This Month in Intelligent Design – June 2011

Intelligent design news and discussion for the month of June, 2011.

I thought it would be best to wait until a month had passed to start doing TWiID again, mainly because:

  1. I think whole anthropochronological divisions are beautiful, in a rather frivolous way, and
  2. Not many overtly, over-the-top exciting ID things happened in June that warranted immediate attention by my loosely serious writings.

As such, this will be a slight departure from the usual TWiID style you might be used to. Instead of going into detail on only three or four pieces put out by the intelligent design movement, I’ll briefly to semi-briefly touch on a large number of them: in essence, all the vaguely interesting ones. But don’t worry, the regular weekly schedule will be back from next week.

So, on with the show!

———

At the start of June there was a minor kerfuffle (a word that accurately describes many goings-on in the ID movement nowadays) around an article by Granville Sewell, on the second law of thermodynamics and evolution, being rejected by the journal Applied Mathematics Letters, which the journal subsequently apologised for and then paid Sewell’s attorney’s fees. Both Casey Luskin and John G. West covered this story over three posts, of course making and repeating the statement that it was a failed attempt at Darwinian censorship, as summarised in this passage from the first link:

In one of their favorite soundbytes, members of the Darwin lobby like to assert that intelligent design scientists do not publish peer-reviewed research. That claim is manifestly false. But the fact that intelligent design scholars do publish peer-reviewed articles is no thanks to Darwinists, many of whom do their best to ensure that peer-reviewed articles by intelligent design scientists never see the light of day.

Witness the brazen censorship earlier this year of an article by University of Texas, El Paso mathematics professor Granville Sewell, author of the book In the Beginning and Other Essays on Intelligent Design. Sewell’s article critical of Neo-Darwinism (“A Second Look at the Second Law”) was both peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by the journal Applied Mathematics Letters. That is, the article was accepted for publication until a Darwinist blogger who describes himself as an “opinionated computer science geek” wrote the journal editor to denounce the article, and the editor decided to pull Sewell’s article in violation of his journal’s own professional standards.

The publisher of Applied Mathematics Letters (Elsevier, the international science publisher) has now agreed to issue a public statement apologizing to Dr. Sewell as well as to pay $10,000 in attorney’s fees.

The thing is, though, it isn’t really censorship if the article is a terrible piece of work. Veterans of the creationism/evolution struggle know that the argument from the second law of thermodynamics is one of the most common, and blatantly bad, arguments used by creationists to dispute evolutionary theory. Sewell, in his article, apparently acknowledges this, but then goes off on non-sequitur tangents that bear little relation to his original point, mentioning “compensation” and “information”. There’s good reason it should never have been published in the first place.

The sad thing is that it does give the ID movement some splendid ammunition to show to their supporters, those you may not be as knowledgable about the modern scientific process as others. When things like this happen, the Discovery Institute milks them for all they’re worth. But what have we come to expect?

———

Evolution News & Views shared a letter written by a 14 year-old intelligent design supporter to a US newspaper, calling out a columnist for daring to criticise Tennessee state legislators, who had recently passed an “academic freedom” bill. Here’s the letter in full:

I had the opportunity to read Pam Strickland’s column, “Legislatures should be lawmakers, not yahoos.” I found some areas in it that were “sketchy.” I would like to highlight a few points from her column.

She addresses the fact that state Rep. Bill Dunn is proposing a House bill that will “prohibit the teaching of two widely recognized scientific theories of evolution and global warming.” I have read House Bill 368 and nowhere did I find any mention of prohibiting the teaching of evolution and global warming, instead it proposes that we show all the scientific evidence.

It is not logical to have both sides of an argument represented? It is a part of the scientific process to test a hypothesis, but if you only test the one variable, how are our future generations going to know the validity of the other side? This only demotes the very thing most Americans are searching for, knowledge. We will then be arming our citizens with ignorance instead of knowledge, while destroying the way to find knowledge.

