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Date: 2006/01/18 06:42:47, Link
Author: Raging Bee
So...Luskin believes the designer/creator is the God of the Bible (who is all-powerful, all-knowing, undetectable, and above natural law and thus supernatural), but he's trying to advance a "theory" that the designer was someone or something other than his God.  And this flat public denial of his own God is supposed to prove that ID is NOT "disingenuous?"

That's bogus science and bogus religion at the same time.  Sorry, Mr. Luskin, the "disingenuous" charge still stands.

Date: 2006/01/18 08:32:24, Link
Author: Raging Bee
Russell: he believes in a supernatural god, but he explicitly rejects supernatural explanations in order to maintain the pretense that ID is scientific.  So yes, he is, kinda sorta indirectly, denying, or pretending to deny, or pretending not to really believe, that his God is the designer.

Also, while a "designer" need not be supernatural, there's the next step, "creating" what was "designed," which does indeed require supernatural agency.  By refusing to acknowledge the obvious fact that what was "designed" was then "created" (as evidenced by the fact that it exists) Luskin is pretending that his premise doesn't really lead to the conclusion he's already reached.

How many times, in how many ways, will Luskin deny his God before the cock crows?  Any bets?

Date: 2006/01/18 16:44:50, Link
Author: Raging Bee
Here's my (admittedly hasty) fisking of Luskin's rubbish (from my latest blog post):

'While we cannot study the "supernatural" through science, we can study intelligence. We have a huge sample dataset to tell us how intelligent agents operate: technology produced by the human race.'

Yes, and that technology bears almost no resemblance to the life-forms biologists are trying to explain. And Luskin's point is...?

'Design theorists observe that intelligent action produces large amounts of "complex and specified" information. Language and the finely-tuned, purposeful arrangement of parts in machines are prime examples of this encoded information. If the cell was designed, then we would expect to find language-like encoded information commonly throughout biology.'

The reference to "amounts" of "information" implies that "information" can be quantified; otherwise the "amount" of "information" cannot be reliably measured. This is a long-standing scam in creationist circles: they maintain that no amount of evolution or mutation can create "more" "information," but since they never define "information" or explain how, or in what units, the "quantity" of "information" can be measured, the argument is hollow.

'The conversion of DNA into protein relies upon a software-like system of commands and biochemical codes.'

I've had enough direct experience with "software" to know that there's nothing "software-like" about the manufacture of protein. Does Luskin even know what the word "software" means? (Also, DNA is not "converted" into protein, but that's a minor mistake in the ID universe.)

'Moreover, the machines in our cell[s] are often said to resemble human design machines -- such as the rotary engine found in the bacterial flagellum. This is powerful evidence that an intelligence was at work.'

What "human design machines" bear any resemblance to "the machines in our cell[s]?" Luskin doesn't specify, despite the apparent importance of this point to his argument.

'Many design theorists, including myself, believe the designer is God. But that is my personal religious belief and not a proposition of the scientific theory of intelligent design.'

So why did he have to mention his belief while talking about a scientific issue?

'The explanatory category of an "intelligence" is a valid scientific form of explanation because we have much empirical experience with how intelligent agents operate.'

This sentence is pure mush. What, exactly, is an "explanatory category?" What are the other "categories?" And what good is all that "empirical experience with how intelligent agents operate," when none of those "intelligent agents" have ever designed -- let alone built -- anything similar to the life-forms found on Earth?

All of these superficial logical flaws serve to conceal at least one fundamental flaw in Luskin's spiel: today's creationists pretend they can infer "design" without relying on supernatural explanations. But what is designed must subsequently be created (otherwise it wouldn't exist). And as long as the ID/creationist crowd fail to explain the specific means by which all of these elegantly designed life-forms were actually built (leaving no traces of the process behind that we've identified so far), then Intelligent Design will be nothing but what the software people call "vaporware."

Date: 2006/01/20 03:27:52, Link
Author: Raging Bee
Thanks for two excellent articles on the bitch-slapping...oops, I mean debunking...of ID from the religion side.  I read somewhere that the IDiots are trashing Christians who oppose ID as traitors or puppets.  I forget where I read this, otherwise I'd post a link.  Does anyone else know of this squabbling? :0

Date: 2006/01/20 05:59:07, Link
Author: Raging Bee
The PT thread on "Falsifying ID" was closed to comments, so I'm stomping off in a huff and posting my response to Mr. Heddle here.  I am an ARTISTE, and I must EXPRESS myself...   :p

Mr. Heddle: I never said anything about a "gap."  What are you asking me?

If the cosmological constant were not fine tuned then there would be no stars...

I believe what you mean to say is "If the cosmological constant were something other than what it is..."  The difference is important: the mere fact that the constant is to our liking, does not prove it was "fine-tuned" by anyone.  And by the way, if you want to advance a truly scientific hypothesis about "fine-tuning," you'll have to postulate a specific mechanism by which such "fine-tuning" can take place.  Unless of course it's by a supernatural agency, which takes us outside the realm of science...and even astrology...

