The answer to the Does God exist question from Human Practice

  • Thread starter heusdens
  • Start date
  • #36
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by Tail
1. Devices are human-made. Anything made by humans is subjective.

Appearently not, since they do not just exist in our imagination, but exist in real material forms.
 
  • #37
hypnagogue
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,277
2
Originally posted by heusdens

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Tail
1. Devices are human-made. Anything made by humans is subjective.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Appearently not, since they do not just exist in our imagination, but exist in real material forms.

You're missing the point. The proof is rather simple here. All knowledge we have about the world, we acquire through our senses. Sensual knowledge is subjective knowledge. Therefore, all of our knowledge is subjective. The fact that subjective knowledge across a wide range of people is consistent merely suggests an underlying, objective existence, but this objective world cannot be verified, for the same reasons that God cannot be verified. Logically, it is simply impossible to know for sure whether or not an objective world of the nature you describe exists or not.

The fact that we can build devices to detect information beyond our senses (infra red radiation for instance) does not bypass this argument. If you make infra red detecting goggles, the goggles detect information invisible to your senses, and then transform it into information your senses can detect. All knowledge necessarily must pass through the subjective filter of the perceiver; all knowledge is subjective.
 
  • #38
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by Zero
Obviously, neither side can use those arguments. IS there an argument for teh existence of nonexistant things? DId I miss it somewhere in this thread?

LOl. Well if it were really here Zero, you would definitely miss it.:wink:
 
  • #39
Fliption
1,081
1
As far as the first cause discussion goes, I find it all very silly. To make any conclusions either way on this line of discussion seems premature and a bit ridiculous. Cause and effect is dependent on the existence of time. Time. The thing that no one truly understands the exact nature of. A dimension that very well could be an illusion according to the cover story of Scientific American.

Debating on first cause just seems presumptious and like a waste of time to me.

FZ

As for the rest of the discussion I have a question for FZ. FZ, are you seriously saying that you can think of no object that, even though you did not know its purpose, you still would think that some being designed it? Forget the computer example. What if you were on Mars and saw another contraption? A contraption that looked like it was a compilation of parts, made of metal, enclosed in a smooth square case? You seriously would say that chance did this?

I would think the rational person's thought would go something like this:

1. I have no idea what this is. It's possible that these things just arranged themselves in this way by chance.

2. But this case is a perfect square made of metal. Because I have never seen nature actually do this, I know that the odds of this are rare.

3. I suspect someone built this for some reason

4. Now I just need to figure out why they built it. I wonder what it does?


I understand that odds don't prove anything. But I don't think they should be ignored either. I think in our mode of inquiry about nature, the odds just might tell us something. They just might influence the direction of our research.

I was under the impression that we do this in archeology and history for sure. I'm thinking there are "structures" that we claim were built by man even though we aren't sure why they were built or what they were used for. It seems part of the reason for this, is that we can tell when something looks "unnatural" or unlikely to have been done by chance.

I don't understand why this wouldn't apply in this case too. ?
 
Last edited:
  • #40
FZ+
1,599
3
2. But this case is a perfect square made of metal. Because I have never seen nature actually do this, I know that the odds of this are rare.
But I don't think it is right.

A baby wakes up. He looks at a rock say, and he says I have never seen nature do this, so the odds are rare. And therefore concludes the rock was designed.

In effect, you are using limited knowledge to make a judgement on odds as something you consider objective.

But look at it this way, there is another conclusion that can be made from this.

This is a single case, and so it can just be an anomaly. A case of luck.

Or, if multiple cases are found, it can be concluded that:

See, the odds of it occurring by chance aren't that small after all, as the phenomenon has repeated naturally several time.

You see, the way we pick one of these is based on our subjective feelings. ie. it's a lot easier to talk about a piece of metal since it reflects our human society. Instead, if you find a piece of wood a queer shape, though it may be true that this shape is unlikely to be repeated, your mental connection of wood and nature disturbs this line of thought.

Our sense of the "unnatural" is in the material sense based on what we experienced, and so is not capable as a judge, especially when we claim a non-human designer. It is almost reliable in the case of structures (almost as cases such as finding faces in mountains, or things like Giants Causeway) because we understand the psychology of mankind, and assume that the designers are human and share our ways of action, and thought.

So all in all, I am saying it is impossible to make such objective judgements of design with our subjective perception.

Hence, back to the box. I seriously would say I don't know, and that chance may or may not have done this. It is up to other evidence, such as context etc to establish if such a designer exists, and hence if the object is designed or just a lucky fluke.
 
  • #41
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by Netme
Once again you cannot answer my question.. How can existence just already be there? The reason why you cannot answer this is because there are no answers. Its much like a trick question that you must answer correctly in order to prove your theory is true. The only possible answer i see is that a higher power or atleast a being that is able to create an existence such as this exists outside of ours.

Existence is there, cause if it wasn't there already, it would never come about, and it obviously has.

But please read this text of Hegel, it will probably explain some more on this:

"Incomprehensibility of the Beginning

§ 170

What has been said indicates the nature of the dialectic against the beginning of the world and also its end, by which the eternity of matter was supposed to be proved, that is, the dialectic against becoming, coming-to-be or ceasing-to-be, in general. The Kantian antinomy relative to the finitude or infinity of the world in space and time will be considered more closely under the Notion of quantitative infinity. This simple, ordinary dialectic rests on holding fast to the opposition of being and nothing. It is proved in the following manner that a beginning of the world, or of anything, is impossible:

§ 171

It is impossible for anything to begin, either in so far as it is, or in so far as it is not; for in so far as it is, it is not just beginning, and in so far as it is not, then also it does not begin. If the world, or anything, is supposed to have begun, then it must have begun in nothing, but in nothing — or nothing — is no beginning; for a beginning includes within itself a being, but nothing does not contain any being. Nothing is only nothing. In a ground, a cause, and so on, if nothing is so determined, there is contained an affirmation, a being. For the same reason, too, something cannot cease to be; for then being would have to contain nothing, but being is only being, not the contrary of itself.

§ 172

It is obvious that in this proof nothing is brought forward against becoming, or beginning and ceasing, against this unity of being and nothing, except an assertoric denial of them and an ascription of truth to being and nothing, each in separation from the other. Nevertheless this dialectic is at least more consistent than ordinary reflective thought which accepts as perfect truth that being and nothing only are in separation from each other, yet on the other hand acknowledges beginning and ceasing to be equally genuine determinations; but in these it does in fact assume the unseparatedness of being and nothing.

§ 173

With the absolute separateness of being from nothing presupposed, then of course — as we so often hear — beginning or becoming is something incomprehensible; for a presupposition is made which annuls the beginning or the becoming which yet is again admitted, and this contradiction thus posed and at the same time made impossible of solution, is called incomprehensible.

§ 174

The foregoing dialectic is the same, too, as that which understanding employs the notion of infinitesimal magnitudes, given by higher analysis. A more detailed treatment of this notion will be given later. These magnitudes have been defined as such that they are in their vanishing, not before their vanishing, for then they are finite magnitudes, or after their vanishing, for then they are nothing. Against this pre notion it is objected and reiterated that such magnitudes are either something or nothing; that there is no intermediate state between being and non-being ('state' is here an unsuitable, barbarous expression). Here too, the absolute separation of being and nothing is assumed. But against this it has been shown that being and nothing are, in fact, the same, or to use the same language as that just quoted, that there is nothing which is not an intermediate state between being and nothing. It is to the adoption of the said determination, which understanding opposes, that mathematics owes its most brilliant successes.

§ 175

This style of reasoning which makes and clings to the false presupposition of the absolute separateness of being and non-being is to be named not dialectic but sophistry. For sophistry is an argument proceeding from a baseless presupposition which is uncritically and unthinkingly adopted; but we call dialectic the higher movement of reason in which such seemingly utterly separate terms pass over into each other spontaneously, through that which they are, a movement in which the presupposition sublates itself. It is the dialectical immanent nature of being and nothing themselves to manifest their unity, that is, becoming, as their truth."

