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Friday, August 16, 2013

Mailvox: What color? Amused

Dominic detects scientific falsification:
Last year, you made a post entitled Evolution and a potential rabbit where you showed some in the scientific community had established that DNA could last no longer than between 1.5 to 6.8 million years, even under ideal conditions, where the linked article stated: “This confirms the widely held suspicion that claims of DNA from dinosaurs and ancient insects trapped in amber are incorrect”

Well, in 2009 Wired magazine posted a story of a man who extracted live bacteria and yeast samples from preserved Amber well beyond the 1.5-6.8 million year threshold. The plot twist being that his only successful attempt at capitalizing on the discovery was that a particular strain of yeast made good beer. But that's it, nothing else he extracted was different enough from modern microorganisms to yield anything new or of value, in spite of the supposed tens of millions of years difference in time and environment.

I know its not cloning, per se, but this does seem, at least superficially, to meet your criteria of either debunking the evolutionary timeline as it currently stands, given a man has made a career out of resurrecting live organisms that should have no DNA left, or further discrediting the peer-review process which allowed a paper claiming a 521 year DNA half-life to get published..

Color me amused.
That is two more strikes against Darwin's Dangerous Idea. I think it would be overly aggressive to conclude that the evolutionary timeline has been comprehensively debunked, but this is, at the very least, yet another crack in the crumbling wall of the Theorum of Evolution by (probably) Natural Selection, Biased Mutation, Genetic Drift, and Gene Flow.

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164 Comments:

Anonymous anon123 August 16, 2013 4:08 PM  

Interesting, to say the yeast.

Anonymous Stephen J. August 16, 2013 4:18 PM  

I'm inclined to call this a strike against peer review rather than the evolutionary timeline, as the latter is deliberately ambiguous enough as to be hard to generally falsify and the former is already demonstrably corrupted. I'm also not sure how vital DNA's hypothetical 521-year half-life is to the timeline's veracity, as the half-life hypothesis is only a recent addition anyways and the Timeline is much older, I think.

Blogger JohnG August 16, 2013 4:21 PM  

Did anybody ever debunk that soft dinosaur tissue (marrow) find a while back?

Anonymous MrGreenMan August 16, 2013 4:32 PM  

Interesting thought experiment - not meant to debunk Mr. Darwin, but one more brick in the wall:

Just calculate annual population from the reproduction and predation rate for your favorite species, maybe rabbits, and then take your preferred ideas about the carrying capacity of the earth. Run the calculation, and decide if it's possible for these mammals to have existed as long as they suggest. (And mammals is the easy end of this calculation - if you take bugs that reproduce faster and appear to at present have no predators, project that back into the proposed timeline, the earth should have been overwhelmed and consumed many times.)

I wonder how Eugenie Scott is doing praying to an "empty sky" for those replicator compounds that will self-organize duplicates of themselves by var der Waals forces...

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 4:33 PM  

Well, in 2009 Wired magazine posted a story of a man who extracted live bacteria and yeast samples from preserved Amber well beyond the 1.5-6.8 million year threshold.

I don't think means anything. I would welcome the critique of an actual biologist, but a live sample of yeast or bacterium, would not be subject to half-life of DNA, as the DNA would not be in a state of decay. The postulation of the half-life of DNA theory is based on enzyme-based decay of the nucleic bonds within DNA. A living bacteria, or fungus, which is minimally not-in-decay, would still be experience chemical processes that preserve the bonds in DNA.

I would also have to go re-read the original study on DNA half-life, but I do remember reading in the abstract something about the complexity of the underlying DNA. Yeast, like most funguses, has very simple DNA. Between the already simple biological processes, it is hard to presume that this means anything at all with respect to larger, more complex DNA samples and the post-death processes that occur.

Anonymous Andreas August 16, 2013 4:44 PM  

I really think Vox is stretching this one!

As evolution selects for genes based on the environment, it is obvious that two different strains of bacteria living in the same environment are likely to be pretty similar.

This does not disprove evolution by any means, it simply means that the environment of the extracted organisms is by and large similar to ours. It's not like modern fruit requires a special set of enzymes for yeast to digest them.

Anonymous Krul August 16, 2013 4:53 PM  

DNA could last no longer than between 1.5 to 6.8 million years, even under ideal conditions

From the Wired article - In 1993, Cano worked with Poinar and others to remove DNA from a 125 million-year-old Lebanese weevil entombed in amber. They were able to sequence segments of the bug's genome.

Well... Somebody's wrong, I just don't know who.

Oh well, it's almost Bourbon time. Bookers, FYI.

Anonymous Stephen J. August 16, 2013 4:55 PM  

"Just calculate annual population from the reproduction and predation rate for your favorite species, maybe rabbits, and then take your preferred ideas about the carrying capacity of the earth. Run the calculation, and decide if it's possible for these mammals to have existed as long as they suggest."

This assumes predation and dieoff rates are constant, which we know they are not. The big difficulty is that the only thing we can logically infer about what they *were* was: "Sufficiently high and frequent that actual population does not match potential population."

Which is one reason why, while evolutionary theory may sincerely attempt to be empirical in its philosophy (in that it attempts to allow for and explain all observed data), it cannot be empirical in its practice, as you cannot run parallel experiments on isolated control factors to observe results -- we only have one Earth and one history. So its predictive use is limited.

Blogger tz August 16, 2013 4:57 PM  

TENS decimated by e-leaven? Who would of thought?

Of course they are readying Ephemeral Latent Evolution Via Exigent Natural Selection, or ELEVENS. They have more than a half dozen variants, so get ready to slurpee 7-ELEVENS

Blogger Phoenician August 16, 2013 5:04 PM  

Uh-huh.

http://www.nature.com/news/dna-has-a-521-year-half-life-1.11555

----
After cell death, enzymes start to break down the bonds between the nucleotides that form the backbone of DNA, and micro-organisms speed the decay. In the long run, however, reactions with water are thought to be responsible for most bond degradation. Groundwater is almost ubiquitous, so DNA in buried bone samples should, in theory, degrade at a set rate.
----

And from the Wired article

----
Two years later, however, Cano actually did manage to pull off an astonishing first—he brought back to life something that had been trapped in amber for more than 25 million years. It started with a chunk of fossilized resin from the Dominican Republic. Trapped inside was an extinct breed of stingless bee. It was dead, of course, but Cano theorized that microorganisms in the resin might simply be dormant. After all, he reasoned, some single-celled creatures are known to enter a hibernation-like state and survive for years with no air or food. Still, few believed that anything could survive after lying dormant for so long.

Cano wanted to find out. He took the contents of the ancient bee's stomach, suspended it in saline, and spread it on a growth medium. Amazingly, something woke up and began propagating in the petri dish. Cano identified it as a bacterial spore related to the modern Bacillus sphaericus, which is used to kill mosquito larvae.
----

So we see once again just how badly Dipshit here misunderstands science. He compares a theory about DNA decay in dead cells under normal conditions to DNA in a living organism under abnormal conditions,

What a friggin' idiot.

Anonymous John Regan August 16, 2013 5:06 PM  

I think the trouble here might be that nothing is actually 1.5 or 6.8 million years old:

https://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/evolution-is-as-evolution-does/

I don't know where they come up with numbers like that. Neither do they. At least, I think there's an argument to be had about all that, but no one ever seems to have it.

Curtailing the huge expanses of time that is its predicate would certainly cast the "theory" of evolution into turmoil.

Anonymous VD August 16, 2013 5:09 PM  

So we see once again just how badly Dipshit here misunderstands science. He compares a theory about DNA decay in dead cells under normal conditions to DNA in a living organism under abnormal conditions, What a friggin' idiot.

Whoosh. Phony, you clearly have no idea what this may signify for your precious theory. No idea at all.

You seriously think that helps your case?

Blogger Phoenician August 16, 2013 5:24 PM  

Whoosh. Phony, you clearly have no idea what this may signify for your precious theory. No idea at all.

Dipshit, given that you tried to apply a theory about DNA in dead organic matter to DNA within a dormant bacterial spore without noticing the problem, I think we've established your credibility to talk about science.

You moron.

Anonymous JP2 August 16, 2013 5:30 PM  

You're clutching at straws here. You must really hate this natural selection thing.

The first link is about DNA of dead organisms, the second about yeast that was apparently alive all along.

Anonymous Stephen J. August 16, 2013 5:32 PM  

"...you clearly have no idea what this may signify for [TENS]."

Well, let it never be said I wouldn't play the straight man for the sake of epexegesis: Exactly what does it possibly signify? And why does it signify that?

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 16, 2013 5:40 PM  

Vox, the article has fuzzy language, it states that the ancient bacteria were no 'different enough' from modern bacteria to yeild anything of value. What exactly does that mean? 'Not different enough' could mean that they were extremely different, but not in a way that is very interesting.

Also bear in mind that if an organism is already well adapted to it's environment, it won't change much through evolution. Sharks for instance, have not changed (at least in terms of gross anatomy) in tens of millions of years). Horses on the other hand, have changed a great deal.

I might also point out that there are species of microbes (and other things) that did not exist in the world 1000 years ago. For instance, there is a species of microbe which feeds exclusively on the waste products from nylon factories. It could not have existed even 100 years ago, because human beings did not make nylon 100 years ago.

Anonymous Daniel August 16, 2013 5:52 PM  

People...something lived for more than 7 million years and happens to be identical to its modern counterpart.

Darwin's "Dangerous Idea" (according to Dennett) is that (among other things):

1) Evolution itself is the cause of life.
2) biology is the ongoing designer
3) meaning evolves

Well, it is is pretty clear that this successful experiment pretty much invalidates 2 and 3, and calls into question 1, considering the improbability of enough permutations existing since the parent yeast to accidentally match the 7 million year younger child.

Anonymous kh123 August 16, 2013 5:57 PM  

"You must really hate this natural selection thing."

It's the innate atheist in all of us reacting to an unseen force which does all, yet is rude enough to not be bound by our direct observation, measure, or repetition.

Anonymous Daniel August 16, 2013 5:59 PM  

Of course, I'm not discounting the possibility that the experiment was false, the sample was misidentified, or anything else. I'm just saying that if the experiment did what it claims to have done, Darwin's Dangerous Idea is sufficiently out the window for it to be ignored as a philosophical premise and TENS itself or whatever they are calling anymore is not unscathed.

Anonymous Daniel August 16, 2013 6:10 PM  

I might also point out that there are species of microbes (and other things) that did not exist in the world 1000 years ago. For instance, there is a species of microbe which feeds exclusively on the waste products from nylon factories. It could not have existed even 100 years ago, because human beings did not make nylon 100 years ago.

That's an error. The bacteria you are referring to, flavobacterium, was identified in the 1800s, before the existence of nylon, was recognized for its high adaptability to food sources, and has not magically changed species just because it produces an interesting waste from its new synthetic food source.

That's like suggesting that a labrador retreiver is a new species because it now eats Ol' Roy and craps green, and 100 years ago, it couldn't have done that, because Ol' Roy did not exist.

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 16, 2013 6:12 PM  

Another point here - Even if Darwin were proved wrong that does not necessarily equate to Creationism therefore being right. For instance, let's say I claim there is a giant pink elephant in my garage. My neighbor claims there is a giant purple hippo in his garage. After thoroughly inspecting my neighbors garage, there is no sign of any purple hippo, and my neighbor admits he was wrong, there is not and never was a purple hippo in his garage.

The fact that there is no purple hippo in my neighbor's garage does not mean there is therefore a pink elephant in my garage. There could be nothing in either of our garages. Or something else besides either a pink elephant or a purple hippo.

Anonymous MendoScot August 16, 2013 6:14 PM  

Dipshit, given that you tried to apply a theory about DNA in dead organic matter to DNA within a dormant bacterial spore without noticing the problem, I think we've established your credibility to talk about science.

So you are a vitalist?

Blogger Nate August 16, 2013 6:20 PM  

"Oh well, it's almost Bourbon time. Bookers, FYI."

ahhh...

I love this blog.

Anonymous VD August 16, 2013 6:21 PM  

Dipshit, given that you tried to apply a theory about DNA in dead organic matter to DNA within a dormant bacterial spore without noticing the problem, I think we've established your credibility to talk about science.

As usual, you can't even read, Phony. You're simply hapless. My posting of Dominic's email says absolutely nothing about what I do or do not understand. You don't even know what the two strikes are, or why I mentioned two and not one.

Are you seriously attempting to say that live dormant DNA is immortal? And if so, do you really not realize what sort of potential consequences that has for evolution?

Also bear in mind that if an organism is already well adapted to it's environment, it won't change much through evolution.

You're begging the question. And natural selection via environmental pressure is not the only evolutionary mechanic.

Anonymous VD August 16, 2013 6:23 PM  

Even if Darwin were proved wrong that does not necessarily equate to Creationism therefore being right.

Obviously. But only evolutionist fetishists are dumb enough to postulate a Manichean binary where one concept must be true and the other one false.

People like you constantly assume that because you think that way, everyone else must do so too. However, a critique is just a critique, it is not a positive argument for something else.

Blogger WarKicker August 16, 2013 6:35 PM  

"Another point here - Even if Darwin were proved wrong that does not necessarily equate to Creationism therefore being right."

I'm not sure anyone disagrees with this. But there have been ample positive arguments presented to suggest the validity of supernatural Creation. Indeed, even if Darwinian evolution is true, there is the issue of abiogenesis and the miraculous early conditions of the universe to contend with, either of which make TENS far from being a defeater for the theist.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 6:42 PM  

Are you seriously attempting to say that live dormant DNA is immortal? And if so, do you really not realize what sort of potential consequences that has for evolution?

Having a geologically scaled life-cycle doesn't mean dormant, and it doesn't mean immortal. Measuring the life-cycle of single-cell and/or other simple organisms is an interesting question. When does it die?

Anonymous MrGreenMan August 16, 2013 6:57 PM  

People like you constantly assume that because you think that way, everyone else must do so too. However, a critique is just a critique, it is not a positive argument for something else.

I remember sharing TIA with a colleague on a long business trip. It was amazing how many times a simple demolition of a sacred NuAtheist cow led to, "But that doesn't mean your Jesus is real!" because he literally had nothing else and he thought that guy in all the comedy movies was some brilliant new age philosopher. (Although his presentation as Tony Wonder in Arrested Development was outstanding.)

I remember taking a logic class at MooU, and being amazed at how it seemed impossible to explain to the PoliSci and Sociology majors there to fill in a general ed honors option that (p -> q) && !p told you nothing much of value about q. This seems to be an even more elementary inability to think clearly:

"I like q, but I was told !q is true, so !p must be true, because I hate you, and I hate p, and I'm an asshole, QED."

Anonymous Beau August 16, 2013 7:00 PM  

When does it die?

When it enrolls at the University of Chicago.

