PvM posted Entry 1737 on December 5, 2005 11:49 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1732

Once again Ed beat me to the punch…

I have at various times pointed out how scientifically vacuous Intelligent Design really is. While Ed has already discussed the NY Times article, I would like to focus on two statements which show again how vacuous ID really is scientifically.

John West wrote:

“The future of intelligent design, as far as I’m concerned, has very little to do with the outcome of the Dover case,” Mr. West said. “The future of intelligent design is tied up with academic endeavors. It rises or falls on the science.”

Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation wrote:

The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.

“They never came in,” said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.

“From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don’t come out very well in our world of scientific review,” he said.

So, what is Intelligent Design, if it is not scientifically relevant?

Ronald Numbers wrote:

Numbers said that at heart, the proponents of intelligent design “want to change the definition of science” to include God, an issue he predicted would end up in the Supreme Court.

“One of the most successful PR campaigns we’ve seen in recent years,” he added, “is intelligent design.”

Story: Academics consider “intelligent design” museum talk

Not surprising the DI PR is spinning its wheels again with John West accusing the author of misrepresentations.
The mainstream press finally is seeing through the politically motivated Wedge Strategy and realizing that it has no scientific relevance.

Dembski ‘responds’ with

The Templeton Foundation promotes, as Stephen Jay Gould used to criticize (see here), a form of syncretism between science and religion. I frankly doubt that there is one research paper published in the natural sciences (I’m not talking about medical journals that discuss the efficacy of prayer in healing) that acknowledges the Templeton Foundation as having provided essential research support (e.g., in the form of salaries for lab techs, lab equipment costs, etc.) for that project to be completed. Templeton supports research in that fuzzy new discipline that it has largely invented, known as science-religion, and not in science per se.

Which makes it even more surprising that ID has not managed to submit proposals for actual research to the Templeton Foundation… After all, isn’t ID covered by Dembski’s description of Templeton’s discipline: A largely invented concept based on a confusing use of the term complexity which is scientifically vacuous?

Dembski continues

I know for a fact that Discovery Institute tried to interest the Templeton Foundation in funding fundamental research on ID that would be publishable in places like PNAS and Journal of Molecular Biology (research that got funded without Templeton support and now has been published in these journals), and the Templeton Foundation cut off discussion before a proposal was even on the table.

Fundamental ID Research published in PNAS and JMB? What could this possibly be referring to? Axe’s work?

Extreme functional sensitivity to conservative amino acid changes on enzyme exteriors. J Mol Biol. 2000 Aug 18;301(3):585-95.

Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds. J Mol Biol. 2004 Aug 27;341(5):1295-315.

Is this the kind of fundamental ID research Dembski is talking about? Was it not Axe who commented that he did not consider this research much relevant to ID?

Axe (2000) finds that changing 20 percent of the external amino acids in a couple proteins causes them to lose their original function, even though individual amino acid changes did not. There was no investigation of change of function. Axe’s paper is not even a challenge to Darwinian evolution, much less support for intelligent design. Axe himself has said that he has not attempted to make an argument for design in any of his publications

Intelligent design in biology has been supported by several peer-reviewed journals and books, including:

See also:
Bill Dembski and the case of the unsupported assertion

A new institute? I wasn’t finished with the old one!

Seems that ID’s fundamental research is mostly about showing under which circumstances natural selection is unable to explain particular features. Of course, ID’s explanation remains fundamentally absent. But that should not be a surprise to those familiar with Dembski’s viewpoint on this topic:

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.

The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design is self-evident. If the future of ID depends on the science as West puts it, ID is is in real trouble.

P.S. While I had correctly guessed the name of the author, on closer scrutiny the papers Dembski may have been referring to is the JMB paper which mentions the Discovery Institute’s support:

D.A. was the recipient of a fellowship from the Discovery Institute.

Douglas D. Axe, Nicholas W. Fostera and Alan R. Fersht An irregular β-bulge common to a group of bacterial RNases is an important determinant of stability and function in barnase Journal of Molecular Biology Volume 286, Issue 5 , 12 March 1999, Pages 1471-1485

The PNAS paper does not mention any such support.

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Comment #61558

Posted by Dignan on December 5, 2005 12:05 PM (e)

We have a new piece, on Intelligent Design this week that I think you will find fascinating reading. Chalk us up as one group of Christians not buying Intelligent Design.

Comment #61559

Posted by lamuella on December 5, 2005 12:34 PM (e)

looking at the Reuter’s article linked to above, I came across this paragraph.

[quote]Intelligent design holds that some aspects of nature are so complex they must be the work of an unnamed designer or higher power, as opposed to the result of random natural selection as argued by Darwin.[/quote]

“random natural selection”? Someone has missed the point.

Comment #61560

Posted by lamuella on December 5, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

looking at the Reuter’s article linked to above, I came across this paragraph.

Intelligent design holds that some aspects of nature are so complex they must be the work of an unnamed designer or higher power, as opposed to the result of random natural selection as argued by Darwin.

“random natural selection”? Someone has missed the point.

EDIT: bizarre double post, sorry.

Comment #61561

Posted by BWE on December 5, 2005 12:47 PM (e)

That caught me too.

I was explaining some of the various niches in pacific Northwest coastal waters to a group of 8th graders last year and I was pointing out the fish that adapted to sandy bottoms and how there were several species that had adapted to it in different ways. Here I was thinking that I was about to go into a discussion of these ecosystems when a kid piped up “You’re gonne try and tell us that these things evolved aren’t you? You can’t tell me that this fish was just swimming along and all the sudden developed a way to lie on its side that just happenned to help it in a specific place.” Or something close to that. I was flabbergasted. I was so unprepared for the remark that my reply was basically “No I won’t try to tell you that. Now, moving right along, these species evolved through selective pressures…” And I went into a 10 minute riff on the difference between a flounder and a halibut. I missed the opportunity to educate the other 29 kids on the different ecosystems. I only spent 5 minutes out of an hour on tidepools. Tidepools. The only part that they will probably ever come into contact with and I spend a lousy 5 minutes.

The other 29 had no problem with the evolution part.

Comment #61562

Posted by Russell on December 5, 2005 1:45 PM (e)

Geez. Dembski’s alienated the premier baptist-affiliated college (Baylor), his would be allies in Dover (TMLC and FTE), now the Templeton Foundation*. He’ll have to be careful how he treats sycophants like Wormtail Salvador; that may be all he has left.

*Kicking around in the back of my mind somewhere is a vague memory that Dembski was crowing several months back about how he had just been conferring with the Templeton Foundation folks (in England, IIRC) in connection with their solicitation for research grant applications. If anyone can dig that one up, please do. I’m too busy today with actual science research.

Comment #61565

Posted by harry eaton on December 5, 2005 2:16 PM (e)

There’s a bit of an unfortunate writing error at the begining there:

I would like to focus on two statements which show again how vacuous science really is scientifically

But I’m sure you mean:

I would like to focus on two statements which show again how vacuous Intelligent Design really is scientifically

Comment #61566

Posted by BWE on December 5, 2005 2:28 PM (e)

The power of propoganda. The propoganda of Power. How did we get here again?

Comment #61567

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 3:01 PM (e)

Either this ID thing is going to die on the vine, or it’s going to spread like cancer. Hopefully the former will happen, but if not, then we might start seeing newspaper, radio, and t.v. ads advocating ID (i.e. attacking the scientific theory of evolution). Does anyone think that there’s enough financial backing out there to start such a campaign? And would the scientific community be able to fund a counter campaign? Politics … ugh!

Comment #61570

Posted by Norman Doering on December 5, 2005 3:54 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

Either this ID thing is going to die on the vine, or it’s going to spread like cancer…. we might start seeing newspaper, radio, and t.v. ads advocating ID (i.e. attacking the scientific theory of evolution). Does anyone think that there’s enough financial backing out there to start such a campaign? And would the scientific community be able to fund a counter campaign? Politics … ugh!

If any ID campaign like that happens (it has in a way on the net, note those google ads you sometimes see when looking evolution info) it will promote books and videos, not ID itself.

The interest they generate will actually be good for selling pro-evolution books and videos so, smart publishers might take advantage of that.

ID may leave a lot of the public confused and wondering and it might undercut public funding of science – but in the end I think evolution has a much more fascinating story to tell than the stories ID has to sell.

I suspect there are people on this board now who will really owe IDiots a “thank you” for the publisher’s checks they’ll be getting in the near future.

Comment #61571

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 3:59 PM (e)

Continuing from my previous comment, pretend for a moment that you are a leading proponent of ID (let’s say, someone from DI). Somehow you manage to secure the necessary financial backing. What’s your next move?

Comment #61573

Posted by shenda on December 5, 2005 4:10 PM (e)

“Either this ID thing is going to die on the vine, or it’s going to spread like cancer. Hopefully the former will happen, but if not, then we might start seeing newspaper, radio, and t.v. ads advocating ID (i.e. attacking the scientific theory of evolution).”

I doubt this will happen. When ID was a general idea floating around as an alternative to Evolution, it received wide spread support from people who liked the idea of a scientific theory that supported their religious beliefs.

The more ID has come under scrutiny, the more it has become obvious that it is not science, and more importantly, that the ID proponents are less than honest. I believe this dishonesty is undermining their support in what should be ID’s core supporters - non fundie religious conservatives. However, these folks are smarter than IDers would like, and they do not think that “Lying For Jesus” is a good thing. They actually take the Ten Commandments seriously and their faith is strong enough not to require scientific proof. Further, most religious conservatives will be/are greatly offended when their faith is consider on par with Astrology, which is one of the requirements for ID to be accepted as science.

Comment #61574

Posted by Norman Doering on December 5, 2005 4:12 PM (e)

Mark asked:

What’s your next move?

If I were in charge, I’d get Dembski to study dolphin language – in a wet suit with lots of camera men. I’d get him out in the field to do some real science that could somehow make use of his design detection ideas. I’d push to fill up the real gap, the research gap, with some flashy stuff that will look good on film and TV.

I’d start undercutting my own attack on ID (which deals with artificial intelligence and defining intelligence) by admitting a natural intelligence could have evolved in the whole system of evolution or in cells that is mind-like – the “Gaia ID” option – in order to ditch the religion only complaint.

Comment #61576

Posted by theo on December 5, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

Russell: the trumphalist Dembski post about the Templeton foundation was probably this one?

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/19

I have a fairly dim view of the money Templeton is throwing around at science/religion, but their bashing of the IDiots is hilarious and entirely justifiable.

There’s a world of difference between Templeton’s moderate kooks in the mold of Teilhard de Chardin, and the Discovery Institute’s lying self-proclaimed geniuses.

Comment #61577

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 4:35 PM (e)

Norman. Dembski studying dolphin language - that’s funny. But that would mean engaging in real scientific work. They’ve had …. hmm …. a decade or so to do this?
I really hope this ID thing keeps getting hammered by the scientific community, but they’re more interested in the political side of this than the scientific side. It makes me a little suspicous of their real motives. Do you think that all these guys who leading proponents of ID really believe in the validity of ID?

Comment #61578

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on December 5, 2005 4:42 PM (e)

Continuing from my previous comment, pretend for a moment that you are a leading proponent of ID (let’s say, someone from DI). Somehow you manage to secure the necessary financial backing. What’s your next move?

a) Real estate is always a good investment.
b) Boxster S. Where sport begins.
c) I’m going to Disneyland!
d) Actual research? But it’s so hard to prove an argument from ignorance!

Comment #61581

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 5, 2005 4:50 PM (e)

“Do you think that all these guys who leading proponents of ID really believe in the validity of ID?”

Reminds me of what my dad (a WWII Air Force combat veteran) used to say when Falwell, Swaggart or Robertson would show up on TV with their distortions and crude carny pitches for money: “They’ve got to be ATHEISTS to get up there and spread those con-artist lies without fear of retribution!”

:-)

Comment #61582

Posted by Jason on December 5, 2005 4:52 PM (e)

Well, it looks like the DI funded a project. This is amazing.
They actually funded research that was published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. Too bad it had nothing to do with Darwinism, ID, or anything of the sort. But, hey, the grad students thank you for their stipend.

Comment #61584

Posted by Jason on December 5, 2005 4:55 PM (e)

Yeah, they say “some” features, “certain” features.

This means that there are a limited number of “things” that look to them to be designed.

If they admit that most features of the universe and life are NOT designed, then how do they explain them?

All the non-flagella out there are the result of … what… to them?

It has to be Natural Selection.

They are Darwinists.

Comment #61585

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 4:59 PM (e)

Hey Bayesian. I really like your idea for Disneyland - it would fit them to a tee. All make believe!

Comment #61587

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

Hi Madam Pomfrey.
Yeah, with all the flaws in ID (not to mention any credible evidence at all), makes ya wonder why these guys keep peddling it? It’s starting to look like some of these ID advocates like Dembski are knowingly lying, especially about any real scientific work.

Comment #61588

Posted by Norman Doering on December 5, 2005 5:25 PM (e)

Madam Pomfrey quoted:

“They’ve got to be ATHEISTS to get up there and spread those con-artist lies without fear of retribution!”

Never underestimate the power of delusion and mis-perception.

http://skepdic.com/blondlot.html

However, James Randi wrote a book on the faith healers. Some were just con artists, but people like Pat Robertson are probably psychotic - they say things that don’t serve their own self-interests at times… like suggesting assassination of foriegn leaders and such.

Comment #61590

Posted by Norman Doering on December 5, 2005 5:38 PM (e)

Mark

… they’re more interested in the political side of this than the scientific side. It makes me a little suspicious of their real motives. Do you think that all these guys who leading proponents of ID really believe in the validity of ID?

I think some do believe in the validity of ID, and still do.

But, yes, it’s political - they are what most of us would consider “Right-wing nut jobs” against environmental laws and pushing for a Christian theocracy.

Dolphins and Gaia are the kind of beliefs you find in people often considered “left-wing nut jobs,” which I really am closer to, and some ID concepts would fit into Gaia nicely – the planet isn’t only alive - it’s smart too.

The ID movement’s refusal to incorporate the Gaia option – the most natural link to ID on the left – demonstrates the ID proponents are using the ID concept purely for political and religious propaganda.

Comment #61592

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 5, 2005 6:30 PM (e)

“Some were just con artists, but people like Pat Robertson are probably psychotic”

Point well taken. Based on the crank letters I get, most self-described creationists or “ID supporters” are just a) confused people who are afraid of what they don’t know, and don’t recognize bad used-car salesmen when they see them, or b) right-wing political fanatics who just see this as another way to bash the “left,” “scientists” and “professors” – lumping them all together, of course. In both (a) and (b) groups, one finds people who are clearly envious of science’s (and scientists’) standing in modern society and want to “bring [them] down a notch.” But some of them really are mentally unstable and delusional, and it says something that this type of personality is so well represented in “ID” circles.

This is over and above the simple fact that there is no scientific theory of ID – just assertions and (often book-length) essays circling those assertions. No amount of hand-waving, rationalization, or rhetorical tricks can change that.

Comment #61593

Posted by steve s on December 5, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Comment #61587

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 05:13 PM (e) (s)

Hi Madam Pomfrey.
Yeah, with all the flaws in ID (not to mention any credible evidence at all), makes ya wonder why these guys keep peddling it? It’s starting to look like some of these ID advocates like Dembski are knowingly lying, especially about any real scientific work.

Are you aware that recently Bill Dembski got $200/hr for ‘consulting’? For $200/hr I’d promote Satanism.

Comment #61594

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 5, 2005 6:47 PM (e)

I should add that there’s another type of creationist, who’s afflicted by what I shall call the “Behe Syndrome” – the engineer or scientist (almost always a non-specialist when it comes to evolutionary biology) who has gone through a born-again religious conversion and now desperately tries to cram the engineering/science into that framework. This person often becomes a vocal spokesperson for “ID” and attempts to give its religious assertions a scientific fiat based on his/her background and degrees. They depart from the scientific consensus not by their “radical” work a la Galileo or Pasteur, but because they have abandoned the scientific method and draw conclusions based entirely on conjecture and “interpretation” without experimentation (after all, one is only a scientist by virtue of doing science). Unlike their mainstream colleagues, they usually feel quite comfortable criticizing and lecturing on areas that are outside their specialty. Some of these have gotten tenure at major research institutions prior to evangelizing for “ID” and try to push “ID”-themed college courses under the radar. There aren’t too many of these (yet), but the public unfortunately doesn’t see the difference between them and their colleagues who are doing real research.

Comment #61595

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 5, 2005 6:47 PM (e)

Continuing from my previous comment, pretend for a moment that you are a leading proponent of ID (let’s say, someone from DI). Somehow you manage to secure the necessary financial backing. What’s your next move?

Well, they are rapidly running OUT of moves. They’ve already tried to argue that creationism is science, and lost. Then they tried to argue that evolution was religion, and lost. THEN they tried to argue that ID isn’t creationism and is also science, and will very shortly lose. At the same time, they tried to drop ID/creationism altogether and just “teach the controversy about evolution”, and lost.

They don’t have very many options left to try.

I think their next step will be to try and apply the “Michigan move”:

“(a) use the scientific method to critically evaluate scientific theories including, but not limited to, the theories of global warming and evolution [and] (b) Use relevant scientific data to assess the validity of those theories and to formulate arguments for or against those theories.” http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2005/MI/410_antievolution_legislation_in_m_10_4_2005.asp

This approach offers several advantages for them: they don’t have to talk about ID, they can kill two favorite right-wing-loon boogey-men with oen stone, and they can point to the “global warming” requirement and say “See! See! This bill is about SCIENCE, not religion!!!”

Alas for them, at some point in time they are going to actually have to TELL us, well, what all this “relevant scientific data” and “arguments for or against” are. Of course, the ONLY thing they have to offer is the same old creationist/ID crap that has already been ruled illegal. Which means they will fall flat on their holy little tookuses, yet again.

The fundies seem unable to grasp a rather simple concept —- it is simply impossible to preach to people while at the same time trying to hide the fact that you are preaching to people.

It’s why ID/creationism/anti-evolution, in whatever form, will never get anywhere. (shrug)

Comment #61596

Posted by Jay Lallatin on December 5, 2005 6:55 PM (e)

I have just recently discovered this site. I find it very interesting how the dialog seems to flow. It is almost completely a “look at the size of my brain” contest that is overwhelmingly one sided. Those who try to argue the science of ID are intellectually fighting a battle that they can not win.
I believe that there is a God and that God created the worlds without number. I also know that to learn anything for ourselves and to discover treasures of knowledge, means to follow the scientific method. We can not accept the simple answer ‘because God made it so’ or ‘because it was designed that way.’ To do so would deny the fact that if things are the way they are because of the ‘intelligent design’ to which everything obeys, then what is that design, and how was it carried out. To learn how or why things are the way they are, we must approach science simply from our understanding. We cannot say that God caused it so.
And if we are to acknowledge that there is a God, then how did he create every thing.
My father explained to me once that to understand science or to understand God, then we must realize that there are natural laws and that only by operating in accordance to those laws can we achieve anything, and thus it is with God. It is by knowing how to operate with in the laws of nature that God created the worlds and everything found there in. If God did not follow these laws the very elements would rebel, because the elements only work within those laws.
In looking to discover the secrets of this creation, we do not set the bounds. They are already set, we are only trying to learn what they are and how to make those boundaries work for us.
Intelligent design can not replace scientific observations and theory. It is a matter of faith and faith is a hope of things which are unseen, which are true. You can not prove with science things that require faith. If we could, then there would be no challenge, no leap for us to make.
I would state that following the same vein, science can not disprove the existence of God, but merely shed some light on how God works in the physical world. That is why God is ‘all knowing’, he already understands every thing we are still trying to learn.
As you can see, this is indeed a circular argument. Why not accept that we are here to learn how things work, not to prove that there is or is not a God.
I am an Science Lab Instuctional Assistant at the local J.C. and am also still a student.

Comment #61597

Posted by Mark on December 5, 2005 6:58 PM (e)

Steve.

Yeah, the money’s important, too. But not all these IDers are making that kind of money. A loss for ID in the Dover case (let’s hope) will be a major setback for these scoundrals. Maybe the people that paid Dembski $200/hr will ask for their money back!

Comment #61598

Posted by shenda on December 5, 2005 7:26 PM (e)

“It’s why ID/creationism/anti-evolution, in whatever form, will never get anywhere. (shrug)”

Rev Lenny, you’re wrong here.

