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January 27, 2016

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'Tim, Tim.

Wow. Just wow.

An Aztec hater. Seriously? Next you'll be criticizing the brilliant Chevy Citation or the astounding Reliant K design.

I am shocked. Simply shocked. I can't even......

From Jason Rosenhouse's book "Among the Creationists":

"Everyone who has contemplated the matter has been impressed by the intricate interworkings of living organisms. In describing structures like eyes and wings, it is difficult to avoid using words like "complex" and "designed." However, when you look more closely at the details, certain other phrases also become unavoidable. I mean phrases like "cobbled together" and "Rube Goldberg." These structures look like they arose gradually by an opportunistic process that had no foresight, not from the design of an intelligent engineer. In other words, they have just the structure they would need to have for natural selection to be a viable explanation." (p. 33)

Rosenhouse (p.83) uses, as illustration, the example of a dangerous arrangement of roads near his home. No city planner would design such a layout, and as a matter of fact it wasn't planned. Two towns had grown to meet just there. Stephen Jay Gould called such phenomena "senseless signs of history." It is not just that our lower backs and appendixes and wisdom teeth are non-optimal. That kind of imperfection confirms a prediction of the theory of evolution. And in many cases that history is known. For instance, the excellent book "Your Inner Fish" explains the peculiar, convoluted path of our cranial nerves on the basis of our descent from fish and reptiles.

The genome is full of such signs. Genes are sometimes accidentally duplicated, and thereafter diverge, mutations giving one copy a completely new function, but its similarity to the original remains, a similarity that would be unnecessary if designed from scratch. The same goes for the conservation of bones in arm, wrist and hand, adapted from fish fin to reptile and mammal leg to the wings of bats and our grasping hands.

Here's a different kind of example from Rosenhouse's book:

"It sometimes happens that viruses invade a larger organism and leave copies of their genomes embedded in the DNA of their host. These embedded genomes are referred to as "endogenous retroviruses," and modern geneticists have identified numerous examples. Curiously, they have found no less than seven cases where humans and chimpanzees share the same retrovirus at precisely the same place in their genomes. The location at which the virus embeds its genome is essentially random. It is asking a lot from chance to think that on seven different occasions viruses invaded both humans and chimps and left their remains in precisely the same location in each. The simpler hypothesis is that the virus invaded the common ancestor of humans and chimps, which then passed on those remains to all of its descendants." (p.54)

Common Ancestry is predicted by Scripture's a priori regarding all things: Dirt-To-Man.

The Non-Theist's unwillingness to test his premises against realty, against the actual metaphysical landscape of Christianity, causes him to conflate the Corporeal for the Adamic.

Reality testing, which just is science, is of course no friend to the Non-Theist in this arena.

Such is painfully obvious for the Non-Theist when it comes to common ancestry. A few more examples reveal the Non-Theist's resistance to allowing his premises, claims, and conclusions to suffer the pains of science -- as in -- reality-testing:

Design:

There can be no such thing as design.

Period.

Unless God.

The Non-Theist must find his metric for design and make his claim: “THIS is designed! THAT is not!

Trouble immediately engulfs the Non-Theist and all his claims.

The Non-Theist who claims he has found even one thing on this planet, in this universe, anywhere, that is designed, that is his metric of such, will, upon uttering said claim, upon pinpointing his metric, upon staking his ontic-claim of THIS/THAT, give us his proof of God.

The Non-Theist's only option is to declare all design which he wishes to use as his metric to be but a fiction – to be in fact un-designed. Indeed, all claims must collapse to the unintelligible, “NO-thing is designed! NO metric exists by which to gauge!”

But we know there are things, motions, which design things, which design motions.

Evil:

There can be no such thing as evil.

Period.

Unless God.

The Non-Theist must find his metric for evil and make his claim: “THIS is evil! THAT is not!

Trouble immediately engulfs the Non-Theist and all his claims.

The Non-Theist who claims he has found even one thing on this planet, in this universe, anywhere, that is evil, that is his metric of such, will, upon uttering said claim, upon pinpointing his metric, upon staking his ontic-claim of THIS/THAT, give us his proof of God.

The Non-Theist's only option is to declare all evil which he wishes to use as his metric to be but a fiction – to be in fact perfectly smooth, perfectly amoral. Indeed, all claims must collapse to the unintelligible, “NO-thing is evil! NO metric exists by which to gauge!”

But we know there are things, motions, which are evil.

Absurdities circle around the Non-Theist’s attempts at definition, at reference, at juxtaposition, at metrics.

He is left mumbling nothing in particular.

From Wiki:

Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: “reduction to absurdity”; pl.: reductiones ad absurdum), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin: “argument to absurdity”, pl.: argumenta ad absurdum), is a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial, or in turn to demonstrate that a statement is false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its acceptance……. this technique has been used throughout history in both formal mathematical and philosophical reasoning, as well as informal debate.”

One’s T.O.E. needs to be brave enough and hungry enough for Truth such that it is not afraid to embrace the real world as it actually is in a sort of eyes wide open approach to reality. That is one of the reasons we embrace Christianity.

