PvM posted Entry 1510 on October 5, 2005 10:03 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1506

With the recent Amicus Brief, it has become even more relevant to address claims that there is a scientific controversy or discussion about intelligent design. I argue that from a scientific perspective the discussion is already over. ID has shown itself to be scientifically vacuous, based on flawed premises.

I am not alone.

It would ‘become the death of science’. Ker Than reports on the ‘controversy’ surrounding intelligent design, pointing out that a new scientific theory must offer something compelling.

But in order to attract converts and win over critics, a new scientific theory must be enticing. It must offer something that its competitors lack. That something may be simplicity, which was one of the main reasons the Sun-centered model of the solar system was adopted over the Earth-centered one centuries. Or it could be sheer explanatory power, which was what allowed evolution to become a widely accepted theory with no serious detractors among reputable scientists.

So what does ID offer? What can it explain that evolution can’t?

To answer this, it is necessary to examine the two main arguments — irreducible complexity and specified complexity — that ID proponents use to support their claim that a Supreme Being is responsible for many or all aspects of life.

Based on an evaluation of the two main arguments, the author comes to a conclusion similar to that of various others who have asked very similar questions.

After examining ID’s two main arguments, the answers to the original questions — what does ID offer? And what can ID explain that evolution can’t? — is not much and nothing, leading scientists say.

Many others have come to this conclusion:

Ryan Nichols wrote:

In my argument against Intelligent Design Theory I will not contend that it is not falsifiable or that it implies contradictions. I’ll argue that Intelligent Design Theory doesn’t imply anything at all, i.e. it has no content. By ‘content’ I refer to a body of determinate principles and propositions entailed by those principles. By ‘principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue. By ‘determinate principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue in which the extensions of its terms are clearly defined.
I’ll evaluate the work of William Dembski because he specifies his methodology in detail, thinks Intelligent Design Theory is contentful and thinks Intelligent Design Theory (hereafter ‘IDT’) grounds an empirical research program.1 Later in the paper I assess a recent trend in which IDT is allegedly found a better home as a metascientific hypothesis, which serves as a paradigm that catalyzes research. I’ll conclude that, whether IDT is construed as a scientific or metascientific hypothesis, IDT lacks content.

Source: Ryan Nichols, Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic philosophical quarterly, 2003 ,vol. 77 ,no 4 ,pp. 591 - 611

Patrick Frank in On the Assumption of Design concludes that

Abstract: The assumption of design of the universe is examined from a scientific perspective. The claims of William Dembski and of Michael Behe are unscientific because they are a-theoretic. The argument from order or from utility are shown to be indeterminate, circular, to rest on psychological as opposed to factual certainty, or to be insupportable as regards humans but possibly not bacteria, respectively. The argument from the special intelligibility of the universe specifically to human science does not survive comparison with the capacities of other organisms. Finally, the argument from the unlikelihood of physical constants is vitiated by modern cosmogonic theory and recrudesces the God-of-the-gaps.

Scientists, predictably consider ID to be ‘boring’, scientifically speaking

“The most basic problem [with ID] is that it’s utterly boring,” said William Provine, a science historian at Cornell University in New York. “Everything that’s complicated or interesting about biology has a very simple explanation: ID did it.”

Evolution was and still is the only scientific theory for life that can explain how we get complexity from simplicity and diversity from uniformity.

ID offers nothing comparable. It begins with complexity — a Supreme Being — and also ends there. The explanations offered by ID are not really explanations at all, scientists say. They’re more like last resorts. And, scientists argue, there is a danger in pretending that ID belongs next to evolution in textbooks.

“It doesn’t add anything to science to introduce the idea that God did it,” Provine told LiveScience. Intelligent design “would become the death of science if it became a part of science.”

Indeed, when Dembski was asked to present plausible pathways for intelligent design, he responded

Dembski wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

AndyG correctly observed that such a position seems untenable

AndyG wrote:

This seems to me to be a very odd position to take. Bill seems to be saying that the onus is on the biologists to describe in minute detail every step in the evolution of a biochemical system - ideally documenting every DNA mutation that led to such changes - despite the absence of a biochemical fossil record. ID proponents, on the other hand, can dispense with such grunt work, because if a supernatural designer is responsible for the biochemical system in question, then “it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots”. This seems a tad unfair and rather lazy on the part of the ID camp, since they see no need to work out how the thing was designed in the first place. It also serves to shut down research rather effectively - if one concludes something was designed, then Bill seems to be saying that nothing further needs to be done (other than to pass on the conclusions to eager young minds).

If ID is not a mechanistic theory, then how can scientists make use of it? Is Bill really proposing that an ID research program should be devoted exclusively to labeling an object as being intelligently designed and then moving on to the next one?

As far as I can tell, AndyG’s question has been met with an almost predictable level of silence.

But even ID proponents seem to admit that a theory of intelligent design may have a long road ahead of it. Already in 1995, Paul Nelson was looking for a theory of design with positive content

Paul Nelson wrote:

That’s how the problem looks if we presuppose naturalistic evolution. The tiles won’t go into place. From the perspective of design, however, this research problem would very likely never arise. Complex systems with interdependent components, exhibiting specification and small probability, are – according to the theory of design – the products of an intelligent cause.

It seems somewhat strange to me that Paul uses this example, of a gap in our knowledge, to argue that a theory of ID is more than a gap argument.

Paul Nelson wrote:

Once we see that “gaps” are theory-dependent, and that design does not propose to fill the gaps left unsolved by naturalistic evolution, but rather to project its own pattern of explanation and research problems, all that remains of the formidable God-of-the-gaps objection is the problem of induction.

And a formidable problem it really is. If Paul wants to argue that there is a positive theory of design then he has to address how ID resolves the problem of induction. Or, otherwise, ID should not lay claim to having positive content.

Paul ends his article with

Paul Nelson wrote:

And that’s an interesting question, well worth asking and trying to answer. The task is to find a good theory of design and to test it.

Almost a decade later, Paul Nelson is quoted as follows

Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.

Paul Nelson, Touchstone Magazine 7/8 (2004): pp 64 – 65.

Paul’s explanation can be found here. I find his ‘response’ far from enlightening. Especially, given the problems of the main concepts (notions) such as “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity” which basically re-capture the gap argument.

The requirements for a positive theory of design seem to be well outside its present reach.

Paul Nelson wrote:

To do so, of course, we carpenters (or scientific mosaic-builders) must have a theory of design that projects its own patterns into the space established by the question, “How did living things come to be?” It would then not be evolutionary theory telling us what to expect observationally and theoretically, but design (see Figure 6). Some of the so-called “unsolved problems” of evolutionary theory might then become design-based predictions, perhaps framed as proscriptions, that is, as propositions of the form “event or phenomenon x will not occur.”

Unless one considers a gap to be a pattern…

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Comment #50984

Posted by sanjait on October 5, 2005 2:47 AM (e)

One has to give Mr. Nelson a tiny bit of credit, as he claims to grasp the concepts of predictive value, which would lead us to falsifiability.
“To do so, of course, we carpenters (or scientific mosaic-builders) must have a theory of design that projects its own patterns into the space established by the question, “How did living things come to be?” It would then not be evolutionary theory telling us what to expect observationally and theoretically, but design (see Figure 6).” He goes on to say, in a sense, that a gap is a prediction, which in some ways it is. I think we should welcome this, if this is the path the IDists take. Let them make as specific of predictions as they dare, because evolutionary biologists fill in gaps all the time.

However, they still need to give their own more complete explanations for some important questions, in the form of testable hypothesis. In fact, when publishing, it is customary to go ahead and show rigorous testing of a hypothesis at the time of publication. Here are some possible areas of research they can take:

Who is/was the designer(s)? Can they say anything about him/her/it?

What did the designer(s) design? Is there some reliable and tested method for determining this? Is it just the flagellum, or do they have something else to support their claims that humans didn’t evolve from apes, with which we coincidentally share the vast majority of our genes?

Where… ok I don’t have a where.

When were designed artifacts designed? How can we tell? Was it during the “Cambrian explosion” (which still doesn’t include human evolution from apes)?

Why…this one I’m hesitant to ask. Sceintists require testable hypotheses which survive testing to take ID seriously. I’m afraid the IDists, misunderstanding this concept, would take a “why” question as an excuse to ramble on about their religious speculations.

How did the designer(s) act on the tree of life, and how can we see this? This would be, in my mind, the most significant and investigable question, scientifically speaking.

Now, usually on the PT people would ask the IDists to answer all of these questions. I don’t think that is very fair to them. I think, if they can even provide a testable hypothesis for just one of these, we should listen. However, in return, any ID supporter who reads this should ask him or herself; if ID can’t form a testable hypothesis to answer any of those questions, why should we call it a science?

Comment #50989

Posted by kay on October 5, 2005 5:04 AM (e)

The nylonase bit was very interesting, I definitely didn’t know that :)

This said, is it me or Dembski breaks his own theory every time he strings more than 50 words together?

“We don’t connect the dots, we don’t have to”. Wow. “We don’t do investigative science, we don’t have to” either.

Comment #50992

Posted by Frank J on October 5, 2005 5:34 AM (e)

sanjait wrote:

When were designed artifacts designed? How can we tell? Was it during the “Cambrian explosion” (which still doesn’t include human evolution from apes)?

That’s the one question I would ask all IDers, and often. If they evade that one, and most of them do these days, there’s really no need to ask the others.

We must keep reminding ourselves that our biggest challenge is not to get snake oil salesman to stop selling, but to get the public to stop buying. And most will stop when they see what a scam ID is. The other questions, particularly the “who,” tend to make the public more sympathetic to ID.

Comment #50993

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 5:36 AM (e)

sanjait wrote: “Who is/was the designer(s)? Can they say anything about him/her/it?”

For most IDers, it’s the Christian God. You’re asking them to predict God.

sanjait wrote: “What did the designer(s) design?”

The computer that you are running on that we call the universe. If there is a God then our world would be a virtual simulation and the program changed at any time.

sanjait wrote: “Is there some reliable and tested method for determining this?”

Yes. Just take the red pill and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole really goes…

sanjait wrote: “When were designed artifacts designed?”

Five minutes ago. Your fake memories were programmed into you to provide “back-story.”

sanjait wrote: “How can we tell?”

You can’t.

sanjait wrote: “… if they can even provide a testable hypothesis for just one of these,…”

They did. Behe assumed that an “irreducibly complex” system as he described it could not evolve. This was testable and someone tested it. It was tested with an evolutionary computer program and both irreducibe and specified complexity were falsified. There’s a thread on this about Avidia(?)

sanjait wrote: “…if ID can’t form a testable hypothesis to answer any of those questions, why should we call it a science?”

It was a scientific theory, of a sort, and it got tested and failed the test. There’s still some argument about it, but that’s how I see it.

Dembski calls the “it’s not science” argument a ‘gatekeeper’ objection.
And I suppose it is. But we need that gate to keep the trash out. I myself don’t care about Karl Popper or other philosophical arguments because they’re too much trouble to argue. It reminds me of theologians arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

So, I have my own intuitive “science detector” I offer to share. It works this way: Real science engages the real world when ever it can. Miller and Urey engage the chemicals of life, fossil hunters engage fossils, programmers write genetic algorithms… After all the arguments are made about how small an agel can get, someone has got to go out and find an angel to measure.

Dembski’s ideas might be used to engage the real world in other ways, but they are not being used to do so. I think using design inferences and detecting specified complexity might find a use, for example, measuring the amount of specified complexity in, perhaps, animal communications. There is a controversy about whether dolphins have a language:

Engage that controversy, do dolphins have a language? Shouldn’t Dembski’s concepts have a value there?
http://www.dauphinlibre.be/langintro.htm

Compare the specified complexity of dolphin language, bird songs, whales, octopi, etc.. Make it at least a real scalar value, (if not a multidimensional one), by testing the concept against the real world.

Oh wait – if we do that we might end up giving God an IQ test when we test his designs…

The real world will challenge our ideas with its reality, just like any good theory can get shot down by one little fact.

One result of all the willingness of scientists to engage the ID community in “angels on pins” arguments is to make me wonder how much science is really science already.

Comment #50996

Posted by Edin Najetovic on October 5, 2005 5:56 AM (e)

As a linguist, I say no to dolphins having language for a variety of reasons. At least, I would not admit to them having human-like language that can communicate an infinite amount of ideas in a meaningful way. Ironically, the closest to human speech is actually the bee.

Of course the definition of language can be rather wide and can subsume these.

Comment #50998

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 6:22 AM (e)

ID as the “death of science” is pure, unadulterated, chicken-little, crap. Every physicist I know who supports cosmological ID still does physics the same way as his colleagues. (Scientists who do science differently from their colleagues are those, on both sides of the debate, who have made a cottage industry out of ID, including some PT contributors.) I have never heard one of my ID buddies say—why bother doing that experiment? That can only be explained by God. For us, ID is framework about which most (but not all) subsequent experimentation will most likely be agnostic. If I do an accelerator experiment to map out a cross section, it’s good science but not likely to affect my ID one way or the other. And my ID has no effect on whether I choose to propose or participate in the experiment. Furthermore, ID makes some of us more excited about science (and hence to carry out experimentation), not less. It is a nonsensical statement to say that scientists find ID boring, when so many obviously do not.

Comment #51000

Posted by Ron Okimoto on October 5, 2005 6:34 AM (e)

You don’t have to get fancy to claim that ID is pretty lame science, just point to any textbook and ask where is the ID in this textbook? Even Pandas and People don’t have any verfiable ID examples to put forward. ID never made it past the speculation stage, it has a 100% failure rate in science. We haven’t been able to test things like flagellum enough to make the guys give up, but we have the germ theory of disease. We don’t have to worry about some god going on vacation and screwing up the seasons, and babies result from natural developmental processes. If they had a single example to point to I couldn’t say that there has been a 100% failure rate upon testing. The plain fact is that there is nothing to teach about ID except failure and wishful thinking.

That is the reason that every major science organization can claim that ID isn’t science. They can do that because if we drop ID from consideration not a single thing that we have learned about nature has to change. We don’t lose anything, and we gain nothing by putting it in. The IDiots know that or they would have a list of ID successes in science. They only have lame lists of scientists that may have been creationists, but the science that they are remembered for has nothing to do with ID. In fact, guys like Pasteur were responsible for tossing some ID notions into the trash heap.

Comment #51003

Posted by David Stanton on October 5, 2005 6:56 AM (e)

To sign a statement opposing the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools go to shovelbums.org. It would be most useful if signatures were from real scientists with real degrees in Biology. The list is already much larger than the DI list and perhaps more persuasive than the Project Steve list.

Comment #51004

Posted by GT(N)T on October 5, 2005 6:59 AM (e)

“If I do an accelerator experiment to map out a cross section, it’s good science but not likely to affect my ID one way or the other. And my ID has no effect on whether I choose to propose or participate in the experiment.”

David, don’t you see the disconnect between your science and your conjectures about ID? ID is your religion and like so many other scientists who also believe in God, your practice in the laboratory or observatory is not affected by nor likely to effect your theological beliefs. The only difference is that you, like other ID/C proponents, insist on trying to do both science and religion at once.

Comment #51006

Posted by Konrad Crist on October 5, 2005 7:05 AM (e)

Although I am sure others have pointed this out, should not we as scientists avoid using the word, theory, when referring to ID? At best it is a hypothesis. We complain that people do not understand the scientific definition of theory, but then we sloppily refer to ID as the Intelligent Design Theory in our own communications. I know not everyone does this, but should we not all get on the same page and stop giving ID more scientific status than it deserves? For that matter, if ID is not science, why do we use the scientific terms, theory and hypothesis, at all? Should it not be called the ID Concept or Conjecture?

Comment #51007

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 5, 2005 7:11 AM (e)

Every physicist I know who supports cosmological ID still does physics the same way as his colleagues.

Then, uh, what difference does ID make?

Every biologist I know who supports theism still does biology the same way as his atheist colleagues. So, uh, what difference does it make? What difference does it make, scientifically, if scientists do or don’t accept your ID religious opinions? What good to any of your religious opinions do for science? Why should science pay attention to any of them?

Comment #51011

Posted by Eugene Lai on October 5, 2005 7:41 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

ID as the “death of science” is pure, unadulterated, chicken-little, crap.

More like chicken pox. It will not kill science but is very annoying nevertheless.

Every physicist I know who supports cosmological ID still does physics the same way as his colleagues.

Do you mean your cosmological ID mates do not do experiment to prove their ID hypothesis, but instead carry on exactly the same way to their non-ID colleagues who do only non-ID related experiments? THAT is chicken. How is this something worth bragging about?

I have never heard one of my ID buddies say—why bother doing that experiment? That can only be explained by God. For us, ID is framework about which most (but not all) subsequent experimentation will most likely be agnostic.

Neither have I. In the ID world of experimentations, mum is the word. Until they see someone else do the hardwork, then they just jump in and claim that the the results “support” ID also.

If I do an accelerator experiment to map out a cross section, it’s good science but not likely to affect my ID one way or the other. And my ID has no effect on whether I choose to propose or participate in the experiment.

“Your” ID? And you are the same guy who 48 hours ago bagged Dawkins for calling that 4-year-old kid’s question his own? (btw Dawkins never said that)

Nice use on the word “if”. No one here is holding his breath for you to do any science experiments.

Furthermore, ID makes some of us more excited about science (and hence to carry out experimentation), not less.

Of course. You are excited whenever anything can be explained by 2 letters. Or three words.

Just what experimentation are you talking about? Can you name just 10 ID inspired experiments performed by inspired IDers? What about 5? 2? 1?

It is a nonsensical statement to say that scientists find ID boring, when so many obviously do not.

When Paul Nelson says there is no ID theory and Dembski says that he does not need to join the dots, I don’t know what is actually there to make it interesting.

If you have better ideas, you’d better let them know too. They have been twiddling their thumbs for 10 years, and would need some exciting new things to do.

Comment #51012

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 8:01 AM (e)

Eugene,

Do you mean your cosmological ID mates do not do experiment to prove their ID hypothesis, but instead carry on exactly the same way to their non-ID colleagues who do only non-ID related experiments?

Yes, that is exactly what I mean.

then they just jump in and claim that the the results “support” ID also

Don’t know who you are talking about but I have never said that any experiment I was involved with did or did not support ID.

Your” ID? And you are the same guy who 48 hours ago bagged Dawkins for calling that 4-year-old kid’s question his own?

Go back an re-read. I said that Dawkins’s question “who designed the designer?” is the same as a four year old asking “who made God?”

No one here is holding his breath for you to do any science experiments.

Judge for yourself

Comment #51013

Posted by guthrie on October 5, 2005 8:11 AM (e)

Thats a nice CV, Dr Heddle. What has it got to do with ID?

Comment #51014

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 8:15 AM (e)

Guthrie,

Nothing, nothing at all. I just provided it in response to Eugene’s “no one is holding their breath” comment. My cv is just a run-of-the-mill garden variety cv of an average scientist. The fact that nothing on my cv (except my novel) has anything to do with ID is exactly the point: ID is not the death of science.

Comment #51015

Posted by Shirley Knott on October 5, 2005 8:24 AM (e)

But David, it does point to the utter vacuity of ID notions.
If there is no effect with or without ID, then Occam (at least) would claim that ID, as a superfluity, is totally disposable without impact.
Thanks for sharing that noble insight.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #51018

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 8:40 AM (e)

Shirley,

In terms of day-to-day science, to me, ID has no effect. And the results of the experiments I have participated in, as I stated, have no ID ramifications. Of course, some experiments, such as the accelerating expansion of the universe, have great bearing on the ID debate. However, even those experiments, as proposed and carried out, are ID agnostic. You cannot look at the super nova surveys and decide, on the basis of the experiment or the methods, whether or not the experimenters had a pro or con view on cosmological ID. It would be impossible.

What is it your view? Is it that (a) ID is a meaningless, impotent concept or (b) ID is an all-powerful killer of science? It cannot be both.

Comment #51019

Posted by guthrie on October 5, 2005 8:42 AM (e)

Looks like Shirley beat me to it.

As an aside, it is fairly obvious that good science can still be done by religious believers, people with fixed ideas, etc etc. However as soon as you get onto their bugbear……

Comment #51020

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 5, 2005 8:53 AM (e)

As you have repeatedly shown us, Mr. Heddle, there’s no such beast as “ID” per se.

There are several different “IDs”: Heddle’s Own™ Cosmological ID (which would be falsified by finding different universes with different constants, or maybe by finding different universes with the SAME constants, or maybe never); Cosmological ID as commonly understood, which can never be falsified; Biological ID (several different strains, actually); and the Intelligent Designer only knows how many more.

Asking your question is not unlike asking “What is your view of religion? Is it science-neutral, or is it an all-powerful killer of science?”

The answer is: it can be either, depending on how its practitioners behave.

Concerning ID, insofar as it is inane it should be ignored (and certainly not invoked as an “explanation”, which it isn’t); and insofar as it is a science-killer, it should be actively fought against.

Comment #51022

Posted by rdog29 on October 5, 2005 9:11 AM (e)

Mr Heddle:

Just what does ID have to offer science then?

Name one documented example of some observed phenomenon that is explained better by ID than by evolution.

Or provide an example of where ID can give an explanation for something where evolution cannot.

Or provide an example of an observed phenomenon that was predicted by ID but not anticipated by evolutionary theory.

I’ve asked this of several other ID supporters and have yet to get an answer - perhaps you can shed some light here.

Since we’re using Physcis analogies, I’m sure you can appreciated that General Relativity was able to predict the precession of Mercury’s perihelion, where Newtonian mechanics failed to do so. Does ID offer anything comparable?

Comment #51023

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on October 5, 2005 9:27 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Every physicist I know who supports cosmological ID still does physics the same way as his colleagues.

Whose definition of physics? Guillermo Gonzalez seems convinced his cosmological ID apologetics is physics.

Comment #51024

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 9:33 AM (e)

Edin Najetovic “… human-like language that can communicate an infinite amount of ideas in a meaningful way.”

Infinite? You mean that metaphorically, don’t you? Human language is finite if it has to communicate to another person.

Did you bother to look at this:
http://www.dauphinlibre.be/markovhtm.pdf

The dolphin sounds looked more complex than human speech.

Comment #51025

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 9:39 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote: “If I do an accelerator experiment to map out a cross section, it’s good science but not likely to affect my ID one way or the other.”

Scientific theories that have no effect are meaningless. What exactly would ID change? What does it mean except “I think God exists and somehow designed us.”

Comment #51027

Posted by whatever on October 5, 2005 9:43 AM (e)

“Every physicist I know who supports cosmological ID still does physics the same way as his colleagues.”

Yeah, but Hoyle did biology like an hack. I find it odd that IDers tend to be scientifically conservative within their own field of work but take radical approaches to areas outside their immediate expertise.

What is interesting is that Phil Johnson calls for the development of “theistic science” which is essentially natural theology, repackaged. Phil seems to think that theistic science is capable of different things than the more run of the mill “science” we practice everyday. This would suggest that someone who supports Johnson’s vision of ID would do science in a distinctly different way.

Comment #51028

Posted by Jesse David on October 5, 2005 9:45 AM (e)

The real problem with the concept of “irreducible complexity,” on which ID relies, is that it is entirely subjective…dependent both on how smart the person is who is using the term (or how hard they are trying), as well as the overall state of knowledge at that particular moment in time.

I wonder if Behe and friends ever stopped to consider what would have been deemed “irreducibly complex” in 1900, 1800…1500? Pretty much everything. Which is, I suppose, the reason why even “scientists” (call them philosophers) in the Middle Ages needed to invoke a deity at every turn.

May I suggest a new term that we all use instead: “I-can’t-reduce-it complexity”?

Comment #51030

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

rdog29,

I am not a biological ID proponent, so you have to ask someone who is. As to the GR experiment on the precession of Mercury’s perihelion, cosmological ID has nothing comparable. If it did, I’d be arguing that it was science and should be taught in schools. Instead I argue that it is interesting and stimulating (is was for me) and should not be banned (even just “effectively” banned) from the classroom.

Of course, neither does evolution offer anything comparable to the Mercury experiment. There is no (sensible) falsification experiment for evolution– that I’ve been told of– that is anywhere near the caliber or conclusiveness of the Mercury experiment.

BB and/or Aureola, I am not going to field your question on whose definition of physics, but I have an unrelated question–what does FCD stand for?

ND:

Scientific theories that have no effect are meaningless. What exactly would ID change? What does it mean except “I think God exists and somehow designed us.”

Well I don’t think ID is a scientific theory so I guess, by your statement, ID might not be meaningless. As for your comment about God, it represents a prevalent misunderstanding about ID. ID is not a scientific attempt to prove God (I believe in God independent of ID). ID is the hypothesis that God left behind evidence of his creation. If all the evidence I believe points to design was refuted, then I’d no longer believe in ID, but I’d still believe in God.

whatever: Hoyle was not an IDer, so whether or not he did biology as a hack has nothing to do with the statement of mine that you quoted. (He commented on fine-tuning–but not in the sense that he saw God, but out of dismay that fine tuning was showing up all over the place.)

Is it possible to get back on topic? About ID “killing” science?

Comment #51031

Posted by Shirley Knott on October 5, 2005 10:05 AM (e)

David,
can you think of a more powerful science killer than the enshrinement of a meaningless, impotent concept as a core principle or notion?
So it is trivial to hold the view that ID is a meaningless, impotent concept that is a powerful science killer.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #51032

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 5, 2005 10:06 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

as I said, you should not try to conflate everything and the kitchen sink into a big fuzzy ball called “ID”. If you are capable of doing science despite ID (because you don’t use ID as blinders to dismiss possible explanations out of hand) more power to you.

Please note: as ID is a religious interpretation superimposed over scientific data, it should not be taught as if it were science.

As to the meaning of FCD, it stands for “Friend of Charles Darwin”.

http://www.gruts.com/darwin/join-form.php

Comment #51033

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 10:06 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote: “…neither does evolution offer anything comparable to the Mercury experiment. There is no (sensible) falsification experiment for evolution…”

What about Richard Lenski’s long-term evolution experiment with the bacterium E. coli? The experiment continues to this day, and is by now probably the largest controlled evolution experiment ever undertaken.

It’s demonstrating a few narrow theories of evolution, but demonstrating the narrow also supports the broader theory.

Lenski and colleagues regularly publish updates on the status of the experiments:
http://myxo.css.msu.edu/lenski/home.shtml

Comment #51034

Posted by rich on October 5, 2005 10:10 AM (e)

The Sun was “irreducible complexity” complex to smelly pre-humanids Ugg and Ogg. So they made it a God.

Comment #51035

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 10:12 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote: “…ID is the hypothesis that God left behind evidence of his creation.”

That’s certainly religious thinking and not science.

Comment #51036

Posted by Russell on October 5, 2005 10:14 AM (e)

What is it your view? Is it that (a) ID is a meaningless, impotent concept or (b) ID is an all-powerful killer of science? It cannot be both.

Substitute the word “astrology” for “ID” above. I believe my local (editorially anti-ID, incidentally) newspaper publishes a daily horoscope. I find that a little annoying, but I doubt that it will be “the death of science” - because no serious scientist or educator takes it seriously. Now, if the astrologers convinced the powers that be that astrology should be given equal consideration with any “other science” in public education… now THAT might be the death of science.

Comment #51037

Posted by Flint on October 5, 2005 10:17 AM (e)

There is no (sensible) falsification experiment for evolution— that I’ve been told of— that is anywhere near the caliber or conclusiveness of the Mercury experiment.

Interestingly, it’s my understanding that nearly every experiment done in the field of biology is inherently capable of falsifying evolution. In this sense, evolution risks being falsified in tens of thousands of ways, on a continuing basis. Heddle’s claim not to be a biologist is entirely credible in his failure to recognize this, but then what justification does he have for implying no such experiments exist?

ID is not a scientific attempt to prove God (I believe in God independent of ID). ID is the hypothesis that God left behind evidence of his creation.

But wait. If there are no gods, then of course they couldn’t have created anything, which means there can’t be any evidence of the creation that didn’t get done by the nonexistent gods who didn’t do it. So ID ASSUMES at least one god. Don’t we need to establish the correctness of this assumption, BEFORE we can investigate any corollaries? Otherwise, it’s just like searching for evidence of the work of the FSM – how could we possibly recognize it even if we found it?

As for ID killing science, this seems possible only in two ways: either scientists give up their careers because magical answers already explain everything and there’s no need to learn anything further (bloody unlikely), or a new generation of potential scientists never arises because a combination of indoctrination and ridicule actively discourage any such curiosity (and I think this is a real threat. There will be SOME scientists, but perhaps far fewer).

All in all, I see little threat, though. After all, magical explanations were the ONLY ones available at one time, and genuine science managed to germinate and take root in this stony soil anyway. ID efforts may manage to discourage scientific education in the red states, but the rest of the world is uncongenial to this particular brand of idiocy.

Comment #51038

Posted by Bruce McNeely on October 5, 2005 10:26 AM (e)

David Heddle said:
What is it your view? Is it that (a) ID is a meaningless, impotent concept or (b) ID is an all-powerful killer of science? It cannot be both.

Sure it can. Explaining unsolved problems as the work of the intelligent designer is a lazy default position that discourages further inquiry.
The funny thing about ID is that, the more problems are explained by science, the smaller and smaller the designer s infuence becomes. The incredible shrinking god, I guess…

Comment #51039

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

rich wrote: “The Sun was ‘irreducible complexity’ complex to smelly pre-humanids Ugg and Ogg. So they made it a God.”

Ugg and Ogg … what about the Aztecs? They cut the heart of sacrificial victims to make sure the sun rose. What about the Egyptians? Aten was their sun god. The Babylonian sun god was Shamash. For the Greeks, Helios was their sun god. The Greeks believed he drove the sun across the sky from east to west in his golden chariot every day. After sunset the sun sailed back across the ocean. For the Eskimos in Greenland, Malina was and continues to be the sun-goddess.

Comment #51040

Posted by bill on October 5, 2005 10:35 AM (e)

Otherwise, it’s just like searching for evidence of the work of the FSM — how could we possibly recognize it even if we found it?

Easy. You find something “irreducibly complex” accompanied by an overwhelming smell of oregano and garlic.

Comment #51041

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 10:39 AM (e)

Aureola, you should lobby to add FCD to the on-line acronym finders. Thanks for the answer.

ND: perhaps– this is getting out of my field of course. But with the GR experiment the attitude was “OK here we go, the theory of GR is about to live or die.” If the biologists attribute the same degree of boldness to Lenski’s experiment, then who am I to argue? I’ll concede the point.

Shirley, but I have enshrined as a core principle that the universe was designed–I believe it as much (or more) than I believe in any law of physics. It hasn’t killed science for me. (On the contrary.)

Flint,

either scientists give up their careers because magical answers already explain everything and there’s no need to learn anything further (bloody unlikely), or a new generation of potential scientists never arises because a combination of indoctrination and ridicule actively discourage any such curiosity

This is just more chicken little. As I have pointed out, I was exposed to ID-like ideas in the classroom before I was a Christian, and they made science more interesting not less. Do have any evidence, even anecdotal, that backs up your claim?

Oh, and your comment that ID assumes God is, in my opinion, true–but it is hardly earth shattering.

Bruce,

Same thing–where is the evidence to back up your claim? By the way, in cosmology, at least for now, the more that is explained by science the greater the role of the designer. The non-infationary Big Bang theory always had some fine tuning problems (long range uniformity and small scale deviations) but the lastest (inflationary Big Bang) findings of a flat, accelerating universe, which show a large role for a cosmological constant have, have solved the old fine tuing problems but introduced a more serious fine tuning.

Comment #51042

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 5, 2005 10:45 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle,

your misuse of language is noted.

“By the way, in cosmology, at least for now, the more that is explained by science the greater the role of the designer.”

This is false. What would be true is:

“By the way, in cosmological ID, for now and for ever, the more that is explained by science the greater the role of the designer.”

You’ve already admitted that ID is nothing but thinly-veiled apologetics; cosmology has nothing to say about gods and pixies, neither pro nor against, exactly like the rest of science.

Comment #51044

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on October 5, 2005 10:50 AM (e)

[quote]
Of course, neither does evolution offer anything comparable to the Mercury experiment. There is no (sensible) falsification experiment for evolution— that I’ve been told of— that is anywhere near the caliber or conclusiveness of the Mercury experiment.
[/quote]
So Haldane’s quip about ‘fossil rabbits in the Precambrian’ wouldn’t do it for you?

Perhaps you are discounting experiments that have already been done, falsifications that have already been passed? In case you are not familiar with these, try 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

How about every genome that’s been sequenced, including the recent chimpanzee genome? How about the agreement in taxonomies based on fossil & anatomical comparisons with those based on sequence comparisons? How about the evidence for the RNA World, including the structure of the ribosome, which proves it to be an RNA enzyme? How about the discovery of multitudes of transitional fossils, including Archaeopteryx?

Since you are not a biologist, I cannot know ‘what you’ve been told of’, and I probably wouldn’t agree with what you would consider ‘sensible’, so you have allowed yourself sufficient wiggle room.

FCD stands for Friends of Charles Darwin

Comment #51048

Posted by rdog29 on October 5, 2005 11:02 AM (e)

Mr Heddle -

OK, so you’re more of “cosmological ID” kind of guy. But we can ask analagous questions to those that have been asked of “evolutionary ID” people.

The premise is that “God left behind evidence of his creation”. How can this guide us in anticipating phenomena that are not predicted by current cosmological theory? What observations are better explained by ID than by “naturalistic” cosmology?

I think you’ve answered that question already by saying that ID has no success analagous to the relativistic precession of Mercury’s perihelion.

Why should a “theory” that is unable to predict anything or has no observable consequences be taught in science class??

And by the way, it seems that ID cannot even come to a consensus as to its appropriate use - we apparently have “cosmological ID”, “origin of life ID”, then there’s “evolutionary ID” per Behe and Dembski. This is science???

You claim “God left behind evidence”. Whose God? The Christian God? The Hindu God(s)? Somebody else? Whose God do you propose be mentioned in an “ID Science” class? And how do you keep that issue from being “politicized”?

Sounds like a hell of a threat to science education to me. I hope I don’t have to spell out the connection between science and science education.

Comment #51049

Posted by Mythos on October 5, 2005 11:02 AM (e)

Flint wrote:

So ID ASSUMES at least one god. Don’t we need to establish the correctness of this assumption, BEFORE we can investigate any corollaries?

No. That’s the benefit of conditional statements, e.g., “If there’s a God, then….” ID’s problem is filling in the elipsis marks, not in the assumption of a God, designer or whatever.

Comment #51050

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 11:03 AM (e)

Aureola,

You’ve already admitted that ID is nothing but thinly-veiled apologetics

Where did I admit that? I said that ID has no bearing on how one does science. I said that that the experiments I participated have no ID ramifications. But I specifically stated in #51018 thet “Of course, some experiments, such as the accelerating expansion of the universe, have great bearing on the ID debate.”

Now if you can explain the 100 or so orders of magnitude fine tuning of the cosmological constant, then the role for the designer would be less, not more. It might happen, people are working on it–but so far it has not.

BB, I have stated many times that if the way you falsify evolution is to find fossil rabbits (or humans) in the Precambrian, then evolution is not falsifiable. The gravity equivalent would be to ask the NSF for a grant to falsify gravity by following Al Sharpton around and see if he ever floats away from the planet. As for your more sensible approaches, see my response to ND above.

Comment #51051

Posted by Alienward on October 5, 2005 11:12 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Same thing—where is the evidence to back up your claim? By the way, in cosmology, at least for now, the more that is explained by science the greater the role of the designer. The non-infationary Big Bang theory always had some fine tuning problems (long range uniformity and small scale deviations) but the lastest (inflationary Big Bang) findings of a flat, accelerating universe, which show a large role for a cosmological constant have, have solved the old fine tuing problems but introduced a more serious fine tuning.

David just gave another example of why ID is nothing but religious apologetics. We know this not only because there is no science behind ID, but because it’s proponents continuously either deliberately or unknowingly misrepresent science and even the work of other ID apologists, like David did with The Privileged Planet and just did with cosmology.

Here’s Brian Green in “The Fabric of the Cosmos” saying the opposite of what David said:

As space need only have been tiny - on the order of 10 [to the] -26 centimeters across – for the ensuing cosmological expansion (inflationary expansion followed by the standard big bang expansion) to have stretched it larger than the universe we see today. Thus, rather than assuming or simply declaring that conditions in the early universe were right for inflationary expansion to take place, in this way of thinking about things an ultramicroscopic fluctuation weighing a mere twenty pounds, occurring within an ordinary, unremarkable environment of disorder, gave rise to the necessary conditions.

Comment #51052

Posted by Flint on October 5, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

Now if you can explain the 100 or so orders of magnitude fine tuning of the cosmological constant

Ah, here we go again. Reality being what it is, I’m quite sure it’s identical with itself to an infinite number of orders of magnitude. Identities tend to have that property.

Now, I guess we need to discover that reality is NOT what it is, for ID to be less supported. Neat trick. And of course we can’t falsify evolution by making observations that contradict what the theory predicts, because there ARE no such observations. Does this mean the theory is probably correct? No, of course not, because it is *defined* as wrong. It simply means Heddle has conceded that contradicting observations won’t be found so that doesn’t count.

Masterful circular reasoning, from which we all learn nothing, and all but Heddle realize it.

I was exposed to ID-like ideas in the classroom before I was a Christian

I continue to get a kick out of this. I’m reminded of the story of the man who was asked if he could play the violin. “I don’t know,” the man responded, “I’ve never tried!” Heddle was exposed to the violin in college, tried it out for what he assures us is the very first time, and by golly, turned out to be a virtuoso! He asks us to believe this. After all, Heddle believes in miracles.

Comment #51053

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 11:19 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote: “Now if you can explain the 100 or so orders of magnitude fine tuning …”

Fine tuning for what? – You?

You can’t predict that some form of life-like intelligence wouldn’t have evolved in a universe with different “constants” and a life form in that other universe might assume life in ours was impossible – who could predict it would happen on a tiny speck of dust of a planet in what appears to be a mostly lifeless universe?

Also, you can’t be sure that those constants were variables for some designer – they may have had to be that way.

Also, you can’t prove there aren’t trillions upon trillions of other universes somewhere.

Comment #51056

Posted by Rich on October 5, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

Come on people, a traingle has EXACTLY 3 sides, to teh guzillianth decimal place! what are the odds of that? all praise to the designer (who’s not Allah).

Comment #51058

Posted by Eric Murphy on October 5, 2005 11:43 AM (e)

David Heddle Said:

“ID as the “death of science” is pure, unadulterated, chicken-little, crap. Every physicist I know who supports cosmological ID still does physics the same way as his colleagues.”

But biological ID doesn’t work this way. We have Dembski himself saying that “Intelligent Design is not an interventionist theory at all.” The Design Inference, 2004.

Doesn’t that make a critical difference in your research, if your research is intended to discover how life got from point A to point B?

Comment #51060

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on October 5, 2005 11:51 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Now if you can explain the 100 or so orders of magnitude fine tuning of the cosmological constant,…

I see you use this a lot, but it appears to me that you don’t understand what it means. So, I issue a challenge to you, David:

1) explain what you mean by “orders of magnitude”

2) explain how this relates to fine tuning

3) list the most accurate numerical value known for the cosmological constant, including the error and units

I will give you a day to respond, after which I will write my own response, regardless of whether you have responded. I also admit up front that I do not have an answer to part 3, though I hope to at least have some idea by tomorrow.

Comment #51064

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

Alienward,

Green is explaining the fact that the inflationary model does away with the old fine tuning (The need for primordial order is gone with inflationary big bang). If you want, I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model. Among them would be sometime PT contributor (I think he is, maybe I am wrong) Victor Stenger.

Here is my advice to you, alienward: It is SO TRIVIAL to demonstrate widespread acknowledgement of the cosmological constant fine tuning problem that I would do a little homework first. Flint, you see, doesn’t understand it–and assumes that since any constant is whatever it is to 120 decimals points (and beyond), well that explains it. Steve usually pops in with his bizarre theory that just because the cc is small in the mks system that doesn’t mean it is really small.

