to do that, and so it is rather odd that you think yourself to be even having an argument here, much less winning one.

Damion said...

Let me go back a few steps to the basic reasoning involved here. Suppose you have two dice, and one of them has a six on every face. The other one is an ordinary six-sided die with the number 1-6 on its faces. You roll the dice a few hundred times, and get nothing but sixes, but you never look to see which of the two dice you picked up in the first place. I would say it is most probable that you picked up the misprinted die with all sixes, because if that theory is true it would fully explain the fact that each and every die roll failed to falsify the hypothesis that you picked up the misprinted die. You say, well, the other die could just happened to come up six every time, because that is the way it turned out, and surely it is *possible* that an ordinary die rolls six every single time. Well, yes, it is possible, but there is nothing in the nature of an ordinary die to assure you that this is the pattern you expect to see. Now there are statistical tools that can be brought to bear here, but I'll spare you the details.

Now, common descent requires a certain pattern to come up every single time, or else it is falsified. Every atavism, every vestige, every pseudogene, every throwback of any kind at all, absolutely has to make sense in light of the phylogenetic tree. No atavistic feathers allowed on apes, no placenta genes in chickens, but tails on humans is just fine since earlier primates had tails. Every new discovery is a chance to roll something other than a six and blow the whole theory away.

Creation, by contrast, is like the six-sided die that does not (as a theory) predict any particular outcome as to any of these observations, so you can always fall back on the possibilitiy that it just turned out the way it did. Sure, it's possible, but the theory cannot predict the pattern we actually see.

Generally, we prefer the theory with the greater explanatory power, and we really prefer the theory that can predict the sort of results that we find. Common descent long ago made numerous specific predictions about how the molecular evidence is going to turn out, which have been repeatedly confirmed over the last few decades of molecular research. You may say its pointless to ask why humans have a broken copy of a gene that works just fine in pigs, but it should be noted that the theory of natural selection and common descent has no problem facing up to this evidence, without trying to change the subject or call anyone an idiot. It is time that YEC had a go at it.

Alternatively, you can change the subject (again) to how sinful and stupid the people that disagree with you are.

bossmanham said...

Does it address why a designer would insert atavisms and other vestiges in a strictly cladistic pattern, so as to create the overwhelming impression of throwback to ancestral genes

That's irrelevant. A designer doesn't have to explain why He designed something in a certain way. Demands that He do so are not evidence against a creator.

Furthermore, those 'vestigeal' genes would only give the impression you describe if you are committed to a belief in universal common descent. The creationist could say a myriad of things, including that it is reasonable for God to use similar design for creatures that live in the mild environment the earth provides.

It doesn't matter if it makes sense to you. It doesn't make sense to me why some cars have stuff where they have it. That doesn't mean there is an inherent issue in the design of the car, it just means the engineer's design strategy is beyond me.

On ID, everything is there for a reason

1) Not necessarily. All IDers accept natural selection (see micro-evo), which at times may leave these genetic vestiges.
2) Most of the things atheist point to as a "design flaw" or something are usually shown to be helpful after all (ie the nerve that passes through the retina or the tonsils or the appendix etc).

The YEC scenario does not require, imply, or explain the pattern of the psuedogenes, flowing from ancestral forms to their descendents

A possible explanation would be if we have the same Creator, there would most certainly be relationships in genetic patterns mostly due to the fact that we live in the same environment.

Perhaps you might like to join me in addressing arguments and evidence

The evidence has been addressed. You're interpreting it according to a prior commitment to common descent, because as a naturalist, that's all you can do. Sadly, the eidence doesn't even begin to support that far-fetched theory. It's the atheist's version of blind faith.

zilch said...

Wow. Damion, you say:

I'll grant you this, if the creator meant to subtly create the impression of common descent, he did an intelligently designed job of it.

Now that got a laugh out of me. But I think it points to the only logical conclusion of Rho's reasoning: since God has obviously created life in such a way that it looks evolved, down to the smallest detail so far known, then God must simply be Evolution.

