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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dogs and people and evolution math

I posted two pictures yesterday.

Jack the Dog - As an adolescent puppy, the kids named him "Tae-Kwon-Dog" because when he was very happy he would whip his tail so hard it would break things, knock small children to the ground and occasionally leave a mark on an unprotected adult leg. Jack is even bigger (around 110 pounds) as an adult dog but a couple of times actually spraining his tail by whacking it against the corner of a a doorway has caused him to curtail (ha) the amount and force of his wag. Usually. But if I come home after being gone for several hours that tail will be dangerous for awhile.

I do love dogs but I think that animals and people are very different in more ways than can be seen in the genetic code. Jack, like other animals, relies a great deal upon instinct whereas conscious thought is our primary guide. Instinct is one of the biggest problems for Darwinism. The Mound Bird, for instance. As an adult man with many years of schooling, I could not possibly bury an egg in a mound of dirt and branches and leaves and know when to add a bit here and to take a bit off there in order to keep the interior temperature at the same level continually. Given special instrumentation and years of training I might have an outside chance of succeeding where the Mound Bird, with no training or instrumentation at all, just knows.

Dog breeders have found you can not only breed dogs for size, color, etc. but also for instinctive behavior. Pointers point, Chows protect and remain suspicious, Sheepdogs herd, Springer Spaniels love to jump in the water and swim around.

It doesn't bother me that I could have evolved from an ape. First, I don't believe it happened. Second, there are major differences between an ape or any other animal and man that are more than simply body type or shape. Man is the animal that thinks, that can philosophize, that understands concepts foreign to any animal. Animals can be trained to do amazing things and some have problem-solving skills. But to understand life and death?

My dog Jack is afraid to be hurt, it is instinctive. But I am sure he doesn't know what death is and I believe than when Jack dies he will simply cease to exist. He has a body and the breath of life but not an eternal spirit. I do, however, and truly believe that I will continue on after this body takes a last breath. I don't fear death, because I expect to meet my Creator face-to-face when I pass. But I don't hasten death. Life is a pain in the butt sometimes, but it is a gift to cherish. I am grateful that I was born and I intend to enjoy life and love others as long as I possibly can.

People

Another picture was of three of the people I love most in this world, my wife and my two oldest sons. What is interesting about those two guys, just about a year apart and with the same parents, is their differences. Both inherited my chin and my nose, but look quite different in person.

Rob was an acrobat as a child. He was climbing walls and jumping off of things, a natural athlete who was the fastest kid in his class. His gradeschool gym teacher nicknamed him "Flash". He has blue eyes and sandy hair and while he is somewhat lanky is just naturally very strong. He was a remarkably athletic and skilled basketball player in his school days. He is also an artist and a cartoonist. He is the Sergeant in the Military Police who has come back from overseas and is now stateside. We are waiting impatiently for his Commander to okay his leave so he can come home and visit for awhile.

Dave's nickname as a child was "Tank". He was, and is, a bit bigger and wider than his brother. He preferred football as his favorite sport. He has brown eyes and black hair and a darker complexion than anyone else in his immediate family. He works out on weights more than his brother and is able to bulk up more than his brother, being more of a mesomorph. He is the family table tennis champ, better at volleyball than the rest. He is far more of an avid reader than his brother. He is at home right now, working, getting ready to resume his college career after he piles up some funds.

Two young men, same genes, very different in many ways. Both are intelligent and did exceedingly well in school. Both are gifted singers. But both have different preferences in music, in favorite games, in fact in a lot of other ways. They have some obvious physical variations. I suppose if Dave married a darker-complexioned girl and Rob married a lighter blonde type, their offspring would appear to have come from two entirely different families. I can see how various "races" could have come from a family of eight individuals, that had a total of twelve unrelated individuals as parents.

The great thing, perhaps the greatest thing that I know about being a father is that I have loved my children and taught them and guided them to the best of my ability. There are still two more to help through high school. I figure by the time they are out of high school, they are who they are and it is now between them, the school of life and their God who and what they will become in the future.

Every one of my kids has their own relationship with God. You can tell people about God and you can live a life that reflects what you believe but you sure can't make anyone a believer. So I never tried to force my kids to believe, just gave them the information and taught them what I knew. Taught them to think. Tried to help them be who they were, whether teacher or artist or singer or craftsman or salesman or lawyer or whatever. It is fascinating to see them grow up and become adults, and thank God I think maybe all of them will be adults. There are too many thirty-five year old children out there and you know what I mean...

But dogs and apes and sheep and birds....animals...they don't become, they are. They have instinctive behavior. You can train them and use them for various things (dogs, especially, are great for this; cadaver dogs, seeing-eye dogs, drug dogs, etc.) but there will be no philosopher dogs or lawyer dogs or artist dogs. Animals aren't people and no animal became a person.

One great mystery to a Darwinist is just what exactly life is and where it comes from. They have no answer to how life may have come from non-life. But another problem is that great gulf between instinctive animal and thinking man.

MATH ONE MORE TIME

A commenter suggested that he could throw five decks of cards into the air and the combination that would fall to the floor, the order of those cards, would illustrate to me the reason I am wrong about statistics. The odds would be wildly against that particular order of cards to have occurred and would be completely unlikely to occur again should he devote his life to throwing cards up in the air. Yet it happened!

Here is the answer: Throw the five decks of cards up in the air until they fall to earth in one neat stack, sorted by suit and consecutively by value. Then we can talk. For you see, the Huxley Horse argument is still misunderstood. The absolutely ridiculous odds against a horse ever evolving were one over (In Huxley's own words):"The figure 1 with three million naughts after it: and that would take three large volumes of about 500 pages each, just to print! ... no one would bet on anything so improbable happening; and yet it has happened."

Now Huxley was actually being conservative even with such numbers. Statistically any odds more than 1 over 10 to the 50th power are considered an impossibility. Darwinists try to say, no, that isn't right. A horse just happened to occur but it could have been any animal and with all the possible animals that could have been the odds that one of them would have happened are, well, it is almost inevitable.

BUT

The odds against a horse are not so specific, really. The computation is based on the odds against the number of mutations that must occur by chance, survive, and be beneficial enough to become part of the gene pool, over and over again through millions of incremental stages until an animal as complex as a horse is reached. But ANY ANIMAL that you can conceive, not just a horse. A Philaramic Pakylumar would still have to go through that many beneficial and surviving mutations to exist. So, again, using cards to try to change the equation does not work. No matter what organism, the odds of going through so many changes to exist today are so overwhelmingly against occurrence as to make it a statistical impossiblity. On top of that, we don't just have the horse, but we have innumerable different organisms of different kinds, and innumerable species within the kind with all sorts of varieties each of which requiring additional mutations to enter into the gene pool and be a viable organism. So multiply Huxley's impossibility times a few million and then you have life as we know it. Impossible. Yet it is here. Huxley, with great faith, just decided that it happened anyway. I, with greater logic, agree with the Bible account. God created. It fits the evidence without additional corollaries and suppositions. Darwinism still doesn't.