ID, at least is definitely going somewhere. It is now possible to show that ID is not only anti science, it is anti Christian. From now on whenever anybody says they support ID, I will ask them when they abandoned Christianity. After all, according the ID proponents, Christianity is the intellectual equivalent of Astrology. The ID proponents themselves have stated this *Under Oath*.

The Dover testimony allows us to transform this issue from a Religion vs Science debate to an Id vs. Religion debate. IMO, it will be much easier to show an ID supporter the vacuity of ID in this manner, than to attempt to give them a sound science education in less that a year or so. Which is what we usually try to do.

I think we all owe the TMLC a debt of gratitude.

Comment #61599

Posted by steve s on December 5, 2005 7:34 PM (e)

To me it’s like televangelism. You have your Jim Bakers (Dembski) and your acolytes (Cordova) who fund them. The greedy and the zealous.

Comment #61600

Posted by Arden Chatfield on December 5, 2005 7:52 PM (e)

Are you aware that recently Bill Dembski got $200/hr for ‘consulting’? For $200/hr I’d promote Satanism.

But for $200/hr, would you promote Dembski? :-)

Comment #61601

Posted by steve s on December 5, 2005 8:19 PM (e)

Hmmm. prob’ly not. my price sheet:

$200/hr - Satanism

$250/hr - NAMBLA

$300/hr - Dembski

Comment #61602

Posted by k.e. on December 5, 2005 8:34 PM (e)

Shenda said

ID, at least is definitely going somewhere. It is now possible to show that ID is not only anti science, it is anti Christian.

I would go further

Anti truth and anti “love thy self and thy neighbor’s world view and accept thy self and thy neighbor’s world view” Jesus’(an all the other Great Mystics) word in the here and now in their truest sense …..at least to me anyway.

Any type of Fundamentalism/Obscuration/self love/hate only and projecting that onto other people(s) in an egotistical way -solipsism supported by an ideology/world view/private myth is the exact opposite.

From now on whenever anybody says they support ID, I will ask them when they abandoned
Christianity. and truth

After all, according the ID proponents, Christianity is the intellectual equivalent of Astrology. and a noble lie

The ID proponents themselves have stated this *Under Oath*. Their message is clear

The Dover testimony allows us to transform this issue from a Religion vs Science debate to an Id vs. Religion debate. noble lie vs noble truth

IMO, it will be much easier to show an ID supporter the vacuity of ID Fundamentalism of all types in this manner, than to attempt to give them a sound science education in less that a year or so. Which is what we usually try to do.

I think we all owe the TMLC a debt of gratitude.
for
1. rebuilding of the institutions of society
2. rebuilding The dominion that Adam first received and then lost by his Fall will be restored to redeemed Man….. in the here and now
3. the Renewal Science and Culture
4. the Renewal of Truth and Beauty.

hope that doesn’t sound tooo fundamentalist …blush

Comment #61605

Posted by Norman Doering on December 6, 2005 12:42 AM (e)

Mark wrote:

But not all these IDers are making that kind of money.

True. Many IDers are just incensed peasant villagers rising up with pitchforks and torches, ready to storm the fortress laboratory where Victor Frankenstein conducts his unholy experiments.

By the way - what happened to that thread about the college proffesor who got beat up for calling fundies, fundies?

Comment #61606

Posted by k.e. on December 6, 2005 1:03 AM (e)

Norman
I suspect dusty text and scripts Myth and man’s “timeless tales” came alive - poetically renewed for him :)

Comment #61608

Posted by Ed Darrell on December 6, 2005 4:47 AM (e)

Jay Lallatin,

With due respect, you’re rather preaching to the choir here. No, this is not a “my brain’s more crenulated than your brain” place – but to ID advocates, who lack anything of intellectual substance to present on the issues, it must look that way. Unfortunately, when debunking ID, it is sometimes difficult NOT to come of as “I’m a lot brighter than you are.” We have a saying in the law about such things: Res ipsa loquitur. Some lights can’t be hidden under a bushel if you tried.

Here at PT you’ll find a wide range of metaphysical beliefs. Some here are hard atheists, others agnostic; there are a few Buddhists, a few Jews, an occasional Moslem, and many of us follow Christian faiths. Most people come here because, like you, they are curious about how the world works.

That’s what separates us from the ID movement.

Nice to have you drop by. You’re right, our best percentage action is in trying to figure out the mysteries of biology.

Try telling that to the ID crowd.

Stick around for a while!

Comment #61609

Posted by Renier on December 6, 2005 4:57 AM (e)

ID will not just die. Creationism did not just die.

Apologetics have a very real need to prove their claims and religious texts with science. This is the only reason that ID came to being. That need that the apologetics have, is not just going to go away, and science will always be the target of these people.

Just think about it. There was a new strategy that came out of all of this. “If we cannot make science say what we want it to say, then we need to redefine science to make it say what we want it to say”. In this lies the real danger.

Science does not budge against their claims, but if science could be redefined (raped) to cater for the supernatural, then the apologetics will have the final victory.

Even here in South Africa we have ID apologetics pestering the Minister of Education to get it into the Biology classes. We don’t have a First Amendment protecting us from religious nuts. Religion gets crammed down kids’s throats like you would not believe.

That is why the Dover trial is important. We need to be able to tell the ID people here that ID got kicked out in America because it is BS. The ID people here are going from church to church spreading their disease all over. It’s a bad thing, because they would not allow a scientist going from church to church telling people why ID is BS. People are gullible, and that is one horse that ID is riding.

I am sick and tired of this. It takes one IDiot to make a little “scientific” statement in the churches and it takes years and years to debunk it to the public. Just think about it. How many people today, out there, still believes they found Noah’s ark??? One rumor is all it takes.

Make an effort to debunk ID on TV and in the Media. It’s not just your country that is battling this dogma.

Comment #61610

Posted by GT(N)T on December 6, 2005 7:00 AM (e)

“Make an effort to debunk ID on TV and in the Media.”

There’s the rub. It’s hard to debunk a religious idea, and that is what ID is. “God done it!” Well fine, it’s not science. That’s irrelevant to many believers. For so many, God and His work is a fact, and it’s the only meaningful fact. Nothing a scientist says on TV, in the press, or on a debate platform is going to convince the masses otherwise.

Good luck in South Africa, though.

Comment #61613

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 6, 2005 7:50 AM (e)

There’s the rub. It’s hard to debunk a religious idea, and that is what ID is.

More than that — ID is a POLITICAL idea. They are, quite literally, ayatollah-wanna-be’s, who are determined to make us all godly whether we like it or not.

There is nothing more dangerous than someone who is convinced that God wants him to tell everyone else what to do.

And that is what fundies are all about.

Comment #61616

Posted by JONBOY on December 6, 2005 8:19 AM (e)

Jay Lallatin,I know that many others are going to answer your post,my comment would be

1 Why are you working in a Lab,
2 Which God did the creating(yours I assume)
3 How do you know that things unseen are true
4 Science does not try to prove Gods existence,can you?
5 Who or what created your God(anything complex requires a creator)
I could go on but is there any point

Comment #61617

Posted by Renier on December 6, 2005 8:27 AM (e)

Lenny wrote:
There is nothing more dangerous than someone who is convinced that God wants him to tell everyone else what to do.

You got that right! It’s the one thing that gets me a little warm under the collar, to put it mildly. You guys know when Judge Jones is going te be giving his verdict? I hope his verdicts is not just a “no” to ID in classrooms, but a damning judgement…

Comment #61621

Posted by Keith Douglas on December 6, 2005 9:25 AM (e)

Re: the dolphin (?)language. I would suspect that if Dembski were somehow forced into such a position that he would have no trouble forging a result after what seemed like an appropriate amount of time. (What result? Whatever was theologically most appropriate. Most fundies probably are all for the “unique humans” thing and thus I’d guess he’d assert that the dolphins aren’t using a language.)

Comment #61628

Posted by JONBOY on December 6, 2005 10:10 AM (e)

Re the dolphin language.The leading authority in this field are 2 Russians, Valdamir Markov and Vera Ostrovskaya, both have claimed to have personal communications with the dolphins.All we need is for Dembski to learn Russian and then try to dispute the assertions.

Comment #61631

Posted by sanjait on December 6, 2005 10:23 AM (e)

“Dolphins and Gaia are the kind of beliefs you find in people often considered “left-wing nut jobs,” which I really am closer to, and some ID concepts would fit into Gaia nicely — the planet isn’t only alive - it’s smart too.”

I’m extremely skeptical of the Gaia hypothesis. To me, it’s lack of a causal explantion (why would the planet be adaptive?) and vague use of otherwise defined terms like “alive” is slightly ID-like, although Gaia supporters no doubt have a less of the righteous indignation that makes IDists so irritating and wrong.
However, I do strongly believe in dolphins. I swear I remember seeing one in a park when I was young, and I think the literature is fairly conclusive on their existence.

Comment #61635

Posted by sanjait on December 6, 2005 10:52 AM (e)

Jay said- “Why not accept that we are here to learn how things work, not to prove that there is or is not a God.”

I find one of the replies to your post ironic in that while pointing out how this site isn’t a big-brain contest, Ed used the word “crenulated” and followed it with a quote in Latin. But seriously, there are some serious scientists who produce and read this site, and it is easy to appear haughty and carry superior airs when responding to an ID movement full of lay people, frauds and religious fundamentalists who purport to tell us how we aren’t really experts in our fields.

Regarding your quote stated above, I and probably most of the people here would completely agree with you. As scientists, we don’t study God. One of the fundamental misunderstandings some people have is that evolutionary theory excludes the existence of a higher power. Real science doesn’t make claims it can’t back up, so this position is not a scientific one, as the vast majority of scientists would agree. Some people may say that evolutionary theory supports atheism, (notably, a few atheists and many religious people who feel their beliefs are threatened by the old earth and common descent) but these people have ventured outside the realm of science entirely.

Comment #61637

Posted by Flint on December 6, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

Some people may say that evolutionary theory supports atheism

Indirectly, I think. Nobody is going to claim that any science somehow generates “evidence” for the supernatural, since evidence is natural pretty much in its definition.

So the “support” is really just the observation that no scientific theory involves, requires, or includes any gods of any kind doing anything. Our scientific (reality-based) understanding of the universe CAN include gods, they aren’t ruled out, but it doesn’t change even a little bit if we omit them altogether. Which leads some people to wonder why we should bother with them at all.

Comment #61638

Posted by ybj on December 6, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Intelligent Design v. Darwin’s Theory

This entire debate could be tempered if we will just change the officially recognized title of Darwin’s theory to Darwin’s law. Fundamentalists are by nature law-abiding citizens, so this nominal change in title will provide the necessary link to guide the confused back to reality. School boards everywhere can return to the heady days of sex-education debate, and the sins of prayer before Friday night’s game.

We must first provide an example or two of accepted laws. There is the Law of Gravity, for example. That’s meat & potatoes for you. Black and white. No gray matter, or area. It’s the theories that get us in trouble. How about the Theory of Relativity? Why don’t we encourage the Reverends Dobson & Falwell to take on that one? They will argue, no doubt, that ‘they are to relative,’ by god! No, we better stick to laws.

There is the Law of Averages. But that’s too nebulous. How about the Law of Diminishing Returns? (See aforementioned Reverends). Speaking of laws: Didn’t we decide all this at the Scopes trial early last century? Or at least in Epperson v. Arkansas in 1968? In The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy’s index, after Dark Ages comes dark horse, Darrow(Clarence), Darwin (Charles), then Das Kapital. How’s that for Natural Selection?! And what about Ockham’s Razor?

Comment #61645

Posted by BWE on December 6, 2005 12:19 PM (e)

Oh my god. Read “city of god” by e.l. doctorow

I saw a bumper sticker this morning which read, “Christians: can’t live with ‘em, Can’t feed ‘em to the lions anymore”

Ha! Doing my part to promote randomness.

Comment #61658

Posted by tristram on December 6, 2005 12:55 PM (e)

Yes, ID will soon die…only to be reborn as the Theory of PAP (Purposeful Arrangement of Parts) to enable creationism to have another go at trying to to infiltrate public school science classes.

I like to help people, and here is my helpful advice to starving ID “scientists”:

Accept money to do some science research. Go and do some real science research. Since there is no science in ID, just go research something else–ground-water flow in deep, fractured rocks, origin of Saturn’s F-ring, superconductivity–anything. Then get your results published. When people ask for your scientific bibliography, you can present something. Then talk about how your scientific publications support ID. You will only have to lie about yourself and, unlike when you like about support from other people, there will be nobody to point out the lie.

Comment #61668

Posted by JONBOY on December 6, 2005 1:30 PM (e)

Flint.,you hit the nail on the head.Any way you perceive it,all religions are inconsistent with mental freedom.So ask yourself, is it better to have the hard truth of science, or the comforting fantasy of religion? I myself find more comfort in science fact, than any religious fantasies.

Comment #61673

Posted by David Heddle on December 6, 2005 1:53 PM (e)

Jay Lallatin,

I think your observations are sound. The question always gets asked: what science do the IDers do? The answer is: quite a bit, actually. What papers do they publish in peer-reviewed literature? Quite a few as it turn out. It’s just not in the “field” of ID. There are scientists who believe in God, believe that ultimately he is the source of all creation, but understand that the correct way to do science is just like anyone else does it: via the scientific method. They are genuine IDers in the sense that they believe the universe and the life it supports was intelligently designed. There are many of them out there, doing research, publishing, and happy that their science complements their faith.

JONBOY: Your five questions to Jay are simply awful. I’m curious; do you actually think that your queries are particularly incisive? As you posted them, were you smiling and thinking “slam dunk” to yourself? Still, you are correct that there is no point for you to go on.

Comment #61674

Posted by CJ O'Brien on December 6, 2005 2:11 PM (e)

So, Mr. Heddle, you see no conflict between mainstream science as it is currently practiced and Christian faith?

Because I don’t think that’s the line adhered to by the propaganda arm of “the movement.”

Comment #61675

Posted by David Heddle on December 6, 2005 2:16 PM (e)

Nope, no conflict whatsoever.

Comment #61676

Posted by CJ O'Brien on December 6, 2005 2:23 PM (e)

Would you agree though that the DI and the TMLC and other, similar organizations have it as their central goal to foment such a conflict in the mind of the public?

I’m aware that you’re a cosmological ID person, and I’m not trying to associate you with anybody, or paint with too broad a brush, I’d just like to know, in your view, what is all the fuss about, if science does not “deny God” or any such.

Comment #61682

Posted by JONBOY on December 6, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

David Heddle. If you think my questions are so awful, why dont you have a stab at them? should be a piece of cake . How did you know I was smiling and what I was thinking at the time you must have ESP. Anyone who post on this site, and makes the kind of statements that Jay Lallatin made, leave themselves open to rebuttal,AS DO WE ALL.

Comment #61687

Posted by David Heddle on December 6, 2005 3:16 PM (e)

CJ,

I know very little about the DI and nothing at all about TMLC. As far as I know, the goal of the DI is to promote ID as an alternative to evolution.

JONBOY,

How did you know I was smiling and what I was thinking at the time you must have ESP.

I don’t know that you were smiling, I asked if you were smiling. No ESP required. Please read carefully.

OK, I’ll answer the questions:

1) I worked in a national lab for 12 years. Because I enjoy doing physics.
2) The God of the bible.
3) From the evidence and from faith.
4) No.
5) Nobody. Your premise is false.

Comment #61691

Posted by AC on December 6, 2005 3:48 PM (e)

Jay Lallatin wrote:

I believe that there is a God and that God created the worlds without number. I also know that to learn anything for ourselves and to discover treasures of knowledge, means to follow the scientific method. We can not accept the simple answer ‘because God made it so’ or ‘because it was designed that way.’ To do so would deny the fact that if things are the way they are because of the ‘intelligent design’ to which everything obeys, then what is that design, and how was it carried out. To learn how or why things are the way they are, we must approach science simply from our understanding. We cannot say that God caused it so.
And if we are to acknowledge that there is a God, then how did he create every thing.

Congratulations, you’re a deist. I used to be one myself.

Thing is, the more you study those “hows”, the more you realize that God, if such a thing exists at all, is either abstract or subtle to the point of irrelevance. Such a being can be acknowledged, but by no means worshipped.

David Heddle wrote:

3 (How do you know that things unseen are true?) From the evidence and from faith.

switch thing
case ‘gravity’: return ‘evidence’
case ‘god’: return ‘faith’

Things make a sloppy data type.

Comment #61695

Posted by JONBOY on December 6, 2005 4:12 PM (e)

David Heddle. Please read carefully,the fact you ask me if I was smiling, shows either great insight, a lucky guess, or ESP and we have ruled out the latter,so I stand corrected.As for your answers,you only answered one and four,two three and five answer nothing.

Comment #61699

Posted by Shirley Knott on December 6, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

Congratulations, JONBOY – you’re doing much better than the average inquirer as far as answers from Heddle go.
How anyone can possibly believe the Bible to be inerrant is beyond me. The topological nightmare of twisted ‘reasoning’ that would require boggles the mind.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #61701

Posted by Norman Doering on December 6, 2005 5:01 PM (e)

JONBOY asked:
3 How do you know that things unseen are true

David Heddle answered:
3) From the evidence and from faith.

What evidence?

Comment #61705

Posted by David Heddle on December 6, 2005 5:19 PM (e)

Shirley,

You are correct. It (believing the bible is inerrant) is beyond you.

Norman Doering,

I have written a great deal on how modern cosmology provides evidence for a creator. No need to reproduce it here.

Comment #61708

Posted by Shirley Knott on December 6, 2005 5:56 PM (e)

David, I think you’ve just encountered a reason to find the Bible errant – what Biblical justification is there for asserting that the inerrancy of the Bible is properly beyond anyone? Is it a book for a subset of the populace? (I believe it claims it is, although not the subset you obviously believe it to be for.)

The Bible is a masterpiece of error; that you believe it is inerrant is warrant for believing that you have not studied it in depth from a truly independant and inquiring perspective.
Big surprise.

hugs,
Shirley Knott
Still waiting for you to tell me how cosmological ID is different from an argument from incredulity as you proposed it to be on UTI…

Comment #61709

Posted by JONBOY on December 6, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

Thanks Shirley.believing the bible is inerrant is beyond most logically thinking persons .Mr Heddles viewpoint as a believer would make one suspect that all his arguments are so subordinate to his religious agenda that they should be viewed with up most caution.
Asserting that modern cosmology provides evidence for a creator,or his own particular beliefs,could be considered a some what conceited display

Comment #61712

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 6, 2005 7:12 PM (e)

I think your observations are sound. The question always gets asked: what science do the IDers do? The answer is: quite a bit, actually. What papers do they publish in peer-reviewed literature? Quite a few as it turn out. It’s just not in the “field” of ID.

That, uh, wouldn’t have anything to do with the simple fact that ID isn’t science, would it?

BTW, other than Behe, I am not aware, offhand, of any peer-reviewed papers published in any science journal, in any area of science, by DI luminaries.

Can you point me to some?

As far as I know, the goal of the DI is to promote ID as an alternative to evolution.

Um, that’s not what Discovery Institute says their goal is. In the Wedge Document, we find:

Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

GOALS

Governing Goals

* To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

* To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

Five Year Goals

* To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.

* To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.

* To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

Twenty Year Goals

* To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

* To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.

* To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

Rather a different set of goals than “promoting ID as an alternative to evolution”, don’t you think?

I can, of course, see why they’d rather keep their goals quiet.

I have written a great deal on how modern cosmology provides evidence for a creator.

And you are, of course, entirely entitled to that religious opinion if you like it. Of course, what you are NOT entitled to do is lie to people, as DI does, by claiming that those religious opinions are actually “science”.

You are correct. It (believing the bible is inerrant) is beyond you.

Is that sin of pride, Mr Heddle?

Let me remind you once again, Davey — you are just a man. You are not God’s Spokesman, and you don’t know any more about God than anyone else alive does. Your religious opinions are just that – your religious opinions. They are not any more holy or divine or infallible than anyone ELSE’S religious opinions. No one is under any obligation whatsoever to follow your religious opinions, to listen to them, or even to pay any attention at all to them. They are, after all, nothing but your opinions.

You seem to forget that, from time to time.

Fortunately for you, I am always here to remind you of humility, whenever you start to turn into a prideful arrogant self-righteous prick who thinks, quite literally, that he is holier than everyone else.

No need to thank me, Davey. I am quite happy to do that for you.

Comment #61725

Posted by Norman Doering on December 6, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

I have written a great deal on how modern cosmology provides evidence for a creator. No need to reproduce it here.

