Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quote of the Day: A Simple Homogenous Globule"

"The cell is a simple homogenous globule of plasm" - T. H. Huxley - "Darwin's Bull Dog".

Back in the days when Darwin was hypothesizing that maybe, just maybe, all of the wonders of creation could be explained by purely natural processes (which still would not kick God out, because Christians have always affirmed that God is the Author of all things, including natural processes), the origin of life was not considered particularly worrisome. After all, people of that unsophisticated era believed that life was so simple that it could just spontaneously generate from non-life. Not a biggy.

Except that the entire materialistic darwinian house of cards depends on it. In the materialistic world view, there is simply no room for a divine foot in the door. Mind. Closed.

Fast-forward 150 years. We now know that even the simplest life form is characterized by a world of complexity -- and there is no viable naturalistic explanation for the origin of life on the table. So what we currently have is a house of cards with no table underneath it. But, give us time, brother, give us time. Keep the materialistic faith.

Committed atheists are stuck with believing, against the evidence on the table, that purely natural processes explain everything -- unlike Christians, who can afford to be open-minded, and genuinely inquisitive about natural causes, because Christians attribute natural processes to God. (Indeed, it was this conviction that God, a rational being, was the cause of natural processes that propelled the growth of science in predominantly Christian Europe.) So, whether life emerged from purely natural processes (as some Christians assert), or whether life was the result of explicit divine activity (as I believe), the Christian can afford to be generously open-minded about the question of origins of life and species. The atheist fundamentalist, on the other hand, must be narrowly, dogmatically and harshly closed to a predetermined conclusion.

The cell a "simple homogenous globule of plasm"?

Not true, but even if it were, even Jello has a creator.

*+*

Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer -- check this video out at

http://tinyurl.com/lm6q83

And that's the way the designer Ball bounces.

14 comments:

David said...

First gear vrooooooOOOOM second gear vroooooOOOOM third gea----*CRASH!!!!!* SCIENCE FAIL!!!!

Just give it up bro.

Anonymous said...

Why do you bother embarrassing yourself by talking about science??

You say it in your first paragraph - Darwin's theory doesn't eliminate god from ANYTHING! Perhaps god started the whole thing off...

But your unhealthy hatred for anything "atheistic" requires you to rail against the evil atheists as much as you can.... hense this post by you.

Ball: "We now know that even the simplest life form is characterized by a world of complexity -- and there is no viable naturalistic explanation for the origin of life on the table."

This is not true at all... I know you want scientists to give up and credit god with everything, but that's not going to happen. There are plenty of hypotheses currently under investigation - science works at finding the truth, not giving up and claiming (without ANY evidence) that "god did it!".

Ball: "Except that the entire darwinian house of cards depends on it."

Except that it doesn't. I know you're scientifically illiterate but try to stay with me here: The theory of evolution by natural selection does NOT depend on life arising spontaneously. It doesn't depend on ANY origin of the first lifeform. It doesn't concern itself with HOW that first lifeform arrived - only on what happened AFTER!!!
This is why the majority of christians believe in the ToE while still believing god created that FIRST lifeform...

And I love that you have reality BACKWARDS in your mind... you must be one seriously messed up dude to actually think that christians are the open-minded ones searching for truth and that atheists are stuck believing something from a "predetermined conclusion"!!

Wow... just wow... good thing nobody takes you seriously!

Joe Agnost

RkBall said...

Joe -- thanks for your comment. You made my day! Hope you have a good Sunday! -- your friend on the other side of the fence.

lastchancetosee said...

I like those quotes that seem incredibly stupid in hindsight, like the one by Bill Gates about not being able to imagine why anyone would want a computer at home.

On to factual matters. As Joe Agnost correctly pointed out, the theory of evolution depends on the origin of life in much the same way that gravitational astronomy depends on the GUT, i.e. not at all.
God could have zapped both, life and gravity into existence for all I know, both theories would be unchanged and as true as they are now.


As to your second point, the closed-mindedness of the scientific viewpoint, I think "closed-minded" is the wrong word to use here, but let's stick with it and try to explain why science has to seem "closed-minded" on this matter.

People make assumptions. That is absolutely OK and necessary for our survival. For science to work, however, we have to be very, very careful about the assumptions we make. That means
a) always knowing what assumptions you're making.
b) not making unwarranted assumptions.
c) not making assumptions that aren't strictly necessary to explain something (the whole 'occam's razor'-thing).

Now, the existence of a god or godlike entity that created life is one whopper of an assumption, therefore, unless and until we find evidence that makes this assumption absolutely necessary, we can't make it.