She also mentions the fact that this was the product of a “think tank” known as the Discovery Institute in Seattle. With this statement she implies that she thinks that Dunn is trying to usher in alternative religious beliefs. However if you look at Section 1, Part E, it says that it will not “be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine.”

She also called Dunn a “yahoo.” I find that to be honestly below her level of intelligence to misuse a term (a yahoo is a rude, noisy or violent person) and to be rather sophomoric. I am positive that she has the ability to articulate a much more “grade-level” argument than the likes of this. Or is it perhaps that the Legislature has the upper hand in the particular dispute?

Noel Bauer, 14

Knoxville

Such is the current ID strategy to lay out bills that seem reasonable, even to a 14 year-old, seemingly so that over-zealous reporters and commentators can jump the gun and misconstrue the bill, while the proponents of “academic freedom” can calmly correct the mistakes and in the process make the bills seem completely harmless. I mean, if they’re not promoting intelligent design or preventing evolution from being taught, then what possible damage could they be doing to the educational system? “Allow them!” the masses silently shout.

Alas. All this talk of “academic freedom” just spurs me on to complete my next post on the subject. It’s coming, people, it’s coming…

———

To show that the Discovery Institute (and therefore the intelligent design movement) isn’t all about law and science, John G. West and our old/new friend Michael Egnor had some things to say about atheism this month.

In particular, John’s posts were about Richard Dawkins being a coward for not debating theologian William Lane Craig – always a popular topic and sentiment amongst the evangelical crowd – and, well, a different UK atheist agreeing to debate Craig, and therefore, by extension, not being a coward, while Michael’s post was about atheism being banal. How refreshing takes they were, effortlessly linking their primary contentions into the main issue at stake, intelligent design, weaving complex arguments that hit home every time…

Atheists insist that their ideology is a revolution in human understanding. Darwinism is “the best idea anyone ever had.” “Lincoln freed the slaves. Darwin freed our minds.” “Atheism is the apotheosis of mankind’s long twilight struggle for freedom from superstition.” Shouldn’t atheists, now liberated from crass belief in God, revel in the deep insights offered by “science and reason and evidence”? Heck, they can’t even keep each other awake during powerpoint talks.

The salient characteristic of atheism is its banality.

…oh, wait.

———

Biology textbooks and education standards was another common topic in June, with Casey Luskin writing four blog posts about about the Miller-Urey experiment, Haeckel’s embryo drawings, vestigial organs and Texas teaching materials in general - all complaining about how various aspects of biology have been grossly distorted by textbooks and curriculums.

He tries to make the case that “all sides” of these issues need to be taught in classrooms – and therefore that these topics fall under the broad umbrella of requiring “academic freedom”, according with recently passed legislation – but I don’t really see it like that. I mean, if these topics are being taught incorrectly or there are factual errors, “academic freedom” shouldn’t need to come up at all, and the fix is simple: just correct the errors. For example, there isn’t two sides to whether or not Haeckel’s drawings are accurate: either they are useful or they are not. Pick one. Convince the curriculum to reflect your opinion based on the state of the evidence. “Freedom” doesn’t come into it at all. Just make a reasonable, scientifically valid case for change and all will be well.

I am open to Casey trying to get his various fact-based cases across to the Texas curriculum advisory board, but it’s hard to understand why writing rhetoric-charged blog posts about each error is helpful in consolidating those changes. Unless, of course, he has some sort of grander point to make to a certain following he may have…

———

And to close out this post, there was a series of blog posts by Jonathan M., David Klinghoffer and Casey Luskin about an encounter Jonathan had with PZ Myers at a meeting of Glasgow Skeptics in the Pub, wherein PZ was asked a number of questions about developmental evolution, and the response received was less than pleasing to all those on the pro-ID side. (A video of what happened does exist – start at 3:44 for best results.)

