May 12, 2012

The Materialist Gambit: Purposeless in a Fine-tuned Universe

A gambit is a chess opening in which a player sacrifices a piece, most often a pawn, with the underlying goal of achieving an advantageous position. Similarly, many atheists are willing to sacrifice logically cohesive explanations of the universe in order to try and obtain what they believe to be is an advantageous position in life, one in which they are in control of directing their personal goals and pleasures. The actual result, however, will likely be a subtle underlying sense of purposelessness and logical self-contradiction.

Studies by Yale psychologists Bloom and Weisberg have suggested that children "naturally see the world in terms of design and purpose."[1] They have a teleological tendency that causes them to say such things as, "Birds exist to make nice music" and "Earthworms tunnel underground to aerate the soil". This tendency, called promiscuous teleology, would seem to be as erroneous from the perspective of a materialist psychologist, but it would seem to have an element of truth for those who believe the universe is logically cohesive and has an underlying purpose.[2] In secular atheist educational institutions, this instinctual tendency has to be "unlearned" before macro-evolution can be fully accepted. What do atheist scientists have to say on the subject of purpose?

Brian Green
Atheist scientists who are familiar with the specific laws and mechanical features of the universe often recognize that our universe functions together as a highly precise and hierarchical system. Well-respected atheist speakers, such as Brian Green, are inclined to use the phrase “fine tuned” in order to describe the interdependent qualities that work together in order to form a life-permitting universe.[3] An atheist at my blog has noted that this phrase suggests that the universe is tuned towards a purposeful end of some kind. The atheist commenter, Imnotandrei, stated,  "Saying 'The universe is finely tuned" implies a tuner."[4] This understanding creates a bit of a quandary. How is the materialist to reconcile the fact that our universe apparently operates as a fine-tuned interdependent system for life while it supposedly originated in a completely purposeless original condition?


Most atheists do not want to address the logical implications of this quandary and will avoid discussing it. For example, a self-described “futurist and ethicist” named George Dvorsky has written an article for his blog entitled “Our non-arbitrary Universe,” however, not once in the article does he address the underlying problem of how a purposeless original condition could logically account for a non-arbitrary fine-tuned Universe.[5] This question does not even register as a blip in his philosophical radar. But when laid out in context, this question proves to be a highly important one.

The materialist gambit: purposeless in a fine-tuned universe
  1. The universe appears to have a purpose as a fine-tuned system perfectly calibrated with life permitting properties.
  2. Yet, a person can believe that existence is ultimately purposeless.
  3. To live for no purpose in a purposeless universe is nihilistic and depressing.
  4. To live for a purpose in a purposeless universe is logically incoherent.
  5. To live for a purpose in accordance with the ultimate purpose of a purposeful universe is more logical and fulfilling.
  6. Therefore, living in accordance with the implications of the fine-tuned universe seems to be the most logical and fulfilling variant.
Though subtle and perhaps unidentifiable to the conscious mind, ultimately the most desireable choices for the materialist would seem to lead to either a state of depression, a state of confusion or towards a change of worldview which allows for more of a sense of purposeful fulfillment. Gallup polls testify that the happiest and healthiest individuals are ones who practice a spiritual and religious lifestyle.[6] Some atheists have adopted an existentialist world-view in an attempt to subjectively inject meaning into what is considered an otherwise purposeless and meaningless existence.

Confirming support for the first premise of the argument, the atheist George Dvorsky acknowledges that the universe is ultimately non-arbitrary, that is, it functions in accordance with fixed laws and principles. In order to better understand the ramifications, let's consider five specific definitions and some examples that pertain to this question.

1. purposeless: Lacking a purpose; meaningless or aimless.[7]

2. happenstance: a circumstance especially that is due to chance.[8]

3. arbitrary: Not limited by law; despotic: Determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle.[9]

4. random: Having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective: random movements.[10]

5. the fine-tuned universe: Like a complex integrated machine, the universe functions together as a precise life-permitting system on both a micro and macro scale.

The relationships between cause, effect and randomness have been analyzed mathematically. The father of chaos theory, Edward Lorenz, began his investigations trying to figure out why it's so hard to make good weather predictions and ended up founding a new branch of science. One of the key questions, however, is whether the origin of the universe was more causal or more random.

If the universe is based solely on cause and effect, then it is deterministic. If it is based on randomness, then it is non-deterministic. However, we see both conditions operating in the universe. And randomness in general seems to be produced out of a condition that includes consistent laws and principles. Even if we were to propose that certain basic fixed laws existed at the beginning of the universe, the nature of these laws their relationships to each other would have to be considered random and arbitrary from an atheist-materialist perspective. And we we can say with a fair bit of confidence that a materialist-atheist worldview implies a pre-existing underlying purposelessness. These perceptions should be weighed against the observations that we do have a universe apparently fine-tuned for the purpose of life.

One example of fine tuning involves the integral properties of matter itself. The elements that make up the physical world work together as a kind of self-joining Lego set. Each element has an atomic frequency and a certain number of electrons that allow it to join uniquely with other elements. Somehow, matter is designed so that just the right elements join together in order to form the complex compounds necessary for life. Carbon, the main building block of life, is versatile because it can form single, double, and triple bonds. It can also form chains, branched chains, and rings.

nuclear balance
The two forces that hold the particles together in the nucleus of the atom are called the strong force and the weak force. Both forces are "pitted against each other" and balance each other out.[11] If the strong nuclear force was just 2% weaker, then multi-proton nuclei would not hold together and hydrogen would be the only element in the universe. And if the strong force was just 1% stronger, then hydrogen would be rare and elements heavier than iron would also be rare.

For atheist-materialists, it is understood that the formation of the universe was a completely unguided process. Yet, considering all this purposeless activity, something truly amazing is evident: life exists and we're conscious of this life. And we're conscious of being conscious of this life. And, if you really want to push it, as you read this you can contemplate the fact that we're conscious of being conscious of asking why we're conscious of this life. And it is precisely because we can ask why, and we want to ask why, that we do ask why. However, if materialist-atheism is true, then there is no ultimate purposeful reason as to why we are conscious. And there is no purposeful answer to other deep “why?” questions in life. The universe “just is” and that's all. But is this answer adequate or even logically coherent when we consider what we actually observe empirically as sentient human beings? The answer is no, it isn't logically coherent.

All of our experience and reasoning help us to understand that highly complex interdependent systems do not simply form together on their own under unguided and unplanned circumstances. It's not a question of percentages, it is never observed to happen at all. The “Argument from a created, unique, hierarchical and interdependent universe” outlines this observation.[12] If we set aside the contentious questions of biological evolution and consider non-living systems, what do atheists have to offer in the way of complex, interdependent systems that form on their own? There are a couple of examples atheists bring up, but they are highly inadequate for addressing this problem.

a forming star
The formation of stars

Atheists will sometimes offer stars as examples of non-living things that are known to form on their own in an unplanned, unguided process. But stars are not complex, interdependent systems. So this is a fairly weak example.

The Miller-Urey experiment

Some atheists will bring up the Miller-Urey experiment as supposed evidence that unguided nature can produce complex chemicals, compounds and even life itself in the form of abiogenesis. However, looking at the Miller-Urey experiment objectively and in detail has actually provided compelling evidence for exactly the opposite conclusion, that abiogenesis should be considered a miraculous feat.[13]

First, it should be noted that even if the experiment is considered to have produced positive results, the experiment should be understood in context. As I pointed out earlier, the elements of the Periodic Table are already embedded with their own erector-set technology that 'motivates' just the right elements to join together in just the right manner (through an electrostatic attraction) in order to form just the right compounds to allow for life. In this light, experiments such as this that propose to join elements and compounds together may be likened to scientists putting male and female rabbits together and claiming, “Look, I've joined two rabbits together and cared for them, and they've reproduced. - I've helped to create life in a laboratory!” The hard work of forming compounds has already been done, that is, the creation of the self-joining building-block properties of the elements themselves has already been embedded in matter itself. Another problem is that the correct order of special right and left handed amino acids is only produced by RNA working together with several specialized proteins.

The basic elements of the amino acids produced in the Miller-Urey experiment are described as follows: “Each molecule contains a central carbon (C) atom, termed the α-carbon, to which both an amino and a carboxyl group are attached. The remaining two bonds of the α-carbon atom are generally satisfied by a hydrogen (H) atom and the R group.”[14]

The study of carbon compounds continues because they are extremely versatile and prolific, as noted: “A second reason for the study of carbon compounds is the sheer number of organic compounds. Chemists have discovered or synthesized more than 10 million of them, an estimated 10,000 new ones are reported each year.”[15] And remember how the nuclear strong force of the universe has a plus-minus tolerance of only 1% and 2% with regard to the formation of atomic bonds.

the Miller-Urey experiment
Considering these things, and even if we were to completely disregard the fact that most of the work has already been done in the fine-tuning of carbon compounds, the Miller-Urey experiment is unimpressive and problematic for a number of other reasons. For example, the experiment utilized a recirculating system in order to produce more of the desired elements. However, in nature there is no such immediate recirculating system and the time it would take to provide the same results would also be time that would have caused the properties of critical elements to become useless. Despite this and other overtly manipulative conditions, the results were highly simplistic and insignificant in comparison to what is actually required for life:

“After hundreds of replications and modifications using techniques similar to those employed in the original Miller-Urey experiments, scientists were able to produce only small amounts of less than half of the 20 amino acids required for life. The rest require much more complex synthesis conditions.”[16]

Another problem is that nearly all life-permitting amino acids that can be used in proteins must be left-handed. While almost all carbohydrates and polymers must be right-handed. However, in the Miller-Urey experiment there were equal quantities of both right- and left-handed organic molecules. When the results are opposite of what they need to be, the results are either useless or toxic to the very life they are supposed to be supporting.[17] Even if all the correct amino acids could be formed by chance, they will not link together in nature to form proteins, as explained by Thomas Heinz.[18] According to scripture, we humans are created in God's image. It's interesting to note that humans seem to be somewhat obsessed with the idea of creating life.

Conclusion

Given the choices of the materialist gambit, how can a materialist atheist attempt to have a fulfilling and enjoyable life? Perhaps by avoiding the logical implications of their worldview and by filling their lives with as many temporal pleasures and distractions as possible. Or, in a complete shift, by changing their worldview towards one that acknowledges that there is an ultimate purpose in existence.

George Dvorsky's article on our non-arbitrary universe did not offer any reason to believe there was an underlying meaningful purpose in the universe. But his blog did offer a couple of links to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), which promotes "animal liberation" and books by Peter Singer.[19] Singer's animal liberation ethics are also associated with the promotion of bestiality as an alternative lifestyle choice.[20] Bestiality has been shown to promote penile cancer through studies in Brazil.[21] If it is wrongly assumed that there is no objective purpose in life or basis for morality, then twisted and unhealthy behavior is a natural result. 

