Privileged Planet: The puddle and the hole

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It’s rather like a puddle waking up one morning— I know they don’t normally do this, but allow me, I’m a science fiction writer— A puddle wakes up one morning and thinks: “This is a very interesting world I find myself in. It fits me very neatly. In fact it fits me so neatly… I mean really precise isn’t it?… It must have been made to have me in it.” And the sun rises, and it’s continuing to narrate this story about how this hole must have been made to have him in it. And as the sun rises, and gradually the puddle is shrinking and shrinking and shrinking— and by the time the puddle ceases to exist, it’s still thinking— it’s still trapped in this idea that— that the hole was there for it. And if we think that the world is here for us we will continue to destroy it in the way that we have been destroying it, because we think that we can do no harm.

Douglas Adams

Privileged Planet website and the producers of the DVD Illustra Media.

New Mexicans for Science and Reason present: Illustra Media and Discovery Media appear to be linked

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This metaphor isn't an argument against "The Privileged Planet". It was never meant to be. Go quote somebody else's work out of context. Read More

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Great idea, PvM. The Adams quote is a perfect rejoinder.

BCH

There is a wonderful phenomenon in physics that anyone favouring thinking a la “Privileged Planet” should ponder - the propagation of light. Roughly: in a medium of constant density and composition (say air in a small room), light travels in a straight line. If it encounters a different substance (e.g. a piece glass ) then it will change direction at the boundary and proceed in a straight line (in the different direction) though the second medium, a phenomenon known as refraction. Now it is an observed fact that if you take two points on the path taken by the light and look at the path taken by the light between them then the light will have taken the path of least time - in other words if the light had taken any other path it would have taken longer to travel between the points. How does light do this, given that when it starts out at the first point it does not know where it will end up?

Just wanted to point to a (free) video lecture with Feynman that explains the phenomenon described in PaulP’s post.

Enjoy!

I wish I could take credit for it. Theoriste at amazon used the quote in her review of the book.

Scott Rank Wrote:

To critics, this “intelligent agent” sounds suspiciously like the Christian Triune God, but ID is a secular theory, and there are many ID researchers who are Jewish, Eastern Orthodox and Agnostic. The goal of the ID movement is not to kick evolution out of schools, but to allow students to question certain parts of Darwinian materialism.

But the god of ID cannot be the Christian Triune God or even a classically theistic one. Classical theism posits an omnipresent and immutable God. The god-of-the-gaps is definitely not like that. Of course, that is not the intent of ID and that’s why biological ID is rightly accused of dressed-up creationism and cosmological ID is rightly accused of dressed-up geocentrism. Thinking Christians and theists should realize that the ID proponents are more right than they think. ID thought they could pull a fast one on science but they ended up only fooling themselves by “proving” a different god than they originally set out to prove.

Darwinian materialism? Interesting confusion about science (methodological naturalism) and philosophy. If ID’s only goal is to allow students to question science, then it serves no function but by focusing exclusively on biology, ID has shown its true colors by trying to “pull a wedgie” over the eyes. As far as ‘ID researchers’, most of them seem to be Christians and clear that to them ID is all about the Christian God. No wonder, that I have found that to some Christians, ID appears to be ‘deceitful’ and harmful.

See The Purpose of Life is a Beach Part 1 where I (tongue in cheek) explore the relationship between habitability and pleasurability as it applies to the beach

Conclusion

One cannot escape the conclusion that these beaches were designed with a purpose in mind. A sceptic reader may object to the use of correlation to infer purpose but I intend to use a “cumulative case argument” to strengthen my case. By showing not only complexity but also a meaningfull pattern I will show how design is an INEVITABLE conclusion.

and Life is a beach: Part 2

This morning, on my way to work, I listened to NPR. One of the guests, Ebbesmeyer described his recent work on tracking items found by beach combers. Once again I came to realize how the beach provides us not just with pleasurability but also measurability. Without beaches we would not be able to track Rubber duckies.

