Hawkeye® has left a new comment on your post - in fact, a lot of them - (he is an active and accomplished blogger, you know)
1) Jon Woolf,
The word "informatio" is 2000 years old and has had a firmly fixed meaning for almost all of that time. We worked out the nature of DNA less than fifty years ago. Are you really so ignorant of philology that you think you could take such an ancient word and apply it to a brand-new concept without causing some confusion in sloppy thinkers like creationists?
A few things...
First, if the definition of a word has remained constant for almost 2000 years, then it is well established and accepted. We need not change it, but we may expand it, as per Wikipedia.
And, as an analysis of the Wikipedia article will reveal, all information -- including sensory input -- shows evidence of intelligent causation. [Humans design sensors to collect information about all sorts of things].
Second, if the discovery of DNA less than 50 years ago results in a finding that DNA shows evidence of "information" which falls in line with the generally accepted understanding of the term "information", then why would you propose a new definition for the term "information"... unless the recent finding contradicts your "theory" of evolution?
I've been looking for the post and comments in question, but I can't find them. I've even put the phrase "Methodological naturalism...
I don't think a site search looks at the comments section, but only at the articles. I've had that problem in the past at my own blog.
The two are rather closely related. The scientific method is based on methodological naturalism.
They may be closely related, but they are not identical. And I disagree with your assertion that "scientific method is based on methodological naturalism." The scientific method was around long before methodological naturalism. People were using scientific method who never in their wildest imagination would have considered that the some causes are not "natural". According to methodological naturalism, ALL causes can ONLY be natural. That is a more recent concept.
In the link to the Wikipedia article on the scientific method that you posted, could you point me to the part where indeterminate miracles are permitted as part of the inquiry?
Your sarcasm is duly noted. But you miss the point entirely, again. You are confusing "inquiry" and "causation". Scientists use "scientific method" to perform their "inquiry", which does not of course permit the use of any "indeterminate miracles". They make observations, establish facts, hypothesize, and perform experiments to test those hypotheses using only established methods, materials and procedures.
"Methodological naturalism" on the other hand, is a philosophical concept. It is in fact "an epistemological view" as per Wikipedia. It is not a method of "inquiry", scientific or otherwise. According to the philosophy of methodological naturalism, ALL "causation" must be "natural" and ONLY natural. That's a nice philosophy to adhere to, if you are so inclined, but it is not the only one.
Your confusion therefore, is the basis for your obvious mis-statements. And there is no point in discussing your responses to the remaining points I made, because they are likewise based on the same misunderstanding.
"If they find a human artifact which bears some evidence of design or information, they can conclude that it did not have a "natural" cause. It happens every day."
There are some mixed messages going on here. You mention "evidence of design or information" twice in your comment. What exactly do you mean by "evidence of information"? It seems to me you're confused about a pretty major concept here. Information itself is not inexplicable by modern science - quite the opposite. And it certainly isn't evidence of a supernatural cause, or even indicative of such.
I didn't say that it was. Reread what I said, and then consider the automobile. It contains "evidence of design or information". In this case both. The automobile has clearly been "designed" because its complexity and artificiality are found nowhere in nature. There is also evidence of information in the automobile. Many automobiles contain a set of symbols "P R N D L" and "0 20 40 60 80 100 120", which are recurring in automobiles but not in nature. Therefore, it is logical to assume that the automobile did not have "natural" cause.
Now, I will not argue that its cause was "supernatural", but I will argue that after observing any number of automobiles, it is logical to conclude that the "cause" of these objects was NOT "natural". Why? Because there is evidence of "design" and "information" in the automobile.
If there were actual evidence of design (such as, say, an instance of specific complexity that is not related to functionality...
Why do you speak of "non-functional" complexity? An automobile is very complex, and it can be argued that virtually every component has a function (including hood ornaments and paint jobs). Yet, there is plenty of evidence for "design" in an automobile.
and can therefore not be explained by the theory of evolution...
Why would you assume that "functional" complexity can be explained by the theory of evolution, but "non-functional" complexity cannot be? And how can you tell the difference? As in the case of the automobile, some observers might not understand the functionality of certain components, yet a functionality is there and was contemplated in the design process.
evolution (which favors beneficial functions)...