In accordance with the materialist gambit, the concept of a true and purposeful existence must be sacrificed on the altar before a new, subjective and fanciful idol may be created. No one should assume that the working out of this paradigm would follow a logical or healthy course.

References

[1] Institute for Creation Research, Darwinism: Survival without Purpose, Original source: Bloom, Paul and Deena Skolnick Weisberg. 2007. Childhood Origins to Adult Resistance to Science. Science, 316:996.http://www.icr.org/article/darwinism-survival-without-purpose/
[2] Physics Database, “Why is Our Universe Tuned for Life?” http://physicsdatabase.com/2012/04/23/why-is-our-universe-tuned-for-life-by-brian-greene/
[3] New Scientist, Humans may be primed to believe in creation, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16687-humans-may-be-primed-to-believe-in-creation.html
[4] Templestream, blog comment, May 9, 2012 2:56 PM, The Organizing Principle of the Universe: Hierarchy and the Central Truth, http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html?showComment=1336600613956#c3750575662537808953
[5] Sentient Developments, http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2006/03/our-non-arbitrary-universe.html
[6] Templestream, Gallup Polls Highlight Happiness, Health and Logic in Spirituality,
http://templestream.blogspot.com/2010/12/gallup-polls-highlight-happiness-health.html
[7] The Free Dictionary, definition of purposeless, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/purposeless
[8] The Free Dictionary, definition of happenstance, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happenstance
[9] The Free Dictionary, definition of arbitrary, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/arbitrary
[10] The Free Dictionary, definition of random, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/random
[11] Georgia State University, Hyperphysics, The Balance of the Strong and Electromagnetic Forces, http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/stem.html
[12] Templestream, The Organizing Principle of the Universe: Hierarchy and the Central Truth, http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html
[13] Answers in Genesis, Abiogenesis, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v18/n2/abiogenesis
[14] Encyclopedia Britannica, Amino Acids, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/20691/amino-acid
[15] Frederick A. Bettelheim, William H. Brown, Mary K. Campbell, Shawn O. Farrell, Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry, P2, http://books.google.com/books?id=utN05OmYOF8C&dq=Carbon+1.7+million+compounds&source=gbs_navlinks_s
[16] Answers in Genesis, Abiogenesis, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v18/n2/abiogenesis
[17] Ibid.
[18] Creationsim, Scientific Evidence that God Created Life, http://www.creationism.org/heinze/SciEvidGodLife.htm
[19] Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/RNHP
[20] CultureWatch, Sexual Insanity, http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/02/06/sexual-insanity/
[21] Huffington Post, Sex With Animals Can Lead To Penis Cancer: Study, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/sex-with-animals-penis-cancer_n_1088874.html

Photo of Chess game by Gábor used with general permission.


Tags: What's the purpose of life? Does the universe have a purpose? Was the universe designed? What is promiscuous teleology?, difference between arbitrary and random, what is an atheist gambit?, atheism and purposelessness, atheism and depression, atheism is logically incoherent

Related

The Organizing Principle of the Universe: Hierarchy and the Central Truth

Why Top Atheist Apologists Avoid Logic Like The Plague

Gallup Polls Highlight Happiness, Health and Logic in Spirituality



69 comments:

  1. R:Studies by Yale psychologists Bloom and Weisberg have suggested that children "naturally see the world in terms of design and purpose."

    Indeed, that is another piece of evidence that shows we a biologically wired to see patterns even if they do not exist. An mature person is wise enough to understand that, we know of optical illusions (when we see faces on the surface of Mars, ect.). Unfortunately, not everyone accepts reality and they continue to believe in Santa.

    R:How is the materialist to reconcile the fact that our universe apparently operates as a fine-tuned interdependent system for life while it supposedly originated in a completely purposeless original condition?

    It does not operate as a fine-tuned interdependent system for life. 99.999999999% of the Universe is unfit for life. An incredibly flawed structure for a perfect designer.

    Either the Universe could not form itself in any other way than it is or we are just the result of a nearly infinite multiverse.

    R:To live for a purpose in a purposeless universe seems logically incoherent.

    Do explain why generating our own purpose is logically incoherent.

    R:To live for a purpose in accordance with the ultimate purpose of a purposeful universe seems more logical and fulfilling.

    You will need to show that such purpose is not generated by human beings themselves under the conditions of the environment.

    R:However, we can say a fair bit of confidence that a materialist-atheist worldview implies a pre-existing underlying purposelessness. And this should be weighed against the reality that we do have a universe apparently fine-tuned for the purpose of life.

    Again, the human brain is wired to see purpose. We have no evidence whatsoever to make a claim that the Universe has some ultimate purpose.

    R:However, if materialist-atheism is true, then there is no ultimate reason as to why we are conscious. And there is no answer to other deep “why?” questions in life.

    That is blatantly false. There is always an answer to the question "why". Will you like the answer? That is a different matter.

    R:All of our experience and reasoning help us to understand that highly complex interdependent systems do not simply form together on their own under unguided and unplanned circumstances. It's not a question of percentages, it is never observed to happen at all.

    The problem lies in your definition of "new". Imnotandrei already covered that bit.

    R:Given the choices of the materialist gambit, how can a materialist atheist attempt to have a fulfilling and enjoyable life?

    Too bad you cannot be happy without some creepy ghostly concept. For healthy people being with other humans, sharing their feelings together and working for the community is enough to have a fulfilling and ejoyavle life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >It does not operate as a fine-tuned interdependent system for life. 99.999999999% of the Universe is unfit for life. An incredibly flawed structure for a perfect designer.

      - No, not a flawed structure, a black velvet background with an incredibly rare, brilliant and precious diamond. Do you know why diamonds are highly valued, Anonymous?

      >Do explain why generating our own purpose is logically incoherent.

      - I believe it is you who should consider why children need to be brainwashed into accepting ideas that are neither intuitive nor backed up with science. As atheist physicist Brian Green noted, we live in a fine-tuned universe and this implies an ultimate purpose, even as Imnotandrei stated, "Saying "The universe is finely tuned" implies a tuner." (May 9, 2012 2:56 PM) http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html?showComment=1336600613956#c3750575662537808953

      >We have no evidence whatsoever to make a claim that the Universe has some ultimate purpose.

      - You are contradicting the comments of other atheists I've just noted. It seems they have more experience and knowledge than you, so I should probably accept their views that the universe is fine-tuned and fine tuning implies a tuner.

      If you wish to cling to an illogical and depressing worldview, you are welcome to.

      Delete
    2. It does not operate as a fine-tuned interdependent system for life. 99.999999999% of the Universe is unfit for life. An incredibly flawed structure for a perfect designer.
      No, not a flawed structure, a black velvet background with an incredibly rare, brilliant and precious diamond. Do you know why diamonds are highly valued, Anonymous?
      Do you not see what you've done? What makes you think that your analogy is accurate?

      You see, in order for something like a diamond to have "value", someone outside has to want it...your analogy assumes right off the bat that an "outside" intelligent designer is behind the creation of earth and the universe.

      Isn't that what you're trying to "prove" in the first place?

      Instead it can be argued that out of all the billions of galaxies, with billions of stars and planets in each one, that it's possible that at least ONE of those would have the conditions to support our kind of life.

      It looks to me from your analogy up there, that you want to shove a "designer" in there, even though as Anonymous pointed out, it'd be wasteful of him or her or them to make all that space which we can't even directly see.

      More about fine tuning here:
      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI301.html
      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI302.html

      Stars possible in about a fourth of all possible universes:
      http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_thread/thread/46731f72e0cd5487?pli=1


      As for Brian Greene, it doesn't look like he's advocating for an "ultimate purpose" but rather a multiverse.

      Delete
    3. R:Do you know why diamonds are highly valued, Anonymous?

      Because there is some artificial shortage of it and some people like shiny things. Do you imply that life would not be valuable if the Universe was full of it?

      R:I believe it is you who should consider why children need to be brainwashed into accepting ideas that are neither intuitive nor backed up with science.

      Explaining him that the scary arm of the monster he saw outside the window was just a tree branch under a specific angule is brainwashing? I do pity your children.

      R:As atheist physicist Brian Green noted, we live in a fine-tuned universe and this implies an ultimate purpose

      Fallacy from authority. Furthermore, the "fine tuning" of Brian Green seems to not be the same "fine tuning" you imply. He is speaking about a natural "fine tuning" out of random trials and errors without the involvment of a mind. The majority of scientists do not see any ultimate purpose in our Universe and those who do, have no means of proving their claim.

      R:You are contradicting the comments of other atheists I've just noted.

      No, I am not. Both of them were talking about different things. Many do not like the term "fine tuning" because it indeed implies a designer who is percieved by many as god. That sort of designer would be rejected by imnotandrei and Brian Green. However, the designer might be the natural forces of physics. That kind of "designer" does not contradict atheism.

      R:If you wish to cling to an illogical and depressing worldview, you are welcome to.

      Do point where my worldview is illogical and depressing.

      R:No random and purposeless condition has ever been noted to produce a non-living, unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent system.

      The molecular structure of each ruby is unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent. And rubies do form in nature without the invovlvement of intelligence.

      R:Let me offer some examples. If time did not exist, would it be logical to create a watch to tell time?

      False analogy one after another. We create our own purpose because human biology need it. The initial conditions are already set through evolution.

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    4. P.S. And if you intend to reject my example with a ruby as part of an "inherent design within matter itself", do show what an undesigned feature would be like. Under your definition, there is no such thing as something undesigned.

      Delete
    5. Under your definition, there is no such thing as something undesigned.

      Thank you! You've managed to sum up in a sentence what I've been trying to get at in far more words. Well done!

      Delete
    6. >Do point where my worldview is illogical and depressing.

      The universe appears to have a purpose as a fine-tuned system perfectly calibrated with life permitting properties.
      Yet, a person can believe that existence is ultimately purposeless.
      To live for no purpose in a purposeless universe is nihilistic and depressing.
      To live for a purpose in a purposeless universe is logically incoherent.
      To live for a purpose in accordance with the ultimate purpose of a purposeful universe is more logical and fulfilling.
      Therefore, living in accordance with the implications of the fine-tuned universe seems to be the most logical and fulfilling variant.

      What is quite ironic is that atheists will use words that have purpose and meaning to describe ideas that have meaning and then deny that meaning and purpose exist on a fundamental level. Take this comment, for example:

      >You see, in order for something like a diamond to have "value", someone outside has to want it...

      This comment highlights the assumption that perceived value and commercial value are more important that intrinsic value. But is this necessarily true?

      Diamonds are beautiful, durable and have many purposes, and they are fairly rare. You could say that all of these aspects contribute towards the perceived value of diamonds. But, as Reynold has implied, there is a difference between intrinsic value and market value. And this brings up an iterating question, if a person found a diamond and simply used it practically, without putting it on the market, to make glass windows for himself, would it have value?

