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#41 Tirian

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:45 AM

I was more thinking along the lines of how they're made of elements of the Universe, are the result of processes that are very specific to an infinitesimal subset of the Universe, and are known not to have existed indefinitely in the past. To have a teddy bear cause the beginning of the Universe would require either some kind of time travel, or some explanation for why something like the cause of the Universe would arise in a tiny subset of the Universe; it would suggest stuffed teddy bears have some fundamental cosmic reason for existing that we see no evidence of. That said, teddy bears have at least the merit that we know they exist. No, that's why I'm fairly certain it wasn't a stuffed teddy bear.


So you're trying to say that believing in stuffed teddy bears as causal agents (contrary to what we know about teddy bears) can be compered to believing in a disembodied mind as a casual agent?
Who are you kidding? Or was the teddy bear just a mistake from your side?

The relevant issue is that I don't know that he is. Moreover, most versions of God take him to be some kind of intelligence, and intelligence is another complex, specific feature that's characteristic of a very small subset of the Universe and evidence (that you reject but I don't) shows it hasn't existed indefinitely in the past, so if we posit an intelligence creating the Universe we're either having the Universe created by something created by the Universe, or we still need to address the question of the origin of intelligence, and why that intelligence was reproduced in such a tiny and specific subset of the Universe.


How do you know that disembodied mind's can't exist? You could read about mind/body dualism here : http://www.reasonabl...nd-body-dualism

So as UppsalaDragby pointed out, what kind of level of certainty are we talking about?
What are your certainty based on?
And finally, what has the preposterous idea that teddy bears could act as casual agents to do with anything?

#42 aelyn

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:02 PM

Whoa there people... Gilbo had said that atheists don't know what created the Universe but they know it isn't God, which I interpreted as implying that statements of the form "I don't know what caused X, but I don't think it was Y" are intrinsically ridiculous (because otherwise I don't see what's so noteworthy about it). That might have been a misinterpretation on my part. Either way I decided to point out a little humorously that "I don't know what caused X but I don't think it was Y" can be perfectly reasonable by picking an obvious if ridiculous example. I wasn't trying to compare God to teddy bears or anything, my response wasn't about God in the first place it was about sentences of the form "I don't know what caused X but I don't think it was Y".
I did end up comparing God to teddy bears as I played along in my second response but that's gone far enough; I came on this thread to answer usafjay's questions about science, metastasizing throwaway comments notwithstanding, so I won't be responding further on said throwaway comment.

I don't even understand why you're all asking this question. "What level of certainty" do I have that God didn't create the Universe ? You already know the answer to that question will be "quite high" otherwise there wouldn't be an "atheist" under my avatar. If you have a better-formed question ("What are your certainty based on" is certainly a step up) we could talk about it in the "miscellaneous" section or something.

#43 gilbo12345

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:35 PM

Whoa there people... Gilbo had said that atheists don't know what created the Universe but they know it isn't God, which I interpreted as implying that statements of the form "I don't know what caused X, but I don't think it was Y" are intrinsically ridiculous (because otherwise I don't see what's so noteworthy about it). That might have been a misinterpretation on my part. Either way I decided to point out a little humorously that "I don't know what caused X but I don't think it was Y" can be perfectly reasonable by picking an obvious if ridiculous example. I wasn't trying to compare God to teddy bears or anything, my response wasn't about God in the first place it was about sentences of the form "I don't know what caused X but I don't think it was Y". I did end up comparing God to teddy bears as I played along in my second response but that's gone far enough; I came on this thread to answer usafjay's questions about science, metastasizing throwaway comments notwithstanding, so I won't be responding further on said throwaway comment. I don't even understand why you're all asking this question. "What level of certainty" do I have that God didn't create the Universe ? You already know the answer to that question will be "quite high" otherwise there wouldn't be an "atheist" under my avatar. If you have a better-formed question ("What are your certainty based on" is certainly a step up) we could talk about it in the "miscellaneous" section or something.