As far as I can tell, it is scbrownlhrm who is dangerously close to "mumbling nothing in particular". He makes all kinds of mysterious and unsubstantiated claims. If I design something, I can be pretty sure that it is designed. I fail to see how making such a claim gives a proof of God. We get our notions of design from human behavior. The existence of human designers and the things they design is not in question. The existence of a supernatural designer is. As for common ancestry being "predicted by Scripture," I think a lot of Bible-believing Christians would be surprised by that. In fact, historically speaking, it's a very new idea. I'm all for having an "eyes wide open" approach to reality. The theory of evolution by natural selection helps us open our eyes to the wonders and patterns of nature.

Gerald,

Yes, un-designed motions sourced to irrational causality (the only causality you have) constitutes design on your terms.

Its nonsense.

But it's all you've got.

Best not to look TOO far into your claims.

Bad Design:

That misses the point. Why? Because the Non-Theist is unaware of Christianity's metaphysical topography.

By conflating the Corporeal for the Adamic, and by denying evil, among a few other things, the Non-Theist misses the landscape of Eden, of the Adamic standing there amid Possible Worlds, of a Fall out of Eden, of a Tree withheld, of Evil.

Even worse, the Non-Theist thinks (because he is ignorant of Christianity, and of the fact of Good, and of the fact of Evil) that the Adamic falls into Evil.

But the Non-Theist is wrong.

The Adamic stands in Eden amid Possible Worlds.

Hard stop.

(….this is Christianity we are talking about, after all….)

The Adamic motions amid Self/Other, there in Eden, and dives into Self, into a world saturated with the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Such has nothing whatsoever to do with good design and bad design (that had to be stated for the Non-Theist is that clueless in this arena), but, rather, with a far more fundamental and irreducible bedrock emerging throughout, constituting, an entire world.

How peculiar that all ontological seams we come upon in all of that find an uncanny seamlessness with all data points, with all which Mind affirms. All empiricism is pure motion and all motion is pure abstraction, and all corridors therein – from the physical sciences to the pains of privation to design to the intelligibility of the intentional – cohere amid truth correspondence, perception, and verification such that all lines affirm that the Hebrew, the Christian, and Scripture got it right.

IF there is in fact evil in tooth in claw, if there is in fact design through the irreducible contours of the intentional transposing in and by the Adamic, void of the Non-Theist's reductio ad absurdum, if such is claimed, if such metrics exist, then we have come upon a World which finds only one Genre on planet Earth with the metaphysical, scientific, observational, and rational wherewithal to fully finance the uncanny metanarrative we awake to find ourselves within.

Christianity’s truth predicates – here at these junctures – wherever such junctures may take us either proximally or distally – enjoy the intellectual luxury which the unique and stand-alone metanarrative of Scripture affords them and, therein, the Christin can rationally and casually go about assimilating new information as such comes in. Time and temporal becoming, timelessness and pure act, corporeal and mind, causality and the uncaused, design and evil, pain and joy, and all moral vectors converging within the geography of ceaseless reciprocity there within the immutable love of the Necessary Being – all of it – the whole show – are curiously found not in Scripture’s mere shadows and hints but in the gritty and concrete necessities which Scripture in fact ultimately requires throughout the entirety of its metanarrative.

Whereas:

On things designing things, on evil, on Man:

The Non-Theist’s many reductios here are fatal for his certainty lands we know not where, lost in ultimate unintelligibility amidst a self-negating presuppositionalism wrapped around a bizarre flavor of an unintelligible solipsism.

Discontent with metaphysic’s immutable necessities beneath his feet, he settles for what can be no more than a pretense that the entirety of mind’s first person experience is *actually* constituted of irreducible intention. No matter how long he chants that droll it always will be nothing more than autohypnosis wrapped up in wish fulfillment.

On all these fronts if the Non-Theist supposes that [1] he has the means to get to his irreducible (non-eliminative) metaphysical explanatory terminus with Intention, with Self, with Person, with Mind, with "I", with "i-am"...., and so on actually intact, and, also, if he suppose that [2] in his stopping point of that irreducible, non-eliminative metaphysical explanatory terminus he will find the necessary modes of causations, plural, in a causal paradigm which does not (on closure) merely annihilate Mind, Intention (etc.) -- if he supposes such is within the reach of the Non-Theist, then he is either [1] unclear on the problem, or, [2] unclear on the means available to the Non-Theist, or, [3] he makes the move of Harris and other reductionists by equivocating such that "I choose, but I cannot choose what I choose" (etc.), or else [4] all three.

The Christian rationally demands that the Non-Theist reality-tests his own megastructure (here in the arena of “things design-e-d and things design-i-n-g) which is itself nothing more than the Non-Theist’s own metaphysical stopping-points vis-à-vis irreducible intention’s summation in truth-finding there in the very Self which (then) is itself the conduit by which and through which all abstraction lives, moves, and finds its very being. That said, the Christian does not expect the Non-Theist to do the tedious work of reality-testing, of hard science, of rigorous logic.

