Friday, July 24, 2009

Purposeful order or accidental order?










Continued from a Fine Tuning of the universe post...http://vessel-of-clay.blogspot.com/2009/07/fine-tuning-of-universe.html?showComment=1248484033916#c8942741036086708178

Cantareous said:
"The fact is our universe is fine tuned. But I fail to see how that is strong evidence for God. All it means is that the physical constants we observe aren't random."

An orchid production complex is made up of constants that work together without a single designer moving every bit. But the orchid production complex needed to be ordered in its constants the way it is, in order to achieve the amazing attributes it has. A snowflake is a wonderful explanation of a Lawmaker's lawmaking that makes a snowflake be a snowflake.

I have evidence of complex things being designed around me but none that I know of that has formed itself without a designer and whose constants just happened to be rightly connected with each other.

Theists are fulfilling the burden of proof for what we believe. Fine tuning is evidence for God. Fine tuning is not evidence against God.

Atheism needs to fulfill the burden of proof for its belief in naturalism over God.
Also proof for it's dis-belief in God just as theism tries to fulfill the burden of proof for its dis-belief in the non-existence of God.

Seek God!

DB

34 comments:

  1. Your argument seems to boil down to this: People are intelligent and they make lots of complex stuff. There's complex stuff in nature therefore something intelligent was responsible for that too. But that's unscientific, how would you show that such an idea is false? You cant.

    Life is complex so the universe must support complexity otherwise we couldn't exist. This makes room in our universe for lots of other less complex things like snowflakes etc. I would argue that our universe is fine tuned for life. But not that it was fine tuned for the formation of snowflakes. Snowflakes are just a random side-effect.

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  2. Hey cantareus,

    "But that's unscientific, how would you show that such an idea is false? You cant."

    If that is the way you see it then atheism is unscientific, how can I show that the non-existence of God...naturalism is false?

    We ALL have a belief and we must choose the best conclusion with the evidence we have. Where there is orderliness...I logically conclude there is a designer.
    Where you see orderliness it seems you see that it has no designer.

    DB

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  3. A more scientific was to state at that statement would be to say "If complex objects require a creator then there should be no purely natural processes that create complex objects." This is falsifiable, if complex objects don't require a creator then it should be possible to find natural explanations for their existence. If they do you will never find complex objects created by natural processes.

    Where there is "orderliness" I logically conclude there is a reason, I think we're in agreement here, but you jump further than that to the conclusion that only an intelligent designer can be that reason.

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  4. Hey Cantareus,

    "but you jump further than that to the conclusion that only an intelligent designer can be that reason."

    No, I conclude that it is the best reason. Best implies comparing it with other views.

    "A more scientific was to state at that statement would be to say "If complex objects require a creator then there should be no purely natural processes that create complex objects." This is falsifiable, if complex objects don't require a creator then it should be possible to find natural explanations for their existence. If they do you will never find complex objects created by natural processes."

    Sorry, I struggled to get my head around what you are saying in this paragraph. Could you rephrase it?

    I think you are saying that all complex objects are made by natural processors, therefore every complex object requires a natural development.
    I assume you apply this to God.

    Well, theists don't believe in created gods. I believe in an intelligent Being that is infinite...you believe that the simplest infinite form of something formed itself unguided into something complex.

    We know that complex objects can be preceded by something more complex... eg. I would say that the orchid production complex is complex but it was not made up of/by simpler constants but by a higher power...us.

    Therefore we have evidence of complex things being preceded by more complex things. Why can't our universe be like that?

    I hope I am clear.

    cheers,

    DB

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  5. "I think you are saying that all complex objects are made by natural processors, therefore every complex object requires a natural development.
    I assume you apply this to God."

    That is not what I'm saying at all. My statement can go either way depending on what we observe in nature. Here's an analogous examples. Which is the better statement?

    "Conservation of momentum has never been disproved therefore it is impossible to have situations where momentum is not conserved."
    Or
    "If momentum is conserved then there will never be observations to the contrary."