Oh really? Sort of the way I favor one food over another? Or the way you favor one beverage over another? Do you realize how silly that sounds? What drives this "favoring" mechanism in evolution? To favor something requires "choice". To favor something requires a repository of knowledge where the results of experimental data are stored and called upon to make a "decision". Do I choose "A" or "B", "white" or "green", "left or right"?
In animals, to favor something, even food, still requires a repository of knowledge. It's called the brain. The lowest forms of life may appear to "favor" things, but they do not. They only react based on instinct or sensory input: temperature, humidity, sunlight vs. darkness, pH, the presence of a chemical, etc.
So, I reiterate. What drives this "favoring" mechanism in evolution? Where is its repository of knowledge? How does it make "choices"? Are you now describing evolution in human terms? Let's see, something with a brain that stores up lots of information favors "beneficial functions". I know... it's the "evolution god"! Am I right?
My God created all life. Your god evolved all life. OK, you have your religion. I have mine. So be it.
4) Jon Woolf,
hawkeye: Why would you assume that "functional" complexity can be explained by the theory of evolution, but "non-functional" complexity cannot be?
He doesn't. He concludes it based on the fact that the evolutionary process continually tests an organism's functional phenotype for fitness within its current environment. Evolution does not produce or preserve non-functional traits.
Now there you go again (to coin a phrase). Not "you" specifically, but "you" collectively... "the evolutionary process continually tests an organism's functional phenotype..." Again you assign human traits to a "process". First, evolution "favors" things. Now evolution "tests" things, eh?
In order to "test" something, an "intelligence" must have a repository of knowledge in which it can compare new data with previously acquired data through a set of controlled sequences. The purpose of the "testing" in your scenario, is to determine if the results obtained compare favorably or unfavorably to data in the repository.
I reiterate. Where is this repository of knowledge?
"What drives this "favoring" mechanism in evolution?
And therefore, you must admit that "natural selection" has an intelligence with a repository of knowledge whereby it can compare past data to new data and make a "decision" in favor of "X" versus "Y"? If not, please explain the process.
The lowest forms of life may appear to "favor" things, but they do not. They only react based on instinct or sensory input: temperature, humidity, sunlight vs. darkness, pH, the presence of a chemical, etc.
As do you.
I beg to differ. I might absolutely hate "humidity", but if I "decide" to endure that environmental condition in order to attain some higher purpose, then I have "chosen" not to "react" as my normal "instincts" would dictate. I might even endure suffering and death (the highest breach of the "self-preservation" instinct) if my personal "values" are brought into question.
Last time I checked, mosquitoes don't have "values". But I could be wrong. Maybe Richard Dawkins has proved such things exist.
(radar question - If Dawkins discovers values within himself or within mosquitoes I wonder what absolutes such values would be based upon? Hmmmm...Do you suppose if we sent Richard off to explore mosquitoes he would quit writing all these religious diatribes against actual science?)
I'm a little surprised by the last few paragraphs of your comments above...
Glad that I could "surprise" you. It's not good to be too predictable.
as well as the thought process leading up to it.
Are you a mind reader? You know my thought processes now?
You've made intelligent comments in the past...
Don't start to flatter me. I might get a big head.
but this present set of questions you've posed indicates a state of knowledge on your part that entirely predates the theory of evolution itself about 150 years ago. It's a conversation I would imagine some learned gentlemen would have had in some boudoir or absinthe joint around the beginning of the 19th century.
Ahh yes. You may think of me as a Renaissance man.
Hawkeye, I don't think you're unintelligent...
Thank you. With two college degrees, I would hope not.
but I do think you're - most likely intentionally - maintaining a certain ignorance of certain subjects...
No. Just asking the tough questions that need to be answered.
and I think you would find it an enriching experience to actually read up on the theory of evolution some day...
"Enriching"...? How about "boring"? Besides, evolutionary theory only raises more questions than it produces answers. And which version should I read? Evolutionary scientists can't even agree among themselves.
if only to come up with more convincing arguments.
Your arguments have not exactly been "convincing".
