Intelligent Design - why not?

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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Forest_Dump on May 25th, 2017, 11:02 pm 

NoShips wrote:Sure. You could argue, as Mossling is (I think), that the discovery was non-methodical (it's hard to see how one could argue that it was methodical).


I have to admit that I find it odd that, on the one hand you appear to be conversant with a lot of the history and philosophy of science but on the other hand you seem surprised that there has been some serious debates between, say, positivists and realists or as seen in the discussion of Kuhn's book in that edited volume by Lakatos and Musgrave, etc. But anyway, since I am off to bed, I will be very brief:

I don't think anyone seriously argues that all hypotheses need be deductively entailed, etc., from previous research. Ideas and inspiration can indeed come from anywhere so indeed, sometimes psychologists, sociologists, dare I say anthropologists or even psychics may have something to offer here on where key ideas may have come from. It is how they are subsequently structured, tested and supported from independent directions that counts.

NoShips wrote:In fact, it was regarded as the best explanation till Darwin came along. Seems the Creationists argue it remains the best explanation for design (or apparent design) in nature. Most scientists demur, of course.


Sure and some argue flat earth,alchemy and astrology remain viable and even scientific. For a change of pace, why not try to support astrology? Might avoid some political hot buttons.

NoShips wrote:Might this not be construed as an Inference to the Best Explanation? Do you consider this a legitimate form of inference in science, Forest?


Actually it could be argued that this is precisely my speciality, at least for some of my published works. But... we'll leave that for another time (actually I referred to it as inference to best analogy).

NoShips wrote:This gambit always strikes me as disingenuous, Forest. By and large, scientists these days work on a principle of methodological naturalism, viz., appeals to supernatural causation are not countenanced as a matter of methodological principle.

All fair and well. But if so, one cannot simultaneously claim, as you do, and many others do, that there is no evidence for a Creator. The Creator hypothesis is already ruled out of court a priori -- nothing counts as evidence for a Creator.


If I were to throw this out as a pop quiz I would ask it in such a way as how would you offer this ID hypothesis without it becoming a classic tautology? I am absolutely certain that, given the quality and volume of your posts, you know the circularity of the creator/ID argument here. That isn't the tricky part of the ID logic problem.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on May 25th, 2017, 11:23 pm 

Forest_Dump » May 26th, 2017, 12:02 pm wrote:I don't think anyone seriously argues that all hypotheses need be deductively entailed, etc., from previous research. Ideas and inspiration can indeed come from anywhere so indeed, sometimes psychologists, sociologists, dare I say anthropologists or even psychics may have something to offer here on where key ideas may have come from. It is how they are subsequently structured, tested and supported from independent directions that counts.



Well, consider...

Newton's Fourth Rule of Scientific Method:

Rule 4 : In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

Propositions, then, or at least those propositions worth taking seriously, are to be inferred from the data. Not deduction, albeit, but a far cry from "ideas and inspiration can indeed come from anywhere".

Yes, I know he's dead LOL.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Positor on May 26th, 2017, 12:48 am 

NoShips » May 25th, 2017, 8:29 am wrote:My second question then: Q2 - Do you agree that Darwin's theory is untrue?

If by "untrue" you mean "not absolutely true" (in every particular), then I think everyone would agree that it is untrue, and you would indeed be attacking a strawman if you claimed that any scientist today thinks it is (absolutely) true.

However, if by "untrue" you mean "not largely true" or "not basically true" or "not true in its most important aspects", then merely showing the falsity of some particular statement of Darwin, Wallace or someone else (e.g. about survival rates) would not be sufficient to make your (or Stove's) case. You would need to weigh the aspects of Darwin's theory that are still believed to be true against those that have been falsified.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on May 26th, 2017, 1:34 am 

Positor » May 26th, 2017, 1:48 pm wrote:If by "untrue" you mean "not absolutely true" (in every particular), then I think everyone would agree that it is untrue, and you would indeed be attacking a strawman if you claimed that any scientist today thinks it is (absolutely) true.

However, if by "untrue" you mean "not largely true" or "not basically true" or "not true in its most important aspects", then merely showing the falsity of some particular statement of Darwin, Wallace or someone else (e.g. about survival rates) would not be sufficient to make your (or Stove's) case. You would need to weigh the aspects of Darwin's theory that are still believed to be true against those that have been falsified.



Well, Positor, as you rightly note -- and I'm sympathetic to your complaints -- these things can get complicated, not least of which is in determining what Darwin's theory is, or more generally, what "the theory of evolution" is.

Strawman accusations were raised against me once before in another thread, yet no one seemed able to give me a specific statement of "the theory" they were defending, leaving any would-be falsifier in an unenviable position, as you can surely appreciate, not to mention vitiating the credibility of those who insist "the theory" is falsifiable.

How about we start with this: If the theory (whatever that is) is construed as consisting of a conjunction of assertions of the form [A and B and C ... and n], then by a simple matter of logic, the falsity of any one of the conjuncts (B, say) falsifies the theory as a whole.