ND,

The fine tuning in a nut shell: quantum-gravity calculations give a large cc, but the experimental upper limit on the cc is very small. Now, if the cc were zero, physics wouldn’t be so nervous. Zero may be the result of some super symmetry. However, the cc cannot be zero for at the moment it accounts for 70% or so (as “dark energy”) of the explanation for the universe’s flatness and acceleration. How to explain that a number that theory says is huge but experiment says is tiny (but not zero) is how Krauss (a famous non IDer cosmologist) protrays the fine tuning problem (His words: “the worst fine tuning problem in physics.”) Stenger says it the other way: given that it is an energy density, and given that the universe has expanded by ~100 orders of magnitude since inflation, we see that the expansion essentially amplifies the importance of the cc. Thus, if it were just a tiny bit bigger, then, as the universe expanded we would have been dominated by dark energy (which is an anti-gravity force) much sooner, before galaxies formed.

I can predict with great certainty that life would not have evolved in a universe that was only Hydrogen, Helium and Deuterium, which is where we’d be with no galaxies.

you have to explain what you mean by “they may have had to be that way”.

You are right, I cannot prove there are not other universes, but nobody can prove that there are. Does that mean parallel universes should not be discussed in science class? Absolutely not.

WKV, see attached explanation for ND. Units are, of course, irrelevant. The difference between theory and experiment is ~100 orders of magnitude in all units. If you see an error in my understanding of the cc fine tuning, please correct it.

Comment #51066

Posted by Russell on October 5, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

Heddle, once again wrote:

I have stated many times that if the way you falsify evolution is to find fossil rabbits (or humans) in the Precambrian, then evolution is not falsifiable.

But no matter how many times you state it, you can never justify it.
Look. Here’s JBS Haldane:

“I will give up my belief in evolution if someone finds a fossil rabbit in the Precambrian.”

Do you think you see some flaw in the logic that escaped Haldane?

Comment #51068

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 12:32 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

If you want, I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model. Among them would be sometime PT contributor (I think he is, maybe I am wrong) Victor Stenger.

IS THE UNIVERSE FINE-TUNED FOR US? by Victor Stenger

Some who make the fine-tuning argument are content to suggest merely that intelligent, purposeful, supernatural design has become an equally viable alternative to a random, purposeless, natural evolution of the universe and humankind suggested by conventional science. This mirrors recent arguments for intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.

The delicate connections among certain physical constants, and between those constants and life, I will collectively call the anthropic coincidences. Before examining the merits of the interpretation of these coincidences as evidence for intelligent design, I will review how the notion first came about.

Concluding

Many religious thinkers see the anthropic coincidences as evidence for purposeful design to the universe. They ask: How can the universe possibly have obtained the unique set of physical constants it has, so exquisitely fine-tuned for life as they are, except by purposeful design– design with life and perhaps humanity in mind (Swinburne 1998, Ellis 1993, Ross 1995)? Let us examine the implicit assumptions here. First and foremost, and fatal to the design argument all by itself, is the wholly unwarranted assumption that only one type of life is possible- -the particular form of carbon-based life we have here on Earth.

and

Ikeda and Jefferys (2001) have demonstrated these logical flaws and others in the finetuning argument with a formal probability analysis. They have also noted an amusing inconsistency that shows how promoters of design often use mutually contradictory logic: On the one hand the creationists and God-of-the-gaps evolutionists argue that nature is too uncongenial for life to have developed totally naturally, and so therefore supernatural input must have occurred. On the other hand, the fine-tuners (often the same people) argue that the constants and laws of nature are exquisitely congenial to life, and so therefore they must have been supernaturally created. They can’t have it both ways.

or

Fine-Tuning the Cosmological Constant

Next, let me discuss an example of supposed fine-tuning that arises out of cosmology. This is the apparent fine-tuning of Einstein’s cosmological constant within 120 orders of magnitude, without which life would be impossible. This will require some preliminary explanation.

Once again they claim to see the hand of God in fine-tuning the cosmological constant to ensure that human life, as we know it, can exist. However, recent theoretical work has offered a plausible non-divine solution to the cosmological constant problem.

Are you sure you meant Stenger?

Comment #51069

Posted by Michael Roberts on October 5, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

I am still trying to puzzle out how you can apply ID theory to geology. Just ask what is the design in a terminal moraine or a similar deposit, an ash flow or even a delta (not that the Mississippi delta was well designed)

Can anyone help , Dembksi et al respond witha deafening silence

Comment #51076

Posted by rdog29 on October 5, 2005 12:45 PM (e)

I admit I am not familiar with all the nuances of the current debate over the CC, but I have what I believe is a relevent question:

Can ID show that the value of the CC, whatever it may be, is necessarily the result of divine intervention?

How would one calculate, theoretically, the value of any constant based on ID assumptions? The charge of the electron? The dipole moment of water?

Surely these are no less relevent to life than the CC.

Comment #51077

Posted by guthrie on October 5, 2005 12:49 PM (e)

DAvid Heddle:
“Well I don’t think ID is a scientific theory”

“I said that ID has no bearing on how one does science.”

So, why exactly are you trying to show us that ID etc is correct, in a {I} Science {/I} forum? If it is not science, then theres no need to teach it in school, no need for you to debate it, etc etc.

Comment #51079

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 12:53 PM (e)

Russell, if that is a true and scientific test of evolution, why don’t you write a grant proposal on “a search for Precambrian human fossils” and see if it gets funded. Surely, in this climate, a serous, definitive once-for-all test of evolution would be welcomed.

PvM, I feel like you’ve served me up me a nice, fat lob.

Yup, I mean Stenger and in fact I meant that paper. Look at the link you provided, starting on page 15, the only section dealing with the cosmological constant. Stenger wrote:

If dark energy is in fact the vacuum energy implied by a cosmological constant, then we have a serious puzzle called the cosmological constant problem (Weinberg 1989). As the universe expands, regions of space expand along with it. A cosmological constant implies a constant energy density, and the total energy inside a given region of space will increase as the volume of that region expands. Since the end of inflation, volumes have expanded by 120 orders of magnitude. This implies that the cosmological constant was “fine-tuned” to be 120 orders of magnitude below what it is now, a tiny amount of energy. If the vacuum energy had been just a hair greater at the end of inflation, it would be so enormous today that space would be highly curved and the stars and planets could not exist.

Note, the current best model is that dark energy is in fact the vacuum energy implied by a cosmological constant.

Thanks for the link! The fact that it is described in a paper dedicated to refuting fine tuning is all the sweeter.

Oh brother, not Ikeda and Jefferys again! Do you have a link or reference to their peer-reviewed paper?. Here is the only one I know of.

Are you sure you want to align yourself with their claim:

we will show that the observation that the universe is “fine-tuned” in this sense can only count against a supernatural origin of the universe. And we shall furthermore show that with certain theologies suggested by deities that are both inscrutable and very powerful, the more “finely-tuned” the universe is, the more a supernatural origin of the universe is undermined.

If so, you should argue for more fine tuning, like maybe 500 orders of magnitude cc fine tuning.

I am really trying to avoid “count the quotes” but if you want to I’ll go there and I am certain that I can overwhelm you with quotes about the cc fine tuning problem.

rdog,

ID cannot. ID says the cumulative effect of cc and other fine tuning is that, by Ockam’s razor, design is the best explanation.

Comment #51082

Posted by pough on October 5, 2005 1:03 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

What is it your view? Is it that (a) ID is a meaningless, impotent concept or (b) ID is an all-powerful killer of science? It cannot be both.

Really? If ID is meaningless and impotent (a) but we abandon meaningful, potent science in favour of it, then haven’t we effectively killed (b) science? Or at least killed some meaningful, potent science by embracing meaningless, impotent junk? Nobody is saying that it will kill science with its amazing potency. It will kill science with its impotence. In fact, its impotence is the method by which it would kill science. An end of the line, if you will; producing no viable offspring.

Comment #51084

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 5, 2005 1:06 PM (e)

Mr. heddle said:

“ID says the cumulative effect of cc and other fine tuning is that, by Ockam’s razor, design is the best explanation.”

Well, that’s that, then. Ockham’s razor (Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate) says that the universe requires a designer, according to David Heddle.

Thanks for the belly-laugh, Mr. Heddle. I consider this latest piece of comedy on a par with your claim that Cosmological ID (which looks frightfully like 18th-century Deism) brought you to Fundamentalist Christianity.

Comment #51086

Posted by Flint on October 5, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

I can predict with great certainty that life would not have evolved in a universe that was only Hydrogen, Helium and Deuterium, which is where we’d be with no galaxies.

And this prediction is falsifiable how? Should we assess the degree of confidence you have in your opinion, and decide if you’re correct if your confidence reaches a certain level? We can’t even define life, and every single proposal I’m familiar with permits some phenomenon we all agree is not life. I really don’t know how you have gone about determining that some hypothetical form of “life” (whatever you might mean by it) would not have evolved in some hypothetical universe. And until I understand how you did it, all I have is your expressed confidence.

Once again, even Fred Hoyle was able to imagine a form of life evolving out of not much more than the raw materials you’ve decided to permit, in a part of the universe where galaxies weren’t relevant to it anyway. So what you are describing isn’t a failure of life to form in an imaginary universe, but a failure to imagine in the first place.

All of which leads us to what has been evolving as a “Heddle’s Law”: the less imagination one has, the more magical the world seems. Expressed in different terms, it reads “evolution is smarter than you are”. So maybe we have plumbed the far end of the “Heddle scale” – the extent to which evolution is smarter than you are. Heddle occupies the far end: where evolution is so unimaginably smarter that it has become indistinguishable from magic.

Comment #51087

Posted by Eric Murphy on October 5, 2005 1:14 PM (e)

On the fine tuning problem:

It’s definitely a problem in search of a solution, and I don’t think any knowledgeable physicist (which I am decidedly not) denies it. But I think most physicists would be uncomfortable “solving” the fine tuning problem by merely ascribing it to “divine design,” so to speak. The problem in so doing is no different from the problem in biological ID: it doesn’t really explain anything. In many ways, I think it’s an admission of defeat.

Now, design may in fact be the answer to the fine tuning problem. But I don’t think any intellectually-honest physicist is going to be comfortable with the “god did it” explanation until every single possible other explanation has been definitively excluded. An appeal to intelligent design is, in my opinion, a last-gasp act of desperation when all other possibilities have been exhausted. Even a “multiverse” explanation seems less desperate, somehow.

Comment #51090

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 1:18 PM (e)

Poor Heddle, even when I present evidence that goes against his claim he tries to save face by quote mining the paper.

Remember that Stenger started off by stating

Next, let me discuss an example of supposed fine-tuning that arises out of cosmology. This is the apparent fine-tuning of Einstein’s cosmological constant within 120 orders of magnitude, without which life would be impossible. This will require some preliminary explanation.

Apparant fine tuning…

QED my dear confused friend

And the part Heddle quoted was followed by

Design advocates have not overlooked the cosmological constant problem (Ross 1998). Once again they claim to see the hand of God in fine-tuning the cosmological constant to ensure that human life, as we know it, can exist. However, recent theoretical work has offered a plausible non-divine solution to the cosmological constant problem.

Really Heddle, read before you leap…. And comprehension would be even sweeter. But I digress.

Comment #51091

Posted by Russell on October 5, 2005 1:28 PM (e)

Russell, if that is a true and scientific test of evolution, why don’t you write a grant proposal on “a search for Precambrian human fossils” and see if it gets funded. Surely, in this climate, a serous, definitive once-for-all test of evolution would be welcomed.

(1) I have no evidence, and no reason, to doubt the validity of evolution
(2) No granting agency I know of has any reason to doubt the validity of evolution
(3) I doubt there’s anything I can suggest that has not been done before to uncover the elusive pre-Cambrian mammal
(4) This is only one of countless tests that evolution has already been subjected to and passed
(5) I’m more interested in science than in politics. It’s only in the world of politics that the validity of evolution is a question

And do you, in fact, think that you have detected a flaw in Haldane’s thinking?

To state the obvious: an “untestable”, i.e. unfalsifiable, hypothesis is one for which no test can be devised - not one for which it’s difficult to think of yet another test for it to pass. Will you kindly respond to this before repeating, yet again, how evolution is no more - indeed less - falsifiable than ID?

Comment #51092

Posted by rdog29 on October 5, 2005 1:30 PM (e)

If ID can’t provide at least an equation whereby constants can be (in principle at least) calculated, then we’re left in a situation analagous to that faced by “evolutionary ID”: How do you detect “design”?

Which constants were divinely set in place, and which ones “evolved”? Where is the demarcation between the “designed” universe and the “evolved” universe?

If one claims, “They were all divinely set in place”, this explains nothing.

As with evolutionary ID, cosmological ID has no predictive ability.

Comment #51094

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 1:32 PM (e)

Once again, Stenger to the ‘rescue’

While quintessence may not turn out to provide the correct explanation for the cosmological constant problem, it demonstrates, if nothing else, that science is always hard at work trying to solve its puzzles within a materialistic framework. The assertion that God can be
seen by virtue of his acts of cosmological fine-tuning, like intelligent design and earlier versions of the argument from design, is nothing more than another variation on the disreputable God-of-thegaps argument. These rely on the faint hope that scientists will never be able to find a natural explanation for one or more of the puzzles that currently have them scratching their heads and therefore will have to insert God as the explanation.

Stenger is hardly supportive of Heddle’s claims, on the contrary.

Comment #51095

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 1:33 PM (e)

Eric,

I am not advocating solving the cc problem by ascribing it to divine design. I am quite happy to have taxes go to pay for peer-reviewed experiements and studies aimed at solving the cc problem. I consider such efforts to be of great scientific value.

But this is really nothing like Biological ID. Bio ID, from the little I know of it, really does appear to be “God in the gaps.” Cosmological ID is “God in the details.”

For example, if we didn’t know anything about how stars work and claimed “nobody knows how they work, God did it”, that would be one thing. But the fact that we know a lot about how stars work, down to the point where we know it depends on fine tuning in the relative strengths of fundamental forces, that’s quite another. That is why “the more we know” doesn’t always equate to “less evidence for design.”

PvM,

you cannot did out of the whole you have dug–why not explain how Stenger makes it only “apparent” fine tuning, the only explanation he offers is the speculative quintessence model, which has NOT been accepted. Just because he used the would apparent, does not mean he demonstrated it.

I challenge you to made a credible case that Stenger did anything other than
(a) Acknowledge the fine tune in the cc
(b) Use quintessence as a possible way out

Come, back it up, how did he show that the fine tuning was only apparent? Can you do it? You are grasping for straws.

There are man speculative approaches to the cc problem and quintessance is one of them–it has not been demonstrated.

The “apparent” the Stenger inserted merely reflects his opinion, not any analysis found in his paper.

But–go ahead–prove me wrong on that!

By the way, what about Ikeda and Jefferys– are you backing them?

Flint, there is no chemistry with only the lightest elements available. You just have inert stuff. With hydrogen and helium gas you just get–hydrogen and helium. No molecules to store any information. I feel quite confident that no life could exist under those conditions.

Comment #51096

Posted by Edward Braun on October 5, 2005 1:34 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

ID as the “death of science” is pure, unadulterated, chicken-little, crap. Every physicist I know who supports cosmological ID still does physics the same way as his colleagues. (Scientists who do science differently from their colleagues are those, on both sides of the debate, who have made a cottage industry out of ID, including some PT contributors.)

I would argue that - at least to some degree - this simply reflects differences between high-energy physics and biology. Biology often has a comparative perspective, and evolution represents a guiding principle that can be used to understand the similarities and differences among organisms. Although the widespread adoption of ID as a principle would not stop work on (for example) the changes in the transcriptome in response to some specific environmental condition, the ability to extrapolate in a manner where likely errors are know from mouse to human would be impaired.

Regarding Haldanes condition for the falsification of evolution…

David Heddle wrote:

I have stated many times that if the way you falsify evolution is to find fossil rabbits (or humans) in the Precambrian, then evolution is not falsifiable.

…though it was not stressed in the question posed to you, what I would argue Haldane is actually stating is that any surprisingly out-of-place fossil would suffice to falsify evolution.

Ultimately, I would argue that this can be concieved of as a likelihood arguement. We have a model (common descent) that makes certain predictions about the order of fossils in the fossil record. Finding a descendent taxon before a putative ancestor taxon is surprising. If there is only a small gap then the degree of surprise is limited, but if there is a large gap the situation becomes more and more surprising, precisely because the probability of the fossil data when a descendent having been fossilzed early and an ancestor not fossilized until much later is lower than a model that does not demand this ordering. At some point, the theory of evolution would not be able to explain the data in the fossil record.

Indeed, we now have large molecular datasets that can be compared to the fossil record, so if anything such tests are more plausible now than they ever were. If anything, there has been increased congruence between fossils and molecules with increased collection of both types of data, and no clearly out of place fossils have been identified. Obviously, this test is not trivial to conduct, since some variance in the first horizon where fossils are expected is likely to be present (with rare fossils showing greater potential for variance) and the variance in the rate of molecular evolution should be allowed to exhibit variance as well. If one allowed *any* variance all anomolies could be accomodated, but it should be possible to estimate these variances by cross-validation and also to make reasonable arguments about their expected value.

A similar test of evolution - which evolution passed when it was initially applied - is that different molecules should show congruent phylogenetic trees (originally tested by Penny D, Foulds LR, Hendy MD. 1982. Testing the theory of evolution by comparing phylogenetic trees constructed from five different protein sequences. Nature. 297(5863):197-200). Penny also provided a more recent discussion of this in Penny D, Hendy MD, Poole AM (2003) Testing fundamental evolutionary hypotheses. J Theor Biol 223(3):377-85.

Indeed, I would argue that the theory of evolution has been very extensively tested, and it has survived these tests. Are these tests as good as the perihelion shift of mercury? My impression is that the measurements of mercury’s orbit at the time Einstein was developing GR were viewed as having sufficiently larger errors that the orbit might actually be described in an adequate manner using Newtonian mechanics. Even tests for hypotheses that seem definitive in principle may be difficult in practice.

I think the arbitrary nature of biology ID is one thing that makes me much less comfortable with the idea than with cosmological ID (though I don’t believe any form of ID personally). Cosmological ID simply asserts that a designer “with the basic skill set to create a universe” did so and it would be consistent with a deistic designer that simply allowed the universe to evolve. Such a model doesn’t have a negative impact on the ways people will think about scientific problems. In contrast, the most common versions of biological ID propose that the designer intervenes and adds a flagellum here, a blood clotting cascade there, a VDJ recombination system in another place… That could have a negative effect on science (and - I would add - it makes the designer look anything but godlike from my perspective). If the argument was simply that the designer created the first life and used evolution for subsequent modification that would also have less of a negative impact (other than in origins of life work, of course).

Comment #51099

Posted by CJ O'Brien on October 5, 2005 1:38 PM (e)

ID says the cumulative effect of cc and other fine tuning is that, by Ockam’s razor, design is the best explanation.

You’ve got the Razor mixed up with Occam’s Hammer again.
Common problem for creationists.

Comment #51101

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 1:42 PM (e)

Now that Heddle’s quote mining of Stenger has been fully clarified, he is resorting to a common though untenable, moving the goalposts approach.

Remember his original statement?

If you want, I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model. Among them would be sometime PT contributor (I think he is, maybe I am wrong) Victor Stenger.

When I point out that Stenger does not accept the fine tuning argument and points out that this apparant fine tuning may very well be explained by quintessence or by a yet to be understood phenomenon but that the fine tuning argument as used by creationists is not scientific but rather a god of the gaps argument.

It does not matter if Stenger did or did not show (to Heddle’s satisfaction) that fine tuning is apparant. To claim that Stenger accepts fine tuning is not supported by this paper. What he does accept is that people make gap arguments based on a fine tuning argument.

Time to move the goalposts even further I’d say…

Comment #51103

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 5, 2005 1:45 PM (e)

PvM brings up a good point. Heddle say that the universe is “fine tuned” then continually argues that life could not come about naturally in his “fine tuned” universe so his “God” would have to further modify the universe and everything in it down to the DNA found in all life that we know of.

David Heddle has said before that you don’t win over the die hard people you win over the marginal vote. That is what he is trying to do here. He tries to seem reasonable but it has been shown a long time ago that he believes in far more then just cosmological ID from his posts in other blogs. Like the ID figure heads they make one set of claims to the general public and preach quite another set to the “faithful”.

He is here and will constantly avoid questions he does not like or when faced with direct questioning try to shift the point. Much like he did when he claimed that water was the only molecule that had a larger volume for its mass when in a solid state then its liquid state and this is definite proof of ID and was required for life. After I pointed out at least 3 others elements that had the exact same property and others pointed out that life could exist, even here on earth, perfectly fine if water did not have that property, using his arguments why it was so important he tried to get technical on why the elements I pointed out didn’t count and why others explanations didn’t matter.

David Heddle is here for one reason and one reason only. To win over some people that are marginal in their understanding of the actual science of evolution. It seems that bearing false witness to him is like it is for many fundamentalists in the ID movement. It doesn’t matter as long as you are doing it when trying to convert souls.

Comment #51106

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 1:48 PM (e)

Heddle, rightly avoids dealing with ID in biology but somehow does not seem to realize that the same problems facing ID in biology apply to ID in cosmology.
Apparant versus actual fine tuning. And just because science may not understand the issue of ‘fine tuning’ does not mean that there is somehow a reason to invoke a god of the gaps.
What I object to is however his claim that Stenger accepts fine tuning when in fact Stenger accepts apparant fine tuning. Heddle may disagree with Stenger as to his claim but it seems unsupportable to claim that Stenger accepts fine tuning in the sense proposed by Heddle.

Comment #51109

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 2:02 PM (e)

PvM you are just digging deeper. I knew Stenger does not accept ID, neither does Krauss. The whole point of using their quotes is that they are not coming from ID camp. You didn’t teach me that Stenger was not ID – do you see the “non-ID” qualifier in my quote you used? I never said he accepted it, I said he acknowledged it, and that he did. Unless you can show how he demonstrated it is only apparent.

Not letting you off the hook, PvM. How did Stenger demonstrate that the cc fine tuning was only “apparent”. Here, I’ll give you a multiple choice quiz. Did he show it was only apparent by

a) showing how the quantum gravity calculations are actually wrong, and they do predict a small value for the cc
b) demonstrating how a flat, expanding universe is understandable with a zero cc?
c) Stating that the problem might be solved by a new theory

Oh, I’ll give you the answer. It is ‘c’, the only of the three choices that does not demonstrate that the fine tuning is only “apparent”.

In other words, Stenger did a crappy job of disproving fine tuning, at least in the cc section. Any reasonable person would be all excited by his use of “apparent” and quite dissapointed that he offers nothing more than potential rescue by a another theory.

Am I wrong? I’m still waiting for your explanation. And Ikeda and Jefferys— are you backing them?

Wayne, what are these other things that I believe in but am hiding from everyone here? That is a serious charge. Do you have any examples?

Comment #51111

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 2:12 PM (e)

Heddle still misses the point. Unless he wants to take back his original claim…

Stenger does NOT accept fine tuning. Stenger acknowledges that some use a ‘fine tuning’ argument for religious purposes. Is that all Heddle wanted to argue that there are non-ID people who accept the existence of what they consider a non scientific argument?

Fine… But lets not quote mine Stenger to suggest that he accepts fine tuning. The “quote” you provided needs to be read in its proper context.

Hope this clarifies.

Thus Heddle moves the goalposts to state that he is ‘disappointed’ by Stenger’s ‘disproof’. But there is no disproof offered, after all God could still have fine tuned via these processes… What Stenger has shown is that scientific explanations or attempts to do so exist. Thus the claim of ‘fine tuning’ cannot be supported as it is a gap argument.

In other words, Stenger did a crappy job of disproving fine tuning, at least in the cc section. Any reasonable person would be all excited by his use of “apparent” and quite dissapointed that he offers nothing more than potential rescue by a another theory.

So let’s not quote mine stenger, shall we…

The “apparent” the Stenger inserted merely reflects his opinion, not any analysis found in his paper.

Indeed So let’s not quote mine stenger, shall we…

He describes the fine tuning argument but he does not accept it as anything scientific. Is that your point? That Stenger acknowledges a poorly founded concept which he believes is nothing more than a gaps argument? In fact, it is clearly a gap argument.

Not X thus Y… Use ‘Ockham’s razor’ to chop it up a little and voila, we have ‘fine tuning’ ala Gonzalez et al. The ‘preponderence of evidence is best explained by no explanation at all’….

Comment #51112

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 2:25 PM (e)

PvM,

You know, on another thread I recently mischaracterized Gonzalez’s position. I was attacked–but I was sure I was right. Then I corresponded with Gonzalez and found out I was wrong. I ate crow and admitted my mistake. Wasn’t fun, but it had to be done. That is what you should have done. After carefully reading the section on the cc, you should have stated that yes Stenger, in spite of his aims and claims, by offering no real way out, really ended up acknowledging the cc fine tuning problem. Which is exactly what I said about him from the beginning. Which I believe is what any honest reader of the cc section of his paper would conclude as well.

I’ll say no more on this, you have worn me out.

Comment #51113

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 2:28 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

Oh brother, not Ikeda and Jefferys again! Do you have a link or reference to their peer-reviewed paper?. Here is the only one I know of.

Interesting non sequitur… Where was it stated that it was peer reviewed?

Stenger’s paper itself provides the link

Ikeda, Michael and Bill Jefferys 2001. “The Anthropic Principle Does Not Support Supernaturalism.” [online],

http://quasar.as.utexas.edu/anthropic.html> (April 30, 2001).

Hope this clarifies.

Comment #51114

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 2:35 PM (e)

PvM I already provided that link, and asked you if you supported their claim:

we will show that the observation that the universe is “fine-tuned” in this sense can only count against a supernatural origin of the universe. And we shall furthermore show that with certain theologies suggested by deities that are both inscrutable and very powerful, the more “finely-tuned” the universe is, the more a supernatural origin of the universe is undermined.

Which I quote-mined right out of their introduction.

And gee, asking for a peer-reviewed paper should be more than acceptable on PT.

Comment #51115

Posted by Eric Murphy on October 5, 2005 2:37 PM (e)

David Heddle:

I’m not sure you’re addressing my point. My point is that there may in fact be a naturalistic explanation (or explanations) for why the various physical constants: G, c, the cc, masses of the various particles, etc. have the values they do. There may be some extension to the Standard Model, or superstring theory, or M-theory, loop quantum gravity, whatever, within which theory the values of the physical constants arise naturally. Or they may not. If they don’t, another possible explanation is of course the multiverse thing, where we just happen (necessarily) to inhabit a universe where those constants have the values necessary to sustain life. I don’t think anyone would be really happy with this explanation, but it may turn out that way.

I think the least satisfying explanation possible (at least for the non-theists among us) would be to just ascribe it all to a Designer, especially if the Designer’s methods, motivations, etc. remain forever removed from scientific inquiry. I don’t know about you, but I’d feel kind of let down. And certainly it would be bad to make that assumption as anything other than a last resort, because if one assumes that a) a Designer done it, and b) said Designer’s methods are opaque to inquiry, you’re foreclosing any further inquiry, right? Or am I missing something?

Comment #51117

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 2:38 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

You know, on another thread I recently mischaracterized Gonzalez’s position. I was attacked—but I was sure I was right. Then I corresponded with Gonzalez and found out I was wrong. I ate crow and admitted my mistake. Wasn’t fun, but it had to be done. That is what you should have done. After carefully reading the section on the cc, you should have stated that yes Stenger, in spite of his aims and claims, by offering no real way out, really ended up acknowledging the cc fine tuning problem. Which is exactly what I said about him from the beginning. Which I believe is what any honest reader of the cc section of his paper would conclude as well.

So your argument is that because Stenger did not address the apparant finetuning to your satisfaction, he actually ended up acknowledging the CC fine tuning problem? In other words by arguing that there was no problem, Stenger argued that there was? By arguing that the fine tuning argument is a gap argument, he was actually arguing that there was a problem?

While quintessence may not turn out to provide the correct explanation for the cosmological constant problem, it demonstrates, if nothing else, that science is always hard at work trying to solve its puzzles within a materialistic framework. The assertion that God can be seen by virtue of his acts of cosmological fine-tuning, like intelligent design and earlier versions of the argument from design, is nothing more than another variation on the disreputable God-of-the gaps argument. These rely on the faint hope that scientists will never be able to find a natural explanation for one or more of the puzzles that currently have them scratching their heads and therefore will have to insert God as the explanation. As long as science can provide plausible scenarios for a fully material universe, even if those scenarios cannot be currently tested they are sufficient to refute the God of the gaps.

Stenger admits that some consider that there exists a ‘fine tuning’ problem. However it is clear to me that he does not accept the ‘fine tuning’ argument as more than apparant.

You may disagree with his explanations such as multiverses, selection effect or quintessence or even a yet to be discovered theory. What Stenger is saying is that the ‘fine tuning’ thus intelligently designed is based on a logical fallacy.

But then again the concept of ‘fine tuning’ has become a somewhat loaded concept. Can we at least agree on the following definition?

Given our present understanding of science, for life to exist as we presently know it, there are some free parameters which need to be within a small range of possible values.

At least I hope from a common ground we can explore the case for/against jumping from this observation to ID.

Comment #51118

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 5, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Judge for yourself

Just goes to show that publications (and it seems that Mr. Heddle isn’t PI/PA on too many in recent days) is no indication of abilities for logical thought….

Cheers,

Comment #51119

Posted by steve on October 5, 2005 2:42 PM (e)

He is here and will constantly avoid questions he does not like or when faced with direct questioning try to shift the point. Much like he did when he claimed that water was the only molecule that had a larger volume for its mass when in a solid state then its liquid state and this is definite proof of ID and was required for life.

Lordy, Heddle actually said that?

Flint, you see, doesn’t understand it—and assumes that since any constant is whatever it is to 120 decimals points (and beyond), well that explains it. Steve usually pops in with his bizarre theory that just because the cc is small in the mks system that doesn’t mean it is really small.

Heddle is misleading you here. He doesn’t know a single decimal point of the constant in question. The 120 decimal points thing is really how many factors, in base ten, the measured value appears to be from a theoretical prediction. The theory has to be ‘fine tuned’ 120 orders of magnitude. Big Deal. Furthermore, physical quantities are small or large in comparison with something else. Heddle wants the CC to be within an unbelievably unlikely small range. Unfortunately, nobody knows the first thing about the distribution. You can’t just look at a number, irrespective of any other factors, and say that it’s meaningfully small or large. You need something to compare it to. The correct way to rewrite David Heddle’s sentence would be “Steve usually pops in with his explanation that just because the cc is small in the mks system that doesn’t mean it’s probability is really small with respect to what else it could have been”.

A while back he came in here swinging a new word, Sensitivity. With Sensitivity, he said you could determine something to be unlikely without knowing anything, more or less. Some nonsense about what percentage different a number could be, and still be useful. The idea was, if you had a number, and the number couldn’t vary but by a thousandth, that was more evidence of intelligent design than if the number couldn’t vary by a tenth. He made it very clear that it wasn’t about arbitrary measurement systems like mks, it was about the percentage difference. I haven’t seen him use that lately though. I suspect he quietly dropped that when he realized that he doesn’t know the Sensitivity of the CC, because he doesn’t know the number to any precision. He doesn’t even know the order of magnitude of the number. There’s just a bound on the magnitude. Without a single digit, without the order of magnitude, you can’t look at percentage difference of course. Remind anybody of the IDers coming up with the CSI notion, and then being unable to apply it to their classic example of the watch in the grass?

Anyway, I’m done with this idiot. He just looks at things, declares them both essential for life and terribly unlikely, and I don’t need to spend any more time with it. It would be nice to have a David Heddle Claim Index, so when he says ID is proven by water expanding, or the moon existing, or some unknown cosmological constant not being 1000 times larger than it is, or bunnies being fluffy, or sunsets being a nice golden orange, one could just offer a link to the relevant refutation.

Comment #51120

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

And gee, asking for a peer-reviewed paper should be more than acceptable on PT.

Why? It’s irrelevant to the discussion as to Stenger’s position. Why would Stenger, refering to a clearly marked online paper, be a reason to request a peer reviewed paper? The issue is not the validity of Stenger’s claims but rather his position on ‘fine tuning’

Heddle asks my opinion on

we will show that the observation that the universe is “fine-tuned” in this sense can only count against a supernatural origin of the universe. And we shall furthermore show that with certain theologies suggested by deities that are both inscrutable and very powerful, the more “finely-tuned” the universe is, the more a supernatural origin of the universe is undermined.

This is in response to the following

It has recently been claimed, most prominently by Dr. Hugh Ross on his web site

http://www.reasons.org/resources/papers/design.html

that the so-called “fine-tuning” of the constants of physics supports a supernatural origin of the universe. Specifically, it is claimed that many of the constants of physics must be within a very small range of their actual values, or else life could not exist in our universe. Since it is alleged that this range is very small, and since our very existence shows that our universe has values of these constants that would allow life to exist, it is argued that the probability that our universe arose by chance is so small that we must seek a supernatural origin of the universe.

All within context…

Comment #51121

Posted by PvM on October 5, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

Ikeda and Jefferys make some excellent arguments, mimicking much of the objections raised by Sober against ID

Some make the mistake of thinking that “fine-tuning” and the anthropic principle support supernaturalism. This mistake has two sources.

The first and most important of these arises from confusing entirely different conditional probabilities. If one observes that P(F|N) is small (since most hypothetical naturalistic universes are not “fine-tuned” for life), one might be tempted to turn the probability around and decide, incorrectly, that P(N|F) is also small. But as we have seen, this is an elementary blunder in probability theory. We find ourselves in a universe that is “fine-tuned” for life, which would be unlikely to come about by chance (because P(F|N) is small), therefore (we conclude incorrectly), P(N|F) must also be small. This common mistake is due to confusing two entirely different conditional probabilities. Most actual outcomes are, in fact, highly improbable, but it does not follow that the hypotheses that they are conditioned upon are themselves highly improbable. It is therefore fallacious to reason that if we have observed an improbable outcome, it is necessarily the case that a hypothesis that generates that outcome is itself improbable. One must compare the probabilities of obtaining the observed outcome under all hypotheses. In general, most, if not all of these probabilities will be very small, but some hypotheses will turn out to be much more favored by the actual outcome we have observed than others.

Comment #51124

Posted by Russell on October 5, 2005 3:08 PM (e)

I’ll say no more on this, you have worn me out.

I do hope this applies, as well, to the pertinence of the pre-Cambrian rabbit.

Comment #51125

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 3:09 PM (e)

Eric,

I am not foreclosing on any other explanation, not even quintessence. Full steam ahead.

There is a subtlety here. Deriving the value of a fine-tuned constant does not necessarily undo the fine tuning argument. (In some cases it might) Multiple universes would certainly undo it, but not a fundamental theory. Because the fine tuning is not related to our ignorance of the origin of constants, but to the sensitivity of life on their values. All that would happen is that the invocation of design would shift from the designer picking the constants to the designer picking the fundamental laws of physics that produce the right constants.

In my opinion, there are only two ways out of all fine tuning: 1) showing that the universe really isn’t sensitive to the physical constants or 2) showing that there are multiple universes.

Arne, I was only PI on one CEBAF experiment, which is probably about average for all the collaboration. Often the PI and first author is the grad student getting his thesis. Do you have a point? Do you think I didn’t contibute to the collaboration? Are you casting doubt on all the collaborators, or just me? As for “lately”, I have been out of academia for 5 years.

Steve, please do not bring up distributions and embarass yourself.

You can’t just look at a number, irrespective of any other factors, and say that it’s meaningfully small or large

Nothing irrespective about it. It is (100, 120, doesn’t matter at these numbers) OoM smaller than theory predicts. Can’t hardly get more meaningful than that. That has nothing to do with distributions. It is a cold hard fact. It would take extreme fine tuning to get the canellations neccessary to reduce a big number by 120 orders of magnitude. Now Steve, should we believe you that the 120 OoM fine tuning is no big deal, or virtually all cosmologists who say it is, including Krauss who ressurected it?

I havent dropped the sensitivity argument, I just used it above.

Comment #51126

Posted by Edward Braun on October 5, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

I am really trying to avoid “count the quotes” but if you want to I’ll go there and I am certain that I can overwhelm you with quotes about the cc fine tuning problem.

David Heddle wrote:

a) showing how the quantum gravity calculations are actually wrong, and they do predict a small value for the cc
b) demonstrating how a flat, expanding universe is understandable with a zero cc?
c) Stating that the problem might be solved by a new theory

Playing “count the quotes” is silly -what matters is the correct quotes. And I would agree that - at present - the cosmological constant does seem surprisingly fine tuned. My impression is that the energy scale of electroweak symmetry breaking is surprising low compared to Planck mass as well (my impression - correct me if I am wrong because I don’t have time to look this up - is that this is related to the question of why the Higgs is so much lighter than the Planck mass). The low strength of gravity relative to the other forces corresponds to another large number, though I am not aware of the limits on the relative strengths of the forces and the ability to for stars etc. The fact that QCD does not seem to break the CP-symmetry is another fine tuing argument, and since Sakharov showed that CP-violation is linked to the excess of matter of antimatter one could argue that CP-violation has anthropic implications. My impression is that axions - currently undetected but actively saught - can “clean up” some or all of these problems (I believe Lawrence Krauss made a pun about them being clenser in his Quintessence book).

I would count all of these as instances of apparent fine-tuning, and there are probably more that I am unaware of (my background is molecular biology). But it is - in my opinion - an open question as to whether any of those phenomena are actually indicative of fine-tuning or only apparently fine-tuned. Given the absence of a true theory of quantum gravity, I think it would be unwarrented to have too much confidence in predictions of what the cosmological constant “should” be. This is my problem with assertions that our universe is 1 in 10^100 or whatever. Without knowledge of the distribution of values that constants of nature are likely to take on or correlations among observed constants of nature we have no idea how surprising our universe is. Clearly, all bets are off if we add in a multiverse or something like Lee Smolin’s cosmological natural selection.

An excellent selection of essays on fine tuning can be found on the secular web .

David Heddle wrote:

Oh brother, not Ikeda and Jefferys again! Do you have a link or reference to their peer-reviewed paper?

While peer review is clearly important, I don’t see any radical problems with the logic in Ikeda and Jefferys. With that said, it might be good to look at Elliott Sober’s chapter in the “Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Religion.” I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Ikeda and Jefferys link to a preprint, and the text is scanned in by Google books (though the Sober chapter is not free - you have to search and get three pages at a time…)

I think we should be fair to Dr. Heddle - I don’t think he claimed the Dr. Stenger accepted a fine tuning argument (though I would be happy to be corrected if I am incorrect). I also disagree with Dr. Heddle’s interpretation of the observations from physics - right now the data do appear interestingly “fine-tuned”. However, I feel it is premature to assert that they are fine tuned. Since cosomological ID doesn’t advocate anything different from non-ID position regarding the direction science should go at this time, it is really a problem that is only of philosophical interest. In contrast, biological ID does essentially say “let’s throw up our hands” regarding our understanding of certain biological systems. At a time when the explosion of genomic data has been showing the predictive power of analyses that are ultimately based upon evolution embracing biological ID seems a dangerous proposition.

Besides, I think it is entirely reasonable to demand that biology students demonstrate competence and understanding of the body of theory and knowledge produced by biologists, and to assert that the general public be given less weight in determining curricula. I would not make assertions regarding the training of an auto mechanic (despite the fact that I put a new transmission on my [ugh!] AMC Hornet when I was a student with far more limited funds than I have now) because I do not have sufficient expertise. Why should I let an auto mechanic tell me how to teach biology? (no specific insult toward auto mechanics - just a general question).

Comment #51135

Posted by Alienward on October 5, 2005 3:45 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Green is explaining the fact that the inflationary model does away with the old fine tuning (The need for primordial order is gone with inflationary big bang). If you want, I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model. Among them would be sometime PT contributor (I think he is, maybe I am wrong) Victor Stenger.

Ok, overwhelm me.

Here is my advice to you, alienward: It is SO TRIVIAL to demonstrate widespread acknowledgement of the cosmological constant fine tuning problem that I would do a little homework first. Flint, you see, doesn’t understand it—and assumes that since any constant is whatever it is to 120 decimals points (and beyond), well that explains it. Steve usually pops in with his bizarre theory that just because the cc is small in the mks system that doesn’t mean it is really small.

From Steven Weinberg in “A Designer Universe?”:

Some physicists have argued that certain constants of nature have values that seem to have been mysteriously fine-tuned to just the values that allow for the possibility of life, in a way that could only be explained by the intervention of a designer with some special concern for life. I am not impressed with these supposed instances of fine-tuning.

