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Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Frank Turek and Norman Geisler make an excellent point in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. The Second Law of Thermodynamics poses an insurmountable problem for atheistic explanations of the origin of life from non-living matter:

“…nature disorders, it doesn’t organize things (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder is another aspect of the Second Law of Thermodynamics). More time will make things worse for the Darwinist, not better. How so?”

“Let’s suppose you throw red, white, and blue confetti out of an airplane 1,000 feet above your house. What’s the chance it’s going to form the American flag on your front lawn? Very low. Why? Because natural laws will mix up or randomize the confetti. You say, ‘Allow more time.’ Okay, let’s take the plane up to 10,000 feet to give natural laws more time to work on the confetti. Does this improve the probability that the flag will form on your lawn? No, more time actually makes the flag less likely because natural laws have longer to do what they do—disorder and randomize.”

“How did life arise from nonliving chemicals, without intelligent intervention, when nonliving chemicals are susceptible to the Second Law? Darwinists have no answer, only faith.”

Manifestations of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics are all around us. It is the reason dead things decay, cars rust, people age, sand castles crumble, etc., etc. But the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is just the tip of the iceberg. For a more in-depth understanding of why the origin of life has not been, and never can be, explained without reference to God, please read How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading and Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God.

It must be emphasized that the point is NOT that the 2nd law of thermodynamics poses a problem to Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution, the reader will recall, works upon the proposed natural mechanism of random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring. Therefore, Darwinian evolution, quite obviously, applies only to that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things. The pertinent question is not how Darwinian evolution could occur, but how simple non-living chemicals could become the simplest living thing. To put the question in perspective, the simplest living thing (the single celled organism) is described by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

“…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

Again, a mechanism utilizing random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring (the Darwinian mechanism) cannot apply to simple non-living chemicals since such chemicals have neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Atheism relies upon proposed natural mechanisms, but natural mechanisms cause the measure of order to DECREASE over time. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics performs the very opposite of the increase in order necessary to build life from non-living chemicals.

230 Thoughts On:

Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

230 comments

  1. 0
    DJ says:

    Lung cancer is observable. A hallucination isnt observable past the person having a hallucination. And even if one day we can hook a person up to a machine that displays a person’s hallucination on a television, there is no way we can determine that the source of the hallucination is god.

    Im simply saying that a small percentage of people have hallucinations in a NDE, and to discount the majority experience as anecdotal and the minority experience proof of god is flat out stupid.

    Saying “That is proof of god” is a huge jump from “That person had a hallucination”

    The majority of people experience nothing. You can not discount that by asking “why does that matter” when you cant prove the link between the hallucination and god with anything that resembles scientific inquiry.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      Hallucinations are not observable except by the person experiencing them, yes. But, by your reasoning, we would have to throw out virtually the entire field of psychology since it is built mostly upon the REPORTED experiences of people that cannot be observed by others.

      Once again, you confuse (or perhaps deliberately conflate) NDEs with hallucinations. You have not responded to my explanation of why NDEs cannot be explained away as hallucinations. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SHARED HALLUCINATION. Below is a cut and paste from my essay titled The Ancient Fable Behind Disbelief in Christ’s Resurrection, which is pertinent about hallucinations, even though it is written in the context of observances of the risen Jesus, rather than the context of NDEs:

      First, today we know that hallucinations are private occurrences, which occur in the mind of the individual. They are not collective experiences.

      …Imagine that it is the middle of the night. You wake up your wife and say, ‘Honey, I just had a dream that we were in Hawaii. Come back to sleep and join me in the dream and we’ll enjoy a free vacation together.’ It would be impossible for her to do so, since a dream exists only in the mind of the individual. It cannot be shared with another person. Likewise, a hallucination cannot be shared.”

      Similarly, Michael Lacona notes in his essay Were the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Hallucinations?:

      “Gary A. Sibcy is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a PhD in clinical psychology, who has an interest in the possibility of group hallucinations. He comments:

      ‘I have surveyed the professional literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and books) written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant healthcare professionals during the past two decades and have yet to find a single documented case of a group hallucination, that is, an event for which more than one person purportedly shared in a visual or other sensory perception where there was clearly no external referent.’”

      The point I am trying to make here is that there is NO SUCH THING as a hallucination shared by multiple people. One person hallucinates and they see pink elephants, another person hallucinates and they see purple leprechauns. NO TWO HALLUCINATIONS ARE ALIKE, even within the same individual.
      Therefore, NDEs CANNOT be classed as hallucinations.

      And you have failed to explain the “born blind” NDE phenomenon in materialistic/naturalistic terms. How is it that these people have vivid visual experiences during their NDEs even thought THEY HAVE NO CONCEPT OF WHAT IT MEANS TO “SEE”??

      And, yet again, you have failed to explain why it is necessary for a majority of people who experience a loss of consciousness to experience an NDE for it to be a valid phenomenon. Yes, lung cancer is observable…and if only a certain proportion of people who smoke actually get lung cancer, does that mean that the phenomenon of smoking promoting lung cancer is not a valid phenomenon? You are avoiding the question!!

      Can we say that smoking does not cause lung cancer because we would have to discount the majority of people who smoke and never get lung cancer?! Please please explain.

      Scott

  2. 0
    DJ says:

    This can be solved with one simple question. No need to walk around in circles. Because that is what we are doing.

    What is the evidence that these “visions” are caused by god?

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      The evidence that these NDEs are caused by God is the same evidence that THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT (including NDEs) is caused by God.

      There is no walking around in circles. Please read and provide rebuttals to the evidence for God contained in cosmology/astrophysics, as presented in OK, I want numbers…What is the probability that our universe is the result of chance? and Is There A God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?, the evidence from modern physics, as presented in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism, and the evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. (Click on the preceding links to read).

      Dj, I must also mention that you have not provided any evidence for your hallucination theory of NDEs. Nor have you provided any evidence for your (apparent) belief that life was the result of a non-intelligent cause (despite the fact that information science has conclusively determined that languages such as DNA are by necessity the product of conscious and intelligent activity). Nor have you provided any evidence for a materialistic explanation of reality, despite the fact that materialism is both incompatible with modern physics and serves as the foundation for atheism. Nor have you provided any evidence for how the universe could have emerged without a pre-existent consciousness (read: God) despite the fact that time, space, matter, and energy all emerged with the Big Bang.

      And this gets to a FUNDAMENTAL POINT that needs particular emphasis. Atheists often confuse MERELY PRESENTING ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESES (to explain away the existence of God), with ACTUALLY PRESENTING EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENTS TO SUPPORT THEIR COUNTER HYPOTHESES.

      Just because you can make up a counter hypothesis (such as your “hallucination” explanation for NDEs) does not mean that you have actually provided a COUNTER ARGUMENT. A mere hypothesis is a very far cry from an actual logically constructed, fact-based argument. Please pay close attention to this crucial distinction.

      Scott

  3. 0
    dj says:

    A hallucination is, by definition, a perception of something without apparent stimuli.

    A NDE vision is a text book definition of the word hallucination. If you believe that people actually went through them, then you have to concede that point. It is a catch 22. If you deny that they are hallucinations, then you deny they took place. If you think they took place, by defintion it is a hallucination. Buy a dictionary.

    We know that they are hallucinations. The question is, did god cause them?

    Here is the deal, you make the claim god did it. When asked to provide evidence for a claim you say “atheism can’t be right, god had to have done it because it just has to be that way”

    It is so laughably transparent.

    So I will ask my question again. What is you evidence that these hallucinations are the result of god?

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      Here, you engage in circular reasoning.

      A simple breakdown of your reasoning illustrates its circularity:

      1) You begin by assuming that all perceptions not related to the spatial/material world are false perceptions.
      2) You then point out that NDEs do not have a relationship to the spatial/material world (“without apparent stimuli,” in your words).
      3) You conclude that because NDEs are perceptions not related to the spatial/material world, they must be false perceptions.

      But if you think that there is no reality beyond the 3 spatial dimensions that make up the physical world as we perceive it, then you need to brush up on your physics.

      In his book Life After Death: The Evidence, Dinesh D’Souza comments on this error of reasoning:

      “We experience space in three dimensions and time in one dimension; Einstein brought them both together into the new four-dimensional entity of spacetime. Scientists [post-Einstein] tell us that reality is divided not into four but rather eleven dimensions, ten of space and one of time. So where are the other dimensions? Well, string theorists say they are hidden dimensions, somehow positioned so that they are invisible and inaccessible to us. As physicist Lisa Randall puts it, ‘We are in this three-dimensional flatland…Our world is stuck in this three-dimensional universe, although extra dimensions exist. So we live in a three-dimensional slice of a higher-dimensional world.’”

      Your question about whether God caused NDEs is a Red Herring (designed to distract from the subject at hand). We are discussing whether NDEs provide a valid perception of something beyond the spatial/material world. In what way, shape, or form is the question of who or what causes NDEs relevant to whether or not NDEs provide such a valid perception?

      Scott

  4. 0
    DJ says:

    Do you even read what you write? Or do you just write whatever comes to your head?

    Lets look at the conversation.

    Me: That’s why we need something observable. And until you provide that evidence, why should I believe you?

    You: “It is true enough that observational evidence for God cannot be produced on demand, but there are too many people who have had life changing experiences from their encounters with God during near-death experiences (NDEs) to declare that there is NO observational evidence for God.”

    We argue back and forth a bit, and then finally I cut to the chase and ask “What is your evidence that these hallucinations are caused by god”

    You made the claim that they were observational evidence of god, I asked you how and then you go off on a tangent about dimensions and then shifting the conversation from “Are NDEs observable evidence of god” to “Are they evidence of something beyond the spatial world”

    When called to answer your assertion, you moved the goalposts and accused me of a red herring. Your readers might not be smart enough to pick up on it, but I am. It was a smooth move, but not smooth enough.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      When you use rhetorical language such as “smooth move, but not smooth enough,” you have in effect withdrawn from rational debate, and have retreated into rhetorical tactics.

      Your use of rhetoric is a “tell” that your attempts at logical arguments have run out of steam…much as a nervous tick made by a poker player is a “tell” that he is holding a weak hand.

      If you think that the question of what “causes” NDEs is a significant question, then you must explain why. If you have a logical reason why this question is not a Red Herring (diversionary tactic), as I have suggested, then please go ahead and furnish that logical reason.

      Trying to substitute a rhetorical barb in place of a logical explanation is just an advertisement that you do not have a logical reason.

      My discussion of other dimensions was not a tangent. I was intended to demonstrate that your (apparent) premise that observational data must be based upon observations of spatial/material reality, in order to be valid observational data, is an incorrect premise.

      Scott

      Scott

      1. 0
        dj says:

        Me: what is your evidence of god?
        You: near death experiences
        Me: how do you know that?
        You: you have a weak hand, you have a tell, stop pulling out a red herring and changing the subject we are talking about how there are 11 dimensions, but we can’t see them. god lives here but I can’t prove that statement. I know what I will do, I will say dj can’t disprove it. That means I win.

        Cut the bullshit and just say what everyone already knows. There is nothing observable that justifies the existence of god. The only thing you have are logic proofs based on presuppositions that have never been observed and the unfalsifiable ideas.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          dj,

          With your above “Me:” and “You:” caricature of our debate, you are trying to substitute a caricature of my argument in place of a rationally constructed, fact-based REBUTTAL to my argument.

          Further, your use of strong rhetoric like “cut the bullshit” is just another indication of your withdrawal from rational discourse. There simply is no substitute for a rationally constructed, fact-based argument. When you try to substitute such angry rhetoric for a logical argument, you just advertise to everyone that you DO NOT HAVE a rationally constructed, fact-based argument. The third party viewers of this debate are not stupid.

          And your statement, “There is nothing observable that justifies the existence of God,” YET AGAIN, commits the philosophical error which I called attention to before. A copy and paste from one of my previous comments:

          You are making a philosophical mistake which is absolutely pervasive within atheist thought. There is a little history of philosophy behind all of this. To this end, I cite Bo Jinn from his book Illogical Atheism:

          “Empiricism is a school of epistemology which rose to prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries, the celebrated ‘Age of Enlightenment’. This is really where it all began. For those who are not familiar with philosophical jargon, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and more importantly, the acquisition of knowledge. So as not to get lost in all the mind-numbing detail philosophers love so much, all you need to know is that there were two diametrically opposed schools of thought during the time of the Enlightenment: the Empiricists (Hume, Berkley, Locke) on the one hand, and the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) on the other.[ 12] The rationalist school, simply put, believed that the best way to arrive at truth was by refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic. Empiricism, on the other hand, challenged the reliability of our rational intuitions and held that the only reliable path to truth was through sense-experience.”

          “Rationalism emphasized the human mind as the truth-manufacturing machine. Empiricism placed all its stock in the human observation and the intelligibility of nature- or, if you like; the data that actually goes into the machine. And thus the miracle of science was born to the western world, from the empirical philosophical cradle of post-Enlightenment Europe, whose emphasis was fixed exclusively on the deliverances of the senses, and put absolutely no faith in intuition, increasingly minimal faith in the rational mind and violently resisted the whole notion of faith altogether. That has largely been the theme of western academia ever since. In the minds of most people and, indeed, of most scientists, science and empirical study were/ are deemed to be virtually synonymous. The problem is that this is at most a half-truth. Science is a combination of three exercises, which work in stages; (1) Postulating patterns in nature; (2) Deducing them, and then; (3) Inferring rational conclusions which provide a basis for postulating further patterns.”

          By insisting that only observational data can lead to truth (as it certainly appears you are doing), you are, like the Empiricists, demonstrating that you do not believe the rational mind provides a pathway to truth.

          Scott

      2. 0
        dj says:

        I mean the grosso source you link opens up with NDE believe that they had an experience.

        I’m sure they do. When I was in the hospital, I thought my nurse was a scientologist assassin.

        Prove she wasnt.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          dj,

          You write, “When I was in the hospital, I thought my nurse was a scientologist assassin. Prove she wasnt.”

          Yet again, you confuse your private experience with an experience which has been shared by many thousands of people. If there were thousands and thousands of people who reported encountering a “scientologist assasin,” then the phenomenon would require looking into more deeply. It is completely transparent that you are deliberately glossing over crucial facts such as the difference between a private experience reported by one person (your experience of the “scientologist assasin”) and an experience commonly reported by multitudes of people (encountering God).

          What choice do we have but to assume you make such deliberate oversights because you hold your views for emotional and ideological reasons, rather than rational reasons?

          Scott

      3. 0
        dj says:

        The difference being we can observe trucks.

        We can not observe any evidence that a higher power caused a single NDE. A lack of explanation is not proof of god.

        That is what we call god of gaps.

      4. 0
        dj says:

        But I can forgive all those fallacies, if you give me one piece of evidence.

        Just one piece of real evidence, not a “youre wrong, so therefore I must be right” BS False Dichotomy. Not a “it just has to be true” appeal to incredulity. Not a “you can’t prove me wrong” shifting of the burden of proof.

        You said it yourself, this is not about winning. It is about truth.

        Tell me, what is your evidence that justifies the truth?

      5. 0
        dj says:

        I responded many ways.

        I discussed how the sun is not god and doesn’t impact everything the exact same way. All it is is an energy source.

        The second law clearly applies to isolated systems. An isolated system is one in which there is no exchange of energy to or from an outside source. You misrepresented the second law hoping that your readers would be too stupid to pick up on it. You originally opened with the faulty claim and when called on it you ask stupid questions like “if the earth is an open system why can’t the sun magically raise the dead? Must be god”

        If this is your evidence, we have nothing more to discuss.

        PS, it takes no faith to not believe in something that has never been observed.

        I like the semantical game. It must take alot of faith to not believe in sasquatch.

        What you are doing, is again shifting the burden of proof.

        I am not making a positive claim. You are it is on you to provide evidence for it.

        I AM FUCKING BEGGING YOU FOR ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE.

        One thing. Not an assumption, not an unverifiable hallucination, not a false dichotomy, not a misrepresentation or a red herring…

        You made the claim god exists. I don’t care about any logic argument. Because those come down to who can argue the best. You said yourself that it isn’t about winning, it is about truth.

        Well stop trying to win and show me why what you say is true.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          DJ,

          I misrepresented the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics hoping that my readers would be too stupid to pick up on it?!

          Please let me know if this is a misrepresentation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:

          Over time the measure of entropy (disorder) in a system tends to increase. This is the reason why cars rust, dead things decay, people age, sand castles crumble, etc. etc.

          Is this a misrepresentation? If so, how? Please explain.

          ONCE AGAIN, you forcefully repeat your assertion that I have not presented “one shred” of evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented to you. You are VERY TRANSPARENTLY trying to substitute a forceful, repeated assertion to compensate for your deficient argument. This, YET AGAIN, is the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I have presented you evidence for God from modern biology, modern physics, and modern cosmology. Why don’t you respond to JUST ONE of these pieces of evidence. YET ANOTHER COPY AND PASTE:

          The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (in the science section). Please read and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life.

          NOTE TO READERS: Forceful re-assertion that there is no evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented, demonstrates what the psychologist M. Scott Peck referred to as a “self-imposed set of blinders” to the evidence for God (as cited in “If the Evidence for God is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Unconvinced?,” in the experience section).

          Scott

  5. 0
    DJ says:

    But I will rebut your post

    1) I never claimed that hallucinations are false. I simply gave the textbook definition of what it is. It is a perception of something without an apparent source of stimuli. A NDE fits that definition. No more, no less.

    2) You make the claim that they are evidence of something more. If you want to call it god like you originally did, thats fine.

    If you want to change it up and say they are evidence of another dimension, that is fine too.

    All I am going to do is ask the same question….What is your evidence? You made the claim, now back it up.

    The best you can do is “You cant prove that it isnt”

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      If you are not claiming that hallucinations are false, then what is your purpose of classifying NDEs as “hallucinations”? Is this just an exercise in semantics? Please explain.

      You keep asking for evidence while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented. This is the same logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion which you have commit before. You keep suggesting, or at least implying that there is no evidence while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented.

      If a homicide detective gets a remarkably similar story from multiple witnesses, this is considered evidence. Therefore, the following is evidence for God from NDEs (a copy and paste from one of my previous comments):

      In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

      “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

      “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

      In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

      Dj, you must provide some sort of rational explanation as to why the conclusions of the above mentioned research is not evidence for God. If you just keep asserting or implying that there is no evidence (while ignoring this evidence presented), then you just keep repeating the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. Repeating something over and over again will not make it true.

      Scott

  6. 0
    DJ says:

    In 1977, Erlendur Haraldsson and Karlis Osis performed a study. It was a cross cultural study between Americans and Indians.

    Not surprisingly, they found that not a single American hallucinated a Hindu deity and not a single Indian hallucinated a Christian deity.

    We see across the world that if a deity is hallucinated, it is more closely to a person’s culture than it is truth.

    If you are going to claim that NDEs are evidence of YOUR god, you can not discount those that hallucinate other deities and you can not discount those that see nothing.

    Here is the fact of the matter.

    We know that a small percentage of people hallucinate on their death bed. We know this for a fact.

    We know that people BELIEVE them to be authentic.

    Now the question remains, is this evidence for god?

    You claim this question is a red herring. ARE YOU STUPID? This is the next question to ask.

    Me: What is the evidence?
    You: NDE
    Me: How?
    You: RED HERRING RED HERRING RED HERRING!!!!
    Me: um what?

    I know you are going to say something like “that was an ad hominem.” or say that since I am repeating the question that it is a fallacy because i am repeating the fact that you have not provided evidence.

    Give me something. Answer the question, dont just make up some B.S. response. Dont tell me that people believe it to be true. That doesnt answer my question. Dont tell me that because people have them that it has to be true. That isnt evidence.

    You made the assertion that god causes NDEs. Prove it

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      This is YET ANOTHER argument which you have presented, but to which you have failed to respond to my counter point!!!! There are AN ABUNDANCE cases where non-Christians (such as Muslims and Buddhists) have encountered Jesus Christ during their NDEs. Apparently there was a flaw in the study that you cite. Below is YET ANOTHER copy and paste of an argument which I have presented before, but which you have glossed over:

      You suggest that NDE’s are dependent upon culture. This is not an accurate representation. First of all, many atheists have encounters with a “personal God” in their NDE. In my post titled Why Death is Not the End, I provide several links to videos of NDE experiences wherein atheists had an encounter with a personal God. Also, below are links to several NDE experiences wherein non-Christians, such as Muslims met Jesus:


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNcPVNboooQ


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfGv9HyvbBM


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGyRTEwb8FU

      I also provided several links to atheists who met God during their NDEs in a previous reply. Are you going to gloss over that too?

      Scott

  7. 0
    Jorge Dib says:

    Continuem procurando deus, sendo ateu, quando encontrarem-no e a Ciências valida-lo aferível e verificavelmente, eu e acredito que a maioria dos Ateus não terao nenhuma dificuldade em aceitar sua existência. Se for o deus judaico cristão, deve estar com o c.. na mão de medo de ser descoberto. rss..

  8. 0
    adam says:

    Lol this article is hilarious. so life evolving from single celled organisms is less believable that some invisible being creating everything. Evolution is a fact we have observed it. People have also created life. There for people are god.

    1. 1
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Adam,

      Please recall that Darwinian evolution discusses the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor by random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring. Therefore, Darwinian evolution, quite obviously, applies only to that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things.

      Atheists seem to often forget that non-living matter has neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Trying to apply Darwinian evolution to non-living matter is PATENTLY ABSURD.

      When people who view the world through the atheistic lens try to explain the origin of life from non-living matter, they often end up citing absurdities such as the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation…as I detail in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Click here to watch the world’s most famous atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins, endorsing the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter. And click here to read an article about how the atheist biologist Francis Crick (famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix) endorsed the same hypothesis in his book Life Itself.

      Further, since “evolution” refers to change over time, nobody denies evolution. Atheists use the term “evolution” in an equivocal fashion that really means “Darwinian evolution.” This equivocation smuggles in the atheist philosophical stance that the diversification of life happens only by non-intelligent natural mechanisms.

      But as I mention in the essay which I link to above (How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading), DNA is a code or language…and codes or languages use abstract, symbolic representation. Symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY mental in nature, and therefore life was BY NECESSITY created by a conscious and intelligent mind. Atheists like Dawkins and Crick know this, and this is why they cite the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (known as “directed panspermia”).

      Scott

      P.S: No people have not created life. You need to read those news stories much more carefully. People have only spliced together bits and pieces of DNA.

    2. 1
      Rod Carty says:

      “Evolution is a fact we have observed it.”

      Although the phrase ‘evolution is a fact’ is repeated routinely even by leading evolutionary evangelicals like Richard Dawkins, it is not a scientific claim. Facts, or evidence, are the things which people observe and then formulate hypotheses from. They then perform experiments to support the predictions made in their hypothesis or disprove the hypothesis. If the predictions continue to be supported then eventually the hypothesis becomes a theory. If the theory is supported by further experimentation with no contradictions to the predictions then it becomes a law. Hypothesis, theory, law, all built initially from facts. Nowhere does scientific knowledge turn into fact. Calling it such exposes the position as non-scientific, I daresay a religious one.

  9. 0
    dj says:

    It isn’t semantics. Buy a dictionary, look up the definition of the word hallucination. A near death experience “vision” is by definition a hallucination.

    You made the claim that these hallucinations are evidence of god.

    I asked you how. The only thing you have provided as a response is “you can’t prove that it wasn’t god”.

    It is so laughably transparent

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      You have yet again failed to respond to my argument about why NDEs cannot be classified as “hallucination.” Further, in a previous comment, you wrote, “I never claimed that hallucinations are false. I simply gave the textbook definition of what it is. It is a perception of something without an apparent source of stimuli. A NDE fits that definition. No more, no less.”

      What you are trying to accomplish here is an argument by equivocation. An equivocation occurs when a person tries to use ambiguous language to deceive. Equivocation is also often used in jokes. For example, Groucho Marx once quipped, “Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution?!”

      As you can see, Marx uses two different definitions of “institution” to achieve a humorous result. The second use of the word “institution,” obviously, is a reference to a mental institution.

      In short, what you are trying to do is classify NDEs as hallucinations in an attempt to apply the derisive connotations of the word “hallucination” to NDEs.

      Both marriage and mental health facilities fit the definition of “institution.” But this does not mean that we can use the ambiguity of the term to apply the negative connotations of “mental institution” to the institution of marriage.

      You are trying hard to apply the term “hallucination” to NDEs so as to smuggle in these negative connotations.

      Again, you are trying to use the rhetorical device of equivocation to deceive.

      Scott

      1. 0
        DJ says:

        Maybe you misunderstood what I meant by that.

        I defined exactly what I meant by the word hallucination, when I said that they werent false, i meant that people actually have hallucinations.

        I was referring to the actual hallucination was false as in it didnt happen. The evidence supports that they do happen.

        But it is kind of hard to say someone is using the fallacy of equivocation when they explicitly define what the word means.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Dj,

          Then what is the point of you trying to define NDEs as hallucinations?

          Further, people who have NDEs consistently report that they were MORE REAL than their everyday experience. If anything, they report, it is our everyday experience which is an illusion, and NDEs which are real.

          Another line of evidence pointing to the validity of these experiences is the fact there have been many people who report visual phenomena during their NDE, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE BORN BLIND AND THEREFORE HAVE NO CONCEPT OF WHAT IT MEANS TO “SEE.” I presented this before, but, YET AGAIN, you failed to respond:

          Click on the below links to YouTube videos which provide a couple examples of such “born blind NDEs.”


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9AfJbXe3rc


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ4yVEmgG04

          Still further, research shows that NDEs cannot be culturally conditioned because of the nine lines of evidence cited in the below video:


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRuKuGBd0Bo

          Scott

  10. 0
    dj says:

    The burden of proof is not on me. Like I have said before. You make the positive claim, you have to provide evidence for it.

    If i claim that a flying spaghetti monster created the universe, it would be on me to prove it.

    The only evidence that you have provided is that people have these hallucinations. You have not provided any evidence past that.

    If you would actually justify your position with something more than “it just has to be true” I wouldn’t have to beg you to prove your position.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      You write, “The only evidence that you have provided is that people have these hallucinations. You have not provided any evidence past that.” Yet again, you commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. You continue to assert that these are hallucinations despite my point that there is NO SUCH THING as a shared hallucination. Instead of responding to my argument, you are trying to repeat your assertion that NDEs are nothing but hallucinations OVER AND OVER AGAIN, in the hope that your premise will become true if you just repeat it often enough (while ignoring the counter arguments presented to you). A copy and paste of a previously presented argument in hopes that you will ACTUALLY RESPOND TO IT RATHER THAN CONTINUING TO REPEAT ASSERTIONS:

      Once again, you confuse (or perhaps deliberately conflate) NDEs with hallucinations. You have not responded to my explanation of why NDEs cannot be explained away as hallucinations. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SHARED HALLUCINATION. Below is a cut and paste from my essay titled The Ancient Fable Behind Disbelief in Christ’s Resurrection, which is pertinent about hallucinations, even though it is written in the context of observances of the risen Jesus, rather than the context of NDEs:

      First, today we know that hallucinations are private occurrences, which occur in the mind of the individual. They are not collective experiences.

      …Imagine that it is the middle of the night. You wake up your wife and say, ‘Honey, I just had a dream that we were in Hawaii. Come back to sleep and join me in the dream and we’ll enjoy a free vacation together.’ It would be impossible for her to do so, since a dream exists only in the mind of the individual. It cannot be shared with another person. Likewise, a hallucination cannot be shared.”

      Similarly, Michael Lacona notes in his essay Were the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Hallucinations?:

      “Gary A. Sibcy is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a PhD in clinical psychology, who has an interest in the possibility of group hallucinations. He comments:

      ‘I have surveyed the professional literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and books) written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant healthcare professionals during the past two decades and have yet to find a single documented case of a group hallucination, that is, an event for which more than one person purportedly shared in a visual or other sensory perception where there was clearly no external referent.’”

      DJ, YOU MUST RESPOND TO THE ABOVE ARGUMENT about why NDEs cannot be classified as hallucination, RATHER THAN JUST CONTINUING TO ASSERT THAT THEY ARE HALLUCINATIONS.

      The point I am trying to make here is that there is NO SUCH THING as a hallucination shared by multiple people. One person hallucinates and they see pink elephants, another person hallucinates and they see purple leprechauns. NO TWO HALLUCINATIONS ARE ALIKE, even within the same individual.
      Therefore, NDEs CANNOT be classed as hallucinations.

      If a homicide detective gets very similar stories from a multitude of witness, this is considered evidence. This is why the fact that people report encounters with God so often during NDEs (including many atheists) must be considered as evidence for God.

      Whoever (or whatever) created the universe created space, matter, energy, and time. Therefore, the Creator must be spaceless, timeless, without matter, and energy-less.

      A spaghetti monster is made of spaghetti and so cannot be spaceless, timeless, without matter, or without energy. Spaghetti exists in time and space, and is made of matter. Did you forget?

      Scott

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          dj,

          This just highlights the desperation of your argument. The only things in human experience that can be “proven,” in any sense of the term, are mathematical in nature…mathematical proofs.

          When we are dealing with virtually anything else, is about preponderance of evidence, not proof. This is because one can always expose any argument to some measure of doubt.

          For example, imagine that someone was trying to argue that the moon is made out of cheese. Below is a hypothetical dialogue:

          Bill: The moon is made out of Swiss cheese.

          Steve: No, it is made out of rock. We know this in part because the Apollo astronauts brought back moon rocks.

          Bill: No they didn’t, the whole moon landing was staged in a Hollywood studio. Prove me wrong.

          Steve: No it wasn’t. We can go see some of the moon rocks at the Smithsonian.

          Bill: I think those rocks are fakes. Prove me wrong.

          Steve: No they are not, they have been analyzed and have been shown to be rocks of extra-terrestrial origin.

          Bill: I don’t believe it. I think the people who analyzed them are liars. Prove me wrong.

          ….and the conversation could go on and on into eternity.

          The point I am making here, DJ, is that, “I must be right because you cannot prove me wrong” is a pathetically weak stance to take because there is virtually nothing in all of human experience that can be proven…to the extent of removing any room for doubt whatsoever.

          Neither you nor I nor anyone else can PROVE that the moon is not made out of Swiss cheese to the extent that there is no room for any doubt. But to suggest that the inability of anyone to PROVE otherwise is a valid argument for the moon being made out of Swiss cheese is just plain weak.

          Again, the only thing in human experience that can be “proven” in any sense of the term, are things of a mathematical nature…mathematical proofs.

          A person who suggests that they have a valid argument because they cannot be “proven wrong” is relying on perhaps the weakest argument possible.

          As I said above, it is about preponderance of evidence. I have given several lines of evidence for God being the source of the universe….all of which you have failed to respond to.

          Please give us even one line of evidence for your “spaghetti monster” argument.

          Scott

      1. 0
        DJ says:

        You make the claim that they are shared…Are they really shared?

        How do you know if someone saw the exact same thing? You cant even narrow down exactly what they saw.

        If you hallucinate and see a dragon. I hallucinate and see a mouse, we both saw animals. Doesnt mean we shared it. when you zoom out enough, you could say anything was a shared hallucination.

        PS, I have a hard time calling them shared. Shared implies that they were in the same vicinity under the same conditions and saw the exact same thing.

        If person 1 sees a god, and person 2 sees a god, it really cant be called shared.

        PS, there have been cases of mass hallucinations, for example LSD spiked bread in the 50s in france led to many people think they were being attacked by fire breathing beasts.

        Do fire breathing beasts exist because more than one person saw them?

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Dj,

          In the sense that NDEs occur to different people at different times, they are not shared. But NDEs do SHARE many commonalities, one of which is encounters with a “personal God.” The term “shared” came into play because I was using the citation about shared experiences of the risen Jesus to make a point about how something experienced by multiple people cannot be called “hallucination.” This was not meant to imply that the term “shared” should be applied to NDEs. This was a miscommunication.

          But, again, NDEs do SHARE many commonalities which demonstrate that they cannot be hallucinations.

          And if NDEs are hallucinations, as you suggest, then why is it that some people do not experience “a mouse” or “a dragon,” as in your example? Why only a “personal God,” but not such things as mice and dragons, unicorns, etc..?

