The Stars like Dust

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I was somewhat bemused by Francis Beckwith’s report that ID advocates consider Forensic Science to not be a part of natural science (perhaps natural science is only that which is presented by David Attenbrough). How could reasonable people not see that Forensic science is part of natural science thought I.

Then I had one of my semiannual encounters with the public understanding of science.

My family and I recently went camping with some friends in the Grampians, a fantastic landscape of sandstone mountains in Southwestern Victoria. As with all Musgrave-O’Donohue trips, this was a complicated process that involved enough camping equipment to find the source of the Nile, much playing of tapes of “Hitchhikers in the Galaxy” (as Middle One(1) calls Douglas Adam’s opus), mathematical puzzles with Oldest One(2) and eye spy (for some reason the answer is always “tree”). As well as climbing mountains, spotlighting kangaroos, feeding parrots, swimming, toasting marshmallows and watching the children run riot (typical camping trip activities), I brought my portable telescope.

This naturally meant that the sky was cloudy for most of the trip. However, one night the clouds lurked around the horizon, and I set up the telescope so the kids could see Jupiter and Saturn. Within minutes, not only did I have the kids from our campsite at the scope, but large numbers of kids from adjacent camps. And their parents.

The kids were amazing. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable, they were all in the range of 7-12 years old, and had a good deal of knowledge about the rings of Saturn, the clouds of Jupiter, the nature and size of the Great Red Spot (unfortunately lurking on the other side of Jupiter at the time). They were excited to see these things with their own eyes. One little girl even asked where Sedna was! (Luckily I knew, even if my scope couldn’t show it). I wish there was some way to keep this enthusiasm going in later years, by the time my students reach me in second and third year Uni, their enthusiasm for things scientific has just about vanished.

The adults, in contrast, had abysmal knowledge. They didn’t know Jupiter was bigger than the Earth, where it was in relationship to the Earth and so on. One person asked why you couldn’t see Mars. It had just gone behind a hill, but he thought that you couldn’t see Mars from Earth at anytime. These weren’t stupid people, and they were just as enthusiastic as the kids to see distant worlds through the telescope. However, a world of general knowledge that was presented in their school years, and turns up fairly regularly in the news and news papers (even our local newspaper, barely suitable for wrapping fish and chips in, covers astronomy at monthly intervals), somehow passed them by. It is not as if they were not interested in this sort of stuff, their enthusiasm at the telescope and questions showed that, but evidently they missed out on background knowledge about our solar system (and the stars beyond) that should be understood by everyone. Even the Astrology enthusiast couldn’t locate any of the Zodiacal constellations in the sky.

So if ordinary, reasonably educated and aware people have such appalling knowledge of their own solar system, is it any wonder that some people think that Forensic science isn’t a part of natural science.

Ian’s monthly Astronomy page

(1) From The Witches Children, a story our kids love, the three children in the Story are Oldest One, Middle One and Smallest One, and this got applied to our three. (2) For some reason Oldest Ones puzzles seem to relate to Yugi-Oh card values, but that is for another introspection.

61 Comments

Ian-

A quick correction - it was Joe Carter who said that forensic science was not a part of natural science (by claiming that the “mind” is non-natural and therefore explanations that include it are “preternatural”), not Frank Beckwith.

Strange how some people’s innate curiosity can be squelched so easily and others retain that child-like amazement at the universe throughout their lives. Lost of paper has been wasted wondering why that is and how to fix it, so I probably can’t contribute anything unique to that discussion. Still, as someone who has kept as much youthful enthusiasm for science as I possibly could, it amazes, confuses and saddens me.

Likely, these same folks you ran into are the ones who rarely, if ever, read for pleasure, watch way too much TV and perhaps had a bad experience somewhere in their pasts that turned them off of learning new things. Sad really.

G’Day Ed

While Joe did make the startling claims that the mind was “perternatural” and that forensic science did not use “methodological naturalism”, you will find in Francis Beckwiths reply to my post Are intelligent agents suprenatural he notes that Forensic science is apart from “natural sciences”.

On the other hand, if Beckwith means that certain practices which are considered “Forensic Science,” e.g., traditional handwriting analysis, are bogus I’d be inclined to agree because I am not aware of any scientific study of handwriting experts which supports some of their claims (e.g., their alleged ability to reliably distinguish a forger’s script from the genuine author’s script on the basis of the writing alone).