It is still too early to tell whether there is some fundamental principle that can explain why the cosmological constant must be this small. But even if there is no such principle, recent developments in cosmology offer the possibility of an explanation of why the measured values of the cosmological constant and other physical constants are favorable for the appearance of intelligent life. According to the ‘chaotic inflation’ theories of André Linde and others, the expanding cloud of billions of galaxies that we call the big bang may be just one fragment of a much larger universe in which big bangs go off all the time, each one with different values for the fundamental constants.

David, if the cc is fine-tuned by some intelligent designers, then they either exist in a universe that also has a fine-tuned cc, or complex intelligent beings can exist in universes without a fine-tuned cc, right?

Comment #51138

Posted by Mike on October 5, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

“ID as the “death of science” is pure, unadulterated, chicken-little, crap.”

I’m also a physicist but I agree with “death of science” claim. Your statement would be true if what we are currently being presented with under the rubric of ID made real substantive predictions and/or provided otherwise improbable explanations that could be tested or observed and such that there could be a consensus interpretations of those observation which are sufficiently uncontroversial to any sizable, multi-cultural set of real or potential observers, such as is the case with the vast majority of physics experiments. I didn’t want to go further into those philosophical issues as I think they’ve been dealt with rather well by others here. But I will add that, absent any stronger empirical or predictive scientific basis for ID, you could still fall back on philosophical arguments for design, but only as a *philosophical* meta-scientific induction argument - not as a scientific theory. I don’t buy into any such thing, but, unless you explicitly embrace scientism (which, ironically, seems to be exactly what the DI folks have done), you always have at least that option.

I suspect the IDers dislike this option, and hence tilt toward a religious scientism, because philosophy is generally more controversial and it’s truth claims often have less credibility than science’s truth claims. But they fail to recognize that the successes underwriting that credibility are due primarily to the limitations imposed on the content of those claims by the constraints mentioned above. Philosophical claims may be truly more fundamental, but they are more integrative of knowledge and experience, more reliant upon a complex network of concepts, many of which are sufficiently theoretical and abstract as to be scientifically untestable and consistent with a variety of different possible worlds (or variations upon what we believe is ours at the time). That makes them often much harder, if not impossible, to resolve, despite their indisputable significance. But that unhappy fact should not motivate us to weaken the standards and procedures that make science such a useful tool within its proper limitations simply to attach the label “science” to something that clearly isn’t. Much as we may dislike the uncertainty and the disunity of knowledge and common beliefs, this would be no bargain for either science or religion. Allowing the IDers to falsely appropriate the term ‘science’ could indeed be the “death of science” as we know it (as opposed to what, say the medieval church, would have considered to be science - I’m talking methodology here, not content) and would be at least as bad, if not worse for religion and philosophy. It would paste over theism with a flimsy, phony-baloney scientistic patina which would surely wash away the first time some cherished (and almost certainly religiously inessential) belief met any significant empirical challenge. And then, the cache attaching to the modern science might well wash away along with it.

Comment #51140

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 5, 2005 4:28 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

How did Stenger demonstrate that the cc fine tuning was only “apparent”.

That wasn’t the issue, you ol’ goal-post-mover you. You claimed that Stenger advocated the “fine tuning” argument. The truth or falsity of this argument has nothing to do with your positive claim that Stenger was on your side and supported you. You were making an appeal to authority – as opposed to actually making your case, a tactic that is hardly a scientific argument – but the authority you cited doesn’t in fact even support you. How dishonest.

Cheers,

Comment #51141

Posted by Stephen Stralka on October 5, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

Once more:

ID as the “death of science” is pure, unadulterated, chicken-little, crap.

Well, I’m not a scientist of any sort but I do have an MA in English, so I know hyperbole when I see it. I haven’t seen any sign that anyone really thinks the enterprise of science itself is threatened by ID, but the ID movement is definitely a problem. The “death of science” bit, then, is best understood not as a literal statement of an actual concern, but as a rhetorical excess that serves to call attention to the seriousness of this problem.

How serious is it? I’ll try to avoid getting all chicken-little here, but if all scientists followed Dembski’s example and whined about being “baited” whenever someone asked them to support their claims, that wouldn’t be good. And when you see a gang of well-funded hacks with no apparent scruples trying to get complete nonsense taught as science in public schools, you tend to want to do something about it.

I would also note that I find Mr. Heddle’s invocation of chicken little a bit ironic, considering that we all know that creationism in all its varieties, up to and including ID, is itself motivated by the chicken-little fear that evolutionary theory is going to destory Christianity.

Comment #51143

Posted by AR on October 5, 2005 4:43 PM (e)

On the Talk Reason site (here) there is a whole section titled Anthropic Principle. It contains articles by Ikeda & Jefferys and by Stenger, as well as by Jefferys alone, by Drange, by Klee, by Walker & Circovic, by Perakh, and by Himma. I doubt Heddle may like these articles, but reasonable readers may enjoy some of them.
Heddle’s denigrating remark about Ikeda & Jefferys’s article being not peer-reviewed sounds odd from an ID advocate - they have argued more than once that the requirement for a peer review is meaningless, and even have a paper by Tipler specifically asserting such a thesis. An enviable flexibility of Mr. Heddle.

Comment #51144

Posted by guthrie on October 5, 2005 4:45 PM (e)

David Heddle:
“Well I don’t think ID is a scientific theory”

“I said that ID has no bearing on how one does science.”

So, why exactly are you trying to show us that ID etc is correct,and evolutionary biology incorrect, in a {I} Science {/I} forum? If it is not science, then theres no need to teach it in school, no need for you to debate it, etc etc.

Comment #51145

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 5, 2005 4:45 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Stenger, in spite of his aims and claims, by offering no real way out, really ended up acknowledging the cc fine tuning problem.

Acknowledging that it is a “problem” (i.e. a question) is hardly the same as saying that he accepts your solution to this “apparent” problem. In fact, he rejects your solution as not worthy of scientific (or even much intellectual) consideration, and instead indicates that theoretical (or even experimental) answers may well be found that resolve (or make irrelevant or nonsensical) this “apparent problem” … and that “God’O’Da’Gaps” ain’t one of them. BTW, nowhere do you show that Stenger will not accept your options “a” or “b” if demonstrated, or accept that some options “c” may subsume one of the first two….

Cheers,

Comment #51146

Posted by Eric Murphy on October 5, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

“All that would happen is that the invocation of design would shift from the designer picking the constants to the designer picking the fundamental laws of physics that produce the right constants.”

Unless the ultimate theory explaining the physical constants shows that the constants must have the values they do for reasons of internal consistency or logic. As Hawking said way back in “A Brief History of Time” (I’m paraphrasing), it might be that god had no choice in fashioning the laws of the universe.

Comment #51148

Posted by Stephen Stralka on October 5, 2005 4:55 PM (e)

While I’m at it:

David Heddle wrote:

I said that Dawkins’s question “who designed the designer?” is the same as a four year old asking “who made God?”

I’ve always wondered how ID supporters would respond to this point, and now I know: hand waving!

As far as I can tell, the question “Who designed the designer?” blows such a colossal hole in ID (or at least biological ID) that it amazes me that anyone can even pretend to take it seriously. The central claim of biological ID in all its varieties is basically that anything above a certain level of complexity requires an intelligent designer, yes? And any intelligence capable of designing all this complexity would itself have to be at least as complex, meaning that another, even more complex designer is required. And so on and so on, in an infinite regress. It’s the reductio ad absurdum of (biological) ID.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t see any way for an honest ID advocate (assuming such a creature exists) to wiggle out of that one.

Comment #51149

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

Arne,

You claimed that Stenger advocated the “fine tuning” argument

I never, EVER said Stenger advocated the fine tuning argument. I never said he was on my side, any more than I ever said Krauss advocated it or that was on my side. I defy you to point out where I said that. Is it me moving goalposts, or you misrepresenting what I said–show us all.

I said he acknowledges it, and he does, which is why he advocates alternative theories to avoid it. If he didn’t acknowledge it, why would he propose quintessence, etc. as possible ways around the problem? Huh? Do you think him so dense as to propose solutions for a problem that he doesn’t acknowledge?

You are dishonest, not me. Oh, unless you can find where I stated Stenger advocated the fine tuning.

Stephen:

I haven’t seen any sign that anyone really thinks the enterprise of science itself is threatened by ID

Did you read this post? And could you (or anyone) define “creationist?” Is Ken Miller a creationist?

Comment #51151

Posted by yorktank on October 5, 2005 5:08 PM (e)

The problem here is the tacit acceptance of the phrase “fine tuning.” The phrase assumes design in the first place. Any admission of a “fine tuning” problem immediately puts Heddle on the high ground. The CC is not “finely tuned.” It’s merely a piece of the cosmological puzzle that isn’t understood yet. It can only be called “fine tuned” because that’s all there is. We have no point of comparison–no other universe. Thus, everything in this universe is exactly as it should be and exactly as it has to be, not because it was designed, but merely because it is. The implication of design does nothing to help the understanding of the CC at all.

Of course the same relevant criticism has been made about design ad infinitum in every field in which the dastardly spectre is invoked, but it’s all useless criticism to those wearing blinders. Assume that god has forced the universe to race out to eventual catastrophe (at least as far as life is concerned) all you want. That assumption just doesn’t come across as particularly intelligent.

Comment #51154

Posted by Mike on October 5, 2005 5:12 PM (e)

“Well, I’m not a scientist of any sort but I do have an MA in English, so I know hyperbole when I see it. “

Well, I’ll concede that. (Incidentally, I didn’t write that, I just defended it.) And I essentially agree with the rest of your post. Your brief sentence about Dembski’s claims of being “baited” when asked to support his claims is a very clear and simple way to see what’s wrong here. But I would still say that, hyperbole aside, there is some threat to science. I appreciate that terms like “scientific method” are somewhat out of favor these days and may sound overly authoritarian. However, few people are really a complete epistemological relativists our absolute skeptics so ideas about what good or bad, sound or unsound, true of false scientific claims or the interpretations of evidence really are still important. And my point was that the stuff being promulgated by the DI people regarding evolution in biology (I’m not really addressing this to the fine-tuning cosmological argument, which is more a complicated issue) is not real science, to say nothing of “good” science. And if we somehow actually made the standards and/or the definition of science sufficiently weak to accomodate that crap in order to get it into the schools, we could risk doing real damage to the enterprise science as well as science education in our country. True enough, it’s not clear how all of that might play out politically and one might argue that the effects would be contained by the way things are implemented. But, the Chinese are on the verge of burying us economically so I really think we want to make our science education any worse than it is right now. And as a scientist, I don’t want any political damage done to the institutions of science (at least not the well-functioning ones) or see constraints imposed on the academic freedom of scientists or see their further demonization by the religious right. So I do regard ID, particularly of the creationist and DI varieties, as a threat to the institution of science in the US.

Comment #51158

Posted by Bruce McNeely on October 5, 2005 5:28 PM (e)

David Heddle said:
Bruce,

Same thing—where is the evidence to back up your claim?

For instance, the “vast” (meaning near-non-existent) research output in biological ID since the idea was promoted more than 10 years ago by Johnson and his acolytes at the DI.

By the way, in cosmology, at least for now, the more that is explained by science the greater the role of the designer. The non-infationary Big Bang theory always had some fine tuning problems (long range uniformity and small scale deviations) but the lastest (inflationary Big Bang) findings of a flat, accelerating universe, which show a large role for a cosmological constant have, have solved the old fine tuing problems but introduced a more serious fine tuning.

I don’t know enough about cosmology to evaluate what you’re saying. I was referring to biological ID, where “gaps” covered by ID get solved by science, leaving less for the Designer to be responsible for. And so it goes, over time.

Comment #51159

Posted by Stephen Stralka on October 5, 2005 5:37 PM (e)

But I would still say that, hyperbole aside, there is some threat to science.

No disagreement here. My comment was meant to respond to the red herrings David Heddle is flinging around, not to claim ID isn’t a serious problem.

And just to be clear, the red herring I’m referring to is the whole question of whether ID will be, in any literal sense, the “death of science.” The orginal post (which I have in fact read, and apparently with greater comprehension than Mr. Heddle) is not primarily, or indeed even secondarily, concerned with the “death of science” question – that phrase is used precisely once, in a manner I believe to be consciously hyperbolic. No, the post is dedicated to showing, yet again, and with a tone more of weary resignation than alarm, why ID simply isn’t science. Heddle (who, ironically enough, has already posted one comment urging us to “get back on topic”) has not responded to the substance of the original post in any way.

Comment #51160

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 5, 2005 5:38 PM (e)

Do you mean your cosmological ID mates do not do experiment to prove their ID hypothesis, but instead carry on exactly the same way to their non-ID colleagues who do only non-ID related experiments?

Yes, that is exactly what I mean.

Um, then what good is ID. What’s the use of it.

Other than as a religious apologetic (which is, of course, the only use for which it is intended).

Comment #51164

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 5, 2005 5:44 PM (e)

Oh, and your comment that ID assumes God is, in my opinion, true—but it is hardly earth shattering.

Let’s hope that the Supreme Court agrees.

But once again, Davey, since you have found a new audience to regale with all your religious opinions, I must ask - - - - - what is the soruce of your relgiious authority? What makes your religious opinions any better than anyone else’s? Why should anyone pay any more attention to your religious opinions than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas? Who appointed you God’s Spokesman©™?

Comment #51165

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 5, 2005 5:51 PM (e)

In my opinion

Heddle, why on earth should anyone *care* about your opinion?

Comment #51166

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 5, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

Hey Heddle, I don’t see any “fine-tuning” in the universe that I also can’t see in the fallen leaves in my back yard.

Would you mind pointing it out to me? Thanks.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Comment #51167

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 5, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

Um, actually, everybody, the quoted statement is that ID would be the death of science, not that it “is (now)” the death of, etc. This is phrased in what’s known as the subjunctive mode. In other words, if we allow ID to successfully reach its wedge-a-toidal theocratic political ends, then it could well pose a serious threat to the forces of good.

We don’t [irony implemented] really need to start slapping “Careful Reading Required Ahead” labels on all our posts, do we? Not here, in reality-land? [/irony]

Comment #51169

Posted by Harry Eaton on October 5, 2005 6:01 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

What is it your view? Is it that (a) ID is a meaningless, impotent concept or (b) ID is an all-powerful killer of science? It cannot be both.

Though this question wasn’t direct at me, my view is that
(a) ID is a meaningless, impotent concept AND
(b) Replacing the teaching of real science and scientific methods
in early eduation with “a meaningless impotent concept” instead is
a “killer of science”.

You see it really is both.

Comment #51175

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Boy on October 5, 2005 6:19 PM (e)

[pops out from behind door, long enough to say:]

Lenny, all bitchin’ about tips aside, how come I get dragged into every one of these slap-downs of the moronic creationists?

I mean, I don’t disagree that they’re morons. I don’t disagree that they need a slap-down. And I especially don’t disagree that [gag]Heddle[/gag] *cough* is a dishonest, repetitive bore, who would probably tip even worse than you–if he had the brains and good taste to order pizza from [implement plug] Spaghetti Monster’s Pizza’N’Pasta [/plug] in the first place!–but

–[begins whine] why do you have to drag me, your loyal pizza kid, through the creationist mud every single time one of these morons shows back up here, beggin’ for another slappin’? Huh, why? Don’t I (mostly) get there on time with (pretty) hot pizza?

And, for that matter, why aren’t my “religious” opinions any better than, say [gag]Heddle’s[/gag], ahem *clears throat*, anyway? I mean, sure, it’s just my opinion, but–if it really is a matter of taste, like you always say, then it’s also a demonstrable fact–let me try that again–a demonstroble fact that the Spaghetti Monster’s pipin’ hot, fresh-from-the-oven pizza is just plain BETTER than [gag]Heddle’s[/gag] (ack!) warmed-over claptrap![/whine]

OK, I’ve said my, ahem, piece, and I’m outta here…!

[pops out through different door]

Comment #51177

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 5, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

if he had the brains and good taste to order pizza from [implement plug] Spaghetti Monster’s Pizza’N’Pasta [/plug] in the first place!

How come you never bring me CHINESE pizza, like I ask for?

Comment #51182

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Boy on October 5, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

Lenny, Lenny, Lenny. I wish you’d told me this before, instead of spending all your time on these ID idiots…!

You oughta know by now that you’ve gotta clearly SPELL OUT your orders–the kid who takes our orders isn’t the sharpest card in the deck in the first place, I admit, and he keeps writing down Shy Anne’s pizza. [Start plug] Not that that’s a bad choice: it’s all standard vegetarian fare, except for the spicy sausage stuffing inside the pasta topping.[/plug]

Now, we’ve still got Chinese on the menu, except that last year–and this was on the orders of the Big Tentacled Guy hisself, when we went to the new printing of the menus that feature that Michaelangelo-style portrait of His SM-ness–we “repositioned” the Chinese pizza. Now it’s called “Denizen of Southeast Asia Delight.”

Kind of a mouthful, I know, but then–as I’m sure you’ll remember, heh heh!–SO IS THE PIZZA!

I’m almost positive that I dropped off the new fliers at your place, back when the menu changed. Are you sure you didn’t stumble home all tired after a hard day inserting the prescription lenses in the dive masks–with another long evening of IDiot-bashing ahead of you–and maybe accidentally recycle our newest flier with your junk mail?

Anyway, if you’ll just tell the kid on the phone that you want the “Denizen Delight,” we’ll all get back on the same page.

And maybe now you’ll stop dropping my name everytime you excavate [gag]Heddle[/gag] *blech!* a new one.

Comment #51185

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 7:30 PM (e)

Mike wrote: “But I would still say that, hyperbole aside, there is some threat to science.”

Everyone is so concerned with the threat to science – what about the threat to publishing and literature? The statement they are supposed to read to kids plugs a book, “Of Pandas and People.” How would Dave like to have his science fiction novels plugged to every high school kid in the state? Just get a school board to go along with your invented controversy.

“While William Golding’s first novel, ‘Lord of the Flies,’ was awarded the Nobel prize for literature it should be noted that this was just their opinion and an alternate opinion is that David Heddle’s ‘Postdestination’ is also a novel should be considered.”

Comment #51186

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 7:35 PM (e)

ND, I do not have a novel named Postdestination. I have a short story of that name, published in an anthology. My novel is entitiled Here, Eyeball This!

Comment #51188

Posted by Edin Najetovic on October 5, 2005 7:40 PM (e)

LOOOOOONG ago, in a post far far away, Norman Doering said:

Norman Doering wrote:

Edin Najetovic “… human-like language that can communicate an infinite amount of ideas in a meaningful way.”

Infinite? You mean that metaphorically, don’t you? Human language is finite if it has to communicate to another person.

Did you bother to look at this:
http://www.dauphinlibre.be/markovhtm.pdf

The dolphin sounds looked more complex than human speech.

You misinterpreted what I said. What is interesting about human language is that it is recursive. This means it can convey an infinite number of ideas from a finite set (sounds, syntax etc.).

I did look at the link you gave me but it means very little. I see no reason yet to distinguish dolphin language from, say, the mating dance of two birds. Complexity has nothing to do with whether something is a language or not. There are languages in Guinea that work fine with a set of 11 consonants and vowels (as opposed to English which uses at least double that). The problem is of course that the criteria for language ‘as we use it’ may be too stringent as to not allow dolphins a place there. Human language and its uses is based on the human brain and psyche with all the neurological and cognitive appendices that entails. Indeed, linguistics is becoming an increasingly more neurological and cognitive science. What it all boils down to is probably this: Dolphins have no way of telling eachother where they were 5 seconds ago, they have no sense of time and no recorded sense of syntax. Especially syntax seems to be increasingly important in our quest to find what is at the heart of human language.

But it is late and I’m rambling incoherently. Ask me again tomorrow if you care enough :P

Comment #51190

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 7:44 PM (e)

“While William Golding’s first novel, ‘Lord of the Flies,’ was awarded the Nobel prize for literature it should be noted that this was just their opinion and an alternate opinion is that David Heddle’s ‘Postdestination’ is also a novel should be considered.”

But it must also be noted that David Heddle does not agree that “Postdestination” is a novel, and says it is a short story.

Comment #51193

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 5, 2005 8:02 PM (e)

From amazon‘s description of Dave’s book:

Aaron begins grad school, fearful that he can’t compete. He’s about to form powerful friendships and learn how physics and spirituality intersect. Meet Hiroshi, who enjoys beer and trying new words, with hilarious consequences. You’ll laugh out loud when he battles Dennis Miller. Timil has trouble with physics and a harder subject, baseball. Yen likes bathroom graffiti and the Bible. Dr. Jacob teaches Aaron about the true origin of the universe, while Roche and Grace impact his life in fantastic ways. Together they face the dreaded qualifier, a comprehensive exam standing in the way of the prize. When Aaron detects signals from Leila, an undergrad beauty, uncertainty rules. She’s his student, which makes misreading the signals costly. Then a trashcan provides a golden opportunity for Aaron. But is it one that he can accept?

I’ve gotta admit the plot description leaves me a little confused, but then that’s nothing new when dealing with the
Dave-ster.

To give Dave his due, though, the book is coming on strong:

Amazon.com Sales Rank:
Today: #1,796,258 in Books
Yesterday: #1,793,987 in Books

“But then a trashcan provides a golden opportunity for [Dave].” We can only wish…

Comment #51194

Posted by M. Patel on October 5, 2005 8:08 PM (e)

“A while back he came in here swinging a new word, Sensitivity. With Sensitivity, he said you could determine something to be unlikely without knowing anything, more or less. Some nonsense about what percentage different a number could be, and still be useful.”

“Because the fine tuning is not related to our ignorance of the origin of constants, but to the sensitivity of life on their values.”

“In my opinion, there are only two ways out of all fine tuning: 1) showing that the universe really isn’t sensitive to the physical constants or 2) showing that there are multiple universes.”

Can someone please tell me what is the “sensitivity” of the physical constant known as the cosmological constant? I have read a lot of Cantor/Dedekind/Cauchy material lately, so let me ask the question in a rigorous manner.

Let S = (M-V)/V

Where
S = Sensitivity
M = Maximum value of the cosmological constant which would permit life
V= Value of the cosmological constant

Now, what is L, the lowest value of Sensitivity which can be explained without Intelligent Design? The Argument for Intelligent Design would then be correct if S, L exist, and SL. Is this true?

I’m a mathematics student, not a cosmologist, so I do not know what S and L are. If the quantities are calculable, then this logical form would convey the argument.

Comment #51195

Posted by M. Patel on October 5, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

There should have been a “less than” sign between S and L in “and SL” above.

Comment #51198

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 8:28 PM (e)

Steviepinhead quoted Amazon.com:

Amazon.com Sales Rank:
Today: #1,796,258 in Books
Yesterday: #1,793,987 in Books

Theory or ad hoc hypothesis, novel or short story, it’s all just arbitrary. And the fact that Dave’s book isn’t selling well – well that’s just the opinion of most book buyers, no different than the opinion of most scientists.

But see, we’ve now created a controversy. It’s time to get school boards to have Lit teachers tell their students: “While William Golding’s first novel, ‘Lord of the Flies,’ was awarded the Nobel prize for literature it should be noted that this was just their opinion and an alternate opinion is that David Heddle’s ‘Postdestination’ is also a novel should be considered.”

Comment #51204

Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 8:52 PM (e)

And if the multiverse theory is correct, then somewhere my novel is a best seller!

And in some universe, steviepinhead might have something substantive to say, and not just childish insults. And he might actually know some science, and he might be a real grownup person!

Comment #51207

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 5, 2005 9:16 PM (e)

That’s right, Dave, and while we’re at it, let’s flesh our new “literary” controversy out just a bit more.

What’s the difference between a short story and a novel, anyway? I mean, what are a few thousand words, more or less? Isn’t it all just, like, relative, and doesn’t, um, quantum mechanics and cardinal schrodinger’s cat and other gee-whiz sounding stuff like that there tell us that reality isn’t really real, it’s all kind of squishy, and we should just believe whatever we really want to believe about it, if we just have enough faith, of the right Dave kind?

After all, there aren’t really any objectively separate things such as short stories and novels anyway, are there, except in the minds of those evil materialistic Nobel prize committee-members? It’s all just literary theory, and all you have to do is open up all those award-winning books to see–plain as the nose on your face–that there are gaps between all those words!

And isn’t their rejection–their failure to even consider, or to correctly categorize!–of Dave’s short story, novel, whatever, isn’t that proof in and of itself that the dogmatic materialistic naturalistic atheistic Nobel literary conspiracy (all just scratching each other’s backs, and demanding critical acclaim, literary quality, and substantial cultural impact) that there must be something deeply madly significant about the words of Dave?!? Why can’t they just accept Dave’s immortal word for it that his short story, er, novel–hey, can’t we just agree to call them something neutral like “word-strings”?–that his worditudeinous output is just as good as Golding’s?

No, of course they can’t, because Golding is in bed with the evil Nobelists (hereafter to be called “neo-Goldbelists”), and because Dave is the little guy trying to get his word out past the indifference and active hostility of the Nobel Prise Prose Conspiracy (yes, the NPPC!), obviously Dave’s word-strings are being suppressed ONLY BECAUSE buried somewhere therein is The Next And Very Bestest Literary Whachamajigger Of All Time.

And only in this one universe, of all possible universes, are we privileged–nay, designed in such a way that we can Read Dave’s Very Own Words. Whereas, if the universe were just a little bit smaller, it wouldn’t have enough room for short stories. And if it was just a little bit bigger, it wouldn’t have enough room for novels. And if it were a little skinnier, it wouldn’t leave any room for the Gaps Between The Words. And if it was too wide, then the eye could never jump the vast inter-gap-ular distance between the words!

Wow!

Comment #51208

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 5, 2005 9:17 PM (e)

Mr. Patel,

there are several reasons why your question cannot be answered.

1) We don’t know M, and nobody has even the faintest idea of whether M can be different from V. (Sure we can imagine other values for M, but that’s not the same).

2) Therefore we don’t know S.

3) Even if we did know M and could therefore compute S, there is no way to estimate what L might be. It might well be 0 (i.e., the universe might well be undesigned, regardless of this “sensitivity” business).

The problem is that some supporters of cosmological ID (such as our well-known Mr. David Heddle) pull an arbitrary M out of their *mind*, compute an arbitrary S, proclaim that S is “unlikely” and that this means that they have inferred design. (I’ve yet to see Mr. Heddle, for instance, bring that L explicitly in the discussion; that’s something Dembski has done for biological ID, though, and it is of course implicit in Mr. Heddle’s confused reasoning).

Why do they do so? Well, first they decided that the universe was designed, and then “went shopping” for scientific-sounding reasons to prop up their foregone conclusion. It’s just rationalizing, I’m afraid.

Comment #51213

Posted by Norman Doering on October 5, 2005 9:40 PM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote: “What’s the difference between a short story and a novel, anyway?”

Even if it’s not a novel yet when shouldn’t limit our selves because Dave might develop it into a novel, just like IDists might develop ID into a real theory. Then “Lord of the Flies” and “Postdestination” would be equally long.

Comment #51215

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 5, 2005 10:06 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Arne,

Arne wrote:

You claimed that Stenger advocated the “fine tuning” argument

I never, EVER said Stenger advocated the fine tuning argument.

Here’s what you said:

David EquivocatioHeddle [from before] wrote:

If you want, I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model. Among them would be sometime PT contributor (I think he is, maybe I am wrong) Victor Stenger.

Hate to say it, but you indicated that Stenger thinks there is “fine tuning”. To claim (or “acknowledge”) “fine tuning”, you have to have some idea of what the values are supposed to be (can’t be “fine tuning” without a reference [i.e. a target] and some idea of how close you need to be able to infer the “tuning”. All of which is something that you can’t show that Stenger has done (not to mention the implicit corollary that “tuning” requires – or at least suggests – a “tuner”). As Stenger indicated, there is some “apparent fine tuning”, but he rejects your conclusion that this “fine tuning” actually exists … which is basically your “fine tuning argument” … as unsupported and unnecessary.

Here’s more from Stenger:

“We also cannot assume that life would have been impossible in our universe had the physical laws been different.” (Stenger goes on with some examples of “not-so-fine tuning” without inordinately catastrophic consequences). He concludes: “But anyone who insists that our form of life is the only one conceivable is making a claim based on no evidence and no theory.” Hardly a ringing endorsement of a “fine tuning problem”. Obviously, he thinks that the question is worth taking a look at (seeing as he did a lot of twiddling with various scenarios), but he doesn’t see it as much of a “problem”, certainly not one requiring a “desig…” – ummm, sorry, “tuning” – inference.

Cheers,

Comment #51219

Posted by jeebus on October 5, 2005 10:47 PM (e)

And if the multiverse theory is correct, then somewhere my novel is a best seller!

Infinite universes does not imply every universe.

Events with zero probability don’t happen, even in infinite time.

:)

Comment #51222

Posted by Jon A. Pastor on October 6, 2005 12:54 AM (e)

A little further along in the same thread from which the “connect the dots? we don’t need to connect no steenking dots!” quote came, Dr. D sez, in response to a meticulously detailed argument about scale-invariance in protein interaction networks:

I find your conclusion remarkable: “I await eagerly the contrary proof that scale invariance is not sufficient proof of sequential addition and redeployment on a ancestral, simpler network, given that Darwinian evolution proposes such changes over the span of evolutionary time.” In other words, given that Darwinian evolution is compatible with (there’s no requirement here) scale invariant networks at whose principal nodes sit IC systems, there’s no need to supply actual detailed Darwinian pathways of how these IC systems arose. This is like saying we can believe that lead gets transformed into gold without ever seeing how the alchemist effected the transformation. And why? Because scale invariance is simply posited as the new philosopher’s stone.

Whoa! Did he just admit that ID is just the new philosopher’s stone?!?

Comment #51226

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 6, 2005 1:55 AM (e)

Steve Stralka wrote:

As far as I can tell, the question “Who designed the designer?” blows such a colossal hole in ID (or at least biological ID) that it amazes me that anyone can even pretend to take it seriously. The central claim of biological ID in all its varieties is basically that anything above a certain level of complexity requires an intelligent designer, yes? And any intelligence capable of designing all this complexity would itself have to be at least as complex, meaning that another, even more complex designer is required. And so on and so on, in an infinite regress. It’s the reductio ad absurdum of (biological) ID.

Steve, where does your “beingness” come from? Did you receive it from somewhere? Did that something you got your “beingness” from get it from something else? Do an infinite regress, and, lo, you have the First Being, from Whom all Being comes. Wasn’t that simple?

All the universe in its splendor came from an infinitely small point of what–matter? Think how complex the universe is, and how complex you are: all that from a “point”, an infinitely small “point.” Your infinite regression of matter doesn’t “complicate”; it “simplifies”!

Now, as a Darwinist you subscribe to a materialist outlook; so, a question: where did the “matter” of this infinitely small point come from? Doesn’t that “blow … a colossal hole” into this materialist outlook?

Finally, about complexity. ID doesn’t require “complexity”, it requires “intelligence.” Did Einstein “complicate” or “simplify” our understanding of gravity? The equation for general relativity is simple, and in its simplicity, it is elegant. The mark of genius is to make the complex manageable, not the other way around. Scientists look for “laws”, not chaos.

Comment #51227

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 2:18 AM (e)

Jon A. Pastor asked: “Whoa! Did he just admit that ID is just the new philosopher’s stone?!?”

Whoa! Dude, I don’t think so. I think he was saying evolution had a philosopher’s stone: “… no need to supply actual detailed Darwinian pathways of … IC systems … like saying … lead gets transformed into gold without ever seeing how the alchemist effected the transformation. And why? Because scale invariance is simply posited as the new philosopher’s stone.”

Essentially, they are holding on to the vague concept of Irreducible Complexity as a disproof of Darwinism. They refuse to give it up because to give it up means they have nothing left. (specified complexity should fall with irreducible complexity) However, IC was falsified.

Comment #51229

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 2:27 AM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote: “…where did the ‘matter’ of this infinitely small point come from?”

A quantum vacuum fluctuation.
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Quantum/casimir.html

BlastfromthePast wrote: “ID doesn’t require complexity, it requires intelligence.”

Define intelligence. Maybe evolution is intelligent?

They do, after all, use evolutionary algorithms in artificial intelligence research.
http://www.isgec.org/gecco-2002/prog-tracks.html

Comment #51231

Posted by carol clouser on October 6, 2005 2:33 AM (e)

Stephen Stralka,

Are you seriously claiming that you, and Dawkins for that matter, cannot appreciate the difference between positing an eternal God vs. eternal DNA, for example? Well, then let me help you out on that, if I may. DNA, or any other corporeal entity, would of neccesity contain detail, structure and specifity. If it is eternal, it was not purposefully designed, hence we arrive at some very problematic questions of the form why is it shaped/structured/organized this way and not some other way? There would be hundreds of such unanswerable questions. God, on the other hand, is not corporeal and is featureless. All such problematic and unsolvable dilemmas are not applicable. An eternal God is thus far more palatible logically than an eternal anything else.

One may argue that an entity without features is inconceivable, and all we are doing is replacing one mystery with another. But the inconceivability of God can quite logically be ascribed to the limitations of our imagination, constrained as it is by the sensory experiences of our brains.

The end result is that the eternal God hypothesis is actually far more logically efficient than eternal DNA or any other eternal corporeal entity as an explanation for the origin of the universe and life. The question “Who made God” truly reflects a four year old’s inability to reason abstractly.

Comment #51233

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 3:03 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote: “…DNA, or any other corporeal entity, would of neccesity contain detail, structure and specifity.”

But an intelligence doesn’t of neccesity contain detail, structure and specifity? How do you know such a thing can even exist, much less really provide an answer? What about the artificial intelligences and our brains, are they not structured and specified?

carol clouser wrote: “…God, on the other hand, is not corporeal and is featureless.”

How do you know that?

God is a blob of quantum plasma?

carol clouser wrote: “…All such problematic and unsolvable dilemmas are not applicable.”

What about the fact that no intelligence we know of can make a single electron appear out of the void much less a universe? Since when does intelligence aquire true creative potential rather than mere modeling and re-arrangement potential?

carol clouser wrote: “… An eternal God is thus far more palatible logically than an eternal anything else.”

Only if you’re properly brainwashed into missing what a non-sequitur that answer is.

carol clouser wrote: “… the inconceivability of God can quite logically be ascribed to the limitations of our imagination, constrained as it is by the sensory experiences of our brains.”

So can the inconceivability of invisible pink unicorns. And yet, the real mystery is, as Albert Einstein said: “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.”

carol clouser wrote: “…The end result is that the eternal God hypothesis is actually far more logically efficient than eternal DNA or any other eternal corporeal entity as an explanation for the origin of the universe and life. The question ‘Who made God’ truly reflects a four year old’s inability to reason abstractly.”

No. The end result is that you have an excuse to stop thinking scientifically.

Comment #51234

Posted by Fernmonkey on October 6, 2005 4:40 AM (e)

[i]I am not a biological ID proponent, so you have to ask someone who is.[/i]

Forgive my asking, but in that case what exactly are you doing hanging out on a biology and evolution blog?

The thing I don’t get about ID is what you’re supposed to [i]do[/i] with it. It just seems so…empty - we don’t know, we can’t know, we don’t want to know, and we’re not going to try to know. “OK, this blood clotting mechanism is just too complicated for us to figure out. Therefore, God did it! Yay, we’ve solved the problem! Now we know God did it, we don’t need to find out any more, so let’s shut down the lab and go for pizza.”

Comment #51235

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 6, 2005 4:45 AM (e)

Comment # 51109

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #51109
Posted by David Heddle on October 5, 2005 02:02 PM (e) (s)

Wayne, what are these other things that I believe in but am hiding from everyone here? That is a serious charge. Do you have any examples?

David, you are known to have said things like
Comment # 20938

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #20938
Posted by David Heddle on March 18, 2005 12:23 PM

You might also have taken the trouble to discover that I am not an ID proponent it the sense (Irreducible Complexity vs evolution) that it is used here, nor am I a YEC.

While I agree you are not a strict YEC you continually make statements at places like
worldmagblog
following quotes can be found
here

David Heddle wrote:


I teach Sunday Schools on ID, give ID lectures at the Rotary, and have snuck ID lectures into university physics courses. I always start with an aphorism that I think is relevant:

When science and the bible disagree, the bible is always right. When science and Christians disagree, Christians are sometimes wrong….

David Heddle wrote:

How would you say that evolution deals with the irreducible complexity argument? Personally I find it very weak on that topic. That is an example of a place where ID, in my opinion, does substantively better than evolution.

David Heddle wrote:

ID is testable, in spite of your claims. There are cosmological tests, which have nothing to do with evolution. Sticking to biology, ID states that God created (sometimes reintroduced) and then made extinct many species to create the bio resources that man would need. Though it does not take a literal view of the genesis account, it does takes a chronological view. So one trivial test is that the fossil record should match the biblical order. It does. If the bible had said mammals predated life in the seas, there would be a serious problem. There are many, many other testable aspects which we can discuss.

When shown the errors of your own logic and statements across blogs and even within blogs you avoid, obfuscate, and change the points being discussed.

You are, to most other people that actually pay attention to what you write, someone who is big tent and change your apologetics to fit your audience. You in one blog say you don’t support biological ID but in another say, and I repeat

David Heddle wrote:

How would you say that evolution deals with the irreducible complexity argument? Personally I find it very weak on that topic. That is an example of a place where ID, in my opinion, does substantively better than evolution.

You constantly generalize and say that PT contributors and commenters discount “God” by their acceptance of the modern theory of evolution. You fail to listen to everyone that says just because we don’t specifically state in every one of our posts that “God” could be the final cause of the universe that we must be ruling “God” out. While there are contributors and posters that look at the evidence and say things like “I don’t believe in a God because of what I see” that means nothing scientifically.

It is exactly why I am agnostic. I look at the physical world and say I don’t see any reason to invoke “God” but I don’t discount the fact that “God” may exist. I am agnostic because there can be no evidence that discounts “God”. I can be called an atheist if you want to tell me that “God” is an elderly white male with a beard and flowing white robes that created the universe as set forth in the bible. In that case so is the Pope! As it has been pointed out the official church standing about the bible is that it presents “Truths” in a form that the people of the time could understand. Not that there was an actual Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, Noah and world wide flood. But the stories told by the bible teach of the relationship between man and “God”.

You are now harping on the fact that we don’t point out that the Pope believes that “God” is the ultimate cause when we quote his statements about evolution. Well no Duh that the Pope believes “God” is the ultimate cause. That should go without saying. Even my son at 4 understood that even if things in history and science contradict the bible stories this in no way impacts if there is a “God” or not.

Comment #51236

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 5:07 AM (e)

Fernmonkey asked: “…The thing I don’t get about ID is what you’re supposed to _do_ with it?”

The IDers show us what to do with it by example, and by example what we learn is that you do politics with it. There are no cases of anyone doing science with an ID hypothesis.

Comment #51237

Posted by David Heddle on October 6, 2005 5:12 AM (e)

Wayne, I have made all these comments on PT as well as my own blog. I know for sure that on PT I have argued that to a non-expert like myself Behe’s arguments are much more compelling. On this site (so it cannot be hiding) I have stated more than once that biology needs better pedagogical examples to explain the flagellum, and that all I have ever heard are unconvincing “coulda, mighta” scenarios. Also I know that I have repeated my statement about the bible and science on this site. There is no smoking gun here.

As for harping on the fact that JP II’s position is constantly misrepresented here, I consider that a mission. Everytime I see someone on PT quote mining JP II on evolution, I’ll remind them of the conditions he attached to his approval.

Arne, you replayed my quote:

If you want, I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model. Among them would be sometime PT contributor (I think he is, maybe I am wrong) Victor Stenger.

And indicate (in your childish manner) I have backed down. I have not. The fact that Stenger is a non-ID who acknowledges the fine tuning problem is demonstrable by his own paper. Again, do you think he is in the habit of proposing possible solutions to problems that he does not acknowledge? Do you think, please be precise, that Stenger is really saying: There is no fine tuning in the cosmological constant, and here is a way we might be able to avoid this non-existent fine tuning.? Is that really your reading?

Comment #51240

Posted by bcpmoon on October 6, 2005 5:54 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

There would be hundreds of such unanswerable questions.

No, this is not true, because these questions would be difficult but not unanswerable.

Carol Clouser wrote:

God, on the other hand, is not corporeal and is featureless.

If this is so, how do we know that god exists? Not corporeal, ok, but featureless? No physical features result from the non-corporeal, but “mental” features must be there, because without you could not develop a set of rules and religion.

Carol Clouser wrote:

All such problematic and unsolvable dilemmas are not applicable. An eternal god is thus far more palatible logically than an eternal anything else.