Time to continue my explorations of “Life is a beach”

I was just looking at the enlarged version of the invitation for this event. In the background is a stylized astronomical map that includes the constellation Leo, nice to have the Astology connection. I mean isn’t it just amazing that earth is just so positioned so that we can see the 12 signs of the zodiac so that we can discover what sign we were born under, why we are the way we are, and what our future holds. I am just astounded about how perfect our world is for providing with such knowledge.

PvM Wrote:

Darwinian materialism? Interesting confusion about science (methodological naturalism) and philosophy. If ID’s only goal is to allow students to question science, then it serves no function but by focusing exclusively on biology, ID has shown its true colors by trying to “pull a wedgie” over the eyes. As far as ‘ID researchers’, most of them seem to be Christians and clear that to them ID is all about the Christian God. No wonder, that I have found that to some Christians, ID appears to be ‘deceitful’ and harmful.

Christian critics of ID have to be silenced because it would invalidate the whole wedge thesis. Christians by definition are not materialists. So, we have to be “worse than atheists”. Since Christians also by definition believe in design, the opposition of some Christians to ID can be confusing. Thus, the following question is legitimate: Why do you oppose ID when you believe in design? [Note: this is different than the ASA which believes in design but takes no stand on the alternatives. They have to worry about the diversity of their members. As an individual, I need to choose and I personally oppose ID.]

Because as a Christian I believe in the truth and thus I only support valid arguments for design. To date, ID has produced only laughable arguments that only serve to falsify Christianity. But, that’s not the primary reason because we all produce dumb arguments from time to time. I also believe in the Ten Commandments and oppose any false accusation against my neighbor. This would include the false accusation that science is purely about promoting philosophical materialism. As noted by PvM, this accusation is done by falsely conflating philosophical materialism with methodological naturalism. It is this latter, moral, dimension that motivates my opposition to ID.

Re “How does light do this, given that when it starts out at the first point it does not know where it will end up?”

According to quantum mechanics, a bit of light (or any other particle) takes all possible paths, but the ones that don’t minimize travel time destructively interfere with each other, leaving only the one that’s far enough ahead of the rest to avoid the interference.

Henry

There is a very pro-ID film doing the rounds at the moment, which goes to some lengths to describe how the Earth and all the life in it was created by intelligent designers. I saw it at the weekend, and can confirm that there is nothing in ID that could disprove the basic thesis of the movie. In fact, it should be taken as a very thought-provoking exploration of some of those ideas, and the Discovery Institute could easily take a lead from it to help them find the demonstration and verification of their theories that are so far so sadly lacking.

All they need to do is go to Norway, examine a few glaciers and check for the signature of Slartibardfast.

R

Henry Wrote:

According to quantum mechanics, a bit of light (or any other particle) takes all possible paths, but the ones that don’t minimize travel time destructively interfere with each other, leaving only the one that’s far enough ahead of the rest to avoid the interference.

The ‘all possible paths’ or ‘sum-over-paths’ approach is a version of quantum mechanics proposed by Feynman. It is contrary to the more accepted ‘probability-wave’ approach of Schroedinger et al, though each are consistent with the data.

Very nice, Rupert. I must say, there is not a single day, not a one, that goes by that I don’t find some occasion to miss Douglas Adams. It would not be too much to say that I miss him more than I do any other dead person, with the exception of one childhood friend. I can’t begin to explain it. I never met him, although we did exchange a few emails shortly before his death. It’s just when I read his stuff, especially nonfiction like “Last Chance to See,” I find such a kinship. And I miss him because, between Doug and Richard Dawkins, they would have found the exact right words to pillory this “Privileged Planet” nonsense.

Rich Wrote:

… I believe in the truth and thus I only support valid arguments for design.

What are these valid arguments you speak of? Additionally, what is this truth of which you speak?

There is a wonderful phenomenon in physics that anyone favouring thinking a la “Privileged Planet” should ponder - the propagation of light. Roughly: in a medium of constant density and composition (say air in a small room), light travels in a straight line. If it encounters a different substance (e.g. a piece glass ) then it will change direction at the boundary and proceed in a straight line (in the different direction) though the second medium, a phenomenon known as refraction. Now it is an observed fact that if you take two points on the path taken by the light and look at the path taken by the light between them then the light will have taken the path of least time - in other words if the light had taken any other path it would have taken longer to travel between the points. How does light do this, given that when it starts out at the first point it does not know where it will end up?