Basil:

No, Beckworth was not saying anything like that. It is not clear what he meant by “Natural Sciences” or “natural science”. For most scientists, “natural sciences” covers everything in nature, including humans and human activities. From the context we can’t tell if the ID people are using natural science in this meaning, or are refering to science related only to things separate from humans (generally, those sorts of environments and organisms that get filmed for “nature” shows, hence the David Attenbrough quip). Hence for them Forensic Science may not be “natural science”, but zoology is (even though many of the techniques and information is directly taken form zoology (and botany etc.).

Beckwith attempted to justify his claim (that MN rules out intelligent agency) in the light of counterexamples from forensic science, archaeology, etc, by asserting that his claim only applied to the “natural sciences”. The implication was that those sciences in which intelligent agency is already inferred are not “natural” ones.

I believe Beckwith is using the term “natural” in the sense usually favoured by IDologists, namely as the complement of “artificial”, i.e. something which is not the result of intelligent design/agency. This is not an unreasonable usage in general, providing one understands that the word can have other meanings and one does not equivocate between meanings (as IDologists tend to do). However, I believe this is not the sense generally intended in the term “natural science”:

“natural science - the sciences involved in the study of the physical world and its phenomena”.[http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Na[…]al%20science and several other sites]

But one can find definitions which lean more towards Beckwith’s interpretation:

Natural science The natural sciences study the physical, nonhuman aspects of the world. As a group, the natural sciences are distinguished from the social sciences, on the one hand, as well as from the arts and humanities on the other. Natural sciences generally attempt to explain the workings of the world via natural processes rather than divine processes. The term natural science is also used to differentiate between “science” as a discipline following the scientific method, and “science” as a field of knowledge generally, e.g. computer science or even “the science of theology”.[http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Na[…]science.html]

In any case, if one accepts Beckwith’s definition, his claim (that MN rules out intelligent agency from the natural sciences) turns out to be virtually a tautology: MN rules out intelligent agency from sciences which do not deal with intelligent agency. I suppose this claim could be taken non-tautologically to mean that sciences which have not used intelligent agency as an explanation in the past can never do so in the future. Let’s assume for now that this is indeed his claim. One problem is that the claim is highly dependent on how one divides science into multiple “sciences”. But let’s say for the sake of argument that biology constitutes one “science”. Then Beckwith’s claim (together with his claim that MN excludes intelligent agency from biology) entails that biologists have never detected intelligent agency and that MN prevents them from doing so in the future. They would not be allowed, for example, to infer that an organism had been modified by human genetic engineering, or that a dog was the result of selective breeding. This claim is clearly untenable.

If Beckwith is reading this, I call on him to state the nature of his claim precisely and then to justify it in the light of the criticisms that have been made.

From here in the U.S., home of Intelligent Design and so much other nonsense, your anecdote about the adults’ ignorance was amusing.

But it pales by comparison with a Harris Poll I saw earlier today:

A 51% to 38% majority continues to believe that “Iraq actually had weapons of mass destruction,

A 49% to 36% plurality of all adults continues to believe that “clear evidence that Iraq was supporting Al Qaeda has been found.”

Which pales in comparison to a poll conducted by Die Zeit which showed that a number of Germans believe that the WTC was destroyed by the US, not terrorists :

BERLIN, July 23 (Reuters) - Almost one in three Germans below the age of 30 believes the U.S. government may have sponsored the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

And about 20 percent of Germans in all age groups hold this view, a survey of 1,000 people conducted for the weekly Die Zeit said.

It also said 68 percent of all Germans felt the media had not reported the full truth behind the attacks, in which some 3,000 people were killed when hijacked planes were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

My understanding of “natural science” comes largely from the work of Del Ratzsch who refers to NS as that branch of study that explores the natural world and offers laws, theories, and hypotheses to account for that realm when left to its own devices. Interference in the natural realm by agents results in what Ratzsch calls contra-nomic events. How we detect and have warrant for believing these contra-nomic events as agent-caused is another topic all together. I found Ratzsch’s distinction to be useful. It is not meant to be normative, but rather descriptive of what counts and doesn’t count as acceptable accounts of natural phenomena in the natural sciences. We all know, for example, attributing an agent-cause to the bacterial flaggelum is much different than attibuting an agent-cause to the dead guy with an ice-pick embedded in his head on the subway tracks. The latter is uncontroversial for a variety of reasons. The former is controversial because agent-causes in the natural sciences are considered inappropriate.