Hegel: Science of Logic
 
  • #42
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by hypnagogue
You're missing the point. The proof is rather simple here. All knowledge we have about the world, we acquire through our senses. Sensual knowledge is subjective knowledge. Therefore, all of our knowledge is subjective. The fact that subjective knowledge across a wide range of people is consistent merely suggests an underlying, objective existence, but this objective world cannot be verified, for the same reasons that God cannot be verified. Logically, it is simply impossible to know for sure whether or not an objective world of the nature you describe exists or not.

The fact that we can build devices to detect information beyond our senses (infra red radiation for instance) does not bypass this argument. If you make infra red detecting goggles, the goggles detect information invisible to your senses, and then transform it into information your senses can detect. All knowledge necessarily must pass through the subjective filter of the perceiver; all knowledge is subjective.


Do you assume then in last instance that no objective world exists or has to exist?

Or in other words, are you arguing here for the position of Solipsism?

Want a rebutal of Solipsism?
 
  • #43
Iacchus32
2,313
1
From the thread, A Flaw in the Theory of Natural Selection? ...

Originally posted by Iacchus32
Why do you wish to argue about it? Without consciousness, and "knowing" that we exist, we would have no means by which to experience this "objective reality" you speak of. And by not realizing this, and accepting what we know "objectively" -- in other words, "consciously" -- the most we can expect to do is repeat what somebody else has told us.


Originally posted by megashawn
Where did you get that crazy idea? Your suggesting that you can't learn something for yourself, on your own?
No, I'm saying just the opposite! I'm saying that unless we can acknowledge things for ourselves, and "truly know," through the faculty of being conscious -- the very thing which "defines" existence itself -- and I don't mean science -- then that's all we would be capable of doing, repeating what someone else has told us. I would recommend reading Zero's thread for a little more clarity on this. :wink:
 
  • #44
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by FZ+

A baby wakes up. He looks at a rock say, and he says I have never seen nature do this, so the odds are rare. And therefore concludes the rock was designed.


This is like claiming that a properly done statistical study has no more credibility than another study with a sample of one. Or better yet, a sample of zero because a baby knows practically nothing. I do understand the point was to show that we have limited knowledge that may be comparable to an infant in the scheme of things. But if this is your argument then how do we "know" anything? All our knowledge comes from subjective experience. How many experiments does it take to make a theory credible? This is a bit of a stretch given the specific example that I proposed.

In effect, you are using limited knowledge to make a judgement on odds as something you consider objective.

I understand this. But you have 2 choices: 1) actually use your experience to leave open the possibility for research into many explanations or 2)ignore your experiences no matter how absurd it may appear to do so and just assume "chance did it" and move on to the next question.

I don't think anyone does number 2; especially not science. Number 2 only comes up when the "design" topic comes up.

But look at it this way, there is another conclusion that can be made from this.

Or, if multiple cases are found, it can be concluded that:

See, the odds of it occurring by chance aren't that small after all, as the phenomenon has repeated naturally several time.
In my example there wasn't multiple instances; there was only one. And yes it could be luck but that's the whole point. You have to weigh the odds of luck against the more likely scenario(in this case) that someone put it there.

You see, the way we pick one of these is based on our subjective feelings. ie. it's a lot easier to talk about a piece of metal since it reflects our human society. Instead, if you find a piece of wood a queer shape, though it may be true that this shape is unlikely to be repeated, your mental connection of wood and nature disturbs this line of thought.
Well, I remember actually using wood in an example in another thread similar to this one. What if you were walking in the woods and saw little sticks of wood on the ground forming the shape of a perfect circle. You are saying that you would assume they fell out of the tree forming a perfect circle by chance simply because you don't know why someone would build a circle with sticks. (And I don't think anyone really believes that you would actually think that.)

So all in all, I am saying it is impossible to make such objective judgements of design with our subjective perception.

Just so you're clear, I agree with what you're saying. But if you read this quote above you'll see that your statement applies to everything. We can't arrive at objective judgements on anything no matter what we do. All information is subjective. Surely you won't deny that we use our experience from studies/experiments to gain an understanding of nature? Just as I asked above...How many experiments does it take for a theory to become credible? Likewise, how old does a human have to be to claim that a circle of sticks is not natural? or that a rock is not designed? It's a judgement call, but we do it all the time. We have to, because it is all we can do. But no one will put an infant in charge of the laboratory.

Hence, back to the box. I seriously would say I don't know, and that chance may or may not have done this. It is up to other evidence, such as context etc to establish if such a designer exists, and hence if the object is designed or just a lucky fluke.

I love the phrase "I don't know". And I agree with it's use in this case. Don't misunderstand me. I agree that odds cannot be used to conclude anything. My only point is that based on your experience, the odds of such an occurance ought to influence the options for investigation into the object.
 
Last edited:
  • #45
FZ+
1,599
3
But if this is your argument then how do we "know" anything? All our knowledge comes from subjective experience.
True, but I am saying that in this case we are making a judgement as to something nature CAN'T do. To do so, we need to make an assumption that we have experienced more or less all of nature, and so we can make statistics that way. I am saying that this is not very credible as an assumption, since obviously this metal object presents something new to us, and so instead of running with the assumption, we can alternatively consider it as disproving the assumption.

Remember the quote? "When an eminent scientist says something is possible, he is usually correct. When he says something is impossible, he is almost always wrong."

In the case of the Mars object, this is more reasonable, this particular argument is more credible, as there is indeed a lot of Mars we don't know. The point is in effect you are making a judgement from lack of knowledge, which paradoxically requires that you already know how much of "everything" you know, which you can't. And deciding instead that this is just another "natural" thing you don't know is very constructive, and is in fact used in science.

In my example there wasn't multiple instances; there was only one. And yes it could be luck but that's the whole point. You have to weigh the odds of luck against the more likely scenario(in this case) that someone put it there
My point is that seen from a different direction, this is a no win situation. On one hand, we judge that this even is statistically insignificant, and so can be simply a fluke and on the other we consider it to be statistically significant, but then just representing a gap in knowledge.

Tackling this case, it is indeed inevitable that unlikely and new things do happen, as the category of things we consider low odds is very broad, and we don't have any specific thing we are looking for. We could make a judgement on odds if we had a set criteria that this matched, but in such cases we observe that there is an infinite number of things that have low but existent probability, and recognise that some of them, against all odds will happen. In effect, what I am saying is that if we look at this case in isolation, it is unusual. But if we consider this as one of a multitude of possibilities that we would have considered unusual if it occured, then the significant disappears.

The analogy is that of the dropped pen. The chance is near zero that a specific position results. But the probability is almost 1 when we consider all the possible positions with a probability of near zero.

You are saying that you would assume they fell out of the tree forming a perfect circle by chance simply because you don't know why someone would build a circle with sticks.
No. The trouble is not quite in the making, but in the observing. I am saying that you can almost guess reliably this case because you noticed it, and can assume that it was made by a human who notices it too. If you had never encountered a circle in your life, you would consider this (still unlikely thing) to be deeply insignificant. You would never guess, for example, that a scar on a piece of wood was made by a wolf on purpose, unless you have a keen knowledge of the behaviour of wolves. In this case, you must be empathising with the creator to a way, and this relies on the assumption that you can. Which rapidly falls as we talk about non-human intelligences.

We can't arrive at objective judgements on anything no matter what we do.
True! We can only say that our subjective knowledge approaches objective truth. But Design (in capitals), and some other ideas are inherently absolute concepts, where we presume them to be outside human experience. And as we cannot say whether purpose can be absolute, there is no way to test the subjective knowledge objectively to say that it approaches objective truth.
In effect, we are making a value judgement, and saying that this value judgement reflects an objective component of the universe. We need something to let us make this leap.