55 comments:

Amy Proctor said...

Dang, Radar, I love your posts! I gain a lot of edification from your examination of Darwinism and Creation.

radar said...

Thanks, Amy, I generally don't get many attaboys when I do them...

creeper said...

"Two young men, same genes, very different in many ways."

Umm, no, Radar. Different genes.

"I can see how various "races" could have come from a family of eight individuals, that had a total of twelve unrelated individuals as parents."

How? One of many unanswered questions, Radar. Was man artificially selected? Would your kids turn into different races over just a few generations if they were in a different environment?

"One great mystery to a Darwinist is just what exactly life is and where it comes from. They have no answer to how life may have come from non-life."

Scientists have some possible pathways for this, and are currently investigating the details. Creationists have shown no curiosity in investigating how God created life, but why take potshots at people who do investigate the origin of life?

creeper said...

"A commenter suggested that he could throw five decks of cards into the air and the combination that would fall to the floor, the order of those cards, would illustrate to me the reason I am wrong about statistics. The odds would be wildly against that particular order of cards to have occurred and would be completely unlikely to occur again should he devote his life to throwing cards up in the air. Yet it happened!

Here is the answer: Throw the five decks of cards up in the air until they fall to earth in one neat stack, sorted by suit and consecutively by value. Then we can talk."


That's exactly the fallacy that has been pointed out to you so many times and in so many different ways. The odds of any outcome are very different from the odds of a specific outcome, and the theory of evolution is not reliant on any specific outcome.

"For you see, the Huxley Horse argument is still misunderstood."

Yes, by you, in this specific way: you don't understand that it was meant to demonstrate the odds against something complex evolving once you take natural selection out of the picture.

"The absolutely ridiculous odds against a horse ever evolving were one over (In Huxley's own words):"The figure 1 with three million naughts after it: and that would take three large volumes of about 500 pages each, just to print! ... no one would bet on anything so improbable happening; and yet it has happened.""

Once again you post the result of the calculation - now show us the equation and the assumptions. I am hardly being unreasonable when I say that you have evaded this question with great consistency.

Now Huxley was actually being conservative even with such numbers. Statistically any odds more than 1 over 10 to the 50th power are considered an impossibility."

Pick a number - any number - between 1 and "the number 1 with three million naughts after it". I know you can do it.

"Darwinists try to say, no, that isn't right. A horse just happened to occur but it could have been any animal"

Correct so far.

"and with all the possible animals that could have been the odds that one of them would have happened are, well, it is almost inevitable."

I don't know about almost inevitable, but certainly possible and even likely. Again, what are the odds of someone being born on the day you were born? Given a population of billions on the planet, it's practically inevitable. What are the odds of specifically you being born on your birthday, that specific combination of chromosomes? Very, very slim.

"The odds against a horse are not so specific, really. The computation is based on the odds against the number of mutations that must occur by chance, survive, and be beneficial enough to become part of the gene pool, over and over again through millions of incremental stages until an animal as complex as a horse is reached."

So where is this computation, and the assumptions it is based on?

"But ANY ANIMAL that you can conceive, not just a horse. A Philaramic Pakylumar would still have to go through that many beneficial and surviving mutations to exist."

Don't forget all the animals that you can't conceive.

"So, again, using cards to try to change the equation does not work."

Examples using cards and lotteries are not used to "try to change the equation", but to illustrate basic points re. statistics and probabilities.

You have never posted an equation or the assumptions for us to try to change. Yes, you're still being evasive, and repeating the same fallacies that have been pointed out to you.

"No matter what organism, the odds of going through so many changes to exist today are so overwhelmingly against occurrence as to make it a statistical impossiblity."

What are the odds? What are they based on?

"On top of that, we don't just have the horse, but we have innumerable different organisms of different kinds, and innumerable species within the kind with all sorts of varieties each of which requiring additional mutations to enter into the gene pool and be a viable organism. So multiply Huxley's impossibility times a few million and then you have life as we know it. Impossible."

Why would we multiply the "impossible odds" you mention for the horse's existence to account for other organisms existing in parallel? Is this the "specific outcome" fallacy or an additional one?

"Yet it is here. Huxley, with great faith, just decided that it happened anyway."

No, Huxley didn't "just decide" that, he reasoned that pure randomness wasn't the answer. Add natural selection to change the odds at each stage, and the overall odds change considerably.

"I, with greater logic, agree with the Bible account. God created. It fits the evidence without additional corollaries and suppositions. Darwinism still doesn't."

"God created" doesn't explain the "how" even a little bit. That's fine if you have no curiosity about how the world around you works. Once you try to answer the "how" and fit the evidence to YEC, let's see how far you get without additional corollaries. We've already seen that it doesn't go very far without having to add corollaries such as suspending the laws of physics.

But I'll grant you that as long as YEC doesn't try to match up with the evidence we see around us, it tells a satisfying tale for some.

Jeffahn said...

It appears as if the regurgitation of broken arguments is a required skill of all 'good' Creationists.

Juggling Mother said...

"He has a body and the breath of life but not an eternal spirit. I do, however, and truly believe that I will continue on after this body takes a last breath"

I don't.

So what does that prove about evolution?

All it proves is that you and I have different beliefs *gasp! no! say it aint so!*

As for the statistics & a pack of cards analagy, you've really missed the point. Of course if you throw one pack of cards in the air, the chances of them landing in any sequence (let alone the "correct" one) i pretty remote.

BUT:

Try throwing up 10 billion packs of cards every second for a few million years, and then see how likely it is that one of them will land in the "correct" sequence.

Then for all the ones that did land in sequence, you can take out all the kings (that'their advantage - natural selection), and repeat the whole process. For each pack that lands in sequence you take out the kings, or if they have already gone, you take out the queens.

repeat. take out the kings/queens/jacks

repeat for several hundred million years.

How likely is it that you will end up with LOTS of Aces?

chaos_engineer said...

Let me take a stab at the probability argument. My mother has 23 pairs of chromosomes, and I randomly inherited one chromosome from each pair. There were 2^23 or about 10^7 different ways she could have done that. My father did the same, so there's only one chance in 10^14 that they would have a child with my particular DNA.

The odds get even worse when you consider the possibility of point or crossover mutations, or the possibility that my parents might have married completely different people.

Now, consider that my parents were fighting the same odds to get their unique DNA, and so did every previous generation. 500 years ago, the chance that someone with my exact DNA would exist were a lot less than 1 in 10^50. So how is it that I exist?

That's the point of the card example. The odds of getting some particular arrangement of cards is very low, but you're guaranteed to get *some* arrangement of cards.

It's the same with horses. 100 million years ago, the odds of horses evolving were low. But it was guaranteed that *something* would evolve.

Also, it seems like God is a lot less likely than horses. Horses only have a finite number of parts, but God is all-powerful and all-knowing and therefore needs to have infinite complexity. So shouldn't God only have an infintesimal chance of existing?

highboy said...