Because the purpose of my work was to merely describe the legal debate and the general scientific concerns that percolate beneath it, I think that my modest presentation was fair. Am I mistaken in thinking that my panda-pals (my affectionate name for y’all) are now saying that in biology, physics, chemistry, etc., it is appropriate to offer agent-causes to account for such things as bacterial flagellum, the human genome, the mind, the beginning of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, etc.? If so, then I was wrong to say that the natural sciences–as understood in mainstream science–do not consider agent-causes. Am I missing something here?

Francis

Just a quick response as I have houseguests.

I suggest you consult someone other than Del Ratzsch for an understanding of Natural Science

We all know, for example, attributing an agent-cause to the bacterial flagellum is much different than attributing an agent-cause to the dead guy with an ice-pick embedded in his head on the subway tracks. The latter is uncontroversial for a variety of reasons. The former is controversial because agent-causes in the natural sciences are considered inappropriate.

No, this is just not true. As I’ve shown, we already have looked at agent causes for the origin of HIV (and come up negative). Attributing an agent-cause to “the” bacterial flagellum is controversial because there is no evidence for it. If the genes of “the” bacterial flagellum were flanked by commercial genetic engineering insertion sequences, then attributing agent cause would be non-controversial. However, in our investigations of flagella we have seen no evidence of agent causation. There is nothing in natural science to prevent investigation of intelligent agent causation to “the” bacterial flagellum (infact there two separate groups of flagella with entirely different constructions, and within each groups there is significant variation in structure), HIV or any other biological structure.

“My understanding of “natural science” comes largely from the work of Del Ratzsch who refers to NS as that branch of study that explores the natural world and offers laws, theories, and hypotheses to account for that realm when left to its own devices.”

Mr. Beckwith, perhaps it would help if you defined what you mean by “natural” as it occurs in the term “natural science” and in the definition. I haven’t had a philosophy class in fifteen years but that strikes me as a no-no.

“attibuting an agent-cause to the dead guy with an ice-pick embedded in his head on the subway tracks … is uncontroversial for a variety of reasons.”

Reason number one, in the present context, is that presently we are not confronted by a religio-political group trying to compel a supernatural explanation for every unsolved murder in this country. While there are many people who ascribe supernatural explanations for unsolved murders, Joe Sixpack tends to dismiss those people as kooks because he has seen numerous people killed by pickaxes in the movies and on TV.

A flagellum on the other hand – Joe might have to actually understand some molecular biology to appreciate how it’s put together and how it functions. Joe’s church has presented Joe with a simpler “theory” for how the flagellum came to be, which includes a conspiracy on the part of scientists to confuse him, a conspiracy on the part of scientists to “trivialize” the religious beliefs of Joe’s child, and a general assertion that modern scientists routinely attach themselves to useless “dogma” for generations and refuse to consider “alternative theories.”

Thus, a controversy is born. Does one really need a degree in Philosophy to figure this stuff out? I am here to tell you that the answer is no. My personal experience tells me that such a degree can be a great hindrance when it comes to teasing out the origins of controversies.

Here’s an interesting puzzle for Frank and others that just occurred to me. Perhaps it’s already been addressed. When I was in graduate school, I engineered several strains of E. coli with modified flagella. I started with a canonical wild-isolated strain called “strain A.” The modifications I introduced were very slight, roughly forty nucleic acid changes here and there, some silent, some not. The flagella in the strains I engineered were perfectly functional and chemotaxis was only mildly increased or decreased relative to the strain I started with. Also, I left no other traces of my handiwork on the bacteria (e.g., antibiotic resistance markers).

Let’s say that, in a diabolical mood, I released my strains into “the wild” and they survived for some time without accumulating any further mutations. Then one of the strains is “discovered” by someone, perhaps Behe. He sequences the strains and looks at the flagellum and notes that it is a new sequence with a slightly different structure from strain A.

Assuming Behe does not believe in evolution as it is understood by scientists today, could Behe determine the likelihood (more or less) that the strain he discovered had been engineered by a human as opposed to it being just a new variant of strain A (hundreds of which exist)?