Anonymous Sensei August 16, 2013 7:10 PM  

Obviously. But only evolutionist fetishists are dumb enough to postulate a Manichean binary where one concept must be true and the other one false. -VD

This is but one example of where modern secular science's supposed noble and courageous quest for the truth about reality in the face of outdated superstition seems to break down.

Rather than throw out something so increasingly outdated and impossible as TENS, they seem to cling to it as the best anti-Theistic answer they've got (which it doesn't even seem to be). The tendency less and less resembles looking for the answer which most closely fits the data available, and begins to look more and more like a fiercely-imposed ideology.

The modern Galileos look more like Rupert Sheldrake, it would seem.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 7:15 PM  

Rather than throw out something so increasingly outdated and impossible as TENS, they seem to cling to it as the best anti-Theistic answer they've got (which it doesn't even seem to be). The tendency less and less resembles looking for the answer which most closely fits the data available, and begins to look more and more like a fiercely-imposed ideology.

Part of getting something discarded is to suggest a more credible replacement. This isn't always the case - sometimes a more credible alternative is "we don't know", and that's fine. But there is very little chance that TENS is going to be tossed out without something filling the void. So what fills the void? The silence is both deafening and interesting.

Anonymous MrGreenMan August 16, 2013 7:21 PM  

@Stephen J
This assumes predation and dieoff rates are constant, which we know they are not. The big difficulty is that the only thing we can logically infer about what they *were* was: "Sufficiently high and frequent that actual population does not match potential population."

I wish with all the statements about scientific consensus that there would be some consistency; it was considered established enough by the fashionable Left and their grant-taker slaves to put science the slave of policy to crush the lives and livelihood of millions or billions based on the idea that humans had created unprecedented pressure on the environment. Therefore, it should be a safe assumption that the average chance of reproductive success for your average animal is at its nadir today - after all, it isn't very "unprecedented" if it's got a well-established precedent.

Taking basic assumptions of population growth in the current clime and extrapolating backwards - it doesn't look good with the common sleight-of-hand of "billions and billions of years!"

Then again, anybody who read the Fibonacci rabbit story would have to question "billions and billions of years!" on grounds of the pure innumerate stupidity of it all.

Anonymous kh123 August 16, 2013 7:26 PM  

"So what fills the void?"

Apparently never "We don't know".

Anonymous Crude August 16, 2013 7:27 PM  

But there is very little chance that TENS is going to be tossed out without something filling the void.

Sure, but quite a lot of that has to do with the fears about what would fill the void naturally - Creationism, either explicitly or implicitly. It's not a purely or even largely scientific question for most of the people involved in the debate.

I say this as someone who largely accepts evolutionary theory and common descent, but who is tired of the non-scientific aspects of it being bandied about as scientific, or the 'it's all about the SCIENCE' posturing on the part of many proponents and even skeptics.

So what fills the void? The silence is both deafening and interesting.

Why? You said it yourself: it's not even necessary to fill that void. I think on an individual level, you can stop right there and there's no great loss. Sure, plenty of people will refuse to sacrifice TENS or even be skeptical of it regardless. I think the silence about 'what's wrong with agnosticism?' here is the real 'deafening and interesting' thing.

Personally, I think if anything will replace TENS, it's going to be secular intelligent design. Accent on secular - the return the strong unseen alien designers or fundamental intelligences in nature that no one ever calls God or gods despite looking quite similar to them. There's even precedent here: even if it was temporary, Francis Crick dove for this in the past, and it used to be an idea with more traction. If necessary, people will get used to it again. (And yes, I know, Crick's main concern there was with the Origin of Life, but I think it's comparable enough.)

Anonymous Sensei August 16, 2013 7:33 PM  

So what fills the void? The silence is both deafening and interesting. -dh

You seem reasonably open to alternative explanations with evidence to support them compared to others I've engaged on this topic.
However, there is only the silence you describe when what could and does fill the void is rejected by default because there is systematic opposition to any theories which would open the door to scientific affirmation of theistic explanations.

With the obvious strengths of the design argument, one would expect there to be a healthy sampling of non-theistic explanations for why those strengths are apparent. The silence you speak of argues rather in favor of the theistic explanation, as it suggests not that reality is more like TENS than it appears (that would certainly be a faith-based statement), but that non-theistic arguments can't do any better than problematic TENS.

(This is, by the way, very much like a scientific version of the literary path which led to C.S.Lewis' conversion from atheism to Christianity)

Blogger wrf3 August 16, 2013 7:43 PM  

Crude wrote: the ... fundamental intelligences in nature that no one ever calls God or gods despite looking quite similar to them.

What are these "fundamental intelligences" in nature?

Anonymous Beau August 16, 2013 7:44 PM  

So what fills the void? The silence is both deafening and interesting.

Please provide the postulates, equations, theorems, double-blind research, or statistically significant data gleaned by Science to explain, model, replicate, or predict abiogenesis.

++ crickets ++

So what fills the void?

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 7:46 PM  

The silence you speak of argues rather in favor of the theistic explanation, as it suggests not that reality is more like TENS than it appears (that would certainly be a faith-based statement), but that non-theistic arguments can't do any better than problematic TENS.

I don't see it that way, though the concept is intriguing. I suppose it is inherently interesting if you try to solve a problem, for a long time, and can come up with no solution. Does that mean the problem is impossible to solve? Does it mean that the problem is simply too difficult to solve?

Trying to establish a scientific theory that explains biological development and speciation is a hard problem, but we haven't been at it very long. It seems unlikely to me, just based on raw statistical analysis, that we have solved a difficult and complex problem so quickly, and with so little actual hard work. So based on that alone, I expect something to replace TENS in time.

Biological sciences are inherently frustrating to me - my own experience is more along the lines of engineering and formal sciences - things with proofs that are both observable and firm (aka, you can't lie to the compiler). When interviewing software engineers, an early question I ask is if software development is an art or a science. Anyone who answers "art" is politely shown the door.

Blogger wrf3 August 16, 2013 7:48 PM  

Sensi wrote: With the obvious strengths of the design argument,...

What are they? It all boils down to the question of whether or not a random sequence of a certain (currently unknown, but very large) length can happen in nature.

By definition, that's not a question science can answer.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 7:51 PM  

So what fills the void?

That's the whole question, isn't it? I think that many scientists fear the answer is "creationism" or "myths".

From the secular position, the problem is difficult because a very small subset of Christians are promoting a literal view of Genesis, which by extension postulates a vast conspiracy of scientists covering up evidence of the truth of Genesis, while breeding a new generation of citizens who are incapable of sustaining an advanced technological society. Any crack in the facade will be used by those to further their sort of quasi-religious anti-science efforts. They are making a political decision to abstain from criticizing a less than perfect theory in order to preserve, what they view as, a larger truth. It is both cynical and understandable, when you reject the concept of objective morality.

Blogger wrf3 August 16, 2013 7:52 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Nate August 16, 2013 7:55 PM  

"When it enrolls at the University of Chicago."

Winning.

Blogger wrf3 August 16, 2013 7:59 PM  

dh wrote: When interviewing software engineers, an early question I ask is if software development is an art or a science. Anyone who answers "art" is politely shown the door.

And so you would reject St. Knuth, whose "The Art of Computer Programming" is a masterpiece, richly deserving of it's status as a classic foundational set of books in the field.

Anonymous MendoScot August 16, 2013 7:59 PM  

Crude

Personally, I think if anything will replace TENS, it's going to be secular intelligent design.


I agree. I think that some form of intelligent design is a necessary step in the evolutionary future of evolution. Adaptation to the environment, n'est-ce pas?

Anonymous Crude August 16, 2013 7:59 PM  

dh,

From the secular position, the problem is difficult because a very small subset of Christians are promoting a literal view of Genesis, which by extension postulates a vast conspiracy of scientists covering up evidence of the truth of Genesis, while breeding a new generation of citizens who are incapable of sustaining an advanced technological society.

I doubt this. In fact, I doubt it highly.

The only evidence we have about the capabilities of creationists is that they're capable of sustaining a society that gave rise to the internet, the personal computer, and put a man on the moon. I think this is typical 'secular' propaganda, but I think all but the dumbest of them don't really believe it.

On the flipside, it's not the 'literalist Creationists' with their 6000 year old planet and conspiracy theories about dinosaur bones that work them up. Michael Behe is one of the leading Intelligent Design proponents. He accepts an old earth, common descent, and the general thrust of evolutionary theory while zeroing in on some key issues of skepticism. Bring up, say... Hovind, and secularists will laugh. Bring up Behe and - at least in my experience - they get vastly more angry.

If your view was right, they should welcome Behe - maybe even Dembski, and ID generally - as a step forward. Instead, it infuriates them even more. This isn't about YEC fear. This is about the fear of any kind of concession to the existence and work of God, period. Or so I see it.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 8:02 PM  

And so you would reject St. Knuth, whose "The Art oF Computer Science" is a masterpiece, richly deserving of it's status as a classic foundational set of books in the field.

I suspect you mean "The Art of Computer Programming".

The irony being, that Knuth, like in his other books (and others, like The C Programming Language by Thompson and Ritchie) neither show or attempt to prove that computer programming is an art. Instead, they show it to be what it is - a ruthless, cold, analytics based science, in which decisions are made that are justifiable, reproducible, and mathematically correct.

Knuth himself, here http://www.paulgraham.com/knuth.html, attempts to justify this by essentially trying to reclaim art, by equating it to science and by wordplay. But this attempt has failed. Art is what soft science majors claim to continue to justify their failure to do anything substantive.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 8:11 PM  

If your view was right, they should welcome Behe - maybe even Dembski, and ID generally - as a step forward. Instead, it infuriates them even more. This isn't about YEC fear. This is about the fear of any kind of concession to the existence and work of God, period. Or so I see it.

You could be correct. I have known several YEC who exist in a sort of mental stasis, they essentially do any type of "work" on the topic, because it quickly devolves into competing personalities.

Separately, it is interesting that the things you attribute to creationist society are actually works of deeply counter-religious individuals. The internet and it's offshoots was created by secular atheists, or progressive religious (for example, http://ffrf.org/news/day/dayitems/item/14841-tim-berners-lee). The core technology of packet switching was a collobration of deeply irreligious folks. The entire field of computer science has deep roots in atheism, going back to Alan Turing and even before.

Likewise, I would be highly surprised if you could find a single YEC in the Apollo or Gemini space programs.

I am not familiar with the people you mentioned, so I can't comment. The more persuasive and well honed the opponent the more worked up the atheist evangelists get, in my experience.

Blogger wrf3 August 16, 2013 8:14 PM  

dh wrote: Instead, they show it to be what it is - a ruthless, cold, analytics based science, in which decisions are made that are justifiable, reproducible, and mathematically correct.

And yet Nature herself is a superset of this. Nature needs no justification; she is. She is mathematically correct, by definition (since mathematics is flexible and can be modeled to fit). But at the very bottom, Nature is not reproducible. That's where art comes in. The ability to search simply to see what turns up.

Anonymous srg3000 August 16, 2013 8:21 PM  

You don't even know what the two strikes are, or why I mentioned two and not one.

So what are they?

Anonymous kh123 August 16, 2013 8:22 PM  

"a vast conspiracy of scientists covering up evidence of the truth of Genesis,"

Was Communism, Islam, or humors a conspiracy.

Anonymous srg3000 August 16, 2013 8:24 PM  

And so you would reject St. Knuth, whose "The Art oF Computer Science" is a masterpiece, richly deserving of it's status as a classic foundational set of books in the field.

I suspect you mean "The Art of Computer Programming".

The irony being, that Knuth, like in his other books (and others, like The C Programming Language by Thompson and Ritchie) neither show or attempt to prove that computer programming is an art.


I suspect you mean Kernighan and Ritchie. :)

Anonymous Crude August 16, 2013 8:26 PM  

dh,

Separately, it is interesting that the things you attribute to creationist society are actually works of deeply counter-religious individuals. The internet and it's offshoots was created by secular atheists, or progressive religious (for example, http://ffrf.org/news/day/dayitems/item/14841-tim-berners-lee). The core technology of packet switching was a collobration of deeply irreligious folks. The entire field of computer science has deep roots in atheism, going back to Alan Turing and even before.

Which in turn was only the latest offshoot of mathematical principles and scientific reasoning birthed into the world by theists, and whose work was enthusiastically supported by politicians, military men and a populace that was out and out enthusiastic about their work. You spoke of 'sustaining a society', and it's the sustaining of the society that all evidence shows is entirely possible even with a ridiculously theistic, even YEC-leaning populace. I didn't contend that YECs were instrumental on NASA's science team, because I didn't think you were arguing that there's something about (say) YEC that cripples your ability to develop web protocols or compression technology. I doubt you're arguing that even now.

Either way, I stand by what I said: the society that put a man on the moon, developed the internet, and was responsible for modern technology altogether in major ways, was a society that was at heart overwhelmingly creationist. The irreligion of the individuals particularly involved with some of those technologies was and remains ridiculously exceptional in the society at large. I think the only way to salvage the claim would be to make some very roundabout argument about how if people believe strange things in one area, they'll be unreliable everywhere else - at which point it will be trivial to dump a list of brilliant innovators in technology who were fucking bonkers in other fields.

The more persuasive and well honed the opponent the more worked up the atheist evangelists get, in my experience.

My argument is only that the 'YEC' fear doesn't seem accurate. I think it's far broader than that - it's basically 'anything that will open modern origin science up to a theistic interpretation'. Not even a necessary theistic intepretation - just the opening up of it. Which is why Jerry Coyne (for example) craps himself when confronted with theists who accept evolution, but regard it as God-guided (and regard their God-guided view as, even if valid, not scientific). He doesn't get happy that they reject YEC. He actually insists that YEC is the only thing they can accept if they believe in Christianity. (I'm sure you've seen this theme.)

Anonymous scoobius dubious August 16, 2013 8:26 PM  

"Art is what soft science majors claim, to continue to justify their failure to do anything substantive."

*Failure* to do anything substantive?!?! Let me add a further "??!!??!!??"

I will have you know, Sir, that the "soft science majors" have succeeded in doing nothing less substantive, than utterly and irreversibly destroying the entire Western world!

What the armies of Hitler, Stalin, and Hirohito could not do, the "soft science majors" have done, in roughly three generations, without firing a shot.

One day, in the not too distant future, as endless hordes of pathetic ever-pregnant illiterate greasy mestizo shit-blobs pick their way through the ruins of what once was Washington DC, they will be unable to read the inscription, written in Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish, on the last great monument erected there: a poorly-sculpted statue of Emmanuel Celler, Betty Friedan, Howard Zinn, and David Axelrod:

"What all the armies of the world could not accomplish, we accomplished. We brought down the greatest nation that ever was, out of sheer perversion, hatred, and spite. We really could not believe that they actually bought our horseshit."

The changing-of-the-guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Spiteful Jew will be, I am told, quite a hoot.

