Message 5 of 12 (16563)
09-04-2002 12:04 PM
However, the need to keep science limited to our senses does not support a Naturalist world view – and yet…that is what I’ve been told by many ardent Darwinists.
Science needs objective evidence to support a claim. If five different religions all compete to persuade you to believe five different stories as to how the world began, how do you decide among them except by seeking objective evidence.
Everyone has hunches, unevidenced beliefs, notions, feelings about things, intuition, etc. The problem is that everyone seems to have a 'different' set of these subjective notions, and there is no way to resolve the truth except by resorting to empirical evidence when and where it exists. That doesn't mean that you are necessarily 'wrong' about something if you accept it with no physical evidence, it simply means that it can't be proven to anyone else that it's true.
In fact, many prominent Naturalists (Gould, Dawkins, etc) have admitted Darwinist evolution provides scientific ‘evidence’ of Naturalist assumptions, and this is what I’m talking about.
Naturalism is what we're left with when we eliminate all other phenomena which seem to never offer any reliable evidence. We've come to simply label as "natural" all that can be seen, touched, and reliably experienced repeatably by everybody the same way. Phenomena such as divine creation, God, magic, psychic viewings, telekinesis, and other phenomena that "could" be true but never seem to offer any reliable evidence (even when they should be able to), are classified as supernatural.
If there are forces and actors outside our realm of sensory experience which have effect within, they are real even if we cannot measure them. I’m open to the idea of eternal (timeless) existence – We can conceptualize such a dimension (ever see the first episode of ST DS9?), but if there is an eternity, how can beings such as ourselves comprehend it? It would be like asking a being that exists with only width and length to describe height.
If something that is true has no measurable effect on our existence, it is meaningless. It seems as if the existence or non-existence of eternal (timeless) existence makes absolutely no measurable difference here and now. It is untestable, unknowable (with our present means), and seems to make little difference. It may indeed be 'true', and if we discover so in the future, it will certainly be meaningful then, but right now it is merely idle speculation.
We agree science must rest on the quantifiable, and yet… You would agree emotions are real – love, for instance is real? Can you quantify and measure love scientifically?
Theoretically, yes. These are operations taking place in the biochemical machinery of your brain. Concievably they can be quantified, recorded, and understood. That may be extraordinarily unsatisfying to hear, but nonetheless, it is almost certainly true.
I always understood natural selection to be another way of saying random natural forces.
First, there are random mutations. Then those mutations which benefit the organism ‘select’ it to survive. Nevermind the absurd notion that nature ‘selects’.
What is absurd about it?
A polar bear with short fur (a mutation that can occur), will freeze. This means that polar bears will not have the gene for short fur in the arctic, as those that do tend to die. Were it not in the arctic, it could have any random length of fur. Being in a given environment (the arctic) means that the genes for fur are automatically selected for adequate length.
To select something implies an actor and unless you are going to tell me nature chooses and acts with intent, then it seem logical natural selection is a misnomer for random forces.
In this case, selection means precisely the process of gene frequency being culled by differential survival of individuals in a species. Don't confuse the technical description with the colloqial meaning of the words used to describe it.
It isn’t just that the idea that the variety and complexity of life arose by ‘naturalistic’ menas is difficult to believe – it is difficult to believe because of science, in my opinion.
That is your opinion. It is not shared by the overwhelming majority of biologists, geologists, paleontologists, and other experts.
Why should we take your opinion over theirs?
And what do you mean by ‘naturalistic’ means? Aren’t you saying undirected random natural forces? Is that not what ‘naturalistic’ implies?
No, evolution is not a random process. Selection is not random.
There is plenty of positive evidence for Intelligent design, which I’ll get to in a bit.
ID ignores several well known facts.
1. Evolution is a stepwise process where the probability of any complex function is the cumulative high probability of each individual step.
2. Evolution is quite capable of producing specified information.
3. Evolution is also quite capable of producing I.D.'s irreducible complexity through scaffolding, change in function, and other methods.