          Your example of people experiencing fire breathing beasts in France is not applicable because these people were communicating with one another, and therefore the experiences could have been socially or culturally conditioned. But there are multiple lines of evidence that NDEs are not culturally or socially conditioned. One such line of evidence is the “born blind” NDEs which I linked to in a couple other comments. But there are several other lines of evidence. Please see the below video to review these lines of evidence:


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRuKuGBd0Bo

          Scott

      2. 0
        DJ says:

        Burden of Proof – A great example of this would be making a claim that NDEs are OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE of god. When questioned about that, the answer devolves into “you cant disprove this”

        This can be summed up in one question asked by Scott “If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?”

        This is shifting the burden of proof. Asking a person to prove a negative statement is next to impossible. Especially when you create an entity that is entirely immune to debate simply because of its definition. Prove this timeless spaceless immaterial invisible undetectable entity doesnt exist.

        See the issue? That is why when you make a positive claim, the burden of proof is on you.

        Alex Michalos, the author of Principles of logic, states in this book that “usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”

      3. 0
        DJ says:

        elephant hurling – Elephant hurling is a debate tactic in which a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument.

        Doesnt really fit. I linked a few websites to fallacies that I have already mentioned for the most part. A better example of this would be linking several videos that are pretty long and then saying “why dont you read this blog post” or saying “if you go to youtube you will see my point is true”

        Which is something your scott will do. But not me.

        If anyone did this, it was scott. Not me. But I will point out exactly where all these fallacies took place.

        1. 0
          Rod Carty says:

          “elephant hurling – Elephant hurling is a debate tactic in which a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument.

          Doesnt really fit. I linked a few websites to fallacies that I have already mentioned for the most part. A better example of this would be linking several videos that are pretty long and then saying “why dont you read this blog post” or saying “if you go to youtube you will see my point is true”

          Which is something your scott will do. But not me.

          If anyone did this, it was scott. Not me. But I will point out exactly where all these fallacies took place.”

          Perhaps you are confused about who said what. I was the one, not Scott, who charged you with elephant hurling, and as I suggested you do regarding my charge, I explained why it was elephant hurling. I’ll say it again in case you missed it. You replied to the OP multiple times with nothing more than a link to various fallacies. By this you claimed the fallacy was committed somewhere in the OP. But you did not support your claims by quoting the part which committed the fallacy you claim nor did you explain why it was fallacious. That is exactly what the definition you quoted here says, and the definition I linked to in my post says. Your denial is without merit.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      You STILL are AVOIDING THE QUESTION, so I will ask it YET AGAIN in hopes that you will answer it: OF WHAT RELEVANCE IS IT WHO OR WHAT “CAUSED” THE NDEs? Unless you can explain why this is a relevant question, what choice do we have but to assume that it is a Red Herring (diversionary tactic)?

      You continue to label NDEs as hallucinations, but you also continue to FAIL TO RESPOND TO MY POINT about why NDEs cannot be classified as hallucinations. YET ANOTHER copy and paste in hopes that you will respond:

      Once again, you confuse (or perhaps deliberately conflate) NDEs with hallucinations. You have not responded to my explanation of why NDEs cannot be explained away as hallucinations. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SHARED HALLUCINATION. Below is a cut and paste from my essay titled The Ancient Fable Behind Disbelief in Christ’s Resurrection, which is pertinent about hallucinations, even though it is written in the context of observances of the risen Jesus, rather than the context of NDEs:

      First, today we know that hallucinations are private occurrences, which occur in the mind of the individual. They are not collective experiences.

      …Imagine that it is the middle of the night. You wake up your wife and say, ‘Honey, I just had a dream that we were in Hawaii. Come back to sleep and join me in the dream and we’ll enjoy a free vacation together.’ It would be impossible for her to do so, since a dream exists only in the mind of the individual. It cannot be shared with another person. Likewise, a hallucination cannot be shared.”

      Similarly, Michael Lacona notes in his essay Were the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Hallucinations?:

      “Gary A. Sibcy is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a PhD in clinical psychology, who has an interest in the possibility of group hallucinations. He comments:

      ‘I have surveyed the professional literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and books) written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant healthcare professionals during the past two decades and have yet to find a single documented case of a group hallucination, that is, an event for which more than one person purportedly shared in a visual or other sensory perception where there was clearly no external referent.’”

      It does not take a trained psychologist to get the main point: Hallucinations are very unique occurrences. When one person hallucinates, they see a pink elephant, when another person hallucinates (or the same person on a different occasion) they see a purple leprechaun. THE FACT THAT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE REPORTED ENCOUNTERS WITH A “PERSONAL GOD” IS SOLID EVIDENCE THAT THESE ENCOUNTERS ARE NOT HALLUCINATIONS. AGAIN: EACH HALLUCINATION IS VERY UNIQUE, AND SO WHEN NDE EXPERIENCERS CONSTANTLY REPORT THE SAME THINGS, THIS IS EVIDENCE THAT THEY ARE NOT HALLUCINATIONS.

      Just think about it…Can we give a whole bunch of people a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD and expect several of them to encounter a similar purple leprechaun or a similar pink elephant? Of course not.

      Your use of angry language such as “bullshit” just advertises that you are angry because you know you cannot logically support your argument.

      Scott

  11. 0
    dj says:

    It is not on me to disprove the statement that NDEs are proof of god.

    It is on you to support that statement with evidence.

    What is your evidence? I am not going to play this crazy game where you say “prove me wrong”

    I am going to leave it that.

    Either you can provide something observable where we actually have a discussion about it. Or you can keep copy and pasting the same ridiculous post.

    Support your statement with evidence. I am telling you that you are not convincing when you say “it just has to be that way”

    Give me ONE THING that supports your position.

  12. 0
    dj says:

    PS, saying that something is bullshit isn’t anger. It is saying that it is completely ridiculous.

    You made the assertion. I asked how you know that assertion is true and you respond with you can’t disprove it.

    I’m still waiting for you to provide evidence for THE EXISTENCE OF A PERSONAL GOD!

    You are pulling a classic Nick Nayler move. It is clever, but you have yet to provide evidence for your belief.

    http://www.themattefinish.com/blog/2008/05/the-beauty-of-argument/

    You have attempted to discredit my position. But you have yet to back up your position.

    I am tired of asking you to back up your position. I am asking you for the last time. What is YOUR EVIDENCE THAT YOU ARE RIGHT?

    How are NDEs evidence of god? I don’t care about shared hallucinations. I don’t care that people think that they were real.

    Those don’t answer my question. They sidestep the question.

    How are they evidence for god? Getting you to give me a straight answer on this is like pulling teeth.

    Give me a straight answer, don’t try to pander to your readers. Answer the question

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      Getting ME to answer YOUR question is like pulling teeth?! SERIOUSLY!? I have explained why NDEs are evidence for a “personal God” several times, but you continually fail to respond, and you continue to commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion when you assert that NDEs are hallucinations…despite the clear reasoning that they cannot be. There is NO SUCH THING as a “hallucination” wherein the content of the hallucination (such as meeting a purple leprechaun) is the same among large groups of people. This is why we cannot give a drug like LSD to a large group of people and expect several of them to report meeting a similar “purple leprechaun” or a “pink elephant,” etc… Each hallucination has unique content, even with the same person on different occasions.

      But people have, in many thousands of reported cases, reported meeting a “personal God.” The shared content of NDEs means that they cannot be hallucinations.

      If a homicide detective gets very similar stories from a multitude of witness, this is considered evidence.

        This is why the fact that people report encounters with God so often during NDEs (including many atheists) must be considered as evidence for God.

      YET ANOTHER copy and paste from a previous comment that you have not responded to:

      In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

      “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

      “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

      In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

      Dj, what is your response to this?! SPIT IT OUT!!!

      You made an illustration in a previous comment wherein one person experienced a “dragon” and another person experiencing a “mouse,” but that both people experienced different “animals.” How does this in any way shape or form counteract the research that people do not experience different animals, but rather, consistently report meeting a “personal God”? Your argument is bizarre and unclear.

      Scott

  13. 0
    DJ says:

    1) You have a sample size of over 7 billion people. Every person dies. But according to Sam Harris, the number of people that have a NDE is anywhere from 10-20%. SO of the 7 billion people alive today, we can ballpark the number of people that will have these experiences at around 1 billion.

    Even if 1 million people saw a god (And you are claiming the number is in the thousands), is this really a shared experience? We are talking about 0.1% of all NDE cases. In actuality the number is closer to 0.01% of all NDE cases. Is this really enough to say they are shared?

    You are talking about a massive sample size. If a couple of buddies take LSD and they see the same thing, that is weird. If you take 20,000 people and give them LSD and 2 of them see a dragon, is it really shared or simply coincidental? Lots of people have seen dragons. Like I said before, I have a hard time calling those truly shared experiences. They are isolated events that are similar, not shared events that are the same. That is my biggest issue with this.

    2) My analogy was to say this. When you back out enough with semantics, you can call anything shared. The term god is a broad term, just like animal is.

    If you hallucinate a dinosaur and I hallucinate a mouse, we both hallucinated animals.

    If you hallucinate a white dude with a beard and I hallucinate some weird spirit entity, you could say we both hallucinated god. But they are not the same.

    3) This is why I am begging you for evidence. You are forcing a false dichotomy. Even if you accept that NDEs are shared, and that shared hallucinations arent possible, (I would say they arent truly shared) all you have done is assert that my explanation is false.

    You have done nothing to back up your claim. You are saying because this is false, that has to be true. And we all know that is not a logical statement.

    This is why i am begging for you to back up your claim. You made the statement, stating that justifying that statement is irrelevant is intellectually dishonest.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      1) There is no sample size of 7 billion people. This is patently absurd. Near-death experience testimonies come from people who have an experience that brings them near to death, experience a sometimes complete cessation of brain activity, and have vivid conscious experiences while the brain/and or body has ceased to function, and then return to normal consciousness. To suggest that this number is 1 billion is wildly exaggerated. I challenge you to provide a citation from an NDE expert (not Sam Harris) who says that 1 billion people report having NDEs. Hint: You won’t be able to because the suggestion is absurd.

      Again, the term “shared” came into play because I was drawing a point about resurrection appearances of Jesus that also applies to NDEs. The term “shared” experience does not apply to NDEs because, obviously, they happen to different people at different times.

      YET AGAIN, YOU IGNORE THE OTHER EVIDENCE FOR THE AUTHENTICITY OF NDE EXPERIENCES SUCH AS THE “BORN BLIND” NDEs! You seem to conveniently ignore the facts that you cannot explain from within the framework or your (apparently) materialist worldview.

      2) Why do you continue with this “dinosaur and mouse” analogy? People who have NDEs do not report seeing various things such as dinosaurs or mice…rather, they report interacting with a “personal God.” Your analogy is nonsensical and bizarre. DO ME A FAVOR: GO TO YOU TUBE AND FIND ME AN NDE TESTIMONY WHERE A PERSON ENCOUNTERS A DINOSAUR OR MOUSE!!! You will find references to encounters with “God, angels, Jesus, deceased loved ones” (according to the research of Jeffrey Long, MD, as cited in Evidence for the Afterlife). FIND EVEN ONE NDE TESTIMONY WHERE A PERSON ENCOUNTERS SOME ENTITY OTHER THAN “GOD, ANGELS, JESUS, DECEASED LOVED ONES.” GO TO YOU TUBE AND DO IT. KNOCK US OUT. WE ARE WAITING. I am not suggesting that there can be NONE, but that there are precious few if any.

      3) There is no false dichotomy. I have backed up my claim, but you have failed to back up your claim. Why don’t you find us some research showing that large numbers of people who use hallucinogenic drugs encounter a “mouse” or a “dragon,” or anything else. Hallucinations are each very unique.

      I am begging you explain how multitudes of people can have a hallucination with the same content. Please please please explain.

      Also, I a BEGGING you to explain how you can explain away the evidence for God I gave you that comes from modern biology, physics, and cosmology. Also, I am BEGGING you to explain the “born blind” NDEs from within the framework of your apparently materialist worldview.

      Scott

  14. 0
    Ron Mitchell says:

    Yes, the earth is an open system. But I look at the entire universe when discussing the SLOT. That IS a closed system. So how come in this closed system of the universe, SLOT has been so totally violated as to take the random scattering of big bang degree and form it into the order that we all see around us? Does anyone NOT see that that means there has been some kind of interference with SLOT. And what can that mean other than there has been a force interjected into that closed system. We simply refer to that force as God.

    Now, the next important question is: what is the nature of that force that we call God? And unlike creation, which can be seen above as proven by logic, the nature of God is individually determined by what Christians call “faith”.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Ron,

      The problem with saying that it was a “force” which interfered with the SLOT (second law of thermodynamics) is that forces do not have creative properties. Where in human experience do we see “forces” creating things?

      There are, however, several lines of reasoning which indicate that an eternally existent consciousness (God) counteracted SLOT. This is not a merely “faith-based” argument. First of all, please recall that conscious and intelligent agents DO have creative properties.

      Secondly, I recommend that you read my essay titled God Is Real. Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism (click on the preceding link). In this essay, I describe how modern physics has demonstrated that there is no reality independent of mind (consciousness). At face value, this seems like a very strange statement because it is so counter-intuitive. But despite being strange and counter-intuitive, it is a conclusion of modern physics. Below are a few citations from this essay:

      Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros write in their book The New Story of Science:

      “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

      …the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans writes (in his book The Mysterious Universe“There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

      Princeton University quantum physicist Freeman Dyson:

      “Atoms are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe is also weird, with its laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it passes beyond the scale of our comprehension.”

      Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory) writes:

      “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

      Additionally, Ron, as Keith Ward (a retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy) writes in his book Doubting Dawkins. Why There Almost Certainly Is a God:

      “…there is force in the classical philosophical axiom that, for a truly explanatory cause to be intelligible, it must contain its effects potentially in itself. As the classical philosophers put it, the cause must contain more reality than its effects.”

      When Ward cites the axiom that a cause “must contain its effects potentially in itself,” he is simply stating (in philosophical language) that the cause of conscious, personal, intelligent beings must itself be conscious, personal, and intelligent. God contains the effects of consciousness, intelligence and personhood potentially in himself because he is himself conscious, intelligent, and personal.

      But what philosophical reasoning can one supply in order to argue that a “force” contains the effects of consciousness, intelligence and personhood potentially in itself?

      There can be none.

      Scott

      1. 0
        Ron says:

        Scott, if you’ll reread my post, you’ll see that I AM making the case for creation via a CREATOR. I’m saying some force had to intercede in SLOT to get it cooking and moving toward order. I said we call that force GOD.

        I am with you, my man, don’t fight someone who’s on your side.

        And then I also showed that it then becomes necessary to define what that GOD is like. What is His nature? Is He the God described in the Bible? I’m a christian, and I say yes, but others may disagree. And I think that is only determined to ones satisfaction by one’s own faith.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Ron,

          No worries. I wasn’t trying to “fight.” I just thought you were trying to argue that a “force” created the universe rather than God. I have heard many agnostics and atheists argue that a “force” could be responsible, so I wanted to address that issue. Even if you weren’t trying to make that argument, at least now I have responded to people who are.

          Sorry if I came across as too wound-up.

          Scott

  15. 0
    DJ says:

    So a neuroscientist cant speak to the number of near death experiences? Thats interesting. I would take his word over yours any day of the week.

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/science-on-the-brink-of-death

    He makes the claim that 10-20% of people that approach clinical death report a near death experience. Granted, I am making jump and applying this to the whole population. But I wouldnt say it is an unreasonable one. A gallop poll in 1992 showed that about 5% of Americans have had a NDE. If we extrapolate those numbers to the world, we would be looking at 350 million on the low end to 1.4 billion on the high end. Keep in mind, this is just seeing anything. Life flash before your eyes, light at the end of the tunnel, etc…

    I have been calling NDEs hallucinations for the last 50 posts. You come back and say “They cant be hallucinations because they are shared”

    I came back with they arent really shared, they are simply isolated incidents that occasionally have similarities.

    You respond with “Again, the term “shared” came into play because I was drawing a point about resurrection appearances of Jesus that also applies to NDEs. The term “shared” experience does not apply to NDEs because, obviously, they happen to different people at different times.”

    This is such a freaking red herring. You never made this claim before. Only after being called on the shared hallucination thing did you change it up.

    I didnt say they didnt occur. We know people have hallucinations. What I am saying is that when we do not know what the cause is, to simply say “god did it” without any observable evidence to justify it is not science, it is a fairy tale.

    You are missing the point of the analogy. Based on your previous posts, you are saying that hallucinating a god is proof of that god’s existence. it can not be a simple hallucination because hallucinations are not shared.

    The analogy was to point out that you have broadened the terms so much, that you could call anything shared.

    Person 1 sees a dinosaur and person 2 sees a mouse. They saw two separate things. However, by saying they both saw animals and calling it a shared hallucination is intellectually dishonest. I am not saying people with NDE see mice, Mr. Strawman. I am saying that you are using an overly broad term to justify your argument, and I used the analogy of “mice and dinosaurs are animals” to show how. By broadening the hallucination to just the words “Personal God” you are covering every bit as much ground as the difference between mice and dinosaurs.

    And finally, you did present a false dichotomy. You said that NDEs are real and are evidence of god. Your response was “it couldnt be a shared hallucination so therefore it is god”

    I simply pointed out even if you are completely correct about NDEs are not shared hallucinations, you have not provided a shred of evidence that they are evidence of god. You have attempted to discredit the hallucination line.

    You made the claim that they are evidence of god. Dont tell me how they arent hallucinations. Tell me how they are evidence of god.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      You say that NDEs are “isolated incidents that occasionally have similarities.” This completely flies in the face of the research I cited, but which you have ignored. ONCE AGAIN, DJ, please review this video which cited the research of NDE researcher Jeffrey Long, MD.

      This short 4 1/2 minute video reveals the following: Dr. Long’s research sample included more than a thousand people from all over the world. His research finding is that the consistency of these stories demonstrate scientifically that there is an afterlife. One of his research subjects (a nurse named Mary Jo Rapini) appears with him in the video. She recounts how God held her and called her by name. Dr. Long then describes her experience as “absolutely typical.” In his book Evidence for the Afterlife, Dr. Long cites “reunion with deceased loved ones, God, angels, Jesus” as common threads of these experiences.

      And once again, it is not just Dr. Long. Please recall my previous citations:

      In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

      “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

      “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

      In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”


      CONSIDERING THE ABOVE, I AM UTTERLY MYSTIFIED HOW YOU CAN CHARACTERIZE NDEs AS “ISOLATED INCIDENTS THAT OCCASIONALLY HAVE SIMILARITIES”!!

      COULD YOU PLEASE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS CHARACTERIZATION!

      Why do you put so much energy into semantics such as the word “shared”? It is about CONSISTENCY OF STORIES. The term “shared” applied to the citation I referenced about post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, but does not apply to NDEs because they happen to different people at different times. In both the testimonies of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and NDE testimonies, the witnesses had stories that were CONSISTENT. But the term “shared” only applies when it happens to different people at the same time. There is no Red Herring. You just misunderstood.

      Next: You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to my point about the “born blind NDEs” providing evidence that these experiences are genuine. Dj, I am going to have to keep a counter of the times that you have failed to respond to this….

      THE COUNTER IS NOW AT 4 (FOUR).

      You write, “What I am saying is that when we do not know what the cause is, to simply say “god did it” without any observable evidence to justify it is not science, it is a fairy tale.”

      Once again, I am utterly mystified by why you put so much emphasis on knowing what the “cause” of NDEs is…as if that were some how relevant. I have asked you on SEVERAL occasions to explain why this is a significant question, but you refuse to do so.

      And YET AGAIN, you make the philosophical error made by the Empiricists when you cite the need for “observable evidence” for something to be scientific. Your reasoning would require us to throw out almost the entire field of psychology, for example…not to mention most of history. As another example, what “observable evidence” do we have that there was such a figure as Alexander the Great who conquered much of the known world? None whatsoever, just recorded eyewitness testimonies.

      And this point requires perhaps the most emphasis: The evidence that God “caused” these events (since you seem fixated on that) is 1) The evidence that God exists and 2) The consistent eyewitness testimonies.

      SO PLEASE RESPOND TO JUST ONE of the pieces of evidence I cited for the existence of God:

      The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Click on the preceding link and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life. Please CLICK HERE to watch Richard Dawkins entertaining this hypothesis in an interview.

      Scott

      1. 0
        dj says:

        Why does it matter? You are the one that said it was evidence in the first place. Asking how it is evidence is the next logical question.

        Are you stupid? You can make an assertion and when questioned about that assertion you say I’m being unfair or illogical?

      2. 0
        dj says:

        This is the evidence you have provided

        1) people have NDEs
        2) in very rare circumstances these experiences are similar to each other.
        3) because we can not explain this, it has to be god.

        That is fucking retarded. And that proves nothing.

        It is a classic false dichotomy.

      3. 0
        dj says:

        Literally every piece of “evidence” you have provided is logically flawed.

        A false dichotomy here, a red herring there, a strawman there, an argument from ignorance here.

        There is not a single thing of merit that you have provided that could be called evidence.

        This entire thread came from misrepresenting the second law of thermodynamics.

        Give me something observable, or we are done. And if you can’t do that, at least be honest about. When I don’t know, I say I don’t know.

  16. 0
    Sam says:

    Interesting argument, but I can never quite get my head around the idea of living and non-living matter, could someone explain the difference and perhaps give examples of each.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Sam,

      To the best of my understanding, the threshold separating life from non-life (or at least one of them) is reproductive capability. A living organism is something which can reproduce, or participate in reproduction. Non-living matter cannot do this.

      Scott

  17. 0
    Ron says:

    Scott,

    I was just rereading one of your posts where you stated:

    “Whether or not the Earth is an open or closed system is completely irrelevant. Open system or closed system (or partially open system…whatever), the fact remains that SLOT causes order to give rise to disorder over time.”

    It is important in your arguments with DJ or whomever
    that you not make this statement, because SLOT actually
    DOES insist that it is true ONLY in a closed system, where nothing from the “outside” can be responsible for that system proceeding from an disordered to an ordered system. Just a point to remember, otherwise the SLOT argument falls apart. This is why I insist on looking at the totality of the universe when making this case. For if we consider the totality of the universe — meaning that to be everything that exists — the argument holds.

    I’m just sayin’

    1. 0
      Rod Carty says:

      Actually if SLOT did not apply on the earth then I wonder how anyone would know about it. It certainly wasn’t discovered by astronauts. My point is that people can claim that entropy doesn’t apply to the earth but we observe it happening anyway.

      1. 0
        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Rod,

        Exactly. I like to use the illustration of a sand castle: If you go to the beach and build a sand castle, it will not be there in a week. Rather, it will be little more than a pile of sand. This is a manifestation of SLOT on Earth, pure and simple.

        If SLOT does not apply on Earth, then why do dead animals decompose? Some atheists suggest that sunlight causes the Earth to be an “open system,” and therefore SLOT does not apply on Earth. But, if this is true, then why can we not place a decomposing dead animal in the sunlight and expect it to re-compose?!

        Dead things decay, sand castles crumble, cars rust, people age, etc., etc. Manifestations of SLOT are right here on Earth for everyone to see.

        The lengths that atheists will go to in order to deny God are amazing!

        1. 0
          Rod Carty says:

          Indeed! Another example is a vehicle’s paint fading over time – due to the sun’s energy. An input of energy alone does not mean entropy is overcome. In fact it takes a directed use of the sun’s energy to overcome entropy. This is what plants do, but growing leaves with chlorophyll so that they can use the sun’s energy. If the energy is not directed to a useful purpose then it accelerates entropy. But this too goes against evolutionary dogma, because purpose smacks of design.

  18. 0
    Alex Malain says:

    Hello everyone and Scott Youngren i just want to ask a simple question about your observations and beliefs. All i want is the simple facts and evidence for the proof of gods existence. Because i haven’t studied Second Law of Thermodynamics like all of you at Cambridge or Harvard or whatever. So i can’t read the maze of complex essays you have provided. But I’m only 14 and i just want the evidence in the most simplistic form.

    By the way coming from someone who really has had limited faith in a higher intelligence or power. From personal experinces and observations of peoples behaviour i believe people are so avidly against the idea of creationism. Is because they are afraid of judgement on there acts and being apart of something so much bigger and crazier. So i hope that you can provide simplistic points to inform me on the evidence of god.

    Thanks Hope someone replies

    1. 0
      Ron says:

      Hi, Alex …

      The only actual evidence that God gives us that he’s real is, as he says in His Word -the bible- creation itself. He basically says to us in the first chapter of Romans: “you want evidence that I really am God? Just look around at what I’ve created”

      And besides, we really know God not from any other “evidence” but by faith. It’s all about faith. Period.

      And here, again, is what the bible, God’s instruction book to us, tells us about what faith really is: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. This is from the opening verse of the 11th chapter of Hebrews, and while it sounds like contradictions of terms, it really says that God honors the trust that we put in believing in him in a way that even surpasses what we normally think of as “proof”.

      So keep on seeking, Alex, as you are doing. God tells us that if you diligently do that, you will find Him.
      … Ron Mitchell

      1. 0
        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Ron,

        I agree that, eventually, a leap of faith is required for belief in God. However, one of the main points of this website is that this leap of faith is a much much smaller leap of faith than the leap of faith necessary for belief in atheism. In point of fact, any and all beliefs require a leap of faith.

        Even simple, everyday beliefs require a leap of faith: You don’t KNOW that your employer will continue to pay you every month, but you continue going to work because you have made a leap of faith that your employer WILL continue to pay you.

        One excellent book I recommend on the ENORMOUS leaps of faith necessary to embrace atheism is titled I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist, by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler.

        Scott

      2. 0
        Lee says:

        This reply is to Alex.
        You ask why I believe in God..
        First of all I think, is the gift of faith offered to me by God through my mother. And faith is a gift. It is up to us whether we will accept it.
        Then there is creation, all this wonderful Earth (and beyond), nature,trees, sunsets, all that is beautiful. Often I feel closest to God when out in the country away from people and just absorbing all that God (the Creator)has given us.
        And then there is the human body. Recently I cut my finger: it was a slice and a pinch.
        I put ointment on it and a bandaid for a few days so it wouldn’t get infected. It’s taken about three weeks, but it is almost back to normal. How did that happen? It was not anything I did…I don’t know how to grow new cells, but I knew it would heal. I know God is always taking care of me and providing for me.
        I pray that you will begin to see and feel God in your daily life. Look for him in the people around you. Some will be in need, and others will find need in you and support you. God works through his people. I pray you will have good people in your life.
        God bless you always.

    2. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Alex,

      Thanks for your interest in learning more about God, and your interest in this website! The arguments for (and against) God are rarely simple. However, I think that I can make some points that are more accessible to a person who is only 14:

      The Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLOT) is a fancy sounding term, but it is really a very simple concept to grasp. SLOT says that, over time, complex things get less complex…the order built into something gives way to disorder over time. SLOT is the reason that, for example, if you built a fancy sandcastle at the beach, it would not be there in a couple weeks…or at least not in the highly ordered form that you left it. In other words, the order that you built into the sandcastle would have given way to disorder…and your sandcastle would be nothing but a lump of sand (if that, even), a couple weeks later.

      The problem which SLOT poses for atheism (disbelief in God) is this: Atheism cites natural processes as an alternative explanation for why highly ordered things such as people could emerge from non-living matter (etc., etc.). However, SLOT says that natural processes do the EXACT OPPOSITE….produce DISORDER from order.

      I don’t know if your have read much of the comments section of this essay, but if you did, you would see how angry and frustrated this fact makes atheists. There is an atheist who calls himself “DJ” who argues that the Second Law of Thermodynamics does not apply on Earth because Earth is an open system (don’t worry, you don’t even have to understand what “open system” means). This is probably the most common atheist reply to the problem of SLOT, but anybody can see how pathetically weak this argument is:

      Whether or not the Earth is an open or closed system is completely irrelevant. Open system or closed system (or partially open system…whatever), the fact remains that SLOT causes order to give rise to disorder over time. SLOT is the reason that sandcastles crumble (as mentioned above), the reason that cars rust, people age, dead things decay, etc., etc.

      Another fairly simple argument for the existence of God: Atheists argue that our highly ordered universe is the result of chance, and not God. But scientists and mathematicians have actually run the numbers on the chance that our universe resulted from chance…and the chance is very extremely ridiculously small. Please click here to read the essay titled OK..I want numbers. What is the probability that our universe is the result of chance? In that essay, Oxford University Professor of Mathematics John Lennox quotes renowned Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose:

      “His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power or 123, that is 1 followed by 10 to the 123rd power zeros.”

      As Penrose puts it, that is a “number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe, there would not even be enough particles to do the job.”

      Scott

  19. 0
    Rod Carty says:

    I think the main problem with your post is you lump all NDE accounts together. You dismiss all because there are many, probably most, which are artifacts of the mind or the situation, etc. But it is fallacious to claim none are evidence of life after death because the majority are clearly not. It’s like saying most vehicles on the road are cars therefore trucks do not exist. The obvious response to this analogy is that we do see trucks too, but you claim in effect that there are no “trucks” because you’ve only seen “cars”.

    People have seen and heard things in other rooms in the hospital, while their body is comatose, events which they witnessed and are verified later by the people they observed, which they could not possibly have experienced from the hospital bed.

    http://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Near_Death_Experience_Stories#2

    “Even scientists can’t explain this phenomenon with hallucination theories or the misfiring of neurons in the brain.”
    http://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Near_Death_Experience_Stories#3

  20. 0
    dj says:

    But if we do not have any evidence for trucks, there is no reason to say they exist.

    Could they? Sure. But if there is no evidence they exist, why would you say they did?

    1. 0
      Rod Carty says:

      Your argument is, though, that in spite of people saying there are trucks, you’re saying you’ve never been convinced you’ve seen a truck therefore there are no trucks. It’s the fallacy of argument from ignorance. You haven’t seen one so they don’t exist.

      1. 0
        dj says:

        So saying something that no one has observed isn’t supported by evidence is arguing from ignorance? I made it clear half a dozen times god could exist. An argument from ignorance is when I would assert that a lack of evidence is proof of god’s non existence. I don’t make that assertion.

        You can say that about anything. If i said “no one has observed evidence of a flying dog/dragon hybrid” would that be arguing from ignorance as well?

        The burden of proof is not on me. I don’t have to defend a negative, you have to defend the positive. Provide evidence and this would all go away.

        1. 0
          Rod Carty says:

          “So saying something that no one has observed isn’t supported by evidence is arguing from ignorance?”

          I gave an example already which disproves this continued claim, that there is no evidence.

          “I made it clear half a dozen times god could exist. An argument from ignorance is when I would assert that a lack of evidence is proof of god’s non existence. I don’t make that assertion.”

          Deflection again and a strawman. I didn’t make the assertion that you claimed God didn’t exist either. My argument was clear for anyone to read. I won’t bother to repeat myself.

          “The burden of proof is not on me. I don’t have to defend a negative, you have to defend the positive. Provide evidence and this would all go away.”

          You make this claim as an attempt to hand-wave away the evidence I already gave. Since I gave the evidence the burden is no longer on me as you claim. The burden is on you, by your own statement. Can we assume that, since you’ve been deflecting and strawmanning instead of doing that, that it is because you can’t?

  21. 0
    dj says:

    By the same token, the only argument presented is “you can’t explain this, must be god”

    I don’t shy away from I don’t know. If you don’t know, you don’t know. It is intellectually dishonest to fill the gaps in human knowledge with “god did it”

    I know the unknown is uncomfortable, but why attribute the unknown with an idea that has been completely unobserved? That is answering a question with a question.

    1. 0
      Rod Carty says:

      I’m not saying I don’t know, therefore God. I’m saying there are examples that cannot be explained from a materialist position. I gave an example and supported my position that not all can be explained as hallucinations, etc. as you claimed. You are the one who is claiming in effect, ‘I don’t know, but it must not be God’.

      1. 0
        dj says:

        I have always said “I don’t know, but there is no evidence of god”

        I have said several times, that there could be a god. But the evidence doesn’t support it. And until it is presented I will stand by that statement.

        1. 0
          Rod Carty says:

          “I have always said “I don’t know, but there is no evidence of god” ”

          Deflection. That’s not what I was replying to, so your reply here is not a rebuttal.

          1. 0
            dj says:

            1) your “evidence” is “I can not fathom how the world in which a materialistic explanation is possible, how god could not exist”

            The only evidence you have ever provided is essentially “there are examples that cannot be explained from a materialist position”

            All the points that have been given by you and Scott would support that claim. However, no evidence has been given to support the claim that god does exist.

            That is where a false dichotomy comes into play. A false dichotomy is where you arbitrarily set up two sides, and say “because X is untrue, Y must be be true”

            That’s what I have been saying for the last dozen posts. Even if we accept X as false, you have not proved Y true.