The next question is, which gives a better, more informative picture of God's workings: evolutionary science or the Bible? No contest here: science works, the Bible doesn't, unless you think bats are birds or grasshoppers have four legs. And science is the more parsimonious explanation, since it doesn't posit the existence of unimaginably complex unevolved beings.

So, Rho: is God Evolution? If not, can you show how your Christian God explains anything differently than evolutionary science, and better fitting the facts? Until you can, you are just making hollow assertions.

This discussion reminds me of this classic Doonesbury.

cheers to all from snowy Vienna, and if any of you are out this way, drop a line and lunch is on me.

Rhology said...

Damion,

Does it address why a designer would...

The ID guys say it in their books over and over.
In their lectures, over and over.
I directed you to a BEAR article I wrote about it. And you STILL insist on foisting guesswork about the Designer's motives onto ID. STOP.


So the God hypothesis is compatible with any possible set of observations

Not at all; you haven't gotten close to describing "ANY" possible set of observations. But it IS fully compat with THIS set.


Unless you posit something like this:

"God created all life on Earth so as to have only the kind of genotypic information and phenotypic expressions which we'd expect to find on the hypothesis of common descent."


Rather:
"God created all life on Earth so as to have only the kind of genotypic information and phenotypic expressions which we'd expect to find on the hypothesis of creation, and SOME of that would be twisted to sinful men's own ends so as to deny the fact that they have a Creator."
You're fitting that bill impressively in this thread.


Perhaps you'd like to join with me in pronouncing the man an idiot?

Perhaps you might like to join me in addressing arguments and evidence, rather persisting in attempts at personal abuse.


If you're defending Dick Dawk in this way, any claim that you might have to moral high ground with respect to personal abuse is downright laughable.
Please, answer the question.


An explanation fits facts into a theory.

Which isn't a prediction. Fail.


Now, common descent requires a certain pattern to come up every single time, or else it is falsified.

It is, so there you go.
But again, I'm more concerned with the fact that there is no evidence for it that is not also explainable under creation. And it's very simple to point out the massive assumptions the CD hypothesis requires.


Every atavism, every vestige, every pseudogene, every throwback of any kind at all, absolutely has to make sense in light of the phylogenetic tree.

Sorry, I've seen far too many refutations simply ignored, too many profs denied tenure on specious grounds, too many empty claims of "mountains of evidence", to be persuaded by your starry-eyed fanboy professions of faith. There is little more obvious than the pro-Darwin bias in academia, which should lead any reasonable observer (and has led many) to conclude that the "any solid refutation would be on the front page everywhere!" is a load of naive nonsense.


Creation, by contrast, is like the six-sided die that does not (as a theory) predict any particular outcome as to any of these observations

?? It predicts that the theory will explain the facts. And it does.
(And now you're smuggling in a diff definition of "prediction" than the one you started with. It's disingenuous of you.)

.

Rhology said...

zilch,
since God has obviously created life in such a way that it looks evolved,

As I've told you many, many times, the conclusion of CD is not God's fault but humans' fault for looking for some other explanation other than the true one.


No contest here: science works, the Bible doesn't, unless you think bats are birds or grasshoppers have four legs.

1) "What works" is not how to define truth.
2) The Bible works just fine for what it's aiming at.
3) Give me reason to accept your naturalistic presuppositions. You've demurred from doing so before; do you plan to actually try this time?
4) And no interaction with the stock answers to those pitiful objections. Why would one conclude you're attempting serious interaction?



And science is the more parsimonious explanation, since it doesn't posit the existence of unimaginably complex unevolved beings.

Right, it just posits 10^God-knows-what coincidental events that just happened to come together to form what we see around us today.



So, Rho: is God Evolution?

No.


can you show how your Christian God explains anything differently than evolutionary science, and better fitting the facts?

Could you please reword? I don't understand what you're asking.


Doonesbury.

The best thing about that strip is that the doc says the drugs are ID'd, thus giving away the Darwinian farm, but you blithely cite it as if it's cutting MY position. But it's a strawman - creationism ALSO holds to the reality and utility of the natural, not JUST the supernatural. You're off your game, zilch. You've done much better than this in the past

Damion said...

I directed you to a BEAR article I wrote about it.
 