No the atheist doesn't claim they "think" it wasn't God since that implies a fairly sufficient level of doubt, you yourself said that you have a high level of certainty that God was not the cause.

Ergo (as I said) the atheist KNOWS (well thinks they know) its not God.. If there is doubt then its not atheism, its agnosticism which simply is a position of doubt borne from not having sufficient information, (sufficient in the eyes of the beholder).

I should have picked up on the change you made earlier, you changed it about levels of certainty rather than about knowing, the atheist proclaims that there is no God with as much zeal as the theist proclaims that there is one, therefore it is about "knowing" since either side is claiming to know the truth of the matter.

#44 Tirian

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:24 AM

Whoa there people... Gilbo had said that atheists don't know what created the Universe but they know it isn't God, which I interpreted as implying that statements of the form "I don't know what caused X, but I don't think it was Y" are intrinsically ridiculous (because otherwise I don't see what's so noteworthy about it). That might have been a misinterpretation on my part. Either way I decided to point out a little humorously that "I don't know what caused X but I don't think it was Y" can be perfectly reasonable by picking an obvious if ridiculous example. I wasn't trying to compare God to teddy bears or anything, my response wasn't about God in the first place it was about sentences of the form "I don't know what caused X but I don't think it was Y". I did end up comparing God to teddy bears as I played along in my second response but that's gone far enough; I came on this thread to answer usafjay's questions about science, metastasizing throwaway comments notwithstanding, so I won't be responding further on said throwaway comment. I don't even understand why you're all asking this question. "What level of certainty" do I have that God didn't create the Universe ? You already know the answer to that question will be "quite high" otherwise there wouldn't be an "atheist" under my avatar. If you have a better-formed question ("What are your certainty based on" is certainly a step up) we could talk about it in the "miscellaneous" section or something.


I understand. The reason I reacted was because you tried to insinuate that believing in a stuffed teddy bear as the causal agent for the universe could be compared to believing in God as the causal agent for the universe. And I wanted to point out that such a comparison is an incorrect argument, you simply used a false analogy to try to explain your position.

So if we drop the teddy bear thing I would still be interested in what scientific knowledge your certainty about Gods non existence is based on?

#45 aelyn

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:51 PM

@Gilbo : Yeah I did do that change, because "know" is such a ridiculous word - it technically means being absolutely certain that something is true, but not only is that impossible it's not even how we use the word in everyday life. We say "I know I left my keys in the car" and turn out to be wrong all the time, and we can accept the evidence that we were wrong - which we wouldn't if we really were absolutely certain and accepted no possibility of being wrong at all.
I refuse to give "know" up to the solipsists because in practice it means "confident enough for all purposes" and that's a fine use for it. But in the context of theism/atheism debates it always leads to stupid semantic arguments and mind-reading so I tend to avoid it in those specific cases.

