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Author Topic:   The Mud Theory (SocialEvolution and lyx2no only)
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 1 of 29 (547483)
02-19-2010 5:10 PM


Hello. This is my first post. I am not convinced of the typical creationism story or the theory of evolution so I suppose I am a skeptic of both sides. I am really interested in what the true history of man might be but at this point I am very undecided on a conclusion. So this looks like the place for me, I think.

The first thing I want to look at is the idea that life came about by accident because of some perfect combination of elements or basically that we came from mud. Is this part of the Theory of Evolution or is this a separate belief that most evolutionists hold? Is this asserted as a fact or a belief or a scientific theory? The reason I ask is that I haven't seen any evidence for it yet many people I run into act as though it is the proven beyond a doubt. Evidence of animals evolving in response to the environment and mutations and all that is great but it doesn't address the initial cause that brought us about in the first place.

I see it as entirely plausible that humans could create life. We may not have the technology currently, but I think it is logical to assume that it is a real possibility in the future. And if we did create a life form, the smartest thing to do would be to design it so that it evolves and adapts to a changing environment. So it seems entirely plausible that another intelligent species like us could have created us. I realize that this does not explain how those creators came about but neither does the big bang theory explain what made it come about. I am only addressing our own genetic line here, not all life in the universe.

So this scenario, to me, seems just as plausible as the idea that we came from mud. They both look too strange to be true. Many people seem convinced that we came from mud and that nothing else is possible. If there is no evidence for either, people could still come up with why they think one is more likely than the other but I don't understand why the idea of us being created by another species is basically ruled out from the beginning. Is there some evidence for the mud theory that I am missing?

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add the "(SocialEvolution and lyx2no only)" to topic title.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by lyx2no, posted 02-20-2010 12:14 AM SocialEvolution has responded

  
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3819
Joined: 09-26-2002
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 2 of 29 (547549)
02-19-2010 11:15 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The Mud Theory thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

This topic is for messages by SocialEvolution and lyx2no only.

Any other non-admin messages will have their contents deleted.

Adminnemooseus

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add post promotion comments.


    
lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2212 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 3 of 29 (547559)
02-20-2010 12:14 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by SocialEvolution
02-19-2010 5:10 PM


May I Call You "SE"?
Welcome to EvC, SocialEvolution

The first thing I want to look at is the idea that life came about by accident because of some perfect combination of elements or basically that we came from mud. Is this part of the Theory of Evolution or is this a separate belief that most evolutionists hold? Is this asserted as a fact or a belief or a scientific theory?

It is none of the above. You’ve gotten involved with a gang of straw men. Firstly, there is a real difference between life coming about by accident and life not coming about by purpose. It is often phrased as life coming about by chance. This last, at least, does not outright prejudice the argument; but still, chemicals do not mix by chance. They combine in known, fixed ways. Some of those ways are auto-catalyzing; meaning, once one of these molecules form they promote more copies of themselves to form. If a semi-hardy, imperfectly self-replicating molecule comes into existence in a reliably stable environment, given plentiful time and raw materials, the chemistry is a very long way down the road to biology. That is the basics of abiogenesis.

Secondly, that life came into existence is a fact as well as anything can be described a fact. There are many scientific hypothesis regarding abiogenesis. The genesis may have been in mud, it may have been in tidal pools, it may have been in thermal vents, the last being a good bet, but it isn’t yet known, and may never be.

Thirdly, abiogenesis has nothing to do with the ToE, which merely states that the type of life we see before us will produce slightly differing progeny and the forms most able to replicate within their environments will come to dominate. And as environments are near infinitely variable there are millions of sundry niches for variable forms of life to fill.

The reason I ask is that I haven't seen any evidence for it yet many people I run into act as though it is the proven beyond a doubt.