      It would have value in a strictly utilitarian sense, but not in a commercial sense.

      And i a person made a beautifully crafted castle just so he could display his beautiful windows cut with a beautiful diamond, but no one else ever saw these things, would the castle and windows have value? Yes, in my opinion.

      If the castle was finished and the builder left town, and no one else knew where the house was, or even saw the house for that matter, would the beautiful house still have value?

      In my opinion, yes.

      If the builder of the beautiful castle died and perhaps no one else would ever discover the house, would it have value?

      Again, in my opinion, yes.

      There are a couple of reasons why I believe it would have value. First, It would have value because it was created in the past with intelligence and care. For this reason, it would continue to have value in my opinion whether or not it was ever seen or appreciated by another person again.

      Second, it has potential value in that it may be appreciated by someone else in the present and/or future.

      In my analogy, the Earth is the castle, a very small outpost in the vast universe. Atheists recognize it is fine tuned for life. This implies it was most likely created with care for beings that care. Now, whether or not it is actually appreciated by humans is irrelevant.

      Atheists can call our universe and Earth a mistake, a 99.9999% failure, or whatever else they want to call it. But, the fact is, it is beautiful and rich in meaning on many levels. Anyone with an open mind will be able to recognize this. My hierarchical argument shows empirical reasons why this is the most logical and rational conclusion.

      Delete
    7. R:Yet, a person can believe that existence is ultimately purposeless

      Anyone is free to believe whatever they waht. That does not mean that they are right.

      Only a minority would claim that exisrence is ultimately purposeless. People create their own meaning. Unfortunately, some are too narrow-minded to create their own so they look for any kind of guidance (in the form of religion for example) and follow it like cattle.

      R:To live for no purpose in a purposeless universe is nihilistic and depressing.

      Indeed, but only a minority live without purpose.

      R:To live for a purpose in accordance with the ultimate purpose of a purposeful universe is more logical and fulfilling

      That is just an assertion from your part. No one has been able to show any kind of evidence for an "ultimate purpose".

      R:Diamonds are beautiful, durable and have many purposes, and they are fairly rare.

      I am no longer suprised at your ignorance... Humans did learn how to produce artificial diamonds some decades ago. Hence, they are no longer rare.

      R:First, It would have value because it was created in the past with intelligence and care.

      Yes, to the person who created it. But not to anyone else, since one cannot value something they have no knowledge of.

      R:Second, it has potential value in that it may be appreciated by someone else in the present and/or future.

      Everything has potential value. Dirt has potential value since it can be used to make a piece of art. But do you value dirt the same way you value a piece of art? Does water has the same value for someone in the middle of a desert and for someone drowning is a lake? Your castlle has no more value than dirt if no one can see it. It is just a different version of the Emporor s new cloths.

      R:This implies it was most likely created with care for beings that care.

      Not, it does not. We have no means of comparing a designed planet versus an undesigned one. Since, we have no evidence whatsoever of a designer and plenty evidence of undesigned processes, the most logical way would be to discard ID until sufficient evidence do appear.

      Your hiearchy argument is completely useless, since it encompasses any kind of system. I could do the same with your example of an original music piece as you do with natural processes.

      That is no an original piece of music, since it is based on Rock...Rock is not original since it is based of Blues... Blues is not original since it is based on Classical music...Classical music is not original since it is based on primitive tribal music... Primitive tribal music is not original since it based on the sounds of nature...The sounds of nature are not original since they are based on intristic features of matter... I do not know what the intristic features of matter are based on, but since everything else is based on something it would be logically to assume it is based on a metaphysical musical ham sandwiched which by definition has no need to be based on anything. See any problem in my reasoning?

      R:But, the fact is, it is beautiful and rich in meaning on many levels.

      Human can find beauty and meaning in many things. However, there is no common standart. Some will be bored by stars and be stunned with awe and admiration at the process of mating bugs.

      And you almost completely avoided my question about why 99.9999% of the Universe is unfit for life. What is the point of that "black velvet background" for life if it does not affect its "intrinsic value"? Also do explain why generating our own purpose is logically incoherent since you also avoided that question.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous,

      >The molecular structure of each ruby is unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent. And rubies do form in nature without the invovlvement of intelligence.

      - It is imperfections in rubies that make them unique from each other:

      All natural rubies have imperfections in them, including color impurities and inclusions of rutile needles known as "silk". Gemologists use these needle inclusions found in natural rubies to distinguish them from synthetics, simulants, or substitutes.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby

      You are correct to point out that molecular structures are complex, hierarchical and interdependent. I've pointed that out in my hierarchy article:

      C. Hierarchy and order are embedded in the physical world

      Why do certain chemicals and elements readily bond and organize themselves together into the necessary building blocks for life and the physical world? This has to do with the very nature of the elements themselves. Each element of the periodic table has a specific atomic number and some elements and chemicals are more "active" and are thus more likely to bond with others. "The more stable the resulting molecules are, the more likely these molecules are to form. "For example, an atom that "needs" two electrons to completely fill the valence shell would rather react with another atom which must give up two electrons to satisfy its valence."[11]

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html

      And also in the above article on the materialist gambit:

      One example of fine tuning involves the integral properties of matter itself. The elements that make up the physical world work together as a kind of self-joining Lego set. Each element has an atomic frequency and a certain number of electrons that allow it to join uniquely with other elements. Somehow, matter is designed so that just the right elements join together in order to form the complex compounds necessary for life. Carbon, the main building block of life, is versatile because it can form single, double, and triple bonds. It can also form chains, branched chains, and rings.

      As opposed to Imnotandrei's theory, we see this intricate lego-type quality in molecular structures as a fixed condition, not as a condition that is continuing to "ratchet up" in some indefinite non-living evolutionary scenario.

      >R:Let me offer some examples. If time did not exist, would it be logical to create a watch to tell time?

      We create our own purpose because human biology need it. The initial conditions are already set through evolution.

      - You are assuming the original conditions were set by unguided forces, but my argument and empirical observations show why this is not a logical deduction. And the idea of creating your own meaning for a set condition is logically incoherent.

      In the case of your analogy, the set conditions already exist, but you want to assign new meaning. It's like finding a watch and saying "I won't seek to know the designed purpose of this object, I'll use it to go fishing. Where can I attach a string to this thing?"

      The Earth and universe have been fine-tuned for life. There is a specific plan involved. If you want to know the plan, you will seek to know the creator and this is best understood by examining the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

      Delete
    9. R:It is imperfections in rubies that make them unique from each other

      So what? They are still unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent systems. The fact that some of them do not fit in some subjective standart of perfection does not change anything.

      R:You are correct to point out that molecular structures are complex, hierarchical and interdependent.

      We agree on that point. However, where does that fact imply a designer? Such structures are formed in nature without intelligence, so why do you speculate on the existance of a designer?

      R:Somehow, matter is designed so that just the right elements join together in order to form the complex compounds necessary for life.

      Again, in your example there is no distinction between designed/undesigned. How can you perceive designe if you have no possibility to compare it to something undesigned?

      R:As opposed to Imnotandrei's theory, we see this intricate lego-type quality in molecular structures as a fixed condition

      Sigh... Again with the God of the gapes argument and false generalization. We have limited knowledge on the Big Bang so you have no data to back up your assertion. Not to mention, that the initial conditons for the Big Bang were different from what we have today. It is like claiming that winter does not exist since we have summer now.

      R:but my argument and empirical observations show why this is not a logical deduction.

      Your argunemt boils down to one thing...it looks designed, therfore it must be designed. And you discard completely that it might be an illusion of design even if we have plenty of examples when people mistook something undesigned for something designed. Not to mention your argument makes no distinction between designed/undesigned.

      R:And the idea of creating your own meaning for a set condition is logically incoherent.

      Unfortunately, you have no undestanding whatsoever of what creating meaning for oneselve is like. I will try to explain it.

      1) We have a set of conditions set by nature itself. For example, some are born with an initial disposition for art or for natural sciences.

      2) Those inital conditions can be influenced, though. With hard work one could work to achieve one dream or another of their liking in the limited range of their capacities.

      3) Human nature is mor or less the same. Hence, we could show some general rules for a happy, fullfilled and purposeful life.

      And do please answer what is the point of that "black velvet background" for life if it does not affect its "intrinsic value"?

      Delete
  2. More to follow, but a couple of quick hits: How is the materialist to reconcile the fact that our universe apparently operates as a fine-tuned interdependent system for life while it supposedly originated in a completely purposeless original condition?

    Simple; there were a massive number of possible points that the Universe could have reached, after this much time, from its initial conditions. However, since we're here to observe it, we know it has ended up in a system capable of supporting life. If not, we wouldn't be here.

    So, the probability that we would exist in a universe capable of supporting us is 1. Now, we have no idea how many trials have been run, but we *do* know that without those conditions, we wouldn't exist.

    1. The universe appears to have a purpose as a fine-tuned system perfectly calibrated with life permitting properties.

    It appears to you to have a purpose. Existing as a system capable of supporting life does not mean one has the purpose of supporting life. Remember that intentional fallacy?

    2. Yet, a person can believe that existence is ultimately purposeless.

    A person can believe many things. I, for example, do not believe that existence is ultimately purposeless; I believe we create our own purpose. See the difference?

    4. To live for a purpose in a purposeless universe seems logically incoherent.
    5. To live for a purpose in accordance with the ultimate purpose of a purposeful universe seems more logical and fulfilling


    I presume you're not even bothering to make a logical argument at this point, since "seems" is a) not really logically useful, and b) certainly not logically necessary. ;)

    We cannot know empirically whether or not the laws of physics are eternal and so it is difficult to philosophically claim that the original conditions of the universe were completely arbitrary or happenstance.

    It is equally difficult to claim with any reason or justification other than "We wish it to be so" that they were not so.

    However, we can say a fair bit of confidence that a materialist-atheist worldview implies a pre-existing underlying purposelessness. And this should be weighed against the reality that we do have a universe apparently fine-tuned for the purpose of life.

    Again, your intentional fallacy is showing. See above regarding the probability of our existence being in a universe capable of supporting life.


    Atheists will sometimes offer stars as examples of non-living things that are known to form on their own in an unplanned, unguided process. But stars are not complex, interdependent systems. So this is a fairly weak example.


    Then please give an example of a complex, interdependent system (non-living) that pre-existed humanity.

    But his blog did offer a couple of links to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), which promotes books by Peter Singer.[16] Singer is a professor at Princeton University who promotes bestiality as an alternative lifestyle choice, as well as some other unhealthy ideas.[17]

    From your own comment line: "If you would like to debate, please refrain from ad hom attacks and try to make logical points."

    I believe you'll find that "Person X's website links to Person Y, who believes in things I find icky" is of the logical form known as an argument ad hominem. Per your own comment rules, please refrain.


