Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Evolutionists Are Now Embracing Determinism and Denying Free Will

His Neurons Made Him Do It

Evolution is the most influential theory in the history of science, but where exactly does it lead? Well aside from eugenics, abortion, population control, euthanasia, anti realism, blackballing of opponents, false histories and atheism, evolution also can lead to determinism. Of course like so many of its metaphysical conclusions, evolution leads to determinism only because determinism first led to evolution. For determinism was one of the planks in the so-called “Enlightenment” period, a century before Darwin. So like the French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace from two centuries ago, today a growing number of evolutionists hold to the anti realism belief that free will is an illusion. For Harvard’s Gabriel Kreiman, our actions are governed by our neurons, and how they fire off is like the toss of a coin:

The rules that govern our decisions are similar to the rules that govern whether a coin will land one way or the other. Ultimately there is physics; it is chaotic in both cases, but at the end of the day, nobody will argue the coin “wanted” to land heads or tails. There is no real volition to the coin.

And likewise, there is no real volition is us either. We’re like coins. After all, in experiments the neurons of human subjects showed activity before the subjects felt the urge to action. Ergo determinism. Your actions are the result of neural computations. Kreiman believes this work challenges important Western philosophical ideas about free will. Actually it reinforces important Western philosophical ideas about free will. That’s the problem.

249 comments:

  1. The claim to a belief in determinism (of this sort) is idiotic.

    If this kind of determinism is real, then there is no such thing as belief. There is nothing that can be known. If free will is an illusion then so too is knowledge and, therefore, all science.

    The theory of evolution cannot then be true. Indeed, it's truth or falsehood is utterly irrelevant. As is any argument made against religious belief. What is the point of arguing against a religious belief when you claim that our beliefs cannot be chosen but are determined?

    The manifest glee with which these idiots saw off the branch on which their own position depends, is sufficient grounds on which to ignore them.

    Of course none of them actually believe this. They're bluffing that they have the courage to pursue their axiom to its logical ends, but the bluff is plain. They ALL try to argue with people as if those people could choose to believe differently.

    The claim to believe in determinism rather than free will is an essential part of their argument intended to alter your will ... which you dont have.

    In other words, they're idiots.

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    1. ScuzzaMan,

      "In other words, they're idiots."

      They are idiots, but not of their own free will.

      Delete
    2. saw off the branch on which their own position depends

      Unbelievable. It's not that these guys are not smart. But look what evolution does to their thinking.

      Delete
  2. Evolution is the most influential theory in the history of science, but where exactly does it lead? Well aside from eugenics, abortion, population control, euthanasia, anti realism, blackballing of opponents, false histories and atheism, evolution also leads to determinism.

    And bad weather - don't forget bad weather, because bad weather is really annoying, also to Christians.

    You can't win like this, Cornelius. Making up bad stuff about evolution instead of demonstrating the good stuff about fundamentalist Christianity. It's not cool.

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    1. Making up bad stuff about evolution

      Sorry but ideas have consequences.

      Delete
    2. They do?

      So the the theistic idea that God is perfectly good has consequences for what he would or would not do? Which allows non theists to make deductions from those ideas without actually holding them personally?

      Or do ideas have consequences, except when they don't?

      Delete
    3. CH: Sorry but ideas have consequences.

      Apparently, the idea that ideas have consequences has consequences, except when it comes to Cornelius' ideas about religion and science.

      Unbelievable? It's not that Cornelius isn't smart. But look what theism does to his thinking?

      Delete
    4. But it gets even better.

      If the theistic idea that God is perfectly good has no consequences, but evolutionary theory does, then what's the difference between the two? After all Cornelius' argument depends on the idea that we cannot differentiate between the two.

      Is it because the idea that God is perfectly good is a religious belief?

      But that simply won't do because, according to Cornelius, evolutionary theory is a religious belief and would have no consequences as implied by this very post!

      So, we're back to ideas have consequences, except when they don't.

      Or perhaps the claim that God is perfectly good isn't an idea but a religious belief? But that fails as well for the same reason.

      Unbelievable, indeed.