Date: 2007/05/31 12:48:49, Link
Author: Raging Bee
Mark: If you're still willing to continue the discussion, and managed to find your way here, here's my response to your latest post, which I could not post at PT because that thread had been closed to comments...

<i>…probably the biggest difference between my thinking and many of yours is that I take seriously the claim of the Bible to be a reliable revelation from God.</i>

Wrong again: the difference is that some of us take the Bible as a reliable revelation about a specific, and limited, range of subject-matter, which includes Man’s relationship to God but not natural science, while you seem to take it as an “infallible” source on ALL subject-matter. And as I said before (in a post you continue to ignore), we have good reason to believe that you are misusing the Bible and thus missing the point your God and his prophets are trying to make. And some of us who see this are themselves Christians.

<i>I think my arguments for the existence of God are empirical.</i>

What you “think” is incorrect, however many times you say it. You might as well say “I think the Earth is flat” over and over.  Calling your arguments "empirical" does not make them so.

<i>We have, therefore, a deeper philosophical disagreement that undoubtedly affects the way we evaluate things.</i>

Translation: “It’s all a matter of opinion, not objective facts.” That’s how grade-school kids get out of a losing argument after their factual assertions have been debunked. This sort of reasoning is known as “crybaby subjectivism,” and sensible Christian evangelists avoid it, for a very good reason: You are admitting, in effect, that the atheist worldview is no less valid than yours, and you will never be able to bridge the gap and get the Good Word across it.

Jesus himself partied with politicians and other sinners, and never made any lame excuses about how he could never get anyone else to see things his way. Can’t you at least try to follow that example? It’s not like we’re about to nail you to anything.

<i>Richard Dawkins seems to agree with this analysis. In The God Delusion, he rejects Gould’s NOMA and argues that the existence of God is a scientific question.</i>

So now you use an atheist’s opinion to validate your own, but you won’t follow the example of your own Savior? That’s just beyond ridiculous.

<i>The Bible’s definition of “chew the cud” is broader than ours and can include rabbits. “Birds” in the Bible is a broader category than our modern one as well–it lumps pretty much all flying creatures together.</i>

In other words, the Bible is vague on scientific and technical matters, because that’s not what its authors wanted to talk about; therefore it cannot be considered reliable, let alone “infallible,” on those subjects. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you all along.

<i>A lot of times, accusations of biblical error or contradiction stem from a superficial and shallow reading of the text.</i>

And reading the Bible only for its literal meaning, without admitting it might have a more important metaphorical or allegorical message, is about as “superficial and shallow” as it gets. (Notice how you’re going on and on about bats, birds, cud and Genesis, and saying NOTHING AT ALL about the Ten Commandments or the actual words of Jesus? You’re missing the whole point of the Bible!)

<i>“All your arguments are simply ungrounded assertions.” No, they are not. They are based in good logical thinking. They are substantive arguments that need to be dealt with on a deeper level than being merely dismissed without serious consideration…</i>

If you make unfounded assertions without serious consideration on your part, then you should expect those assertions to be dismissed without serious consideration on our part.

<i>Sometimes we get confused dealing with these things because we fail to distinguish what really exists, what must exist, etc., with mathematical ideas or concepts that may be useful mathematically but which cannot exist in the real world.</i>

If such “ideas or concepts” are useful and have real effects in the real world, then, for all practical purposes, they “exist in the real world.”

<i>“Who created God?” No one. God is a self-existent being.</i>

If the Universe can’t be “self-existent,” then how can you be at all sure God can be? This is yet another unfounded assertion that you make to support your own belief.

<i>“You keep saying you don’t understand things and then you say you do.” Like most people, I understand some things and not others. This is not exactly contradictory.</i>

In your case, it is: first you admit you don’t understand the technical issues that underpin our arguments, then you imply that you understand them enough to know we’re wrong.

<i>I am very familiar with biblical exegesis.</i>

Most of my Christian acquaintances, at least one of whom went to a Jesuit high school, would disagree with that assertion.

<i>“The Bible is not a science book.” That is true. It speaks in common-sense and phenomenological terms, rather than in strictly accurate 21st century biological or other scientific language. However, it does make understandable claims that mean something, and my assertion is that it is always right when it does so.</i>

You have repeatedly admitted that the Bible’s language is “imprecise;” therefore it cannot be “always right” on subjects where precision is required. You have just effectively admitted that your “assertion” is wrong.

<i>“A lot of Christians read the Bible differently.” I know. But that doesn’t prove they are right.</i>

And none of this proves you’re right, either. But the fact that those other Christians are more knowledgeable and honest than you, proves that they’re a lot more LIKELY to be right than you are.[I][/I][QUOTE][/QUOTE]