If you haven’t seen any evidence for it it is because you haven’t looked. The evidence is plentiful that it can happen and that it has happened. Here’s a little bit of an eye opener: right now, before I start supplying evidence for a naturalistic genesis, get an index card and write down all the positive evidence you have that life was intentional. It’s not likely that you’ll need the back of the index card. Folks only think they have a lot of evidence for an intentional creation because they’re carrying it all within their heads. (Remember, of course, that baseless attack of the ToE isn’t evidence for creation. Especially since ToE has nothing to do with genesis.)

Evidence of animals evolving in response to the environment and mutations and all that is great but it doesn't address the initial cause that brought us about in the first place.

It certainly does not.

I see it as entirely plausible that humans could create life. We may not have the technology currently, but I think it is logical to assume that it is a real possibility in the future.

This is a reasonable assumption.

And if we did create a life form, the smartest thing to do would be to design it so that it evolves and adapts to a changing environment.

Designing life not to evolve would be the challenge. Evolution isn’t due to good mechanic but to poor mechanics. The machinery makes errors. Those errors are usually insignificant, often deleterious and occasionally beneficial. These beneficial errors improve the relative ability of the molecule or, later on, organism, to replicate. As they use up the limited resources they crowd out the lesser able. That is the standard by which one judges “beneficial”.

So it seems entirely plausible that another intelligent species like us could have created us.

I’d think to properly call oneself skeptical one would need more then ”we can’t absolutely rule it out” as cause to claim “it seems entirely plausible that…” That we may some day be able to create life does not imply that we were thus created. We would need something to actually point in that direction. Currently there is nothing. There is however lots of evidence pointing to the naturalistic hypotheses being possible. Here is a wee Video (series).

We can see all of the individual elements of this video happening in the real world, but not of yet all together in a sustained fashion. The bigger point is that none of it needs our intervention to go. If the reagents are together they do it themselves. I love the music.

So this scenario, to me, seems just as plausible as the idea that we came from mud.

There is considerably more evidence for mud then for other intelligent species. That alone should tilt the scales toward mud theory.

Many people seem convinced that we came from mud and that nothing else is possible.

Those would be called delusional people. We shouldn’t worry too much about what they think. If your statement is hyperbole for “Many people seem convinced that we came from naturalistic causes and that nothing else is remotely likely”; well, now they’ve got the the weight of evidence on their side; i.e., the existence of nature.

If there is no evidence for either, people could still come up with why they think one is more likely than the other but I don't understand why the idea of us being created by another species is basically ruled out from the beginning. Is there some evidence for the mud theory that I am missing?

Yes: mud.


You are now a million miles away from where you were in space-time when you started reading this sentence.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-19-2010 5:10 PM SocialEvolution has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 1:10 AM lyx2no has responded

  
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 4 of 29 (547730)
02-22-2010 1:10 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by lyx2no
02-20-2010 12:14 AM


Sure, you can call me that
Okay, so it's not part of the Theory of Evolution, got it.

I don't understand how the word "accident" prejudices it but I don't need to at this point - I'll just say "by chance" like you suggest.

Now let me make sure I have a clear understanding of what abiogenesis means. It seems to be a field of study rather than a theory. Abiogensis seems to be about how life on earth in general could have arisen from inanimate matter rather than about how modern humans could have originated from inanimate matter. It seems like an important distinction since you mention that ToE has nothing to do with abiogenesis and if abiogensis was about how modern humans could have originated from inanimate matter then it would have to involve ToE to complete the link. So do I have that right?

"Mud theory" is obviously not a very accurate label. Is there an actual term for "the theory that modern humans originated from inanimate matter without intelligent intervention"? I just call it the mud theory because I figure people will know what I mean but if there's an actual term for this, let me know.

From what I've seen on abiogenesis so far, I see some evidence that it MAY have been possible for life to have arisen spontaneously or for the materials of life to have arisen spontaneously on earth. It is interesting stuff, no doubt, but that is not evidence that we did in fact originate in that way. Evidence for the possibility and evidence for the actual occurance are two different things. Is there any evidence that we did in fact originate in that way?

quote:
I’d think to properly call oneself skeptical one would need more then ”we can’t absolutely rule it out” as cause to claim “it seems entirely plausible that…” That we may some day be able to create life does not imply that we were thus created.

