Joined: April 2006
Good morning everyone ...
I'll probably start off every day with a retraction or two because I am passionate about this stuff and I believe there is a lot in our country at stake, and sometimes I say unnecessary things to try and make my point ... I think we all do ...
I said ...
|Science should not be claiming that they have disproved the existence of God because they have not. Science should not be implying to our children that they are glorified animals, because there is no proof. Science should not be telling the theologians that God is dead or irrelevant, because they have no basis for claiming that and they arrogantly claim that they do.|
I am happy to retract these statements. They are unnecessary and do not contribute to the points I am trying to make. They represent an impression I have about some of our leading scientists, but they do open a can of worms that I don't want to focus on right now. Also, I do not mean to insult anyone here who may be a professional scientist. I have no doubt--honest--that you all do excellent work in your specialty. But I feel that many good scientists have "stepped over" OUT OF their specialty (as I also am doing) to address the question of origins. I don't know what your reasons are, but I'm sure you have good ones, and I have my own reasons as well. I agree that name-calling, motive-questioning and other such tactics get us nowhere, and I for one will apologize when I commit these 'sins'.
So ... back to what I DO want to focus on ...
My goal, first of all, is NOT to win an argument, or to make someone feel stupid. My real goal is two-fold: (1) to really get to the bottom of why Creationism is so objectionable to a lot of good scientists. This is why I am HERE, not over at AIG or DI, (2) I have personally seen a lot of excellent support for being a Creationist, but I could be wrong. If so, who better to tell me I'm wrong that professional scientists over here? (3) If I am right, the implications are enormous and all of humanity should know about this. Believe it or not, I care about all of you on this blog as human beings. I feel that I am a 'beggar who has found bread' and I want to share this information with others. My motives are altruistic even though I may not act like it sometimes. I am human and someone has rightly said 'To err is human.' I will continue to 'err', but I will try not to and when I do, I will confess and try to fix it. What else can I do? (4) I came here already armed with a significant amount of study, but I knew that I was missing one key ingredient ... actual dialog with a diverse group of Naturalistic Philosophers. So what is really happening here is that you all are making some very good points to improve the presentation of my logic, help me select proper terminology so as not to make people mad, and understand the naturalistic perspective. This is an incredibly valuable learning experience for me, which will help me immensely if I ever do get around to presenting information on a Grand Scale. And of course there is the off chance that you guys' position may be correct, in which case I would be a fool NOT to adopt it.
So let's dive in ... it appears that I need to spend a little more time explaining my structure for testing ANY hypothesis ... I think that a lot of the evidence I will present, you will have probably heard before, but you may reject it as support for my particular hypothesis on logical or other grounds. So I think I need to first argue the validity of using my approach ...
I have proposed Abductive Logic Confirmed by Inference to the Best Explanation, and have inserted an extra step (this was an assumption to me, but I see it is not for you, so we will insert it)
DATA: The Surprising Fact A (or Phenomenon A) is observed. (The finely tuned cosmos, biological machines, written 'holy' books, etc.)
EXPERIENCE: (Let us insert this to explain where 'B' comes from) We propose 'B' based upon our own observation and experience. We cannot do otherwise and still call it 'science'
LOGIC: But if B were true, then A would be a matter of course. (B is the God of the Christian Bible)
CONCLUSION: Hence, there is reason to suspect that B is true.
Let's illustrate this process from an example from my own experience. I lived for a while as a child in a foreign country with a tribe of jungle natives (my Dad is a Bible translator). These natives had never seen an airplane when my dad arrived. We will call this Surprising Fact (or Phenomenon) A. Some on this thread have argued that it should not be called a Surprising Fact, but I believe it should because the 'surprise' part means that you have never seen the thing before, i.e. you are surprised. Some also say that EVERYTHING you see in the world could be called a Surprising Fact if you propose a 'God', but this is not true. The definition of a surprising fact in this context is simply 'new', i.e. not previously studied. Of course 'new' facts soon become old, but this does not take away anything. Many new things in the physical world are still fascinating to study even though they are not 'new' to science. So I would also be content to call my 'Surprising Fact" a 'Noteworthy Fact' or simply 'Phenomenon.' Someone else may say, "Why do you think that fact is noteworthy? I don't think it is." Well, you may not and that's OK. This whole exercise is written for those who ARE interested in the phenomena of the physical world and who seek to explain how they got here. I am one of them and I assume there are others.
