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Restarting the Morals Debate


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#41 Guest_Calipithecus_*

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 09:08 AM

He is free to do anything that is not against his charachter, but somethings are against his charachter.

In other words: no, he is not free to do anything.

Next question: Does God Himself determine the nature of His own character?

#42 lionheart209

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 09:31 AM

In other words: no, he is not free to do anything.

Next question: Does God Himself determine the nature of His own character?

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I didn't see what your original question was, but to answer your second question:

God determines everything, he is the beginning and the end, he knows all.
Many things about God such as specifics to your second question is to much for our fallible minds to get a grasp of.

But what we can determine is what Gods nature is all about by reading his word, the Bible shows God to be loving, yet firm on having his laws obeyed.

Its logical to state that God does indeed determine the nature of his character in a sense, however keep in mind that God created nature so thats why its a logical statement.

in him, Louie Buren <><

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 09:58 AM

I didn't see what your original question was

My original question was a response to this:

If a moral law exists outside of the human race, then there must be a moral law giver.

I asked whether this also applies to the laws of mathematics.


Its logical to state that God does indeed determine the nature of his character in a sense, however keep in mind that God created nature so thats why its a logical statement.

My use of the word 'nature' seems to have confused you slightly. How about this: Does God Himself determine the quality of His own character? If so, how much freedom does/did He have in determining this? Is it that God had to make a decision regarding His own character, and once having made that decision, He was henceforth bound by it?

#44 lionheart209

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:15 AM

My original question was a response to this:
I asked whether this also applies to the laws of mathematics.
My use of the word 'nature' seems to have confused you slightly. How about this: Does God Himself determine the quality of His own character? If so, how much freedom does/did He have in determining this? Is it that God had to make a decision regarding His own character, and once having made that decision, He was henceforth bound by it?

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I believe God determines everything, the quality of his own nature, and has absolute freedom in determining anything, including his own nature/attributes, The Bible states that God was not created by anyone, but was always there, not bound by time, he created time, no one can say how his character was originated, because according to the Bible, he was always there, infinate in wisdom.
So its not a logical question, your implying that at a certain point God determined his nature and wondering if he is bound by his own morals.

God is bound by nothing, he only enforces his divine law because its the law he set for mankind, and its such a just law and a correct law, we are bound by it for he owns us.

Limitations are what we are bound by, not God.

ThanX

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:49 AM

God is bound by nothing, he only enforces his divine law because its the law he set for mankind, and its such a just law and a correct law, we are bound by it for he owns us.

So we are bound by God's law not because it is just and correct, but because he owns us.

I take it then that your position is that God (not being bound by anything) could have made it: "Thou shalt kill thy neighbor, rape his wife, eat his children". Since God alone determines what is moral and what is not, if He had, you would consider it more moral to obey this than to reject it. Is this correct?

#46 lionheart209

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 01:41 PM

So we are bound by God's law not because it is just and correct, but because he owns us.

I take it then that your position is that God (not being bound by anything) could have made it: "Thou shalt kill thy neighbor, rape his wife, eat his children". Since God alone determines what is moral and what is not, if He had, you would consider it more moral to obey this than to reject it. Is this correct?

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The whole point is, God is real and in that one would obey his command no matter what it would be, if you want to entertain your hypothetical situation "what if god were evil" sure, if thats what God said the morals were to be, then yes thats what it would be.

But the fact is, hes not evil, and makes no such commands as to kill thy neighbors.
But for the record if God commanded this, to kill thy neighbors, it would ok.
But ending the hypothetical scenario, God is just and correct.
And yes if he deemed killing thy neighbor as just, it would be just, he is the law maker, the divine creator.

Please note, my point is that God alone makes all laws, why? because he can.
He owns us, has created rewards for those who are saved, and punishment for those who do not obey his commands.
We all have free will, as created to have it by him.

Its how we use our free will, to obey him or not, that will determine our fate.
Please note, that under no circumstances have I said that God would make such a command as to kill thy neighbor.