      I wonder how long it will take for Cornelius to publish a new post to push this one down the page.

      Delete
  3. You sure do love your argumentum ad consequentiam, don't you?

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    1. But why should you fear an all loving God? An all loving God certainly would not cause any pain or suffering would he?

      Delete
    2. Peter you are free to make a god in your own image, many do.
      God will be who He will be. Who am I to say how He should be?

      Delete
    3. I don't make God in my own image. I am quite content with the God of the Bible who killed everyone on earth except Noah's family. I believe in the God of Jesus who Jesus warned would cut all fruitless branches from the vine and throw them into the fire. Mass exterminations are painful aren't they?

      Delete
    4. "I am quite content with the God of the Bible who killed everyone on earth except Noah's family. I believe in the God of Jesus who Jesus warned would cut all fruitless branches from the vine and throw them into the fire. Mass exterminations are painful aren't they?"

      The feeling in your comment are understandable when you consider it within a context of a man-made god.
      .
      However, the bible says God is just and true. (Rev 15:3) Taken within this context, it's still painful to think about, but it forces us to consider our actions and where they will lead. We will be held accountable for our actions. Sometimes God judges on earth and other times he waits until we die. We all still die, some painfully, like babies during an abortion for example.

      Do you think we should be held accountable for our actions, good and bad?



      Delete
  4. Troy: You can't win like this, Cornelius. Making up bad stuff about evolution instead of demonstrating the good stuff about fundamentalist Christianity. It's not cool.

    J: Right, because there's exactly two possible world histories. Exactly one evolutionary history and exactly one fundamentalist Christian one. And since it was determined that you believe that, well, it must be true!!!!! How does anything "win" in a deterministic world? What does "win" mean in a deterministic world? The killer wins when the one killed is dead? What?

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    1. Jeff, your committing the cardinal sin of contrastive reasoning.

      Or as Cornelius would ask, how does his help dualism?

      Delete
    2. I was being facetious there. So I'm not sure what you're saying I was contrasting, Scott. Be specific.

      Delete
  5. We all like to believe we exercise free will but the question is how much of that is a comforting illusion. No one who thinks about it for a moment can deny that we are greatly shaped by history and the environment.

    The genetic endowment from our parents, for example, which lays the foundations of both our physical and mental being i is something over which we had absolutely no control and which we cannot undo. Our native languages, which influence how we think as well as how we speak, are absorbed as small children long before we are aware of what is happening. Then there is our sexuality, for, in spite of the nonsense spouted by so-called "conversion" or "reparative" therapists, how many of us honestly had any choice in the matter? Are all those good Christians who claim it is just a matter of choice saying that they could become homosexual just by an exercise of will? Did they all sit down, when they first became aware of sexual desires, and carefully weigh the pros and cons of being heterosexual or homosexual before deciding which way they would swing? To put it bluntly, the hell they did.

    Then there is the thorny question of what exactly we mean by free will. The term still implies the exercise of willpower, that the decisions we make are determined by something other than the toss of a coin. Yet what influences those decisions and how much control do we have over those influences? For example, if I were offered a choice of desserts which included apple crumble I would almost invariably choose it because it is my favorite. I could attempt to prove my free will by choosing a different dessert but that would be just trying to prove a point. It would not abate my craving for crumble. The reverse would be my loathing for baked beans. I have eaten them on a number of occasions through an effort of will but I have not been able to make myself like them or not even not dislike them. If that is free will it's not much of a freedom and it doesn't seem to get you very far.

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    1. Ian,

      If we truly don't have free will why are you wasting your time trying to change the minds of others who believe we do? After all, they have no choice.

      "I could attempt to prove my free will by choosing a different dessert but that would be just trying to prove a point."

      And that's exactly what you would do. Unless of course you truly believe your choice of a dessert other than crumble was pre-determined, and you had no choice but to prove a point?

      Are you beginning to see the folly of this type of reasoning?

      Delete
    2. Again, as Cornelius would say, how does this help dualism?

      For example, your choice is undetermined, and therefore, what, random? If so, why would I try to change your mind?