In other words, you want to declare unsolvable problems solved by referring to an omnipotent being. Is this logic? Perhaps, but it is a trivial solution. And furthermore, if I had to chose what to believe, “eternal DNA” vs. “eternal god”, then of these three things (DNA, god, eternal) I only know of DNA that it exists.

Carol Clouser wrote:

But the inconceivability of God can quite logically be ascribed to the limitations of our imagination, constrained as it is by the sensory experiences of our brains.

But with the same logic we can ascribe the inconceivability of god to his non-existence. How to decide? Scientifically? How to prove god? Isn´t that the antithesis of faith?

Comment #51243

Posted by El Brujo on October 6, 2005 6:08 AM (e)

Dembski wrote:

ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.

Ah, the (pseudo)scientific equivalent of, “Badges?!? We don’t need no steenkin’ badges!”

Comment #51246

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 6, 2005 6:52 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

Sorry to burst another of your bubbles, but since Behe is sayind “could not!”, saying “coulda, mighta” is a perfect refutation of his “argument”.

You are (disingenuously, as usual) pretending that a “this could not happen” must be refuted by saying “it happened like this, and this, and this, and…” describing ind etail not just how it could but how it really happened. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

By the way, as to your self-inflicted “mission”; you are failing badly, as you have been claiming that a faith proposition is somehow “relevant context” for a scientific proposition. It isn’t, so you’d better find yourself another hobby… er, I mean, “mission”.

Comment #51248

Posted by David Heddle on October 6, 2005 7:03 AM (e)

Aurola,

It is impossible to burst my bubble on this, because it is a subjective statement. Without ever endorsing IrC, I have only stated that I find Behe’s arguments more compelling. This I have stated many times (here on though PT, Wayne seems to think this is something I have hidden.) On PT, I have even suggested that biologists come up with good arguments acessible to the non expert. I haven’t seen any.

Comment #51250

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 6, 2005 7:07 AM (e)

Steve, where does your “beingness” come from? Did you receive it from somewhere? Did that something you got your “beingness” from get it from something else? Do an infinite regress, and, lo, you have the First Being, from Whom all Being comes.

And where did IT come from ….?

Comment #51251

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 6, 2005 7:10 AM (e)

God, on the other hand, is not corporeal and is featureless.

So is “nothingness”.

How do we tell the difference?

Doe Jay El’s book explain this?

Comment #51256

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 7:21 AM (e)

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote: “So is ‘nothingness’”

There’s no such thing as nothing or nothingness. It doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion of the human imagination. The closest thing to nothing is the vacuum of space between the galaxies but that is something – spacetime – and it’s popping with virtual particles.

Comment #51257

Posted by ben on October 6, 2005 7:40 AM (e)

How would you say that evolution deals with the irreducible complexity argument? Personally I find it very weak on that topic. That is an example of a place where ID, in my opinion, does substantively better than evolution.

What disingenuous crap. Heddle knows exactly how evolution deals with “irreducible complexity”–it doesn’t, because it hasn’t been scientifically demonstrated that there is such a thing as irreducible complexity. If it had been, evolution would be discredited, wouldn’t it? Like everything else about ID, the concept wasn’t formulated because it is a significant scientific or intellectual concept but because it’s a good tool to manipulate the ill-informed into thinking there are Problems With Evolution.

Asking the same rhetorical questions over and over again does not a persuasive argument make.

Comment #51259

Posted by Flint on October 6, 2005 8:01 AM (e)

I don’t have any problem, personally, with Heddle deciding that for himself that magic is “more compelling” than knowledge. I think his posting history here has demonstrated unequivocally and consistently that he rejects knowledge in favor of magic in every context raised.

He actually does even better than this. He carefully and consistently dismisses as inadequate any and all knowledge that he perceives as conflicting with the requirements of his faith. There is no better way to defend a belief in magic than to reflexively reject anything requiring knowledge.

Heddle is one of those remarkable people who can look you straight in the eye, tell you he doesn’t see you, and sincerely believe it. To an outsider, this looks remarkably like dishonesty. But apparently those of the True Faith understand instinctively; it’s a skill only achievable through a lifetime of conditioning.

Comment #51260

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 6, 2005 8:11 AM (e)

Flint:

you are 100% correct. Heddle insists that Behe’s “couldnta” is more compelling that biology’s “coulda, for instance thus”. This amounts to nothing more than dismissing evidence as inconvenient.

Behe is effectively trying to prove a negative (an extremely dubious proposition) and coming up FAR short.

Yet Heddle finds it “compelling”.

What a couple of poor deluded chaps.

Comment #51263

Posted by Shirley Knott on October 6, 2005 8:29 AM (e)

Heddle also believes that in any controversy between the Bible and science, science is wrong.
So much for everything we know about Jericho, the murder of the babies in Judea by Herod, the world-wide flood, etc.
But it should have been apparent to all that Heddle already has his “answer” – he’s even given it in a message above – and is merely searching (rather desperately it seems) for grounds to continue supporting it.
But even this search demonstrates what a pitiful pseudo-intellect that miserable little man has – if he accepts that the univers is designed [an incoherent notion, btw] *more strongly than any other principle [sic]*, then there are no lengths to which he will not go to defend his “principle”.
The man is beneath contempt. The man’s “ideas” are peurile, and rely on an astonishingly dishonest reading of pretty much everything he encounters.
But then we know this, having been paying attention to this thread.
I hereby suggest that Heddle receive no more attention or response than CW. They are of an ilk.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #51265

Posted by David Heddle on October 6, 2005 8:55 AM (e)

Shirley,

Heddle also believes that in any controversy between the Bible and science, science is wrong.

That’s true, but I don’t know of any, at the moment. The last one I was aware of was when scientists said we had a steady state universe and the bible didn’t. The bible was right. Einstein and others were wrong.

How about giving the rest of that quote, where I say that when Christians and scientists disagree, scientists are often (sometimes I say usually) correct.

I don’t care that I have been called many names here, most recently by Shirley. I will point out, however, that I was ripped a new one for calling Dawkins a name the other day; the PT faithful were aghast that anyone would stoop to name calling. I see that, as I expected, as long as you agree with the namecaller, it’s okay.

(BTW Shirley, use of “[sic]” is silly in this kind of rapid response forum. And if you do use it, I suggest you make sure you spell “universe” correctly in the same sentence where you try to look clever by using “[sic]”, otherwise it kind of ruins the effect, don’t you think?)

Comment #51266

Posted by Alienward on October 6, 2005 9:16 AM (e)

David Heddle:

You wrote:

If you want, I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model.

And I responded:

Ok, overwhelm me.

If you not going to do it, just let me know.

Comment #51268

Posted by David Heddle on October 6, 2005 9:24 AM (e)

Here are some fine-tuning quotes to start with. References upon request.

If you need more, such as from Weinberg or Livio or a bunch of others, let me know.

Comment #51272

Posted by Shirley Knott on October 6, 2005 9:59 AM (e)

David, I listed a number of places where the Bible makes emphatic declarations which science knows to be wrong.
The world-wide flood, the walls of Jericho nonsense, etc. Add ‘the day the sun stood still’ and the cure for leprosy. The bible doesn’t do well on lagomorphs or insects, either.
So the Bible is always correct and science always wrong?
I think not.
You are liar as well as a peurile babbler. 100% unworthy of any more attention than is paid to Mr. Wagner.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #51275

Posted by David Huddle on October 6, 2005 10:17 AM (e)

Shirley, none of those places is a problem.

First of all, the bible lists ~100 miracles, some of which you mentioned. They are excluded from this debate. Miracles, by definition, are supernatural. By definition, they conflict with science. Saying that a virgin gave birth (and describing it as a supernatural occurrence) does not present a conflict with science.

Even so, the text describing miracles is a tiny percentage of the bible. It leaves plenty of room for the bible to say something wrong. Plenty of chance for statements such as “the earth is at the center of the universe.” Such statements never appears, apart from metaphorical statements and figures of speech (“the sun rose”.)

The flood is probably the greatest challenge to this assertion. Here, as always, you need to distinguish between a literal interpretation (especially of the english translation) and other possible meanings of the Hebrew writers– who used a language with a vocabulary 10-50 times smaller than modern english. Inerrant does not require a literal hermeneutic. If you like, I can refer you to scholarly studies that indicate that “world” in Noahic flood could easily have meant Noah’s world (Mesopotamian region), and all the animals referring to the livestock, etc. in the area. In other words, there are credible Hebrew scholars who argue that the Hebrew is consistent with a localized flood.

Comment #51276

Posted by Moses on October 6, 2005 10:23 AM (e)

Comment #51226

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 6, 2005 01:55 AM (e) (s)

Steve, where does your “beingness” come from? Did you receive it from somewhere? Did that something you got your “beingness” from get it from something else? Do an infinite regress, and, lo, you have the First Being, from Whom all Being comes. Wasn’t that simple?

All the universe in its splendor came from an infinitely small point of what—matter? Think how complex the universe is, and how complex you are: all that from a “point”, an infinitely small “point.” Your infinite regression of matter doesn’t “complicate”; it “simplifies”!

Now, as a Darwinist you subscribe to a materialist outlook; so, a question: where did the “matter” of this infinitely small point come from? Doesn’t that “blow … a colossal hole” into this materialist outlook?

Finally, about complexity. ID doesn’t require “complexity”, it requires “intelligence.” Did Einstein “complicate” or “simplify” our understanding of gravity? The equation for general relativity is simple, and in its simplicity, it is elegant. The mark of genius is to make the complex manageable, not the other way around. Scientists look for “laws”, not chaos.

Nobody cares about these “number of angels dancing on the head of a pin questions.” Just answer:

Who designed the designer? And the subsequent infinite regression?

And what the **** is a Darwinist? Because the last time I checked, they were called “scientists” or “evolutionary biologists” or what ever their particular field may require (like my wife, the developmental biologist).

Comment #51277

Posted by yorktank on October 6, 2005 10:24 AM (e)

“Saying that a virgin gave birth (and describing it as a supernatural occurrence) does not present a conflict with science.”

Mr. Heddle, you clearly do not understand science well enough to be debating its merits and faults. That statement is just ridiculous.

Comment #51278

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 6, 2005 10:25 AM (e)

So, where the Bible and science conflict… we shall find “credible Hebrew scholars” (Carol Clouser simply jumps to mind!) that argue that what the Bible says is not what everybody thinks it says, so there!

And that, mind you, is the Unchanging Word of God™.

You have to admit: it must not be easy saying such whoppers with a straight face.

Comment #51279

Posted by David Heddle on October 6, 2005 10:35 AM (e)

yorktank,

Of course it is not ridiculous. You do know miracle means? If miracles are no excluded from the debate over whether the bible conflicts with science, then the side arguing that there is a conflict achieves a trivial victory. If that is all we are debating, then there is no point debating. If your argument is: “science proves a virgin birth is impossible ergo the bible is in conflict with science” then I congratulate you on a shallow victory.

Aureola,

Oh, so a scholarly response to an argument based on a cursory literal interpretation of the english text is not playing fair? I should just say “yep, my bible says days and must mean 24 days so, you are right, game over man.”

It would be convenient for you if that were so; then you could put us all in the YEC box.

By the way, will someone define what is meant by “creationist” as used on PT. Is Ken Miller a creationist?

Comment #51280

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 10:39 AM (e)

David Huddle wrote: “… Plenty of chance for statements such as ‘the earth is at the center of the universe.’ Such statements never appears, apart from metaphorical statements and figures of speech (”the sun rose”.)’

Okay, what about Joshua 10:12-13 – Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still. — “The sun stood still and the moon stayed — and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” Is that a metaphor? I think not, it’s a not backed up by any other civilizations, ancient China and India, that surely would have noted the sun standing still.

Joshua 10:12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day

From 2 Kings, Hezekiah’s request that God move the sun ten degrees backwards as confirmation of his promise that Nezekiah would be delivered into Heaven:

20:8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?

20:9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?

20:10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.

20:11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.

Wouldn’t that have been noticed by other cultures too?

Comment #51282

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 10:45 AM (e)

David Heddle asked “…will someone define what is meant by ‘creationist’ as used on PT. Is Ken Miller a creationist?”

I draw the creationist line at God making each kind of animal and denying the common ancestor view seen in the tree of life diagrams you find in biology texts.

By the way, Noah’s flood… you think that happened?

Comment #51283

Posted by Flint on October 6, 2005 10:46 AM (e)

Oh, so a scholarly response to an argument based on a cursory literal interpretation of the english text is not playing fair?

Nope, it’s not playing fair. What you have noticed is that (1) nearly everything the Bible says that is a testable statement, turns out to be wrong in some way; (2) People have been puzzling over this fallibility for a long time; (3) What theological scholars have done, as an absolute requirement to salvage tall tales, is to find creative metaphorical, allegorical, miraculous, and other non-realistic interpretations of them; (4) They’ve pretty much covered the bases by now: *Everything* the Bible got wrong has been given some liberally imaginative interpretation by SOME scholar faced with the unacceptable alternative of finding the Bible to be in error (ghasp!).

But to a non-believer, this is clearly cheating: YOU find an error, *I* will re-interpret the error to actually “mean” something else entirely so YOU are wrong. Repeat endlessly. Heads I win, tails you lose. And you can’t see this?

Comment #51284

Posted by David Heddle on October 6, 2005 10:47 AM (e)

ND,

Miracles: excluded from this debate. Whether or not they would/have could/have should/have been noticed by other cultures is an interesting question, but not part of the debate about whether the bible conflicts with science.

Gee folks, it has been fun, but I am about to do some traveling. CYA in a couple days – that would be 24 hour days.

Comment #51285

Posted by Ryan Scranton on October 6, 2005 10:48 AM (e)

Heddle: There’s a difference between an apparent problem and a real problem. If you didn’t know anything about quantum mechanics, then the results of a Stern-Gerlach experiment would be an apparent violation of basic electromagnetism. Once you know about quantum mechanics, then it’s a nice demonstration of spin interacting with a varying magnetic field.

Right now, we don’t have a real theory of quantum gravity, nor do we have the data to say that dark energy is definitely a cosmological constant. If you use a naive extrapoloation of current theory and assume that dark energy is equivalent to vacuum energy, then you get your 120 orders of magnitude. If either of those two assumptions are incorrect, then you’ve run into something along the lines of my example above. Of course, cosmologists are aware of this, so no one’s losing any sleep just yet. Folks like me are going to be spending most of the next decade trying to figure out what the dark energy equation of state is, whether or not it changed over time and whether or not it allows for the possibility of dark energy clustering. At the same time, the theorists will continue their efforts to quantize gravity.

In the meantime, you can amuse yourself with quotes from scientists with their own theological opinions (or where you’ve conveniently ignored the rest of their point). Enjoy.

Comment #51286

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 6, 2005 10:53 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle said:

“Oh, so a scholarly response to an argument based on a cursory literal interpretation of the english text is not playing fair? I should just say “yep, my bible says days and must mean 24 days so, you are right, game over man.””

Who said so? Not me. No, Mr. Heddle, you are the one who claimed that there is no conflict between the Bible and science.

In response to the very same silliness as written by Carol Clouser, people have pointed out that not just “a cursory interpretation of the english text”, but scholarly philological examination of the earliest surviving copies of some of the books haphazardly pasted in the Canon shows that many of the allegedly “allegorical” words and passages were in fact taken very literally by the people who were studying them “religiously” much closer to the origin of the texts.

What you are saying simply means that the Bible does conflict with science, and you choose to call any such conflict “miracle”. You’re free to do so; that label, however, does not make it any more likely, I’m afraid.

Comment #51288

Posted by Alienward on October 6, 2005 11:31 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Here are some fine-tuning quotes to start with. References upon request.

You had said:

I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model.

None of those quotes say anything about the cc. But I did see you wrote this in the comments:

The point of these quotes was never that these physicists see God–some do some don’t. The point was that they all recognize that their are features of the universe that are so fine tuned as to demand explanation–for the most part by appealing to either ID or infinite parallel universes. Evolutionists, on the other hand, won’t even admit to the appearance of design.

Here’s a quote for you David:

What’s really crucial about biological evolution is that that doesn’t stop at one generation, it goes on to the next and the next and the next, and it takes hundreds, it takes thousands of generations to build up, cumulatively, the really impressive adaptive complexity that we get in living things, like eyes and elbow joints. So, that’s the reason why solar systems don’t look very impressively designed, whereas living bodies look very, very impressively designed indeed. (Richard Dawkins)

Since you have talked about Dawkins in this thread, you do give the appearance of deliberately misrepresenting some scientists in order to make it appear that other scientists are supporting ID.

Comment #51289

Posted by yorktank on October 6, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

David Heddle:
“Of course it is not ridiculous. You do know [what] miracle means? If miracles are no[t] excluded from the debate over whether the bible conflicts with science, then the side arguing that there is a conflict achieves a trivial victory. If that is all we are debating, then there is no point debating. If your argument is: “science proves a virgin birth is impossible ergo the bible is in conflict with science” then I congratulate you on a shallow victory.”

Read what you said again. You contradict yourself completely in the span of three sentences. It’s quite remarkable, really.

“Miracles, by definition, are supernatural. By definition, they conflict with science. Saying that a virgin gave birth (and describing it as a supernatural occurrence) does not present a conflict with science.”

In one sentence you say that the supernatural conflicts with science and based on that premise, you decide in the next sentence that the supernatural does not conflict with science. Do you fancy us all morons?

There is no hollow (not shallow, by the way) victory in the point at all. It is the very crux of the matter! The natural and the supernatural cannot be studied conjointly. Personally, I question whether the supernatural can be studied at all.

P.S. Science doesn’t prove anything, such as virgin birth, impossible…only highly improbable. Blanket existential statements are reserved for religion.

Comment #51290

Posted by Fernmonkey on October 6, 2005 11:37 AM (e)

Right.

Genesis 1:12-14. If the ‘days’ of creation are not literal 24-hour periods (as you’ve just said, Mr Heddle), how did the plants photosynthesise before the sun was created? That’s the order given in the book.

Comment #51291

Posted by Norman Doering on October 6, 2005 11:41 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote: “… it has been fun, but I am about to do some traveling. CYA in a couple days — that would be 24 hour days.”

Run, David, run – before we start asking about the Tower of Bable.

And what about the last two verses of 2 Chronicles?

Ver. 22. “Now in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, that the word of the Lord, spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying….”

Now compare that with the first three verses of Ezra:

Ver. 1. “Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying….”

The last verse in Chronicles is broken abruptly, and ends in the middle of the phrase with the word ‘up’ without signifying to what place. This abrupt break, and the appearance of the same verses in different books, show a disorder and ignorance in the way the Bible was put together, and that the compilers of it were fairly sloppy.

Other broken and senseless passages in the Bible, 1 Samuel xiii. 1, where it is said, “Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men,” etc. The first part of the verse, that Saul reigned one year has no sense, since it does not tell us what Saul did, nor say any thing of what happened at the end of that one year; and it is, besides, mere absurdity to say he reigned one year, when the very next phrase says he had reigned two for if he had reigned two, it was impossible not to have reigned one.

Another instance in Joshua v., the writer tells a story of an angel appearing unto Joshua; and the story ends abruptly, and without any conclusion: –Ver. 13. “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand; and Joshua went unto bim and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” Verse 14, “And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?” Verse 15, “And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Josbua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standeth is holy. And Joshua did so.”–And what then? nothing: for here the story ends, and the chapter too.

And here’s something on the flat earth beliefs:
http://www.evowiki.org/index.php/Flat_Earth

Comment #51292

Posted by CJ O'Brien on October 6, 2005 12:00 PM (e)

Carol Clauser:

God, on the other hand, is not corporeal and is featureless. All such problematic and unsolvable dilemmas are not applicable. An eternal God is thus far more palatible logically than an eternal anything else.

Oooh, that’s a good one! (Rave review from St. Thomas Aquinas)

This is an ooooold line of very poor reasoning. To the scolastics, it went like this

All things being equal, the simplest solution is probably correct. (Occam’s razor)

God is infinitely simple.
QED

All of you out there looking for actual explanations for phenomena can knock off early today. God’s got ya covered.

Comment #51293

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on October 6, 2005 12:10 PM (e)

Saving Us from Darwin
in the NY Review of Books

Frederick C. Crews wrote:


The IDers have closed ranks behind Behe as their David to the Darwinian Goliath. His inspiration pervades their manifesto anthology, Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design, a triumphalist volume in which the impending collapse of evolutionism is treated as a settled matter. In the view of the editor, William Dembski, Darwinism is already so far gone, and the prospect of reverse-engineering God’s works to learn his tricks is so appealing, that “in the next five years intelligent design will be sufficiently developed to deserve funding from the National Science Foundation.”

Uh-huh.

Comment #51294

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 6, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Do you think, please be precise, that Stenger is really saying: There is no fine tuning in the cosmological constant, and here is a way we might be able to avoid this non-existent fine tuning.? Is that really your reading?

Doesn’t matter what I think (or what my “opinions” are). That’s not the topic of discussion. What mattters is what you claimed of Stenger’s thoughts, and you’re wrong. I don’t think (nor did I argue) that Stenger is of the positive opinion that there is no “CC problem” or that he knows that the CC isn’t “fine tuned”. From what I can see he’s agnostic on this. What he isn’t is a person having the opinion – that you implicitly ascribe to him – that there does in fact exist “fine tuning”, or that this “apparent fine tuning” is some deep and significant “problem” that must be addressed and if not addressed and disposed of right now, we have to adopt or accept (at least on a interim basis) an “argument from design”….

OK?

HTH.

Cheers,

Comment #51296

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 6, 2005 12:29 PM (e)

David BabbleHeddle wrote:

The flood is probably the greatest challenge to this assertion. Here, as always, you need to distinguish between a literal interpretation (especially of the english translation) and other possible meanings of the Hebrew writers— who used a language with a vocabulary 10-50 times smaller than modern english. Inerrant does not require a literal hermeneutic. If you like, I can refer you to scholarly studies that indicate that “world” in Noahic flood could easily have meant Noah’s world (Mesopotamian region), and all the animals referring to the livestock, etc. in the area. In other words, there are credible Hebrew scholars who argue that the Hebrew is consistent with a localized flood.

Hey, as long as you’re admitting to “miracles” like the virgin birth, why bother with the weasely words here to ‘explain’ away the silliness of the plaigiarized flood myth/saga being tossed into the Holey Babble? Hell, if Gawd sez there was a world-wide flood, there was a world-wide flood, gawddamit, and any purported evidence to the contrary (or any creeping tendencies toward a sane and sober outlook on reality) was only put there to test your faith…..

Now, “tell me about the rabbits, Lenny”…. Another “miracle”? ;-)

ROFL….

Say, just out of curiosity, if the “Noachian flood” wasn’t worldwide, doesn’t that make this myth/fable lose some of its cogency? What is the ‘moral’ of the story, if it’s just Noah’s neighbours’ livestock that got wiped out? Why bother with the ark when there’s a Pets’R’Us down the road in Assyria?

Cheers,

Comment #51297

Posted by MP on October 6, 2005 12:38 PM (e)

I am suprised that, on a forum full of biologists discussing why it is important to dismiss ID, when Mr. Heddle said “What is it your view? Is it that (a) ID is a meaningless, impotent concept or (b) ID is an all-powerful killer of science? It cannot be both.”, not one person mentioned the obvious real world example of BS pseudo science defeating actual science for political reasons. Are you all familiar with Lysenkoism? Here is the perfect example of what could happen if the ID/Creationist movement gets its way. Not the death of science, perhaps, but trauma-induced coma, quite possibly. Lysenkoism put Soviet biology 30 years behind the rest of the world, not to mention causing all kinds of other problems, but you can read for yourself.

Comment #51299

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on October 6, 2005 12:40 PM (e)

Frederick C. Crews wrote:

In the view of the editor, William Dembski, Darwinism is already so far gone, and the prospect of reverse-engineering God’s works to learn his tricks is so appealing, that “in the next five years intelligent design will be sufficiently developed to deserve funding from the National Science Foundation.”

BTW, that was written in or before 2001, so funding should be comping any day now.

Comment #51300

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 6, 2005 12:43 PM (e)

MP:

rest assured that Lysenko and his pernicious ideological approach get mentioned quite a lot here.

Comment #51304

Posted by Christopher Blake on October 6, 2005 1:22 PM (e)

I have posted on one thread before.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/09/glaring_error_o.html
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/09/glaring_error_o.html#comment-49942

I wrote a short essay entitled, “With a Heavy Heart:
Should Creation Science be taught in Public Schools?
A Biblical Christian Perspective

The answer is NO. The answer is also a resounding no for ID theory. The second part of the essay, dealing with the correct Biblical teaching on how we, as Christians, should conduct ourselves in public is far more important. It is also the reason I am posting now, for the last time. Those of you, who are PT regulars, please be patient with me. This is not directed at you. It is directed at those who claim to be Christians.

Are we allowed, as Christians, to belittle, ridicule, mock, or in any other way, attack those we are dealing with when we purport to act in the name of Christ? Are we allowed to lie, cheat, or act in any way dishonestly when purporting to promote the Gospel? Many of the people and organizations engaged in this debate, claiming to do so in the name of Christ, are doing these things and worse. If you do so knowingly, and continue willfully to disregard the Bible’s implicit teachings on our conduct, be warned: God is not mocked. To willfully and knowingly bring offense to those to whom the Gospel is intended is an offense to the cross of Christ. It is your own egos, and wills, that you seek to glorify. Not Christ’s.

Do I expect this post to change anything? Not really. Then why do it? Read Ezekiel chapter three. He was not sent to those who did not believe, but to his own people. May your judgment be your own.

I do not claim to be better than anyone; quite the contrary. If Paul was the first among sinners, then I am number two with a bullet. The only reason I won’t catch him is that I won’t live long enough. Romans 7:15-25 is the Chris Blake passage of the Bible. Hopefully, that will convey my views on myself. If you look up dirt bag in the dictionary, they just have my picture; and the list of cross-references is not too flattering.

Those of you who are engaged in this debate on the other side have been wronged. Those who have wronged you should admit it publicly in the same arenas in which you have been wronged. Please know this: The God that I believe in does NOT condone these actions. He does, in His Word, condemn them.

Christopher Blake

Comment #51305

Posted by James Taylor on October 6, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

I have concluded that ID insults humanity as a species. Since the premise of ID is that the universe is the result of an intelligent agent, it therefore defines intelligence as the ability to create a universe. This discounts not only all scientific accomplishments but all cultural achievements of humanity including religion. It implies that humans are not intelligent beings because we lack the capability to create pocket universes. Philosophically then, there is nothing that seperates man from animal since our percieved intelligence is nothing more than an illusion. ID therefore inspires the naturalist concept it is vehemently attacking. Once again idealism proves to be self-defeating.

Comment #51306

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 6, 2005 1:54 PM (e)

I love it so the bible is never at odds with science because
1) If it is it is OK because it is a miracle.
or
2) they are just “metaphorical statements and figures of speech”

So David tell me with your great biblical knowledge. How do you know that Noah’s flood is not metaphorical and is a miracle? How do you know the virgin birth is not metaphorical and is a miracle?

I, for one as many others do, look at the virgin birth as convenient mistranslation of the original text.

As for Noah’s Flood we also know that whole story has gone under some major changes over the years. How do you deal with whole passages being added to the story? Do you go with the earlier tails that leave much what we know like

And Elohim said to Noah: “The end of all flesh has come before me, because the land is filled with violence because of them, so I’m going to wipe them off the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gofer wood, with rooms shall you make it, and cover it inside and out with pitch. You are to make it this way: The ark will be 300 cubits long and 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. You will make a roof for the ark and complete it a cubit above, and you shall make a door of the ark in its side. Make it with a lower, second and third deck. And as for me, I am bringing the flood of water upon the land to destroy all flesh that has in it a living spirit under the whole heavens. Everything that is on the earth shall die.

Which doesn’t appear in the older versions of this story. Neither does this.

And the flood was upon the land for 40 days. And the waters became great, and grew very, very much on the earth, and the ark was carried along on the waters. And the waters increased very greatly on the land, and the covered all the high mountains which were under all the heavens. The waters rose till they were 15 cubits above the mountain tops.

The older text seem to be missing a bit from what we read now….here is that passage in the older text.

And the rain was upon the land forty days and forty nights, and the waters surged up and carried the ark, and the ark rose above the land.

The older text being some where around 11-10 centuries BC and the newer text from about 6 century BC.

So this story of the bible under went some major modification somewhere in that 500 years. So do we treat the new parts as metaphor?

You also have another problem to address with Noah’s flood. If it was only a “Local Flood” then God was not really truthfully in the statement

GOD wrote:

I will wipe humanity which I created from the face of the ground, from human beings to cattle, to creeping things, to the birds of the heavens, because I’m sorry that I made them!”

If it was a local flood then “God” only wiped part of the earth clean. So even if you discard the “Metaphors” of how much water was involved and all the animals on the ark. You are left with the whole story was metaphor. Many Christians have no issues with this story being allegory. But you’ll spin the most interesting apologetics to keep your bible correct.

For those that missed your spinning on the whole water is a sign of ID here is the snippets.

David Heddle wrote:

Liquid water is rare in the universe.

Wayne Francis wrote:

Define rare. Everything but Hydrogen is “rare in the universe”
The fact is that there are at least 2 bodies, of significant mass, within our solar system that possess liquid water.

David Heddle wrote:

The property that ice floats is both surprising and beneficial. That’s the key. There has been some assertion on here that its not so rare, so I did some quick research and stand by my statement that only water and bismuth have this property

Wayne Francis wrote:

Ummm David so you refute the physics of germanium and gallium? Man that is a new one. A physicist denying known properties of basic elements. You can be king of the IDers now.

Germanium and Gallium both have a solid state that, like bismuth, does not pack like neat spheres. So we have 3 elements that do what you say is “rare”. Your definition of “Rare” is that ~3% is “rare” good to know

Wayne Francis wrote:

Your quick research was not that good…I’ve come up with another element that has this property. Silicon.

For your lack of ability to look through periodic charts here are some figures for you

 
Element      Liquid Density    Solid Density 
Bismuth      10.50 g/cm³       9.78 g/cm³ 
Gallium       6.08 g/cm³       5.90 g/cm³ 
Germanium     5.60 g/cm³       5.32 g/cm³ 
Silicon       2.57 g/cm³       2.33 g/cm³ 

David Heddle wrote:

Ahh, now I see the problem,

For those elements, you need to show that their solid density is less than liquid density at their melting point. I found Silcon’s solid temperature, as you indicated, at 2.33 g/cm3 at 25C, but its melting point is ~1400C.

So David moves the goal post. I didn’t know that it mattered what the melting point was. David’s initial argument was that only Water and Bismuth had a higher density when a liquid then they did when they where a solid. I didn’t even want to get into the fact that I was just looking at basic elements forget more complicated molecules. But David knows that only water and Bismuth have this property and the fact that others do to doesn’t matter because they don’t have a melting/freezing point 0°C at sea level and a boiling point of 100°C at sea level and that at 4°C ice’s density peaks.

For the whole post go
here

This is typical of David’s postings. Please go read the whole thread it is long but you can see many examples of how David’s logic works to keep his apologetics afloat.

Comment #51307

Posted by Ben on October 6, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

The IDers have closed ranks behind Behe as their David to the Darwinian Goliath. His inspiration pervades their manifesto anthology, Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design, a triumphalist volume in which the impending collapse of evolutionism is treated as a settled matter. In the view of the editor, William Dembski, Darwinism is already so far gone, and the prospect of reverse-engineering God’s works to learn his tricks is so appealing, that “in the next five years intelligent design will be sufficiently developed to deserve funding from the National Science Foundation.”

The Behe book was published in 1998, according to Amazon.

So when’s your revised date for evolution’s collapse, Bill?

Comment #51311

Posted by M. Patel on October 6, 2005 2:42 PM (e)

I am disappointed that Intelligent Design supporters have not explained their argument as I asked in 51194. Is everyone on this board an evolutionist?

Comment #51312

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 6, 2005 2:50 PM (e)

Mr. Patel:

I respectfully suggest you get used to it. Not seriously engaging substantive arguments is a time-honoured tradition of our IDers in residence.

But don’t worry: very soon Mr. Heddle will be back, with more handwaving and non sequiturs for us to dismantle.

Comment #51313

Posted by Vic Stenger on October 6, 2005 3:04 PM (e)

Since my name appears a hundred or so time in recent posts, let me add a few remarks. Most of the discussion revolved around the cosmological constant problem, better referred to as the vacuum energy problem. As in most scientific arguments, it helps to know the science before commenting on it. (In fact, that’s true of everything, isn’t it?)

In my upcoming book The Comprehensible Cosmos I have a mathematical appendix on the physics of the vacuum, where you and find the standard mathematical derivation of the zero point energy of the universe. This comes out 120 orders of magnitude higher than the observational upper limit thus classifying it as one of the worst calculations in the history of physics (Please do not attribute it to me).

The full book is available on my web site at

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/nothing.html

See Appendix H. A nonmathematical discussion is in chapter 8. The mathematical level of the appendices is about that of an undergraduate physics major.

If you look at the derivation (which is, I repeat, the standard derivation), you will note that it is rather hand-waving and not based on any deep theoretical physics calculation, although it is often misrepresented as such in the popular literature. I point out several omissions. First, only the zero point energy of bosons is calculated. The zero point energy of fermions has the opposite sign. So, if we had perfect supersymmetry (equal number of boson and fermion degrees of freedom) there would be an exact cancellation and the net vacuum energy would be zero.

This solution to the vacuum energy problem is usually dismissed, because the current universe does not exhibit supersymmetry. But, I have suggested that since the void out of which the universe appeared would have all the symmetries known to physicists, and more, then we would expect the zero point energy of the void to be zero.

If this is not the solution to the problem, then there is another I can think of and discuss in the book. The equations of physics allow for negative energy solutions as well as positive energy ones. These are generally summarily rejected by physicists (except for a few nobodies like Dirac and Feynman), for no good reason. They are in the equations. Leave them in and you get exactly zero vacuum energy. Where are those solutions? They are there, indistinguishable from the positive energy ones. If you reverse the time axis they become positive energy and the familiar solutions convention prefers become negative. Since no experiment can distinguish between the two time directions (the arrow of time is a convention), you have no more right to throw out these solutions as the others.

So, I believe a plausible case can be made for exactly zero vacuum energy and thus exactly zero cosmological constant, with the dark energy not a vacuum effect but a material one (quintessence).

Now, I admit that this is not a consensus view and that most physicists still think there is a vacuum energy problem. Well, until we get a consensus on a solution, then I agree there is a problem. But, like all design arguments, this one is useless as a proof of God’s existence. They are all gods-of-the-gaps–arguments from ignorance: “I can’t see how the universe could not have been designed, therefore it must have been designed.” (Please do not lift this quotation out of context and attribute it to me.

Comment #51314

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 6, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

My heartfelt thanks, Dr. Stenger.

Comment #51316

Posted by Logicman on October 6, 2005 4:12 PM (e)

Remember in “Annie Hall” where the loud, bosterious guy in line is (mis)quoting Marshall McLuhan and the Woody Allen character, who can’t take it anymore, interrupts and then produces the REAL Marshall McLuhan right on the spot and McLuhan proceeds to tell the guy he’s full of it? Well, Dr. Heddle, meet Dr. Stenger.

Comment #51320

Posted by Stephen Stralka on October 6, 2005 4:40 PM (e)

To respond to BlastfromthePast and Carol Clouser:

It’s curious how some people think special pleading is a valid form of argumentation when it comes to God (or the unspecified designer). “Everything that exists must have a creator,” we’re told. “That creator is God.” OK, so this is your argument that God exists, which, by your own logic, means God has to have a creator. So who’s that? If the threat of being compared to a four year old isn’t enough to keep us from raising such impertinent questions, the believer always has a fallback: “God is the First Cause. He is eternal and uncreated.” Really? So why are the rules different for God? Why does the logic you used to “prove” God’s existence not apply to God himself?

(Or, in the case of ID, we have this, from BlastfromthePast: “ID doesn’t require ‘complexity’, it requires ‘intelligence.’” So apparently we’re meant to imagine an utterly simple intelligence, and apparently the fact that I’m unable to do so is a testament to nothing but the limitations of my own brain, stupendously complex though it may be.)

The key point here is that the conclusion of any design argument undermines its own premise. (Now there’s something you won’t hear a four year old saying.) That is, as soon as you posit an uncreated God, you’re saying that something can exist without having a creator after all. So if you’re willing to let God exist without a creator, why not extend the same courtesy to the universe itself – especially since we also happen to have quite a large amount of physical evidence that the universe exists, whereas with God all we’ve got is a bunch of bad arguments.

This truly is the most parsimonious answer, if you understand Occam’s Razor properly. The idea isn’t strictly that we should always prefer the simplest answer, but that “one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.” If you’re trying to explain the universe, God is a superfluous entity – unless your idea of explanation is to stamp “DIVINE” on anything you don’t understand. But if you’re trying to explain the universe in a scientific sense, in the sense of truly understanding how it all works, invoking a disembodied being about whom you’re not even allowed to ask any questions (or, in the case of ID, about whom or which you refuse to speculate) doesn’t bring you any closer to your goal.

Oh, and the only person who’s positing anything as silly as “eternal DNA” around here is Carol Clouser.

Comment #51322

Posted by carol clouser on October 6, 2005 4:48 PM (e)

Since my name has come up a few times in this thread, with one poster referring to some of the statements I made in the past as “nonsense”, let me refresh some memories here.

As one who is very fluent in English and Hebrew and a few other ancient languages, let me make it absolutely clear. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HEBREW, YOU DO NOT KNOW THE BIBLE (the so called “old” testament that contains the story of creation in Genesis).You may know OF the Bible or ABOUT the Bible, but you do not know THE Bible. The popular English translations are so replete with inaccuracies that it is nauseating to watch folks quote and argue on that basis.

To those who keep repeating over and over again that the order of developments in the story of Genesis is contradicted by science, I say - there is no order in Genesis and the Hebrew makes that abundantly clear. Instead of presenting six chronologically ordered days, the Bible presents six overlapping eras of development and makes it clear that they are NOT meant to be chronological.

For a more complete discussion I again recommend Judah Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF, a book I am thoroughly familiar with since I served as editor during its preparation.

Norman Dering and bcpmoon,

You ask, in response to my posting #51231, how do we or can we know about the existance of an entity that is not corporeal, has no detail nor structure, and is eternal. The answer is - by logical deduction along the lines presented in that posting (among other ways). Observation and experimentation is not the only road to the truth. A sound mathematical proof, for example, can lead to truisms without any resort to data. The same can be said of philosophical argumentation. In the case of God it does call for a high order of abstraction and “rising above ourselves”. But that is the hand we have been dealt.

Comment #51324

Posted by CJ O'Brien on October 6, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

“In the case of God it does call for a high order of abstraction and “rising above ourselves”. But that is the hand we have been dealt.”
Speak for yourself.

Comment #51325

Posted by tytlal on October 6, 2005 5:08 PM (e)

Carol,

Could you provide an informative link/book which discusses the “real” Bible? I am being serious. Perhaps Judah Landa’s book? The English version of the Bible is full of silliness with slavery and all.

Perhaps this is the wrong thread, but can anyone explain why “God did it” placates people? Who created God, etc.? Seems not to settle any debates.

Back to evolution … did God “help” the intelligent species of just Earth and the (inevitable discovery) other alien species out there in the untold trillions of stars?

Serious questions.

Comment #51326

Posted by Edin Najetovic on October 6, 2005 5:08 PM (e)

From the old thread someone brought up in here. Out there they have a poker analogy going and David Heddle gets away with an ‘agree to disagree’, while a very valid point is missed:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000730.html#c13466

The analogy is fatally flawed to begin with. In actuality you are dealt a hand of cards, whose nature you may establish and also their interrelations, and it’s the winning hand apparently. The question of ‘why’ or ‘was cheating involved’ CAN NOT be adressed due to the nature of the rules of the game lying outside the nicely taut hand of cards you are dealt and the apparent cry of “You’re a winner!”

Really, a better analogy would be sitting in a card game for the first time then getting stuffed a hand of cards which your opponents declare ‘is a winner’. You see the cards, can draw conclusions on them, but the reasons why you won or whether you winning is likely at all can not be adressed without consulting outside factors. To go back to the universe this means that we can simply not know how lucky we are or if we’re lucky at all, we have no way of consulting these outside sources and any assumptions on them are beyond pointless, they are stupid.