Jonathan first described his experience in this post, followed by David’s rather more emotionally-charged account; Jonathan’s second post, addressing PZ’s response; then two posts by Casey, containing all the meaty outrage you’ve come to expect from him:

“I was not rude enough to MacLatchie,” writes PZ Myers, despite the fact that PZ recently told pro-intelligent design undergraduate student Jonathan M. that he should be “ashamed to have been responsible for this bulls–t.” Apparently PZ doesn’t feel it was “rude enough” to have alleged that Jonathan M.:

  • is a “flaming moron”
  • “is an idiot”
  • is guilty of “ignorance”
  • is “completely ineducable”
  • promotes “ludicrous nonsense”
  • “doesn’t know word one about basic biological concepts”

PZ closed his supposedly “not rude enough” comments to Jonathan M. by stating, “You should be ashamed. This is disgraceful.” PZ’s treatment of a Darwin-doubting undergraduate student of course led to great applause from PZ’s audience during PZ’s recent talk in Glasgow, Scotland. Is this the type of dialogue that new atheist evolutionists stand for?

Such harsh personal attacks from PZ and his followers are nothing new. In fact, the rhetorical strategies of Professor Myers and his colleagues are so uncivil that they have earned criticism from mainstream academics and writers who are otherwise pro-evolution.

To be honest, I found PZ’s response to Jonathan – both in the video and on Pharyngula - to be extremely lacking in appropriate tone. I guess it’s easy to understand where he’s coming from emotionally when responding to yet another ID proponent’s potentially silly questions (especially in a room full of atheists, who may be expecting such a response in that situation), but it doesn’t excuse over-the-top language like “You should be ashamed”, which he must know will just serve to fuel the rhetoric machine that is the online wing of the Discovery Institute.

But it’s unlikely PZ will ever change his tonal tactics. All we slightly-more-civil members of the skeptical community can do to offset the possible damage he may be causing is to jump ahead and answer as many of the questions from ID proponents (and similar) as we can/reasonably should.  But that’s a discussion for another time.

———

Rapid fire ID news!

30 thoughts on “This Month in Intelligent Design – June 2011

  1. That the evangelicals constantly put Craig forward as the best they've got tells us all we need to know, really.

  2. And yes, I can see your point about the tone. But, unwise as it may have been (and probably was), McLatchie certainly deserved the scorn dumped on him by PZ for his shit-stirring.

    • Eh, I don't see Jonathan as a shit-stirrer. Or perhaps I have massively misjudged his character. Not all ID proponent are in it for the rhetoric storm, though.

      • Looking back at his 10 + 1 questions, I can understand how someone could be asking the first 10 out of genuine interest (even if I don't fully comprehend the questions), but the + 1 ("How many peer-reviewed papers have you published since setting up your blog, Pharyngula? We think the number’s zero, but it would be nice to get confirmation of this") is pure trolling. There's no charitable way to spin it.

  3. "Such is the current ID strategy to lay out bills that seem reasonable, even to a 14 year-old …"

    Groucho Marx: "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five."

    And, while we're on the subject of Groucho comments relevant to ID literature:
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it."

  4. "I may have to enter. Who would like me to?"

    By all means! If you can simulate a 50 point drop in IQ, you might even have a chance of winning!

  5. Jack,

    You wrote
    >
    [Sewell]…goes off on non-sequitur tangents that bear little relation to his original point, mentioning “compensation” and “information”.
    >

    The role of compensation is not a tangent to his argument. It is crucial. For example, in the Wiki entry for "Entropy" it is mentioned, "the "order" produced within cells as they grow and divide is more than COMPENSATED for by the "disorder" they create in their surroundings in the course of growth and division."

    There are many such references regarding "compensation" in the literature concerning the second law. Whether you refer to the order or entropy of a cell does not equate the two. Ceteris paribus (all else being equal), increased order does correspond to decreased entropy. Though not equal, they are certainly correlated.

    As far as "information" is concerned in Sewell's article, it is nowhere to be found. You must have been overloaded with that idea from other ID literature you were immersed in.