      In other words, if nothing determines what your choice will be, it's unclear what it means to say *you* chose anything.

      Delete
    3. Scott,

      "if nothing determines what your choice will be, it's unclear what it means to say *you* chose anything."

      Factors certainly influence your choices, such as Ian's stated preference for apple crumble as a dessert. However, Ian is still free to choose not to have apple crumble, despite the influence of his preference.

      Delete
    4. We're still no closer that we were previously, as there are many conceptions of "free will" in philosophy.

      For example, by "free will" are you referring to it being physically possible for Ian to choose apple crumble or not apple crumble?

      Delete
    5. Scott,

      "are you referring to it being physically possible for Ian to choose apple crumble or not apple crumble?"

      Obviously.

      Delete
    6. Even more specifically, are you referring to the lack of external constraint on his choice?

      Delete
    7. Zachriel,

      "Even more specifically, are you referring to the lack of external constraint on his choice?"

      Specifically, we're referring to the simple fact that Ian has the free will to choose to have, or not to have, apple crumble for dessert. If you wish to micro analyze the existence and nature of external constraints that is your free will choice.

      Delete
    8. Nic If we truly don't have free will why are you wasting your time trying to change the minds of others who believe we do? After all, they have no choice.

      Perhaps because, as you say, I have no choice either.

      Nic Are you beginning to see the folly of this type of reasoning?

      How about this old line of reasoning?

      An omniscient god is one who knows all that exists to be known. An omniscient god with foreknowledge of the future implies that future already exists in order for the god to know it. The Christian God is held to be omniscient and, according to the Bible, displays foreknowledge of the future. The existence of the Christian God, therefore, implies that the future - our future - already exists, is pre-determined. In other words, we have no free will. Our futures are mapped out and we have no more choice in following them than does a train to follow the lines on which it runs.

      If the Christian God exists.


      Delete
    9. Scott: are you referring to it being physically possible for Ian to choose apple crumble or not apple crumble?

      Nic: Obviously.

      OK, not only is both choosing apple crumble and not apple crumble physically possible for Ian but, in the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics, both choices are actually realized.

      So, if possible physical realization is the criteria, then Ian has free will.

      Delete
    10. Ian,

      "An omniscient god with foreknowledge of the future implies that future already exists in order for the god to know it."

      What part of omniscient do you not understand?


      Delete
    11. Scott,

      "in the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics,..."

      Perhaps we should concern ourselves with what we know to exist and not wander off into an area which does not even rise to the level of unfounded speculation.

      Delete
    12. Nic: Specifically, we're referring to the simple fact that Ian has the free will to choose to have, or not to have, apple crumble for dessert.

      That doesn't address the question. When you say free will, does that refer just to lack of external constraint?

      Delete
    13. Nic: What part of omniscient do you not understand?

      What part of omniscient did John Calvin not understand?

      Nic: Perhaps we should concern ourselves with what we know to exist and not wander off into an area which does not even rise to the level of unfounded speculation.

      Care to elaborate? For example, are you suggesting we do not know that quantum phenomena exists? Or perhaps you're suggesting that we do not know that it equally applies to human observers?

      The latter oddly sounds like your objection that physics equally applies to human behavior.

      Delete
    14. nic,
      Perhaps we should concern ourselves with what we know to exist and not wander off into an area which does not even rise to the level of unfounded speculation.



      Like the existence of a particular God?

      Delete
    15. Zachriel,

      Nic: "Specifically, we're referring to the simple fact that Ian has the free will to choose to have, or not to have, apple crumble for dessert."

      Zachriel: "That doesn't address the question. When you say free will, does that refer just to lack of external constraint?"

      As you have a habit of equivocating, I would request you clearly define what you mean by free will and external constraint.

      Delete
    16. Nic: As you have a habit of equivocating, I would request you clearly define what you mean by free will and external constraint.

      That's what we're asking you!

      Delete
    17. Scott,

      Nic: "What part of omniscient do you not understand?"

      Scott: "What part of omniscient did John Calvin not understand?"

      Who cares what Calvin understood? I hope you're not under the illusion that everyone who believes in the existence of God is a Calvinist.