"Horses only have a finite number of parts, but God is all-powerful and all-knowing and therefore needs to have infinite complexity"

Trying to draw conclusions about God, a Supreme Deity based on human understanding is somewhat laughable.

IAMB said...

Trying to draw conclusions about God, a Supreme Deity based on human understanding is somewhat laughable.

Dude, you owe me a new irony meter...

radar said...

I recall linking to an explanatory article concerning the equation and since I am (still, again) doing my taxes (had to wait until Monday to get some records I found missing) and it is my daughter's 18th birthday there will be no long post and etc. today.

First, it is notable that no one has been able to claim the 1.35 Million Dollar "The Origin-of-Life Prize" ® (hereafter called "the Prize") will be awarded for proposing a highly plausible mechanism for the spontaneous rise of genetic instructions in nature sufficient to give rise to life. To win, the explanation must be consistent with empirical biochemical, kinetic, and thermodynamic concepts as further delineated herein, and be published in a well-respected, peer-reviewed science journal(s)."

(http://www.us.net/life/)

Because there is no plausible explanation amongst Darwinists. On to the math.

Calculations on the probability of life forming by chance do take into account the possibility of multiple events, contrary to K.C.’s assertion. Even non-creationists (e.g. the mathematician and cosmologist, Sir Fred Hoyle) put the probability for the formation of the most basic of cells by natural processes at (at best) 1 in 10^40,000 — that’s a number one with 40,000 zeros after it! Even this assumes all the ingredients are present, which is impossible! Now, if every atom in the universe were an experiment repeated every millisecond for the 15 billion years age of the universe commonly claimed by evolutionists, how does that affect the probability? It is now about 1 in 10^3900. So, when such improbable events are being discussed, the number of conceivable experiments has little effect on the matter. It is usually agreed that something with odds of less than 1 in 10^50 will never happen. In other words, the origin of life without a Creator is as impossible as it is impossible to be! Creation on the Web.

Now, I have seen people list refutations of this calculation, but the small differences in the number of enzymes required and other criticisms don't reduct the number significantly. Nor can you give natural selection any credit for intelligence, or else you have just substituted a creator for a Creator. Natural selection is not an intelligent force!

This link
http://www.creationontheweb.com/
content/view/1416

Includes this:

"The argument from probability that life could not form by natural processes but must have been created is sometimes acknowledged by evolutionists as a strong argument.1 The probability of the chance formation of a hypothetical functional ‘simple’ cell, given all the ingredients, is acknowledged2 to be worse than 1 in 10^57800. This is a chance of 1 in a number with 57,800 zeros. It would take 11 full pages of magazine type to print this number. To try to put this in perspective, there are about 10^80 (a number with 80 zeros) electrons in the universe. Even if every electron in our universe were another universe the same size as ours that would ‘only’ amount to 10^160 electrons.

These numbers defy our ability to comprehend their size. Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer, has used analogies to try to convey the immensity of the problem. For example, Hoyle said the probability of the formation of just one of the many proteins on which life depends is comparable to that of the solar system packed full of blind people randomly shuffling Rubik’s cubes all arriving at the solution at the same time3—and this is the chance of getting only one of the 400 or more proteins of the hypothetical minimum cell proposed by the evolutionists (real world ‘simple’ bacteria have about 2,000 proteins and are incredibly complex). As Hoyle points out, the program of the cell, encoded on the DNA, is also needed. In other words, life could not form by natural (random) processes.

Evolutionists often try to bluff their way out of this problem by using analogies to argue that improbable things happen every day, so why should the naturalistic origin of life be considered impossible. For example, they say the odds of winning the lottery are pretty remote, but someone wins it every week. Or, the chances of getting the particular arrangement of cards obtained by shuffling a deck is remote, but a rare combination happens every time the cards are shuffled. Or the arrangement of the sand grains in a pile of sand obtained by randomly pouring the sand is extremely complex, but this complex and improbable arrangement did occur as a result of random processes. Or the exact combination and arrangement of people walking across a busy city street is highly improbable, but such improbable arrangements happen all the time. So they argue from these analogies to try to dilute the force of this powerful argument for creation.

You probably realize there is something illogical about this line of argument. But what is it?

In all the analogies cited above, there has to be an outcome. Someone has to win the lottery. There will be an arrangement of cards. There will be a pile of sand. There will be people walking across the busy street. By contrast, in the processes by which life is supposed to have formed, there need not necessarily be an outcome. Indeed the probabilities argue against any outcome. That is the whole point of the argument. But then the evolutionist may counter that it did happen because we are here! This is circular reasoning at its worst.

Note several other things about these analogies:

Creationists do not argue that life is merely complex, but that it is ordered in such a way as to defy a natural explanation. The order in the proteins and DNA of living things is independent of the properties of the chemicals of which they consist—unlike an ice crystal where the structure results from the properties of the water molecule. The order in living things parallels that in printed books where the information is not contained in the ink, or even in the letters, but in the complex arrangement of letters which make up words, words which make up sentences, sentences which make up paragraphs, paragraphs which make up chapters and chapters which make up books. These components of written language respectively parallel the nucleic acid bases, codons, genes, operons, chromosomes and genomes which make up the genetic programs of living cells.

The order in living things shows they are the product of intelligence. The result of the lottery draw is clearly the result of a random selection—unless family members of the lottery supervisor consistently win! Then we would conclude that the draw has not been random—it is not the result of a random process, but the result of an intelligent agent.

The arrangement of cards resulting from shuffling would not normally suggest anything other than a random process. However, if all the cards were ordered by their suits from lowest to highest, we would logically conclude that an intelligent agent arranged them (or ‘stacked the deck’ in card-playing parlance) because such an arrangement is highly unlikely from genuine shuffling—a random, non-intelligent process.

The arrangement of the sand grains in a pile would not normally suggest it resulted from intelligent activity rather than natural processes. However, if all the sand grains were lined up in single file, or were in a neat rectangle, we would attribute this to an intelligent agent, or a machine made by an intelligent agent, as this would not be likely from a natural process.

The arrangement of people crossing a busy street would not normally suggest anything other than a random process. However, if all the people were ordered from shortest to tallest, or some other ordered arrangement, we would suspect that an intelligent agent was responsible for putting them in this order—that it did not result from chance. If 20 people were arranged from shortest to tallest, the odds of this happening by chance are less than one in a billion, billion (10^18), so it would be reasonable to conclude that such an ordered arrangement was not due to chance whereas there would be nothing to suggest intelligent involvement if there was no meaningful pattern to the arrangement of people."


Darwinists will say, but, natural selection is not chance. Natural selection is an observed phenomenon that is not in and of itself intelligent. But mutations are not intelligent but are entirely random. The idea that even one in a thousand mutations will not only live, and not only be beneficial to a creature, but will also enter into the gene pool as part of the choices that can be naturally selected is a very optimistic number.

Optimistic? Yes, considering that 3,000 generations of fruit flies, being manipulated by man in order to get more mutations, have yet to produce even one such mutation. Not one....