Again, I missed the part of the article where you explained why atavisms and vestiges (such as pseudogenes) have the pattern that they do, or where it showed why this is not an interesting question or important proof of common descent.  Perhaps I was looking at the wrong BEAR post?  I’ve read them all on occasion. 
 
And you STILL insist on foisting guesswork about the Designer's motives onto ID.
 
I’ve not made any guesses at all about the Designer’s motives, since I do not know anything about this hypothetical designer.  I’m asking someone who believes in an intelligent designer (anyone on the thread, really, not just you) to explain a particular pattern that actually exists in the data.  Common descent makes sense of this pattern, but so far as I can tell, the design hypothesis does not. 

God created all life on Earth so as to have only the kind of genotypic information and phenotypic expressions which we'd expect to find on the hypothesis of creation…
 
Okay, then, what exactly should we expect to find on this hypothesis?  Does it imply that pseudogenes and vestiges will exist only within clades?  Does it imply anything at all about the distribution of genetic information?

You're fitting that bill impressively in this thread.
 
Another pointless ad hom duly noted and casually filed in the bit-bucket. 

If you're defending Dick Dawk in this way…
 
Refusing to engage in pointless name-calling counts as a defense, now?

Which isn't a prediction. Fail.

A prediction is when a theory logically implies observations yet to be discovered, such as the particular pattern of pseudogenes which was discovered many decades after Darwin.  (Win!)
 
Of course there is a distinction between retrodictions and predictions, but both are necessary to get a working theory off the ground.  Newton started out with the fact of elliptical planetary orbits and created a mathematical model of gravity accounted for these facts in retrospect.  His theory also makes predictions, for example, how a lunar module would move under certain conditions.

But again, I'm more concerned with the fact that there is no evidence for it that is not also explainable under creation.
 
Is there any evidence from the tree of life or its fossils that might not be explainable under creation, on your view?  A creator can do anything it wants, up to and including speciation by common descent.  If you’re not ruling anything out, you’re not constructing a testable theory.  You have to be able to say, “On creation, we ought to observe X, Y, Z.”
 
And it's very simple to point out the massive assumptions the CD hypothesis requires.

Massive assumptions such as:
 
·         Individuals within a species exhibit new variations over time
·         Some variations are less adaptive to the environment than others
·         The Earth is really rather mind-bogglingly old
 

Damion said...

There is little more obvious than the pro-Darwin bias in academia…
 
This alleged bias might be relevant in some settings, but not here.  This is not an academic journal, it is a discussion on a blog.  You are welcome to present any evidence whatsoever and you are the only referee.
 
Let me break this down as simply as possible into just a few questions:
 
1.      Does your concept of creationism have anything to say about how and why pseudogenes are distributed in species?
2.      Does your concept of creationism have anything to say about how and why atavisms are distributed in species?
3.      Does your concept of creationism have anything to say about how and why vestiges are distributed in species?
 
Rest assured that common descent makes the remarkably specific prediction that such things as these will only ever be found within a clade.  For example, no atavistic feathers or pseudogenes for feathers should arise on any living mammal.   Tails on humans and fully furry humans are okay, because our mammalian ancestors had such traits.
 
As far as I can tell, creationism has nothing to say about these patterns except that God did whatever he did.  Well you can always posit that God supernaturally made the die come up six every single time, but there is a much simpler explanation to hand.

zilch said...

Hey Rho! Here we go again! I won't be able to address your post in its entirety because I've got a bad cold and I belong in bed, but I'll do what I can.

I said:

since God has obviously created life in such a way that it looks evolved,

You replied:

As I've told you many, many times, the conclusion of CD is not God's fault but humans' fault for looking for some other explanation other than the true one.

How can you fault us for going where the evidence leads? In this thread alone, Damion has presented quite a few examples of things that can be explained quite well by evolutionary theory, but that on creationism would require a God who makes what are baffling mistakes and meaningless connections: in short, a God who is doing an incredibly good job of counterfeiting evolution. Why would God do such a thing? Did God command Satan to bury fossils to tempt the weak? I guess it's like Luther said: Reason is the Whore of the Devil.

No contest here: science works, the Bible doesn't, unless you think bats are birds or grasshoppers have four legs.