In fact, some friends of mine and me like to introduce people to a card game where you just arbitrarily shout people need to do things or randomly declare people are in or out… the look of befuddlement on their faces does it for me :) — but excuse my semi-relevant ramblings on this.

Comment #51332

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 6, 2005 5:57 PM (e)

Why on earth is everyone arguing theology with a handful of nonentities like Heddle, Blast and Carol?

Why on earth should anyone give a flying fig WHAT any of them say? What are they, God’s Spokemen©™ or something?

They have their religious opinions. They’re welcome to them. Why do the rest of us need to pay any attention to them?

Stop offering the tapeworms your intestines.

Comment #51337

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

Heddle often made poker analogies, without realizing that we have an idea about the distributions from a deck of cards. Then he would switch to arguing that distributions were unnecessary, without realizing it destroyed his poker analogy. If you pointed that out, he’d switch to Argument from Authority, viz., “Look at this respected physicist who used the phrase ‘fine tuning’, that means I’m right…”

His arguments are tedious, every time he repeats them.

Comment #51341

Posted by shiva on October 6, 2005 6:35 PM (e)

Dave Heddle is “travelling” so he is not going to be replying to these posts for some time. And thanks to Dr.Stenger he is going to be extending his “travel plan”.

Comment #51342

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 6, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Moses wrote:

Nobody cares about these “number of angels dancing on the head of a pin questions.” Just answer:

Who designed the designer? And the subsequent infinite regression?

If it’s too complicated for you, I can break it down.

Steve Stralka wrote:

God is the First Cause. He is eternal and uncreated.” Really? So why are the rules different for God? Why does the logic you used to “prove” God’s existence not apply to God himself?

Logic understands that an infinite regress has to end somewhere when it comes to causation. If you can’t see that, then you’re simply not being logical. I have no rememdy for that.

Steve Stralka wrote:

(Or, in the case of ID, we have this, from BlastfromthePast: “ID doesn’t require ‘complexity’, it requires ‘intelligence.’” So apparently we’re meant to imagine an utterly simple intelligence, and apparently the fact that I’m unable to do so is a testament to nothing but the limitations of my own brain, stupendously complex though it may be.)

Do you know how tempting a target that last statement of yours is? But not giving into temptation, let me just point this out: what is “easier” to imagine–that intelligence in its core is simple, or that organic forms, left all to themselves, formed the vertebrate eye?

Steve Stralka wrote:

(That is, as soon as you posit an uncreated God, you’re saying that something can exist without having a creator after all. So if you’re willing to let God exist without a creator, why not extend the same courtesy to the universe itself – especially since we also happen to have quite a large amount of physical evidence that the universe exists, whereas with God all we’ve got is a bunch of bad arguments.

There have been plenty of philosophers and scientists over the years who have believed this notion of yours of an “uncreated” universe, including Aristotle and Fred Hoyle. But you see, Einstein’s TGR (gen’l rel.) and Hubble’s discovery that galaxies are receding from one another led to the idea of the Big Bang, which was later confirmed by microwave detection in the 60’s and the COBE missions in the late 80’s and early 90’s. So, it is a given–scientifically–that there was a beginning of time. Within the last few years, there has been experimental confirmation that the recession of galaxies from one another is speeding up. What is the scienftific implication of this observation? The universe will have an end. So, as observable as the universe is, unfortunately what we observe is that it isn’t eternal–and, that it had a beginning. In other words, it’s not the First Cause. Your argument just doesn’t carry water.

Steve Stralka wrote:

(But if you’re trying to explain the universe in a scientific sense, in the sense of truly understanding how it all works, invoking a disembodied being about whom you’re not even allowed to ask any questions (or, in the case of ID, about whom or which you refuse to speculate) doesn’t bring you any closer to your goal.

If you insist on being such an empiricist–everything has to be experienced or observed, or else it doesn’t exist–then let’s turn the argument around.

More than once in my life I’ve seen the future pass before me just as I experienced it when it happened seconds later–exactly the same. This is an empirical fact. I testify to it. Now, please explain it.

Secondly, on October 13th, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, the “Miracle of the Sun” occurred, wherein the sun was seen by thousands of people to increase in size, begin to spin, to then hurtle itself throughout the sky, and then finally to appear to fall to the earth. All the people were terrified. And their wet clothes–it had rained all morning long–were found to be completely dry when the sun–after just the seconds and mintues this all took–returned to its normal place in the sky. Atheists saw it and reported it in papers. It’s an empirical fact. Please explain it scientifically.

The tilma of Juan Diego that rests in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexioc City, when investigated by scientists, contained the image of Juan Diego in the pupil of the eye of the woman whose image is called Our Lady of Guadalupe. How is that possible? Please explain it. This is a fact. You can take a microscope and go see it for yourself. How did it happen?

In St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the body of Pope John XXIII is in a glass sarcophagus, there for the viewing public. His body is completely intact. I saw it for myself. He died in 1963. Please explain this, too.

Comment #51343

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Comment #51332

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on October 6, 2005 05:57 PM (e) (s)

Why on earth is everyone arguing theology with a handful of nonentities like Heddle, Blast and Carol?

Well, with Heddle, months ago, there was some hope that he could be made to understand that his ID arguments are non sequiturs. Unlikeliness requires some minimal info about likeliness. There’s no hope anymore, it’s clear he’ll believe anything he thinks supports ID. There’s no reason to argue with Heddle anymore, it’s just a dumb waste of time.

Blast is pretty worthless, I’m just having fun trying to figure out who it is. The unnecessary arrogance suggests Robert O’Brien. However, attention hogs like O’Brien and Salvador wouldn’t post anonymously. And there are too few language errors to be Salvador anyway. Yet the name suggests a previously-seen creationist. The content suggests no knowledge of biology or physics, but the person seems to think he understands these things, which suggests philosophy. So I bet it’s T. Russ.

Carol’s just a loon. It’s fun to provoke loons to say loony things, like Hovind saying Shintoism was based on Evolution. Comedy writers can’t write funnier material.

Comment #51345

Posted by CJ O'Brien on October 6, 2005 6:47 PM (e)

Blast:

what is “easier” to imagine—that intelligence in its core is simple, or that organic forms, left all to themselves, formed the vertebrate eye?

The latter, by a long shot.
If it’s too complicated for you, I can break it down.

Comment #51346

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 6:47 PM (e)

Logic understands that an infinite regress has to end somewhere when it comes to causation. If you can’t see that, then you’re simply not being logical. I have no rememdy for that.

We’ll consider you logical when you realize that “all causes must have a prior cause” and “there exists a cause which has no prior cause” are logically contradictory.

Comment #51348

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 6, 2005 7:01 PM (e)

If it’s too complicated for you, I can break it down.

(yawn)

Says the guy who never heard of _Caudipteryx_ or _Pakicetus_.

You’re a boring blowhard, Blast. But I thank you, sicnerely, for demonstrating to all the lurkers out there jsut how utterly silly, vapid, vacuous and content-free ID really is.

Comment #51349

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 6, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

More than once in my life I’ve seen the future pass before me just as I experienced it when it happened seconds later—exactly the same. This is an empirical fact. I testify to it. Now, please explain it.

You are mentally unbalanced.

As I always suspected. (shrug)

Comment #51351

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 6, 2005 7:20 PM (e)

Let’s see, if the godless commies managed to preserve Lenin’s body, who died several decades earlier, I’d certainly hope that the Vatican could pull it off for the pope by 1963. Why, reverse-engineering alone ought to have allowed them to catch up…

Comment #51352

Posted by Moses on October 6, 2005 7:27 PM (e)

Logic understands that an infinite regress has to end somewhere when it comes to causation. If you can’t see that, then you’re simply not being logical. I have no rememdy for that.

We know that to our bones. There may even be an explanation to WHY there is a universe and WHY there cannot fail to be a universe.

But why don’t you just admit you can’t answer the question, but for playing the supernatural “I am what I am” card?

Secondly, on October 13th, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, the “Miracle of the Sun” occurred, wherein the sun was seen by thousands of people to increase in size, begin to spin, to then hurtle itself throughout the sky, and then finally to appear to fall to the earth. All the people were terrified. And their wet clothes—it had rained all morning long—were found to be completely dry when the sun—after just the seconds and mintues this all took—returned to its normal place in the sky. Atheists saw it and reported it in papers. It’s an empirical fact. Please explain it scientifically.

How about a religious hysteria experience that built up over months and months and when the sun came out from behind some clouds: PRESTO! A miracle! Which happens millions of times a day as the clouds move through the atmosphere and the sun rises and sets.

This has been built-up into a myth of biblical proportions. AND HAS BEEN WELL DE-BUNKED. Even at the time.

Avelino de Almeida (a former seminary student turned reporter) says that he saw “the sun dance”, but his fellow reporter, the photographer, Judah Ruah, nephew of the famous photographer Joshua Benoliel, who worked with him, saw nothing. Why? According to him, because nothing strange happened to the Sun. When he saw all those people kneeling, he understood that it was the happening and that is why he photographed it.

Comment #51353

Posted by bkawcazn on October 6, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote:

What is the scienftific implication of this observation? The universe will have an end. So, as observable as the universe is, unfortunately what we observe is that it isn’t eternal—and, that it had a beginning. In other words, it’s not the First Cause. Your argument just doesn’t carry water.

Forgetting for a moment that your claim that the universe has an “end” is baseless, I should point out that a moment of origin does not say anything one way or the other about whether or not the universe could simply exist for its own sake.

Are you suggesting that everything must be eternal, and that things which seem to be finite must really be effects of something eternal? This is a possibility, as most anything is, but it does not have a lot of merit.

All our scientific observations tells us is this: The universe had a beginning.

You connect this to the idea that the universe must have been created by something with no beginning, but I cannot see why this connection is necessary. Do you have a concrete philosophical or scientific reason for this, are you simply uncomfortable with the idea of a beginning to time, or is this mere speculation?

Comment #51354

Posted by Stephen Stralka on October 6, 2005 7:51 PM (e)

With apologies to ‘Rev.’ Flank…

Blast wrote:

Logic understands that an infinite regress has to end somewhere when it comes to causation.

I don’t know what dictionary you’re using, but mine defines “infinite” as meaning, among other things, “endless.” Thus logic understands (insofar as an abstraction is capable of understanding anything) that if an infinite regress does have an end, it isn’t infinite.

The infinite regress is a real problem, though, if you’re making the claim that everything that exists has to have a creator—or at least it’s a problem if you care about logical consistency. I ask again: What is the justification for suddenly changing the rules when you get to God, and declaring that he doesn’t have to have a creator?

fromthe wrote:

Do you know how tempting a target that last statement of yours is? But not giving into temptation, let me just point this out: what is “easier” to imagine—that intelligence in its core is simple, or that organic forms, left all to themselves, formed the vertebrate eye?

Oh boy. Thanks for being so gentle with me. CJ O’Brien already answered this point in #51345, of course, but I would also remind you that we started out talking about intelligent design here, and that the proponents of ID like to pretend they’re doing science. With regards to the vertebrate eye, for instance, it might be easier to imagine that a disembodied intelligence spoke and it was so, but science isn’t a contest to see what’s easiest to imagine. (Hell, I find it even easier to imagine that first there was no eye, and then there was. Who needs a creator when you can just imagine stuff spontaneously popping into existence?) However great a strain evolution puts on your imagination, it does have the advantage, from a scientific point of view, of being a coherent and well formulated theory with a huge amount of evidence to support it.

Past wrote:

So, as observable as the universe is, unfortunately what we observe is that it isn’t eternal—and, that it had a beginning.

Unfortunately, establishing that the universe had a beginning is in no way the same thing as establishing that it must have a creator outside itself.

Comment #51355

Posted by Stephen Stralka on October 6, 2005 7:54 PM (e)

Oh, and John XXIII was embalmed.

Comment #51356

Posted by bkawcazn on October 6, 2005 8:01 PM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote:

More than once in my life I’ve seen the future pass before me just as I experienced it when it happened seconds later—exactly the same. This is an empirical fact. I testify to it. Now, please explain it.

The fact that you say “seconds later” instead of “months later” leads me to believe that if your prediction had not immediately come true you would have forgotten it. This gave you the false impression that you have never had false predictions. Short term memories only become long term memories if they are of some import. We do not remember every random detail of lives. Also, if you invest some time in a modern psychology textbook you will learn that the brain is not a camera, and that memories are never exact recordings of events. It is really quite interesting, especially the details of some specific experiments that have been in this area.

Secondly, on October 13th, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, the “Miracle of the Sun” occurred, wherein the sun was seen by thousands of people to increase in size, begin to spin, to then hurtle itself throughout the sky, and then finally to appear to fall to the earth. All the people were terrified. And their wet clothes—it had rained all morning long—were found to be completely dry when the sun—after just the seconds and mintues this all took—returned to its normal place in the sky. Atheists saw it and reported it in papers. It’s an empirical fact. Please explain it scientifically.

Is this some kind of joke? It is an “empirical fact” that none of this ever happened. Are you suggesting that the sun actually careened through space as these people saw? This would create MASSIVE OBSERVABLE EFFECTS throughout earth and around the solar system in the form of heat, radiation, gravitational forces, etc.

So this must have occurred on some other level. Either the light was false (from another source, or created en route to earth by God, or whatever) or the effect was psychological.

The tilma of Juan Diego that rests in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexioc City, when investigated by scientists, contained the image of Juan Diego in the pupil of the eye of the woman whose image is called Our Lady of Guadalupe. How is that possible? Please explain it. This is a fact. You can take a microscope and go see it for yourself. How did it happen?

I know nothing of this, and your post did provide enough information (what are you even suggesting) for me to explain it.

In St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the body of Pope John XXIII is in a glass sarcophagus, there for the viewing public. His body is completely intact. I saw it for myself. He died in 1963. Please explain this, too.

“Empirical evidence” tells us that (a)bodies decompose when left to their own devices (b)bodies do not decompose when preserved.

Also, please click CHECK SPELLING to your left when you post.

Comment #51358

Posted by charlie wagner on October 6, 2005 8:21 PM (e)

Blast has experienced deja vu, so there must be a god. Talk about empirical. Please go peddle your superstitious bullshit elsewhere.

Comment #51359

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 8:25 PM (e)

More evidence that Blast is T.Russ. Above, he’s using the First Cause argument, which at least goes back to Aquinas.

Comment #51360

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

Blast:
The equation for general relativity is simple, and in its simplicity, it is elegant.

No, it’s not simple. While it can be written as 4 symbols, that’s just notation. Hidden in that nonlinear equation are 2 rank 2 tensors with ten independent terms. If you need years of college math to understand an equation, it might be small, but it is not simple. A philosopher who doesn’t understand the equation might imagine otherwise.

Comment #51365

Posted by carol clouser on October 6, 2005 9:26 PM (e)

tytlal,

If you are indeed serious I would recommend, in addition to Judah Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF, which is limited to Genesis, some of Robert Alter’s works, such as THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES. All available on Amazon. I don’t have any links at hand right now to recommend, but I am sure they are out there. Seek and ye shall find.

As for slavery in the Bible, that’s another area rife with misunderstandings. At a time when the code of Hammurabi ordained the death penalty for anyone who assists or harbors a runaway slave, and the Romans branded such people with a hot iron on the forehead, the Hebrew Bible takes a different approach, displaying a sense of ethics thousands of years ahead of its time. In Deuteronomy (23:16, 17): “You shall not turn over to his master a slave who escapes from his master to you. He shall dwell with you in your midst….in whatever place is beneficial to him….you shall not taunt him.” Why then does slavery exist altogether in the Bible? To make a long story short, one was sold into “slavery” to “work off” a debt after either stealing or borrowing and being unable or unwiling to make restitution. And the rules of conduct were so stringent that it is stated in the Talmud, “He who buys a slave is as if he bought a master upon himself”. I think this compares rather well, in terms of fostering social responsibility and doing what is right, with our present bankrupcy system where folks can just abandon their responsibilities and debts and walk out of the courtroom laughing while the victim is left with nothing.

stephen stralka,

You keep repeating that theme of yours that the rules applied to the universe should apply to God, despite the fact that I explained (#51231) why this should logically not be the case. If you disagree with the substance of the argument, why don’t you state your case and perhaps I can clarify or respond. If the argument just goes right over your head, I can restate it. But it makes no sense to just ignore it and keep repeating that faulty logic ad naseaum.

Comment #51367

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 6, 2005 9:51 PM (e)

steve wrote:

No, it’s not simple. While it can be written as 4 symbols, that’s just notation. Hidden in that nonlinear equation are 2 rank 2 tensors with ten independent terms.

I’ve read Paul Dirac’s General Theory of Relativity cover to cover. It’s a difficult read, and not a classroom text with exercises and such, but, of course, Dirac is brilliant, and so the mathematics just flow. It’s still a simple formula. Didn’t your math teachers ever tell you to simply your equations?

By the way, I’ve read Jason Rosenhouse’s article, and, of course, I see problems in it. In his criticism of Berlinski, he at one point misunderstands him, but seems to later on correct himself. Rosenhouse’s critique that the mathematics don’t properly represent IC are–for the most part–reasonable and well-founded. But it’s a bit ironic that a Darwinist would complain that a mathematical model doesn’t fairly represent evolution, as they routinely use computer simulations that are way, way off–it’s not a problem then.

Concerning thermodynamics: I think that’s not a good place to be pushing the argument against Darwinism. Yet, let it be said, that thermodynamics, properly understood, is about the growth of elements in a system and their degrees of freedom. An increase in the degrees of freedom of a system does have some resonance with the idea of a larger probability space; and, afterall, we’re dealing with multi-dimensional manifolds in both cases. So this suggests that the 2nd Law would promote improbabilites, not order. And let’s face it, a cell is a closed system. But I don’t think this is really fertile territory for a substantial debate. It’s an argument best left to the side of the road.

On Hoyle: he sorts of misrepresents him and underrepresents him. I read Hoyle’s book, following the math as best I could, and I, unlike, Rosenhouse, found it to be a devastating critique. As I said on a post before, that book settled the issue for me.

Comment #51368

Posted by darwinfinch on October 6, 2005 10:10 PM (e)

koo-koo!

Comment #51370

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 10:31 PM (e)

The GR equations are simple?

“And let’s face it, a cell is a closed system.”

You make errors faster than anyone can correct them. I’m not going to bother fixing them. However, I am looking into who you are, with ordinary language analysis.

You are not T. Russ–T.Russ botches possessive apostrohpes, you don’t.
You are not Charlie Wagner–you hate atheism, he doesn’t.
You are neither Casey Luskin nor Robert O’Brien–they don’t make frequent spelling errors like “flaggellum”, “probabalistic”, “degradate”, “Mechnics”.

Comment #51371

Posted by Zarquon on October 6, 2005 10:32 PM (e)

And let’s face it, a cell is a closed system

Belgium man, Belgium

Comment #51375

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 6, 2005 10:59 PM (e)

steve wrote:

We’ll consider you logical when you realize that “all causes must have a prior cause” and “there exists a cause which has no prior cause” are logically contradictory.

Hmmm….now let’s see. You want to maintain that there is no First Cause. But you want to say that “all causes must have a prior cause.” But if there is no First Cause, then nothing would happen. But obviously, something has happened. Ergo, there is a First Cause.

Moses wrote:

How about a religious hysteria experience that built up over months and months and when the sun came out from behind some clouds: PRESTO! A miracle!

If it was psychological, then why were their clothes dry afterwards? Was that psychologically induced?

bkwaczan wrote:

Forgetting for a moment that your claim that the universe has an “end” is baseless

Indeed, it is not. Einstein’s biggest blunder had to do with the cosmological constant that appears in his tensor equation. It can be reduced to the scalar “1” (that is, ignored, more or less) or given a value greater or less than “1”. The implication of a value greater than “1” is that the universe will continue to expand endlessly until it completely runs out of energy. Of course, life would have come to an end long before the “end” of the universe. But this is in contrast to a value less than “1”, which might imply a universe that experiences Big Bangs followed by Big Collapses, followed by Big Bangs, etc.

Steven Stralka wrote:

I don’t know what dictionary you’re using, but mine defines “infinite” as meaning, among other things, “endless.” Thus logic understands (insofar as an abstraction is capable of understanding anything) that if an infinite regress does have an end, it isn’t infinite.

Well, how shall we understand “infinity.” An “infinite regress” is a mathematical term, more or less. Now, let me ask you to draw a number line. Just draw a horizontal line across your paper; now, from left to right, at somewhat small intervals, make a short slash across the first line you dreww. Now label these slashes, starting from the middle, 0,1,2,3, etc. Mathematically speaking, there are an “infinite” number of “fractions” (31/32, 15/16, 7/8, 5/6, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/10,233, 1/5,988,456,655, etc.) between the “0” and the “1”. You NEVER reach “0” and you NEVER reach “1”.

Now, tell me, can you move your pencil from 0 to 1 and thus span an “infinite” number of numbers? How’s that possible? See how tricky math can be?

Steven Stralka wrote:

Unfortunately, establishing that the universe had a beginning is in no way the same thing as establishing that it must have a creator outside itself.

God always leaves us free to accept Him or reject Him. Yes, it’s a leap that moves beyond science: it’s transcendant.

Steven Stralka wrote:

Oh, and John XXIII was embalmed.

St. Sharbel in Egypt had his body dug up when they traced a fluid oozing out of the ground to the same fluid “oozing” out of his dead body. Please explain this.

Regarding Fatima:

bkwaczan wrote:

Is this some kind of joke? It is an “empirical fact” that none of this ever happened….So this must have occurred on some other level. Either the light was false (from another source, or created en route to earth by God, or whatever) or the effect was psychological.

Yet, this is what Moses wrote:
“Avelino de Almeida (a former seminary student turned reporter) says that he saw “the sun dance”, “ And, now, why were the clothes dry afterwards? Isn’t the drying of wet clothes an empirical fact?

bkwaczan wrote:

The fact that you say “seconds later” instead of “months later” leads me to believe that if your prediction had not immediately come true you would have forgotten it. This gave you the false impression that you have never had false predictions.

This is the typical Darwinist approach to everything. I experience it, and you know what I experienced better than I do. Pure hubris. During the twenty to thirty seconds in which I “experienced” the future, I was completely unaware of what was happening around me. In other words, my “person” was not present to what was happening to my body–it was “experiencing” the future. There was absolutely no qualitative difference between the experience I’m now having here in my room and before the computer, and the one I had of the future for those twenty to thirty seconds. This is an empirical fact.

bkwaczan wrote:

I know nothing of this, and your post did provide enough information (what are you even suggesting) for me to explain it.

The tilma is a cloth garment worn to cover the entire body during winter. On this cloth garment, an image of a woman blocking out the rays of the sun, was miraculously formed. When scientists investigated the garment up close to try and determine how it was formed, in looking at the pupil of this image (it’s about life-size) with a magnifying glass (or a microscope–I’m not sure which) they discovered that “within” the image of this woman, on the pupil of the eye (very similar to a technique that is used in cinematography–and that you’ve seen in movies before) a “reflection” of Juan Diego standing before this “woman” could be seen. Scientists cannot explain how this image came about, let alone how this “image within an image” came about. There was nothing to “predict” (using your term); there was only the “experience” that was now being “re-experienced”. Now, please explain how this is possible.

darwinfinch wrote:

koo-koo!

Typical Darwinian response: when confronted with a reality that contradicts your worldview, just simply deny it.

Comment #51378

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 11:15 PM (e)

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 6, 2005 10:59 PM (e) (s)

Hmmm….now let’s see. You want to maintain that there is no First Cause. But you want to say that “all causes must have a prior cause.”

I never said either of those things.

Comment #51381

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 11:27 PM (e)

Now, tell me, can you move your pencil from 0 to 1 and thus span an “infinite” number of numbers? How’s that possible? See how tricky math can be?

How can you span an infinite number of numbers? Are you serious? Learn some analysis. This problem was solved about 130 years ago.

Comment #51382

Posted by steve on October 6, 2005 11:32 PM (e)

I think Blast has OD’d on the Fortean kool aid or something.

Comment #51384

Posted by Wayne Francis on October 6, 2005 11:43 PM (e)

Sigh… Where to begin

Comment # 51342

BlastfromthePast wrote:

Comment #51342
Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 6, 2005 06:39 PM (e) (s)

If you insist on being such an empiricist—everything has to be experienced or observed, or else it doesn’t exist—then let’s turn the

argument around.
More than once in my life I’ve seen the future pass before me just as I experienced it when it happened seconds later—exactly the

same. This is an empirical fact. I testify to it. Now, please explain it….

Please show us where you tested this scientifically and how we can reproduce it. I have to agree with Charlie Wagner about

this…your daja vu does not constitute a miracle any more then mine does. Unless you collect data that can be independently analyzed

on your precognition you’ll have to excuse us when we are not impressed.

BlastfromthePast wrote:

Comment #51342
Secondly, on October 13th, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, the “Miracle of the Sun” occurred, wherein the sun was seen by thousands of

people to increase in size, begin to spin, to then hurtle itself throughout the sky, and then finally to appear to fall to the earth.

All the people were terrified. And their wet clothes—it had rained all morning long—were found to be completely dry when the sun—after

just the seconds and mintues this all took—returned to its normal place in the sky. Atheists saw it and reported it in papers. It’s an

empirical fact. Please explain it scientifically.

*sigh* mass delusion….
Our Lady of Fatima
So you have 3 children that for 5 months have been saying they’ve been visited by the Virgin Mary. This happens on the 13th of every

month supposedly since May of 1917. A large number of people have a mass delusion. The only truly impartial information we could

have of this event was the photographs but they don’t indicate anything strange besides the people. Doesn’t take much to get a crowd

like that which would have formed to “see” this miracle. One person shouting they see something could get most of the others to “see”

something.

BlastfromthePast wrote:

Comment #51342
The tilma of Juan Diego that rests in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexioc City, when investigated by scientists, contained

the image of Juan Diego in the pupil of the eye of the woman whose image is called Our Lady of Guadalupe. How is that possible? Please

explain it. This is a fact. You can take a microscope and go see it for yourself. How did it happen?

Yup and there really is a face of a man on the mars and clouds really have faces in them too.
This is part of how our brains are wired. Almost all people have an innate ability to recognize and pick out faces. We see a “man” in

this photo in just the same way see on in the old man on the mountain in New Hampshire.

For those curious here is a close up of the eye on the Tilma of Juan Diego
Image of eye
lets zoom in
Zoom in image of the eye
now you have people claiming that enhanced digital photography has detected 13 different people in both eyes. They are all claimed to

be “highly detailed” so lets look at this
highly detailed image of 13 people
And just for reference lets look at
Face on Mars
Old man of the mountain

BlastfromthePast wrote:

Comment #51342
In St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the body of Pope John XXIII is in a glass sarcophagus, there for the viewing public. His body is

completely intact. I saw it for myself. He died in 1963. Please explain this, too.

Yup embalming is a miracle … not a process of man …
I guess that means Vladimir Lenin is as holy if not more

holy then Pope John XXIII since he’s been dead for over 80 years and he looks fine. In fact I hear he got a new suit recently.

Comment #51386

Posted by Norman Doering on October 7, 2005 12:21 AM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote: “God always leaves us free to accept Him or reject Him. Yes, it’s a leap that moves beyond science: it’s transcendent.”

Accept which God? Muslims accept Allah and a few are so devoted they’ll suicide bomb people over religious arguments. How do you know you got the right one? Maybe Buddhism is the true religion, it is older than Christianity.

I’m curious – if I told you that if you accepted the existence of an invisible pink unicorn standing behind you, could you do it? What does acceptance mean when there is no evidence?

Does it mean accepting unnecessary and manipulative hopes and fears?

Well, those are rhetorical questions and I’ve written more on my opinion here:
http://www.textfiles.com/occult/notcrst1.txt
http://www.textfiles.com/occult/notcrst2.txt

Comment #51387

Posted by Norman Doering on October 7, 2005 12:27 AM (e)

I wrote:… if I told you that if you accepted the existence of an invisible pink unicorn standing behind you, could you do it?

Sorry, I have a habit of not getting all my words down to complete a thought. Try:

If I told you that if you accepted the existence of an invisible pink unicorn standing behind you that you would have a million dollars deposited in your bank account the next day, could you do it?

What does it mean to accept invisible pink unicorns or gods?

Isn’t it a bit insane to think you can create a reality for yourself by believing in it?

Comment #51388

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 7, 2005 12:29 AM (e)

steve wrote:

How can you span an infinite number of numbers? Are you serious?

How can you sum an integral from negative infinity to positive infinity? How can you make an infinite regress? There’s an element of mystery in all of this.

And, no, I like diet-Pepsi, not Kool-Aid.

Comment #51390

Posted by bkawcazn on October 7, 2005 12:40 AM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote:

Indeed, it is not. Einstein’s biggest blunder had to do with the cosmological constant that appears in his tensor equation. It can be reduced to the scalar “1” (that is, ignored, more or less) or given a value greater or less than “1”. The implication of a value greater than “1” is that the universe will continue to expand endlessly until it completely runs out of energy. Of course, life would have come to an end long before the “end” of the universe. But this is in contrast to a value less than “1”, which might imply a universe that experiences Big Bangs followed by Big Collapses, followed by Big Bangs, etc.

This is simply an end to complexity, life, mind, and open thermodynamic systems (among other things). This is not an end to the universe. I think we merely having a problem communicating on this issue; I think we both agree on the major point. But I still do not see how you connect a beginning to a creator. You have not explained this in any meaningful way. Your assertion that if the universe “started” it must have been created seems to contradict your other assertion that there must be a “First Cause”. Please explain this. Am I misrepresenting your opinion? If not, please explain why a God must have “started” the universe.

This is the typical Darwinist approach to everything. I experience it, and you know what I experienced better than I do. Pure hubris. During the twenty to thirty seconds in which I “experienced” the future, I was completely unaware of what was happening around me. In other words, my “person” was not present to what was happening to my body—it was “experiencing” the future. There was absolutely no qualitative difference between the experience I’m now having here in my room and before the computer, and the one I had of the future for those twenty to thirty seconds. This is an empirical fact.

You seem to be miss understanding empiricism. Empiricism is the science of making inferences supported by observations. Observation is the foundation of empiricism. I did not observe your mental event. Such is the nature of subjective consciousness. But I have observed the following:

1. Your testimony.
2. The testimony of many, many psychological researchers who document subjects signaling that they have perceived a sensation when no stimulus was given.
3. The testimony of many, many psychological researchers who study perception and have learned that our brain serves as a medium between our sensory organs and our conscious minds.
4. My own experience with such an experiment involving a number of colored cards and my retinal blind spot. I saw colors where there were none.
5. My own experience 10 years ago when I had a lucid perception of a classmate calling something out, and less than a second later he blurted it out. It was quite odd.

Based on these 5 observations, I have empirically concluded the cause of your mental event. I’m sorry to let you down, but not even empiricism is truly objective.

The tilma is a cloth garment worn to cover the entire body during winter. On this cloth garment, an image of a woman blocking out the rays of the sun, was miraculously formed. When scientists investigated the garment up close to try and determine how it was formed, in looking at the pupil of this image (it’s about life-size) with a magnifying glass (or a microscope—I’m not sure which) they discovered that “within” the image of this woman, on the pupil of the eye (very similar to a technique that is used in cinematography—and that you’ve seen in movies before) a “reflection” of Juan Diego standing before this “woman” could be seen. Scientists cannot explain how this image came about, let alone how this “image within an image” came about. There was nothing to “predict” (using your term); there was only the “experience” that was now being “re-experienced”. Now, please explain how this is possible.

I am neither a chemist nor an historian. I cannot explain it.

“Avelino de Almeida (a former seminary student turned reporter) says that he saw “the sun dance”, “ And, now, why were the clothes dry afterwards? Isn’t the drying of wet clothes an empirical fact?

It is beyond certain that the sun did not move. If it did, there would have been countless severe global phenomena to accompany this event. But it is an “empirical fact” that this phenomena was reported. It is not an “empirical fact” that the sun moved. If you say so, I will become irate. Why would there be a disconnect between what occured and what was reported? You tell me. Was it

1. False light and false images coming from no source.
2. False light and false images coming from a source we cannot detect.
3. False light and false images coming from God (who we also cannot detect).
4. A hallucination.

Feel free to come up with another explanation. If you pick anything other than (4) keep in mind that we are both making our inference based on our mutual observation that the event was reported. Neither one of us is more empirical than the other.

And the clothes? The sun was hot. They got new clothes. The rain was light. It was God. It was reported, but did not occur. Take your pick.

Comment #51391

Posted by steve on October 7, 2005 12:59 AM (e)

How can you sum an integral from negative infinity to positive infinity? …There’s an element of mystery in all of this.

Not really. Those things were figured out over a century ago.

At UCSB, where you are, the courses are:

117. Methods of Analysis
(4) Staff
Prerequisite: Mathematics 8.
Introduction to methods of proof in analysis. Topics include limits, sequences and series, continuity, compactness, as well as other topics. This course is intended to follow Mathematics 8 and to introduce students to the level of sophistication of upper-division mathematics.

118A-B-C. Introduction to Real Analysis
(4-4-4) Staff
Prerequisites: Mathematics 5A-B and 108A-B and 117 (for Mathematics 118A): Mathematics 118A (for Mathematics 118B): Mathematics 118B (for Mathematics 118C).
The real number system, elements of set theory, continuity, differentiability, Riemann integral, implicit function theorems, convergence processes, and special topics.

Comment #51392

Posted by Norman Doering on October 7, 2005 1:09 AM (e)

bkawcazn wrote: “2. The testimony of many, many psychological researchers who document subjects signaling that they have perceived a sensation when no stimulus was given.”

There is even a good lesson from science in how this can happen:
http://skepdic.com/blondlot.html

Comment #51396

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 7, 2005 2:45 AM (e)

Blast, thanks for making it so clear to everyone what ID is really all about.

Comment #51398

Posted by natural cynic on October 7, 2005 5:16 AM (e)

ND:God is a blob of quantum plasma?

Blasphemy!!!

God is a meatball with quantum pasta.

Comment #51400

Posted by ben on October 7, 2005 7:15 AM (e)

Wayne Francis, none of your links to the pics work. Could you repost?

Comment #51405

Posted by K.E. on October 7, 2005 7:42 AM (e)

Hairytic !!
God is a vibrating synchronous parallel non reducible value between 2 unknown numbers best described with with your eyes closed. If you squeeze your eyes real hard or take a psychedelic drug you will see the virtual cosmic belly button fluff that is god !!! I promise !! (because I’m a profit….from the sales of my quantum, you know scientific explanations of god)

And if you don’t like that explanation , no problems I can change it. What would you like?
I’ve got one for school board christo-hooligans,
its a little simpler of course but the kiddies love it!
Its Santa Claus without the red uniform.
And the best bit is that they believe it, no question !!

Try this next time your dealing with a 4 year old.
Tell them Steve Irwin .. the crocodile hunter has been eaten by a crocodile, it took my kids years to figure out I’d lied to them.

David (didn’t jump over the) Hurdle how does it feel to lie to those Sunday school kids ?

Comment #51426

Posted by Alienward on October 7, 2005 9:56 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

As one who is very fluent in English and Hebrew and a few other ancient languages, let me make it absolutely clear. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HEBREW, YOU DO NOT KNOW THE BIBLE (the so called “old” testament that contains the story of creation in Genesis).You may know OF the Bible or ABOUT the Bible, but you do not know THE Bible. The popular English translations are so replete with inaccuracies that it is nauseating to watch folks quote and argue on that basis.

Are you saying all those scholars translating that book over the centuries are all just a bunch of idots, or the word of a God is non-translatable?

To those who keep repeating over and over again that the order of developments in the story of Genesis is contradicted by science, I say - there is no order in Genesis and the Hebrew makes that abundantly clear. Instead of presenting six chronologically ordered days, the Bible presents six overlapping eras of development and makes it clear that they are NOT meant to be chronological.

You’d think that a God that reveals his word for humans to put in a book would at least confirm to all those millions and millions humans who claim to communicate with him a consistent version of the first few hundred words he gave them.

Comment #51430

Posted by James Taylor on October 7, 2005 10:03 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

To make a long story short, one was sold into “slavery” to “work off” a debt after either stealing or borrowing and being unable or unwiling to make restitution. And the rules of conduct were so stringent that it is stated in the Talmud, “He who buys a slave is as if he bought a master upon himself”. I think this compares rather well, in terms of fostering social responsibility and doing what is right, with our present bankrupcy system where folks can just abandon their responsibilities and debts and walk out of the courtroom laughing while the victim is left with nothing.

So you condone slavery as long as it follows ethical guidelines? IMO, this is not “do unto others”. I personally believe that all men are equal and treating another as property is immoral and unjustifiable in ANY way. Whether or not bankrupcy law is flawed has nothing to do with stripping a man’s humanity and reducing him/her to property. Carol, I am absolutely shocked that anyone in this country can condone the elimination of the first amendment. To be a Christian, you must follow Christ’s law and not the Jewish law. This is what I was taught by twenty years of indoctrination into several Christian sects.

Comment #51438

Posted by Norman Doering on October 7, 2005 10:41 AM (e)

James Taylor wrote: “To be a Christian, you must follow Christ’s law and not the Jewish law. This is what I was taught by twenty years of indoctrination into several Christian sects.”

Christ had laws? I though he only had vague, feel good moral generalities.

Comment #51440

Posted by Carol Clouser on October 7, 2005 11:07 AM (e)

Alienward,

I am saying the 50 or so scholars recruited by King James did a sloppy job, on top of the usual difficulties in capturing nuances and subtleties of meaning in any translation, particularly from Hebrew well known as a language of extreme brevity and words with multiple and borrowed meanings.

That God would convey His message and leave it to us to struggle with some aspects of it, is not at all surprizing. Just look at the universe he conveyed to us.

James Taylor,

I put “slavery” in quotation marks for a reason. Based on the rest of what I said you should have realized that Biblical “slavery” is anything but. It is a commitment (not to exceed six years) to work for “the master” during normal working hours, subkect to other restrictions.

And please don’t tell me about the good ethics of Christianity. The record speaks for itself. The Catholic church’s hands are dripping with blood from all the inquisitions, pogroms, blood libels, expulsions, crusades, and so on. And the record of some of the other denominations are only slightly better.

Comment #51441

Posted by James Taylor on October 7, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

There is one overriding philosophy proposed by Christ… “Do unto others”. It encompases all of OT law and puts forward that one should think about how one’s actions will affect others before acting. If you do not observe this ethical decision tree, then you are not following Christ’s teachings. It is the underlying philosophy of equality. Without equality there is no morality only hypocracy. We can debate the content and veracity of the Bible, but this philosophy is the bedrock of Christian principles. I am not a Christian, because I do not believe Christ was the God incarnate; however, the philosophy is sound.

Norman, it is easy to get caught up in semantics. Law implies an absolute and I should not have used the term casually in the above statement. Whether Christ was a God, I don’t really know, but he was a philosopher with valid ethical teachings.

Comment #51443

Posted by James Taylor on October 7, 2005 11:26 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

And please don’t tell me about the good ethics of Christianity. The record speaks for itself. The Catholic church’s hands are dripping with blood from all the inquisitions, pogroms, blood libels, expulsions, crusades, and so on. And the record of some of the other denominations are only slightly better.

As is Eric Rudolph’s, the Branch Dividians and the Ku Klux Klan. Religion is important, but it is often used as justification for immoral action. I accept your right to religious freedom; however, when religion is perverted to justify the subjugation or murder of others, it sacrifices all moral equity and ethical credibility regardless of the underlying justification. We are intelligent, sentient beings and should behave as such regardless of individual outrage.

Comment #51444

Posted by K.E. on October 7, 2005 11:30 AM (e)

Another ironical aspect of the DI is their specific goal of taking on “materialistic science”.

By.. get this..

finding a material god.

As long as materialistic creationists keep looking under rocks, through telescopes and down microscopes looking for HIM or her or whatever then they will remain, well… burdened, like the 6 blind men examining the elephant

http://www.wordfocus.com/word-act-blindmen.html

The nonsence writings of Demsky et al compete with the postmodernist fraud of finding the penis as the square root of minus one, except they are completely without humour.

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/ehrenreich.html

Comment #51445

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 7, 2005 11:31 AM (e)

Bah, Reed just told me what I was doing wrong with my previous comment.