    "Therefore we have evidence of complex things being preceded by more complex things. Why can't our universe be like that?"
    I see it the other way. I am a complex object, a human. if I create another complex object say, a hammer I would argue that the complexity of a human is less than that of a human with a hammer.

    Furthermore a human with a hammer is able to build more complex objects than a human without a hammer, all other things being equal.

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  7. Cantareus,

    The human body is not only complex, the innermost workings of human DNA is digital which implies design. Design implies a designer. Does it not?

    Shalom

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  8. Why does digital imply design?

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  9. No Doubt,
    You said,
    "Design implies a designer. Does it not?"

    In non-biological artifacts like paintings, trucks, and houses that is emminently true.
    However, in biological life forms, it is not true.
    You are a product of your parents and you are somewhat different from them due to the mixing of their genes and slight changes in your own DNA. That in no way infers a designer.

    By the way, I am still waiting for an answer from you in the Fine tuning thread.

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  10. ND,

    The innermost workings of human DNA are not digital. It is not based on numbers.

    If by digital you mean it is not continuous (for having those four letter to write everything), I would tell you that the information in DNA has no respect whatsoever for what a computational scientists would expect from a decent hard drive. Genes shorten and elongate, change their meaning completely, or just change in little pieces, recombine with similar genes. Even recombine with pieces it should not recombine.

    Imagine if you tried to open that file where you are writing your 2009 report and by half of it you found that it no longer has what you wrote there, but the beginning of a short story you were writing somewhere else. Yep, no respect . Recombinations do not even happen at the same levels or similar positions among genes.

    Unless "digital" means something else in your lexicon you are a bit off. DNA is quite the organic, "analogous," thing. One that seems to be "digital" (instead of binary it would be quaternary), but only in a shallow way. Otherwise my job would be much easier.

    G.E.

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  11. Even if the inner works of DNA were "digital" you jump quite easily into "if digital then designed". Which is a no sequitur ... (and if calling you on fallacies is insulting you, then save it.)

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  12. "The human body is not only complex, the innermost workings of human DNA is digital which implies design."

    Are we speaking of "Dititial" as opposed to "Analogue?"

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  13. Froggie said:

    "In non-biological artifacts like paintings, trucks, and houses that is emminently true.
    However, in biological life forms, it is not true."

    Would you say all the constants of our universe non-biological?
    In biological lifeforms it can be true, complex design formed by un-guided components seems more ridiculous to me.

    I'll borrow a quote from a friend of mine that shows that biological formation can be preceded by design.

    "Just a comment RE: Dawkins' quote in there: "design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe."

    There's two clauses in that statement
    1st premise: design cannot precede evolution
    2nd clause: therefore design cannot underlie the universe (what he doesn't say and is assumed is that the universe is evolving).

    Now the important thing is to examine the first premise, because you should never automatically accept a premise.

    "design cannot precede evolution"

    Why not? Is it truly impossible? Let me provide an example, that many people who have done school science or biology will be familiar with. As an experiment in observing bacterial growth, you get a petri dish containing agar jelly. Then you place some yeast/bacteria onto the agar. Step 3: you watch the bacteria flourish (this is, in a sense, an evolution).

    So we have A) designed an experiment and B) observed the natural process of the bacteria evolving as a result. This seems quite clearly to me of a case where design precedes evolution. It also seems like a neat little analogy for the Bible & God. He designed/created Earth & gave the first spark of life, but then allowed man & beast free-will to evolve in a way that is a direct result of their choices. God designed evolution.

    We can break Dawkins' argument into a syllogism:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylogism

    1. The universe is evolving
    2. Design cannot precede evolution
    3. Ergo design cannot underlie the universe

    I believe 2. is a false premise. Many scientists design experiments that then evolve of their own accord, so design in fact can precede evolution, thus negating/refuting his conclusion. If design can precede evolution (and I certainly think it can as scientists do it every day), then surely it remains possible that design does underlie the universe."

