Monday, January 04, 2016

The human nervous system as evidence of intelligent design

Here. 

18 comments:

Cal Metzger said...

Here's a guess: the writer uses a definition of "evidence" which basically means, "that which confirms my pre-existing conclusion," and the writer means "god of the gaps" or, more typically, "I didn't know there was an evolutionary explanation for that" as the argument for "intelligent design."

What more is required to show that intelligent design has no value -- can't provide a hypothesis, isn't productive, doesn't explain, etc., -- before apologists realize it's a dead letter?

Isn't the fact that Intelligent design proponents can't or won't provide a hypothesis enough to discourage one from promoting it as any kind of respectable explanation?

B. Prokop said...

I have no interest in declaring ID to be science. What label one applies to it is totally irrelevant to me.

And yes, Cal, I find the exquisite and wondrous design of the universe as a whole, as well as of everything within it, to be a reflection of God's creative activity. Call it "evidence" if that word is so important to you.

So also is the existence of good and evil, of truth and falsehood, of meaning and purpose, of objective morality, of self awareness (consciousness), of life itself (regardless of how it got here), and "Why is there something rather than nothing?". All these count as evidence for (though I much prefer the term "indicative of" or even "pointers toward") a loving and active God.

But far outweighing all of the above, in terms of (and here I have no objection to the term) evidence for God, and specifically for the truth of Christianity, is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the year AD 33 from a tomb just outside the walls of Jerusalem, during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius Caesar, the Procuatorship of Pontius Pilate, the tetrarchy of Herod Antipas, and the High Priesthood of Caiaphas. The truth of this historical event has time and again been demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt. Every alternative explanation to the Resurrection actually having occurred precisely as described in the Gospels has been thoroughly debunked time and again.

(And don't waste your time replying that they are "just stories". I'll even clear the decks for you by agreeing with you aforehand: The Gospels are stories. Stories can be powerful evidence, and simply calling something a story is about as neutral as you can get. The word is neither positive nor negative. Stories can be either true or false, and these happen to be true.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Victor Reppert said...

If ID is not science, then the denial of ID is also not science. If the denial of ID is science, then ID is science. You can't have you cake and eat it too.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "If ID is not science, then the denial of ID is also not science."

What?

In order for ID to be science it needs, bare minimum, to offer a hypothesis. Do you deny this?

VR: "If the denial of ID is science, then ID is science. You can't have you cake and eat it too. "

What are you even talking about? How is it having my cake to ask that scientific theories offer at least a hypothesis - something evolutionary theory provides but that ID proponents can't or wont?

VR: "You pays your money, you takes your choice."

You writes your words, you gets to defends them.

Hugo Pelland said...

The article states: "The Darwinian Theory falls woefully short in providing a suitable answer to how nerve cells and the entire nervous system originated in the first place", which is blatantly false, and an argument from ignorance as Cal mentioned. Because (a) we do have a good understanding of how and when the nervous system evolved and (b) even if we had no clear explanation, it does not justify "thus it must be designed!".

The study of biology has revealed the natural mechanisms by which life diversified on Earth, from simple beginnings to complex human beings. There are still lots of learning to do but nothing will ever make us doubt that life arose naturally. The complexity we see is 100% accounted for, by natural means, even if we don't know all the details.

ID, on the other hand, is providing absolutely zero insight into how life works. If a god purposely created humans, it was only indirectly, by creating a self-sustaining natural world capable of sustaining a stable environment like Earth long enough for living organism to evolve naturally. There is no doubt about it; the case is closed. It's not that science cannot disprove ID because it's not science; ID on its own is simply useless. ID is based on nothing but false positives in pattern recognition, wishful thinking because of existing beliefs in a supernatural designer, and pure ignorance of modern science, as the article clearly shows.

Therefore, Dr. Reppert, why do you insist that "If ID is not science, then the denial of ID is also not science. If the denial of ID is science, then ID is science"? This is a false dichotomy that a professional philosopher like you should recognize for what it is.

Ilíon said...

^
"I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone with such great faith, no not in Israel."

grodrigues said...

@Cal Metzger:

"What?"

It is a trivial logical point. If P is a proposition decidable by the scientific method, so is not-P, and conversely is P is not decidable by the scientific method, so is not-P. Always glad to help.

B. Prokop said...

"There are still lots of learning to do but nothing will ever make us doubt"

Thus sayeth the person with an "open mind", as opposed to us narrow-minded Christians.

Hugo Pelland said...

No, I am not open minded about the idea that evolution might be guided by a designer, just like I am not open to the idea that the Earth is flat, or that it's less than 4 billion years old. Just like you are not open minded to the mere idea that your Christian stories could, just maybe, be complete fabrication of sincere, but mistaken, human beings.

B. Prokop said...

"Just like you are not open minded to the mere idea that your Christian stories could, just maybe, be complete fabrication of sincere, but mistaken, human beings."

I am totally open minded to such an idea. But I have yet to see the slightest credible evidence that such is the case, while seeing libraries full of evidence to convince me of the veracity of those stories.

Can you produce even the least shred of evidence that would cast doubt on them?

Jezu ufam tobie!

Hugo Pelland said...

For you, existence itself is God, everything depends on what Jesus did on the cross, literally everything, by your own words. You say these things proudly, without blinking, all because of some texts, some stories that people told and that you believe; how on Earth could anyone ever give you anything to change your mind!? It is literally impossible to tell you anything that would change your mind because you already include everything and anything under your comfortable belief system.