How many experiments does it take for a theory to become credible?
One difference is that science relies on alternatives, and so relative truth values. Another is the lack of objective ways of testing. Finally, unlike an experiment, the concept of universal design relies on verifying the existence of outside the standard, which is not possible until the standard can be truly quantified.

What it means is instead "how many experiments does it take for an event to become INcredible?" And that, depending on your initial stance to the question, is either 1, or infinite.
 
  • #46
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by FZ+
True, but I am saying that in this case we are making a judgement as to something nature CAN'T do. To do so, we need to make an assumption that we have experienced more or less all of nature, and so we can make statistics that way.

Do you believe that I can levitate things? I would suspect you don't believe this at all. Why? Because you have never experienced anyone doing it? Now let me quote you your own words... "To do so, we need to make an assumption that we have experienced more or less all of nature..."

So according to this we can never claim anything is impossible. While this may be true theoretically, it doesn't stop you from believing that I am full of crap about my ability to levitate does it?

I agree with most everything you're saying but, regardless of the problems you point out, we do this type of reasoning anyway. In this thread, you're applying a very strict set of rules to a very complicated world. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Otherwise you end up with extreme positions like not questioning my ability to levitate. If judgement is not used in applying these rules then you're bound to miss some things. I'll give an example below.

I am saying that this is not very credible as an assumption, since obviously this metal object presents something new to us, and so instead of running with the assumption, we can alternatively consider it as disproving the assumption.
I'm not sure I like the way you've worded this. You have made it look like someone who suspects that an object is designed is making an assumption while the person who assumes "chance did it" is not making any assumptions and is open to all explanations. I think both sides are making an assumption and have limited their conclusions. In this case, let me tell you what I would do (and what I think you would probably do too). If I were on Mars and I saw this, I might find it interesting enough to stay on Mars a few extra days. In that time, because I suspect someone built this and placed it here, I might start looking in the area for more signs of things that don't appear to be random constructions. I may find a village 2 miles away full of life.

The other view has simply put the object in the spaceship and gone back to earth, hoping that studying this object will help explain how errosion on Mars creates perfectly square metal boxes. Any assumption has the potential to lead you astray from the correct conclusion.

Remember the quote? "When an eminent scientist says something is possible, he is usually correct. When he says something is impossible, he is almost always wrong."
Can I use this quote on Zero when he consistently says that Magic is non-existent?

And deciding instead that this is just another "natural" thing you don't know is very constructive, and is in fact used in science.
Lol, I hear you, but I still don't believe you'd do what you're saying in this case.

But if we consider this as one of a multitude of possibilities that we would have considered unusual if it occured, then the significant disappears.

The analogy is that of the dropped pen. The chance is near zero that a specific position results. But the probability is almost 1 when we consider all the possible positions with a probability of near zero.

The difference in my point is that I am not asking the question "what are the odds of this happening?". Because as you say the odds of anyone event will be very small considering all the other possibilities. The question I am asking is "what are the odds of a specific event compared to the odds of those other possibiltiies?" In your pen example, while the probability of any position is almost zero, that probability is not any lower than any other arrangement. An analogy I've used before is to imagine you have a crate full of automobile parts for one automobile. If you shake this crate up and dump it out, what are the odds that the parts will come out in any specific arrangement? Almost zero, as you said. But compare the odds of that with the odds of the parts coming our assembled in such a way that sticking a key in the ignition makes the engine crank? Impossible. I'm sure you can see the difference.

If you had never encountered a circle in your life, you would consider this (still unlikely thing) to be deeply insignificant.

This is an assumption and I disagree with it. This really goes back to my first question to you. Would you really think that an object was created by chance just because you didn't know what it was? I wouldn't, necessarily. And I personally don't believe you would either. If I saw a circle of sticks, I would be drawn to it, ESPECIALLY in the case where I had never seen a circle before! Because it would appear even more non-random in that case.

It appears you are thinking that I am claiming something is unnatural because it resembles something I "KNOW" to be unnatural. But that's not what I'm claiming. Thats the just the nature of the example that I'm using which are designed to use familiar objects to show the asurdiity of your position in the extremes. I am saying that a thing that I am completely unfamiliar with can stick out if it displays characteristics that appear symmetrical and non-random. Yes I know that humans create square metal boxes but that doesn't change the fact that the odds of nature creating a perfect metal square box randomly is almost impossible compared to it being some other non-symmetrical shape which is close to 100%.

You would never guess, for example, that a scar on a piece of wood was made by a wolf on purpose, unless you have a keen knowledge of the behaviour of wolves. In this case, you must be empathising with the creator to a way, and this relies on the assumption that you can. Which rapidly falls as we talk about non-human intelligences.
Correct, I would never guess that a scar is a designed thing because there is nothing statistically signficant about scars on wood. Wood has all kinds of incidental scars, which btw is a reason to suggest that a scar on a piece of wood would not be useful to a wolf anyway unless the designed scar could be distinguished. Which just gets back to my point about designed things being distinguished from naturally occurring things.

True! We can only say that our subjective knowledge approaches objective truth. But Design (in capitals), and some other ideas are inherently absolute concepts, where we presume them to be outside human experience. And as we cannot say whether purpose can be absolute, there is no way to test the subjective knowledge objectively to say that it approaches objective truth.
In effect, we are making a value judgement, and saying that this value judgement reflects an objective component of the universe. We need something to let us make this leap.

I have no problem with this. I just don't think that our inabiltiy to know something necessarily means it isn't true.

Also, I will point out that I have nothing to say about Design (with a capital D). That isn't a necessary theory in the example I proposed. The issue with Design ought to be as you descibed it in the quote above and should have nothing to do with ignoring odds. Because as you can see that position affects decisions in areas that CAN be tested.

What it means is instead "how many experiments does it take for an event to become INcredible?" And that, depending on your initial stance to the question, is either 1, or infinite.

I didn't understand the point of this piece.
 
Last edited:
  • #47
FZ+
1,599
3
Because you have never experienced anyone doing it?
No because you gave me some indications that you are more or less human, and I have some experience as to what humans do/are like. Of course, it is still possible that you can levitate things. But not, if you are human, very likely.

Meanwhile, if we discuss something like the universe, it is very clear that we don't know everything about it, and so can't make a judgement on particular odds.

You have made it look like someone who suspects that an object is designed is making an assumption while the person who assumes "chance did it" is not making any assumptions and is open to all explanations. I think both sides are making an assumption.
True. Sorry I made it appear the wrong way. But chance can be very interesting as well, as every scientist tells you. And you can't quite wander about outside the universe looking for a village. :wink: Context is the key here.

The other view has simply put the object in the spaceship and gone back to earth, hoping that studying this object will help explain how errosion on Mars creates perfectly square metal boxes.
Or to look around the planet to find the natural source of it. Don't make it sound *that* boring.

Can I use this quote on Zero when he consistently says that Magic is non-existent?
Heh. Sure. Just note it doesn't quite mean everything is right though, just that we aren't completely, 100% sure.

The difference in my point is that I am not asking the question "what are the odds of this happening?". Because as you say the odds of anyone event will be very small considering all the other possibilities. The question I am asking is "what are the odds of a specific event compared to the odds of those other possibiltiies?" In your pen example, while the probability of any position is almost zero, that probability is not any lower than any other arrangement. An analogy I've used before is to imagine you have a crate full of automobile parts for one automobile. If you shake this crate up and dump it out, what are the odds that the parts will come out in any specific arrangement? Almost zero, as you said. But compare the odds of that with the odds of the parts coming our assembled in such a way that sticking a key in the ignition makes the engine crank? Impossible. I'm sure you can see the difference.
But you see the difference here is that you are looking for something specific. Only one configuration will achieve what you desire, as a case of subjective purpose. But in the case of looking for design, this isn't true.
When looking at the metal object, saying "what are the probabilities of this particular shape occurring by chance " isn't really relevant, as it is not just this shape that will do it for you. What you instead examine is "what are the probability that at any position on Mars I have covered, at any time, there would be one object which I would find unusual." On such a set of criteria, including the probabilities are exceptionally higher.