The logic of your argument, I assume, goes something like this: Since the unknowable is evidence of the undefinable it logically follows that Johna spent three days in the belly of a fish and Joshua made the sun stand still.

Comment #61730

Posted by David Heddle on December 6, 2005 9:45 PM (e)

Shirley,

The bible self-referentially claims it will be foolishness to those who don’t believe. Put another way, for non-believers, the concept of an inerrant bible is, as you put it, beyond them.

Please remind me of what I said on UTI. It must have been something other than “cosmological ID is different from an argument from incredulity”. I don’t think I use that language. It might have been something like “Cosmological ID is God in the details, not God of the gaps.” I use that language a lot. In fact, I’m giving a talk with (almost) that title at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH on Thursday at 8:00 pm. Feel free to come by.

Norman,

Don’t be silly. Joshua was just a man. Obviously he could not make the sun stand still.

Comment #61733

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 6, 2005 10:28 PM (e)

Put another way, for non-believers, the concept of an inerrant bible is, as you put it, beyond them.

For some odd reason, though, Heddle neglects to mention that the vast majority of Christians, worldwide, do not accept or assert an inerrant Bible.

Ahhhhh, but I forget —- Heddle is Calvinist, you see, and so not only is the BIBLE inerrant, but Heddle’s interpretations of it are ALSO inerrant. And since he simply can’t be wrong on religious matters, all those others simply aren’t True Believers™©.

Sorry, Davey. I sometimes forget that you are indeed far more divine and holy than we mere mortal unwashed peasants.

Comment #61737

Posted by AC on December 6, 2005 10:59 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

for non-believers, the concept of an inerrant bible is, as you put it, beyond them.

It’s not beyond me, or anyone else who has first-hand experience with believers. And I’m sure a great many psychologists have quite a grasp on it.

Crutches are for the injured. If you keep picking at it, it’ll never heal.

Comment #61738

Posted by Red Mann on December 6, 2005 11:00 PM (e)

David Heddle, I have been reading, in some cases attempting to read, your posts for quite sometime. You have probably been posting here for even longer, yet you still know very little about DI and TMLC? How can this be? How do you manage to ignore the main thrust of PT? IMHO, you use this “argument” to hide behind so you don’t have to say anything about them. Having no interest in learning about the main topics here sounds like intellectual laziness. I have looked at your site, you are decidedly biased toward religious belief. Having read thousands of words written by those with a strong religious biases, and finding many of them concentrating on distorting and even lying *gasp* about science in general, and evolution in particular, to support their religious “worldview”, I have a hard time accepting anything you say without a large grain of salt. IMHO the notion of fine tuning is, at best, wishful thinking to rationalize your religious views with reality. The universe, and the life in it, got to where it is now because, it did. You keep trying to take a vast string of coincidental interactions and impose your desire for some directed order upon them that suits your religious views, and like good ol’ Lenny keeps asking, why are your religious views better than anyone else’s ?

Comment #61752

Posted by Norman Doering on December 7, 2005 12:42 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Don’t be silly. Joshua was just a man. Obviously he could not make the sun stand still.

Right, my mistake. The Buy-Bull says God made the sun stand still and you believe that - right?

Comment #61767

Posted by Renier on December 7, 2005 2:45 AM (e)

Heddle, why are you here? You know as well as we do that no amount of evidence is going to change your view, so the only reason you must be here is to peddle your ID nonsense and throw in some dogma for good measure.

Since you admit that the Bible is utter nonsense to unbelievers (everyone that does not believe what you do) there is no more reason for you to even mention the utter nonsense that you believe in. Lenny has you summed up in a very honest, accurate way, but YOU are the only person here that does no see it.

Lenny wrote:
There is nothing more dangerous than someone who is convinced that God wants him to tell everyone else what to do.

David, does the above sound like you at all? For God’s sakes man, every time you come into a thread you lead people of the topic so they end up knocking your religious views. VERY productive David. You have not convinced one person yet, so please, join the discussions in the spirit that it is happening in and stop trying to play God.

Heddle wrote:
There are scientists who believe in God, believe that ultimately he is the source of all creation, but understand that the correct way to do science is just like anyone else does it: via the scientific method. They are genuine IDers in the sense that they believe the universe and the life it supports was intelligently designed.

This is the biggest load of BS I have EVER heard. So every non-atheist scientist is actually submitting scientific results for ID?

Is there any non-atheist scientists here that agrees with Heddle?

Furthermore, your statement is crap because you talk of the “correct way to do science” and ID as the same thing. LIAR! Have you not heard why ID is not science? Where is the Scientific Theory of ID? Where is the evidence? Where is the ID focused research?

Comment #61783

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

Lenny,

Put another way, for non-believers, the concept of an inerrant bible is, as you put it, beyond them.

For some odd reason, though, Heddle neglects to mention that the vast majority of Christians, worldwide, do not accept or assert an inerrant Bible.

Lenny, you do know that all animals are not horses? You do know the difference between necessary and sufficient? What I have said, in a nutshell, is that the bible is nonsense to unbelievers and hence (rather self-evidently) an inerrant bible is beyond them. Why anyone would disagree with that is, in fact, beyond me. I did not say all Christians accept an inerrant bible. Being a believer is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

Norman

The Buy-Bull says God made the sun stand still and you believe that - right?

Yes.

Red Mann

yet you still know very little about DI and TMLC? How can this be?

Because the political fight is a lose-lose battle as far as I am concerned. I do not think ID is science and do not think it should be part of the science curriculum. I was against the stickers in the text books. These things accomplish nothing and only result in more classroom restrictions. (For example, because of all the ID publicity I can no longer get into public high schools to talk about cosmological ID.) Given that it is lose-lose, I am ambivalent and pay scant attention to, for example, the Dover trial. That is why I know nothing about the TMLC. As for the DI, I have made a friend from among the DI staff with whom I exchange the occasional email. And I signed the DI 400 list. That’s it. I have read much more of the content on the NCSE’s website than the DI’s.

Your argument (that I really do know a great deal about DI and TMLC but choose to hide behind feigned ignorance) is similar to one I have heard before, either from Lenny or the greatly missed Great White Wonder—that I really actually believe ID is science, but don’t want to say so. Like the apparent-age theory of YECs, this argument is unfalsifiable.

IMHO the notion of fine tuning is, at best, wishful thinking to rationalize your religious views with reality.

It is true that I take fine-tuning as the evidence for ID, and ID as complementary to faith. Is that a surprise? Now are you saying there is no fine tuning, not even “apparent” fine-tuning? If so then you are demonstrably wrong. I suggest you read Susskind’s new book The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design. He beautifully makes the case for the fine tuning in our universe, including (explaining it in a popular-science manner better than anyone I have ever read) the extreme fine tuning of the Cosmological Constant. (Alas, he does not agree with steve s that it is only a case of the units one chooses or the naiveté of the calculations.) He explains the “illusion” of fine tuning in our universe by the megaverse theory and quasi-infinite Landscape of possible environments, but he doesn’t deny that a universe such as ours, that can support life, is on a razor’s edge.

Renier

David, does the above (There is nothing more dangerous than someone who is convinced that God wants him to tell everyone else what to do) sound like you at all? For God’s sakes man, every time you come into a thread you lead people of the topic so they end up knocking your religious views. VERY productive David. You have not convinced one person yet, so please, join the discussions in the spirit that it is happening in and stop trying to play God.

This might make sense if you could point to one thread where I told anyone what to do. What I am required to do, as a Christian, is tell people what I believe. Telling them what to do and telling them what to believe are two very different things. My goal is never, ever to convince people. (On the other hand, you have no evidence that my words on PT were never used by God to reach someone lurking here—but to the contrary I have some private emails that suggest otherwise.)

This is the biggest load of BS I have EVER heard. So every non-atheist scientist is actually submitting scientific results for ID?

I think so. At least up to now. At least in physics and related fields. Everything points to a universe that is wondrously made.

Furthermore, your statement is crap because you talk of the “correct way to do science” and ID as the same thing. LIAR! Have you not heard why ID is not science? Where is the Scientific Theory of ID? Where is the evidence? Where is the ID focused research?

And how did you parse my words to reach this conclusion? And have you not read where I have stated over and over that ID is not science? ID is a view of the world, a philosophical framework, and to me all physics supports that view. That is not the same thing as saying ID == Physics.

Comment #61787

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 7:35 AM (e)

Correction,

In my post above, when responding to Renier, I wrote “Telling them what to do and telling them what to believe are two very different things.” I meant to write “Telling them what to do and telling them what I believe are two very different things”

Comment #61788

Posted by k.e. on December 7, 2005 8:01 AM (e)

David it is quite clear that you have hooked your wagon to a very dubious cause.
Which makes your cause extremely dubious indeed.
ID is creationism—fine go for it.
Creationism in the form the DI are promoting is fundamentalist neo-fascist atheism; anti-religion and anti-science.
You need to check where you stand.

Comment #61791

Posted by Shirley Knott on December 7, 2005 8:15 AM (e)

Well, David, once again you both misread and fail to respond.
First, the misreading. I did not, and do not, make the claim that ‘I cannot believe that anyone considers the Bible inerrant’.
I certainly accept that you do.
However, I cannot believe the mental contortions you must have to go through in order to reconcile the almost countless errors in that disgusting piece of crap. (And I must assume that as a native speaker of English you understand the usage and meaning of the phrase “I can’t believe” when used as I did. But as usual, your comprehension is in thrall to your prejudicial beliefs.)
Second, I note with some interest that you have again failed to address my challenge to your summary of the fundamentals of cosmological ID as you presented them on UTI – How is cosmological ID anything other than an argument from incredulity?
Hmmmm?

And a bonus point – so what if the Bible makes the claim ithat it is nonsense to those who don’t believe it? The same claim could be made in everything from Ulyssess to the Odyssey to Lord of the Rings.
Bonus sub-point – even if the Bible were accurate in every regard, which demonstrably it is not, SO WHAT?
The god of the Bible is a petty, ugly, disgusting being well worth our contempt and outright opposition.
So even if I were to accept your (absurd) premise, I would not be on your side.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #61794

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 7, 2005 8:28 AM (e)

Being a believer is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

Thanks for sharing your religious opinion with us, Father.

Your religious opinion is, of course, no better than anyone else’s. (shrug)

Comment #61799

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 8:44 AM (e)

Shirley,

I did not misread, I understood perfectly what you said. I think you misunderstood me. Let me phrase it differently. Your view of the bible is that by rational analysis you have concluded that it is crap. My view is quite different: it is not possible for you to have concluded otherwise. It is impossible for you to believe the bible. It is, just as it said it would be, foolishness to you. You have to be regenerated before you could believe otherwise.

So when you say “I can’t believe” you mean that that after giving it a fair reading, you “can’t believe” because it is preposterous. I understand that. What I am saying is: you are correct. You can not believe. I agree with you.

As for (cosmological) ID and an argument from incredulity, I simply don’t know what you mean. Ask a specific question instead of asking me to defend something vague I don’t recall writing, or at least jog my memory by linking to what I wrote. If it is the God of the Gaps question, then as I said many times:

God of the Gaps: We have no clue why stars and galaxies exists, therefore God did it.

God of the Details (Cosmological ID): We now know a great deal about galaxies and stars, enough to be amazed that they exist at all, enough (for some of us) to take seriously the idea that the fine tuning is prima facie evidence of design.

Lenny,

You missed the boat. It wasn’t a religious opinion I shared, but rather a critique of your logic.

Comment #61802

Posted by Renier on December 7, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

Heddle wrote :
My goal is never, ever to convince people. (On the other hand, you have no evidence that my words on PT were never used by God to reach someone lurking here—but to the contrary I have some private emails that suggest otherwise.)

If you are not here to convince people, then why are you here? To be convinced? No, I have no evidence that God is using you, just like you have no evidence that God exists. Peddle your dogma elsewhere please.

Heddle wrote
At least up to now. At least in physics and related fields. Everything points to a universe that is wondrously made.

I disagree. I do not see one speck of evidence that anything was made. I see only nature.

Heddle wrote:
And how did you parse my words to reach this conclusion?

I made my assumption based on the nonsense about all non-atheistic scientists doing ID research. I have no doubt many of these scientists adhere to the “correct way to do science”, but stating that they are really submitting Pro-ID material is BS. If this is so, then why are so many of them (most of them?) Anti-ID and pro-evolution? Or are you saying they are undercover agents for the DI? And, why does ID still not submit research as evidence for ID if there is such a vast store to choose from? I’ll tell you why, because the vast store of evidence is evolution related, not ID. No evidence whatsoever is ID related. But hey, at least you admit ID is not science, so why accuse all non-atheist scientists of doing ID related research?

And do me a favour. Since you know and preach that ID is not science, PLEASE tell your cute friend at the Disco Institute that ID is not science, because they just don’t seem to get it. Oh, and how about letting Dembsi and Behe in on the truth too, that ID is not science, but religion. Why are you here telling us it is not science? We already KNOW that Heddle. Are you preaching this on Dembski’s blog? Why not? Let the truth set them free, we already have the truth David, and we are fighting to keep ID (religion) out of schools, just like you are David. Oh wait….

Comment #61805

Posted by Ogee on December 7, 2005 9:15 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

“We now know a great deal about galaxies and stars, enough to be amazed that they exist at all, enough (for some of us) to take seriously the idea that the fine tuning is prima facie evidence of design.

Bingo, that would be the argument from incredulity right there. Improbable, thereore Goddiddit.

The “improbable” part is unsupported (unless you are prepared to show that the physical constants could have taken on any arbitrary value) and the “therefore Goddiddit” part is a non sequitur.

Comment #61809

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 9:34 AM (e)

Renier:

Why are you here telling us it is not science? We already KNOW that Heddle.

I only bring it up when people like you yell it at me, and ask me to defend a position (ID is science) that I don’t hold.

I made my assumption based on the nonsense about all non-atheistic scientists doing ID research. I have no doubt many of these scientists adhere to the “correct way to do science”, but stating that they are really submitting Pro-ID material is BS.

No, it isn’t. When atheist Hoyle did his work on stellar evolution, his results, which were arrived at by the scientific method, support (in my opinion) cosmological ID. You are free to believe otherwise.

I am not fighting to keep ID out of the schools. I agree with the position that it does not belong in the science curriculum, but I certainly think that it is useful in rabbit trail discussions and a good thought-provoking seminar topic. As I have blogged about and wrote on PT, the worst, most boring science class imaginable is a strictly “science only” science class. Philosophical tangents are extremely effective at stimulating student interest.

Ogee

Bingo, that would be the argument from incredulity right there. Improbable, thereore Goddiddit.

So which is the argument from incredulity:

(a) We have no idea how it works, therefore God did it.
(b) We know the details of how it works, enough to recognize it is on a razor’s edge, therefore God did it.

They are very different. If both are your “argument from incredulity”, then it is nothing more than an argument against theism, and should be presented as such.

The “improbable” part is unsupported (unless you are prepared to show that the physical constants could have taken on any arbitrary value)

You realize the position “the physical constants could have taken on any arbitrary value” is exactly what people like Susskind are saying.

Actually, for ID it is mostly irrelevant. If the constants can take on any value, then the design is in the selection of the constants. If a fundamental theory is discovered that predicts the values of the constants (which would destroy Susskind’s String Theory Landscape argument, which suggests > 10^500 points in the physical constant parameter space) then the design is in the fundamental theory. ID is not based on whether or not the constants are improbable, but on the fact that life is sensitive to their values. In short, and contrary to what you said, if the constants cannot take on any values other the values they have, that would be somewhat favorable to cosmological ID, in my opinion.

Comment #61812

Posted by Renier on December 7, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

David, just wanted to know, are you going to do your part and tell the ID people that ID is not science?

Comment #61813

Posted by Wislu Plethora on December 7, 2005 9:53 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

ID is not based on whether or not the constants are improbable, but on the fact that life is sensitive to their values.

This is tiresome. I will make the point that has been made countless times wrt Heddle’s fine-tuning argument: if life as we know it is the result of some chance events in the primordial ooze and subsequent mutation and selection, then the universe in which this happened would logically give the appearance of being fine-tuned in favor of the development of life as we know it. This makes me dizzy, but the point is that if the argument isn’t one of incredulity vis-a-vis the probability question, then there is no argument.

Comment #61814

Posted by Renier on December 7, 2005 9:54 AM (e)

Ok, now I have some questions. I have no background in Physics, so bear with me. This Cosmological constant, what defines it? I think in general that constants must have a theory behind them, to explain why they are what they are?

I’ll take your word that life is very dependent on the CC (cosmological constant). But if the CC was not what it is, then we would not be here to observe it? Now, I know you guys are on about the “fine-tuning” of the CC to point to ID, but is it not more the laws that appears to be fine-tuned?

Comment #61816

Posted by Ogee on December 7, 2005 9:58 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

So which is the argument from incredulity:

(a) We have no idea how it works, therefore God did it.
(b) We know the details of how it works, enough to recognize it is on a razor’s edge, therefore God did it.

Both are arguments from incredulity; (b) has the more sophisticated premise, but both employ the same fallacious logic (non-sequitur).

You realize the position “the physical constants could have taken on any arbitrary value” is exactly what people like Susskind are saying.

I don’t care what Susskind says: if this is a premise of your argument, you need to justify it. If not, you need to say so.

If the constants can take on any value, then the design is in the selection of the constants. If a fundamental theory is discovered that predicts the values of the constants […] then the design is in the fundamental theory.

In other words, God retreats to whatever point is necessary for you to maintain your confidence that, whatever the circumstances, Goddiddit.

Comment #61817

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 9:59 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle wrote:

If the constants can take on any value, then the design is in the selection of the constants. If a fundamental theory is discovered that predicts the values of the constants (which would destroy Susskind’s String Theory Landscape argument, which suggests > 10^500 points in the physical constant parameter space) then the design is in the fundamental theory.

Which translates neatly to “heads I win, tails you lose.”

He also wrote:

ID is not based on whether or not the constants are improbable, but on the fact that life is sensitive to their values.

But forgot to add: “…but if life were instead insensitive to their values, that would be proof of Intelligent Design; because, what else could make life so amazingly resilient?”

Heddle also insisted that ID is falsifiable, because he would personally consider it falsified if other universes were detected.

But he’s not contradicting himself. No sirree. Why, you ask? Because he says so himself!

Comment #61822

Posted by Flint on December 7, 2005 10:26 AM (e)

Would it be correct to say that given any set of physical constants, whatever emerges is necessarily fine-tuned for those constants? Heddle is allowing himself to place his bets AFTER he sees where the ball came to rest, and then feigning amazement at how astoundingly unlikely it is that he won. Since he’s fooling nobody else, the only point of interest is whether he is fooling himself. It would seem implausible, except for the demonstrated human ability for doublethink.

Comment #61823

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 10:26 AM (e)

Renier,

No, that is not my job nor my mission. Anyone who reads my blog knows my views. The only ID blogs I read daily are Telic Thoughts and Wittingshire. My views are known on those blogs. I am not going to seek out all ID blogs just to pass some test you have imposed on me.

Wislu Plethora

Would you like a long list of cosmologists who view the fine tuning as scientifically very relevant, or just a short list of Nobel Laureates? You could write them and tell them that fine tuning is obvious and so why do they make such a fuss about it. Okay, I’ll tell you: They grasp what you do not: a habitable universe does not trivially mean that fine tuning is inevitable. For example, if a habitable universe was compatible with a huge range of large Cosmological Constants then, presto—no CC tuning.

Perhaps on a local scale, say the earth itself, your point has some validity, but not on a cosmological scale. In other words, the “primordial ooze” as you describe it may inescapably look like “apparent” fine tuning for life on earth. But the cosmological questions is: why was there any primordial ooze whatsoever, in the first place?

The analogy that evolution is like a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a 747 is horribly flawed. The real question is what the junkyard contained all the necessary components.

Aureola and Ogee, who both made the “heads I win tails you lose” argument–that is true only because the source of the constants is irrelevant. Only the sesitivity is important. If you can defeat the fine tuning, by demonstrating that it is an illusion, then you defeat ID–and that would be independent of whether or not a fundamental theory exists.

Aureola

but if life were instead insensitive to their values, that would be proof of Intelligent Design; because, what else could make life so amazingly resilient?”

I actually think you know that this is not true, but perhaps not. Fine tuning is evidence for design, by Occam’s razor. A non fine-tuned universe, or even a megaverse with rare pockets of habitable subuniverses, would, again by Occam’s razor, be evidence for a purely naturalistic explanation.