    I will return later to respond to your arguments regarding the elements as "fine-tuned" and the Miller-Urey experiments which, I believe, demonstrate that your position is sufficiently vague and broad as to be useless, in addition to demonstrating fundamental failures of understanding of the aforementioned experiment and its successors.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. imnotandrei
      From your own comment line: "If you would like to debate, please refrain from ad hom attacks and try to make logical points."

      I believe you'll find that "Person X's website links to Person Y, who believes in things I find icky" is of the logical form known as an argument ad hominem. Per your own comment rules, please refrain.

      Good luck with that...Warden loves that ol' time ad-hom attack, doesn't he?

      He sure hates it when he figures that others like Havoc use it though!

      Delete
    2. Reynold,

      Good luck with that...Warden loves that ol' time ad-hom attack, doesn't he?

      - Dvorsky helps to promote unhealthy behavior. I suppose I should have a politically correct attitude and be quite according to your worldview. Well, I happen to disagree with you. I believe that unhealthy behavior can be publicly pointed out, Unlike Havok, I don't make unsubstantiated claims and tell blatant lies.

      Now, if you want to show me that Dvorsky is not helping to promote bestiality or that bestiality is not unhealthy or that rejecting objective evidence for a purposeful universe does not help to support this type of harmful thinking, then I would love to see it.

      Delete
    3. Dvorsky helps to promote unhealthy behavior. I suppose I should have a politically correct attitude and be quite according to your worldview.
      Wrong. Just stop using that as the basis for your arguments. How nutty that guy is has no bearing on whether the universe is purpsosefully designed or not.

      http://www.naturalism.org/science.htm#whyintelligent

      Behe's ideas getting shot down in court:
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day10am.html#day10am98

      So now you have done what you accuse Havok of doing: You have made an unsubstantiated claim that "my worldview" allows for bestiality, have you not? Or at least, one should keep quiet about it?


      Well, I happen to disagree with you.
      You disagree with your strawman view of me. I don't go for that either, and this Dvorsky guy is nuts, BUT his nutty beliefs have no bearing on the truth or falsehood of whether the universe if "purposefully designed" or not.

      I believe that unhealthy behavior can be publicly pointed out, Unlike Havok, I don't make unsubstantiated claims and tell blatant lies.
      No, you just use ad-hom attacks.

      As for your last paragraph: I've already said that his nuttiness is irrelevent to the argument. You're using the fallacy of consequences of belief here. Even if it was all true that "rejecting objective evidence for a purposeful universe" (of which there is none) help support harmful thinking, it has no bearing on whether the universe was designed or not!

      Delete
    4. Reynold,

      You have made an unsubstantiated claim that "my worldview" allows for bestiality, have you not?

      It seems that you later answered this point (May 13, 2012 6:23 AM)

      Let me ask you a question, Reynold. Do you believe Singer would be morally justified to engage in bestiality if he felt it was morally acceptable, even though you and others may not believe it is?

      Nope. As I said before: It makes no biological/evolutionary sense.

      - This is interesting in my opinion. You believe that Singer would not be morally justified in practicing bestiality if he so desired. But it seems the reason you offer is more a pragmatic one more than a moral one.

      Delete
    5. So in other words, you're going to dismiss the argument I gave, and act like I as an atheist have "no moral" reasons to oppose bestiality?

      Define "moral" then.

      Let's hear the xian "moral" argument against bestiality then. I suspect it'll be the old "biblegod forbids it" or some such variation.

      How is that moral when one looks at the killings, rapes, etc he's allowed or commanded in the OT?

      There's no empathy or concern for other's welfare there! At least with the animals one can realize that one is doing no favour to them by tying to mate with them.

      Of course, you'll probably write that off as "practical" reasons to. Anything so you can keep saying that I have "no MORAL reason" to oppose bestiality.

      Delete
    6. Rick: Unlike Havok, I don't make unsubstantiated claims and tell blatant lies.
      I only just noticed this ridiculous accusation.

      Rick, turn around is fair play - substantiate this ridiculous claim or apologise for it!

      Delete
  3. Part 1

    Imnotandrei,

    >Simple; there were a massive number of possible points that the Universe could have reached, after this much time, from its initial conditions.

    - There are two main issues. The initial conditions of the universe were supposedly random and purposeless. No random and purposeless condition has ever been noted to produce a non-living, unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent system. On the contrary, all of known history and empirical observation conclusively demonstrates that all new Non-living, unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent systems have been produced by the purposeful use of intelligence and energy. Your theory is counter to our observable and empirical understanding of the universe.

    >Now, we have no idea how many trials have been run, but we *do* know that without those conditions, we wouldn't exist.


    This is a logical fallacy. The existence of minimal and limiting conditions and massive odds in no way implies that physical conditions alone caused our existence, it implies the opposite.

    For example, if a hundred thousand men were at a firing squad and every one of them missed a prisoner, would it be logical for the prisoner to claim, “I am alive, therefore it is perfectly normal that they missed.”

    The fact that the prisoner is alive would obviously be due to the fact that there was some kind of intentional conspiracy involved that overcame the odds. The same is implied by the universe, it implies intention, not randomness.

    >It appears to you to have a purpose (the universe). Existing as a system capable of supporting life does not mean one has the purpose of supporting life. Remember that intentional fallacy?


    As atheist physicist Brian Green noted, we live in a fine-tuned universe and this implies an ultimate purpose, even as you stated,

    "Saying "The universe is finely tuned" implies a tuner." (May 9, 2012 2:56 PM)

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html?showComment=1336600613956#c3750575662537808953

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No random and purposeless condition has ever been noted to produce a non-living, unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent system.

      Actually, that's the very point under argument here. You *assert* this to be untrue, but it is equally valid to point to the universe as a whole and say "Here it is!"

      On the contrary, all of known history and empirical observation conclusively demonstrates that all new Non-living, unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent systems have been produced by the purposeful use of intelligence and energy. Your theory is counter to our observable and empirical understanding of the universe.

      As I said in the last thread, which you are now, apparently, conveniently forgetting, our timeframe for known history and empirical observation is but an eyeblink in the history of the universe. We have evidence that such things can happen, under laboratory conditions; why then is it so hard to believe that they can happen given billions of years?

      he existence of minimal and limiting conditions and massive odds in no way implies that physical conditions alone caused our existence, it implies the opposite.

      For example, if a hundred thousand men were at a firing squad and every one of them missed a prisoner, would it be logical for the prisoner to claim, “I am alive, therefore it is perfectly normal that they missed.”


      Ah, but that's not the situation we have here. You have one hundred thousand trials (unless they all shot at the same instant), all of which produced the same outcome, in your example.

      In our example, we have one trial -- the universe as we know it. We wouldn't be here to know it if the universe hadn't existed in conditions to support life.

      The fact that the prisoner is alive would obviously be due to the fact that there was some kind of intentional conspiracy involved that overcame the odds. The same is implied by the universe, it implies intention, not randomness.

      Except that, as I said above, the probability that, if we exist, the universe is such that we could exist is 1. It's not overcoming the odds when the odds are certainty.

      You're like the person who wins a poker tournament, and claims that, since the odds of doing so were 1-in-say-1,000, the universe meant for you to win -- unaware that the odds were 1-in-1 that *someone* would have won.

      As atheist physicist Brian Green noted, we live in a fine-tuned universe and this implies an ultimate purpose, even as you stated,

      I'd call Brian Greene on his language use, as well. ;)

      Delete
    2. No random and purposeless condition has ever been noted to produce a non-living, unique, complex, hierarchical and interdependent system.

      Actually, that's the very point under argument here. You *assert* this to be untrue, but it is equally valid to point to the universe as a whole and say "Here it is!"

      - Your language does not seem to be very clear here. In agreement with atheist physicists, we all seem to agree that the universe, and systems in the universe, are fine tuned for life.

      The questions are how and why?

      Because empirically we note that new and unique non-living complex interdependent hierarchical systems only come by way of intelligence, it's most logical to conclude that intelligence was involved in the creation of the universe. Simple.

      I'd call Brian Greene on his language use, as well. ;)

      - You can call a clock or a car whatever you want to, but they are still used to still tell time and transport people. In the same way, you can call the Earth and universe fine-tuned for life or not, but the fact remains these together form a highly calibrated machine used for living.

      Delete
    3. - Your language does not seem to be very clear here. In agreement with atheist physicists, we all seem to agree that the universe, and systems in the universe, are fine tuned for life.

      The questions are how and why?


      No, we don't all agree. As I've asserted, repeatedly, and you've deleted, repeatedly, the probability that, if we existed, it would be in a universe that permits life, is 1.

      (Also, Brian Greene whom you cite so frequently is a multiverse proponent; he and I would, I *very* strongly suspect, agree that the appearance of "fine tuning" is a sort of cosmic selection bias.)

      As to the "how" and "why" -- again, multiverse theory provides an answer. You can repeat your claims about what's most logical, but that does not make them true.

      Simple.

      "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." -- H.L. Mencken. ;)

      In the same way, you can call the Earth and universe fine-tuned for life or not, but the fact remains these together form a highly calibrated machine used for living.

      No, that fact does not remain, because you keep trying to slip intention-laden words into the discussion; in this case, "calibrated."

      The fact is the universe is one such that life is possible. *That* statement, we can agree on.

      Delete
  4. Part 2


    >I, for example, do not believe that existence is ultimately purposeless; I believe we create our own purpose. See the difference?


    Choosing to create your own purpose does not make your choice logical or fulfilling. Let me offer some examples. If time did not exist, would it be logical to create a watch to tell time? If fish did not exist, would it be logical to create a fishing pole to go fishing? Nature points to the fact that the universe is designed for life. To use the world and life for anything other than it's actual purpose would tend to be either very disappointing or logically contradictory, as I noted in the article.

    >Then please give an example of a complex, interdependent system (non-living) that pre-existed humanity.



    I'e already given examples at the hierarchy article:

    The physical world is organized into hierarchical relationships, including governing qualities and nesting qualities. There is hierarchy from small to large but there is also quantum hierarchy. The sun, which allows for life on earth, sustains an orbiting solar system even as the atoms that produce the heat and light of the sun sustain an orbiting system. The law of gravity sustains the macro-solar system while the nuclear strong and weak forces sustain the atomic orbits on a microcosmic scale.

    Macro-hierarchy is described as such, "Humankind's gaze into the universe--aided by telescopes--has revealed a vast hierarchy of structure and motion. Planets moving around stars; stars grouped together, moving in a slow dance around the center of galaxies. ...But the largest structures of all are the superclusters, each containing thousands of galaxies and stretching many hundreds of millions of light years across space. These superclusters are arranged in filament or sheet-like structures, between which there are gigantic voids of seemingly empty space."[7] It's not just a case of micro and macro hierarchy in Euclidean space, but quantum nesting is also noted, "It is a central question of quantum chaos, how the hierarchical structure and the dynamics of a generic classical phase space show up in quantum properties."[8]

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html

    >I believe you'll find that "Person X's website links to Person Y, who believes in things I find icky" is of the logical form known as an argument ad hominem.