The Non-Theist has no options. He must blindly foist his pretense and claim, inexplicably, that he has the (actual) means to get to those (actual) ends which make Irreducible Mind (….Person, Intention, "I", "i-am", etc.) his ultimate explanatory terminus, or, instead, he must hedge and equivocate (like Harris) and gain thereby exactly no ontological ground at all, or, instead, he must simply jump ship with the growing ocean of younger, braver, more honest atheists (so eager to deconstruct) and claim it is all an illusion at bottom.

[A] Should he opt for the first of the three options, then God.

[B] Should he opt for the either of the last two options, then his only option is to declare all design which he wishes to use as his metric to be but a fiction – to be in fact un-designed. Indeed, all claims must collapse to the unintelligible, “NO-thing is designed! NO metric exists by which to gauge!”

Nothing needs to be said about the obvious fact that all Abstraction, Reasoning, Truth, Knowing, Knowledge, etc., ultimately lose or else ultimately retain lucidity amid such navigations.

Gerald,

Does tooth and claw seem evil?

Do some things seem designed?

Do some things go about designing?

On your causal paradigm, the only closure you can find will annihilate, eliminate, any reply in the affirmative.

Also, why do you treat new information as an obscenity? That’s quite unscientific of you. Assimilating new information is embedded in God’s imperative to subdue all of physicality, all of temporal becoming. That such is frustrated and fragmented forces us to predict, expect, the lesser transitioning to the greater. Knowledge of reality, of the world, of God, of earth, is *not* *static* on Scripture’s definitions and terms. If you prefer to argue against some *Non*-Christian truth predicates then you seem to be doing a good job of it. What? If the Christian refuses to assimilate new information (and therein frustrate Reason as Truth-Finder) that counts as evidence of no-god? Or, if the Christian *does* assimilate new information (the proper ends of Reason as Truth-Finder) that *also* counts as evidence of no-god?

Straw man.

I suggest you reality-test your own paradigmatic claims. Physics outside of our skulls does not just magically have a “change-of-rules” upon transitioning into our skulls. The physical sciences can help you there.

Gerald,

The last two paragraphs could be read the wrong way.

So.....

What? If the Christian refuses to assimilate new information (and therein frustrate Reason as Truth-Finder) that counts as evidence of no-god? But then whence reason’s explanatory terminus inside of your causal paradigm? Or, if the Christian *does* assimilate new information (the proper ends of Reason as Truth-Finder) that *also* counts as evidence of no-god?

Straw man.

I suggest you reality-test your own paradigmatic claims. "Design-ed" and "Design-ing" end up in the pains of absurdity given causation vis-à-vis the physical sciences and intention in any intelligible (irreducible) form. Physics outside of our skulls (outside of wads of irrationally conditioned neuronal reflex cascades) does not just magically have a “change-of-rules” upon transitioning into our skulls (inside of wads of irrationally conditioned neuronal reflex cascades). The physical sciences can help you there.

Tim,


Three books which may be of relevance here on the purely molecular side of things are, first, the book Programming of Life and, second, the book Programming of Life Prerequisites and, third, the book Probability’s Nature and Nature’s Probability which may be of interest.


scbrownlrhm, I had decided that I had made a mistake by regarding your first comment here as a reply to mine. Except for "common ancestry", you didn't mention or respond to anything I'd said. Your next comment didn't seem to address me either, and was written in such an extravagant and unfamiliar style and vocabulary that I figured it couldn't possibly be meant for me, since if you were speaking to me you would presumably do so in a way that would be likely to make yourself understood. However, subsequent comments were clearly addressed to me, although you made all kinds of unwarranted assumptions about what I believe. You say I "treat new information as an obscenity"!!!??? You speak of my "causal paradigm"? You seem to be in your own world, and you project all kinds of things onto me without even asking. It might be wisest for me not to respond further, since communication does not seem to be taking place. However I do detect intriguing snippets of sense amid that torrent of words. There might be points we could discuss if you could narrow your focus. For instance, you seem to be concerned with the possibility of free will in a physical universe. You seem to be convinced that this is impossible unless there is a God. Did I get that right? But maybe, first, you could tell me: 1) Who is this Harris you refer to? 2) What is the tradition you are speaking out of? I don't recognize it. Yes I am an atheist, but I know something about Christianity, and have talked to and read Christians, and your language is not familiar. Are you coming out of postmodernism? Or some brand of theology? Or -- I don't mean to be rude, I mean this sincerely, not pejoratively at all, but are you by chance schizophrenic? Or perhaps you are just such a genius that I cannot hope to understand you.

Gerald,

The groundwork for communication is on the very simple questions I asked.

Does Dirt To Man seem credible?

Does tooth and claw seem evil?

Does it seem that some things are designed?

Does it seem like some things go about designing?

As for causation, you've only one irreducible category to work with. So please spare us any future equivocations on where that carries all "motion".


Gerald,

You treat new information as obscene because you disrespect those who assimilate new information. Being chastised by you for following evidence where Dirt To Man and potential ancestries of molecular cascades are concerned warrents the charge. You just assume such cascades are supposed to sum to some sort of "problem" that the Christian must "solve" and pigeon hole the unscientific on me. Before pigeon holes and stereotypes you may want to rethink your premises.