            We know you can arguing against materialism. I know what you are going to say to that. Tell me why Y is true. What is your evidence that god exists.

            2) you made the claim earlier that I was arguing from ignorance. When I said that was false, you said I was deflecting. I don’t think that was a fair statement. If you are going to accuse someone of not playing fair, I think it is entirely reasonable for that person to say “wait a second, that is not right”

            An argument from ignorance would be if I said “there is no evidence of god, therefore god doesn’t exist” I have never made that claim. So you can’t really justify the accusation. Pointing that out is not deflecting your point. It is calling out your point as false.

            I would also like to point out that an argument from ignorance has its limits.

            If i said “there is no evidence that the earth’s core is made of cheese, therefore it isn’t made of cheese” it is technically an argument from ignorance. But is it flawed? You could drop “argument from ignorance” against anyone in Amy situation.
            That doesn’t change the fact that the burden of proof is on you. All it does is distract from the issue at hand.

            And if you aren’t going to give evidence, then at least make your distraction a true statement.

          2. 0
            Rod Carty says:

            dj commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

            in response to Rod Carty:

            dj: “I have always said “I don’t know, but there is no evidence of god”
            Rod: ” Deflection. That’s not what I was replying to, so your reply here is not a rebuttal.”

            “1) your “evidence” is “I can not fathom how the world in which a materialistic explanation is possible, how god could not exist”

            I think you are confusing your discussion with Scott on this thread as I have not said this.

            dj: “The only evidence you have ever provided is essentially “there are examples that cannot be explained from a materialist position”

            That’s about right. There are examples which cannot have a purely natural explanation, therefore their explanation must be the only other choice, supernatural.

            dj: “That is where a false dichotomy comes into play. A false dichotomy is where you arbitrarily set up two sides, and say “because X is untrue, Y must be be true”

            That’s what I have been saying for the last dozen posts. Even if we accept X as false, you have not proved Y true.”

            Well, if you think there are other choices besides natural or supernatural please list them, thanks.

            dj: “2) you made the claim earlier that I was arguing from ignorance. When I said that was false, you said I was deflecting. I don’t think that was a fair statement. If you are going to accuse someone of not playing fair, I think it is entirely reasonable for that person to say “wait a second, that is not right”

            An argument from ignorance would be if I said “there is no evidence of god, therefore god doesn’t exist” I have never made that claim. So you can’t really justify the accusation. Pointing that out is not deflecting your point. It is calling out your point as false.”

            I won’t bother to repeat myself. Just reread my earlier post where I use the analogy of you claiming trucks don’t exist.

            dj: “I would also like to point out that an argument from ignorance has its limits.

            If i said “there is no evidence that the earth’s core is made of cheese, therefore it isn’t made of cheese” it is technically an argument from ignorance. But is it flawed? You could drop “argument from ignorance” against anyone in Amy situation.
            That doesn’t change the fact that the burden of proof is on you. All it does is distract from the issue at hand.

            And if you aren’t going to give evidence, then at least make your distraction a true statement.”

            Here you are again using the same tactic, denying I gave evidence.

  22. 0
    Jane says:

    Do not confuse a process with an immediate occurrence. It is easy (especially on the scale of the universe), for complex things to come into being gradually.

    Also, as has been pointed out before, the second law of thermodynamics applies only in a closed system. While I’m happy to agree it doesn’t immediately follow that complex things will instantly develop, it still means you can’t quote the second law. It’s simply not relevant. It’s akin to trying to disprove a murderer’s existence by quoting Asimov’s laws of robotics: those laws hold only in a specific set of conditions (on robots, in fiction). Once just one condition is lost, none of the laws are relevant.

    Plus, to bring up a point in a linked-to article on DNA, calling something a language or a code does not make it so. There are no letters in DNA, only certain combinations of chemicals. These are referred to as language and code because humans rely on metaphor to communicate ideas, especially on such a tricky subject, but calling them a language is not objectively true.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Jane, your reference to closed systems is utterly irrelevant.

      As the below Real Clear Science article puts it, “Overall, the entropy of the universe always increases.” (Entropy is a measure of disorder) Please recall that the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, but that the first life appeared on earth only about 3.5 billion years ago.

      http://www.realclearscience.com/lists/10_greatest_ideas_in_the_history_of_science/entropy_universe_tends_toward_disorder.html?state=stop
      I recommend that you watch at least the first couple minutes of the below video.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsY4WcQOrfk

      As the narrator puts it, “The universe tends towards disorder. …There is only one way, or at best a few ways for things to be arranged in an organized way. But there are nearly infinite other ways for those same things to be arranged. Simple rules of probability dictate that it is much more likely for stuff to be in one of the many disorganized states than in one of the few organized states. It’s simple math and it is unavoidable.”

      As this video further explains, the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that “any spontaneous process increases the disorder of the universe. Processes that don’t increase the disorder of the universe require work to be done in opposition to the disorder, and, in fact, are often impossible to achieve. The act of putting order into one system requires that other systems become disordered.”

      So my question is this: What was it that performed the “work” necessary to go from a universe in which there was no life (just various arrangements of inorganic elements) 13.8 billions years ago, to a universe in which there IS life, 3.5 billion years ago? When constructing your answer, please consider the following description of the simplest living thing (the single cell), by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

      “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

      Jane, as the above citation demonstrates, your suggestion that DNA is not really a language is just plain wrong. I am continually amazed at the misinformation which spreads on atheist forums. Living things use “artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval…” Even the world’s most famous atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins, concedes this point in his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life:

      “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

      Elsewhere, Dawkins writes:

      “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

      Jane, you suggest that, “There are no letters in DNA, only certain combinations of chemicals.” Again, I am repeatedly shocked at the misinformation that spreads at atheist online forums.

      Renowned physicist Paul Davies writes:

      “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.”

      In his book The Fifth Miracle Davies makes clear the distinction between the medium (the physical aspect of the organism) and the message (the informational aspect of the organism), with regard to the origin of life:

      “The laws of physics, which determine what atoms react with what, and how, are algorithmically very simple; they themselves contain relatively little information. Consequently they cannot on their own be responsible for creating informational macromolecules [such as even the most simple organism]. Contrary to the oft-repeated claim, then, life cannot be ‘written into’ the laws of physics…Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis [or life emerging through unintelligent processes] is clear. Since the heady success of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is the classic case of confusing the medium with the message.”

      Jane, when you suggest that there are “just combinations of chemicals” in DNA, you are “confusing the medium with the message” (in the words of physicist Paul Davies).

      1. 0
        Jane says:

        On the matter of a closed system, my bringing it up is entirely relevant because life did not occur over the entire universe. It occurred on (as far as we know) just one planet: just one tiny little speck of the overall universe. This speck is not a closed system, so the Second Law is not relevant. I’m not saying your argument is inherently from, just that you can’t bring the Second Law into it.
        The logic required to do so means open systems do not exist, and nothing can tend to order: after all, by your logic, we need only expand the scale to include the entire universe and we have a closed system. Just because something in one corner tends to order, does not mean the net order has increased.
        The fact that the places where life developed are not closed systems (see: the energy of the Sun) is all that’s needed to demonstrate the Second Law is irrelevant. As for whether or not life could come about by natural processes, I’ll get to that.

        On DNA, now. Certainly, single cells are complex. if they sprouted fully-formed, I’d agree with you: there’s no one (other than you) who says that this is the case.
        I’ll get onto the topic of method in a moment.
        On the supposed language, again, humans communicate through metaphor. When I spoke of letters in DNA, I was referring to the oft-spoken of A, C, G, T which are not letters, only chemicals which are referred to by those letters for ease. For messages conveyed, you can call them messages, in the same way friction from a matchbox to a matchstick coveys the message of fire.
        Life is complex, no one is denying that, so analogies aren’t perfect. Regardless, complex reactions of chemicals do not equal a language in any meaningful sense. Asserting does not make it so.
        Incredibly complex things may develop gradually.
        The final problem with calling DNA a language is that it’s a presupposition. Language requires a mind to express, as you’ve noted: but this is part of the definition, not a consequence. DNA may be as complex as language, perhaps more so, but that doesn’t mean you can suppose it is, unless you’re able to point at the person who wrote it.

        As a side note, please stop attributing what I say as misinformation from an ‘atheist online forum’, it’s been quite literally years since I’ve spent any time in any such forum, and even then I wasn’t much of a part. While anger’s understandable, I’ve no interest or time for people looking to offend rather than discuss. What I say has come from years of independent research and logic from neutral, theistic and atheistic sources.

        Finally, how did life come about?
        I’m happy to say I don’t know. A gradual natural process is one possibility: that much you must at least concede. Even if you believe it’s overwhelmingly unlikely, it is conceivable that there is some process which might slowly result in life.
        Take, for example, the 747 in a junkyard argument. If a tornado blows through, will it be assembled? No. However, what if progress could be saved? When two adjacent pieces brush together, and connect, they won’t fall apart. Immediately, the overall problem simplifies: and difficulty will decrease substantially from just the first connection. May still be unlikely, but it’s at last possible. And, after all, there are plenty of planets out there.
        The question is whether some undefined, arbitrary natural process is more or less likely than God.
        I would say more likely, for one simple reason. If some abstract God exists, it is not necessarily yours. Even if I went so far as to suppose that this God would have both the desire to create, and the knowledge and power to do so, there is no inherent guarantee that it would desire to create our universe. An abstract Creator could create anything: like, for example, universes filled with every conceivable natural process that would not result in life.
        The chance of a God wanting to create life, from the number of possibilities available, are precisely as unlikely as life arising through said natural process.

        I don’t think I expressed that too well, but hopefully what I mean is clear.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Jane,

          Let’s keep this simple:

          1) Does the second law of thermodynamics apply on planet Earth? Yes or no? If no, then why do we see so many manifestations of SLOT’s decrease in order on Earth…such as sandcastles crumbling, dead things decaying, cars rusting, people aging, etc., etc….? Are these manifestations of SLOT? Yes or no? If no, then why do we see this regular and predictable decrease in order occurring on Earth?

          2) Where does the order present in living things come from? Your “open system” argument suggests that it comes from somewhere else than Earth…somewhere outside of the open system of Earth. Where would this be? Was life brought to Earth by aliens in their spaceship….as several ultra-elite atheist scientists have suggested? Click here to read an article about how the ultra-elite atheist biologist Francis Crick suggested this in his book Life Itself.

          Click here to watch the ultra-elite atheist biologist suggesting this in an interview.

          Please note that several other such ultra-elite atheist scientists such as Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickaramsinghe, and Leslie Orgel have endorsed the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life on Earth. Do you also endorse this hypothesis? If no, then what is your explanation for where the order present in living things came from?

          Suggesting that life was created by natural processes, rather than God, commits what is known in philosophy as a category error because it confuses different levels of causation. The following two statements commit the same category error:

          “Life was not created by God, but rather by natural processes.”

          “Cars are not created by people, but rather by manufacturing processes.”

          Regarding the language present in DNA, I am afraid you are just plain WRONG when you suggest that it is just a metaphor to say that DNA is a language. Did you miss my citation of the world’s most famous atheist biologist, Richard Dawkins? Here it is again:

          In his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes:

          “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

          Elsewhere, Dawkins writes:

          “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

          There are chemical bonds between the sugars and the phosphates, between the sugars and the bases. BUT, there are NO chemical bonds between the individual nucleotide bases. This means that you cannot invoke chemistry to explain DNA sequencing!! As Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, said:

          “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

          So, to paraphrase Polanyi’s above comments, you can no more explain a DNA sequence with chemistry and physics than you can explain the words of a newspaper with chemistry and physics. Chemistry and physics do not arrange symbols into meaningful patterns, so as to codify a set of instructions. DNA is a set of instructions for an organism to grow and develop.

          Again, the arrangement of symbols (such as letters) according to a language is not something that can be accomplished, even in principle, by unintelligent chemical or physical processes. Werner Gitt is a former Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig) and former head of the Department of Information Technology. In his book Without Excuse, he discusses the substitutive function of what he terms “Universal Information “(UI):

          “Universal Information is always an abstract representation of some other existing entity. Universal Information is never the item (object) or the fact (event, idea) itself but rather the coded symbols serve as a substitute for the entities that are being represented. Different languages often use different sets of symbols and usually different symbol sequences to represent the same material object or concept. Consider the following examples:”

          “-the words in a newspaper, consisting of a sequence of letters, substitute for an event that happened at an earlier time and in some other place,”

          “-the words in a novel, consisting of sequences of letters, substitute for characters and their actions,”

          “-the notes of a musical score substitute for music that will be played later on musical instruments,”

          “-the chemical formula for benzene substitutes for the toxic liquid that is kept in a flask in a chemistry laboratory,”

          “-the genetic codons (three-letter words) of the DNA molecule substitute for specific amino acids that are bonded together in a specific sequence to form a protein.”

          The substitutive function of the symbols in a code or language is something that can only be set up by the activity of a conscious and intelligent mind. DNA is very definitely a language because the symbols perform such a substitutive function.

          Gitt skillfully explains this crucial point:

          “An abstract symbol set provides for an immense number of combinations of basic symbols to form words. These words may then be arranged in near-limitless ways to form phrases and sentences that, in turn, are used to form larger bodies of text/messages such as paragraphs. Thus, for example, the English letters ‘a, c, and t’ may be used to form the word ‘cat’ (a mammal that purrs and meows).”

          “The very same letters may also be used to form the word ‘act’ (a word that, depending on the context, will have any one of a number of meanings; e.g., consider the phrases ‘caught in the act‘, ‘the second act of the play’, ‘an act of Congress’, ‘performed a heroic act‘ and others). The point to notice is that the letters ‘a,c, and t’ by themselves do not have a one-to-one relationship with the entity that they are combined to represent. These letters acquire function and meaning only after they are combined in agreed-upon sequences and assigned meanings.

          Simply put, what a symbol serves to represent must be decided upon by a conscious and intelligent agent. Symbolic representation is by necessity a mental process. Biologists with less rigid ideological commitments to atheism (or at least more intellectual integrity) have been frank enough to admit the necessity of mind (a conscious and intelligent agent) in the origin of life. The Nobel Prize winning Harvard University biologist George Wald, although certainly not an ideological ally of theism, stated the following in his address to the Quantum Biology Symposium titled Life and Mind in the Universe:

          “It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”

          It is MATHEMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for life to be the result of mere chemistry, as you suggest. This is because there is not nearly enough information capacity available in the mere chemical arrangements of molecules. A compact disk holds songs, but the songs are not the result of chemical arrangements present in the disk. Rather, the song is codified with symbols. The CD is the medium, and the codified symbols that make up the song are the message. In a similar light, the chemical and physical aspects of an organism are the medium, and the codified instructions present in DNA are the message.

          Renowned physicist Paul Davies makes clear the distinction between the medium (the physical aspect of the organism, which can result from chemistry and physics) and the message (the informational aspect of the organism, which cannot), with regard to the origin of life, in The Fifth Miracle:

          “The laws of physics, which determine what atoms react with what, and how, are algorithmically very simple; they themselves contain relatively little information. Consequently they cannot on their own be responsible for creating informational macromolecules [such as even the most simple organism]. Contrary to the oft-repeated claim, then, life cannot be ‘written into’ the laws of physics…Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis [or life emerging through unintelligent processes] is clear. Since the heady success of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is the classic case of confusing the medium with the message.”

          Elsewhere, Davies writes:

          “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.”

          As Davies alludes to above, chemical structures (which are subject to the “algorithmically very simple” laws of physics) do not have enough information content to produce a DNA sequence. This is similar to the example of the compact disk, above. You cannot store much information on a CD by merely making arrangements to the chemistry of the CD because there is not enough information storing capacity in chemical arrangements.

          The former Manhattan Project physicist, and leading information scientist, Hubert Yockey, writes about the lack of information capacity present in physical laws in the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

          “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

          Jane, you write: “If some abstract God exists, it is not necessarily yours.” This particular essay was not intended as an argument specifically for the Christian God. I make that argument in other essays such as Which God is Real? and Do Christ’s Divinity and Resurrection Defy Common Sense?

          1. 0
            Jane says:

            1. The Second Law is relevant to closed systems, that is all. It is relevant to closed systems on earth (or approximately closed, as much of physics has to be about approximation).
            On your examples, they’re not application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, clearly. Thermodynamics is about heat: closed systems decrease in net heat. Terms like entropy, chaos and disorder mean specific things in physics: perfect disorder means complete equilibrium (against the usual use of the word, but what it means in physics): that is, energy will stop changing. Everything will be at a constant heat. Likely absolute zero.
            Sandcastles and rust have nothing to do with thermodynamics. I’m not sure why you would ever think they did.
            As for what you term ‘decrease of order’ (which seems to be a rather unusual use of the word ‘order’), there are many explanations. We age because of how our cells work, cars rust because of a chemical reaction… This occurs simply by the properties of the things in question.
            If you’re asking why these properties occur, there’s not enough time to go through every explanation (electron outer shells, etc). Suffice to say, there is a reason.
            Otherwise, for further questions relating to order, please better define what it is you mean. Are you using the layperson’s definition, which is irrelevant to the scientific concept, or the relevant scientific definition which holds just fine after noting the fact energy cannot be created or destroyed: merely turned from one kind to another?

            2. You cannot simply call something a category error without justifying it. Cars are created by manufacturing processes: and, by extension, by humans. Life came about through natural processes, but if you want to establish those natural processes are the work of God, you actually need to do so.
            On a related note, when I spoke of an abstract God, my point was only that the chance (which I’ll admit is not the best word to use, but the only one that works) of God, even if God exists, to have the power and desire to create the life in our universe, is precisely as unlikely as natural processes. We can see this because, theoretically, a God could create any possibility, including every universe where life fails. My point was not that the argument was too abstract, but rather it’s meaningless unless you establish that the only possible God is one who’d create our life: and once you’ve proven that, this argument’s unnecessary.
            I’m more than happy to discuss those other pages with you, when we’re done here.

            3. On the language of DNA, quotes, false analogies and assertion don’t make an argument. There’s not much else to say: it’s all you’ve provided.
            Code-like does not equal written code. The problem is, I can think of several examples of this: but you will accept none of them because you assume God created all things, so you’ll happily assert that they are still language, because you believe in God.
            The number of ways chemicals can react, and how they can be moved via various impulses, shows that (theoretically) they possess more than enough capability for information: which isn’t the best term to use simply because it suggests intent, but equally human language isn’t perfect, and it’s the only word that vaguely fits.
            The question is only how the system developed. I don’t need to answer this: you do, and you need to show, rather than blithely assert, that God is the only possible, ultimate explanation for the structure we see in DNA, rather than simply one possibility. The key word is only: ‘most likely’ doesn’t cut it as, as stated above, there would need to be only one.
            As a final note, DNA is not life: DNA seems to be accepted to have predated life, originating merely as a chemical curiosity. RNA is what actually transfers the information: or rather, makes chemicals release certain impulses, and RNA is radically simpler than DNA.
            Regardless, to conclude this point: show, don’t quote or make analogies that need to have their relevance proven, that God is the only explanation for DNA. This is what you need to do: talking about language is a smokescreen.

          2. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            Jane,

            #1) Did you read the below Real Clear Science article about the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

            http://www.realclearscience.com/lists/10_greatest_ideas_in_the_history_of_science/entropy_universe_tends_toward_disorder.html?state=stop

            Since it appears that you did not read it, I will do a copy and paste:

            “Murphy’s Law states, ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.’ Entropy is sort of like Murphy’s Law applied to the entire universe.

            Put simply, entropy is a measure of disorder, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that all closed systems tend to maximize entropy. Reversing this ever increasing tendency toward disorder requires the input of energy. That’s why housekeeping is so tiresome. Left on its own, your house would get dusty, spiders would move in, and eventually, it would fall apart. However, the energy put into preventing disorder in one place simultaneously increases it somewhere else. Overall, the entropy of the universe always increases.”

            Please note that houses which require housekeeping and repairs exist ON PLANET EARTH. The same is the case with sandcastles which quickly erode, dead things which decay, people who age, and cars that rust, etc., etc…. If you don’t think that the 2nd law of thermodynamics applies on Earth, then you are very clearly mistaken.

            Natural processes such as wind and erosion create disorder, not order. Therefore, you cannot cite natural processes as being responsible for the origin of life.

            I recommend that you watch at least the first couple minutes of the below video about the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsY4WcQOrfk

            As the narrator puts it, “The universe tends towards disorder. …There is only one way, or at best a few ways for things to be arranged in an organized way. But there are nearly infinite other ways for those same things to be arranged. Simple rules of probability dictate that it is much more likely for stuff to be in one of the many disorganized states than in one of the few organized states. It’s simple math and it is unavoidable.”

            Your statement that “sandcastles and rust have nothing to do with thermodynamics,” just demonstrates that you don’t know what you are talking about. Further, your allusions to closed systems / open systems are of no relevance due to the following facts:

            a) As the above article and video point out, the universe always tends towards disorder.

            b) Life is part of the universe. Am I wrong?

            c) Life involves very extremely high levels of order.

            d) Increasing order in one place requires decreasing order in another place (as the above article points out). Therefore, in an open system (such as Earth, as you allege), the order has to come from somewhere else in the universe.

            e) The order contained in living things did not exist at the beginning of the universe (the Big Bang).

            f) Therefore, the order present in living things required someone or something to counteract SLOT.

            Jane, the reason it can be said that the second law of thermodynamics doesn’t apply to open systems is that something from outside of the open system can counteract the tendency towards disorder. For example, take the example of an open junkyard: Someone can come in and repair the rusting parts on junk cars, so as to counteract the tendency towards disorder (rusting and decomposing).

            So my question is this: WHO OR WHAT ACTS FROM OUTSIDE OF THE “OPEN SYSTEM” OF EARTH TO COUNTERACT THIS TENDENCY TOWARDS DISORDER?

            With regard to the order present in the natural world, Albert Einstein put it best:

            “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way… the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”

            Jane, what is the source of this “high degree of ordering of the objective world” which Einstein marveled at? My experience with debating atheists suggests that YOU WILL GO TO ANY LENGTHS TO AVOID ANSWERING THIS QUESTION….because it cannot be coherently answered from within the framework of your worldview. You will evade, try to create diversionary discussions, you will try to ignore the question, etc., etc. Can you prove me wrong? (Yes, that is a challenge).

            #2) You say that, “if you want to establish those natural processes are the work of God, you actually need to do so.” This is the point of my argument about how DNA is VERY DEFINITELY A LANGUAGE, AS NO SCIENTIST WILL DISPUTE. Language (symbolic representation), again, is BY NECESSITY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. Can you provide a scholarly citation from a credentialed scientist at an accredited university who says that DNA is not a language? Hint: You can’t, because there aren’t any, because you are WRONG. Period.

            I will immediately call you out if you ignore this above request, and all third party viewers of this discussion will immediately take note of your failure to comply with the above request. You are cornered.

            Another reason that we can know that God is the cause of natural processes comes from the insights of modern physics, which I describe in God is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism.

            http://godevidence.com/2012/02/god-is-real/

            An excerpt:

            Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory) writes…

            “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

            #3) You write, “On the language of DNA, quotes, false analogies and assertion don’t make an argument. There’s not much else to say: it’s all you’ve provided. Code-like does not equal written code.”

            Jane, by choosing to merely label my arguments (“false analogy” ,”assertion”), rather than responding to them with rational arguments, you have effectively withdrawn from rational discourse. This withdrawal from rational discourse amounts to a tacit acknowledgement that your stance cannot withstand debate.

            There are no analogies and no assertions. Did you fail to read below citation about the SUBSTITUTIVE FUNCTION of the language of DNA? This SUBSTITUTIVE FUNCTION is LANGUAGE, pure and simple:

            Werner Gitt is a former Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig) and former head of the Department of Information Technology. In his book Without Excuse, he discusses the SUBSTITUTIVE FUNCTION of what he terms “Universal Information “(UI):

            “Universal Information is always an abstract representation of some other existing entity. Universal Information is never the item (object) or the fact (event, idea) itself but rather the coded symbols serve as a substitute for the entities that are being represented. Different languages often use different sets of symbols and usually different symbol sequences to represent the same material object or concept. Consider the following examples:”

            “-the words in a newspaper, consisting of a sequence of letters, substitute for an event that happened at an earlier time and in some other place,”

            “-the words in a novel, consisting of sequences of letters, substitute for characters and their actions,”

            “-the notes of a musical score substitute for music that will be played later on musical instruments,”

            “-the chemical formula for benzene substitutes for the toxic liquid that is kept in a flask in a chemistry laboratory,”

            “-the genetic codons (three-letter words) of the DNA molecule substitute for specific amino acids that are bonded together in a specific sequence to form a protein.”

            Jane, substitutive functions cannot be carried out by natural processes. This is because what a symbol serves to substitute for can only be decided upon by a conscious and intelligent mind. You absolutely cannot get beyond this, and you are ABSOLUTELY CORNERED here.

            Again, even the worlds most outspoken atheist biologist, Richard Dawkins, conceded that DNA is a code (language). Please PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DAWKINS’ WORDS below about how calling DNA a language is NOT an analogy:

            In his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes:

            “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

            Elsewhere, Dawkins writes:

            “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

            Seriously Jane! WHERE DO YOU SUPPOSE THE WORLD’S MOST OUTSPOKEN ATHEIST BIOLOGIST WENT WRONG WHEN HE SAID “THIS IS NOT SOME VAGUE ANALOGY, IT IS THE LITERAL TRUTH,” REGARDING HOW DNA IS A CODE?!?!?!

            Next, Jane, you write: “The number of ways chemicals can react, and how they can be moved via various impulses, shows that (theoretically) they possess more than enough capability for information.”

            Is this how you intend to counteract my citation of the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life?!?!?! Jane, who do you really think that you are going to convince by using bald assertions to counteract scholarly citations?!

            That citation again:

            Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

            “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

            Jane, how can discussing language be a “smokescreen,” as you put it? You admitted that language is necessarily the product of a mind. Very strange.

          3. 0
            Jane says:

            Scott,

            1. Entropy does not imply the second law: the second law implies entropy.
            Entropy may increase in individual parts of the world, this does not mean the Second Law applies. This is all I have ever been saying. The Second Law applies only to closed systems, this is a fact. the Earth is not a closed system, this is also a fact.
            This doesn’t mean it’s impossible for entropy to take place on Earth. When have I ever said that? All it means, is the Second Law is irrelevant.
            For the sake of completion, I should add that on small-scale cases, the outside influence (say, the Sun’s heat) has minimal impact, so several areas of the world can be modeled by the Second Law, because while they are not true closed systems, they can be treated as such. The Earth as a whole however receives such a degree of energy on the space and time-scale that life came about on, that such a model is false.
            Also, even if the Second Law was relevant, it allows for entropy to decrease in certain areas, so long as it increases more elsewhere. Artificial heating/cooling systems are proof.
            I’d also warn against using popular science articles as incontrovertible proof, simply because they necessarily dumb the topic down.

            Again, you’re misusing terminology. Complete equilibrium is disorder: we use the scientific terms here. As such, there was an incredible amount of order at the big bang: it was very, very far from equilibrium. We’ve been decreasing ever since: and, as I said, the Law allows order to increase at some locations within the closed system, so long as it decreases more elsewhere. this is why a closed system is necessary.
            In an open system like the earth, the Sun is expending energy: getting closer to equilibrium. This energy was used by the various processes which eventually developed life.
            Life is incredibly ordered, as you say, if we use the layperson’s definition. The relevant, scientific definition of order (that is, distance from equilibrium) is admittedly still present, but nowhere near is dramatic as the layperson’s use would imply. Indeed, if you research, you’ll see there’s a shift away from using order and disorder in discussions of entropy because the scientific definition is counter-intuitive.

            2. Assertions in all-caps aren’t fact. DNA is a language as far as useful descriptions go, yes: but it is only a language is there is a speaker or writer. This is the premise, not the conclusion. If you’re using DNA to state there is a creator, then you have made a circular argument. DNA is a language if there is a Creator, not the other way around.
            Your request is a dishonest one because it is entirely reasonable to refer to DNA as a language: not because it has a speaker, but because language is limited, and we need to use certain words to refer to certain things. DNA sends impulses which the metaphorical way humans think translates to ‘messages’. Thus, language is a useful term to use: this is purely metaphor. Almost any time science is taught, similarly flowery language is used.
            For example, magnets: positive and negative poles are not literally attracted to one another, they’re simply drawn together by magnetism. Attraction, as it’s used in common parlance, means nothing.
            If you want your premises expressed:
            R1: DNA is a language
            R2: All languages are the result of a mind
            C: DNA is the result of a mind
            However, the issue here is languages are defined to be the result of a mind. It’s how language works. Your argument is saying only that you define DNA to be the result of a mind. That is missing justification.

            3. Labeling your arguments is an entirely rational technique. If I was to state God does not exist because I left a cup out and a universe wasn’t created in it, you would be right to simply dismiss that as ‘false analogy’. Any other way to discredit it would merely be a lengthier way of saying ‘false analogy’.
            Similarly, I felt no need to repeat myself. Code-like does not mean written language. Volume of examples seems rather irrelevant, when a maybe 2/3 paragraph explanation of why seeming language implies mind, rather than mind implies language.
            On substitutive functions, the removal of an electron from the outer shell of an alkali metal is a symbol which means ‘boom’. That’s a technically true statement, but all it is, is a way to express a physical fact governed by the laws of chemistry.
            I’m not sure what the ‘that is why we play the game’ analogy is meant to show, the ‘game’ by that analogy would merely be the existence of the universe.
            The problem with scholarly citations is when you focus on word choice rather than content. Calling something a language does not mean it has a writer: saying two poles of a magnet are attracted to one another does not mean they’re planning to get married.

          4. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            Jane,

            1)Let’s keep this simple. Which of the following premises do you not agree with?:

            a) Natural processes (SLOT, or whatever you wanna call it) cause the universe to decrease in order over time.

            b) The order present in life (DNA, extremely complex molecules) did not exist at the Big Bang.

            c) Therefore, natural processes, left alone, cannot be responsible for the origin of life from non-living matter.

            Where did the ordering present in living things, ULTIMATELY, come from? The universe itself? Where did the order present in the universe come from? Everything with a beginning requires a cause. This is the Law of Causation, without which, science would be impossible. The universe had a beginning, therefore the universe requires a cause.

            Jane, you ignored my question, as I predicted you would in my previous comment, based upon my experience with debating atheists. Because you have ignored the question, as predicted, I have to use all caps in order to emphasize this question which you have ignored. WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE “HIGH DEGREE OF ORDERING OF THE OBJECTIVE WOLRD WHICH EINSTEIN MARVELED AT?! Just answer the question or admit that you cannot! My citation from Albert Einstein again:

            “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way… the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”

            Because of the tendency for atheists to ignore, dodge, or distract attention from this question, I have found it useful to keep a counter of times which I have asked an atheist a question which he/she has ignored.

            THE COUNTER FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE IGNORED THE QUESTION ABOUT THE SOURCE FOR THE “HIGH DEGREE OF ORDERING OF THE OBJECTIVE UNIVERSE” WHICH EINSTEIN MARVELED AT IS NOW ON ONE (1).

            2)Jane, you are trying to divert attention by switching to a debate about semantic issues: Can DNA be called a “language”? Your disputing of whether the term “language” can be applied to DNA is a diversionary quibbling about semantics.

            HOW CAN THE SUBSTITUTIVE FUNCTION OF DNA (WHICH IS SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION) BE PERFORMED BY MINDLESS CHEMICAL/PHYSICAL PROCESSES?

            This issue must be addressed whether or not the term “language” can be applied. My citation about the substitutive function of DNA codons again:

            Werner Gitt is a former Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig) and former head of the Department of Information Technology. In his book Without Excuse, he discusses the SUBSTITUTIVE FUNCTION of what he terms “Universal Information “(UI):

            “Universal Information is always an abstract representation of some other existing entity. Universal Information is never the item (object) or the fact (event, idea) itself but rather the coded symbols serve as a substitute for the entities that are being represented. Different languages often use different sets of symbols and usually different symbol sequences to represent the same material object or concept. Consider the following examples:”

            “-the words in a newspaper, consisting of a sequence of letters, substitute for an event that happened at an earlier time and in some other place,”
            “-the words in a novel, consisting of sequences of letters, substitute for characters and their actions,”
            “-the notes of a musical score substitute for music that will be played later on musical instruments,”
            “-the chemical formula for benzene substitutes for the toxic liquid that is kept in a flask in a chemistry laboratory,”
            “-the genetic codons (three-letter words) of the DNA molecule substitute for specific amino acids that are bonded together in a specific sequence to form a protein.”