1) "What works" is not how to define truth.

It's one definition, and in any case closer than "what doesn't work".

2) The Bible works just fine for what it's aiming at.

Depends on what you think it's aiming at. I can't argue with the Golden Rule as being a pretty good rule of thumb for building societies, so that's just fine. Genesis 1 doesn't tally very well with the real world, however. That's not fine.

3) Give me reason to accept your naturalistic presuppositions. You've demurred from doing so before; do you plan to actually try this time?

Because there's no evidence God exists. But I don't really care if you accept naturalism- I just hate to see a good mind dance these byzantine apologetic dances, when there's a big real world out there.

4) And no interaction with the stock answers to those pitiful objections. Why would one conclude you're attempting serious interaction?

Yes, I know those stock answers, and I don't even hold birdy bats and fourlegged grasshoppers against the authors of the Bible- they are indeed easy to excuse. But my point is this: the Bible is not a reliable source of science. Lots of it, like these two examples, is sloppy- lots of it (for instance, the creation of the Earth before the Sun) is just flat wrong.

But I'm afraid there's not much point in arguing facts here. A couple of threads ago you stated your position quite clearly:

However, I don't see a good reason to consider, um, rocks with the same level of evidentiary value as revelation from God.

As I said over there:

In other words, the real world, aka "rocks", is trumped by my religious convictions, aka "revelation from God". Not much we reality-informed types can do with that.

P.S. Knowing that you're a word freak too, you might be interested in knowing that the etymological relationship between "fox" and "vixen", which is not so obvious in English, becomes more apparent if you consider the German Fuchs and Füchsin. Füchsin sounds almost like "vixen" and is of course simply Fuchs with the feminine -in ending and the umlaut designating grammatical change. Not many umlauted plurals have survived in English- mouse, mice, etc, but it's still quite common in German. Just thought you might be interested.

cheers from icy Vienna, zilch

Damion said...

 

A designer doesn't have to explain why He designed something in a certain way.
 
I’m not asking Him to do so, I’m asking you.  Moreover, it is poor form to assume what you are trying to prove, as you have here.  I posit a pattern of data, and ask whether it is explained better on special creation or on common descent. I do not assume a given framework apriori. 

…it is reasonable for God to use similar design for creatures...
 
This is not a useful answer when we are talking about something other than design elements.  Surely you are not claiming that atavistic tails and GULOP pseudogenes (neither of which are at all functional in humans) are part of a deliberate design?  If you think that God did in fact make some junk, on purpose, feel free to say so.  Otherwise, you need another explanation for these non-functional elements. 

IDers accept natural selection (see micro-evo), which at times may leave these genetic vestiges.
 
Micro-evolution cannot account for any of these elements, because they are exhibited across different species within clades.  For example, the human atavistic tail cannot be explained in terms of ancestral humans with tails, because humans never had tails.  So also with the GULOP pseudogene, unless you posit that humans were originally created with a working copy.

Most of the things atheist point to as a "design flaw"
 
I have not yet mentioned design flaws, and when I do it will be in the BEAR thread.  I am talking about selectively neutral elements such a pseudogenes, which could only be called a flaw if you assumed that humans needed a functional copy.  Sailors could use one, sure, but they are a bit of a special case.

A possible explanation would be if we have the same Creator, there would most certainly be relationships in genetic patterns mostly due to the fact that we live in the same environment.
 
Again, this explanation only works for functional adaptations.  I am talking about pseudogenes which, by definition, are not coding for anything. 

Sadly, the evidence doesn't even begin to support that far-fetched theory.
 
Can you think of any more evidence that we ought to expect to find if common descent is true?
 
I can think of quite a few lines of current evidence, such as biogeography, vestiges (both genotypic and phenotypic) and atavisms, homologies (both genotypic and phenotypic), and fossil evidence.  Last I checked, all of these fit the pattern we’d expect in common descent was true.  Perhaps you can suggest how any of this evidence is being misinterpreted, or else what we ought to have found if common descent actually happened?

Rhology said...

Hi zilch!

How can you fault us for going where the evidence leads?