Just to clarify this point -
"Oh really? Sort of the way I favor one food over another? Or the way you favor one beverage over another? Do you realize how silly that sounds? What drives this "favoring" mechanism in evolution?"
Simply put: the ability to survive and reproduce in greater numbers. This is pretty elementary biology, btw. I wonder if you're capable of now realizing how silly your comments re. favoring one food or beverage or another sound.
Not silly at all. I completely disagree with your logic. There is still no "favoring" mechanism involved. The "ability to survive and reproduce in greater numbers" is a function of the creature. Because one creature is more hardy or adaptable than another, it survives. That does not mean that it has been "favored" in any way by some outside process or "evolution god".
I reiterate. To "favor" something requires a repository of knowledge and an intelligence which allows it to make a "decision" based on acquired experiences. Where is the repository of knowledge in evolution? How does it make decisions? These are rhetorical questions of course. Obviously, there is no evolutionary repository of knowledge and no intelligence which allows it to make a decision. Therefore, there is no "favoring" mechanism. QED.
God can "favor". You and I can "favor". But evolution cannot "favor" anything.
"Why would you assume that "functional" complexity can be explained by the theory of evolution, but "non-functional" complexity cannot be?"
Jon's addressed the functional complexity part.
Not to my satisfaction.
What about non-functional specific complexity though? Well, what if we found a verse from the Bible inscribed in DNA? Or in someone's teeth? (That was my earlier "A Serious Man" allusion, though I doubt anyone caught that one, since it's not exactly a movie everyone has seen.)
You are 100% correct. I have not seen the movie, therefore I do not understand the implications of your questions.
Evolution selects for beneficial functionality
There you go again. Applying human traits to your "evolution god". First evolution "favored" something. Now it "selects" something. For all practical purposes there is no substantial difference between "favoring" and "selecting". Each requires a repository of knowledge, a database if you will, a selection criteria, and an intelligence to make a "decision". Evolution does not possess such instruments, therefore it does not "favor" or "select" anything. Therefore it does not exist. QED.
regardless of whether YECs are capable of comprehending that or not, that has no effect on it.
In other words, you don't need to be able to explain it to me in terms that I can understand logically, or for that matter, prove its existence. It still exists despite its being neither provable nor explainable. In other words, it requires "faith". OK.
But if we did find, say, a verse from the Bible inscribed in DNA, that would be it: you guys would win. Instantly. And at that point I would draw the appropriate conclusion and indeed conclude that the personified God of the Bible was the real thing.
Hardly. You guys would say it was "a hoax". Just like the dinosaur and human footprints together. You won't believe that. What makes you think you would believe a DNA Bible verse? Don't kid yourself. You wouldn't believe it if somebody came back from the dead and told you to believe in God (which someone named Jesus has already done btw).
But as long as all you guys do is iterate an argument from incredulity...
Well, as long as you guys keep making "incredulous" statements, then our response is likely to be incredulity.
and a whole bunch of ignorance of the theory of evolution...
Now, now, now. No need for name calling. Just because you can't explain it in a way that makes sense logically, does not imply my "ignorance". Don't try to dazzle me with "brilliance" or baffle me with "BS". Just explain it to me as a "natural" mechanism which does not require human traits like "favoring" or "selecting". If words really matter, then find the right ones.
I don't really see what there is to discuss. You're coming up blank.
There's plenty to discuss. You want me to disregard my faith and accept yours. Well, if you're going to do that, then you've got to be VERY convincing. And you ain't there yet.
... which would mean adhering to methodological naturalism.
"Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."
How quaint. I tell you that you are confusing "scientific method" with "methodological naturalism" and you quote to me the definition of "scientific method" to explain "methodological naturalism". D'OH!
"According to the philosophy of methodological naturalism, ALL "causation" must be "natural" and ONLY natural."
Same for the scientific method, see above.
No kidding. Sometimes talking to you is like talking to a brick. I have already acknowledged that point. But what I said, was that "scientific method" is what forms the basis of "inquiry", while "methodological naturalism" does not. It is a "philosophy", not a "method".
