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The Wrath
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From a philosophical point of view / theoretical point of view, I don't have much of a problem with ID. Personally, I have a hard time arguing against St. Thomas Aquinas' first point (don't hate me):

If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

I'm not advocating creationism (in the biblical sense), it's just that any kind of Socratic attempt at reducing science seems to inevitable lead to "that's just the way things are" (ie. natural laws, mathematical relationships, etc.). Personally, I think evolution can be seen as a product of such laws (and therefore evolution and ID are NOT mutually exclusive - if evolution is seen as a product of laws created by a prime movement).

I guess the best answer (especially from a scientific standpoint) is that we simply do not know and oviously, there's no way to prove that there was a prime movement ( don't think there's any way to prove that there wasn't as well). But I don't think that stops (or should stop) anyone from speculating - as long as we realize that it's purely theoretical.

What are the arguments against St. Thomas Aquinas first point as quote above?

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I'm not 100% sure what you mean, but I dont think many supporters of evolution would deny that the individual subatomic particles which constituted the living things at each stage of the evolutionary process all acted in accordance with the laws of physics. Hence I think that they would genearlly agree that evolution is, in a sense, emergent from a set of more basic laws (ie, its a higher level theory than those of pure physics).

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What are the arguments against St. Thomas Aquinas first point as quote above?

Aquinas' argument rests on the assumption that the universe has a beginning, that there was a "time" when no motion existed and thus that *something* must have made it all start.

Here are a couple of counter arguments:

1- The universe is all there is, so if "the first mover" exists he is part of the universe and must (if you accept Aquinas' argument) himself have been put in motion by some other force. Since nothing else exists, there is an unsurmountable contradiction - one or more of the assumptions must be false.

2- Aquinas' argument assumes that not moving is the "natural state" of things. This is completely baseless.

mrocktor

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I have not yet read a comprehensive description of what ID proponents are claiming. If this lack is the result of the idea that there is no supernatural force in the first place, it is partly understandable, but it does not identify all the parts of the argument.

Intelligent Design posits that living things are complex. This is fact not just incredulity. Irreducible Complexity is the concept that any living thing, if changed only slightly, would not work properly or at all. Take out a component of a cell and it will not function, remove an organ from a person and serious problems will be the result unless care is taken and/or outside means are provided to make up for it.

If at this point in your reading, you are becoming emotional, why?

Further, the origin of the universe is unknown. The information required to build the first cell did not exist. If a liquid was somehow enclosed in an envelope, it would still lack the internal machinery to convert some outside energy source to sustain itself. It would not be alive. It would not contain the information or machinery to divide itself. The idea of a self-creating cell is nonsensical since no genetic information was in existence.

Evolution is still described as a robust theory. The arguments between it and Creation and Intelligent Design are old and have been repackaged. Somehow, great scientific discoveries have been made by religious people, this in contradiction to the idea that a belief in a supreme being has clouded their ability to function or interact with scientific subjects, and contribute to society in a reasonable, productive manner.

I am against forcing people to believe things. Wishing away the existence of religious people is nonsensical.

Edited by Remark89
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I have not yet read a comprehensive description of what ID proponents are claiming.
That would be because they aren't actually claiming anything concrete.
Intelligent Design posits that living things are complex.
That isn't significantly different from non-living things. Things are complex, at least to people who have no standard for measuring the complexity of things. But yeah, that would be one of those contentless claims that I've seem coming from ID proponents.
Irreducible Complexity is the concept that any living thing, if changed only slightly, would not work properly or at all.
See, that is just so totally misguided. If you cut someone's hair, they don't die. But these ID whackos want us to believe that is you make any change at all in a living being, then it turns into meat-pudding. Ridiculous.
'If at this point in your reading, you are becoming emotional, why?
I suppose because it makes me weep when people don't bother to read what the purpose of this forum us.
I am against forcing people to believe things. Wishing away the existence of religious people is nonsensical.
Me too. I'm also against state school. If you want to have fudamentalist boot camps, fine, do it on your own dime, and don't make my kid learn this goggledygook. Edited by DavidOdden
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Objective or emotional? The fundamental idea that if one part of a cell were removed, it would not fuction is an accurate statement. If you cannot address the content of my post, except on an emotional level, where is the objectivity?