So the natives observe this airplane and they observe people getting out of it and walking toward them and they say "Wow ... a sky canoe!" (They really did this ... and that is what they call an airplane to this day ... the word is 'kanawa' in their language). Notice that they immediately explained Phenomenon 'A' in terms they already understood well. They understand canoes ... they get into their canoes, go various places, then get out again. They saw this airplane arrive from someplace, they saw people get out, and so they assume that it is a very fancy 'canoe', and in a sense they are correct.
Now some of the more thoughtful natives (not many mind you ... most of them said 'Wow! Sky Canoe' and moved on) ... but some of them said to themselves, 'I wonder who made this sky canoe?' ... and they began asking questions. They asked my dad and he told them something like 'Cessna Aircraft Corporation' in a country far from here called 'America.' (Which to the natives was so foreign sounding that my dad might just as well have said 'The Tooth Fairy made it and she lives in Timbuktu.' Now there are some interesting things we can observe here. First, we could ask why my dad told them Cessna made the airplane. And the answer would be that he had previously used the Abductive Reasoning method and had made an Inference to the Best Explanation. Let's walk through this.
MY DAD IS THE OBSERVER
DATA: Phenomenon A is the airplane.
EXPERIENCE: My dad proposes 'B' because of his own experience
LOGIC: If B were true, then A would be a matter of course.
CONCLUSION: There is reason to suspect that 'B' is true. In fact, 'B' is so well supported that my dad feels it warrants the strong statement 'Cessna made this airplane.'
Now my dad only has his own experience to draw upon to propose 'B' and to do anything else would be unscientific. What is his experience? He has seen many airplanes, he has read about Cessna, Piper and Beechcraft, and he even read a book on aerodynamics once. All this leads him to propose 'B' that 'Cessna made the airplane.' Could he propose other 'B's'? Sure, he could propose that a farmer planted aiplane seeds and this airplane grew from one of the seeds. He could propose that the Fairy Godmother waved a magic wand and the airplane magically appeared. But these proposals would not be based in his experience and they would not constitute good science. So he does the most logical thing and proposes that 'Cessna made the airplane.' Now some will ask, "This is great, Dave, but can he PROVE that Cessna made the airplane? Well, no. Has he ever OBSERVED any aircraft factory building airplanes? No again. How does he know that someone didn't just FABRICATE THE EVIDENCE ... maybe a trickster printed 'Cessna' on the side of the airplane and on the instrument panel an on the pilot's operating handbook! Right again ... coulda happened. Maybe that book on aerodynamics had errors. Maybe the whole book was a fraud. And on and on we could go. Well ... granted ... my dad could propose many alternatives for explaining the origin of the airplane, but the problem is that these alternatives would not be supported from his own experience, thus rendering them UNSCIENTIFIC. The Best Explanation then, from his own experience is 'Cessna made the airplane.' He cannot prove this in the sense that it is not a Deductive Proof using Logical Entailment. In other words, he cannot 'prove' the logical premise that airplanes come from aircraft factories because there is the logical chance that this might not be true.
Another thing to point out in this example is that we have two 'classes' if you will, of people here. This is important because some people on this thread said that my Proposals -- 'B' -- are invalid because I was informed about them already, i.e. someone has already proposed that there is a God. But this does not matter. Let us see why. My dad is in the supposedly 'informed class' of people who DO know about airplanes (or at least claim they do), and the natives are in a different 'class' of people who are NOT informed about airplanes. We explored the proposal that my dad made from his experience - "Cessna made the airplane." Now consider the Proposal -- 'B' -- that the natives might have proposed had they not been told anything by my dad.