B/c you don't. You go where your assumptions take you. And you don't take into acct the fact that atheism can't acct for the existence even of evidence.


Why would God do such a thing? Did God command Satan to bury fossils to tempt the weak?

Now *YOU* need to read my BEAR3 article.


It's one definition, and in any case closer than "what doesn't work".

No, it's not one definition. And false things "work" all the time, only to be corrected later.


Because there's no evidence God exists.

There's no evidence that evidence exists, but you're not an a-evidentialist, are you? What's *really* going on when you say that?


I don't even hold birdy bats and fourlegged grasshoppers against the authors of the Bible- they are indeed easy to excuse.

Then why did you say that?


Lots of it, like these two examples, is sloppy- lots of it (for instance, the creation of the Earth before the Sun) is just flat wrong.

Prove that the Earth was not created before the Sun. You're such a big fan of evidence, give me some.
Make sure to include the model number of the time machine you used. I'd like to take it for a spin sometime (pun fully intended, and yet I'm ashamed, haha).


In other words, the real world, aka "rocks", is trumped by my religious convictions, aka "revelation from God". Not much we reality-informed types can do with that.

Not until you can provide a non-question-begging reason to believe your interpretation imposed on the rocks.
Think about it - pick up a rock. What does it tell you?
Now pick up the Bible. What does *it* tell you? Which one can communicate more information?


vixen

As a trilingual myself, I find the vagaries and dvlpment of languages absolutely bizarre and insane. So funny how all that stuff has worked... I sometimes wonder if anyone could understand me if I were suddenly transported into 15th-century England, and suchlike. Even 18th-cent USA. Did they sound like John F Kennedy?

Rhology said...

Damion, see the new thread please.

zilch said...

Hi Rho! I asked:

How can you fault us for going where the evidence leads?

You replied:

B/c you don't. You go where your assumptions take you. And you don't take into acct the fact that atheism can't acct for the existence even of evidence.

Going where our assumptions take us, rather than where the evidence takes us, is indeed a danger, but not limited to naturalists. That's what the scientific method is for: to try to fairly assess the evidence by requiring that it be independently verifiable, repeatable, and falsifiable. And while science is not infallible, and I'm certainly not infallible, I've spent a lot of time considering the evidence for the naturalistic worldview, and it seems to me to be the best we've got so far for explaining the world we are in. And so far, you've provided no evidence that supposing the existence of God explains things any better than not supposing a God.

In fact, when you've been presented with examples, for instance mine of the recurrent laryngeal nerve of the giraffe, that are well explained by the ToE, and enable us to make predictions like mine that the okapi will also exhibit a similar over-long rln, you're "explanation" is "goddidit". But your "explanation" is content-free: it doesn't fit any pattern, enables us to make no predictions, and is not falsifiable. That's what I was getting at in my previous comment about one definition of "truth" being "something that works". Your "explanation" doesn't do any work at all- scientific explanations do.

And as far as atheism not being able to account for the existence of evidence, or of the existence of anything at all- I think you're confusing "atheism" with "naturalism". Atheism simply means not believing in gods- it entails no cosmologies or ontologies. But you're right- I cannot account for the existence of the Universe. I can live with that. However, since your "account" is simply "goddidit", with no evidence, no predictive power, and no falsifiability, I'm happy to confess ignorance rather than make a content-free assertion.

zilch said...

Part two.



I read the third BEAR thread some time ago, and there's nothing new there- just the same endless presentation of evidence for evolution on the part of the naturalists, and you responding "how can you prove God didn't do it that way?" But I did find this gem by Captain Howdy, which admirably sums up your position:

Let me try and understand this. If it looks like good design then that means it was designed. If it looks like lousy design, that means it's...sin.

You qualified this thusly:

Not necessarily. If it appears to be bad design, see the post.

But the only explanation you offered in the post is that apparently bad design might actually be good design, for reasons inscrutable to us but not to God. Is this a fair depiction of your position? If so, can you tell us how to tell when a particular apparently bad design, say the appendix or the rln, is actually good, or when it is rather the result of sin? And if so, can you use this knowledge to predict where we might find other examples of such "bad" design?