For example, the theory "Bob is American and Bill is Canadian" is falsified by Bob not being American, regardless of whether Bill is Canadian or not.

You might then reconstruct the theory as [A and C and D ... and n], but this is now a different theory.

To suggest that every single one of the conjuncts would have to be false in order to falsify the theory as a whole is clearly preposterous.

Therefore, when you say...

"However, if by "untrue" you mean "not largely true" or "not basically true" or "not true in its most important aspects", then merely showing the falsity of some particular statement of Darwin, Wallace or someone else (e.g. about survival rates) would not be sufficient to make your (or Stove's) case. You would need to weigh the aspects of Darwin's theory that are still believed to be true against those that have been falsified."

... basic logic compels me to disagree. Showing the falsity of one particular statement of a theory is sufficient to make the case.


Darwin never stated his theory in concise form, as far as I understand. Rather, it takes the form of a lengthy narrative. What do you take Darwin's theory to be?
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Serpent on May 26th, 2017, 8:47 am 

.. basic logic compels me to disagree. Showing the falsity of one particular statement of a theory is sufficient to make the case.

Except that no falsity of a tenet of the theory has been shown. A very particular interpretation of a general observation has been stretched and strained far beyond its capacity to make the words "all" and "few" stand in for a 20-year body of painstaking work in an unsupportable three-sentence high-school logic exercise.
That's not science. That's nitpickery on an order so inane that the very nits themselves contend in vain.

The only reason I'm still following is that I can't figure what he hopes to gain by cudgeling this long-defunct Shetland pony.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Positor on May 26th, 2017, 9:50 am 

NoShips » May 26th, 2017, 6:34 am wrote:Therefore, when you say...

"However, if by "untrue" you mean "not largely true" or "not basically true" or "not true in its most important aspects", then merely showing the falsity of some particular statement of Darwin, Wallace or someone else (e.g. about survival rates) would not be sufficient to make your (or Stove's) case. You would need to weigh the aspects of Darwin's theory that are still believed to be true against those that have been falsified."

... basic logic compels me to disagree. Showing the falsity of one particular statement of a theory is sufficient to make the case.

It is only sufficient if one is seeking to refute the strawman version, i.e. "Darwin's theory is true in its entirety", which nobody believes. If, however, we wish to disprove what scientists actually believe, i.e. "much/most of Darwin's theory is true", then showing that part of it is false is not sufficient.

The falsity of Darwin's theory (as a whole) does not disprove any of the following:

• The (or a) current theory of evolution by natural selection (and other factors)
• Natural selection itself
• The aspects of Darwin's theory that scientists still generally believe to be true
• A modification of Darwin's theory.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on May 26th, 2017, 11:07 am 

Positor, I'm having difficulty believing what I'm reading. And you guys complain about getting frustrated dealing with Creationists LOL. This is almost unbelievable!

David Stove in his book attacks Darwin's theory of evolution as set out in the various editions of The Origin of Species. He was not attacking any of the following (to quote you):

• The (or a) current theory of evolution by natural selection (and other factors)
• Natural selection itself
• The aspects of Darwin's theory that scientists still generally believe to be true
• A modification of Darwin's theory.

David Stove is dead. He was not attacking the "current theory of evolution" (whatever that is - you haven't told us), or your construal of the theory (whatever that is - you haven't told us). He was attacking the theory of Charles Darwin, not yours or anybody else's. Now unless you're gonna claim Charles Darwin did not actually hold the views expressed in Origin, how can Stove possibly be accused of attacking a strawman??!!


To repeat, if we take Darwin's theory to be a conjunct of assertions [A & B & C & D & E ... & N] -- let's call this T1 -- and let's suppose A is no longer regarded as true, as you're already willing to concede.

Then you might still argue B is true.
You might still argue C is true.
You might still argue [B & C] is true.
You might still argue [B & C & D & E ... & N] is true.
etc., etc.

None of this is disputed. But none of these is T1. None of these is Darwin's theory!

Moreover, given that A is false, then logic compels us to assign a truth value of "false" to T1. That is, Darwin's theory is false; not a bit false, not partly true, but false. Period! Unless you wanna rewrite the canons of logic -- and then watch your computer crash! The and gates won't like it.

In conclusion, you're quite right to claim that the falsity of T1 does not disprove a modification of Darwin's theory. In other words, you're quite right to claim the disproof of Darwin's theory does not disprove another theory that is not Darwin's theory.

Now, why does this need to be said?
Last edited by NoShips on May 26th, 2017, 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on May 26th, 2017, 11:19 am 

P.S. You might on the other hand want to claim Darwin had several theories: T1, T2, T3, etc., and go on to argue that although T1 is no longer believed to be true, T2, T3, etc. still are.