These facts can be demonstrated quite easily, and I can even explain how they work right here on this forum.
ID is classified as creationism because these issues are well known and well understood in the scientific community, but the proponents of ID simply ignore them or deny them.
The greater body of the scientific community will engage in debate given a new theory or idea, but once questions such as these above have been settled beyond any shadow of a doubt there is little interest in continuing the debate further.
Watch Discovery Channel on cable sometime. In every presentation Darwinist theory is dominant and unchallenged by alternate theories. This is the problem folks like me have with Darwinist dogma being taught in government schools. It is one sided and I don’t recall any of my science classes in HS or college ever presenting critical evaluations of Darwinism.
They don't present critical evaluation of gravity either, even though gravity is far less well understood than evolution. We still don't even know what gravity is, or what causes it.
That science can only approximate what we think conditions were like on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago lessens the credibility of any experiment purporting to show life could arise from the inorganic, doesn’t it?
Perhaps, but there is a good reason to believe that if the common processes of evolution can be responsible for all life from bacteria on us (for which we have overwhelming fossil, genetic, and geological evidence), it can also be responsible for life from bacteria to naturally occuring chemical replicators. After all, the evolution of simple bacteria to complex metazoa seems commensurate with the evolution from chemical replicators to bacteria. There seems to be no reason 'not' to extrapolate the trend backwards all the way to chemical life.
However, if we discover any physical evidence of miraculous spontaneous creation I'm sure that will certainly be taken into account. Until then, it seems quite reasonable to accept as our working hypothesis that the same process which has been going for the recorded history of life extends back to its simple chemical beginning.
I mean, we know conditions everywhere on this planet are volatile and constantly changing. What kind of giant leap must one make from simple amino strings forming under certain controlled lab conditions to the same forming in our volatile environment?
That is not presently the line of research scientists are pursuing.
Do a search on the web for thioesters, RNA world, lipid spheres, pyrite substrates, and clays.
What is it our boys over at SETI are listening for among the random radio noise in the galaxy? A PATTERN.
Why? Because a pattern or code indicates INTELLIGENCE!!!
This is an invalid leap of logic. It ignores any other process which might create complex patterns or information.
We actually know of two processes which produce complex specified codes: intelligence and evolution.
One way to distinguish between the two is to determine whether information is being communicated between individuals, or is encoded in a mutating genome in a self replicating organism.
Evolution must have genes, mutations, replication, and selection. If a complex thing has these four properties then it is likely that it evolved, if it doesn't then it was probably designed.
Suppose you have a mountain in your area that has human characteristics – a protrusion that looks like a nose and hollows which look like eyes. Maybe some trees form a hairline of sorts. Say it looks like an American Indian and is called Indian Head Hill by all the locals.
Now, say you compare this hypothetical mountain to Mt.Rushmore. On the one hand, we have a mountain that, because of erosion and tectonic upheaval looks somewhat like an Indian. On the other hand, Mt Rushmore clearly had a designer behind its shape!
But remember that there are two processes which produce complex specified information: evolution and design. Mt. Rushmore does not have genes, does not mutate, does not replicate, and does not undergo selection. Thus evolution can not be the cause of its patterns. Therefore it must be something else, and intelligence is the only other answer we know of.
Are you familiar with the idea of irreducible complexity?
Quite. It's one of the things that ID proponents say evolution can not produce, but which is usually produced by evolution. The notion of irreducible complexity is one of the primary reasons why ID proponents are not taken seriously by other scientists. Everyone familiar with how evolution works knows that IC is produced by evolutionary processes. It seems the only people who don't are ID proponents and their followers.
The majority of scientists simply no longer bother to discuss it, as they consider the matter long settled (the idea behind ID is not really new after all). They realize that reason ID proponents will not accept the evidence that irreducible complexity is produced by evolution is because of their a-priori commitment to miraculous creation.
However, I'll discuss it with you at length if you'd like. Scaffoldinig, change in function, stepwise co-adaptation, etc. It's all very simple.
[This message has been edited by Rationalist, 09-04-2002]
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