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Author Topic:   Crop circles and intelligent design
Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 46 of 150 (616055)
05-19-2011 7:09 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by AZPaul3
05-18-2011 7:18 PM


Re: Replication isn't proof...
AZPaul3 writes:

Relying on opinion rather than strict evidence is a mistake that is often made when dealing with 'unusual' or 'disturbing' phenomena.

Not relying on opinion. Only the evidence.

I think it's based upon inference rather than strict evidence.

Which I suppose is Ok.

But suppose we have

(a) 1000 crop circles of which we know that 100 were definetly man-made (perhaps because we have video of the people making it).

(b) A method for making crop cirlces using 1-4 humans, a plank, and some rope.

(c) Observation that the 900 contested crop circles exhibit features consitent with method (b)

We can then infer that all crop circles were created via (b), but we don't know it as fact.

We can only say that the balance of evidence is in favour of human-manufacture for crop circles.

No, we can say that all of the evidence, bar none, shows crop circles as human endeavours.


No. We can say that all available evidence is consistent with the conclusion that crop circles are man-made -- it's not quite the same thing.

We cannot say that that is 100% how they are all formed.

Don't need to. All the evidence already says that for us.

If we don't need to say it, don't say it. Simply say that the balance of evidence is in favour of man-made crop circles -- which is all I've said.

To say the above, given the 'level' of evidence is like saying all biological life was intelligently designed because it kinda look s designed.

Doesn't follow. "Appearance" of design is an opinion. For crop circles, all evidence, and there are thousands of data points, all the evidence leads to only the one conclusion.

The evidence tends to suggest ... rather than conclusively prooves.

In science there are no absolutes so we leave the question open-ended pending further evidence as a matter of philosophy. But, there comes a time when when the evidence is so overwelming and conclusive it does science, reality, philosophy and society no good to wiennie around the obvious conclusion. The conclusion enters the realm of fact.

Few things in science should ever be accepted as fact ... if we did where would our research grants come from?

There has been no global flood in the past 500 million years of earth's history. Period. End of discussion.

That we have found evidence of ...

There are no gods that poofed the universe, the earth and humans into being by fiat creation in the last 500 million years of earth's history. Period. End of discussion.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

All Crop circles, all of them, are human creations not alien in origin. Period. End of discussion.

We cannot know that ... although I suspect this to be correct.

These are facts. Period. End of discussion.

They are informed opinion, not fact.

Here's a fact: When I heat pure water to 100 C at standard pressure, it changes phase from liquid to gas.

It's repeatable.

OK. So I'm a wee bit off my feed right now. I'll get over it.

Maybe.

The issue I have -- and the only reason I'm going on is that the standard of proof being asked for human manufacture of crop circles is of the same order as that being presented for ID (to try to tie this back to the OP).

If we relax our standards of evidence and 'proof' on one arena, we open a portal for others.

I'm against relaxing standards

Edited by Peter, : Changed a 'Nothing in science' to a 'few things in science' because it was too absolute.

Edited by Peter, : Thought I best correct a spelling mistake in a section on keeping up standards. Doh!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by AZPaul3, posted 05-18-2011 7:18 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by AZPaul3, posted 05-19-2011 8:11 PM Peter has responded

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 47 of 150 (616057)
05-19-2011 7:24 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by Modulous
05-18-2011 4:32 PM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
Modulous writes:

The difference with your other examples as compared to crop circles is that, for a given (say) computer I can trace all of the components to their manufacturer

A) You think you can, but you haven't actually done so. And until you have done so, you should consider the possibility of alien manufacturer just as much as with crop circles.


Actually, in my professional capacity, I have had to do this. You can trace each component via manufacturing labels and/or BOM's to it's source manufacturing facility. At that facility they have extensive records of manufacture, and of the design specifications to which the item was made (or a reference to the company that provided the component).

Once you get back to the documentation, you have a record of the design team.

B) You can only track them back to the alleged manufacturer and designers. You have to prove 100% that your particular components were made there, and that the original design was thought up by a human and not given to a human by an alien inventor.


Ok ... OK ... so I didn't request any DNA profiling to confirm that the designers were, in fact human.

Some-one saw the Mona Lisa being painted and identified Leonardo as a human (I can't say he was mind ).

'Someone said' never gets us to 100% proof or certainty. Besides, that someone may have seen Da Vinci at an easel, but since the painting presumably took a long time to do - they didn't see the majority of the painting.

You are also relying on simple witnesses to be able to tell that Leonardo was merely masquerading as a human. 100% I think not!


Except that over the time taken to paint the Mona Lisa, there were several independent witnesses.

However, much like the fossil record, we cannot say that Leonardo painted ALL of it ... there are gaps in the painting recorded that cannot be accounted for.