            Atheism relies on mindless processes of chemistry and physics to produce life from non-life. But mindless chemical processes do cannot account for DNA. This is because, there are chemical bonds between the sugars and the phosphates, between the sugars and the bases, BUT, there are NO chemical bonds between the individual nucleotide bases. This means that you cannot invoke chemistry to explain DNA sequencing!! As Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, said:

            “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

            So, to paraphrase Polanyi’s above comments, you can no more explain a DNA sequence with chemistry and physics than you can explain the words of a newspaper with chemistry and physics. Chemistry and physics do not arrange symbols into meaningful patterns, so as to codify a set of instructions. DNA is a set of instructions for an organism to grow and develop.

            Werner Gitt continues:

            “An abstract symbol set provides for an immense number of combinations of basic symbols to form words. These words may then be arranged in near-limitless ways to form phrases and sentences that, in turn, are used to form larger bodies of text/messages such as paragraphs. Thus, for example, the English letters ‘a, c, and t’ may be used to form the word ‘cat’ (a mammal that purrs and meows).”

            “The very same letters may also be used to form the word ‘act’ (a word that, depending on the context, will have any one of a number of meanings; e.g., consider the phrases ‘caught in the act‘, ‘the second act of the play’, ‘an act of Congress’, ‘performed a heroic act‘ and others). The point to notice is that the letters ‘a,c, and t’ by themselves do not have a one-to-one relationship with the entity that they are combined to represent. These letters acquire function and meaning only after they are combined in agreed-upon sequences and assigned meanings.”

            Simply put, what a symbol serves to represent must be decided upon by a conscious and intelligent agent. If not a conscious and intelligent agent, what is it that determines what a symbol represents?

            Once again, what was your reply to my point about how life cannot be created by mixing chemicals because chemical and physical processes do not have enough information capacity? Those citations, again, about the insufficient information content available in the mixing of chemicals, and the inability of natural laws to create life from non-life:

            Renowned physicist Paul Davies makes clear the distinction between the medium (the physical aspect of the organism, which can result from chemistry and physics) and the message (the informational aspect of the organism, which cannot), with regard to the origin of life, in The Fifth Miracle:

            “The laws of physics, which determine what atoms react with what, and how, are algorithmically very simple; they themselves contain relatively little information. Consequently they cannot on their own be responsible for creating informational macromolecules [such as even the most simple organism]. Contrary to the oft-repeated claim, then, life cannot be ‘written into’ the laws of physics…Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis [or life emerging through unintelligent processes] is clear. Since the heady success of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is the classic case of confusing the medium with the message.”

            Elsewhere, Davies writes:

            “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.”

            As Davies alludes to above, chemical structures (which are subject to the “algorithmically very simple” laws of physics) do not have enough information content to produce a DNA sequence. This is similar to the example of the compact disk, above. You cannot store much information on a CD by merely making arrangements to the chemistry of the CD because there is not enough information storing capacity in chemical arrangements.

            The former Manhattan Project physicist, and leading information scientist, Hubert Yockey, writes about the lack of information capacity present in physical laws in the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

            “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

            Jane, I forgot, do you reject these citations? Are you just gonna assert that there is enough information capacity without providing a citation to support your assertion? Once again, just as a song cannot be stored on a CD by changing the chemistry of the CD, the instructions present in DNA cannot be stored in chemical arrangements. Remind me again what your reply was to this.

            3)Whether or not “code like means written language” is a diversionary semantic argument. You are again trying to divert the discussion to a quibbling about semantics. The substitutive function of DNA (symbolic representation) is by necessity mental in nature. Are you going to deny that symbolic representation is mental in nature, or are you going to suggest that there is a mindless way to explain this symbolic representation? Which is it?

            Whether or not this can be called “language” is ultimately a diversionary semantic discussion. There is no focusing on the word choice of my citations, rather than the content. You are the one who is focusing on word choices, and thereby wandering off topic into semantics.

            You write: “On substitutive functions, the removal of an electron from the outer shell of an alkali metal is a symbol which means ‘boom’.” This is very strange, can you rephrase? Can you find a scholarly citation to back this up? I fear that your arguments are becoming incoherent.

          5. 0
            Jane says:

            Firstly, I would ask for you to stop the all-caps shouting. if you wish me to specifically address a point, or feel I have not already fully done so, simply point it out. I’ve tried to keep my temper throughout this discussion, and I would like the same courtesy in return.
            On the same note, if you are going to accuse me of ignoring things you have said, please don’t then turn around and use an argument I have already dealt with.
            Onto your comment.

            1. “Natural processes (SLOT, or whatever you wanna call it) cause the universe to decrease in order over time.”
            The universe as a whole, yes. If that is all you are trying to apply this to, rather than the open system of the Earth alone, then this premise is sound. However, I would bring your attention to the fact that this is talking about net order: it is commonly accepted that you can bring order into existence over a small area, the cost of this would simply be to decrease it more over another area.
            Next, “The order present in life (DNA, extremely complex molecules) did not exist at the Big Bang.”
            I have answered this before: we are dealing with the scientific definition of order: that is, distance from equilibrium. Molecule complexity is not the issue, and cannot be. Energy variation is. The order at the moment of the Big Bang was tremendous: equilibrium had been shattered. Thus, now we tend towards disorder: towards equilibrium. I have said this before. If you mean predating the Big Bang, I’d question why you apply laws to such a time, and I direct you to something I mention a little way below.
            “Therefore, natural processes, left alone, cannot be responsible for the origin of life from non-living matter.”
            This is a conclusion, and falls as its premises fall. Indeed, each of the premises has a failing that damages this: all of which I have said before, and all of which you have ignored. first, we have the fact the Second Law allows order to increase in certain locations, so long as it decreases further elsewhere. Second, we have the fact we’re dealing with the scientific definition of order, not the layperson’s: and third, is the fact that, using the relevant definition, there was a lot of order at the Big Bang.
            “The universe had a beginning, therefore the universe requires a cause.”
            I agree, and I’m more than happy to discuss this, but only once the rest of this discussion is over. It is a lengthy topic after all. All you need to admit, is that the Big Bang was very far from equilibrium: then the only question remaining is the one brought up here, being what intervened to make it occur. (And for when you are willing to discuss this, I would add: demonstrating a cause’s existence does not give it the traits of God. I am happy to admit an abstract cause exists, it’s up to you, who makes claims about its traits, to show they hold).
            “Just answer the question or admit that you cannot! My citation from Albert Einstein again…”
            I have responded to this, though I will admit not explicitly. I have not quoted it while responding, on the basis that I thought it was not necessary: our entire discussion has been about the order present in life. The order by the scientific definition is explained above: by the layperson’s definition, natural processes give an answer. As to why the layperson’s order exists instead of chaos, that’s just a specific application of the argument from design which is trivially dealt with by most atheists out there. The abstract first cause mentioned above would likely not stop creating universes: a multiverse results, by force of numbers one will contain order. And again, I am willing to further discuss the matter of the multiverse, but only when you admit discussion of the Second Law post-Big-Bang is over.

            2. I have answered both the matter of language and substitutive functions previously.
            On language, language requires a mind to be behind it. This is not an observation, it is a prerequisite: to establish that it is a language, you must prove God created it. if you merely intend to define DNA as a language due to its complexity, you cannot suppose it had a writer unless you switch to the other definition of language.
            Certainly, this is an argument about semantics: but this is because your claim is similarly based.
            The lack of contact between nucleotides doesn’t mean a great deal: they need only be produced in a specific order. The matter of how they produced just goes to the origin of life, established as possible above. Similarly, you’ve established a narrow form of chemistry alone cannot be responsible (ie: one dealing solely with chemical reactions), this does not justify your assertion that all of chemistry in addition to physics cannot explain it.
            Also, simpler laws do not mean complexity cannot be produced. Any computer programmer will tell you as much: you can get a computer to count to infinity with one or two lines of code. Laws govern, but their complexity has nothing to do with the complexity of what they act on.
            3. On symbolic representation and substitutive functions, we have again reached the same problem as language. Asserting that I’m engaging only in semantic quibbling doesn’t mean much, as your argument relies on this same semantic issue. Your argument was DNA is a language, and language requires a mind: your argument was never ‘DNA is so very complex, it must have been designed’. At best you can say you were misleading. The latter argument requires presupposition, and the former makes the same issue, as well as my aforementioned issue of invoking a speaker/writer prematurely.
            On symbolic representation however, we fall into the same trap. My example before was on alkali metals, renowned for being incredibly reactive: the reason for this is the fact they have a lone electron in their outer shell. This is all fairly basic chemistry: if you drop an alkali metal in water, it loses this electron and reacts violently (hence the boom). Does this make the removal of an electron a symbol representing an explosion, or a command to explode, or is this merely how natural processes guide the occurrence?
            Certainly, I’d agree symbols able to be interpreted need a mind, if all they are is printed word. DNA is instead just an, admittedly incredibly complex, architecture of chemicals and the resulting impulses and reactions. This is something else entirely to any words on a page, any musical score: and, as such, is governed not by your definition of symbolic representation, but simply by how such things exist and interact.

          6. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            1)Jane, you write: < <<"I would bring your attention to the fact that this is talking about net order: it is commonly accepted that you can bring order into existence over a small area, the cost of this would simply be to decrease it more over another area.”>>> However, I would like to call attention to the fact that order is, by necessity, specified in nature. For example, the order contained in a TV set is of a different SPECIFICITY from the order contained in a dog. One cannot merely transfer the order from a TV from one place and have a dog in another place.

            You seem to think that order is generic…as if the order in one thing is the same as the order in another thing. But this is absurd…order is specific in nature. Therefore, your reference to the fact that order can be transferred from one area to another area is irrelevant. The order present in living things involves specified complexity, not generic complexity. The order present in a star or solar system is of an entirely different specificity from the order contained in living things.

            Please cite for me an example of where a transfer or order occurs in nature, and in which the specificity of that order changes after the transfer. For example, can the order contained in a TV set be transferred to another place and become a dog?

            Hint: You cannot cite such an example because there are no such examples.

            You write, “There was a lot of order at the Big Bang.” I agree, and I have asked you to explain this order. Was it natural laws? If so, which natural laws? Laws of physics? Please explain.

            Further, please again recall that the Law of Causation (without which, science would be impossible) states that everything with a beginning requires a cause. The universe had a beginning at the Big Bang, and the universe consists of the properties of time, space, matter, and energy. Since nothing can cause itself, the cause of the universe must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energy-less. Please explain to me what timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energy-less property or entity was responsible for causing the universe.

            I will warn you about citing natural laws since natural laws are predictive rather than causative. That citation again:

            Hubert Yockey, a physicist and information theorist (who also worked on the Manhattan Project), writes in Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life, which is the leading text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the question of the origin of life (of which he is the lead author):

            “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction.”

            Suggesting that natural laws can create a universe is like suggesting that natural laws can cause a game of billiards to happen. Natural laws predict what will happen when one ball strikes another on a pool table, but they do not cause a game of billiards to happen. So my question is this, who or what is playing the “game” in such “games” as the origin of life and the origin of the universe?

            Regarding the immense information content contained in the language of life (the language of DNA), Nancy Pearcey writes in her book Total Truth:

            “…in principle, laws of nature do not give rise to information. Why not? Because laws describe events that are regular, repeatable, and predictable. If you drop a pencil, it will fall. If you put paper into a flame, it will burn. If you mix salt in water, it will dissolve. That’s why the scientific method insists that experiments must be repeatable: Whenever you reproduce the same conditions, you should get the same results, or something is wrong with your experiment. The goal of science is to reduce those regular patterns to mathematical formulas. By contrast, the sequence of letters in a message is irregular and non repeating, which means it cannot be the result of any law-like process.”

            “To illustrate the point, let’s invoke our imaginary Scrabble game… but this time when you organize the letters, you decide to follow a certain formula or rule (an analogy to laws of nature). For example, the formula might require that every time you have a D, it is followed by an E. And every time you have an E, it’s followed by a S, then an I, then a G, and an N. The result would be that every time you started with D, you would get DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN, over and over again. Obviously, if the letters in a real alphabet followed rules like that, you would be limited to spelling only a few words—and you could not convey very much information. The reason a real alphabet works so well is precisely that the letters do not follow rules or formulas or laws. If you know that a word begins with a T, you cannot predict what the next letter will be. With some minor exceptions (in English, q is always fol-lowed by u ), the letters can be combined and recombined in a vast number of different arrangements to form words and sentences.”

            Information scientist Henry Quastler put it best: “The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” Whenever we trace information back to its source, INVARIABLY, we come back to a conscious mind, not an undirected material process. The irregular and non-repeating nature of the specified complexity in DNA means that it cannot have been accomplished by a law-like process.

            2)Jane, you write:

            < < Also, simpler laws do not mean complexity cannot be produced. Any computer programmer will tell you as much: you can get a computer to count to infinity with one or two lines of code. Laws govern, but their complexity has nothing to do with the complexity of what they act on.>>>

            Yes, the nucleotides need to be produced in a specific order. And this is a specific order which is different from the specific order contained in non-living things such as stars and planets. Therefore, your reference of the transfer of order from one area to another is of no relevance. Further, the specific order CANNOT be produced by chemical or physical processes because there are no chemical bonds between the nucleotide bases. Unfortunately for atheists, atheism relies on mindless chemical and physical processes to substitute for God.

            Still further, the order contained in living things is irregular and non-repeating, much as the words that you and I are typing to one another. Irregular and non-repeating sequences are not produced by law-like processes. Law like processes are regular and repeating: If you drop a pencil, it will fall, if you pour salt in hot water, it will dissolve, etc…

            You cite computer programming. This is an excellent example. The code contained in a computer program was produced by a conscious and intelligent mind. It has to have been because it is irregular and non-repeating, unlike a law-like process.

            A computer counting to infinity with one or two lines? Counting up is a very simple, regular and repeating process.

            Lastly, citing natural processes as an alternative to God commits the same category error which I cited in an earlier comment. The two statements below commit the same category error:

            “Life was not created by God, but rather by natural processes.”

            “Cars are not created by people, but rather by manufacturing processes.”

            If you cite natural processes as an alternative to God, then you are left with explaining for what is behind natural processes. The theistic explanation is that God enforces natural laws and enacts natural processes. In the theistic model, it is immediately obvious why matter follows natural laws: The same mind that creates matter (God’s mind) also directs it. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it:

            “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added]

            Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it:

            “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

            Or, as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”

            What answer does the atheistic model provide to the question of how an inanimate thing can be compelled to follow a law? Only various versions of “matter follows laws because it just does.”

            3)Jane, you keep asserting that, “DNA is instead just an, admittedly incredibly complex, architecture of chemicals and the resulting impulses and reactions. This is something else entirely to any words on a page, any musical score: and, as such, is governed not by your definition of symbolic representation, but simply by how such things exist and interact.”

            Jane, you are just plain wrong and your view is completely at odds with modern science. Here, you are allowing your beliefs to frame the facts, instead of the other way around. PLEASE PROVIDE A SCHOLARLY CITATION TO BACK UP YOUR VIEW THAT LIFE DNA IS JUST COMPLEX CHEMISTRY!!! THIS IS ABOUT THE THIRD TIME WHICH I HAVE ASKED YOU!!! Hint: You will not, because you cannot, because you are wrong, and that is why there are no such scholarly citations. My citations which point out that DNA is not just complex chemistry, ONCE AGAIN:

            AGAIN, regarding your assertion that, “DNA is instead just an, admittedly incredibly complex, architecture of chemicals and the resulting impulses and reactions. This is something else entirely to any words on a page”: Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, said:

            “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

            Physicist Paul Davies makes clear the distinction between the medium (the physical aspect of the organism) and the message (the informational aspect of the organism), with regard to the origin of life, in The Fifth Miracle:

            “The laws of physics, which determine what atoms react with what, and how, are algorithmically very simple; they themselves contain relatively little information. Consequently they cannot on their own be responsible for creating informational macromolecules [such as even the most simple organism]. Contrary to the oft-repeated claim, then, life cannot be ‘written into’ the laws of physics…Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis [or life emerging through unintelligent processes] is clear. Since the heady success of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is the classic case of confusing the medium with the message.”

            Elsewhere, Davies writes:

            “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.” [italics added]

            AGAIN, PLEASE PROVIDE A SCHOLARLY CITATION TO SUPPORT YOUR ASSERTION THAT DNA IS JUST A “COMPLEX ARCHITECTURE OF CHEMICALS AND THE RESULTING IMPULSES AND REACTIONS”!!! EITHER DO SO OR ADMIT THAT YOU CANNOT!! WHICH IS IT GONNA BE!

            SPIT IT OUT!!!

            YOU CANNOT PROVIDE A CITATION TO BACK UP YOUR ASSERTION BECAUSE THERE ARE NONE, BECAUSE YOU ARE WRONG!!! PERIOD. END OF STORY.

            I am sorry that I had to use all caps above, but you keep repeating the same assertion above while simultaneously ignoring my scholarly citations. By merely repeating your bald, unsupported assertion, you are committing the logical fallacy of Argument By Repeated Assertion.

          7. 0
            Jane says:

            1. You are clearly making up what you say as you go along. Order has nothing to do with complexity, in this context. How many times do I have to repeat that? Order a measure of distance from equilibrium. If you had done any research on the Second Law at all, you would know that. You would similarly know that fridges and ovens are able to dramatically alter the amount of energy in a localized environment (that is, alter the level of order), at the cost of expending energy elsewhere: which preserve the Second Law.
            I have absolutely no idea how TV sets and dogs are even remotely related to equilibrium, especially in the situation you use. Please respond to what I have actually said, not straw men.
            On the same note, I specifically refused to waste time making these comments even longer by bringing in a whole other topic until we have finished with the one we are dealing with. Are you even reading what I’m writing? We’ll get to the cause of the universe after.
            2. You assert and as far as I can tell purposefully lie as to what order means.
            Life came about by natural processes. if you want to say those natural processes were in turn used by God, do so: but demonstrate, don’t assert. The problem is that the thrust of your arguments are nothing beyond assertion. Natural processes acting on matter may develop complex results. Simple laws may create far more complex results (see Conway’s Game of Life for an illustration). Your assertion is that there is some threshold at which something cannot be made by natural processes. This needs to be shown, not assumed.
            Either that, or your assertion is natural processes are all necessarily made by God, but this is a completely different argument to that which you first brought up. Why bring in DNA at all when your aim is far, far more grand?
            As for why matter follows laws, that’s trivial. Laws is a word used, again by analogy: humans think by metaphor. They’re clearly unrelated to legal laws (one can disobey legal laws), we simply observe that matter follows certain patterns. The reason for this is just forces at work.
            3. All-caps shouting adds little. Beyond that, you seem to be asking me to provide evidence for the fact DNA is made up of chemicals. Really?
            Davies’ arguments are analogies, that is all. He assumes there is a message in the medium: that assumes a creator. Instead, perhaps the medium is simply all there is. Aside from the absurdity at quoting a physicist as if he’s an expert on biology, he offers nothing beyond assertion. If you want an example of ‘argument by repeated assertion’, you have done it plenty of times when you offer no reasoning of your own, only repeated quotes by a non-biologist on a complex field of biology, who offers nothing but analogies themselves unjustified. A quote is not a scholarly citation when it’s from someone renowned for letting their beliefs rule their statements, and who, again, is not a biologist.
            It also ignores the fact ‘trying to create life by mixing chemicals in test tubes’, presumably referring to DNA, has been done. There are peptides, and there’s PNA, both of which are speculated as possible causes for how DNA developed: certainly, they were created under experimentation, but the fact remains they’re possible.
            Yours is the assertion. The reason I am struggling to respond with much depth is that there is nothing to respond to. You have done nothing but make statement after statement with no justification past faith, presupposition and false analogy: and yet you complain when that is all I say, when it is all that it’s possible to say.

          8. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            1.Order has nothing to do with complexity in the context of the origin of life from non-living matter?!?! Only a “measure of distance from equilibrium”?! Jane, review again the description of the simplest living thing (the single cell), by biochemistry research scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

            “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

            Complexity does not have any relevance here?! You are suggesting that “a high-tech factory complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval…” etc., etc., has nothing to do with complexity?! Do I have that right?!

            “A high-tech factory complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval…” etc. came about by a “distance from equilibrium”? Jane, if that is where you are at, then maybe it is not fruitful for us to continue this discussion. Do you really think that you are going to convince any third-party viewers of this discussion that life (as described above) was brought about by a “distance from equilibrium”? Could you at least elaborate on your theory?!

            Whether or not order can be defined as a “distance from equilibrium” is of no relevance. How does this description of order do anything to explain the origin of life from non-living matter? A complex thing such as a sandcastle moves towards equilibrium as its order decreases through wind and erosion…fine with me. But what does this have to do with explaining the origin of life?! Could you please elaborate? Explain?

            2.My arguments are nothing beyond assertion?! Really? ONCE AGAIN, DNA uses symbolic representation (that substitutive function again)…and symbolic representation is NECESSARILY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind.

            I’m sorry that I have to use all caps, but this doesn’t seem to be penetrating your perceptual filter:

            PAY ATTENTION TO THE ABOVE WORDS OF THE BIOCHEMISTRY RESEARCH SCIENTIST FRANKLIN M. HAROLD!! THE SIMPLEST LIVING THING UTILIZES “ARTIFICIAL LANGUAGES AND THEIR DECODING SYSTEMS, MEMORY BANKS FOR INFORMATION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL…”

            3.I am not asking you for evidence that DNA is made up of chemicals. As in the example that I furnished earlier, a compact disk is also made up of chemicals, but there is a difference between the MEDIUM (the physical aspect of the CD) and the MESSAGE (the information stored on the CD in codified form). You are suggesting that life is made by a mere mixing of chemicals, which, as I have demonstrated, is impossible because there is not enough information storage capacity in the mixing of chemicals.

            WHERE DO YOU SUPPOSE THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS ATHEIST BIOLOGIST, RICHARD DAWKINS, WENT WRONG WHEN HE WROTE:

            “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

            The world’s most famous atheist biologist is insisting that calling the genetic code a “code” is not an analogy, and you are going to respond by merely asserting otherwise?! Do I have that right? Who’s arguments rely on bald assertion!? SERIOUSLY!!

            Jane, please note that rational discourse becomes impossible if one party is allowed to merely assert that an argument is “an analogy” merely because it is inconvenient to that person’s worldview.

            How would rational discourse be possible, for example, if I were permitted to respond to your arguments about natural process by merely saying that these processes are “an analogy”?

            When the biochemistry research scientist Franklin M. Harold says that the simplest living thing uses “artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval,” he is merely using an “analogy”?! Do I have that right?
            An analogy for what? For life being the result of a mere mixing of chemicals? As my citations demonstrate, this is mathematically impossible. Do I need to repeat those citations again?:

            Here they are again:

            The primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life states:

            “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

            Further, there are chemical bonds between the sugars and the phosphates, between the sugars and the bases. BUT, there are NO chemical bonds between the individual nucleotide bases. This means that you cannot invoke chemistry to explain DNA sequencing!! Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, said:

            “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

            I HAVE ASKED YOU TO PROVIDE A SCHOLARLY CITATION STATING THAT LIFE CAN EMERGE FROM A MERE COMPLEX ARRANGEMENT OF CHEMICALS… BUT YOU WON’T, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T, BECAUSE THERE ARE NO SUCH CITATIONS. PERIOD. GAME OVER.

            Jane, again, you are trying to shape the facts to fit your beliefs, rather than the other way around.

            You cite peptides and PNA. Of what relevance is this? Even if true, it would not change the fact that DNA uses symbolic representation (that substitutive function of language or code, again).

          9. 0
            Jane says:

            1. If you expect me to be able to give any reply, stop changing the question after the fact. You cannot go from a question on the Second Law and decrease of order straight to a question on design. Of course my answer to the first is not going to answer the second. All you’re engaging in seems to be dishonesty.
            You originally stated life could not exist because it was too ordered. I have said it is not, and shown this by using the relevant definition of order. This is all I have said.
            If you want the exact process by which life developed, you are asking too much. The fact scientific knowledge is not complete is not an argument for anything. There are many competing theories, which if you truly seek knowledge you are more than welcome to research.
            I have not been trying to show how life came about, I have been showing that it is possible, in response to your statements otherwise. Pretending you asked a different question lends no credence to your argument.
            2. Your argument seems to be the fact that someone chose the word ‘language’ means it must be more than a useful term, and must objectively define it as something spoken and designed. How is that anything other than an assertion?
            Yes, DNA is complex. Yes, ‘language’ is a good term to describe it. yes, it can replicate itself quickly (it’s biological: far easier for that, than for something mechanical).
            Let’s also note that DNA was not the original form of life (it’s generally held to have come from RNA, and RNA in turn from simpler sources): evolution explains the origin of complexities with ease, especially given how quickly and easily it can replicate. What you’re actually arguing is that something far simpler, far less complex could not have arisen: but, again, we’re dealing with a gradual process, not a lightning strike.
            3. Aside from the sheer irony in how you’re insisting Dawkins is accurate, you cannot escape the fact your argument is based on semantics. Sure, DNA is a code, fine: that is certainly the best description we have of it. That doesn’t mean you get to push your definition of language or code (one where a mind is a prerequisite) into the place of his.
            You have not demonstrated that there isn’t enough storage capacity in chemicals at all. You’ve asserted it: and done so wrongly. If you want to deal with code, then look at computer code: 0’s and 1’s on a far smaller scale than the number of DNA bases, and yet it’s able to make your computer run. DNA runs on more than binary, and with far more entries. I’ve just looked through our entire comment string, and you have only ever asserted that DNA does not have enough informational capacity: your only attempt at justification was an unrelated quote about the laws of physics.
            Don’t act like it’s so shocking that people use analogy. It’s how language works. Even just analyzing the sentence I wrote: you are not literally acting, you are not literally shocked, analogy is not something that can be literally used, there’s no literal ‘works’ to language as it’s no machine…
            The problem is the analogies you use are unrelated and unjustifiable. I could use the fact that typing random keys into a computer is, by chance alone, eventually going to end up giving a workable computer program: once the physical element (the chemicals) exist, then your supposed ‘message’ could easily come along. Are you going to accept that, or reject it for being an irrelevant analogy?
            Also, on supplying a citation, please stop changing the question. Previously you asked for justification that DNA was ‘a complex architecture of chemicals and resulting impulses’, which is a simple fact from observation. Your argument is that it cannot be produced by natural means: this is what requires justification.
            Peptides and PNA are essentially proto-DNA. PNA fulfills essentially the same function. Thus, something similar enough to DNA can come about (by guided means, sure: that’s how science works). Either you are arguing that DNA doesn’t work (plainly wrong), or that mutation and natural selection on the incredibly rapid level at which such molecules replicate wouldn’t end up with complexity. That is quite a claim, and one you need to back up with more than complexity.
            I have talked about substitutive functions before, as you have ignored. They fall into the same trap as much of your argument: presupposition. You suppose that a mind must have created symbols, as opposed to regular, natural processes carrying out that which the human mind best interprets as symbols.

            As you seem so fond of talking to third parties, a recap: throughout our discussion you have a) either done no research or simply lied about the Second Law, b) offered assertion and quotes from biased sources in lieu of explanation or justification, c) chose to change the subject instead of admitting a problem, d) lied about what you have previously said to score a cheap point rather than actually discuss the issue or bring up a continuation, e) used all-caps shouting and juvenile exclamation marks when I refuse to accept assertion, f) decided to respond to my statement you were using assertion by asserting you weren’t, and then making precisely the same assertions with no further justification.

          10. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            1.Dishonesty, Jane? Dishonesty about what? What have I lied about?

            I have not said anything to the effect of “life could not exist because it is too ordered.” This is a strange misrepresentation of my arguments. I have said that life cannot emerge through mindless natural processes because mindless natural processes cannot create anything with the complexity level contained in living things.

            I am not asking for the exact process by which life developed. You write, “The fact that scientific knowledge is not complete is not an argument for anything.” I have never suggested that it is. This is the confusion of science and ontology which is so absolutely pervasive in atheist thought. Even if our scientific description of how life emerged were 100% complete, we would still need an answer to the ONTOLOGICAL question of what produces order from disorder. Even if we knew of a “natural mechanism” which produced life from non-life, we would still need to answer the ontological question of what produces natural mechanisms and what enforces natural laws.

            Jane, this is getting muddled, and I want to make sure that I do not misrepresent your stance, so I will ask you the following question: Is there order present in living things? Yes or no?

            Is there order in the simplest living thing, as biochemistry research scientist Franklin M. Harold describes it below, in The Way of the Cell??:

            “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

            Jane, if you do not believe that there is order contained in living things (as described above, etc.), then I am afraid we live on different planets. If you want to argue that there is no order in living things, then I will just leave it at that….and any third-party observers of this discussion can decide for themselves.

            Apparently, you believe that mindless natural mechanisms produce order from disorder. No? Am I wrong?

            2.You write, “Your argument seems to be the fact that someone chose the word ‘language’ means it must be more than a useful term, and must objectively define it as something spoken and designed. How is that anything other than an assertion?”

            Jane, you just aren’t getting this! Review again the below citation. I will put some important parts in all caps so that you (hopefully) cannot miss them.

            Werner Gitt is a former Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig) and former head of the Department of Information Technology. In his book Without Excuse, he discusses the substitutive function of what he terms “Universal Information “(UI):

            “Universal Information is always an abstract representation of some other existing entity. Universal Information is never the item (object) or the fact (event, idea) itself but rather the coded symbols serve as a substitute for the entities that are being represented. Different languages often use different sets of symbols and usually different symbol sequences to represent the same material object or concept. Consider the following examples:”

            “-the words in a newspaper, consisting of a sequence of letters, substitute for an event that happened at an earlier time and in some other place,”

            “-the words in a novel, consisting of sequences of letters, substitute for characters and their actions,”

            “-the notes of a musical score substitute for music that will be played later on musical instruments,”

            “-the chemical formula for benzene substitutes for the toxic liquid that is kept in a flask in a chemistry laboratory,”

            -“THE GENETIC CODONS (THREE-LETTER WORDS) OF THE DNA MOLECULE SUBSTITUTE FOR SPECIFIC AMINO ACIDS THAT ARE BONDED TOGETHER IN A SPECIFIC SEQUENCE TO FORM A PROTEIN.”

            The substitutive function of the the symbols in a code or language is something that can only be set up by the activity of a conscious and intelligent mind.

            Gitt skillfully explains this crucial point:

            “An abstract symbol set provides for an immense number of combinations of basic symbols to form words. These words may then be arranged in near-limitless ways to form phrases and sentences that, in turn, are used to form larger bodies of text/messages such as paragraphs. Thus, for example, the English letters ‘a, c, and t’ may be used to form the word ‘cat’ (a mammal that purrs and meows).”

            “The very same letters may also be used to form the word ‘act’ (a word that, depending on the context, will have any one of a number of meanings; e.g., consider the phrases ‘caught in the act‘, ‘the second act of the play’, ‘an act of Congress’, ‘performed a heroic act‘ and others). THE POINT TO NOTICE IS THAT THE LETTERS ‘A,C, and T’ BY THEMSELVES DO NOT HAVE A ONE-TO-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ENTITY THAT THEY ARE COMBINED TO REPRESENT. THESE LETTERS ACQUIRE FUNCTION AND MEANING ONLY AFTER THEY ARE COMBINED IN AGREED-UPON SEQUENCES AND ASSIGNED MEANINGS.”

            Simply put, what a symbol serves to represent must be decided upon by a conscious and intelligent agent. Symbolic representation is by necessity a mental process.

            JANE, THE LETTERS ‘C-A-T’ ONLY SERVE AS A REPRESENTATION OF A FURRY ANIMAL THAT PURRS AND MEOWS BECAUSE A CONSCIOUS AND INTELLIGENT AGENT DECIDED THAT THEY DO. THERE IS NO ONE-TO-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ENTITY WHICH THEY ARE COMBINED TO REPRESENT.

            SIMILARLY, THE THREE-LETTER WORDS (CODONS) OF DNA DO NOT HAVE A ONE-TO-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AMINO ACIDS WHICH THEY ARE COMBINED TO REPRESENT. THESE CODONS ACQUIRE FUNCTION AND MEANING ONLY AFTER THEY ARE COMBINED IN AGREED-UPON SEQUENCES AND ASSIGNED MEANINGS. CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR THIS BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CHEMICAL BONDS BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL NUCLEOTIDE BASES.

            THIS IS SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION, PURE AND SIMPLE!!!

            THERE IS NO ANALOGY AND THIS IS NOT A SEMANTIC ISSUE!!