The Bible says that Gods law is written on all mens heart, this means inside, we all know what is right and what is wrong, according to Gods law.


in him, Louie Buren <><

#47 chance

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 02:22 PM

92g

chance> Not actually ‘independent’ of human opinion, it would be more correctly stated that it is a society norm held unanimously.

A society norm is nothing more than human opinion. We could go on and ask, is murder for greed independant of societal norms wrong? Answer: yes it is.

Result: then a moral law exits, and all that I stated still holds.

I agree, but where I suspect we disagree is in the assumed inference that the Moral law comes first, and then society moulds it’s self around those laws. In reality, society evolves, and laws come after to codify the society norms. Because all humans societies share common evolutionary history it’s no surprise that certain rules are common.

chance>  Exchange shame for remorse as explained above (poor selection of words on my part).  Remorse however may prevent you from committing the act a second time, and as a way of apologising to the group that you offended.

I don't see where this help your case much, but if you think so its fine. I'm sorry for murdering that person, everythings fine now!

It might, I think you have made a valid point, lets take it down a severity or two to something a little more applicable. Mother has told you not to drink milk from the bottle, but you do anyway, as you are gulping it down, you hear the familiar footsteps approaching, you quickly hide the incriminating evidence in the nick of time, Hart pounding, and with a look if angelic innocence you reply to Mum’s question of “is everything all right”? “Yes Mum”. In the above example nearly getting caught is almost as bad as getting caught. Usually “the big scare” is enough to prevent a further occurrence, but not always. Your quote of “everything’s fine now” is dependant on whom the “fine” is for, obviously not in the opinion of those on the receiving end of the murder, friends and relatives etc, but what of the murderer, what if he went on to lead a perfectly normal life on the straight and narrow? Even with no formal justice system, remorse still plays a part.




I’ll answer your next response in part.

Its true that people learn a certain amount of standards from their culture. God's word even states so:

PRO 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

However, that doesn't mean that God hasn't instilled in us a basic level of morality from which most of the human race operates:

ROM 2:14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

That instinct is what God has given each of us so that the human race can survive.

You say God is the source, I say it’s an evolved trait, and I have attempted to show the Darwinian or Evolutionary explanation for Morals and laws, as I remember the opening posts said that there was non. IMO a great deal of the Bible is codified law, and the religion a method of delivering that law in a form that society can accept. I.e It is easier to accept a law if one thinks it comes from an impeachable source as opposed to your next door neighbour dreaming it up. That is another human condition we can discuss if you choose.

I think the whole argument boils down to a single question. Can materialistic processes explain the origin of morality? The answer to that is a clear NO. There is no know materialistic process that can generate non-materlial entities. Morality is a non-material entity, and requires a non-material source.

Conclusion: The evolution of materialistic process did not produce morality.

You have dismissed my arguments without actually refuting them, is there some aspect of society evolving that I have not explained fully? The materialistic process I attempted to show was in the morals Vs intelligence explinations.

Morality is a type of information, and information requires a mental origin. Even as you stated above, children learn much morality from there parents. Where did the parents get the information from? Where did their parents, parents get the information from? Where did their parents, parents, parents, parents,...... get the information from?

Answer: God

No one doubts your sincerity in this, I am merely providing the evolutionary alternative, like any good theory it should be discussed on it’s merits as an explanation, I don’t think a form of “duelling banjos” (God did it Vs evolution did it) will be productive, as I do not wish to offend if I dismiss a God explanation.

IMO, the existance of morality, like the existance of the information in DNA, is a powerful argument against evolution, and at the same time, for the existance of God.

I think its also worth noting a remarked difference between evolutionary thinking, and biblical thinking.

Evolutionists believe that emotion is the key to proper human behavior, where christians understand that thinking is the key proper human behavior.

Social and biological evolution is the explanation as to how Morality came to be, I’m not sure what you mean by “emotion is the key to proper human behavior” could you expand upon that please.





re Fred Coppleston and Bertrund Russel,

The impact of evolutionary dogma has led to much of the desrtuctive irrational behavior in our society, since it has people operating more on human emotion that the rational thought of their creator, Jesus Christ.