Could a scientist who did believe in evolution as it is understood by scientists today make such a determination?

As no one else has followed Francis’s comment up, I’ll add a little more discussion.

Interference in the natural realm by agents results in what Ratzsch calls contra-nomic events

Not quite, nomic comes from the Greek nómos, law, and here Ratzch is talking about supernatural agents resulting in contra-nomic events. That is those events that go against natural laws. (Parenthetically, there is a popular game called Nomic which is based on changing Laws).

Contra-nomic events are of no relevance in this particular discussion. Intelligent agents such as humans, chimpanzees and Pacific Island Ravens do not violate natural laws when producing designed objects or artefacts, or events such as murder. Thus Ratzch’s concept of contra-nomic events does not help us with the question “what is natural science”, since intelligent agents such as humans, chimpanzees and Racific Island Ravens don’t produce them.

We all know, for example, attributing an agent-cause to the bacterial flagellum is much different than attributing an agent-cause to the dead guy with an ice-pick embedded in his head on the subway tracks.

As I said before, in the ice-pick in the head case attributing agency is not controversial as we have many examples where intelligent agents have embedded icepicks in other intelligent agents heads. Note that this is not contra-nomic, as no natural laws are broken in embedding an icepick in someone’s head.

But take another example, a person is found at the foot of a cliff, their head staved in by a rock (found next to him), around the foot of the cliff are many other rocks and there is a big sign saying “Danger, Falling Rock Zone”. In this case, in the absence of any other evidence, attributing intelligent agency is much more controversial, as getting you head stove in from falling rocks on an unstable cliff is a perfectly natural occurrence. Even if you did find extra evidence (such as a series of foot prints that lead to the edge of the cliff just above the victim, which are the same size as that of Frederica Bloggett, who had a blazing row with the deceased a short time before his demise) which suggests an intelligent agent did this, it is still not contra-nomic. Dropping a rock on someones head breaks no natural laws.

A conta-nomic event would be to materialize a rock from thin air above the victim’s head. If you want to claim this sort of agency, then you are not likely to get many police departments supporting you.

Franics says:

The former [attributing an agent-cause to the bacterial flagellum] is controversial because agent-causes in the natural sciences are considered inappropriate

As I said, this is controversial because there is no evidence for an agent cause (and a reasonable amount of evidence for a non-agent cause).

To return to the question posed, what is the sense of “natural sciences” being used by Francis (and by implication, ID advocates)? Richard Wein suggested that Francis might be making a distinction between the “natural sciences” and things like the social sciences and the arts and humanities. However, this cannot be so. Molecular biology is firmly within the “natural sciences” by this account. Yet molecular biology was able to determine that HIV was not an artificially produced biowarfare agent.

Similarly, recently molecular biologists have artificially expanded the genetic code, so that non-natural amino acids can be incorporated into proteins. If one of these organisms escaped into the wild, we would have no trouble deducing agency in the origin of these organisms from the hallmarks of human genetic engineering to be found in their genomes. A harder case might be Craig Vetners “minimal organism”. Depending on how he constructs his minimal organism, it might be difficult to find the hallmark signs of genetic engineering. Nonetheless, there is nothing in molecular biology to prevent people inferring agent actions if there is supporting evidence.

Francis says:

Am I mistaken in thinking that my panda-pals (my affectionate name for y’all) are now saying that in biology, physics, chemistry, etc., it is appropriate to offer agent-causes to account for such things as bacterial flagellum, the human genome, the mind, the beginning of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, etc.?

If, and only if, you have evidence for such an account. This is true for all accounts. Note that “I think Xordaxian genetic engineers made the eubacterial flagellum and dropped flagellum bearing bacteria on Earth via seeder starships because I think the flagellum is too complicated to be made by natural selection” is not a valid explanation, even though it is an example of an unproblematic nomic explanation, as there is no evidence for such an event. Finding a crashed Xordaxian seeder starship on the Moon would dramatically change this.