            Next, you write: “Let’s also note that DNA was not the original form of life (it’s generally held to have come from RNA, and RNA in turn from simpler sources): evolution explains the origin of complexities with ease, especially given how quickly and easily it can replicate.”

            Of what relevance would it be if RNA was the original form of life? This is unclear. Further, you suggest that “evolution explains the origin of complexities with ease.” But what is the evolutionary mechanism that produces life from non-life?

            Please recall that the Darwinian mechanism works upon the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring. Non-living things have neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Did you forget?

            Are you going to suggest that a natural mechanism which has not been discovered yet “explains the origin of complexities with ease”?! That is a very extremely big stretch.

            Next, you write: “What you’re actually arguing is that something far simpler, far less complex could not have arisen: but, again, we’re dealing with a gradual process, not a lightning strike.”

            Actually, no, we are not dealing with a gradual process:

            Astrophysicist Hugh Ross writes:

            “When it comes to the origin of life, many biologists (and others) have typically assumed that plenty of time is available for natural processes to perform the necessary assembly. But discoveries about the universe and the solar system have shattered that assumption. What we now see is that life must have originated on Earth quickly.”

            “In early 1992 Christopher Chyba and Carl Sagan published a review paper on the origins of life. Origins is plural for a good reason. Research indicates that life began, was destroyed, and began again many times during that era before it finally took hold.”

            “…From 3.8 to 3.5 billion years ago the bombardment [of earth by asteroids, comets, meteors, and dust] gradually decreased to its present comparatively low level. But during those 300 million years at least thirty life-exterminating impacts must have occurred. These findings have enormous significance to our theories about the origin of life. They show that life sprang up on Earth (and re-sprang) in what could be called geologic instants, periods of ten-million years or less (between devastating impacts).”

            “From the perspective of our life span, a ten-million-year window may seem long, but it is impossibly short to those seeking to explain life’s origins without divine input.”

            MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder makes the same point:

            “…and then there is the uncontested reality that life started immediately on just-cooled earth and not after billions of years as had been once posited. Elso Barghoorn, while at Harvard University, discovered this fact that changed the entire emphasis in origin of life studies. Barghoorn discovered that the oldest rocks that can bear fossils already have fully formed fossils of one-celled life. And most amazingly, and yet by necessity, those first forms of life already had the ability to reproduce. Reproduction is not something that can gradually evolve. The first cell to survive had to have all the mechanisms for mitosis the first time around since all the attempts at life that came before (if there were other attempts) died without leaving any heritage simply because there was no succeeding generation prior to reproduction.” [italics added]

            Jane, I’m sorry to use all caps again, but this requires emphasis:

            The reality that life started immediately on just-cooled earth is UNCONTESTED in scientific circles.

            Lastly, Jane, as I have said before, even if we were to find a natural mechanism behind the origin of life, we would then need to explain the origin of this mechanism, since everything with a beginning requires a cause. I have cited the theistic explanation for what governs natural laws and mechanisms, but you have not even cited an alternate explanation. Your explanation seems to be that “material things follow natural laws because they just do.” But “they just do” is not an explanation, rather, it is a failure to explain.

            Atheist thought is full of such just-so storytelling.

            3. Irony of insisting that Dawkins is accurate? No, there is no irony. Dawkins clearly does understand that life was the result of a conscious and intelligent agent. That is why he endorsed the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life in the video below. Please watch it:

            As, I have mentioned, there are numerous ultra-elite atheist scientists who endorse the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter. Please read the below article to see how the atheist biologist Francis Crick (famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix) endorsed this hypothesis in his book Life Itself. Read about it in the below article:

            http://www.spacedaily.com/news/life-04zzz.html

            No, Jane, my argument that DNA is a language (symbolic representation, substitutive function) is not based on semantics. See #2 above.

            Next, Jane, you write: “You have not demonstrated that there isn’t enough storage capacity in chemicals at all. You’ve asserted it: and done so wrongly.”

            No, I haven’t asserted it. I cited an elite physicist (Paul Davies), and I cited the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life (Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life). This second source cites a famous mathematician who actually ran the numbers. Please note, Jane, that rational discourse becomes impossible if one party is allowed to merely capriciously reject citations which are inconvenient to that person’s worldview…without sound rational justification. Another excerpt from Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

            “The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws.” (Yockey 1992).

            If you drop a pencil, it falls. If you pour salt in hot water, it dissolves. (etc.) The laws of physics are regular and repeating. (This is why the scientific method declares that experiments must be repeatable). However, the content of a DNA sequence is irregular and non-repeating, much like the words that you and I are typing to one another. How is this a mere assertion?! Very strange. A regular and repeating sequence of symbols would be something such as: abcabcabc. But DNA codons are irregular and non-repeating. This is why natural mechanisms, which are bound by the laws of physics, cannot produce a DNA sequence.

            You say that, “I’ve just looked through our entire comment string, and you have only ever asserted that DNA does not have enough informational capacity: your only attempt at justification was an unrelated quote about the laws of physics.”

            Jane, you misrepresent my argument. I am not arguing that DNA does not have enough information storage capacity. Rather, I am arguing that the laws of physics do not have enough information storage capacity. If life emerged by mindless natural processes, these processes are bound by the limitations of the laws of physics.

            Next, you write: “The problem is the analogies you use are unrelated and unjustifiable. I could use the fact that typing random keys into a computer is, by chance alone, eventually going to end up giving a workable computer program: once the physical element (the chemicals) exist, then your supposed ‘message’ could easily come along. Are you going to accept that, or reject it for being an irrelevant analogy?”

            Please see #2 above about how declaring DNA to be a language (symbolic representation, substitutive function) is not an analogy. Further, Jane, this is another massive flaw with atheist thought. Chance alone cannot produce anything. Rather, chance requires an underlying structure upon which to operate.

            For example, in order for a person to win the lottery, chance is required. But is chance all that is required? No. The underlying STRUCTURE of a lottery system (lottery commission, distribution system for tickets, etc.) and a monetary system (dollar, euro, etc.) is also necessary to win the lottery. Without this underlying structure, the chance of a person winning the lottery is exactly zero.

            Even given unlimited time, nobody will ever win the lottery without this underlying structure which allows for a lottery win. Similarly, even given unlimited time, life could not emerge without an underlying structure. What produced this structure? The laws of physics? Natural mechanisms?

            You write:

            “Peptides and PNA are essentially proto-DNA. PNA fulfills essentially the same function. Thus, something similar enough to DNA can come about (by guided means, sure: that’s how science works). Either you are arguing that DNA doesn’t work (plainly wrong), or that mutation and natural selection on the incredibly rapid level at which such molecules replicate wouldn’t end up with complexity. That is quite a claim, and one you need to back up with more than complexity.”

            Jane, the Darwinian mechanism works on the random mutations of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring. Non-living things have neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Did you forget?

            How does introducing peptides and PNA change this? We are looking for an explanation of the transition from non-living to living. Whether or not peptides and PNA are involved is completely irrelevant.

            Further, this is the same confusion of science and ontology which absolutely permeates atheist thought. Ultimately, we are looking for an ontological explanation of what produces order from disorder. You seem to be arguing that there is no order in living things? Am I wrong? Does this misrepresent your stance? Please explain.

            Next, you write: “I have talked about substitutive functions before, as you have ignored. They fall into the same trap as much of your argument: presupposition. You suppose that a mind must have created symbols, as opposed to regular, natural processes carrying out that which the human mind best interprets as symbols.”

            Please see #2 above. There is no presupposition.

            JANE, THE LETTERS ‘C-A-T’ ONLY SERVE AS A REPRESENTATION OF A FURRY ANIMAL THAT PURRS AND MEOWS BECAUSE A CONSCIOUS AND INTELLIGENT AGENT DECIDED THAT THEY DO. THERE IS NO ONE-TO-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ENTITY WHICH THEY ARE COMBINED TO REPRESENT.

            SIMILARLY, THE THREE-LETTER WORDS (CODONS) OF DNA DO NOT HAVE A ONE-TO-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AMINO ACIDS WHICH THEY ARE COMBINED TO REPRESENT. THESE CODONS ACQUIRE FUNCTION AND MEANING ONLY AFTER THEY ARE COMBINED IN AGREED-UPON SEQUENCES AND ASSIGNED MEANINGS. CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR THIS BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CHEMICAL BONDS BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL NUCLEOTIDE BASES.

            THIS IS SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION, PURE AND SIMPLE!!!

            THERE IS NO ANALOGY AND THIS IS NOT A SEMANTIC ISSUE!!

            Laslty, you write:

            “As you seem so fond of talking to third parties, a recap: throughout our discussion you have a) either done no research or simply lied about the Second Law, b) offered assertion and quotes from biased sources in lieu of explanation or justification, c) chose to change the subject instead of admitting a problem, d) lied about what you have previously said to score a cheap point rather than actually discuss the issue or bring up a continuation, e) used all-caps shouting and juvenile exclamation marks when I refuse to accept assertion, f) decided to respond to my statement you were using assertion by asserting you weren’t, and then making precisely the same assertions with no further justification.”

            a) No research or lied about the second law? You reject my citations about the second law for what reason again? One of those citations again:

            I recommend that you watch at least the first couple minutes of the below video about the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

            As the narrator puts it, “The universe tends towards disorder. …There is only one way, or at best a few ways for things to be arranged in an organized way. But there are nearly infinite other ways for those same things to be arranged. Simple rules of probability dictate that it is much more likely for stuff to be in one of the many disorganized states than in one of the few organized states. It’s simple math and it is unavoidable.”

            Jane, the question is: Why would the order in life emerge when the laws of probability dictate that disorder is far more likely? If you leave your house alone and never clean it, is it more likely to be ordered or disordered? Why would natural mechanisms create life from non-life, but not clean your house? Please explain.

            b)Assertion?! Biased quotes?! The primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life is biased and makes assertions!!?!?

            Elite physicist Paul Davies is biased?!?

            I agree that Richard Dawkins is biased….he is biased in favor of atheism. This makes his statements all the more meaningful. He has a bias AGAINST God, but he clearly understands that DNA is a language, and that “this is not some vague analogy. It is the literal truth.”

            You reject Dawkins assessment that calling DNA a language is not an analogy for what reason again?!

            c)This string has gotten long. If I have changed the subject, please point out specifically where I have done so.

            d)You make an accusation of lying without even specifying what lie I have made. Really!?! Who do you think you are gonna fool with that?! Seriously?!

            e)All caps become necessary when you repeatedly ignore or overlook important points.

            f)Assertions?! Natural laws being regular and repeating is an assertion? The information capacity of the laws of physics is not adequate even though the laws of physics refer to regular and repeating things? A famous mathematician has run the numbers, but I am still just making an assertion?

            Jane, you are clutching at straws here.

          11. 0
            Jane says:

            1. “what produces natural mechanisms and what enforces natural laws.” The universe. The problem is that you won’t accept that, because you’ve taken on presuppositions which make you assert a mind must be the cause. Natural laws are the action of forces on matter, mechanisms and forces are just part of this universe.
            On the order in living things, you are again ignoring the not-minor distinction between the two definitions of order: and this is why I have called you dishonest. Specify which you’re talking about.
            Is there order, by the scientific definition of order, in life? Sure: life is apart from equilibrium, but it is such a minor amount that it barely registers, compared to our surroundings. the Sun contains orders of magnitude more order than every human that has ever lived.
            Is there order by the human definition? Yes: but so what? We know natural processes may produce this form of order, and complexity. Of course, you’ll reject examples (eg: evolution, magnetism on dust, Giant’s causeway…) because you believe we were created. This is a circular argument: you believe nothing arose naturally, so how could you begin to compare?
            2. Repeating the same quote over and over doesn’t make it true. I have responded to it: it forms a comparison between created language and DNA, and equates them, but the justification for this is “Because I say so.” Saying something is complex, and that we can refer to it as representing certain things, doesn’t make this so. I’ve used the example of alkali metals before: certain actions make it react in certain ways. This doesn’t mean this process is a substitutive function.
            Sure, A, C and T mean different things in different orders. Clearly natural processes are not incapable of interpreting this: it would be absurd to suppose they can’t. Forming a comparison with something created doesn’t mean it is created.
            It’s genuinely hard to work out what it is you’re trying to say. You seem to be implying DNA only works because it’s guided by a mind at all hours.
            On how life came about, we need only a far, far simpler, self-replicating mechanism: that is all evolution needs. You were arguing DNA is too complex to exist naturally: but we know evolution may produce complex items. For something able to replicate (in a simple form, maybe by mere chemical reaction), impurities and mutation sneak in, RNA and subsequently DNA may develop.
            A gradual process may still apply. As I said before, on this level self-replication happens incredibly quickly. We just need the right chemicals in place (which we can assume from the number of worlds that exist), and it could begin.
            You have again plain ignored what I have said. To quote a previous message, “As for why matter follows laws, that’s trivial. Laws is a word used, again by analogy: humans think by metaphor. They’re clearly unrelated to legal laws (one can disobey legal laws), we simply observe that matter follows certain patterns. The reason for this is just forces at work.” You did not even begin to respond to this, you just ignored it.
            Forces and matter are parts of the universe. Asking why the universe exists, or is as it is, can be answered by the cause (whatever it is), but you expect a whole other class of answer relating to motive: which is pointless question until you presuppose a mind.
            3. “the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws.” This is pointless. Simple laws which act enough may create complexity. Take evolution: when life exists, ‘self replication’ and ‘mutation’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ are all fairly simple principles, but complexity may increase greatly. The simplicity of laws does not inherently say anything about the simplicity of complexity of what they act upon.
            On underlying structure, you seem to be saying the universe didn’t exist. The existing laws and matter, given chance, will work.
            On evolution, strictly speaking it’s a similar principle: but all we need is something self-replicating, and something that mutates. Mutation can occur thanks to outside sources, so long as it happens often enough: self-replication is the only less immediately obvious part, but it’s easily possible.
            Bringing in proto-DNA simply shows that just because DNA is too complex to have arrived in a puff of smoke, doesn’t mean it can’t come from something simpler. Clearly, it works: so the principles hold.
            On ontological answers, demonstrate that such answers must exist. Ontology requires metaphysics, and many people reject metaphysics as a whole. You need to show a question is meaningful before an answer is required.

            I’m not going to waste time going through points a to f, but most were examples I’d brought up specifically in that comment. (For example: you use the Second Law, then switch to the irrelevant, layperson’s definition of order: something I have called you out on repeatedly, and that you have never acknowledged).

          12. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            1.Jane, do you understand the difficulty with asserting that the universe enforces natural laws? How can an inanimate thing be made to follow a law if atheism is true? What causes matter to behave in regular and predictable ways? Why is there not just chaos? What is the mechanism by which “the universe” enforces natural laws?

            You need to explain this, rather than just asserting that “mechanisms and forces are just part of this universe.” This is more of the just-so storytelling which atheist reasoning so frequently commits.

            If the substratum of the universe is MIND (read: God’s mind), rather than mindless matter and energy, then it is immediately obvious why things behave in regular and predictable ways: The same mind that creates matter also directs it.

            Further, you suggest that I make a mere arbitrary presupposition that MIND is the substratum of reality. However, this is not the case. Modern physics, in fact, has demonstrated it to be the case.

            Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University explains why people (such as atheist biologists) cling to materialism/naturalism despite the fact that it has been completely discredited by modern physics:

            “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

            The knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans writes (in his book The Mysterious Universe):

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

            Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory) writes:

            “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

            Jane, are these “just quotes?” If so, why is it that matter and energy behave in regular and predictable ways if the substratum of reality is mindless matter and energy? Please explain this without resorting to just-so storytelling.

            2.You write, “I’ve used the example of alkali metals before: certain actions make it react in certain ways. This doesn’t mean this process is a substitutive function.” No, there is no substitutive function in your example of alkali metals. But there is a substitutive function with the genetic codons (three-letter words) of the DNA molecule substituting for specific amino acids that are bonded together in a specific sequence to form a protein. This is just the same as the words of a novel substituting for the characters and events of the novel. What don’t you get about this?

            It is not because “I say so.” Rather, it is because there are NO chemical bonds between the individual nucleotide bases.

            JANE THIS IS CRUCIAL: HOW CAN CHEMISTRY EXPLAIN DNA WHEN THERE ARE NO CHEMICAL BONDS BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL NUCLEOTIDE BASES!?!?! YOU MUST RESPOND TO THIS RATHER THAN MERELY TRYING TO ASSERT THAT CHEMISTRY CAN ACCOUNT FOR SOMETHING FOR WHICH THERE IS NO CHEMICAL RELATIONSHIP!!!

            I cited the famous chemist Michael Polyani as stating that, just as chemistry and physics cannot arrange the letters of a newspaper article, chemistry and physics cannot arrange the codons of a DNA sequence. DO YOU WISH TO MERELY ASSERT YOUR WAY OUT OF THIS?!

            Again, can you cite a scientist who says that there is no substitutive function with DNA, and that DNA is not a language? Even the world’s most famous atheist biologist admits that DNA is a language and that this is “not some vague analogy. It is the literal truth.”

            You cannot cite a biologist who says that DNA is not a language, because there aren’t any, because you are wrong. Period. Game over. Really.

            Jane, you need to post some sort of response to my citation of the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life.

            Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

            “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

            “The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws.” (Yockey 1992).

            What is “playing the game” in the “game” of the origin of life from non-living matter? It cannot be the laws of chemistry or physics, and natural mechanisms operate upon the laws of chemistry and physics.

            My question is this: Do you think you are going to convince any third-party observers of this debate that there IS enough genetic information content in the laws of physics and chemistry to produce life by mixing chemicals….by merely trying to assert that there is?

            Jane, you write: “We need only a far, far simpler, self-replicating mechanism: that is all evolution needs. You were arguing DNA is too complex to exist naturally: but we know evolution may produce complex items.”

            JANE THIS IS CRITICAL: WHAT IS THIS MECHANISM THAT YOU REFER TO?!?! PLEASE PLEASE EXPLAIN.

            The Darwinian mechanism relies on the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring. Non-living things have neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Therefore, evolution requires that things be ALREADY ALIVE. But it is the origin of life that we are trying to explain. Did you forget?

            Next, you write:

            “’As for why matter follows laws, that’s trivial. Law is a word used, again by analogy: humans think by metaphor. They’re clearly unrelated to legal laws (one can disobey legal laws), we simply observe that matter follows certain patterns. The reason for this is just forces at work.’ You did not even begin to respond to this, you just ignored it.”

            Jane, you cannot escape from this by quibbling about semantics. “Laws,” “regularities”….whatever term you like is fine with me. Why is it that matter behaves in regular and predictable ways, if the substratum of everything is mindless matter and energy (as atheism insists)? Is the fact that matter and energy behave in regular and predictable ways just a metaphor?! Yes or no?
            As Albert Einstein alluded to in my previous citation: Why isn’t there just chaos? Please explain rather than resorting to just-so storytelling.

            3.You write, “’The fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws.’ This is pointless.”

            Jane, you have ignored my citation from the primary text on the application of information theory to the origin of life, and you have ignored what I have said about regular and repeating sequences.

            SPECIFICALLY how do you account for the fact that natural laws behave in regular and repeating ways, but DNA is irregular and non-repeating…like the words we are typing to one another? Something more than an assertion would be helpful here. How do regular and repeating natural laws produce irregular and non-repeating sequences? A regular and repeating sequence again, would be something to the effect of abcabcabc. An irregular and non-repeating sequence would be the words that you and I are typing to one another.

            You write, “Take evolution: when life exists, ‘self replication’ and ‘mutation’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ are all fairly simple principles, but complexity may increase greatly.” Jane, the key words here are WHEN LIFE EXISTS. But what we are trying to explain here is the origin of life from non-life. Did you forget?

            Next, you write, “All we need is something self-replicating, and something that mutates. Mutation can occur thanks to outside sources, so long as it happens often enough: self-replication is the only less immediately obvious part, but it’s easily possible.”

            Yes, we need something self-replicating and something that mutates. Only living things self-replicate and mutate. But what we are looking for here is an explanation for how living things emerged from non-life. You seem to keep forgetting that. You are citing mechanisms that apply only to living things to explain how living things emerged from non-living matter. Do you not see the contradiction here?

            How did self-replicating and mutating things emerge from simple, regular and repeating natural laws?! This is what I want you to explain.

            OK, DNA came from something simpler…if you wish. NOW WHAT IS THE MECHANISM BY WHICH THIS HAPPENED? ARE YOU GOING TO CITE A MECHANISM WHICH REQUIRES RANDOM MUTATION OF GENES AND NATURAL SELECTION OF REPRODUCTIVE OFFSPRING TO EXPLAIN HOW GENES AND REPRODUCTION OCCURRED?!

            You assert that self-replicaton is “easily possible.” Then it should be easy for you to cite the mechanism by which self-replication emerges from non-living matter…which cannot self-replicate. You cannot explain something my merely asserting that it is “easy.”

            Further, let me inform you what actual scientists say about how easy it is to explain self-replication. They do not find it so easy:

            Francis Crick, the Nobel Laureate well known as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix, has stated in his book Life Itself:

            “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”

            Crick, as I said, was an atheist. Therefore, he resorted to the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (in his book Life Itself).

            Similarly, physicist and information scientist Hubert Yockey, who is the leading author of the text on the application of information theory to the origin of life, writes in the Journal of Theoretical Biology:

            “Since science does not have the faintest idea how life on earth originated….it would be honest to confess this to other scientists, to grantors, and to the public at large. Prominent scientists speaking ex cathedra, should refrain from polarizing the minds of students and young productive scientists with statements that are based solely on beliefs.”

            Theoretical physicist Paul Davies made the same point in his book The Fifth Miracle:

            “Many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit that they are baffled.”

            Even prominent theoretical biologist (and atheist) Stuart Kauffman, who is known for his “self-organization” theories regarding the origin of life, admits:

            “Anyone who tells you that he or she knows how life started on the earth some 3.45 billion years ago is a fool or a knave. Nobody knows.”

            Yockey, in fact, says that the problem of the origin of life is “unsolvable as a scientific problem.” Not “as yet unsolved,” rather, “unsolvable.” It is easy to see why this question can never be solved scientifically: Science works on law-like processes which are regular and repeatable. But DNA is irregular and non-repeating, so it cannot be explained by law-like processes.

            I need to demonstrate that ontological answers must exist?! If you refuse to produce ontological answers to such questions as why matter and energy behave in regular and predictable ways, then you are engaging in just-so storytelling.

            Is the question of why matter and energy behave in regular and predictable ways, “not a meaningful question”? Is this how you are going to dodge the question?

          13. 0
            Jane says:

            1. You seem to prefer using generic arguments rather than ones that respond to what I’m saying. Please put some thought into what you’re writing.
            Natural laws and forces are one and the same. Laws are human interpretations of forces, like colours are human interpretation of wavelengths of light. the forces exist independently, we call them and their applications laws. The forces are regular because that’s how they are: call this just-so storytelling all you want, a child knows that there’s only so many times you can ask ‘why’ before the answer is ‘because’. I could ask you the same question, if you want. It might take a bit longer, but you’ll end up having to argue that “That’s just how God is!”
            If it’s meaningful to continue to ask whys then answer: a) Why does God exist? b) Why is God perfect (and if you’re using the ontological argument, why does metaphysics lead to that conclusion?) etc. Until you can give an answer that’s more than ‘God is the ultimate reality, necessarily existing…’ (Why the necessity?) stop asking after ‘why’.
            It is simply dishonest to reject perfectly valid answers on the basis you’d rather not deal with the possibility you’re wrong.
            Quantum mechanics does not imply a mind, end of. Even the best Planck has to say is ‘assume’ which is hardly persuasive. There’s also the fact things on the quantum level rarely mean anything fundamental on a larger scale.
            2. There’s no point responding if you’re saying “No, that’s not substitution because I don’t want it to be, even if it substitutes for something else.”
            What I ‘don’t get about this’ is how all you’re concerned with is repeating the same pointless arguments which show a total of nothing. Your arguments, if they hold, would imply DNA doesn’t work unless constantly maintained and operated by a mind.
            And again, you are using ‘language’ in a different way. For you, a mind is a prerequisite of language. For others, clearly, it is no such thing. Your arguing amounts to “I say a mind’s behind DNA, so it is.”
            Are you arguing DNA couldn’t come about without a mind, or that it doesn’t work without constant maintenance? None of your arguments have touched the former question.
            On how DNA came about, I don’t need to give the specifics of the initial proto-DNA. You’ve successfully ignored what I have to say twice: evolution is the closest analogy, and it requires a total of two things to exist. Stop asserting otherwise, you’re just lying now. It needs something able to self-replicate, and to alter as it does so. That is what evolution is. It’s not exactly the same as modern, species-wide evolution, sure, life doesn’t exist, but the principle is identical. Replication and mutation.
            3. Well, for starters, DNA does repeat: it does so from human to human, it just gets altered by other things (eg: mutation).
            I’ll go from basics now, as you seem unable to consider what I’m saying. I do not propose to know in detail how life developed (which a) doesn’t imply God, and b) makes your quizzing me on it pointless). I’m simply showing how it could. Also, it’s incredibly dishonest to say scientists have no idea how life could have developed: the fact is, scientists have many separate ideas, there’s just not enough evidence to say for sure which it is. There are a few bits and pieces missing, but what else would you expect for something so complex, so long ago?
            As for life from non-life, define life. Is a lone strand of RNA/PNA life? Not really: but it’s still fully capable of self-replicating, and so developing. If this does count as life, however, scientists have made PNA in a lab so they seem fully able to develop it from non-life.

            Regardless, this is getting out of hand. My main issue with what you have to say is that you switch between different bases, using each to defend the flaws of the other, ignoring the fact they negate one another. I also know I’ve been unclear, for the same reason, trying to get through so many issues.
            So, for the sake of simplifying, I’ll condense all this to two questions:

            1. What exactly is it you’re proposing? Is it impossible for reactions to produce DNA, no matter how many steps there are from molecules to DNA, or is it impossible for DNA to work without a mind interpreting?
            2. Why must mechanisms and forces have some explanation to their existence, beyond the existence of the universe? Why is it just-so storytelling when the weak anthropic principle holds sway? Such a case is just as relevant to theism.

          14. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            Jane,

            I’m using generic arguments rather than the ones you are presenting? This is very strange. I have responded to your SPECIFIC comments by copying and pasting them, and then responding below. I will continue to do so below:

            You write, “The forces are regular because that’s how they are: call this just-so storytelling all you want, a child knows that there’s only so many times you can ask ‘why’ before the answer is ‘because’. I could ask you the same question, if you want. It might take a bit longer, but you’ll end up having to argue that “That’s just how God is!”

            Yes, Jane, you are back to your same old just-so storytelling. You are asking me the same question? If mind (read: God’s mind) is the substratum of reality, then it is immediately clear why things behave in regular and repeating ways: The same mind that creates matter also directs it. Please recall that consciousness has organizing and creative properties, but that mindless matter and energy do not. This is why atheists must resort to just-so storytelling to explain why things behave in regular and predictable ways (whether you use the term “laws” or “regularities,” or whatever term you prefer).

            Next, you write: “Quantum mechanics does not imply a mind, end of. Even the best Planck has to say is ‘assume’ which is hardly persuasive.”

            There you go again with your bald assertions. Jane, please pay careful attention to the difference between an assertion, on one hand, and a logically constructed argument, on the other hand. Rational discourse occurs between individuals making counter-arguments, not counter-assertions. In order to save time, in the future I will merely respond with the words “bald assertion” when you fail to supply a logical argument, or at least a citation to support your stance.

            According to quantum physics, there is no reality independent of mind (consciousness). You can see this yourself by watching the following video about the famous double-slit experiment (first video below). This experiment demonstrates that a conscious agent must make an observation in order to “collapse the wave function.” A conscious agent is necessary for the production of physical reality. Please watch the two following videos:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEzRdZGYNvA

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM

            Here are citations from several of the most important contributors to modern physics regarding how the underlying substratum of reality is mental in nature:

            “When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again; it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”

            “The content of consciousness is an ultimate reality.”

            –Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner

            “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.” [“Logos” is defined as “the word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order.”]

            —The great physicist Sir Arthur Eddington

            “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”

            —The knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans (in his book The Mysterious Universe)

            “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

            –Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory.

            “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

            –Erwin Schroedinger, winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”

            “Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”

            –Sir Isaac Newton, who is widely regarded to have been the greatest scientist of all time, as cited in Principia, which is perhaps the most important scientific work of all time.

            “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

            —Albert Einstein

            “All real things are contents of consciousness.”

            —Physicist John Von Neumann, who is known for his important contributions to quantum mechanics.

            2.Yes, Jane, I am arguing that the language contained in the genetic code could not have come about without a mind. Symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY mental in nature. How is it again that your example of alkalai uses symbolic representation?

            What a symbol serves to represent can only be decided upon by a conscious and intelligent agent, because symbols are abstract and have no chemical or physical relationship with what they serve to represent. Please specify how symbolic representation could be accomplished without an agent deciding what the symbols represent.

            Once again, the letters ‘c-a-t’ written on a blackboard (arranged in that order) only represent a furry animal that purrs and meows because conscious agents decided that they do. There is no physical or chemical relationship between these symbols and a furry animal that purrs and meows.

            Similarly, there is no chemical or physical relationship between the codons (three letter words of DNA) and the amino acids which they serve to represent. The codons in DNA substitute for the amino acids, just as the letters ‘c-a-t’ written on a blackboard substitute for a furry animal that purrs and meows. Neither the codons in DNA, nor the letters ‘c-a-t’ written on a blackboard have any chemical or physical relationship with what they serve to SUBSTITUTE for, and therefore symbolically represent. But atheism relies on mindless chemical and physical processes to explain the emergence of life.

            Information scientist Henry Quastler writes, “The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” Whenever we trace information back to its source, INVARIABLY, we come back to a mind, not an undirected material process.

            These are not difficult concepts.

            Next, you write: “On how DNA came about, I don’t need to give the specifics of the initial proto-DNA. You’ve successfully ignored what I have to say twice: evolution is the closest analogy, and it requires a total of two things to exist. Stop asserting otherwise, you’re just lying now. It needs something able to self-replicate, and to alter as it does so. That is what evolution is.”

            I’ve ignored what you have said? Yes, life needs something to self-replicate. Only living things self-replicate. But what we are trying to explain here is the origin of life. You are citing a processes which requires self-replication and mutation (evolution) to explain the origin of self-replication and mutation. Do you not see the problem with this?!

            3.DNA repeats from human to human? This is not the kind of repetition which we are talking about. A repeating sequence of symbols cannot contain much information content. For example, how much information content could be contained in the following sequence of regular and repeating symbols?:

            abcabcabcabcabcabcabcabcabcabcabcabcabcabc

            Not much. Now look at the following set of irregular and non-repeating symbols:

            “In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

            Clearly, a set of irregular and non-repeating symbols can contain much more information than a set of regular and repeating symbols.

            This is one reason that mindless chemical and physical processes cannot produce a DNA sequence. DNA uses irregular and non-repeating sequences of symbols, but the laws of physics and chemistry refer to regular and repeating patterns. This is why the scientific method requires that experiments be able to regularly repeat the same results.

            This is also why the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life says:

            “The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws.” (Yockey 1992).

            Next, Jane, you write: “Also, it’s incredibly dishonest to say scientists have no idea how life could have developed: the fact is, scientists have many separate ideas, there’s just not enough evidence to say for sure which it is. There are a few bits and pieces missing, but what else would you expect for something so complex, so long ago?”

            Please again refer to my following citations. If these scientists are being dishonest, why don’t you let them know:

            Francis Crick, the Nobel Laureate well known as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix, has stated in his book Life Itself:

            “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”

            Crick, as I said, was an atheist. Therefore, he resorted to the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (in his book Life Itself).

            Similarly, physicist and information scientist Hubert Yockey, who is the leading author of the text on the application of information theory to the origin of life, writes in the Journal of Theoretical Biology:

            “Since science does not have the faintest idea how life on earth originated….it would be honest to confess this to other scientists, to grantors, and to the public at large. Prominent scientists speaking ex cathedra, should refrain from polarizing the minds of students and young productive scientists with statements that are based solely on beliefs.”

            Theoretical physicist Paul Davies made the same point in his book The Fifth Miracle:

            “Many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit that they are baffled.”

            Even prominent theoretical biologist (and atheist) Stuart Kauffman, who is known for his “self-organization” theories regarding the origin of life, admits:

            “Anyone who tells you that he or she knows how life started on the earth some 3.45 billion years ago is a fool or a knave. Nobody knows.”