If you believe this I fear you have misinterpreted much of what I have been trying to explain, just because knowing that the source of moral behaviour is instinctive and of human origin does no make it any the less valid when applied to how to run a society. It may seem like anything goes, but it is not.

Rational thought in the formulation of law is our most prised talent to arise and form a civilisation.

I’ll have a look a the link you provided.

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:56 PM

The whole point is, God is real and in that one would obey his command no matter what it would be, if you want to entertain your hypothetical situation "what if god were evil" sure, if thats what God said the morals were to be, then yes thats what it would be.

What I find disturbing about this is that it not only does not require an individual to weigh the moral value of his actions, it expressly forbids it, allowing him only to inquire as to God's will in the matter (which I see as not the same thing at all). Apparently, it is not how we use our free will that will determine our fate, but whether we use it.


But the fact is, hes not evil, and makes no such commands as to kill thy neighbors.

You know, the old testament contains so many passages that are really just downright embarassing for Christians that sometimes I almost wonder why Christianity doesn't just dump it altogether.

Your choice of words (specifically: "if God were evil") suggests that despite your eagerness to pay lip service to the ultimate authority of God, you actually do consider good and evil to have an independent existence of their own (i.e., that what is good is good, and what is evil is evil, and not even God can change that; if God were to say that something which is evil was good, it wouldn't have become good; God would have become evil).

The comedian Lenny Bruce once asked: "What would a chair look like if your legs bent the other way?" If we consider the space of all possible designs for a chair, we notice that some are more comfortable than others. The world's most skilled designer of chairs could declare a sharpened post, or a bag of glass shards, to be the most comfortable design possible -- but that wouldn't make it so. I propose that within the space of all possible moral laws (as is also the case with the space of all mathematical laws, and the space of all possible chair designs) there are a limited number of rule sets which actually work.

#49 lionheart209

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:27 PM

What I find disturbing about this is that it not only does not require an individual to weigh the moral value of his actions, it expressly forbids it, allowing him only to inquire as to God's will in the matter (which I see as not the same thing at all). Apparently, it is not how we use our free will that will determine our fate, but whether we use it.
You know, the old testament contains so many passages that are really just downright embarassing for Christians that sometimes I almost wonder why Christianity doesn't just dump it altogether.

Your choice of words (specifically: "if God were evil") suggests that despite your eagerness to pay lip service to the ultimate authority of God, you actually do consider good and evil to have an independent existence of their own (i.e., that what is good is good, and what is evil is evil, and not even God can change that; if God were to say that something which is evil was good, it wouldn't have become good; God would have become evil).

The comedian Lenny Bruce once asked: "What would a chair look like if your legs bent the other way?" If we consider the space of all possible designs for a chair, we notice that some are more comfortable than others. The world's most skilled designer of chairs could declare a sharpened post, or a bag of glass shards, to be the most comfortable design possible -- but that wouldn't make it so. I propose that within the space of all possible moral laws (as is also the case with the space of all mathematical laws, and the space of all possible chair designs) there are a limited number of rule sets which actually work.

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My lip service to God is without question, however I'm a fallible man, and sometimes not able to explain everything to perfection.
My point I was trying to get across was that God alone is the all powerful maker of morals and law.
Maybe I chose a few wrong choice of words and examples to get my point across, definately don't hold me as the ultimate creation speaker.

Gods very nature is a God of love and firm commands that must be obeyed, though he loves us all, he demands obedience, and will punish sin.

Don't try to confuse the issue by asking lame questions like is God bound by his own morals, your liable to spike a goofy response by someone like me.lol

Thats actually a question only God would know.
If its not in the bible stated in scripture, then any attempt to answer it would be a presupposition or speculation.

ThanX

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 03:26 PM

You have dismissed my arguments without actually refuting them, is there some aspect of society evolving that I have not explained fully?  The materialistic process I attempted to show was in the morals Vs intelligence explinations.

No one doubts your sincerity in this, I am merely providing the evolutionary alternative, like any good theory it should be discussed on it’s merits as an explanation, I don’t think a form of “duelling banjos” (God did it Vs evolution did it) will be productive, as I do not wish to offend if I dismiss a God explanation.