    These were the arguments you made to justify writing, "it isn’t really censorship if the article is a terrible piece of work." Maybe you can try again to convince us of that by giving us a bit more cogent reasoning.

    But then you call in the "veterans" who know how bad those arguments are that invoke the second law to show that something is missing in the the whole idea of the natural spontaneous formation of organized life forms, etc. The second laws states that entropy tends to increase, but it can decrease in localized situations like the formation of galaxies, life forms, crystals, etc. This is COMPENSATED for by the increase in entropy to the environment by release of energy or heat, so that the second law is ultimately not violated.

    The problem is, these 'veterans' have never been able to show how a random source of energy (like the sun) is able to cause a localized decreases in entropy on the earth. But because the energy is random, the result is a cancellation of any decreased entropy by increased entropy.What is your proof this doesn't happen? In fact, chaos theory tells us that ONLY if initial and boundry conditions are precisely set can certain ordered states arise and not otherwise. So who or what is tuning those conditions?

    As for " those you?[who] may not be as knowledgable about the modern scientific process"– I think you still have to prove you are not part of that group.

    ———————-

    Next you refer to "academic freedom" in scare quotes as if it were some type of oxymoron and two words like that should never go together! This seems to me like a scarry dictatorial mentality. It comes from weakness, not strength. It is called overcompensation. — You see. There is that word again – COMPENSATION.

    Freedom is not the problem in academia or anywhere else. It is the attempt to restrict/control freedom that is the problem. One has the freedom to try to enforce their ideas on others and get them to surrender their freedom to theirs. That is called dictatorship. It can be done using science, money, intelligence, personal charisma, or any other way. It all amounts to the same thing: dictatorship.

    Scientific arguments are not meant to enforce people to think one way only. Otherwise it becomes a weapon of enslavement. We have to be willing to reason with others, even and especially those with whom we may disagree. It requires a certain humility to allow Reason to rule the world, and not one's individual reasoning.

    Men can agree with each other only when they accept the universal Reason that unites us all. This is real science. Not the kind that says you have to think the same way as I do. Isaiah 1:18 writes: "Come let us reason together." It doesn't say anything about blind faith, or dictatorship. Only if people agree within their own hearts that what is being said is reasonable, will they accept it. You can't force anyone to accept what they feel is not reasonable. Yet they will eagerly accept it if it is.

    Being reasonable is more important than being right. Civil or uncivil tone hardly matters if the message you are delivering is that you are right and whoever disagrees with you is wrong. The sweet songs of the sirens only allured the men they enchanted to their death.

    • "Freedom is not the problem in academia or anywhere else."

      Do you feel the same about 'teaching both sides' of, say, whether the holocaust occurred? Whether Jesus was really Jehovah's son? Whether Christianity is no better than Shintoism?

      Of does 'academic freedom' in your world only pertain to trying to dilute and undermine evolution?

      • Why do you half quote me. I wrote "Freedom is not the problem in academia or anywhere else. It is the attempt to restrict/control freedom that is the problem."

        Evolution is a fairy tale told by true believers, without any direct evidence, and has been challenged by scientists for years since it was introduced by Darwin. It is simply a ludicrous ploy to bring in the Holocaust, Jesus or Shintoism as if evolution were on the same level. This is the kind of shameful nonsense that the cult of evolution tries to foist upon others.

    • "The problem is, these 'veterans' have never been able to show how a random source of energy (like the sun) is able to cause a localized decreases in entropy on the earth. But because the energy is random, the result is a cancellation of any decreased entropy by increased entropy.What is your proof this doesn't happen?"
      This is nonsense. We know there is a localized decrease in entropy on the earth because we are here. I thought the localized decrease in entropy was what the ID proponents were claiming to explain.
      "In fact, chaos theory tells us that ONLY if initial and boundry [sic] conditions are precisely set can certain ordered states arise and not otherwise. So who or what is tuning those conditions?"
      Well, the short answer to this, is no one has to be. It may be incredibly, unimaginably unlikely that the correct initial boundary conditions would be set for life to arise here on earth – but if we hadn't won that lottery, we wouldn't be here to contemplate our luck.
      "Being reasonable is more important than being right."
      No, it isn't. Not in a discussion about what theory is right.