Logically kosher. Though I don't think I've ever heard talk of Darwin producing a plurality of theories. Have you?
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Forest_Dump on May 26th, 2017, 6:57 pm 

NoShips wrote:P.S. You might on the other hand want to claim Darwin had several theories: T1, T2, T3, etc., and go on to argue that although T1 is no longer believed to be true, T2, T3, etc. still are.

Logically kosher. Though I don't think I've ever heard talk of Darwin producing a plurality of theories. Have you?


A couple of points or questions from my end. First, on a more general level, what happens when you take into account things like some of the recent big developments from CERN in that there are now no "particles". According to your kind of position, pretty much all of science would now be thrown out and everything from physics to chemistry, genetics and modern medicine has to be thrown out because in all of these things there are premises based on molecules composed of atoms with electrons, etc., forming ionic bonds, etc., but we now know that it is really something more along the lines of complex swirls of waves. Might seem trivial at the scale geneticists, for example, are dealing with but, by your logic, if even one small part has been demonstrated wrong, the while kit and kaboodle has to be thrown out. Can't even call it throwing out the baby with the bath water because both babies and bath waters appear to just be swirls on waves.

Second, a point you seem to commonly overlook is that "Darwinian" evolutionary theory wasn't really forwarded by Darwin - it was named in honour of him. The "new synthesis" was an early 20th century concoction. If I was going to cite anyone, I would probably cite S. J. Gould's tome on the subject.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on May 26th, 2017, 8:10 pm 

I've a better idea. Let's forget all about falsification and scientific rigor. No one takes it seriously anyway. Might as well go for a few bevvies.


Sid the Scientist and his pal, Reg, sit down for a few beers in the pub...

Sid: These Creationists are a joke, eh?

Reg: What do you mean, Sid?

Sid: Well, take these so-called gaps in the fossil record, for example. For years these guys been harping on about there being no transitional form between A and C. Lately we've unearthed one, we call it B, and guess what they do?

Reg: Admit they were wrong?

Sid: Ha! Nice sense of humour, mate. No, what they say now is that there are gaps in the fossil record between A and B, and B and C!

Reg: Ouch! That doesn't seem very honest. Moving the goalposts, I think they call it.

Sid: Tell me about it! No sense of intellectual integrity, I tell ya, mate. See this is what distinguishes good science from these cowboys: rigor and integrity. Personally I'm a strict falsificationist.

Reg: What's that, dude?

Sid: That means if or when evidence comes to light that is inimical to one's theory, one immediately renounces the theory as false.

Reg: I see. That does sound laudable. Then after that you could get to work on a new theory.

Sid: Exactly.

Reg: Now that you mention it, remember you told me about your theory that all ravens are black?

Sid: Aye. What about it?

Reg: Well, I found this on the way to the pub. Looks like a white raven to me.

* Sid examines avian corpse *

Sid: You're right, my son. A white raven. Whatdya know!

Reg: Does this mean your theory is wrong then?

Sid: Wrong? That beer must be going to your head, pal. Ha ha! Have you any idea how many black ravens have been observed?

Reg: Nope.

Sid: Thousands! What's one white raven between friends, eh? I suppose if you wanted to be a real pedant we could say the theory is 99.999% true. But why throw the baby out with the bathwater, eh? Just think of all those black ravens. Think of all the stuff my theory gets right. And stop being so negative. Drink up and get a life!

Reg: I suppose. It's just that I took a course in elementary logic at school and...

Sid: Are you anti-science or something, Reg? I've always had suspicions, you know. Or trying to embarrass me perhaps?

Reg: Hell, no. This Heineken is on me.

Sid: Good on ya, son. See, the beauty of science is that we adjust to new evidence, unlike these Creationist clowns. In situations like this, we refine the theory; we make it better. What we say now is that almost all ravens are black.

Reg: And that's still the same theory?

Sid: Yeah, pretty much. Don't you see, scientific theories grow and develop. They evolve. It's a bit like Windows -- they keep improving it. Or a bit like us. We age. You're still the same bloke you were ten years ago, aren't you, even if a lot uglier. Ha ha!

Reg: Very funny, dude. By the way, my sister spotted 16 yellow ravens at the beach yesterday. Is your theory falsified yet?

Sid: Aren't you the joker! Reg, you're a nice bloke, but you've a lot to learn about science. Bet you've never been in a lab in your life.

Reg: That much is true.

Sid: See? You really should leave this stuff to the experts. Great news about these yellow ravens, by the way. Marvelous! My theory continues to approach truth. Now we know most ravens are black, one is white, and a few are yellow. And to tell you the truth, mate, I never really believed all ravens were black anyway.

Reg: *Burp*

Sid: Yes, it's what I've been saying all along. You simply must stop attacking strawmen, mate. It's a logical fallacy. I didn't get where I am today by attacking strawmen, Reggie.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby DragonFly on May 26th, 2017, 8:21 pm 

"…gaps…"

The God of the Gaps

Yet another Theity appeared, out of the mist.