IMO, the proposition that evolution can produce morals is refutable on 2 grounds.

1) Morality is a non-material entity. Materialistic processes cannot produce non-material things. Therefore, evolution did not produce morality.

2) An objective morality exists. This was established, when you agreed that murder for greed was absolutely wrong independant of human opinion, individual, or social. If an objecive morality exists, then evolution cannot produce it since at any point in time it would subject to change based on the condition of a single base pair in the entire genome. Murder for greed is wrong, and it never depended on the genetic composition of mankind.

Terry

#51 chance

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 07:12 PM

IMO, the proposition that evolution can produce morals is refutable on 2 grounds.

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OK this give me something to work with:

1) Morality is a non-material entity. Materialistic processes cannot produce non-material things. Therefore, evolution did not produce morality.


Non material - if you mean by not physical I would have to disagree, as thought is a function of chemical actions in the brain, no brain – no thought – no morality. As morality parallels intelligence, there is at least some correlation to evolution, as we climb from insect, through to mammal.

2) An objective morality exists. This was established, when you agreed that murder for greed was absolutely wrong independant of human opinion, individual, or social. If an objecive morality exists, then evolution cannot produce it since at any point in time it would subject to change based on the condition of a single base pair in the entire genome. Murder for greed is wrong, and it never depended on the genetic composition of mankind.


IMO this only goes to show that humans have evolved from a common ancestor, and that the entire race has not evolved separately enough to form a different morality. Thus we share a common morality, at least at the instinctive level, after which circumstances forces changes in the social evolution.

What would it take to evolve a different morality? How about this – polygamy - some genetic disease, causes only 1 male in a thousand to be born (there is absolutely no cure) (invitro is not a solution) …..only those who accept the new world order reproduce, pair bonding goes extinct within one generation…… It’s a bit fanciful but you get the picture.

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 08:46 PM

OK this give me something to work with:
Non material - if you mean by not physical I would have to disagree, as thought is a function of chemical actions in the brain, no brain – no thought – no morality.  As morality parallels intelligence, there is at least some correlation to evolution, as we climb from insect, through to mammal.


Since objective morality exists, it does not depend on the thoughts of anyone. If everyone thought murder on the basis of greed was Ok, it still would not be. Therefore morality is not dependant on the thoughts of man, anymore than Calipithecus's mathematical laws. They exists independant of the thoughts of man, i.e. they originate in God. In some cases they are postulated my man, and in others they are revealed to us by him.

Its a mistaken concept to say that thought is materialistic process. Thought is a processing of information. While its true, that the processing takes place in a material medium, the information did not originate in matter.

As information scientist Dr Werner Gitt has observed,

‘There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.’2


http://www.answersin...0709widgets.asp


Assuming that evolution produced morality is truely a leap of faith since evolution is nothing more than a low grade hypothesis.

What would it take to evolve a different morality?  How about this – polygamy - some genetic disease, causes only 1 male in a thousand to be born (there is absolutely no cure) (invitro is not a solution) …..only those who accept the new world order reproduce, pair bonding goes extinct within one generation…… It’s a bit fanciful but you get the picture.


This is exactly the kind of imagination that I prefer to avoid, and what makes evolution such bad science. Anyone can sit around and think of some imaginary way that something may have happed.

Terry

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 09:00 PM

Since objective morality exists, it does not depend on the thoughts of anyone. If everyone thought murder on the basis of greed was Ok, it still would not be. Therefore morality is not dependant on the thoughts of man, anymore than Calipithecus's mathematical laws. They exists independant of the thoughts of man, i.e. they originate in God. In some cases they are postulated my man, and in others they are revealed to us by him.

I hope I was successful in making my point: that there are only so many ways a thing like mathematics, or logic -- or morality -- could possibly work. I don't see how being God could change that, and I don't see why we need God to teach us about morality any more than we need him to teach us about mathematics.

#54 chance

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 01:54 PM

chance> Non material - if you mean by not physical I would have to disagree, as thought is a function of chemical actions in the brain, no brain – no thought – no morality.  As morality parallels intelligence, there is at least some correlation to evolution, as we climb from insect, through to mammal.