    Note that I am unconvinced of macro-evolution as proven :)



    cheers guys,

    DB

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  14. I said: "Therefore we have evidence of complex things being preceded by more complex things. Why can't our universe be like that?"

    Cantareus replied... "I see it the other way. I am a complex object, a human. if I create another complex object say, a hammer I would argue that the complexity of a human is less than that of a human with a hammer."

    So you are assuming that all complex things are made up of less complex things, including our universe?

    "Which is the better statement?

    "Conservation of momentum has never been disproved therefore it is impossible to have situations where momentum is not conserved."
    Or
    "If momentum is conserved then there will never be observations to the contrary.""

    The second is more open obviously.
    Design can and does precede complexity so to say that Design has not preceded our universe is wrong.
    We cannot say "We just don't know" because it is on a more important matter than just "design" or "no design"...like flipping a coin.

    You choose to have faith that there is no Design preceding the universe by living and thinking as if there is none. (This equals more than saying "I don't know?").

    I choose to have faith in Design preceding the universe by living and thinking as if there is.

    Faith is evidence of things unseen the Bible tells us.

    Cya,

    DB

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  15. You guys keep making statements like "Design can and does precede complexity" what you don't understand is that we (can I speak for everyone else? not really :P ) don't care about what arguments form using such statements. We want you to tell us why these statements are true. If you mean design sometimes precedes complexity then your argument is meaningless, if you mean design always precedes complexity then focus on showing us why this is true, when we both accept that then you can use it to form other arguments. If we don't accept your premises we'll never accept the arguments you use them in.

    Science wouldn't work if scientists never said "I don't know" it is the driving force of science. You don't know something, so you find out.

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  16. cantareus

    "We want you to tell us why these statements are true."

    I have already demonstrated that design can precede complexity and where there is complexity there generally is design. It is about providing evidence and taking the best option.

    "Science wouldn't work if scientists never said "I don't know" it is the driving force of science. You don't know something, so you find out."

    It is different with God. You either believe or you don't...God effects us. If you choose not to believe it is a choice, not a middle ground.

    Eg. Then you could have someone saying "I don't know if there is a God but I choose to live as if there is one"
    But you are saying "I don't know if there is a no God but I choose to live as if there is none"

    DB

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  17. Cantareous,

    "Why does digital imply design?"

    All random things in nature are of an analog type. That includes evolution. Anything that is design is of a digital nature.

    SETI uses this as the basis for their search for Extra-terrestrial life.

    Shalom

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  18. Froggie and Get Education,

    You indicated that human DNA is not digital. As with your understanding of entropy is wrong, so is you understanding of the human genome.

    Not only is human DNA digital, there is some major discussion going on as to whether the digital code within DNA is error correcting.

    Here are some links to fill in your knowledge.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v421/n6921/abs/nature01410.html

    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn58/tinycode.htm

    http://www.allaboutscience.org/dna-double-helix.htm

    A link discussing whether it is error correcting. Notice, it does not say it is not digital.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1998APS..MAR.G1202L

    Shalom My Friends

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  19. Get Educated,

    ""Even if the inner works of DNA were "digital" you jump quite easily into "if digital then designed". "

    Once again, not my definition, but science. Ask SETI for one.

    Also, name one digital system that is or was not designed. You can't. However, for the record, I didn't say it proved design, instead I said, it implied design, therefore implies a designer.

    Shalom

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  20. Cantareous,

    "We want you to tell us why these statements are true. If you mean design sometimes precedes complexity then your argument is meaningless, if you mean design always precedes complexity then focus on showing us why this is true, when we both accept that then you can use it to form other arguments. If we don't accept your premises we'll never accept the arguments you use them in."

    Other than the fact that you can't see the obvious, please show me a digital complex system that wasn't designed.

    "Science wouldn't work if scientists never said "I don't know" it is the driving force of science. You don't know something, so you find out."

    Nor does, "I don't believe it" work in the scientific community.

    Shalom

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  21. Froggie,

    I'm sorry. I did not see your request in the other blog. I will get on it as soon as I get home. I'm presently on break and I have a limited time.