      Nic: Perhaps we should concern ourselves with what we know to exist and not wander off into an area which does not even rise to the level of unfounded speculation.

      "Care to elaborate?"

      On reading your previous comment again, I now realize I should have asked you to clarify your term 'worlds' before replying. So please, clarify what you mean by the existence of other worlds.

      Delete
    18. Ian:

      Knowing something will happened doesn't mean causing it to happen. God knows what we will choose to do. I know the sun will rise in the morning. That doesn't mean that I make it happen.

      Delete
    19. Zachriel,

      "That's what we're asking you!"

      I'll be quite basic. Free will is simply the freedom to make decisions as to what we will believe or not believe. We are free to make these decisions and are not bound by deterministic factors which force us to choose A over B.

      Do outside factors influence our decisions? Certainly, but that in no way renders free will moot.

      Your turn.

      Delete
    20. Nic What part of omniscient do you not understand?

      What part of omniscient do you think I have wrong?

      Delete
    21. Nic: "What part of omniscient do you not understand?"

      Scott: "What part of omniscient did John Calvin not understand?"

      Nic: Who cares what Calvin understood? I hope you're not under the illusion that everyone who believes in the existence of God is a Calvinist.

      Calvin didn't think God was omniscient, so what he thought is irrelevant?

      Nic: On reading your previous comment again, I now realize I should have asked you to clarify your term 'worlds' before replying. So please, clarify what you mean by the existence of other worlds.

      The term "worlds" in the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics is a consequence of taking quantum mechanics seriously. That is, not only are particles such as photons quantized, but so are we. This quantization presents itself as an specific kind of information barrier which falls at what is traditionally thought as an individual classical system - I.E. "world."

      I'd also note that the initial goal for the entire field of quantum computation was to develop a way to test the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics.

      For example, a quantum computer's ability to factor a number 10^300 faster than a classical computer is because it utilizes a continuum of roughly 10^300 classical "worlds" which are nearly identical to ours in that they run the same quantum algorithm on the same number simultaneously. Where they differ is the specific result, which we can "tally" because these universes interference with each other, as they do in the two slit experiment.

      In fact, in the two split experiment, there is a continuum of classical "worlds" in which the same researchers are performing the same experiment which is identical with the exception of the path the photon takes. It's this very small point of diversion that allows the interference wave pattern.

      While they are additional effective classical worlds, only a limited continuum of universes are similar enough to allow interfere with ours. Too much variation and decoherence occurs, such as when we actually measure the photon in the two slit experiment. This is why it's difficult to actually build a quantum computer.

      So, what we consider a world is actually a subset of the multiverse, which is quantized into classical systems. This is why quantum mechanics is the deepest, most fundamental theory of physics.

      Delete
    22. natschuster Knowing something will happened doesn't mean causing it to happen.

      I didn't say God needed to cause it to happen in order to know what happened. Although, there is an argument to be made that if God was the Creator of a deterministic Universe then technically He did make it happen

      natschuster God knows what we will choose to do.

      That's right. He knows because He's already seen it happen. He's not tied to our little place in time and space. He sees it all, past present and future.

      natschustehappen.r I know the sun will rise in the morning.

      No, you don't. You infer it will because that's what it's always done in your experience. But you don't know it in the way you know the sun rose yesterday. You know that because you saw it. You won't know about tomorrow's sunrise until you actually see it happen.

      But God, if He's omniscient, has seen it happen. He's seen that one and all the others that have ever happened or ever will happen.

      If there is evidence God knows the future then it already exists, otherwise He couldn't know it. That causes a serious problem for the concept of free will.

      Delete
    23. Scott,

      Scott: "What part of omniscient did John Calvin not understand?"

      Nic: "Who cares what Calvin understood? I hope you're not under the illusion that everyone who believes in the existence of God is a Calvinist."

      Scott: "Calvin didn't think God was omniscient, so what he thought is irrelevant?"

      So, the point of your question?

      Are you in the habit of asking irrelevant questions?