Besides if 'someone said so' is good enough then Doug Bower and Dave Chorley have stated that they made the first crop circle, and many subsequent ones.

They aren't independent witnesses ... so their testimony cannot be relied upon.

I just prefer it when the difference is stated -- rather than saying (e.g.) "I saw a bloke on the telly make one crop circle with a plank and a bit of wood so clearly that's how they were all made.

If you step out of your house and you see some poo, I suppose you think to yourself 'just because I've seen dogs make similar looking poos, that doesn't mean that this particular poo is a dog poo'...and I imagine that you berate anyone with the nerve to casually assert that it is a dog poo for so recklessly dismissing the alien poo hypothesis.

It might, upon closer inspection, turn out to be a plastic fake placed there by my children (or indeed an alien prankster), or cat poo, or a susbstance indistinguishable from dog poo except by chemical analysis ...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Modulous, posted 05-18-2011 4:32 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Modulous, posted 05-19-2011 9:14 AM Peter has responded

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 48 of 150 (616058)
05-19-2011 7:25 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by subbie
05-18-2011 3:15 PM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
Because the opening post is asking why we accept this level of evidence and reasoning for crop circles, but reject it for ID.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by subbie, posted 05-18-2011 3:15 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by subbie, posted 05-19-2011 9:24 AM Peter has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 1217 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 49 of 150 (616066)
05-19-2011 9:14 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by Peter
05-19-2011 7:24 AM


cereal goblins?
It might, upon closer inspection, turn out to be a plastic fake placed there by my children (or indeed an alien prankster), or cat poo, or a susbstance indistinguishable from dog poo except by chemical analysis ...

You seem to criticising people for implicitly dismissing the possible alien origin of some crop circles (eg., those for which, for whatever reason, sufficient investigation to uncover the truth is not possible). I am criticising you for implicitly dismissing the possible alien origin of one of the capacitors in your computer. You have no way of telling whether or not an alien built a certain capacitor and made it look just like a human built capacitor...with all the markings and numbering of a human constructed capacitor. Furthermore, you should not implicitly dismiss the possiblity that capacitors in general were invented by aliens and gifted to humans.

And finally, this argument applies to all things. You tend to think poo on your doorstep is actually one of the many things that look like poo rather than some kind of alien construction. Capacitors are incredibly difficult to make, and require much more specific knowledge and technology that crop circles so if anything - we should consider them more likely to have alien origins. Remember just because you can say some humans build some capacitors you cannot conclude that no capacitors are built by aliens. Its the exact same thing as the some crop circles built by blokes doesn't mean no crop circles were built by pink unicorns, I mean aliens.

This is because a sense of tentativity about knowledge is built in to our usage of the word 'know' and even our word 'certain'. We don't need to say 'To the best of our knowledge, the evidence so far available broadly points towards a certain conclusion with regards to our subject matter.', every single time we open our mouths. The idea that knowledge is tentative and built on evidence with limited availability is already taken care of.

Language would be significantly unwieldy if we had to speak with pedantic philosopher's-tongue all the time as if we had not yet established some kind of common epistemological starting point.

If I say I 'know' something, it is because I believe something for which there is significant evidential support to suggest it. I dismiss the alien hypothesis for crop circles because there is no particular reason to propose it. With no supportive evidence, it fares no better than cereal goblins or crop gnomes. Sure, if you really pushed me I'd concede that certain unfalsifiable propositions haven't yet been ruled out - but I'd point out that is always true in all cases for everything and thus it doesn't mean anything in this particular case.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 7:24 AM Peter has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 11:52 AM Modulous has responded

  
subbie
Member (Idle past 367 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 50 of 150 (616070)
05-19-2011 9:24 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Peter
05-19-2011 7:25 AM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
Peter writes:

Because the opening post is asking why we accept this level of evidence and reasoning for crop circles, but reject it for ID.

We don't. We know crop circles are intelligently designed because we have seen them being designed. We know that there is no intelligent design in biology because all the evidence shows that life evolved.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 7:25 AM Peter has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 11:43 AM subbie has responded

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 51 of 150 (616079)
05-19-2011 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by subbie
05-19-2011 9:24 AM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
Suppose I could create a bacterium in a lab. ... would that mean that all bacteria were created?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by subbie, posted 05-19-2011 9:24 AM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by jar, posted 05-19-2011 11:53 AM Peter has responded
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Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 52 of 150 (616080)
05-19-2011 11:52 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by Modulous
05-19-2011 9:14 AM


Re: cereal goblins?
Basically ... yes I am criticsing the dismissal of something which has not, and possibly cannot be proven to be false.