THE NATIVES ARE THE OBSERVERS
DATA: Phenomenon A is the airplane.
EXPERIENCE: The native proposes 'B' -- 'A super-expert canoe-maker made this sky canoe. His canoe-making ability far exceeds our own because this canoe is not restricted to the river. It obviously can fly over the treetops and can go anywhere the guy steering it wants it to go. It is also much faster--look how fast it whizzed by as it was taking off. And no one has to paddle! It has a strange 'paddle' on the front that spins!' ... and so on ... They make this proposal -- 'B' -- because of their own experience -- which is an Inference to the Best Explanation that they can think of that compares to this new phenomenon.
LOGIC: Now if B were true, then A would be a matter of course.
CONCLUSION: There is reason to suspect that 'B' is true. Are there other conclusions one could draw? Yes, but they would not be better explanations based upon the evidence of their own experience and thus would not be scientific. The Best Explanation for the natives is that stated above and so they make the Inference and are scientifically justified in making it.
Now here's the fun part ... notice that the two Proposals made by the two Classes of people are QUITE SIMILAR. My dad's 'B' was 'Cessna did it'. The natives 'B' was 'A super-expert canoe-maker did it.' Both drew from their experience. And both made logically sound proposals to explain the phenomenon. My dad's is more refined because he has had the privelege of more data. But the native could also gain access to this same data if he put forth some effort, i.e. learn English, read some books on airplanes, travel to America and observe more airplanes, etc. My point is that the objection of 'You are just making proposals from you own experience so this invalidates your proposal' is not a valid objection. In fact, we are REQUIRED to ONLY make proposals based upon our own experience because this is the THE ESSENCE OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY. At least, that's what I think I am hearing from all of you ... correct me if I am wrong.
Now someone will say, 'Come on, Dave. Where all your evidence for this supposed 'Creator God. We are waiting!' And some have also said, 'We've seen all the supposed YEC evidence and we don't buy it.' I have already hinted about some of my evidence for Point 1 - There is a God ... namely, the Cosmic 'Fine-Tuning', biological 'machines' we observe and so on. I will elaborate on these and many other evidences of my other points going forward. But I think many of you do in fact already have part of your answer to the question "Where is the evidence?" You have read Denton, Behe, Dembski and YEC writers.
I think the REALLY NEW THING that I am presenting to you is not necessarily new evidence, but a NEW WAY OF DRAWING CONCLUSIONS FROM THE EVIDENCE, which I actually believe you put into practice every day in your scientific and other endeavors, but which you may not have thought to put into practice into the Origins question. And I admit, that my framework may need some tweaking ... maybe you can help me with that. But I think I am at least on the right track. So these are my really BIG questions for you: Is it possible that this is the case with you? Is my approach outlined above unreasonable? If so, why specifically? Do you admit that you use this process regularly to support many 'hypotheses' about a plethora of 'phenomena'? I welcome your comments on this.
SOME MORE OBJECTIONS
I think this is a terminology thing. I will revise my terminology. I will stop saying 'Evolutionists' and start saying 'Naturalistic Philosophers'. Is that better?
|Chris Hyland: ... The theory of evolution doesn't say anything about the ice age, saying thins like this makes people not take you seriously. The theory of evolution says nothing about the origin of the universe, the origin of matter, or the origin of life.|
Actually yes. You'll notice from the discussion above that I am doing EXACTLY what you say I should do, i.e. "To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure;" Namely, I am trying to explain the origin of natural phenomena (unknown), with propositions from my own experience (known).
|Norm Doering: ... There is an old quote from David Brooks that applies to your method of reasoning: "To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy."|
Of course, your problem is that you don't recognise "God" as an unknown, do you?