Note the change of emphasis in Francis’s argument here. In the “Are intelligent agents supernatural” thread he said:

One primary criterion is specified complexity, a concept already accepted as evidence of intelligent agency in other fields, including ‘forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims investigation, cryptography, and random number generation.’ Thus, Dembski, in proposing that we extend the principles previously proven effective in other fields to the world of the natural sciences, is not suggesting something entirely new

Now, laying aside the fact that specified complexity isn’t used in forensic science, intelligent agency in Forensic science is not counter-nomic agency, but ordinary every day nomic agency. In that regard you cannot differentiate “natural” science from Forensic science on the basis of counter-nomic agency. Indeed, if you tried to adduce counter-nomic agency in a forensic investigation (such as a supernatural materialization of a rock above someone’s head) you would get short shrift. In Francis’s use of agency and the origin of the universe, there would seem to be an implication of supernatural counter-nomicagency, which does not follow from the supposed Forensic Science/Natural science distinction.

Thus the nomic/ counter-nomic agency distinction cannot differentiate Forensic science and natural science in terms of their handling of intelligent agency. Furthermore, there appears to be an elision between “intelligent agents” (which includes humans, chimpanzees, Pacific Island ravens and quite possibly Xordaxians) and supernatural agents. Therefore it is still not clear in what sense Francis intends that the “intelligent agency” in “natural sciences repudiate intelligent agency” means.

I therefore repeat Richards call to Francis, state the nature of your claim precisely and then justify it in the light of the criticisms that have been made.

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Francis, just out of curiosity, have any of your students ever spontaneously combusted during one of your lectures?

G’Day Francis

First, you don’t get to make the rules on how this discussion is conducted. It’s not a priori the case that Ian says something and Beckwith has to respond to Ian’s satisfaction. :-)

No, I merely used the standard polite scholarly discourse to alert you to a major ambiguity in your argument. I thought as a scholar you might like to clear up this ambiguity.

Third, I did not have Ratzsch’s book in front of me when I wrote the above. I was traveling and was relying exclusively on memory. So, Ian is correct; Ratzsch does use the term “contranomic” to refer to supernatural agency. The term that I meant to use was “counterflow” rather than “contranomic.” (Brain fart on my part!)

Never mind, it happens to all of us.

However, to get a flavor for what Ratzsch is doing, consider the distinction he makes between counterflow and design. Counterflow refers to agent directed activity that would not have occurred if nature were left to its own non-agent devices.

Interesting idea. However, this still does not address the question that both Richard Wein and myself asked. What do ID apologists consider “natural science” and why do they think that Forensic science (which is in either the science faculty or medical science faculties of Universities, they seem to think it is “natural science”) is not part of “natural science”.

If we amend your original statement it now reads:

My understanding of “natural science” comes largely from the work of Del Ratzsch who refers to NS as that branch of study that explores the natural world and offers laws, theories, and hypotheses to account for that realm when left to its own devices. Interference in the natural realm by agents results in what Ratzsch calls “counterflow”.

This still does not help. Zoology is considered by all its practitioners a “natural science”, and it has uncovered design and “counterflow” by intelligent agents such as Pacific Island Ravens and chimpanzees. Molecular biology is considered by its practitioners a “natural science”, yet molecular biologists looked for the hall marks of human design in the HIV virus. I do not understand how ID apologists can claim that “natural science repudiates intelligent agency” when zoology and molecular biology do deal with, and in some cases establish, intelligent agency.

We are still awaiting a precise definition of what you consider “natural science”.

Now, it’s off to preparing my finals!

I’ve got workshops to mark and the inaugural meeting of the South Australian Neuroscience Research Institute steering committee. Nothing but fun here.

Hello, Francis. You wrote:

Second, and more seriously, you will find no objection on my part if you are in fact saying that there is nothing [wrong] in principle in rationally attributing agency to effects that have [been] thought to have non-agent causes under a materialist paradigm (e.g., bacterial flagellum, fine-tuning of the universe).

(I’ve inserted two words which you apparently omitted. I hope that’s OK.)

Excluding the phrase “under a materialist paradigm”, that is exactly what everyone is saying. “Materialism” has nothing to do with it.

If that’s your position, then you have abandoned methodological naturalism…

No. Methodological naturalism only excludes the supernatural, not intelligent agency. Intelligent agency is not the same as supernatural agency.

Ian: We are still awaiting a precise definition of what you consider “natural science”.