I have read the site that discounts calculations by Hoyle, Dembski and others and I think the arguments miss the boat.

(http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/
richard_carrier/addendaB.html#Hoyle) is one I have gone through and the argument doesn't work for me. Maybe they do for you...

highboy said...

"Trying to draw conclusions about God, a Supreme Deity based on human understanding is somewhat laughable.

Dude, you owe me a new irony meter.."

Not sure what's ironic about it. Christian understanding of God is given via revelation through His Word and His Spirit. My remark was directed at this statement: "Horses only have a finite number of parts, but God is all-powerful and all-knowing and therefore needs to have infinite complexity"

A heck of an assumption.

creeper said...

"I have read the site that discounts calculations by Hoyle, Dembski and others and I think the arguments miss the boat.

(http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/
richard_carrier/addendaB.html#Hoyle) is one I have gone through and the argument doesn't work for me."


How so?

creeper said...

"God is all-powerful and all-knowing and therefore needs to have infinite complexity"

Is it too much to assume that God is all-powerful? Or that God is all-knowing? Or that God needs to have infinite complexity?

Shygetz said...

All of your probability arguments still do not take into account that life as we know it did not have to be as we know it. We did not need to have cells with all the organelles and structures that we have, much less the animals we have today. We could have evolved with, say, complex hydrogen bonded organic shells instead of hydrophobic bonded lipid bilayers. Or a covalently bonded polymeric shell. Or a hydrophilic shell in an organic environment. Or any of an infinite set of possibilities that we haven't imagined.

Additionally, they all have unwarranted assumptions, such as that all sequences of a protein are equally possible to form. This is absolutely untrue, and by itself would render the calculations incorrect. There is no need to bluff our way out of this "problem" because you have yet to come up with a valid probabilistic model.

First, it is notable that no one has been able to claim the 1.35 Million Dollar "The Origin-of-Life Prize"

And no one has claimed the Randi prize for proving supernatural events. I'm sure if you could prove creationism, that would qualify.

The Origin-of-Life prize is a joke. They assume that the first replicator must have been a linear genetic sequence that coded for proteins, as is found today. Almost all scientists now agree that this was probably not the case. Life probably began as simple replicators such as catalyzing polymers spatially localized, say on a surface. The Origin-of-Life prize intentionally makes itself unwinnable by demanding an account for life beginning as a strand of nucleic acid or something similar.

In all the analogies cited above, there has to be an outcome. Someone has to win the lottery. There will be an arrangement of cards. There will be a pile of sand. There will be people walking across the busy street. By contrast, in the processes by which life is supposed to have formed, there need not necessarily be an outcome.

Untrue. Mix chemicals together, and there will be an outcome. There must be. Some of the outcomes will catalyze its own replication. We don't know how many of the possible outcomes are self-replicating, so we can't begin to calculate the probability of hitting one. But if we do, it will instantly begin to increase its relative population. As soon as you get a self-replicator, the system can begin to undergo natural selection, for faster replication, better stability, etc., etc.

Optimistic? Yes, considering that 3,000 generations of fruit flies, being manipulated by man in order to get more mutations, have yet to produce even one such mutation. Not one....

Are you saying that there are no beneficial mutations in fruit flies? Cite a source. We have definitely observed many beneficial mutations, depending on the environment (e.g. sickle-cell anemia in a malaria-rich environment, various antibiotic resistances in an antibiotic-rich environment, etc.)

I'm sorry if the arguments don't "work for your", but they are scientifically correct. Modeling reality with math and statistics is hard, and the surest way to fail is to use incorrect assumptions. Creationist math uses a TON of them, which renders their conclusions meaningless.

Not sure what's ironic about it. Christian understanding of God is given via revelation through His Word and His Spirit.

Ah, but highboy, your "revelation" must be comprehended by human understanding, still rendering your conclusions laughable (your words, not mine). The endeavors of creation "science" and all natural philosophy must be a real hoot by your lights, since they attempt to use a human epistemology and human senses(science) to understand the creator. Even your assertion that human understanding of the creator is laughable is, in itself, and understanding about the nature of the creator, and therefore laughable.

Ah, now I understand. The Creationists are trying to get me to blow my funny fuse. If they can trap us logical people in a tautological circle where we must continually laugh at them, then we will all die due to lack of food and water, and they will rule the earth. Nicely played, highboy, nicely played.

highboy said...

"Ah, but highboy, your "revelation" must be comprehended by human understanding,"

Wrong. God-given wisdom. Different from human wisdom. Human wisdom is incapable of comprehending it.

"Is it too much to assume that God is all-powerful? Or that God is all-knowing? Or that God needs to have infinite complexity?"

The last part.

" Ah, now I understand. The Creationists are trying to get me to blow my funny fuse. If they can trap us logical people in a tautological circle where we must continually laugh at them, then we will all die due to lack of food and water, and they will rule the earth. Nicely played, highboy, nicely played."

If by Creationist, you mean that I believe God created the world, you're right. If you mean I somehow oppose evolution than you are mistaken. Your "logic", by the way, is questionable given the perimeters of evolution. If we have evolved, than our brains have evolved, and if our brains have evolved, so has our thought process. But we have no way of knowing if our brains evolved the right way, therefore we don't even know if we are asking the right questions.

creeper said...

me: "Is it too much to assume that God is all-powerful? Or that God is all-knowing? Or that God needs to have infinite complexity?"

highboy: "The last part."


Please explain by what mechanisms something less complex can produce something more complex.

"If we have evolved, than our brains have evolved, and if our brains have evolved, so has our thought process. But we have no way of knowing if our brains evolved the right way, therefore we don't even know if we are asking the right questions."

That is a very good point, Highboy. Our brains have evolved to fill certain functions, for example to see patterns and structures, both in physical space and in the social networks that are the groups of humans among whom we live. Given that we grow up with authority figures in our lives who impose certain rules that they know from experience will lead to a better life for the group as a whole, and given that we see things around us that we can't explain, and given that our minds seek to impose some kind of order on the world we perceive, it stands to reason that we have a natural inclination to invent and be driven toward a personified deity that fulfills these needs.

We are attracted to this notion entirely irrespective of whether such a personified deity actually exists.

Thank you for bringing that up.

highboy said...

"Please explain by what mechanisms something less complex can produce something more complex."

Because He's God, and is not confined to such logic. Duh.

"and given that our minds seek to impose some kind of order on the world we perceive, it stands to reason that we have a natural inclination to invent and be driven toward a personified deity that fulfills these needs."

What mind? Where is it located?

Bronze Dog said...

Because He's God, and is not confined to such logic. Duh.

And is thus is useless as a concept, just like the invisible gnomes in my blog partner's... well, nevermind.

Don't you just love special pleading? We could just as easily say that evolution is "supernatural" and thus immune to science or some such, but that would be defeatism, and we don't want to be like that.

I'd rather stretch my understanding and push its limits than arbitrarily label something as beyond it.

---

But as for the whole probabilities thing: I smell and awful lot of Texas Sharpshooter, mixed with occult statistics.

creeper said...