ID would be falsified by detecting another universe. How did I contradict that claim?

Comment #61824

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 10:37 AM (e)

By showing us all exactly the “heads I win, tails you lose” reasoning behind your position, Mr. Heddle. That makes your particular version of ID unfalsifiable, as has been shown several times already.

And that’s what your whole position boils down to, I’m afraid, regardless of your own claims to the contrary.

First, nobody has any idea what a “non-finely-tuned” universe would look like. For all we know, it might look exactly like what we see around us.

Second, a “megaverse” with pockets of habitable universes would NOT disprove cosmological ID; I would bet dollars vs. unmatched socks that some Mr. Heddle-like cosmologist would immediately claim that this means that OUR universe is so unlikely that it simply MUST have been fine-tuned.

After all, that’s exactly what happened with OUR universe; the uniqueness (“Privilege”)of our home planet is claimed as “proof” that it was uniquely designed, as opposed to all those other pieces of rock in non-privileged positions, orbits, galactic areas, galaxies…

Comment #61825

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 10:37 AM (e)

Flint,

You made this point before and it really is not very good. You wrote:

Would it be correct to say that given any set of physical constants, whatever emerges is necessarily fine-tuned for those constants?

Perhaps so, but that is not the point. We are not arguing against the idea that whatever emerges is necessarily fine tuned, but that the fine-tuning is such that intelligent life has emerged. Let’s grant that most sets of constants yield exquisitely fine-tuned, fascinating but sterile universes. It is not relevant. Ours may be no more fine tuned, probabilistically speaking, but what it is fine-tuned for is certainly different.

A universe that is fine tuned for long-lived stable stars and the production of carbon and oxygen certainly stands out among universes that are fine tuned for sterility.

Comment #61828

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 10:50 AM (e)

Aureola

No, I never said cosmological ID was falsifiable by finding (or not finding) a fundamental theory that explained the constants. I said it was falsifiable two ways: (1) detecting another universe or (2) proving that the fine tuning is an illusion. My view that ID is not dependent upon whether or not the constants can be explained is consistent with everything I have written on falsifiability.

As for what others might say, should another universe be detected, you are no doubt correct, some would cling to cosmological ID. I can only speak for myself. Unlike some who dabble in falsifiability in a “philosophy of science” sense, I use the “scientist in the field” working definition: if an explanation is no longer the best explanation, jettison it, regardless of what Popper says.

The same is true (that there will be stragglers) for all theories. Hoyle held on to the Steady State theory long after everyone more or less recognized that it had been falsified. What of the proverbial pre-Cambrian rabbit? Would its discovery cause universal rejection of evolution? I think not.

Comment #61829

Posted by Grey Wolf on December 7, 2005 10:53 AM (e)

Renier,

Most importantly, Heddle has, as usual, forgotten to account for the possibility that if the CC was something else, another kind of life would have arised. I believe that is because he privately believes that humankind is the apex of creation and thus that any other kind of life is unthinkable.

But the fact remains that if the CC wasn’t approximately 1/127 (IIRC) but, say, 1/234 instead of stars there would be giant 16-dimensional creatures that could be said to be alive (i.e. they reproduce and so on). We don’t know that, of course, but Heddle actually insists that it would be completely impossible that life would have arised had the CC been anything but what it is. That’s the argument from incredulity (I can’t believe life could arise with another CC, thus it didn’t).

He also ignores the fact that, for all we know, CC cannot oscillate more than a part in a billion, and thus the entire range of possible values CC could take all produce stars and planets and physics as we know them. Again, he cannot believe that the oscillation range of CC could be extremely small, thus it is not. Incredulity again.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Comment #61830

Posted by Wislu Plethora on December 7, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

Would you like a long list of cosmologists who view the fine tuning as scientifically very relevant, or just a short list of Nobel Laureates?

You jump from one logical fallacy to another. Are we to assume that your position is that Nobel laureates are incapable of arguments from incredulity? Is their data any different from yours?

Perhaps on a local scale, say the earth itself, your point has some validity, but not on a cosmological scale. In other words, the “primordial ooze” as you describe it may inescapably look like “apparent” fine tuning for life on earth. But the cosmological questions is: why was there any primordial ooze whatsoever, in the first place?

The problem is that *you* apparently believe that primordial ooze *needs* a reason for existing, and that is your very transparent–and very religious–mistake. Also sounds a bit post hoc ergo propter hoc, doesn’t it?

Comment #61832

Posted by steve s on December 7, 2005 11:01 AM (e)

That’s the fine structure constant, Grey, not the CC, but he could just as well use that. The argument’s the same. Imagine some physical constant could be an infinite number of values simply because there are infinite real numbers, point out that the (numbers which would generate us) divided by infinity is zero, and declare the existence of god.

Yawn. I just wonder how much longer you guys are going to humor him.

Comment #61835

Posted by Stephen Elliott on December 7, 2005 11:09 AM (e)

Posted by Grey Wolf on December 7, 2005 10:53 AM (e) (s)

Renier,

Most importantly, Heddle has, as usual, forgotten to account for the possibility that if the CC was something else, another kind of life would have arised. I believe that is because he privately believes that humankind is the apex of creation and thus that any other kind of life is unthinkable…

If gravity was slightly different then any life would be extremely unlikely.

Gravity slightly stronger and the universe would have collapsed long before a star could have formed. Slightly weaker and no atoms (let alone stars) would have been produced.

I am not arguing for ID here, but the fine tuning does seem to be noted by most physicists.

Comment #61836

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 11:10 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle,

No, I never said cosmological ID was falsifiable by finding (or not finding) a fundamental theory that explained the constants.

And I never claimed you did.

I said it was falsifiable two ways: (1) detecting another universe or (2) proving that the fine tuning is an illusion.

(1) is meaningless; an Intelligent Designer may have “worked in mysterious ways” and produced a whole slew of universes, either suitable or unsuitable for life. If you disagree, please show how (1) would falsify ID (not “convince you that ID is not viable or not the most parsimonious hypothesis”; that’s pure BS. “Falsifying” something means something else, even before Popper).

(2) Please give details. How does one go about “proving” that fine tuning is an illusion? You keep telling Flint that his objection is “weak”; but you fail to show that it indeed is. Yes, any universe where intelligent life arose will be amazingly well-suited for allowing intelligent life to arise. This IN ITSELF tells us that your updated anthropic principle is worthless; it does not stem from observations, as no possible contrary observation can ever be made.

Comment #61837

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 11:12 AM (e)

Grey Wolf,

Most importantly, Heddle has, as usual, forgotten to account for the possibility that if the CC was something else, another kind of life would have arised.

You nailed me, I am extremely chauvinistic in the sense that I believe that stars are necessary for any kind of life and stable stars are necessary for intelligent life. (After all, abiogenesis + evolution takes billions of years.)

Now perhaps you believe that life could emerge from hydrogen gas or a neutron star-like big clump or an empty universe. But I don’t think I’m really going out on a limb. You see it’s not my argument that life couldn’t exist with the (expected) large CC, it’s everybody’s argument, at least everyone who seriously examines the question. Everyone more or less agrees that if the CC wasn’t 120 orders of magnitude less than expected (an incredibly small number arrived at by some unknown (imperfect) cancellation of incredibly large numbers) then life could not exist.

Wislu Plethora

You are correct that Nobel Laurates are not infallible. But when they speak I take note.

And I do not argure that the primordial ooze needs a reason, I only argue that it is amazing that it exists. The next step, inferring design or inferring multiverses, is where religion comes in.

Steve S,

Please write Susskind at Stanford and tell him that the CC is only small in some units, and that anyway the problem will be solved by more sophisticated calculations–he could rip out a few chapters of his new book. I think you owe that much to a fellow anti-IDer.

Comment #61838

Posted by PvM on December 7, 2005 11:14 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

God of the Gaps: We have no clue why stars and galaxies exists, therefore God did it.

God of the Details (Cosmological ID): We now know a great deal about galaxies and stars, enough to be amazed that they exist at all, enough (for some of us) to take seriously the idea that the fine tuning is prima facie evidence of design.

The two seem to be very similar in nature. Both have unexplained details, based on which one reaches a conclusion. Not X thus Y without any independent positive evidence. Heddle himself already admits that he is ‘amazed that they [stars and galaxies] exist’ in other words ‘we have no clue why stars and Galaxies exists’ therefor we call it evidence of design.

The only difference is that Heddle and ID proponents in general call it ‘intelligent’ design. This distinction raises two issues:

The step from design to designer is inductive and Dembski himself has made an enormous concession, often overlooked:

“Before I proceed, however, I note that Dembski makes an important concession to his critics. He refuses to make the second assumption noted above. When the EF implies that certain systems are intelligently designed, Dembski does not think it follows that there is some intelligent designer or other. He says that, “even though in practice inferring design is the first step in identifying an intelligent agent, taken by itself _design does not require that such an agent be posited. The notion of design that emerges from the design inference must not be confused with intelligent agency_” (TDI, 227, my emphasis). (We’ll revisit this concession below.) “

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

Secondly, the designer logically has to be God.

In other words, Heddle’s refusal to recognize ID as yet another gap argument is mostly based on semantics but fails based on logic.

Comment #61841

Posted by James Taylor on December 7, 2005 11:23 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

I actually think you know that this is not true, but perhaps not. Fine tuning is evidence for design, by Occam’s razor. A non fine-tuned universe, or even a megaverse with rare pockets of habitable subuniverses, would, again by Occam’s razor, be evidence for a purely naturalistic explanation.

Occam’s razor actually eliminates the fine tuning argument as it requires a fine tuner that is not defined or discussed. No fine tuning does not require the postulated fine tuner. Since the fine tuner cannot be verified or studied, it is a superfluous postulate and eliminated by Occam’s razor since there is no need to assume the existence of a fine tuner.

Comment #61842

Posted by Ogee on December 7, 2005 11:32 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

Aureola and Ogee, who both made the “heads I win tails you lose” argument—that is true only because the source of the constants is irrelevant. Only the sesitivity is important.

How can you claim that the sensitivity is more important than the origin of the constants when you cannot even quantify the range of allowable values? Are you ignorant of the concept of conditional probability, or do you simply dismiss it in matters where it is inconvenient?

But let’s put aside for now the fact that you have failed to demonstrate the validity of your premise.

You have repeatedly evaded adressing the logical problem with your argument, namely the non-sequitur argument from incredulity. That is, even if one accepts your premise, your conclusion (Goddiddit) does not follow.

Comment #61846

Posted by Flint on December 7, 2005 11:42 AM (e)

“Fine tuning” as used here seems nothing more than a synonym for reality as we know it. Once again, ANY collection of physical constants is by definition “fine tuned” - if it were any different in any way, it would be “fine tuned” differently. That’s the neat thing about constants: they’re constant. Change them to something else, and they are still constant.

Heddle seems to be saying that in our particular case, these constants are somehow special because they have produced Heddle. And as Aureola Nominee points out, had this not happened, Heddle wouldn’t be here to observe that he’s here.

My comparison to the roulette wheel was exactly correct. Heddle gets to place his bet after he knows the result. It is not possible for the ball to land in a “losing” slot. Heddle has decided that the “purpose” of any universe is to produce whatever is produced in that universe. Since this one produced Heddle, it must have been deliberately “fine tuned” for that result. We know we’re here because the universe was designed to produce us, and we know it was designed that way because we’re here. Can’t get much more circular than that.

Comment #61849

Posted by Flint on December 7, 2005 11:47 AM (e)

Ogee:

You have it backwards. “Goddidit” is the premise. The circular reasoning and argument from incredulity are the rationalization required to support that premise. Heddle, whatever other skills he may possess, is quite expert at using his conclusions as his premises and deriving his conclusions from them.

Comment #61853

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 11:54 AM (e)

Aureola,

It’s very simple. If we accept fine tuning, then consider the following:

1) There is only one universe
2) The are many universes

What does Occam’s razor tell us?

If (1) is true, then design is the simplest explanation. (The only competing explanation is blind luck)

If (2) is true, then the argument that “of course we are in one of the rare universes fine-tuned for life, otherwise we wouldn’r be talking about it” is the simpler and preferred explanation.

That is why detecting another universe, in my opinion, would falsify cosmological ID.

Proving fine tuning is an illusion can be accomplished in two ways that I know of. One is to show that even in our universe, even if it is the only universe, it is not as real as most people think. That life really isn’t sensitive to the values. That very different values of the constants can produce fertile universes. I believe PT’s Victor Stenger is trying this, or has tried it.

Another approach is to show that the constants are, in some sense random, that there is no fundamental theory that predicts (all of them.) Then combine this with a multiverse theory. That leaves you with a materialistic proof of the weak anthropic view that our universe is fine tuned to support life, but that a gazillion others are not. So that argument is still dependent on the multiverses.

PvM

Heddle himself already admits that he is ‘amazed that they [stars and galaxies] exist’ in other words ‘we have no clue why stars and Galaxies exists’ therefor we call it evidence of design.

Gosh, could you have misrepresented my argument any more than you did? It should be clear that I am amazed that stars exist not because I don’t know why they exists, bu because I know something of the details and how dependent those details are on the constants. I am not filling any gaps with God. If so, what gap is it? What is the equivalent of the flagellum? Where does my argument depend on ignorance?

James Taylor,

See my argument to Aureola above. The design argument does not require one to assume a designer a priori (although, I do.) I would argue, as I did above, that someone who never considered or even thought of a designer when faced with the fine tuning would find the designer explanation simpler than the mulitverse. In fact, there is certainly anecdotal evidence to support this.

Ogee

How can you claim that the sensitivity is more important than the origin of the constants when you cannot even quantify the range of allowable values? Are you ignorant of the concept of conditional probability, or do you simply dismiss it in matters where it is inconvenient?

I think I know something about it.

Suppose, for the sake of argument we agree that if G were 5% smaller or 5% larger life could not exist. It is that fact that provides evidence for ID. Whether or not G was drawn from a random selection of possible G’s or a fundamental theory explains G is irrelevant.

Comment #61855

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 11:58 AM (e)

Flint,

Sarcasm aside, yes I do think the constants are special because they allow for intelligent life.

Comment #61860

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 12:20 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

If we accept fine tuning, then consider the following:

1) There is only one universe
2) The are many universes

What does Occam’s razor tell us?

Indeed, what does it tell us?

1) Our universe, being the only one, looks “fine-tuned” because every universe would look “fine-tuned” to an observer generated in it;

2) Our universe, being the only one, looks “fine-tuned” because a mysterious, supernatural, extrauniversal “Intelligent Designer” turned a few knobs and operated a few switches in a superduper lab, out of space and out of time;

3) Our universe, being one of many, looks “fine-tuned” because every universe would appear “fine-tuned” to an observer generated in it;

4) Our universe, being one of many, looks “fine-tuned” because a mysterious, supernatural, extrauniversal “Intelligent Designer” turned a few knobs and operated a few switches in a superduper lab, out of space and out of time, and chose this specific universe (and we don’t know how many more) for exactly this by-product.

Well, having no precommitment to this mysterious Intelligent Designer of yours, I must say that Occam’s razor seems to me to point very clearly to options 1 and 3.

And, as you can see, the number of universes actually existing would have no effect whatsoever on cosmological ID.

Comment #61862

Posted by Ogee on December 7, 2005 12:22 PM (e)

Suppose, for the sake of argument we agree that if G were 5% smaller or 5% larger life could not exist. It is that fact that provides evidence for ID.

Non sequitur, again. Merely expressing fine-tuning in percentage does not magically make the fallacy go away. Demonstrate how a certain percentage range is evidence for ID.

For that matter, please define the threshold percentage value that would/would not imply ID, and justify your choice. Given your apparent certainty, you must have already calculated this value and shown that the sensitivities of some important constants meet this criterion: please show your work.

Comment #61866

Posted by James Taylor on December 7, 2005 12:49 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #61867

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 12:51 PM (e)

Aureola,

You have moved the goal post. You have inserted “looks fine tuned” into the argument which, as I said, is perhaps justified on a local scale. But the fact that stars “just barely” exist is not “looks fine tuned”, it is fine tuned, not just to us but to any intelligent life in the universe. And just in my opinion, but in the opinion of many.

Ogee,

My “work” is merely the same “work” as the large number of scientists, both pro and con ID, that are astounded by the fine tuning. There is no formula, that if N constants are constrained within x percent, then ID is demonstrated. (What is the threshold value of genome similarity that proves common descent? Show your work.) ID is the response to a number of coincidences that make life (any life) possible. The push for multiverse theories is rooted, to a certain extent, in the same cause, as an explanation for the fine tuning that so many on PT want to dismiss as obvious. Contrary to PT commenters, almost all cosmologists believe that the fine tuning is impressive enough to cry out for an explanation of some sort. Almost zero of them accept what Aureola and Flint seem to accept, that it’s no big deal, that if it weren’t so we wouldn’t be here, etc.

Comment #61870

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

no, I haven’t moved any goalposts. The fact that you and however many other people think that our universe is finely tuned is not an observation about the universe. The observation is that is looks finely tuned.

Please, try not to be so sloppy when arguing science. I bet you are far more precise in your day job.

Comment #61880

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 1:17 PM (e)

Aureola,

Correct my (and a lot of other people’s) sloppiness.

What is the difference between saying the universe is fine tuned for producing stars and saying that it looks fine tuned?

Comment #61881

Posted by Ogee on December 7, 2005 1:25 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

My “work” is merely the same “work” as the large number of scientists, both pro and con ID, that are astounded by the fine tuning.

What work? Saying “Goddiddit” is work?

There is no formula, that if N constants are constrained within x percent, then ID is demonstrated.

Then on what basis (other than religious conviction) do you claim that sensitivity supports ID?

(What is the threshold value of genome similarity that proves common descent? Show your work.)

Wow. The connection between genetics and descent is well-established by mechanism and observation. The connection between “sensitivity” and “Goddiddit”? Ha ha.

Contrary to PT commenters, almost all cosmologists believe that the fine tuning is impressive enough to cry out for an explanation of some sort. Almost zero of them accept what Aureola and Flint seem to accept, that it’s no big deal, that if it weren’t so we wouldn’t be here, etc.

Sorry, your misdirection won’t fly with me. Quit dodging and justify your (fine-tuning, therefore Goddiddit) “logic”.

Comment #61882

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 1:26 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

The same difference that runs between saying that the universe is expanding away from us and saying that it looks that way.

It may turn out to be true; it may turn out to be false. It may turn out to be just one way to express something that is actually a by-product of something else.

Is it clearer now? Since I already used this exact same example to explain the exact same point to you, Mr. Heddle, I can only imagine that for some mysterious reason you don’t even want to contemplate the possibility that fine tuning might indeed not mean what you so desperately want it to mean.

Comment #61884

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 1:38 PM (e)

Aureola,

you did not answer my question at all. We know the universe is expanding because it looks like it’s expanding. That’s what experimentation does–it “looks” at something.

Let me ask another way. What would actual fine tuning look like (if it existed) as opposed to something that just “looks” like fine tuning? Can you give me an example? How would real fine tuning of the Cosmological Constant present itself, as opposed to the CC just “looking” fine tuned?

Ogee,

Then on what basis (other than religious conviction) do you claim that sensitivity supports ID?

You must have missed the other N times where I answered: on the basis of Occam’s razor. If there is only one universe, then I believe the explanation of design is preferred, due to its simplicity, over the explanation of dumb luck.

Comment #61885

Posted by Wislu Plethora on December 7, 2005 1:38 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

Correct my (and a lot of other people’s) sloppiness.

What is the difference between saying the universe is fine tuned for producing stars and saying that it looks fine tuned?

You seem to grasp the idea that your (and a lot of other people’s) sloppiness is not a good arguing point for your side, so I’m not sure why you keep invoking others who allegedly agree with you.

As for the difference, and this has been pointed out to you before, a universe that is fine-tuned requires a fine-tuner; one that only appears to be fine-tuned might not. I’m sure you understand the (undeniable) distinction, so I have to wonder why you keep beating on it.

Comment #61888

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 1:43 PM (e)

Wislu Plethora,

You do know about “begging the question” I assume? Ruling out ID because it requires a designer is a good example.

So again I ask, tell me how a Cosmological Constant that really is fine tuned would manifest differently from one that just “looks” fine tuned?

Comment #61889

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 1:47 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

who’s moving goalposts now? Read carefully… I said “away from us”. The ambiguity of that remark was my point.

