Saturday, November 26, 2005

Unintelligent Debate

Er, one topic I don't think I'll be posting about again is Intelligent Design. It just doesn't generate a fruitful dialogue, because the debate seems to consist of "true believers" on both sides. If you take a moderate position, as I do, then the extremists on either side see you as arguing against them, and you simply end up talking past one another, like one of those political TV programs.

There are radical secularists just as there are religious fundamentalists, and I certainly belong to neither group. People in my camp (which it should go without saying does not include literal creationists) are perfectly willing to concede every single point of genuine scientific discovery, but those on the anti-ID side are unwilling to concede a single point of metaphysical reasoning or acknowledge a single one of the genuine problems that plague a purely reductionist view of life and consciousness.

I do not believe there is any evidence that will convince a true creationist that evolution has occurred, any more than I believe there is any evidence that will persuade an anti-ID reductionist that science is competent to explain only a very proscribed plane of existence.

Again, I am specifically saying that I draw a sharp distinction between the method of science (which I endorse unreservedly) and the metaphysic of scientism (which in reality was abandoned by serious philosophers long ago, when it was understood how intellectually impoverished the program of logical positivism was).

I fully accept what science discloses as true, but then ask what it means, fitting it into a larger framework that includes the other planes of being. But the extremist anti-ID crowd seems intent on trying to disprove the existence of God by using science, which is metaphysically incoherent. As soon as you opine on the general meaning of science, you have left science behind and are engaging in metaphysics.

And once you are engaging in metaphysics, you are playing by other rules. For example, if you actually believe that the universe behaves only according to rigid laws, then all of your assertions are merely the result of rigid laws, so there’s no reason to believe they are true.

Thus, if you believe that only empirically verifiable statements are true, then you've just made an empirically unverifiable statement. If you believe in logical atomism, then there is no way to account for the unity of consciousness. If you believe that human beings are nothing more than Darwinian machines, there is no way to account for all of our "luxury capacities" that only emerged long after our brain had stopped evolving. Quite simply, if you believe that human beings may know truth, you have left materialism far behind.

To some it will undoubtedly sound like an argument from authority, but in this case, I will just have to say that God exists, and that it is impossible to have a universe or a scientific discovery incompatible with that fact. In other words, I would never use science to try to prove the existence of God, as God's existence is proven through other methods. Rather, I am interested in how science reflects the existence of God, which was actually how science got underway originally -- with the scientifically uwarranted belief that a divinely ordained rational beauty inheres in the cosmos, and that the same beautiful rationality dwells within us, allowing us to obtain knowledge about the world in a completely unproblematic way.

In fact, it is almost as if we were designed to know things like higher math or to make fine distinctions in the realms of art, music, poetry, and all sorts of other things that have no Darwinian utility but which reveal the splendor of a nonlocal reality shining through our own. I certainly see it. But not with the eyes that came about through natural selection. Those eyes see only what the materialist sees.


Anonymous said...

I could have told you that.

I actually think that the "radical secularists" are more rabid than the IDers.

Science - or rather, "Scientism" - has become a religion.

Anonymous said...

ID, to the minuscule degree I care to follow the argument, seems an imperfectly deployed and constructed effort to open the windows of the scientism you discribe.

It's too bad that there's not a whole landscape of discussion on which to pitch one's speculative tents. As I understand the Eastern Orthodox position from brief catechism classes, evolution-cum-God is a perfectly decent theistic position. Scientismistism (as poor multilingual Sr. Dilys calls it), ain't.

Thanks for entering the fray, and, in a kind of Girardian flourish, highlighting some of the tattered old memes we would all be well past, the Mystery of Obfuscation and Delusory Certainty.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

"I certainly see it. But not with the eyes that came about through natural selection. Those eyes see only what the materialist sees."

“I once was blind but now I see,”

Anonymous said...

I've tried to look at both sides. What is not being reported accurately is the ID side. Instead, media and evolutionist to a large degree call it 'creationism redeux'.

But that is completely misleading and misrepresentative of the leading ID proponents. ID scientiest do not propose to have it taught in any high school. Only local boards have attempted to do this. But to date, none have. The only changes boards have successfully implemented to curriculum is to discuss on a wider level the known problems with macro-evolution. Another words, they're teaching the children to be more skeptical which is a good quality.

ID does not propose to know who the designer is. It only proposes to look completely at all structures and determine how such organisms were made by proposing certain aspects to be irreducibly complex. Why is that so jarring to people?