@Tirian : I said I'd prefer to talk about it in the miscellaneous section but I'm too lazy to start a new thread there, and I appreciate your graciousness, so...
Note I'm talking about why I believe what I believe, I'm not expecting this to convince anyone. If there were a clinching scientific argument against God's existence that could convince everyone this forum wouldn't exist.
Your question is a difficult one to answer because there are many concepts tied to "God" and I don't disbelieve them all for the same reasons or to the same extent, but the basics is really that I think every complex thing is made up of simpler things, and everything has a mechanism. I can't really conceive of this not being the case. There must be something down at the bottom so simple that it doesn't have a mechanism it just is, and physics hasn't gotten there yet but as far as I can tell they're getting pretty close; either way at our scales it might as well be sub-components all the way down.
Now when I think about a God, for one thing I don't know how an interventionist God would work. For example, making a woman pregnant. That sounds fine said like that, but we know women don't just "become pregnant" - there is a mechanism involved, an ovum and a spermatozoon meet and fertilize, the resulting egg implants and so on. What is it God actually does in that mechanism ? Maybe he makes a spermatozoon appear in the womb, or a fertilized egg, or makes a sperm nucleus appear inside the ovum... okay. But we also know something about how molecules and atoms work, and they don't appear out of thin air - how does God make them appear ? Actually that's wrong, they do appear out of thin air, but that again is a specific mechanism that has specific effects - and we know the probability of even a whole nucleus being spontaneously generated from quantum foam is vanishingly unlikely, so much it wouldn't happen in trillions of years - maybe God manipulated the probabilities ? And how did he do that ?
Basically God as a concept is effects-driven, not mechanism-driven. To illustrate the difference, compare a magic carpet to real flying objects. The magic carpet is defined by what it does, which is fly, and it does that perfectly, with maybe one or two plot-convenient restrictions. It will fly anywhere, anyhow, at any speed, exactly how you need it to fly. Can it fly faster than the speed of light ? Can it fly in space ? Can it fly with a hole in it, and how big a hole ? If you ask those questions you're getting into nitpicky science-fiction territory* and you're revealing the dirty little secret that "flying" is actually a complicated function. Now consider our real-life flying devices. None of them "just fly"; they all fly for a reason, they have a mechanism that causes them to fly, and that mechanism causes them to fly in certain ways. Helicopters, airplanes, gliders and rockets all fly very differently because they have different mechanisms. On the one hand with them we can easily answer all of the questions that were inane nitpicking for the magic carpet, because we know why they fly means we also know under what conditions they can or cannot fly. On the other hand it also makes them less powerful in many ways than the magic carpet - they need fuel, they aren't infinitely manoeuvrable, they don't work everywhere, they need to be certain shapes and sizes...

When people talk about God they talk about him as something purely effects-driven. God does this, God does that. How does God do those things ? He just does. What are his limitations ? None, except insofar as opinions differ. Where does God come from ? Nowhere by definition. What is God made of ? I'm not sure that's even a meaningful question. What are God's characteristics ? Here's a list - and they're all extremely high-order, deceptively-simple-but-actually-incredibly-complex characteristics, and here's a list of theological essays explaining how the apparent contradictions between them can be resolved.
Same thing with disembodied minds - how does that mind see ? How does that mind hear ? Does that mind perceive a difference between itself and the world around it ? (that's a perception that can be turned on and off in actual brains). Does it dream ? Does it have a subconscious ? Does it have separable functions ? (embodied minds do) Everything we know of that processes information has an information-processing system - how do you even theoretically process information without one ?

This kind of description that's focused on effects and complex functions while ignoring mechanisms is very characteristic of concepts humans invent, and extremely different from everything humans have discovered about the world. Of course I could always posit there is a mechanism to all those things, we just don't know it. I can even imagine such mechanisms - like, we could be like the Game of Life and God is the programmer and can make a glider appear where he wants with a few clicks... but at that point I'm assuming things I know nothing of, with huge implications on the nature of the Universe, to explain the existence of something I don't know exists in the first place.

So that would be a basic reason I don't believe in the supernatural, God included. The direct reason I don't believe God exists is the lack of convincing evidence (and I know many people do see evidence for the existence of God or the supernatural, I just haven't found it convincing) as well various contradictions or incoherencies that many concepts of God have, but this stuff is the reason I believe God doesn't exist. It's just inconsistent with the world as I see it.

*Speaking in schematic terms of course - in practice plenty of science-fiction treats its technology like magic and plenty of fantasy treats its magic like a science, and the author always explains thing only up to a certain level of detail. David Eddings still summarized the dichotomy well though - paraphrasing : "A science-fiction author will spend ten pages explaining how a watch works, a fantasy author will tell you what time it is and get on with the story".

#46 gilbo12345

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

@Gilbo : Yeah I did do that change, because "know" is such a ridiculous word - it technically means being absolutely certain that something is true, but not only is that impossible it's not even how we use the word in everyday life. We say "I know I left my keys in the car" and turn out to be wrong all the time, and we can accept the evidence that we were wrong - which we wouldn't if we really were absolutely certain and accepted no possibility of being wrong at all. I refuse to give "know" up to the solipsists because in practice it means "confident enough for all purposes" and that's a fine use for it. But in the context of theism/atheism debates it always leads to stupid semantic arguments and mind-reading so I tend to avoid it in those specific cases.