      • Hi Brendan

        Thanks for the response, but you seem to have entirely missed the argument being made. You wrote:
        "We know there is a localized decrease in entropy on the earth because we are here." But this statement doesn't explain why that is the case, on the basis of the second law and a random energy source.

        Take an example. We would expect the molecules of hydrogen gas in a closed box to be randomly distributed throughout the interior volume of the box (maximized entropy). We would not expect them to be spontaneously isolated in a solitary corner of the box or in localized pockets anywhere in the box. These two states would correspond to lower entropy.

        If we add an external source of energy, like a heat lamp to warm the box the temperature of the system would rise and the entropy would increase, but we would not expect any localized pockets of gas to spontaneously form that would not be randomly broken apart by the same energy.

        So the second law of thermodynamics plus an external source of energy are not sufficient to explain the spontaneous formation of organisms. The only way such organisms (or functional organizations) can arise is by energy that is purposely directed to their formation.

        Then you write: ". It may be incredibly, unimaginably unlikely that the correct initial boundary conditions would be set for life to arise here on earth – but if we hadn't won that lottery, we wouldn't be here to contemplate our luck. "

        Your argument here is called circular reasoning or begging the question.

        You assume everything evolves by an unguided process. Thus whatever we see around us, however unlikely it may seem, must have evolved. But one can equally say that everything is created, and therefore what we see around us must involve the action of a guiding intelligence, which seems a lot more likely.

        Consider what this means after reading this quote from Sewell's paper:

        "I imagine visiting the Earth when it was young and returning now to find highways with automobiles on them, airports with jet airplanes, and tall buildings full of complicated equipment, such as televisions, telephones and computers. Then I imagine the construction of a gigantic computer model which starts with the initial conditions on Earth 4 billion years ago and tries to simulate the effects that the four known forces of physics would have on every atom and every subatomic particle on our planet. If we ran such a simulation out to the present day, would it predict that the basic forces of Nature would reorganize the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers with supersonic jets parked on deck, and computers connected to laser printers, CRTs and keyboards? If we graphically displayed the positions of the atoms at the end of the simulation, would we find that cars and trucks had formed, or that supercomputers had arisen? Certainly we would not, and I do not believe that adding sunlight to the model would help much."

        • random geology chick

          Put a random assortment of sodium and chloride ions in a box full of water, and shine any kind of visible or thermal energy on it you want. Totally randomly emitted, polarized, or lased, light, and eventually you'll get localized patches of beautiful halite crystals. You don't need any agency (i.e. god, or an intelligent designer). Lower entropy result in the box, and guess what? No violation of the 2nd law. I'll admit, this 'random energy' is a new twist on a tired old canard, but it doesn't add any new problem or conflict to open system ordering on Earth.

          • Sorry rg chick, you can't equate ordered systems (like crystals or thunderstorms) with functionally organized systems (living organisms). Your argument is indeed an old one that has been amply demonstrated to be irrelevant to our current knowledge of living organisms. It is most certainly problematic and in direct conflict with the mechanistic misconception of biology as mere aggregation of parts and their interactions. But the good news for you is that you are not just the product of a random geological event. Yeah!

            • random geology chick

              Nice attempt to move the goal post. You were arguing that random energy can't drive order.

              There's only one 2nd law of thermodynamics……
              Not one law for inorganic systems, and another law for organic systems.

              if an external energy source can drive entropy changes in a very complex inorganic system, it can drive entropy changes in a complex organic system.

              Now, I'm wondering what would happen if you were concentrating organic molecules within fluid inclusions inside the salt crystals, and if the crystals were periodically dissolved and reformed, repetitively. Organic polymers are just ordered molecules, just like inorganic crystals.