Since objective morality exists, it does not depend on the thoughts of anyone. If everyone thought murder on the basis of greed was Ok, it still would not be.

View Post


Why would it not? Assuming no revealed law was forthcoming and the society system worked (I’m not advocating that it would) I see no real life examples where you could assume that.

Therefore morality is not dependant on the thoughts of man, anymore than Calipithecus's mathematical laws. They exists independant of the thoughts of man, i.e. they originate in God. In some cases they are postulated my man, and in others they are revealed to us by him.


IMO I think you have taken an too greater leap of logic to state: that objective morality (I assume you mean universal) is proof that morality is not dependant on man.

Its a mistaken concept to say that thought is materialistic process. Thought is a processing of information. While its true, that the processing takes place in a material medium, the information did not originate in matter.


Doctors would disagree on this, thought can be affected materialistically via, drugs, brain damage, brain development. Thought processes can be mapped in real time via MRI, or radioactive chemical. There is noting mystical about thought. Information is nothing more than storage of thought, unless you have some other explanation on what you are regarding as information (memories I assume).

As information scientist Dr Werner Gitt has observed,

‘There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.’2


? So what is a brain doing then? Is the brain not just processing and then using different combinations of memory (stored information) and real time information? I’ll have a look at the AiG link, but I suspect Dr Gitt is attributing qualities to ‘information’ that do not exist.

Assuming that evolution produced morality is truely a leap of faith since evolution is nothing more than a low grade hypothesis.


I obviously disagree, but for the sake of clarity it would best be discussed as a separate topic.

chance> What would it take to evolve a different morality?  How about this – polygamy - some genetic disease, causes only 1 male in a thousand to be born (there is absolutely no cure) (invitro is not a solution) …..only those who accept the new world order reproduce, pair bonding goes extinct within one generation…… It’s a bit fanciful but you get the picture.

This is exactly the kind of imagination that I prefer to avoid, and what makes evolution such bad science. Anyone can sit around and think of some imaginary way that something may have happed.


Thought experiments are a valid method of initial testing of a theory, philosophy or law, to determine if the idea can withstand logical paradoxes, it can save large amounts of time through wasted experimentation. The purpose In the example I proposed is to find holes where the idea would not work.

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 04:47 PM

Doctors would disagree on this, thought can be affected materialistically via, drugs, brain damage, brain development.  Thought processes can be mapped in real time via MRI, or radioactive chemical. There is noting mystical about thought.  Information is nothing more than storage of thought, unless you have some other explanation on what you are regarding as information (memories I assume).


I should have said that thought is not a purely materialistic process. Its clear that in our reality that a material medium is required for the storage and processing of information. However; information does not arise in matter by itself. There is no known law or process where energy or matter can give rise to information.

To use human thought as an example is begging the question. That would be like saying the fact that life exists proves that life arise from non-life.

Here is a primer to what Dr. Gitt is refering to as information.

http://www.answersin...information.asp

No information can exist without a code.

No code can exist without a free and deliberate convention.

No information can exist without the five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics.

No information can exist in purely statistical processes.

No information can exist without a transmitter.

No information chain can exist without a mental origin.

No information can exist without an initial mental source; that is, information is, by its nature, a mental and not a material quantity.

No information can exist without a will.


There's no point in quibbling about the definition. There are numerous definitions of information that all have certain advantages and disadvantages. Dr. Gitt's definition is valid, and it has the result that information requires an intelligent source. Morality is behavioral information for the human race, and thus requires an intelligent source.

Consequently, evolution did not produce morality.... :)

Terry

#56 Red Wizard of Thay

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 05:22 PM

Dr. Gitt's definition is valid,

Since he is merely working backwards from his conclusion. No surprise that you regard it as valid. :)

#57 chance

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 10:34 PM

92gI have a read of the Dr Werner Gitt link you posted, it ties in whit your next post so I’ll not answer the link directly.