BTW, I'm not interested in your epistemology where causation and design are concerned. I'm interested in irreducible, non-eliminative metaphysical explanatory termini. If you think Mind and pure Abstraction "cannot" get us there in and by the intelligibility of said termini, well that may become relevant. As will causal closure.

Great post! Very helpful and coherent.

As Frank Turek loves to say, 'science doesn't say anything, scientists do.' Of course the implication is that two rational people can interpret the exact same data differently, often depending on their assumptions/bias.

I think this is obvious in Rosenhouse's thinking. What he (and others) see as "cobbled together" others see as elegant design. The eye is a great example. Take a look at this post from Eddy del Rio M.D. for a biologists perspective to compare to a mathematician's perspective. Design of the Eye

scbrownlhrm, although you didn't answer any of my questions, Daniel did. Evidently in somebody's universe you are talking sense. If you'd give me a reference for "Harris", I might be able to get my bearings.

The claims that I "disrespect those who assimilate new information" and "treat new information as obscene" are absurd and groundless. I simply laid out a counterargument to the original article. I argued that using imperfections as an argument for Darwinian evolution and against design did not depend on theological presuppositions, as claimed. Instead, the often non-optimal, cobbled-together, Rube Goldberg nature of biological solutions supports the hypothesis that evolution is a "an opportunistic process that had no foresight," because such a process would produce just such solutions. That is, it predicts them. Living bodies preserve 'senseless signs of history', and in many cases that history is well understood. That was an argument, supported by evidence. I disrespected no one. As far as I can tell, you have not countered the argument. Instead you have made all kinds of wild metaphysical claims unsupported by argument, let alone evidence.

To answer your "very simple" questions:

1) Our bodies are made of dirt and water (mostly water). That's an amazing thing. We understand how life consists of physical processes, most of which can only be understood at the molecular level. That shows that matter is wonderful stuff. We don't understand yet how mind and consciousness emerge from physical processes in our brains, but there is every reason to believe they do. So, does dirt to man seem credible? Yes, absolutely.

2) Does tooth and claw seem evil? No. Is it morally evil for a lion to kill an antelope with teeth and claws? Not for the lion, because the lion is not a moral being. Nor would it be for us, if that were the only way to sustain ourselves. However, if all living things were designed intentionally, would it be evil to design in so much pain and suffering and stupidity? I think it would have to be. And how, by the way, does blaming all this imperfection on the Fall actually work, anyway? Did God redesign all his creatures to suffer pain and death, and to have to eat each other, because a couple child-minded humans disobeyed their first "No"? That makes a lot of sense. Or was it the devil that redesigned all our anatomies? Either way, if "red in tooth and claw" is designed, it's morally evil (on the part of the designer), but not otherwise.

3)& 4) Not only does it seem that people design things, they do. If you deny it, please explain why. How it is possible that we have intentions and make plans and carry them out is another, or rather several, questions. Having a brain, presumably, is a big part of it. But no matter how bad we currently are at answering those questions, the plain fact that we do those things is just that, a fact. (Daniel Dennett, I think, has a lot to say about this, in terms of 'the intentional stance', but as a general rule I neither understand nor, to the extent I understand, agree with Dennett.)

As for causation, I don't agree with you that I have only one irreducible category to explain motion. Take a hand calculator. Punch in some numbers and add. On one level, the purely physical, the calculator can be described in terms of particles moving around, following physical laws of motion. But on another level, programming instructions are being followed. And on another, a computation is being carried out. Numbers, abstract things, are being added. So if you punch in "2+3=" what causes "5" to appear? The motion of particles. The program. An arithmetical truth. Different kinds of causation, on different levels. I think we are like the numbers. We are characters being computed by our brains, and given control by our brains of our bodies. And those characters -- persons -- design things.

What does God have to do with it?

Just look at a Rube Goldberg device.
Not only that, since we are still "evolving" what makes us think our idea of perfection has been perfected? I would ask how we know bad design from good given a strict materialism.

What ABOUT a Rube Goldberg device, Damian?

Here are some examples of "senseless signs of history", aka "bad design", from Neil Shubin, author of "Your Inner Fish". He begins with clashes between current lifestyles and past adaptations which are irrelevant to this discussion. But take a look at his accounts of hiccups and hernias:

magazine.uchicago.edu/0812/features/fish_out_of_water.shtml

Gerald, I have to ask, have you read the U. Chicago post to which you linked? I mean really read it sentence-by-sentence. You may want to try it. It is filled with presuppositions that are not proven. The main presupposition is that humans have evolved from fish, and not all that far. Thus, when we act like humans rather than fish, this results in all sorts of problems, like a torn meniscus. Simple. Understandable. Yet, myopic.

While many of his observations are obvious, I take exception with his interpretation. For example, our sedentary lifestyle underlies many of our health issues. I agree. But so what? Is macro-evolution the only rational explanation? Of course not. A characteristic of ALL design is 'functional limits'. The fact that many people try and live habitually outside their functional limits, which leads to system failure, isn't necessarily evidence for lack of design, but rather, for design itself.

Gerald,

[1] What was that about physics and irreducible intention?