I think it needs to be said that there are many terms in philosophy and science that are useful without being absolutely precise. What Ian and I are asking for is not mathematical precision but a definition which makes sense of your claim (that intelligent agency is ruled out from the natural sciences).

e.e. cummmings wrote: “Francis, just out of curiosity, have any of your students ever spontaneously combusted during one of your lectures?” Yes, it was quite sad, since his epitaph now reads:

“I now lie as a pile ashes But not from the heat of pretty lasses Or candles lit at midnight masses But because of a lecture by Beckwith Francis.”

Later dudes (and dudettes).

Frank

*****What Ian and I are asking for is not mathematical precision but a definition which makes sense of your claim (that intelligent agency is ruled out from the natural sciences.*****

I might add that you need understand the term ‘intelligence’ in intelligent design. ID does not use the dictionary definition of the term ‘design.’

In our field, mountains, sand dunes and cloud patterns may possess a design created by natural processes. However, the natural processes of design are not intelligently designed as are skyscrapers from intelligently conceived blueprints. Can you see that an intelligently preconceived set of blueprints may be counterflow from the thermodynamics inherrent in natural processes?

Jerry Don Bauer Wrote:

Can you see that an intelligently preconceived set of blueprints may be counterflow from the thermodynamics inherrent in natural processes?

No.

No violations of the second law are seen in blueprint construction.

Please don’t tell me that you’re one of those misguided people that has fallen for the “evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics” claptrap.

I have a challenge that I offer to such people. So far, I haven’t had anyone fulfill the challenge.

Addressing Jerry Don, Wesley wrote

Please don’t tell me that you’re one of those misguided people that has fallen for the “evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics” claptrap.

Yup. See this ARN thread. Jerry Don is Chronos/Jeptha there.

RBH

*****No violations of the second law are seen in blueprint construction.*****

I didn’t say that blueprints have anything to do with thermodynamics. You are missing my point. Intelligent design is antithetical to natural design. The latter might be explained via the natural processes of thermodynamics, uniformitarianism, or even catastrophism, for that matter. But the former is preconceived design by intelligence where energy in the form of intentional work is added into the design scenario. Do you understand the difference?

*****I have a challenge that I offer to such people. So far, I haven’t had anyone fulfill the challenge.*****

I see why you have had no one fulfill the challenge. What does thermodynamics have to do with transitional fossils? The challenge is nonsensical.Sorry.

Jerry Don, who did the intentional work which resulted in the design of the transitional organisms which were fossilized, and what was the nature of that work in your opinion (i.e., were DNA sequences physically tampered with? or do you envision a mutagenizing ether?)

*****Jerry Don, who did the intentional work which resulted in the design of the transitional organisms which were fossilized, and what was the nature of that work in your opinion (i.e., were DNA sequences physically tampered with? or do you envision a mutagenizing ether?)*****

No, I envision nothing that cannot be verified through empirical experimentation. I’m afraid I am a student of science rather than one of mentalism or meta-physics.

Thus, I’m afraid there are no experiments I can concoct that would identify a designer. Could have been your Uncle Joe, for all I know. Its unknowable, so why muse on it?

*****Jerry Don, who did the intentional work which resulted in the design of the transitional organisms which were fossilized, and what was the nature of that work in your opinion (i.e., were DNA sequences physically tampered with? or do you envision a mutagenizing ether?)*****

No, I envision nothing that cannot be verified through empirical experimentation. I’m afraid I am a student of science rather than one of mentalism or meta-physics.

Thus, I fear there are no experiments I can concoct that would identify a designer or any one design methodolology. Could have been my Uncle Joe, for all I know. Its unknowable, so why muse on it? And I might point out that it is irrelevant to the overall classification of matter as intelligently designed or designed by natural phenomenon. The latter is the goal of my science called ID.

Jerry Don Bauer Wrote:

I didn’t say that blueprints have anything to do with thermodynamics.

Hmm. Please reconcile that with this from just up the set of comments:

Jerry Don Bauer Wrote:

Can you see that an intelligently preconceived set of blueprints may be counterflow from the thermodynamics inherrent in natural processes?

It sure looks to me like a statement about “blueprints” and “thermodynamics”.

Jerry Don Bauer Wrote:

You are missing my point. Intelligent design is antithetical to natural design. The latter might be explained via the natural processes of thermodynamics, uniformitarianism, or even catastrophism, for that matter. But the former is preconceived design by intelligence where energy in the form of intentional work is added into the design scenario. Do you understand the difference?