You're right of course: it doesn't imply that. But don't read too much into it. I only mean that the mud theory and my alternative are the most plausible, according to what I know at the moment. Plausible only means, "the appearance of truth or reason" so I'm not actually saying much.

quote:
Those would be called delusional people. We shouldn’t worry too much about what they think. If your statement is hyperbole for “Many people seem convinced that we came from naturalistic causes and that nothing else is remotely likely”...

It certainly wasn't meant as hyperbole. I think a lot of people do have that view. But I should be careful to avoid generalities at this point. What about you? Do you think that nothing else is even remotely likely or do you think that the mud theory is just more likely? For nothing else to be even remotely likely, it would take a lot of evidence that the mud theory actually occurred.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by lyx2no, posted 02-20-2010 12:14 AM lyx2no has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Stagamancer, posted 02-22-2010 1:32 PM SocialEvolution has responded
 Message 7 by lyx2no, posted 02-22-2010 2:53 PM SocialEvolution has responded

  
Stagamancer
Member (Idle past 2412 days)
Posts: 174
From: Oregon
Joined: 12-28-2008


Message 5 of 29 (547762)
02-22-2010 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by SocialEvolution
02-22-2010 1:10 AM


Re: Sure, you can call me that
Now let me make sure I have a clear understanding of what abiogenesis means. It seems to be a field of study rather than a theory.

It's both, in the same way that evolution or quantum mechanics is a theory and there are scientists who study it.

Abiogensis seems to be about how life on earth in general could have arisen from inanimate matter rather than about how modern humans could have originated from inanimate matter.

Yes, no one has ever claimed that modern humans arose from inanimate matter. Modern humans are descended from other living things. However, if you trace our lineage back far enough, you'll get to those initial bits of genetic code and protein that were replicating themselves at the beginning.

"Mud theory" is obviously not a very accurate label. Is there an actual term for "the theory that modern humans originated from inanimate matter without intelligent intervention"?

Simply abiogenesis. There's no different theory for humans than any other organism. If you go back far enough, all things are related. Though, this theory would not be described that you have done it. Abiogenesis describes how cellular life evolved from molecules replicating themselves on some sort of substrate (what it was exactly is still being worked out). The ToE then describes how those initial unicellular organisms diversified into the millions of forms of life we see today.

Is there any evidence that we did in fact originate in that way?

Well, if you mean, is there fossil evidence on earth of acellular (nonviral) RNA or DNA replicating itself in mud? No. But, scientists have demonstrated that RNA can catalyze it's own replication on a clay substrate. They have found organics molecules such as amino acids on asteroids.
Unless we can invent time travel, it's most likely that we will never come to 100% certainty about how live initially arose. However, the more we learn about the history of life and the Earth, we can come up with the most plausible explanation, and that will have to do. But saying "god did it" because we can be 100% sure is ridiculous. In the same way, we cannot know anything from the past with absolute certainty. For example, assume we knew that Lewis & Clark went across the continent, but they hadn't taken such extensive notes on their journey. We could piece together their most likely route based on evidence left of their campsites and things left behind. We may not get it exactly right (maybe they went right around some falls instead of left) but we can come up with the most likely explanation. Would you think that just because we couldn't figure it out perfectly that God must have picked them up and moved them across the continent?

For nothing else to be even remotely likely, it would take a lot of evidence that the mud theory actually occurred.