"Because He's God, and is not confined to such logic. Duh."

How do you know that (a) He is not confined to such logic, but (b) He is not infinitely complex?

Does it say in the Bible that God is not infinitely complex?

"What mind? Where is it located?"

In your skull.

IAMB said...

Ah, the fallacy enforcer has arrived. I didn't think you'd be able to pull yourself away from fighting with Fore Sam about mercury long enough to show up here. Good to see you.

Highboy, shygetz explained things to you about as well as can be done. If you still don't understand why you melted my irony meter in record time, there's nothing I can do to fix that.

highboy said...

"How do you know that (a) He is not confined to such logic, but (b) He is not infinitely complex?

Does it say in the Bible that God is not infinitely complex?"

Didn't say He wasn't, nor did I say He was. I don't assume.

""What mind? Where is it located?"

In your skull"

Prove it. You have located something no scientist in history has. Commendable.

"If you still don't understand why you melted my irony meter in record time, there's nothing I can do to fix that."

Are you in the business of "fixing" things?

Shygetz said...

"Ah, but highboy, your "revelation" must be comprehended by human understanding,"

Wrong. God-given wisdom. Different from human wisdom. Human wisdom is incapable of comprehending it.

Ah, but you must comprehend your God-given revelation with your human comprehension, yes? The Bible was not beamed directly into your brain. The person who God supposedly inspired may have understood with God-given wisdom, but you must comprehend this wisdom with your understanding of a book (one which probably has gone through at least one translation by another person trying to comprehend God with his human wisdom). So, unless you claim that the Bible was revealed directly to you independent of the book, my statement stands. You are trying to comprehend someone else's revealed knowledge using your human understanding, which is laughable. And your statement that God cannot be so comprehended is itself an attempt to understand the nature of God based on your human understanding of a book, which is also laughable (by your assertion).

Prove it. You have located something no scientist in history has. Commendable.

The mind (defined as the collective aspects of human intelligence and consciousness that makes up our self-awareness) has indeed been located in the brain. In fact, the various aspects of the mind (emotion, perception, thought, memory, logic, imagination, etc.) have been located to specific parts of the brain. The idea of mind=soul has not been accepted in science for a long, long time.

Are you in the business of "fixing" things?

If I remember correctly (although I could be mistaken), iamb is a professional ignorance-fixer. I am in a similar line of work, albeit on a different scale.

Anonymous said...

highboy: """What mind? Where is it located?"

creeper: "In your skull"

highboy: "Prove it. You have located something no scientist in history has. Commendable."

Oh man, highboy - talk about leaving youself open! But whatever - dualism, now? The argument that has always seemed most convincing to me is this: when the brain's affected by something - naturally or recreationally - the mind is as well, and in a very specific manner. Damage this bit here, take this drug, elevate these neurotransmitters -and you get very predictable results. It would seem reasonable that the mind is something the brain does, rather like 'going fast' is something a car does. Alter the car in various ways, and different things happen, from not moving to being unable to stop. You might argue that the mind, in this analogy, is really more the driver - if the car runs out of gas, the driver can't drive, but isn't themselves affected. The thing is, given that the 'driver' appears to be undetectable by 21st century science, has no way we can understand to interface with the 'car', and rapid progress in neurology, etc., is making said driver unnecessary in terms of explanatory power, it's understandable that science would tend to assume that mind=brain. Since we're talking undetectable supernatural stuff, though, obviously science can never prove it, just llike it can't prove that there isn't really an invisible, immaterial dragon in my garage, no matter how much Carl Sagan yells at me . . .

Personally, I think mental trinitarianism (what's the real term?) - mind, body and spirit is much more interesting, if equally unfounded - but only if I get to get a cool animal-shaped daemon too!

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

" is much more interesting, if equally unfounded"
as dualism, I mean. Just realized that might not be clear. As far as I can tell, everything we know seems to indicate that mind=brain.

But knowing this - even at an extremely simplified, 'ooh, I read Oliver Sacks and took a cog sci class in college, ooh, I'm special' level (ie, me) - is both a luxury and a statistical outlier, and so it goes, across the board. Take Debbie. Debbie, if you're reading - you gave three pieces of evidence that you see supporting the flood (mountaintop fossils, Antarctic fossils, proportion of marine fossils) without giving any indication that you were aware the moden geology and palentology has explanations for all of these, explanations that both help us make testable and confirmed predictions, and fit together both with themselves and with countless other scientific findings in other fields. It's possible you know all about plate tectonics and fossilization, and simply find it unconvincing - but if not . . .

-Dan S.

highboy said...

Yeah, so far no one has proven the human mind is located in the skull. While there is evidence to suggest this, it cannot be proven. Consider memory:

"No one really knows where this enormous database is located but it seems that each type of component memory is located in a kind of memory location of its own."

In conclusion, what you guys are claiming as fact is the same thing actual scientists claim to be the challenge of the 21st century.

"Ah, but you must comprehend your God-given revelation with your human comprehension, yes?"

No. The meaning of His Word is revealed to those who love Him through the Holy Spirit. Thanks for coming out.

"If I remember correctly (although I could be mistaken), iamb is a professional ignorance-fixer. I am in a similar line of work, albeit on a different scale."

Then I would suggest reading the Bible before claiming Christians are held captive to human wisdom as it pertains to God.

Anonymous said...

"the moden geology and palentology"

by which I mean, of course, that modern geology and paleontology has explanations . . .

"the same thing actual scientists claim to be thechallenge of the 21st century. "

and reading the link, they go on to say:
"Cognitive Biology: What Is the Mind and Where Is It Located?
Cognitive psychologists and biologists have come to share a belief that what we call "mind" is the range of functions carried out by a physical organ, the brain. Thus, the workings of the brain underlie not only relatively simple mental acts such as the motor behaviors of walking, running, or hitting a tennis ball, but also elaborate emotional and cognitive behaviors such as feeling, learning, thinking, or composing a symphony. As a corollary, the disorders that characterize neurotic and psychotic illness can be seen as specific disturbances of brain function.

Viewed in this way, the scientific challenge posed by the mind becomes that of understanding how the brain produces its mental functions, a subject we can now approach using the tools of modern biology. Of course, understanding how the brain gives rise to mental activity still poses an enormous scientific challenge: creating a larger unification of thought to demystify the mind. There is nevertheless a sense of optimism in the air—driven by the gradual convergence during the past decade of neural science (the science of the brain) and cognitive psychology (the science of the mind). . . .

. . . . What we would ultimately like to understand are elements of consciousness—and, if we are to come to grips with the biological underpinnings of consciousness, we will have to look beyond the gene to brain systems that have evolved over the centuries in primates. One approach to exploring consciousness has been to examine the biological basis of selective attention, a component of conscious awareness, via a rigorous analysis of complex behavior in intact, awake, behaving primates as they carry out highly controlled perceptual or motor tasks. Monkeys have proven to be a valuable subject for such research, especially since studies with humans performing similar tasks while undergoing brain imaging have shown strong similarities in the elementary mechanisms of perception and movement control."