Edited by Remark89
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Intelligent Design posits that living things are complex. This is fact not just incredulity. Irreducible Complexity is the concept that any living thing, if changed only slightly, would not work properly or at all. Take out a component of a cell and it will not function, remove an organ from a person and serious problems will be the result unless care is taken and/or outside means are provided to make up for it.

Remark89, it sounds like you have read Michael Behe's book "Darwin's Black Box." You should now go read a book called "Finding Darwin's God." You should also know that scientists have proposed mechanisms for how some of these "irreducibly" complex systems could have evolved. In fact, a paper was published on the blood clotting system just after Behe's book came out.

I read this book and, as a biologist and former Christian, found it to be a very convincing argument for intelligent design. However, there are several problems with it. I won't go into them all here, but one big problem is that Behe doesn't seem to understand that the function of these "irreducibly complex" systems didn't have to be under the same evolutionary selection pressures at every point in evolutionary history. Just because a system of blood clotting proteins works as a system today doesn't mean each individual protein always had that function throughout evolutionary history. He also backs himself into a corner by claiming these systems never could have evolved, when in fact, recent evidence shows that they did. Of course, people outside of the field of evolution don't know this. They also don't want to know it.

Further, the origin of the universe is unknown. The information required to build the first cell did not exist. If a liquid was somehow enclosed in an envelope, it would still lack the internal machinery to convert some outside energy source to sustain itself. It would not be alive. It would not contain the information or machinery to divide itself. The idea of a self-creating cell is nonsensical since no genetic information was in existence.

The theory of evolution doesn't say a heck of a lot about how life came into being. It's about how life evolved after it came into being. After all, it was 6 billion years ago. You expect scientists to have a rock solid understanding of how the first "cell" was formed? For goodness sake, we're still working on figuring out how many species there are on Earth and what forms of live are even out there. I have a hundred species unknown to science sitting on my desk! Sheesh, give us a break! There are only so many of us! Are you aware that only 1% of all species possibly existing in the world have been described? Don't you think at this incredibly early stage that there might be a heck of a lot more to discover out there? That there might be some very primitive organisms out there we haven't discovered yet that might hold some clues?

Here, at least scientists are trying to understand how primitive cells might have formed, and what they might have been made of, instead of saying, "Oooooh, this is too hard, we're never going to figure it out. Let's just say God did it, it's sooooo much easier!!" If past experience is any clue, some bright person will come up with some interesting ideas in a decade or so, and then the ID'ers will come up with yet another reason why they still don't believe in evolution.

Somehow, great scientific discoveries have been made by religious people, this in contradiction to the idea that a belief in a supreme being has clouded their ability to function or interact with scientific subjects, and contribute to society in a reasonable, productive manner.

Yes, religious people have made great contributions to science! I would argue that they were able to do these things despite being religious. Take Darwin, for example! Here was someone who wanted to be a preacher, and then guess what happened when this incredibly intelligent individual (who also obviously had a lot of fortitude to develop a theory in direct conflict with his religion) published his work? The entire religious community totally disowned him. Big surprise![/

Let me clue you into why the ID folk don't like evolution. It has nothing to do with the science being bad, wrong, or the theory not explaining anything. That is NOT the fundamental motivation, I can assure you. This is the problem: Evolution is in direct conflict with the belief that man was made in the image of God. If evolution is true, that means man evolved from animals and is not special. He is just another one of the animals, with the ability to reason. And of course, we all know what God thinks about man using his brain (see Genesis, first few chapters when Adam and Eve discover the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!) God doesn't like it very much!

Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory, Remark89. Scientific theories are based on evidence, and can be disproven. Intelligent design is not a theory because it cannot be disproven. It is just an idea. And not a very good one at that.