No it wouldn't. The possibilities of the alternatives are in no way dependent on the possibility of abiogenesis. Even if "life from mud" was wrong, it doesn't make "life from god" more plausible. There are many more naturalistic hypotheses and theories that are way more plausible than "a being of infinite power that does and does not exist in the universe and is able to affect it without leaving any evidence of action created life"


We have many intuitions in our life and the point is that many of these intuitions are wrong. The question is, are we going to test those intuitions?
-Dan Ariely
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 1:10 AM SocialEvolution has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 2:01 PM Stagamancer has responded
 Message 8 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 8:23 PM Stagamancer has acknowledged this reply

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15948
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 6 of 29 (547765)
02-22-2010 2:01 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Stagamancer
02-22-2010 1:32 PM


Re: Sure, you can call me that
This is the "Great Debate" forum. We have not been invited to participate in the debate, and so we are not allowed to present facts, no matter how relevant they may be.

The whole reason that the moderators made this a debate between "SocialEvolution" and lyx2no only is that "SocialEvolution"'s brain might explode if he was exposed to too much truth all at once.

Ssssh ...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Stagamancer, posted 02-22-2010 1:32 PM Stagamancer has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 8:26 PM Dr Adequate has responded
 Message 11 by Stagamancer, posted 02-22-2010 8:50 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2212 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 7 of 29 (547767)
02-22-2010 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by SocialEvolution
02-22-2010 1:10 AM


From the Top
What about you?

Seeking the bigger picture, epistemology is independent of what I think. (Though I hope what I think is not independent of epistemology.) For science to work at all it must work within the stricture of epistemology. Consequently, naturalism is a doctrine of science. It is a statement that science is unable to deal with non-causal phenomena. It does not rule out non-causal phenomena as impossibilities so much as recognize that they can not be reliably studied; i.e., to discover the cause it must be related to the effect; to predict the effect it must be related to the cause. The volition of an übermencsh is not predictable and, therefore, cannot be useful in the advancement of scientific, basal understanding.

Returning to the not-ruled-out rule, because of another assumption of science, the principle of parsimony, making an exception to naturalism is very difficult to do. Parsimony demands that explanations be gained with the fewest assumptions. Unfortunately for us, it is not a mere assumption that people are not only easy to fool but often willing participants. This means that when confronted with an observation of the feeding of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes we’re forced to the conclusion that our ignorance is the limit of our explanation: we have no experience to enable us to disentangle the will of the gods from a slyboots with a food replicator in the guise of a wickerwork basket.

Naturalistic abiogenesis is a paradigm of the biological sciences which too limits conclusions to the observable, repeatable, and inferable. And so far as has been demonstrated the abolition of übermen with übertech , yet alone magic, has not resulted in a cognitive choke point.

Do you think that nothing else is even remotely likely or do you think that the mud theory is just more likely? For nothing else to be even remotely likely, it would take a lot of evidence that the mud theory actually occurred.

Happily substituting “Mud Hypothesis” for “Mud Theory*”, “naturalistic abiogenesis” or “abiogenesis” now that I see you’re not of a mind to play semantic games, we have to recognize that the scope of MH is so great as leave little else. Because MH goes back to the genesis of life itself it would have to include intentional and unintentional panspermia along with an earthly genesis, where the former are currently violations of parsimony.

To not be included in MH we would have to have a violation of physics or chemistry. Circumstances such as particles accelerating not because they have forces acting upon them but because it has been willed. But in the millions upon millions upon millions of observations of life never has a violation the rules of physics or chemistry been noted.

It seems to me that MH is sufficient. To invoke hyperMH requires very much evidence indeed.

It seems like an important distinction since you mention that ToE has nothing to do with abiogenesis and if abiogenesis was about how modern humans could have originated from inanimate matter then it would have to involve ToE to complete the link. So do I have that right?

Yes, you have that right.

"Mud theory" is obviously not a very accurate label. Is there an actual term for "the theory that modern humans originated from inanimate matter without intelligent intervention"? I just call it the mud theory because I figure people will know what I mean but if there's an actual term for this, let me know.

I’m fine with MH so long as it’s an agreed upon short hand between us. I like cooperation towards understanding. Saves time. Is there a word for the whole kit 'n kaboodle, Mud-to-Man pathway? I doubt it. Shall we adopt MtM?