“I am the God of the Gaps, of all those missed.
I Myself personally fill in all the gaps withstanding,
In the present-day knowledge of non understanding,

“Albeit a very large and unwarranted assumption,
But I surely do fill them all in—via the fiat lent
To Me by the creationist’s fine endorsement.”


“These gaps shrink as science advances anew.”

“And so there is less and less for Me to do.”

“What worries me is not so much that You
May be eventually laid off, having nothing to do,
But that those of Religion think it is a virtue
To be satisfied with not understanding a quandary;
Enigmas drive scientists on—they exult in mystery.”

“True, My believers exult in mystery
Remaining as mystery and so they go no further,
But it keeps Me from being history!
They worship all these evolutionary gaps as being Me.”


“With no justification?”

“We have a ‘get out of jail free’ card—a vocation;
It’s an immunity to
The rigorous proofs of science;
We just claim by the ‘say so’.
All must respect that stance.”


“You lead a charmed life then,
One with no faults,
But You seek ignorance
In order to claim victory by default,
As a weed thriving in the gaps
Of science’s fertile fields.

“Scientists rejoice in (temporary)
Uncertain yields,
Whereas You halt all inquiry.”

“I remain as a mystery.”

“You’re the same God
Of Intelligent Design assumed—
Now known by a much more
Desperate nom de plume.”

“I repeat that I intervene
To fill the evolutionary gap.
I even alter DNA.”


“We could check the evidence for that.
We researchers fill the gaps in the fossil record.”

“Then there are twice as many gaps. Absurd.”

“I’d laugh, but I know You’re not joking.”

“No joke. Try what we’ve been smoking.
Lack of 100% complete documentation
Of Evolution means that I aid its motion.”

“‘God’, that is not a good default stance.”

“It’s an unknown happenstance.”

“So do we let criminals go
Because we don’t have a video
Of their every intermediate foot step
To and from the lawless event?”

“No, of course not, but we now have great worry
About our precariously perched gappy theory.

“Also, you made a typo—it’s a God default stance,
Certified by nothing more than proclamation
Of Our Bull of Decree covering all instantiation.”


“An edict, huh.”

“Why not, duh.”

“It was also once avowed that an Evil Spirit,
One that You Yourself allowed to exist,
Produced physical illnesses, on us weighing,
But, thank God—just an old saying—
That scientists persevered, and still do,

“Such as finding out the immune system’s zoo—
Our defense against the non evil spirits
Of germs, viruses, and bacterial fits.”

“Yes, agreed; that claim was dead wrong; take pills,
But evil spirits still cause the nonphysical mental ills
That are called sins and bad thoughts,
Even crimes of wills.”

“Still trying to halt scientific inquiry,
I see, for the burning.
Mental lapsing ‘sins’
Stem from upbringing, wrong learning,

“And/or low serotonin and
Such imbalances, needing cures,
Not to mention the differences in cultures,

“Such as other religions
Causing a problem of stability,
For people think this undermines
Their own belief’s credibility.”

“Okay, I give up for now, AustinTorn. Be.
Go on with your work, with My blessing,
To discover important truths about reality,
But some fossils are evidently missing!”


“Only a tiny fraction of corpses fossilize;
However, not even a single fossil guy
Has shown up in the wrong geological stratum;
How’s that for absolutely no erratum?”

“Well… it’s sad for Me, but true.
I’d still love to find wrong a few,
Like a fossil rabbit in the Precambrian.
I’d have planted one there if I existed then.”


“Dream on. Lazy reasoning is all that’s behind
These declarations of the irreducible complexity kind.”

“Yes, but all this ignorance, for sure,
Of the possible steps of Nature
Has kept Me forever alive,
Allowing Me to ever thrive.”


“And has just as soon forgotten You, in truth,
But for those sustaining your being without proof.”

“Wait, what about an arch of bricks?
I’ll try to use this one as a trick.
“Pull one away and the arch falls apart;
It cannot survive the subtraction of a part,
So how then was it built in the first place?
With this insight, I can win the human race.”


“By scaffolding, the same as seen in Evolution.”

“I was afraid that would be the solution.”

With that, the holely God of the Gaps separated
And nearly evaporated
To become a discontinuity Himself,
But the creationists gave Him help
By trying to hold Him together
With their ditch efforts.

(Yes, ‘gapping’ still goes on, it seems.
When the argument first gathered steam,
There were but a few transitional forms known,
Although good ones, enough for the idea to own,

One being the bridge to vertebrates
And another the bridge to flying creatures.
But there are many more now, a wide range,
So then it is the data that has changed.

These ‘gap’ arguments were already down
To the faint hope that scientists, as clowns,
Wouldn’t find any more natural explanations;
But the finds were the most inevitable situations.

Creationists yet remain at the pointward
Of not being able to ‘push forward’,
So all that’s left to is push backward,

Albeit at the firmly established fact words
Of evolution. Even the Pope concedes this
But tries to salvage the faith and solve,
By saying that the mind was not at all involved.)
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Mossling on May 26th, 2017, 8:44 pm 

Grand theories are still just theories; they are works in progress.