Anonymous MendoScot August 16, 2013 8:31 PM  

dh

Trying to establish a scientific theory that explains biological development and speciation is a hard problem...


Your error is in conflating development and speciation. Every reproduction illustrates the former, but the latter we haven't observed unless you want to count the hairs on flies.

Thus there is a huge amount of information available on development while the whole field of EvoDevo is a bad scientific joke.

Two EvoDevo scientists walked into a bar. The developmental biologist bought drinks, made friends and regaled everyone with stories that had them laughing and fascinated in turns. The evolutionary biologist spent the evening trying to cadge drinks and eventually managed to corner a girl in an elevator.

Bah bum.


I once wasted two days at a workshop on the subject given by the leading lights in the field. The only scientific benefit derived was in the bar, when a specialist in brain development recounted an odd historical detail that undermines the argument for using fetal transplant to treat neurological diseases.

Anonymous kh123 August 16, 2013 8:32 PM  

"The entire field of computer science has deep roots in atheism, going back to Alan Turing and even before."

Might as well cite his homosexuality for the advances.

"I would be highly surprised if you could find a single YEC in the Apollo or Gemini space programs."

One could say they're too preoccupied with conceptualizing angels on the heads of pins as opposed to the search for gremli... extraterrestrial life.

Newton, for one, can't has a NASA patch.

Anonymous Sensei August 16, 2013 8:34 PM  

I don't see it that way, though the concept is intriguing. I suppose it is inherently interesting if you try to solve a problem, for a long time, and can come up with no solution. Does that mean the problem is impossible to solve? Does it mean that the problem is simply too difficult to solve? -dh

I've got to drive in a minute, so no time to discuss this thoroughly. My background is software engineering as well, and I understand the viewpoint you mentioned in another reply.

But try to understand, your repeated use of language like "no solution" and "silence" are rather like a man observing the Athenian Parthenon, and explaining to the tour guide who has just finished explaining who the architects are thought to be, that although current science cannot explain exactly by what mechanism natural processes could have done this, the deafening silence of explanations outside of a very unlikely erosion pattern are rather telling.

In terms of Young Earth Creationism, the propagation of that within the church is partly based on poor exegesis of the Hebrew of Genesis 1, and partly on a very sustained drive by certain subsections of the evangelical church to make it a litmus test within the church with regards to Biblical inerrancy. I grew up in that tradition but was relieved in my study of Biblical Hebrew to find it to be only a tradition, and neither a central doctrine nor the only valid straightforward exegetical interpretation of the Hebrew.

All that is to say, there's no reason to hold YEC up as the only Christian explanation; it isn't, even within the realm of those who hold to Biblical inerrancy in the traditional sense.

Anonymous Boetain August 16, 2013 8:43 PM  

Dh:

Actually the hard sciences and engineering are where you will find a lot of YEC. It is because we engineers know design when we see it and we also know junk science when we see it. I am a mechanical engineer. How would my belief in YEC hinder me from designing a widget, running a plant, participating in the space program or any other way I may choose to "subdue the earth"?

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 9:00 PM  

I suspect you mean Kernighan and Ritchie. :)

YES. Thank you.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 9:07 PM  

How would my belief in YEC hinder me from designing a widget, running a plant, participating in the space program or any other way I may choose to "subdue the earth"?

I have never encountered a hard science professional who is a YEC. I am not sure where to start.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 9:09 PM  

All that is to say, there's no reason to hold YEC up as the only Christian explanation; it isn't, even within the realm of those who hold to Biblical inerrancy in the traditional sense.

This is not something I am well versed in, I will have to defer to you. My own experiences bear out more or less totally that the soft-sciences have a strong aversion to admitting any flaws in certain areas, to avoid giving ammo to the various assorted creationists that imagine vast conspiracies involving governments, scientists, almost always the UN, etc.

Blogger Eric Wilson August 16, 2013 9:11 PM  

Boetin

Electrical engineer here.

+1

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 9:14 PM  

scoob--

I am just curious if there is ever a thread that goes by where you don't have an axe to grind with the jews.

Anonymous Boetain August 16, 2013 9:17 PM  

So you know the creation stance of every hard science professional you have ever encountered? Do you want to restate your response, or just let the fecal odor linger? Gallup polls show YEC in the general population at 40+ percent, i bet a lot of them are engineers.

Anonymous Soga August 16, 2013 9:38 PM  

dh wrote:
I have never encountered a hard science professional who is a YEC. I am not sure where to start.

If you define a hard science professional as someone who necessarily does not subscribe to YEC, then you won't find any such individual because your definition is self-serving.

If on the other hand, you genuinely don't know of any, that can most likely be attributed to the fact that academic, governmental, and vocational circles frequently utilize the above definition so to downplay the presence of such professionals who subscribe to YEC.

If you wish to see YEC names attached to doctorate credentials, you may find such names listed at Answers In Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research.

Anonymous scoobius dubious August 16, 2013 9:55 PM  

dh shares with us this wisdom:

"I am just curious if there is ever a thread that goes by where you don't have an axe to grind with the jews."

Well that's certainly rather interesting. In the spirit of spirited exchange, I have two questions for you, mon frère:

1) In the very same comment above, the one which appears to so raise your hackles, I referred to our delightful friends south of the border as "pathetic ever-pregnant illiterate greasy mestizo shit-blobs" and yet, for someone with such exquisite sensitivities as your own good self, you batted nary an eyelash at this. Not a single hackle raised. Do you find your selectivity interesting? I know I do.

2) Why is it that you reflexively, instinctively, without a moment's thought, interpret a clearly satirical, and tartly satirical, and (many would agree) rather well-founded criticism as simply "an axe to grind"? Why the immediate and non-critical jump to a diagnosis of pathology? Why have you excluded from the very start, other interpretations which might be more charitable, more elastic, more.... accurate? Why do you read the comment of someone well-spoken and thoughtful and acidly humorous, and then immediately dismiss all those qualities and all of what must surely uphold the edifice, and leap instantaneously to the dismissive "an axe to grind"? What motivates you to be so, well, shall we say, reductive?

Hmm, a tasty little game of intellectual Texas Hold 'Em, what will happen?



Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 10:12 PM  

So you know the creation stance of every hard science professional you have ever encountered? Do you want to restate your response, or just let the fecal odor linger? Gallup polls show YEC in the general population at 40+ percent, i bet a lot of them are engineers.


I don't know the status of every person I meet professionally. In many cases, esp. on projects in the South, people are very freely open about their religious beliefs and sect. In the north, especially New England, the topic is never discussed. I am not an evangelical atheist, and I do not raise the topic, so every creationist/YEC I know has brought the topic up in some form of discussion, with me. So it is entirely possible that there many YEC I know who have no made that believe manifestly known.

There are also several professionals, where though we haven't discussed it, the nature of their work would preclude a YEC outlook. For example, an acquaintance on one project was an expert at preserving ancient human remains. The work he had done in the past was on remains that were nominally/allegedly/whatever dated to 7,000 BC. So either he was part of a fraud, he was using methods that produced impossible results, or he was doing something otherwise fake. I don't think he was anything special in the field (at the time we were in Afghanistan, doing work for the military that was somewhat distasteful, so I don't think he is a worldwide expert in the field).

For the Gallup poll, do you happen to have a link? A few minutes of browsing through Gallup's publicly available polls does not produce the survey you are referencing. There is one that they take each year which talks about the origin of humans, here (http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx), but this does not reference the age of the earth. Are there those in the YEC circles that hold that humans and the earth were created separately, or is the poll assuming that for people who believe humans are basically 10,000 old and created by God that the same holds true for the entire Earth? (Pardon my ignorance, as I said, I am not all that familiar with the YEC strain of Christianity).

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 10:41 PM  

scoob--

I perhaps don't get your sense of humor. I suppose I could do a quick study, but I think that every thread you post in uses the word jew, or in some way, mentions or references them. this is humor?

Anonymous Sensei August 16, 2013 10:57 PM  

Back home again.

Actually the hard sciences and engineering are where you will find a lot of YEC. It is because we engineers know design when we see it and we also know junk science when we see it. -Boetain

So it is entirely possible that there many YEC I know who have no made that believe manifestly known.

There are also several professionals, where though we haven't discussed it, the nature of their work would preclude a YEC outlook. -dh


I am hoping that Creationism and Young Earth Creationism can remain distinct here. There is no need (from either logic or Scripture) to demand that if someone is going to believe God created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1, that He did so 6000 years ago.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 11:09 PM  

Sensi--

Thanks for clarfying that. I can't really address that, I have not really tried to sort out if people seperate them or not. Typically it is expressed to me that they believe in the literal word of the bible, including and esp. creation and Genesis. What does that translate into in terms of the gallup poll? Is that YEC always, or only sometimes? The gallup poll says nothing about the age of the earth.

Anonymous kh123 August 16, 2013 11:17 PM  

"The work he had done in the past was on remains that were nominally/allegedly/whatever dated to 7,000 BC. So either he was part of a fraud, he was using methods that produced impossible results, or he was doing something otherwise fake."

Again, was the practice and school of humors a massive medical conspiracy spanning centuries and cultures, or was it a flawed series of assumptions that superficially explained certain phenomena given the limits of the time, and were internally reinforced by those communities.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 16, 2013 11:25 PM  

**But there is very little chance that TENS is going to be tossed out without something filling the void. So what fills the void? The silence is both deafening and interesting.**

The problem with creationism is this - it basically makes the same assumption as evolution, except pushes it back a generation and for various reasons, actually makes it less likely.

Evolutionists believe that something relatively simple, namely, a complex molecule capable of making copies of itself, came into being out of previously non-living matter.

Creationists believe that something extremely complex, namely God, came into being out of they don't know where, and was later responsible for (at the least) making the self-copying molecules, and at most, making all the current and past species on the planet.

Statistically, it's far more likely that something simple (a complex molecule) could form from random forces of nature, than that something complex like God could form from random from random forces of nature. Just as it's far more likely, if you flip a coin, to get 50 'heads' in a row, than 5000 'heads' in a row.

There is also at least observable physical evidence of some of what Darwin proposed. We can observe evolution, we can observe natural (or artificial) selection, and we have very good fossil records of the evolution of a lot of species over time. There is no corresponding physical evidence of Creationism, the only 'evidence' is that someone wrote in a book that it happened, and people can write pretty much anything they want in a book. Stephen King wrote about a child eating monster living in the sewers, but that does not constitute evidence that there is any such thing, and if he had written 'IT' 5000 years ago, it still would not constitute evidence of child eating monster inhabiting the sewers.

Anonymous dh August 16, 2013 11:26 PM  

or was it a flawed series of assumptions that superficially explained certain phenomena given the limits of the time, and were internally reinforced by those communities.
right, I think we are saying the same thing. Either my acquaintance is using methods that are not producing accurate results, or he is in conspiracy.

Likewise, with humors, the practice was either corrupt, or coincidental to observed effects, or a mix of both. Regardless of the intention or sincerity, those practicing medicine based on humors were doing something false (which is a better word than what i selected, fake).

Anonymous Sensei August 16, 2013 11:26 PM  

Thanks for clarfying that. I can't really address that, I have not really tried to sort out if people seperate them or not. Typically it is expressed to me that they believe in the literal word of the bible, including and esp. creation and Genesis.

Yes, and my earlier post (8:34) was an early attempt to disentangle the two. One can believe the Bible literally, and also not believe the earth is that young.

It's important for me because I am from an engineering background and cannot simply dismiss the preponderance of evidence for an earth that, while not provably the age currently deemed necessary for evolution to have supposedly taken place, is nevertheless obviously older than the 6-10k years proposed by YEC proponents.

I was taught growing up that the Bible said this, and thus that I had to believe it in the face of any other evidence. I was willing to do so up until the point I learned that there are other interpretations of the Hebrew which actually work better than that one for Genesis 1-2, and was relieved to find that there was no conflict between an observably older earth and the Bible.

I bring it up because I feel a lot of Christians mistakenly make this a "barrier to entry" for those who are interested in Christian claims but can't swallow the <10000 years part.
Based on the Bible itself, they shouldn't have to.

Anonymous Sensei August 16, 2013 11:29 PM  

Creationists believe that something extremely complex, namely God, came into being out of they don't know where, and was later responsible for (at the least) making the self-copying molecules, and at most, making all the current and past species on the planet. -Ann Morgan

Once again, you demonstrate an ignorance of what Christians actually believe. No orthodox Christian believes God came into being. He has always been. This has always been part of Christian core dogma, which you should understand before venturing to make allegations regarding that faith.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 16, 2013 11:44 PM  

Daniel wrote:

**That's like suggesting that a labrador retreiver is a new species because it now eats Ol' Roy and craps green, and 100 years ago, it couldn't have done that, because Ol' Roy did not exist.**

Daniel, if only SOME dogs could successfully digest Ol' Roy, and you put a breeeding population of random dogs onto an island where the only thing they could eat was Ol' Roy, you'd see natural selection at work quickly, and evolution at work slowly.

The first thing you would see is a massive die-off (or emigration if there was somewhere else to go) of those dogs that couldn't digest Ol' Roy. In the next generation, you'd see almost all dogs that could digest Ol' Roy, which is evolution, because in wild type dogs, only some of them can digest Ol' Roy.

Unless you had an unlimitted amount of Ol' Roy on the island (not very realistic) there would be competition for the food, and you'd next see a selection for dogs with traits that made them more successful at living on a diet of Ol' Roy. Such as, perhaps, enzymes that digested the particular nutrients in it better, or mouths and teeth either better suited to eating Ol' Roy or possibly opening whatever sort of packaging Ol' Roy comes in.

At some point, in the very distant future, you are going to have a dog on the Island of Ol' Roy that looks very different from dogs everywhere else. Eventually, if the dogs remain isolated on their island, they will become another species.

Question for you - if you take a sample of the bacteria of the species in question (flavobacterium) from a 'wild' source, that is to say from someplace far away from the sewage outflow pipe of a nylon factory, and put your sample in a petri dish with nothing but waste products from a nylon factory to feed on, will all of them be able to successfully live on that diet? Or will there be a massive die-off? If the latter, then the flavobacteria currently living by nylon factories have evolved from what they used to be. Assuming the continued existence of nylon factories, they would likely eventually become another species.

There is another species undergoing speciation, the 'apple maggot', which diverged from the hawthorn maggot approximately 200 years ago. Although as of now, they can still interbreed, only 4% of the individuals do so, and there are detectable genetic differences between the two.

Anonymous Harsh August 16, 2013 11:46 PM  

Evolutionists believe that something relatively simple, namely, a complex molecule capable of making copies of itself, came into being out of previously non-living matter.

How exactly did that happen? How does the non-living suddenly become living? Or has there always been "living matter"? And why?