Given Jerry’s remark about not invoking thermodynamics before, I have no idea what Jerry might be going on about here. Looks like gobbledygook to me.

Jerry Don Bauer Wrote:

I see why you have had no one fulfill the challenge. What does thermodynamics have to do with transitional fossils? The challenge is nonsensical.Sorry.

Slip of the hand in updating the file (I have several set challenges for antievolutionists; got a bit confused). The TFEC makes sense when the antievolution claim under consideration is “there are no transitional fossils”; no so much when it is “evolution violates the 2LoT”.

Try the link again.

http://www.antievolution.org/people[…]sp/2lot.html

This challenge is given when an antievolutionist claims that “evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics” or similar phrasing. The short form of the challenge: If the antievolutionist can’t identify a specific process that is proscribed, the claim fails. If the specific process is not a necessary process for descent with modification, the claim fails. If the specific process is observed to occur in extant organisms, the claim fails.

So far, none of the challenged have gotten past these three objections. I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.

Jerry Don said

… I might point out that [whether I can propose an experiment which would identify a designer or any one design methodolology] is irrelevant to the overall classification of matter as intelligently designed or designed by natural phenomenon.

Horse hockey. Pure baloney. If you can’t propose a testable theory for how your intelligent design was imparted into a thing, then what you are proposing has nothing to do with science. It’s quackery.

Short version: Jerry Don, you are a fraud.

Why are you pretending to be a scientist anyway? Have you ever tried running around naked at a sporting event or awards show? I’m told it’s a relatively healthy way to embarrass oneself.

******This challenge is given when an antievolutionist claims that “evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics” or similar phrasing. The short form of the challenge: If the antievolutionist can’t identify a specific process that is proscribed, the claim fails. If the specific process is not a necessary process for descent with modification, the claim fails. If the specific process is observed to occur in extant organisms, the claim fails.******

Hmmmm . … for some reason I don’t understand, because I mentioned the word thermodynamics, you want to jump into the crux of it concerning naturalism verses design. But, what the heck. I’m bored this afternoon.

If we are going to do this, let’s at least insure we understand our common ground: evolution is a fact of science and violates no laws of science, or it would not be a part of it.

OTOH, Macroevolution which proposes that with spontaneous events called speciation, genomes will tend to increase in complexity both quantitatively and qualitatively as man morphs from that primordial protista to homo sapien stands in direct contradiction to SLOT, which states that with any spontaneous reaction or event entropy will tend to increase. These are contradictory statements so, one must be wrong. I believe I will go with Feynman’s S = log2W statistically to show which it is.

****If the specific process is observed to occur in extant organisms, the claim fails*****

I’m afraid this is incorrect as thermodynamics is statistics–tendency. In a science of tendency, things can happen once, they just won’t happen most the time.

*****Horse hockey. Pure baloney. If you can’t propose a testable theory for how your intelligent design was imparted into a thing, then what you are proposing has nothing to do with science. It’s quackery*****

LOL…Put this into a syllogism and show the forum how much sense it makes.

Okay, Jerry, here’s your syllogism:

Jerry Don’s “scientific” pronouncements are pure baloney.

“Scientific” pronouncements which are pure baloney are also quackery.

Therefore Jerry Don’s “scientific” pronouncements are quackery.

*****Okay, Jerry, here’s your syllogism: Jerry Don’s “scientific” pronouncements are pure baloney. “Scientific” pronouncements which are pure baloney are also quackery. Therefore Jerry Don’s “scientific” pronouncements are quackery.*****

But this is not a syllogism with predicates. You’ve left Aristotle’s A belongs to B, or all B’s are A’s:

If all humans (A) are mortal (B), and all Greeks (C) are humans (A), then all Greeks (C) are mortal (A).

Surely you are wanting to argue science logically and aren’t just trolling me. At least I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt until I get to know you better.

If you are to show that principles of design must also propose imparting design to a designed object, then you must show how one logically leads to the other.

Jerry Don Bauer Wrote:

But I know it doesn’t seem anyone has posted on that board you listed for about 6 months, it would appear.

May 6th was six months ago? This seems to be typical of Jerry’s “information”…

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This page contains a single entry by Ian Musgrave published on April 21, 2004 12:37 AM.

Corrupting the Youth was the previous entry in this blog.

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