God, Suffering, Evil and Disease Revisited

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  • #76
Les Sleeth
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selfAdjoint said:
Isn't it funny how the more somebody, such as a molecular biologist, knows about how the human body works, the more she is likely to be a devoted evolutionist?

And it was ever thus; in the long ago, it was the doctors, with their long experiece, if no theory, of the human body who were most likely to be atheists with mechanist, or "physicalist" attitudes toward its working..

It is the folks whose ignorance of the factual human body is pasted over with sentimental mythological haze who deny natural selection and "soulless" functionalism.
Yes there is ignorance, and it does lead to unfounded beliefs. But there is more than one way to be ignorant. One can ignore everything, or most things, except what helps one survive or chase one's desires, for instance. Most people I meet don't know much more than what it takes to raise a family, do their job, and pursue their favorite recreations. There is a lot more to know than just that obviously.

Then there is the ignorance of someone who is really smart, but who only looks at one class of information, and then illogically concludes that everything is some form or another of what he is obsessed with. Because he "ignores" anything which isn't his chosen area, he remains ignorant of whatever is outside that. Because he is smart, his justifications for ignoring this information can be quite brilliant, but since in the end it results in ignoring things, it is nonetheless ignorance (albeit, cleverly disguised ignorance).

Also, I think you have to realize what can happen to an intelligent person who has been raised in a society where superstitious religious beliefs have been indoctrinated into its members from childhood on. If he's been convinced that creation happened in seven days and we all descended from Adam and Eve 7000 years ago, and then he starts investigating the universe and finds out what he's been taught doesn't make sense, what does he conclude?

Well, too many have concluded that the God thing is altogether false rather than conclude religion may be the problem. Because his only exposure to God has been through religion, he's assumed that God and religion are synonymous, and therefore the way it's all been represented by religion is how it must be to contemplate the possibility of some sort of universal consciousness at work in creation. So really, just how logical is he being? It reminds me of a female friend of mine who married a bully, got a divorce, and then married a wimp. The opposite of a bully isn't necessary a smart choice, and the opposite of religion is necessarily a smart philosophy.

BTW, it isn't from ignorance that I deny that natural selection et al can create and evolve life. It is due to being unable to find an adequate self-organizing mechanism present in physical potentials that can produce abiogenesis and the basis for evoultion. Show that and you'd have a real change in my willingness to contemplate physicalist philosophy.
 
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  • #77
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selfAdjoint said:
What? It's OUR fault that we're intelligent metazoan animals, doomed to die and to know it?
If you believe that that is evil and suffering, then, yes, its our fault. I, on the other hand, think that while this is our condition on earth, it is not necessarily our ultimate fate. I think that this but our first step in our spiritual and consciousness evolution and growth. And, Yes, that is Gods fault.

While I'm not sure exactly what "metazoan" means, it is still to be determined if we are intelligent or not.
 
  • #78
Rade
Les Sleeth said:
... It is due to being unable to find an adequate self-organizing mechanism present in physical potentials that can produce abiogenesis and the basis for evolution. Show that and you'd have a real change in my willingness to contemplate physicalist philosophy.
First, let me thank you for your very reasoned response to my last post. As to above, from my reading on this topic (especially in the area of cybernetics) the "mechanism" of self organization (for both non-living and living entities) derives from the concept called "emergence". Now, before you claim I somehow insult your intelligence--that is not my motive--I am trying to understand reality as you are. I offer here a possible avenue for you (and I and others) to study to get to your very important question--HOW ABIOGENESIS ? Of course we know it happened (i.e., life happened)--but HOW, that is the question. I suggest the answer may lie in concept of "emergence". Thus consider:

(1) ammonia is a gas, so is hydrogen chloride. When the two gases are mixed , the result is a solid. HOW IS THIS ? How does a solid derive via theory from two gases ?

(2) Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen are tasteless. Combine them and you get sugar with taste. HOW IS THIS ? How does taste derive from non-taste entities.

(3) There are ~ 20 amino acids in a bacteria cell. None of them have property of self-reproduction. Combine them and as a whole they self-reproduce. HOW IS THIS ? How does self-reproduction derive from entities that cannot so reproduce.

So, what is common in three examples above--only one thing--it is the concept of "emergence". Now, if we had "complete knowledge" of the entities in the three examples above, we could predict (within limits of experimental error) the "exact" mechanism that results in (1) solids from gases, (2) taste from non-taste, (3) self-reproduction from entities that cannot self-reproduce. But we do NOT have such complete knowledge, the reason being that the systems are two large--too many interations--even at level of two gases.