Here are the images to of the Tilma
Page with Images

Image # 1 is the eye
Image # 2 is the zoom in of the pupil and outline of the “very detailed man”
Image # 3 is the “digital enhancement of “highly detailed image of 13 people”
Image # 4 is the Face on Mars
Image # 5 is the Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire
Image # 6 is a picture of Lenin on display and he died 60 years before Pope John XXIII

Comment #51446

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 7, 2005 11:35 AM (e)

Ok maybe not .. here is the page
http://www.users.bigpond.net.au/waynefrancis/BlastResponce.html
and here is the link

Looks my the URL tag is not working properly

Comment #51447

Posted by ben on October 7, 2005 11:42 AM (e)

Wayne, just put the actual URL’s in your post; the formatting isn’t working.

I did check out the picture of the “very detailed man” on Wiki. Blast’s reference to that as “empirical” evidence of the existence of god shows him to be deluded and stupid.

Deluded, for thinking that that image is even a definite figure of a person, much less that it is of a specific person and was placed there intentionally by god through some kind of ‘miracle’ or whatever he thinks.

Stupid, for thinking he can put that out on PT and expect it to be taken by anyone as objective evidence for anything.

Comment #51448

Posted by ben on October 7, 2005 11:46 AM (e)

I think god must have been so displeased about people unfavorably comparing the Tilma “miracle” to the mundane Old Man in the Mountain that he destroyed the Old Man in 2003.

I’m sure Blast knew that would happen several minutes before it did.

Just as I’m sure it will come as no surprise to him to see this post, as I’m sure god already told him about it a few minutes ago.

Comment #51449

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 7, 2005 11:54 AM (e)

On further examination I’ve see that the digitally enhance image is truely a miracle!

Look here
http://www.users.bigpond.net.au/waynefrancis/BlastResponce2.html
to see an image of a Jawa! The Force must be real and this is a message from from the Jedi Council to use warning not to repeat the sins done on Tatooine

Comment #51451

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 7, 2005 12:07 PM (e)

bkawcazn wrote:

Your assertion that if the universe “started” it must have been created seems to contradict your other assertion that there must be a “First Cause”. Please explain this. Am I misrepresenting your opinion? If not, please explain why a God must have “started” the universe.

From a strictly “scientific” perspective–one completely dictated by the demands of empiricism–no, you can’t “postulate” this cause. But the mind is perfectly able to take this step. It’s built for it. It’s a philosophical move, but well within the capacities of the human mind.

As to: did the sun really move in the sky? Obviously not; since everyone would have noticed it. And yet, their clothes were dried. So it was not simply “subjective conscienceness”. You have to admit, it leaves you wondering.

steve wrote:

Not really. Those things were figured out over a century ago.

Can you really say that you understand what an infinite-dimensional manifold is? Can you even come close to imagining it? We work with these concepts, but you can’t say the mind fully understands them.

Thanks for the class info. I’ll look into these things as time permits.

Comment #51455

Posted by bkawcazn on October 7, 2005 12:30 PM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote:

From a strictly “scientific” perspective—one completely dictated by the demands of empiricism—no, you can’t “postulate” this cause. But the mind is perfectly able to take this step. It’s built for it. It’s a philosophical move, but well within the capacities of the human mind.

Well put. Perhaps we simply have a philosophical disagreement. It is worth noting that you have just answered the question posed in the title of this thread. Scientists dismiss intelligent design because it is not scientific. The answer is as simple as that. This is not to say that ID is wrong, we simply lack strict empirical evidence.

As to: did the sun really move in the sky? Obviously not; since everyone would have noticed it. And yet, their clothes were dried. So it was not simply “subjective consciousness”. You have to admit, it leaves you wondering.

Not really. I am left wondering why it was reported, not why it happened. It is true that many scientific findings are reported, and not witnessed personally. When an astronomical discovery is reported, I accept it as a matter of faith. How does this differ from the miracles? If I was so inclined, as I sometimes am, I can go to my local observatory and look through the telescope. I can confirm that the moons of Jupiter do exist. Then it is no longer faith. It is empiricism. That is true with any science experiment. The results must be repeatable. Until I can duplicate it, all that remains is the report that it happened. As I said earlier, there are many explanations for the report.

The rain could have been very light.
The temperature could have been very high.
The people could have misunderstood what was happening.
It could have been God.
It could have been sorcery.
The event could have been reported, but never really really happened.

Comment #51456

Posted by CJ O'Brien on October 7, 2005 12:30 PM (e)

From a strictly “scientific” perspective—one completely dictated by the demands of empiricism—no, you can’t “postulate” this cause. But the mind is perfectly able to take this step. It’s built for it. It’s a philosophical move, but well within the capacities of the human mind.

I read this statement as a clear indication that ID and Creationism are apologetics, and not science.

So, Blast has come around.
Next?

Comment #51459

Posted by ben on October 7, 2005 12:42 PM (e)

You say their clothes were miraculously dried. Were they also pressed? Starched? Does your god run a laundromat?

“Now that’s what I call believable testimony!”
–Lionel Hutz, Atty.

Comment #51460

Posted by K.E. on October 7, 2005 12:43 PM (e)

oooooooh I think I’ve found a parallel universe !
Yes folks this ones a rigi-didge, rolled gold, real time, parallel culture war.
I’ve quote mined this

Stanislav Andreski:
“So long as authority inspires awe, confusion and absurdity enhance conservative tendencies in society. Firstly, because clear and logical thinking leads to a cumulation of knowledge (of which the progress of the natural sciences provides the best example) and the advance of knowledge sooner or later undermines the traditional order. Confused thinking, on the other hand, leads nowhere in particular and can be indulged indefinitely without producing any impact upon the world.”

Now here is some REAL phyics

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html

If anyone got thru that it was a satire

Check out Sokal’s work here

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/index.html#impostures

Comment #51463

Posted by K.E. on October 7, 2005 1:05 PM (e)

So Blaterslardifast

you said

“But the mind is perfectly able to take this step. It’s built for it. It’s a philosophical move, but well within the capacities of the human mind.”

Too right. And the collectors of foreskins know this perfectly well.

In fact if it was’nt for them we wouldn’t be even aware of *insert favoroute diety here* or you would be free to invent one and start your own diety.

Perhaps something along the line of “Blast From The Pastism” get a few accolites …..no scrap that idea…. just write a copy “of Pandas etc” and change all the “intelligent designer” words to tailor … oops thats been done already.

Comment #51466

Posted by K.E. on October 7, 2005 1:20 PM (e)

Did I say culture war I mean’t literary hoax

here is some cooments just replace postmodernism with ID

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/index.html#comments

I suggest the DI does some more social research before they try to storm the trenches again.

Comment #51469

Posted by K.E. on October 7, 2005 1:31 PM (e)

Bah!

Did I say culture war I meant literary hoax

here are some comments just replace postmodernism with ID

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/index.html#comments

The DI’s simple trick of just replacing the creator with intelligent designer really falls into the hoax category, they are (almost) able to swindle a whole nation by appealing to their bedfellows in power with a nod and a wink.

Comment #51474

Posted by Duh on October 7, 2005 1:56 PM (e)

A latterday Natural Theology is Intelligent Design. ID has in common with previous iterations of Natural Theology a method of manipulating airy-fairy meanings logically and a failure to control and predict nature for it. An utter and complete failure. Despite the failure of this oldest habit of mind, i.e. elaborate jibber-jabber to console the anxious soul, Intelligent Design theorists are determined to pronounce the old new again and call it a “scientific revolution.” This has frightened scientists in the U.S.A. into writing letters to the editor and acting mean on blogs. How bizarre. You can’t make shit like this up if you tried.

Comment #51476

Posted by rdog29 on October 7, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

Blast -

As I recommended once before, you really need to start reading the “Skeptical Inquirer”.

Your stories of precognition are no more impressive than stories of alien abductions. It is well-known that human memory is a very imperfect and malleable thing. It is far more likely that your memories (and every other human being’s) are inaccurate than that you actually experienced precognition. Don’t mean to dis you, that’s just how human memory works.

As for the Fatima thing: sounds similar to the supposed mass sightings of floating, cigar-shape objects early in the 20th Century. Interesingly enough, this is about the same time that airship technology was coming of age. Not to imply that Fatima is related to airships, rather that mass hallucinations are a well-documented phenomenon.

Comment #51484

Posted by Moses on October 7, 2005 3:12 PM (e)

“Avelino de Almeida (a former seminary student turned reporter) says that he saw “the sun dance”, “ And, now, why were the clothes dry afterwards? Isn’t the drying of wet clothes an empirical fact?

Silly rabbit, the rainstorms happened quite well before the miracle. Clothes drying out in a relatively arid climate just starting to come into rainy season isn’t empirical evidence of anything but quite well understood natural phenomena - evaporation.

Not only that, but you seriously over-stated the witnesses that ‘corroborated’ the so-called miracle. While there were, supposedly, 70,000 people their accounts vary widely and most of them say they saw nothing. You refuse to acknowledge that there were many, many, many witnesses that said nothing happened and refuse to acknowledge that they reported many, mutually exclusive, conditions.

And what about all the photos during the time of the alleged event which show nothing but people looking up at the sky? And otherwise: Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Comment #51490

Posted by Just Wondering on October 7, 2005 3:39 PM (e)

It’s hard to see how we materialists can keep holding on to our discredited belief in evolution, even when confronted by the overwhelming evidence. I mean, just on this thread we have:

1) Photos of 70,000 deluded Christians staring at…nothing.
2) A highly-magnified image revealing that a deluded Christian can see a “miraculous” image of a saint in, well, nothing.
3) Clothes that were once wet, now miraculously, um, not wet anymore.
4) A corpse kept fetishistically on display for decades by deluded Christians, which is prevented from decomposing by only a miracle–well, a miracle and the usual means whereby corpses are (for some reason) routinely kept from decomposing.

All of which, according to Blast’s rigorous logic, proves….what?

Blast, tell us again how your blizzard of bullshit has anything to do with the question of whether superstitious non-explanations of physical phenomena should be considered science?

Comment #51493

Posted by ben on October 7, 2005 4:02 PM (e)

For most of my life I’ve noticed a phenomenon where, when I’m in public places, I will see someone who reminds me of someone I know (not necessarily resembles, but makes me think of that person), then moments later I actually see the person I was reminded of. When I was young I thought this represented a significant coincidence, though I never leapt to any supernatural conclusions about it. But it made me wonder what was going on.

Then when I learned a little about numbers and probability (and not a lot, mind you; statistics are not my thing and while I enjoy numbers I’m no mathematician), I came to understand that of course I thought of people I knew thousands of times a day, whether consciously or not, and inevitably the time would come, repeatedly, where the thousands of thoughts would happen to match up with an actual sighting of a person in a short-enough period where the two events correlated in my mind.

Had I been given to allow magical explanations of real-world events to pollute my mind, I could have easily let myself come to the conclusion that these coincidences meant I was psychic, that I had some uncanny ability to control the world around me, or that there really was a god, by whatever mechanism whereby weak-minded, a-rational people allow themselves to become convinced of stupid shit. It looks like Blast has gone down that road.

Comment #51494

Posted by K.E. on October 7, 2005 4:07 PM (e)

For Duh
To parody the parody of the “Life of Brian” scene where the Judean Peoples Liberation Army runs into the Liberation Front of Judea in the (Roman) sewers below Jerusalem

The anti Natural Theologist declares the anti Intelligent Designers of being the enemy.

Comment #51507

Posted by Alienward on October 7, 2005 7:07 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

I am saying the 50 or so scholars recruited by King James did a sloppy job, on top of the usual difficulties in capturing nuances and subtleties of meaning in any translation, particularly from Hebrew well known as a language of extreme brevity and words with multiple and borrowed meanings.

Oh I see. When you say “The popular English translations” you really mean “Just the KJV”

That God would convey His message and leave it to us to struggle with some aspects of it, is not at all surprizing. Just look at the universe he conveyed to us.

And when God says, in the NIV:

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

…And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

…And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

…And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

…And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

…And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

He doesn’t mean six consecutive days, he means “six overlapping eras of development” because he wants us to struggle with some ID creationists who think he means six days in a row, others who think he means six days in a row but days aren’t really days but some really long periods of time, and still others who think he means six really long periods of time that are all mixed up with each other.

Comment #51514

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 7, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

There is one overriding philosophy proposed by Christ… “Do unto others”.

And not just by him:

Wiccan Faith
An it harm none, do as thou will. Wiccan Rede

Christian Faith
Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. Bible, Matthew 7.12

Confucianism
Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence. Mencius VII.A.4

Muslim Faith
Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. Islam. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13 Buddhist Faith
Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. Udana-Varga

Zoroastrian Faith
Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others. Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29

Hindu Faith
This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain. The Mahabharata

Native American
Respect for all life is the foundation. The Great Law of Peace

Shawnees: “Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own. Do not wrong or hate your neighbor, for it is not him that you wrong, you wrong yourself. But love him, for Moneto loves him also as he loves you.”

Jainism
A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. Sutrakritanga 1.11.33

African Traditional Religions
One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)

Jewish Faith
What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. The Talmud

Bah�’� Faith
And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him. - Pittacus, 650 BCE

Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing. - Thales, 464 BCE

What you wish your neighbors to be to you, be also to them. - Sextus (Pythagorean), 406 BCE

We should conduct ourselves toward others as we would have them act toward us. - Aristotle, 384 BCE

Cherish reciprocal benevolence, which will make you as anxious for another’s welfare as your own. - Aristippus of Cyrene, 365 BCE

Act toward others as you desire them to act toward you. - Isocrates, 338 BCE

This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. - Hinduism, 300 BCE

What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. - Rabbi Hillel, 50 BCE

Comment #51608

Posted by carol clouser on October 8, 2005 8:26 PM (e)

Alienward,

Just by way of one example, the Hebrew words YOHM ECHOD, usually translated as “the first day”, says nothing of the sort. You see ECHOD definitely means “one” not “first”, “the” is a prefix in Hebrew written as HA, such that “the one” would be HA-ECHOD, but that is not in the text, and YOHM is used alternately as day or era. This is not an invention to accomodate science. The great commentator and translator of the Bible referred to by the acronym as RASHI, who lived 900 years ago, long before modern science even existed, translates the word YOHM in HOSEA (6:4) as “period of time” charactrized, in that case, by the existence of the temple. So instead of “the first day” we may have “one era”. We definitely have “one”, not “first”, followed by “a second era”, and so on. Is that meant to convey chronological order? Not at all! Judah Landa proposes in his IN THE BEGINNING OF that the “one era” in Genesis is characterized by the burst in the frequency of the appearance of new stars that occured in the young universe soon after the big bang. These new stars led to the introduction of a significant amount of light in the universe. That is what is meant by “Let there be light”.

Lenny and others,

“Do unto others” and “what is hateful to you” are inadequate principles for human civilized behavior. As Rabbi Akiva points out to Hillel in the Talmud, (usually omitted by those only superficially familiar with the Talmud), it implies that it is okay doing to others what is acceptable to you. After all, you still love your neighbor AS YOURSELF (the verse upon which Hillel based his dictum of What is hateful”). How insightful and farsighted was that Rabbi Akiva! Think of the suicide bombers of today, two thousand years later. They are only doing to others what they are willing to have done to them!

The greater principle, according to Rabbi Akiva, is based on another verse, “And God made them IN HIS IMAGE”. Such a creation MUST be treated with respect and reverence, period. There is no litmus test of acceptability to you.

Now, there is the exquisite beauty of two great documents, the Torah and the Talmud, if only we obeyed!

Comment #51613

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 8, 2005 9:08 PM (e)

“Do unto others” and “what is hateful to you” are inadequate principles for human civilized behavior.

Says you. (shrug)

And why, again, should anyone care about your religious opinions?

Comment #51624

Posted by carol clouser on October 8, 2005 11:03 PM (e)

Lenny,

Now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of some anti-religion mud to throw in any direction. “Do unto others” allows for suicide bombing, for example, as I pointed out. Says I? You disagree? “In God’s image” constitutes much firmer ground on which to base human relations, since at the very least it precludes behavior justifiable by “Do unto others”. You don’t care about this? Well, you certainly should. And you probably do. You just will not admit to it.

Comment #51629

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 8, 2005 11:27 PM (e)

Now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of some anti-religion mud to throw in any direction.

Pay attention, Carol — I am not “anti-religion”.

Now answer my question. Why should anyone care about your religious opinions. What makes yours better than anyone else’s. What are you, God’s Spokesperson©™ or something?

Or Jay El’s Spokesperson.

Or do you consider them to be one and the same?

Comment #51631

Posted by Steve S on October 9, 2005 12:06 AM (e)

Comment #51322

Posted by crazy carol clouser on October 6, 2005 04:48 PM (e) (s)

As one who is very fluent in English and Hebrew and a few other ancient languages, let me make it absolutely clear. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HEBREW, YOU DO NOT KNOW THE BIBLE (the so called “old” testament that contains the story of creation in Genesis).You may know OF the Bible or ABOUT the Bible, but you do not know THE Bible.

Well then too bad for christianity. most Americans barely bother to give lip service to religion, and don’t read the bible in english, they aren’t going to learn hebrew.

Comment #51632

Posted by Alienward on October 9, 2005 12:27 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

…Not at all! Judah Landa proposes in his IN THE BEGINNING OF that the “one era” in Genesis is characterized by the burst in the frequency of the appearance of new stars that occured in the young universe soon after the big bang. These new stars led to the introduction of a significant amount of light in the universe. That is what is meant by “Let there be light”.

This hogwash, that has nothing to do with neither science nor religion, is not the least bit impressive. It’s bad enough apologists will try and make excuses that English Bible translations of Hebrew are all inaccurate - as if the Hebrew that was written in the first place were the exact words given by a God. They seem forget that creationists know a God made everything in six days or six really long periods of time because they prayed about it and their God confirmed it – I guess for some apologists their God doesn’t confirm this kind of stuff. The overwhelming evidence for the evolution of the universe and life on earth won’t change creationists’ minds, so don’t expect the excuses about nobody ever getting translations right to get them to change their minds either.

Comment #51633

Posted by carol clouser on October 9, 2005 12:36 AM (e)

Lenny,

Why should anyone care about my opinion on any subject, religious or otherwise? Or yours?

You answer my question. When you will have done so, you will have answered your own question.

Comment #51637

Posted by carol clouser on October 9, 2005 12:56 AM (e)

Alienward,

It may not change any creationists minds, but they need to be confronted about it. They certainly have not changed their minds as a result of the overwhelming scientific evidence. This would knock the main leg they stand on right from under them. It says to them: “Okay, let us assume the Bible is God’s word. And we will also throw in another key concession, that the Bible is to be interpreted literally. The fact remains that the original Bible, even if translated literally but correctly, need not conflict with science in ANY area, not over the age of the earth, the age of the universe, the evolution of life, geology, and so on”. I increasingly suspect that this is the ONLY way left to make some headway, although it certainly will not be easy. Do you see any other way more likely to impress the creationists? And make no mistake about it, both the linguistics and the science in Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF are impeccably rigorous.

Comment #51638

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on October 9, 2005 1:40 AM (e)

Moron wrote: “How can you sum an integral from negative infinity to positive infinity? How can you make an infinite regress? There’s an element of mystery in all of this.”

Try Real and Complex analysis.

You read Dirac’s book cover to cover and you think you understood it?

Yet you apparently never heard of the Fourier Transform.

What am I to make of you? You have at best what I call coffee table knowledge of the sciences and mathematics but try to pass yourself off as though you actually understand any of that stuff.

What an odd goofball you are.

Comment #51645

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 9, 2005 8:25 AM (e)

Why should anyone care about my opinion on any subject, religious or otherwise? Or yours?

You answer my question.

Glad to:

My religious opinions are just that, Carol, my opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow my religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them. My religious opinions are right for *me*. Whether they are right for *you*, I neither know nor care.

Can you say the same thing, Carol? Or are you too arrogant, self-righteous, and holier-than-thou (literally) to choke those words past your lips?

Comment #51652

Posted by carol clouser on October 9, 2005 11:46 AM (e)

Lenny,

You did NOT answer my question, so your question shall remain unanswered.

Comment #51653

Posted by Alienward on October 9, 2005 12:29 PM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

The fact remains that the original Bible, even if translated literally but correctly, need not conflict with science in ANY area, not over the age of the earth, the age of the universe, the evolution of life, geology, and so on”. I increasingly suspect that this is the ONLY way left to make some headway, although it certainly will not be easy. Do you see any other way more likely to impress the creationists?

No. You seem to think there’s only one flavor of creationist, the YEC. Are you really unaware that OECs, TEs, and most ID creationists already know you have to pretend the descriptions of a God making everything in six days is either a translation that nobody’s ever got right or is just flowery language?

Comment #51655

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 9, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

You did NOT answer my question, so your question shall remain unanswered.

I *did* answer your question, Carol. I’ll repeat my answer:

My religious opinions are just that, Carol, my opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow my religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them. My religious opinions are right for *me*. Whether they are right for *you*, I neither know nor care.

Can you say the same thing, Carol? Or are you too arrogant, self-righteous, and holier-than-thou (literally) to choke those words past your lips?

Comment #51656

Posted by Steve S on October 9, 2005 2:20 PM (e)

Oh, for want of a bathroom wall….

Comment #51661

Posted by Alan on October 9, 2005 4:00 PM (e)

Maybe PT has become a little too serious and influential, and thus has outgrown the Bathroom wall.

Comment #51662

Posted by K.E. on October 9, 2005 4:05 PM (e)

Carol

A noble aim if you can do it but I see a real problem.
Is it your aim to have an unidentifiable creator in a science class ?
If so, that is counter to fact based science and counter to current law.

If not, is your aim to change creationist dogma?

As you say, that will be hard to do, but it would make a great intro to a history of religion class. I can just see it “Genesis re translated… agrees with evolution”

I’d like to add this one for the obvious next topic

“God given room to move ….becomes more transcendental
and all agree now… a proto Adam created God.”

The title is a bit long for a high school class, but hey I’ve got a controversial new book and I’m sure someone will sue when I find some like minded zealots running a school to run my science based ultra-rationalism taught as a religion.

So I’m guaranteed to get plenty of free publicity all I need to do now is get my DVD on the desk of every politician, shock jock, etc etc.

I think you will agree , the current system is fine… freedom of religion and keep it out of science is just about as good as it gets.

Comment #51663

Posted by Steve S on October 9, 2005 4:21 PM (e)

Comment #51661

Posted by Alan on October 9, 2005 04:00 PM (e) (s)

Maybe PT has become a little too serious and influential, and thus has outgrown the Bathroom wall.

No, I think there was just a bit of authoritarian “You people need to discuss what we want you to discuss” flavor behind it. It was a very useful thing to have around here, there’s no sensible reason to eliminate it.

But, you post on the Panda’s Thumb you have, not the Panda’s Thumb you wish you had, or may have in the future.

Comment #51664

Posted by James Taylor on October 9, 2005 4:36 PM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

Think of the suicide bombers of today, two thousand years later. They are only doing to others what they are willing to have done to them!

Sucide bombers are grown from fundamentalist dogma. The psychology has more to do with proving oneself’s fitness for heaven rather than any other philosophical concept. It is an expression of frustration and selfishness grown out of profound belief in the supernatural and complete rejection of ration thought. Suicide bombers believe that they will immediately appear in the presence of Allah if they die in the act of killing infidels; however, it doesn’t work the other way around. If a devout dies by the hand of another it does not guarantee entrance to heaven. Bottom line, they must kill to be martyred. There is no “do unto others” in the act for they do not wish to die unless in a just cause. It is a onesided proposition and is essentially a get out of Hell free card.

I’m glad you brought this up carol. Suicide bombings are the best example of how rigid religious beliefs can be manipulated by authoritative clerics to evoke a desired response from the masses. The philosophy applied is the “Ends Justify the Means”.

Comment #51666

Posted by James Taylor on October 9, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

There are plenty of American examples of the “Ends Justify the Means” relacing all other morality: Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, David Koresh and any member of the Ku Klux Klan. Terrorists don’t actually follow any morality except what works to achieve the objective.

Comment #51669

Posted by carol clouser on October 9, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

Lenny,

No, you did not answer my question. For your benefit I will repeat it with emphasis added to draw your attention to some key words. Do read carefully.

Why should anyone care about my opinion on ANY SUBJECT, religious or otherwise? Or yours?

James,

Your point is well taken. I could not agree more. But it does not change the fact that all the people you cited killed others and were willing to be killed themselves, actions that were in conformity with the “do unto others” principle, since it is actions that really count. And surely you can think of many other less severe examples, where instead of death some other indignity, inconvenience or pain is inflicted by people who are willing to have the same done to themselves.

Comment #51671

Posted by carol clouser on October 9, 2005 5:18 PM (e)

K.E.,

My concern goes far beyond the classroom. It is in the marketplace of ideas that these battles will be won, lost or settled.

And I don’t share your comfortable feeling with the way things currently are, separated church and state. The wall between them is under constant attack. You seem content with continually shoring up the wall. I want to look over the wall and talk to the other side.

Comment #51674

Posted by darwinfinch on October 9, 2005 6:25 PM (e)

Carol,

I can see you want to talk TO that “other side” but I see no sign you have any interest, or perhaps the courage, to listen and think to it.
Scan the writings of ANY of the legions of Creationists (basic definition intended) and show me where a single open mind, accepting of the mildest criticism and admitting the deficiencies of their own theories (it is very, very hard not to put the word in quotes) exists.

Also, to save me time in reading anything else you may post, do you believe the Bible is the “unerring work of God?” I consider such a belief either a shameless lie or a sign of culturally-accepted insanity, and am unlikely to spend further time upon you in any way.

Comment #51675

Posted by David Heddle on October 9, 2005 6:38 PM (e)

Very interesting. I am delighted that Stenger posted re. the Cosmological Constant (vacuum energy), writing (#51313):

Now, I admit that this is not a consensus view and that most physicists still think there is a vacuum energy problem. Well, until we get a consensus on a solution, then I agree there is a problem.

So what did Stenger say:
1) He acknowledged the problem with the CC.
2) He said he is working on a way around the problem, a way that has not been accepted by the community as of yet.

This is exactly what I said about Stenger. He completely confirmed what I said about his paper.

That left three possibilities for all the PTers who claimed I misrepresented him:

1) They could take the high road and agree that I did not misrepresent him.
2) They could the low road and stay silent.
3) The could go absolutely lunatic fringe and claim that Stenger fisked me.

Nobody took option 1. (Now there’s a surprise). PvM and Aureola and many others took the low road, option 2. And a couple (Logicman and Shiva) took option 3.

You PTers sure do not rank high on the intellectual honesty scale.

Comment #51676

Posted by darwinfinch on October 9, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

Ah, David!

“You PTers sure do not rank high on the intellectual honesty scale.”

Another humorless, pompously insulting piece of nonsense from DH, who is a true master among masters of unintentional irony and inexplicably contorted, unfalsifiable (due to its complete incomprehensibility) “scientific” theory!

– “Ah! But do we not also build bridges out of stone?”

Comment #51677

Posted by M. Patel on October 9, 2005 7:01 PM (e)

Welcome back Mr. Heddle. I have not had much luck getting reliable numbers from the evolutionists here. They mainly want to dismiss the whole thing. Let me reask what I asked before. I am in math not cosmology, and so I don’t know what numbers to assign these variables. TIA.

Can someone please tell me what is the “sensitivity” of the physical constant known as the cosmological constant? I have read a lot of Cantor/Dedekind/Cauchy material lately, so let me ask the question in a rigorous manner.

Let S = (M-V)/V

Where
S = Sensitivity
M = Maximum value of the cosmological constant which would permit life
V= Value of the cosmological constant

Now, what is L, the lowest value of Sensitivity which can be explained without Intelligent Design? The Argument for Intelligent Design would then be correct if S, L exist, and SL. Is this true?

I’m a mathematics student, not a cosmologist, so I do not know what S and L are. If the quantities are calculable, then this logical form would convey the argument.

Comment #51678

Posted by M. Patel on October 9, 2005 7:06 PM (e)

Oops I once again forgot to correct. There should be a “less than” sign between S and L.

Comment #51679

Posted by David Heddle on October 9, 2005 7:11 PM (e)

The fine tuning of the cosmological constant is usually expressed as 120 orders of magnitude. At those type of numbers, it really doesn’t matter much if it is 60 or 100 or 120. As Stenger put it in his paper, if it is the explanation for dark energy, and if it were a “hair” bigger there would be no stars.

As for your formula, I have no clue what you are talking about.

Comment #51680

Posted by James Taylor on October 9, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

Your point is well taken. I could not agree more. But it does not change the fact that all the people you cited killed others and were willing to be killed themselves, actions that were in conformity with the “do unto others” principle, since it is actions that really count. And surely you can think of many other less severe examples, where instead of death some other indignity, inconvenience or pain is inflicted by people who are willing to have the same done to themselves.

Tim McVeigh pleaded not guilty, was convicted to death, appealed his conviction and was executed. He professed his innocence till the end.

Edgar Ray Killen pleaded not guilty to the murder of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and was convicted of manslaughter.

Eric Rudolph spent five years on the run in the backwoods of North Carolina rather than face the consequences of his actions. After he was apprehended, Eric Rudolph pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.

None of these individuals were willing to accept the consequences of their actions. They all fought to stay alive in whatever course was alotted to them. Only the Branch Dividians are at the most extreme and several of the members fought to escape the religious armageddon they helped bring about.

Bullies are cowards. They never want to accept responsibility. These people did not want to die for their causes, they just want people to do what they say. They don’t believe in equality only ends.

Comment #51682

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 9, 2005 7:24 PM (e)

Why should anyone care about my opinion on ANY SUBJECT, religious or otherwise? Or yours?

They shouldn’t. About anything. (shrug)

Your turn.

Comment #51683

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 9, 2005 7:26 PM (e)

The fine tuning of the cosmological constant is usually expressed as 120 orders of magnitude.

Hey Heddle, what is this “fine-tuning” that you keep babbling about?

Are you just drawing a circle around the bullseye, again?

Comment #51685

Posted by M. Patel on October 9, 2005 7:51 PM (e)

It’s simple, I did not mean it to appear confusing. I was merely trying to make concrete the Sensitivity issue. As a math student I was intrigued when someone earliar stated there was no necessity to know the probability of a constant, it was merely sufficient to notice it’s Sensitivity. Sensitivity was said to be a proportional change. If a small proportional change in the number made life impossible, this was very high Sensitivity. Sensitivity beyond a certain value implied Intelligent Design. So here’s the simple proportional formula. If M is the Maximum value of the cosmological constant which would permit life, and V is the value of the constant, the maximum proportional difference which would permit life is
(M-V)/V.

The earlier commenter said this was the Sensitivity, which I’ll call S.

So S =(M-V)/V

This is a proportional measure so I’m afraid I can’t just use the order of magnitude of the number, because that cancels out in the top and the bottom.

For instance, if the constant is 3*10^-120, and the maximum limit which permits life is 4*10^-120, the sensitivity is

4*10^-120 - 3*10^-120
—————————–
3*10^-120

which reduces to 1/3.

It was said earlier that if the Sensitivity is very high (in this case S is very low) that implied Intelligent Design. So I introduced L, which is the number below which S implies Intelligent Design.

I think this is a neat argument, but I am not in the physical sciences. Math you might say is the platonic science. So I am at a loss for knowing what L is, and I don’t have the info to calculate S. In order for this argument to work, I need a value of M, V, and L, and then S has to be less than L. So what should I use for these numbers? I am especially perplexed by how to estimate L. Any help would be appreciated.

Comment #51686

Posted by James Taylor on October 9, 2005 7:56 PM (e)

For other examples of “Ends Justify Means” see American Revolutionary War, US Civil War, Subjugation of the Native American, World War 1, Prohibition, The Third Reich, World War 2, The Holocaust, Unit 731, Hiroshima, Nagsaki, Isreal, Palestine, The Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Afganistan, Nicuragua, ICBMs, Mutual Assured Destruction, Wedge Document, Gulf War 2, i.e. World War 6, The Sunni Insurgency.

Notice that the ID concept doesn’t “Do Unto Others”, e.g. experiment, publish via peer-review, accept criticism.

However, it is very “Ends Justify Means”, e.g. solidify a political movement by indoctrinating kids.

Comment #51688

Posted by bill on October 9, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

I have no clue.

I agree with him on that point. Heddle has no clue.

Finally, something we agree on.

Comment #51691

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on October 9, 2005 9:45 PM (e)

james writes “Bullies are cowards. They never want to accept responsibility. These people did not want to die for their causes…. “

Indeed, they wanted to make other people die for their causes. The antithesis of martyrdom.

Comment #51694

Posted by carol clouser on October 9, 2005 11:38 PM (e)

James,

The case I used was suicide bombers, all the others you brought up. Certainly suicide bombers are willing to die together with their victims - a clear case where the principle of “do unto others”, even if applied, would not be a deterrent. But the principle of “in God’s image” would act as such if adhered to. The only comment I will make about the others is that some of them may have been willing to die at the time of the crime but changed their attitudes in the course of time. Other than that, I do not disagree with your posting.

darwinfinch,

At least you have extended me the courtesy of asking directly if I believe the Bible is the unerring word of God. Many characters prowling the corridors of this blog just assume, attack, ridicule and insult without bothering to read carefully what I and others have posted and ignore all the subtleties and nuances that religion-related opinion usually contain. But why can you not read my postings and react to its substance, based on the merits, without affixing a stereotypical label to my name?

Lenny,

That is the wrong answer. And you only speak for yourself, not for “they”. It might come as a surprise to you, but there are many people who care deeply about my opinion on a variety of issues, more than you dare to imagine. You are just not one of them. And that is your loss. But why do you go on ranting about why anyone should care about my religious opinions when you think they shouldn’t care about any of my opinions?

Had you been endowed with the least bit of humility, however, you would have said something about (1) learning from other people, (2) nobody has a monopoly on wisdom, (3) other folks might have some insights to contribute, and so on. And I would have responded that these are applicable to religious views too. But these thoughts are apparently entirely alien to your self image. You really don’t think other people just MAY have something to contribute to your repertoire of ideas and opinions. In other words, you are guilty in spades of exactly all those accusations you repeatedly level ad nauseum at the religious folk.

Comment #51698

Posted by James Taylor on October 10, 2005 2:07 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

And I don’t share your comfortable feeling with the way things currently are, separated church and state. The wall between them is under constant attack. You seem content with continually shoring up the wall. I want to look over the wall and talk to the other side.

Well carol, I am right here with K.E. trying to put the bricks back in that you keep knocking out. If one side is shoring the wall, then the other is certainly attacking. You have justified slavery and the elimination of the establishment clause all in one thread. What other rights are you against?

Comment #51699

Posted by Alan on October 10, 2005 2:20 AM (e)

Steve S wrote:

No, I think there was just a bit of authoritarian “You people need to discuss what we want you to discuss” flavor behind it. It was a very useful thing to have around here, there’s no sensible reason to eliminate it.

Yes, I agree. It was a place to ask naive questions without exposing oneself to general ridicule. Reed emailed me a while ago now to say it was to be revamped. Come on Dr. E, why not bring the Bathroom wall back?

Comment #51700

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 2:54 AM (e)

Carol
You are getting to the end game.

Your, I have to say belief and not reasoning indicates that without a material god people will just do as they like. You propose:-There is real god who can do real damage to you ,presumably not in this life, and you are somehow compelled to act against your (not mine) natural desires to be ungodly.
So do you want to teach this in school as well, in place of reason ‘Be good or god will get you’.

The people who you are worried about ,the bombers,who you seem to think the ‘do unto others…’ entreaty is inadequate are psychopaths who are incapable of empathy and no measure of god in any quantity will fix their problem. However their masters… preachers, mullahs etc are quite able to manipulate the natural tendency of humans to believe anything they’re told particularly at a young age.

The fact that most people are unable to separate myth from fact even when they become adults just makes them more dangerous. You only have to look at the ramblings of McVeigh and the belief by the 70% of the Arab world that 9-11 was a zionist conspiracy to see where they get their magical nonsence ideas from.

Comment #51701

Posted by darwinfinch on October 10, 2005 3:35 AM (e)

So, Carol, I find myself complimented, with your rhethorical left hand, so to speak, before being told I deserve no answer. I also stated, politely but frankly, how I view Bible-absolutism (that it is insanity, or a very cowardly form of lie), though I see you neither affirming nor denying your own belief. Do deny it if you don’t; then I will feel it possible to engage what else you present on our forum here. I will not bother with the maniacal further, however (though, as w/ Mr. Heddle, I may dirty my hands with occasional digs at the pompously dishonest - one can only hope to pop such zeppelins of arrogant silliness by continually trying.)

Certainly, please extend me the the ONLY real courtesy of honesty on this question, as we then will both know the path any future discussion will take.

Comment #51713

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 10, 2005 7:05 AM (e)

It might come as a surprise to you, but there are many people who care deeply about my opinion on a variety of issues, more than you dare to imagine.

(yawn) Yeah, right, whatever.

Comment #51725

Posted by Ved Rocke on October 10, 2005 10:13 AM (e)

But the principle of “in God’s image” would act as [a deterrent to being a suicide bomber] if adhered to.

Which God’s image? God as his own son, the lamb-like Jesus, or God in his original form who not only wreaks his vengeance on his enemies on this earth, but also damns people who don’t believe or have never heard of him to an eternity in hell?

Comment #51738

Posted by ben on October 10, 2005 1:46 PM (e)

It might come as a surprise to you, but there are many people who care deeply about my opinion on a variety of issues, more than you dare to imagine.

“Now that’s what I call believable testimony!”
–Lionel Hutz, Atty.

Comment #51739

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 10, 2005 1:51 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle, ignoring other refutations of his comments wrote:

Very interesting. I am delighted that Stenger posted re. the Cosmological Constant (vacuum energy), writing (#51313):

Vic Stenger wrote:

Now, I admit that this is not a consensus view and that most physicists still think there is a vacuum energy problem. Well, until we get a consensus on a solution, then I agree there is a problem.

So what did Stenger say:
1) He acknowledged the problem with the CC.
2) He said he is working on a way around the problem, a way that has not been accepted by the community as of yet.

This is exactly what I said about Stenger. He completely confirmed what I said about his paper.

As many have pointed out, David, Stenger thinks that there is a “problem”, but you’re misconstruing the meaning of the word “problem” here. Once again, in defence of your arguments for cosmological “fine tuning”, you originally cited Stenger. But Stenger’s apparent use of “problem” is more like “question” or “unresolved issue” or some such thing. But your cite of Stenger is such to suggest that his acknowledgement of this “problem” is such that it provides support for your claim that there is “fine tuning”. Remember, it is you that said that Stenger admits to “fine tuning”:

David MuddleHeddle [from way back] wrote:

I can overwhelm you with quotes from non-ID physicists who acknowledge the fine tuning of the cosmological constant in the new inflationary model. Among them would be sometime PT contributor (I think he is, maybe I am wrong) Victor Stenger.

Stenger apparently doesn’t accept “fine tuning” as being established as existing in fact, so he doesn’t need to “solve” any “fine tuning problem”. He does acknowledge that “standard” calculations of the zero energy seem to result in numbers way out of whack with what is observed (barring other potential explanations or theoretical treatments). His explicit “acknowledge[ment]” (in his own words, no less) is that there is this discrepancy (“question” or perhaps unsolved “problem”). But that’s not what you said. You said he “acknowledge[d] the fine tuning of the cosmological constant”! Put simply, David, that’s a lie. And it’s a lie that you put forth as supposed support for your claim of cosmological “fine tuning” (along with the specific inferences from such tuning you seem to prefer, which are even farther from Stenger’s thoughts…). I discussed this unwarranted misuse of Stenger’s words, as well as the further implicit extrapolation of yours to even further reaches in an effort to support your own opinions above.

HTH.

Cheers,

Comment #51740

Posted by carol clouser on October 10, 2005 1:55 PM (e)

Darwinfinch,

You are right. You are entitled to an honest answer, especially with that tempting dangling carrot you offer of future engagement with my posted opinions. But I will need to abbreviate and simplify.

It is my considered opinion that the original Hebrew Bible is the product of human beings. Based on the meager evidence that exists, I conclude that some core of it was initially composed by Moses and later edited to some unknown extent by Ezra.

Both of these individuals dedicated their lives to the creation and perpetuation of a nation guided by great principles to serve as a light unto the nations. It is most remarkable that that nation still exists against all odds, and has for thousands of years served as such a light and still does, despite the fact that “the nations” have had nothing better to do but seek to extinguish both the nation and its light.

These law-making, nation-creating individuals claimed to be inspired by God in their writings. Were they? I cannot accept that they blatantly lied about such grave matters. For many reasons. So either they were so inspired or they thought they were so inspired.