              • It is you are continually missing the goal rgc. The goal posts aren't moving. You have to read carefully — ordered systems and organized systems are very different from one another. It is not merely a difference between inorganic and organic systems/molecules.

                It seems you are not up on the literature available on this subject, and are simply repeating the old evolutionary canards about order v organization that have long since been clearly differentiated. All I can say at this point is that you are in need of an updated education if you don't know this.

                I don't know how to break this to you gently, but there is an entirely new world out there beyond the antiquated evolutionary doctrines. The post-Darwinian 21st Century marks the End of an Error, and the beginning of a new Era in biology.

                • "Today, at the dawn of the new century, nothing is more certain than that Darwinism has lost its prestige among men of science. It has seen its day and will soon be reckoned a thing of the past." – Eberhard Dennert, At the Deathbed of Darwinism, 1904

                  • flawedprefect

                    I’m sorry – at the dawn of WHICH century? The quote is very telling especially in light of the sheer amount of work done in the field of Biology in the years since. Dennert’s work is a quaint curio of antiquated apologetics. Google “Eberhard Dennert” and he’s filed under “apologetics” or “creationism”. If anyone wants to read is papers (Jack, if you can stomach it after reading Signature in the Cell), they are freely available as an eBook.

                    • Sheesh. Evolutionists, huh? I cite a succinct, hilarious quote perfectly high-lighting how vacuous the last paragraph of Will's post was, and you assume I must be a creationist!? Yes FP, I understand that Dennert's book from which I quoted is filed under apologetics and creationism. It's almost as if I was trying to draw a comparison between that and Will's particular brand of neo-creationist philosophy…

                    • No, cambrianexplode, you are simply ignoring the fact that it is the advancement of modern biological knowledge that has led to the refutation of Darwinism If you think the last century of biological research is vacuous then I think you are like the frog in a well believing that there is no world outside of its well, and that all talk of such is merely vacuous.

                      Face it. You and Jack and others are umbilically attached to evotutionism and its attendant materialism, and have not yet gotten beyond the pre-infantile embryological stage of of being able to rationally think independently in terms of real world complexities. It may not be possible to awaken you from your embryological slumber, but surely one day you must take birth in the real world and for the first time be able to understand what is really going on, perhaps even at just an infantile level. Keep growing! There's lots to learn yet.

                  • flawedprefect

                    Lol. No assumption on my part (to nitpick) just adding more about the quote, there. Apologies, dude. We really do need a sarcasm tag…

                • flawedprefect

                  Will, it seems that everyone here misses your point(s). It’s a fairly big clue that perhaps you’re not being clear and concise. Personally, I fail to see what argument you’re making at all.

                  Out of interest, have you managed to convince anyone here of… whatever it is you’re trying to say?

                  • fp — If you throw a die a certain number of times the numbers that come up will form a random _order_ from 1 to 6. So ordered systems are aggregates of conjoined parts, or the products of such. It can be generated by a simple algorithm.

                    Organization is a functionally integral system. Living organisms are such organized wholes. They are made up of members, not parts. In other words you can't take them apart and put them together again to form a working whole.

                    If anyone is convinced by these arguments, it is up to them, not me. No one has refuted them so the least I can say is that they are not convinced they are wrong.

                    W Elsasser has made an interesting calculation. The number of particles in the universe is ~10^85. The time since the big bang is ~10^25 nanoseconds. The total number of events that could occur every nanosecond amounts to ~10^110. Given an ordered system of 80 separate parts, the possibility of forming it would be 1 in 80! a number greater than 10^110. An that is just ONE ordered system (not organism). Consider what that means for forming a world with countless millions of organisms.

                    Anyhow, those with blind faith in atheistic evolution will never be convinced by reason. They know it is completely ridiculous to think that everything arose by random chance, but their faith keeps them in denial of reality. That is human nature for ya. Still, those who are not committed to your religion may be convinced by the reasons given here. That is possible.