To look at the pen, you may then proceed to look at the angle of the pen, and say hey! This angle precisely co-incides with the direction to the nearby supermarket. In a way, we are all such significance junkies.

If I saw a circle of sticks, I would be drawn to it, ESPECIALLY in the case where I had never seen a circle before!
I disagree wildly (yeah! wildly! *flails arms*) on this point, as you just don't have a measure of randomness. There is a certain man in America who insists that words are written on the inside of stones, if only he could understand them.
The fact remains that each day you see things that you never see before, and you have no real way to call them random, or not. Nothing is ever the same (or sometimes it is, but only with very low probability). The only way you judge it is based on your context, and your experience - and to make such a judgement on something on a macro scale, you need to have an understanding of such criteria on the macro scale, or justify the assumption that what you find significant is in fact universally so.

But that's not what I'm claiming. I am saying that a thing that I am completely unfamiliar with can stick out if it displays characteristics that appear symmetrical and non-random.
Now we go all the way back to the snowflakes. Do you agree that snowflakes are, as far as we know, the products of chance? The fact is that we know that symmetrical or whatever pattern do arise out of chance, with order from disorder. What are the chances of a spherical planet? 1. Cubular crystals do result from some atomic structures. Plant growth shows the fibonacci number. Population fluctuation shows self-similarity across scales. The thing is all of this is deterministic chaos - the idea that what we perceive as order is often a natural product of chance. Indeed, the signs show that what we consider as order may be caused by the natural chance made things around us, so what we consider as unnatural is entirely arbitary. (I for one dispute that a distinct nature even exists.)
I know from experience that it is far hard to produce real randomness than create a "beautiful" pattern. We underestimate chance constantly.
(The alternative to that is this is all design of great complexity in motion. That is self-consistent, but I don't really see the evidence. It's no disproof but you expect with design a single trend which items tend towards as an equilibrium. You almost never see that.)

Wood has all kinds of incidental scars, which btw is a reason to suggest that a scar on a piece of wood would not be useful to a wolf anyway unless the designed scar could be distinguished.
And yet it can only be distinguished with the subjective knowledge of the wolf. Hence I think it suggests against an universal quality of design, but on which is subjective to each person.

Also, it's blisteringly hard to talk about statistical significance when we only have one universe to compare.

I have no problem with this. I just don't think that our inabiltiy to know something necessarily means it isn't true.
Then I think you get my point already. the point is that the design argument isn't so much a proof than a statement as to what a believer believes. That is the fatal flaw in using it as an argument for the existence, or non-existence of God.

I didn't understand the point of this piece.
The point is that if you already have a second idea in which you believe in, then you can put this on as a reason for the switch. But if you have no reason for the second theory, you can only see it as a need to amend the first.
 
  • #48
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by FZ+
No because you gave me some indications that you are more or less human, and I have some experience as to what humans do/are like. Of course, it is still possible that you can levitate things. But not, if you are human, very likely.

Meanwhile, if we discuss something like the universe, it is very clear that we don't know everything about it, and so can't make a judgement on particular odds.


It's odd that you make a distinction between humans and the universe. I don't see the distinction when it comes to disproving something about humans. If you do not know everything about the universe then how can you possibly make a statement of certainty about anything that evolves in it?

Or to look around the planet to find the natural source of it. Don't make it sound *that* boring.

LOL. Didn't mean to demean the view. I just picked an action that would demonstrate the wrong conclusion being made with the "chance" assumption.

Heh. Sure. Just note it doesn't quite mean everything is right though, just that we aren't completely, 100% sure.
Agreed
But you see the difference here is that you are looking for something specific. Only one configuration will achieve what you desire, as a case of subjective purpose. But in the case of looking for design, this isn't true.

If I found the automobile parts assembled in a way that would allow the engine to crank, that WOULD be an indication of design. There is no distinction in my view. Also, the engine cranking is not representative of a subjective purpose. It is a real physical property of that particular arrangement. Whether it has useful functions or has any known purpose is not necessary to accept the reality of the odds and investigate accordingly.

When looking at the metal object, saying "what are the probabilities of this particular shape occurring by chance " isn't really relevant, as it is not just this shape that will do it for you. What you instead examine is "what are the probability that at any position on Mars I have covered, at any time, there would be one object which I would find unusual." On such a set of criteria, including the probabilities are exceptionally higher.

To look at the pen, you may then proceed to look at the angle of the pen, and say hey! This angle precisely co-incides with the direction to the nearby supermarket. In a way, we are all such significance junkies.
You're saying that whether or not something is statistically significant depends on the question that is asked I believe. You're right. The first question you mentioned could not be answered. "What is the probability of X?" does not provide enough information to have an answer. You would need to do as you did and put some boundaries around the question. Yes, the probability of finding this object on Mars would be higher then finding it on only a "section' of Mars. But this doesn't change the comparison of that probability to the probability of the other options using the same question. This is the method I am suggesting should be used. Regardless of the question, the comparison of the probability of the alternatives should show similar results.


I disagree wildly (yeah! wildly! *flails arms*) on this point, as you just don't have a measure of randomness.
Just so you're clear, I believe that I would notice the circle not ONLY because I have not seen a circle before. I agree I see new stuff all the time and don't think a thing of it. But I would notice the circle because it is a symmetric, unnatural shape based on my vast experience of walking into woods and seeing sticks on the ground. If I see trees growing in a straight line I conclude that someone planted them. I know you do this too. This does not need to be based on knowing that people plant trees in straight lines. It can also be concluded solely because we've never seen trees grow in straight lines by themselves.

Now we go all the way back to the snowflakes. Do you agree that snowflakes are, as far as we know, the products of chance? The fact is that we know that symmetrical or whatever pattern do arise out of chance, with order from disorder. What are the chances of a spherical planet? 1. Cubular crystals do result from some atomic structures. Plant growth shows the fibonacci number. Population fluctuation shows self-similarity across scales.

I understand these things. But in these cases our experience would tell us that symmetry is random. As opposed to a square metal box with assembled, moving parts. That is why I said I would look for "symmetrical AND non-random". All of these examples of yours are the same as the pen example. Yes, snowflakes are symmetrical but a symmetrical snowflake is not statistically significant. The odds of a snowflake taking on one shape is no less than the odds of it taking any other.

But I know what you're saying. You're making an argument that symmetry happens by chance in some things so it would be hasty to conclude design in other lesser known things(like strange objects on Mars). I agree with you completely. I'm not suggesting that any assumption be made. I am suggesting exactly the opposite. Investigate all possibilities.

I know from experience that it is far hard to produce real randomness than create a "beautiful" pattern. We underestimate chance constantly.

(The alternative to that is this is all design of great complexity in motion. That is self-consistent, but I don't really see the evidence. It's no disproof but you expect with design a single trend which items tend towards as an equilibrium. You almost never see that.)
I appreciate these comments. They seem to be more intuitive and personal in nature. I would be interested in trying to understand your views on what you see as trends versus what you would expect to see. But this thread probably isn't the place for it. I'm not interested in debating that with you. I'm more interested in just learning about others perspectives.

And yet it can only be distinguished with the subjective knowledge of the wolf. Hence I think it suggests against an universal quality of design, but on which is subjective to each person.
If a single wolf with a single subjective perspective can distinguish it's designed scar from a non-designed scar than there must be an objective difference. The subjectivity lies in knowledge of purpose. Not the distinction itself, IMHO.

Also, it's blisteringly hard to talk about statistical significance when we only have one universe to compare.
LOL, True. But I don't distinguish the universe from the things in it. They are all part of the same thing. But it is a good point nonetheless.

Then I think you get my point already. the point is that the design argument isn't so much a proof than a statement as to what a believer believes. That is the fatal flaw in using it as an argument for the existence, or non-existence of God.
Yes, I get your point. But design (with a little d) may have nothing to do with a non-testable god.