I read the post about the quantum explanation, but I’m still a bit puzzled.

If you say that path A is the path that the light took between points X1 and X2 and then state that this path takes less time than any other path, there must be a another path B that the light could have taken had it not taken path A. But if that was the case, then if the light had taken path B between the two points, there would necessarily have been a different path, namely path A, that would take less time.

Is it a requirement that both paths are physically possible to be traversed at the same time for this statement to hold? Surely if you blocked one path while making the observation of transit time, the other would give one time (hypothetically the “least” time). Then if you block the other path, the first would give a different transit time. And one would be less than the other (at least for most circumstances). So what does this mean?

If we take the quantum explanation, then yes, it would seem that the path taken would be the shortest one possible at any given instant. But how does that square with quantum uncertainty? While a naive quantum interpretation would say that if we were to put in two measuring points XA and XB respectively on the two paths, we should see both paths being taken (although not necessarily with the same frequency), the “shortest time” requirement would mandate that only one path should be taken. I guess that one “answer” to that is that our “measuing points” would have to intercept the photons in order to detect them, and in fact any photons measured or recorded wouldn’t ever reach the endpoint X2. Is that the answer to the conundrum here?

What happens if we put polarizers in the two paths at different orientations, and measure reception with a polarization detector? Is such a phenomenon responsible for birefringence?

Help me out, any of you folks of a physics bent. …

Cheers,

Addressing Rich, Paul asked

What are these valid arguments you speak of? Additionally, what is this truth of which you speak?

Did Paul happen to read the next sentence of Rich’s post?

If one wants to play theist-bashing games, go to Infidels. Let’s try to keep the focus on science here, hm? Thanks!

RBH

A good rebuttal to Rare Earth is Life Everywhere by David Darling. I got it for $4 from Amazon.com.

What was expecially interesting is that Darling discovered that Rare Earth authors Ward and Brownlee had used Gonzalez as a major scientific source without being aware of his regular contributions to Reasons to Believe and other efforts promoting divine design. Golzalez later admitted to Ward, unapologetically, that his “theistic theological views motivate my science and vice-versa.” He said he has not been more open with his theological views at UW because of the “open hostility among many faculty.”

Re “I read the post about the quantum explanation, but I’m still a bit puzzled.”

Well, as one of the experts of Q.M. put it - anybody who thinks they understand Q.M. hasn’t been paying attention.

As I understand it (even if I don’t ;) ), anything that would reveal the presence of a photon along one of the possible paths would leave two possibilities: if “revealed” on that path, then it didn’t take any of the others, and if not revealed, then it didn’t take that one. I presume the probablity method of describing it would have its way of saying the same thing.

Henry

RBH Wrote:

Did Paul happen to read the next sentence of Rich’s post?

Indeed, I did. I should have elaborated, if someone says they only support “valid arguments for design” it implies the existence of a real argument. The adjective valid implies verification. It was my understanding that the PT was dedicated to thouroughly debunking the specious claims of the entire anti-evolution movement and was curious what valid arguments there might be. The ontological argument is the only creationist claim I personally find to be infallible.

Am I a bit spiteful of christians at the moment? Yes, I am. Let me give a brief explaination of how I got here (PT). At a large protestant university I attended, I read about a winterim course offering called cosmogony. I had a very misinformed view of what the ID/C was about. The content was likely quite similar to your typical young earth creationist weekend seminar. Except this was 3 weeks at 4 hours a day. I learned that if I believe in evolution I don’t believe in God (the case made against theistic evolution has me convinced.) Rather than be drawn with the power of an electromagnet to a 6-10 thousand year old earth for the sake of my salvation, I remained as the lone dissenter out of approx. 25 students. Do you know what it’s like when you find out that the Ph.D professors you held in such high regard, believe in all the tenets of young earth creationism? Are you one of their favorite students after they discover this? It made this past semester pretty difficult.

I apologize to you if you feel I degraded your thread in any way. I thought one of the main things ID and YEC talk about is their quest for “truth.”