I reiterate. The "scientific method" forms the basis of "scientific inquiry". No problems. Methodological naturalism DOES NOT form the basis of scientific inquiries. According to the philosophy of methodological naturalism, ALL "causation" must be "natural" and ONLY natural.
Can you name a modern scientist who uses anything other than methodological naturalism in their work or can't you? Keeping in mind that modern science stretches back to Newton?
Yes. Sir Isaac Newton. Newton used "scientific method" but did NOT believe that ALL causation was natural ONLY. He believed that God was the Creator (ie, the non-natural cause) of gravity. He believed that God was the non-natural cause of the planetary movements. He believed that God was the non-natural cause of all the "natural laws". Therefore, I contend that he did not subscribe to the philosophy of methodological naturalism which demands that ALL causes be natural ONLY!
Radar came up with a long list of other modern scientists who come to the same conclusions as Newton.
Can we just agree that you and Radar can't come up with one?
8) Jon Woolf,
"It really is rather surreal to see someone referring to methodological naturalism, but applying the definition of philosophical naturalism -- when the whole point of adding the adjectives is to distinguish between naturalism as a philosophy and naturalism as a method of investigation."
It was not I who defined "methodological naturalism" as a philosophy. It was Wikipedia...
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Methodological naturalism)
Naturalism is divided into two philosophical stances:
* Methodological naturalism (or scientific naturalism) which focuses on epistemology..." (etc.)
I have simply been trying to tell creeper that he is confusing a "philosophy" with a "method".
"Normal scientists used to look for natural causes first and then, when natural causes failed, look to the supernatural."
I'm not sure I agree with that statement 100%. I would maintain that early scientists attributed the orderliness they found in nature to "laws", and ultimately to a "lawgiver".
Because they were well acquainted with the scriptures, they remembered that "God is not the author of confusion". They remembered that God created the sun to rise each morning, and the seasons to happen at their appointed times. They remembered that God gave "the law" to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
They associated orderliness in nature with "laws" and they logically concluded that those laws were authored by the Great Lawgiver Himself.
Many of today's scientists have no such education in the scriptures, therefore they worship the creature rather than the Creator. They worship "nature" rather than Him who created "nature". They look for "laws" but not a "lawgiver".
(I found myself agreeing with Hawkeye, replying - "Hawkeye, you and I are on the same page. It was more common in the past for the scientist to both expect and look for evidences of the Creator in creation. Someone with a Darwinist mindset does not "grok" this. So I didn't bother to speak to that mindset.
Fortunately for mankind, there is a rapid growth of scientists who have studied the evidence and concluded that naturalism cannot account for the design of organisms and the fine-tuning of everything and therefore they have abandoned naturalism and accepted the idea that organisms were designed. With that thought in mind, they continue to use the same scientific method that worked for Newton or Bacon or Von Braun but without the arbitrary and unscientific addition of "natural causation only."
Microengineers/nanoengineers are working from the premise that tiny systems are a design that can be copied and utilized whether they admit to it or not or even care. Operational science does not need to have Darwin included and in fact operational science tends to focus on the evidence and only puts the Darwin label on the finished product to get by the "censors". "
10) Jon Woolf,
Radar and Hawkeye have both been engaging in a rather flagrant bit of doubletalk: they assault "methodological naturalism" while claiming to use and approve of "the scientific method." What they don't understand .. or perhaps they do understand, but think the rest of us won't .. is that "methodological naturalism" and "the scientific method" are the same thing. This isn't open to debate. It's a plain and simple fact. The two terms are synonymous. You can't support one and reject the other.
Call it "doubletalk" if you wish, but they are NOT the same thing. (See, I can use bold too.)
I reiterate. Methodological Naturalism is a philosophy and Scientific Method is a method. There is an obvious difference between philosophy and method. I may philosophize that the walls in my house need painting, but there is a method for actually doing the painting. I may philosophize that the lawn needs cutting, but there is a method for actually doing the cutting. And likewise, I may philosophize that "science" requires the cause of everything in the universe to be 'natural' ONLY, but there is a method for actually doing science. I might also philosophize that "science" does NOT require the cause of everything in the universe to be 'natural' ONLY, but there is still a method for doing science.
