Dynamical Systems and Intelligent Design

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  • #26
Zero
Originally posted by talus
Originally posted by Zero

We're on the same page against ID, confutatis. I'm just coming at it from a different angle, specifically how ID tries to claim information theory as support. But, of course, evolution isn't random, it is guided and shapped by the environment.......


Help us understand your premise Zero from a different angle.

You say "evolution isn't random, it is guided and shaped by the environment"

Please clarify:

1) What properties to guide and shape does the environment have?

2) Where exactly does the ability to shape or guide reside in an environment?

3) What random occurences guides or shapes the formation of an environment?

4) Does an environment need to be present before or after natural selection?

5) What immutable constant laws maintain a stable environment?
1) Environmental factors include weather, food supply, predators, as well as radiation and chemicals which may be ingested or absorbed through the skin, and other facotrs as well.

2) It resides in the environment's ability to prevent or facilitate reproduction, and well as the environment's ability to cause mutations.

3) Weather, geological formations, radiation, some mutation, and other factors can carry a random element to them.

4) This question doesn't make sense. Everything exists within some sort of environment, after all.

5) I've never heard of a completely stable environment, so why would there be a law for it?
 
  • #27
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Originally posted by Tom
Scott's argument doesn't assume that human intelligence is the only intelligence in the universe. His contention is that fractals can be generated by unintelligent means (that is, unless you want to argue that the nonlinear dynamical systems in nature are thinking about what they are doing). What he is attempting to do is remove the necessity of an intelligent designer.

But the problem with his argument is that it ignores the argument that is raised by ID people most often: What designed the nonlinear dynamical system?
Yes, I see what you are saying but I still say it is flawed. The only basis he has for saying that fractals can be generated by unintelligent means is by claiming that they don't require humans to do it. This automatically assumes that all non-human generation is unintelligent which basically assumes the conclusion that the universe is not designed.
 
  • #28
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Originally posted by Zero
And, BTW, ID is magical thinking, and so is a huge chunk of what goes on in "philosophical" conversations. IMO, philosophy seems to sometimes take a huge step backwards in human knowledge and logic, instead of advancing forwards, at least as evidenced by those who find "supernatural" causes for things.
I think this is true but it is true of "bad" philosophy. And I will agree that there is alot of that in these forums. But I am a believer that philosphy has it's place when done properly and can contribute much to the advancement of knowledge.
 
  • #29
confutatis
Originally posted by Zero
IMO, philosophy seems to sometimes take a huge step backwards in human knowledge and logic, instead of advancing forwards, at least as evidenced by those who find "supernatural" causes for things.
One of the major problems faced by philosophy is to justify commonsense. It's very easy to prove that A follows logically from B. It's extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove that anything exists or happens at all. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the supernatural, as even seemingly trivial things taken for facts are just acts of faith in disguise.

The reason I don't like ID is because it tries to explain the supernatural rather than accept that it exists. That is just too naive.
 
  • #30
Zero
Originally posted by confutatis
One of the major problems faced by philosophy is to justify commonsense. It's very easy to prove that A follows logically from B. It's extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove that anything exists or happens at all. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the supernatural, as even seemingly trivial things taken for facts are just acts of faith in disguise.

The reason I don't like ID is because it tries to explain the supernatural rather than accept that it exists. That is just too naive.
Why would anyone "accept" the existance of something with no logical or evidential support for it?
 
  • #31
confutatis
Originally posted by Zero
Why would anyone "accept" the existance of something with no logical or evidential support for it?
Because you can be skeptical of some things but not of everything. Ultimately everything can be doubted, including logic and evidence, but that doesn't mean everything must be doubted. So how do we pick what to doubt and what to accept without questioning? Or, specifically, why should we accept "logic" and "evidential support" when there's no logic or evidential support that those things exist or are true?
 
  • #32
Zero
Originally posted by confutatis
Because you can be skeptical of some things but not of everything. Ultimately everything can be doubted, including logic and evidence, but that doesn't mean everything must be doubted. So how do we pick what to doubt and what to accept without questioning? Or, specifically, why should we accept "logic" and "evidential support" when there's no logic or evidential support that those things exist or are true?
Because if we ignore those two things, then there is no way to make any coherent statement about anything at all. If literally anything can be true, then there is no basis for claiming that anything can be true.
 