The fact remains that each day you see things that you never see before, and you have no real way to call them random, or not. Nothing is ever the same (or sometimes it is, but only with very low probability). The only way you judge it is based on your context, and your experience - and to make such a judgement on something on a macro scale, you need to have an understanding of such criteria on the macro scale, or justify the assumption that what you find significant is in fact universally so.

I agree. I think context and experience is the only way this can be done. And these things have limits. But I'm not going to pretend that we don't already do this now. Only it appears they are selectively applied.

But I think you are I are not so far apart on this.



The point is that if you already have a second idea in which you believe in, then you can put this on as a reason for the switch. But if you have no reason for the second theory, you can only see it as a need to amend the first.

Uuuummmmm. ok. :frown:
 
Last edited:
  • #49
FZ+
1,599
3
If you do not know everything about the universe then how can you possibly make a statement of certainty about anything that evolves in it?
Because we define human as being X and X, and having X abilities. If you could levitate things, then I wouldn't consider you as human in the conventional sense. And as you say that you are, like me a human, then I come to expect certain things of you, like an inability to levitate things. :wink:

Note that I am not saying that there is anything universally special about humanity. With my cold, cruel world view, mankind represents a pattern of existence, significant only to ourselves via our system of definition. Ain't I nasty?

If I found the automobile parts assembled in a way that would allow the engine to crank, that WOULD be an indication of design.
But would it? You can raise this because we of course expect engines to crank. But suppose I threw together any mess of things and it managed to rotate a bit before it ran to a halt, as a equilibrium (such as when it ran out of fuel...), would you say that was an indication of design? Ie. we can raise the issue of design in the car because we have a purpose we considered. But if the purpose we wish of the engine was different eg. to fall down in a particularly ludicrous way (like the purposes of Skodas for example :wink:, then any number of configurations would be an indication of design.

Yes, the probability of finding this object on Mars would be higher then finding it on only a "section' of Mars.
But you see, this doesn't work. As you increase in scale, the probability of chance raises to infinity, while the probability of design remains constant. There is no one uniform absolute scale on which we can consider such odds when recognising design - unless if by presuming absolute purpose we make such one exist. It's like an old puzzle - what is the length of a coastline. At first sight, it appears simple, but it appears that as you increase in accuracy, using smaller and smaller rulers, you don't settle down but arrive towards an infinite length.
The second part of the problem is again referring to the lack of specification of the question. When you are asking for design, you aren't looking for one object, but any object which appears to have a design. Would you then shrug when you walk past a triangular metal block? Or a circular one? Or etc etc... On this level, there is no non-arbitary way for you to define apparent design - except in terms of subjective feeling, instinct or experience.

This does not need to be based on knowing that people plant trees in straight lines. It can also be concluded solely because we've never seen trees grow in straight lines by themselves.
I am asking... can you be sure of this? To say this, you must first have seen enough of forests in the first place to know what to expect... And still it is in part a reflection of your personal instincts, not a distinct quality from reality. Ie. it shows purpose to your particular sense of purpose, but it isn't universally purposeful. I bet dogs never notice. :wink:

I guess I am proposing a relativist concept of purpose. Ie. only relevant when we have a particular perspective.


I'd let to bump another idea, since we more or less know where we agree or disagree. (Or maybe you disagree with that?:smile:)
Attached to this is the concept of makership... Ie. how do you distinguish X as man made, or chance made? How far does the influence lead?

For example, it can be possible to say that almost everything is manmade, for from each of our actions we create a tide of influence, affecting one thing, which affects another etc, which brings the whole Earth into the position it is. (presuming some sort of determinance, of course) How do you draw the line?

I tend towards the answer that than man is a manifestation of chance, and so things that are man made or things that are chance made, only by a different branch of chance. Sort of. What do you think?

<Insert flames here>
 
  • #50
heusdens
1,736
0
All our knowledge comes from subjective experience.

Untrue. Our knowledge comes from objective experience, from our relation with objective reality.

Our minds know nothing by themselves.
 
  • #51
Fliption
1,081
1
Hmm it seems we are doing nothing but going in circles now. You aren't saying much that I don't already understand but I'm not sure you understand what I'm saying. First of all, to your point about what it means to be designed, let's just say for the purposes of this discussion that a designed thing is a thing that has been directly and intentionally created for some purpose by an intelligent being.

Now if you take a look at everything that fits this description around you, you may notice that the odds of most of these things being created by chance is almost impossible. Much like the automobile example. Never heard of one occurring by chance. Let me make this clear...it is not the subjective function that makes it low in probability" It is the actualy physical configuration and it's properties that make it unlikely. The odds of parts being arranged in this specific way is so much lower than the other possibilities. So all I'm saying to you is that there MUST be a correlation between a designed thing and the odds of it occurring in nature by chance. The proof is all around you. Does this mean that everything that has impossible odds is designed? NO! I concede this. All I'm saying is that it could be a strong indicator. Strong enough to at least be open to investigating the possibility. This is why I said that automobile parts coming together by chance to allow for the engine cranking is a rare configuration that would suggest the possibility of design. Let me say this one more time knowledge of purpose or functionaility is not needed to do what I have suggested above. The correlation of probability and intent is all that is needed.



Originally posted by FZ+
Because we define human as being X and X, and having X abilities. If you could levitate things, then I wouldn't consider you as human in the conventional sense. And as you say that you are, like me a human, then I come to expect certain things of you, like an inability to levitate things. :wink:

But you not considering me human (because I can levitate) and then concluding that I can't levitate because I consider myself human is assuming that we define human the same way. I'm not sure how this shows anything.

I still claim that if you do not know everything about the universe then you cannot say what is a possible evolutive path for anything in it. Just because it never happened before doesn't mean it can't happen now.

Just to bring perspective to this discussion of levitation...I brought it up to show you that you do exactly what I'm claiming can be done. And that is to dismiss something based on past experience even though I can make the same claims to you that you have been making to me; that you cannot possiby have enough knowledge to do this.

But would it? You can raise this because we of course expect engines to crank. But suppose I threw together any mess of things and it managed to rotate a bit before it ran to a halt, as a equilibrium (such as when it ran out of fuel...), would you say that was an indication of design?
If the configuration is low enough in probability compared to the other options then yes I am saying you would need to consider a special arrangement that has intent built in. But my position would state that if you're configuration really came out by chance then it would not be able to do any of the things you have claimed it is doing because it is almost impossible for that to happen! The situation you are trying to paint which is one where the most impossible thing really does happen by chance and shows the flaw in what I'm saying cannot happen very often at all. By definition!

But you see, this doesn't work. As you increase in scale, the probability of chance raises to infinity, while the probability of design remains constant.
I don't understand this. There is no such measure as the "probability of chance". All there is is the probability of one configuration compared to the probability of all the other options. That is all there is. It is all math. There is no design, purpose, functionaility or any of that in this approach that I am using. All you can do is compare the probability of one configuration to others. When the question increases in scope the probabilities of all the options will increase accordingly but the comparison will be the same.

I am asking... can you be sure of this? To say this, you must first have seen enough of forests in the first place to know what to expect... And still it is in part a reflection of your personal instincts, not a distinct quality from reality. Ie. it shows purpose to your particular sense of purpose, but it isn't universally purposeful. I bet dogs never notice. :wink:

And dogs don't disbelieve levitation either. I can decern this about trees with about the same credibility that you can decern I can't levitate things. To put this tree discussion in perspective...I brought this up because I was showing a real world problem where I use odds to make a decision. I claim I've seen enough forest to do this just as you claim you know humans well enough to know what I can and cannot do. So you either agree that this method can be used(in the case of humans) or you do not believe it can be used(like in the case of forest). Which is it?
 
Last edited:
  • #52
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by heusdens
Untrue. Our knowledge comes from objective experience, from our relation with objective reality.

Our minds know nothing by themselves.

Arguing against this is like trying to argue against 2+2=5. I think enough people here agree with what I said to make it not worth trying .
 