Yet the atheist knows that God didn't create the world because the atheist doesn't believe that God exists. To claim its unknown is to destroy the very thing that atheism is about.


·the·ist /ˈeɪ θi ɪst/ Show Spelled [ey-thee-ist] Show IPA

noun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

http://dictionary.re.../browse/atheist

#47 Tirian

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:15 AM

@Tirian : I said I'd prefer to talk about it in the miscellaneous section but I'm too lazy to start a new thread there, and I appreciate your graciousness, so... Note I'm talking about why I believe what I believe, I'm not expecting this to convince anyone. If there were a clinching scientific argument against God's existence that could convince everyone this forum wouldn't exist. Your question is a difficult one to answer because there are many concepts tied to "God" and I don't disbelieve them all for the same reasons or to the same extent, but the basics is really that I think every complex thing is made up of simpler things, and everything has a mechanism. I can't really conceive of this not being the case. There must be something down at the bottom so simple that it doesn't have a mechanism it just is, and physics hasn't gotten there yet but as far as I can tell they're getting pretty close; either way at our scales it might as well be sub-components all the way down. Now when I think about a God, for one thing I don't know how an interventionist God would work. For example, making a woman pregnant. That sounds fine said like that, but we know women don't just "become pregnant" - there is a mechanism involved, an ovum and a spermatozoon meet and fertilize, the resulting egg implants and so on. What is it God actually does in that mechanism ? Maybe he makes a spermatozoon appear in the womb, or a fertilized egg, or makes a sperm nucleus appear inside the ovum... okay. But we also know something about how molecules and atoms work, and they don't appear out of thin air - how does God make them appear ? Actually that's wrong, they do appear out of thin air, but that again is a specific mechanism that has specific effects - and we know the probability of even a whole nucleus being spontaneously generated from quantum foam is vanishingly unlikely, so much it wouldn't happen in trillions of years - maybe God manipulated the probabilities ? And how did he do that ? Basically God as a concept is effects-driven, not mechanism-driven. To illustrate the difference, compare a magic carpet to real flying objects. The magic carpet is defined by what it does, which is fly, and it does that perfectly, with maybe one or two plot-convenient restrictions. It will fly anywhere, anyhow, at any speed, exactly how you need it to fly. Can it fly faster than the speed of light ? Can it fly in space ? Can it fly with a hole in it, and how big a hole ? If you ask those questions you're getting into nitpicky science-fiction territory* and you're revealing the dirty little secret that "flying" is actually a complicated function. Now consider our real-life flying devices. None of them "just fly"; they all fly for a reason, they have a mechanism that causes them to fly, and that mechanism causes them to fly in certain ways. Helicopters, airplanes, gliders and rockets all fly very differently because they have different mechanisms. On the one hand with them we can easily answer all of the questions that were inane nitpicking for the magic carpet, because we know why they fly means we also know under what conditions they can or cannot fly. On the other hand it also makes them less powerful in many ways than the magic carpet - they need fuel, they aren't infinitely manoeuvrable, they don't work everywhere, they need to be certain shapes and sizes... When people talk about God they talk about him as something purely effects-driven. God does this, God does that. How does God do those things ? He just does. What are his limitations ? None, except insofar as opinions differ. Where does God come from ? Nowhere by definition. What is God made of ? I'm not sure that's even a meaningful question. What are God's characteristics ? Here's a list - and they're all extremely high-order, deceptively-simple-but-actually-incredibly-complex characteristics, and here's a list of theological essays explaining how the apparent contradictions between them can be resolved. Same thing with disembodied minds - how does that mind see ? How does that mind hear ? Does that mind perceive a difference between itself and the world around it ? (that's a perception that can be turned on and off in actual brains). Does it dream ? Does it have a subconscious ? Does it have separable functions ? (embodied minds do) Everything we know of that processes information has an information-processing system - how do you even theoretically process information without one ? This kind of description that's focused on effects and complex functions while ignoring mechanisms is very characteristic of concepts humans invent, and extremely different from everything humans have discovered about the world. Of course I could always posit there is a mechanism to all those things, we just don't know it. I can even imagine such mechanisms - like, we could be like the Game of Life and God is the programmer and can make a glider appear where he wants with a few clicks... but at that point I'm assuming things I know nothing of, with huge implications on the nature of the Universe, to explain the existence of something I don't know exists in the first place. So that would be a basic reason I don't believe in the supernatural, God included. The direct reason I don't believe God exists is the lack of convincing evidence (and I know many people do see evidence for the existence of God or the supernatural, I just haven't found it convincing) as well various contradictions or incoherencies that many concepts of God have, but this stuff is the reason I believe God doesn't exist. It's just inconsistent with the world as I see it. *Speaking in schematic terms of course - in practice plenty of science-fiction treats its technology like magic and plenty of fantasy treats its magic like a science, and the author always explains thing only up to a certain level of detail. David Eddings still summarized the dichotomy well though - paraphrasing : "A science-fiction author will spend ten pages explaining how a watch works, a fantasy author will tell you what time it is and get on with the story".