This is actually a good test for evolution. It is a very accurate and detailed look at how mico organisms actually function and work. If evolution cannot answer this question as well as others on the macro level then the theory deserves to be looked upon with much skepticism.

The truth is, internally it has been questioned at length with serious faults for over 50 years by evolutionist themselves regarding morphological progress(macro evolution). Its never been observed and never will be. The fossil records cannot conclude with any factual evidence a series of small steps exist between species. This has been known for sometime now.

Scientist can merely 'infer' from looking at the records that macro evolution occurred, but they cannot prove it. Likewise, ID theorist 'infer' from looking at organisms, they see design. One of the leading theorist put forth the flagellum as an example by which test can be done to prove if ID is correct, or Macro Evolution. So far, all test have failed and his example still stands.

This is good for science, actual testing and experimentation.

Remember, to keep it to just 'macro evolution'. That is the problem area. Genetic variation(little e) on the other hand is acceptable by all parties. A finch might change beak size, a moth its color, but they remain in their species. This simply accounts for a look at survival of the fittest.

But as seen in new studies. The finch got back its orginal beak size and the moth its original color. So, the gene itself never changed and in fact we know today that the information was always there. No new information was created. Therefore, not true morphological change outside the original genome took place within species.

Oddly enough, Japanese researchers think nothing about looking at the machine like aspects of a flagellum. The tiny little motor mechanism can whirl away at over 20,000rpm. It can alter its direction within split second adjustments without breaking the propellar system. Nothing man has built today can do what it does. The size of this motor is in nano measurements. Please see following link for an excellent look at such a marvel in 'engineering'.

What is the highest rpm for NASCAR today? How much engineering and design goes into such an engine?

Scientist learn more as they learn more from life around them. As they transfer the knowledge around them into new ideas, products, etc.
Without birds, men would not think to fly. Without fish, would men think to dive?

Truth is a paradigm shift is taking place as computer scientist, mathematicians and engineers get more involved in bioinformatics, bioengineering and other related disciplines on nano scale technology revolving around molecular structures.

Evolution has nothing to do with the breakthroughs we are seeing today. Instead, it is engineering, information theory, math, physics that are required and even cryptologist would be better fit to unlock the code of DNA/RNA Codon selection processes for protein creation.

Computer programmers, those who study intensely Cryptographic algorithms and the interlocking mechanisms of exchange of information and engineering mechanisms on small nano scales will change our understanding in the future. Evolution will fall away as theory and make way for solid sciences. Biology will slowly start seeing patterns it had not formerly recognized.

It is Mendel that first gave rise to the true geneticist by using math for the first time to quantify aspects of gene heridity

I am amazed at some of the complex papers being put forth today in Theoretical Biology and the engineering components which are being built to mimic organisms on the nano level. They are so far away from random mutations and natural selection.

Leonardo da Vinci did not need evolution to transfer the information of a birds wing to a drawing and mechanics. Likewise, bioengineering breakthroughs today will not need Darwin's antiquated ideas to make major new progress today and tomorrow.

To me, if it takes a team of scientific engineers with over 120 years of knowledge, complex computer systems, mathematically complex algorithms and a host of other skill sets to transfer the knowledge of one aerodynamic fish to a car for better design - then I personally believe the fish received the information from such a complex source as to not be by random chance. The information was built in to take out. We are reverse engineering nature. If it was not ever designed, it would never be anything more than a rock.
Less information, less complexity, less ability for comparative engineering and learning.

You are correct. We are meant to observer, compare, discover and then translate all this information and learn from it, see the beauty all around us.

Take this last example. Imagine a person in a box on a planet with no light(perfectly dark), no information, no sound, just the inside of a box, no wind, no rain, no dirt, no plants, animals, nothing. Assume no need for water or food.

What does the person know? What can the person learn?

Now, take the person out of the box, one step at a time, add dirt, wind, plants, rain, light, animals, etc.

How much does the person learn at each step?

ID Theory is taking some baby steps. I encourage it to grow.

gumshoe said...

there is a very interesting book
on patterns,geometry,and evidence of harmonic growth in natural artifacts and animals....
and architecture,and 747's and...


Author:Doczi, Gyorgi

"The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and
Architecture" (Shambhala Publications, 1994)

a review excerpt:
"This beautifully illustrated and diagrammed book attempts to show the harmony that exists in nature and all good art and architecture. Not only that, Doczi attempts to weave into this picture, (with some success) Pythagorean concepts of harmony and it's relation to growth in nature."


is it ID or Evolution?


who cares!!
...can you see the patterns?

i can.