            Yockey, in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, in fact, says that the problem of the origin of life is “unsolvable as a scientific problem.” Not “as yet unsolved,” rather, “unsolvable.”

            Next, you write:

            “As for life from non-life, define life. Is a lone strand of RNA/PNA life? Not really: but it’s still fully capable of self-replicating, and so developing. If this does count as life, however, scientists have made PNA in a lab so they seem fully able to develop it from non-life.”

            You want me to define life? OK: life is that which has reproductive capability.

            Scientists have made PNA in a lab? I do not know about the details of what the scientists you are referring to actually accomplished, Jane. However, scientists are conscious and intelligent agents, not mindless natural processes. Did you forget?

            Your final two question:

            1.Yes it is impossible for mindless chemical reactions to produce a DNA sequence because there is no chemical or physical relationship between the DNA codons and the amino acids they serve to symbolically represent. One of the citations which I have posted to you several times already, again:

            Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, said:

            “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

            To paraphrase Polyani’s above words, mindless chemical and physical processes can no more write a newspaper article than then can form a DNA sequence.

            2.There must be some explanation beyond the existence of the universe because the universe had a beginning at the Big Bang. Everything with a beginning requires a cause. This is the Law of Causation, without which, science would be impossible.

            Secondly, a complete explanatory framework must explain why matter and energy behave in regular and repeating ways. But atheism cannot explain for this. If the substratum of everything is mindless matter and/or energy, then (as Albert Einstein pointed out), why isn’t there just chaos? Theism, consistent with modern physics, places mind (God’s mind) as the substratum of everything. Mind, unlike mindless matter and energy, has organizing and creative properties.

          15. 0
            Jane says:

            Firstly, apologies for the second comment, another thought just came to me. Also, apologies for losing my temper somewhat in the previous message, I’d been frustrated by something else.
            Anyway, if I accept for a moment that DNA is a language, we need to examine the implications of this. If DNA is a language, then it must only be readable by something that is a mind: if not, then all the talk of symbolic representations seems rather pointless as mindless processes can interpret them. But if DNA can only be read by a mind, how does it work? Do you suppose that our bodies are filled with tiny minds interpreting DNA constantly? Or do you acknowledge language can be read and used by non-minds?
            And, should you acknowledge that, of what use is calling DNA a language? If it can be interpreted and used without a mind, it follows it can evolve as the survival benefit will still be there.

          16. 0
            Rod Carty says:

            It is not true that language can only be read or acted upon by intelligence. This is a strawman. The argument is that language, information, only comes from intelligence, not how it gets used.

            For example, computers read and act upon machine language, which is converted from higher level programming languages that human intelligence produces. This requires no intelligence on their part, merely electronic machinery that performs a specific function when a specific command is read.

          17. 0
            Jane says:

            I’m aware of that, it’s why my post ended with the alternate case “If it can be interpreted and used without a mind, it follows it can evolve as the survival benefit will still be there.”

          18. 0
            Rod Carty says:

            Jane commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

            in response to Rod Carty:

            // It is not true that language can only be read or acted upon by intelligence. This is a strawman. The argument is that language, information, only comes from intelligence, not how it gets used. For example, computers read and act upon machine language, which is converted from higher level programming languages that human intelligence produces. […]//

            “I’m aware of that, it’s why my post ended with the alternate case “If it can be interpreted and used without a mind, it follows it can evolve as the survival benefit will still be there.”

            I showed that the premise of the argument is false, therefore your conclusion based on that premise cannot be true.

          19. 0
            Jane says:

            I’m interested in why you say a statement beginning with “If it can be interpreted and used without a mind,” is a conclusion of the premise “it must only be readable by something that is a mind,” rather than an entirely different situation.

        2. 0
          Ron Mitchell says:

          Jane, here are some of my comments re science and religion:

          First of all, scientists commonly make the false assumption that everything is empirically knowable, and that science can accomplish that. So, what came before the Big Bang? How do you reconcile General Relativity and quantum mechanics (even Einstein couldn’t do that). Why do we not know if string theory is true or not? Same goes for worm holes and parallel universes. Is there really a simple Theory of Everything? What is it? Is there really a Higgs Bosun particle that will provide all the answers? Do we need it? How did life result from non-life? And too many more questions to list.

          Darwin posited a godless evolution, and now even Steven Hawkings has stated that: “We know that the universe did not require a creator”. Really? How do we know that? He doesn’t say. He also doesn’t mention that there is a sign posted right at the very instant of the Big Bang that says: “Science not allowed beyond this point!” And since science can’t go there, how do they know what’s back there? And is it OK that the BB violates to pieces the First Law of Thermodynamics?

          Pre Big-Bang country is a realm that scientists can’t enter, and if they even try to, and some have, it is with the greatest trepidation and the admission that all their suppositions are without any evidence or sound grounding. And even though the deeper we look into the nature of matter the more puzzling it becomes (look at the absurdities that result from the premises of quantum mechanics) science cannot and will not recognize that there just might be another force at work that they are not equipped to deal with. Conclusion: science is not equipped to know everything … and it never will be.

          1. 0
            Jane says:

            Hi,
            I’m not completely sure how that ties to my comment, but there are three things that stand out to me as responses.
            First, is that unanswered questions simply means that science hasn’t managed to answer them yet. Many things were once unanswered. that we can now respond to. We either haven’t had the technology, inclination, or brain wave to do so.
            Second, science is not one constant thing. Science is a process, which varies as the situation requires. The science on the quantum level, is radically different to science on the cosmological level. just because current forms of science fail in new areas, doesn’t mean new field can’t work there. If you have some form of thought or explanation that works in, as you call it, pre-Big Bang country, and you can show it works, then that will happily be adopted by science.
            I’m not getting into quantum mechanics, suffice to say it’s renowned as one of the most complex areas of science around today, taking years of dedicated study before you can understand the basics. I’m far more confident in what dedicated scientists say, than people on the internet.
            Third and final, few scientists say God is impossible. Many atheists (such as myself) hold that certain definitions of God (such as the Christian God) contain too many inherent contradictions and flaws to be possible (eg: the existence of non-deities), but that doesn’t mean an abstract God, such as that of Deism, can’t be an explanation. However, such things need to be demonstrated, and demonstrated as more likely than any alternative, before they’re accepted. This isn’t much to ask: you’d ask for as much in basically any other situation.

          2. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            OK, so let me be specific with the one question I posed that
            you did not respond to … and I do understand it’s because science cannot answer it: How can excuse the Big Bang for existing when the First Law of Thermodynamics says it should not have happened?

          3. 0
            Jane says:

            Sorry, I thought I had. It comes down to how science varies dependent on context. Certain rules are applicable on the quantum level, that aren’t on a cosmological scale, and vice versa.
            Similarly, certain laws are relevant when time, space, matter, energy etc exist, that are not before those things exist.
            Do I know precisely the cause of the Big Bang? No: but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
            It’s partly as you say. Current scientific knowledge cannot answer it, because current scientific knowledge primarily deals with post-big-bang events. Why? Because it’s more practically useful, and because of the uproar that starts any time science touches an area guarded by religion (see: evolution, geocentricity…).
            Just because a question is currently unanswered, doesn’t mean it is always unanswerable.

          4. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            OK, Jane, so I guess we just have to conclude that we each have faith in different things. This subject is one that cannot be “won” by either side. I think as we both know.

            I hope you do ponder it, though.

  23. 0
    Anastasia Hanson says:

    Scott and everyone who commented, thank you for making a choice to engage in dialogue, even while coming from different perspectives. This is incredible rare and courageous in today’s world to be able to debate and ask questions well.

  24. 0
    Kasey S. says:

    Hi there Scott! I’m a Christian, and I’ve been reading this site for a while, and it’s been a wonderful tool for me. On this article however, it was pointed out to me by an atheist that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t apply because Earth isn’t a closed system due to energy from the sun. While I personally don’t think it changes things all that much, I was curious as to what your opinion was on that. Thanks!

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Kasey,

      Yes, I have heard that objection from atheists many times before, and I find it to be HILARIOUS! Yes, the Earth is an “open system” which means that something from outside of the system can step in to counteract the disordering force of the second law of thermodynamics.

      As an illustration, let’s consider a junkyard: The disordering force of the 2nd law of thermodynamics acting on the old cars in a junkyard causes them to rust and breakdown (become less ordered). Over great periods of time, in fact, the cars will no longer be recognizable as cars. But, someone or something can step in from outside of the “open system” of the junkyard to counteract the disordering action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. A person, for example, could enter the junkyard and replace or repair some of the rusting parts.

      Please notice in our junkyard example how an open system was necessary but NOT SUFFICIENT to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Your atheist friend is confusing a necessary condition with a sufficient condition.

      Just think about it, does the energy from the sun have any re-ordering properties to counteract the disordering properties of the 2nd law of thermodynamics? If it does, why is it that we cannot place a dead and decomposing animal in the sun and expect it to re-compose? I can virtually guarantee that your atheist friend will not respond to this question, or will try to evade it at all costs.

      Ask your atheist friend what it is that steps in from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the disordering properties of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Under no circumstances will he/she be able to answer this question coherently.

      The energy from the sun, in fact, contributes to the disordering properties of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, in that it accelerates decomposition of organic materials such as plants and animals. An open system is a NECESSARY condition to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but not a SUFFICIENT condition to do so.

      Scott

      1. 0
        dj says:

        a junkyard, for all intents and purposes, is a closed system. Yes someone could go in and fix the cars, but until they do, it isn’t an open system.

        The possibility of someone making that an open system doesn’t make it one.

        Your analogy is like going up to a closed door and saying “it is closed, but it can be opened, so it is open”

        2) yep, dead bodies decompose. And If you put them in the sun they decompose faster. But why? The sun, combined with moisture, combined with dead cells, promotes microbial life.

        The sun doesn’t decompose a body, it promotes the growth of something else that does. In this case, fungus and bacteria.

        Both analogies really fail.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          dj,

          Ok, fine…for the purposes of debate, I will just assume that you are correct that “a junkyard, for all intents and purposes, is a closed system.” But you apparently believe that the Earth is NOT a closed system. So the question is: Who or what is it that acted from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so as to bring about the massive increase in order which transpired in the emergence of life from non-living matter?

          The simplest living thing (a single celled organism) is described by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

          “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

          Was it sunlight that transformed non-living matter into life on the early Earth? Was it sunlight that acted from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby bringing about the vast, vast increase in order from simple, non-living matter into “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, etc. etc……”??? I know that some atheists have argued that it was lightning that did this. Are you going to now argue that it was sunlight?

          Please elaborate on how it is that sunlight can create “high-tech factories complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems….”

          In my essay titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (click on the preceding link), I explain why codes and languages can only be explained as the result of a conscious and intelligent mind. In a nutshell, symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY a mental process. A code or language uses abstract, substitutive, symbolic representation that can only be accomplished by a conscious and intelligent mind. Please read the essay and proceed to furnish your rebuttal.

          Your argument ASSUMES but DOES NOT EXPLAIN the existence of life…microbial life. Put another way, life (including microbial life) is what needs explanation.

          Scott

          1. 0
            dj says:

            Because sun plus matter = complex life.

            You are making a strawman argument. You are essentially saying look the sun can’t possibly create cellular life. No one, not even atheists, support that position. The position that is held by most people is that the constant bombardment of energy from an outside source helped promote the rise of life. If you want to know the exact method of how this happened, we don’t know the answer. I am being intellectually honest by saying that. It beats “we don’t know, god had to have done it”

          2. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            dj,

            If you look at the definition of a “straw man argument,” it quickly becomes apparent that it is YOU (and not I) making a “straw man argument”. A “straw man argument” occurs when a person mischaracterizes their opponent’s argument, and then proceeds to attack that mischaracterized argument…rather than their opponent’s ACTUAL argument.

            In my previous comment, I ASKED you, “Was it sunlight that acted from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby bringing about the vast, vast increase in order from simple, non-living matter into ‘…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, etc. etc……’”???

            Again, I ASKED you if that was your argument, I did not suggest that it was your argument.

            You however completely mischaracterize my argument as “we don’t know, so god had to have done it.” If you would have read my comment (and the essay to which I linked you), it would be immediately apparent that I am in no way suggesting that we should believe God created life merely because “we don’t know” much about how life emerged from non-living matter.

            Rather, I am suggesting that we should believe God created life because…. (a copy and paste from my previous comment appears below):

            In my essay titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (click on the preceding link), I explain why codes and languages can only be explained as the result of a conscious and intelligent mind. In a nutshell, symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY a mental process. A code or language uses abstract, substitutive, symbolic representation that can only be accomplished by a conscious and intelligent mind. Please read the essay and proceed to furnish your rebuttal.

            This is not an argument based upon what we DO NOT know about life, but rather it is an argument based upon what we DO know about life.

            Please furnish your rebuttal.

            READERS: PLEASE PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE! Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will an atheist provide a coherent answer to the following question:

            What was it that acted (from outside of the open system of the Earth) to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby bringing about the vast, vast increase in order from simple, non-living matter into the simplest life form (a single celled organism)???

            Again, to put the question in perspective, the simplest living thing (a single celled organism) is described by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

            “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

            READERS: Please note that atheism is anchored in the belief that natural processes, rather than God, brought about life from non-living matter. Please also note that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is a DISORDERING force, rather than the ordering force which is necessary to organize non-living matter in to immensely complicated living things.

            Lastly, I should mention that even the most elite atheist biologists clearly DO realize that life was created by an intelligent source. An excerpt from my essay Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God is here pertinent:

            Outspoken atheistic biologist numero uno, Richard Dawkins, cites “higher intelligence” as a potential explanation for the origin of life in this interview. (click on the preceding link). But what is the source of this intelligent agency, according Dawkins and several other prominent atheists? ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE! (Or “a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe” to use Dawkins’ exact words).

            The hypothesis that life on earth originated when it was brought here by space aliens is known as “directed panspermia,” and has been endorsed by highly prominent atheists such as Dawkins, the biologist Francis Crick (who is famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix) and the British chemist Leslie Orgel. (Click here to read an article regarding Crick’s support of the hypothesis). *

            Scott

  25. 0
    DJ says:

    Composition/Division or fallacy of composition

    This fallacy simply states that just because something is true for a part, it doesnt make it true for whole. Or just because something is true for the whole, it doesnt make it true for the part.

    A great example would be saying that a person can see better if they stand at a football game, therefore everyone will be able to see better if they stand.

    Or, in the case of scott’s point of expecting the sun to impact all the parts of the earth in the same way it impacts the whole.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      DJ,

      Where have I suggested that the sun must “impact all parts of the Earth in the same way it impacts the whole”? If I had made such an assertion (which I have not), of what significance would this be? I thought that you were not suggesting that the sun is what causes the enormous increase in order present in the origin of life from non-living matter. Am I wrong? Are you suggesting this? I do not want to put words in your mouth.

      Your composition/division fallacy argument is strange.

      Scott

      1. 0
        DJ says:

        I explained myself perfectly fine.

        The insinuation was because we can observe entropy in certain parts of the earth, that the sun can not be used to describe the lack of entropy on the earth.

        Or equating the big picture with what we observe in small pockets.

    2. 0
      Rod Carty says:

      DJ commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

      in response to godevidence:

      //Frank Turek and Norman Geisler make an excellent point in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. The Second Law of Thermodynamics poses an insurmountable problem for atheistic explanations of the origin of life from non-living matter: “…nature disorders, it doesn’t organize things (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder […]//

      “Composition/Division or fallacy of composition

      This fallacy simply states that just because something is true for a part, it doesnt make it true for whole. Or just because something is true for the whole, it doesnt make it true for the part.

      A great example would be saying that a person can see better if they stand at a football game, therefore everyone will be able to see better if they stand.

      Or, in the case of scott’s point of expecting the sun to impact all the parts of the earth in the same way it impacts the whole.”

      Thank you for explaining why you think a particular fallacy has been committed in that quoted post. In effect you are claiming that there are exceptions to 2LoT, are you not? Your mention of the sun, which is not in the quote, I suspect is making the claim that an input of energy from the sun is all that is required. Please explain how solar energy input alone causes things to naturally bring about increases in complexity and order. And you cannot use already-living organisms as examples of this, because the origin of life is what we are talking about. Using life as an example of overcoming entropy with only solar energy begs the question about how that life came about.

  26. 0
    DJ says:

    Personal incredulity is really good.

    Lets look at the argument in its logic form.

    P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.

    Or I can not imagine how the world came to being in a natural way, therefore a naturalistic explanation is false.

    PS. I did not commit this fallacy. I have always said that god could exist. The evidence isnt there, but the possibility exists.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      YET AGAIN, you have asserted that there is no evidence for God while simultaneously ignoring the evidence I present you. This, yet again, is the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. Tell you what, take a pick and respond to JUST ONE of the pieces of evidence I have repeatedly presented you:

      I have presented POSITIVE evidence for God from biology (which says that code and language, such as DNA, is BY NECESSITY a mental construct, as in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading), evidence from physics (which says that there is no reality independent of conscious mind, as presented in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism), and evidence from cosmology/astrophysics which says that the cause of the universe must be timeless, immaterial, space-less, and energy-less (just like God), as presented in Is There A God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?).

      In no way shape or form am I arguing that God must exist because I cannot imagine how the world came into being in a natural way. Rather, I am arguing that God must exist based upon the above cited POSITIVELY stated arguments for the existence of God. These arguments, again, are based upon what we DO KNOW about science, and NOT upon what we do not know. Again, the code or language of DNA has been shown by information science to BY NECESSITY be a mental construct, which means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. And again, modern physics says that there is no reality independent of conscious mind, which means that a conscious mind is BY NECESSITY the ground of reality.

      Scott

    2. 0
      Rod Carty says:

      DJ commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

      in response to godevidence:

      //Frank Turek and Norman Geisler make an excellent point in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. The Second Law of Thermodynamics poses an insurmountable problem for atheistic explanations of the origin of life from non-living matter: “…nature disorders, it doesn’t organize things (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder […]//

      DJ: “Personal incredulity is really good.

      Lets look at the argument in its logic form.

      P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.

      Or I can not imagine how the world came to being in a natural way, therefore a naturalistic explanation is false.

      PS. I did not commit this fallacy. I have always said that god could exist. The evidence isnt there, but the possibility exists.”

      You mischaracterize the argument there. It does not say ‘I cannot imagine’, it says “an insurmountable problem”. That is, it is not saying ‘we don’t know’, it is saying ‘we do know’. We do know, by 2LoT, that a natural cause of life is impossible. The only other possibility, if natural is impossible, is, by logic, supernatural.

    1. 0
      DJ says:

      And finally, a strawman is when you purposefully misrepresent your opponents view and then argue against it.

      Lets see, Scott made several of these.

      When I made an analogy saying that the terms animal and god are almost as broad, and simply because someone sees “god” it could mean a wide range of things. The difference is as vast as a mouse and a dinosaur.

      He took this and turned it into “why are you saying people who have NDEs see animals? that is ridiculous.” (Not Verbatim)

      Every single argument that has been put forth by scott has not been based in any sort of evidence. It has been based in a logical fallacy that most people are too stupid to see.

      But I will ignore it, ALL OF IT, if something observable can be presented

      1. 0
        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        DJ,

        What “wide range of things” could people be referring to when they report meeting the Creator of the universe (God). Please give me some examples. What do you suppose the atheists who reported meeting God (as I linked to) were really experiencing?

        ONCE AGAIN, you forcefully repeat your assertion that I have not presented any evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented to you. You are VERY TRANSPARENTLY trying to use a forceful, repeated assertion to compensate for your deficient argument. This, YET AGAIN, is the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I have presented you evidence for God from modern biology, modern physics, and modern cosmology. Why don’t you respond to JUST ONE of these pieces of evidence. YET ANOTHER COPY AND PASTE:

        The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (in the science section). Please read and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life.

        NOTE TO READERS: Forceful re-assertion that there is no evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented, demonstrates what the psychologist M. Scott Peck referred to as a “self-imposed set of blinders” to the evidence for God (as cited in “If the Evidence for God is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Unconvinced?,” in the experience section).

        Dj, you yet again suggest that only “observable” things can be considered evidence. But YET AGAIN, you commit the philosophical error committed by the Empiricists. Evidence for various things comes from applying reason to the deliverances of the senses, not just from direct observation of the deliverances of the senses.

        Please present me “observable evidence” that there was such a historical figure as Alexander the Great. All that we have is recorded testimony from various individuals. We can never observe a historical figure.

        Scott

    2. 0
      DJ says:

      Black and white or false dichotomy has been discussed a lot.

      This is where you say “A cant be true, therefore Z has to be right”

      To say “Naturalistic explanations arent right, therefore god did it”

      Even if you disprove A completely, that doesnt prove Z to be true.

      1. 0
        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Dj,

        Your assertion that I am presenting a “false dichotomy” is ridiculous. I am not merely trying to disprove naturalistic explanations. I have presented POSITIVE evidence for God from biology (which says that code and language, such as DNA, is BY NECESSITY a mental construct, as in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading), evidence from physics (which says that there is no reality independent of conscious mind, as presented in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism), and evidence from cosmology/astrophysics which says that the cause of the universe must be timeless, immaterial, space-less, and energy-less (just like God), as presented in Is There A God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?).

        You are in fact committing an Argument from Ignorance by suggesting (at least apparently) that natural mechanisms will be discovered to explain these things. This faith-based belief is what the eminent philosopher of science Karl Popper derisively termed “promissory materialism” because materialist/naturalists basically issue a “promissory note” which promises to eventually explain things in naturalistic terms.

        Scott

        1. 0
          DJ says:

          Interesting you brought up Karl Popper.

          The guy that talks about falsifiability and how important it is to the scientific process.

          Your assertion doesnt stand up to falsifiability.

      2. 0
        Rod Carty says:

        DJ commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

        in response to Rod Carty:

        //Humph. Merely listing links to various fallacies like this is elephant hurling. http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info/w/Elephant_hurling If you want to actually apply those fallacy claims you should quote the portion that you claim is fallacious, and then explain why it is fallacious.//

        “Black and white or false dichotomy has been discussed a lot.

        This is where you say “A cant be true, therefore Z has to be right”

        To say “Naturalistic explanations arent right, therefore god did it”

        Even if you disprove A completely, that doesnt prove Z to be true.”

        If there is some third option besides natural or supernatural causes please state what it is.

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Rod,

          Exactly! Online atheists often throw around terms such as “false dichotomy” and “[X,Y, or Z] logical fallacy” without really understanding the the terminology they are using. It is basically a “throw-a-bunch-of-stuff-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks” approach which uses fancy terminology in an attempt to appear credible, and create the illusion of presenting a valid counter argument.

          But, as in the case of DJ, such attempts backfire when it becomes apparent that the person making an accusation of “false dichotomy” or “[X] logical fallacy” doesn’t adequately demonstrate how his debate opponent has committed such an error.

          As you point out, DJ is using the term “false dichotomy” without actually furnishing a third option. This means that he is just throwing around terminology wildly in an attempt to throw off his opponent and create an illusion of having a valid counter-argument.

          I see this a lot when debating atheists online.

          Scott

          1. 0
            Rod Carty says:

            Rod: “If there is some third option besides natural or supernatural causes please state what it is.”

            DJ: “Aliens could have done it. Maybe an impersonal god did it.

            There are two options right there.”

            Aliens are natural. A god is supernatural. You have not provided a third option.

    3. 0
      DJ says:

      Tu quoque is kind of interesting. It is where you dont answer the criticism, you simply flip the criticism around on the critic without answer the question.

      A great example would be this.

      Scott: NDEs are evidence of god?
      Me: How do we know god caused them?
      Scott: “I am utterly mystified by why you put so much emphasis on knowing what the “cause” of NDEs is…as if that were some how relevant.”

      Scott made the claim that NDEs were caused by god. This is evidenced by his statement “The evidence that these NDEs are caused by God is the same evidence that THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT (including NDEs) is caused by God.”

      When actually called to answer the question he flipped the criticism onto the questioner.

      Therefore committing Tu quoque

      1. 0
        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        DJ,

        Please copy and paste for me where I said that NDEs were “caused” by God. I said that NDEs are evidence for God. Since I believe (for rationally demonstrated reasons) that God is the fundamental ground of reality, then God is ultimately the “cause” of NDEs.

        It is YOU who introduced the question of what “causes” NDEs. I have said that I do not think that this question has any particular relevance, but you REFUSE to explain why this question is relevant.

        Scott

        1. 0
          DJ says:

          “The evidence that these NDEs are caused by God is the same evidence that THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT (including NDEs) is caused by God. ”

          You said that on February 10th

    4. 0
      DJ says:

      Burden of Proof – A great example of this would be making a claim that NDEs are OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE of god. When questioned about that, the answer devolves into “you cant disprove this”

      This can be summed up in one question asked by Scott “If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?”

      This is shifting the burden of proof. Asking a person to prove a negative statement is next to impossible. Especially when you create an entity that is entirely immune to debate simply because of its definition. Prove this timeless spaceless immaterial invisible undetectable entity doesnt exist.

      See the issue? That is why when you make a positive claim, the burden of proof is on you.

      Alex Michalos, the author of Principles of logic, states in this book that “usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”

      1. 0
        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Dj,

        There is no shifting the burden of proof. I have presented EVIDENCE that NDEs cannot be explained in naturalistic terms. Please read my post titled How to evaluate an NDE skeptic’s explanation for the phenomenon (click here).

        I am not asking you to prove a negative. Rather, I am asking you to explain NDEs in naturalistic terms. For example, I have asked you SEVERAL TIMES to explain the “born blind” NDEs in naturalistic terms, but you refuse to do so.

        A citation from the above mentioned essay:

        Many of these reports [of Near-Death Experiences] are so well-documented that some naturalists have been forced to take them seriously, even admitting the possibility they pose of life beyond the grave. John Beloff, writing in The Humanist, argued that the evidence for the afterlife was so strong that humanists should just admit it and attempt to interpret it in naturalistic terms. Amazingly, the well-known atheist philosopher A.J. Ayer experienced an NDE that he could not explain in natural terms: “On the face of it, these experiences, on the assumption that the last one was vertical, are rather strong evidence that death does not put an end to consciousness.”

        –Gary Habermas and Michael Lacona, as cited in their book A Case for the Resurrection of Jesus.

        Scott

      2. 0
        Rod Carty says:

        Rod Carty: “Humph. Merely listing links to various fallacies like this is elephant hurling. http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info/w/Elephant_hurling If you want to actually apply those fallacy claims you should quote the portion that you claim is fallacious, and then explain why it is fallacious.”

        DJ: “Burden of Proof – A great example of this would be making a claim that NDEs are OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE of god. When questioned about that, the answer devolves into “you cant disprove this”

        This can be summed up in one question asked by Scott “If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?”

        This is shifting the burden of proof. Asking a person to prove a negative statement is next to impossible. Especially when you create an entity that is entirely immune to debate simply because of its definition. Prove this timeless spaceless immaterial invisible undetectable entity doesnt exist.

        See the issue? That is why when you make a positive claim, the burden of proof is on you.

        Alex Michalos, the author of Principles of logic, states in this book that “usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”

        I don’t need to have the fallacy explained. You linked to definitions of them previously so this is redundant anyway. Repeating the claim without supporting it is also a fallacy. Please quote the part in the OP where shifting the burden of proof occurs. Unless you do this for each of your posts where you replied to the OP with a fallacy claim my charge of elephant hurling still applies. Claiming someone committed a particular fallacy elsewhere does not remove your responsibility to resolve this charge.

    5. 0
      DJ says:

      elephant hurling – Elephant hurling is a debate tactic in which a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument.

      Doesnt really fit. I linked a few websites to fallacies that I have already mentioned for the most part. A better example of this would be linking several videos that are pretty long and then saying “why dont you read this blog post” or saying “if you go to youtube you will see my point is true”

      Which is something your scott will do. But not me.

      If anyone did this, it was scott. Not me. But I will point out exactly where all these fallacies took place.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      The essay which you link to titled “Creationist Misunderstanding of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics,” is a straw-man argument. I am not and never have argued that the 2nd law of thermodynamics renders Darwinian evolution impossible. If there are creationists out there who make such an argument, that is up to them.

      Please AGAIN recall that Darwinian evolution utilizes the proposed natural mechanism of random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring. Therefore, quite obviously, Darwinian evolution only applies to that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things. Did you forget?

      The question that I have been BEGGING you to answer is how simple, non-living elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon became the 1st and simplest living thing. In other words, how did the simplest living, which the Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold describes as…

      “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours…”

      …emerge from simple non-living elements despite the fact that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that things progress from a state of more order to a state of less order over time (as in a sand castle crumbling away over time). If you want to characterize the Earth as an “open system,” fine with me. But please recall that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics manifests itself continuously on Earth…cars rusting, people aging, dead things decaying, sand castles crumbling, etc…

      You suggest that I am “making something up” rather than just admitting ignorance. But, YET AGAIN, you have failed to respond to the evidence for God from modern physics, modern biology, and modern cosmology which I have presented.

      Why don’t you respond with a LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED rebuttal to JUST ONE of these arguments. YET ANOTHER COPY AND PASTE:

      The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Please provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why ultra-elite atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life.

      Scott

  27. 0
    dj says:

    No I preach the message of I don’t know and that the god of gaps theory is stupid.

    If you fill every unknown with “I can’t explain this, must be god” without any evidence to justify that god, that is your choice.

    I’m sorry I don’t feel the need to lie to make myself more comfortable.

    Here is the truth. A beautiful lie is more comfortable than an unknown. And a beautiful lie is a lot more comfortable than cold hard fact.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      A “God of the gaps” argument is an argument based upon what we do NOT know (gaps in scientific understanding). But my argument is based upon what we DO know about science.

      I don’t want to overload you, SO PLEASE RESPOND TO JUST ONE of the pieces of evidence I cited for the existence of God.

      The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Click on the preceding link and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter.

      This argument for God is based upon what we DO know about science, not upon what we do NOT know about science (as in a “God of the gaps” argument).

      This is why ultra-elite atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life (known as “directed panspermia”). Please CLICK HERE to watch Richard Dawkins entertaining this hypothesis in an interview.

      Because you consistently fail to respond to the evidence presented to you, but rather continue to commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion by repeatedly and forcefully asserting that I have not presented evidence, I am forced to use “counters” of the number of times that you have failed to respond to this evidence.

      The COUNTER FOR THE ABOVE EVIDENCE FROM BIOLOGY IS ON 4 (four).

      The COUNTER FOR THE “BORN BLIND” NDEs IS NOW ON 5 (five).

      Who do you think you are fooling by continually ignoring the evidence presented to you while simultaneously asserting that no evidence has been presented? Seriously!!

      But, you are not alone. Atheists commit such logical fallacies all the time. The Argument by Repeated Assertion is one of the logical fallacies frequently committed by atheists.

      NOTE TO READERS: DJ clearly has the “self-imposed set of blinders” that atheists use to blind themselves to God, mentioned by the psychologist M. Scott Peck, as cited in my essay titled “If the Evidence for God is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Not Convinced?” (in the “experience” section).

      Scott

  28. 0
    dj says:

    I’m done.

    The lack of evidence combined with false accusations, circular reasoning, special pleadings, red herrings etc.. is just too much.

    This is turning into I know you are but what am I. I just don’t have the energy to deal.

    At the end of the day, people take god on faith. And faith by its definition is believing something without evidence. And I don’t do that because I’m not stupid.

    Good day

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Dj,

      Remember that this discussion has happened in the comment section of a post titled “Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.” And remember where we left off with regards to this issue:

      You said that sunlight renders the Earth an open system, and that the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t apply to open systems.
      I then asked you why it is that we very clearly do see manifestations of the 2nd law of thermodynamics on Earth (such as dead things decaying, cars rusting, people aging, sand castles crumbling, etc.). You did not post a response to this question.

      You apparently believe ON FAITH and WITHOUT EVIDENCE that some sort of undetermined natural process or mechanism exists that counteracts the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and thereby creates life from non-living matter…even though the simplest living thing is several orders of magnitude more complicated than our most sophisticated machines.

      If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?

      Scott

  29. 0
    dj says:

    No one really supports the idea that the sun + non life = life. And to prop that up as a point and then argue against it is a strawman argument. There that is clearer

  30. 0
    ze says:

    I think the ‘insurmountable’ law as it pertains to the earth-sun system has been fairly well addressed already. The sun WILL eventually run out of fuel and life will not be possible on earth just as the 2nd law predicts. That’s a long ways away, but let’s say it was a bit closer. We can chose to believe everything arose from supernatural forces and, as long as we pick the RIGHT supernatural force, we needn’t worry -or- we can look at the evidence that supports no supernatural forces at work, and rely on ourselves to solve the problem of getting off this rock to somewhere else that’s habitable.