Blogger Ann Morgan August 16, 2013 11:57 PM  

Harsh wrote: **How exactly did that happen? How does the non-living suddenly become living? Or has there always been "living matter"? And why?**

Life is basically a matter of function (partly chemical in nature, partly electrical). Your question is like asking 'how did ordinary iron become magnetic when hit by lightning or a large hammer?'. There isn't any difference in the matter, but if it's arranged the right way, it functions in the manner we refer to as a 'magnet'. Or as 'life'.

Anonymous Harsh August 16, 2013 11:59 PM  

If you truly believe that, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were.

Blogger buzzardist August 17, 2013 12:02 AM  

Did anybody ever debunk that soft dinosaur tissue (marrow) find a while back?

I haven't heard anyone debunk it. The controversy over the find has been going on for years, and so far the evidence only seems to be piling up that they did find T. Rex soft tissue and possibly even shreds of DNA. When the scientists applied to the samples antibodies that bind to non-microbe DNA, the antibodies bound themselves to something. The scientists have proven this was not biofilm contamination, so the leading candidate right now is that these are T. Rex cells complete with DNA. The DNA is probably badly degraded, but it is DNA nonetheless.

http://scienceheathen.com/2012/10/25/biological-cells-found-in-dinosaur-bone-confirmed-to-truly-be-67-million-year-old-collagen/

http://www.nature.com/news/molecular-analysis-supports-controversial-claim-for-dinosaur-cells-1.11637

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 12:10 AM  

Harsh wrote: **If you truly believe that, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were.**

Well, what do you think constitutes being 'alive', other than a particular organized chemical and electrical process in the matter than constitutes your body, or being 'dead' other than those particular processes no longer working in the organized fashion we call 'life'.

If you don't think life is a chemical process, try going without the chemical oxygen for 15 minutes, or the chemical water, for 15 days, and let me know how that works out for you. If you don't think life involves an electrical process as well, try giving yourself a strong electrical shock to your heart or brain and see what happens.

Anonymous Boetain August 17, 2013 12:20 AM  

dh:

So you actually don't know if you have encountered any YEC in the hard sciences. Thanks for now being honest.

As for your story about people guesstimating the age of things, that is cute but I thought we were discussing hard science.

Simply tell me why a group of YEC engineers would be unable to design a car, for example.

Anonymous Soga August 17, 2013 12:39 AM  

Ann Morgan wrote:
"Daniel, if only SOME dogs could successfully digest Ol' Roy, and you put a breeeding population of random dogs onto an island where the only thing they could eat was Ol' Roy, you'd see natural selection at work quickly, and evolution at work slowly."

You're describing variation within species. They are still dogs, and let's say the same breed. It would be akin to how some humans are lactose intolerant and some others can digest milk just fine. Daniel's point remains valid; the subset of the bacterial population which could digest nylon prevailed in an environment which favored them against the subset that had difficulty processing the major food source in the environment. This is a principle to which even YECs hold.

"The problem with creationism is this - it basically makes the same assumption as evolution, except pushes it back a generation and for various reasons, actually makes it less likely.

Evolutionists believe that something relatively simple, namely, a complex molecule capable of making copies of itself, came into being out of previously non-living matter.

Creationists believe that something extremely complex, namely God, came into being out of they don't know where, and was later responsible for (at the least) making the self-copying molecules, and at most, making all the current and past species on the planet."


There are so many things wrong with this statement.

To begin with, the leap from molecules to amino acids is an enormous leap, and not only do you have to make that leap, you also have to sustain the amino acid before it breaks apart long enough for the acid to reproduce itself. Now, I am not a chemist, but I am well aware that the vast majority of geologically occurring amino acids are unsustainable under the atmospheric conditions of what is consensually agreed as being likely on the evolutionary primeval Earth. Additionally, conditions are much more favorable now than supposedly when non-life became life, and yet, we have not seen any naturally-occurring incident of molecules forming life.

Second, you commit a massive error in theology. You claim God is complex and that God came from something. To the first, it is impossible to establish whether or not God is complex. God is spirit, which would imply that He is made of an essence about which we have very little understanding. It may very well be that this spiritual essence is the simplest, most fundamental element of all existence. After all, would you not consider the atom to be a simple thing? Yet, as we attempt to understand the atom, it is infinitely more complex than we ever expected. It was made of subparticles, which may very well be made of even smaller particles.

And the Bible tells us that God holds the universe together. If subparticles hold together atoms, which hold together molecules, which holds together compounds, which... etc., then is it not possible that God holds the universe together with the simplest and most fundamental essence of existence; spirit?

This is all conjecture, but the point is to demonstrate that God needs not be complex in the sense of being composite at all.

Then, of course, you claim that God emerged from something else. Generally speaking, Christianity dismisses this, ascertaining to God the characteristic of absolute sovereignty. God sustains His own existence; He does not owe His existence to anything other than Himself.

Anonymous Sensei August 17, 2013 12:49 AM  

Generally speaking, Christianity dismisses this, ascertaining to God the characteristic of absolute sovereignty. God sustains His own existence; He does not owe His existence to anything other than Himself. -Soga

That is not the attribute of sovereignty but of aseity.

But I already pointed this out and Ann ignored it. Vox has pointed out in the past her ignorance of the Christian faith which she still attempts to attack despite said ignorance. At this point I would recommend treating her as the troll she effectively is due to her refusal to educate herself on the topics she tries to engage.

Anonymous Soga August 17, 2013 12:56 AM  

Sensei wrote:
"That is not the attribute of sovereignty but of aseity."

Interesting that the wikipedia article for that even mentions the notion that aesity implies divine simplicity. So the idea that God is simple, in the non-composite sense, has been around for millennia. And yet, I still see the argument that God is "much more complex" being made by atheists to this day.

Blogger Double Minded Man August 17, 2013 12:57 AM  

JohnG Did anybody ever debunk that soft dinosaur tissue (marrow) find a while back?

Not only has it not been debunked, its been duplicated. And under strict conditions with outside observers to verify it.
2009: Dinosaur Blood Protein, Cells Recovered

2011: Dinosaur Protein Is Primordial “Although the team had previously presented multiple lines of evidence supporting the veracity of the find, the fact that the age of the peptides far exceeds any previous predictions of how long a protein could resist degradation has generated controversy.” The team set out to test for contamination but also to try to understand how any protein could last for 65 million years or more.

2011: Dinosaur Bones Crack Open Surprises: Original Tissue - See more at: http://crev.info/2011/01/dinosaur_bones_crack_open_surprises_original_tissue/#sthash.uOOAO1NF.dpuf In an article called “Soft-centred fossils reveal dinosaurs’ true colours,” Jeff Hecht spilled the beans that more researchers are finding soft tissue and original material in dinosaur bones said to be over 65 million years old and older – even more than twice as old.
We’ve seen news about soft tissue before (e.g., 12/22/2010), but this article suggests that scientists are becoming more bold to look for it


2012: Dinosaur Soft Tissue Case Strengthened

There are more of course, but this should get you, or anyone, on the path to learning more on the subject

Anonymous dh August 17, 2013 12:58 AM  

Yes, and my earlier post (8:34) was an early attempt to disentangle the
two. One can believe the Bible literally, and also not believe the earth is
that young.


vs

So you actually don't know if you have encountered any YEC in the hard sciences. Thanks for now being honest.

This is exactly what I said before: "I have never encountered a hard science professional who is a YEC."

There is no litmus test, it's just not happened. It would also be helpful to understand what your point was earlier. The Gallup poll you, said: "Gallup polls show YEC in the general population at 40+ percent, i bet a lot of them are engineers." Are we talking about the same poll? Because the poll I found from Gallup that seems related does not address the age of the earth, only the creation and/or evolution of Man. There seems to be some conflict on this out there, and I don't understand if they are the same thing. For the purposes of my conversation here I have assumed that a YEC holds the earth to be in the ballpark of 10,000 years old or younger, and that the story of Genesis is literally true.

Simply tell me why a group of YEC engineers would be unable to design a car, for example.

I think we are confusing engineering and "the hard sciences". In terms of engineering, which I would really call execution of settled science in building or manufacturing things, nothing jumps to mind, except perhaps

In terms of hard sciences, there are many fields which just jump out you. You earlier mocked dating old things, which is fine. For human scale timeframes, it is reproducible to verify carbon dating. For outside of the human time scale, I am not so sure. So I am happy to tell you that on this, I have to trust on faith that those in the field are using methods that are scientifically sound. Beyond that, it is difficult to say anything without addressing exactly what you think YEC means, as above. I have experience in rigging and exploration for oil and gas, and the geology and petroleum extraction business is all predicated on the Earth being old in a very long timescale. The prediction, location, and extraction of oil and natural gasses presupposes an Earth that has gone through several geological phases, each that have some effect on placement. The fact that people can predict the location of oil and gas reserves based on the geologic and geographic evidence supposes that there is correlation between that evidence and gas/oil reserves. Likewise, in astronomy, all of the evidence points to a universe that is quite old.

Hope this helps point out where I am coming from. I am very interested to learn more about your claim that lots of YEC are engineers. Is it also true do you think of those engaged in the hard sciences?

Blogger Double Minded Man August 17, 2013 1:04 AM  

For instance, there is a species of microbe which feeds exclusively on the waste products from nylon factories. It could not have existed even 100 years ago, because human beings did not make nylon 100 years ago.

This is a wholly ridiculous statement. Its completely ignorant to state that such things did not preexist nylon. Just because you (or science in general) do not know what else it might eat does not mean that it cannot eat other things. This is like stating that anti-biotic resistant bacteria came about because of anti-biotics. This is not the case, they simply became more prevalent due to their non-resistant brethren being killed off in greater quantities. And yes, it has been proven that they pre-date anti-biotics, as they have been found in the carcasses of people who died and were frozen (think arctic circle).

Blogger WATYF August 17, 2013 1:07 AM  

I have not really tried to sort out if people seperate them or not.

Really? I thought you'd been around here for a while. Vox is an Old Earth Creationist, that I heard. Often times, when this topic comes up, I'd say a majority of the Creationists here express Old Earth views. It's a very widely discussed distinction amongst Creationists. There are numerous resources on the topic all over the internet. Hell, I was just in a discussion with a YEC (Christian) the other day about our differing views on the topic.

WATYF

Blogger WATYF August 17, 2013 1:23 AM  

Creationists believe that something extremely complex, namely God, came into being out of they don't know where

This is one of the most ridiculous strawmen that is common among atheists. Creationists (namely Christian ones) believe no such thing.

Christian Creationists (generally) believe that God not only had no beginning, but that He exists completely outside of space and time, which would preclude Him from even being eligible for having one.

WATYF

Anonymous Beau August 17, 2013 1:25 AM  

Ann Morgan asserts,

There isn't any difference in the matter, but if it's arranged the right way, it functions in the manner we refer to as a 'magnet'. Or as 'life'.

Baloney, Ann, you are substituting a piece of speculative philosophy for actual science. Produce the evidence that supports your assertion. No more "this is like that." Show evidence, show the science, show how abiogenesis really works - or retract your ridiculous assertion.

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 1:52 AM  

Ann wrote: **There isn't any difference in the matter, but if it's arranged the right way**

Beau wrote: **Show evidence, show the science, show how abiogenesis really works - or retract your ridiculous assertion.**

Take the human body apart, one atom at a time. Put all the atoms in appropriately labelled jars (carbon, sodium, chlorine). Either YOU show me something in the human body that doesn't go in any of those jars, or show me one single process in the human body that doesn't have an electrical or chemical basis, or YOU admit that the human body is an electrochemical system.

Life is chemistry. A simple example - yeast. It digests sugar, and creates alcohol, carbon dioxide, and energy to run on. That is a chemical process. Like a motor, which combines oxygen and hydrocarbons and produces energy that allows it to move. The fact that the seperate components of a motor or engine such as the pistons, cylinder, radiator, etc when seperated just sit there and don't move doesn't mean that an operating motor is not made out of those seperate inanimate parts.

As for God being simple... something simple can't have a mind or opinion, which would pretty much exclude any God mandated morality for human beings. Atoms are pretty simple, too, but do complex things when arranged in a complex fashion. Which brings us back to the same thing, it's much more likely for the simple things called 'atoms' to spontaneously arrange into relatively simple self-replicating molecules, than for whatever 'simple' stuff God is made out of to spontaneously arrange into something as complex as God. Unless you propose God is simply a mindless animating force rather like fire, which again, would preclude any God mandated morality. Simple forces like fire don't have an opinion or morality. And the assertion that God always existed, and is outside space or time is simply a means to avoid having to offer any explanations at all.

Anonymous Boetain August 17, 2013 2:12 AM  

dh:

I took the following Gallup poll as a proxy for YEC, although some theories do allow for an old earth but recent creation of man:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/Four-Americans-Believe-Strict-Creationism.aspx

We engineers practice hard science all the time, but if you need true scientists who are YEC, my google-fu came up with the following extensive lists:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/

http://www.examiner.com/article/growing-list-of-scientists-who-consider-young-earth-creationism-yec-a-fact-and-evolution-as-bunk

I am sure a YEC would do just fine in the oil extraction business. After all, they would be using the correct facts!

Anonymous Soga August 17, 2013 2:20 AM  

"As for God being simple... something simple can't have a mind or opinion, which would pretty much exclude any God mandated morality for human beings."

This is philosophically ignorant. Why does something that is non-composite has to have no mind or opinion?

You appear to be projecting human properties onto a divine being. This is an enormous failure of logic.

Anonymous dh August 17, 2013 2:38 AM  

Boetain

Thanks for clarifying that. Appreciated. I will read up more on YEC versus old earth creationists. Like I said, I am not extremely familiar with it.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 3:16 AM  

Here's an article about one very simple life form that gets energy with the help of only 2 proteins. In fact, DNA and RNA are not necessary to have self-replicating molecules:

http://www.livescience.com/10531-life-began-research-suggests-simple-approach.html

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 3:21 AM  

Soga wrote: **This is philosophically ignorant. Why does something that is non-composite has to have no mind or opinion?**

I didn't say a non-composite 'something' couldn't have a mind or opinion. I said a non-COMPLEX something couldn't have a mind or opinion. A mind or an opinion are both information systems. You can't have an information system made of 'whatever' which is no more complex than the same 'whatever' without information. For instance, you can make a phonograph record out of solid gold. Gold is a fairly simple substance, it's all one element. Nevertheless, a record made out of gold is much more complex than a blank gold disk. The complexity is in the form of it's structure, which has countless bumps and grooves that make the sound when you play the record.

Anonymous Mudz August 17, 2013 3:36 AM  

It does make sense. The affirmed atheist is taught to worship science, so by and large that's their religious career path, if they fix their eyes on higher things. Christians worship God so our career path is either literally the priesthood, or the proselytisation of our faith. The emotional drive for a Christian to pursue science is to pursue the knowledge of God by trying to understand His creation better (so religious nerds, basically). (Massively simplified, but I think the narrative makes sense.)