    I believed I used the word unhealthy, not icky. Statistics have shown that sodomizing animals produces penile cancer. http://www.livescience.com/16903-sex-animals-bestiality-penile-cancer.html

    Dvorsky promotes a worldview that is logically self-contradictory. He also advocates animal liberation, a view that also supports unhealthy sexual behavior. These are objective facts, not an ad hominem attack.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yep. It doesn't count as ad-hom when Rick does it, only when others do it.

      Let's see:
      George Dvorsky's article on our non-arbitrary universe did not offer any reason to believe there was an underlying meaningful purpose in the universe. But his blog did offer a couple of links to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), which promotes books by Peter Singer.[18] Singer is a professor at Princeton University who promotes bestiality as an alternative lifestyle choice, as well as some other unhealthy ideas.[19]
      Yes, it is an ad-hom attack, one on this Dvorsky guy. His, and Singer's views on animal "relationships" have nothing to do with the evidence of whether the universe has a "purpose" or not.


      Looks to me like all this talk about "purposelessness" and whatnot is just engaging in the consequences of belief fallacy


      And those statistics in that livescience report show why people in general, and not just xians, don't go for that kind of thing.

      We don't need any "god" to tell us not to. I notice though, that you talk about bestiality a lot. Though only in regards to people you don't like, like PZ Myers and now this Singer guy.

      What about Neal Horsely?

      Now, to one of your other "points"
      Now, we have no idea how many trials have been run, but we *do* know that without those conditions, we wouldn't exist.
      This is a logical fallacy.
      Name it then.
      The existence of minimal and limiting conditions and massive odds in no way implies that physical conditions alone caused our existence, it implies the opposite.
      It implies nothing, actually. What actual evidence do you have other than the old, debunked "intelligent design" baloney do you have that "non-physical" conditions caused our existence?

      Have you not read the links I gave in another of your posts where I talk about ID?

      As for what you claim that Brian Green said:
      As atheist physicist Brian Green noted, we live in a fine-tuned universe and this implies an ultimate purpose, even as you stated,

      "Saying "The universe is finely tuned" implies a tuner." (May 9, 2012 2:56 PM)

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html?showComment=1336600613956#c3750575662537808953
      ,
      He doesn't show up until later in that comment thread (http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html?showComment=1336757252581#c2136224708246433974) for that post, and when he does, it's a link to a site where he talks about multiple universes, not a "ultimate tuner".

      http://www.crazyengineers.com/community/threads/why-is-our-universe-fine-tuned-for-life-brian-greene-ted-talk.54013/

      Delete
    2. Choosing to create your own purpose does not make your choice logical or fulfilling.

      Nor does choosing to believe that something else gave you a purpose. However, one of the two does not require the existence of undetectable external entities that somehow manage to communicate.

      Let me offer some examples. If time did not exist, would it be logical to create a watch to tell time? If fish did not exist, would it be logical to create a fishing pole to go fishing? Nature points to the fact that the universe is designed for life.

      Again, that's the point under discussion (or at least was, in the thread you *started* this from.) Using it here in this way is using your conclusion to try and support your conclusion.

      To use the world and life for anything other than it's actual purpose would tend to be either very disappointing or logically contradictory, as I noted in the article.

      This is presuming it has a purpose, which, again, was the point you're trying to assert.

      Your argument boils down to: "It would be logically contradictory to use the world for anything other than its purpose, therefore it has a purpose." I trust you can see the problem here.

      >Then please give an example of a complex, interdependent system (non-living) that pre-existed humanity.



      I'e already given examples at the hierarchy article:

      The physical world is organized into hierarchical relationships, including governing qualities and nesting qualities. There is hierarchy from small to large but there is also quantum hierarchy. The sun, which allows for life on earth, sustains an orbiting solar system even as the atoms that produce the heat and light of the sun sustain an orbiting system.

      And, as I said in the comments to that article, the "orbits" of the two things are vastly different -- ruled by different forces, possessed of extremely important differences in their characterists, and "hierarchical" only in the sense that you have a center and a periphery. There is, for example, no need for the "orbits" of electrons around a nucleus to be anything approaching regular. Nor do planetary orbits around a sun fall into very specific different energy states.

      The law of gravity sustains the macro-solar system while the nuclear strong and weak forces sustain the atomic orbits on a microcosmic scale.

      And, as said above, they function very differently.


      "It is a central question of quantum chaos, how the hierarchical structure and the dynamics of a generic classical phase space show up in quantum properties."[8]

      Your footnotes are missing, so I cannot look at your references to see if you cite them honestly. I read this as a question of "If" as well as "how", and do not consider your point at all demonstrated.

      Delete
    3. Choosing to create your own purpose does not make your choice logical or fulfilling.

      >Nor does choosing to believe that something else gave you a purpose.

      - But one choice is a more logical deduction than the other.

      If you were hiking and you discovered a great canyon with an ancient castle on a plateau in the middle of the canyon with no evidence of any bridge to the plateau, would it be logical to assume that the castle exists by accident because you cannot explain how any builder could have made it across the deep canyon?

      In the case of the universe, you have to weigh the two possibilities, either God exists or logical impossibilities occur. First, you have to be open-minded enough to recognize the fact that God's existence is logically explainable when the question is addressed objectively. As I pointed out in my designer God article, Dawkins does not address this question objectively and therefore creates multiple straw-man fallacies. I offer four reasons why God does not need a designer in that article:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/05/does-god-need-designer.html

      Delete
    4. Rick, could you stop with the false analogies? You insert each time from the start a manufactured artifact that was obviously designed. If it a castle then of course it has been designed. However, if it is just a bunch of rocks, shaped by the wind and rain that looks somehow like a castle, then it is not designed.

      Let us take another example...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_on_mars#.22Face_on_Mars.22_and_.22pyramids.22

      The famous "face on Mars" that proves the existence of ET...Was that face manufactured and designed by a complexe mind?

      Delete
  5. >Singer's views on animal "relationships" have nothing to do with the evidence of whether the universe has a "purpose" or not....Looks to me like all this talk about "purposelessness" and whatnot is just engaging in the consequences of belief fallacy.

    - The consequences of belief fallacy relates mainly to non-causal situations. For example:

    "God must exist! If God did not exist, then all basis for morality would be lost and the world would be a horrible place!"

    "I don't think that there will be a nuclear war. If I believed that, I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning. I mean, how depressing."

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-consequences.html

    It is not a fallacy to point out the logical consequences of a person's belief system. And I was not offering the subject of bestiality as a premise in a proof. I suppose critiquing my actual argument is a bit too challenging.

    Let me ask you a question, Reynold. Do you believe Singer would be morally justified to engage in bestiality if he felt it was morally acceptable, even though you and others may not believe it is?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It is not a fallacy to point out the logical consequences of a person's belief system. And I was not offering the subject of bestiality as a premise in a proof.
      I never said that you were offering it as a "proof". I was however pointing out that you seem to dwell on that topic a lot! Even though it had nothing to do with the actual topic at hand, about "purpose" in a so-called "fine-tuned" universe. Hence, the fallacy.

      I suppose critiquing my actual argument is a bit too challenging.
      No, unlike dealing with your ego sometimes; critiquing your actual argument is not challenging, just ask imnotandrei, but...getting you to abide by your own rules against ad-hom attacks and to get you to deal with all the relevant points that I bring up is.


      Let me ask you a question, Reynold. Do you believe Singer would be morally justified to engage in bestiality if he felt it was morally acceptable, even though you and others may not believe it is?
      Nope. As I said before: It makes no biological/evolutionary sense.

      Was that so hard?

      Let me ask you a question: Why are you so hung up on bestiality?

      Delete
    2. Reynold,

      Your understanding of ethics and morality could be developed:

      Let me ask you a question, Reynold. Do you believe Singer would be morally justified to engage in bestiality if he felt it was morally acceptable, even though you and others may not believe it is?

      Nope. As I said before: It makes no biological/evolutionary sense.

      Was that so hard?

      1. Reynold, Whether something makes sense or not to you does not really have any bearing on whether something should be considered objectively moral or not.

      Morality and ethics are based on the fundamental question of "ought" not clarity or pragmatism. Someone could claim that evolution justifies bestiality for a number of reasons. First, evolution is a-moral, it has no moral statement to make whatsoever, therefore, it should allow people to be free to do whatever they want to do.

      Animals can kill each other at will. If evolution is the basis or your morality humans therefore should be able to do the same, and perform bestiality if desired. Also, if all animals are ultimately related to humans and time is relative, then why should bestiality be wrong? You aren't providing very good reasons for your moral beliefs, Reynold.

      Delete
    3. Reynold wrote: Let me ask you a question: Why are you so hung up on bestiality?

      Rick's response: crickets

      Just so you know, Rick; it does not help your case against the "you're obsessed with bestiality" that you're now focusing on this, and upon your spam-replies to Havok, and ignoring, for example, the discussion of the Miller-Urey experiments below.

      If you're more comfortable discussing morals than science, then by all means do so -- but then knock off your claims to logical proofs based on scientific results, ok?

      Delete
    4. R:Also, if all animals are ultimately related to humans and time is relative, then why should bestiality be wrong?

      Cannot help but put my two cents. Rick, you are as always completely ignorant when things come to evolution.

      First of all, even if animals are related to humans it does not mean that they are the same. Cyanide and Carbon dioxide both have Carbon atoms, but they are still different substances.

      Secondly, evolution is concerned with the survival of a specie. The risk of cancer and veneric diseases is higher for people practicng bestiality, as you know it, RIck. Furthermore, there is plenty of psychological harm from such actions. Since bestiality hinders the survival of a specie, evolution is against bestiality.

      Finally, it has no benefits and plenty of harm for the animals involved for obvious reasons (both physiological and psychological).

      That is the big differense between theists and atheists. Atheists usually will come up with rational reasons for any actions while theists will just rely on some moldy outdated book, being incapable of providing any good reason without it not to practise bestiality.

      Delete
  6. As for the Miller-Urey experiments:

    1) Sourcing Answers in Genesis undercuts your credibility significantly; if you're even going to try and argue science, I recommend paying attention to scientific work, not pseudoscience.

    I call your attention to this:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081016141411.htm

    And when you're done reading that, we can discuss Miller-Urey further.

    (Short form -- he found a lot more than he thought he had, because the techniques he had available in 1955 were primitive, and he was careful about his claims. Nonetheless, within one week in a single room he had managed to generate most of the building blocks of life as we know it (which, it is worth noting, is a much *smaller* set than the set of building blocks that might sustain life). When you compare that to the billions of years over vast quantities of space on the surface of the Earth that time has given us, it seems hardly unlikely at all (most probable, I believe would be your term) that a system such as the one that became life on this planet could have emerged purely through the interaction of natural forces, without any guiding intelligence.