Thus it must be a axiomatic concept (via philosophy) that, for a complex system, there is no a priori necessity for the properties of the whole to be a simple copy of those of the parts. I suggest we will never know HOW ABIOGENESIS, no more than we will know HOW TASTE from non-taste atoms ! But, then, ALL KNOWLEDGE IS IMCOMPLETE, thus why expect complete knowledge of anything, let alone mechanism of abiogenesis.

Again, all this above comes from science of "cybernetics"--I suggest the books by W. Ross Ashby, An introduction to Cybernetics", and Design for a Brain". I hold that it is within science of cybernetics that one finds "physicalist" answers to explain abiogenesis and thus the theoretical and mathematical basis for organic theory of evolution. It is OK to disagree--but better to offer an alternative hypothesis.
 
  • #79
Les Sleeth
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Rade said:
First, let me thank you for your very reasoned response to my last post. As to above, from my reading on this topic (especially in the area of cybernetics) the "mechanism" of self organization (for both non-living and living entities) derives from the concept called "emergence". Now, before you claim I somehow insult your intelligence--that is not my motive--I am trying to understand reality as you are. I offer here a possible avenue for you (and I and others) to study to get to your very important question--HOW ABIOGENESIS ? Of course we know it happened (i.e., life happened)--but HOW, that is the question. I suggest the answer may lie in concept of "emergence". Thus consider:

(1) ammonia is a gas, so is hydrogen chloride. When the two gases are mixed , the result is a solid. HOW IS THIS ? How does a solid derive via theory from two gases ?

(2) Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen are tasteless. Combine them and you get sugar with taste. HOW IS THIS ? How does taste derive from non-taste entities.

(3) There are ~ 20 amino acids in a bacteria cell. None of them have property of self-reproduction. Combine them and as a whole they self-reproduce. HOW IS THIS ? How does self-reproduction derive from entities that cannot so reproduce.

So, what is common in three examples above--only one thing--it is the concept of "emergence". Now, if we had "complete knowledge" of the entities in the three examples above, we could predict (within limits of experimental error) the "exact" mechanism that results in (1) solids from gases, (2) taste from non-taste, (3) self-reproduction from entities that cannot self-reproduce. But we do NOT have such complete knowledge, the reason being that the systems are two large--too many interations--even at level of two gases.

Thus it must be a axiomatic concept (via philosophy) that, for a complex system, there is no a priori necessity for the properties of the whole to be a simple copy of those of the parts. I suggest we will never know HOW ABIOGENESIS, no more than we will know HOW TASTE from non-taste atoms ! But, then, ALL KNOWLEDGE IS IMCOMPLETE, thus why expect complete knowledge of anything, let alone mechanism of abiogenesis.

Again, all this above comes from science of "cybernetics"--I suggest the books by W. Ross Ashby, An introduction to Cybernetics", and Design for a Brain". I hold that it is within science of cybernetics that one finds "physicalist" answers to explain abiogenesis and thus the theoretical and mathematical basis for organic theory of evolution. It is OK to disagree--but better to offer an alternative hypothesis.
I am not unfamiliar with cybernetics; I have been a fan of Wiener since the ‘70s, as well as Fuller, Bateson and others who’ve suggested system potentials in some way. I've been fascinated with the potentials of systems, synergy and emergence most of my adult life.

Leaving your bacteria example out of it (since that is occurring within an organized system and what organized it is what’s in dispute), none of the examples you gave, or can find anywhere right now, indicate they can attain progressive organization. Remember how I defined that? It is, “when changes which take place become evermore organized toward self-sustaining systems.” If your ultimate point is that consciousness might emerge from neuronal complexity, that is another issue since we have to figure how physicalness organized itself into a brain in the first place. If your point is that some sort of synergism might explain progressive organization, okay.

But here’s the deal. If physical synergistic potentials are what create a perpetually organizing system, then you need to show that can happen. It isn’t enough to show something organizing a few steps, or synergizing some simple way, and then LEAP light years to the conclusion that you’ve now accounted for progressive organization.

Outside of life, the situation with physical processes is often more like what Paul Davies described, “. . . the probability of a random choice leading to an ordered state declines exponentially with the degree of [order] . . . the odds against randomly-generated order increase astronomically. For example, the probability of a litre of air rushing spontaneously to one end of a box is of the order 101020 to one, where the number 101020 stands for one followed by 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 zeros!”

Remember, we are not talking about biogenesis but abiogenesis, which means physicalness (without conscious intervention) generated life, and we are talking about proving physicalness has the potential to achieve that. An explanation isn't proof that something can happen. Every theory that has and will exist usually has some sort of real circumstances from which the theory was derived. It is fine to project what that theory might explain; but then, if it is to be made an empirical proposition, the next phase is to set up a situation where what has been projected can be observed.