So, it can be safely assumed with the advent of evolution, materialism, methodological naturalism, that Christians would feel less enthusiastic about pursuing a field that says they're not allowed to do that, and they don't really fit in. Whereas atheists get the affirmation of a true believer.

So, it's unfotrunate, but the skew does favour atheists disproportionately because of the culture. Which is why they defend it so fiercely.

Atheists don't want to become intellectually irrelevant again.

Secular culture is essentially atheist culture. You cannot separate the culture from it's institutions. Self-fulfilling groupthink.

As for God being simple... something simple can't have a mind or opinion

Proof, please.

Quantify spirit for me, and the spiritual laws that necessitate improbability of God.

Atoms are pretty simple, too, but do complex things when arranged in a complex fashion. Which brings us back to the same thing, it's much more likely for the simple things called 'atoms' to spontaneously arrange into relatively simple self-replicating molecules, than for whatever 'simple' stuff God is made out of to spontaneously arrange into something as complex as God.

It's not likely at all, because particles, being mindless, cannot 'arrange themselves' as that presumes conscious action. And 'spontaneous' is just another way of saying 'for no reason at all' so it has a probability of 0.

Nevertheless, a record made out of gold is much more complex than a blank gold disk.

You really do love to waste people's time.

Blogger Bosefus August 17, 2013 3:42 AM  

Is there a solid granite world out there??? You may be mapping God's brain waves. So I would not want to be on the bad side of God's brain waves! Or like girl who fly upside down, you have hairy crack up!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sHQ_aTjXObs

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 3:47 AM  

Mudz wrote: **It's not likely at all, because particles, being mindless, cannot 'arrange themselves' as that presumes conscious action. And 'spontaneous' is just another way of saying 'for no reason at all' so it has a probability of 0.**

Particles can't arrange themselves... then where the devil did my quartz crystal come from?

**Quantify spirit for me, and the spiritual laws that necessitate improbability of God.**

Explain to me how anyone would quantify a 'something' or define the laws of how it operates, when you have defined the 'something' as existing outside the entire universe, and conveniently having whatever properties it needs to, to do what you claim it has?

Anonymous Mudz August 17, 2013 4:01 AM  

Particles can't arrange themselves... then where the devil did my quartz crystal come from?

Natural laws, buddy. That operate external to the particles. Ah-hah, didn't see that one coming, didja?

Next you can tell me where the natural laws came from. Go on, it'll be fun.

Explain to me how anyone would quantify a 'something' or define the laws of how it operates, when you have defined the 'something' as existing outside the entire universe, and conveniently having whatever properties it needs to, to do what you claim it has?

That's your problem. Burden of proof's a bitch, right? You're the one trying to weight one probability over another, when you don't even know the value of one of the variables.

I didn't define that. What properties are those? I haven't explicated any. What do I claim it has?

C'mon, Ani. Use the force. Make some more claims based on your complete lack of knowledge.

Anonymous Mudz August 17, 2013 4:01 AM  

Here's an article about one very simple life form that gets energy with the help of only 2 proteins. In fact, DNA and RNA are not necessary to have self-replicating molecules:

I like how you made it look like the two statements are connected somehow. Or that the second one means something. DNA and RNA are self-replicating molecules. You can speculate any Von Neumann machines you like.

You're presumably trying to imply (without saying, in typical bait-worthy fashion) that they've found the origin of life. No. They're looking at energy growth of organisms, and they found one which uses a very simple 2-protein system to do it.

The researchers propose in this month's issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution that this stripped-down geochemical cycle was what the first organisms used to power their growth. "This cycle is where all evolution emanated from," Ferry says. "It is the father of all life."

Shapiro is skeptical: Something had to form the two proteins. But he thinks this discovery might point in the right direction. "We have to let nature instruct us," he says.


They're just speculating. There's nothing useful in this article other than they found a very simple energy system.

I'm pretty sure 'metabolism first' theory has actually been around for a while.

Blogger yttik August 17, 2013 4:10 AM  

So speak to me of subliminal advertising and people so sleep deprived they see Rats. Color me amused, indeed.

Anonymous Mudz August 17, 2013 4:46 AM  

Correction: RNA is only partially capable of self-replication (meaning not really). My brain had a frameskip while reading.

In fact, neither of them are actually self-replicating independently. They need the whole reproductive system which includes each other, enzymes, proteins and all in order to have a functional self-replicating life-form.

So far as we know. OoooOOOOooooooo. <-- (That's a ghost noise. It's pretty good.)

Anonymous p-dawg August 17, 2013 5:05 AM  

@Ann Morgan:

"Statistically, it's far more likely that something simple (a complex molecule) could form from random forces of nature"

Statistically? You have statistics on the number of times this has happened? You're joking, right? I'm sure violations of the laws of thermodynamics are so common, you can produce one right now, right? Or, to put it another way, how many years before the rocks in my driveway form themselves into a wall? 1 million? 10 million? 100 million?

Blogger WarKicker August 17, 2013 5:47 AM  

"Statistically, it's far more likely that something simple (a complex molecule) could form from random forces of nature, than that something complex like God could form from random from random forces of nature. Just as it's far more likely, if you flip a coin, to get 50 'heads' in a row, than 5000 'heads' in a row."

As others have already stated, I think you have a basic misunderstanding of what simple means. You have made the same error Dawkins makes when he confuses the simplicity of a mind with the complexity of a mind's thoughts; these are not synonymous. You are invited to explain how a pure mind is complex.

Note in your statement that you presuppose "random forces of nature" as forming something as complex as God. It might be better to start out with at least a basic understanding of the oppositions' arguments so we're not fighting straw men. Not that I've never made that mistake, but I think it shows respect to accurately portray the other's viewpoint before engaging in any sort of discourse (I cite the example of dh). My apologies but this is not meant to be patronizing.


"Life is chemistry"

That's part of the picture but too reductionist. The fact that you were able to conjure up that sentence/thought refutes that assertion.

"And the assertion that God always existed, and is outside space or time is simply a means to avoid having to offer any explanations at all."

Not true, unless infinite regressions appeal to you. The fact that anything exists means that something had to have always existed. And the postulate that something came from nothing is philosophically distasteful. Appeals to Krauss and Hawkins for scientific arguments for the same only lead to quarrels about what nothing is.

Anonymous Mudz August 17, 2013 6:01 AM  

Man, I'm dying here. Someone ask me to Prove God from First Principles. Please. I'll even throw in a Proof of the Word, as a bonus!

[push this button]

Doooo eeeeet. I promise it'll be good. I worked real hard on it. Well, still working on it, but I can flop out a prelim for your evaluation. Validate me. >.>

And then you must all acknowledge me as the KING OF THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME.

O.O

Anonymous Mudz August 17, 2013 6:04 AM  

If nobody asks me, I will cry. Do you want that to happen? I don't think so.

Anonymous Denver Danny August 17, 2013 6:40 AM  

Please Mudz,

...Prove God from First Principles? We lurkers are waiting with baited breath, especially in light of how effortlessly you (and the other refreshingly usual suspects) were able to destroy the position of one so willfully ignorant and logically fallacious. :-)

Anonymous Denver Danny August 17, 2013 6:42 AM  

...maybe not the King, but you do appear to know of a great many things of "awesome".

We are entertained.

Anonymous Denver Danny August 17, 2013 6:51 AM  

....Oh yeah btw, Mudz.....


--Totally got the joke...loved it...hence why button has yet to be pressed. LOL

Anonymous Pug August 17, 2013 8:35 AM  

Related ... where "skeptics" and atheists eat each other for domination of the species:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/08/16/james-randi-the-amazing-meeting-and-the-bullshit-police.html

Anonymous Beau August 17, 2013 9:14 AM  

Take the human body apart, one atom at a time. Put all the atoms in appropriately labelled jars (carbon, sodium, chlorine). Either YOU show me something in the human body that doesn't go in any of those jars, or show me one single process in the human body that doesn't have an electrical or chemical basis, or YOU admit that the human body is an electrochemical system.

It's YOUR assertion, Ann, not mine. YOU made the assertion, YOU produce the evidence. Whining at me to show how the process continues on a daily basis Is Not answering the question. YOU are Evading Explaining How the Process Began. Making a claim how a process continues is Not explaining how it began. Show the science of abiogenesis Ann - or retract.

Blogger wrf3 August 17, 2013 9:59 AM  

Mudz wrote: Natural laws, buddy. That operate external to the particles.

Really? Proof, please. (Hint: I don't think you can do it).

Blogger wrf3 August 17, 2013 10:03 AM  

Beau wrote: Baloney, Ann, you are substituting a piece of speculative philosophy for actual science. Produce the evidence that supports your assertion. No more "this is like that." Show evidence, show the science, show how abiogenesis really works - or retract your ridiculous assertion.

In this case, Ann is right. Don't confuse "what the structure does" with "how the structure came to be."

Anonymous Golf Pro August 17, 2013 10:45 AM  

"Actually the hard sciences and engineering are where you will find a lot of YEC. It is because we engineers know design when we see it"

The most incoherent, mentally disturbed, paranoid child might also claim to "know design when we see it". And there's no disputing what they see. It's as useless a claim as when members of the hard sciences claim to "know design when we see it".

The golf ball hits the iron when the members of the hard science or the mentally disturbed paranoid child also explains the mechanisms behind the design they claim to see.

The axiom is "I think, therefore I exist". "Not, I think, therefore it must be".

I've always believed that the Young Earth Creationists are the least creative of those who have bumped up against the reality of the Absurd as explained by Camus and then tried to mitigate the consequences through make believe.

Anonymous Golf Pro August 17, 2013 10:55 AM  

"Once again, you demonstrate an ignorance of what Christians actually believe. No orthodox Christian believes God came into being. He has always been. This has always been part of Christian core dogma, which you should understand before venturing to make allegations regarding that faith."

This isn't "dogma". This is just a fairly unsophisticated way of choosing to ignore the problem of infinite regress. However, it does have the benefit of make god a part of nature, and not outside of it.

When I think about my golf swing, I consider it a natural product of my own physiology, from my brain to my toes. When you think about God, you apparently consider it a product of nature too. Which is kinda cool and may explain why most golfers are counted among the faithful.

Anonymous Golf Pro August 17, 2013 11:01 AM  

"To the first, it is impossible to establish whether or not God is complex. God is spirit, which would imply that He is made of an essence about which we have very little understanding."

It's impossible to ESTABLISH that god is complex. Yet you have ESTABLISHED that god is spirit?

Well done!

Anonymous Boetain August 17, 2013 11:35 AM  

Golf Pro:

Engineers understand the golf club was designed and would never come to be by time and chance. Same with the functional forms we find in nature. That is what I am getting at.

Engineers have a hard time conjuring the blind faith to believe that substance appeared from no cause and then given the miracles of time and random chance functional forms have arisen.

Blogger wrf3 August 17, 2013 11:40 AM  

Boetain wrote: Engineers have a hard time conjuring the blind faith to believe that substance appeared from no cause and then given the miracles of time and random chance functional forms have arisen.

Arguments from incredulity aren't generally considered sound[1].

How do you take the subjectiveness out of your position? [2]

-----
[1] Nor are arguments from credulity.
[2] The same question, of course, applies to those who postulate the occurrence of an incredibly improbable series of things.

Anonymous Amir Larijani August 17, 2013 11:54 AM  

At EDS, we just called the book "K&R". I still have mine.

Anonymous Boetain August 17, 2013 12:17 PM  

wrf3:

That's fine. Sometimes the BS meter goes off and then you do the research and the BS reading is confirmed.

Blogger wrf3 August 17, 2013 12:34 PM  

Boetain wrote: Sometimes the BS meter goes off and then you do the research and the BS reading is confirmed.

I'm sorry, but I can't match your response to what I wrote. What, for example, was the "BS" that triggered your meter? What research confirmed the presence of "BS"?

Too, you didn't answer my question. How do you take subjectiveness out of categorizing "designed"/"not designed"?

Anonymous Boetain August 17, 2013 12:48 PM  

wrf3:

I was just explaining the YEC engineer-type reasoning a little more, not really trying to respond to you since I remembered you are the guy that likes to play word games forever. I have a busy day planned and don't have time for that, so your probing questions will sadly have to go unanswered.

Anonymous Boris August 17, 2013 3:03 PM  

So what are they?

Perhaps he's still struggling to come up with them.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 7:03 PM  

p-dawg wrote: **I'm sure violations of the laws of thermodynamics are so common, you can produce one right now, right?**

I've heard that argument from those who don't believe in evolution before, that since the laws of thermodynamics dictate that things become less and less organized, evolution, which is the opposite of that process, couldn't happen.

Only problem is, that law applies only to a closed system (like the universe) as a whole. There is room for variability within that closed system, one small part of a closed system can be getting more complex or organized by feeding off the energy produced by a larger part of that system breaking down. In the case of evolution, life on Earth is becoming more complex by feeding off the energy produced by the sun. At least for a while, in a few billion years the sun will turn into a red giant, and then that game will be up.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 7:47 PM  

Beau wrote: **Show the science of abiogenesis Ann - or retract.**

Here's one good article about it: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html

The problem here, is that 'improbable' does not mean 'impossible'. If something can happen, it will happen, sooner or later, somewhere. If you look in a large enough space, for a long enough time. A beaker in a laboratory for a few weeks, or even a few years, is very small compared to a whole ocean on an ancient earth for millions of years.

A good comparison would be supernovas. Up until fairly recently, it would have been hard to show that supernovas happened, because we could only see stars in our own galaxy. Which is a relatively small place, and we haven't been looking very long. As it turns out, since we can now see a lot of galaxies, we can see a supernova, somewhere, every week or two.

btw, this same principle as to anything that's possible probably occuring somewhere, sooner or later, is why I tend to thinking there is a God (though there isn't any proof of it). It seems unlikely in such a big universe, or possibly lots of universes, present and past, that human beings would be the pinnacle of whatever exists, and there would be nothing at all somewhere, present or past, smarter and more powerful than us, which would be able to do at least most of the things attributed to God.

I get the distinct impression that falling back on the 'God' explanation is some sort of attempt to avoid finding answers. Simply because a scientific theory may be wrong, or can't yet entirely explain something, doesn't necessarily mean 'GOD!'. A good case in point would be the sun. When the theory of evolution was first formed, a major objection to it at the time was the fact that it required enormous amounts of time. The biologists wanted at least a few hundred million years. They preferred a few billion. However, there was no way for science, at the time, to explain how the sun, given the size it was, could have been producing heat for that long. It was thought then that the sun was either on fire in a conventional sense (like a big ball of burning coal) or produced heat by contracting it's own mass. Neither method would have let it shine steadily for billions of years, so those who objected to evolution claimed the answer was 'GOD'!. Of course, the real answer was fusion.