    And, if that's the case, then your argument is, again, invalid -- because a type A system did come into existence through such means.

    And, in response to your other claim:



    I could equally well argue that "Since the atoms were embedded with this technology, all things that are made of elements are clearly derivative of this technology -- and there have never been any new A developed, as they are all embedded in this fundamental structure."

    And, since there have never been new A developed, we no longer can claim that they rely on intelligence -- indeed, we can claim nothing at all, for we have only the one example of an A -- the universe itself.

    If life is embedded in the design of atoms, then it *all* is; including intelligence.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rick: This tendency, called promiscuous teleology, would seem to be as erroneous from the perspective of a materialist psychologist, but it would seem to have an element of truth for those who believe the universe is logically cohesive and has an underlying purpose.
    Does the tendency of children to associate personalities and behaviours to dolls have an element of truth to it Rick? Does it point to an underlying truth that dolls are actually agents?

    You do realise, Rick, that those like yourself who believe that there is some underlying purpose to the universe need to actually demonstrate that this is probable before you can actually rationally claim that it is the case?

    Can you actually do that? No, I don't think you can do so.
    Are you actually interested in trying? No, I don't think you are, since to do so might open you up to having your beliefs falsified.
    Far better to stick with your unevidenced security blanket beliefs, than test them against reality, right? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ps. the tendency in children is actually an example of "Hyperactive Agency Detection", which doesn't point towards "underlying purpose" but rather at evolutionarily advantageous behaviours.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous,

    >RIck. Furthermore, there is plenty of psychological harm from such actions. Since bestiality hinders the survival of a specie, evolution is against bestiality.

    - Anonymous, it seems that you and Reynold need to get with the program. One of the top secular humanist professors from one of the top Universities, Princeton, has declared that bestiality is morally acceptable. Peter Singer is a "distinguished" professor at an Ivy League school.

    - Now, because secular humanism operates based on ethos-based rhetoric, not logic, then Singer's distinguished position makes him an authority on what is true according to secular humanist intuitions of truth verification. If you believe that Singer is wrong in his atheistic interpretation, then please offer the opinion of just one other distinguished secular humanist professor who offers an opposing view. Simple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R:One of the top secular humanist professors from one of the top Universities, Princeton, has declared that bestiality is morally acceptable.

      So what? It does not matter how distinguished the guy is if he is wrong.

      R:Now, because secular humanism operates based on ethos-based rhetoric, not logic, then Singer's distinguished position makes him an authority on what is true according to secular humanist intuitions of truth verification.

      Not tired of applying one straw-man after another? At least read up what secular humanism is on wikipedia. In secular humanism reason determines what is moral and what is not.

      R:If you believe that Singer is wrong in his atheistic interpretation, then please offer the opinion of just one other distinguished secular humanist professor who offers an opposing view.

      Secular humanism does not rely on authority, it relies on reason. Both Reynold and I gave you rational explanation why bestiality is wrong. There is no need to involve some authority in the matter if your brain is working well. Furthermore, atheism has nothing to do with bestiality, it is a completely different topic.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous,

    >So what? It does not matter how distinguished the guy is if he is wrong.

    - Did I miss something in your note? On what philosophical basis do you propose that there is a "right" and "wrong" as an atheist?

    ReplyDelete
  10. R:Did I miss something in your note? On what philosophical basis do you propose that there is a "right" and "wrong" as an atheist?

    I have explained to you at least two times in details my moral system. I am tired of repeating myself and it would be just a waste of time if you are going to ignored it as always.

    If you are interested in secular humanism, though, read at least the wikipedia article about it. Moral decision in humanism are based on reason (as I have pointed out in my previous post), on consequences of one s actions. Some actions are "right", being desirable, while others are "wrong", being undesirable. And those right/wrong are based on objective current human nature.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous,

    >I have explained to you at least two times in details my moral system. I am tired of repeating myself and it would be just a waste of time if you are going to ignored it as always.

    - Yes, I remember that your moral system, as you call it, has to do with living to be happy. And I also remember pointing out that this is subjective and not a philosophically objective basis for morality. And your typical reply has been, "Well, your morality is not objective either..." To which I replied, my moral code is based upon the transcendent, unchanging existence of God who has been shown to exist through many logical arguments. And I asked you to try and disprove my logical outline why God most likely exists.

    Your attack on one of the premises of my argument was the existence of rubies. You claimed that each ruby is an example of a new and unique highly complex interdependent system. However, I pointed out that it is the imperfections that make rubies unique and the main reason they may possibly be considered any kind of highly complex system is because they share a common molecular "Lego system" bonding. Matter has been formatted to join together in perfect molecular arrangements due to the atomic frequency of the basic elements of matter.

    This atomic frequency embedded in the basic elements of matter is not "evolving" it is not being "ratcheted up" to ever increasing states of complexity, it simply is what it is. And there are no new forms of this atomic frequency and Periodic Table of the elements. The reason scientists have been able to make a Periodic Table in the first place is precisely because these atomic frequencies do not change.

    So, to make a long story short, your morality is ultimately not built on sound logic or reasoning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R:And I also remember pointing out that this is subjective and not a philosophically objective basis for morality. And your typical reply has been, "Well, your morality is not objective either..." To which I replied, my moral code is based upon the transcendent, unchanging existence of God who has been shown to exist through many logical arguments. And I asked you to try and disprove my logical outline why God most likely exists.

      My moral system is neither completely subjective nor completely objective. Its outline is based on human nature and the physical world around us which is objective from the individual. It is also based on culture and traditions, which are also independent from the individual. However, in my moral system only the outline is objective, it does take into account individual differences and my morality is a process in action. In that sense it is subjective, but it is also real and accurate.

      Your morality, on the other hand, is based on outdated concepts from the Bronze age. That which is unchanging is stagnant. And all your argument for the existance of God have been proven fallacious in one way or another by a dozen of people.

      R:However, I pointed out that it is the imperfections that make rubies unique

      "Imperfection" is a subjective term as I have explained to you. Just because people value some rubies more than others, does not make them "imperfect". They may be imperfect only for some specific purpose you would yourself attach to them.

      R:Matter has been formatted to join together in perfect molecular arrangements due to the atomic frequency of the basic elements of matter.

      That still does not point to any kind of design. At least show that the atomic frequency could have been different to make your point. Furthermore, you also need to prove that it was impossible for that frequency to appear by chance.

      I have given you an example of an inanimate, unique, highly complex interdependent system which does not involve intelligence. You could be unsatisfied and continue with an infinite "why". However, I could just answer you that the atomic frequency does not need an explanation by definition (the same card you use to avoid god needing a designer). Though, it would be dishonest of me to use such a low trick, so I will say that we do not know, but science is working on it.

      R:This atomic frequency embedded in the basic elements of matter is not "evolving" it is not being "ratcheted up" to ever increasing states of complexity, it simply is what it is.

      How do you know that it will not change in some billions of years? We have only knowledge of a tiny fragument of the existance of our Universe. It is like denying the possibility of winter since it is summer now.

      R:And there are no new forms of this atomic frequency and Periodic Table of the elements.

      Yes, they do not change. Maybe they are unable to change and they could only assemble themselves in their current form. There is also the possibility that current laws of physics will change in some billions of years. You are using the "god of the gapes" argument to insert ID.

      Delete
    2. R:So, to make a long story short, your morality is ultimately not built on sound logic or reasoning.

      Do read for the third time my explanation on my moral system. Then do point up which part of my morality is illogical

      Delete
    3. Anonymous - you don't use the magical incantation "God" to justify your moral system. Everyone knows that you just have to make use of it, else the magic doesn't work :-)

      Delete
    4. My bad... I always new that Zeus would not cut as a guarantee for my moral system... A mass murderer is much more convincing than an adulter in that matter

      Delete
    5. True - at least you know where you stand with Yahweh - he'll kill you where you stand in a fit of pique!

      Zeus on the other hand - he might distract you, take the form of a swan (or a Golden Shower) and seduce your woman!

      Delete
  12. Rick
    R:And I also remember pointing out that this is subjective and not a philosophically objective basis for morality.

    "Objective basis for morality"? Are you joking, Rick?

    Here is a reality check for you about the kind of "morality" xians really have.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yup. "God" can do as "he" pleases is supposed to be an "unchanging" and "absolute" and "objective" basis for morality.

      Delete
    2. But "Negative Entropy" (or "Reynold" or "Havok") doing as "he/they" please(s) is somehow different, a subjective and poor basis for morality.
      It's also, as far as Rick's limited understanding goes, the only alternative to "God" doing what he pleases.

      Rick's understanding of morals and ethics is immature, to say the least.

      Delete
  13. The approach taken here to explain how the universe works is that we should start with ourselves and ask what origin of the universe story will render our lives more meaningful. This approach is wrong, it simple assumes, with no justification whatsoever, and contrary to lots of evidence, that the universe is all about humans. Questions concerning human motivations and incentives are different from, and unrelated to, questions about how the universe works, including questions about the origin of universe, regardless of any relationship that the answer to the latter may have on the former. Our beliefs are our descriptions of how the universe works, and questions about how the universe works need to be answered on the basis of the available evidence first, separately from, and prior to, addressing questions of human motives and incentives. If the way the universe works Is that we find our motives and incentives only within the context of our lives, then we don't escape this fact by creating an imaginary and fictional universe that externally imposes human motivation and incentives just because it a- priori appears to some people that such a universe would make it easier for humans to have motivation and incentives of one sort or another.

    ReplyDelete
  14. >The approach taken here to explain how the universe works is that we should start with ourselves and ask what origin of the universe story will render our lives more meaningful.

    Asking the question "What would make life more meaningful?" is not actually the approach I am proposing in the article.

    In one sense, however, you did bring up an important point.

    From your own human perspective, it is true you must start with yourself in seeking truth. If you are sincere, you will do this without prejudice.

    If you are interested in holding a coherent worldview, you will gravitate towards logical explanations of the universe. If you believe logic is irrelevant, then you are in a bit of a quandary. There probably no point in having a dialogue with me.

    Many highly respected atheist apologists are not interested in logically justifying their worldview, so I would not automatically assume you are either. We'll see how you respond.

    >Our beliefs are our descriptions of how the universe works, and questions about how the universe works need to be answered on the basis of the available evidence first, separately from, and prior to, addressing questions of human motives and incentives.

    - Your comment is a bit ironic because, based on questions I've asked prominent atheists, the most highly respected atheists base their beliefs on preconceptions, not on evidence and critical thinking. According to the objective scientific method and the basics of critical thinking, any hypothesis that is offered must be evaluated on the hypothetical grounds that the hypothesis is true. However, rarely if ever are atheists willing to suspend disbelief and consider the logical possibility of God's existence and test the hypothesis as an alternative to atheism. In a vast majority of institutions today where atheism retains philosophical hegemony, the so-called "evidence" that is used to justify a view has already been categorized according to methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism presupposes atheistic materialism even before the evidence is discovered and examined. In atheistic institutions, atheist hegemony exists "prior to" the analysis of evidence. Belief and blind faith hold primacy over logic and reason. The reason that so many atheists fear public debate is because they have put the cart before the horse and cannot justify their beliefs logically.