I really thought it was some interesting reading, thanks for sharing.

I don't know if you'd like to discuss any of the above statements, as a theist I do think that some of your statements does not hold. But I guess that is not a surprise. I'll just point out that the choice of a human mind is a complex function without any known mechanism. Perhaps you are limiting yourself to mechanism that are contained within the known dimensions without any clear reason to do that?

#48 aelyn

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:38 AM

I really thought it was some interesting reading, thanks for sharing. I don't know if you'd like to discuss any of the above statements, as a theist I do think that some of your statements does not hold. But I guess that is not a surprise. I'll just point out that the choice of a human mind is a complex function without any known mechanism. Perhaps you are limiting yourself to mechanism that are contained within the known dimensions without any clear reason to do that?

Thank you for your response Tirian. It's sort of true I'm limiting myself to mechanisms within the known dimensions but not quite; for example when string theory proposes mechanisms happening in extra dimensions I think it's very compelling (not enough to believe it necessarily, but enough to think it's a viable option for sure). String theory however doesn't just propose "mechanisms" in "unknown dimensions"; it proposes specific mechanisms that require specific kinds of extra dimensions to work. And even then many people feel string theory isn't science because it's not specific enough on those things (is it 9 or 11 dimensions ? They're folded in Calabi-Yau shapes, but which Calabi-Yau shape ?), which makes it unfalsifiable (because if one choice doesn't fit the evidence they can just arbitrarily pick another one that does). I don't know enough to agree or disagree with those people, but it gives you an idea of how precisely one can define "unknown dimensions".

Note I'm not saying it's impossible for God or disembodied consciousness to exist. If I were. then pointing out the limits of our knowledge would be appropriate. I think it's possible for God or consciousness working through unknown mechanisms in unknown dimensions to exist; I just think they don't. To convince myself something exists, or has a decent chance of existing, I need to have an idea what that something is. "Unknown dimensions" could mean anything; I don't even know if you're talking about dimensions in a mathematical or a science-fictional sense. "Unknown mechanism" could also be anything. If I posit an unknown dimension to fit an unknown mechanism to justify the existence of something I don't know exists I'm piling undefined concepts upon undefined concepts; I can't form any beliefs based on that.

About mechanisms, note also that I didn't say "We know all things have a mechanism", I said "I think all things have a mechanism". As I said, it's mostly because I can't conceive of something with complex behaviour not having a complex structure to make that behaviour happen. It doesn't have to be as complex as I might naively expect, very simple systems can have surprisingly complex chaotic behaviour, but even those systems have some moving parts. That said, while there are tons of things we don't know the exact mechanism of, especially for high values of "exact", I don't know if our conscious choices will remain a good example of this for long. Some studies have already managed to predict people's choices from brainscans before the people were conscious of having made a choice.