Are you claiming an irreducible, non-eliminative metaphysical explanatory terminus of intention vis-a-vis physics?

I just want to be clear. Magic or equivocation need not even try. If you think physicality / physics finds its metaphysical explanatory terminus in said irreducible intention then get to it please. If not then get to it please. Eliminative metaphysics necessarily awaits fallacious claims simply because epistemology is ultimately indebted to ontology. I've a feeling your epistemology is disconnected from your ontological means. But give it a try.


[2] We agree on Scripture's a priori of dirt to man (the corporeal).

[3] We disagree on natural evil saturating every layer of this particular world. Scripture and reality affirm it. You deny it.


Gerald,

The Adamic is found in Eden standing between Possible Worlds. The Adamic is not pure physicality.

Failing to account for those two "explanatory termini" is why your attempts to describe "The Fall" all run far afield of Scripture's metanarrative.

Gerald,

All your appeals to broken pathways from the ground up affirm Scripture. Only, your droll, mundane, and hair-splitting examples pale by comparison to the thoroughness of the problem announced in Scripture and affirmed by reality. Corruption is a World. Eternal life an Alien. Death subsumes.

In fact there will come a day when the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette will look like a flawed design.

Unlike the 2006 Honda Accord. I would say the same for the 2011, but the drink holders have much to be desired.

Damian,

"Not only that, since we are still "evolving" what makes us think our idea of perfection has been perfected? I would ask how we know bad design from good given a strict materialism."

Interesting point.

Gerald has as his "GOAL" (proper) perfection of life, meaning survival, and that recipe sums to Perfect Survival, which cannot be less than eternal life. Perfection cannot mean anything less given Gerald's quest for perfect survival.

But perfect survival is a Non-Reality in his paradigm because eternal life is a Non-Reality in said paradigm.

There can be (then) no such reality as "falling short".

Because the GOAL doesn't exist.

And yet, with a Nonexistent Goal, we are told there are "imperfections". Which is nonsensical to say the least.

That's the problem with not reality-testing one's premises.

Gerald must foist that Scripture's eternal life instantiates by and through molecular motion in order for his premises to have any intelligible comment upon Scripture's definitions and terms.

And he must also foist that Perfect Survival (eternal, perfect) is an ACTUAL GOAL given *his* means in order for his premises to have any intelligible comment on Scripture's definitions and terms.

Otherwise, he cannot possibly be referencing Scripture's definitions and terms.

Your point ties up the loose ends. Bad, Good, and Design are three Non-Realities given materialism.

In fact, even *corruption* is unintelligible given "No Goal".

Meanwhile, Natural Evil, Moral Evil, Design-e-d, and Design-i-n-g transport all truth predicates out of Physicality / Temporal Becoming and into the Adamic amid Worlds.

As per Scripture's definitions and terms.

sam,

Honda is still terrible at drink holders....

B. E. Hunt, yes I did read the Neil Shubin article. I have also read Shubin's book, "Your Inner Fish", and highly recommend it. You say the article "is filled with presuppositions that are not proven. The main presupposition is that humans have evolved from fish...." In Shubin's case, it is not a presupposition. Shubin is a paleontologist. He set out to discover a transitional form between fish and tetrapods. He knew about when that should be (around 375 million years ago), looked at maps to find where rocks of the proper age could be found, headed to the Canadian arctic and discovered exactly what he was looking for: Tiktaalik. The bone structure of its leg-like fins is analogous to the bones of our limbs: two, then one, then several wrist bones, then fin rays/finger bones.

I agree with what you say about sedentary lifestyle and functional limits. But I did say that "clashes between current lifestyles and past adaptations ... are irrelevant to this discussion. But take a look at his accounts of hiccups and hernias." I thought the story of why sperm take such a long and circuitous route, and why testicles begin to develop far from their destination -- all tied to fish anatomy -- and the consequent susceptibility of males to injury (hernia) -- was a pretty perfect example of the "senseless signs of history" that Stephen Jay Gould spoke about. These are like fossils in our bodies, remains of a remote past, and they result in blatant flaws in design, unless you want to argue that hernias are beneficial.

B. E. Hunt, I meant to say, of the human arm/ Tiktaalik fin bones "one, then two", that is, in us, humerus, then radius and ulna.

Gerald,

Is death beneficial?

Gerald,

As for Death:

Perfect Survival -- Eternal Life -- be careful about that word "beneficial". You may find yourself overreaching. You need to have an end point. As in a Goal. If Death is your endpoint, your Goal, then nothing you are asserting about benefit makes any **metaphysical** sense. That kind of epistemology so utterly devoid of ontology via the pains of circularity and question begging is a bankrupt accounting of reality.

You're not reality-testing your premises in *any* of your metaphysical claims.

Sloppy.

Disconnected from reality.

Intention: your not reality-testing your premises. Again: Physics. Metaphysics.

Sloppy yet again.

Reality testing is what science, reason, and logic are all about.

Closing your eyes to any slice of the pie counts as wish fulfillment.

Autohypnosis works as long as you never test anything against physics, metaphysics, reason, and logic. But in the end, reality is better.


