Chance and Providence (reprised)

Yet you’ve managed to not sway a single of the many science professionals you’ve engaged with here and on similar science discussion boards. Your braggadocio certainly doesn’t match your results.

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Ahh sorry you were asking about the arguments I’d heard for belief when I was already a believer. Well it was really bad stuff like first cause arguments “everything must have a cause for it’s existence, therefore God must have caused the universe”, anecdotes and appeals to the efficacy of prayer “I prayed for X then it something like it happened later”, appeals to popularity “why else would so many believe?”. Crap like that. I went through lots of bad arguments and rationalizations like that in a period somewhere between 2004 and 2006.

Later on I would get an interest in philosophy and science, which just made it worse. I continue to this day to be astonished by the poverty of arguments produced by contemporary Christian apologetics.

I remember the exact day the whole creationism vs evolution thing started for me. I literally sat bored one friday afternoon in the summer of 2007(I was already an atheist at this point, though I didn’t yet think in those terms), in front of my computer, and remembered something my grandfather had said about the role of Jupiter in the solar system as a sort of gravitational vacuum sucking up comets and asteroids that could wipe out life on Earth in giant impacts.

This got me thinking about life on Earth, and I tried to remember what I had been taught about biology and life’s origin and evolution in primary school. I couldn’t remember much, so I started googling. I remember thinking something like “what do the scientists think? I need to get it straight from the source”.
I don’t remember what I googled, but I do remember that lots of creationist crap came up from the search terms I tried (most websites had things like Christ, Jesus, Bible or similar things in their names).
I didn’t really know where to look, or even what specifically to search for. I think I tried various combinations of “origin of life” and “abiogenesis” together with “scientists”, “research” and so on.

One link caught my attention because it seemed to have the kinds of information I was looking for. Someone had compiled a list of research papers by different research laboratories working on the origin of life. It looked to be the kind of thing I was looking for, what the scientists working on the problems themselves think about these questions.

I found that list in a forum post on the old forums before they were closed down(parts of the forum can still be accessed on the internet archive). I’ve searched before but haven’t been able to find the post I first saw there. I didn’t know who Richard Dawkins was at the time either.

The post was part of a debate between some forum members (some of which I would later learn were biologists) and some creationists. I read the debate. The creationists were rather obviously poor at critical thinking(which was apparent to me even before I knew the names of the fallacies used) and on the wrong side of that debate.
I couldn’t help but want to read more, both of all the carefully compiled and well-explained information written by the forum posters arguing with the creationists, but also from other debates and arguments on the forum. I spent about 2 years lurking on the forum before signing up (2009 I think) and joining in the arguments myself. I also spent a long time asking questions of the very knowledgeable people around there that helped me learn how to read scientific papers by explaining words and concepts and so on.

Granting for the sake of argument that the combinatorial problem is real, how do you know the problem is not being addressed?

You mean the ridiculous ID-Creationist "evolution is too improbable!!’ claim based on their ignorance and omission of selection feedback effects in the calculations? The one you’ve been corrected on several dozen times? That “combanitorial problem”? :slightly_smiling_face:

If your argument does not persuade the people you are arguing with, then it is a bad argument.

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To make matters worse, since some times protein coding genes evolve de novo from non-coding DNA, new functional proteins can actually emerge without the feedback of selection gradually producing them. As mutations accumulate in the DNA, promoters can emerge and yield expression of downstream sequences containing valid open reading frames, which can by chance alone turn out to have useful biological functions. From there on selection can fine tune the function.

There’s simply no reason to think the total size of sequences space is any kind of obstacle to the evolutionary diversification of life.

@colewd I’m predisposed to the ID argument and still reject it. I’m not sure you could articulate why. Perhaps understanding why I reject it as bad science would be a better use of your time?

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You are right. Why do you feel the need to reject it?

No reason? Not even worth evaluation or thought?

Sure if it does not persuade anyone this is true.