    Shalom

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  22. No Doubt said:

    Design implies a designer. 

    Absolutely. What you have not shown is that you can reliably detect design, which is also a conveniently ambiguous term. Indeed, the opposite has been shown in various experiments: that humans "detect" patterns where there are none.

    Da Bomb said:

    Many scientists design experiments that then evolve of their own accord, so design in fact can precede evolution 

    No. The scientists evolved before they designed the experiment, which also evolved. Whether you realize it or not, you've erected a straw man. Sure, design by the evolved precedes evolution propagated by the evolved, but the claim is that there was no design whatsoever before there was at least some evolution.

    So you are assuming that all complex things are made up of less complex things, including our universe? 

    I don't read his statement as saying this at all -- rather, I see the admission that complex things can and do design things which are less complex, and that limited complexity can apparently produce greater complexity. Perhaps I presume much, but anyone who's written a computer program or algorithm knows that a basic set of inputs can nonetheless produce an apparently complex output.

    Anyway, what I ultimately see is that we all admit that designed things have designers, but we differ on what is and is not designed. Again, no one has shown that the universe, or anything beyond a very limited scope (of explicit human or animal design) has been designed, and even if they could, it is a non sequitur wrapped in question begging to jump to the existence of a particular deity (with a particular set of espoused doctrines) from a proof of design.

    Faith is evidence of things unseen the Bible tells us. 

    Actually, that's taken from Hebrews 11:1, in the KJV, but Young's Literal translation tells a different story (with which the NIV seems to agree), which is far more in keeping with the current definition of "faith":

    2 b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof
    (2): complete trust
    3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction
     

    So faith isn't evidence, but rather the belief in something in spite of a lack of evidence.

    It is different with God. You either believe or you don't... 

    How is it different? The concept of god is abstract, yes? Like considering a future event, yes?

    Is it not possible to be uncertain as to the actual existence of an abstract concept? Some people affirm the existence of god, some people deny the existence of god, and yes, some people neither affirm nor deny the existence of god, recognizing that they lack sufficient information to make a positive claim, one way or another.

    This is honesty, more than anything, and it is why few atheists adhere to "strong atheism," since it truly is faith-based (although it is far more likely than the existence of any exclusive deity's religion).

    --
    Stan

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  23. No Doubt said:

    All random things in nature are of an analog type. That includes evolution. Anything that is design [sic] is of a digital nature.

    SETI uses this as the basis for their search for Extra-terrestrial life.
     

    This is a fiction, however useful to its user. On a purely macroscopic scale, things in nature do appear to be analog (which seems to be used here as a synonym for 'continuous'), but we should all recognize by now -- even if we don't understand it -- that Quantum Mechanics shows that at small enough scales this analog picture gives way to a discontinuous system, where discrete jumps from one level to another occur, and ne'er the twain shall meet.

    If, however, "[a]nything that is design[ed] is of a digital nature," then what is a wheel?

    I suspect, though, that different connotations of "digital" and "analog" are being used by the different commenters...

    If by "digital" you mean a repetitive signal on a discrete (set of) wavelength(s), then again, nature is full of such signals. Indeed, their usefulness spans such disparate aspects as being the basis for methods by which we calculate the distances to extra-galactic objects, to the basis on which fishermen have cast their nets for millennia.

    In reality, though, SETI searches not for any "digital" sequences like ascending primes, Fibonacci numbers, or other series of integers, but they instead search for an apparently 'tuned' signal. Indeed, even if an apparent ET source were discovered, it is unlikely that we'd be able to decode it, and it is far from certain we'd even be able to identify that it was truly an intentional signal -- the only reason to suspect as much would be if it were a narrow-band emission.

    As to the articles you cited in support of "digital" DNA, I think we all agree that the 4-character nature of DNA can be classified as "digital," as in "uses digits," but as for the articles...