From what I've seen on abiogenesis so far, I see some evidence that it MAY have been possible for life to have arisen spontaneously or for the materials of life to have arisen spontaneously on earth. It is interesting stuff, no doubt, but that is not evidence that we did in fact originate in that way. Evidence for the possibility and evidence for the actual occurrence are two different things. Is there any evidence that we did in fact originate in that way?

Tentitvity is another principle of science. That does not however give as much leeway as you see to be willing to take. Not all scenarios are equally likely. I think we have enough knowledge to safely say that life didn’t need to be imported from other worlds, but other world importation is not as unlikely as importation from other planes of existence.

*Because you’re not the only one who needs be considered in the semantic games. The term “theory” has become of thorn.

Edited by lyx2no, : Minor grammatical error.


You are now a million miles away from where you were in space-time when you started reading this sentence.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 1:10 AM SocialEvolution has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 10:39 PM lyx2no has acknowledged this reply
 Message 14 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-23-2010 12:02 AM lyx2no has acknowledged this reply

  
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 8 of 29 (547785)
02-22-2010 8:23 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Stagamancer
02-22-2010 1:32 PM


Re: Sure, you can call me that
quote:
quote:
Abiogensis seems to be about how life on earth in general could have arisen from inanimate matter rather than about how modern humans could have originated from inanimate matter.

Yes, no one has ever claimed that modern humans arose from inanimate matter. Modern humans are descended from other living things. However, if you trace our lineage back far enough, you'll get to those initial bits of genetic code and protein that were replicating themselves at the beginning.

You are right that no one in the thread claimed humans all of sudden came forth in full complexity from inanimate matter all in one shot. Not even I said this so I am not sure why you brought it up. As to your second point, I would point out that it's according to the theory of evolution that our lineage, if traced back far enough, would lead to that. It is not a proven indisputable fact that that is the case so we shouldn't state it as though it is. This is a perfect example though of what I was talking about earlier.

quote:
quote:
Is there any evidence that we did in fact originate in that way?

Well, if you mean, is there fossil evidence on earth of acellular (nonviral) RNA or DNA replicating itself in mud? No. But, scientists have demonstrated that RNA can catalyze it's own replication on a clay substrate. They have found organics molecules such as amino acids on asteroids.
Unless we can invent time travel, it's most likely that we will never come to 100% certainty about how live initially arose. However, the more we learn about the history of life and the Earth, we can come up with the most plausible explanation, and that will have to do. But saying "god did it" because we can be 100% sure is ridiculous. In the same way, we cannot know anything from the past with absolute certainty. For example, assume we knew that Lewis & Clark went across the continent, but they hadn't taken such extensive notes on their journey. We could piece together their most likely route based on evidence left of their campsites and things left behind. We may not get it exactly right (maybe they went right around some falls instead of left) but we can come up with the most likely explanation. Would you think that just because we couldn't figure it out perfectly that God must have picked them up and moved them across the continent?

I'm not actually a fan of the God Theory.

quote:
quote:
For nothing else to be even remotely likely, it would take a lot of evidence that the mud theory actually occurred.

No it wouldn't. The possibilities of the alternatives are in no way dependent on the possibility of abiogenesis. Even if "life from mud" was wrong, it doesn't make "life from god" more plausible. There are many more naturalistic hypotheses and theories that are way more plausible than "a being of infinite power that does and does not exist in the universe and is able to affect it without leaving any evidence of action created life"

In the statement "nothing else being even remotely likely", there is an assertion about everything else so it directly concerns the possibility of the alternatives. Also, I'm not a fan of the God Theory. I'm not necessarily a fan of the "Alien Theory" either. I consider it a possibility but mostly I just presented it because I thought it would make for an interesting discussion of why naturalistic abiogenesis + ToE is given as much weight as it is over alternative theories. As unbelievable as it may sound, I actually do not know what our origin is and do not pretend to. Everyone around me though, whether of the scientistic variety or bible thumper variety seems to be completely convinced without a shred of doubt despite the gross lack of proof.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Stagamancer, posted 02-22-2010 1:32 PM Stagamancer has acknowledged this reply

  
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 9 of 29 (547786)
02-22-2010 8:26 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dr Adequate
02-22-2010 2:01 PM


Re: Sure, you can call me that
quote:
This is the "Great Debate" forum. We have not been invited to participate in the debate, and so we are not allowed to present facts, no matter how relevant they may be.