Now we have a similiar objection to you, because scientists have not shown abiogenisis in a small space and time, the answer proposed is 'God!'. When the correct answer is 'I don't know'. Especially when the nature of God is either not defined, or else is defined as being in direct opposition to all known natural laws or logic, such as claiming that something with a superhuman intelligence would not need to have any sort of structure (of whatever it was made of) more complex than an amorphous blob.

And, btw, evolution does not require abiogenisis, either. Abiogenesis is a theory about how life began. Evolution is a theory about how life evolved into different species, once it did begin. I've given you two examples of life forms (flavobacterium and apple maggots) that we have seen diverging into different species within the past few centuries, and you claim this doesn't prove evolution because they aren't entirely different species, yet. That's because not enough time has gone by. If enough time had gone by, they would already be different species, and human beings would not have been advanced enough to make a good record of the process, since we've only been studying such things for a few hundred years. Nevertheless, there are significant genetic differences between the apple maggot and the hawthorn maggot, and they don't crossbreed very often. That is how evolution works, and given a few more hundreds or thousands of years, they will almost certainly be seperate species.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 8:09 PM  

Here's some odds for you - there are 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) stars in our galaxy. Supernovae are so rare that if we looked at a single star for 3 months (a fairly long time from a human point of view), the odds of seeing that particular star become a supernova would be 1 in 60 trillion.

Nevertheless, if you look at the galaxy for approximately 50 years, there will, on average, be one supernova. If we look at all the galaxies we can see, we will see one every few weeks.

Now, molecules are much smaller than stars.
There are 100,000,000,000 stars in our entire galaxy.
There are 103,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules in a single ounce of water.

There are 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water on Earth. That's 41,728,000,000,000,000,000,000 ounces of water, or 43,230,208,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules in all the water in the oceans. Thats a lot of molecules of water to run an abiogenis experiment in. Admittedly, there are a lot less molecules of amino acids and such in the ocean, but it's still an astronomically huge number of organic molecules.

Given such a big number of atoms and molecules, even a highly improbable arrangement of molecules, with odds of one in a quintillion, eventually becomes inevitable even through random chance.

Blogger wrf3 August 17, 2013 8:20 PM  

Ann Morgan wrote: Given such a big number of atoms and molecules, even a highly improbable arrangement of molecules, with odds of one in a quintillion, eventually becomes inevitable even through random chance.

Suppose that's the odds for the first improbable event, i.e. the formation of a self-replicating molecule. What are the odds that this molecule is in an environment where it isn't quickly destroyed? How many additional improbable events are needed for that molecule to actually reproduce? And so on...

In other words, you can cite these odds all you want, but they they really don't mean much, except that whatever odds you want to cite, the true value might very well be many, many orders of magnitude worse.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 9:08 PM  

wrf3 wrote: **Suppose that's the odds for the first improbable event, i.e. the formation of a self-replicating molecule. What are the odds that this molecule is in an environment where it isn't quickly destroyed? How many additional improbable events are needed for that molecule to actually reproduce? And so on...**

Well, there's a pretty wide range of environments today, so it's reasonable to assume that there was a wide range in the past as well (albeit different from those today). And you'd have to quantify your term 'quickly destroyed'. If a self-replicating molecule took a few minutes to be destroyed, that might still be enough time to make several copies of itself. Which in turn, would have a few minutes to make copies of themselves, before being 'quickly destroyed a few minutes later.

**In other words, you can cite these odds all you want, but they they really don't mean much, except that whatever odds you want to cite, the true value might very well be many, many orders of magnitude worse.**

That's admittedly true. Then again, the odds might be far better than most people think as well. But the way I see it, both religion and science ought to be a search for the truth. Trying to find out how molecules could form life is at least trying to find the truth. Proposing a God with no properties, or properties contrary to logic, except that you somehow know that he's a 'spirit' (though you never define what that is), and that he's conveniently beyond space, time and all understanding, is not trying to find answers, it's trying to justify what you prefer to believe, especially since you propose an anthropomorphic God, who despite being outside the universe and all logic, nevertheless has a special interest in human beings, their creation, and their private sex lives. There's a term for that - anthropomorphism. Or projecting your own preferences onto an otherwise completely alien God.

Anonymous p-dawg August 17, 2013 10:20 PM  

@Ann Morgan:

"Only problem is, that law applies only to a closed system (like the universe) as a whole. There is room for variability within that closed system, one small part of a closed system can be getting more complex or organized by feeding off the energy produced by a larger part of that system breaking down. In the case of evolution, life on Earth is becoming more complex by feeding off the energy produced by the sun. At least for a while, in a few billion years the sun will turn into a red giant, and then that game will be up."

Yes, yes, I've heard this tedious claim before. The mere introduction of energy into a system does not produce MORE order in that system. That is like saying that you will explode TNT under a pile of lumber to build a house. Unless the energy is intelligently applied, or, if you prefer, directed, increasing entropy is the result. How much solar energy would have to land on the rocks in my driveway before they form into a wall? Exact number of units, please. No weasel words.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 17, 2013 10:30 PM  

p-dawg: **The mere introduction of energy into a system does not produce MORE order in that system.**

** That is like saying that you will explode TNT under a pile of lumber to build a house**

If you blow up the TNT under lots of piles of lumber, do you think it possible you might eventually get SOMETHING you could use as a sort of primitive shelter? Say a large pile of lumber with a hollow underneath large enough for you to crawl into?

Once you get that, natural selection will improve it, because natural selection is not a random process. If the only lumber piles that 'reproduce' are those that people can somehow crawl under to get out of the rain (at least a little bit), there will eventually be more and more of that type, and less of lumber piles that people can't crawl under. In addition, people will prefer those lumber piles with a larger hollow that keep out the rain better. Eventually, you would get something pretty much like a house.

Ditto with your rocks. If you blew up enough driveways, do you think at least a few rocks might fall on top of eachother? If they could reproduce, and some sort of natural selection were at work (only those rocks piles that most resembled a wall reproducing) eventually you'd get some pretty fancy masonry.

Same thing with life, if the fastest worms are the ones that survive to reproduce, because the slow ones are eaten, you will eventually get worms with fins and legs.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat August 18, 2013 12:28 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat August 18, 2013 12:29 AM  

If a self-replicating molecule took a few minutes to be destroyed, that might still be enough time to make several copies of itself. Which in turn, would have a few minutes to make copies of themselves, before being 'quickly destroyed a few minutes later.

And if the sky was green, it might taste like mint. You are committing the #1 fallacy rampant in biology right now: X might be possible, so we know X happened.

This runs smack dab into Behe's primary argument: the odds of a useful DNA molecule spontaneously being created in an environment fully optimized to allow it to happen are so low that there's not enough time in the "old age" life of the Universe for it to have reasonably happened.

Now, even if you somehow manage to beat the astronomical odds and create a DNA molecule, it's not self-replicating. You still have to have a copying mechanism, and there's no current mechanism proposed other than the cell itself. Second, we still need an environment for DNA to get created that doesn't immediately dissolve the DNA, which hasn't been discovered or proposed to date.

Basically, your argument is "something that's practically impossible happened, using multiple unknown mechanisms that we can't describe, but we KNOW it happened this way because the other way isn't provable."

Anonymous Beau August 18, 2013 1:57 AM  

@Wrf3

Beau wrote: Baloney, Ann, you are substituting a piece of speculative philosophy for actual science. Produce the evidence that supports your assertion. No more "this is like that." Show evidence, show the science, show how abiogenesis really works - or retract your ridiculous assertion.

Wrf3 said, In this case, Ann is right. Don't confuse "what the structure does" with "how the structure came to be."

No. Let’s look again at Ann’s assertion made in response to Harsh’s question,

“How exactly did that happen? How does the non-living suddenly become living? Or has there always been "living matter"? And why?”

Ann’s response was to evade Harsh’s question. Instead of answering Harsh’s “how the structure came to be” question, she substituted “what the structure does.” Her assertion was, “There isn't any difference in the matter, but if it's arranged the right way” is simply an evasion. I called her on that. That Ann knows the subject is abiogenesis is demonstrated by her posting a link to me showing the “science” behind abiogenesis.

“Here's one good article about it: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html

Further, she clearly knows the subject is abiogenesis because she makes an effort to disqualify it as relevant,

And, btw, evolution does not require abiogenisis, either. Abiogenesis is a theory about how life began. Evolution is a theory about how life evolved into different species, once it did begin.

Yes, sure, but Harsh asked Ann about how life began – and she knowing the difference between the two clearly tried sleight-of-hand. The question to Ann remains exactly as Harsh inquired. If she maintains,

Now we have a similiar objection to you, because scientists have not shown abiogenisis in a small space and time, the answer proposed is 'God!'. When the correct answer is 'I don't know'.

Then she contradicts her answer to Harsh. He asked about abiogenesis. She knew he was asking about abiogenesis. Ann answered, “There is no difference.” How does she know there is no difference? Especially when Ann says later the correct answer to the question of origin of life is, “I don’t know.” Which is it? One asserts certain knowledge, the other ignorance of the same thing. If Ann tries to differentiate by claiming “There is no difference” really referred to evolution, then she confesses herself to be a deceptive liar.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 18, 2013 2:00 AM  

Kentucky wrote - **Now, even if you somehow manage to beat the astronomical odds and create a DNA molecule, it's not self-replicating. You still have to have a copying mechanism, and there's no current mechanism proposed other than the cell itself.**

There are things that can replicate themselves that are much smaller than DNA molecules. For instance, prions.

And, btw someone here who was arguing against me inadvertantly actually proposed a mechanism of selection that would work even before the ability to make copies of themselves existed in molecules. Specifically, they pointed out that a lot of molecules would be destroyed shortly after they were formed by condition in the ocean at that time. So there's your first selective mechanism, working even before molecules can make copies of themselves. If most molecules are destroyed, you are selecting for those molecules that are stable. Long before you get molecules that can make copies of themselves, the ocean is going to be full of mostly stable small molecules, and the larger molecules with the ability to make copies of themselves would be formed mostly out of smaller molecules that were already selected for not being 'quickly destroyed'.

Anonymous Beau August 18, 2013 2:09 AM  

@ Ann

Did you even bother to read the link you showed me?

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html

I read it. It was a nice fairy tale composed of speculation. I followed the verbs:

1. plausible explanations
2. we can reasonably extrapolate
3. it can be said that puzzle pieces are starting to come together
4. the scientific assumption
5. has achieved plausibility
6. still considerably underdeveloped in its explanatory power.
7. The likely most accurate hypothetical study
8. could have been effective
9. would become largely irrelevant
10. may have been relatively high
11. might have been greatly concentrated
12. It is now widely agreed
13. Instead, it is assumed
14. is now an almost universally held view
15. This is currently still an open question.
16. may be too complex to have arisen without synthesis
17. Yet while there are still substantial problems,
18. The prebiotic synthesis of purine ribonucleotides is still unclear
19. It now appears in principle to be solved
20. shows how nature could have
21. still remains to be found
22. Such conditions could have existed
23. It remains to be seen
24. if prebiotically plausible fatty acid vesicles could have
25. they do not yet solve the problem
26. which is promising.
27. could have resulted
28. may not have been required.
29. may not be impossible
30. several alternatives to RNA as the first genetic system have been proposed
31. that can copy itself completely has not yet been found
32. A solution for the problem of copying a long ribozyme sequence has been proposed
33. experiments will have to show if it is feasible
34. a second round of copying would remain to be solved
35. Recent findings suggest
36. this problem may be addressed
37. Let us assume the plausible scenario
38. could have been available
39. could have surrounded
40. a membrane would have
41. and plausible studies
42. reveals in principle
43. how a heterotrophic protocell may have functioned
44. This might solve the thorny issue of
45. could have started copying itself
46. this would have allowed for
47. a system would have
48. This would have been
49. most substantial errors would probably
50. would have been filtered
51. could have led to RNA molecules
52. Would it
53. To a certain degree
54. Could this have been
55. Why not?
56. would have been much simpler
57. could have been
58. a possibility in view
59. would have been replaced
60. the cell would have
61. would also have been possible
62. answering this question appears
63. Perhaps
64. could have made the system
65. could have, bit by bit
66. the authors propose
67. would not have been required
68. probably have been different from the proposed model
69. and could be removed
70. could have been achieved
71. It might have been

(to be continued)

Blogger Ann Morgan August 18, 2013 2:12 AM  

Beau wrote: **Then she contradicts her answer to Harsh. He asked about abiogenesis. She knew he was asking about abiogenesis. Ann answered, “There is no difference.” How does she know there is no difference? Especially when Ann says later the correct answer to the question of origin of life is, “I don’t know.” Which is it? One asserts certain knowledge, the other ignorance of the same thing. If Ann tries to differentiate by claiming “There is no difference” really referred to evolution, then she confesses herself to be a deceptive liar.**

First of all, I explained one means by which abiogenesis could have happened, which is being repeatedly dismissed as 'improbable'. Never mind that the improbable becomes very likely, when dealing with enough subject matter.

Secondly, when you are looking at the explanation for something happening in your known world, you need to eliminate all possible explanations in your known world, before proposing something outside your world as the answer. For instance - you find someone lying murdered in the street. The fact that you don't know which human being might have killed them can't be construed to mean that they were killed by aliens from another planet. You must first eliminate any possibility of them being murdered by any possible human on the planet before you can propose 'aliens' outside our world. Likewise, the fact that science can't currently show how life began doesn't mean you can immediately jump to an explanation outside our universe and claim 'God'. You must first show that there is no possible scientific means by which life could have began, then you can claim SOMETHING outside our world.

Blogger Ann Morgan August 18, 2013 2:14 AM  

Beau- so in other words, using certainty in language where no actual proof exists constitutes proof?

Anonymous Beau August 18, 2013 2:16 AM  

@ Ann

(continued)

72. potentially could have
73. could have taken over
74. would have required
75. would not have been
76. could act, is feasible.
77. would have been possible
78. most likely provide the clue
79. could have wound up inside
80. might have been synthesized
81. However, it remains to be seen
82. units could have spread over others
83. This would have been
84. this interesting yet still hypothetical model
85. might have served
86. may offer yet another solution
87. might be restrictive
88. scenarios may not just work
89. may open up new possibilities
90. would have been possible
91. It is not easy to see how
92. would in general be possible

“There is no agreement on the extent to which metabolism could develop independently of a genetic material. In my opinion, there is no basis in known chemistry for the belief that long sequences of reactions can organize spontaneously – and every reason to believe that they cannot.” (Orgell 2000)

93. even though, obviously, opinions are divided on the issue.
94. may be far too optimistic
95. may have a better chance
96. which may be close
97. The authors suggest
98. Even more promising
99. Could highly specific catalysis
100. Could it close metabolic cycles?
101. These speculative possibilities
102. He assumes
103. which would have become
104. this scenario was suggested
105. It is hard to envision how
106. would have been
107. would likely have been a much lesser issue
108. Could the unique high-pressure
109. could catalysis
110. Future research may inform us
111. One possible source are meteorites.
112. could very well have
113. This could well have happened
114. Similar conditions may have been present
115. could have
116. could have played a role
117. could have taken place
118. apparently

Next time you show me "science," show me science.