So, about the beginning of life. There is some evidence, there are theories and there is a lot of research going on but the fact is, we don't know yet how life started.
However "we don't know" is not sufficient reason to assume that goddidit. It is possible, true, but in the absence of evidence for god having done this and bearing in mind that never in the history of science has god ever been necessary to explain something the reasonable working assumption is that god had nothing to do with it, unless and until there is evidence that he did.
______________________________________

This is completely off-topic, but as you seem to be a) very much capable of reasoned discussion and b) sufficiently devoutly christian to be able to answer this, I'd like your view on something. If you have the time and do not want to drag this thread off-topic, maybe you could do a post on it, the better to discuss this:

I really get pissed off at people who quote scripture at me, because most of these "discussions" follow the following scheme:

Random person: "--A-- is true because of --random passage from the bible X--."
Me: "But --random passage from the bible Y-- completely contradicts that."
Random person: "Atheists don't understand --passage Y--/the bible/christianity."

So, my question to you would be this:
What about all the wrong, barbaric, immoral, nonsensical, contradictory stuff in the bible? You know what I'm talking about.
Leviticus especially is very explicit, literal and full of such things. How exactly can I interpret that any other than barbaric/immoral/etc.?
And why is it somehow a valid argument to quote the nice things from the bible in support of somethings, but not the bad stuff to disprove that claim?

Mind you, I think all this mindless quoting, whether by me or them, doesn't constitute any kind of valid argument at all, I just get peeved at their constant insistence that I am somehow misrepresenting what the bible says.

RkBall said...

LC2C: Thank you for your thoughtful and stimulating comments -- I'll get back to you -- it will take a day or two.

Scary Fundamentalist said...

lastchance:

(re: 2nd part of your post)

I inwardly groan every time that Christians think they can convince non-Christians of a particular topic with a Biblical quote. All I can say is that it's a lazy and ineffective debating technique, and often only labels the author as a crazy fundamentalist.

This is especially true when texts are taken out of context to prove a pro-Christian point, allowing opponents to similarly abuse texts to refute it.

To respond to your question in a few sentences, the Old Testament needs to be read in light of the fulfillment of the Law in New Testament. The kingdom of God was transformed from a physical nation of Israel (perishable) into a spiritual nation of believers (imperishable) Food laws, for example, are translated into a spiritual context in Mark 7:14-23.

At any rate, I'm pretty similar to Ball in that I won't quote scripture unless asked.

RkBall said...

I really am going to respond to LC2C; I've been on the road (again).

Meanwhile, thank you SF for "guest blogging" a response to part two.

RkBall said...

At last:

"the theory of evolution depends on the origin of life in much the same way that gravitational astronomy depends on the GUT, i.e. not at all."

*+* I agree with you in one sense. You can start with life, and go from there and postulate an uninterrupted flow of undirected evolution based on random undirected mutations and natural selection.

Here's, in brief, where I disagree:

* evolution is now being used in a much broader sense to explain everything from the Big Bang onwards -- evolution of stars, planets, etc. So, darwinian evolution is now being placed in a broader evolutionary framework, which includes the leap, er, tiny increment, from non-life to life.

As evidence of this, origins-of-life researchers use the exact same assumptions and methodology in their research as darwinian evolutionists.

"People make assumptions."

*+* True, and science necessarily operates on the basis of methodological naturalism (because this is the only domain that science would be competent to address". Too often, however, this is elevated to philosophical naturalism, meaning that all causes are natural causes. This has the unfortunate effect of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Too often science today works like this:

* we assume methodological and philosophical naturalism

* therefore, we a priori rule out causes outside of the natural realm and permit only natural explanations of phenomena

* we therefore come up with only natural explanations for things

* all other views are labelled "unscientific".

So, design of the universe and design of life and design of human beings are all ruled out a priori as "unscientific", in spite of the increasing mountain of evidence to the contrary.

A case in point -- a guy a few years ago came up with the hypothesis that when Jesus walked on the waters of the sea of Galilee, it was late spring or whatever, and he was actually walking on ice. This is viewed as a "scientific" explanation not because there is any real evidence for it -- he just made it up -- but because it is a naturalistic explanation -- based on the assumption that only naturalistic causes exist and only naturalistic explanations can be true.

Unfortunately, the term "scientific" today in our society is viewed as an exact synonym for rational, real, and true, when reality, rationality, and truth extend far beyond the methodological and epistemological limits of science.

The converse is also true -- that "unscientific" is viewed as an exact synonym for unreal, irrational, and false -- when this is not necessarily the case.

RkBall said...

"Now, the existence of a god or godlike entity that created life is one whopper of an assumption, therefore, unless and until we find evidence that makes this assumption absolutely necessary, we can't make it."

I disagree. This would be an hypothesis, not an assumption. An hypothesis well in keeping with the greater reality of human existence, and, indeed, the existence of the universe itself -- i.e., why there is something rather than nothing.

No more of a whopper than the cumulative whoppers currently happily ingested by the scientific community, namely,

* the universe popped into existence uncaused from nothing at the moment of the Big Bang

* life sprang from non-life

* the exquisite design of the human body, with its complex inter-related systems came from a mindless, undirected process

* consciousness sprang from non-consciousness

* self emerged from mindless molecules

* persistent authentic human traits such as the search for meaning and purpose, the moral sense, arose from meaningless and purposeless and amoral evolutionary processes

"However "we don't know" is not sufficient reason to assume that goddidit."