Gerald,

Your descriptions so far of dirt to man are interesting.

But none of it is contrary to Scripture.

So I'm curious, why are you obsessing and perseverating on those findings?

The OP is about design, and therefore about goals. It's about intention. It's about Good. Bad. But nothing you've described so far is of any relevance to any of that.

Do you have anything of any relevance to the OP that you can add? Dirt-To-Man is interesting, sure. But molecular cascades within temporal becoming vis-a-vis dirt....man.... isn't the topic.


Gerald,

Also, there's yet another problem in your approach.

You seem to think your perseverating on unimportant points matters because somehow, in your mind, God designed Corruption.

But Scripture refutes that.

You also seem to think Man, the Adamic, Person, Mind, Identity, Intention, is dirt -- pure physicality.

But physics (and Scripture) refutes that. Eliminative metaphysics necessarily awaits fallacious claims BTW.

Corruption is a World. Not a Fall. The Fall is not into a skinned knee. It's into a World.

The Adamic, and Mind, which Falls into a World, outreaches (eliminative) metaphysics and therefore ipso facto precedes it.

Think about that.

In fact, so far, Scripture's context of Possible Worlds forces error into all your epistemological lines.

If natural evil frustrating all hope seems, well, evil, and if tooth and claw seem evil, it just may be that they are, in fact, evil.

From the ground up.

That's what World means.


scbrownlhrm (Do you have a more pronounceable name?), you repeatedly berate me -- and all non-Theists -- for not testing our premises against reality. But you keep making statements about what I believe without testing your unfounded assumptions against the reality you're talking about, namely me, by asking! You are so wrapped up in your own little abstract jargon-filled conceptual scheme, and you keep jamming me into slots in that scheme which have nothing to do with the way I see the world. Here we are on a Stand to Reason website, which is devoted to Christian apologetics, and specifically to methods of argument. I listen to Greg Koukl's podcast, and he is constantly advising to ask questions. I disagree with nearly everything he believes, but I appreciate good rational argument that is based on communication, which means mutual understanding, or at least a determined attempt at mutual understanding. You should try it sometime.

Gerald,

Questions are good for dialogue.

I asked you about intention and causation on your own terms.

Eliminative metaphysics, epistemology disconnected from ontological means, and, "design" carry your terms to something that either stands up to reality-testing (physics and logic), or not.

The question is still there.


Immutable, non-eliminative, irreducible love and immutable, non-eliminative, irreducible mind (intention, "i-am", etc.) constitute a causal paradigm wherein closure affirms, rather than annihilates, the necessary explanatory termini required for "Design" and "Goal" and "Ought-Build-Thusly" to land inside of intelligibility.

"Design" void of metaphysically-actual intention cannot sum to more than an illusion. It feels intentional, but such is ultimately insolvent.

I apologize. I should not have said "You are so wrapped up in your own little abstract jargon-filled conceptual scheme." That was ungenerous and untrue. Your scheme has scope, probably even grandeur, as does the Bible, though I could wish your vocabulary were less abstract and more explanatory.

You have repeatedly used the fixed phrase "irreducible, non-eliminative metaphysical explanatory terminus." I understand each of the words separately, but the phrase is meaningless to me. Please explain it or cite a reference which does.

You constantly reference "the Adamic", sometimes in mysterious, oracular pronouncements, as "The Adamic stands in Eden amid Possible Worlds." I know the word 'Adam'. I know who he was supposed to be. I also believe that there is a great deal of sound scientific evidence against the claim that such a person ever existed. The human population evolved from previous hominid species, and work on the human genome suggests the size of the human population never narrowed to a single pair. So -- what do you mean by Adamic, and what is your reality-tested evidence for it?

I may have misunderstood your question "Does Dirt to Man seem credible?" I took it to be a figurative way of asking whether man could have evolved completely by material means, which I answered in the affirmative. But if you meant, did God form man out of the dust of the earth in an act of creation, as in Genesis, then my answer would of course have been No.

You say, "You seem to think your perseverating on unimportant points matters because somehow, in your mind, God designed Corruption. But Scripture refutes that." You also referred to my "droll, mundane, and hair-splitting examples." I don't believe I've perseverated on unimportant matters or have been "hair-splitting" at all, although I like the idea of being droll. My example, for instance, of the calculator, though stated in simple language, tries to get at something profound, the idea of emergence. Although this is, at base, a material world, it is a very rich one, able to support most of what we could want out of a human world. Or at least, most of what I want. It doesn't support immortality. Death is a biological and human fact. It is not a curse. Since I am an atheist, I don't believe God designed corruption. But if there were a God, he would have had to design it. Who else did? Death is built into us. Aging is. If we are the products of intention, then someone intended that. I much prefer my worldview, in which suffering and death are no one's fault, and there no escape hatch that we must choose by sacrificing our reason, as, it seems to me, Christianity offers. Death is our terminus, but not our goal, as you claim it would have to be. That is, pardon me, a silly confusion. People can realize all kinds of goals in a finite lifetime.