-from the Columbia Alumni Magazine. I miss Columbia! Not only was there a roasted nut vendor right in front of the stairs to the subway in winter, they have a great library, complete with a little cafe/snack thingy that used to serve vanilla maple tea before celestial seasonings co., in a completely inexplicable decision, discontinued it . . .

Do we understand how the brain works? Ha! Bits and pieces at best. But as the article points out, it's generally understood that the mind is the brain at work, just like I don't understand how the computer I'm typing on works (and I don't, at all, far less than we understand how the brain works) but I know it has to do with the little chips or whatever in this plastic case (suddenly remembering the movie Zoolander - 'the files are in the computer!' - at which point the two male models try to smash open the computer to get at them . . .)

Of course, we might be wrong, but there doesn't seem to be much specific reason to thing so; rather, the contrary. How do you explain the phenomena mentioned in my comment above - for example, give me a sluggish frontal lobe and I have ADD (as is the case), mess with other bits and you might get all sorts of mental illness, brain damage, creepy no-short-term memory conditions, etc? If the mind isn't in the brain, why will drinking enough make me think that relieving myself on a skunk I happen to stumble across on my way home is a great idea?

-Dan S.

highboy said...

"If the mind isn't in the brain, why will drinking enough make me think that relieving myself on a skunk I happen to stumble across on my way home is a great idea?"

That doesn't mean the mind has to be IN the brain. Too much ethanol to the brain may impair the mind in the same way cigarette smoke can impair my heart. The smoke doesn't go to my heart (it goes to my lungs) but my heart is still damaged.

creeper said...

Highboy,

Are you just arguing for dualism, or are you suggesting the mind, such as it is, is contained elsewhere in the body?

Ojqag.

Anonymous said...

It's in the liver, then?

"Too much ethanol to the brain may impair the mind in the same way cigarette smoke can impair my heart. The smoke doesn't go to my heart (it goes to my lungs) but my heart is still damaged"

According to WebMD, "The nicotine present in [cigarette] smoke causes:
Decreased oxygen to the heart.
Increased blood pressure and heart rate.
Increase in blood clotting.
Damage to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels."

It's not the smoke itself (in terms of the heart), but the nicotene being delivered by it (I think). Anyway, both lungs and heart are very physically part of the body, in a way that the mind often is imagined not to be. I'm assuming you don't really think that the mind is hanging out in the liver, etc. - so how do such physical changes manage to affect it?

Anonymous said...

nicotine, I mean - how stupid is that, misspelling it when I just pasted it above? >smacks side of head.<

Anonymous said...

last two are mine, by the way -
-Dan S.

Shygetz said...

Yeah, so far no one has proven the human mind is located in the skull. While there is evidence to suggest this, it cannot be proven.

Only math (including formal logic) can be proven. Learn what science is before you critique it.

Consider memory:

"No one really knows where this enormous database is located but it seems that each type of component memory is located in a kind of memory location of its own."

In conclusion, what you guys are claiming as fact is the same thing actual scientists claim to be the challenge of the 21st century.


No, highboy, the challenge is figuing out how the mind works on a cellular and molecular level, not if the mind is in the brain. Anyone who's even taken undergraduate physio psych known that the areas of the brain important for each part of the mind have been mapped to gross physiological regions; you can obliterate memory by damaging certain areas of the brain. You can measure increased physiological activity of certain areas of the brain when certain emotions are felt. Etc., etc., read the stinkin' literature.

"Ah, but you must comprehend your God-given revelation with your human comprehension, yes?"

No. The meaning of His Word is revealed to those who love Him through the Holy Spirit. Thanks for coming out.

"If I remember correctly (although I could be mistaken), iamb is a professional ignorance-fixer. I am in a similar line of work, albeit on a different scale."

Then I would suggest reading the Bible before claiming Christians are held captive to human wisdom as it pertains to God.


I find it funny that the same people who feel comfortable denying over a century of scientific work without reading a single peer-reviewed paper on the subject insist that everyone who disagrees with them hasn't read the Bible.

I have read the Bible. I have studied it both from a theological and a higher criticism standpoint. If Christians are inspired by the Holy Spirit to understand the Bible with God-like wisdom, then why can they not agree on what exactly the Bible means? Even within the so-called literalist movement, there are disagreements about what exactly the Bible means. How is this possible if Christians understand the Bible through the perfect wisdom granted by the Holy Spirit? How do you know that your understanding of the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and everyone else's isn't? Is it the rush of endorphins you get during worship; if so, I can tell you that such an experience isn't unique to Christians, much less to you. Do you claim that only people who agree with your interpretation of the Bible exactly love God? Mighty presumptuous of you, don't you think?

Why is it that the supposedly divinely inspired group of church leaders that compiled the Bible couldn't even agree on what books belonged? Why is it that the Holy Spirit has not allowed for all translations of the Bible to at least be functionally identical, if not semantically identical?

Maybe it's because the Holy Spirit doesn't work that way. Maybe you are having to try to understand the Bible with human wisdom, which leads to differences in opinion (which in turn has led to blood and tears).

Or maybe you are specially endowed with the Holy Spirit, and the rest of us are simply unworthy. I cannot prove otherwise. Of course, you cannot prove that I am not God, so that really doesn't solve anything, now does it?

highboy said...

"I find it funny that the same people who feel comfortable denying over a century of scientific work without reading a single peer-reviewed paper on the subject insist that everyone who disagrees with them hasn't read the Bible."

Maybe you can point out what science I denied?


"read the stinkin' literature."

I did. You apparently did not. There is not a scientist out there that can prove the mind is located in the brain, and scientists fully acknowledge that.

"If Christians are inspired by the Holy Spirit to understand the Bible with God-like wisdom, then why can they not agree on what exactly the Bible means? "

That's actually very simple. God, while uniting us all under the One Banner, separates us into groups that perform different functions in the church. Example: Calvinists believe the Bible teaches eternal security, while Arminians teach the opposite. Therefore, Calvinists have a unique understanding of God's grace while Arminians have a unique understanding of God's holiness. That is a quick and dirty example. But true, not all interpretations (few actually) are Spirit-filled.

Shygetz said...

Maybe you can point out what science I denied?

The vast body of neurological and physio psych research that indicates that the mind is a function of the brain.

"read the stinkin' literature."

I did. You apparently did not. There is not a scientist out there that can prove the mind is located in the brain, and scientists fully acknowledge that.


I'll repeat--no one can prove anything outside of math. Scientific evidence has indicated that the mind is affected by physiological influences that affect the brain (exogenous chemicals, injury, hormonal action, etc.) The behavioral effects of brain trauma can be predicted with some success based on these data. Psychoactive drugs are based on those effects. No trauma is known that grossly affects the mind (not just the psyche, but the overall mental capacity) without affecting the brain. Since we know that the mind is governed by physical methods, and since alteration of the brain is both necessary and sufficient to alter the mind, we can conclude that the mind is located in the brain.