Regarding progress in science in general, it seems that Newton was proposing a certain method for obtaining hypotheses in order to understand God better - science as a kind of religious work. It is this kind of theological tint to science that I believe removes its true essence.

For no matter any new progress made in scientific understanding of the physical universe, it is useless if the practical understanding and habitual employment of social ethics is lacking. Look at how many countries have access to scientific documentation and potential reviewing of homosexuality in nature, and the racial equality of all human beings, and yet their social ethics prevent them from recognising that truth.

Science therefore begins with social ethics - with what virtue is, and with successful exploration of that topic, then the path is set for truer science. Again; it began in its purest form with Socrates; agnostic and wisdom-(efficiency)-oriented. Also note how his followers came up with ideas such as 'citizen of the world', and how homosexuality was accepted. Such views are even rare from leaders in the 'modern' West these days...
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby DragonFly on May 26th, 2017, 9:45 pm 

The God of Irreducible Complexity

“Hello, Austino; it’s time for more perplexity,
For I am now the God of Irreducible Complexity.”


“That you are, being the unmade All,
And so it shall become your downfall.”

“Eh? I’m never to be at all?”

“Your believers have given You some fine new clothes:
But Intelligent Design is falsely based, God knows,
On Irreducible Complexity—
So I still recognize You as the God of ID.”

“That I am is what I really am now.”

“Well, Darwin said long ago that his theory
Would break down if Irreducible Complexity
Were shown to be true, and yet
No proposal has ever stood up to the analysis.”

“Still, here I am, Mr. A, alive merely by possibility,
Myself indeed quite complex, even irreducibly,

“For “I am the be all and end all—the Prime Maker,
And so I keep tabs on every form and splinter
Of the Universe, planning its every constituent
That I designed. So then, simple I am NOT.

“Yes, man, I am an extremely complicated System,
Yet I have no parts, for then My parts that stemmed
Would be even more fundamental than Me!”


“Yes, ‘God’, if You existed you would surely be
Very very very complex, irreducibly so…”

“…So…”

“…So, by the Creationist Theory, such as it must be,
You cannot be explained except by a larger ID.”

“I’m falling…”

“…Into the hole that they dug for you.”
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on May 27th, 2017, 2:50 am 

Forest_Dump » May 27th, 2017, 7:57 am wrote:
A couple of points or questions from my end. First, on a more general level, what happens when you take into account things like some of the recent big developments from CERN in that there are now no "particles". According to your kind of position, pretty much all of science would now be thrown out and everything from physics to chemistry, genetics and modern medicine has to be thrown out because in all of these things there are premises based on molecules composed of atoms with electrons, etc., forming ionic bonds, etc., but we now know that it is really something more along the lines of complex swirls of waves. Might seem trivial at the scale geneticists, for example, are dealing with but, by your logic, if even one small part has been demonstrated wrong, the while kit and kaboodle has to be thrown out. Can't even call it throwing out the baby with the bath water because both babies and bath waters appear to just be swirls on waves.



This is not what I'm saying at all.

First of all, to clarify a bit, those who know me here are probably already aware of my feelings about falsification in science, viz., there is no probably such thing (there may be rare exceptions), if by "falsify" we mean logically demonstrate to be untrue. The reason for this is the holistic nature of confirmation and disconfirmation. I spy with my little eye something beginning with D and Q.

But as a matter of fact many scientists do speak this way. It's fairly common, I think you'll agree, to hear scientists dismiss Creationism/ID as unfalsifiable, and thus ineligible for scientific status, while evolutionary theory (whatever that is today), we're told, is falsifiable, and therefore good science, irregardless of whether it's actually true or not.

So right now I'm speaking their language. It's perfectly fine with me if you want to adopt my language instead, and cease all talk of falsification. Until then, my point is that you'd better at least adhere to your own rules.

So, getting back to your complaints, Forest, no, I'm not suggesting we throw out the whole kit and kaboodle. What I would suggest that integrity demands for those subscribing to falsificationist methodology is that when a particular theory is falsified, perhaps because one or more elements of that theory are no longer tenable as per our discussion of the Darwin/Wallace theory, you declare the theory falsified, jettison the crap, pick up what can be salvaged, and then announce a new theory. Ideally, you would specify in advance under what conditions this theory will be regarded as falsified.