I still have no clue what the message of Rich’s postings are, I don’t see where his legs are while he’s straddling both sides of the fence, and I can’t even see the fence. I wanted to know what he’s trying to say, I just went about it in a condescending way, and that was the wrong way.

Sorry for the massive grammar and spelling errors, I should not drink and post.

Thanks for the link, I feel like my mental accumen is well below par reading some of the stuff here. There I’m a self-assured genius once again.

just curious, Paul, which protestant university was that? have you transfered out of there?

one of the problems in this whole discussion is that there really is no “fence” on most of the issues concerned; there are those who believe that the scientific method has value in its application, and should not be denigrated or marginalized by those who believe that religion is a better “method” for practical application. no, the two are not mutually compatible. The explanatory and practical use of religion has been shown to be a failure. that’s why we switched to the scientific method hundreds of years ago.

However, there is nothing saying that faith in god as religion is of no value to a human being; in fact quite the contrary, many scientists that have faith in god also apply the scientific method when they test evolutionary theory. It’s sad that folks like behe and dembski can no longer apply the scientific method to their arguments; they abandoned reason long ago.

the whole argument shouldn’t even exist, except the evangelical movement has garnered a sufficient amount of cash to make it an “issue”. hell, the front page of my local paper even had a nice story on the shift in wealth over the last 25 years, and how evangelicals now hold a major sway in policy simply because of the wealth they have obtained. And this is a very conservative newspaper :)

it’s funny that the whole rest of the world for the most part has no problem with evolutionary theory and science in general. the only other places where religion essentially trumps science are in the middle east and South Africa, places where extremism have a stronghold.

I personally don’t want to be “saved” by any of these exremists, and see no “fence” in the middle.

I agree with your position that there are no valid scientific arguments that rich could have possibly put forward for design, because there simply aren’t any.

I don’t think you degraded the thread in any way; but that’s just my opinon.

cheers

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Piltdown Syndrome Wrote:

The ‘all possible paths’ or ‘sum-over-paths’ approach is a version of quantum mechanics proposed by Feynman. It is contrary to the more accepted ‘probability-wave’ approach of Schroedinger et al, though each are consistent with the data.

Both approaches are mathematically equivalent, not in contradiction.

Arne Wrote:

… but I’m still a little hazy on what it would show if we tried to detect the photons in flight on the different pathways

Try Feynman’s The Character of Physical Law for a description of the double slit experiment, and what happens if one path or another path is allowed.

When dealing with the phenomenon of light taking the path of least time, forget about quantim mechanics. When describing this phenomenon, we are talking about a “beam of light” that can be seen, as in the following:

Imagine a light source on a table in a darkened room. Physicists use a device called a collimator (essentially a narrow tube) to get a straight beam of light - cover almost all of the light source and put one end of the collimator right up against the uncovered bit, making sure that end of the collimator has a larger cross-sectional area than the uncovered bit. Then out of the other end of the collimator you will see a beam of light in the darkness. Put a piece of glass on the table so that the beam hits it. The direction of the beam will change by refraction.

Now if you take any two points on the path taken, the beam of light could not have travelled between the two points on another path and arrived at teh second point any sooner.

The reason you can forget QM is that if you put photon detectors anywhere in the darkness you will not detect any photons. This is not a version of a beam splitter experiment where you do not know the path taken by the photon.

Remember too that even in classical optics, by Huygens principle every point on a light wave front is the source of other light waves, which intefere with each other everywhere they meet. So if you have a straight beam of light as in the above setup, there are waves of light in the dark area of the room because at every point in the darkness the interfering waves cancel each other out.

Arne Langsetmo Wrote:

I read the post about the quantum explanation, but I’m still a bit puzzled.

Ok, let’s clear this thing up a little bit.

What PaulP mentioned is an instance of a general law at the classical (i.e.nonquantum) level called ‘The principle of minimal action’. This principle is the most fundamental law in classical physics and it can be used for describing of all phenomena. It is tight with quantum theory through Feynman’s path integral approach.