    Let's put it this way:

    The first link was for Nature, and hardly supports your position, other than the fact that it describes the 4-character language of DNA as "digital." If you think otherwise, however, please identify the "three diverse time spans" across which the article describes the "digital information in genomes" as operating.

    The Harvard link, incidentally, has no full-text article -- either that or its full-text link is dead -- and it simply states that error checking was not found via their methods.

    As to all this, though, two simple facts remain:

    1) Digital does not imply designed/designer

    2) It has not been shown that we can reliably detect 'design'


    Apart from these, we still have the non sequitur of jumping from 'possible designer' to 'must be the Christian god,' so even if we allowed, for the sake of argument, that there might be a designer, your work is by no means completed.

    Also, it has been demonstrated by various computer programs that mindless, automated processes can produce design, so, again: even if designer, not necessarily Christian god -- possibly, even, dumb process.

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  24. Oops -- I forgot to expand on the provided links as I had intended...

    Aside from the Nature and Harvard links, the other two are for blatant Christian organizations more or less masquerading as bona fide sources for scientific information...

    --
    Stan

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  25. Stan,

    Thanks!

    Well, yeah, I was trying to get ND to tell me what he meant by "digital"

    ND, I am a molecular biologist by training. Also, unlike you, I understand when scientists are using a metaphor for describing the works of DNA. But we know quite well that metaphors fail at one point or another.

    SETI is not searching "digital" sinals, but patterns. Patterns that obviate intelligence. As Stan told you, it is quite hard to come with a pattern that we could unequivocally call "intelligent." Prime numbers, stuff like that is thought of because we know of no natural thing that produces such thing, but still, we might not be able to decide that easily.

    "Digital", again, does not mean designed. Again, you have not told us what entropy has to do with anything. Which is what you should have started with. As far as I can tell, you have a very basic understanding of entropy. Well learned, but very basic. You even fail to see the connection between entropy in physics and in informational sciences.

    But I am not asking you to defend your knowledge. but to actually tell me what the claim is. Since you do not do that, Entropy cannot but be a red-herring you are throwing at us.

    G.E.

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  26. Da Bomb,

    I agree cantareus with that a person with a hammer is more complex than a person alone.

    We do increase "complexity", but do so locally. This at the expense of something else (high-quality energy). The argument from "order" is quite the failure, [entropy] is in the list of "arguments we do not use" at AiG. Check it out.

    The problem is often one of making it easy to understand on both sides. The Universe does not become more complex when we build a hammer. The complexity increases only locally, but the energy used for that (for building a hammer) "degrades" in the sense that it becomes a kind of energy that is harder to use (not impossible, but harder--heat). All of the "entropy arguments" from Christianity ignore this very detail. That order can increase locally, and that such thing does not break any laws of physics.

    G.E.

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  27. Stan,

    "1) Digital does not imply designed/designer

    2) It has not been shown that we can reliably detect 'design'"

    Opinion, not provable, stated as fact.

    We already said that we believe, by faith, that it implies design, therefore a designer. You do not. Your faith is in something else.

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  28. GE,

    " I am a molecular biologist by training. Also, unlike you, I understand when scientists are using a metaphor for describing the works of DNA. But we know quite well that metaphors fail at one point or another."

    You're not serious. You honestly expect us to believe that scientists are arguing over metaphors. Please restate, for you cannot mean what I think you're saying.

    Also, give it up. I've given you the relationship between entropy and the anthropy principle three separate times. Are you trying to see how many times you can get me to write it.

    Is your relationship with Stan rubbing off on you? That's almost as silly as his writing. I still can't believe he's a Physics student. He must be in his tenth year of a two year program.

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  29. Really, No Doubt? That's your response?

    You said:

    Anything that is design [sic] is of a digital design. 

    And yet, when I claim otherwise, including specific examples of naturally occurring 'digital' events (at least, 'digital' in the way you're using the term), my statement is "Opinion, not provable. Stated as fact"?!

    Who exactly are you kidding here?

    You made quite a few bald assertions, which I refuted with example, yet you have the audacity to claim that I'm the one stating unprovable opinion as fact. Got it.