This, of course, is almost never done.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby hyksos on June 4th, 2017, 3:46 pm 

Before I even try to engage with NoShips, some common ground must be established. I will attempt to form a common ground by stating a collection of facts. Not opinion. Not intepretations. But facts.

some Facts
  • The fossil record is not the primary evidence of Evolution by NS. The primary evidence are the organisms alive today on the earth and how their variation is manifest.
  • The Theory of Evolution by natural selection was not formulated with the goal of "removing God's hand from Creation". Rather it was formulated specifically to address a problem in taxonomy in regards to what constitutes a "species" and what constitutes a "variety". (For short, I will henceforth refer to this as "The Species Problem")
  • Since the time of Darwin, Evolution by NS has undergone several syntheses. THese are now referred to by historians as the First and Second Darwinian Syntheses. The first synthesis was between hybridization and mendelian genetics. The second synthesis was molecular biochemistry and DNA.
  • The process of evolution refers to a statistical process among traits of a population. For this reason, the topic of abiogenesis is a different theory entirely, with a different body of evidence. That is to say, Evolution is a theory which does not require a fully-fleshed out abiogenesis in order to "prove it".
  • Evolution by NS is fully falsifiable. Darwin himself told us how to falsify it.

    If it could be shown that the trait of any one species exists solely for the benefit of another species , my theory would be annihilated.
Notice that Darwin did not say his theory would require "slight amendments" or "modifications". Darwin wrote that his theory would `annihilated.` Now perhaps a person like NoShips will contend that Darwin was a clever guy who knew how to pull semantic tricks, and he therefore knew ahead of time his theory was unassailable on this end. False. Darwin then clearly states why this would annihilate the theory.
..for such a trait could not have been produced by natural selection.


  • The statistico-mathematical process of evolution has been simulated on a computer, in contexts far removed from living organisms. So with genetic algorithms you can evolve bit strings, images, sorting algorithms, program code, et cetera. Evolution works as advertised among these populations of candidate solutions. While these simulations do not prove that evolution takes place among living organisms on earth, these programs do demonstrate definitively, that the statistical scheme of evolution actually works and is coherent. With today's computers you can even simulate little block creatures who live and reproduce in a block world and who have to move around in it. These "ecosystem" simulations exhibit (1) speciation, (2) modification of function and (3) production of new functionality consistent with Darwinian evolution.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby hyksos on June 4th, 2017, 3:51 pm 

There is now a branch of computer science that deals specifically with genetic algorithms. The annual international conference will be held this year in July -- for the 22nd year.

The conferences are called GECCO

The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference.

http://gecco-2016.sigevo.org/index.html/HomePage#&panel1-1
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby DragonFly on June 4th, 2017, 5:02 pm 

While evolution via natural selection has triple confirmation through the correlation of fossils, DNA (plus its ‘junk’), and embryonic stages, overcomes religion (Genesis), it doesn’t defeat the notion of Intelligence behind it, although it adds to the unlikeliness of Intelligence because it took so long and thus presents itself just as what would naturally happen. In addition, other situations are also such as if they needed no Intelligence or miracles other than the natural.

So, by no one being able to know the nature of the ultimate basis of all, one is left to use probability to head one way or another, but at least any shame or blame goes away.

We highly suspect that the fundamental basis cannot be an intelligence system (Mind/Brain like) because systems have parts and we do have the opposite progression of the simpler going to the more complex. Making the Intelligence Larger doesn’t seem to help, but even hurts that proposition.

What about some rudimentary system connections being a kind of simpler intelligence, such as quantum entanglement?

I’d still count it as natural.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on June 4th, 2017, 8:58 pm 

@ Hyksos

It's not quite clear what point you're making here. I'll assume it has to do with the falsifiability of evolutionary theory, or the Darwinian account thereof (hereafter I'll just speak generically of ET). Scientists often assert that ET is falsifiable, as you do yourself ("Evolution by NS is fully falsifiable."). It's a claim that I believe -- quite obviously -- to be both naive and, quite frankly, preposterous. The problems with the assertion are so numerous it's hard to know where to begin, but I'll try to highlight a few objections.

* What exactly is ET? Before we even begin to speak of falsification, we have to be clear what the target is, and thus what exactly is to be abandoned if the theory is 'falsified'. Ask ten people what ET is, and I daresay you'll get ten different answers. Try it! As far as I see matters, ET encompasses an enormous, heterogeneous body of knowledge, more akin to an encyclopedia than a simple hypothesis like, say, Newton's inverse square law. Philosopher of biology Elliott Sober explains:

"Creationists often talk of 'testing evolutionary theory', and biologists sometimes talk this way as well. The context of their remarks sometimes reveals which specific proposition the authors have in mind, but often this is not the case. It is important to recognize that the phrase 'evolutionary theory' is too vague when the subject of testing is broached. There are a number of propositions that evolutionary biologists take seriously. The first step should be to specify which of these is to be the focus."


* It's important that we differentiate between logical falsification and methodological falsification. The former refers to a definitive, logical demonstration of a theory's falsity; the latter to a methodological stipulation that if certain conditions are satisfied, the scientist will renounce his theory as false.

The former, I will argue and have argued, is a chimera; there is no such thing. See the Duhem-Quine thesis for details. A theory can always be protected against logical falsification if its propenents so desire by adjustment of auxiliary hyotheses. In fact, such a move is extremely common in the history of science. Examples abound.