I am an athiest ... but I concede that this is a position of belief. It may be based upon my reasoned opinion based upon the evidence, lack of evidence, or logic of the proposition, but I accept that without sufficient evidence to proove my position that I might be wrong.

That doesn't mean that I don't believe I am correct (in the same way that I believe that all crop circles are of human origin, and all life originated via natural mechanisms).

I simply conclude that without full disclosure there has to remain an element of doubt.

That doesn't mean that I accept that crop circles or life were created by aliens ... and evidence stacks up against that as far as I am concerned.

But when we are speaking of unknowables we have to keep that small possibility in mind -- else we are no different to a religious zealot sticking to their belief in miracles and signs.

You might say 'But WE have the evidence!' but then, that's what they say too.

You cannot claim to argue against faith, if you allow elements of that mentality into your own outlook.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Modulous, posted 05-19-2011 9:14 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Modulous, posted 05-19-2011 2:52 PM Peter has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 33643
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 53 of 150 (616081)
05-19-2011 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Peter
05-19-2011 11:43 AM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
Peter writes:

Suppose I could create a bacterium in a lab. ... would that mean that all bacteria were created?

Of course not, but it would show that humans can create bacteria.

Since we know the bacteria existed before there were humans we can then say with a very high degree of confidence that not all bacteria were created.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 11:43 AM Peter has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by Peter, posted 05-20-2011 6:11 AM jar has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 1217 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 54 of 150 (616107)
05-19-2011 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Peter
05-19-2011 11:52 AM


Re: cereal goblins?
I simply conclude that without full disclosure there has to remain an element of doubt.

And my point is that the element of doubt is embedded into the meaning of the words. We don't speak pure pedantic philosopher, and nor should we. When we say we know something, it isn't 100% and epistemic humility is kind of assumed. We should only disclaim our level of knowledge in specific and appropriate circumstances otherwise we'd spend our lives talking 10 times more crap than we already do.

"I believe with reasonable degree of certainty based off what limited information I have at my disposal which I might have erroneously interpreted that I just missed the bus that I am reasonably confident that I had previously intended to board. It seems reasonable to conclude that the emotional experience is on the whole one of anger and self-remorse. It may be true that the bus I thought was the one I was going to board - in fact wasn't, so I retain some level of hope that I..."

My point wasn't that you are strictly wrong, but that your demand is needlessly pedantic. To quote Bertrand Russell:

quote:
As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.

So sure, we can't say we know that aliens have never caused a crop circle, but we can't say we know that aliens didn't drink the last of the milk - but to pay special service to the possibility is irrational. The only reason we are talking about aliens and not cereal goblins is because of the cultural environment (in previous cultures there did used to be the notion of crop devils that would mysteriously cut crops down and other similar 'spirits').

So yeah - its possible in the same way all unfalsifiable ideas are. Because some people have said they think it was aliens landing in a field (for absolutely no better reason that some people think aliens fly in disc shaped spacecraft for no better reason than the Roswell contraption was a actually a 'flying disc microphone' used for trying to detect nuclear detonations from the Soviets and the papers reported that a flying disc had crashed before the government could cover it up to avoid the Soviets figuring out how they were being spied on). So don't give special consideration to aliens and crop circles. All phenomena can be credited at least some of the time to unfalsifiable beings of one form or another.

I'm an atheist because I think the chances of pulling a correct guess out of the sea of infinite unfalsifiable entities is very very small. Gods are just one category of these things as are aliens which leave no evidence except that which can more parsimoniously be explained in terms of human action.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 11:52 AM Peter has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 59 by Peter, posted 05-20-2011 6:10 AM Modulous has responded

  
subbie
Member (Idle past 367 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 55 of 150 (616120)
05-19-2011 5:33 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Peter
05-19-2011 11:43 AM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
Peter writes:

Suppose I could create a bacterium in a lab. ... would that mean that all bacteria were created?

No.

Do you have any questions that relate to reality, or are we just having fun with silly games?


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 11:43 AM Peter has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Peter, posted 05-20-2011 5:51 AM subbie has responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 6208
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 6.2


Message 56 of 150 (616132)
05-19-2011 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Peter
05-19-2011 7:09 AM


Re: Replication isn't proof...
The issue I have -- and the only reason I'm going on is that the standard of proof being asked for human manufacture of crop circles is of the same order as that being presented for ID (to try to tie this back to the OP).

If we relax our standards of evidence and 'proof' on one arena, we open a portal for others.

I'm against relaxing standards

Understood. And I have the same issue which is why I insist this "standard of evidence" is not strict enough.

There are crop circles. All evidence shows that crop circles are human endeavours.

What other conjectures are there for the formation of crop circles?