Because most ID arguments rely on factual errors. Unlike scientific culture, errors are never retracted. You’ve seen this for yourself @colewd. The back cover of Behe’s book misrepresented two of his critics as if they endorsed him. He did not retracted that clear error. Why not?

Those two errors are examples on which his argument does not depend. He still won’t retract them. Why not? If he can’t retract these why would anyone expect him to retract more subtle errors that his argument does depend on? We don’t think he will. In fact, there are several factual errors on the science we found that he won’t retract, just like he won’t retract the fake endorsements.

From this you have more than enough information to understand why Behe’s arguments are not to be trusted. He is usually a nice guy (I was surprised to see how he treated us though). This, however, is not trustworthy behaivior.


He did, and everyone didn’t believe in him then. And you would have been one of them, apparently.


Not even worth evaluation or thought?

No reason because it has been evaluated. The argument simply doesn’t make sense. It is logically nonsensical. Why? Because the total size of sequence space says nothing about how well connected or densely functional sequences can be found in it. It just doesn’t.

He can just do it again then. And he’s still welcome to. Any moment now, I have plenty of tea and coffee. I’ll go buy biscuits if he calls first. There is a standing invitation for God to show up in the form of Jesus. NOTHING is preventing him. If he really exists, he’s staying away and hiding out of his own free will, not mine. I want to see him, for real.

I’ll go make coffee now. He can knock, or teleport in infront of me. I’ll believe he exists right then and there just as I would for any other person who shows up. The postman, my neighbor, family members. As soon as I see them I believe they exist. That’s how it works.

It’s interesting that you think you can dictate to the Creator of the Universe the specifications of how he must reveal himself to you.

It is actually he that gets to specify how he can be found. He is found by those who seek him. That’s how it works.

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Oh yeah, the seeker has to have humility. Your hubris will not find him.

Heh, no me saying what it takes for me to believe that a person exists is not to “dictate” how they should behave. That’s the excuse people give when they can’t give a good reason for why he doesn’t just reveal himself when nothing is stopping him.

He can do whatever he want, but clearly he doesn’t want to reveal himself in a way that would convince me he exists. Not that my standard is unreasonable either, since even inanimate objects are capable of convincing me they exist. If I can see them, I believe they exist. There are rocks on the ground who have done more to make me aware of their existence than God has.

Maybe he just doesn’t exist, that’s a perfectly good explanation for why he doesn’t’ show up. If he wants me to know he exists, then it would make total logical sense for him to show up.

What does that even mean, and how do you know that the seeker needs to have “humility”? In what sense? Should I grovel and apologize and cry in fear that I’m not convinced he exists by a gust of wind?

And why? Why set these weird preconditions if he just wants me to know he exists and love him? Why must I show some sort of oddly servile behavior first? It’s childish and insecure.

No, but my eyes will if he shows up. He’s done it before I’m told. He’s purportedly shown up to people who proceeded to crucify him. And here I am, with coffee and biscuits(ok I ate most of them, bud I’d buy more if he wanted me to), and he’s welcome. I’d listen with great interest if he’d drop by and share some of his wisdom. Supposedly he knows everything and created the entire universe, I’m sure I could learn a lot from him.

Dale’s argument reminds me of the 1999 Sci-Fi comedy Mystery Men about a batch of bumbling second-rate superheros. There’s a character called Invisible Boy who can only show his invisibility power when no one is looking at him. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Or worse, you must believe FIRST and only THEN will he reveal himself to you in a strange and illogical fashion you could interpret in a million different ways and could just be mere happenstance. Maybe in the burned pattern on toast there’s something that sorta could be a cross? Or suddenly a ray of sunlight is visible through the clouds on a rainy day. Like the people who claim to be able to divine the location of water with sticks, or astrology.

It’ll totally work if you start by convincing yourself it works, then you’ll see that it works! Praise water divination! Why aren’t you convinced yet? It’s your rational skepticism ehh I mean hubris standing in the way, you need to be more gullible ehh I mean humble.