Scientists will gladly admit that they do not understand how the mind works, but the vast majority of scientists, based on the evidence, will tell you that the mind is based in the brain. You have not pointed to one point of the literature that says otherwise, and yet you claim you have a thorough knowledge of it.

That's actually very simple. God, while uniting us all under the One Banner, separates us into groups that perform different functions in the church. Example: Calvinists believe the Bible teaches eternal security, while Arminians teach the opposite. Therefore, Calvinists have a unique understanding of God's grace while Arminians have a unique understanding of God's holiness.

Which means that Holy Spirit-based wisdom is highly imperfect and often self-contradictory, much like human wisdom. Doesn't speak very highly of Holy Spirit-based truth, does it? Prompts the question "Which part of the Spirit do you believe?" If both the Calvinists and the Arminians are correct because both are Spirit-filled, is conditional preservation both true and false?

But true, not all interpretations (few actually) are Spirit-filled.

So, how do you choose which ones are Spirit-filled? Does the Holy Spirit tell you that? And then how do you know that revelation was Spirit-filled? Does it not come down to making a human-based judgement at some point? As you said yourself, the Holy Spirit apparently only tells people small parts of the Truth, and contradictory parts, at that.

And you still haven't answered my question about the compilation of the New Testament. If the Holy Spirit didn't inspire the people who compiled the New Testament, how can you be sure you have God's true word? And if it did, why didn't they vote unanimously on the whole Bible, rather than the messy negotiations and split votes that have been documented during the process?

highboy said...

"If both the Calvinists and the Arminians are correct because both are Spirit-filled, is conditional preservation both true and false?"

Yes.


"And you still haven't answered my question about the compilation of the New Testament. If the Holy Spirit didn't inspire the people who compiled the New Testament, how can you be sure you have God's true word?"

The Holy Spirit DID inspire them, so that question is moot.

"And if it did, why didn't they vote unanimously on the whole Bible, rather than the messy negotiations and split votes that have been documented during the process?"

You're saying that because they didn't vote unanimously, that the Holy Spirit didn't inspire the compilation of the New Testament? That is ubsurd. The compilation of the New Testament was divinely inspired. The fact that it doesn't look very sensational or miraculous does not take away its veracity.

"So, how do you choose which ones are Spirit-filled? Does the Holy Spirit tell you that? And then how do you know that revelation was Spirit-filled?"

You're asking me to explain a spiritual encounter/revelation so that it makes sense to a nonbeliever. Beautiful.

highboy said...

"If both the Calvinists and the Arminians are correct because both are Spirit-filled, is conditional preservation both true and false?"

Yes.

"And you still haven't answered my question about the compilation of the New Testament. If the Holy Spirit didn't inspire the people who compiled the New Testament, how can you be sure you have God's true word?"

The Holy Spirit DID inspire them, so that question is moot.

"And if it did, why didn't they vote unanimously on the whole Bible, rather than the messy negotiations and split votes that have been documented during the process?"

You're saying that because they didn't vote unanimously, that the Holy Spirit didn't inspire the compilation of the New Testament? That is ubsurd. The compilation of the New Testament was divinely inspired. The fact that it doesn't look very sensational or miraculous does not take away its veracity.

"So, how do you choose which ones are Spirit-filled? Does the Holy Spirit tell you that? And then how do you know that revelation was Spirit-filled?"

You're asking me to explain a spiritual encounter/revelation so that it makes sense to a nonbeliever. Beautiful.

"Maybe you can point out what science I denied?

The vast body of neurological and physio psych research that indicates that the mind is a function of the brain."

So point this "vast body" of research that shows the mind is in the brain beyond a shadow of a doubt, and quote the scientist that poses this as an irrefutable fact.

IAMB said...

You're asking me to explain a spiritual encounter/revelation so that it makes sense to a nonbeliever. Beautiful.

Cop out. You're presupposing an outcome. Try explaining it. Who knows, you might actually get a convert if you do your job right. Spreading the word is still a Christian duty, is it not? If it isn't, things certainly have changed since my churchgoing days.

So point this "vast body" of research that shows the mind is in the brain beyond a shadow of a doubt, and quote the scientist that poses this as an irrefutable fact.

You've been answered on this more than once, and by the same commenter. Why is this still even an issue?

If I remember correctly (although I could be mistaken), iamb is a professional ignorance-fixer. I am in a similar line of work, albeit on a different scale.

I don't know about "professional"... but I do try. I have it on good authority that repeatedly introducing your cranium to a masonry building structure feels pretty groovy if you do it long enough. [/sarcasm]

highboy said...

"Cop out. You're presupposing an outcome. Try explaining it."

Sure, just as soon as you explain the mystery of the human mind.

"So point this "vast body" of research that shows the mind is in the brain beyond a shadow of a doubt, and quote the scientist that poses this as an irrefutable fact.

You've been answered on this more than once, and by the same commenter. Why is this still even an issue?"

Because you made a claim that you haven't supported yet. I have yet to hear/see a quote where a scientist of any reknown has claimed the mind is in the brain beyond a shadow of a doubt. You claim that the only thing that can be proven is math. That is, to use your words, a "cop out." Don't present something as fact without proving it.

creeper said...

"Sure, just as soon as you explain the mystery of the human mind. "

Now that really is a copout, highboy.

"I have yet to hear/see a quote where a scientist of any reknown has claimed the mind is in the brain beyond a shadow of a doubt. You claim that the only thing that can be proven is math. That is, to use your words, a "cop out."

No - in science there is no ultimate proof as you demand it, that is something that is indeed reserved for mathematics, as iamb correctly pointed out.

In science there is only what the evidence indicates, and that does indicate that the mind is a function of the brain, and there is nothing to indicate that the mind resides elsewhere.

Shygetz said...

"I have yet to hear/see a quote where a scientist of any reknown has claimed the mind is in the brain beyond a shadow of a doubt. You claim that the only thing that can be proven is math. That is, to use your words, a "cop out."

OK, here is a 2004 Newsweek article where world-famous experimental psychologist Steven Pinker states that the human mind (which is equated in the article with the soul, which I think may be misleading depending on how you define "soul") states that neuropsych has established that the mind is a function of the brain. Exactly what you asked for.

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/2004_09_27_newsweek.html

Happy now?

So point this "vast body" of research that shows the mind is in the brain beyond a shadow of a doubt, and quote the scientist that poses this as an irrefutable fact.

Remove head from anus. Walk to nearest university library. Find the Journal of Neuropsychology and the APA journal Neuropsychology. Start there.


"If both the Calvinists and the Arminians are correct because both are Spirit-filled, is conditional preservation both true and false?"

Yes.


Ah, now I understand. Your beliefs allow something to be both true and false simultaneously. Therefore, the Bible could be proven false, and yet still be true, as true and not-true are not self-contradictory. So it isn't that the word of God is false, its just that true doesn't mean anything. And this is all because you say so. Sorry, not interested in that brand of delusion.