Scientists do not use a philosophy to conduct experiments, they use a method.
I understand where "you" (meaning all Darwinists) are coming from, better than you think. I understand "natural selection" better than you think. But I've been trying to make a point. That is, that Darwinists have a tendency to apply human characteristics and attributes to "nature". And you do it subconsciously.
"Natural selection" is a misnomer, and a deceitful one at that. Nature "selects" nothing. Nature "favors" nothing. Nature "chooses" nothing. Nature "breeds" nothing. Nature simply is. Creatures are "born". Creatures exist. Creatures die. Some creatures are "healthy", and others not so much. Nature may appear to "favor" certain creatures, but it does not. Creatures with big teeth do not always eat smaller creatures because sometimes the smaller creatures are faster or more agile... but sometimes they do. Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you.
Some creatures adapt to new environments, others do not. Those that adapt to new circumstances remain similar to their predecessors. They may change from one type of mosquito into a slightly different type of mosquito, or from one type of fish into a slightly different type of fish. But they do not change from reptiles into birds, or even from toads into salamanders. God created all these creatures to "be fruitful and multiply... according to their own kinds".
But Darwinists seek to remove God from the equation. Nothing "supernatural" allowed. No Creator permitted. Not even an "Intelligent Designer" (despite the less than supernatural ramifications such a label might theoretically imply). And why? Because Man is sinful. Man wants to be God. He is great in his own mind. Man aspires to be the zenith of all living things. The existence of God, a Creator, or even an "intelligent designer" would deny such an aspiration. The existence of God might even require such distasteful things as "obedience" and "worship".
Therefore, they choose to believe that everything "evolved" (the alternative would be too horrifying). They don't believe in "devolution", which implies degradation. They believe in "evolution", which implies improvement. They believe that Man ultimately "evolved" from a single cell creature, and that life in turn "evolved" from lifelessness. By its very nature (no pun intended), the concept of "evolution" is a "progressive" process (with a few admitted occasions of "regressive" evolution or "devolution" to explain things that don't otherwise make sense to them). Man then becomes the zenith of all living things. He is the preeminent being on the planet.
But how can this occur? How can nature "improve itself"? What kind of "natural process" might we conceive of whereby God and the supernatural can be eliminated from the equation? And thus, Darwinism... "natural selection"... survival of the fittest. So be it. And Man saw what Darwin had created, and said that it was good.
Therefore, the concept of "natural selection" is of paramount importance to Darwinists. It is the mechanism whereby nature can "improve itself". It is a "process" that goes from "goo to you". Agonizingly slow: conveniently too slow to observe and prove. Relentless: it doesn't stop when one form of life reaches perfection, otherwise evolution might have ended with the bacteria. Adapting: learning to live without this, or in spite of that. Progressive: adding scales and flesh, eyes and ears, arms and legs, wings and feathers, brains and minds.
And along the way, I've noticed how Darwinists have this tendency to apply human traits to the process of "evolution". Evolution seems to take on a personality of its own. It "favors" things. It "selects" things. It "chooses" things. What causes this tendency?
I believe it is because of what Darwinists do. They are desperately trying to prove a theory that is seriously flawed. They are trying to prove a theory which is almost entirely unsupported by the facts. Therefore, they have to keep asking themselves over and over again: "If I could explain this process, how would I do it? If I were "nature", what would I do? How would 'I' achieve evolution"? The result is that they tend to impose their own personalities onto nature. "This animal is 'the fittest' because, if 'I' were nature, I would favor this animal over that one, or this trait over that one." It started first with Darwin, and continues to this day.
Nature "selects" nothing. Nature "favors" nothing. Nature does not seek to "improve itself". Nature does not tend to "improve itself". Nature does NOT "improve itself". If anything, nature tends to degrade or "devolve".
Hawkeye, there are many commenters (and some on our side, even), but I thought this set of comments by you on that particular post were a wonderful example of a learned and logical mind carefully dissecting and exposing the errant thoughts of the propagandized and illogical BUT STILL ABLE TO CAPITALIZE AND BOLD Darwinists who buzz about. I believe you have made a blog post for me, thank you!