*+* Again, it would not be an assumption, it would be an hypothesis -- an hypothesis that the materialistic scientist will not allow to be made, and indeed, cannot, because his worldview is too small and closed to allow it.

It is therefore the confident Christian, secure in the knowledge that God is the creator and sustainer of natural processes who is free to freely investigate whether the universe was the result of one big-bang superlative pool shot, or whether the Player made a number of shots to get things to where they are today.

"never in the history of science has god ever been necessary to explain something"

*+* In fact, belief in God was the underlying philosophy that propelled the development of science in the first place -- belief that this is an ordered, rational universe, and therefore susceptible to ordered, rational inquiry, by creatures created in the image of a rational Being and therefore possessing minds which (despite the fall) are reasonably accurate processors of information.

Science does not operate in a vacuum. It rests on assumptions about reality. And those assumptions are better supported by theism than antitheism.

The atheist may play pool; but the table he's playing on and the balls he's using are made by God.

Anonymous said...

RKBall: "Too often science today works like this:"

And then you proceed to show that you don't have the foggiest clue how science works - today or any day.

"therefore, we a priori rule out causes outside of the natural realm and permit only natural explanations of phenomena"

Science rules out these causes because there is NO evidence for them! Unless you can test for something it doesn't fall into the realm of science... sorry about that.

"we therefore come up with only natural explanations for things"

It's because science uses something the woo-crowd ignore: EVIDENCE.

"all other views are labelled 'unscientific'."

all other views ARE unscientific you prat!

"So, design of the universe and design of life and design of human beings are all ruled out a priori as 'unscientific', in spite of the increasing mountain of evidence to the contrary."

This is a clever move intended to wow the woo-crowd.... there is NO evidence for this 'design' theory you're speaking of... NONE!
It's ruled "unscientific" because we can't test it or investigate it in any way. i.e. NOT science!

"a guy a few years ago came up with the hypothesis..."

That's not an hypothesis.

"...that when Jesus walked on the waters of the sea of Galilee, it was late spring or whatever, and he was actually walking on ice. This is viewed as a 'scientific' explanation not because there is any real evidence for it -- he just made it up -- but because it is a naturalistic explanation..."

I wouldn't call it "scientific", but at least it explains the unexplainable (although I don't believe your JC character ever walked on water so the story is ridiculous right off the bat). You CAN walk on frozen water... you cannot walk on liquid water without some sort of floatation device.

Then later Ball says:

"This would be an hypothesis, not an assumption"

You don't know what an hypothesis is then. It has to be testable - reproducable. How can you test for this ASSUMPTION ( that god exists in this case)??

You repeat the 'hypothesis not assuption' line later in your post and it's as wrong there as it is here... namely VERY wrong.

You seem to think that scientists don't allow for your 'goddidit' assumption because they don't believe in god. This is patently false!
It's nothing personal with god - he just doesn't fit into the scientific method... it is NOT the scientists "worldview" that won't allow it - it's SCIENCE! If it can't be reproduced, doesn't make predictions that come true, can't be tested... sorry, then it's just not science!

joe agnost

Anonymous said...

And the best part??? This gem right here:

Ball: "It is therefore the confident Christian, secure in the knowledge that God is the creator and sustainer of natural processes who is free to freely investigate whether the universe was the result of..."

That is classic - just classic.

You are seriously trying to put forth the idea that a christian - who is "secure in the knowledge that God is the creator and sustainer of natural processes" is free to do the REAL investigating!! No bias coming from these fine 'scientists' right?! (roll eyes).

Did I read that right? You have to ~know~ that goddidit to actually ~freely~ investigate the ways of the universe... and those pesky scientists, without the knowledge that goddidit, with all of their requirements (evidence, tests, etc.) are the closed-minded ones?!

Where do you come up with such utterly ridiculous ideas?

joe agnost

RkBall said...

"You don't know what an hypothesis is then. It has to be testable - reproducable".

And what are your plans for reproducing the past? Perhaps you are confusing operational science with historical science.

Anonymous said...

"And what are your plans for reproducing the past?"

I have no such plans. You really don't understand science I'm afraid.

Here's an example of science working regarding the big-bang theory. In it's earliest inception the big bang model made the prediction that ~if~ this happened then microwave radiation would have been emitted in LARGE quantities - and would have been travelling away from this point in space forever.
Decades later they found this radiation - and this didn't make the big-bang true, it merely provided EVIDENCE for it.

See how that worked? Prediction - then verification. Science.

Finding this backround microwave radiation didn't make the big bang true, it only made it a stronger theory by providing evidence for it.

joe agnost

Anonymous said...

Oh - and just to clarify, this is not an example of the creationist trick of finding data and making it fit a pre-conceived idea (like creationism). This is an actual prediction that turned out to come true and add to the evidence for the big bang.


joe agnost

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"