The whole reason that the moderators made this a debate between "SocialEvolution" and lyx2no only is that "SocialEvolution"'s brain might explode if he was exposed to too much truth all at once.

Ssssh ...


Gee thanks. My brain does have a tendency to explode and it is a pain to clean out of the carpet.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 2:01 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 8:43 PM SocialEvolution has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15948
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 10 of 29 (547788)
02-22-2010 8:43 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by SocialEvolution
02-22-2010 8:26 PM


Exploding Brain
Gee thanks. My brain does have a tendency to explode and it is a pain to clean out of the carpet.

We'll be gentle with you. That's why the moderators are only allowing one person (lyx2no) to debate with you. They don't think you could handle any more.

If you feel that this is patronizing, please take it up with the moderators. It wasn't my decision.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 8:26 PM SocialEvolution has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-22-2010 10:47 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Stagamancer
Member (Idle past 2412 days)
Posts: 174
From: Oregon
Joined: 12-28-2008


Message 11 of 29 (547790)
02-22-2010 8:50 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dr Adequate
02-22-2010 2:01 PM


Re: Sure, you can call me that
Whoops, sorry, guess I need to read discussion titles more carefully.


We have many intuitions in our life and the point is that many of these intuitions are wrong. The question is, are we going to test those intuitions?
-Dan Ariely
This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 2:01 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

    
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 12 of 29 (547814)
02-22-2010 10:39 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by lyx2no
02-22-2010 2:53 PM


Re: From the Top
Seeking the bigger picture, epistemology is independent of what I think. (Though I hope what I think is not independent of epistemology.) For science to work at all it must work within the stricture of epistemology. Consequently, naturalism is a doctrine of science. It is a statement that science is unable to deal with non-causal phenomena. It does not rule out non-causal phenomena as impossibilities so much as recognize that they can not be reliably studied; i.e., to discover the cause it must be related to the effect; to predict the effect it must be related to the cause. The volition of an übermencsh is not predictable and, therefore, cannot be useful in the advancement of scientific, basal understanding.

Returning to the not-ruled-out rule, because of another assumption of science, the principle of parsimony, making an exception to naturalism is very difficult to do. Parsimony demands that explanations be gained with the fewest assumptions. Unfortunately for us, it is not a mere assumption that people are not only easy to fool but often willing participants. This means that when confronted with an observation of the feeding of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes we’re forced to the conclusion that our ignorance is the limit of our explanation: we have no experience to enable us to disentangle the will of the gods from a slyboots with a food replicator in the guise of a wickerwork basket.

Naturalistic abiogenesis is a paradigm of the biological sciences which too limits conclusions to the observable, repeatable, and inferable. And so far as has been demonstrated the abolition of übermen with übertech , yet alone magic, has not resulted in a cognitive choke point.

Parsimony is useful for developing theories in that I can use it to more simply present a theory. For example, "aliens created life on this planet" is better than "blue aliens created life on this planet". But parsimony is not an arbiter of truth. Often the truth is more complex than the simplest theory. Parsimony can perhaps give direction though on what to research next (with limited success) and can help a person to refine a theory but we cannot use it to determine truth by comparison and we can't use it to eliminate competing theories. We can use it to eliminate theories for the purposes of directing research but not for the purposes of establishing truth.