    As long as I'm dodging childish insults, however, I want your answer:

    Please identify the "three diverse time spans" across which the Nature article you referenced describes the "digital information in genomes" as operating. 

    Pretty please.

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  30. Stan,

    "Anyway, what I ultimately see is that we all admit that designed things have designers, but we differ on what is and is not designed. Again, no one has shown that the universe, or anything beyond a very limited scope (of explicit human or animal design) has been designed, and even if they could, it is a non sequitur wrapped in question begging to jump to the existence of a particular deity (with a particular set of espoused doctrines) from a proof of design."

    Nor have you been able to show that there is no Intelligent Designer which is abstract as well, you believe in something else that is abstract.

    I said: "Faith is evidence of things unseen the Bible tells us."

    You replied: "Actually, that's taken from Hebrews 11:1, in the KJV, but Young's Literal translation tells a different story (with which the NIV seems to agree), which is far more in keeping with the current definition of "faith":

    2 b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof
    (2): complete trust
    3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction

    So faith isn't evidence, but rather the belief in something in spite of a lack of evidence."

    Misuse of terms again. Blindly accepting the NIV interpretation as true... notice it says "firm belief in something for which there is no "PROOF""
    Evidence is not proof. I believe strongly and put my trust in God with evidence...you believe strongly enough in no God to put your faith in the notion of no God.

    I said: "It is different with God. You either believe or you don't..."

    You replied: "How is it different? The concept of god is abstract, yes? Like considering a future event, yes?

    Is it not possible to be uncertain as to the actual existence of an abstract concept? Some people affirm the existence of god, some people deny the existence of god, and yes, some people neither affirm nor deny the existence of god, recognizing that they lack sufficient information to make a positive claim, one way or another.

    This is honesty, more than anything, and it is why few atheists adhere to "strong atheism," since it truly is faith-based (although it is far more likely than the existence of any exclusive deity's religion)."

    People can either live as if there is no God or not. There is no middle ground.
    I do not have enough faith to believe and stake/live my life with the faith that this universe has no Designer or accept God as a myth and the origin of a universe with no Intelligence.

    cheers,

    DB

    P.S. Keith, I agree with you brother! where there is design...as far as we know there is a designer. Shalom

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  31. ND,

    You're not serious. You honestly expect us to believe that scientists are arguing over metaphors. Please restate, for you cannot mean what I think you're saying.

    You honestly expect us to believe that scientists are arguing about a digital nature of DNA?

    There is no such arguing. The "digital nature" of DNA is a metaphor. Yes, scientists use tons of metaphors, even for arguing. While it is not the case that scientist are seriously arguing about DNA's "digital" nature, there are arguments built over metaphors. It is often when someone reminds everybody else that such description is a metaphor that the arguments can find a solution.

    Again, the metaphor breaks in many ways once you learn the details about the working of DNA. The metaphor is quite useful for explaining and for understanding.

    You have never stated what entropy has to do with anything. References to someone's "list" that I cannot find do not constitute a claim.

    I do learn quite a bit from Stan, so thanks for the compliment.

    G.E.

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  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  33. ND,


    From Stan:

    1) Digital does not imply designed/designer

    2) It has not been shown that we can reliably detect 'design'"

    From ND:

    Opinion, not provable, stated as fact.


    No just opinion. We know that we cannot reliably detect design. Both Stan and me explained this to you. Scientists agree. Take a deeper look into how SETI scientists expect to be able to distinguish an intelligent signal from some natural artifact.

    We already said that we believe, by faith, that it implies design, therefore a designer. You do not. Your faith is in something else.

    If you believe this by faith, then, again, this is not an argument for any gods. It is empty babbling.

    G.E.

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  34. I just read the article in nature. The authors are using the term "digital" to mean "information containing." Neither to mean "computerized," not to mean "discontinuous."

    They do not argue over whether the nature of DNA is digital or not.

    Still a metaphor.

    G.E.

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