Now, as to your question: I’ll tell you how a “really” finely tuned universe looks as soon as you will tell me what a non-finely-tuned universe would look like to an intelligent being generated by that universe.

I think that every universe will look “finely tuned” to an autoctonous intelligence.

Comment #61892

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 7, 2005 2:03 PM (e)

Heddle: “We know the universe is expanding because it looks like it’s expanding. That’s what experimentation does—it “looks” at something.”

Major flaw here, similar to Behe’s outrageous claim that “all science is appearances.” No, my friend, all science is *not* appearances, which is something any real working scientist understands. Appearances can be extremely deceiving and in science, one often finds that true underlying mechanisms are counterintuitive and quite different from what an “appearance” might imply. Experimentation is not a means of “looking” at something (gee whiz, it sure *looks* like the moon is made of cheese) – it is a way to discern reality *in spite of * appearances.

Comment #61893

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 2:05 PM (e)

Aureola,

What does the “from us” have to do with anything? Space is expanding between us and all other galaxies so they are expanding “from us,” which we know because they have been observed (look like) to be expanding from us. What is the difference?

If the existence of stable stars and carbon and oxygen was not sensitive to the CC, or G, or that ratio of the neutron to proton mass, or the ratio of G to alpha, or on the number of dimensions, or on the amount of primordial inhomogemity in the cosmic background, or on the degree of CP violation, or the strength of the nuclear force, or the strength of the weak force, or the ratio of the electron mass to the proton mass, etc. etc., that would be a non fine-tuned universe. The precise details of life on earth might still appear to be fine tuned, such as the size and location of the sun, (that’s arguable)–but the mere question of any kind of life anywhere in the universe would no longer be said to be “fine tuned.”

Now will you answer the question?

Comment #61894

Posted by Wislu Plethora on December 7, 2005 2:10 PM (e)

Madam Pomfrey wrote:

Experimentation…is a way to discern reality *in spite of * appearances.

The way that we know Heddle is an irrational creationist (a pleonasm perhaps?) is that his level of cognitive dissonance is such that he can argue against that very simple (and articulately expressed) idea.

Comment #61895

Posted by Flint on December 7, 2005 2:13 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee:

I think you may have missed something here (or perhaps I have). Any distinction between “is” and “looks” fine-tuned is impossible to distinguish from our frame of reference. Heddle is correct in this respect, that the two are identical. His error lies in assuming that he possesses an “objective” frame of reference independent of his personal perspective. In reality, all he has is the illusions his frame of reference imposes, to which he adds the illusion that it does not.

Comment #61896

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 2:15 PM (e)

Mr. heddle:

the difference is that saying “the universe is running away from us” is a very poor description of what’s happening. The universe is expanding, and that’s why faraway objects appear to be running away from us.

I think you are being very disingenuous, but then, you’re David Heddle, so what else is new?

And no, I will not answer your question as long you keep evading mine; and evading you are, as usual.

What would a non-finely-tuned universe look like to an autoctonous intelligence? Would their CC fluctuate? Would their fundamental “constants” be anything but?

Comment #61897

Posted by Flint on December 7, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

Madam Pomfrey:

You give science too much credit in this case. Yes, science is sometimes capable of neutralizing a frame of reference, by approaching an observation from different directions. But when it comes to the nature of the universe, there is no standard of comparison and appearance cannot be separated from “reality”. All we can possibly have of our universe is appearances.

Comment #61898

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 2:23 PM (e)

Madam Pomfrey,

So teach this poor scientist who has been working under false assumptions. If we do not know that the universe is expanding because it looks like it is expanding, how do we know it is expanding?

If it wasn’t our observations that convinced us, who or what did?

Experimentation is looking at something. It is absolutely not, as you wrote, the way to discern reality *in spite of* (false) appearances. It can be the way to discern reality in spite of false assumptions and/or flawed intuition.

Aureola Ah, so your argument is just based on semantics. Not to mention you did not use the phrase “running away from us.” The language of receding galaxies is common, and everyone understands that we really mean the galaxies are more or less stationary but space is expanding. But if you want to jump through that needle-eye, go ahead.

I answered your question quite clearly. I told you exactly what a non fine-tuned universe would look like. There is no evasion. You are evading my question.

By the way, I don’t know what “autoctonous” means.

Comment #61899

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 2:24 PM (e)

Flint:

that’s my point, not Mr. Heddle’s. The fact that every intelligence-producing universe would look finely-tuned to an auctonous intelligence is what makes Mr. Heddle’s reasoning completely moot.

Also, please note that, despite Heddle’s claims to the contrary, “fine tuning” is not used as if it somehow implied a Fine Tuner by mainstream cosmologists.

Comment #61900

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 7, 2005 2:36 PM (e)

Heddle:

sorry for the misspelling. It is “autochthonous”, according to Merriam-Webster.

Nope, I’m not the one routinely conflating “cosmological ID” and “biological ID”, claiming that “ID” is falsifiable because my own, highly particular definition of ID would become less-than-appealing to me, every time someone makes the correct remark that “ID” - according to everyday usage by its very inventors - is not.

I’m also not the one exploiting the confusion between the different possible meanings of “tuning”.

Comment #61901

Posted by Wislu Plethora on December 7, 2005 2:38 PM (e)

By the way, I don’t know what “autoctonous” means

I think he meant “autochthonous,” which means “indigenous” or “originating where found.” But maybe not.

Comment #61902

Posted by Ogee on December 7, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

You must have missed the other N times where I answered: on the basis of Occam’s razor. If there is only one universe, then I believe the explanation of design is preferred, due to its simplicity, over the explanation of dumb luck.

I have to admit I laughed out loud at this; I never expect a supposed professional scientist would claim that Occam’s Razor favours God because “Goddiddit” is a simpler explanation than an actual scientific theory.

Do you know what Occam’s Razor actually says?
“Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.”

God is not a necessary entity in this matter, I’m afraid.

Comment #61910

Posted by Steverino on December 7, 2005 3:24 PM (e)

Heddle:

When David Copperfield made that volcano disappear, under your perception of Occam’s Razor, magic would have been the answer.

Occam’s Razor does not apply to myths or magic.

Comment #61912

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 7, 2005 3:35 PM (e)

Flint: “But when it comes to the nature of the universe, there is no standard of comparison and appearance cannot be separated from “reality”. All we can possibly have of our universe is appearances.”

I think several different things are being conflated here, and it’s important to define what an “appearance” is. Behe made his statement on the Dover stand that “all science is appearances” in connection with the ID assertion that “if something looks designed, it is designed.” That is not an “appearance” gained from experimental results (which shouldn’t be labeled an “appearance” anyway), but an “appearance” based solely on forcing an interpretation from a foregone conclusion, which in this case, is also a tautology. Something’s designed because it looks designed, and something looks designed because it’s designed. This is in essence no different from “The moon is made of cheese because it looks like it’s made of cheese, and it looks like it’s made of cheese because it’s made of cheese.” There may or may not be reality behind such an assertion, but as it is only an assertion, its mere existence does not guarantee that it reflects reality…whatever the “appearance” might be.

Heddle: “Experimentation is looking at something. It is absolutely not, as you wrote, the way to discern reality *in spite of* (false) appearances. It can be the way to discern reality in spite of false assumptions and/or flawed intuition.”

No, I’m afraid you are wrong here, and no amount of repetition, handwaving or rhetoric will change that fact. Hold your fingers in your ears and hum all you want, but the truth’s the truth. Experimentation is not taking a “look” at something and deciding what it is. Experimentation is obtaining data that reflect objective reality. (Of course, as scientists well know, *interpretations* of data can be flawed, which we try to minimize through teamwork, peer review, and collaboration.) The reality you see after doing the hard work and digging can, and often does, directly contradict what “appearance” might imply. Scientists have often been surprised at what experiment reveals: boy, the situation sure *looked* like A, but it turned out to be B! This is one of the greatest things that can happen, since then you *learn* why you got B instead of A, and it is *reality* that has told you, and it will almost always be something new and exciting that has caught you by surprise and expanded your knowledge. How dull, then, to start as the IDers do with a foregone conclusion and work desperately to cram everything you find into that context (while ignoring the evidence that doesn’t support you, of course).

I am a physical chemist, not an astrophysicist, and am not qualified to discuss the “fine-tuning of the universe” with any authority. While I am happy to talk about science and experimentation in general terms, I try to offer detailed opinions only in areas I am trained in (unlike certain ID “authorities” and supporters).

Comment #61916

Posted by Norman Doering on December 7, 2005 3:38 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

If there is only one universe, then I believe the explanation of design is preferred, …

What if the evidence says there is more than one universe?

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

David Deutsch thinks that quantum computers offer evidence of a multiple universe model.

http://www.qubit.org/people/david/David.html
http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/prize05/prize05_index.html

Comment #61921

Posted by David Heddle on December 7, 2005 3:51 PM (e)

Madam Pomfrey,

You are doing all the handwaving. I asked a very simple question:

So teach this poor scientist who has been working under false assumptions. If we do not know that the universe is expanding because it looks like it is expanding, how do we know it is expanding?

If it wasn’t our observations that convinced us, who or what did?

No handwaving–just explain how it is that we know that the universe is expanding if it is not because it looks like it is expanding. (The only other answer I know is that the bible tells us God has strectched the heavens–is that how we know, if it is not from looking?)

I try to offer detailed opinions only in areas I am trained in (unlike certain ID “authorities” and supporters).

And what about people like PT’s Ed Brayton? Would you apply your distinction to a lawyer who writes on evolution and ID? (I wouldn’t, but since you brought up the question of training…)

Norman
Yes , and when another universe is detected I will renounce my support of ID. The fact that some inflationary models predict multiverses and are consistent with present observations of our universe never has and never will constitute evidence for multiverses. Only detection of multiverses will prove they exist.

Comment #61923

Posted by Ogee on December 7, 2005 4:06 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

Yes , and when another universe is detected I will renounce my support of ID. The fact that some inflationary models predict multiverses and are consistent with present observations of our universe never has and never will constitute evidence for multiverses. Only detection of multiverses will prove they exist.

That’s truly bizarre:

1) your requirements for direct observation seem to be highly selective (you gladly assume an unobserved supernatural designer).

2) the existence of multiverses does not falsify ID (what if all, or some substantial fraction, are life-friendly?)

Comment #61925

Posted by Norman Doering on December 7, 2005 4:13 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

The fact that some inflationary models predict multiverses and are consistent with present observations of our universe never has and never will constitute evidence for multiverses. Only detection of multiverses will prove they exist.

David Deutsch isn’t talking about inflationary models in cosmology. You’re making bad assumptions without exploring the actual data.

http://www.qubit.org/people/david/Articles/Frontiers.html

Deutsch wrote a book called “The Fabric of Reality”:
http://www.qubit.org/people/david/FabricOfReality/FoR.html

Deutsch is proposing a multiverse to explain why a quantum computer works. In 1985 David Deutsch wrote the key paper which proposed the idea of a quantum computer and initiated the study of how to make one.

Deutsch uses the multiverse theory to explain why quantum computers have additional resources that seem to expand beyond what we can account for with a single universe model. Quantum computations are being shared out among universes in this way. In 2002, Deutsch answered some long-standing questions about the multiverse interpretation of quantum theory in “The Structure of the Multiverse” — in particular, what sort of structure a ‘universe’ is, within the multiverse. It does this by using the methods of the quantum theory of computation to analyse information flow in the multiverse.

Small quantum computers are now operating in laboratories around the world, and the race is on to find a scalable implementation that, if successful, will revolutionize the technologies of computation and communications. That’s theory leading to experimental results.

Comment #61929

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 7, 2005 4:21 PM (e)

Heddle: “If it wasn’t our observations that convinced us, who or what did?”

As I made clear above, an observation/conclusion based on real data is different from an “appearance” or, as you more revealingly put it, mere “looking.” Claiming that the two are one and the same is a typical ID tactic of relaxing standards and changing definitions to lend credence to unsupported assertions. Behe’s tautology is the ultimate example. Said it several times, won’t say it again.

[replay] I am not qualified to comment on details outside my field like the expanding universe or fine-tuning. Go ask an astrophysicist or cosmologist.

I would in fact apply my “distinction” to Ed Brayton. For example, I would accept the conclusions of an expert in evolutionary biology before Ed’s when it comes to the scientific details of that field. Ed himself defers to experts in those areas. Unlike certain ID supporters, I doubt that he would discount conclusions based on years of painstaking and detailed research just because he sees those conclusions as threatening to his spiritual identity.

Comment #61961

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 7, 2005 7:57 PM (e)

IOnce again, I’d like to thank Rev Heddle for sharing his religious opinions with all of us.

Once again, I’d like to point out that Rev Heddle’s religious opinions are no more authoritative than anyone else’s. (shrug)

I’d also like to thank Rev Heddle for demonstrating the accuracy of the title of this thread, so clearly and in front of everyone. After all, Rev Heddle has, as of this moment, posted a total of 23 different messages here ——- every single one of which regales us with his religious opinions, and not a single one of which presents any testable scientific theory whatsoever.

Just like ID.

Comment #61976

Posted by AC on December 7, 2005 9:01 PM (e)

Appearances are a pretty sloppy data type as well. Consider that the Earth, from casual surface eyeballing, appears flat, and that the sun, from the same, appears to orbit the Earth. Both of these appearances happen to be superficial, and the conclusions drawn from them are incorrect. But that’s quite a variation; a sphere is not a plane, and geocentric is not heliocentric. So much for casual surface eyeballing.

It’s one thing to get your prying human fingers pinched by quantum uncertainty. It’s another entirely to get your ego bruised by not finding the god you were sure would be found. The former is a noble injury. The latter is just immature, regardless of how deeply you probed.

Comment #61992

Posted by k.e. on December 7, 2005 10:09 PM (e)

Hmmmmm
Heddle
You would appear to be aping the cardinals who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope when asked, for fear it would break the “Music of the Spheres”. Or the Sunna appointed by Mohamed which had sole authority in determining “The one true word of God” and shut down eastern medicine and science because it might destroy a belief in the Creator around the year 900……Obscuration at its best.

Or the Emperor Justinian who shut down the Greek Pagan schools because the Bishops of the Early Christian church did not want to damage their grip on the public mind and their world view as expressed in “The one true word of God” which they controlled as well as removing Gnosticism with the same aim, at the same time……Obscuration at its best.

Or The DI founders who want to promote their Atheistic Nihilism to have one truth for their neo-con friends and something else for the rest of society plus co-opting Religious/Political Fundamentalists aid with pseudoscience supported Obscuration to promote their take over of the courts and government with their
“The one true word of God” ….Obscuration at its best.

Or the development of the two schools of Zen the first where literal “life long learning” saw a serious threat from the new “sudden enlightenment” school.

TAKE A LOOK AT THIS

This is a perfect description for the the entire ID pseudoscience BS practice of Dembski et al.

Sesquipedalian Obscurantism
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A640207

Obscurantism in Religion

http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_51_100/obscurantism.htm

Heddle how did you go with “Lolita” - by Nabokov ?

Comment #62002

Posted by PvM on December 7, 2005 11:24 PM (e)

PvM wrote:

Heddle himself already admits that he is ‘amazed that they [stars and galaxies] exist’ in other words ‘we have no clue why stars and Galaxies exists’ therefor we call it evidence of design.

Heddle wrote:

Gosh, could you have misrepresented my argument any more than you did? It should be clear that I am amazed that stars exist not because I don’t know why they exists, bu because I know something of the details and how dependent those details are on the constants. I am not filling any gaps with God. If so, what gap is it? What is the equivalent of the flagellum? Where does my argument depend on ignorance?

Seems Heddle is confused about the argument from ignorance. Lacking any information explaining the appearance of fine tuning or in other words, because of our and Heddle’s ignorance, Heddle concludes: thus designed.
The gap is simple: How to explain the apparant fine-tuning. Since Heddle does not know he infers: ‘design’.

So where does his argument depends on ignorance? Because we are ignorant as to how to explain that appearance of fine-tuning, Heddle concludes thus designed. Nothing positive is added.

We don’t know, thus designed…

QED
In the middle ages many such arguments from ignorance were made to infer ‘God’. I thought that people had learned by now that this is not a very effective and scientific way to argue one’s point.
Of course Heddle could show me wrong and explain the finetuning of the universe. It’s our and his ignorance to this question that leads him to infer design.
Wikipedia

Comment #62003

Posted by PvM on December 7, 2005 11:30 PM (e)

It was our forefathers’ observation of lets say fairy circles which caused them to infer ‘design’. How else could mushrooms end up growing in a circle…

It was however the ignorance of our forefathers which caused them to infer design.

Does this help Heddle?

Comment #62035

Posted by Steverino on December 8, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

This is off topic but, someone just posted this in another forum. Can anyone tell me how this proposed argument play out???

“You’re still talking about evolution as if it hasn’t been long abandoned by people who know better. Dude. Welcome to the year 2005. DNA and the CELL alone disprove the long outdated THEORY of evolution.”

Would appreciate any help.

Steverino

Comment #62041

Posted by steve on December 8, 2005 8:27 AM (e)

What are you asking for?

Comment #62046

Posted by k.e. on December 8, 2005 9:44 AM (e)

Steverino
Looks like the creo’s have set up their own little universe of fear and loathing.
Maybe Blast figured out how to run a Blog.
Ask them if they have balls enough to take on some real scientists and get them to post their circle whack here.
Ironically it must sound like music to Heddle’s spheres.
hehe.

Comment #62054

Posted by David Heddle on December 8, 2005 10:51 AM (e)

PvM,

All you are doing, by referring to it as “apparent” fine tuning, is begging the question. As long as “actual” fine tuning is a priori forbidden, then you leave yourself a permanent, convenient gap of “explaining the apparent fine tuning.”

But what if the fine tuning is real? In that case, the impossible task of explaining the fine tuning is an unrealizable promise tantamount to a “materialism of the gaps.”

If you allow for the possibility that the fine tuning is real and not just apparent (I doubt you can extend yourself to that point) then you can at least make an assessment:

a) Fine tuning from an undetectable designer, one universe, or

b) Infinite or semi-infinite and, either in principle or practically, undetectable universes with different laws of physics, and ours happens to be one of the rare, habitable ones that naturally “appears” fine-tuned.

To first order, there are no other choices.

k.e.

It is my sincerest hope that your efforts are recognized and you are given permission to post articles on the main page of PT.

Comment #62063

Posted by Ogee on December 8, 2005 11:45 AM (e)

To first order, there are no other choices.

Utter nonsense. There are a multitude of choices, not the least of which is:

c) One universe, no designer. “Fine-tuned” physical constants are dictated by fundamental physical laws.

Regardless, if we are only offered the first two, (b) is still preferred. Both require unobserved entities, but at least we know universes (at least one) exist.

Comment #62064

Posted by Wislu Plethora on December 8, 2005 11:52 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

If you allow for the possibility that the fine tuning is real and not just apparent (I doubt you can extend yourself to that point) then you can at least make an assessment:

a) Fine tuning from an undetectable designer, one universe, or

b) Infinite or semi-infinite and, either in principle or practically, undetectable universes with different laws of physics, and ours happens to be one of the rare, habitable ones that naturally “appears” fine-tuned.

To first order, there are no other choices.

Seems like Heddle is determined to go through the entire list of logical fallacies in order to support his lame hypothesis; add argument from false dichotomy to the growing list.

Comment #62067

Posted by David Heddle on December 8, 2005 12:07 PM (e)

Ogee,

If you think

c) One universe, no designer. “Fine-tuned” physical constants are dictated by fundamental physical laws.

is an option, then you do not understand the concept of fine tuning. Not only that, you are virtually alone. I know of no scientist who believes the answer to the fine tuning is a single universe and a fundamental theory that explains the constants. Because they understand that that doesn’t solve anything. We are still left with the question of how the fundamental theory just happened to result in a habitable (on a razor’s edge) universe. They understand that, in effect, the scenario you described would be an advantage to ID.

As for preferring (b), that’s a perfectly reasonable and common position. Of course, there are no observations at the moment that offer direct support for either (a) or (b).

Wislu

As for false dichotomy, I did not say there were only two choices, but rather to first order there are only two choices.

No logical fallacy. Only reading incomprehension on your part.

Comment #62070

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 8, 2005 12:12 PM (e)

Newsflash for Mr. Heddle:

Theories are human constructs. Reality is what is is regardless of whether it fits a theory or not.