The latter may be viable (though disastrous for science), but with some qualifications. You point out, for example, Darwin's assertion...

"If it could be shown that the trait of any one species exists solely for the benefit of another species , my theory would be annihilated."
"..for such a trait could not have been produced by natural selection
."


Well, let's suppose evidence comes to light suggesting that "the trait of any one species exists solely for the benefit of another species". I repeat, this would not constitute a logical falsification of anything, for such a thing does not exist in empirical science, but what about methodological falsification? Darwin has courageously laid his theory on the line, specifying conditions for falsification that he is now compelled to honor, and must now renounce it. But renounce what exactly? What exactly is "his theory" that he claims has been "annihilated"? That natural selection does not exist? That it exists in some species but not others? What about descent with modification? What about all the other claims he made in Origin? See the problem? What exactly has been falsified?

Leaving aside Darwin, what about the rest of the scientific community who did not, presumably, give their oral or written consent to Darwin's criterion for falsification? Are they also obliged to renounce "the theory", even if we can figure out exactly what that is?

What we see, then, is that Darwin's assertion amounts to merely one man's promise. There exists no institutional consensus that I'm aware of commiting an entire community of scientists to honor a promise they themselves did not make.


* The history of science, if it teaches us anything at all, is that the scientific community at large never abandons a major theoretical paradigm until an alternative is available. Even supposing the kind of evidence just alluded to came to light, or even if, wonder of wonders, a pre-Cambrian rabbit or hippo was unearthed, the suggestion that the entire community of biologists around the world would immediately renounce ET as false, leaving themselves theory-less, is the stuff of fairy tales and bad science books. To do so would be tantamount to giving up doing science. Scientists never do this. There are no precedents for this kind of thing.


I could say much more on this, but perhaps you'd like to reflect on what I've just said first.


P.S. Your remark: "Now perhaps a person like NoShips will contend that Darwin was a clever guy who knew how to pull semantic tricks, and he therefore knew ahead of time his theory was unassailable on this end. False. Darwin then clearly states why this would annihilate the theory." is entirely misplaced. I regard Darwin as a man of the highest intellectual integrity -- more than I can say for some of his modern day counterparts.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby hyksos on June 4th, 2017, 9:30 pm 

it doesn’t defeat the notion of Intelligence behind it, although it adds to the unlikeliness of Intelligence because it took so long and thus presents itself just as what would naturally happen. In addition, other situations are also such as if they needed no Intelligence or miracles other than the natural.

Evolution in isolation cannot defeat the notion of Intelligence behind it.

But astrobiology likely will. We know there are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Data of extra-solar planets gives us a rough estimate of the number of planets around each star. The current estimate is 2.0 planets/star. In this (naturalistic) scenario, what lies "behind" evolution on earth are the very conditions of earth. Its oceans, its land peaking up above the water, its thick oxygen-rich atmosphere, et cetera.

If it is found that it is the conditions of earth that facilitate evolution of complex life (many already conclude this true), then the question of how the conditions arose is where the Intelligence might be smuggled in.

Unfortunately, as stated above, the sheer number of planets gives a statistical likelihood of an earth-like conditions, even from a formally 'random' distribution of planets. We could get saucy, and say "If an Intelligence designed the Earth specifically as a stage for evolution -- was this intelligence just guessing?" Its guesses are strewn about the galaxy, and strewn about other galaxies. There are even some local guesses right here in our own system. Mars is freeze-dried. The surface of Venus is so hot you can melt lead on it.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby edy420 on June 23rd, 2017, 4:51 am 

Serpent » 01 May 2017, 14:16 wrote:
Why then do we see the universe as a largely mechanistic system that operates according to describable principles but choose to accord human beings with some further property, that of "agency"?

Because we can choose.
We divide what we know of reality into the inanimate and animate portions of the universe.


Was the first airplane designed by intelligence?
If it is true that our brains are just neurological connections then all we did was build something that could only be built that way.
Ie we couldn't build the first plane in the shape of a bus or an iceberg!

Therefore the universe built the first plane, or at least it knew about its blueprints.
All we did was build it, in some sense only rediscovering what the universe already knew.
Planes rely on aerodynamics, light building materials etc, the universe already knew it, In the same way it knows how to build a solar system or design a bird.

Going on a tangent but, basically the first plane was built with the laws of physics in place and a bunch of neoro connections observing them and replicating.
No real "intelligence" needed
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Mossling on June 23rd, 2017, 10:27 am 

Indeed. Water 'finds its way down a mountain' - but only when one anthropomorphizes it in that description of its behavior. There need not be any inferences of intelligent behavior at all. It's just a cultural tradition.

The thing is, the symbolic language filter we must use, as socially-dependent organisms, demands that we make distinctions between prosocial and antisocial objects, thus good and bad, intelligent and unintelligent, and so on.