  • #53
Originally posted by Fliption
Arguing against this is like trying to argue against 2+2=5. I think enough people here agree with what I said to make it not worth trying .
People agreeing with you doesn't make you right...and you KNOW this, man!
 
  • #54
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by Zero
People agreeing with you doesn't make you right...and you KNOW this, man!


True, but his position is extreme and we have enough things to sort out without having to deal with this kind of stuff. If you want We can get LifeGazer back to help balance out this extreme view.
 
  • #55
Originally posted by Fliption
True, but his position is extreme and we have enough things to sort out without having to deal with this kind of stuff. If you want We can get LifeGazer back to help balance out this extreme view.
LOL, when you put it that way, never mind!
 
  • #56
FZ+
1,599
3
Now if you take a look at everything that fits this description around you, you may notice that the odds of most of these things being created by chance is almost impossible.
But I am saying that the odds of any other thing that is not apparently designed appearing by chance is also almost zero. I am saying that we identify the specific entity - car, because we have in our minds a specific attributed purpose to it.

Does this mean that everything that has impossible odds is designed? NO! I concede this. All I'm saying is that it could be a strong indicator.
Let's look at it from a different direction. To use such odds as an indicator, it must be specified that all else which is apparently not designed has comparatively high odds of existence. I simply don't think this is generally the case.

Maybe we should just agree with disagree.

The correlation of probability and intent is all that is needed.
What I really require is the correlation of high probability, with lack of intent.

But you not considering me human (because I can levitate) and then concluding that I can't levitate because I consider myself human is assuming that we define human the same way. I'm not sure how this shows anything.
Heh... Hell... I've forgotten what this whole levitation thing was about...

Just because it never happened before doesn't mean it can't happen now.
Uh... isn't that exactly what I was trying to say, when I was talking about our lack of knowledge of an essentially infinite universe? I'm confused...

And that is to dismiss something based on past experience even though I can make the same claims to you that you have been making to me; that you cannot possiby have enough knowledge to do this.
Ah, now I remember... I mean that my belief in your lack of ability to levitate stuff stems from two things - an act of definition as to what is human and humanly capable, and a trust in that you share my definition as the basis of a language system. And the point was that while we have some experience of humanity and a good, consistent definition of what humanity represents, we know nothing of what chance is capable of, or of the existence of a designer that would allow the alternative of the design.

If the configuration is low enough in probability compared to the other options then yes I am saying you would need to consider a special arrangement that has intent built in.
But my sticker is that all the possibilities has almost no probability, and all of them produce a distinct result. The trick is in identifying a meaningful result. A boulder rolling down a hill fits in the idea of engine as identified - increase the length of the hill and it can run for a long time.

What is the difference between the engine and the hill but that the engine does something that is subjectively - to our perspective - useful?

All there is is the probability of one configuration compared to the probability of all the other options.
The thing is, we aren't looking for one configuration, but for anyone of many configurations that fulfills a certain subjective threshold. And that by raising or lowering the threshold, we change the resultant probability.
And then we get the feedback problem. How do we assess the probability, even comparative, but by observing the incidents happen? If we see a low probability event occur, then you can simply raise the probability of the result. And so, by this method, we would conclude from an engine that the probability of the engine occurring is much larger than we expected, so the occurance of the engine is nothing out of the ordinary - rather, it is our original assessment of the probability of an engine appearing that was flawed and unrealistic.

So you either agree that this method can be used(in the case of humans) or you do not believe it can be used(like in the case of forest). Which is it?
My point is that I do not believe you are using the method as you are suggesting, but by the method of comparing known alternatives.
 
  • #57
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by FZ+
But I am saying that the odds of any other thing that is not apparently designed appearing by chance is also almost zero. I am saying that we identify the specific entity - car, because we have in our minds a specific attributed purpose to it.
Yes, I have agreed with you that the odds of any specific snowflake occurring is almost zero. But the distinction is that these odds are no less than any other configuration of a snowflake given the boundaries that a snowflake operates in. And there is a 100% chance that it will take one of them.

This is clearly NOT the case with an engine made of automobile parts. If you bump into a contraption on Mars that could crank you would then ask yourself the question... "what are the odds that parts can naturally assemble themselves to allow the resulting creation to crank?" Yes, cranking would have to be part of the criteria but it is simply a physical property you have observed. There does not have to be any subjective understanding of the function of cranking.

Let's look at it from a different direction. To use such odds as an indicator, it must be specified that all else which is apparently not designed has comparatively high odds of existence. I simply don't think this is generally the case.

Neither do I. That is why I do not say that non-designed things have high probability. I say that they have significantly higher probability. There is a big difference. That is why I keep saying "compare" the options. That is where the huge disparity in probability is.

What I really require is the correlation of high probability, with lack of intent.
On a scale from 0 to 100, the number 3 would be a very low number. But it is huge compared to .0000000000000001.

Ah, now I remember... I mean that my belief in your lack of ability to levitate stuff stems from two things - an act of definition as to what is human and humanly capable, and a trust in that you share my definition as the basis of a language system.
Sure we might define human similarly but my definition might be slightly different and may not define it as a being who can't levitate. Especially if I could actually levitate and definitely considered myself human!

And the point was that while we have some experience of humanity and a good, consistent definition of what humanity represents, we know nothing of what chance is capable of, or of the existence of a designer that would allow the alternative of the design.

I still just don't see how you can claim that you can't speak about the universe due to lack of knowledge, yet you can compartmentalize any object inside of it and say everything that needs to be said. This method seems as unstable and subjective as what I'm suggesting.

But my sticker is that all the possibilities has almost no probability, and all of them produce a distinct result. The trick is in identifying a meaningful result. A boulder rolling down a hill fits in the idea of engine as identified - increase the length of the hill and it can run for a long time.

What is the difference between the engine and the hill but that the engine does something that is subjectively - to our perspective - useful?
I don't understand why you can't understand what I'm saying. The difference is obvious. Boulders run down hills all the time! Have you ever seen an automobile engine put itself together by chance? You keep getting hung up on the fact that we "know" what an automobile engine is therefore it is the usefulness of it that makes me single it out. Thats just the nature of the examples I've used. I have to use a device that we are both familiar with or else I have no way of pointing out the correlation between designed things and the improbability of them happening by chance.

The bottomline is that you can call anything you want an engine. Some engines will be designed and some will not. It has nothing to do with usefulness. It has to do with the odds of them appearing by chance. An engine like a boulder rolling down a hill is a natural engine. An engine made of automobile parts is not a natural engine. Why? Because you have never seen one created by nature.

The thing is, we aren't looking for one configuration, but for anyone of many configurations that fulfills a certain subjective threshold. And that by raising or lowering the threshold, we change the resultant probability.

And then we get the feedback problem. How do we assess the probability, even comparative, but by observing the incidents happen? If we see a low probability event occur, then you can simply raise the probability of the result. And so, by this method, we would conclude from an engine that the probability of the engine occurring is much larger than we expected, so the occurance of the engine is nothing out of the ordinary - rather, it is our original assessment of the probability of an engine appearing that was flawed and unrealistic.

Fine. But all you've done is described what we do in all our investigative endeavers. We make theories and test them. If we find evidence to suggest otherwise then we change our theories. I don't understand why in this case we have to assume the answer is "A" just because "B" might be wrong. Especially when "A" might be wrong as well. It just seems a bit insincere to me.

Also, all of what you have said applies to your conclusion about my ability to levitate.


My point is that I do not believe you are using the method as you are suggesting, but by the method of comparing known alternatives.

I didn't understand this.

I think my whole point is that we all do what I'm suggesting. You did it with my ability to levitate. You do it even though the idea that you know enough about humans to make this claim is itself as subjective as anything I've proposed. How do you know when you know enough? We all use our experience, intutition and subjective views when we're trying to figure things out. Everyone does!

So I entered this thread because once again I see people suddenly trying to act like strict, textbook following robots whenever the topic of design comes up.
 