Lots of them, to be sure. Aliens, Gaia Energy, Intellegent Locusts, 12-banded Armadillos with a penchant for geometry, Magnetic storms on Magrathea slipping through wormholes in interuniversal spacetime.

What evidence is there to support any of these other "theories"?

None whatsoever.

Why, then, must we even conjecture any possibility of these other theories in the analysis no matter how vanishingly small? We do not. These other vectors have no reason to be considered, so they do not exist. There is only the one conclusion left. Humans made the crop circles. All of them.

If we find a crop circle, it does not matter if we have the names, addressess and ID numbers of the makers. Nor does it matter if we puzzle a bit over how such an itricate design could have been achieved. There is only the one conclusion with any logical realistic reason to be considered. There is only the one conclusion on the table to choose. None others exist.

That same standard follows for Noahian fluds, the existance of god(z), IDioticy and a whole raft of other BS. When all evidence points to only the one conclusion and all other suppositions remain unsupported then there is no reason to leave the question open-ended even for the sake of scientific philosophy.

We must, where appropriate, leave the conclusion less than 100% when there is evidenced reason to do so. With crop circles and the like, however, paying lip service to this requirement leaves the door open to the nutjobs and any rectal ejaculations they want to spew.

There are times when we as scientists must turn to the world, stop the weennie wishy-washy philosophical hand wringing and say:

"This is the way it is. Period. End of discussion!"

Not,

"This is the way it is within the error bars achieving a high level of confidence (though we can never be 100% absolutely certain)."

Remember that half the people on this planet have below average intelligence and a good protion of the rest are looking for any excuse, no matter how small, to take advantage.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Peter, posted 05-19-2011 7:09 AM Peter has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by Peter, posted 05-20-2011 5:47 AM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 57 of 150 (616173)
05-20-2011 5:47 AM
Reply to: Message 56 by AZPaul3
05-19-2011 8:11 PM


Re: Replication isn't proof...
Understood.

But the major evidence of human manufacture of crop circles appears to be that we can produce geometric crop patterns using some simple method.

That's it.

So saying that ALL the evidence points to human manufacture, when there is only one piece of evidence (possibly two when one counts witnesses/testimony of specific circle being man-made) seems a little too lax to me.

Whether the research is geneuine or not, there are articles that reference unusual physical changes to the crop stems and the presence of miniscule magnetised iron spheres.

This at least (even if it's from someone biased to a non-human explanation) is at least an indication of a 'proper' analytic approach.

Personally I've never really looked too hard at crop circles excepting their aesthetics, but it also strikes me that a very simple experiment would be to take a supposed 'real' crop-circle and try to re-create the same pattern using the plank and board, over night (i.e. in a similar time-scale) and comparing the two formations.

I'm not saying aliens here ... but it would be better evidence than Doug 'n' Dave with their plank and string.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by AZPaul3, posted 05-19-2011 8:11 PM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 58 of 150 (616174)
05-20-2011 5:51 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by subbie
05-19-2011 5:33 PM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
Why would that situation be different?

Let's drop the items names and see:

1) I observe items of type J

2) I generate a method, M, for creating items of type J

Conclusion: All items of type J are created by method M.

Is that correct or incorrect?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by subbie, posted 05-19-2011 5:33 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by subbie, posted 05-20-2011 9:11 AM Peter has responded

  
Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 59 of 150 (616175)
05-20-2011 6:10 AM
Reply to: Message 54 by Modulous
05-19-2011 2:52 PM


Re: cereal goblins?
There are items which we do know for certain, and can count as fact. E.g. pure water at standard pressure boils at 100 C, the bus pulled away just as I got to the stop and I didn't board that one.

There are items which we are pretty damn sure of. E.g. Gravity is related in some way to mass and distance, biological diversity is the result of genetic mutation, selective pressure and time.

There are items which we cannot test. E.g. existence of Aries, Thor, or any other god of your choosing.

But in between the last two are things which we haven't really bothered to investigate in any great detail ... but dismiss because they seem unlikely.

... which is what IDists do.

Is the suggestion that aliens make crop circles ruled out because it seems dumb, or because extensive investigation has ruled it out as a possibility -- by refuting something related to the claim?


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 Message 54 by Modulous, posted 05-19-2011 2:52 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
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Peter
Member (Idle past 592 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 60 of 150 (616176)
05-20-2011 6:11 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by jar
05-19-2011 11:53 AM


Re: 100% proof is never needed
How do we know that crop circles don't pre-date us?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by jar, posted 05-19-2011 11:53 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Theodoric, posted 05-20-2011 9:01 AM Peter has responded
 Message 67 by jar, posted 05-20-2011 9:10 AM Peter has responded

  
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