We are still left with the question of how the fundamental theory just happened to result in a habitable (on a razor’s edge) universe.

is completely meaningless. And yes, your dichotomy is false, and so a logical fallacy.

Comment #62073

Posted by PvM on December 8, 2005 12:22 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

All you are doing, by referring to it as “apparent” fine tuning, is begging the question. As long as “actual” fine tuning is a priori forbidden, then you leave yourself a permanent, convenient gap of “explaining the apparent fine tuning.

What evidence do we have of actual fine tuning? But more interestingly, Heddle avoided addressing the real issues, focusing on irrelevant semantics.
Such are arguments from ignorance… I must have hit a nerve since Heddle not only avoided dealing with the issues but also used ad hominems.

Come on Heddle, it’s not that hard to admit that your argument is one from ignorance.

Comment #62075

Posted by Christopher Blake on December 8, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

This is for David Heddle. Enough is enough. You know, and have admitted, that what you are doing is wrong. I implore you, in the name of the Savior that you claim to represent, to stop.

Comment #62079

Posted by David Heddle on December 8, 2005 12:41 PM (e)

PvM,

What evidence do we have that the fine tuning is an illusion? That it is only “apparent”?

And I focused precisely on the issue–that you are begging the question. The only way you can cast cosmological ID as “god of the gaps” is to rule it out in advance.

The reason is that there is really only one hope: multiple universes. There is no “refinement” of our present understanding (in spite of what steve s believes) that can undo the fine tuning. With a single universe, it is in fact “real”, not “apparent.” Almost every gets it.

At one point Weinberg said something to the effect that the Anthropic Principle stands or falls on the CC being just small enough that galaxies exist but not zero. That is preisely what happened. He understands that this universe, if it is the only one, is really (not apparently) fine tuned. Of course, he would then use that to motivate belief in multiverses, which once again restore the “apparent”, but the point is clear.

This is not like the case with the flagellum. You can always claim that plausible pathways can/will be discovered.

Christopher

Okay, I’ll stop. But your comment should be directed at everyone else. One reason someone like me becomes a “troll” is the N on 1 problem. I am responding (at least for the most part), not initiating. Check and see if I first commented to PvM, Wislu, Flint, you, Lenny, Aureola, k.e., ogee, etc. or if they (you) first commented to me. In other words, you should be telling them (yourself) to stop feeding the troll.

Comment #62081

Posted by Stephen Elliott on December 8, 2005 12:46 PM (e)

Posted by PvM on December 8, 2005 12:22 PM (e) (s)

Heddle wrote:

All you are doing, by referring to it as “apparent” fine tuning, is begging the question. As long as “actual” fine tuning is a priori forbidden, then you leave yourself a permanent, convenient gap of “explaining the apparent fine tuning.

What evidence do we have of actual fine tuning? But more interestingly, Heddle avoided addressing the real issues, focusing on irrelevant semantics.
Such are arguments from ignorance… I must have hit a nerve since Heddle not only avoided dealing with the issues but also used ad hominems.

Come on Heddle, it’s not that hard to admit that your argument is one from ignorance.

Fair point, but is the multiverse argument any different?
Or the various brane theories?

The Universe does appear to be fine tuned.

Slightly different constants would not give a slightly different universe. Gravity alone…Slightly less and no atoms; slightly more and no Universe.

I am not saying that this means that God exists, but the apparent fine tuning exists.

Stephen Hawking and Briane Green acknowledge it. Neither of them are ID supporters. Indeed, Stephen Hawking is on the project Steve list.

Comment #62085

Posted by PvM on December 8, 2005 1:02 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

What evidence do we have that the fine tuning is an illusion? That it is only “apparent”?

And I focused precisely on the issue—that you are begging the question. The only way you can cast cosmological ID as “god of the gaps” is to rule it out in advance.

Nope, I am not ruling out in advance cosmological ID. What I am pointing out to you is that your argument is a gap argument.
Your argument is a typical argument from ignorance. Why is that so hard to accept?

Comment #62089

Posted by Wislu Plethora on December 8, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

The Heddle lame argument-strategy results thus far, for those of you keeping score at home:

* Argument from personal incredulity
* Argument from appeal to authority
* Argument from false dichotomy
* Argument from ignorance
* Ad hominem argument
* Pee Wee Herman argument (“I know you are, but what am I?)

And that’s just in this thread. Anyone know what the record might be?

Comment #62091

Posted by k.e. on December 8, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

David
It wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of science on the development of religion and religious idea’s.
It will do a lot more good than trying to shore up an idea that is suffering Creators Disease, that of relevance.
Somehow I don’t think the Great Mystics were having a deep and meaningful with a 15 Billion year old instant ignition.

It won’t hurt to get a bigger picture by studying something much more relevant to your cause.
Go to www.jcf.org
Create/Project/Found a free account and download the six 1/2 hr talks by Joseph Campbell. It’s all good I promise.

Comment #62093

Posted by Ogee on December 8, 2005 1:56 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

If you think
c) One universe, no designer. “Fine-tuned” physical constants are dictated by fundamental physical laws.
is an option, then you do not understand the concept of fine tuning. Not only that, you are virtually alone. I know of no scientist who believes the answer to the fine tuning is a single universe and a fundamental theory that explains the constants. Because they understand that that doesn’t solve anything.

Putting aside the fallacious appeals to authority, you’re being obtuse. Saying “Goddiddit” simply shifts the question from “Why does a universe with life-friendly constants exist?” to “Why does a God who is both willing and able to design life-friendly universes exist?”. Of course, the God term is both redundant and unobserved (i.e. useless).

They understand that, in effect, the scenario you described would be an advantage to ID.

Do say. Scientists understand that “one universe, no designer” is an advantage to ID?

As for preferring (b), that’s a perfectly reasonable and common position. Of course, there are no observations at the moment that offer direct support for either (a) or (b).

Spare me the pretense that these are equally reasonable scenarios. The Goddiddit scenario falls to Occam’s Razor for reasons already stated, and is preferred only in conjunction with religious assumptions.

Comment #62099

Posted by AC on December 8, 2005 2:17 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

What evidence do we have that the fine tuning is an illusion? That it is only “apparent”?

The answer should become obvious by instead asking: “What scientific model do we have to suggest that it is not apparent, but actual?”

Earth’s oblate spheroid shape is rigorously defined. Our solar system’s heliocentricity is rigorously defined. “God” is neither rigorously defined nor a scientific model.

Comment #62106

Posted by carol clouser on December 8, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

Heddle’s argument is correct and not from ignorance. Whatever the physical basis for the values of the various constants of the universe, it is in fact fine tuned for life. But his argument would be much stronger if he wouldn’t hitch the tuning to life. One can argue, as some have indeed argued here in so many words, and as Heddle himself concedes, that it’s just “dumb luck”, particularly if life is not considered all that special from a universal point of view.

The broader argument he ought to be making is that any universe with “specifity” (not the same as complexity) is “tuned” or designed. For otherwise the question can be asked, “Why is it thus and not otherwise?” or “How did it get to be thus and not thus?” All of science is based on folks asking this very question, asked repeatedly about all manner of phenomena. Otherwise, why look for an origin for the species? Just propose that they had no origin, that they are just here, and be done with it.

I know someone will pipe up and argue that the same question can be asked about God. My answer is: No. The correct conception of God is precisely an unspecified entity, about which one cannot ask, “Why is it thus?” because there is no “thus”.

This topic needs much further elaboration than is possible in a single post. Hope this opened the door to some ideas.

Comment #62113

Posted by jim on December 8, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

Carol,

Have you ever heard of the anthropomorhpic principal?

In essence, if the Universe were not tuned to permit humans to develop, then we wouldn’t be around to ask the question “Why does the Universe look like it was tuned for humans to develop?”.

Turning that around, since we *are* hear asking that question, then then the parameters of our Universe *must* be compatible with the development of human life. Even if the odds were 1:1x10^100 against us.

You see we are part of the experiment and we don’t have the luxury of knowing the solution space for all possible Universes. We only get to study this one.

Comment #62152

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 8, 2005 7:09 PM (e)

And now Carol has decided to add her religious opinions to Heddle’s, and thus double the amount of scientific vacuity. (sigh)

Why is it that *no* ID supporter will ever tell us what the heck the scientific theory of ID is and how to test it using the scientific method, but *every* ID supporter is always more than happy to tell us all about his or her religious opinions…. . ?

Gee, it’s almost enough to make me think that … well … ID doesn’t actually *have* any science to present, and is … well … just *religious* opinions, and that IDers are … well …. *lying* to us when they claim otherwise.

Comment #62163

Posted by carol clouser on December 8, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

Lenny,

I never claimed that every post of mine constitutes science. Or that ID theory is scientific. I would like to believe that we all are sincerely engaged in the pursuit of the ultimate truths pertaining to the riddles of the universe. Science is not the only available path to that end. As a matter of fact, science likely has some rather severe limitations in its ability to uncover some of those truths, precisely because of the scientific method you so eloquently and repeatedly describe. Logical and philosophical analysis has its ligitimate place in this endeavor. The God hypothesis, for example, is not necessarily an exclusively religious idea. It also is a philosophical and rational one.

Comment #62167

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 8, 2005 9:54 PM (e)

I never claimed that every post of mine constitutes science. Or that ID theory is scientific.

But IDers *do* claim that, Carol.

And their claim is pure, unadulterated, complete, utter, one-thousand percent BS.

I would like to believe that we all are sincerely engaged in the pursuit of the ultimate truths pertaining to the riddles of the universe.

Then you are wrong. Science doesn’t give a flying fig about the “ultimate truths pertaining to the riddles of the universe”. Those are things that we pay theologians and philosophers to argue over, not scientists. Science has no more to say about the “ultimate philosophical truth” than it does about whether chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla.

In any event, what we discuss here in this blog is science, and the role of ID in it. While your armchair philosophizing about the ultimate riddle of the universe may (or may not be) worthy and laudible and all that, it has no role at all to play in the simple question “Is ID science, and does it belong in a science classroom”.

Me, I agree with Herr Doktor Marx; “Philosophy and the study of the actual world have the same relationship to one another as masturbation and sexual intercourse.”

Science is not the only available path to that end. As a matter of fact, science likely has some rather severe limitations in its ability to uncover some of those truths, precisely because of the scientific method you so eloquently and repeatedly describe. Logical and philosophical analysis has its ligitimate place in this endeavor. The God hypothesis, for example, is not necessarily an exclusively religious idea. It also is a philosophical and rational one.

That’s all well and nice. But it has diddley-squat to do with whether or not ID is science. (shrug)

Science isn’t trying to take away your sky daddy, Carol. So take a deep breath and relax.

Comment #62168

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 8, 2005 9:58 PM (e)

Does anyone else find it ironic (and revealing) that, in a thread dedicated to demonstrating the scientific vacuity of ID, nearly all of the messages are arguments over religious opinions?

Comment #62169

Posted by argy stokes on December 8, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

Madam Pomfrey wrote:

I am a physical chemist, not an astrophysicist, and am not qualified to discuss the “fine-tuning of the universe” with any authority.

You’re a physical chemist and the Hogwarts school doctor? I’m impressed!

Comment #62171

Posted by pippilangstrump on December 8, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

If you’ve ever tossed a salad or set your ass comfortably down in an la-z-boy, you are qualified to discuss the fine-tuning of the universe with an authority only a coarsely-tuned universe could impeach. Then you really must turn your attention to design, mind-body and exigent issues of that nature that no one ever had an exquisitely phrased opinion of before. Or you can play a tune on the piano, same difference.

Comment #62178

Posted by Norman Doering on December 9, 2005 12:56 AM (e)

The Universe does appear to be fine tuned.

What exactly do you think the universe is fine tuned for?

Change the constants and you might get something radically different but that doesn’t rule out what’s important. You may rule out carbon life chemistry – but consciousness and life might exist in other substrates.

Can you be certain that some form of consciousness or life-like self-replication wouldn’t exist in a drastically different universe?

We’re creating neural-net like intelligence using silicon chips. And there’s Steve Wolfram’s book “A New Kind of Science” which suggests life-like self-replication (leading to evolution) and intelligence can be generated by simple a-life rules:
http://www.wolframscience.com/nksonline/toc.html

All it takes is a universe that generates something akin to those rules and you might evolve intelligence and consciousness even without carbon chemistry and stars.

Do we really know enough about what would happen if the constants were changed?

Comment #62187

Posted by Tice with a J on December 9, 2005 3:52 AM (e)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

There is nothing more dangerous than someone who is convinced that God wants him to tell everyone else what to do.

I’d have to agree with you there. Look at what Joshua did to Jericho, or what Elijah did to the priests of Baal.

Norman: A New Kind of Science is not that great of a book to reference. I’ve read it, and it came across to me as more than a little ‘cranky’, and better minds than mine have studied it and said that it doesn’t really have anything original or groundbreaking to say.

You do raise a good point, though: just because the world as we know it wouldn’t occur if a few constants were changed does NOT mean that any kind of life or intelligence could not occur.

Comment #62193

Posted by David Heddle on December 9, 2005 8:04 AM (e)

Jim,

Carol,
Have you ever heard of the anthropomorhpic principal?

Do you mean the anthropic principle?

Turning that around, since we *are* hear asking that question, then then the parameters of our Universe *must* be compatible with the development of human life. Even if the odds were 1:1x10^100 against us.
You see we are part of the experiment and we don’t have the luxury of knowing the solution space for all possible Universes. We only get to study this one.

I’m not sure what your point is. Surely you are not saying that if the odds against us are (using your number) 1:1x10^100 that we should calmly say, gee aren’t we lucky? If so all cosmologists disagree. Regardless of his stripe, virtually any physicist or cosmologist would find an extremely improbable universe to be of philosophical and scientific interest.

Norman,

What exactly do you think the universe is fine tuned for?

On the grandest scale, it is fine tuned so that for every 10 billion antiparticles created, there were 10 billion plus 1 particles. It is fine tuned so that stars and galaxies exists. They easily could have been impossible. Then that stars produce heavy elements and (some of them) blast those elements into space. That’s on a knife’s edge. The existence of long-lived stable stars is also, by no means, certain, but evolution certainly relies upon them. Oh, and the existence of stable orbits and stable atoms requires exactly three space dimensions, but String Theory has no way to predict why we have 3 instead of 2 or 5 or 9. Shall I continue?

Do we really know enough about what would happen if the constants were changed?

I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that if no stars ever formed (for example, if the cosmological constant were fine tuned to only 119 places instead of 120), if the universe consisted of just hydrogen and helium, then no life of any kind would exist. Color me a chauvinist. Of course, there are vast regions of “empty” space with similar conditions. Perhaps SETI should look there. Perhaps Wolframic living cellular automata have built civilizations. It will be interesting to see how hydrogen and helium can produce anything other than hydrogen and helium.

Tice with a J,

just because the world as we know it wouldn’t occur if a few constants were changed does NOT mean that any kind of life or intelligence could not occur

It’s not the world that we know, but the universe that we know.

Comment #62195

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 9, 2005 8:10 AM (e)

What exactly do you think the universe is fine tuned for?

Producing beetles.

Comment #62200

Posted by k.e. on December 9, 2005 8:41 AM (e)

And beetle parasites to remind them they are beetles ……d’oh
At least they don’t have the luxury of asking themselves why they exist or set up temples or worship ancestors or have ceremonies for marriage.

Look up “Martin Luther sex” he had some very ….. well strange ideas
here’s one

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/luther.html

also interestingly elswhere a little bit of jaundice on Martin Luther King.

Comment #62205

Posted by jim on December 9, 2005 9:49 AM (e)

David,

Dooh, yes :)

Comment #62209

Posted by jim on December 9, 2005 10:04 AM (e)

David,

What I’m saying is this

What are the odds of rolling the number ‘1’ 100 times on a 10 sided dice? 1:10^100 ?

Now say you rolled a 10 sided dice 100 times. You’d end up with some random string of numbers 1, 7, 10, 2, 6, ….

Now what are the odds that you would roll the exact string of numbers you recorded? 1:10^100?

You see we’re looking backward at what has happened. It doesn’t matter what the odds were (“gee, we’re awfully lucky the Universe was tuned for us to develop”). Because we *are* here to ask the question, the Universe *must* have compatible constants for us to develop.

There might be an infinite number of universes around. However, only in those with compatible parameters for the development of intelligences will there be critters around to ask these questions.

So are we lucky that the Universe is tuned for us? No. We wouldn’t be around to ask the question if it wasn’t so the probability that we would evolve enough to ask these questions is evidence that the Universe’s parameters must be compatible with our development.

This is not circular reasoning. We exist, therefore the Universe must be compatible with our existance.

Comment #62215

Posted by David Heddle on December 9, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

I understand. But the dice analogy is missing a key point. If the constants come from a roll of the dice, then it is true that every universe is equally likely. However, given most of those universes are sterile, we have every reason to be astonished that ours is not–beyond just acknowledging if it weren’t we wouldn’t be here. If every arrangement of gas molecules in a container is equally likely, we would nevertheless find it of interest if we looked and saw an arrangement where all the molecules were in just half of the volume.

Comment #62217

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 9, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

That’s your assumption, Mr. Heddle.

If, instead of a gas, we were considering a liquid, we would probably not be overly surprised to find that all its molecules occupy one half of a spherical container… namely the lower half.

Every combination of values for the fundamental constants is equally possible in our imagination. How many of those are really possible? We don’t know; we’ve only observed one set so far.

Comment #62223

Posted by David Heddle on December 9, 2005 11:54 AM (e)

Aureola
I don’t get the point you were trying to make with the liquid. As for every combination being equally likely, that (a) fits Jim’s analogy and (b) seems to be coming out of String Theory at the moment.

As for fine tuning and cosmological ID, it doesn’t matter.

Comment #62226

Posted by jim on December 9, 2005 12:10 PM (e)

David,

Several questions here:

1) How probable is it that we exist in a Universe in which Humans could develop?

2) How many universes have ever existed?

3) When a new universe pops into existence, what governs the values of its fundamental constants?

I maintain that the answer to 1 is probability = 1

I maintain that the answer to 2 is that we don’t know and that we may never know.

I maintain that the answer to 3 is that we don’t know but we might know someday.

So are we “lucky” we exist in a Universe “tuned” for us? No we are not lucky. The Universe had to be tuned for us or we wouldn’t be here.

Furthermore if you remove our existence from the equation, there’s no telling what the overall probability of a Universe with the parameters of our Universe’s to develop.

It may be that certain values are favored but then again it might not. We just don’t know. Claiming that you *think* we were lucky for these parameters, therefore something must have helped the process is no basis for declaring that God exists.

Comment #62227

Posted by k.e. on December 9, 2005 12:11 PM (e)

Heddle time for an update
Check out Goya’s “the sleep of reason”
http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/nagel.html

Comment #62228

Posted by PvM on December 9, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

So Heddle, still ignoring the issue that your argument is an argument from ignorance? Lack of knowledge as to how fine tuning may be explained leads you to conclude ‘design’.
Let’s for the moment ignore the problem in the step from ‘design’ to ‘designer’ and focus on the issue that Not X thus Y is a typical argument from ignorance. In other words, we do not know how to explain (apparent, actual) finetuning thus ‘design’.
What relevance does such an explanation have scientifically? None… It’s as vacuous as the ID argument for the flagellum.

Comment #62230

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 9, 2005 12:18 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

1) The point is, a liquid is as much a bunch of molecules as a gas, but external constraining factors operate very difefrently on the two.

2) No, it doesn’t fit jim’s analogy. However many dice one throws, each die is an independent event, whereas the position in space of each molecule in a given volume of space is not. I would have thought that even you could not overlook such an elementary difference.

3) As to what String Theory may or may not suggest, I agree that it has very little bearing on the matter of cosmological ID, which remains subjective crap.

Comment #62239

Posted by David Heddle on December 9, 2005 12:47 PM (e)

PvM,

It has no more or less scientific relevance that the materialistic explanation.

In other words, if there is one and only one universe, then the competing explanations for fine tuning are:

ID: Design
Materialism: Luck

Comment #62240

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 9, 2005 12:51 PM (e)

You call it luck, other people may call it something else. Like, I don’t know… reality.

Comment #62241

Posted by PvM on December 9, 2005 12:56 PM (e)

PvM,

It has no more or less scientific relevance that the materialistic explanation.

Which just underscores my argument. If Heddle is willing to set his level of argumentation low then perhaps he has a point. The explanation which invokes God has as much scientific relevance as the explanation which denies God’s involvement.

Of course, there are better alternatives such as “we don’t know” for example.

