Chance and Providence (reprised)

How long ago was that? What arguments did you find unpersuasive?

Yeah, it says so in an old book. Not great evidence I’m sorry to say.

Nevertheless, I don’t see why he doesn’t just show up again and settle this debate. It’s not like it could even amount to an inconvenience, I hear he has all the time in the world. He could appear before me right now just to convince me. He doesn’t. It’s not ME preventing him from doing it. If he’s real, he apparently refuses. Which doesn’t make sense if as you say, he just wants me to believe in him and love him. He knows I’m real, but I don’t know that he is. And it would really just take very little for him to take that first step. Show up, say Hi! I’d make coffee and we could chat. He’d be a welcome guest. Who wouldn’t want to converse with God? Heck, he could just talk and I’d listen. He could explain how life originated for example, and how he resists the urge to thunderbolt Donald Trump.

Adding a bad argument to a good argument sets you back substantially, erasing the opportunity of the good arguemeny. The bad argument ruins your credibility so people won’t trust what you say on anything. In fact voluntarily withdrawing bad arguments is a Hallmark of intellectual honesty.

I agree if the argument is bad. So far I am not convinced it is.

Hoyle, Hubert Yockey, Peanut butter, “huge sequence spaces”, irreducible complexity, “CSI”, “where did the information come from?”. All the same nonsense recycled over and over again for the last 12 years. It was all obvious nonsense on it’s face. Even before I knew any biology.

You could build trust by enumerating the bad arguments for design you reject. You could avoid loosing trust by avoiding arguments you know didn’t convince people, even if you think they are good.

Rum. The combinatorial problem is real. The exact mathematics of it is still up in the air but this is a huge problem for current evolutionary paradigms. The design argument is limited indeed but is it wrong?

I have found the design argument is persuasive to people agnostic on the theological issue, the scientific consensus and the empowerment of the religious right. I am talking about highly educated professionals. Without bias I have seen no one hold on to the evolutionary paradigm after discussion. This includes a scientific Phd who held a position in Clintons administration and is theologically agnostic.

The combinatorial mathematical problem is real and not being dealt with. In my opinion this is bad for science.

I now agree with you that evolution is not a long term threat to faith as there is so much evidence for the divinity of Christ. The web will allow a broader understanding of this evidence. The conclusion that we are in a created universe is however not a bad place to start your investigation of the Judeo Christian faith.

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.