This is applicable only to certain parts of the so called “old testament”. I cannot say anything complimentary about the so called “new testament” because of the evil consequences it has led to - centuries of blood-letting, unmitigated evil and the stifling of humankind’s creative spirit, particularly the progress of science. Such consequences cannot possibly flow from God.

Hope you can now sleep better at night. I base this on a lifetime studying (and earning advanced degrees in) ancient languages and history, science and philosophy and continued study in these areas.

Ved Rock,

None of the items you enumerate are in my Bible.

Comment #51743

Posted by James Taylor on October 10, 2005 2:25 PM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

Both of these individuals dedicated their lives to the creation and perpetuation of a nation guided by great principles to serve as a light unto the nations. It is most remarkable that that nation still exists against all odds, and has for thousands of years served as such a light and still does, despite the fact that “the nations” have had nothing better to do but seek to extinguish both the nation and its light.

These law-making, nation-creating individuals claimed to be inspired by God in their writings. Were they? I cannot accept that they blatantly lied about such grave matters. For many reasons. So either they were so inspired or they thought they were so inspired.

This is applicable only to certain parts of the so called “old testament”. I cannot say anything complimentary about the so called “new testament” because of the evil consequences it has led to - centuries of blood-letting, unmitigated evil and the stifling of humankind’s creative spirit, particularly the progress of science. Such consequences cannot possibly flow from God.

The Old Testament is a story of the subjugation of many different people under the guise of providence. Remember, there were many tribes that lived in the land that became Isreal before the Hebrews crossed the Jordan. The Hebrews then sought about destroying all of the native inhabitants because God told one guy this is your land. Pretty much is the supreme example of “Ends Justy Means”. This is your great principle carol. The blood letting in the common era is an extension of the behavior before the common era. Jesus preached equality not providence. The Hebrew nation has been under attack from the arab tribes for millenia because they invaded and murdered their ancestors.

Comment #51744

Posted by David Heddle on October 10, 2005 2:31 PM (e)

Gee Arne, I am interpreting problem as meaning, um, problem. You can sing and dance, but you can’t answer a simple question:

if Stenger doesn’t acknowledge a fine-tuning problem, why is he trying to solve it?

With his alternative cosmology, what is he trying to fix?

He is trying to calculate the vacuum energy in a very, very unconventional way so as to avoid the fine tuning problem, pure and simple.

I lied about nothing. I’ll repeat: any honest person reading Stenger’s section on the CC would conclude exactly what I said: (1) He is not an IDer (2) He does see a fine-tuning problem if the CC is used to explain dark energy and (3) Because he sees a fine-tuning problem, he is trying to find a way to avoid needing the CC (buy having it turn out to be exactly zero.)

As I said, any honest person would read that from Stenger’s paper and his response on here. It is you, not I, who is dishonest (and making an ass of yourself)

Comment #51748

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

Gee, Mr. Heddle, you keep at it, don’t you?

The “problem” Dr. Stenger sees (and he said so himself) is that our theory at present is “off” by several orders of magnitude.

You see this as a “problem” of the universe (“Wow, there must be an Intelligent Designer turning knobs behind the curtain!”); he sees it as a problem of our theory (“Oops,we need to check our calculations, and very possibly change the theory”).

Now, you can repeat your lie as many times as you wish, but that won’t make it truthful.

Comment #51749

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

Carol
Your nation builders didn’t need to lie or even be divinely inspired, in common with every other nation builder since the dawn of human society the laws they proscribe have to have some sort of authority that demands respect. Even today various countries invoke the authority of a King or Queen and its a small step to a “King” in heaven or long dead kings thus invoking even more authority. which is probably what you are translating. American (secular) law is based on British Law which can be traced back to the Romans and the Greeks before them, in other words a separate enforcement arm of representative government that is free from impractical supernatural spiritual ideas, can you imagine a court that uses astrology to make decisions. Ever since the Emperor Constantine who did a deal with the bishops along the lines of “you get the foreskins I get everything else” the separation of Church and state has been the cornerstone of western civilization. I suspect that doesn’t match your view.

Comment #51753

Posted by James on October 10, 2005 3:15 PM (e)

M. Patel: You have a basic model of what “Sensitivity” would be, if it was worthwhile. In fact it’s not even worthwhile to its daddy Dave Heddle. In a proportional calculation like that Dave’s beloved super duper orders of magnitude can cancel out. Don’t expect any help from him in throwing out those precious zeros.

Comment #51754

Posted by David Heddle on October 10, 2005 3:21 PM (e)

Aureola,

The “problem” Dr. Stenger sees (and he said so himself) is that our theory at present is “off” by several orders of magnitude.

Several orders of magnitude? Several? That is a funny way to describe 100 or so orders of magnitude.

Your trick is always the same–all you can do in your attempt to deny that I represented Stenger correctly is to distort–and try to make it sound like I said he supported ID. That I never did. What I said is true–he sees a fine tuning problem in the current theory.

Comment #51755

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 3:23 PM (e)

Psst, K.E….

I’m sorry to report that Emperor Constantine did exactly the opposite, i.e. he was a secular ruler who tried to shore up his Empire by co-opting an up-and-coming religion which was way more militant than the old Pantheon.

If you want to look at the roots of the separation of Church and State, Constantine is the poster boy for the other side. Personally, I notice parallels between him and the GOP of these last two decades…

Comment #51756

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 3:30 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle,

of course arguing with a liar is pointless, but let me try once again nonetheless. “Several” or “many” or “a whole friggin’ lot” makes exactly no difference to the point.

To restate, you want this “problem” to be a “fine tuning” of the universe problem; he sees it as a “fine tuning” of our theories problem.

So, no, you falsely claimed that he saw a “fine tuning” cosmological problem, meaning that cosmological constants had to be fine-tuned; he, on the other hand, sees a “fine tuning” problem, meaning that cosmological theories must be adjusted (“fine-tuned”) to account for those orders of magnitude.

You know, just like when people conflate two meanings of “theory” to claim that “evolution is only a theory”? That’s what you are doing, even after being told repeatedly (to my memory, at least since two years ago) that you are doing that.

So, you cannot feign ignorance.

Comment #51758

Posted by David Heddle on October 10, 2005 3:44 PM (e)

Aureola,

Stenger and I see exactly the same fine tuning problem–exactly the same. It is purely a question of physics. Namely that the CC, at its present small value, demands an unimaginable amount of fine tuning. That’s all physics–no ID. Stenger and I agree on this issue 100%.

Our difference only comes in how we view the problem, not whether it exists. He views it as a sign the present theory is flawed, I view it as possibly a sign of fine tuning of the universe and possibly as a sign the present theory is flawed.

You (not I) completely misrepresent Stenger. He does not see it (as you suggested) that the theories need to be “adjusted” to account for the fine tuning, He sees that the present theory (that the CC accounts for the dark energy) must be utterly abandoned (not “adjusted”) if the fine tuning is to be avoided. To wit., he sees that a new theory where the cc is zero and is the explanation for dark energy (a radically different proposal) is the way out.

Please stop misrepresenting Stenger.

Comment #51759

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 4:03 PM (e)

Oh, so that‘s why Dr. Stenger dropped by and clarified that the only “problem” he sees with the cosmological constant is that, quote, until we get a consensus on a solution, then I agree there is a problem, unquote.

He sees no problem with the cosmological constant! Here’s how he described the question, on this very thread: (the 120 orders of magnitude are)

“one of the worst calculations in the history of physics”

Silly me, I should have seen it right away: up is down and black is white in Heddle’s universe.

Comment #51760

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 4:10 PM (e)

Thanks Aureola Nominee.
You have pointed to the root of this whole problem the cynical co-opting by politics of a powerful branch of the populous and vice versa

Comment #51764

Posted by David Heddle on October 10, 2005 4:24 PM (e)

Aureola,

I give up. You willingness to be dishonest to the point of lunacy is too tiresome.

Comment #51765

Posted by darwinfinch on October 10, 2005 4:35 PM (e)

Carol,

Thanks for your answer. Now, why would you believe ToE to be other than the best current explanation of the facts as science knows them? I can’t see that you take the Old T. as literally true, since however sincere the writers were, and however inspired, they were working with very little information.
Also, and my own backgrond in in Cultural Anthropology, why is the Hebrew/Babylonian view preferable to others? Just because of historical considerations?

Finally, I find the Buddha’s answer to these questions superior for my own “spiritual questions” – that such questions are simply “besides the point,” spiritually speaking. Science is finally ONLY interested in one type of question, and we abuse it when we use it to jury-rig our own, generally vain, theories about the “whys” of existence: a question that has begun to tire me as I get older, I’ll admit, since it makes me seem so very “necessary” w/o helping me understand and experience anything.

Comment #51766

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 4:36 PM (e)

Well that’s settled then we all agree.
Heddles number is proof that physics is just a subset of the Abrahamic creator.

Comment #51767

Posted by Russell on October 10, 2005 4:39 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee wrote:

If you want to look at the roots of the separation of Church and State, Constantine is the poster boy for the other side. Personally, I notice parallels between him and the GOP of these last two decades…

Aureola will probably understand why I chose to name my son “Julian”.

Comment #51768

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 4:43 PM (e)

All hail Kaiser Julian !!

Comment #51769

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 10, 2005 4:45 PM (e)

DH declaimed:

Aureola, I give up.

On the (probably vanishingly-small) chance that Dave actually means what he says, for once: Way to go, Aureola!

Comment #51774

Posted by Flint on October 10, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee:

I didn’t come in at the beginning, for which I apologize. But maybe you’ll rehash somewhat for my benefit.

Is the “tiny CC” a *measurement*, or is it an implication of theory? Stenger seems to be saying that the observed zero point energy is incredibly tiny, but the mathematically derived quantity is 120 orders of magnitude larger. So it seems Heddle is correct, that he and Stenger agree that the *real, observed* quantity is very very very small.

Now, the problem according to Stenger is, if theory generates a calculation 120 orders of magnitude higher than observation, something must be drastically wrong with that theory. I read Heddle as saying either that’s the case (maybe it is), or maybe theory is correct after all, but that perhaps supernatural intervention has diddled with the actual quantity anyway. I’m always a bit hazy on what the supernatural does, though.

So next, Stenger seems to be saying that if the theory is so wildly wrong, where is the error? What sort of corrections should be made, and where, so that theory and observation are in the same ballpark? And HERE, Stenger says there is no consensus; there are too many mutually exclusive proposals as to what we should do to line up theory with reality. And that until there is SOME consensus as to how this should be done, we have a problem. Presumably, the problem would go away if physicists were to all (or nearly all) agree on some new formulation that produced more realistic results, but that no such agreement exists today.

But what Heddle is saying seems correct enough to me. I do get the sense that Heddle would not be content even with Stenger’s hoped-for consensus, since such a consensus would probably imply that nothing is magical about the observed value. But this doesn’t mean there is disagreement about the observation. Only disagreement about how to interpret that observation - bad theory, or evidence of magic.

Comment #51775

Posted by carol clouser on October 10, 2005 5:20 PM (e)

James,

Your ignorance of history and the Bible is pathetic. I would not even know where to begin to straighten you out. Clueless anti-Semites have been repeating lines similar to yours for centuries. While you are at it why don’t you try your hand at starting another blood libel?

Darwinfinch,

I have much respect for Buddhism in general and the Tibetan version in particular. It is well known that the Dalai Lama has shown a keen interest in the Hebrew Bible and has told Jews searching for spiritual nourishment in Buddhism to “go back to your roots, you need look no further” (not a precise quote, I am doing this from memory).

Since I have not commented on ToE, I am not sure what your point is about that. The Hebrew Bible (I don’t like referring to it as the “old” testament because that implies the existence of a “new” testament) does not offer any competing theories, other than the axiom that there exists a God as first cause. I think these are compatible with each other. Just as evolution is entirely compatible with God and the Hebrew Bible. My main argument with some folks here relates to the claim that science PROVES that a literal reading of the Bible is untenable and therefore CANNOT POSSIBLY be divinely inspired. That just is not so.

Comment #51776

Posted by darwinfinch on October 10, 2005 5:25 PM (e)

DH gives up in the face of “dishonesty.” This doesn’t seem to have any relation to the dictionary definition of that word, nor to common usage. It seems to mean, and it’s always dangerous to attempt to interpret peacock-like rantings, that his ideas are not kow-towed to with appropriate reverance.
What a useless ass you are, DH!

PLEASE do us all the favor of giving up for a very long time.

If not, well, the answer from here on is simple, since one need not deal with such distant relatives.

Comment #51780

Posted by David Heddle on October 10, 2005 5:38 PM (e)

Flint,

You probably don’t want my thanks, but I do thank you.

Comment #51781

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 10, 2005 5:46 PM (e)

Gee, Heddle, you sure didn’t “give up” for very long.

To paraphrase that great old country song (No, Carol! Not that old country!), “How can we miss you if you won’t go away?”

Comment #51782

Posted by James Taylor on October 10, 2005 5:49 PM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

Your ignorance of history and the Bible is pathetic. I would not even know where to begin to straighten you out. Clueless anti-Semites have been repeating lines similar to yours for centuries. While you are at it why don’t you try your hand at starting another blood libel?

Your ignorance of history far exceeds my own. My observations state what happened and don’t glorify any particular side. You appear to have a biased opinion and cannot remain objective as to the ethical decisions made by the OT persona nor those of suicide bombers and American terrorists. I don’t have any vested interest in any side, except to demonstrate where you have mischaracterized these relevant and historical events. Since your knowledge of the ‘true’ Blble is so extensive, please explain the invasion of Cannan and the slaughter of the Cannanites as it really happened. What was the alternate ethical justification other than claiming rights afforded to no one else.

Comment #51787

Posted by Flint on October 10, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

Heddle:

Where I disagree with you is in any sense that anything about the natural world implies a supernatural anything, in any way. If some constant is very small, then it’s very small. If theory predicts a much larger value, theory has a problem. I personally wouldn’t go looking for a supernatural solution to the problem; I find no parameter defining our universe any more likely or unlikely than any other, because the ONLY direction one can extrapolate from a single example is in the direction of preference. Very dangerous.

I think you and Aureola Nominee have simply had a failure to communicate here. Maybe someone who understands the physics can clear things up?

Comment #51790

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 6:42 PM (e)

No, Flint.

Heddle disingenuously conflates two meanings of the phrase “fine-tuning problem”, and claims that Stenger recognizes that a “fine-tuning problem exists” (meaning one), so a “fine-tuning problem clearly exists” (meaning two).

This is an instance of equivocation, not a honest misunderstanding.

I’ve been pointing this out to Heddle for several months now, with the success you have witnessed; but I don’t expect anything else by one who desperately needs as much “support”, no matter how contrived, he manages to muster.

Comment #51796

Posted by James on October 10, 2005 7:05 PM (e)

Everyone’s tried forever to explain Heddle’s willful errors, to no avail. He just keeps repeating the same stuff. It looks like he’s abandoning the Sensitivity cr*p though, since it throws away that big impressive order of magnitude problem that’s got him all verklempt.

Comment #51797

Posted by Flint on October 10, 2005 7:06 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee:

Let me guess (I’m afraid I must guess; you are cryptic).

Meaning one is, observation and theory conflict, and there is no consensus about how to correct or recast theory so as to fit observation. The problem would be resolved by agreement on a single explanation.

Meaning two is, the observation itself (whatever its theoretical explanation) couldn’t have come about by any possible natural cause, making it ipso facto evidence of supernatural intervention. The problem would be resolved by everyone opening their heart to Jesus.

Guessing further, you interpret Stenger as sticking strictly to meaning one, while Heddle attempts to blur the distinction. And that this effort to blur things is dishonest, and Heddle should come right out and say that EVEN IF we had a consensus among nearly all physicists for the most likely theoretical explanation for this observation (and Stenger declared the problem solved), it would STILL indicate supernatural intervention in Heddle’s eyes. Alternatively, perhaps you would wish Heddle to admit that Stenger sees no implication of anything supernatural at all. Is that it?

Comment #51798

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 7:14 PM (e)

Flint:

I don’t see why you think I’m being cryptic. I must have said this, oh, at least half a dozen times in as many different ways already. Anyway, here we go again:

Meaning one (Stenger’s): the lack of accordance of our observations with our model is a problem for the model. This means we need to revisit our model; here’s my proposal for doing this, but of course I might be wrong and someone else might “fine-tune” our theory in a better, simpler, more elegant way.

Meaning two (Heddle’s): the lack of accordance of our observations with our model is a problem for the universe. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with our model, which means soneOne must have tinkered with the universe. Furthermore, even Stenger agrees that there is a problem, so there!

Am I clearer now?

Comment #51800

Posted by James on October 10, 2005 7:17 PM (e)

Why let Heddle get away with that 10^-120 number anyway? (Contrary to what steve said) that’s just the size in reduced planck units. In cgs units the number is 10^-29. Not so damn impressive. Did the universe suddenly get 91 times less fine-tuned?

Comment #51802

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 10, 2005 7:22 PM (e)

It is my considered opinion that the original Hebrew Bible is the product of human beings.

No shit.

Comment #51803

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 7:25 PM (e)

As to what I’d like Heddle to do, in this specific instance I would appreciate his admitting that Stenger does not recognize the existence of Heddle’s description of a “fine-tuning problem”.

Let me clarify by using an example from a totally different field: I might speak of the “historical Jesus problem”, meaning the problem of the lack of evidence for a real, flesh-and-blood Jesus at the root of Christianity; someone else might speak of a “historical Jesus problem” meaning a totally different problem, such as, for instance, the relationship between jesus the man and Jesus the God.

It would be highly dishonest of me to say “but even [insert name of other fellow here] believes that there is a historical Jesus problem, so why do you guys keep pretending he was really real?”

However, maybe we could take this chat offline? I don’t see how this is on topic. Heddle, as usual, is a powerful generator of “off-topic drift”.

Comment #51804

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 10, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

To paraphrase that great old country song (No, Carol! Not that old country!), “How can we miss you if you won’t go away?”

Being a heavy metal fan, I’d prefer: “Don’t go away mad, just go away”.

:>

Comment #51806

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 7:40 PM (e)

OK
Now what I want know is how does Heddles number (H)
influence the original Hebrew Bible or the here and now ?

Early evidence of radio astronomy perhaps ?

A flashing code from The Milky Way easily observed with the naked eye?

Voices ? Did I hear Voices ?

Something in the water ?

Comment #51807

Posted by Flint on October 10, 2005 7:50 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee:

How do we take a chat off-line?

Comment #51809

Posted by Steve S on October 10, 2005 8:28 PM (e)

(Contrary to what steve said) that’s just the size in reduced planck units.

Mibad. I stupidly just assumed it was MKS. I feel like an idiot anyway, I didn’t notice that Heddle’s Sensitivity, besides being incalculable, thwarts his 120 zero fetish. Since I’m on the subject, Mr. or Ms. Patel, M is actually known, insofar as if your M is too large, Life As We Know It is impossible (but this is not the same as saying Life In Any Possible Way). However V is not known, making S incalculable, and L is of course not known, and who knows how you’d even try to come up with it. Sensitivity is a joke. Since V could be anything from incredibly close to M, to incredibly smaller than it, the “Sensitivity” could be any positive number at all.

Intelligent Design–a conclusion in search of justification.

Comment #51815

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 8:49 PM (e)

Well, not “off-line”, sorry… I meant off-site, by regular e-mail. :-)

Comment #51821

Posted by Flint on October 10, 2005 9:05 PM (e)

I don’t know your e-mail address. Otherwise, a fine idea…

Comment #51823

Posted by Steve S on October 10, 2005 9:07 PM (e)

If anyone ever asks me to what degree religion can blind people, I will point them to this old comment of David’s:

Comment #48005

Posted by David Heddle on September 14, 2005 06:42 AM (e) (s)

If a given constant has to be within a certain (constrained) range for life to exist, it doesn’t matter whether its probability is essentially zero (meaning, perhaps, we don’t know why it has its value) or one (some new theory has shown why it has to have that value.) That just changes, philosophically, whether you say God chose the value of the constant to be what it is or He chose the laws of physics to generate the value. The only relevant point is the sensitivity to the value.

Did you see that? Can you believe your eyes? He’s saying that even if a feature of the universe was required to be what it is, by physical law, if some other imaginablenumber would make life impossible, god is implied. Surely this is a new proof of god he’s got. “If the impossible didn’t happen, it was because of god”

W.T.F.

reminds me of the great Cormier Gordon song, “if the phone don’t ring, you know it’s me”

Comment #51825

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on October 10, 2005 9:38 PM (e)

Flint:

considering that, when I was posting under my real name and with my real e-mail, I got a couple of nasty pieces of hatemail, I’ve switched to a pseudonym. However, you can drop me a line at sinkspam@rogers.com. I’ll be glad to respond from my real address.

Comment #51829

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 10:09 PM (e)

Steve S

The phone isn’t ringing so it must be for David.

But seriously, I consider Faith in God or any other religious experience a valid human expression for want of a better phrase, just why are they so intolerant of reason? Now that is a subject for science ! www.mindhacks.com has a Little on this.

Comment #51838

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 10, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle, who still doesn't get it, wrote:

He is trying to calculate the vacuum energy in a very, very unconventional way so as to avoid the fine tuning problem, pure and simple.

He’s trying to come up with ways to calculate a value for the vacuum energy (or some other solution) that accords with cosmological observations (which seems to be a reasonable thing for a physicist to do; fancy that instead of doing such, you instead seem to hold this inconsistency out as some kind to godly talisman to worship at … now why is that, Mr. MuddleHeddle?). That’s hardly a “fine tuning problem”. It is a puzzle for the standard model, but that’s hardly anything new in physics; if you’re off, a miss is as good as a mile, so you need to go looking for answers. The “answer” he doesn’t adopt is to claim this discrepancy is some example of “fine tuning”.

David Muddleheddle again wrote:

if Stenger doesn’t acknowledge a fine-tuning problem, why is he trying to solve it?

He’s not. He’s trying to explain what I talked about just above. As pointed out, “fine tuning problem” is your characterisation of the CC problem, not his. Do you have difficulty in comprehension?

Cheers,

Comment #51839

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 10, 2005 10:55 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

(2) He {Stenger] does see a fine-tuning problem if the CC is used to explain dark energy…

Where? Please be specific … and persuasive … and foremost, at least somewhat honest in representing the opinions of others than yourself….

And while we’re at it, what about the flood of others you claimed also back you up?

Cheers,

Comment #51841

Posted by Steve S on October 10, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

The CC problem is definitely one physicists call a ‘fine-tuning’ problem. There are others, such as the Strong CP problem. Or the flatness of the universe. But it’s the theory that has to be fine tuned. No reason to talk to Heddle about them. He’s already said that even if the value is found to be set by natural law, he still imagines it supports Intelligent Design, just because the value’s not an impossible one which wouldn’t work for us.

In short, he wants to believe in Intelligent Design, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop him.

Comment #51842

Posted by K.E. on October 10, 2005 11:08 PM (e)

Carol

Several hundred years ago a great thinker came up with *see below*,
do you still say the church should have a say in science ? Oh and he was a Jew. I wonder if The founding fathers took his hint when formulating the Constitution

===Stolen from http://www.iep.utm.edu/s/spinoza.htm====

“Spinoza’s aim in the Theological-Political Treatise was to argue that the stability and security of society is not undermined but, rather, enhanced by freedom of thought, meaning primarily the freedom to philosophize. As is clear from the text, he considered the primary threat to this freedom emanated from the clergy, whom he accused of playing upon the fears and superstitions of people in order to maintain power. His solution was to divest the clergy of all political power, even to the point of placing authority over the practice of religion in the hands of the sovereign. The sovereign, Spinoza argued, should extend broad liberties within this domain, requiring adherence to no more than a minimal creed that was neutral with respect to competing sects and the meaning of which was open to a variety of interpretations. This, he hoped, would allow philosophers the freedom to do their work unencumbered by the constraints of sectarianism.

Comment #51843

Posted by Steve S on October 10, 2005 11:09 PM (e)

Like his Patel friend, I’m just waiting to hear what the sensitivity of the CC actually is.

Comment #48027

Posted by David Heddle on September 14, 2005 09:45 AM (e) (s)

James,

You have dug yourself into a sad hole with the units comments. Sensitivity is fractional, i.e., percentage changes (duh).

Presumably he means something like (delta CC)/CC. Fine. You want to talk percent changes? You want to talk about that fraction? Okay. What is delta CC? What is CC?

Comment #51856

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 11, 2005 3:06 AM (e)

Comment # 51744

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #51744
Posted by David Heddle on October 10, 2005 02:31 PM (e) (s)
Gee Arne, I am interpreting problem as meaning, um, problem. You can sing and dance, but you can’t answer a simple question:
if Stenger doesn’t acknowledge a fine-tuning problem, why is he trying to solve it?
With his alternative cosmology, what is he trying to fix?
He is trying to calculate the vacuum energy in a very, very unconventional way so as to avoid the fine tuning problem, pure and simple.
I lied about nothing. I’ll repeat: any honest person reading Stenger’s section on the CC would conclude exactly what I said: (1) He is not an IDer (2) He does see a fine-tuning problem if the CC is used to explain dark energy and (3) Because he sees a fine-tuning problem, he is trying to find a way to avoid needing the CC (buy having it turn out to be exactly zero.)
As I said, any honest person would read that from Stenger’s paper and his response on here. It is you, not I, who is dishonest (and making an ass of yourself)

Let me take this step by step. This is coming from a layperson listening to many cosmologists like Stephen Weinberg, Roger Penrose, Victor Stenger and others.

The layman message I get when they make when talking about the Anthropic Principle AP is that yes there is this philosophical view that our universe is designed for us and that because some things just don’t add up this adds some type of evidence to their claim. We should not bow to these views because it just ends the quest for knowledge and a better explanation is that our models are very close but just wrong in some areas. So we should find out where our model is wrong and adjust it.

You, Dr David Heddle, say “Nah leave the CC at this weird number that doesn’t really fit with the current model because I like to use it as proof of God”

I’ve tried to explain in comments like

Comment # 13948

Wayne Francis wrote:

Comment #13948
Posted by Wayne Francis on January 16, 2005 07:14 AM

David Heddle wrote:

But both sides realize they have to explain the fine tuning. The fine tuning acknowledgment is not only made by IDers

While they call it “fine tuning” many don’t consider it that way. Hawkings in 2003 at the Kavli-CERCA Conference talked about this. He basically called our constants mathematically ugly and we could easily have pick “a better neighborhood” referring to our universe and its “fine tuned” parameters. So you have scientist saying yes its fined tuned but its fine tuned for what we see. Just like turning your radio to 107.6 is fine tuned for channel 107.6 but it wouldn’t be “fine tuned” for 92.3 on the FM dial.
Hawking also points out just because there is a large possible set and we are a small probability to come out of the entire set doesn’t mean anything. He put it in terms of race. Even if the odds are that most people are Chinese he is not surprised that he is British.
Don’t confuse the A.P. as needing a designer.

This is the same thread that you spouted off how only 2 molecules in the universe have a higher density when in a liquid state then their solid state and was shown wrong but didn’t have any problem trying to move the goal posts to prove you where still right.

In lay-mans terms you put words into peoples mouth and you twist the words they use to try to prove your view. These cosmologist will comment on the anthropic principle because they know there are people like you out there that would rather throw up their hands and say “God did it” then to actually see if there is a problem with our model. When they talk about the “problem” in terms of study they mean that our model isn’t quite right.

This is my problem with you Dr David Heddle. You have no problem knowingly saying that people mean something completely different then what they actually do. When people consistently show you are twisting the words you try to justify your statements by logic that only you, and some mindless creationist cheerleaders that don’t have a clue about what was actually said, seem to understand. I’m sure you go to bed and sleep soundly every night despite the facts but it really does annoy the rest of us here when you do it.

Comment #51886

Posted by Ved Rocke on October 11, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

Like his Patel friend, I’m just waiting to hear what the sensitivity of the CC actually is.

And I’m sure a few others here would like to know what the numbers are for Observability and Habitablity. What is the Habitability number for the earth in gonzaleses?

Comment #51898

Posted by Carol Clouser on October 11, 2005 11:16 AM (e)

K.E.,

I Don’t recall saying anything about supporting “the church having a role in science” and I am certainly opposed to that.

What I did say, that you might be alluding to, is that an important evil (among many others) to flow from Christianity over the course of about a millennium was that it impeded the inexorable progress in the development of science that would otherwise have taken place. The hounding of Galileo, for example, is an important benchmark in this effort.

Comment #51900

Posted by David Heddle on October 11, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

Arne,

He’s trying to come up with ways to calculate a value for the vacuum energy (or some other solution) that accords with cosmological observations (which seems to be a reasonable thing for a physicist to do.

As usual you miss the boat. The observations give a non-zero CC. Stenger is trying to come up with an (exactly) zero CC. He is not trying to make the CC agree with observations (its present upper limit comes from observation). He is trying to make the CC go away, and replace it with another explanation. And yes, that is a reasonable approach–but it is not the one you described—but no surprise there.

Arne:

He {Stenger] does see a fine-tuning problem if the CC is used to explain dark energy

This is indisputably true, as anyone reading his paper or comment should be able to see. For the zillionth time: the fine tuning necessary to reduce the CC by 120 OoM without making it exactly zero is why Stenger seeks a new theory, not a fine-tuning of existing theory.

Arne,

“fine tuning problem” is your characterisation

Um, from Krauss who is widely credited with ressurecting the CC:

Our current understanding of gravity and quantum mechanics says that empty space should have about 120 orders of magnitude more energy than the amount we measure it to have. That is 1 with 120 zeroes after it! How to reduce the amount it has by such a huge magnitude, without making it precisely zero, is a complete mystery. Among physicists, this is considered the worst fine-tuning problem in physics. When we solve this problem, we’re going to have to explain why the number that we measure is 120 orders of magnitude smaller than we would expect it to be. No one has an idea how to do that. And that’s why it’s the most exciting thing in physics. Because weird makes things exciting. (Sci. Am., Aug. 2004, pp. 83-84)

So Arne, it is not my characterization, but Krauss’s.

Steve S:

Or the flatness of the universe. But it’s the theory that has to be fine tuned.

Stenger is not “fine tuning” the theory, he is replacing it. A theory with zero CC and scalar fields explaining the flatness and expansion is not a “fine tuning” of the present model that uses a non-zero CC and no scalar fields to explain the observations. Does Krauss’s comment above sound like “we just need some itty-bitty fine tuning of the present model to get things right?”

Steve S:

Presumably he means something like (delta CC)/CC. Fine. You want to talk percent changes? You want to talk about that fraction? Okay. What is delta CC? What is CC?

Irrelevant. As Stenger points out in his paper, a “hair” difference (as in the 120th decimal point, or 100th if you prefer, or 60th, it doesn’t really matter) in the CC would lead to an unacceptably large (or small) value in the dark energy. This is incredibly ugly to physicists.

Comment #51903

Posted by K.E. on October 11, 2005 11:37 AM (e)

So Mr Heddle are you suggesting this quanta had an influence over the writers of Genesis ?

Comment #51905

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 11, 2005 12:18 PM (e)

And then there’s this:
Does Dark Matter Really Exist?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9655619/.

Comment #51906

Posted by K.E. on October 11, 2005 12:21 PM (e)

Carol
I think I see where you are coming from.
If you mean instead of “shoring up the wall between church and state” you “want to look over the wall and talk to the other side”

I presume by informing religious people that helps them reconcile a belief in god that is consistant with the scientific method?

I just can’t see how that could possibly happen given that all religions are pseudo-science.

***** for a definition of what I mean by pseudo-science see Sokal’s paper here http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/pseudoscience_rev.pdf
******

A basic course in comparative religion and intro-philosophy and the scientific method as a prerequisite to joining any religion (which I believe would need to happen) would just no be countenanced by the fundamentalists.

You are very lucky you have a Constitution that enshrines in law the separation of church and state for now at least.

Where I live (Australia and New Zealand) religion is dying a natural death so the church state thing is less of a problem but the threat of political infiltration is real. I wouldn’t even be interested and mad about this if it wasn’t for the DI trying to get their drivel into our schools by influencing politicians.

Comment #51917

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 11, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

Steve S wrote:

The CC problem is definitely one physicists call a ‘fine-tuning’ problem.

Perhaps. But MuddleHeddle was claiming that Stenger was calling it such. But Stenger used the words “supposed fine-tuning” and “apparent fine-tuning” in the very paper that MuddleHeddle was citing. Stenger did use Weinberg’s “cosmological constant problem” terminology, but not the term “fine-tuning problem” unadorned, and this in a paper entitled “Is The Universie Fine-Tuned For Us?”, where Stenger argues against such an idea. Let’s make sure that Heddle backs his own claims up. Once again, MuddleHeddle has quote-mined, and misconstrued the words of others, to support his own notion, when in fact the paper he’s citing essentially tells MuddleHeddle that MuddleHeddle’s claim that there does indeed exist cosmological “fine-tuning” is basically full’o’s&!+&….

But then, argumentation from authority is hardly the best argument in any case (particularly when the authorities cited don’t hold the views claimed for them). MuddleHeddle would be best served making his own counterargument that various parameters are “fine-tuned”, and putting forth the kind of work that Stenger did do in modelling what would happen with various transformations of physical reality (in the paper, Stenger states that a number of physical constants or physical values could be changed quite dramatically and still result in stable solar systems and such, refuting the claims of at least some proponents of “fine-tuning” that these values must be precisely what they are for any interesting universe to even exist). But MuddleHeddle won’t do that.

Cheers,

Comment #51922

Posted by Steve S on October 11, 2005 1:58 PM (e)

a “hair” difference (as in the 120th decimal point, or 100th if you prefer, or 60th, it doesn’t really matter) in the CC

No, you came in here with Sensitivity. You said it was all about the percentage change. So what’s the percentage change, David?

You don’t know the percentage. You don’t know the “Sensitivity”.

Comment #51924

Posted by Steve S on October 11, 2005 2:06 PM (e)

Summary of the Short History of Sensitivity

David Heddle: The Universe is so unlikely tuned! It proves god.
Others: You don’t know how likely it is.
Heddle: Irrelevant. It’s Sensitive. Sensitivity is fractional, i.e., percentage changes (duh).
Others: You don’t know what the fraction is.
Heddle: Irrelevant. It’s tuned within “a hair”.

Comment #51926

Posted by Henry J on October 11, 2005 2:16 PM (e)

Re “And then there’s this:
Does Dark Matter Really Exist?”

Very interesting. Sort of like beware the dark side, cause it might turn out to not actually be there?

Comment #51928

Posted by David Heddle on October 11, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

Arne, your argument is reduced to the incredibly weak point that Stenger did not use the exact phrase “fine tuning problem.” Your other strategy, just as pathetic, is to continue hinting that I have somehow claimed Stenger supported fine tuning as an ID argument in spite of the fact that I repeatedly said he (and Krauss and Weinberg and Hawking) do not. They see the fine tuning problem as an interesting physics problem only, but they still see a fine tuning problem, even if they characterize it as “apparent” fine tuning.

You want Stenger’s use of “apparent” to be proof that there is no fine tuning problem at all, but you have repeatedly failed to answer why he is trying to solve a problem that does not exist.

As for the rest of Stenger’s paper, it is only relevant in the sense that, as I said, even in a paper dedicated to refuting fine tuning, Stenger acknowledges that an alternative theory is needed to get rid of the csomological constant fine tuning problem. Unless, once again, you want to argue that Stenger does not think there is a cc fine tuning problem and is persuing alternative theories just for the hell of it.

Arne, do you think Stenger would agree or disagree with the quote from Krauss I gave in #51900?

Steve S,

The “hair” by the way, was Stenger’s characterization of the sensitivity. He wrote, in the paper we have been discussing:

A cosmological constant implies a constant energy density, and the total energy inside a given region of space will increase as the volume of that region expands. Since the end of inflation, volumes have expanded by 120 orders of magnitude. This implies that the cosmological constant was “fine-tuned” to be 120 orders of magnitude below what it is now, a tiny amount of energy. If the vacuum energy had been just a hair greater at the end of inflation, it would be so enormous today that space would be highly curved and the stars and planets could not exist.

Comment #51931

Posted by K.E. on October 11, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

And somehow that “hair” made him aware before he was 5 years old that it created everything. (see his earlier stuff)
Now that he is a bona fide scientist which must give him real authority at the Sunday school where he teaches (the mind boggles at what he must say) he is engaged in a nonsense word game of splitting that hair to prove what he was told in Sunday School all those years ago was not a myth.
I’ll bet he boasts to his ID cohorts that he lobs real curly ones to those nasty PT non-creationists and they haven’t proved him wrong yet and he will never give in.
No predictive theory, no added information, just semantics.

Comment #51935

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 11, 2005 2:48 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

The observations give a non-zero CC.

Oh, really. What value is the CC then? Are you saying that there is no possible theory according with observation that has a zero CC? I’d note that the observations establish (or at least appear to establish) certain rates of universal expansion, rather than directly establish any “CC”….

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

He is trying to make the CC go away, and replace it with another explanation. And yes, that is a reasonable approach—but it is not the one you described—but no surprise there.

Nonsense. That is what I described. Glad you think it “reasonable”. I’m sure that Dr. Stenger is reassured that he’s not committing some scientific faux pas, and with your blessing, I’m sure he will continue to do the physics that you aren’t yourself doing.

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Arne:

MuddleHeddle [from before] wrote:

He [Stenger] does see a fine-tuning problem if the CC is used to explain dark energy

This is indisputably true, as anyone reading his paper or comment should be able to see. For the zillionth time: the fine tuning necessary to reduce the CC by 120 OoM without making it exactly zero is why Stenger seeks a new theory, not a fine-tuning of existing theory.

But Stenger doesn’t see any need to reduce it by 120 OOM (say, as opposed to 121 or 125, or whatever). He does see it as off by a significant amount, at least as comes from the “standard” calculation. Your idea that being off by 120 OOM is an indication of fine tuning is yours, and not his. He just agrees that the “standard” calculations are way out of whack, and require … ummm, some “fine tuning” (my words, sarcasm intended). He’d be happy with a zero net vacuum energy, as this is consistent with the observation that the universe is expanding, as opposed to being some big cosmos-wide black hole or singularity that should result from the larger CC. Face it, all you are saying in your “fine-tuning” argument is that, compared to the “standard” calculation of the CC, it (if it does exist) has to be so close to zero as makes no difference. Which indicates that the theory needs some modification. Whether that modification is a changing CC, a constant CC of much, much, much less magnitude, or some other explanation entirely, is still up in the air. Your argument that it’s almost zero (compared to the “standard” value) is hardly an example of “fine-tuning”, when it still could be zero, or any of an infinite range of values in that vicinity, and still be in reasonable accord with what we observe. Lacking a theory that says it is some (compared to the standard calculation, much smaller) specific value, and that it must be that value, your “fine-tuning” argument for its having that value is basically nonsense. So get cracking, David, out with your theory (and the exact value of the CC while you’re at it).

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Arne wrote:

“fine tuning problem” is your characterisation

Um, from Krauss….

Ummm, Krauss is not Stenger. You were citing Stenger before. And I said that the “fine-tuning” was your attribution to Stenger’s thoughts, not Stenger’s own. AFAIK, Krauss hasn’t weighed in on what Stenger said.

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

As Stenger points out in his paper, a “hair” difference (as in the 120th decimal point, or 100th if you prefer, or 60th, it doesn’t really matter) in the CC would lead to an unacceptably large (or small) value in the dark energy. This is incredibly ugly to physicists.

No, no, no. You can’t compare the “observed” CC against the one that’s so obviously wrong (absent significant other adjustments to physical theory), and claim it’s infinitely (or close to it) sensitive to perturbations (with reference to the obviously wrong one). In point of fact, it’s infinely close to zero (i.e., non-existent), and thus, just as “sensitive” as the phogiston factor is compared to the theoretical value. There may be a CC … or there may be something else … but it’s hardly the “CC” of the “standard” calculation, so the “standard” calculation is wrong, and it makes no sense to compare any real “CC” to that obviously wrong value when discussing “fine-tuning”. A new model is needed, and only when you have such a new model (with a non-zero “CC”; zero value CCs are obviously not “fine-tuned”) can you start to talk sensibly about how “fine-tuned” this new theoretical value of CC is … and start to ask what would happen if this new value were twice (or half) this new value. But as Stenger points out, twice nothing is still nothing (just as 120 OOM is), so a value of zero would certainly resolve any purported “fine-tuning”.