  • #33
russ_watters
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Originally posted by confutatis
...but that doesn't mean everything must be doubted. So how do we pick what to doubt and what to accept without questioning?
How (or who?) do we decide what can and can't be accepted/questioned? Seems to me to be a very arbitrary way to pursue knowledge, leading to no logically consistent answers.
 
  • #34
Zero
And, whether you like it or not, this thread goes to show that scientific-style evidence and logic is more respected than the "anything goes" philosophy of the woowoo crowd. After all, just look at the creationists struggling to find any link to science to legitimize their position.
 
  • #35
confutatis
Originally posted by Zero
And, whether you like it or not, this thread goes to show that scientific-style evidence and logic is more respected than the "anything goes" philosophy of the woowoo crowd.
I always find it strange when people talk about science in a passionate tone. Isn't that anti-scientific?

After all, just look at the creationists struggling to find any link to science to legitimize their position.
I tend to notice something far more interesting: only scientists and their enthusiasts worry about that. To the rest of us, it sounds like a silly debate between a PhD and a three year-old child. That scientists get the better of it shouldn't surprise anyone. That they actually bother is really hard to believe.
 
  • #36
selfAdjoint
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Why do scientists worry about creationists? Years ago I had lunch with my coworkers. This was in the midwest US and there were two software people and an engineer besides me. The talk got around to evolution and I was the only one at the table who believed in it. These were all college graduates!

Scientists worry about creationists because the US population is gradually sliding into superstition, and the creationists are supplying the grease.
 
  • #37
Zero
Originally posted by confutatis
I always find it strange when people talk about science in a passionate tone. Isn't that anti-scientific?



I tend to notice something far more interesting: only scientists and their enthusiasts worry about that. To the rest of us, it sounds like a silly debate between a PhD and a three year-old child. That scientists get the better of it shouldn't surprise anyone. That they actually bother is really hard to believe.
Do you realize that the creationists are coming close to forcing their views to be taught in classrooms? THAT'S why we worry about their idiocy, because they insist on spreading it to children.
 
  • #38
confutatis
Originally posted by selfAdjoint
Why do scientists worry about creationists? Years ago I had lunch with my coworkers. This was in the midwest US and there were two software people and an engineer besides me. The talk got around to evolution and I was the only one at the table who believed in it. These were all college graduates!
I'm not sure why disbelieving evolution is a problem. Our species has survived millions of years believing in gods and spirits; it could well be argued that belief in the supernatural is an evolutionary advantage. Why change it and risk our future?

Scientists worry about creationists because the US population is gradually sliding into superstition, and the creationists are supplying the grease.
Superstition may be like sexual desire: even though some minority strongly disapproves of it, it has been hardwired in people's genes by millions of years of evolution and, other than short periods of strong repression, there's not much that can be done about it. Which is a good thing, at least in the case of sex.

Creationists, without realizing it, are just carrying out what their genes programmed them to do.

Originally posted by Zero
Do you realize that the creationists are coming close to forcing their views to be taught in classrooms? THAT'S why we worry about their idiocy, because they insist on spreading it to children.
If you think creationism is the worst idiocy children can be exposed to, you haven't watched TV in a long time. I don't see a lot of scientists complaining of dumb TV programming.
 
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  • #39
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Confutatis, I have to say thanks for the fresh perspective. I think you are right. I think what you're seeing is just individual people getting fired up over issues that they have a strong opinion about for whatever reason. These "specialists" get lost in the trees and always think their issue is the most important.

Of course, I think that a proper education in science is extremely important. But I'm not sure how you reconcile science that contradicts religious beliefs, in a free society. It's an unfortunate battle because the evidence is clear(in these forums at least) that those that get involved in this matter can't help but invest personally in it and therefore become close-minded to some extent. It's just human nature.

I'm having to be careful myself about getting too uptight about it which is why I like this perspective from Confutatis. The other day a female acquaintance asked me if I believed in god. When I didn't answer the way she wanted she got a frown on her face and said sarcastically "oh and I bet you believe in evolution too don't you?" After I said "yes", she preached to me about Jesus for a while. The whole time I'm fearfully thinking to myself "This women can vote!"

Even though I'm not militant about this topic, thanks again for the perspective. Some people need it more than I
 
  • #40
Zero
Originally posted by confutatis



If you think creationism is the worst idiocy children can be exposed to, you haven't watched TV in a long time. I don't see a lot of scientists complaining of dumb TV programming.
You've got me there...besides 1-2 shows, I haven't watched TV on a regular basis since 1997.
 

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