I should have said that thought is not a purely materialistic process. Its clear that in our reality that a material medium is required for the storage and processing of information. However; information does not arise in matter by itself. There is no known law or process where energy or matter can give rise to information.


This is the bit I don’t get. There seems to be a push to define thought as some ephemeras quality that resides somewhere not in the physical world, even though it requires hardware to function. This appears to be the equivalent of a ‘life force’ or perhaps soul. Given there is ample evidence to the hardware and materialistic explanation (verifiable by drugs, and brain anomalies etc) there appears to be no grounds to make such a claim. If there is what are they? E.g. if you think of a Fish, certain parts of the brain become active, if you talk about fish or eat a fish, other parts of the brain are active, to me that pretty conclusive evidence for a materialistic explanation.

Dr. Gitt’s article appears to attach ‘meaning’ to data or information. (but I will read it in detail tonight) which in this discussion is memory, morals, etc, but he makes a huge mistake when applying it to DNA (subject for another time perhaps). Nevertheless I don’t see where he states that thought is nothing other than materialistic, well he says it isn’t but I cant find the area where he demonstrates that it is not.

There's no point in quibbling about the definition. There are numerous definitions of information that all have certain advantages and disadvantages. Dr. Gitt's definition is valid, and it has the result that information requires an intelligent source. Morality is behavioral information for the human race, and thus requires an intelligent source.

Consequently, evolution did not produce morality....


First I must point out that Dr Gitts analysis is far form clear, perhaps a re-reading on my part will clear it up but I found it very confusing.
However If the definition is in error then we should question it, see below:


No information can exist without a code.


I suppose it can all boils down to 1’s and Zero’s or chemical signals eventually, that could be classed as a code.

No code can exist without a free and deliberate convention.


language and writing is a good example, provided we both know the code we can converse.

No information can exist without the five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics.

pass.

No information can exist in purely statistical processes.

pass

No information can exist without a transmitter.


true, some process must create it.

No information chain can exist without a mental origin.

? DNA

No information can exist without an initial mental source; that is, information is, by its nature, a mental and not a material quantity.


note the distinction, “of a mental source” this is a materialistic origin (the brain) which comprises of nothing other than chemical actions upon synapses.

No information can exist without a will.

? Dreams

I found Dr Gitt’s reasoning difficult to follow, as he correctly states some things, then draws a different conclusion later on, e.g. where is the non-material bit?

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 03:36 AM

? DNA


I'll admit that the paper is difficult to get a handle on. I had to read through it several times before I started to get it. His book In the Beginning was Information is much better, and the DVD lecture is easier to understand on a surface level.

The whole argument is that the code in DNA cannot have originated by chance. the information stored in DNA required an intellignet source for its origin.

That information is not matter is evidence by the following:

You can store information on different mediums, e.g. a floppy disk, or a piece of paper. The information does not change, and is not dependant on the material, i.e. matter , that its stored on. Thus, its obvious that information is something other than matter or energy.

According to a much-quoted statement by Norbert Wiener, the founder of cybernetics and information theory, information cannot be of a physical nature:

‘Information is information, neither matter nor energy. No materialism that fails to take account of this can survive the present day.’


http://www.answersin...information.asp

This is an inescapable fact, and to not take into account when discussing what thought is, is a mistake.

Terry

#59 chance

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 01:40 PM

92g Rather than get too far off topic, I propose a new topic on ‘Information’.



Regarding, morality and its origins I think it’s fair to say, in summery, that:

The creationist position is:

Because Morality is universal that is evidence for a divine origin.

The evolutionary position is:

Because Morality is universal that is evidence for common decent.

I think it’s time to ‘wave the white flag’, unless there is a particular aspect of either argument that you feel is unanswered.

#60 Guest_92g_*

Guest_92g_*
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Posted 16 March 2005 - 02:58 PM

The creationist position is:

Because Morality is universal that is evidence for a divine origin.


There are many arguments from a creationist postion. I'm stating that since morality is absolute, and is also related to information, that evolution cannot have produced it.

The evolutionary position is:.....


I'll take your word for that one, and raise the white flag with you. :)

Terry




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