    With respect to the 2nd law and the entire universe. The universe ‘may’ be a closed system (we actually don’t know this for certain). But, assuming it is, there has been a massive increase in entropy since the big bang. The currently observable universe is far more disordered than the singularity prior to the big bang.

  31. 0
    dj says:

    So your “evidence” is when 20% of people have a near death see what they say is god when their brain is shutting down, it counts.

    You throw out a red herring talking about leprechauns. That is irrelevant. Lots of people have claimed to see the face of god when they do hallucinagens.that doesn’t make it true.

    The reason why I brought up my experience and the experiences of 80% of people that have NDE and see nothing, why do you discount that.

    Someone has an unverifiable hallucination, that is evidence, but you dismiss the vast majority of people’s as anecdotal.

    Sounds like a special pleading

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      I will again ask you what you think the significance of your 20% figure is. I asked you to tell us what the significance of this figure is, but you seem to want to take it for granted that this percentage (if it were true) has some sort of significance. What would that significance be?

      What does your comment about people using hallucinogens and seeing God have to do with anything? We are not discussing people who take hallucinogens. Rather, we are discussing people who have had NDEs. Your mentioning of this is a red herring, not my illustration which cites leprechauns in a hallucination.

      Significant is the fact that so many people who have had NDEs report that they have met God…including many atheists (as I provided video links to verify in my previous comment, and in my essay).

      You write, “someone has an unverifiable hallucination, that is evidence, but you dismiss the vast majority of people’s as anecdotal.” But that is a complete mischaracterization, intended to imply that it only happened to “someone” rather than the 10s of thousands of individuals.

      Further, you have yet to explain why it is that an NDE must happen to most or all people who have a loss of consciousness, in order for it to be a valid phenomenon. Please explain.

      Recall my previous citation:

      Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

      Another line of evidence pointing to the validity of these experiences is the fact there have been many people who report visual phenomena during their NDE, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE BORN BLIND AND THEREFORE HAVE NO CONCEPT OF WHAT IT MEANS TO “SEE.” Click on the below links to YouTube videos which provide a couple examples of such “born blind NDEs.”


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9AfJbXe3rc

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ4yVEmgG04

      Scott

  32. 0
    dj says:

    The reason why that number is significant, is because it represents a minority position. Sam Harris makes the claim that the number could be closer to 10% but i gave you the high end of the estimate. The vast majority of people don’t experience anything. I didn’t experience anything. Writing off the majority in favor of the few that have hallucinations is a textbook definition of cherry picking.

    I brought up hallucinogenic drugs to point out that simply because a person claims to see god doesn’t mean they actually did.

    I’m sure they had authentic experiences. I’m sure they saw something. I’m not challenging the fact that they had hallucinations. I am saying that you are making a huge jump from synapses freaking out in near death to god did it.

    Your argument is getting awfully close to attributing lightning to zeus

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      And why would a minority position be significant? If only 10 or 20% of people who smoke cigarettes got lung cancer, would this mean that smoking does not cause cancer? Please explain since your argument is unclear.

      I am not writing off any majorities. If a majority of people who have a loss of consciousness do not have an NDE, of what significance is that?
      Why exactly is it that a majority of people who experience a loss consciousness must have an NDE for it to be a valid phenomenon? This is strange.

      Scott

  33. 0
    dj says:

    Any bets on how many more times he is going to say “ask any atheist what is the outside force that made life possible and they won’t be able to answer coherently” after the original answer, the sun, was repeated a hundred times?

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      The last time that I suggested you thought that the sun was the force that works from outside of the open system of the Earth in order to transform non-living elements into living things, you accused me of making a “straw man” argument. Is my recollection of facts incorrect? If so, please clarify.

      Is it the energy of the sun that transforms simple basic elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon into something as complex as “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices.…etc, etc”???

      YES OR NO!? Your answer is unclear since you seem to say “yes” in one answer and “no” in another (accusing me of a straw-man argument). And again, if the energy of the sun prevents the action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics on Earth, then why is it that we regularly experience things such as the rust of cars, the breakdown of old houses, and the decay of dead things?! Are these events not manifestations of the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

      Please clarify.

      Scott

      Scott

  34. 0
    dj says:

    And I answered your question. I said the addition of energy from the sun.

    When my original point was brought up, it was the sun. I never backed off it. By continuing to ask the same question, you are essentially pulling a move out of Glenn beck’s playbook. The “oh I’m only asking questions” line. I am calling b.s. your readers might not be smart enough to see past that rhetorical tactic, but I am.

    Your understanding of the second law is completely ridiculous. You have misrepresented it the entire time. Your blog post ignores the most important part.

    The second law of thermodynamics is only applicable for closed systems. The earth is not a closed system. It is open. So any argument you make saying that the second law means that evolution is impossible is really intellectually dishonest. Like I said, we know that the constant addition of energy is the reason why life is possible. Without an outside source of energy, our planet would waste away. That is the proper application of the second law.

    Now, if you want to know the exact way in which the sun interacted with earth to promote the advent of life (I might add, you are reducing this down in a manner that is way too simple. It isn’t like one day there was no life, and the next day there was bacteria.) We are still looking for that answer.

    PS the second law isn’t a force, it is an observation. In leymans terms, eventually something will break down unless an outside force acts upon it to prevent that from happening.

    So to answer you question, what is the outside force? The 84 terrawatts of power that we get from the sun.

    PS, saying elite scientists say there was a creator and then citing one of them saying “yeah its a possibility” is intellectually dishonest

    PPS, a hypothesis is a guess. Aliens did it holds as much weight as god did it until someone provides evidence to support it.

    Enough fighting against atheism because the true answer that I would give you is I don’t know. I would love to see the evidence of god. I mean if you had some, you could win the Nobel prize.

    So what is your evidence?

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      OK fine, the Earth is an open system…if you wish. You completely misrepresent my argument when you suggest that I am “saying that the second law means that evolution is impossible.” This is not what I am saying at all. Please recall that the Darwinian evolutionary mechanism utilizes random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring.

      This means that Darwinian evolution, quite obviously, only works on that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things.

      But please also note that it is the ORIGIN of living things from non-living matter that needs to be explained. Darwinian evolution only addresses the diversification of life once life has already emerged.

      So what I am trying to pry out of you is this: If the Earth is an open system, then what is it that acts from out of the system of the Earth to counteract the disordering force of the 2nd law of thermodynamics? You write that “the second law of thermodynamics is only applicable for closed systems.” But this is obviously false because we see the action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics every day on Earth. It is the reason that cars rust, the reason that old houses need repairs, and the reason that dead things decay. The relevance of an open system to the 2nd law of thermodynamics is only that, in an open system, something can act from outside of the system to COUNTERACT the disordering action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby creating greater order from a state of less order.

      So what is it that counteracts the disordering action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so as to transform simple inorganic elements such as carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen into something as complex as (to again cite the Oxford University scientist’s description of the simplest living thing):

      “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours” ?????

      You write: “PS the second law isn’t a force, it is an observation. In leymans terms, eventually something will break down unless an outside force acts upon it to prevent that from happening.” And then you go on to suggest that this force which prevents things from breaking down is “the 84 terrawatts of power that we get from the sun”. If this is so, then why doesn’t the 84 terrawatts of power from the sun prevent such actions of the 2nd law on Earth as 1) the rusting of cars, 2) the aging of people, and 3) the decay of dead things?!?!
      If the sun prevented the action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics on Earth, then we would have no rust, no breakdown, and no decay!!!

      Further, we need a force capable of doing much more than merely preventing something from breaking down in order to transform simple basic elements like carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen into “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, etc. etc……”!!!! Merely preventing breakdown is one thing, but actually increasing order in such a way is another thing entirely.

      You say that you would love to see evidence for God, but you have not responded to the evidence that I have presented you in the form of the essay titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (click on the preceding link). Modern physics and modern cosmology, like modern biology, also provide very compelling evidence for God. To this end, please read my essays titled God is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism and OK…I Want Numbers. What is the probability that our world is the result of chance? Please click on the preceding links to read the essays.

      Every time you assert that there is no evidence for God, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present, you are committing the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. A person who commits this logical fallacy is a person who seems to think that merely repeating a false statement over and over again (such as “there is no evidence for God”) will make the statement true.

      Regarding how I pointed out that some of the most elite of atheist scientists have hypothesized that life was brought to Earth by aliens: I point this out to demonstrate that they very clearly DO understand that life is the product of intelligence. The fact that they have introduced this hypothesis cannot be intellectually dishonest because it is a plain and easily verifiable fact.

      Scott

      1. 0
        dj says:

        Even if you beat me in an argument, you are pulling a nick nayler. You have not justified your position with any sort of evidence.

        The burden of proof is not on the one making the negative statement. It is on the one making the positive statement.

        So, for the sake of argument, let’s say you discredit atheism through “proof by logic”

        What is the evidence that god, your god, created the universe?

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          dj,

          It is not about one person “beating” another person in an argument. Rather, it is about getting to the truth.

          I linked you to several essays which detail the evidence for God. You continue to ignore these essays, while simultaneously asserting that I have not presented evidence. As I mentioned before, you are here committing the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. Below, again, is a copy and paste of some of the essays I mentioned which provide strong evidence for God:

          Modern physics and modern cosmology, like modern biology, also provide very compelling evidence for God. To this end, please read my essays titled God is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism and OK…I Want Numbers…What is the probability that our world is the result of chance? These are under the “science” tab at this website. These are just some introductory pieces of evidence for God. There is much more.

          PLEASE READ AND RESPOND WITH ANY RATIONALLY CONSTRUCTED REBUTTALS YOU MAY HAVE.
          Any third party observer can see that you are just trying to repeat the assertion that I have not presented evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present (the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion). This is the “self-imposed set of blinders” that the psychologist M. Scott Peck refers to, as I cite him in my essay titled If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?

          Scott

          1. 0
            dj says:

            You “evidence” is a proof by logic.

            In order for this to work the premises of a logical argument must be 100% umambiguously correct, valid, and unassumed. Each premise must be demonstrably true.

            Unfortunately for you, you have yet to build your argument with anything more than assumptions.

          2. 0
            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            dj,

            Here again, you very transparently try to avoid my argument, rather than actually furnish a rebuttal to my argument. Specifically, you are trying to characterize my argument (as “nothing but assumptions”) in an attempt to avoid rebutting to it. Please note the crucial difference between actually furnishing a rebuttal to an argument, on one hand, and merely characterizing an argument, on the other hand.

            Which specific parts of my argument are assumptions? How about my point that code and language is by necessity a mental construct because it uses abstract, symbolic, substitutive representation (as information science tells us)….is that an “assumption”?

            Perhaps you can furnish us with an example of a code or language that is NOT the result of a conscious and intelligent mind?

            Scott

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      Thanks for this. When you write such things as “it makes you look ridiculous” instead of a logical rebuttal to my argument, you are just advertising to all 3rd party observers that you DO NOT HAVE a logical reply or rebuttal…and that you feel frustrated and angry. Nothing could be more transparent.

      Trust me, I have no interest whatsoever in what you think of me. If I look ridiculous to you, that is perfectly fine with me since I am completely unconcerned of your opinion of me.

      Scott

  35. 0
    dj says:

    1) I accused you of a strawman when you implied that one day the sun is shining and the next day cells popped into being. If that wasn’t your implication, then I take it back. If it was, it is a strawman.

    2) I’m actually fairly impressed you know the difference between abiogenesis and evolution. I typically use the term interchangeably because most do not.

    3) you just presented a false dichotomy. Because the sun doesn’t stop rust, it can not be used to describe the outside force that helped promote life. This is the implication.

    The sun is not a god. It doesn’t have magic powers. It is simply an energy source.and energy interacts with different chemicals in different ways. It isn’t an either or situation, hence the false dichotomy

    4) just because the sun is the catalyst, it doesn’t mean other things aren’t in play. This is where the question arises. What forces helped life form? Could it be god? Sure. Could it be geothermal heat and lightning? Sure. Could it have been just the sun? Absolutely. But I think it is a bit dishonest to say it was god, when we have never observed god. The exact mechanism is unknown right now. But I would prefer no to complicate it with an unobserved, unfalsifiable diety just because.

    1. 0
      John says:

      dj, you say no one has observed God, but has anyone observed life coming from nonliving material? Has anyone been able to reproduce it in a lab? Observation and reproduction of the results are key parts of the scientific method, are they not? Can you link to the experiments where they reproduced this?

    2. 0
      dj says:

      5) you make an appeal to probability and an appeal to design in your other works.

      Essentially you say that since we are finely tuned, god did it. Granted that is a simplification, but if I had a sentence to sum it that would be it.

      And your other point is that since it is incredibly unlikely as in almost impossible for the universe to just form naturally. Am I correct on both these things?

      1. 0
        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        dj,

        Saying that I make “an appeal to probability and an appeal to design” is a vast oversimplification and misrepresentation of my argument.

        My arguments for God are multi-layered and one of the layers is the anthropic fine tuning argument. You are correct that you are oversimplifying when you suggest, “Essentially you say that since we are finely tuned, god did it.”

        The anthropic fine tuning argument (from modern cosmology/astrophysics) is one layer. This layer is described in my essays Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and OK…I want numbers. What is the chance that the universe is the result of chance? (click on the preceding links).

        A second layer is the insights from modern biology, as detailed in the essays How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading and Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. (click on the preceding links). A synopsis of one of the arguments for God from modern biology would be this: DNA utilizes a LANGUAGE. Even the world’s most outspoken atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins acknowledges this. Dawkins writes:

        “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

        The fact that DNA is a language deals a CRUSHING BLOW to atheism because information science tells us that informational exchange (code and language) is BY NECESSITY a mental process (a conscious and intelligent mind is required). Abstract, substitutive, symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY a mental process, which means that a conscious and intelligent mind BY NECESSITY is responsible for the origin of life. This is why, as I have pointed out in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, some ultra-elite atheist biologists have resorted to postulating that ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE created life and brought it to Earth in their spaceship. Go to the essay to watch a video of Richard Dawkins endorsing this hypothesis (known as “directed pansperemia”) in an interview and to read an article about how the famous atheist biologist Francis Crick (famous as the co-discoverer of DNA) endorsed this hypothesis in his book titled Life Itself.

        A third layer comes from the insights of modern physics, as detailed in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. (click on the preceding link). A brief summary of the evidence for God from modern physics is this: Modern physics has shown that there is no reality independent of a conscious observer. THERE IS NO REALITY INDEPENDENT OF MIND.

        Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University explains why people (such as atheist biologists) cling to materialism/naturalism (in which atheism is rooted) despite the fact that it has been completely discredited by modern physics:

        “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

        These are just 3 of many other layers of the argument for God.

        Scott

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      Where SPECIFICALLY do any of my arguments contain anything even vaguely resembling an assertion similar to “it just has to be”?? Here again, you are transparently trying to avoid furnishing a rebuttal to my arguments.

      Scott

      1. 0
        dj says:

        Specifically you bring up the fine tuning argument.

        Things are finely tuned so there has to be a god.

        Dna is a language, so there has to be a god.

        You have not provided a thing that remotely resembles an observation. You rely on unobserved presuppositions to say “well that’s the way it has to be”

        That may work in philosophy class, but you have yet to provide anyone anything that resembles an observation. Simply logic statements.

        It sure is convenient to invent something that can’t be observed and then say “it has to be that way”

        So I will ask again. What is the evidence that your god exists. I’m not asking for a logic statement. I’m asking for something verifiable

  36. 0
    dj says:

    You have to justify your presuppositions with evidence in order for me to rebut it.

    So, you say that because we are finely tuned and because Dna is a language, that it is necessary that god exists because this couldn’t have happened naturally.

    The fact is, this isn’t the worst statement in terms of logic. But there still isn’t evidence to justify the existence of god.

    You might can will him into existence semantically speaking. But you can not provide a shred of observable evidence to justify your position. And until you do, you really don’t have anything.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      My first point is that matter, energy, time and space originated with the Big Bang. So whatever caused the Big Bang was immaterial, energyless, timeless, and spaceless.

      Observation can only be applied to that which is material and exists within space and time. You are making a philosophical mistake which is absolutely pervasive within atheist thought. There is a little history of philosophy behind all of this. To this end, I cite Bo Jinn from his book Illogical Atheism:

      “Empiricism is a school of epistemology which rose to prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries, the celebrated ‘Age of Enlightenment’.   This is really where it all began. For those who are not familiar with philosophical jargon, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and more importantly, the acquisition of knowledge. So as not to get lost in all the mind-numbing detail philosophers love so much, all you need to know is that there were two diametrically opposed schools of thought during the time of the Enlightenment: the Empiricists (Hume, Berkley, Locke) on the one hand, and the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) on the other.[ 12] The rationalist school, simply put, believed that the best way to arrive at truth was by refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic. Empiricism, on the other hand, challenged the reliability of our rational intuitions and held that the only reliable path to truth was through sense-experience.”

      “Rationalism emphasized the human mind as the truth-manufacturing machine. Empiricism placed all its stock in the human observation and the intelligibility of nature- or, if you like; the data that actually goes into the machine. And thus the miracle of science was born to the western world, from the empirical philosophical cradle of post-Enlightenment Europe, whose emphasis was fixed exclusively on the deliverances of the senses, and put absolutely no faith in intuition, increasingly minimal faith in the rational mind and violently resisted the whole notion of faith altogether. That has largely been the theme of western academia ever since. In the minds of most people and, indeed, of most scientists, science and empirical study were/ are deemed to be virtually synonymous. The problem is that this is at most a half-truth. Science is a combination of three exercises, which work in stages; (1) Postulating patterns in nature; (2) Deducing them, and then; (3) Inferring rational conclusions which provide a basis for postulating further patterns.”

      Your statement, “You can not provide a shred of observable evidence to justify your position. And until you do, you really don’t have anything” demonstrates that you are making this philosophical error. You fall into the trap of thinking that scientific knowledge comes about “exclusively by the deliverances of the senses” (in Bo Jinn’s above words). The existence of God is postulated by “refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic.”

      By insisting that only observational data can lead to truth (as it certainly appears you are doing), you are, like the Empiricists, demonstrating that you do not believe the rational mind provides a pathway to truth.

      Scott

  37. 0
    dj says:

    Here is the fact of the matter.

    1) By defintion, the mere existence of god can not be disproven. This entity is Un observable and unfalsifiable. You have a entity that is spaceless, timeless, and matterless.

    2) you make the claim that a. We are finely tuned. B. Dna is a language. C. In order for consciousness to exist there has to be an observer. You then turn around and say that this is attributable to god.

    What I am asking you to do is to provide evidence to justify this attribution. And 8 know your response will be “I said higher power”

    Don’t bs me. Even if I except the premise at face value, why should I attribute them to your god.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      The problem here is that you are conflating “evidence” with observational data. You write, “This entity is unobservable and unfalsifiable.” But observation is only one way which we can postulate that something exists. For example, can you observe a mathematical concept such as the number seven? You can certainly observe a symbolic representation of the number 7, but this is not the same as actually observing the mathematical concept itself.

      But just because we can only observe symbolic representations of the number 7, and not the mathematical concept itself, does this mean that this mathematical concept does not exist?

      The reason you keep asking me for evidence for God (thus implying that I haven’t given you any), even though I have given you several lines of evidence, is that you confuse and conflate evidence with observation. God is a rational postulation that results from the application of the reason to such things as observational data. Since you are again making the philosophical error made by the Empiricists, I am going to have to copy and paste much of my previous comment below:

      You are making a philosophical mistake which is absolutely pervasive within atheist thought. There is a little history of philosophy behind all of this. To this end, I cite Bo Jinn from his book Illogical Atheism:

      “Empiricism is a school of epistemology which rose to prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries, the celebrated ‘Age of Enlightenment’. This is really where it all began. For those who are not familiar with philosophical jargon, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and more importantly, the acquisition of knowledge. So as not to get lost in all the mind-numbing detail philosophers love so much, all you need to know is that there were two diametrically opposed schools of thought during the time of the Enlightenment: the Empiricists (Hume, Berkley, Locke) on the one hand, and the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) on the other.[ 12] The rationalist school, simply put, believed that the best way to arrive at truth was by refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic. Empiricism, on the other hand, challenged the reliability of our rational intuitions and held that the only reliable path to truth was through sense-experience.”

      “Rationalism emphasized the human mind as the truth-manufacturing machine. Empiricism placed all its stock in the human observation and the intelligibility of nature- or, if you like; the data that actually goes into the machine. And thus the miracle of science was born to the western world, from the empirical philosophical cradle of post-Enlightenment Europe, whose emphasis was fixed exclusively on the deliverances of the senses, and put absolutely no faith in intuition, increasingly minimal faith in the rational mind and violently resisted the whole notion of faith altogether. That has largely been the theme of western academia ever since. In the minds of most people and, indeed, of most scientists, science and empirical study were/ are deemed to be virtually synonymous. The problem is that this is at most a half-truth. Science is a combination of three exercises, which work in stages; (1) Postulating patterns in nature; (2) Deducing them, and then; (3) Inferring rational conclusions which provide a basis for postulating further patterns.”

      By insisting that only observational data can lead to truth (as it certainly appears you are doing), you are, like the Empiricists, demonstrating that you do not believe the rational mind provides a pathway to truth.

      Scott

      1. 0
        dj says:

        The problem with rationalism, in this instance, is that you can literally substitute any idea in place of god.

        Even if we accept the idea that a higher power is responsible for life, you still have yet to determine what that power is.

        That’s why we need something observable. And until you provide that evidence, why should I believe you?

        1. 0
          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          dj,

          No, you cannot substitute any idea in place of God. Please recall what I have pointed out about 1) the necessity of an conscious and intelligent mind involved in the origin of a code or language such as DNA 2) the declaration by modern physics that there is no reality independent of mind (or “consciousness”) 3) the insights of modern cosmology about how matter, time, space, and energy all originated with the Big Bang.

          Considering the above, what choice do we have but to postulate a timeless, immaterial, spaceless, conscious and intelligent mind which is the cause of the universe?

          Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell of these points in their book The New Story of Science:

          “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

          Moreover, the above only references three among several other lines of evidence for God. To that end, it is not entirely accurate to say that there is no observational evidence for God. It is true enough that observational evidence for God cannot be produced on demand, but there are too many people who have had life changing experiences from their encounters with God during near-death experiences (NDEs) to declare that there is NO observational evidence for God.

          Please read my post titled Has Anyone Ever Met God and Returned to Tell About It? An excerpt:

          An entire field of research has sprung up to analyze this phenomenon [NDEs]. Researchers from the fields of medicine and psychology have come together to form the International Association of Near- Death Studies (IANDS, website iands.org) and the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF, website: nderf.org).

          In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

          “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

          “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

          In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

          Scott

  38. 0
    Ron says:

    OK, so if we’re taking this argument back to the Big Bang, I’m not sure we’re on valid ground in doing so, since nothing whatsoever is known about that mysterious pre-Big Bang little item that we call the “singularity”, primarily because we don’t know what it was and, so, what else to call it.

    One oddball thing we do know about it, though, is that the
    BB violates the FLOT … so we’ve got a problem here even before we begin to deal with SLOT. It’s not supposed to have happened, and since science is not allowed to go beyond BB
    — that’s the realm of metaphysics … and religion — science can’t very well do much about it except to say “we just don’t know”. So that’s a shaky place to begin making a defense for “order-from-randomness-is-OK.”

    But if you want to go there, anyway, then, yes it does appear that the BB resulted in increased entropy if we consider that the singularity was, in fact, a randomless point of some sort — and maybe the ultimate example of order if it was just a one-dimensional point of some kind that couldn’t possibly have ever been in a state of disorder by simple definition of “one dimensional”. I mean, how could you mix that up?

    But again, since we have no idea of the exact nature of the singularity, we’re not beginning this argument from any point of certainty whatsoever.

    But let’s just go with that. Then the “universe thing” went from perfect order to what could well be considered perfect disorder — and then almost immediately began to order itself back into what we’ve got now. I mean, now, that’s a pretty strange “Law” of physics, wouldn’t you say?

    I think it makes a lot more sense to just look around at the total wonders of what we’re in the middle of and say that:

    “The heavens declare the Glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”.

    Works for me …

  39. 0
    Ron says:

    Uh, how about this example: an anvil is non-living matter.
    An octopus is living matter … or am I missing something deeper in your question?

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      A crucial point is that no two persons have the same hallucination. A copy and paste from my essay Has Anyone Ever Met God and Returned to Tell About It? is here pertinent:

      …the astute reader (with or without expertise in the fields of brain science or psychology) will immediately recognize why this explanation [hallucination] is inadequate to explain frequent encounters with a “personal God:” Hallucinations amongst various people share commonalties in terms of their perceptual alterations but not in terms of the content of the experience.

      For example, if one were to administer a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD to a large number of people, it would not be surprising if most or all of the subjects reported similar symptoms. These might include visual hallucinations, a feeling of euphoria, a feeling of separation from one’s body, etc… Further, it would not be surprising if the content of one of the subjects’ hallucinations included meeting a purple leprechaun named Bobo who led him on a journey to Never-Never land.

      One would certainly not expect, however, for multiple subjects to report a similar encounter with a similar purple leprechaun. The experiential content of hallucinations are unique to each individual. And entering into a “loving relationship” with a “personal God” speaks of the content of a vast number of NDE experiences and can therefore not be classified as hallucination.

  40. 0
    dj says:

    1) sure you can. I say it was the flying spaghetti monster.

    Prove me wrong. The only thing you can do is say “yeah there could be a higher power” you can’t get any more specific than that. And that is a problem.

    2) I had a near death experience, there was nothing. A few person saying they hallucinated is not scientific evidence because it isn’t repeatable and it isn’t observable outside of a person’s mind.

    I had a hallucination that my nurse was trying to assassinate me. It hardly made it a reality.

    It should trouble you that a person’s hallucinations are dependent on where they are from and the religious beliefs they believe in and they only occur in less than a fifth in all near death experiences.

    You have an event that is dependent on culture that is unverifiable and occurs in rare circumstances.

    Hardly meets the burden of proof

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      dj,

      1) Whoever (or whatever) created the universe created space, matter, energy, and time. Therefore, the Creator must be spaceless, timeless, without matter, and energy-less.

      A spaghetti monster is made of spaghetti and so cannot be spaceless, timeless, without matter, or without energy. Spaghetti exists in time and space, and is made of matter. Did you forget?

      2) Dj, I cannot comment on what you refer to as your near-death experience. Your mentioning of this is anecdotal at best. Secondly, there have been many thousands of persons who have had such near-death experiences, not just “a few” you put it. A crucial point is that no two persons have the same hallucination. A copy and paste from my essay Has Anyone Ever Met God and Returned to Tell About It is here pertinent.

      But the astute reader (with or without expertise in the fields of brain science or psychology) will immediately recognize why this explanation is inadequate to explain frequent encounters with a “personal God:” Hallucinations amongst various people share commonalties in terms of their perceptual alterations but not in terms of the content of the experience.

      For example, if one were to administer a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD to a large number of people, it would not be surprising if most or all of the subjects reported similar symptoms. These might include visual hallucinations, a feeling of euphoria, a feeling of separation from one’s body, etc… Further, it would not be surprising if the content of one of the subjects’ hallucinations included meeting a purple leprechaun named Bobo who led him on a journey to Never-Never land.One would certainly not expect, however, for multiple subjects to report a similar encounter with a similar purple leprechaun. The experiential content of hallucinations are unique to each individual. And entering into a “loving relationship” with a “personal God” speaks of the content of a vast number of NDE experiences and can therefore not be classified as hallucination.

      Next, you suggest that NDE’s are dependent upon culture. This is not an accurate representation. First of all, many atheists have encounters with a “personal God” in their NDE. In my post titled Why Death is Not the End, I provide several links to videos of NDE experiences wherein atheists had an encounter with a personal God. Also, below are links to several NDE experiences wherein Muslims met Jesus:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XshWBbibAM

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNcPVNboooQ

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL4upLajJSc

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgwR8jRiszs

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfGv9HyvbBM

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGyRTEwb8FU

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR9m6SR6wy4

      However, we should EXPECT that culture should have SOME influence upon what a person experiences during an NDE. Consider the case of people from various cultures visiting Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower. A person from an Amazonian tribe, for example, would not know what to make of such a large metal structure, and would describe it entirely different than a person from, say, Chicago. In short, how a person describes an experience WILL be influenced by their culture to some extent, even though the experience is the same.

      Lastly, if it were true that only one fifth of persons whose brain activity stops have an NDE, of what significance would that be? Of what significance is this ratio? This is not clear.

      Scott

  41. 0
    Rod Carty says:

    Jane on January 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm said:
    “1. The Second Law is relevant to closed systems, that is all. It is relevant to closed systems on earth (or approximately closed, as much of physics has to be about approximation).”

    What closed systems do you refer to on earth?

    1. 0
      Jane says:

      Rod Carty,
      Just any system in isolation. Note the ‘approximation’ also: often something can be modeled as something simpler than it is, because the variations aren’t a huge deal. For example, a small geographical space on the earth’s surface receives dramatically less sunlight than a much larger area on the surface. Similarly, two objects of varying heat will more or less obey the law if they receive the same amount of sunlight: this is the principal behind how heat travels to cooler areas, which governs much of our weather system (along with the earth’s rotation).
      (That’s sticking to heat-related areas; all thermodynamics is concerned with).
      I don’t used thermodynamics in everyday life so I can’t give you a precise answer, only what I know from related areas. Ask a physicist if you want more detail.

  42. 0
    Ron Mitchell says:

    I’ll just chip in for a bit, if I may, and say that yes, of course the earth is not a closed system, but the entirety of the universe is, whatever the whole of that happens to be. And as such, the Big Bang dust of particles that ensued ultimately coming to rest in the order we see all around us IS a decrease in entropy, and a whopper of one, at that, and, therefore, a contradiction to SLOT.

    Also, we should note that the Big Bang itself is a contradiction of SLOT, and while I do not doubt the reality of BB, it does show that there was another force at work that superseded the most fundamental law of all of physics.

    I call that force God.

    1. 0
      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Ron,

      Well put. Here is how the Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose puts it in his book The Emperor’s New Mind (which I refer to in my post titled OK…I Want Numbers. What is the probability that the universe is the result of chance?):

      “This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in the ordinary denary notation: it would be ‘1’ followed by 10 to the 123rd power successive ‘0’ s! Even if we were to write a ‘0’ on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe – and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure – we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed.”

      Facts such as these are what caused the Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle to write:

      “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

      Owen Gingerich, a former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science (who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) reflects on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.

      “Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”

      1. 0
        Ron Mitchell says:

        So here’s a handy definition of Darwinian Evolution, in case anyone should ask you:

        Evolution: unknown chemicals in the primordial past, through unknown processes which no longer exist, somehow produced unknown life forms which are not to be found but through unknown reproduction methods could have possibly spawned new life in an unknown atmospheric composition in an unknown oceanic soup completed at an unknown place and time.

        What’s so hard to believe about that?

    2. 0
      Non Credenti says:

      Hi Ron. SLOT (or 2LOT as I call it) says that the net result of a reaction is an increase in entropy. It does not say that every part of the reaction will experience increased entropy. I illustrated that with the math problem in my post. The entropy of the ice cube INcreased. The entropy of the water DEcreased. When we compare the entropy changes of the ice and the water, we saw that the entropy of the entire ice/water system increased, which conforms to 2LOT. The absolutely crucial thing to notice is that, while the entropy of the system increased as we’d expect, 2LOT does not say that every single part of that system must experience increased entropy.
      .
      This is why the decreased entropy of galaxies and stars (and the big contributors, black holes) do not violate 2LOT. They are only parts of the system. They decrease in entropy but the entire system increases. The entropy of the early Universe was about 10^88. Today it’s 10^101. That means the entropy of the Universe has increased trillions and trillions of times over, even while these relatively small pockets of decreased entropy have formed.
      .
      Imagine the early universe as a giant egg. When it was just sitting there it had very low entropy. When it broke and started expanding, the yolk and egg white and bits of shell started breaking apart and spreading out and mixing together. As time goes on you might notice small globs of egg yolk collecting together. It would be correct to say those small globs were experiencing decreased entropy from when they were a messy smear, but the egg as a whole is bajillions of times more messy than when it started, even with the small globs of relative order floating around.