But just out of curiosity, where does Stenger “point[] out” in his paper that a “‘hair’ difference … in the CC would lead to an unacceptably large (or small) value in the dark energy”?

Cheers,

Comment #51943

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 11, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Your other strategy, just as pathetic, is to continue hinting that I have somehow claimed Stenger supported fine tuning as an ID argument…

Hate to say it, but his paper’s entitled: “Is The Universe Fine-Tuned For Us?”

He certainly doesn’t support “fine tuning as an ID argument”. He doesn’t even support your claim that there’s “fine-tuning” to begin with (just read the title, and then the article, to get an idea as to his conclusions in general on this subject).

You put him forth as an example of someone you said accepted “fine-tuning” as existing in actuality (even if they refused to take your further ‘logical’ leaps from that purportedly established fact). IOW, you’re claiming that he supports at least part of your argument, even if he in his blindness and ignorance can’t see the ‘obvious’ further ‘progress’ you have forged intellectually. So, yes, you’re using him as support for at least a portion of your “fine-tuning” argument (at least, that portion supposedly based on objective fact, as opposed to your philosophical meandering and sophistic babbling). But he doesn’t. His paper knocks both legs of your “argument” out from under you.

You want Stenger’s use of “apparent” to be proof that there is no fine tuning problem at all, but you have repeatedly failed to answer why he is trying to solve a problem that does not exist.

The “problem” of the CC value is hardly one of “fine tuning”. It’s off by 120 OOM (give or take many OOMs)!!! Sounds like something worth of a real physicist’s attention…. Funny that you are wasting time here marvelling at this discrepancy (which could in fact be a infinite OOM, if Stenger’s work bears fruit, instead of a mere 120) instead of working on it. Hell, if physicists can renormalise away infinities, you ought to be able to get that 120 OOM down into the ball park, eh? ;-) So, quit gabbing and get cracking….

Cheers,

Comment #51945

Posted by David Heddle on October 11, 2005 3:35 PM (e)

Arne,

Oh, really. What value is the CC then? Are you saying that there is no possible theory according with observation that has a zero CC? I’d note that the observations establish (or at least appear to establish) certain rates of universal expansion, rather than directly establish any “CC”….

and later:

He’d be happy with a zero net vacuum energy, as this is consistent with the observation that the universe is expanding, as opposed to being some big cosmos-wide black hole or singularity that should result from the larger CC.

Are you just making stuff up? The universe is not just expanding, it’s expansion is accelerating and the universe is flat. This requires an anti-gravity force. The most accepted possibility at the moment is the CC. A zero CC in and of itself is not consistent at all with present observations; it would have to be replaced by something else (quintessence, for example) that also has an anti gravity effect.

But Stenger doesn’t see any need to reduce it by 120 OOM (say, as opposed to 121 or 125, or whatever). He does see it as off by a significant amount, at least as comes from the “standard” calculation. Your idea that being off by 120 OOM is an indication of fine tuning is yours, and not his.

Actually Stenger has to reduce it by an infinite number of OoM–he is trying to make it zero.

Face it, all you are saying in your “fine-tuning” argument is that, compared to the “standard” calculation of the CC, it (if it does exist) has to be so close to zero as makes no difference.

I have no clue what that means–but in the case of the CC “close to zero” is very, very different from zero, because of the amplification effect of the expansion of space since the big bang. If the CC is zero, then it makes no contribution today. If the CC is small but not zero, something that we can’t explain, then it can make the sizable contribution that appears to be required from the latest observations.

when it still could be zero, or any of an infinite range of values in that vicinity, and still be in reasonable accord with what we observe.

No, it can’t be zero (without a new theory), otherwise it could not today be making a 70% contribution to the universe as observed. It has to be small but not zero, and the calculations say it should be huge.

So get cracking, David, out with your theory (and the exact value of the CC while you’re at it).

Just like most physicists, I don’t have a theory. You do know that the calculations giving a huge CC are made by some of the smartest physicists around, those that can do quantum gravity calculations. I don’t know the present upper limit on the CC–I think it is the vicinity (in terms of mass density) of 10^-25 kg/m^3.

so a value of zero would certainly resolve any purported “fine-tuning”.

That’s true, unless of course the replacement model also requires fine tuning, such as in the timing of the growth of scalar fields. But since no replacement model, by Stenger or anyone else, has yet gained any acceptance, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Arne:

where does Stenger “point[] out” in his paper that a “‘hair’ difference … in the CC would lead to an unacceptably large (or small) value in the dark energy”?

I gave Stenger’s quote from his paper in #51928. But here is is again:

A cosmological constant implies a constant energy density, and the total energy inside a given region of space will increase as the volume of that region expands. Since the end of inflation, volumes have expanded by 120 orders of magnitude. This implies that the cosmological constant was “fine-tuned” to be 120 orders of magnitude below what it is now, a tiny amount of energy. If the vacuum energy had been just a hair greater at the end of inflation, it would be so enormous today that space would be highly curved and the stars and planets could not exist.

Comment #51946

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 11, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

Arne wrote:

AFAIK, Krauss hasn’t weighed in on what Stenger said.

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Arne, do you think Stenger would agree or disagree with the quote from Krauss I gave in #51900?

See a problem here, David? Do try to stay on point. We were discussing Stenger’s work (and your citing of it), not Krauss’s work.

Cheers,

Comment #51953

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 11, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

This requires an anti-gravity force.

More accurately, it requires (under certain, albeit generally accepted, assumptions) a repulsive force countering the gravitational force. This is not, strictly speaking, an “anti-gravity force” (i.e.,it doesn’t have to specifically oppose the force of gravity; it may be a different repusive force acting not on mass but on some other physical quantity).

A zero CC in and of itself is not consistent at all with present observations…

Never said it was. Clear now?

Actually Stenger has to reduce it by an infinite number of OoM—he is trying to make it zero.

Nope. Stenger has never made the claim that it must be zero (the inference of your “has to reduce it [to] zero”. But I don’t see why that is any more difficult than changing it by 120 (give or take many, many) OOM.

If the CC is small but not zero, something that we can’t explain, then it can make the sizable contribution that appears to be required from the latest observations.

Let me correct that: “If the CC is not zero, then it can make the contribution that appears to be required from the latest observations.”

There. That’s better. Your “small” is compared to a value that obviously can’t be right (for the very reason that, while suggested by calculations from present theory, it’s way, way too big). It’s a bit of a tautology to say that something’s very, very small compared with a value that’s way, way, too big…. To harp on the particular value of the “smallness” misses the picture.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to find out why (if it does exist), it is the value that it is. Once you do that, I’m sure that the 120 OOM ‘issue’ will resolve itself and you’ll be slapping your head saying “gee, that was obvious”….

Cheers,

Comment #51956

Posted by Henry J on October 11, 2005 4:53 PM (e)

Re “More accurately, it requires (under certain, albeit generally accepted, assumptions) a repulsive force countering the gravitational force.”

What about simply a reduction of the gravity force, rather than an additional contrary force? Would that work?

Henry

Comment #51965

Posted by Steve S on October 11, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

David, need I remind you that your Sensitivity was not defined in terms of “hair”s? To quote you, “Sensitivity is fractional, i.e., percentage changes (duh).”

Your failure to provide the fraction, or the percent changes, shows “Sensitivity” for what it is: hand waving junk.

You don’t have anything to say. Just go back to the anonymity of your own blog and leave us alone.

Comment #51971

Posted by Steve S on October 11, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

Comment #51800

Posted by James on October 10, 2005 07:17 PM (e) (s)

Why let Heddle get away with that 10^-120 number anyway? (Contrary to what steve said) that’s just the size in reduced planck units. In cgs units the number is 10^-29. Not so damn impressive. Did the universe suddenly get 91 times less fine-tuned?

Yes it did. And then if you write the CC in units where it is 1, it suddenly gets 91 times less fine-tuned.

Comment #52025

Posted by David Heddle on October 12, 2005 5:14 AM (e)

Steve and James, are you just joking, or do actually have the guts to say, in public, that it depends on the units? The fine tuning comes because it is a 100-120 orders of magnitude below the calculated value. You do realize, I hope, that if you change units then not only the observed upper limit changes but the calculated value too? That the OoM argument would not be effected?

Unless of course you want to choose different units to express the limit and the calculated value–why we could even make the calculated value smaller than the limit!!! Problem solved!!!

Here is what I suggest: write Stenger and Krauss. Tell them there is no fine tuning problem, apparent or otherwise. They just need to use the right units. I’m am sure they would appreciate the help.

I can only assume you are joking–nobody should make such statements in sincerity.

Comment #52033

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 12, 2005 8:13 AM (e)

The point is our current model doesn’t explain the CC. David says “Don’t bother to look” while most scientists still want to know “Why”.

BTW David …. your CC is “fine tuned” for now….what happens in 30 billion years? How conducive to life will the CC be then? Or does your “God” only care about this last 6 thousand years the rest of the time was just filler to get us here and in 30 billion years….oh wait your “God” will cause the rapture before then…that’s right.

Comment #52037

Posted by David Heddle on October 12, 2005 8:56 AM (e)

Wayne,

At one time, you were capable of interesting and substantive dialogue. That was kind of fun.

To answer your question, the CC is a constant. Once fine tuned, always fine tuned.

As for the rapture, I assume you mean in the sense of the “Left Behind” books. I often write against that eschatology on my own site, so you’ve got me pegged wrong.

Comment #52043

Posted by K.E. on October 12, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

Yes…
Wayne you have been transported into the insult room and you thought you were in the argument room.

This is the link to a primordial Monty Python sketch
http://www.mindspring.com/~mfpatton/sketch.htm

Heddle is is old enough to have seen the original he didn’t get it then and is unlikely to get it now but then he is a contrairian.

and for those who haven’t the time to read it… here’s the best bit
(And note the difference between argument and and contradiction)
M=PT A=Heddle
M: (Knock)
A: Come in.
M: Ah, Is this the right room for an argument?
A: I told you once.
M: No you haven’t.
A: Yes I have.
M: When?
A: Just now.
M: No you didn’t.
A: Yes I did.
M: You didn’t
A: I did!
M: You didn’t!
A: I’m telling you I did!
M: You did not!!
A: Oh, I’m sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?
M: Oh, just the five minutes.
A: Ah, thank you. Anyway, I did.
M: You most certainly did not.
A: Look, let’s get this thing clear; I quite definitely told you.
M: No you did not.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn’t.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn’t.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn’t.
A: Yes I did.
M: You didn’t.
A: Did.
M: Oh look, this isn’t an argument.
A: Yes it is.
M: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.
A: No it isn’t.
M: It is!
A: It is not.
M: Look, you just contradicted me.
A: I did not.
M: Oh you did!!
A: No, no, no.
M: You did just then.
A: Nonsense!
M: Oh, this is futile!
A: No it isn’t.
M: I came here for a good argument.
A: No you didn’t; no, you came here for an argument.
M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn’t.
M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!

A: Yes it is!
M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
(short pause)
A: No it isn’t.
M: It is.
A: Not at all.
M: Now look.
A: (Rings bell) Good Morning.
M: What?
A: That’s it. Good morning.
M: I was just getting interested.
A: Sorry, the five minutes is up.
M: That was never five minutes!
A: I’m afraid it was.
M: It wasn’t.
Pause
A: I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to argue anymore.
M: What?!
A: If you want me to go on arguing, you’ll have to pay for another five minutes.
M: Yes, but that was never five minutes, just now. Oh come on!
A: (Hums)
M: Look, this is ridiculous.
A: I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to argue unless you’ve paid!
M: Oh, all right.
(pays money)
A: Thank you.
short pause
M: Well?
A: Well what?
M: That wasn’t really five minutes, just now.
A: I told you, I’m not allowed to argue unless you’ve paid.
M: I just paid!
A: No you didn’t.
M: I DID!
A: No you didn’t.
M: Look, I don’t want to argue about that.
A: Well, you didn’t pay.
M: Aha. If I didn’t pay, why are you arguing? I Got you!
A: No you haven’t.
M: Yes I have. If you’re arguing, I must have paid.
A: Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time.
M: Oh I’ve had enough of this.
A: No you haven’t.
M: Oh Shut up.

Comment #52044

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on October 12, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle, until you understand that the fine-tuning problem is in the theory and not the value, I’m afraid that your understanding of cosmology will always remain pretty much vacuuous. Your inability to understand the difference between the two issues is characteristic of your entire approach to the non-problem. But since you continue to support your position by citing scientific descriptions, rather than by addressing the actual logic, you will always perceive a problem that is not there.

Rather sad, actually.

Comment #52046

Posted by Wislu Plethora on October 12, 2005 10:13 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

To answer your question, the CC is a constant. Once fine tuned, always fine tuned.

You must be a very influential person to be able to circumscribe the powers of the designer and limit its/His/her fine tuning opportunities. Heddle intones, “Don’t touch that dial” and that’s that.

Comment #52057

Posted by David Heddle on October 12, 2005 11:26 AM (e)

RGD,

Fine tuning a theory means making small adjustments. If what you say:

the fine-tuning problem is in the theory and not the value

is true, then Stengerwould be making small adjustments to the theory. He is not, he is working on a new theory with a zero CC. That is not, by any measure, fine tuning the theory. It is a radical step to avoid the fine tuning of the present, non-zero CC theory. In no possible stretch of the meaning of “fine tuning” could what Stenger proposed be called “fine tuning the theory.”

Or do you mean “fine tuning a theory” as a synonym for introducing a new theory?

Comment #52058

Posted by K.E. on October 12, 2005 11:29 AM (e)

I keep asking myself ‘what is Heddle up to here?’ besides the nutty running around in circles engaging in ‘you said, he said’ until everyone gives up.

Is it that he is willfully and pathologically incapable of understanding the other mans point?

OK here is the proof I’ve been looking for.

On his own postmodernist (unable to acknowledge reality) interpretation of some hideous
version of Christianity of a website. He says with regard to PZ Myers

I find it very interesting, this insistence of atheist evolutionists that an inerrant bible is incompatible with science.

For example, popular evolution blogger and anti-Christian bigot PZ Myers wrote:

A religion that declares the bible inerrant is not compatible with science, because its followers would have to be idiots.

Now, this statement is not constructed in a way that is logical. It states nothing more that Myers’s belief that anyone who believes in an inerrant bible is an idiot. Even if that were true, one could not conclude, as Myers does, that the bible was incompatible with science.

Setting aside Myers’s failure to construct rational, self-consistent statements, the more relevant point for today’s discussion is that he is willing to call the Roman Catholic Church and all right-of-center Protestants “idiots” rather than admit that an inerrant bible is compatible with science

Its obvious that you can not look at what the other person wrote, as if you were that person, you see everything from inside your own point of reference.

Meyers said that the followers would have to admit they are idiots because the inerrant bible is not compatible with science. Even more simply, it is such a huge challenge for followers to admit they have been spun a line, hooked, taken for ride, spammed, hacked, let down, done in, neurologically discombobulated they would have to admit they were idiots. It must be worse for rational people such as yourself.

Heddle if you don’t get this see a deprogrammer now ! The Bible even with the most generous interpretation is pseudo-science. You are promoting it as science while your rational mind is permanently out to lunch.

Comment #52071

Posted by AR on October 12, 2005 1:26 PM (e)

Re: comment 51743 by James Taylor.
While I do not intend to support Carol Clouser’s asseverations in any way, I feel it is in order to rebut the assertions of James Taylor as well. The recent data accumulated by Israeli archaeologists show beyond doubt that the entire biblical story of Hebrew tribes invading Canaan and destroying the indigenous tribes has no foundation in facts. There are no traces whatsoever on the ground of the events described in the Bible - no exodus of 2.5 million people from Egypt, no wandering in Sinai, no destruction of Jericho walls, no massacres of Canaanites, etc. There are though unmistakable archaeological signs pointing to the Hebrews being indigenous inhabitants of Canaan, along with several other tribes, most of them ethnically related to the Hebrews, from the very ancient times. The hatred of the Jews, so common among the modern Arabs, has nothing to do with the events described in the Bible. It started in serious only in the 7th century with the advent of Islam when the Jews refused to accept Mohamed as a prophet. Still, it was relatively mild compared with the atrocities by the crusaders, who killed thousands of the Jews of Europe, on their way to the “Holy land.” After the appearance of the state of Israel, the overwhelming hatred of “Zionists=Jews” permeated the Islamic world as a relatively new phenomenon. James Taylor seems to take uncritically the biblical legends. This creates (I hope a false)impression that he may be somehow emotionally inclined to justify his visceral antipathies with allegedly historical data.

Comment #52078

Posted by Steve S on October 12, 2005 2:01 PM (e)

Why would I write Stenger and Krauss? It’s you who won’t accept that it’s the theory that needs fine tuning. They get it.

Everyone has noticed, Dave, that you continue to fail to produce the “fractional, i.e., percentage changes (duh).” of the CC.

You come here and say that a fraction, a percentage, called Sensitivity, proves ID, and then don’t know what the fraction is, and call it irrelevant? I think this statement applies better to yourself:

“I can only assume you are joking—nobody should make such statements in sincerity.”

If you want to come up with a new name for the same old broken crap, forget Sensitivity and go help the Discovery Institute. They’re going to need a new name for Intelligent Design when Dover gets out in a few months.

Comment #52087

Posted by David Heddle on October 12, 2005 3:47 PM (e)

Steve S,

But you can save them so much trouble and embarassment! Krauss should not be going around calling it the worst fine tuning problem if it is just a matter of units! I suggest you define a “Steve” set of units where the CC has an upper limit 10^100 steves, and a Jim system where the calculation of the CC is 10^-100 jims, and send the results to Krauss so he’ll stop making those statements and then to Stenger so he’ll stop working so hard on a new theory.

(Oh, but like others on here, you define “working on a new theory” as “fine tuning the theory”. but you know what I mean.)

Comment #52089

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 12, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

… you define “working on a new theory” as “fine tuning the theory”.

You define “working on a new theory” as saying, “Isn’t it grand that the old theory’s off by 120 OOM? … isn’t it wonderful? … the reason is not that the ‘standard’ calculations based on current QM/gravitation/relativity understanding is completely whacked and obviously needs some more work; rather it’s that, despite the requirements of that theory, the CC needs to be just what it is just so I can be here to ignore the discrepancy, do no physics, and instead just spout my teleological pap of a kind not really heard since Aristotle ….….. umm, Q.E.D.”

Hope that clears things up a bit.

Cheers,

Comment #52092

Posted by darwinfinch on October 12, 2005 4:58 PM (e)

I believe Mr. Heddle, though I days ago decided to forgo trawling through the mud he dumps here in hpoes of finding the corpse of his honesty and so cannot say whatever the hell he’s been up to without boring my briefs off, is attempting a “scientific” variation of the creative techniques displayed in “The Troggs Tapes.”

Comment #52093

Posted by David Heddle on October 12, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

Arne,

the reason is not that the ‘standard’ calculations based on current QM/gravitation/relativity understanding is completely whacked and obviously needs some more work;

And you this to be a fact? You have checked over the quantum gravity calculations and found them lacking in some manner? Have you published?

Comment #52094

Posted by Steve S on October 12, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

I see you still have no “fractional, i.e., percentage changes (duh).” of the CC. Talk all you want David. Appeal to misinterpretations of scientists and speculative theory all you want. Your Sensitivity is crap.

What’s Sensitivity? it is nor fraction, nor percentage,
Nor units, nor known, nor any other part
Belonging to an argument. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call ID
By any other name would smell as foul;
So Sensitivity would, were it not Sensitivity call’d,
Retain that dear imperfection which it owes
Without that title.

Over and out.

Comment #52095

Posted by Steve S on October 12, 2005 6:22 PM (e)

(Shakespearean aside:)

As an atheist I couldn’t be happier with these nuts like Heddle. They unwittingly suggest to their christian peers that faith isn’t enough, that in order to believe, you need to have some scientific evidence. IDers want evidence for god to be put on trial in the court of science. This surreptitiously undermines the value of faith better than anything we atheists could do.

A man should remind himself that an object of faith is not scientifically demonstrable, lest presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, he should produce inconclusive reasons and offer occasion for unbelievers to scoff at a faith based on such ground.

–Thomas Aquinas, who has about 200 IQ points on William Dembski, and 250 on Heddle

[exit stage left]

Comment #52102

Posted by bkawcazn on October 12, 2005 7:05 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Wayne,

At one time, you were capable of interesting and substantive dialogue. That was kind of fun.

To answer your question, the CC is a constant. Once fine tuned, always fine tuned.

As for the rapture, I assume you mean in the sense of the “Left Behind” books. I often write against that eschatology on my own site, so you’ve got me pegged wrong.

Allow me to speak for Wayne; I think you misunderstand him. No one is suggesting that the CC is anything but a constant. But if we are to believe that the CC and many other things were fine tuned, then we must wonder what goal of the “fine tuner” was. Was the CC chosen so that the universe would give birth to elements? Galaxies? Stars? Worlds? Life? Mind? The creator must have been creating something.

It is worth noting that all of these things exist as mere specks on the timeline of the universe. Regardless of what cosmological models turn out to be accurate, one thing is certain. Our world of specified complexity is merely one stage on the road to a cosmos devoid of energy, heat, life, intelligence, and complexity. Our universe is doomed to be reduced to cold, motionless globs of matter. The “perfectly tuned” universe will be a lifeless hell, and any other state will not even be a memory.

There is a bit of problem in trying to imagine what an architect of the universe might have been trying to achieve. Was it us? If so, it is odd that our existence will be so fleeting.

Comment #52115

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 12, 2005 9:51 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Arne,

Arne wrote:

the reason is not that the ‘standard’ calculations based on current QM/gravitation/relativity understanding is completely whacked and obviously needs some more work;…

And you this to be a fact? You have checked over the quantum gravity calculations and found them lacking in some manner? Have you published?

It’s there in Stenger’s paper as well as his own post above (post #Comment #51313), and in fact you have been spending the last week or so going on and on (for some odd reason) about the 120 OOM discrepancy (and then making the absurd further argument that the tentative value from observations, as well as the upper limit for the size of such given present expansion and flatness is, compared to the ‘calculated’, so amazingly close to zero that it must be “fine-tuned” to be so darn close; you know, something like 1 part in 10^120 … at least that’s what I get from your pap; forgive me if I’m misrepresenting your private hallucinations). If there isn’t this 120 OOM discrepancy (give or take dozens or so orders of magnitude), then what the hey were you babbling about all this time???

Cheers,

Comment #52119

Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 13, 2005 12:23 AM (e)

Comment # 52037

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #52037
Posted by David Heddle on October 12, 2005 08:56 AM (e) (s)
Wayne,
At one time, you were capable of interesting and substantive dialogue. That was kind of fun.
To answer your question, the CC is a constant. Once fine tuned, always fine tuned.
As for the rapture, I assume you mean in the sense of the “Left Behind” books. I often write against that eschatology on my own site, so you’ve got me pegged wrong.

OK David, maybe we have a communication issue here and you don’t understand what I said. First Where did I say the CC would change? What I did say was

Comment # 52033

Wayne E Francis wrote:

Comment #52033
Posted by Wayne E Francis on October 12, 2005 08:13 AM (e) (s)
The point is our current model does not’t explain the CC. David says “Don’t bother to look” while most scientists still want to know “Why”.
BTW David …. your CC is “fine tuned” for now….what happens in 30 billion years? How conducive to life will the CC be then? Or does your “God” only care about this last 6 thousand years the rest of the time was just filler to get us here and in 30 billion years….oh wait your “God” will cause the rapture before then…that’s right.

important passage being
what happens in 30 billion years? How conducive to life will the CC be then?

I never said the constant would change. What I do recognize is that the CC in 30 billion years will have a different effect then it does today just like it had a different effect ~15 billion years ago.

In your opinion will the universe still be “fined tuned” for life in 30 billion years? What effect with your “fined tuned” CC have on the universe after another 30 billion years of expansion?

What most of us are saying is
Our current model of the universe is probably wrong.
Close but wrong. Now by “Close” I mean it probably explains much of what we see but isn’t quite right. Will it need a totally different model or a model that is derived from the current one I don’t know. I don’t care to speculate because, well if the best minds in cosmology can not figure it out right now how should I claim I know enough about it. You seem to be saying that you can’t make any adjustments to the current model to have it work and that you have to come up with a totally new model. Now some cosmologists might be trying to come up with a whole new model but surely there are those that will just try to see if they can figure out what is wrong/missing with our current model.

Lastly you say the CC is Constant. Well Speed of light was thought constant and you can pretty much treat it as constant but, unless I’m mistaken, there has been work that has shown that the “constant” speed of light was slightly faster in the past. Not enough for the YECers yet they like to claim it supports their view. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I would love to read/learn about why they thought the speed of light was faster but it turns out that it wasn’t.

Lastly I don’t really care if you find my conversation interesting. I’m just bringing up issues as I see them.

Oh Sorry for equating you someone who believes in the rapture. But the bible supports it. I can’t possibly know what you consider fact, metaphor, allegory from your interpretation of the bible. Perhaps for your next writing project you can take the different versions of the bible and colour code the passages and foot note it all so we know what is metaphor and what is fact. Please do this on multiple levels, IE line by line, passage by passage, chapter by chapter, book by book. This will go a long way to no one confusing your views on the bible. Please give any references you can as to how you determined what was metaphor and what was fact. Thank you.

Comment #52134

Posted by David Heddle on October 13, 2005 5:58 AM (e)

Steve S,

I don’t answer your question because I wam waiting to see how long it takes you to realize that it is equivalent to giving the OoM fine tuning. Apparently, you don’t see that.

They unwittingly suggest to their christian peers that faith isn’t enough, that in order to believe, you need to have some scientific evidence.

Not at all. It is a realization, however, that faith as used in the bible never refers to blind faith. In fact, it is not really used as a synonym for “belief”. Most of the time faith means to live what you believe. Also, the bible is clear that creation is meant as evidence that God exists, so that all men are without excuse.

It is not I who say that “science must prove God exists,” but rather you who say “science cannot possibly say anything about God’s existence.” That is a reasonable position for an atheist. But a theist who actually belives God created all should be receptive, in my opinion, to the idea that science might find evidence of his creation, which I believe it has, in cosmological ID.

Arne,

You wrote about the calculations being “whacked”. I am just wondering why you used that language. There is not an error in the calculations, there is something (some sore of almost complete cancellation) missing from them. To me, a “whacked” calculation is one in which, after a carefil check, you can say, “here is a mistake.” That is not the case here.

Wayne

If the CC is real, and is really fine tuned for life, then the universe is always and forever fine tuned. Othewise we would have no stars or planets, therefore no life, either now or 30 billion years hence. Add why do you say that my attitude is “don’t bother to look?” – I strongly support looking. I am supportive of spending public funds on researchers exploring solutions to the fine tuning problem. Christianity has nothing to fear from science. If our current model of the universe is wrong, I want to know the correct model. If fine tuning of the CC goes away, so be it. But it is entirely fair, at the moment, for me to say that the best model we have exhibits an almost unimaginable degree of fine tuning.

As for the rapture, you need to be specific. The bible supports that when Christ returns, living Christians will be caught up in the air. However, the term “rapture” is now virtually synonomous with the “Left Behind” view that the entire church is swept away, followed a tribulation, anti-christ, millenial kingdom, etc. That view is far from universally accepted.

Comment #52138

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 13, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

But a theist who actually belives God created all should be receptive, in my opinion, to the idea that science might find evidence of his creation, which I believe it has, in cosmological ID.

That’s nice. And the rest of the world should care about your religious opinions because …… ?

After all, Heddle, your religious opinions are just that – your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

For some odd reason, Davey, you seem to think that your religious opinions are somehow more valid than everyone else’s. They’re not. For some odd reason, Davey, you seem to have this notion that you know more about God than anyone else. You don’t. For some odd reason, you seem to have this idea that we all should listen with rapt attention as you bloviate unendingly about your religious opinions. We shouldn’t.

Alas, you are just a man, Davey. Not God’s Spokesman. Not a Holy Prophet. Not a font of Divine Wisdom. Just a man. A plain old ordinary mere mortal man who knows nothing more about god than anyone else does, and is no more holy or divine than me, my next door neighbor, or the kid who delivers my pizzas. (shrug)

Thankfully, I will always be here to remind you (and everyone else) of that, every time you forget.

Comment #52149

Posted by K.E. on October 13, 2005 9:37 AM (e)

Has there been any science on the speed of the Bible a few thousand years ago ?
Considering it was then the primary source of knowledge regarding everthing you know cosmology, medicine, mechanics, geography, law and Anthropology to Zoology
(at that time… and for some ,still is)

Could a minute fiddling of the biblical constants affect current knowledge.

Well if you are theistically challenged take a little
Gospel of Thomas

His disciples questioned him: should we fast? In what way should we pray? Should we give to charity? From which foods should we abstain? Jesus responded: do not lie. If there is something that you hate, do not do it, for everything is revealed beneath heaven. Nothing will fail to be displayed. Nothing covered will remain undisclosed.

followed by a Bhuddist chaser

Some piously affirm: “the truth is such and such. I know! I see! And hold that everything depends upon having the “right” religion. But when one really knows, one has no need of religion (Mahavyuha Sutra).

David these mean exactly the same thing

Comment #52178

Posted by Wayne Francis on October 13, 2005 12:24 PM (e)

David you did not answer my question. But that is OK bkawcazn said what I was thinking. Your same “fine tuned” CC will, to my understanding, not be conducive to life 30 billion years from now. Either that or the CC will not be the same as it is today. Then in that case it really isn’t a constant.

It is interesting that once again you point out that even if you CC turns out to have a completely reasonable explanation you’ll not change your view one bit. But for now since its not understood you use it for “proof” of you “God”. Only you seem to not recognize this as a “God of the Gaps” reasoning.

David : Look we can’t explain the CC God did it!
David : It has a sensitivity that is so precise it has to be designed.
PT : What is its sensitivity?
David : I don’t know but its 120 orders of magnitude different then what our model would expect!
PT : Doesn’t that indicate that our model isn’t completely correct?
David : No that means “God” exists!
PT : How do you make that assumption?
David : It isn’t only me! Many non-ID cosmologist recognize the “fine tuning” problem!
PT : But don’t they mean that in our current model the value of the CC can not be explained?
David : I never said that they believed in the “fine tuning” problem only that they recognize it.
PT : So some people are trying to solve this “fine tuning” problem that you say is proof of ID and most other cosmologist think there is a problem with our model.
David : But they can’t solve it by fine tuning the existing model!
PT : Who said they where going to “Fine Tune” the current model?
David : You did!
PT : No we didn’t
David : They would have to make a whole new model!
PT : So, if the new model does all the old one did and more isn’t that a good thing?
David : Yes and I support this type of research!
PT : What if we find out that our model is wrong and there is no CC problem?
David : That’s OK it won’t change what I believe I’ll find something else that can’t be explained.
PT : So why are you arguing so much about this issue when you admit it doesn’t really matter to the issue of Cosmological ID?

Oh David Please tell me how I can identify what is Allegory in the bible and what is fact. I’m still waiting on that one. How do I know what in Revelation is fact and what is fiction.

The problem is you seem to know what is fact and fiction but there are lots of Christians that don’t agree with you. People like Lenny and I are just trying to find out how you know what is fact and what is metaphor and others are mistaken in their interpretation.

I heard a good joke the other night. Its seems that the bible is missing the first page…you know the page that says

None of the characters or events depicted represent actual persons or events. Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is unintended and purely coincidental.

Comment #52183

Posted by K.E. on October 13, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

Heddle said

But a theist who actually belives God created all should be receptive, in my opinion, to the idea that science might find evidence of his creation, which I believe it has, in cosmological ID.

sic.

Science of course is not based on belief but on corroborated evidence so science hasn’t found evidence for cosmological ID.

In any case your belief is probably what the DI will need after Dover if ID is still to be called science (they don’t know the difference between belief and evidence either) you can use this thread as your peer review. You can explain it still needs to be ‘fine tuned’ but here is a suggestion:-

Heddles proposition “The answer to life the universe and everything is 42… Heddle units” (thank you Douglas Adams)

And to get things started you will need a book I suggest a voluminous tract titled “The meaning of everything” just cut ‘god’ in the bible and paste ‘42 Heddles’.

You will need to quick though I’ll bet there are hundreds already lining up for the gig.

Comment #52210

Posted by James Taylor on October 13, 2005 4:44 PM (e)

AR wrote:

Re: comment 51743 by James Taylor.
While I do not intend to support Carol Clouser’s asseverations in any way, I feel it is in order to rebut the assertions of James Taylor as well. The recent data accumulated by Israeli archaeologists show beyond doubt that the entire biblical story of Hebrew tribes invading Canaan and destroying the indigenous tribes has no foundation in facts. There are no traces whatsoever on the ground of the events described in the Bible - no exodus of 2.5 million people from Egypt, no wandering in Sinai, no destruction of Jericho walls, no massacres of Canaanites, etc. There are though unmistakable archaeological signs pointing to the Hebrews being indigenous inhabitants of Canaan, along with several other tribes, most of them ethnically related to the Hebrews, from the very ancient times. The hatred of the Jews, so common among the modern Arabs, has nothing to do with the events described in the Bible. It started in serious only in the 7th century with the advent of Islam when the Jews refused to accept Mohamed as a prophet. Still, it was relatively mild compared with the atrocities by the crusaders, who killed thousands of the Jews of Europe, on their way to the “Holy land.” After the appearance of the state of Israel, the overwhelming hatred of “Zionists=Jews” permeated the Islamic world as a relatively new phenomenon. James Taylor seems to take uncritically the biblical legends. This creates (I hope a false)impression that he may be somehow emotionally inclined to justify his visceral antipathies with allegedly historical data.

AR, could you provide a source. This does impune the veracity of the Bible itself so undermines the fundamentalist ideology anyway. I personally have no problem with that; however, it is important to look at the source. I will freely admit that I am wrong if provided with sufficient evidence. Funny enough, a co-worker presented me with the exact opposite evidence a few months ago. He directed me to a website that claimed all of the Biblical accounts of Egypt and the Exodus were uneqivocally true based upon archeological evidence. Hard to know a Truth in the midst of a religious smoke screen. In the meantime, I don’t mind using the literal interpretation of the Bible against the fundies since that is their stock and trade.

Comment #52211

Posted by James Taylor on October 13, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

Oh and I am very critical of the Biblical legends.

Comment #52223

Posted by darwinfinch on October 13, 2005 5:57 PM (e)

This is the sungle most stupid, useless thread I have ever bothered to scoll down, at least here on PT. It might as well be some Yahoo! news forum with the profanity filter set “on”, given then stupid, spaced-out idiocy and anal compulsions of self-admiring experts. obsessives really, like DH, BFTP, and CC (well, she’s sincere-sincere, at least, but has a lot to learn about what the game is about here at PT: it ain’t about anyone’s “religion” and especially about no Bible, old or new - that’s the Xian liars’ crazies’ concern, and there are PLENTY of forums to dig-and-fill holes on the subject elsewhere.)

I therefore apologize to any poor lurkers for myself having contributed to it earlier.

Also, I’m not a scientist. I have believed I had a viewpoint that mattered to some people in some limited cases, given years on this topic from an honestly bewildered beginning when I actually believed that there were honest, intelligent people who were creationists but who would be willing to examine the canards of their own camp and agree, by plain discussion over time, that the list of objections to ToE were only, only bullshit and perversions offered up by the fanatics, swindlers, and insane that pretend to lead the insult to intelligence and tolerance calling itself “creationism,” under whatever mask the moment demands. [takes breath] While I think there ARE such people, they simply don’t raise their heads anywhere I have looked, and I believe that, for now, until they do express an interest in talking with people such as myself - interested lay readers - it’s best to entirely leave answering the loonies and fanatics who offer up their nonsense and vanity as evidence against an ever-unfinished but now indestructibly beautiful ongoing work, the ToE, to the many well-qualified, surprisingly humble, and humorous scientists (and legal experts, unfortunately) who can pick apart any possibly misleading (to lurker) posts that crop up.

I will be reading the articles here, but I will no longer post comments at all unless I have simple (very, in my case) corrections to make that no one else seems to feel the need to.

I greatly admire the core writers here at PT, and I have come to enjoy the work of many of the sites defending contributors. Unlike a few other places where this debate has broken out, though, I can honesty say id do not respect even ONE of the opposition here (and I’ve been here since the beginning).

Thanks, anyone bothering to read this! May I remain relatively silent for a period of at least half-a-million DHs.

Comment #52248

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on October 13, 2005 9:53 PM (e)

David MuddleHeddle wrote:

Arne,

You wrote about the calculations being “whacked”. I am just wondering why you used that language. There is not an error in the calculations, there is something (some sore of almost complete cancellation) missing from them. To me, a “whacked” calculation is one in which, after a carefil check, you can say, “here is a mistake.” That is not the case here.

Well, sorry to see that you’re pretty much the only clueless berk here that can’t understand figures of speech from context and manage to figure out what I was driving at. That’s sad. But what can one do, lend you a brain? Clue for you, David: It’s not you that get to decide what words I am allowed to use and what meaning I have to ascribe to them. Your job, hate to point it out, is to figure out what I said, not what you think I should have said.

But I notice dead silence on the rest of my points … which, given the circumstances, I guess shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Cheers!

Comment #52271

Posted by FastEddie on October 14, 2005 8:18 AM (e)

[quote]Remember in “Annie Hall” where the loud…[/quote]

I still can’t believe Annie Hall beat Star Wars for 1977 best picture.

Comment #52310

Posted by K.E. on October 14, 2005 5:12 PM (e)

For Darwinfinch
Yes, obviously what I meant to say “as a scientific text on the origin of everything the bible is pseudo-science” as are all creation myths of which there are hundreds, many older than Geneses and was accepted practice and perfectly valid for ancient people.

Indeed the drawing of myth and theology; that is ,belief systems, into this argument would not even be needed were it not for the problem that some people confuse belief with “the scientific method” and try to justify their view as provable, and thus trusted science, by saying belief as opposed to real evidence IS evidence.

This confusion between belief and what can be verified scientifically actually calls into question what they believe. If they are confused by the difference between acknowledging something concrete and a system for religious expression which proposes a different(and potentially infinite..depepending on the number of belief systems) reality- then that belief system rightly needs to be looked at for the explanation.

In my view creationism is pseudo-religion. Their interpretations certainly to not fit my model of theology, but then I can safely say that since it is just an opinion. Religion and theology just can’t be tested in the same way as the world around us, because religious belief only exists in our minds.

Further the actual use of the word “science” by creationists , which carries so much authority and weight because the scientific method guarantees trust is being totally hijacked and hooked to the creationist/ID belief system which simply does not have the same level of trust and if they succeed they stand to benefit from the good name of science.

A belief (faith) system has trust, but it is a different type of trust. To accept a belief system you MUST suspend belief(in reality) just the same way you do when you go to a movie, this is a form of trust. The scientific trust system in the real world is built on a a very strong set of principles which actually say pour acid on this, see if you can break it, this is encouraged to the point where we can be guaranteed that what is proposed when tested and tested and tested is correct.

(And for David:- contradiction instead of linear argument is not test of proof)

It doesn’t even matter if science gets it wrong because the trust system is so strong is has a system built in to fix the problem of conflicting evidence, simply ditch the theory and get a new one.

Belief systems such as religion and pseudo science on the other hand do not have the self fixing strength of science particularly if the belief system is fixed by ancients describing (ancient) reality, on less concrete concepts of course there is free reign.

The ID people are abusing this self fixing feature of science by generating false conflicting evidence and hooking it to their hopelessly antiquated version of an early creation myth.

The tests to establish religious trust are based purely on testing ones personal belief and are completely open to a different interpretation by others. Science fact and therefore trust exists outside and independent of the human mind as a set of instructions on how to get a certain concrete result. Send an instruction to another planet or to your pizza parlor on how to make a cup of tea and they will get a cup of tea and for pedants you can send an instructional video.

Send instructions to someone to pray to or believe in [insert any deity] and you will get a bunch of neurons firing in that persons head but you will never be able to test the results. Except maybe in a MRT scanner but that will only prove the whole belief instruction is in the mind.

Promoters of ID ideology deliberately promote the confusing idea that trust in ones religious beliefs is the same as trust in scientific fact. If they were truly scientific and wanted to establish a scientific level of trust they could change their belief model to fit established fact it seems they don’t have that flexibility and it will be to their detriment. By change the ceation model I mean to a model that is not tied to a “material thing” …nevermind they will never get it.

Their belief system needs the same sort of treatment as they are applying to science to help (some or, any of) them see their own belief system is the problem not the answer.