    If you are willing to suspend your disbelief in God for a moment and use some critical thinking, you may find that belief in God is more logical than belief in atheism. The following two articles may help you to question the basis of your preconceptions.

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to the objective scientific method and the basics of critical thinking, any hypothesis that is offered must be evaluated on the hypothetical grounds that the hypothesis is true.

      Not quite right; they must be evaluated based on the evidence offered, or the evidence *possible*, that they might be true.

      Since most God-hypotheses end up being unfalsifiable, their scientific value is nil -- we have no way of determining whether or not they are true.

      However, rarely if ever are atheists willing to suspend disbelief and consider the logical possibility of God's existence and test the hypothesis as an alternative to atheism.

      You claim this -- however, you have no evidence for it. Just because they haven't reached the conclusions you have does not mean they haven't considered it.

      Methodological naturalism presupposes atheistic materialism even before the evidence is discovered and examined.

      If you can construct a falsifiable hypothesis, then it fits perfectly within the grounds of scientific endeavour. However, I've never seen anyone come up with a useful one.

      Belief and blind faith hold primacy over logic and reason. The reason that so many atheists fear public debate is because they have put the cart before the horse and cannot justify their beliefs logically.

      Actually, they can't justify their beliefs *to you*. Which is not the same thing, since you refuse to accept their position based on your own presuppositions.

      you may find that belief in God is more logical than belief in atheism.

      Or you may not. Many people have considered the option, and decided that logic, reason, and evidence support either refusing to believe in God, or asserting that it is a matter entirely of personal choice, as an unfalsifiable (and therefore scientifically & philosophically useless) hypothesis.

      Indeed: I'll ask; what evidence would convince you not to believe in God? If the answer is "There isn't any", then you've explained why your view is not evidence- or reason-based, but faith-based.

      Delete
    2. >Not quite right; they must be evaluated based on the evidence offered, or the evidence *possible*, that they might be true.

      - You are correct in that my explanation was slightly off. The point of my comment was the methodology, not the evaluation of the methodology.

      According to the objective scientific method and the basics of critical thinking, any hypothetical theory that is offered experimentally should proceed based upon the presupposition that the hypothesis is true, as far as all the variables are concerned.

      >Since most God-hypotheses end up being unfalsifiable, their scientific value is nil

      - I was not referring only to science, I was referring mainly to critical thinking with regard to philosophy. Philosophy does not have to be falsifiable. And there are instances in science today where falsifiability is questionable. Take the phantasm of multiverse, for example. Can you show me examples and strong evidence of multiverse theories that are falsifiable?

      >You claim this -- however, you have no evidence for it.

      - It is difficult to prove negative. However, I've noted at my blog how atheists are rarely if ever willing to suspend disbelief and consider the logical possibility of God's existence and test the hypothesis as an alternative to atheism. The film, Expelled no Intelligence Allowed, offers
      prima facie evidence of this practice. I noted this in the following article, for example.

      "This totalitarian attitude in academia is well documented in film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The tendency towards bias and abuse was underscored by the late atheist scientist Stephen Jay Gould: “Our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective “scientific method”, with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots is self-serving mythology.”(11)"

      New Atheism: New Excuses and New Abuses

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-atheism-new-excuses-and-new-abuses.html

      Delete
    3. any hypothetical theory that is offered experimentally should proceed based upon the presupposition that the hypothesis is true, as far as all the variables are concerned.

      Indeed. Though I have yet to see any part of your hypothesis that is experimentally discussable.

      Philosophy does not have to be falsifiable.

      You're correct. Of course, it also has a much lower weight when it comes to "proof", in part because of that very weakness.

      Take the phantasm of multiverse, for example. Can you show me examples and strong evidence of multiverse theories that are falsifiable?

      No. However, I assure you that people would be delighted if they could find a falsifiable test for it.

      You'll note, however, that no one is suggesting basing any part of their lives, or their knowledge, on the presumption of its being true -- which is a fundamental difference between it and the God hypothesis. The God hypothesis, in most of its forms, comes larded with a whole set of "Therefore you should..." attached to it, and carries with it, therefore, a much higher expectation of proof. The multiverse theory has been presented as a way to patch a theoretical hole, rather than a foundation for one's entire worldview.

      However, I've noted at my blog how atheists are rarely if ever willing to suspend disbelief and consider the logical possibility of God's existence and test the hypothesis as an alternative to atheism.

      This is just a restatement of your claim, and is not "evidence" of any sort.

      I'll provide you an example: I've done the philosophical heavy lifting you described, and ended up at my current non-deterministic-but-leaning-towards-materialist position. There. Now you know that "if ever" is not true.

      Expelled no Intelligence Allowed, offers
      prima facie evidence of this practice.


      You are aware, I trust, of the deceptive methods used by the producers of that film to acquire their interview materials? Why should we trust anything it says, given that it was unwilling to admit its own nature and had to resort to trickery?

      The stereotype of a fully rational and objective “scientific method”, with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots is self-serving mythology.

      This is true. Though if you bother to read it, he's talking about the way scientists think -- not about the scientific method as a whole. And do not forget -- unlike a method based upon personal claims of revelation or individual interpretation of a given text, science provides means and incentive to self-correct.

      So: On the one hand, you have an unfalsifiable set of hypotheses with a whole raft of consequences that depend, essentially, on *guessing right* which one to pick, or you have a method that is designed to, with careful and repeated use, weed out errors. When it comes to answering questions, I know which one I'd trust more.

      Delete
    4. imnotandrei: The multiverse theory has been presented as a way to patch a theoretical hole, rather than a foundation for one's entire worldview.
      Depending upon which hypothesis you're talking about, a "multi-verse" is a prediction of other physics hypothesis, rather than a specific hypothesis on their own.

      For example, inflation, a solid part of big bang cosmology, leads to the prediction that there will be multiple, disconnected, non-inflationary patches much like our own co-moving patch.

      It is a similar situation with String Theory - a "multi-verse" drops out as one of the expectations of String theory, rather than as an assumption of it.

      imnotandrei: When it comes to answering questions, I know which one I'd trust more.
      I don't doubt that Rick agree's with you, right up to and until you try to apply that same method to his cherished beliefs in God and Christianity. Rick is likely to pay lip service to a reasonable epistemology, as long as he's allowed to exempt his more foundational claims from any scrutiny :-)

      Delete
    5. You call any description of how the universe works that provides human meaning/purpose rooted in theism to ipso-facto be coherent. I don't see any distinction between imposing such a very restricted definition of what is required for a worldview to qualify as coherent and starting with a pre-commitment to a particular and limited set of conclusions. This is not the only problem I see with your argument, but it is a major problem.

      Another problem is cherry picking the evidence and jumping to conclusions that go beyond where the cited evidence takes us. For example, you cite psychological evidence that people "naturally prefer to see the world in terms of design and purpose". You then conclude that this is evidence that the universe was purposefully designed. Very few, if any, psychologists would agree that human psychological tendencies accurately reflect how the universe works because the overall evidence from psychology is strong that human psychological tendencies are often inaccurate and wrong. Human judgement and decision making is distorted by an array of cognitive, perceptual, and motivational biases. The psychology that you cite is a good example of this, as it is not true that "birds exist to make nice music", or that "earthworms tunnel underground to aerate the soil".

      There is no human focused, purpose based, explanation for everything, since humans are not the goal, and purpose is not the essential, or foundational, property of reality. You keep asserting otherwise, but the overall evidence is stacked heavily against your assertion.

      Delete
    6. Explicit Atheist,

      >You call any description of how the universe works that provides human meaning/purpose rooted in theism to ipso-facto be coherent.

      - No, not ipso-facto coherent, logically coherent. There's a difference. Logic is based on a sequence of premises. The two articles I referenced in support of God's existence offer empirical evidence and logic in support of God's existence.

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/organizing-principle-of-universe.html

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

      Prominent atheists today hold a low view of logic, many do not even attempt to use it. After pointing this out here:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/search?q=atheists+avoid+logic

      An atheist at my blog, Reynold, stated,

      "Oh? Atheists "avoid logic like the plague"? Wrong, wrong. In regards to your point #4, you should read athiest philosopher Stephen Law's blog sometime."

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-top-atheist-apologists-avoid-logic.html?showComment=1332897660260#c115064073036305742

      However, like the rest of the prominent atheists I described, Stephen Law avoids logic and logical arguments, as the two following articles outline.

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/stephen-law-helps-reveal-nature-of.html

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/04/stephen-law-austin-cline-and-ukrainian.html

      >Another problem is cherry picking the evidence and jumping to conclusions..

      No, Mr. Explicit, my arguments relate to the universe as a whole and if you would like to refute one of them you will have to do better than making generalized comments such as that. You will need to show that a premise is actually false.

      In a logical argument, conclusions are not "jumped to" they are the unavoidable result of true premises in a valid logical form.

      >You keep asserting otherwise, but the overall evidence is stacked heavily against your assertion.

      - Again, these types of generalized statements mean nothing as an argument. A valid argument for a position requires a logical syntax. I you'd like to try and disprove my arguments, you are welcome to.

      Other than Imnotandrei, You will mostly find atheists interested in posting lies, slander or various distractions at this blog. But very few interested in a civilized debate based on actual, specific ideas and logical arguments. Maybe you will be an exception to the rule.

      Delete
    7. R:You will need to show that a premise is actually false.

      What is the point? You will just ignore the post like you did with the dozens of others

      Delete
    8. Rick: You will need to show that a premise is actually false.
      Actually Rick, it's up to you to show that a particular premise is true.
      You've consistently failed to do so - either asserting premises without argument, or failing to successfully argue for your premises.

      Delete
    9. Rick: The two articles I referenced in support of God's existence offer empirical evidence and logic in support of God's existence.
      Actually, they manage to achieve neither of those goals, as the outstanding critiques of your points on those very threads, and elsewhere, will attest.

      Since you're allergic to offsite reading when it doesn't support your position (and often, it seems, allergic to on site reading of the same sort), I'll present you a short quote which sums up the position you are in:
      "Whether God is brought in to explain the creation of the universe or the design of life, in neither case can the supernaturalist provide an account of God’s nature or how he operates. But good explanations don’t simply posit the existence of some entity or process to fill a purported explanatory gap, in this case a creative, designing intelligence; they must supply considerable additional information to achieve explanatory adequacy. A good theistic explanation would have to, for example, supply concrete specifications for God – his motives, characteristics, powers and modes of operation – to shed light on how and why he created certain species and not others, for instance. It would also have to show his relationship to antecedent and surrounding conditions: his historical provenance, his ontological status (mental, physical, or what?), and, not to put too fine a point on it, his current location. Further, an adequate theistic explanation would have to provide independent intersubjective evidence for God’s existence beyond his posited role as creator-designer. Without such evidence, in principle available to any impartial observer, there are no reliable grounds to suppose he exists."
      It is from this website, should you care to read it in context.