You repeat "Scripture refutes..." If I said the sky is green, that would not refute the fact the sky is blue. It would simply contradict it. Scripture refutes nothing except false statements about Scripture. But it does contradict a great deal of what we know about our origins from empirical research.

Gerald,

If all you can reference is It *feels* intentional!, and if said perception can't stand up to physics and logic, then you've no metric for design.

At least not as you *need* design to (actually) be.

Gerald,

Why did God have to design death? Please explain why it's impossible for created beings to choose worlds.

Also, your personal epistemolical goals of perfect survival (never die) isn't an ontological claim and hence fails to have the reach to make cosmic (metaphysical) claims about design. That you also assert that you've been irrationally conditioned to "feel" that way forces your reach even farther from where you *need* it to be if you want to make cosmic (metaphysically actual) claims on design. This kind of "loss of ground" happens at every step as we unpack your attempt to overreach.

Gerald,

"...But [Scripture] does contradict a great deal of what we know about our origins from empirical research...."

You've not shown us any of these points of disagreement yet.

Part of your confusion stems from the fact that you don't seem to take Scripture seriously when it opens with Man in Eden standing between Possible Worlds.


The art of spin is no greater anywhere than in the world of Christian apologetics. Lawyers and politicians must bow down in awe.

Sorry. I promised not to post anymore but couldn't help it.

Emergentism:

The calculator reference landed in emergentism. That's obvious.

That's why we *still* have *no* metric for design. It feels intentional. But it's not. We're irrationally conditioned to feel intentional. But we're not.

Physical properties house no intention. That is why, in a universe such as ours, nothing even *can* be designed.

If design shows up *anywhere* then that startling occurrence forces the whole show into a paradigmatic shape wholly alien to physics.

"A true physicalism makes no allowance for emergent properties in nature that are not already implicit in their causes. Unless, then, one is positing the existence of proto-conscious material elements, particles of intentionality and awareness that are in some inconceivable way already rational and subjective, and that can add up to the unified perspective of a single conscious subject (which seems a quite fantastic notion), one is really just talking about some marvelously inexplicable transition from the undirected, mindless causality of mechanistic matter to the intentional unity of consciousness. Talk of emergence in purely physical terms, then, really does not seem conspicuously better than talk of magic.” ( D. B. Hart)

The tools available to the Non-Theist explain why no one is really considering emergentism as a viable stopping point for "Mind". The idea of "intention" and "i-am" being "more" than a collocation of intentionless causes is also unscientific. That is why causation vis-à-vis intention always collapses into illusion.

Because....physics.

“Talk of “reducing” mind to matter or “explaining” the former in terms of the latter disguises what is really an attempt to eliminate from our conception of the world everything that is essential to mind and to replace it with a materialistic-cum-mechanistic substitute. A “materialist explanation of the mind” is thus like a “secularist explanation of God” or a “mechanistic explanation of formal and final causes.” Secularism doesn’t “explain” God, but denies that He exists; mechanism doesn’t “explain” formal and final causes, but denies that they exist; and materialism ultimately doesn’t “explain” the mind at all, but implicitly denies that it exists. “Eliminative materialism” makes this denial explicit rather than implicit. It is sometimes characterized as an “extreme” form of materialism, but it is more accurately described as an “honest” or “consistent” form of materialism. It is also insane, and a reductio ad absurdum of the entire materialist project.” (E. Feser)

T.D.,

You deny the Fall on Scripture's terms?

You deny that the "Adamic" is found in a world in which Eternal Life is potential awaiting actualization and also *not* his actualized state?

You deny that the "Adamic" is found in a world in which Good/Evil is fully accessible and also *not* his actualized state?

Do you actually think that Scripture asserts that Eternal Life is a drug or a pill that shifts "molecular motion"?

Do you actually think that the Knowledge of Good and Evil a drug or a pill that shifts "molecular motion"?

Pills? Or what?

You've been watching too much Sci-Fi.

You need to read bigger books with fewer pictures. Preferably not in the Matrix or Star Trek genre.

B. E. Hunt, thanks for the reference to Design of the Eye. I learned quite a bit. But I noticed one error. To the objection that our vision would be better with more kinds of color receptors, del Rio replies: "To the above concern I say that there are just three primary colors to light (red, green, and blue) and so the principle of simplicity seems to win for me." On the contrary, there is nothing about the physics of light that dictates three primary colors. There are three for us because we have only three kinds of receptors. If we had more, we would see more colors. Some women may see more, because they have two copies of a color receptor gene and one of them is a variant. Such a person would be a "tetrachromat". (See www.popsci.com/article/science/woman-sees-100-times-more-colors-average-person.)For human survival purposes, however, three seems to be plenty.

scbrownlhrm, you wrote,

"The OP is about design, and therefore about goals. It's about intention. It's about Good. Bad. But nothing you've described so far is of any relevance to any of that."

It took me awhile to realize that OP stood for Original Post. I'm surprised at your objection. The OP was in defense of Intelligent Design. This is a theory that points at various biological structures and claims, "That had to be designed." The alternative theory, Neo-Darwinism, claims that biological structures are the result of random mutation shaped over generations by natural selection. Such a process proceeds by "tinkering" with materials at hand to arrive at sufficient but not necessarily optimal solutions to the problems faced by the organism. The more we can see a structure as recording a series of historical accidents built one on top of the other, so to speak, as opposed to a series of optimal design decisions, the weaker the Intelligent Design hypothesis appears.