I believe the “minimal path of light” were the first know case sometime in the 19th century. Though far away from a complete classical theory of light (i.e.Maxwell equations), it gets the propagation thing right. It’s important to understand that light does not chooses ‘where to go’. It’s only that if you know that it propagated from point X1 to X2 (and you know the initial direction, or more precisely momentum), then you can conclude which path it has taken. If you block that path, let’s say A, no light will get to X2. So it’s a description of propagation of plain waves. A little analogy: if you throw a boulder from X1 to X2, then you can calculate the path it has taken. The boulder does not chooses the path, if you block it, it will not get to X2 (of course).

At quantum level, things got a little more complicated. Instead of plain waves you have photons which have momenta but cannot be localized. You cannot talk about the path photon has taken. For a more intuitive picture you can imagine that it propagates through all possible paths at once, each with some (amplitude of) probability. If you send a photon from X1 in the same direction and momentum as above and block path A (and it’s immediate surrounding), there is still a nonzero probability it will get to X2. However, it will be much lower than that with A not blocked. So if you send many of them and you do not care to detect each them, e.g. you don’t use a photomultiplier, but only your eyes, you’ll see an avarage. If you block A, your eyes will not detect anything as the few photons are not enough for you to register the light. If you do not block A, you will register much more light and you conclude that they propagated through path A, exactly as predicted by the principle of minimal action. This is how quantum phenomena appear to be classical at macroscopical level.

The reason you can forget QM is that if you put photon detectors anywhere in the darkness you will not detect any photons.

So how can you see the beam if there are no stray photons? I need to think about this a little more.

Now there you see what you might get when a experimentator and theorist explain the same thing… ;o)

PualP Wrote:

The reason you can forget QM is that if you put photon detectors anywhere in the darkness you will not detect any photons.

This is not extremely correct anyway. At least in principle, you could detect photons everywhere (though with extremely low probability). The reason why you can forget QM is that you use high number of photons and don’t care about the individual events.

Quoth aCTa:

A good atheist weather forecaster doesn’t say, “and the fact that I can predict what the weather will be like in 24 hours demonstrates that there is no need for a God.” A good darwinist biologist says … well, of course, he can’t predict anything, because darwinism is such a plastic theory … but he does say, “because I have this mechanism, I don’t need a designer.”

Wrong again: If there were people claiming that we need God to predict the weather, and putting idiotic stickers on textbooks because of it, and we could make forecasts without invoking God’s intervention, then meteorologists would definitely be saying “there is no need for a God” in meteorology.

PaulP: OK. So you are using “creationism” in the sense of saying that the universe has an intelligent cause. You are not using it in the sense of saying that the first three chapters of Genesis are a scientific description of how the universe came about, which is more widely considered to be what “creationism” is. You are also not using it in the sense of saying that the universe is therefore less than 10000 years old, which is what Young Earth Creationism is - and is generally considered to be the least scientific, most revelation based version of creationism. You are also not using it in the sense that most creationists would recognise it. In fact, the way you are using it is so far removed from the conventional understanding of the word, that you really need a different, more descriptive term. Which, I guess, is why they came up with “Intelligent Design”.

For the sake of clarity in argument (which in actual fact most darwinists are quite happy to obscure) it would be helpful to make those things clear.

aCTa Wrote:

What is the theory of ID? Well, according to ID people, it isn’t a “scientific theory” at the moment, so much as a proposition. And the proposition is that evolutionary mechanisms are not sufficient to explain the existence of life.

That is a negative definition. Even if evolution is falsified/disproved, it would not lend one shred of evidence to ID. Please formulate a positive definition for ID.

Also, please explain why you say in one breath that evolution and ID are both just as religious, while in the other you claim that evolution is dogma while ID is not.

SEF: You are wrong. That’s not what we were talking about.

Sleeve: So 20-40% of physicists are theist? That sounds like quite a lot, to me - more than I thought - and would be consistent with my statement. Hardly a small dissenting minority - 22% of the electorate in the UK returned an overall majority in parliament. Do you have the percentage for biologists, for comparison?

The percentage for scientists in general is around 40% - the percentage among biologists is much lower - less than 5%, I believe.

Uh, then why are so many evolutionary biologists, Christians.

We had emphasis on how few biologists were theists, and then later on we had emphasis on how many biologists were Christians.