      What the quote highlights is the fact that your God hypothesis, as presented, is empirically empty and impotent, and as such, there is therefore no good reason to suppose that your God actually exists.

      Cue childish "Spam reply filter" rubbish in 3..2..1..

      Delete
  15. Rick: Methodological naturalism presupposes atheistic materialism even before the evidence is discovered and examined.
    Methodological naturalism isn't an a priori and unquestionable assumption, but rather a methodology (it's right there in the name).

    If you have an alternative methodology Rick - one which doesn't assume it's conclusions (MN has become naturalistic due to the failure of methods to investigate the supernatural, rather than presupposing it) and leads to verifiable (even if provisional) knowledge about reality, then present it.

    Note that science is not limited to only investigate the "natural", since "natural" seems to have developed from that which science can and does investigate. Anything which has empirical effects can, in principle, be investigate through scientific means.

    So, unless and until you present your alternative methodology which doesn't assume supernaturalism, but actually provides convincing evidence of it's existence, as well as providing a means of investigating mechanisms etc, your claims regarding the supernatural lack reasonable justification.

    Barbara Forrest's paper Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturalism: Clarifying the Connection" deals with the epistemological failure of supernatural explanations.
    Tom Clark & Ursula Goodenough's article Is Scientific Inquiry Restricted To Nature? deals with claims that science is not equipped to investigate supernatural claims. If you want more detail than I've provided above, Rick, I suggest you start by reading those links. Knowing how allergic you are to learning, however, I assume you'll simply ignore them :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Rick: If you are willing to suspend your disbelief in God for a moment and use some critical thinking, you may find that belief in God is more logical than belief in atheism. The following two articles may help you to question the basis of your preconceptions.
    Rick, unlike scientists who provisionally accept their hypothesis and then test it to see if the results line up with expectations, your God hypothesis is unquestionable to you.
    Regardless of the evidence, there is nothing that could dissuade you of your beliefs, it seems. Your hypothesis appears to be completely empty of content, meaning that any evidence (and it's converse) can be explained by it.

    Your God hypothesis is completed useless as an explanation, has no reasonable evidence supporting it (since ALL evidence and it's negation is "confirming" evidence).

    You simply cannot accept any of this, it seems, and continue to act as if your hypothesis was useful and reasonable :-)

    Ps. I'm still waiting for a number of responses on your "Identity, Logic & Physics" link, along with other blog posts. Other commenters are also waiting for responses, if I recall correctly.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is a blog spam-filter reply,

    In the interest of avoiding comment moderating for all comments, and for the reasons stated below, I've found it most unprofitable to attempt to engage in civilized discourse with the commenter named Havok.

    Beginning in December 2011, Havok became so frustrated with his lack of answers that all he could do was to post unsubstantiated slander against me. He claimed, for example, that I ignored or did not adequately address valid critiques of articles, such as, "How Identity, Logic and Physics prove God's Existence." However, Havok has yet to provide one such referenced example.

    Instead of apologizing, he continues to post more unsubstantiated lies and slander.

    Havok also continues to insist that I am "lying" about Richard Dawkins. I have clearly described why Dawkins is shown to be cautiously open-minded towards the moral viability of eugenics in an article,"How Richard Dawkins' Evolution Justifies Racism and Genocide" (VI. Richard Dawkins' moral relativism and views on eugenics).  If a third person, a civilized person, believes that Havok has offered a valid point and would like to summarize it in some type of logical format, I would be willing to entertain it. In any event, Havok is a good object lesson. His consistent slander and lies demonstrate that the sin nature is alive and well, though atheists such as Havok will continue to deny that it exists.

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    1. I suspect that it's more to the fact that you have trouble dealing with Havok's replies than anything else.

      Whine all you want, Warden....you haven't dealt with what Havok has brought up.

      Not that it matters, it shows how weak you are philosophically.

      Delete
    2. Reynold,

      Do you remember when you wrote this:


      "Oh? Atheists "avoid logic like the plague"? Wrong, wrong. In regards to your point #4, you should read athiest philosopher Stephen Law's blog sometime."

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-top-atheist-apologists-avoid-logic.html?showComment=1332897660260#c115064073036305742

      Please show a link to a single logical argument by Stephen Law, an argument summarized with clear premises and a logical syntax. Thanks in advance :-)

      Delete
    3. Why change the subject Rick?
      Reynold's comment above has nothing to do with Stephen Law.

      You seem to be under the impression that logical arguments can only take the form of a syllogism. This is far from the case, and in fact you only seem to use syllogisms to summarise your own arguments. To support the truth of your premises, and to demonstrate that the conclusion follows from those premises, you rely not upon logical syllogisms (or any form of formal logical notation), but rather upon natural language.
      For some reason you seem to be under the impression that putting your arguments in syllogism form somehow makes them good arguments, and that an argument made without a corresponding syllogism is somehow a bad argument. Given that the arguments you make are terrible arguments, this does not seem to be the case.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  19. Being that almost every civilized human that ever lived believes in the supernatural--a purpose--a creator in some form or another---it is the atheists who are abnormal.

    Anyone who has experience with abnormal thinkers can testify they cannot see the truth regardless of the facts.

    Just the fact that these abnormal people are trying to find out why the rest of us are the abnormal ones---searching for brain chemistry of why we see design--shows how utterly inept their reasoning skills are.

    The world turns out to be far more designed that what all those former humans could "see". If atheists think a lego set can just pop out of nothingness and build humans who can see, touch, taste, hear, and smell the universe when no person without those senses could ever imagine a concept such as Light or sound without ever experiencing it or knowing about it--how could a mindless cell?

    These peoples minds are dysfunctional due to their darkened intellect. I guess thats why they fascinate us. But because most of them spend their lives ridiculing the normal humans--they deserve to be exposed for what they are and should never be regarded as having any legitimate reason for their embarrassing arguments.

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    1. My, you are a fine example of logical fallacies in action.

      Being that almost every civilized human that ever lived believes in the supernatural--a purpose--a creator in some form or another---it is the atheists who are abnormal.

      Let's see -- we start with an argument from popularity.

      Anyone who has experience with abnormal thinkers can testify they cannot see the truth regardless of the facts.

      And here we go even further. Would you agree that geniuses are "abnormal thinkers"? Or are you going to try and claim that something *definitionally* abnormal is somehow contained under "normal" thinkers?

      Just the fact that these abnormal people are trying to find out why the rest of us are the abnormal ones---searching for brain chemistry of why we see design--shows how utterly inept their reasoning skills are.

      Actually, there's nothing about looking for the "abornal" in brain chemistry. Explanations for normal behavior are perfectly good goals, and that is what most neuroscientists are after.

      The world turns out to be far more designed that what all those former humans could "see".

      And now a blatant assertion.

      If atheists think a lego set can just pop out of nothingness and build humans who can see, touch, taste, hear, and smell the universe when no person without those senses could ever imagine a concept such as Light or sound without ever experiencing it or knowing about it--how could a mindless cell?

      And a ridiculous mischaracterization. Wow; if we had a "creationist bingo card" I probably could have won by now.

      Light exists without something to see by it; similarly, vibrations in a gas exist without ears. Something that evolved to perceive those things doesn't need to "imagine a concept" of such a thing.

      These peoples minds are dysfunctional due to their darkened intellect.

      You're the one coming in here with blatant assertions, logical fallacies, and utter nonsense; I recommend you work on that before you start accusing other people of having "darkened" minds.

      But because most of them spend their lives ridiculing the normal humans--they deserve to be exposed for what they are and should never be regarded as having any legitimate reason for their embarrassing arguments.

      Considering your entire "argument" consists of the twin towers of "Most people agree on X, therefore it's true" and "I can't conceive of Y, therefore it can't be true", you are hardly in a position to be talking about anyone's legitimate reasons, or embarassing arguments.

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    2. Do you actually practice this kind of pithy pretend philosophy on cats and dogs or something?

      Does it work?

      First off its called Argument from Authority and just as you incorrectly named it like a novice internet philosopher you then committed the exact fallacy by trying to imply it is geniuses who are the atheists.

      Look, I know you would like me to play your cheap little thrill game, in which you try and convince yourself you are not going to be judged in the end, but the results are already an in and you just hiding in the corner hoping someone, somewhere will buy your tired little story.

      Its over, its done. Not only have the Physicists and Cosmologists given in and moved to the lunacy of Multiverse, but the Biologists are starting to fall as well--knowing their probabilities are are far worse than the Fundamental Constants.

      So I dont know what tiny corner of reality you can succeed in but its not going to be anyone educated in spotting just about the worst arguments in history.

      So maybe your cat can be convinced of the infinite universe maker machine or that amino acids have intelligence--I dont really care because Im talking to someone whose bias has crippled his reasoning into the pathological.

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    3. First off its called Argument from Authority and just as you incorrectly named it like a novice internet philosopher you then committed the exact fallacy by trying to imply it is geniuses who are the atheists.

      Actually, let's lay this out for you, so we can see if you can follow the denotation of an argument:

      You wrote:
      Anyone who has experience with abnormal thinkers can testify they cannot see the truth regardless of the facts.

      Or, in summary form:
      "Abnormal thinkers cannot see the truth regardless of the facts"

      A cannot see B.

      Geniuses are abnormal thinkers -- unless you are going to try and argue that genius is "normal"?

      Therefore, by your argument, geniuses cannot see the truth, regardless of the facts.

      I hope you see the ludicrousness of this position. I was making no claim about geniuses' religious beliefs; I was pointing out the silliness of your argument.

      but the results are already an in

      And once again, all you bring is blatant assertion; no supporting detail, merely thumping your chest and saying "You're wrong!"

      but the Biologists are starting to fall as well--knowing their probabilities are are far worse than the Fundamental Constants.


      Then why is it that peer-reviewed ID science, by people like Behe, *support* the mathematics of evolution?

      or that amino acids have intelligence

      No on has ever asserted that amino acids have intelligence. Thank you for demonstrating a straw-man fallacy. ;)

      So maybe your cat can be convinced of the infinite universe maker machine

      All you need to do is add in "invisible, undetectable, and yet must be obeyed according to an ancient text" and you have the traditional model of deity. I don't see these qualifiers as *adding* to the likelihood.

      Really; bring an argument, backed up with something, back to this conversation. Right now all you've got is "You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong."

      Truth by blatant assertion is, to put it mildly, unconvincing. Truth by Trash Talk even less so.

      Delete

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