You're saying that because they didn't vote unanimously, that the Holy Spirit didn't inspire the compilation of the New Testament? That is ubsurd. The compilation of the New Testament was divinely inspired. The fact that it doesn't look very sensational or miraculous does not take away its veracity.

So the Holy Spirit inspired them all to believe different, contradictory things, all of which are both true and false. So, by that logic (if you can still call it that--perhaps epistemology would be a better word), you could put absolutely anything you wanted in the Bible and call it the true word of God, as true is indistinguishable from not-true. Which may be exactly what happened. You assert that it is true that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but you also said that true is equivalent to false. Therefore, I could also say that it is false that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that would fit equally well into you epistemology.

Congratulations, you are the finest example of resistance to cognitive dissonance that I have ever encountered. Bravo.

Shygetz said...

My apologies--blogger truncated my pasted link. Try this.

xiangtao said...

Wow! That's all I can say about this. Wow

IAMB said...

No - in science there is no ultimate proof as you demand it, that is something that is indeed reserved for mathematics, as iamb correctly pointed out.

To give credit where it's due, I didn't point this out in the first place. I merely pointed out that Shygetz had already said the same thing multiple times yet Highboy stubbornly continued to ask the question again and again.

Once again: outside of math we have nothing that's "proven" (and yes: this includes scientific laws as well)... we only have things that have failed to be disproven over, and over, and over, and over. Not a difficult concept, really.

radar said...

Matt makes a great point. One can establish a proof in math. In science, your current "fact" is only as good as the available evidence.

highboy said...

Once again, since you deliberately misunderstand it, the Holy Spirit didn't have to inspire every contradictory opinion in order to bring about the compilation of the Scripture we have today.

"Sure, just as soon as you explain the mystery of the human mind. "

Now that really is a copout, highboy."

No, its actually a valid response since I'm being asked to provide evidence of a spiritual experience with God.

"Remove head from anus. Walk to nearest university library. Find the Journal of Neuropsychology and the APA journal Neuropsychology. Start there."

Its funny how in one sentence you admit it can't be proven than in the next insult me for not accepting it as fact. That might be why I keep asking the question over and over again. You say something is a fact and than admit it can't be proven. So there is evidence that the mind is a function of the brain, not that its located in the brain. It is not something physical that can be located therefore trying to pinpoint that location is futile. The head is not in the anus by the way.

"Ah, now I understand. Your beliefs allow something to be both true and false simultaneously."

No, it was called sarcasm.

xiangtao said...

But can you conclusively prove to us that your head is not in your anus?

highboy said...

Yes, with an x-ray of my anus, showing that my head is not in my anus. Then, I would point to my head located on my shoulders. That is physical proof that my head is not in my anus. You can't do that with the human mind.

creeper said...

"Yes, with an x-ray of my anus, showing that my head is not in my anus. Then, I would point to my head located on my shoulders. That is physical proof that my head is not in my anus."

We look forward to you posting these pictures.

creeper said...

"No, its actually a valid response since I'm being asked to provide evidence of a spiritual experience with God."

No, you were just asked to explain it, not to provide evidence. That's why your response was ridiculous and a cop-out.

highboy said...

"No, you were just asked to explain it, not to provide evidence. That's why your response was ridiculous and a cop-out."

I did explain it. If its not adequate for you too bad. You have a habit of concluding that any answer you don't like on this site is not an answer. YOU people are the ones claiming that the mind located in the brain is a fact. YOU prove it. You claim it can't be proven, so to continue to claim it as fact is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"YOU people are the ones claiming that the mind located in the brain is a fact. YOU prove it. You claim it can't be proven, so to continue to claim it as fact is ridiculous."

Sigh. I can't prove that people walked on the moon, either, nor that it is actually made of rock, etc, rather than Brie. Would continuing to claim these as facts be ridiculous?

All of modern {anything beginning with neuro-, for starters) is based on the idea, supported by large amounts of evidence, and opposed by nothing, as far as we can tell, that the mind is essentially, for all scientific and medical intents and purposes, a function of the brain, such that positing additional non-measurable, non-material, etc. entities adds nothing in explanatory power. All medical interventions - from medication for depression to treatment for traumatic brain injuries - are either based entirely on this idea or in no way contradict it (talk therapy, etc.) Research in these fields has as a fundamental principle the idea that the mind is, for all relevent intents and purposes, a function of the brain.

If you can offer some evidence as to why you doubt this . . . . (and look carefully at what I'm writing, like the bits about "for all scientific and medical intents and purposes". If there was an immaterial and non-measurable soul that behaved, to all outward indicators, like it was merely a function of that lump of wrinkly grayish tissue behind your eyes, what on earth do you expect science to think?)

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"You have a habit of concluding that any answer you don't like on this site is not an answer."

Thanks for the mind-reading attempt, but, um, no. I point out that a question hasn't been answered when it demonstrably hasn't been answered. Simple as that. Radar has a bunch of questions that he avoids.

"YOU people are the ones claiming that the mind located in the brain is a fact. YOU prove it. You claim it can't be proven, so to continue to claim it as fact is ridiculous."

As Dan pointed out, plenty of scientific evidence indicates that it is so, and no scientific evidence contradicts it. What's your beef about this anyway? On what basis do you conclude that the mind isn't contained in the brain?

xiangtao said...

Even if you were to give us these pictures, that does not conclusively prove anything. Maybe I'm being deluded by god to think that these pictures show your head outside of your anus when in reality, it is in fact quite firmly implanted.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe I'm being deluded by god to think that these pictures show your head outside of your anus when in reality, it is in fact quite firmly implanted."

I don't think anyone in the history of humanity has ever uttered that particular sentence before. Although you never know . . .

-Dan S.

Shygetz said...

Once again, since you deliberately misunderstand it, the Holy Spirit didn't have to inspire every contradictory opinion in order to bring about the compilation of the Scripture we have today.

I understand perfectly, I just want to know what you think about it. You haven't given any answer about it. You gave an example of Calvinists versus Arminians both being inspired by the Holy Spirit, even though they believe in opposite things. So, explain what it means to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, and why I should trust someone who is "inspired by the Holy Spirit" even though they are often wrong.

Yes, with an x-ray of my anus, showing that my head is not in my anus. Then, I would point to my head located on my shoulders. That is physical proof that my head is not in my anus. You can't do that with the human mind.

That proves nothing. That film could have developed that way randomly. The X-rays could have diffracted on something else that just looks like your head. Your head could have been in your anus, but then you removed it, took the X-ray, and reinserted it.

I can alter the human mind in predictable ways by altering the human brain. I cannot do this by altering other parts of the body, unless those parts also affect the human brain (e.g. the endocrine system). I can measure effects in the human mind by measuring brain physiology. We can demonstrate that certain alterations to the brain are both necessary and sufficient to alter aspects of the human mind, which is the typical burden of proof for science.

I showed you the research, and I gave you the quote from a famous scientist (which is a stupid criterion, but whatever). Moving the goalposts, much?