Perhaps you subscribe to the Gouldian NOMA perspective on science and religion? That religion can say whatever it likes as long as it makes no truth claims, or has no bearing on anything other than people’s private opinions? But if that’s what religion is like, then it could be done away with entirely - it’s only left as a post-modern concession to try and avoid alienating everybody who might believe in something.

aCTa:

Have a look at that quote from the ID site: “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection”.

Why did they not have the intellectual honesty to say “creator” rather than “intelligent cause”? Because of the wedge strategy. They have to hide their true beliefs behind would-be obscure jargon .

Look at what was already pointed out to you by steve:

Dembski says all scientific theories have to include jesus

If ID is a scientific theory, as the IDers would have us believe, then it must include Jesus if “all scientific theories have to include jesus” according to the man who created it. Which means the “intelligent cause” of ID is indeed the God of Genesis.

The world is a mirror representing the divine life … Intelligent design readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

- William A. Dembski, Touchstone Magazine, July/August 1999.

from http://home.kc.rr.com/bnpndxtr/Hors[…]th-BP007.htm

aCTa: How much more explicit do you want it?

aCTa Wrote:

Why should anybody pay any attentions to my opinions? No reason at all. And no, my opinions and interpretations aren’t infallible. I don’t give a hoot what you think of me or my opinions. I only spend time here because I’m sorry for you all. However, if there actually is a God, then it might be important to find out what his (or her) opinions are.

Is it only me, or does this just make no sense at all? aCTa, pretty please with sugar on top, would you just proselytize - or get off the d*mn toilet?!

Hmm…and here I though we were talking about priviledged puddles. So, aCTa, I notice you haven’t bothered to try and back up your claim that:

aCTa Wrote:

…the puddle is remarkable, because there are no other puddles. And in fact, there are no other places where the puddles could form.

Does that mean you concede that, as far as those statements go, you were full of crap?

Rilke's granddaughter Wrote:

The percentage for scientists in general is around 40% - the percentage among biologists is much lower - less than 5%, I believe.

I’m going to challenge you to come up with a source for those numbers. If the second is supposed to represent the percentage of biological scientists who are theists, it’s way off.

It’s a common misconception, though. William Dembski pulled a number (1 to 2%) out of his nether regions concerning the fraction of believing biologists, too.

That, though, is not consistent with the numbers reported by Larson and Witham in a poll of scientists conducted in 1996.

So, if either you or Dembski want to proceed, please provide the citations that back up your numbers.

PvM: Darwin proposed a theory - he didn’t prove it. There is still no evidence that it works as a “theory of everything”.

Theories are never ‘proven’ and who is arguing that it works as a theory of everything? Darwin merely dealt with the issue of design in nature and formulated a theory which has withstood the attacks of time.

aCt about ID: And the proposition is that evolutionary mechanisms are not sufficient to explain the existence of life.

An interesting argument from ignorance. Does ID propose any ID mechanisms that do explain the existence of life? Of course not.

YEC is more ‘scientific’ than ID as it makes actual claims that have been disproven. Both suffer from the same problem however, a distrust in what God is showing them in the world around them. ID seems to insist on hiding their God in the gaps of our ignorance.

Perhaps you subscribe to the Gouldian NOMA perspective on science and religion? That religion can say whatever it likes as long as it makes no truth claims, or has no bearing on anything other than people’s private opinions? But if that’s what religion is like, then it could be done away with entirely - it’s only left as a post-modern concession to try and avoid alienating everybody who might believe in something.

Hard to tell if this comment reflects the SOP Creationist dishonesty, or genuine misunderstanding. On the off-chance it’s the latter, it’s an interesting statement. Gould does NOT say that religion can make no truth claims, only that there are different classes of truths, and the realm of science is limited to truths that can be tested against a presumed “objective universe”, subject to agreement between people of all faiths willing to examine the same evidence. Gould works hard to make it clear that this is far from all the truths there might be, and may be only a small percentage of them. It could be argued that science gains its strength by limiting the scope of its truths so narrowly.

The reference to “everybody who might believe in something” sounds childish. In deploying this phrase, aCTA seems to be saying that science’s narrow scope is the only “something” worth believing in, but this is absurd. As has been pointed out by many, scientists believe in an impressively wide variety of things beyond the scope of science. Some are Christian, of course, but even the belief that science is a worthwhile pursuit, itself is not testable by science!