If not, then since your "explanation" has predictive power of precisely zero, and has no evidence going for it other than your say-so, and is not falsifiable, then it is not an "explanation" at all in the scientific sense, but merely your religious opinion. That's fine, but such opinions are not likely to be convincing to the reality-informed because they do no work; and more to the point, they have no place in public school science classes.

You say:

Prove that the Earth was not created before the Sun. You're such a big fan of evidence, give me some.
Make sure to include the model number of the time machine you used. I'd like to take it for a spin sometime (pun fully intended, and yet I'm ashamed, haha).


First off, as you should know by now, science is not about "proofs" but about finding explanations that best fit the evidence. Strictly speaking, "proofs" only obtain in circumscribed systems of formal logic such as mathematics. But in any case: if the only evidence you would accept for the Sun being older than the Earth is an eyewitness account from a time machine, then there's no point for me to go to the trouble of showing you any evidence. Of course, I could demand the same standard of "proof" from you: prove to me that the Bible wasn't written by Joe Shmoe in 1937.

Think about it - pick up a rock. What does it tell you?
Now pick up the Bible. What does *it* tell you? Which one can communicate more information?


Depends on what exactly you mean by "information". Lots of information can be inferred from both rock and Bible: for instance, both can be analyzed chemically, perhaps dated radioactively (more or less accurately), searched for signs of life (fossils in the rock, perhaps pseudoscorpions in the Bible), and in lots of other ways. In addition, the Bible, as a designed artifact, can give us additional information: what kind of printing press was used, what language it was written in, and of course the content can also be analyzed.

But the salient difference here is that rocks cannot lie, but words can. Rocks can of course be misinterpreted, as can words, but only words (or other symbols) can tell truths or lies. So I would say: yes, the Bible does indeed communicate more information, or rather more of a certain kind of information, about people and societies and gods and history, than the rock does. But how much of it is true? That's the question.

cheers from icy Vienna, zilch

zilch said...

Sorry- I edited a sentence, and missed a spurious "you're" for "your". I wouldn't mention it, but it's a pet peeve of mine. Mea culpa.

Rhology said...

If so, can you tell us how to tell when a particular apparently bad design, say the appendix or the rln, is actually good, or when it is rather the result of sin?

1) I can't think of one right offhand, no.
2) Be sure to operate with the correct definition of "sin" here - I refer to the effects of decay and harmful mutations that occur in the world because of the Fall of man, which was b/c of sin.
3) I don't know how this question implies anything, however. A great deal of things are true w/o anyone's full understanding of them. You don't apply that same standard to questions of historical evolution anyway, b/c it would drive you to drink. You don't have a time machine.
4) Such a question is irrelevant to any matters of, say, modern medicine or surgery (to forestall any possible future objection from you).


And if so, can you use this knowledge to predict where we might find other examples of such "bad" design?

1) Since I don't affirm that there is "bad" design, how can I answer a question with a false premise like that?
2) Why do I care about predictions?


If not, then since your "explanation" has predictive power of precisely zero

Plenty of historical questions and pieces of historical knowledge have no predictive power. I don't see why this matters.


but merely your religious opinion.

That's rich coming from a guy who's been expressing his own religion out in the open in the other thread.


Of course, I could demand the same standard of "proof" from you: prove to me that the Bible wasn't written by Joe Shmoe in 1937.

1) No answer to the question. Apparently "proof" is only necessary for you when convenient. That's disingenuous.
2) I answer the question with the impossibility of the contrary. The utter circular failure of naturalism is part of that proof.


Lots of information can be inferred from both rock

No, a rock can tell you of what it is composed and where you found it. Nothing else, w/o massive assumptions.
Not so with the Bible.


But the salient difference here is that rocks cannot lie, but words can.

The question isn't whether rocks can lie; they don't communicate. The ASSUMPTIONS can be wrong, and it's far easier to correct bad interps of a static written text than it is to correct vague assumptions.

zilch said...

If so, can you tell us how to tell when a particular apparently bad design, say the appendix or the rln, is actually good, or when it is rather the result of sin?