      1. 0
        Ron Mitchell says:

        It sounds like you’re really stretching it out there to keep your position intact (I mean … putting an impossible number in comparing entropy statuses of the universe before-and-after??) OK, so let’s just agree that we’re not gonna agree on that.
        So what about my claim that you’ve got a major problem showing how the Big Bang can get away scot-free by creating everything out of nothing and violating (actually bashing in the face) of FLOT? I can’t wait to see how creative you can get.

        1. 0
          Non Credenti says:

          You say, “It sounds like you’re really stretching it out there to keep your position intact (I mean … putting an impossible number in comparing entropy statuses of the universe before-and-after??) OK, so let’s just agree that we’re not gonna agree on that.”
          .
          I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood. There is nothing controversial or “creative” about what I said. 2LOT says that the net result of a reaction will be an increase in entropy, while parts of a system can decrease.
          .
          I’m not sure why you think either entropy figure I provided are impossible. As far as I know, they are completely uncontroversial, and I’m not aware of any physicists who challenge them, and certainly none who claim entropy has decreased. If you re-read my comments and yours, I’m sure you’ll see your error. I said entropy has increased from the early Universe to now, not from the pre-BB to now.
          .
          If you still want to agree to disagree, that’s your prerogative, but you won’t be disagreeing with me, you’ll be disagreeing with just about every physicist since Clausius and Boltzmann.

          1. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            We’re not gonna agree on this, Non, so let’s just leave it as is.

            There is no way I can see any kind of spontaneous evolution – cosmic or biological – that takes a universal cloud of “stuff” that’s not yet even sub-atomic particles and transforms it— over ANY amount of time—into the true grandeur, elegance, and beauty that we see around us and that inspired Mozart and Michaelangelo, in the arts, and Newton (a bible believer, by the way) and Einstein in science to create in the almost god-like way that they have done. I think the real fairy tale here is to believe that this happened by the accidents of scientific interaction, beneficial random mutations … and whole big bunches of time.

            But nice talking with you, anyway.

  43. 0
    Non Credenti says:

    I have copied this from the comments section of the article, “Riddles for Atheists.” Scott has replied at http://godevidence.com/2011/09/riddles-for-atheists/#comment-65000 but I thought it might be good to put the information here as well, where others with an interest in thermodynamics might see it.
    .
    Virtually everything you say about 2LOT is wrong, so there simply isn’t time to correct all of your mistakes, but I’ll just take a representative sample from your article on the subject and the first couple of comments. (There are 100+ comments and by the time I got to your second comment there was already too much to correct in a reasonable amount of space.)
    .
    In the article you say, “Manifestations of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics are all around us. It is the reason dead things decay, cars rust, people age, sand castles crumble, etc., etc.” The “manifestations” are not examples of 2LOT, they are examples of increased entropy.
    .
    You also say “It must be emphasized that the point is NOT that the 2nd law of thermodynamics poses a problem to Darwinian evolution.” It doesn’t matter if Turek and Geisler were talking about evolution or abiogenesis, whatever they were addressing, it takes place in an open system. But 2LOT does not apply because they’re part of an open system. Every time you address this, you gloss over the whole “in a closed system” part like it’s some insignificant matter. That’s like taking the statement, “In the vacuum of space, nobody can hear you scream,” and saying it’s not true because we hear people scream all the time on roller coasters. Understand that 2LOT applies only to closed systems, and before you try to draw any conclusions from it (e.g., evolution or abiogenesis on earth) ask yourself if the system you’re examining (e.g., the earth) is closed. If it isn’t a closed system, then 2LOT does not apply. Period.
    .
    In the comments you repeatedly say things like, “Yes, the Earth is an ‘open system’ which means that something from outside of the system can step in to counteract the disordering force of the second law of thermodynamics… As an illustration, let’s consider a junkyard: The disordering force of the 2nd law of thermodynamics acting on the old cars in a junkyard causes them to rust and breakdown (become less ordered).” For the sake of argument, we can consider a junkyard to be very roughly a closed system, but even so, 2LOT does not “act” on things like cars, causing them to rust. What ‘acts” on the car’s metal is natural chemical processes like oxidation. 2LOT is not a “force” acting on anything; it is simply a conclusion drawn from the fact that there are many, many more possibilities for a “state function” to transition to a region (“region” does not mean “place”) of higher entropy than lower entropy.
    .
    So what is 2LOT? It can be expressed many ways, but they’re often variations of a theme: “In a closed system, no process is possible in which the sole result is the absorption of heat from a reservoir and its complete conversion to work” Stating the same principle differently, “In a closed system, no process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of heat from a cooler body to a hotter body.” Stating the principle differently, “In a closed system, no process is possible in which the sole result of a chemical reaction is a decrease in entropy.” Another way of stating it would be, “In a closed system, the net result of a reaction cannot be a decrease in entropy.”
    Notice that key phrase “the sole result.” This is the crucial part you’re missing, and it makes all the difference. A chemical reaction or other process composed of sub-systems in which energy is exchanged will result in an INcrease in entropy in some areas/systems, and a DEcrease in entropy in others. But in a closed system, the net result will be an increase in entropy.
    .
    Note, also, that a more accurate definition would be that entropy increases or stays the same. It doesn’t have to increase, and it can actually decrease; it’s just that the mathematical possibility of that is so low that we basically ignore it.
    .
    Consider an example. The formula for calculating entropy change of a system in thermal equilibrium is ΔS = q/T. (There are similar formulas for systems not in thermal equilibrium, but we’ll keep it simple.) I don’t know if the delta sign is going to be formatted correctly, so we could restate the formula as “change in S = q/T” or, “the change in entropy of a system (S) is equal to the heat absorbed by the system (q) divided by the absolute temperature (degrees Kelvin) of the system at the time.
    .
    So let’s imagine we take a cup full of water at 550 degrees Kelvin (58 Celsius). Then we place a cube of ice at 450 Kelvin (-42 Celsius) in it. Heat will flow from the hotter water to the colder ice. We can use our entropy equation to calculate the change in entropy for both the water and the ice cube.
    .
    Ice: Delta S = 1/450 = .0022 (this is an INcrease in entropy)
    Water: Delta S = -1/550 = -.0018 (DEcrease in entropy. In the formula, q = heat absorbed by the system, but the water loses heat, so the result is a negative number.)
    Delta S = .0022 – .0018 = .0004 BTUs.
    .
    So for every BTU of energy transferred from the water to the ice, we’ve INcreased the entropy of the ice, DEcreased the entropy of the water, and all of this resulted in a net INcrease of the entire system’s entropy by .0004.
    .
    In conclusion, your big misconceptions are:
    – A failure to appreciate that 2LOT is simply not applicable in an open system. You say you get this, then you turn right around and apply it to sand castles and whatnot, but that’s a mistake.
    .
    – When this is pointed out you pretend to understand, but then move right on to your next blunder—-thinking that 2LOT and entropy are the same thing.
    .
    – The idea that 2LOT is a force or otherwise causes anything, and can be “counteracted” by an open system;
    .
    – And the big one—not understanding that parts of systems can experience decreased entropy while other parts, and the system as a whole, experience an increase in entropy.
    .
    Let’s forget the whole open/closed system thing for a second and accept that the earth-sun system as effectively closed. Now if we add up every process on earth that decreases entropy (increases order, or where energy flows “uphill” to a hotter system), and add up every process on earth and the sun that increases entropy—that results in lost energy to heat, light, noise, or energy that is otherwise unavailable to perform work–the parts of the system that experience an increase in entropy greatly outweigh the parts of the system that experience a decrease in entropy. You have a bunch of pockets of decreasing entropy (e.g. plants using energy from the sun to grow, but even then the energy transfer is very inefficient) and a huge wasteland of increasing entropy. Most of the energy that comes to the earth from the sun is radiated right back out into space at a lower wavelength (less energy) and is lost and unavailable for work–it’s entropy.

  44. 0
    Rod Carty says:

    Jane commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

    in response to Rod Carty:
    //This shows that the standard naturalist claim that entropy doesn’t apply because the earth is an open system is absurd.//

    “Certainly, entropy does occur on Earth, I’ve never denied that. To quote my very first post, all it shows is “you can’t quote the second law. It’s simply not relevant.”
    If you want to make a case involving entropy, go ahead, but the second law is relevant in only closed systems, or systems that can realistically be modeled as closed in the situation considered.
    The Second Law is not relevant in this case: that is all I’ve ever said about it. You agree the earth is not a closed system, so you agree with that statement.”

    I agree the earth is not a closed system, but since entropy does apply here as you have agreed, it is relevant here.

    “Summing up, if it is your intent to say the earth may be modeled as closed in this situation, please give your justification (given the time and geographical scale involved, the input energy is tremendous: especially acting on things which require little). If, instead, you’re arguing the earth should tend to entropy despite being an open system, just because various parts of it do, then please make that case, but bear in mind the Second Law doesn’t apply in this specific instance.”

    It doesn’t matter how much energy is inputted. It only matters whether the energy performs useful work or whether it accelerates entropy. The sun shining on the paint of your car causes the paint to fade. That’s an input of energy that is not performing good work, it’s changing the characteristics of the paint from it’s original condition. The sun shining on a solar panel performs useful work by converting the energy into electricity. The sun shining on the leaves of plants also performs useful work, because the plants use it to live. It’s the same solar energy in all three cases, but the first one increases entropy and the second two decrease entropy. The difference then is design.

    “The Second Law implies entropy increasing. That doesn’t make the converse true: Entropy increasing does not imply the Second Law.”

    Since I never made this assertion I won’t try to support it.

    1. 0
      Jane says:

      As this is going on for far too long, on a point unrelated to any serious one I’ve made, I’ll leave you with a fundamental contradiction in your post.

      “I agree the earth is not a closed system, but since entropy does apply here as you have agreed, [the Second Law] is relevant here.”
      “Since I never made [the assertion entropy implies the Second Law] I won’t try to support it.”

  45. 0
    Rod Carty says:

    Jane on January 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm said: “1. The Second Law is relevant to closed systems, that is all. It is relevant to closed systems on earth (or approximately closed, as much of physics has to be about approximation).”

    Rod Carty: //What closed systems do you refer to on earth?//

    “Rod Carty,
    Just any system in isolation. Note the ‘approximation’ also: often something can be modeled as something simpler than it is, because the variations aren’t a huge deal. For example, a small geographical space on the earth’s surface receives dramatically less sunlight than a much larger area on the surface.”

    Receiving less energy is not a sign of isolation. A closed system receives no energy input and allows no energy to escape. Are there any of those on earth?

    “Similarly, two objects of varying heat will more or less obey the law if they receive the same amount of sunlight: this is the principal behind how heat travels to cooler areas, which governs much of our weather system (along with the earth’s rotation).
    (That’s sticking to heat-related areas; all thermodynamics is concerned with).”

    I agree thermodynamics is concering heat but the specific part of thermodynamics we’re talking about is entropy, which is the loss of useful energy over time, and how that relates to the earth. It is a bait and switch to answer a question about entropy by talking about thermodynamics in general – especially when you claim this is ALL thermodynamics is concerned with.

    “I don’t used thermodynamics in everyday life so I can’t give you a precise answer, only what I know from related areas. Ask a physicist if you want more detail.”

    That works for me, as long as you concede the point.

    1. 0
      Jane says:

      Rod Carty, two things:
      First, I did acknowledge I was speaking of approximations. This is a valid technique; so long as the departures from those approximations are small, it’s an effective way of modelling systems, as you can use much simpler equations. For example, perturbation theory states that, say, a velocity can be described as the sum of a constant, with a small perturbation: which means we can remove any differential of the constant velocity, and any product of two perturbations. Approximation is all I need.
      On a similar note, I’ve studied the mathematics of weather somewhat so I know more what I’m talking about there, and a major component of weather system is taking into account how the earth rotates, and the effect this has on the atmosphere. This is a major part of how weather works: but dealing with smaller scale issues (such as what’s called the sea-breeze problem, if you want to look up an example: it talks about how air at a warm beach goes to the sea at some points, and to land at others), there’s no need to involve the earth’s rotation. That doesn’t mean the earth’s still, only that the impact of it is minimal: similarly, the impact of the Sun’s energy may often be modeled as minimal.

      Second, every transfer of energy gives off some heat: this is a crucial observation, and it’s why I only need to be concerned with heat.

      Earth may often be modeled as a closed system, this is true, but it does not make it so. I have no point to concede because it is unalterable fact the Earth gets energy from the Sun. Thus, it is not a closed system.

      1. 0
        Rod Carty says:

        Jane commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

        in response to Rod Carty:

        Jane on January 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm said: “1. The Second Law is relevant to closed systems, that is all. It is relevant to closed systems on earth (or approximately closed, as much of physics has to be about approximation).” Rod Carty: //What closed systems do you refer to on earth?// “Rod Carty, Just […]

        “Rod Carty, two things:
        First, I did acknowledge I was speaking of approximations. This is a valid technique; so long as the departures from those approximations are small, it’s an effective way of modelling systems, as you can use much simpler equations. For example, perturbation theory states that, say, a velocity can be described as the sum of a constant, with a small perturbation: which means we can remove any differential of the constant velocity, and any product of two perturbations. Approximation is all I need.

        On a similar note, I’ve studied the mathematics of weather somewhat so I know more what I’m talking about there, and a major component of weather system is taking into account how the earth rotates, and the effect this has on the atmosphere. This is a major part of how weather works: but dealing with smaller scale issues (such as what’s called the sea-breeze problem, if you want to look up an example: it talks about how air at a warm beach goes to the sea at some points, and to land at others), there’s no need to involve the earth’s rotation. That doesn’t mean the earth’s still, only that the impact of it is minimal: similarly, the impact of the Sun’s energy may often be modeled as minimal.

        Second, every transfer of energy gives off some heat: this is a crucial observation, and it’s why I only need to be concerned with heat.”

        Entropy, 2LoT, is not correctly approximated by the other 3 LoT. You were claiming then and are claiming now that we don’t need to bother with 2LoT because the other laws give us all the information we need. This appears to be an attempt to side-step the problem rather than address it.

        “Earth may often be modeled as a closed system, this is true, but it does not make it so. I have no point to concede because it is unalterable fact the Earth gets energy from the Sun. Thus, it is not a closed system.”

        Glad to see you agree the earth is not a closed system. Now, if that is so, how is it that we who live on the earth know about entropy, if it doesn’t apply to open systems? It certainly wasn’t discovered by astronauts.

        1. 0
          Jane says:

          Rod Carty,
          On bringing in the other laws, that was only a response to how you claimed it was unreasonable to only give heat-based examples. As heat ties all forms of energy transfer together, however, it’s our only concern.

          As for how we know about entropy, I can’t say exactly as, after all, I didn’t discover the context, but I can give one possibility.
          The process of science is hypothesis, experimentation, verification.
          The hypothesis is fairly easy to develop, as I think we’d agree. With no outside influence, order (by the scientific definition) will decrease. Left alone, something will cool, for a simple depiction.
          How to experiment? Well, we’re fully capable of constructing isolated systems: or, strictly speaking, partially isolated systems (a lead box, for a simple case. Next to no radiation gets in, no light, no force from the relevant frame of reference if it’s untouched). Gravity acts in the vertical, but in a horizontal plane it would be entirely possible to observe the law in action.
          And again, I need to bring up approximation: much of science is approximation. We can’t prove, for example, that the second swing of a pendulum will be shorter than the first, at every conceivable geographical location and temperature (say): but we can prove it’s the case in one situation, and that it’s reasonable to assume it in those others. Similarly, we can show the Second Law holds approximately in one case, where the outside influence is minimal, and that it is reasonable to deduce that it holds elsewhere.
          Plus, it’s possible to make mathematical deductions.

          1. 0
            Rod Carty says:

            in response to Rod Carty:

            “On bringing in the other laws, that was only a response to how you claimed it was unreasonable to only give heat-based examples. As heat ties all forms of energy transfer together, however, it’s our only concern.

            As for how we know about entropy, I can’t say exactly as, after all, I didn’t discover the context, but I can give one possibility.
            The process of science is hypothesis, experimentation, verification.
            The hypothesis is fairly easy to develop, as I think we’d agree. With no outside influence, order (by the scientific definition) will decrease. Left alone, something will cool, for a simple depiction.
            How to experiment? Well, we’re fully capable of constructing isolated systems: or, strictly speaking, partially isolated systems (a lead box, for a simple case. Next to no radiation gets in, no light, no force from the relevant frame of reference if it’s untouched).”

            If it’s a truly isolated system then you can’t get anything out of it to be able to observe it. The standard examples for the purpose of teaching entropy use a hypothetical truly isolated system, but that does not occur anywhere within this universe. Entropy occurs everywhere within this universe, with no exception.

            “Gravity acts in the vertical, but in a horizontal plane it would be entirely possible to observe the law in action.
            And again, I need to bring up approximation: much of science is approximation. We can’t prove, for example, that the second swing of a pendulum will be shorter than the first, at every conceivable geographical location and temperature (say): but we can prove it’s the case in one situation, and that it’s reasonable to assume it in those others. Similarly, we can show the Second Law holds approximately in one case, where the outside influence is minimal, and that it is reasonable to deduce that it holds elsewhere.
            Plus, it’s possible to make mathematical deductions.”

            The reason why Scott and I are making this point of course is that we do observe entropy on earth, and this is why we know about it. This shows that the standard naturalist claim that entropy doesn’t apply because the earth is an open system is absurd.

          2. 0
            Jane says:

            “If it’s a truly isolated system then you can’t get anything out of it to be able to observe it.”
            Firstly, approximation holds. Secondly, it can be isolated for a stretch of time (and meters placed in it to measure), and then rendered open when it’s opened up, and meters removed. measurements will still be taken of an isolated system.

            “This shows that the standard naturalist claim that entropy doesn’t apply because the earth is an open system is absurd.”
            Certainly, entropy does occur on Earth, I’ve never denied that. To quote my very first post, all it shows is “you can’t quote the second law. It’s simply not relevant.”
            If you want to make a case involving entropy, go ahead, but the second law is relevant in only closed systems, or systems that can realistically be modeled as closed in the situation considered.
            The Second Law is not relevant in this case: that is all I’ve ever said about it. You agree the earth is not a closed system, so you agree with that statement.

            Summing up, if it is your intent to say the earth may be modeled as closed in this situation, please give your justification (given the time and geographical scale involved, the input energy is tremendous: especially acting on things which require little). If, instead, you’re arguing the earth should tend to entropy despite being an open system, just because various parts of it do, then please make that case, but bear in mind the Second Law doesn’t apply in this specific instance.

            The Second Law implies entropy increasing. That doesn’t make the converse true: Entropy increasing does not imply the Second Law.

          3. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            Excuse me, all, but this argument is getting really tedious. Can we all agree that Jane is quite correct to say that SLOT does NOT apply to the open-system earth. I’m a Christian like you both are, but it is NOT a valid argument on your part
            to invoke SLOT regarding anything to do with planet Earth.

            If you want to continue on the SLOT idea, then you CAN validly make the point that the entire universe, with all that
            implies, IS a closed system, and it’s reverting to a decreased entropy since it was a mass jumble of “stuff” … not even subatomic particles at the moment of BB … does, in fact,
            refute SLOT, and so a higher law must have been in effect during that “creation period”, and we call the author of that
            law … God.

            That’s the easy part. The harder part for a Christian to show is that the God of the Bible is, in fact, that very god. And that’s where when asked “how do you know that”, we say as a very lovely young nun that I once knew used to say: “I know it with my knower”. In other words we know that God is the god described in the Bible because of … faith. And that alone is the very heart and crux of Christianity.

            Food for thought, Jane, even though I know you are thinking this is all foolishness.

          4. 0
            Jane says:

            Ron,
            Thank you for the agreement.

            (It goes without saying that I disagree with the idea the author can be called God in any meaningful sense, traits like sentience need to be established).

            I’ve no idea if you wish to discuss any of this, so feel free to ignore this post. For the sake of completeness though, my thoughts on faith:
            Faith’s a messy term, as it’s used to mean several things. There’s ‘blind faith’, and there’s ‘trust’. if you say you have faith in someone, then you trust them. The first case of blind faith is little more than luck at work: it precludes justification.
            Trust however far from precludes evidence. often, you only trust someone or something because you have a reason to. You’d give friends and family a key to your house, you wouldn’t to a total stranger: because you know your friends and family, and know to trust them.
            That’s my main issue with faith: more semantic than anything. Often, if someone says they have faith in God, it means they trust God (to tell the truth, to be there etc). That trust still requires evidence: faith and evidence need not be contradictory, it all depends on the definition of faith. There are arguments out there for justifying Christianity specifically (though clearly I don’t accept them), as well as arguments making an attempt to show inherent contradictions, so whether or not the small-c creator is the big-c Creator God of the Bible is still a claim where evidence enters into it.
            Blind faith on the other hand, I’m afraid, is the ‘foolishness’ you refer to. The only situation in which anyone suggests applying it, is to the existence of God: and even as a disbeliever I have a higher opinion of God, than to think he’d expect people to believe based on a mechanism that works in no other situation.

          5. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            No, I’m happy to get back on the real subject that I thought this thread was supposed to be about to begin with … before it got all bolluxed up with open and closed systems, etc. And that subject, I thought was something to do with believing in God, does it make sense, etc., etc. And you kindly brought us back to that with your comments in faith, trust, evidence, and the like.

            Just exactly where I want us to be. Because it is just soooo … biblical! Sorry, but I had to use the “B” word, and, worse, I’m also going to quote from that book, since it ties in precisely with what you had to say in your last post. So here goes. Get ready for some bible quotin’ if you can stand it! And don’t blame me, because you said “faith” “justification” “trust” and “evidence” — all totally key words when it comes to understanding and defining the absolute bottom line of what Christianity is. So …

            To begin right at the very start we have to define our terms.. You said that faith is a messy term. Well, lets un-mess it by using what the bible means— precisely what it means— by the word faith.
            And for that we go to the only definition the bible uses to define it. I’m referring to the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” OK, I didn’t say it was YOUR definition; it’s the bible’s definition, and since our discussion and individual points are not between you and me but between you and what the bible says … simply because relative to this discussion, that’s where I stand … that’s the definition I’m using.

            You agree with the bible exactly when you said that faith and evidence need not be contradictory. In fact the bible takes your words even further and says that real faith (the kind the bible is referring to) is so strong a matter that it considers God to be a matter, actually, of “evidence” that is not even seen, and that faith is so strong that the God that some “hope” for is, to the faith-holder, an actual assurance! So if you say that, well, that’s just playing with and redefining words to make them what you want them to be, I say, nope, I’m not playing with anything; those are God’s words not mine. I simply believe them. I know, you’re probably saying these Christian bible freaks are hopeless. Just the opposite, see above for the bible’s definition of hope!

            And just one other thing that you said that I found pretty interesting, almost astonishing. You said that “blind faith precludes justification”. Amazing in that that is exactly the order of things in which one attains the state of God’s grace (unmerited favor) called salvation (a free pass to Heaven, the ultimate reward for believing!). We are justified by faith. Faith comes first, followed by justification. That was the clarion call that led Martin Luther (a then-Catholic priest) to begin the mighty Reformation that had such an impact on the Christian world.

            The term “justified”, I might add, has been likened to the phrase: “Just-as-if-I’d” never been imperfect.
            And while can’t even imagine such a picture as relating to me, myself, the bible says that’s exactly how God sees me in my faith life.

            So there you are, Jane. My beliefs in the words faith, hope, evidence, justification. There’s really nothing for you to disagree with here, unless you want to say: no you really don’t believe that.

            But I really do. Have at it as you will … or won’t.

          6. 0
            Jane says:

            Ron,
            Thanks for agreeing to the discussion, the matter of the definition of faith is a fairly interesting one. I’ve heard that definition before, but it’s also a fairly ambiguous one.
            For example, equating faith and evidence (“evidence of things not seen,”) is an ambiguous statement. Are these ‘things not seen’ supported by evidence, or by faith alone? Which brings us back to my two definitions of faith. As faith is the evidence of such things, for such a claim of evidence to be meaningful it would need to not be blind faith, so from what comes the reason to trust?
            On hope, it’s interesting that there is an argument out there stating that God must exist because we hope and want him to, but I doubt that’s much more than a semantic observation. The question arising here is, saying faith is the assurance of hope, what is this assurance? How does faith assure, with evidence or with blind faith/luck?

            Also, I should clarify, precludes does not mean precedes. Precludes means blind faith and evidence are mutually exclusive. If any evidence enters the picture, you have some basis on which to trust.
            By blind faith alone, it contradicts itself. You might happily say you possess faith in something: and if you refer to blind faith alone, it would be easy for me to say I have blind faith that said something is not the case. We don’t get anywhere: hence why I said it was luck.
            Trust, that is faith with evidence, is supportable.

            On justified, my main reason for using it is to avoid word confusion. Evidence is often used to mean observable, physical fact rather than logical deduction, and it seems odd to refer to something that isn’t supported by evidence, but there is still evidence for (ie: that doesn’t exist physically, but we can still discuss), which has to be the case when we’re talking of concepts like faith.

            They’re the issues that immediately jump out to me: there are a few pieces that aren’t particularly well-defined.
            If faith is the crux of Christianity, as you’ve said, the question’s whether or not it’s a good crux: and that can’t be answered until we’re clear on what it is we’re actually talking about, as I’m sure you’d agree.

            And thanks for the message and explanation. feel free to quote the B-word, I haven’t melted yet so I’m sure it’s alright.
            I hope my thoughts made sense.

          7. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            Fourth try to get this thru:

            OK, I think our problem here is that you seem to be wanting to refuse to deal in terms of God’s definition of faith, essentially stating that it conflicts with and is inconsistent with the one we usually use in the non-Heb.11:1 world. And I agree with you that it does and is. So that’s the answer to why it doesn’t fit your definitions. So where do we go with that? God’s way is not necessarily our way. He’s different.

            And Heb. 11:1 is NOT ambiguous at all. It’s rigorously specific. But it’s not the way WE define it. And there’s not much more we can do with that except to say “I don’t like that definition”. OK you don’t have to. But since you don’t believe in the God of Heb. 11:1 anyway, what does that matter?

            And re your comments on “hope”, there is no argument that I know of that says God exists because we hope He does. Where does it say that? Your questions re how does faith assure, what is this assurance, is it with blind faith or luck, etc. all signify that you’re not accepting that Heb. 11:1 is, in fact, the bedrock definition that I am referring to. Because it doesn’t agree with the definition that we all usually use is understood to be the case. But again, so? That’s the terms of this discussion … that this is God’s turf that we’re discussing here, so why do you keep trying to say that it’s not the same as that of we poor mortals. We agree on that. So?

            And sorry I confused preclude with precede (I actually do know what the word means).

            And, again, while it may seem odd to you (me too, in a way … because I’m still mortal) about assurance being built on zero evidence, do the apparent absurdities of quantum mechanics seem odd to you, too? And do you still believe them? Do you have faith that those oddities are real even though General Relativity does not support them? Do you have “assurance” of that? If you said yes, then maybe we’re not so far apart re God’s “oddities”.

            And I don’t at all get what you mean when you say that if faith is the crux of Christianity, then maybe it’s not a good crux. Don’t even follow that. More scripture, Heb. 11:6 “Without faith (see definition) it is impossible to please God.” And I think Heb. 11:1 makes God’s definition of faith and hope crystal clear so I don’t agree that we won’t know if faith is a good or bad thing for Christianity,
            as you implied. Again, our problem here is that you feel Heb.11:1 is a bad definition of faith and hope.
            And, of course, you can do that. But, again, so what? It’s God’s definition. You really want to argue with that? And since you don’t believe in God to begin with, why even argue about it?

            Bottom line, to me in all this, is the statement of the dear nun that I mentioned earlier, when she replied to “how do you know that God is real” she answered with the ultimate non-counterable response:

            “I know it with my knower”.

            Me, too.

          8. 0
            Jane says:

            Sorry, I think I may have been unclear.
            I’m happy to accept your definition of faith as the definition under your worldview, and I’m never intentionally trying to presuppose my own definitions.
            When I spoke of blind faith, I didn’t mean to involve your definition in any way, only my given definition of blind faith, and apparent similarities.
            To me, at least, the verse isn’t completely clear in what is meant (bedrock definitions are of no use as a definition if elements of that definition are undefined), but I’m happy to admit that may be a fault with me, rather than a fault with the text. It does seem necessary that the definition of faith, as it forms a description of belief, must edge towards one of my two definitions however, not because I’m presupposing it, but because they form a true dichotomy: it either comes from some evidence, or does not.

            On assurance built on zero evidence, as you brought up, I’d have to complain about your choice of analogy as we have evidence for both general relativity and quantum mechanics, and explanations for each (differences in scale means differences in behavior).
            Unless you’re saying that beliefs held on faith, and beliefs held on evidence form a similar divide: beliefs held on faith are relevant to the divine, those on evidence to the world, but such a statement doesn’t seem accurate as there are statements of faith which overlap with what we can test (the blog we’re commenting on seems proof of that).
            On the same note, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that God make the crux of belief something that is otherwise useful: after all, theistically, God was responsible for the world and the principles of evidence we’ve come to use elsewhere. As much as I’m willing to concede that God’s ways are not our ways, and that brushes away any oddities, you’d also need to concede that by the same token the passage in Hebrews may have been written by a lying God, and the reason for that is “God’s ways are not our ways.”
            A final issue would be accessibility. I don’t think many people can truly say they’re so much as capable of believing things on those grounds. I know I can’t; as easy as it is to state belief, it’s impossible to truly hold it with some sense of justification. I don’t know whether you’re a Calvinist, but that seems the only way that can work.

            I’m working from how you seem to have clarified the definition in your recent post, though I may be wrong. Regardless, there are issues from an external perspective, certainly, as well as internal to Christianity. Accepting what seems to be the definition, and allowing it to be a valid form of assurance, still gives an odd picture of the God responsible.
            As for why discuss it, I think it’s important to get a clear picture of what is meant, and perhaps of the God behind it. If I am wrong with what I’m taking from the verse and your explanation, then I request correction so that I can be better informed: if I’m right, then the God of the Bible seems a being that far from matches its depiction.

          9. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            Jane, thanks for your, as usual, interesting posts and responses. I may be a bit delayed in my responses, as opposed to your considered prompt replies, since I am getting prepped for a total ankle replacement that is going to land me in a re-hab facility for a couple of months or more. I’ll find a way for you to email me to continue this, if you’d like, and until then, my replies may be a bit delayed due to the details I will have to attend to prior to my operation, as you can imagine. But I do enjoy the intelligent repartee.

          10. 0
            Jane says:

            I’m only able to respond quickly for the immediate present; life’s managing to be quieter. Still, thank you for being willing to respond with such thought.
            I’m happy to email you, if you can think of some way to share addresses: I’m sure neither of us wants to post ours in a public comments section.
            I hope your operation goes well.

          11. 0
            Ron Mitchell says:

            I don’t know why I have such trouble getting these posts to show up. This is the second attempt. Thanks for your good wishes. I’ll try to see if we can somehow emai each other, since I’ll have a lot of time to spend lying on my back.

          12. 0
            Jane says:

            It looks like several posts came up, so guessing it worked?
            If the CAPTCHA’s being odd for you as well, refresh the symbols, that’s what works when it fails for me.
            Email zrgbth at gmail dot com, just made it, won’t use it for anything else. Doubt anyone else will want that particular name, I can send my main email address to you, if that works?

  46. 0
    Liam Murphy says:

    I must say that Scott can sure back up an argument. I just found this site,not too long ago. after reading articles and comments of scott and debating atheists, i have come to the conclusion that arguing with them is like arguing with a brick wall. Funny how they interpret the evidence we give as false but in their view their evidence accounts for life coming out of nothing apparently (examples are evolution, when i try to say that evolution doesnt explain how life began in the first place,and actually doesnt disprove a creator, they get frustrated) also take for example bill nye, he insists that any child who doesnt think evolution disproves god, is intellectually insuperior to the materialists like him on his high horse.

    1. 0
      Liam Murphy says:

      Correcting myself, what i meant to say is that bill nye among other atheists think any kid in school that believes in god, “isnt academically smart” or some bs like that

  47. 0
    Liam Murphy says:

    Btw, im not sure if you have seen these before, they’re actual NASA pictures that point even more evidence to the universe being an “intelligent mind” here are a few remarkable ones I’ve come across.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helix_Nebula

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/Iridescent_Glory_of_Nearby_Helix_Nebula.jpg/800px-Iridescent_Glory_of_Nearby_Helix_Nebula.jpg
    Also this incredible discovery:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/03/0317_060317_dna_nebula.html

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