As far as I can tell, aCTA is complaining that science is hogging for itself, authority over truths aCTa prefers belong to his religious doctrine, as it did (by default) for so long before science began to carve out a niche within which the scientific method was more effective in achieving goals people generally wanted to achieve.

In a large sense, I doubt religion can ever be “done away with” because it remains necessary to make statements about matters beyond the scope of science. What has been done away with instead, is religious statements about matters subject to test and evidence, and which fail the tests and contradict the evidence. Gould’s position is that religion is mistaken in making such statements. Dawkins, more extreme, holds that the larger sense (all nontestable statements) isn’t religion at all – that religion consists of statements about gods and miracles and fables which are simply fiction. It seems that aCTa’s concept of religion matches that of Dawkins, rather than Gould.

Vague memory of Larson and Witham, btw, is where I got my number, though it was a little high.

Of course, what I’m discussing is the political/social movement known as ID. there is no scientific theory called ID. It just dresses in scientific jargon, kind of like Eddie Izzard wears high heels.

It’s funny, but this matches a mental image I’ve long had of creationists/IDers – that of a couple of children up in their parent’s attic, getting into the trunk and dressing up in their parent’s clothes, which are much too big for them, pretending to be grownups.

YOU ONLY NEED TO GET RID OF GOD FOR DARWINISM TO WORK, NOT FOR SCIENCE TO WORK

in typical creationist fashion, you’re avoiding the real question here: what about the scientists who, despite your ‘edicts’, operate on the assumption that Darwin was right? Are they all wrong? Are they getting Christianity ‘wrong’? Are they heretics? Going to hell, even? If that’s what you think, let’s hear you say so, please. Up front.

But I know it’s a waste of time telling you all this. Because you are just like those dwarfs sitting in a small circle in the darkness, looking at each other. Nothing can make you see - you are imprisoned by your own minds. Personally, I found the passage from the Last Battle really helpful, and I am a lot more sympathetic to you poor things now I understand how much you have to lean on your faith, regardless of how shaky the stick is.

‘Dwarfs sitting in a small circle in the darkness’. Some heavy duty poetry there. Don’t quit your day job.

Thanks for the clear admission that you’re here for no other reason to evangelize, that you’re not a scientist in any meaningful way.

Also, I suggest you get used to the fact that the, uh, force of your personality isn’t going to make any converts to Jesus here. You seem to be yet another one of those people who claim that science is a ‘rival religion’. it’s not. Only fundamentalists think that. And no one, aside from people who already think exactly like you, is buying it.

I would urge you to quit being so ‘imprisoned by your own mind’ for a bit and to seriously ask yourself why other Christians don’t demand the same closed mind of themselves as you do, and to consider whether you might benefit from their example. .

“What about the scientists who, despite your ‘edicts’, operate on the assumption that Darwin was right?” In what sense is this the real question? What about them? Actually, for the most part, whether Darwin was right or wrong is completely irrelevant - because darwinism has hardly any impact on science. What I am taking issue with is the impact it has on “religion”.

The reference to dwarfs was a reference back to an earlier post (#33777). You’re right it isn’t poetry - it’s a children’s story that is a useful if obvious metaphor.

I am not here to evangelise. If I tried, the post would be deleted or bathroom-walled before I refreshed the page.

I don’t make converts to Jesus. That’s God’s job. I’m just trying to show you that darwinism doesn’t work. But if there is a designer, and you do end up giving an account to it of your life, you won’t be able to say that nobody told you. Of course, if there isn’t one, I’ll look stupid. But I’ll be dead, so it won’t matter.

Well, who would have guessed: today’s menu includes frozen Pascal’s Wager, microwaved. Mmmmmm… tasty!

CTa Wrote:

But if there is a designer, and you do end up giving an account to it of your life, you won’t be able to say that nobody told you.