Last edited:
  • #58
heusdens
1,736
0
Fliption:

You main argument then would be that since for instance an automobile has a hight improbability of assembling itself, given it's complexity and fine-tuning of parts to make it a working thing, it makes you conclude the thing needs a maker or creator.

And then you go on to reason since we need a maker or designer in that case, we need to assume that also in the case of complex living celss.

But here is the error in your thinking, namely the assumption that the making of a car is cause by an act of creation.

When exactly was this car created or designed? Well, please go and lookup all the history of making of cars, for most part it is recent history, that is not very difficult then.

The first question is -- was a car ever designed or created?
The concept of a car we did not get from thin air, or by one "creative" invention. Instead it was ... A DEVELOPMENT PROCESS!

A car started being an automobile when we were combining two different concepts: that of a charot and that of a benzine or diesel motor. So to explain the automobile, you need to explain bot the charot and the benzine or diesel motor. And then there are other parts to the automobile. All denote a specific development history.
The first element in car design was the rolling of tree trunks and or round stones for some form of transporation, and then making that into an artifact of human technology, the wheel.

So the deisgn history of the car is already a history of thousands of years!

Does not add up to one creation event, does it?
 
  • #59
Has this thread turned into an ID topic?
 
  • #60
Royce
1,514
0
No, the car was not one creative event but thousands of creative events logical put together one step at a time to create something that did not exist in objective reality before. Wheels do not grow on trees nor do they fall from mountains. Wheels were invented and invention is a subjective creation. The idea for the wheel, car anything had to first form in some persons consciousness before that person could go about forming a wheel.

This idea was formed because of a perscieved subjective need. Every invention of mankind including objectivity is a subjective event.
 
  • #61
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by heusdens
Fliption:

You main argument then would be that since for instance an automobile has a hight improbability of assembling itself, given it's complexity and fine-tuning of parts to make it a working thing, it makes you conclude the thing needs a maker or creator.

No That's not my argument. I don't make any conclusions based on odds. All I'm doing is pointing out the correlation between designed things and the statistical improbability of those things happening in nature. If the odds are incredible enough it doesn't "need" anything like a creator necessarily. It just needs to be explored with a more open mind as to how it got where it is.


So the deisgn history of the car is already a history of thousands of years!

Does not add up to one creation event, does it?

What I'm talking about has nothing to do with "one creation event". I couldn't careless how many events it takes, the point is that at each step of the development there was intent involved. I also don't like the word "creation" being used. At the moment we've been discussing anything from finding a circle of sticks in the woods to finding an object on Mars. I have no interest in any of the religious theories. The creation word tends to draw out the militant science whackos who then become dis-respectful and unproductive. Let's not do that to this thread.
 
Last edited:
  • #62
Originally posted by Fliption
The creation word tends to draw out the militant science whackos who then become dis-respectful and unproductive. Let's not do that to this thread.
Uh huh...*grins*


The problem I have with the design idea is that it depends on the unproven idea of intent, if'n you see my point. A car is designed with an intent in mind: transportation. What intent is there in a tree sloth, or a neutron star?
 
  • #63
FZ+
1,599
3
This is clearly NOT the case with an engine made of automobile parts. If you bump into a contraption on Mars that could crank you would then ask yourself the question... "what are the odds that parts can naturally assemble themselves to allow the resulting creation to crank?" Yes, cranking would have to be part of the criteria but it is simply a physical property you have observed. There does not have to be any subjective understanding of the function of cranking.
But is it? What I am really correlating here is looking for one specific configuration of parts that make it crank with looking for one specific pattern of water molecules that let's the finished snowflake fulfil your criteria of a certain shape - the puzzle is in selecting the precise criteria, and that is subjective.

Suppose we have a lock, with a hole with which a specific snowflake fits in, and we find a snowflake that happens to fit it. Then we would argue that the safe is designed, would we not? And hence is the point - the thing that makes us think the thing is designed is not the item, or whatever odds it has, but the safe, the mental keyhole in which it fits. Boulders do roll down hills, but they never roll down in exactly the same way. What is critical to the finding of purpose in these cases is us, and the purpose our subjectivity provides. That is what focuses our minds on the cranking of the engine instead of the special ways in can fall apart - the fact that we find it useful. And another problem is that we cannot determine if the key was made for the lock, or the lock was made for the key. If we have a lock and a key, then it is easy to suggest design is present. But with only a key, or a lock, then we cannot begin but by making assumptions.

I still just don't see how you can claim that you can't speak about the universe due to lack of knowledge, yet you can compartmentalize any object inside of it and say everything that needs to be said. This method seems as unstable and subjective as what I'm suggesting.
I think it goes back to another assumption of mine - that we can know anyone thing, but we simply will never know everything.

Boulders run down hills all the time! Have you ever seen an automobile engine put itself together by chance?
No, but I have never seen a boulder set itself in a position that makes it run down the hill either. (Just clarify for a moment. I am comparing the running down the hill of a boulder to the running of the engine, not the spontaneous creation of the latter) I am saying that in blunt, physical terms, the function of an engine is almost the same as the boulder down the hill. It is the function we have for it that sets the two apart. If I was to land one Earth and mankind was to disappear, by counting the number of engines around, I would conclude a high probability of the engines arriving by chance, since they all appear to be naturally present. Before we discovered glaciation etc, did we really believe people pushed boulders up hills, rigged them in precarious positions where they can fall?
The method for us the judge the probability of the boulders is to see how often they appear, though we cannot watch them spontaneously put themselves in positions where they can fall, we assume that they do so. By your method, if we compare the appearance of engines and boulders right now, without reference to function etc, we might be forgiven for interpretating that it is the boulders that are designed, not the engines.

I didn't understand this.
What I mean is that when I thought you can't levitate (ignoring the definition based objections) I considered two alternatives - that I know you can lie, and I know no mechanism you can levitate. But when we say about design of the metal block, I know that there is a chance of it appearing, but I don't know if the designers exist which would allow this block to appear any other way, and I don't know if they have any purpose for it. What is necessary is to establish the latter ones.
 
  • #64
Fliption
1,081
1
But is it? What I am really correlating here is looking for one specific configuration of parts that make it crank with looking for one specific pattern of water molecules that let's the finished snowflake fulfil your criteria of a certain shape - the puzzle is in selecting the precise criteria, and that is subjective.

Suppose we have a lock, with a hole with which a specific snowflake fits in, and we find a snowflake that happens to fit it. Then we would argue that the safe is designed, would we not? And hence is the point - the thing that makes us think the thing is designed is not the item, or whatever odds it has, but the safe, the mental keyhole in which it fits. Boulders do roll down hills, but they never roll down in exactly the same way. What is critical to the finding of purpose in these cases is us, and the purpose our subjectivity provides. That is what focuses our minds on the cranking of the engine instead of the special ways in can fall apart - the fact that we find it useful. And another problem is that we cannot determine if the key was made for the lock, or the lock was made for the key. If we have a lock and a key, then it is easy to suggest design is present. But with only a key, or a lock, then we cannot begin but by making assumptions.

I hear what you're saying but I just don't agree with it. If I found a snowflake that fit exactly into a lock I would NOT think it was designed. It is because the feature that you are using to establish it as designed is the way it interacts with something else or gets "used". As opposed to a unique physical property that it has on it's own. You keep getting hung up on subjective usefulness. If this really happened, I would step back and ask myself, "Now what makes the characteristics of this snowflake any different in terms of it's odds than any other?" Nothing. That particular shape just happens to be the right shape for that lock but in and of itself, it has no less odds of occurring than any other shape. As opposed to an automobile engine. And I just cannot accept the idea that a cranking engine would just be ignored completely as an unusual object simply because we didn't know what the function of cranking was. That just seems ridiculous.


I think it goes back to another assumption of mine - that we can know anyone thing, but we simply will never know everything.
Ok, then we'll just have to agree to disagree here.