Also, just to add to your bit about assumptions. It is not just the number of assumptions that determine whether one thing is more likely than another. It is also the likelihood of each assumption being correct. It matters how much of a stretch the assumption is. On hearing my doorbell, I could assume it is a friend of mine or I could assume it is an evil robotic clown. Since I have only one friend who lives in Antarctica and am surrounded by evil robotic clowns, one is more likely than the other.

I'm going to address some of your other points in another post, it's just taking me awhile to type it up. I like where this conversation is going though, it's getting interesting and I've learned a few new things too.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by lyx2no, posted 02-22-2010 2:53 PM lyx2no has acknowledged this reply

  
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 13 of 29 (547815)
02-22-2010 10:47 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
02-22-2010 8:43 PM


Re: Exploding Brain and Ruined Carpet
We'll be gentle with you. That's why the moderators are only allowing one person (lyx2no) to debate with you. They don't think you could handle any more.

If you feel that this is patronizing, please take it up with the moderators. It wasn't my decision.

I probably can't. I have limited time to post and read. This might be better after all. Thanks for the suggestion though.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-22-2010 8:43 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 14 of 29 (547816)
02-23-2010 12:02 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by lyx2no
02-22-2010 2:53 PM


Re: From the Top
Theories are sometimes compared in terms of the degree that the details of each theory is observable or inferable and repeatable. This does not itself establish truth but can have some use in determining the likelihood of one thing being true over another if used properly and given the appropriate weight. This is not without its downsides though and so we must be careful when we do this.

This method of comparison can lead one to be biased towards theories that appear to have more things that can be observed and repeated (especially in strict laboratory conditions). This is called scientistic prejudice. If 60% of the elements of one theory are observable and repeatable and only 40% for a different theory, it does not follow that the first theory is 20% more likely to be true.

The weight you can give to this type of comparison depends on several factors:
1) The equality of: The amount of elements in each theory that can be observed and repeated
2) The equality of: The ease of which the elements in each theory that can be observed and repeated
3) The equality of: The amount of effort that has gone into observing and repeating the elements of each theory
4) The percentage of elements that have been observed and repeated overall (99% vs 50% is a lot different than 2% vs 1%)

While my above list may not be perfectly stated or include everything, the point here is that there are factors which determine the weight that this kind of comparison should get and ignoring those factors will lead to scientistic prejudice. This is because methods of comparison are as valuable as they are workable, no more, no less.

In addition to this, it is also important to know what the purpose of the comparison is. If the purpose is merely to find the best path to take on further research in the physical sciences, this method of comparison is extremely effective. Even if the comparison yeilds an incorrect result, you will still learn something and that in itself is valuable so you win to some degree every time. So there is more value in using it in that way than there is in using it as a method to determine which theory is more likely to be true.

We can also look at the value in terms of fields of study. In the physical sciences, there is so much that is observable and repeatable in strict laboratory conditions that this method works well. In the social sciences, there is much that is not observable and repeatable in strict laboratory conditions and even major fundamental things may not be very easy to be observe and repeat under very strict standards. So it follows that this method of comparison is less valuable in the social sciences than it is in the physical sciences. It doesn't mean it's of no use but it means that it's of less value.

So in comparing origination theories, I think we should keep these things in mind.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by lyx2no, posted 02-22-2010 2:53 PM lyx2no has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-23-2010 12:30 AM SocialEvolution has not yet responded

  
SocialEvolution
Junior Member (Idle past 2640 days)
Posts: 13
Joined: 02-19-2010


Message 15 of 29 (547819)
02-23-2010 12:30 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by SocialEvolution
02-23-2010 12:02 AM


Re: From the Top
One more thing I want to add here before I go to bed...

Just because something is not ruled out does not say much, this is true. But if something is a logical possibility, that says a lot more. For example, the god theory gets hung up on being a logical possibility while the alien theory IS a logical possibility. Big difference. Likewise, the MtM theory is logical and may be physically possible.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by SocialEvolution, posted 02-23-2010 12:02 AM SocialEvolution has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by lyx2no, posted 02-23-2010 3:23 PM SocialEvolution has responded

  
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