Did Life Originate By Chance or Intelligent Design? Or is There a Third Option?

by JimmyPage 85 Replies latest jw friends

  • bohm

    And its a moot point to point out science do not provide a complete account of reality; ofcouse it does not, everyone is aware of that. Few scientists are even involved in creating such an account, and those who are are acutely aware it might be turtles all the way down (or whatever).

    What science does is trying to expand our explanatory framework. There is the same type of faith involved in accepting Einsteins field equations as there is in accepting poking a bear with a stick will make it mad, because the last 10 times you did it it did indeed get very mad. You can say: "well, perhaps at time 11 it will sing a song, cant proove it wont so there is your faith". Well are you going to be the one poking the bear or not?

    clearly that aint the type of faith being preached in the church.

  • Etude

    bohm: To answer your question a briefly as possible: Science doesn't work that way. It is the venue of science to explain, via a verification process, that what we observe, believe or postulate is true. If we can't trust and abide by that method, then each of us is free to conclude anything we want.

    The long answer to "why is that 'mere acceptance (scientific faith)' a good way to summarize that" is that, 1) I don't know. I'm simply stating that to me it makes sense that someone in-the-know would put it that way and that as a physicist, he's in a good position to questions our "mere acceptance" of physical laws. 2) It is indeed correct that we simply do not know yet. That's the very reason I tend to take Dawkins explanations with a grain of salt. The fundamentals aren't there yet. That doesn't mean there aren't any. But with our limited knowledge come limited answers. Any conclusions we make beyond what can be positively established is probably influenced by our own desire for it to be so.

    For example: Dawkins suggests that one of the reasons individuals have a propensity towards "religion" is due to an innate sense of "trust", which is critical in the development of children. This, according to Dawkins, makes them "primed" for absorbing societal and religious teachings which can be manipulated by religion. He parallels this to the moth instinct for navigation by the light of the moon and stars which also cause it to fly into a burning fire. The problem is that, while the comparison is clever indeed, the known traits of moths' (and other species') navigation capabilities are clearly embedded in genetics while the same, at least the sense of "trust", cannot be plainly demonstrate genetically in humans.

    His "misapplication" of such traits is what leads to negative results, like religion. He makes the same argument about "dualism". He says that we are all born "dualists" with the ability to think of "other", such as an imaginary playmate. That also sets us up for the "otherness" of religion. So to him, religion is a by-product of errors in specific "modules" that are misdirected. The problem is that this is contrary to his assertion that Natural Selection is "ruthlessly efficient". Above all, he describes no experiment via which this can be established.

  • sizemik

    My contention is (and I fail to see language manipulation) that Dawkins credibility as a scientist or at least as an expert on the subject he purports to write about should be (must be) more than litany of point for or against something. . . . Etude

    I was addressing a single claim in your post . . . you have acknowleged that (I think). Once again . . . you can make a valid point without overstating the intent of the author of a particular quote. His entire position is not contigent upon a single simple comment (which is quite valid IMO).

    If that is too hard to swallow . . . then I am more than happy to "agree to disagree"

  • Etude

    bohm: " And its a moot point to point out science do not provide a complete account of reality; ofcouse it does not, everyone is aware of that. "

    I understand that in a sense, it seems an obvious conclusion of Science. But unfortunately, it seems to me that due to its patent obviousness, its significance is ignored. It becomes the big elephant in the lab nobody wants to talk about. I just went through this exercise and I feel like my head is about to explode. It was covered on this thread: Re: REALITY may not be what you think .

    My experience with Science is that, the more we learn the less we know. This is why it's important to ask the hard questions. We challenge theism by asking who made God and who made him who made God and so on, or simply say that He always existed. Once we believed that the universe had always existed, a no less privileged proposition. Now we have established its age and have gone on to asking what was before it came into being. That there are no forthcoming answers does not mean we should stop asking or that we should jump on the most convenient band wagon for comfort.

    Clearly, as I stated right after your post (4745) (our posts got crossed), the type of faith that allows us to accept Einstein's field equations is not what they justify in church. But it is a contention of many physicists that there are instances where the application of Einstein's field equations and the physical laws associated with them simply break down and have no meaning, particularly at the nanoscopic level, rendering matter to statistical chaos. How then do we trust that the laws are uniform and really are universal? How can we account that those laws are responsible for the world we live in (including Abiogenesis and Evolution) if we can't explain their "exceptions"? We either have to find a different framework or revise our previous conclusions. We have done that many times, most notable since Isaac Newton.