Languaging and non-languaging are just two equally true existential perspectives, and yet are apparently mutually exclusive, which makes attempts to unify them - normally in the languaging domain - incredibly frustrating.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby NoShips on June 23rd, 2017, 10:33 am 

Mossling » June 23rd, 2017, 11:27 pm wrote:Indeed. Water 'finds its way down a mountain' - but only when one anthropomorphizes it in that description of its behavior. There need not be any inferences of intelligent behavior at all. It's just a cultural tradition.

The thing is, the symbolic language filter we must use, as socially-dependent organisms, demands that we make distinctions between prosocial and antisocial objects, thus good and bad, intelligent and unintelligent, and so on.

Languaging and non-languaging are just two equally true existential perspectives, and yet are apparently mutually exclusive, which makes attempts to unify them - normally in the languaging domain - incredibly frustrating.



I can make no sense of this. May I impose on you to elaborate?

How can I tell if it's not meaningless crap?

Put another way (perhaps), how is a thirsty truth seeker supposed to know if what you just said is true or not?

Not my fault. Socratesinvat died and they put me in charge. An unfortunate terrorist attack on vatic apostates.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Forest_Dump on June 23rd, 2017, 7:07 pm 

NoShips wrote:Mossling » June 23rd, 2017, 11:27 pm wrote:
Indeed. Water 'finds its way down a mountain' - but only when one anthropomorphizes it in that description of its behavior. There need not be any inferences of intelligent behavior at all. It's just a cultural tradition.

The thing is, the symbolic language filter we must use, as socially-dependent organisms, demands that we make distinctions between prosocial and antisocial objects, thus good and bad, intelligent and unintelligent, and so on.

Languaging and non-languaging are just two equally true existential perspectives, and yet are apparently mutually exclusive, which makes attempts to unify them - normally in the languaging domain - incredibly frustrating.


I can make no sense of this. May I impose on you to elaborate?

How can I tell if it's not meaningless crap?

Put another way (perhaps), how is a thirsty truth seeker supposed to know if what you just said is true or not?


Actually it didn't take me much to decipher that. We do use language to order things (i.e., observations) and find or create a logic to go with it. However, I think we can also "know" things in a more instinctual kind of way which may be based on certain perceptions, etc., that we just can't find the language for. And this latter inability to find the appropriate language may be because we just don't know how to translate our observations into the language available to us. To provide just one, perhaps weak, example: I am sure we have all heard the saying that something was lost in the translation. If there is any truth to that saying (which personally I do not doubt), then of course there must be nuances written in languages we are not fluent in that we cannot get simply because we are not fluent in that language. I have been told you cannot fully appreciate Proust or Flaubert if you are not fully comfortable reading french, you don't get the sublime poetry of the Koran if you don't speak and read Arabic, etc. I would hazard a guess NoShips would even go so far as to say that few even fluent readers of english fully get what he is saying. So, it comes as no surprise to me that there may well be (I would say definitely is) meaning and even truths that is outside any or all or our language realm.
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Re: Intelligent Design - why not?

Postby Mossling on June 23rd, 2017, 8:10 pm 

NoShips » June 23rd, 2017, 11:33 pm wrote:How can I tell if it's not meaningless crap?,

Yes, as I said, it can be frustrating. Forest gives a good breakdown above.

Put another way (perhaps), how is a thirsty truth seeker supposed to know if what you just said is true or not?

Well, there's the well-used example of:
Language world: "Red".
Non-language world: A frequency of visible light.

The label "Red" represents the social truth of experience, whilst the frequency of visible light represents the physical truth.

Maybe a highly sensitive lifelong blind person could feel red through their skin in contrast to blue? But still, they'll not know the truth of the traditional cultural idea of "Red". There exists a social language truth and a physical truth, both equally relevant as practical perspectives. For we cannot operate as functional sophisticated humans without them.

The idea of "intelligent" could be said to belong to the language world, while in the non-language world, there is no such thing.

Some food for thought:

"For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are remov’d for any time, as by sound sleep; so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist." - A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), David Hume, BOOK I: Of The Understanding, Part IV, (L. A.
Selby-Bigge (Oxford Univerity Press: 1896), p252).

“…my existence always remains only sensibly determinable, i.e., determinable as the existence of an appearance.” – Critique of Pure Reason (1785), Immanuel Kant, B 158, (translated by P. Guyer & Allen W. Wood (Cambridge University Press: 2000), p260).

"Philosophical troubles are caused by not using language practically but by extending it on looking at it. We form sentences and then wonder what they can mean." - Wittgenstein's Lectures, Cambridge 1932-1935
(1979), Ludwig Wittgenstein and Alice Ambrose (Editor), p15.

"Classificatory thought gives itself an essential space, which it proceeds to efface at each moment." - The Birth of the Clinic (1963), Michel Foucault (translated by A. M. Sheridan (Vintage Books Edition: 1994), p9).


You see, it ain't nothin' new - we've been saying this stuff for more than 200 years, and much further back if you want to bring in the Heracliteans, the Sophists, Socrates, and the Skeptics....
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