If it's science, it is wholly unsatisfactory for proponents of a theory to say they can't demonstrate the veracity of their claims but insist they are nonetheless correct. We know of many examples of synergy, for instance, but it it can’t be shown that self-directed synergy created life. There are many examples of self-organization that produce results not predicted by the components. However, the examples of known emergence, similar to the known examples of order from chaos, show us a few steps and then . . . poof (e.g., the Miller-Urey experiment).

Now, if we add one ingredient to the mix we can get a far more complex system going that communicates, metabolizes and reproduces in a fashion, and even thinks (and this is primarily what cybernetics has helped with). What’s the ingredient? Human consciousness. Consciousness takes things with organizing/synergestic/emergent potentials and lifts them to the next level of perpetual organization (perpetual as long as consciousness stays involved). But remove consciousness from the situation and the perpetual part of the organizing soon stops. As far as what we have actually observed, consciousness is the only thing in this universe that can progressively organize.

So right now emergence doesn’t explain perpetual organization toward systems. If you are going to insist that physicalness is the basis of all, and that emergence is the basis of abiogenesis, you have demonstrate it has the potential for attaining progressive organization. As I have said several times in past debates, I’d be happy just to see that matter can kick itself into self-organizing gear and keep going and going and going and . . . (i.e., and not necessarily create something living). At least we’d know that physicalness has a perpetual self-organizing ability. Can you (or anyone) demonstrate at least that? Nope.
 
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  • #80
Rade
Les Sleeth said:
... As I have said several times in past debates, I’d be happy just to see that matter can kick itself into self-organizing gear and keep going and going and going and . . . (i.e., and not necessarily create something living). At least we’d know that physicalness has a perpetual self-organizing ability. Can you (or anyone) demonstrate at least that? Nope.
Yep. It was demonstrated long ago in a series of experiments. Manfred Eigen (Scientific American, 1981) put matter into a test tube and large RNA molecule "emerged", and the exact same molecule re-emerged over and over again in independent experiments. And Leslie Orgel (Proc. Royal Society London, 1979, see also 1973 book on origins of life) has demonstrated that such RNA molecules, once emerged, with no enzymes provided, can self replicate themselves spontaneously in presence of zinc, and the process can keep going and going and going as long as raw materials are present. So, your well reasoned hypothesis has been falsified--physical matter can "progressively" self-organize, since it is but a simple step for RNA to form progressively more complex DNA, for both to progressively become encased within a protective membrane (think the simple virus for RNA, the more complex bacteria for DNA) for such single cell structures to progressively evolve to multiple cell systems, to form tissues, organs, organ systems, etc. etc. etc. (over 100's millions years, with ever changing environment, mutation and natural selection as important cast members in the play)--all without any necessity of a "consciousness" directing the process. So, indeed, be happy :smile: -- good for health.

ps/ See this also if interested in details of Eigen experiments:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercycle
 
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  • #81
Les Sleeth
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Rade said:
Yep. It was demonstrated long ago in a series of experiments. Manfred Eigen (Scientific American, 1981) put matter into a test tube and large RNA molecule "emerged", and the exact same molecule re-emerged over and over again in independent experiments. And Leslie Orgel (Proc. Royal Society London, 1979, see also 1973 book on origins of life) has demonstrated that such RNA molecules, once emerged, with no enzymes provided, can self replicate themselves spontaneously in presence of zinc, and the process can keep going and going and going as long as raw materials are present.
Hmmmmmm, are you ever going to grasp the concept of progressive organization? Replication is not progressive, it is repetitive.


Rade said:
So, your well reasoned hypothesis has been falsified--physical matter can "progressively" self-organize, since it is but a simple step for RNA to form progressively more complex DNA, for both to progressively become encased within a protective membrane (think the simple virus for RNA, the more complex bacteria for DNA) for such single cell structures to progressively evolve to multiple cell systems, to form tissues, organs, organ systems, etc. etc. etc. (over 100's millions years, with ever changing environment, mutation and natural selection as important cast members in the play)--all without any necessity of a "consciousness" directing the process. So, indeed, be happy :smile: -- good for health.
And here we have once again a "believer" stating theoretical possibilities as though they are facts. Hey, demonstrate RNA without your help spontaneously progressing as you speculate it can all by itself. Can you do it?
 
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  • #82
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selfAdjoint said:
Isn't it funny how the more somebody, such as a molecular biologist, knows about how the human body works, the more she is likely to be a devoted evolutionist?
Well dichter stole my point on this comment. The reason you observe this is because part of becoming a molecular biologists involves the acceptances of foundational theories. I believe Dichter called it "Indoctrination ".
 
  • #83
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Good is inherant in all things. Evil desires good, but only for itself alone.

The most evil acts are not done for the suffering of others, but for the sole enjoyment of the doer. That's the problem with evil. It doesn't think of the other, even in the other's suffering. It only thinks of itself.
 

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