If I know everything about 99% of the species in the water, I still won't swim in the water until I find out whether the other 1% eats meat. Also, this 1% might influence the behavior of the other 99% in ways that I cannot know.


No, but I have never seen a boulder set itself in a position that makes it run down the hill either. (Just clarify for a moment. I am comparing the running down the hill of a boulder to the running of the engine, not the spontaneous creation of the latter) I am saying that in blunt, physical terms, the function of an engine is almost the same as the boulder down the hill. It is the function we have for it that sets the two apart. If I was to land one Earth and mankind was to disappear, by counting the number of engines around, I would conclude a high probability of the engines arriving by chance, since they all appear to be naturally present. Before we discovered glaciation etc, did we really believe people pushed boulders up hills, rigged them in precarious positions where they can fall?
The method for us the judge the probability of the boulders is to see how often they appear, though we cannot watch them spontaneously put themselves in positions where they can fall, we assume that they do so. By your method, if we compare the appearance of engines and boulders right now, without reference to function etc, we might be forgiven for interpretating that it is the boulders that are designed, not the engines.

huh? Heh. This is silly. Give us a little credit(since we all do what I'm suggesting). You are taking what I'm saying and then applying it in a vacuum of information and showing how absurd things would result. For example, you and I both know that if we shake a crate full of auto parts that they will never come out assembled in such a way for them to crank. How do we know this? I personally have zero experience shaking crates full of auto parts. It's because we have a very good understanding of how the laws of physics work in a setting such as this. The amount of information and experience that would play into a decision like this would be vast. It would not be constrained to the local setting and situation like you have done here. If I went to another planet and saw crankable cars everywhere and no people, I would entertain the option that the people have either died or left because I know that nature has never in my experience produced objects that are made up of hundreds of moving, symetrical metal parts and make a lot of noise when a small metal plate is turned. While this new planet may be different and defy the laws of physics as we know it, that is the risk we take everytime we create a theory. We base it on what we know and when we learn something different our theories change.




What I mean is that when I thought you can't levitate (ignoring the definition based objections) I considered two alternatives - that I know you can lie, and I know no mechanism you can levitate. But when we say about design of the metal block, I know that there is a chance of it appearing, but I don't know if the designers exist which would allow this block to appear any other way, and I don't know if they have any purpose for it. What is necessary is to establish the latter ones.

And I can as easily make the claim that there is no mechanism for a square metal box encasing assembled parts to happen naturally. The analogy seems clear to me. Neither have ever happened in our experience so they are in the same boat of credibility.

Just so you know...I wouldn't believe it if anyone told me they could levitate things either. Just like I wouldn't initially believe that box was created naturally. Consistency!
 
Last edited:
  • #65
dschou
13
0
some interesting quotes that may be somewhat applicable to this discussion:

"the fool says in his heart there is no God"

"...they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the creator. though they claimed to be wise they became fools."

lets step out on a limb here. God has declared purpose and intent. the purpose: his glory, the intent: our perfection. for this, you must believe. i cannot prove it. i don't want to. indeed, the day i prove this is the day i stop believing it for my God cannot be subject to me.

nevertheless, the sheer nonsense that is spewed forth by the atheist or the materialist (in short, the fool) is not above reproach or rebuttal though it nears "reductio ad absurdum".

some have proposed that because we cannot objectively prove the existence of God he does not exist. however, i cannot objectively prove my own existence. therefore i do not exist? please, enlighten me as to how i can objectively prove my own existence.

somewhere in all this reasoning, everyone became unreasonable (and for no apparent reason - the truth is quite obvious).
 
  • #66
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by Fliption
No That's not my argument. I don't make any conclusions based on odds. All I'm doing is pointing out the correlation between designed things and the statistical improbability of those things happening in nature. If the odds are incredible enough it doesn't "need" anything like a creator necessarily. It just needs to be explored with a more open mind as to how it got where it is.


Please explain to me how can you do a real probability calculation?
Doesn't that involve wild speculations about for instance:
- The number of planets that have earthlike conditions, which amongst others involve the number of stars, galaxies, etc. (there is presumably much more universe outside of the observable horizon!)

How can you claim to be able to perform probability calculus on that?

Secondly: you do not know the exact mechanism that evolves life from non-life. It makes your probability theory baseless then.



What I'm talking about has nothing to do with "one creation event". I couldn't careless how many events it takes, the point is that at each step of the development there was intent involved. I also don't like the word "creation" being used. At the moment we've been discussing anything from finding a circle of sticks in the woods to finding an object on Mars. I have no interest in any of the religious theories. The creation word tends to draw out the militant science whackos who then become dis-respectful and unproductive. Let's not do that to this thread.

What do you mean with "creation" then?
Isn't it the same then as determinism?

We have no problem by stating that there were determining events and laws at work in the material world, that caused life from non-life.
They obviously were there, since it happened.
 
  • #67
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by dschou
some interesting quotes that may be somewhat applicable to this discussion:

"the fool says in his heart there is no God"

"...they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the creator. though they claimed to be wise they became fools."

lets step out on a limb here. God has declared purpose and intent. the purpose: his glory, the intent: our perfection. for this, you must believe. i cannot prove it. i don't want to. indeed, the day i prove this is the day i stop believing it for my God cannot be subject to me.

nevertheless, the sheer nonsense that is spewed forth by the atheist or the materialist (in short, the fool) is not above reproach or rebuttal though it nears "reductio ad absurdum".

some have proposed that because we cannot objectively prove the existence of God he does not exist. however, i cannot objectively prove my own existence. therefore i do not exist? please, enlighten me as to how i can objectively prove my own existence.

somewhere in all this reasoning, everyone became unreasonable (and for no apparent reason - the truth is quite obvious).
This actually makes a lot of sense! Except for one thing perhaps, the part about God not being subject to us, otherwise I don't think He would have given us an ego. :wink:

While it also says something to this effect in the scriptures, when Jesus is asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God?" and Jesus replies, "He who is least among you is the greatest."

Maybe this is why it's so hard to acknowledge that He exists, because He's so busy fulfilling the needs of His creation?
 
  • #68
Maybe this is why it's so hard to acknowledge that He exists, because He's so busy fulfilling the needs of His creation?
Guess again.
 
  • #69
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by dschou
some have proposed that because we cannot objectively prove the existence of God he does not exist. however, i cannot objectively prove my own existence. therefore i do not exist? please, enlighten me as to how i can objectively prove my own existence.

Ok. Want proof? Here is how you do this. Find someone in your neighbourhood. Now bow at each other in such a way your heads collide against each other firmly. If you both feel a sudden pain in the head, it means you both exist objectively.

Be carefull though not to do that too firmly, since then you might knock each other unconsciously, and in that state, you sense of objectivity gets lost a while.
 
  • #70
dschou
13
0
ok. your humour is lost on me.

banging heads with my neighbour is little more proof than pinching myself, which begs the question: why the outlandish imperative? i have an inkling that it was snide, underhanded attack, but that is neither here nor there.

now with regards to the reasoning here, that i can determine OBJECTIVELY my existence through SENSATION, i have little to say but that this is the most SUBJECTIVE method with which to determine my existence.

further, if, through sensation, i could determine existence (and i believe that i can), then God most definitely exists, for i have FELT his presence for some time now and have witnessed his grandeur most personally in his creation. if this sensation is but clouded delusion or perhaps - as one might say - a series of explainable chemical imbalances, then why could i not infer that the pain in my head as it becomes incident on my neighbour's is not likewise a clouded delusion? an unreality?

i will make an existential claim here. i propose that there is no way to determine objectively my own existence save through a series of inductive arguments which may or may not be flawed, but which do not in any way facilitate a deductive proof. QED.

some poetry:

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


-Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
 

Suggested for: The answer to the Does God exist question from Human Practice

  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
342
Replies
15
Views
457
  • Last Post
Replies
30
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
43
Views
764
Replies
22
Views
909
Replies
1
Views
200
Replies
4
Views
382
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
382
Replies
25
Views
1K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
414
Top