In other words, if there is one and only one universe, then the competing explanations for fine tuning are:

ID: Design
Materialism: Luck

Science: We don’t know

Nice to know how scientifically vacuous cosmological ID really is, just like it’s cousin.

Comment #62242

Posted by Russell on December 9, 2005 12:59 PM (e)

“Cosmo ID” strikes me as nonsense, too. But as long as Heddle admits that it’s not science (which he does, right?), who really cares?

What puzzles me is that he keeps writing as if it were science.

Comment #62260

Posted by Norman Doering on December 9, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that if no stars ever formed (for example, if the cosmological constant were fine tuned to only 119 places instead of 120), if the universe consisted of just hydrogen and helium, then no life of any kind would exist. Color me a chauvinist. Of course, there are vast regions of “empty” space with similar conditions. Perhaps SETI should look there. Perhaps Wolframic living cellular automata have built civilizations. It will be interesting to see how hydrogen and helium can produce anything other than hydrogen and helium.

SETI is looking at those stars and not finding a life-form that uses radio like we do. All our neighbor planets are apparently lifeless. As far as we know this vast universe, except for us, is lifeless. We exist on a single grain of sand on a universal beach so vast it’s stars outnumber all the grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth.

In order for your view to be balanced you would actually have to predict life in our own universe based on your fine tuned constants and you can’t really do that. The fact that we are here is not a prediction, it’s a fact.

And in the future our universe will necessarily be lifeless. Our universe will spend most of its existance as a cold dead universe where life cannot exist.

Thus we are only a grain of sand existing for a second on a vast beach in a dead eternity.

After stellar evolution has run its course there will be only brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. No visible radiation from ordinary stars can light up the night skies, warm the planets, or endow galaxies with the faint glow they have today. The universe will become colder, darker, and more diffuse.

A rare beacon of light might emerge when two brown dwarfs collide to create a new low-mass star, which will subsequently live for trillions of years, but it means nothing in thr grand scheme of things.

The supply of particles becomes depleted and energy generation comes to an end. Then matter itself falls apart, the constituent protons and neutrons decay. A white dwarf fueled by proton decay generates approximately 400 watts, enough power to run a few light bulbs. An entire galaxy of these stars has a total luminosity smaller than one ordinary hydrogen-burning star like the Sun. As the proton decay process grinds to completion, the universe — darker, ever more rarefied — changes its character again.

Soon, the only stellarlike objects remaining are the black holes. They have such strong gravitational fields that even light cannot escape from their surfaces. The black holes are unaffected by proton decay and survive unscathed for awhile.

As the last stars evaporate and disappear, the black holes sweep up material and grow larger. Yet even black holes cannot last forever. They must eventually evaporate away through a very slow quantum mechanical process known as Hawking radiation.

After the protons have long since decayed and black holes have evaporated. Only leftover waste products from these processes remain: photons of colossal wavelength, neutrinos, electrons, and positrons.

This cold and distant future is the universe our constants and fining tuning really created. It will exist for expanses of time that are mind-boggling. Electrons and positrons drifting through space encounter one another and occasionally form positronium atoms. No helium, no hydrogen. These late-forming structures are unstable, however, and their constituent particles must eventually annihilate. Other low-level annihilation events can also take place, albeit very slowly.

The universe will die. Or will it? The seeming poverty of this distant epoch could be due to our uncertain extrapolation, and so might your take on any other universe with altered constants.

There would be no way for us to predict life in our own universe based on those fine-tuned constants so I don’t think you can predict no life in other universes so easily.

Comment #62268

Posted by carol clouser on December 9, 2005 3:12 PM (e)

Lenny,

I am astonished at your assertion (# 62167) that science is not interested in the “ultimate truths pertaining to the riddles of the universe”. Many physicist, particularly cosmologists, are in fact occupied with the past and future of the universe. And some biologists and chemists are occupied with the origin of life. These are all issues of “ultimate truths” (I did not say “philosophical truths” as you very tellingly misquote me). Or do you consider these efforts also to be not scientific? What exactly are the parameters of “Lenny science” and why should anyone care as to what YOU consider as science?

Comment #62269

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 9, 2005 3:20 PM (e)

Carol,

science does not pursue “ultimate truth”. Every scientific “truth” is provisional, subject to revision.

Don’t play word games, you are not very good at them.

Comment #62270

Posted by jim on December 9, 2005 3:21 PM (e)

Another take on this is that all possible universes with all possible constants might indeed exist. If so our existence is not only likely, it’s a certainty (of course that we *are* here means it’s a certainty anyway!)

The problem is that we don’t *know* that all possibilities exist but then neither do we know that *this* is the only Universe.

All of this is outside of what we Humans know. It might be outside of the body of knowledge that we can *ever* know. Until we actually do know anything about it, it’s just stuff that we *don’t know*!

Generating a metaphysical “what if” fairytale and then saying that this fairytale supports the existence of God is just *silly*. Stretching this further to say that is Science is *ludicrous*.

(giggle)

Comment #62276

Posted by Wayne Francis on December 9, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Comment # 62215

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #62215
Posted by David Heddle on December 9, 2005 11:28 AM (e) (s)
I understand. But the dice analogy is missing a key point. If the constants come from a roll of the dice, then it is true that every universe is equally likely. However, given most of those universes are sterile, we have every reason to be astonished that ours is not—beyond just acknowledging if it weren’t we wouldn’t be here. If every arrangement of gas molecules in a container is equally likely, we would nevertheless find it of interest if we looked and saw an arrangement where all the molecules were in just half of the volume.

David how you can say “given most of those universes are sterile” when you don’t know the range of possible universes is astonishing. It is easier for us to say something like “given most of our universe is sterile to life as we know it”. Even though this true it is also possibly true that there is an infinite number of locations in our universe that could support life. I know some models try to explain a universe that is either repeating or that loops back on itself. Even so how big is our universe? If it is infinite and life only exists in 1^-10000% of the universe that is still an infinite number of localations thus while we consider ourselves lucky to live in a habitable location so do an infinite number of other organism across the universe. When we get into multiple universe theory we have the same situation. Even if only 1 in 1^100,000,000 universes are compatible for life as we know it that is still an infinite number of universes that can support life as we know it

When most scientist look at the “fine tuning” issue they are just looking at “Why our universe is the way it is do to natural laws” they are NOT “trying to disprove ‘God’”. If ‘God’ really wanted use to know the ‘God’ Fined tuned our environment then we should not have any model that could explain it. The fact that we have a model that explains it fairly well says something to me.

To put it in lay mans terms we all know 1 + 3 = 4. That is a formula. Our current model of the universe is like saying.
1 + 3 = 5 where 3 is the CC. What we expect it to be by our model is not what it actually is. Thus we artificially change CC it to 1 + 4 = 5. Please David don’t get into orders of magnitude here I’m showing simple concepts. In our existence 1 + 1 = 2 and it is hard for many to think differently but a ‘God’ could make 1 + 2 = 2 if said ‘God’ wanted to. David at the basic level our model of the universe is WRONG!!!!!!!!! it is close and we know how to fudge it very well but it is still WRONG! Pointing to the mistake in our model then declaring that ‘God’ did it seems a bit well egotistical IMHO.

Comment #62289

Posted by David Heddle on December 9, 2005 5:52 PM (e)

Wayne,

What does life elsewhere in our universe have to with anything? We are already granting that our universe supports life. If “most of those universes are sterile” is astonishing, then virtually everyone in cosmology is making the same “astonishing” claim. If our universe looked like a garden variety universe, i.e., if there was no fine-tuning, then people wouldn’t be rushing to String Theory Landscapes and other multiverse models. Instead, they all recognize that our universe appears to be special, and so they hope to use large numbers as an explanation. So your criticism applies to people like Susskind, Linde, etc.

When most scientist look at the “fine tuning” issue they are just looking at “Why our universe is the way it is do to natural laws” they are.

I don’t think that is correct. A common view at the moment is that there is no possible fundamental theory that predicts the constants–they really are something like a random draw. There is, in effect, no physics left to explain the fine tuning (something PvM doesn’t grasp.) It’s not that we don’t yet know why–it very well may be that there is no explanation other than (1) design, (2) multiverses, (3) blind luck (which nobody believes)

Fudge it? Sorry you cannot dance around the CC problem by telling me not to bring up 120 orders of magnitude. This is not a question of the theory being wrong or immature.

We know that the CC comes from the sum of many contributions. Basic physics says every term in the sum is of order 1 (some positive, some negative, but not in equal but opposite pairs) Thus the CC comes from a sum like:

1.02 - 0.93 + 1.1 + 1.03 - 1.4

etc.

This sum adds up to 10^-120. Go simulate such a sum, with a random number generator that generates numbers of magnitude less than, say 1.5, for a fixed number of terms (~100) and see how often it adds up to 10^-120. (but not zero, and not 10^-121, and not 10^-119)

This is not a mistake in the model, it is in fact model independent. If the CC was 2 and theory said 1, that could be a model depended discrepancy. This is the same misunderstanding that steve s has.

Comment #62299

Posted by jim on December 9, 2005 7:19 PM (e)

Carol,

I’d also like to point out that Science would love to answer all sorts of questions. However, it is often bound by such things as what humans are capable of doing (this does not currently include the ability to create Universes). Knowing about the “cause” of the origin of the Universe might be something Humans are not capable of determining.

Not being able to do something is not the same as not interested in doing it.

“Ultimate Truth” is a religious catch phrase that as far as I can tell means holding the same beliefs as the person saying it. As such science has no interest in pursuing such a thing as “Ultimate Truth”.

I’d like to further point out that this sort of terminology is often used to pump people up into an emotional frenzy. Such frenzies are useful to convince people to kill, wage wars, perform suicide bombings, etc.

Comment #62300

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 9, 2005 7:20 PM (e)

I am astonished at your assertion (# 62167) that science is not interested in the “ultimate truths pertaining to the riddles of the universe”. Many physicist, particularly cosmologists, are in fact occupied with the past and future of the universe. And some biologists and chemists are occupied with the origin of life. These are all issues of “ultimate truths” (I did not say “philosophical truths” as you very tellingly misquote me). Or do you consider these efforts also to be not scientific? What exactly are the parameters of “Lenny science” and why should anyone care as to what YOU consider as science?

(sigh)

Carol, science is a method. That’s ALL it is.

There is no such thing as “ultimate truth” in science, Carol. EVERYTHING in science is tentative, and is held “true”, insofar as anything in science is held to be “true”, only within the current limits of our knowledge and understanding. Any or all of this “truth” may indeed be overthrown tomorrow by new data that requires formulating an entirely different “truth”. So, unlike religion, there simply is no scientific Ultimate Truth that must be held correct for all eternity. Nothing in science is sacred. It could all poten tially be overturned tomorrow.

As for “Lenny Science”, well, Carol, “Lenny Science” is no different from “Anybody Science”. As I said, science is a method for investigating the natural world. That’s ALL science is. Conveniently enough, we refer to the method of science as … well … the Scientific Method. It goes like this:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe

2. Form a hypothesis that potentially explains what you have observed

3. Make testible predictions from that hypothesis

4. Make observations or experiments that can test those predictions

5. Modify your hypothesis until it is in accord with all observations and predictions

Anything that follows those five steps, is science. Antyhing that does not, isn’t.

Evolutionary biology does.

ID doesn’t.

As for why anyone should take MY word for it … don’t. (shrug) See, Carol, that’s the beauty of science — it’s not dependent upon taking ANYBODY’S word for ANYTHING. Nothing in science is true because Joe Blow or Judah Landa SAYS it is. Indeed, science doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what Joe Blow or Judah Landa says, unless they can present some data that is testable using the scientific method.

As an aside, Carol, I find it interesting to realize that nearly all of your arguments in the blog are about words and their meaning/interpetation. To a large extent, I have found that to be true of other fundamentalists too. My conclusion has always been that this is because most fundamentalists, of whatever religion, actually don’t worship a God —- they worship a Book About God instead, and are too dumb to tell the difference. In effect, they are idol-worshippers, who have give a particular Book divine powers that only a god should have. Hence, they seem to give “words” some sort of mystical power, and have convinced themselves that changing the words we use to describe a thing, actually changes the thing being described. It is also, I conclude, this is why the idol-worshippers tend to argue simply by throwing selections from the Holy Words at each other, as if these words had magical powers over humans. You, of course, have taken this to the extreme, since your divine hero is no less than The Guy Who Truly Knows What All The Holy Words Really Mean. Hence, in your view, Mr Landa is the ultimate heavy artillery —— not only are the words holy, but the divine Judah knows that they REALLY mean, and the rest of you don’t, so THERE. This same fascination with the holy power of words is, I think, what drives so many IDers and creationists to the “argument by quote-mining”, in which they toss around the presumably divine holy words of “famous evolutionists” to zap us all with their magic power. I’m sure the fundie are quite baffled that nobody seems to give a flying fig about their holy quotes. (shrug)

I think what scares you (and other fundies) about science is precisely that it is NOT impressed by the holy words. Indeed, science is only impressed by the one thing that fundamentalists simply cannot produce —— testable evidence and data. Thus, although science is not in the business of stamping out religion (religion and science, after all, have virtually nothing in common), many fundamentalists (like you) THINK science is trying to do precisely that, simply because science doesn’t worship at the altar of the holy words.

But, like I said before, science is just a method of studying the natural world. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. It’s not a philosophy, not a worldview, not a religion and not a way of life. Science is NOT trying to take away your sky daddy, and science doesn’t care one way or the other about your holy words. So take a deep breath and relax. The anti-holy-text crusade that terrifies you so, doesn’t exist anywhere but in your own head. (shrug)

Comment #62301

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 9, 2005 7:25 PM (e)

“Cosmo ID” strikes me as nonsense, too. But as long as Heddle admits that it’s not science (which he does, right?), who really cares?

What puzzles me is that he keeps writing as if it were science.

That’s because Heddle, like every other IDer, is fundamentally (pardon the pun) dishonest.

Comment #62303

Posted by jim on December 9, 2005 7:29 PM (e)

Lenny,

I think you had a keen insight on this. Thank you for sharing it.

Comment #62306

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on December 9, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

When you have keen insights on a fairly regular basis, it saves a lot of time. (Not necessarily hard work, just time.)

Which may be why Lenny has so much spare time in which to eat Good Pizza.

(For the delivery of which, he tips too little–but that’s another story.)

Comment #62329

Posted by PvM on December 9, 2005 11:15 PM (e)

There is, in effect, no physics left to explain the fine tuning (something PvM doesn’t grasp.)

That’s another argument from ignorance. Now that we all agree that Heddle’s argument is not scientific, it’s time to start thinking how science would approach this subject.
Certainly Heddle’s comment that no physics is left to explain the fine tuning is as supported as ‘no design is left to explain the fine tuning’.
Why not accept our ignorance rather than jump to conclusions?

Well Heddle?

Comment #62330

Posted by Norman Doering on December 10, 2005 3:20 AM (e)

There is, in effect, no physics left to explain the fine tuning (something PvM doesn’t grasp.)

That’s why we have an evolution and naturalism of the gaps:
http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/the_evolutionary_origin_of_our_universe_and_its_physical_laws_9369

Thesis:
The characteristics of our universe, its matter and energy, and its physical laws are the result Darwinian evolution.

Assume we, intelligent creatures, learn to create and control universes. The result would be that universes possess characteristics that are favorable to the emergence of intelligent life that is eventually capable of governing more universes: Reproduction. Natural selection favors that universe which is more likely to proliferate, passing on its characteristics to a greater number of offspring universes.

Successive generations of universes possess characteristics that are progressively favorable to the emergence of intelligent life, specifically, life that is eventually capable of governing the activities of its own universe to the reproductive advantage that universe.

See also Asimov’s “The Last Question” for futher information.

Seeing that intelligence is necessarily a product of evolution, one universe had to get the ball rolling. It might be ours.

This answers the question: Where did God come from?

He evolved in another universe… or he doesn’t exist but we will become gods… or we’re all doomed to fade away in a cold dead universe. Either choice you pick, there’s no more science to back you up.

Comment #62331

Posted by David Heddle on December 10, 2005 8:18 AM (e)

PvM,

Do you understand there is a difference between we don’t know, and we know we’ll never know? The fine tuning does not stress what we don’t know, but what we do know.

If one (as many do) says we must have multiverses to explain our fine tuning, then he is at least sensing if not outright admitting that in a single universe, there is no natural explanation possible.

There is lot more physics to be discovered. But none of it can even potentially explain the fine tuning, if you are restricted to one universe.

I stand behind my original statement, and even claim that it is obvious to anyone with an open mind:

There is a qualitative difference between saying: (a) We have no idea how stars work, so god did it (God of the gaps) and saying (b) We understand microsopically how stars work, and it is on a knife’s edge (fine tuning).

Comment #62332

Posted by Ogee on December 10, 2005 8:36 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

There is a qualitative difference between saying: (a) We have no idea how stars work, so god did it (God of the gaps) and saying (b) We understand microsopically how stars work, and it is on a knife’s edge (fine tuning).

You left out the fact that you are adding “Goddiddit to (b) as well, in which case these two arguments employ different premises, but arrive at the same ridiculous conclusion via the same fallacious logic.

Comment #62333

Posted by David Heddle on December 10, 2005 8:46 AM (e)

Ogee,

That’s not the point–the point is–which you acknowledge by saying “these two arguments”, is that they are two, different arguments. Whether they arrive at the same erroneous or correct conclusion is another matter.

Comment #62334

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 10, 2005 8:59 AM (e)

Heddle, do you actually have any scienctific theory to present? Or is ID, as the title of this thread states, simply scientifically vacuous?

Comment #62335

Posted by k.e. on December 10, 2005 9:00 AM (e)

So Heddle just forget the BS

Just explain how you are able to justify killing people who don’t share your worldview.

Comment #62337

Posted by David Heddle on December 10, 2005 9:32 AM (e)

k.e.,

Just explain how you are able to justify killing people who don’t share your worldview.

Like I said, k.e., you deserve a PT byline. You talents and insight are wasted in the comment section.

Comment #62338

Posted by qetzal on December 10, 2005 9:52 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

There is a qualitative difference between saying: (a) We have no idea how stars work, so god did it (God of the gaps) and saying (b) We understand microsopically how stars work, and it is on a knife’s edge (fine tuning).

Not really, because (b) misrepresents your argument. A fairer statement would be: “We understand microscopically how stars work, and it is on a knife’s edge, but we have no idea how it got there, so God did it.

Same God of the gaps. Absolutely the same.

Comment #62342

Posted by Ogee on December 10, 2005 12:11 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

That’s not the point—the point is—which you acknowledge by saying “these two arguments”, is that they are two, different arguments. Whether they arrive at the same erroneous or correct conclusion is another matter.

Enough with this dishonest strawman nonsense. No one is saying they are exactly the same argument.

(a)We don’t know how stars work, therefore Goddiddit.
(b)We don’t know why the universe is fine-tuned, therefore Goddiddit.

These are different arguments, but differ only in their premises; they arrive at the same conclusion by way of the same fallacy.

Comment #62345

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 10, 2005 12:45 PM (e)

I’m still waiting for an IDer to show me how ID isn’t really scientifically vacuous.

Mr Heddle?

Comment #62347

Posted by qetzal on December 10, 2005 12:56 PM (e)

Lenny,

Since the IDers aren’t stepping up, I’ll have a go. How’s this for a testable ID hypothesis:

If biblical creationism is re-named Intelligent Design, some public school boards will agree to include it in science class.

How do you like that? My ID hypothesis even has experimental support!

;-)

Comment #62353

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 10, 2005 1:30 PM (e)

How do you like that? My ID hypothesis even has experimental support!

;-)

But, alas, as with all other ID arguments, this one too is just cribbed from the pre-Aguillard YEC’s, who also argued in court that creation ‘science’ isn’t religious because it doesn’t say who the creator is and doesn’t seek a religious commitment to it.

:>

Comment #62354

Posted by qetzal on December 10, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

I didn’t say it was a great hypothesis. I mean, after all, look at the material I have to work with here!

;-)

Comment #62356

Posted by Norman Doering on December 10, 2005 2:22 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Do you understand there is a difference between we don’t know, and we know we’ll never know? The fine tuning does not stress what we don’t know, but what we do know.

Oh, really? So, tell me what do you know of God?

Do you know how he created the universe? That’s the scientific question that remains unamswered. Thus God is a non-answer.

But you think you can answer the why question?