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera
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If you cannot address the content of my post, except on an emotional level, where is the objectivity?

You know, Remark89, I think you should go back and read David's posts over again. And then, I think you should click on his member name and read everything else he's ever written here. You might learn something.

He responded to you in a very rational manner, albeit sarcastic. You call this emotional?

I suggest you go back and read all the posts here in this thread again. Did you even read them? I just did, again, all of them, to see if any of your accusations were true: of members here responding to IDers in an emotional way. They have not. Sarcasm and wit and good arguments are not the same as emotion.

However, I will now become emotional because that's what you expect, anyway. Did you even bother to read any of these previous posts trying to explain to you numerous numbskulls that just walk in here, HOW evolution happens? How much time we spend trying to educate you dolts? You come in here and accuse US, established members of this forum, of getting emotional when you clearly don't even understand the arguments that have taken place in this thread. Yes, that IS a recipe for making us emotional. After all, one can only stay patient for so long.

If you want to have an intelligent conversation that is fine. But please don't come in here and spout the same old rubbish that has already been posted by other people who have come out of nowhere, and then gone with their tails between their legs. Please. Also, if you have problems with David's responses to your questions or comments, which I find personally reasonable, why don't you address those in a rational manner and take him on, if you're all about argument and not about emotion?

I am against forcing people to believe things.

Oh, really? Somehow I doubt it.

Wishing away the existence of religious people is nonsensical.

Wishing away the existence.... ah, if only it were that easy!

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Take out a component of a cell and it will not function, remove an organ from a person and serious problems will be the result unless care is taken and/or outside means are provided to make up for it.

If at this point in your reading, you are becoming emotional, why?

Because this is the dumbest thing I have ever heard! @#%$^#&@ Many genes with new functions have evolved from copies of themselves inside the same organism, so there are two functional copies of the gene. One goes bad, there's still another one to play with or alter or change function or whatever. Ugh, if life is so complex why do you try to reduce the argument to something so silly as, "But this is the way everything had to happen!" Anyway, 99% of all species that have ever existed on this Earth have gone extinct. So yes, there is a high failure rate and biological systems are fragile. What's your point?? There's been 6 billion years to work with here. You can't even fathom a thousand.

It would not be alive. It would not contain the information or machinery to divide itself.

Yeah, ever heard of a virus??

Evolution is still described as a robust theory.

That's because it is. Because the people who study it are constantly contributing new evidence and making it more robust. but no, you folk just want to trample on decades old examples instead of tackling the new stuff. WHY? Because you have an emotional need to believe in ID, and no matter what evidence accumulates showing that evolution happens, you will still believe in ID.

Ugh. I'm done here.

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ID can easily be shown to be religion, not science. If the creator in ID is some sort of aliens, then the same problem occurs: who created the aliens? If not, then the creator must be supernatural, eg religion not science.

Some people (intelligent design followers and creationists in particular) marvel at how perfectly tuned the universe is to life. i.e. if the Hubble parameter was a little higher, atoms wouldn't be able to hold together, or if it were lower, the universe would collapse on itself. The charge of an electron must also be what it is for atoms to work and molecules to form. I read there are six such constants (at least) which must be exactly what they are otherwise the universe wouldn't be able to produce the phenomenon that it has, including life. The theory is that there are countless universes which all have different values for these constants, and the only universes that can harbor life are the few that just happen to have these constants set right.

There is a much easier solution to this problem than postulating some bizarre idea of infinite parallel universes. Think of it like a lottery. There are millions of tickets (possible combinations of values of physical constants) but only one person can win (our universe). From the point of view of the lottery winner, it seems very unlikely that they would have won. But from the point of view of the whole lottery, there is a 100% chance that someone will win. It just happened to be us (our universe). If it hadn't been, we would not be here to worry about it.

Edited by Godless Capitalist
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From the point of view of the lottery winner, it seems very unlikely that they would have won. But from the point of view of the whole lottery, there is a 100% chance that someone will win. It just happened to be us (our universe). If it hadn't been, we would not be here to worry about it.