                    • random geology chick

                      Your 4th paragraph assumes that chemical evolution is random. It's not random. It's shaped, the output is selected, by the physical and chemical environment surrounding it. it also assumes that the process requires a specific endpoint (your specific ordered system). That specific endpoint is only the endpoint in hindsight…. chemical evolution could conceivably have gone in different directions, and at this point we don't know enough about viable proto-cells to even hazard a guess at how many viable configurations there would have been, therefore we don't even know enough to calculate a probabilistic estimate of the number of combinations necessary to get to a viable endpoint. But you know what? There are a lot of smart people doing legitimate science who are working very hard to advance our knowledge in this area.

                      Just using a bunch of numbers in an argument doesn't make it right or legitimate, even if it makes it sound 'scientific'. I also never understand why people who believe in special creation think that they can continue to assert that chemical or biological evolution proceeds by pure chance without being called out on it. For chemical evolution, kinetics and probability theory determine whether two atoms or molecules will come into contact, but the environment is shaping the outcome of those collisions, it's not pure chance.

                    • Fair enough rgc – but even if the environment, E, restricts the chemical reaction, C, it doesn't make the system any less random by saying that the two things, E – C are conditional upon each other. The probability that both E and C would occur together is P(E and C) = P(E) * P(C|E) This is a much larger number than either P(E) or P(C) by themselves. So the chance that ONE of these conditional choices should arise is even LESS than if only one were to arise.

                      No reference to any endpoint is made in these considerations. The only assumption needed is that whenever the system reaches 80 separate, or less than 80 conjoined elements, the probability of making even ONE such system is probably unlikely to occur in the history of the universe,

                      I think every evolutionist must realize by common sense the impossibility of what they are proposing, but when you do the math it becomes obvious. I don't expect that will change your mind, because evolution is not a scientific theory. It is a blind faith in atheism. That is a problem of the heart, not of the intellect. So that is a matter between you and God. Good luck to you.

                    • random geology chick

                      Aaah, but molecular interactions aren't dice.

                      1) the probabilities for your equation in your first paragraph are dependent on you predetermining E and C. maybe E and D would work, or E and F, or B and E….. you are looking at a singular event (or molecule) in hindsight and calculating the probability of a simultaneous random occurrence of non-interacting components. A) they don't have to occur simultaneously, B) they can interact and that removes a part of the random component.

                      2) Random probabilistic equations don't work here, because once you understand the chemical kinetics and potential, you realize (or rather, someone with a sufficient understanding of the chemistry) that the rules necessary for probability analysis like that don't work once you take the chemistry into effect. Certain reactions are going to be favored by the chemical and physical environment, thus, random probabilities don't apply, the system has a significant non-random component. This can easily be seen how common organic molecules turn out to be in pre-biotic systems… comets, meteorites, lab experiments (see Juan Oro and adenine, for example).

                      Your arguments are far too simplistic to be applied to the chemical world. Dice and Vegas style card games, maybe.

                    • ooookay — what you are doing now is building into chemistry and physics predetermination for life and Nature to arise. This is called front-loading, and is indistinguishable from theistic evolutionary arguments. If that's what you believe — fine. Evolution works without God because the principles of chemistry and physics determine everything to turn out the way it does. Or, God has built into the laws of chemistry and physics everything necessary to produce a world with life.

                      Ultimately your worldview is a choice determined by your prior conviction in either atheism or theism. I think it is just a matter of being honest with oneself. Quite simply, the question has to be asked: what do I believe and why?

  6. thetimchannel

    Craig is a profoundly sophist asshat. Waste of time to listen to anyway. I watched ONE of his debates this year and was impressed by how much he says without really saying anything. That's a good gig if you can get it. But the only way to 'maintain' that status is to GOAD our side into the debate. Dawkins isn't falling for it anymore. Others should take note.
    Enjoy.

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