#49 usafjay1976

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:43 AM

About mechanisms, note also that I didn't say "We know all things have a mechanism", I said "I think all things have a mechanism". As I said, it's mostly because I can't conceive of something with complex behaviour not having a complex structure to make that behaviour happen. It doesn't have to be as complex as I might naively expect, very simple systems can have surprisingly complex chaotic behaviour, but even those systems have some moving parts. That said, while there are tons of things we don't know the exact mechanism of, especially for high values of "exact", I don't know if our conscious choices will remain a good example of this for long. Some studies have already managed to predict people's choices from brainscans before the people were conscious of having made a choice.


Sooooooooooooooo where did these mechanisms come from? Posted Image

#50 gilbo12345

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:57 AM

Sooooooooooooooo where did these mechanisms come from? Posted Image


Don't you know, evolution did it :P

#51 Calypsis4

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:00 AM

Don't you know, evolution did it :P/>


Naturally! Posted Image

#52 usafjay1976

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:32 AM

As I said, it's mostly because I can't conceive of something with complex behaviour not having a complex structure to make that behaviour happen


Yet you can conceive that nature created life (which includes complex parts) from nothing with no purpose, no thought, no anything no design...

You see any other object in this world and can attest to a designer. A car, a spaceship, a cell phone, a computer... they were all designed.

Your quote was very close to what creationist believe. I've changed it around and bolded the change.

As I said, it's mostly because I can't conceive of something with complex behaviour not having God to make that behaviour happen.

The human cell, animals, the universe, the planets, the way the human body works and operates... they too, were designed. There is a purpose on this earth, and I can only pray those seeking the truth, come to find it.

#53 Calypsis4

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

usajay1976:

Yet you can conceive that nature created life (which includes complex parts) from nothing with no purpose, no thought, no anything no design...


That was an absolute bombshell, jay. I would be very interested in seeing a response from any skeptic on the board to that.

#54 aelyn

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:31 PM

Just because you can't or refuse to understand how evolution works doesn't change the fact that it does. Imperfect and differential replication can constitute an optimizing process; that's a mathematical fact and engineers and computer programmers use it all the time when they use genetic or evolutionary algorithms. Systems with surprisingly simple rules can generate arbitrary amounts of complexity over time, again as any mathematician or programmer knows (Wolfram wrote a huge book on it but Conway's "Game of life" might be a more famous example). Thus I have no problem believing that self-replicating chemical systems (which are necessarily subject to natural selection and random mutation) could generate the diversity of life we see today given enough time. Nor do I have a problem believing self-replicating chemical systems could arise under certain conditions, such as those around hydrothermal vents, given how complex we know chemistry can be.

Now please explain to me how something can have complex behavior without any internal structure. Just because I can't conceive of it doesn't mean it's impossible, it just means that the explanation of how it's possible would blow my mind and I love having my mind blown.

#55 Calypsis4

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:55 PM

Just because you can't or refuse to understand how evolution works doesn't change the fact that it does. Imperfect and differential replication can constitute an optimizing process; that's a mathematical fact and engineers and computer programmers use it all the time when they use genetic or evolutionary algorithms. Systems with surprisingly simple rules can generate arbitrary amounts of complexity over time, again as any mathematician or programmer knows (Wolfram wrote a huge book on it but Conway's "Game of life" might be a more famous example). Thus I have no problem believing that self-replicating chemical systems (which are necessarily subject to natural selection and random mutation) could generate the diversity of life we see today given enough time. Nor do I have a problem believing self-replicating chemical systems could arise under certain conditions, such as those around hydrothermal vents, given how complex we know chemistry can be. Now please explain to me how something can have complex behavior without any internal structure. Just because I can't conceive of it doesn't mean it's impossible, it just means that the explanation of how it's possible would blow my mind and I love having my mind blown.