Anonymous p-dawg August 18, 2013 2:48 AM  

@Ann Morgan:

Here are all the weasel words from your post:

"think it possible"
"might eventually"
"SOMETHING you could use"
"sort of primitive shelter"
"somehow"
"eventually"
" Eventually"
"pretty much like"
"blew up enough"
"do you think"
"at least a few"
"might fall"
"If they could"
"some sort of"
"eventually"
"if the fastest worms are"
"eventually"

Ok, here are some problems. I didn't say "get something eventually that will sort of kind of resemble a house". Life doesn't "sort of kind of" resemble life. It's unutterably more complex than a simple house. You expect me to believe that life just happens because of energy introduced into a system, but your own brain won't let you believe that introduction of energy into a pile of lumber will ever build a house without direction. Second, rocks don't reproduce. You know that. That's my point. You believe that at some unknown point some unknown inorganic material somehow became organic through some unspecified process. I pointed out that inorganic matter doesn't become organic through the introduction of energy, even large amounts. No matter how much sun shines on the rocks in my driveway, they will NEVER form themselves into a nice, mortared wall. Ever. Unless I introduce energy in a directed, intelligent fashion, those rocks will break down over time, not build up. That's reality. That's entropy, and the ONLY way to overcome entropy is to direct energy into overcoming it.

I said NO WEASEL WORDS. I asked a specific question. This is the second one of mine you've ducked. Answer the questions, please.

1. How many years before the rocks in my driveway form themselves into a mortared wall?
2. How much solar energy is required before the rocks in my driveway form themselves into a mortared wall?

Please be specific, and please understand that when I say NO weasel words, I don't mean "only 17 weasel words." Thank you.

Anonymous p-dawg August 18, 2013 2:53 AM  

@Ann Morgan: Are you trying to argue that admitting to complete uncertainty is proof of certainty? The reason we want the use of certain language is because you can ask someone to prove a definite statement. It can also be proven to be incorrect. You can never prove or disprove an ambiguous statement, which is why modern "science" is so full of them.

Blogger Lud VanB August 18, 2013 7:28 AM  

"Bring up Behe and - at least in my experience - they get vastly more angry. "

Behe was completely trounced at the dover trial by the testimony of biologist Kenneth Miller.

Anonymous Boris August 18, 2013 12:19 PM  

1. How many years before the rocks in my driveway form themselves into a mortared wall?
2. How much solar energy is required before the rocks in my driveway form themselves into a mortared wall?


These questions reflect a lack of understanding of even the basics of evolution.

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 18, 2013 8:26 PM  

p-dawg wrote: **I pointed out that inorganic matter doesn't become organic through the introduction of energy, even large amounts.**

First of all, as a matter of fact, THAT statement is provably wrong. Hydrogen becomes other elements due to nuclear fusion inside stars. And complex organic molecules have been formed from simpler molecules in experiments by sparking electricity over beakers full of what we think the composition of the ocean on early earth was like.

As for your rocks forming masonry - under the conditions you give they are never going to form a fancy masonry wall. However, you are omitting two very important feature of evolution, namely selection and reproduction.

Picture this - you have a flat feild and a big heap of rocks (a very big heap). You blow up the heap of rocks and they fly through the air and land at random places in the feild. At least SOME of the rocks will land on top of eachother, perhaps in piles of 2, perhaps in piles of 10. Now, you add a selective process, and take all the rocks out of the feild, EXCEPT those that happen to be in piles. (And, btw, this selective process does NOT necessarily imply intelligence. An ocean that destroys most but not all randomly formed organic molecules is a selective process for durable organic molecules to eventually dominate).

Now, you take all the rocks you removed from the feild, put them back in a big heap, and blow them up again. Again, SOME of the rocks will land in piles, some of them will also happen to land on the piles that were left from your selective process last time. Now, you have some more small piles, and some piles from last time that perhaps have gotten bigger when 2 or 10 more rocks landed on them.

Again, remove the rocks that didn't land in piles, put them back in a heap, blow them up again. Do you think eventually you will have something resembling at least a small wall?

Now, if instead of rocks, you have organic molecules, when some of them get large enough, they may have the ability to self replicate. Sometimes using random materials (stray rocks) other times by eating other molecules (smaller walls). This makes everything go much faster.

I will admit the following regarding abiogenesis:

1. We haven't been able to make it happen in an experiment yet. Likely because we don't have a laboratory as large in terms of space and time as an entire ocean, over millions of years.

2. We have not witnessed complete speciation. Likely because we haven't been observing such things for very long in biological terms. We do have fossil records of evolution occuring in some species (including horses and human beings). Dogs and apple maggots are good candidates for eventual speciation while we are watching (provided we don't blow ourselves up first).

3. Our current theory of evolution is like a puzzle, where we have some peices that fit very well, some that are upside-down, some that *seem* like they might fit, but not all that well, and we don't know if that's because the peices are mangled or because they come from a different puzzle, some peices that are from another puzzle or don't fit at all, and there's a lot of peices missing that we would have to walk a million miles to go get. So it doesn't explain everything, but there are a lot of things it does explain.

And to my mind, a puzzle that is somewhat screwed up, but does have at least some peices that definitely fit is a much better picture than the religious equivalent, which consists of pointing to a book that CLAIMS there was once a complete puzzle, somewhere, but you can't show me any of the peices, and when I ask you about them, you tell me that they are outside the universe, so I can't see any of them, but they definitely fit completely together, and have whatever magical properties your book says they have.

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 18, 2013 8:45 PM  

p-dawg wrote: **You can never prove or disprove an ambiguous statement, which is why modern "science" is so full of them.**

Actually, it's difficult to prove anything 100%. There's almost always alternative, though highly unlikely explanations. Take for instance something most people think of as 'proven', such as gravity. It's entirely possible, though unlikely, that mass does not exert gravity at all, and that objects attract eachother because the universe is full of invisible spirits that pull them towards eachother, and that they might very well decide tomorrow to stop doing so, and the whole universe will fly apart. Possible, but unlikely.

I've also noticed there seems to sometimes be a double standard going on with a lot of posters here, they demand that anyone posting a scientific explanation offer 'proof or retract', yet all religious statements such as 'God regards homosexuality as an abomination' are assumed to be true, no actual proof is offered, and God is conveniently defined in such a way as that obtaining proof would be impossible.

Under such conditions, those with a religious opinion are always going to 'win' any debate. Anyone with any opinion would 'win' a debate, under conditions such as that, if they were on the side not required to give proof.

A more accurate statement would be: "The bible claims that God regards homosexuality is an abomination, and I believe that to be true."

To actually prove that God did regard homosexuality as an abomination, you would first have to prove that God existed, and specifically the God that you believe in (although that doesn't preclude the possibility of other dieties with different opinions) and then prove that God actually has that opinion (a book claiming that God has some opinion is not proof that God actually has that opinion). I imagine it would be difficult to prove all that. It's also difficult to prove a lot of things in science.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:48 PM  

WOOT. I'm excited! Are you excited?! Okay, man, I'm just gonna whip it out there. Here is Life, the Universe, and Everything. In Five Posts or Less. Could be rough.
(Sorry for the delay. My internet cut out.)

0. INTRODUCTION
In my thesis I’m going to try and demonstrate the following:

1) Non-Existence Necessarily Abdicates to Existence
2) Chaos Necessarily Abdicates to Order
3) God Has To Exist
4) The Word Was

And that all these are Necessary. I’m going to derive them from a Necessary Axiom, which, I’m hoping, actually manages to be Necessary in the sense that it is self-proving ad infinitum, solving the problem of the infinite regress.

The idea that I had in formulating this, was to reduce the argument right back to the most reducible element possible. Meaning, I was trying to eliminate absolutely everything but the First Elements with Occam’s Razor. Basically looking for a Philosophical Singularity, that didn’t need math, geometry or what-have-you, because it exists in the condition antecedent to all these, the big Why. And at the same time, I think I’ve managed to actually achieve something I’m pretty proud of, in that it’s a Worm Ouroborous. It’s a closed loop. It’s fulfils its own Why. It’s Necessary. It argues itself inherently. (Think of it as a philosophical leap-frog.)

Because we’re arguing the very origin of All Things, Existence, Chaos, Order, God, etc, I think it’s very important in that it not only logically follows, but that it inherently anticipates not only all conceivable logical Whys that can be place antecedent to it, but also all the conceivable illogical ones. Because this is the very First Condition, in which all the answers do not exist yet.

The First, and Necessary, Axiom. And this Axiom is very special, for the reason that it is a Worm Ouroborous, which I'll explain later. It’s what my entire chain hinges on. Not just that the conclusion logically follows given the Axiom, but that it has to follow because the Axiom itself is necessary. (I’m trying very hard to emphasise how very, very cool this thing is that I’m trying to do. It’ll totally one-up Descartes ‘I Think, Therefore I Am’, because even if people denied their own existence, they’d still have to affirm this Axiom.)

It's an Axiom that (hopefully) is justified by itself. A closed loop. (Meaning it's Infinite Regression Inclusive.) It's my version of a Necessary Being, except it's a Necessary Axiom. Cool, huh?

I’ve actually written a massive amount of material in solving all the argumentative problems, but I’ll try to explicate it all clearly and concisely.

This is attempting to argue from pure Reason, the First Why, from which all other Whys proceed. Meaning I have to argue absolutes, pure philosophy which is antecedent even to mathematics, I believe. Or it is the first axiom of mathematics.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that existence is defined in my proof philosophical not mathematically. So trying to imagine the concepts geometrically or in any other way will probably be misleading. You can probably describe it in mathematical form (which I’ll try to do where appropriate), but at the heart of it, it’s not mathematical, which is why it can be a ‘Complete Theorum’ of sorts.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:49 PM  

1. WHY DOES ANYTHING EXIST AT ALL?
Back before questions of math, or geometry, or any complex logic, we get the First Possible Question. Why does something exist rather than nothing?

THE NECESSARY AXIOM
There is only two Possibilities in the First Condition: 'NOT-EXISTENCE' or ‘EXISTENCE’. Which gives us our Necessary Axiom, there must be: ‘E’ or ‘Not-E’. (Essentially ‘A’ or ‘Not-A’)

E : !E

[Important Note: While the value of 'Not-Existence' is 'non-existence' the two terms are not actually philosophical equivalents. The distinction is actually important.]

[Another Note: The symbol ‘:’ actually represents a ‘necessitated boundary’. My N-Axiom is essentially ‘Dichotomy’.]

This is the first Necessary Axiom., and it’s actually the part that requires the most argumentation, about why the Dichotomous Two States are Necessary, there’s a way awesome Worm Ouroborous involved here, but it’s pretty convoluted so I’ll skip ahead for now:

THE ARGUMENT

If there’s only two possibilities, existence and not-existence, and they’re philosophically equally possible, we have to ‘determine’ between them, in a place where we don’t even have ‘Chaos’ to appeal to. It can be described in the phrase: ’Wherever ‘!E ‘ends, then ‘E’ must begin. (Which is what ‘:’ represents. Boundary symbol.)’ That’s an English description of the philosophical formula ‘!E : E’.

We get 3 interpretations of this single Condition:

A) Existence happens ‘half the ‘time’’. (Not to be confused with actual time.)
B) Both not-existence and existence occurred. (It could be said that existence ‘overwrote’ not-existence, but it makes no difference.)
C) Not-existence can’t exist, leaving only existence.

Which means, that any which way you describe the First Condition encapsulated in the N-Axiom, Existence must happen, and we can subsequently perceive that we must occupy Existence, simply because even the illusion of our own existence requires the existence of illusion, which is a Differentiated, Not-Null state (Not-Not-E).
(This is otherwise known as the ‘Way Better Anthropic Principle’.)

Therefore:

EXISTENCE MUST EXIST.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:50 PM  

2. GOD
The Basics:

We have Existence. But that’s literally all it is. It isn’t qualified in any way, and in fact, that’s what’s so important about it.

For this, I have to clarify a descriptive (I’m moderately certain it’s distinct from Axiom). Which is ‘0 is philosophically equivalent to Infinity’. It’s kinda hard to explain this one. It’s pretty counter-intuitive, but it’s essentially the following:

‘Timeless’ being the equivalent of ‘Eternal’ is an example of this. Therefore, we get other logical descriptives of these qualities:

‘Spaceless’ is the equivalent of ‘Infinite Space’

‘Materialless’ is the equivalent of ‘Infinite Material’.

Just to be clear, this is in fact (or intended as), not an Axiom, but a descriptive of the value Infinite, which is the necessary Dichotomous Not-Finite. Time, Space, and Material are all Qualities, which is the other side of this Two-Part argument. And I’ll address it later.

There is no Differentiation at this point, so that means that all Qualities that could be theoretically derived, are encapsulated as a single quality of Existence.

So in this singularity of existence, perfect and undifferentiated, the 0-point, however counter-intuitive it seems, it’s precisely because it is [Quality]-Less that it possesses all possible Qualities in Infinite measure as a single Form. (Yes, it’s getting a little Platonic in here.)

(Think of it like colours of the rainbow and white light. All the colours are differentiations of the single quality of original white light.)

Any Qualities that can possibly exist are inherent in this Singularity, this First Condition.
So we necessarily get an existence that fulfils the conditions of (presumably these qualities can potentially exist): Infinite Space, Infinite Time, Infinite Material, Infinite [Anything]. And because it is both Infinite and 0, because there is as yet no defined Law of Pauli-Exclusion principle, this ‘material’ (however you’d describe it, including ‘spirit’ and any other ‘stuff’) that is inherent in the First Condition is also Infinitely Dynamic, because of it’s philosophical equivalent of Infinite Space.
And even if we don’t suppose that perfect Dynamism necessarily follows (but I do), if ‘Mind’ can exist even potentially, then the Mind-‘less’ (0) condition of the First Condition means that it possesses it in ‘Infinite degree’. A cosmic homogeny.

[Note: This seems counter-intuitive, because the common conception of ‘0’ is merely a local null in the context of our Finite existence. So if this all seems weird and nonsensical, it’s kinda supposed to be.]

Anything that can possibly exist, exists in the First Condition in Infinite form. It’s weird, but that’s the explication of the logic. Assuming that the logic that sustains ‘Timeless’ as ‘Eternal’ is consistent.
The ‘proof’, as it were, that Infinity and 0 are equivalent, is that they are both not-finite. I could probably call it (Inf/0) ‘tau’ or something.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:50 PM  

Therefore:

From this, we get the First Condition which is a singular, undifferentiated composites of Eternal, Infinite, Immaterial (0/Inf ‘material) possessing at the very least Infinite Mind (in non-derived form) and/or possibly Infinite Dynamism, if there’s any difference. And at the same time fulfils the condition of Simplicity.