1) I can't think of one right offhand, no.
2) Be sure to operate with the correct definition of "sin" here - I refer to the effects of decay and harmful mutations that occur in the world because of the Fall of man, which was b/c of sin.
3) I don't know how this question implies anything, however. A great deal of things are true w/o anyone's full understanding of them. You don't apply that same standard to questions of historical evolution anyway, b/c it would drive you to drink. You don't have a time machine.
4) Such a question is irrelevant to any matters of, say, modern medicine or surgery (to forestall any possible future objection from you).


Okay, so you agree with me: your two proposed kinds of apparently bad design are indistinguishable, unverifiable, inscrutable, and meaningless.

And if so, can you use this knowledge to predict where we might find other examples of such "bad" design?

1) Since I don't affirm that there is "bad" design, how can I answer a question with a false premise like that?

Okay, it's all "good" design. I hope you never decide to be an engineer. In any case, I mentioned the rln of the giraffe, and how assuming CD enables me to predict that okapis will also have one. Where are the predictions of ID?

2) Why do I care about predictions?

Obviously you don't, so it's a good thing that you're not a scientist. But since we are discussing the relative merits of evolutionary science and ID, and being able to make predictions is a merit of science but not of ID, the question is pertinent.

Of course, I could demand the same standard of "proof" from you: prove to me that the Bible wasn't written by Joe Shmoe in 1937.

1) No answer to the question. Apparently "proof" is only necessary for you when convenient. That's disingenuous.

Again, obviously from context, I am throwing back your demand for proof when proof cannot obtain as a reductio ad absurdum. Who is being disingenuous here? Sometimes, Rho, I get the feeling that you are only interested in finding single phrases that you can mock or tear apart, and not really interested in civil intellectual discourse.

2) I answer the question with the impossibility of the contrary. The utter circular failure of naturalism is part of that proof.

Can you prove that it's impossible that the Bible was written in 1937 by Joe Shmoe, or that you're not a brain in a vat? No more than can I. The only difference is that I admit there's no proof and move on, where you assert that God exists and proves it. But again, you've presented no evidence for this God, and I would rather be uncertain than wrong.

cheers from icy Vienna, zilch

bossmanham said...

Damion,

I've been really busy lately so I haven't had time to respond till now.

I’m asking you

Which would require me to ask Him. He didn't feel it necessary to explain why He designed things the way He did. All Genesis says is it was good, and then we screwed it up. So we can assume flaws appeared in the design because of what we did.

Moreover, it is poor form to assume what you are trying to prove, as you have here

I'm only answering your question as to why God did such and such. You're assuming my position in that question. I'm assuming the same position in order to answer that question. Did you forget you asked why God did whatever?

Surely you are not claiming that atavistic tails and GULOP pseudogenes (neither of which are at all functional in humans) are part of a deliberate design?

Um, yes I do. I'm a Christian theist, if you'd forgotten.

If you think that God did in fact make some junk, on purpose, feel free to say so.

And again, you're assuming something is junk without grounds. Who are you to say it's 'junk'? Much of modern biology disagrees with you about the 'junk' in the genes.

Micro-evolution cannot account for any of these elements, because they are exhibited across different species within clades

Scientists need to determine what constitutes a species before they start forming conclusions based off of the word. They call different breeds of dogs different species, but they're all dogs. Furthermore, God using similar genetics in different species isn't weird, it's efficient. I like it that we can test stuff on rats and monkeys before we use it on ourselves.

I am talking about pseudogenes which, by definition, are not coding for anything

And many people are calling into question the notion that they don't do anything.

Can you think of any more evidence that we ought to expect to find if common descent is true?

Certainly something more concrete than is presented.

Rhology said...

zilch,

I didn't say it was all good design. Sin, the Fall, remember? You have a pretty short memory when convenient.

My point is that bad design is...wait for it...design. So it's pretty counterproductive for you to keep bringing it up, but it makes me laugh, alot.


Where are the predictions of ID?

1) BEAR 1.
2) Here - from Meyer's book, which you should read.


2) Why do I care about predictions?

Obviously you don't, so it's a good thing that you're not a scientist.


Blah blah blah scientismist elitism, blah blah.
Give me a REASON. I'm after TRUTH, not modern scientific conceptions of orthodoxy.