T.D ,

Also, You shouldn't chastise people for assimilating new information.

The metaphysical baggage of materialism's painful array of reductio ad absurdums is one thing.

The *lack* of metaphysical reductio ad absurdums within Christianity's metaphysical explanatory terminus is another thing.

Physics is another.

Biology another.

The philosophy of mind overlaps and is a yet another thing.

Scientism's failure another.

So there's all those things -- all those data points.

"Science" is a process of assimilating all data points.

Unscientific ideas are built on top of one data point and inexplicably ignore the whole pool of data points.

Allowing one's T.O.E. to be reality tested by *all* vectors is called "the scientific process". Interestingly we've not had to reject any of Scripture's definitions and terms. We obviously will should the evidence demand it.

If you consider the scientific process to be "spin" (etc.) then that is for you to defend. Your unscientific premises there are troubling. Heavy doses of Sci-Fi are probably poisoning your pool of "expectations" and hence the work of science pulling in data from all vectors seems, well, alien to you.

On absurdities, on the process of pulling in data from *all* data points, you may want to give the scientific process a try.

Gerald,

You have not established your metric for design.

You have not established intention.

You have not explained why it is impossible for created beings to choose, and thereby actualize, Possible Worlds.

You're still ignoring Scripture's definitions and terms. Hence you're perseverating on things of no relevance.

Design shows up, and that changes *everything* in a universe such as ours. But you've not gotten to "design" yet. So forward progress into dialogue on the Fall and so on can't happen yet.

scbrownlhrm

Still passing the burden of evidence over I see...

"You have not established your metric for design."

Recall that only ID is claiming that biological organism were designed. Therefore its up to ID to say how it detects design.

I cant speak for Gerald, but I think I'm right in saying he thinks ID is incorrect. Therefore, its not up to him to deine what ID thinks design is. Do you get that? But of course you dont get that - you'll carry on engaging in some barely related conversation with no-one but yourself.

Im still loving the metaphysical waffle. I dont know how you keep it up. I'll have extra dressing with your word salad please.

Gerald,

If you ever get to "design" (actual intention), then you'll discover that it had to be there the whole time (given physics and logic) in a universe such as ours. Evil not withstanding. The Fall, Evil from the ground up, and Possible Worlds is all off the map of dialogue if we can't even settle the question of "design/intention".

If (actual) design / designed / designing shows up, appears, or exists anywhere -- the "entire materialist project" is fated to absurdity and the entire paradigm of what we call "the universe" is suddenly found instantiating what it cannot contain.

Mike,

Gerald has not established that *any* design exists in this universe.

If nothing is designed, there is no metric for design.

Read more carefully.

Criteria For Design:

Mindless Design.

Designless Mind.

Irrational Rationality.

We "feel" intentional, but we're not.

We're irrationally conditioned to "feel" intentional, but we're not.

Such is the Non-Theist's "design".

If that is the case, then heck, it's *all* "designed" because it's *all* mindless and irrational and void of metaphysically-actual intention.

Or, instead:

If we ever get to "design" [ actual intention, actual design, not the illusions described in the comment time stamped "scbrownlhrm | January 29, 2016 at 11:17 AM"] then we'll discover that it had to be there the whole time (given physics and logic) in a universe such as ours. Evil not withstanding. Unfortunately, the Fall, Evil from the ground up, and Possible Worlds is all off the map of dialogue if we can't even settle the question of "design/intention".

If (actual) design / designed / designing shows up, appears, or exists  *anywhere* -- the "entire materialist project" is fated to absurdity and the entire paradigm of what we call "the universe" is suddenly found instantiating what it cannot contain.


The phrase "word salad" had occurred to me initially too. But after longer exposure, I don't think that gets at it. I think what scbrownlhrm says probably makes sense to HIM, though his worldview is so idiosyncratic that it is challenging to penetrate. What is disorienting, I think, is the often irresponsible way he speaks, seemingly without regard for truth, jumping to conclusions in great leaps. That he scolds others for failing to test their presumptions against reality is ironic, to say the least.

On the other hand, "word salad" can result from misuse of words. For instance, take this:

"your personal epistemolical goals of perfect survival (never die) isn't an ontological claim and hence fails to have the reach to make cosmic (metaphysical) claims about design."

First, the irresponsible jumping: I never said anything about having a goal of perfect survival, or not dying. Second, how can not dying be an "epistemological goal". That doesn't make any sense. Moreover, a goal can't be any kind of claim, let alone "an ontological claim." So maybe you're right, Mike. This is irresponsible talk without regard for truth OR sense, resulting in word salad.

Really, scbrownlhrm, you have interesting things to say, but you could use more discipline in saying them.

"Gerald has not established that *any* design exists in this universe.

If nothing is designed, there is no metric for design"

Based on this, Intelligent Design MUST be false.

You are a gift that keeps on giving.

Thank you and good night.

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