It fulfils all these conditions because all conditions are fulfilled in the First Condition, as a White Light Original of all these potentially derived forms.
The First Condition is literally the Ultimate.

And here’s where I steal a second-proof from Descartes (with modification). Anything that exists in our finite world, must exist infinitely in this Infinite one, the First Condition (because our finite dimensions are necessarily derived from it. If you have even the illusion of thinking here, then that same quality of illusion exists in the First Condition, but Infinitely.) If Mind exists here (however it exists, material/immaterial whatever), it also exists there, albeit in Infinite form.

To sum up:

No matter what else it ‘contained’, the First Condition would necessarily have inherent to it, the qualities of God. The Necessary Being, the One whom cannot be surpassed by any finite or infinite measure, would exist in it.

Therefore God must exist.

(It’s important to note here is that I don’t even have a clue what the above would look like, or imagine how it can be a 0 point and infinitely dynamic. It’s just the ‘evolution’ of the logic, in the antiquated sense.)

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:51 PM  

3. IN THE BEGINNING, THE WORD WAS
In this section, I’ll try to cover one of the most important concepts of existence, ‘Qualities’. Essentially, Differentiation. How one thing is distinct from another. Or, wait for it… Defined!

This is probably gonna be the shortest section. I’ve already provided this Proof actually.
First step: Proving that existence is currently Differentiated.

And this is again a Descartean corroboration . But instead of ‘I think, Therefore I am’, it’s ‘I experience Differentiation, therefore Differentiation exists’. Doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy, but it’s the thing. You don’t even have to believe you exist. The mere fact that you perceive anything other than a perfectly homogeneous experience proves at least the illusion of perception, and therefore Differentiation exists.

So:

If our Experience is distinct from a homogenous null, even if we suppose it is an illusion, then existence itself is differentiated, even if our illusory experience was supposedly the only thing that existed.

If one thing is different from another, then that means that they have both been Defined differently (without presupposing any conscious actor).

But in this Proof, the First Condition itself is Undifferentiated, as yet with no actual Definitions (save for ‘Existent’).

Which means, that somehow, at some point, the differentiation, the occurrence of distinct, differentiating Definition, must have occurred ‘between’ then and now. And that the Definition proceeded forth from the Infinite First Condition.

I cannot explicate the process by which this happened, or could have happened, I can only use our existence at this end as the second-part Proof that it must have.

And another way to describe this event of definition is: a ‘Word.’ And there must have been a First Word, a First Expression, and it existed before Time or Space had been established in finite measure. So it existed at the Beginning.

Therefore:
“IN THE BEGINNING, THE WORD WAS”

Boom! (Disclaimer: This does not philosophically prove that this Word was Jesus, however.)

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:51 PM  

4.THE SECRET OF CREATION
In which I philosophise about the nature of creation, and write about it.

It should go without saying that I couldn’t even begin to imagine the methodology involved, but given our own existence (or perception thereof) we can conclude some absolutes. We can conclude the Finite values must have been produced in the past, from the Infinite.

Finite Dimensions must have been ‘drawn’ somehow, in the Infinite medium, therefore creating Differentiation and Expressing both Distinctness as well as Finite values. (Finite values therefore allowing for us to consider complex math, instead of fundamental philosophy, at least so far as Finity is concerned.)

The introduction of finite values, of finite dimensions, as a sort of ‘subtraction’ from the Infinite (the equivalent of adding to ‘0’, but it’s easier to conceptualise ‘ex nihilo’ this way, as it makes more intuitive sense.)

And that’s the secret of creation. (Because I totally know.)

If you ‘take away’ a finite portion of infinity, you still have infinity left over. That’s the importance of its philosophically defined state.

Just like if you were adding to 0. Everything you add to 0 is additional to the value of 0, it does not compromise it in any way. That ‘0’ is still there in a sense, as soon as you take away the additional values, you’re left with the 0 again. If you take away the Finite interruptions in Infinity, you still have Infinity. It’s ‘Infinity + Finite Interruptions’, in the same way you have ‘0 + Finite Integers’.

Our existence proves that Finite Interruptions occurred, and that it was produced in and by the First Condition.

Therefore our universe was created by the First Condition. (By God.)

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:52 PM  

5. ORDER AND CHAOS
This is essentially a counter-argument subsequent to the establishment of the Infinite ‘Quality’ of Existence as Inherent of all Potentially Derived Qualities. Basically, this is the counter-argument of, ‘well if it’s infinitely dynamic, then it’s pure Chaos, which is not descriptive of God, etc.

Again, it’s the Boundary dichotomy. Which in this case we’ll describe as ‘Chaos : Order’ presupposing that we all agree they are opposite elements (my argument works for all possible dichotomies, so I don’t feel the need to ‘prove’ this. For the sake of the argument, ‘Chaos’ is ‘Not-Order’ or ‘Order’ is ‘Not-Chaos’, however you like it.)

The thing about Chaos is, that it is by definition Lawless, and thus it can resolve into anything. Including Order. If it can’t randomly produce order, then it has limitations, certain logics that constrain it, and so it is Lawful after all, (and at the same time this would be proposing complexity ex nihilo).

At some point, if this is Chaos, as a dynamism of ‘materia’ and therefore ‘active’, then no matter how likely or remote the possibility of establishing a complete Order out of itself, it has to happen eventually, and because it exists in an eternal (timeless) condition, it revolves through the infinite chaotic revolutions in that single ‘moment’ (not that it would make a difference if ‘time’ actually existed in finite form here). So functionally speaking, Chaos will of necessity resolve into a consistency or consistencies, otherwise known as Laws, and therefore there’s Order.
And when it’s established itself as a full and consistent Order, then it cannot revert to Chaos, because it is now Orderly.

Just like ‘not-existence’ is either irrelevant or unsustainable, Chaos will always of necessity, because it’s lack of rules, have to randomly produce complete Order, which is the necessary terminus of it’s existence. The Boundary condition.

Chaos always ‘eventually’ resolves into Order.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:52 PM  

6. INFINITY AND FINITY
Thou shalt not laugh at my terminology. Additional notes.

This is an unnecessary to add here, but it’s a major part of what my brain’s been agonising over, so I offer it as an interesting thought-exercise.

‘E : !E’ is a N-Axiom that can be interpreted for all events. (It’s just another way of saying ‘A’ and ‘Not-A’, but I want to keep my little thesis as consistent as possible.)

The boundary symbol means that an ‘Infinity / Finity’ dichotomy could be described as:
“Where Infinity ends, there Finity must Begin.” (Don’t laugh, I use whatever word’s easiest.)

This is why I said it’s important to think of this in terms of pure philosophy, of which mathematics is only a possible description. Trying to imagine the end of infinity won’t work, because mathematically infinity (according to our subsequent definitions) is endless. But complex math is subsequent to the pure logical form of the First Axiom, and so I declare most pompously that it must yield to it, as it is a Primary Logic. Saying that ‘by definition Infinity has no end’ that’s actually an additional quality of infinity at least, philosophically speaking, because we are proposing a contradictive state to it as well as the actual or ‘positive’ state. (So, I’m using a sort of Absolutist Occam’s Razor.)

Which means, that Finite Dimensions may, because of philosophical necessity, have existed at the beginning along with the Infinite. Which may in essence argue that it didn’t come ‘from’ the Infinite portion of Existence, but that it was a necessary complement. (‘The Word was with God’.)

Though I suppose that ‘Where Infinity Ends, There Finity Must Begin’ is actually inclusive of the condition that Infinity ends, so if it doesn’t, then Finity doesn’t begin. Even if it doesn’t necessarily follow that Infinity doesn’t end, if it subsequently follows that it doesn’t end, then Finity does not begin. Any-who, something I gotta think more on.

As I said, this is part of the incomplete portions of my proof, but I think it’s pretty cool thought-food. It’s just an extrapolation of the distinction of Primary Logic as antecedent to mathematics, thus being a pure logic that makes all this not only feasible and possible, but quite (possibly) necessary.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:53 PM  

7. The WORM OUROBOROUS
A little more detail on the ‘Necessary Axiom’

Argument of Necessary Axiom of Dichotomy.

And the reason it is a worm Ouroborous, is because it’s answers it’s own why. No matter what people propose or ask in consequence of this axiom, no matter how they argue with it, ‘A’ and ‘Not-A’ encapsulates all their arguments and reduces them down to these two elemental states. And these two states are the absolute minimum possible!
Essentially, this is an inherent principle that can be demonstrated by pure childishness.

Don’t believe me? Try it.

You propose: “There’s only one state: Floogy”

The argument inherent in the Axiom is that there is ‘Not-Floogy’ as a philosophical possibility. And they are both reducible to the theoretical sets of A and Not-A or ‘Existence’ and ‘Not-Existence’.

It’s the ultimate reducibility in that whatever possibility you propose, no matter how ridiculous or childish, there is always the simultaneous possibility of ‘Not-That’ being determined in the First Why.
This is what I mean by a closed loop. That’s the magical secret of the Worm Ouroborous which is my Necessary Axiom. (‘N-Axiom’/ ‘NX’ for short.)

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:53 PM  

7. CONCLUDING REMARKS

So there you have it! My handy-dandy Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything. Still needs some work, especially in the structuring of the thesis, but I think it’s totes awesome.
(I also have no idea if my Proof parallels already existing philosophical thought, as I’ve really only just starting working through the available material.)

This Proof is hopefully intended to be the fullest Proof of God that can be formulated to the limits of human reason. Obviously, if there’s anything beyond that point, I can’t fathom it. But the good news being that theoretically no other dude can either, so can formulate no contradictory argument.
A final note, is that incidentally the Infinite First Condition also solved any question of Thermodynamic Entropy, and so we have a perfect Top-Down Hierarchy that proceeds from God (or 1st Condition, however it’s called). (As opposed to a bottom-up evolution type cosmic.)

In the meantime, there it is. I hope you guys found it interesting at the least. I tried to make it as concise as possible.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 8:57 PM  

Mudz wrote: Natural laws, buddy. That operate external to the particles.

wrf3: Really? Proof, please. (Hint: I don't think you can do it).

Sorry, are you trying to say natural laws don't exist?

Gravity. Operates on two independent particles not in material contact, thus the relationship had an independent non-particle component. And attributes of particles. Position and velocity etc are not themselves particles, but are necessary in order to define particles, are they are permutations of a consistent metaphysical law that makes all protons like all other protons, etc. A universal consistency, i.e. law, not dependent on particles, but necessary for them.

Spacetime. Not a particle.

And electron orbits, strength of hydrogen bonds, etc, etc, all that metaphysical stoofs. All the phenomena.

(Hint: Yes, I can.)

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 9:00 PM  

Okay, so that was more than five posts. Sue me.

Anonymous Beau August 18, 2013 9:18 PM  

Beau- so in other words, using certainty in language where no actual proof exists constitutes proof?

Only for a mind like yours that projects such binary thinking on others.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 10:56 PM  

*thus the relationship had an independent non-particle component

Sorry, that should be 'external'.

Anonymous Mudz August 18, 2013 11:15 PM  

Ann:I've also noticed there seems to sometimes be a double standard going on with a lot of posters here, they demand that anyone posting a scientific explanation offer 'proof or retract', yet all religious statements such as 'God regards homosexuality as an abomination' are assumed to be true, no actual proof is offered, and God is conveniently defined in such a way as that obtaining proof would be impossible.

Okay. Guess it sucks to be you then.

That's what happens when you deliberately ignore the ever-flowing voluminous amounts of correction provided you.

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 19, 2013 1:30 AM  

Mudz wrote: **Okay. Guess it sucks to be you then.**

From my point of view, it definitely sucks far worse to be you.

Anonymous Mudz August 19, 2013 1:31 AM  

Proof positive that your PoV is wrong. :)

Blogger wrf3 August 19, 2013 9:42 AM  

Mudz wrote: Sorry, are you trying to say natural laws don't exist?

Of course not. The question wasn't "do natural laws exist" but "do natural laws exist independently of [the] particles". That is, the question being "if the particles didn't exist, would the natural laws exist"?

Gravity. Operates on two independent particles not in material contact, thus the relationship had an independent non-particle component.

But that "non-particle component" is the warp in space-time, i.e. the "stuff" of the universe.

And attributes of particles. Position and velocity etc are not themselves particles, but are necessary in order to define particles, are they are permutations of a consistent metaphysical law that makes all protons like all other protons, etc. A universal consistency, i.e. law, not dependent on particles, but necessary for them.

You're assuming your conclusion. If the particles didn't exist, their velocity and position wouldn't exist. So, on what basis do you clam that there's a "consistent metaphysical law" that precedes the particles?

(Hint: Yes, I can.)

No, you didn't.

Anonymous Mudz August 19, 2013 9:08 PM  

Of course not. The question wasn't "do natural laws exist" but "do natural laws exist independently of [the] particles".

Actually it was 'external'. I just answered that one at the same time.

That is, the question being "if the particles didn't exist, would the natural laws exist"?,

Yes.

But that "non-particle component" is the warp in space-time, i.e. the "stuff" of the universe.

Which is not a particle. Why on earth did you think that was a refutation?

That's external. So I've proved my original point, and you've confirmed it. Dandy.

Now I'll try and cover independent below, even though that wasn't my original argument:

You're assuming your conclusion. If the particles didn't exist, their velocity and position wouldn't exist. So, on what basis do you clam that there's a "consistent metaphysical law" that precedes the particles?


Because all particles of a type are consistent with one another. If they were independent of a law, they could come in any randomised shape, size and with any attributes because they would be self-defining. But they are not, they are consistent with some factor that conforms all these independent bits of matter to the same types of matter and the same patterns, even when they are separated by vaccuum.

Of course their velocity and position wouldn't exist, in the same way that my hands and feet wouldn't exist if I didn't. But my hands and feet are not 'person'.

'Velocity' and 'position' are defining attributes of 'particle' but they are not themselves particles. That's not assuming a conclusion at all, it's patently self-evident. They are not external, but they are also not 'dependent', they are what the particle depends on, to exist. Your only counter-argument is to say that 'velocity' and 'position' don't actually exist, but are perceptual gimmicks.


No, you didn't.

Yes, I did. It's frankly, childishly easy. If you believe in gravity, if you believe in spacetime and differentiation between matter, if you believe in any of the forces, then you confess there is something more than 'particles'.

Furthermore if we believe that the Big Bang happened, then we believe that all particles were created from a condition without space and time or pre-existing particles, therefore the operation to bring them into existence was not material particles. If you believe in vaccuum energy, that you believe that particles are being spontaneously created all the time, but in a manner consistent with the rest of the universe, despite not being in material contact with any other particles.

Dude, I've been trying to be polite about it, because it was seriously the weakest challenge you could have possibly asked. I'm only taking this seriously for your benefit, because unlike Ann, you appear to actually be sincere.

Honestly man, just give up and become a physicalist.

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