  • Etude

    sizemik: I'm happy to agree to disagree as well. But mainly, I was considering Dawkins' work ("The God Delusion") as a whole to ascribe to him how time after time he makes the same conclusions from interesting propositions without demonstrating what he claims is the Darwinian Imperative. He says:

    "Knowing that we are products of Darwinian evolution, we should ask what pressure or pressures exerted by natural selection originally favoured the impulse to religion. The question gains urgency from standard Darwinian considerations of economy. Religion is so wasteful, so extravagant; and Darwinian selection habitually targets and eliminates waste. Nature is a miserly accountant, grudging the pennies, watching the clock, punishing the smallest extravagance...If an animal habitually performs some useless activity, natural selection will favour rival individuals...But my preoccupation in this chapter is with Darwinian ultimate explanations. If neuroscientists find a 'god centre' in the brain, Darwinian scientists like me will want to understand the natural selection pressure that favoured it." The God delusion, pages 163, 166, 167

    I just don't see that he clearly demonstrates the Darwinian process via which these "impulses" came to be so pervasive in humanity.

  • bohm

    Etude: perhaps the laws arent uniform. Its something being seriously considered by science, but i fail to see where this is going, you seem to insist there is a failure somewhere in mainstream scientific thinking by bringing up examples of things all scientists are aware of. If you dont like dawkins on cosmology, good! Read a book by an actual cosmologist, i am sure dawkins would agree...

  • Jeffro
    Evolution Teaches That Humans are Animals, So Bestiality is Ok!

    This is called a non sequitur.

    A conclusion about the supposed morality of bestiality has nothing to do with humans being similar to other biological organisms.

    One could just as 'easily' conclude: Humans drink cows' milk, so bestiality is ok

    They're entirely separate matters.

  • NewChapter

    sorry to have generalized on the stable species, I was referring to that "extinct" fish known only in fossils, stone imprints, that turned up in fishermen's nets in south africa. extinction of course in not change for the better

    Here is an idea that may widen how you view a process. Rather than thinking in terms of better/worse---good/evil, etc, think in terms of adaptation. Rather than judge the outcome, look and see how that outcome came about.

    Better in what sense? Austrolopithecus is extinct, and yet SOME individuals adapted to the changing environment, and that led to us, eventually. Was that a bad outcome? I don't think so. The individuals lived their lives, and their offspring that were able to adapt to changes lived theirs, and our offspring that are fit for the environment will live their lives, and that process will continue until this earth ceases to support life. Is that a worse outcome? Are smaller jaws a worse outcome if we don't need the chewing power anymore, and those resources can be used by our bodies to support other systems that we do need? Will the changes eventually lead to speciation---and in that way---Sapien will eventually become extinct, but we will have lived, and our descendents continue to live, but as a different species? We don't know what pressures will present and how they will change us, but this is not a sad story. This is a wonderful story of life adapting. If Sapien becomes extinct, it does not make the life we have experienced any less valid, and it will make way for a species better equipped to handle the new environmental pressures! THEY could not exist if WE didn't exist, and we are all connected and all play a part in the direction we are moving in.

    That said, I don't think we should introduce pressures that we can control to push a species into extinction. For our own sake, we like that tigers roam the earth, so there is nothing wrong with not hunting them to extinction, or destroying their environment so badly they can't exist anymore. We are different in that we can see the outcome of our actions and we can plan to minimize the impact. I would not be sad if bacteria that caused horrible disease became extinct. But I would be sad if tigers became extinct through our actions. It's needless and it deprives us of much. It's something we have some control over.

    But as far as ancient species that have become extinct, I don't necessarily view that as a 'worse' outcome, because it was part of a process that brought us here.

  • Jeffro

    In the same vein as NewChapter's comment, creationists often seem to think of things in terms of a 'goal'. As if humans are the 'apex' of design. This is flawed in two fundamental ways.

    Firstly, there is no pre-set 'goal' in evolution. 'Natural selection' doesn't 'try' to make an advanced fully-formed 'eye' (or any other structure). Organisms that happen to have a very slight adaptation advantageous to their environment are more likely to survive - and pass on the advantage to offspring. These develop into more complex structures over millions of years. This doesn't mean that every organism with an advantageous adaptation will survive. Nor does it mean that evolution is 'trying' to reach some specific goal.

    Secondly, there are various 'structural flaws' in the human body as a tradeoff for other advantageous features. For example, the adaptation of organs in the human throat for complex speech have the unfortunate side-effect that, unlike apes, it is relatively easy for humans to have food get caught in the airway due to the high positioning of the larynx.

  • Etude

    bohm: No. Here's where you miss the point: I'm not, repeat, am not insisting that there's a failure somewhere in the mainstream scientific thinking. I'm insisting that mainstream scientific thinking realizes and admits that there are limitations to our theories and therefore (pay attention now), it is not right for some proponents like Dawkins to make assertions that mainstream scientific thinking does not promote. He can wax prosaically all day long about what happens and it won't make any difference to the weakness of his conclusions. It's not about liking Dawkins on any particular subject. It's about accepting whether or not a proposal is sound and derivative of evidence, regardless of whether or not Dawkins agrees or disagrees.

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