No, it does not. It doesn't even exist and you cannot demonstrate that it does. Gilbo and I challenged you on this and you ran away from it. In answer to your question (which I highlighted in black): No problem........"God is a spirit". That means He is in another dimension that we cannot measure but we are affected by it's existence. He is an eternal Being and the world is governed by HIS laws. Those laws did not create themselves. But you continue to miss the point...a point which usajay1976 nailed quite appropriately: How can you fail to grasp that something/someone of a complex nature exists that has no internal structure physically and YET you can believe that nature created itself (i.e. the big bang? singularity? take your pick) from non-existence. That is such an incredible point of contrast that it clearly reveals a blindness to it's violation of logical syllogism. It's like believing that the oceans of our world are, after all, dry.

#56 gilbo12345

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:59 PM

Just because you can't or refuse to understand how evolution works doesn't change the fact that it does. Imperfect and differential replication can constitute an optimizing process; that's a mathematical fact and engineers and computer programmers use it all the time when they use genetic or evolutionary algorithms. Systems with surprisingly simple rules can generate arbitrary amounts of complexity over time, again as any mathematician or programmer knows (Wolfram wrote a huge book on it but Conway's "Game of life" might be a more famous example). Thus I have no problem believing that self-replicating chemical systems (which are necessarily subject to natural selection and random mutation) could generate the diversity of life we see today given enough time. Nor do I have a problem believing self-replicating chemical systems could arise under certain conditions, such as those around hydrothermal vents, given how complex we know chemistry can be. Now please explain to me how something can have complex behavior without any internal structure. Just because I can't conceive of it doesn't mean it's impossible, it just means that the explanation of how it's possible would blow my mind and I love having my mind blown.


Engineers and Computer programers are intelligent agents yes? Then why use it as an analogy for a mindless random process?

#57 aelyn

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:30 PM

Engineers and Computer programers are intelligent agents yes? Then why use it as an analogy for a mindless random process?

It's not an analogy, it's an example. Maths is maths regardless of what implements it. Two apples on the ground plus two apples falling off a tree equals four apples on the ground, whether or not an intelligent agent was shaking the branch. And an intelligent agent couldn't make two apples plus two apples equal five apples. Systems that replicate imperfectly and whose ability to replicate varies depending on certain constraints will undergo optimization according to those constraints, whether the replicating systems are pieces of code or chemicals and whether the constraint is a fitness function or the environment.

#58 gilbo12345

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:06 PM

It's not an analogy, it's an example. Maths is maths regardless of what implements it. Two apples on the ground plus two apples falling off a tree equals four apples on the ground, whether or not an intelligent agent was shaking the branch. And an intelligent agent couldn't make two apples plus two apples equal five apples. Systems that replicate imperfectly and whose ability to replicate varies depending on certain constraints will undergo optimization according to those constraints, whether the replicating systems are pieces of code or chemicals and whether the constraint is a fitness function or the environment.


You've missed my point, you said the intelligen agents use such things, therefore how can you use that to justify a mindless random form of causation. It doesn't fit

#59 Calypsis4

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:42 PM

It's not an analogy, it's an example. Maths is maths regardless of what implements it. Two apples on the ground plus two apples falling off a tree equals four apples on the ground, whether or not an intelligent agent was shaking the branch. And an intelligent agent couldn't make two apples plus two apples equal five apples. Systems that replicate imperfectly and whose ability to replicate varies depending on certain constraints will undergo optimization according to those constraints, whether the replicating systems are pieces of code or chemicals and whether the constraint is a fitness function or the environment.


aelyn: You are still avoiding the issue! Explain to us how mindless nothing can create something.

What we believe is that an Intelligent Engineer...engineered everything, i.e. the complex world around us. Now stop playing dodge ball with us and give us a straight answer, please.

#60 aelyn

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:50 PM

I got your point fine and you apparently didn't understand my explanation of why that point was irrelevant. Get back to me when you've read that explanation, understood it, and can give a rebuttal that isn't just a restatement of your original argument.




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