Sometimes, Rho, I get the feeling that you are only interested in finding single phrases that you can mock or tear apart, and not really interested in civil intellectual discourse.

1) Again, no answer.
2) No one's forcing you to talk to me.
3) I think it's pretty bad manners to continually bring up the same old canards and avoid answering questions, like repeating "predictions!" as if I care and then turning up your nose at the "scientific value" of my arguments, again, as if I care.


Can you prove that it's impossible that the Bible was written in 1937 by Joe Shmoe, or that you're not a brain in a vat? No more than can I.

You missed my point.
You have no reason not to disbelieve ANYTHING you think you know b/c you might be a brain in a vat, given your presuppositions. ANYTHING. I have plenty of reason, on mine, not to think so, b/c God Who is omniscient and never lies has promised that I am made in His image and my cognition is reliable.


The only difference is that I admit there's no proof and move on, where you assert that God exists and proves it.

That's the thing - you don't "move on". You ASSUME something that is convenient for you and then go on to criticise others for not assuming the same things you assume. And you don't admit such and shrug and say "everything is meaningless. Seriously" and live as such. You don't do it, and I'm only too happy to point out the inconsistency, and invite you to embrace a worldview that makes sense and which makes sense of reality.

Peace,
Rhology

Damion said...

Bossman,

Which would require me to ask Him.
 
Which you are no doubt free to do at any time.  It is possible (on your worldview) that He will provide you with an answer as to why pseudogenes and atavisms are distributed in the particular way that they are, clustered by clade.  Until then, I’m going with the best that methodological naturalism can come up with.
 
All Genesis says is it was good, and then we screwed it up. So we can assume flaws appeared in the design because of what we did.
 
Once again, I’m not asking about flaws per se.  I‘m asking about selectively neutral genes which DO NOT code for any proteins but which have almost the same sequence as active genes in other mammals (e.g. pigs) which function as live genes by coding for proteins.  Natural selection and common descent easily explains why bats and guinea pigs and humans have ‘dead’ genes which look very much like working copies of GULO.  It is because our ancestors had working copies, which proved unnecessary for our more recent ancestors, who then passed on a broken copy to all of their descendents. 
 
Perhaps you are hypothesizing that humans (along with the rest of the haplorrhini suborder of primates) were all originally designed by God with a working copy of GULO, which later broke independently (but in precisely the same way) in tarsiers, marmosets, tamarins, capuchins, titis, sakis, uakaris, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, woolly monkeys, squirrel monkeys, owl monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans?  If so, well, that is a striking coincidence which begs for an explanation.  Common descent provides a simple explanation for the genetic homology of the GULOP across these species.  You are welcome to “ask Him” for a more theologically correct answer which fits these facts.  Simply noting that “God did it” cannot tell us why we see the pattern that we do, you have to come up with a theory to fit the facts.  Something like “the ID is a cladist.”

Um, yes I do. I'm a Christian theist, if you'd forgotten.
 
If I understand correctly, You are saying that God deliberately designed atavistic tails for humans and atavistic hind-limbs for whales, by means unknown, for purposes unfathomable.  Is that right?   It seems to me that any observation whatsoever would be compatible with a design hypothesis with an escape clause like this. 

Who are you to say it's 'junk'?
 
I assume that when your son or daughter is born with a tail, you will turn to the doctor (who is planning to surgically remove the atavism) and say unto her, “Who are you to say it's junk?” 
 
Much of modern biology disagrees with you about the 'junk' in the genes.
 
Name anyone who claims that the GULOP is doing anything other than just taking up space in the genome, and we can discuss whether or not they are on to something.

Scientists need to determine what constitutes a species before they start forming conclusions based off of the word.
 
For sexually reproducing organisms, my preferred definition is that of ‘a group capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring of both genders.’
 
They call different breeds of dogs different species, but they're all dogs.
 
Actually, they’re all wolves.
 
Furthermore, God using similar genetics in different species isn't weird, it's efficient.
 
I didn’t say it was weird, I said it was predicted by Darwin’s theory but not by your theory.

And many people are calling into question the notion that [pseudogenes] don't do anything.
 
Name five.