I will too be able to say that no one told me. I’ll lie. If the one I have to give the account to is just the (unnamed) designer what leads you to believe that she’s also VP in charge of disposition of immortal souls? If, on the other hand, the designer is the Evangelical Christian God, why would anyone need to give an account of his life to an omniscient being?

aCTa Wrote:

What I am taking issue with is the impact it (darwinism) has on “religion”.

Okay, then, aCTa, to bastardize the good “Rev Dr”:

Why should anyone take your opinions about evolution more seriously than, say, those of people who actually do work in the field? You claim that “darwinism” is anti-religion; evolutionary biologists, many members of the clergy, and bunches of regular citizens, all from many different countries, don’t agree. Furthermore, you keep saying things that are quite blatantly false, and yet you seem to keep expecting us to take you seriously. Why do you think you have any credibility on this subject? Are you insane?

a Creationist Troll, apparently Wrote:

But if there is a designer, and you do end up giving an account to it of your life…

If we’re going to wind up giving accounts of our lives, does it not make more sense to actually judge us by the substance of our lives rather than by whether or not we just happened to believe some particular creed?

The reference to dwarfs was a reference back to an earlier post (#33777). You’re right it isn’t poetry - it’s a children’s story that is a useful if obvious metaphor.

Quite.

The last time I was at a church service (memorial service early last year), the Pastor was telling a story. I guess he was trying to empahsize the importance of his faith. He told the assembeled people how he could look out from his living room window and see the street his house was on, the houses of his neighbours, with the Tararua Ranges as a backdrop. Unfortunately he wasn’t all that comfortable with looking out at the world through that window.

He was much more comfortable looking out at the world through the stained glass window in the church. You couldn’t actually see anything through that window, the only thing you could see was the cross depicted within the window.

What really struck me at the time and still does when I think of it was that the then went on to say that the picture from the stained glass window was more real.

More real?

Whereas what was happening was that the light from the outside world was being filtered through the stained glass window. A nice metaphor I guess. He was using his religion to filter the real world through, and if it didn’t make it through the filter, then it wasn’t important.

Sounds kind of similar to the dwarves tha tyou were talking about a little bit earlier, doesn’t it?

Why should anyone take your opinions about evolution more seriously than, say, those of people who actually do work in the field?  You claim that “darwinism” is anti-religion; evolutionary biologists, many members of the clergy, and bunches of regular citizens, all from many different countries, don’t agree.  Furthermore, you keep saying things that are quite blatantly false, and yet you seem to keep expecting us to take you seriously.  Why do you think you have any credibility on this subject?  Are you insane?

Not necessarily, I think egomania and confusion would pretty much cover it.

What I am taking issue with is the impact it (darwinism) has on “religion”.

Ah, there we go again. A staple of fundies. It comes so naturally they don’t even know they’re doing it. Their particular religious beliefs are what ‘religion’ is. The people who disagree with them are, by definition, not religious. There’s just one big ‘religion’ (implicitly, fundamentalist Christianity), all ‘religious’ people share it, and anything different is atheism.

So whose ‘religion’ are you talking about? Yours, I assume?

“What about the scientists who, despite your ‘edicts’, operate on the assumption that Darwin was right?” In what sense is this the real question? What about them?

What about them? You are the one who said:

YOU ONLY NEED TO GET RID OF GOD FOR DARWINISM TO WORK

(It’s in all caps, I figured you must have thought it was pretty important when you wrote it.)

The point is that you seem to be bemoaning the effects of Darwinism on your religion (what are they, BTW?), yet others who seem to share your religion seem not to share this anxiety. At first you seemed to deny that this was the case, now you’re trying to say it’s not important.

Don’t act surprised when people here get on your case for being inconsistent and obfuscating.

If this is just you struggling with your religious issues, fine, I can sympathize. Just don’t try to claim it’s science’s (or Darwinism’s) problem.

Said aCTa:

YOU ONLY NEED TO GET RID OF GOD FOR DARWINISM TO WORK, NOT FOR SCIENCE TO WORK

This is nonsense. Care to provide some evidence to back up your claims? The concept of God is absent from the theory of evolution in the same way it is absent from all scientific theories. Or can you explain how say the absence of the concept of God from Special Relativity is different to its absence from the theory of evolution?

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on May 27, 2005 5:28 PM.

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