Take another look at what science is saying about that universe you’re giving God credit for. It’s vaster than the ancients ever imagined. The God of the Bible got jealous because men built the tower of Babel.

At the heart of our modern cosmology lies a truth so monumentally horrifying, an ultimate context to all our human our striving, that this universe becomes hideous to contemplate. Even your turn to God cannot alleviate the humbling of such profound, vast, hopeless expanses of time and space. Yet the God of the Bible liked the burning smell of sacrificed animals.

If God was involved in the creation of this universe, these elemental facts that leave us an invisible scum on the surface of a grain of sand on a universal beach so vast and lifeless it boggles the mind, he is so cold and fearsome as to be beyond any human entreaty for our solace, or comfort, or the redemption that would come of our being brought into His secret.

The God of the Bible is too small and impotent and ignorant to be the God of this universe. The God of the Bible is the creation of men and created in their image.

Because the universe reflects some order and pattern you assume there is a mind behind it. But it’s the other way around. Minds can only evolve in universes with pattern and some ordering.

Comment #62364

Posted by PvM on December 10, 2005 5:19 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

PvM, Do you understand there is a difference between we don’t know, and we know we’ll never know? The fine tuning does not stress what we don’t know, but what we do know.

So explain the fine tuning or admit that the absence of an explanation of the data leads to your design inference. You do realize that your approach is nothing much different from the flawed approaches of the ID movement?

Heddle wrote:

If one (as many do) says we must have multiverses to explain our fine tuning, then he is at least sensing if not outright admitting that in a single universe, there is no natural explanation possible.

Nice strawman which fails on logic. The existence of a hypothesis of multiverses is but one of the ways science is attempting to explain the data.

Heddle wrote:

There is lot more physics to be discovered. But none of it can even potentially explain the fine tuning, if you are restricted to one universe.

And that is a claim from ignorance.

Heddle wrote:

I stand behind my original statement, and even claim that it is obvious to anyone with an open mind:

Nice ad hominem. You’re full of logical fallacies aren’t you?

Heddle wrote:

There is a qualitative difference between saying: (a) We have no idea how stars work, so god did it (God of the gaps) and saying (b) We understand microsopically how stars work, and it is on a knife’s edge (fine tuning).

Both arguments are in the end arguments from ignorance. We do not know how fine tuning works so god did it.

Simple… It may take some time for you to admit that it is as scientifically relevant as a claim that god could not or does not explain something. At least we seem to agree on that. Now it is a matter of identifying why it is scientifically vacuous.
And your inability to explain fine tuning other than by invoking ‘god’ shows that your argument is one of ignorance. We cannot explain fine tuning thus it must have been god.

Comment #62367

Posted by David Heddle on December 10, 2005 5:32 PM (e)

PvM

The existence of a hypothesis of multiverses is but one of the ways science is attempting to explain the data.

That implies that you know other ways–even multiple other ways, that scientists are trying to explain the fine tuning. Care to elaborate?

Comment #62371

Posted by PvM on December 10, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

That implies that you know other ways—even multiple other ways, that scientists are trying to explain the fine tuning. Care to elaborate?

Let’s not distract from your inability to explain fine tuning other than by invoking god.
Are you suggesting that multiverses are the only way scientists are trying to formulate hypotheses to explain fine tuning?

Comment #62374

Posted by Norman Doering on December 10, 2005 7:53 PM (e)

My memory is fuzzy, but a few years ago there was a lot of talk about a final equation – wasn’t part of that also explaining why most of the cosmological constants had to have the values they had?

google “final equation” maybe… nope getting a movie.

Try “Steven Weinberg, final theory” for another way of exploring what Hawking called “did God have a choice?” – why are the constants what they are.

Comment #62375

Posted by james on December 10, 2005 8:02 PM (e)

Heddle’s answer, btw, is “No, god didn’t have a choice, the only way he could have created life is with a CC between so and so…

Comment #62383

Posted by Paul Flocken on December 10, 2005 11:44 PM (e)

Norman,
I wish I could find the actual strip online, but this is from a Calvin & Hobbes:
We hurl through an
incomprehensible darkness.
In cosmic terms, we are
subatomic particles in
a grain of sand on an
infinite beach.

There was a punchline, too, but I only kept the first three frames.

Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #62410

Posted by CJ O'Brien on December 11, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

Heddle said:

A common view at the moment is that there is no possible fundamental theory that predicts the constants—they really are something like a random draw. There is, in effect, no physics left to explain the fine tuning

I’ve been mulling this over for a while, trying to formulate my own position on the apparent fine tuning, which as been mainly that I don’t see a way to choose between what Heddle is calling “dumb luck” vs. a multiverse. It’s going to look like dumb luck to us either way.

But, and I address Heddle, if you’re still here:
Is it possible that the CC is just an artefact of theory? ie, it’s a kludge, a possibly useful fiction that physicists of the future, armed with a truly unifying theory, will look upon the way we view epicycles or the luminiferous ether?

And, if so, perhaps there’s the difference btween “apparent fine tuning” and what you insist is the real deal.

Comment #62414

Posted by PvM on December 11, 2005 3:34 PM (e)

CJ O'Brien wrote:

But, and I address Heddle, if you’re still here:
Is it possible that the CC is just an artefact of theory? ie, it’s a kludge, a possibly useful fiction that physicists of the future, armed with a truly unifying theory, will look upon the way we view epicycles or the luminiferous ether?

And, if so, perhaps there’s the difference btween “apparent fine tuning” and what you insist is the real deal.

Very good point. For instance there is an approach in which the fine tuning arises through selection. Yes, selection… Smolin has a theory in which random variation and selection resulted in the universe in which we live.
Your suggestion that the CC is just an artifact of our present day theory causing science to have to refer to “epicycles” when in fact all we need is a better theory.
If ID wants to fill that position then let it present its own evidence. But ID is scientifically vacuous when it comes to presenting any details.

Comment #62422

Posted by Norman Doering on December 11, 2005 5:14 PM (e)

Paul Flocken wrote:

“… from a Calvin & Hobbes: We hurl through an incomprehensible darkness. In cosmic terms, we are subatomic particles in a grain of sand on an infinite beach.”

There are a lot of artistic expressions of being humbled in the face of this vast universe – so many that artists can’t really take them seriously. I did my own version in an as yet unsold screenplay called “Planet of Doom” which can be found at:

http://www.triggerstreet.com

It goes like this:

Mankind, a tiny, insignificant life form in a vast universe… Man had for centuries huddled safely in the warm, moist bosom of the Earth. He sheltered his delusional sense of self-importance within the dream worlds of his religions and philosophies.

But as man’s science began to progress his religion and philosophy began to crumble. Man found himself faced with unanswerable questions and when he looked up into that night sky where he once imagined Heaven to be he found himself surrounded on all sides by icy infinities and the eternal darkness of space.

Armed with his puny grasp of this new scientific knowledge and driven by unquenchable questions to cross this vast ocean of the night, seeking answers, man built atomic rockets and launched a new age of exploration.

Now, in the distant future, …

It’s actually a comedy and a spoof on the sci-fi films of the 1950s.

Comment #62430

Posted by carol clouser on December 11, 2005 5:58 PM (e)

Oh Lenny,

YOU see my posts as focused on words and their meanings because YOU persist in distorting my words and those of certain other posters here so you can turn them at every opportunity into a polemic against the perceived enemies of science. So any discussion with you sooner or later is reduced to the meaning of words. Either you are just a good old dishonest charlatan or you are a very sloppy reader and thinker. Probably both.

In speaking of “ultimate truths” you ought to know exactly what I mean since I gave examples, such as the past and future of the universe and the origin of life. Science IS IN FACT VERY INTERESTED in the truths pertaining to these ultimate events, contrary to your assertion otherwise.

And your desceription of science as nothing but a method is the notion of a simpleton. Things get settled or resolved in science, at least temporarily, via the scientific method. But as a very human activity, the body we refer to as “science” includes ideas and theories still in progress and even as they incubate in the human mind, with the goal of ULTIMATELY arriving at the TRUTHS behind the riddles of the universe. I do not accept your arbitrary boundaries as to what constitutes “science”, and I am entitled to my own more expansive definition. If an idea is based on available data it is science, provided we are ready to reject or modify it if and when new or additional data is obtained. That’s what defines the body of knowledge (not a method) we call science.

Comment #62432

Posted by CJ O'Brien on December 11, 2005 6:14 PM (e)

But as a very human activity, the body we refer to as “science” includes ideas and theories still in progress and even as they incubate in the human mind, with the goal of ULTIMATELY arriving at the TRUTHS behind the riddles of the universe. I do not accept your arbitrary boundaries as to what constitutes “science”, and I am entitled to my own more expansive definition. If an idea is based on available data it is science, provided we are ready to reject or modify it if and when new or additional data is obtained. That’s what defines the body of knowledge (not a method) we call science.

Is it an activity, or a body of knowledge?

I’m with the Rev Dr. on this one. The body of knowledge is the result of the activity, engaged in with strict adherence to the method, which is what sets science apart from other human activities that might also produce bodies of knowledge.

Comment #62445

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 11, 2005 9:05 PM (e)

Carol, you are blithering again.

Comment #62447

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 11, 2005 9:09 PM (e)

I do not accept your arbitrary boundaries as to what constitutes “science”, and I am entitled to my own more expansive definition.

(Once again, Carol wants to argue over words and the definitions/interpetations of words, thus demonstrating my earlier point.)

Carol, nothing on earth prevents you from having your own private definitions for anything you want. If you want to define religion as “science”, go right ahead. Heck, if you want to define mammals as contianing “fishes”, go right ahead. No one can stop you.

But if you try to insist that OTHERS adopt your private definitions, don’t be surprised when they look at you as if you are a stark raving lunatic.

Your definitions of words, Carol, don’t mean diddley doo and have no power over others. None at all. (shrug)

Comment #62452

Posted by david.g on December 11, 2005 11:08 PM (e)

Contrary to your belief, there is a Theory of Intelligent Design which is supported by evidence which can be found at Intelligent Design Theory . It is interesting that such a theory has been ignored in the recent debate and court case. Then again the proponents of intelligent design may be unaware of it and think that it is just creationism!

Comment #62459

Posted by CJ O'Brien on December 12, 2005 12:36 AM (e)

Please just answer me one question, david g: I read your piece there, and I’d like to know, if telepathy and psycho-kenesis are real abilities of the human mind, why hasn’t anyone, anywhere, demonstrated that they can be deployed usefully?

And picking cards slightly better than random guessing in highly dubious, poorly controlled experiments that have not been successfully replicated will not do for “useful.”

The usual answer about ghosts, you know, is “they go away when you don’t believe in them.”

I expect silence, or mumblings equally feeble, but go ahead, surprise me.

PS to regulars: it’s good for a laugh, I guess, but it ain’t no theory of– well, anything. A waste of time.

Comment #62474

Posted by Norman Doering on December 12, 2005 6:21 AM (e)

david.g, on his web page, wrote:

It is difficult, if not impossible, to convince a person who has been blind since birth, that you can observe an object miles or even millions of miles away. It is equally difficult to describe a spiritual experience to a person who has never had one. Keeping this difficulty in mind, the University of Manchester, in a large scale survey, found that 10 percent of those surveyed, had had at least one out-of-body experience. While the 10 percent would fully accept the reality of the spiritual realm, among the remaining 90 percent, would be the skeptics who couldn’t accept anything that they themselves hadn’t experienced. This leads us to the second misconception.

Actually, your fisrt sentence in that paragraph is a misconception.
Do you really think blind people don’t believe in the moon and stars?
Blind people do understand the power of sight. You ought to do a little research before you repeat fundy bovine fecal matter like that. Maybe read some writting by Helen Keller. There are blind from birth people who can even draw and paint pictures.

It’s quite easy to prove to a blind person you have such powers. And if you’d bother to think about it at all you realize that.

And if telepathy or other psi phenomena existed they would be easy to prove too. And if you can - you could get a million dollars from James Randi:

http://randi.org/research/index.html

Another thing to consider is that Michael Persinger can re-create religious experiences using a magnetic helmet.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.11/persinger_pr.html

Comment #62479

Posted by Renier on December 12, 2005 7:29 AM (e)

to david.g

As atoms are vacuums, then molecules would be vacuums, and then so too are objects.

So, matter is just vacuums? Then I suspect you are going to tell me a Neutron star is just a vacuum??? The only REAL vacuum is between your ears.

Comment #62481

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 12, 2005 8:17 AM (e)

Contrary to your belief, there is a Theory of Intelligent Design which is supported by evidence which can be found at Intelligent Design Theory .

It’s drivel. (shrug)

Comment #62496

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 12, 2005 12:01 PM (e)

Lenny: “My conclusion has always been that this is because most fundamentalists, of whatever religion, actually don’t worship a God —— they worship a Book About God instead, and are too dumb to tell the difference. In effect, they are idol-worshippers, who have give a particular Book divine powers that only a god should have.”

As usual Lenny hits the nail right on the head. It’s what Huston Smith called “Bibliolatry.”

The only way for fundamentalists to say their assertions are “scientific” is by changing the definition of science, ergo Carol’s rhetorical devices (and Kansas). Alas, there is no magic word that will change reality – outside their heads, that is.

Comment #62525

Posted by Christopher Blake on December 12, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

I lost. Made a bet with my wife on how long David Heddle could stay off. The over/under was 24 hours. I said 36 to 48. My wife laughed. Said his ego wouldn’t let him stay off for even 24. She was right. She usually is.

David Heddle wrote
Christopher

Okay, I’ll stop. But your comment should be directed at everyone else. One reason someone like me becomes a “troll” is the N on 1 problem. I am responding (at least for the most part), not initiating. Check and see if I first commented to PvM, Wislu, Flint, you, Lenny, Aureola, k.e., ogee, etc. or if they (you) first commented to me. In other words, you should be telling them (yourself) to stop feeding the troll.

Now, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, Adam in the Garden when he gets caught. “It’s not my fault…it’s the woman that you gave me.” As opposed to David’s (the king, not Heddle) response to Nathan when he’s caught in adultery and murder. “I’m a scumbag.” One is a man…the other’s a weasel. Not too tough to figure out which is which.

I try to be a polite guest when I’m here. I hope you regulars will bear with me for a few minutes. I like the “Rev Dr. Lenny”. He’s dead on with his pizza boy analogy. No one’s opinion is any more valuable than anyone else’s. But, with apologies to the good “Rev”, I’m going to steal his pizza boy for a few to explain why I’m here.

There are all kinds of fast food places out there. Burger joints, taco joints, pizza places, etc. Which one is best? Personal taste. Even if you like pizza, there’s a lot to choose from. It’s my personal opinion that you should try a few before you make up your mind. I did. I’m satisfied with my choice. My choice. Everyone has the right to choose.

David Heddle claims to work for the same pizza company that I work for. We’re both pizza boys. Everyone in our company gets a manual. Some of the things in it are open to interpretation. ”Hair must be neatly groomed at all times.” Neatly groomed means different things to different people. OK. “You must wear your company issued shirt, pants, and hat at all times.” No opinions here. Wear the uniform all the time. Period. Now, a hundred or so pages later in the manual, it says, “Never wear a pink bunny suit, or ever attach any pink bunnies to your uniform.” Pretty self-explanatory, right?

Now, what do pizza boys do? They get called to make deliveries. With our company, you’re not supposed to assume (‘cuz you know what that makes out of you and me) why you’re delivering. Maybe they’re going to eat the pizza. Maybe not. Not your job. Follow the company rules, drop off the pizza, be polite, and leave. Simple. Phone number’s on the box. They can call if they have questions. So, one night you’re making a delivery. You see a guy at the house you’re delivering to. Company uniform. Pink Bunny Suit on underneath it. Pink Bunnies sewn all over it. A fifty foot tall Pink Bunny stuck to the hat. Wow. This isn’t good. You don’t want to embarrass him. Maybe he’s new to the company. You call him at home.

“Do you know you’re not supposed to wear pink bunnies?”
“Yeah…I know…talk to the owner for me, will ya?”

Now it gets worse. The guy’s got a big neon sign pointing to his house (blog spot). Not only does he wear the pink bunnies there when he has guests, he claims to be a trainer for the company. A trainer. Fortunately, his damage to the company is limited when he stays home. But, the guy can’t stay home. He just can’t. And the bunnies just keep getting bigger.

Now, the manual tells you that if people don’t like you because you work for the company, that’s OK. But, it also tells you that if they don’t like you because you’re wearing pink bunnies, it’s bad for you and the company.

The reason I posted on this site the first time was very simple. It seems that the vast majority of people who claim to work for the pizza company (at least the ones who promote themselves the hardest) suffer from EPBS. Extreme Pink Bunny Syndrome. Not only does it make it harder for us regular pizza boys, it makes the owner look bad. Besides being a pizza boy, I actually am a trainer. Don’t want to be because I don’t like the responsibility. I looked up “screw up” in the dictionary. Just has my picture…and the cross references suck. They’re true though. But, if you get the job…

All of these EPBS guys want to prove they’re working for the right company. The manual says you can’t. Evidence and proof are two completely different things. In fact, the manual says you can’t know until you retire. I could elaborate about the differences between gnosis and pistis, but you PT regulars seem to grasp it much better than the vast majority of my fellow pizza boys. I have tried to point out, in private, to a great many well known pizza franchisees, and their delivery boys, that they are violating company policy. They don’t care. They all seem to have their own motives, none of which have anything to do with the pizza company, or its owner. Pretty sad.

I am going to ask you PT regulars to do me a favor. You don’t have to, and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. I know it’s hard enough to ignore someone who comes into your home uninvited. Harder still when they’re rude. I know the whole EPBS makes it dang near impossible. Please try. I know it’s harder still to stomach the big franchisees who want to make pizza in your restaurants. I don’t blame you for being pissed off. You don’t cook pizza in a burger joint. That’s why we have pizza places. Those of us who actually work for the company try to follow the manual. We seem to be fewer and farther between, and we don’t court the press. We don’t try and force our pizza on anyone. If you ask why we like it, we’ll tell you why we like it. Not why you should, or why you shouldn’t eat what you eat. Or, why you should come to work for our company. This isn’t Amway. Hard to tell now days, but its not.

I hope you’re not offended by this, but you’re actually performing a valuable service by laughing at the EPBS guys out there in public. I know the owner will deal with them eventually, but He takes His own sweet time. Not how I’d do it, but…I just work here. Maybe, if you ignore the guy in the pink bunny suit in your home, he’ll go away. He seems to crave the attention, so maybe if it stops…nah….who am I kidding?

Thanks for letting me use the pizza boy. He looks pretty angry and confused though. Said your tips were lousy enough, now this…keeps muttering, “Would you like fries with that?…yeah, that sounds better…no more pizza for me…”

Thanks
Christopher Blake PBA
(Pizza Boy Abductor)

Comment #62567

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 12, 2005 6:35 PM (e)

Pizza Boy Abductor

Please don’t abduct my pizza boy until AFTER he has delivered my double-cheese with mushrooms. I’m awfully hungry.

:>

Comment #62568

Posted by AC on December 12, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Norman Doering wrote:

At the heart of our modern cosmology lies a truth so monumentally horrifying, an ultimate context to all our human our striving, that this universe becomes hideous to contemplate.

I think that no greater appreciation of life and its experience arises than from the realization that it is but a bubble in a void. There really is no logical reason for a true-believing Christian to not kill himself as soon as possible…

Oh wait. Suicide is a sin. Convenient, that. Dead men pay no taxes - or tithes.

Comment #62572

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on December 12, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

Ptui! Ptui!

Dang, I hate those gags! Ack!

OK, now that that‘s behind us, I need to convey a Very Important Piece of Information, something you may not have known before now, but which could save your life in the immediate future–it doesn’t matter where you stand on evolution, politics, the war, the latest Supreme Court nominee, who’s gonna win the Super Bowl–we truly don’t care what your motivation is, just don’t abduct the pizza guy! We have a VERY SCARY Pizza Employees Benevolent and Protective Association. You do NOT want to mess with our, um–dues collection personnel, shall we say?

Let me be perfectly clear about today’s lesson: don’t abduct the pizza guy!

(To those of you who knew “Christopher Blake PBA” in life, the PEBPA offers its sincere condolences on your loss. We hope you took advantage of the opportunity to convey your sincere feelings to him the last time you saw him. If not, that’s a chance you won’t be getting again anytime soon. Regards, your PEBPA: “Working to get your Pizza to you, day or night, as fresh as home cooked, only faster.”)