On this site we are commenting on, you are probably the one with the most extreme views, so you can stop pretending you are 'open minded' about Christian stories... lots of them were already proven wrong; they are now seen as simple allegories or poems. But something like the resurrection can never be disproved because it supposedly happened at a real time in history, in a real place, with real people around. It's all about hearsay and word-of-mouth stories, but nobody can disprove hearsay from 2,000 years ago. It's also the main reason to 'not' believe, but that's not what you asked for, and will never care for that of course...

B. Prokop said...

"how on Earth could anyone ever give you anything to change your mind!?"

Easy - it can be done. Show me the verifiable unresurrected body of Christ, and I'll drop Christianity like a hot potato. None of that "Spiritual resurrection" for me! It's literal, or it's nothing.

So yes, if the Gospel were not true, it ought to have been definitively disproved centuries before now. In fact, it ought not to have survived the First Century. We all know that Judea was practically crawling with false "messiahs" in the generations before and after the Crucifixion of Jesus, many attracting thousands or even tens of thousands of followers. Why do we remember none of them, other than as footnotes in history books? Because, like Jesus, they were killed by the Romans, and that was that. But unlike Jesus, they stayed dead! It is the reality of the Resurrection that distinguishes the Genuine Article from the host of wannabes.

Hugo, have you ever for even 10 seconds honestly asked yourself why Jesus isn't one with Theudas, Judas the Galilean, or Simon bar Kokhba? How is it that you have to look their names up, but not that of Jesus, Son of Mary?

(By the way, two more points. First, you got it backwards in your first sentence. Existence is not God. God is existence. Big difference. Second, it ain't "hearsay", it's eyewitness testimony.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

Also, I find it curious that you consider orthodox Christianity to be "extreme". Hmm... Harbinger of the intolerant intellectual climate to come, once all dissenting opinion is classified as "bigotry" and "hatred"?

Hugo Pelland said...

The simplicity of your thinking process is amazing...

- It's impossible to show that there is such a thing as an unresurrected body; again, you only show that you are not open minded by accepting stories that can neither be confirmed nor disproved. If it were that simple, beliefs on that topic would be as uniform as whether the Earth revolves around the Sun or not.

- Plus, no, you would not drop Christianity if there were such evidence. There would be an instant rationalization from yourself and your fellow Christians. E.g.: the body was left behind but Jesus' really did appear as a resurected entity, or the body was not really his it was faked or replaced, etc... Again, your over-simplification servers only to comfort your own beliefs.

- People have said the same thing before regarding other aspects of Christianity: if Adam and Eve are not literal, I'll drop Christianity like a hot potato. Did that happen? Barely... Because rationalization is what happens, in real life.

- If the [other religious text] were not true, it ought to have been definitively disproved centuries before now. So please show how all the other major religions are false. Hinduism is much older than Christianity and has never been proven wrong; so it must be "more true", plus my wife says it's true so I have to believe her.

- Plus, every single contemporary of Joseph Smith admitted that he was a fraud; why do we still have the Church of Latter-Day Saints around? Well, I guess truth does not matter that much for the faithful after all...

- Judea was practically crawling with false "messiahs" in the generations before and after the Crucifixion of Jesus, many attracting thousands or even tens of thousands of followers. Why do we remember none of them, other than as footnotes in history books? Because a powerful movement called The Catholic Church, along with by Kings and Queens and historians, etc... had 20 centuries to make sure we see it that way. They didn't need to change much to make sure only 1 look genuine but not the others. It's trivial to make sure the known "facts" fit the intended narrative.

- Have you ever for even 10 seconds honestly asked yourself why there is an underwater bridge connecting India to Sri Lanka just like the Hindu stories say? Sita was captured and sent there, only to be saved by Ram. She survived 2 trials by fire and then disappeared back into mother Earth. If it's not true, please show evidence of Sita's body!

- "A is B" is equivalent to "B is A". You said: "God is existence", hence "Existence is God".

- There is no recorded eyewitness testimony of the resurrection. The Gospels are anonymous; it says so literally in them. So, ya, hearsay all the way. And even eyewitness testimony would be a horrible reason to believe such grand claims, so it barely changes anything. It just shows how ridiculous it is to believe such stories.

- I don't consider 'orthodox Christianity' to be extreme right off the bat. I find your comments to be extreme in many ways; extremely simple thought process, excessive confidence in what we know about Jesus, exaggerated view on the importance of Christianity on the world, caricatured view of God, etc... Basically, it's just about the few things you write here; I know nothing else about you and would not pretend otherwise.

And to be clear... none of that has anything to do with a belief in God, or any gods, in general. There are interesting philosophical points to be made on that issue, but not on so many specific claims of Christian doctrine such as a virgin birth (really, we should believe Mary?) or miracles (books prove that?).

So, in short: the simplicity of your thinking process is amazing...
" Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Take care

B. Prokop said...

"There would be an instant rationalization from yourself and your fellow Christians."

I can't speak for others, but as for me, let me try to say this as clearly as possible: No, no no, no, NO! No literal, physical, historical, bodily Resurrection - no Christianity.

Hugo Pelland said...

As I said... the simplicity of your thinking process is amazing.

B. Prokop said...

No simpler than Saint Paul's (1 Corinthians, Chapter 15)*, so I guess I'm in good company.

* Executive Summary: "No Resurrection - no Christianity."

kiefer said...

People interested in the Lewis argument from Reason may also wish to acquaint themselves with an argument by James Kiefer drawing heavily on that and related ideas. The full talk is available at thornwalker.com/kiefer and is entitled "Objectivism and Theism."