The lottery example doesn't really apply, because there doesn't have to be a functional universe out there. They could have all been failures form a life-sustaining standpoint.

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The fundamental idea that if one part of a cell were removed, it would not fuction is an accurate statement. If you cannot address the content of my post, except on an emotional level, where is the objectivity?

Not quite accurate- you might be able to show that taking away parts of a cell would keep it from functioning exactly as it had before, though David's hair example shows that nt even this is true all the time. Behe's arguments fail to recognize that just because a cell can no longer function as it origincally did, it can still be a benefit to the host organism. Many of these irreducibly complex systems, if taken apart to a degree, have different but still bebeficial properties from an evolutionary standpoint. I would reaffirm Liriodendron's suggestion that you do some follow-up reading to the Black Box, as many of the arguments therein have been refuted (I haven't actually read the book she mentions, but I'm sure it's a good place to start).

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The charge of an electron must also be what it is for atoms to work and molecules to form. I read there are six such constants (at least) which must be exactly what they are otherwise the universe wouldn't be able to produce the phenomenon that it has, including life.

There is a natural nuclear reactor somewhere under Gabon, Africa that has been running for over two billion years. Scientists who took measurements of radioactive decay from that reactor have some evidence that alpha, one of the fundamental constants of the universe used to be slightly different from what it is today. A 2001 study analyzed how light from distant quasars was absorbed by intervening gas clouds and reached a similar conclusion.

To me, this suggests that the laws of physics are not immutable, but evolved to where they could support life. I suspect that the universal constants approximated their present values within the first billionth of a second after the big bang, and then evolved over the next nine billion years to where they could support life. The universe naturally favors “complexity,” and evolves, like life itself to support ever-increasing levels of organization. (“Complexity” is an inadequate term; I think I mean a decreasing rate of entropy diffusion.)

Time is one of the properties of a universe.

Time is just the relative degree of change between two sets of entities. (The entities used as the unit of measurement, and the entities being measured.)

I don’t believe that the universe has “properties” but rather heuristics, which are perspectives that describe certain repeatable patterns. To our short-lived and narrow perspective, the law of gravity seems absolute, but it may be an ever-shifting balance of complex forces, than future technology may manipulate. The only immutable “property” is causality.

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A cell is more complex than a chair with four legs whose parts may be used for other purposes. Scientists are not able to create a cell.

Both of those statements are certainly true (thohghI would insert a "currently" into the second one), but I'm not sure what your point is. Is this in regards to irreducible complexity? The fact that a chair is less complex than a cell doesn't change the fact that removing one step of an evolutionary chain on the microbiological level does not result in the complete loss of any evolutionary advatnage. Making the process more complex simply increases the imporbability of it, thereby requiring more time and a greater sample pool, both of which exist in abundance when one considers the history of the universe.

The second point doesn't seem to relate to anything that has been said recently. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that scientists have done experiements where they took inanimate matter and generated basic amino acids, the building blocks of life. Granted, this is not the same as churning out a fully grown rhino, but I don't see what you're trying to get at with this statement.

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A cell is more complex than a chair with four legs whose parts may be used for other purposes.

Bad analogy. I already addressed this false statement before. You simply keep re-asserting it because you can't think of a new argument.

Scientists are not able to create a cell.

Big whoop. What if scientists were able to create a cell? Would you accept that evolution could happen? No, you wouldn't, even though the vast majority of life is unicellular. You would say, "Scientists can't create multicellular organisms!"

Anyway, what would creating a cell actually prove? Think about it, I'm tired of sppon-feeding you the answers.

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It doesn't matter whether we can create a cell or not. What matters is whether cells could have evolved by purely natural processes. If ID supporters could show that some form of concsious design was required, then they would have a point. But they can't, and they don't.

The lottery example doesn't really apply, because there doesn't have to be a functional universe out there. They could have all been failures form a life-sustaining standpoint.

True. I should have been more clear. What I meant was that some combination of physical constants must "win," not that a life-sustaining combination must "win."