Answer is YES. I do not practice 'religion' (whoa ... there's a shocker that I will have to explain separately no doubt) and I do not engage in wild speculation. I have the mind of an engineer and a scientist. I, like you, am a healthy skeptic.
|Dave, before I answer in any more of your arguments, I want to make this perfectly clear: Have we agreed that we are NOT discussing in scientific terms? Yes or no?|
I would submit to you that Deductive Reasoning can apply to NOTHING in all of science or history in an absolute sense. I am only aware of its application in mathematics. I believe the structure that I have proposed is used constantly in every day scientific practice. Can you demonstrate why I am wrong here?
|Abductive Reasoning is supposed to lead to a hypothesis where deductive reasoning can apply.|
Yes, I can see that. Good call, referee! I'll take the 'foul'!
|BTW, when you say things like, "I see a lot of error in scientists' work, which I mean to correct for the honest folk on this discussion board," you do realize you obliterate any credibility you might have had, right?|
It may be true that Meyer is lying about certain things. I have not investigated all his claims. But Meyer has pointed out a logical framework to determining 'truth' (proposed by Peirce in the 30's) that appears to be in use by many scientists and historians today. I have thought through this framework myself and am adopting my own version of it, and I think it is solid. I honestly value your feedback on this, though.
|The problem with your above statement is you've misread Meyer who is already lying to you. |
Good question. I came here already armed with a significant amount of study, but I knew that I was missing one key ingredient ... actual dialog with a diverse group of Naturalistic Philosophers. So what is really happening here (and this was one of my goals) is that you all are making some very good points to improve the presentation of my logic, help me select proper terminology so as not to make people mad, and understand the naturalistic perspective. This is an incredibly valuable learning experience for me, which will help me immensely if I ever do get around to presenting information on a Grand Scale. And of course there is the off chance that you guys' position may be correct, in which case I would be a fool NOT to adopt it.
|Dave, why would you get on this site without knowing about logic and how to make a hypothesis and so on? Shouldn't you study up a little before presenting your hypothesis?|
|To use your own terms, are you man enough to debate this honestly? |
Yes, you could propose this, but the proposal would not be based upon your experience because we have never observed such a process, so it would not be the BEST explanation. Admittedly it's an explanation, just not the best one. A BETTER explanation is something based in our own experience, such as a Super Intelligent Being DESIGNED this flagellum (or whatever), because this would be based upon our experience. See discussion above.
|Ockham's Aftershave: "I can spin that kind of argument any way I want too. I can hypothesize "A Super Intelligent, Incredibly Powerful Being could create all necessary physical laws in the first femtosecond of existence, then just sit back and observe the results. Therefore when I observe scientific data that says the universe is 14 Billion years old, and the Earth is 4.5 Billion years old, and that life has existed on Earth for over 3 billion years, and that life has evolved over that time by observed processes such as random mutations plus natural selection, I have just verified my hypothesis."|
I will copy this to my thread "AF Dave wants you to prove evolution to him" and I will try to find time to show you over there why this DOES NOT provide proof of concept for Darwinian Evolution. But you need to know that this will be lower priority to me because I really want to get away from "Evolution Bashing".
|Norm Doering: It's about Danny Hillis who built the first massively parallel processing computer, the Connection Machine, and used it as a "proof" for a concept in Darwinian evolution.|
He's only important IF HE (or it) is there. If He is not, I agree ... who cares. But I have strong suspicion that He is there and so I propose that see is, then make scientific observations to see if the proposal is supported. If it is, then I make only a small step of 'Faith' by saying that I believe in God. A step which I think takes LESS FAITH than the alternatives. Note that many people just basically pull this 'I believe in God' stuff out of thin air and I think they are rightly accused of practicing 'Blind Religious Faith.'
|Why oh why does anything about god matter in even the slightest bit to humans? Heaven and #### are meaningless words in the context of eternity. They are quite meaningful when applied to how we feel while living but not once we're dead. So why is gOd important? |
Now I will go ahead and stop here and post this, then begin presenting my EVIDENCE FOR POINT 1.
See you in about an hour ...
A DILEMMA FOR THE COMMITTED NATURALIST
A Hi-tech alien spaceship lands on earth ... DESIGNED.
A Hi-tech alien rotary motor found in a cell ... NOT DESIGNED.