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  • 5 months later...
Bad analogy. I already addressed this false statement before. You simply keep re-asserting it because you can't think of a new argument.

Big whoop. What if scientists were able to create a cell? Would you accept that evolution could happen? No, you wouldn't, even though the vast majority of life is unicellular. You would say, "Scientists can't create multicellular organisms!"

Anyway, what would creating a cell actually prove? Think about it, I'm tired of sppon-feeding you the answers.

Well if scientists "created" a cell then would they not be "intelligent designers"? :lol:

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  • 9 months later...
Hee hee hee, that is a theological question, which can not be proven either way. As this is a biosciences forum, allow me to pose a bioscience related question.

When a scientific law and a scientific theory conflict, which should we disregard?

The second law of thermodynamics, a well proven law of science, demonstrates that all things in nature tend to deteriorate and decay, whereas the evolutionary theory would have us believe that all living things evolve in an unbroken upward progression of complexity.

There is nothing in Natural Selection that demands or implies perfection. All that Natural Selection does is eliminate variations in the population that do not lead to reproductive success.

The evolution of fish which live in the dark that have no eyes shows that Natural Selection will simplify organisms if such is conducive to reproductive success.

Decreases in entropy may take place -locally- but in a closed system entropy will increase over all. The reason why systems of increasing complexity occur on earth is because earth is NOT a closed thermodynamic system. We have a source of high grade energy just 93 million miles away.

In short, there is NO contradiction between evolution (Variation + Natural Selection) and the laws of thermodynamics.

Bob Kolker

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  • 5 months later...
Both of those statements are certainly true (thohghI would insert a "currently" into the second one), but I'm not sure what your point is. Is this in regards to irreducible complexity? The fact that a chair is less complex than a cell doesn't change the fact that removing one step of an evolutionary chain on the microbiological level does not result in the complete loss of any evolutionary advatnage. Making the process more complex simply increases the imporbability of it, thereby requiring more time and a greater sample pool, both of which exist in abundance when one considers the history of the universe.

The second point doesn't seem to relate to anything that has been said recently. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that scientists have done experiements where they took inanimate matter and generated basic amino acids, the building blocks of life. Granted, this is not the same as churning out a fully grown rhino, but I don't see what you're trying to get at with this statement.

The Miller-Urey experiments. While they did not create living organisms, they showed some of the structural constituents of living organisms (amino acids) can arise through purely natural processes. Even if a scientist does managed to create a biot that can replicate itself, it would not prove that this was the way life arose on Earth. It would prove, however, that a biot replicator can be produced by natural processes. In short, a supernatural designer, is not necessary to make a living thing. Just plain old natural processes (mediated by electromagnetic interactions) would be sufficient. Life (many believe) is a loaf baked in Nature's Oven using all natural ingredients. I believe it, even though I was not there to see how life arose in the first place, on this planet.

Bob Kolker

Edited by Robert J. Kolker
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  • 3 years later...

*** Mod's note: Merged with a similar topic. - sN ***

I'm not sure if we had a thread like this, but I think a general reference thread solely for debunking intelligent design advocates would be nice. This thread can serve as a useful reference against tactics generally employed by organizations like the Discovery Institute.

 

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/journal_apologizes_and_pays_10047121.html

 

A fellow of the Discovery Institute (naturally) attempts to portray an attempt to recall a peer review as "censorship". Sewell claimed that the second law of thermodynamics conflicts with the theory of evolution

 

But what really happened, appears to be a blogger who is attempting to remove a publication from peer-review, on the grounds that it has flaws. It cites the second law of thermodynamics as if it conflicts with the theory of evolution, dressed up in advanced mathematics to compel viewers into believing they are onto something.

 

http://dvunkannon.blogspot.com/2011/03/retraction-of-granville-sewell.html

 

You can see more discussion here. At any rate, it doesn't seem like the evil computer scientist who *Called for censorship* was trying to sweep this one under the rug.

Edited by softwareNerd
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