      Nic: "On reading your previous comment again, I now realize I should have asked you to clarify your term 'worlds' before replying. So please, clarify what you mean by the existence of other worlds."

      Scott: "So, what we consider a world is actually a subset of the multiverse, which is quantized into classical systems. This is why quantum mechanics is the deepest, most fundamental theory of physics."

      So can we expect to see any empirical evidence for this line of reasoning, or are we expected to simply accept wild speculation and wishful thinking as adequate evidence?

      Delete
    24. Scott: "Calvin didn't think God was omniscient, so what he thought is irrelevant?"

      Nic: So, the point of your question?

      What anyone else actually thinks about omniscience is irrelevant to you.

      Nic: Are you in the habit of asking irrelevant questions?

      Exactly.

      Scott: "So, what we consider a world is actually a subset of the multiverse, which is quantized into classical systems. This is why quantum mechanics is the deepest, most fundamental theory of physics."

      Nic: So can we expect to see any empirical evidence for this line of reasoning, or are we expected to simply accept wild speculation and wishful thinking as adequate evidence?

      Are you suggesting we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it were true in reality? Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?

      Delete
    25. Scott,

      Scott: "What anyone else actually thinks about omniscience is irrelevant to you."

      That's quite a leap from my statement that I didn't care what Calvin thought. However, jumping to conclusions is just what evolutionists do.

      Nic: Are you in the habit of asking irrelevant questions?

      Scott: "Exactly."

      I'm glad to hear you're actually aware of the fact most of your questions are irrelevant.

      Scott: "Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?"

      No, just that we lack evidence for the existence of a multitude of universes.

      Delete
    26. Scott: "What anyone else actually thinks about omniscience is irrelevant to you."

      Nic: That's quite a leap from my statement that I didn't care what Calvin thought.

      What's the difference? Why would you care about one, but not the other?

      Nic: Are you in the habit of asking irrelevant questions?

      Scott: "Exactly."

      Nic: I'm glad to hear you're actually aware of the fact most of your questions are irrelevant.

      Again, exactly. I'm aware that you think my questions about omniscience are irrelevant. I'm obviously wrong since the "truth" about omniscience was divinely revealed by an authoritative source. You already know how Calvin got it wrong, so your only interest is pointing out where I got it wrong.

      Scott: Are you suggesting we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it were true in reality? Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?

      Nic: No, just that we lack evidence for the existence of a multitude of universes.

      So, you're saying we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it was real, in reality, right?

      That would mean you're an instrumentalist in regards to quantum mechanics.

      Specifically, you think it's meaningless to ask if quantum mechanics is real description of reality, or just a useful fiction to predict phenomena.

      Delete
    27. Ian,

      Nic What part of omniscient do you not understand?

      Ian: "What part of omniscient do you think I have wrong?"

      Honestly, I don't think you understand the concept at all.

      Delete
    28. Scott,

      Nic: That's quite a leap from my statement that I didn't care what Calvin thought.

      Scott: "What's the difference? Why would you care about one, but not the other?"

      First, there is a difference. Second, is it not my prerogative to make such distinctions?


      Nic: No, just that we lack evidence for the existence of a multitude of universes.

      Scott: "So, you're saying we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it was real, in reality, right?"

      You don't read well, do you?

      Delete
    29. Nic: That's quite a leap from my statement that I didn't care what Calvin thought.

      Scott: "What's the difference? Why would you care about one, but not the other?"

      Nic: First, there is a difference. Second, is it not my prerogative to make such distinctions?

      So, then tell us, Nic. What is your distinction?

      Scott: Are you suggesting we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it were true in reality? Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?

      Nic: No, just that we lack evidence for the existence of a multitude of universes.

      Scott: So, you're saying we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it was real, in reality, right?

      Nic: You don't read well, do you?

      I read well enough to know your response is ambiguous, as there were two options. This is the second time you've omitted the first.

      Again, are you suggesting we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it were true in reality? That is, do you think it's meaningless to ask if quantum mechanics is real description of reality, or just a useful fiction to predict phenomena.

      Delete
    30. Scott,

      Nic: First, there is a difference. Second, is it not my prerogative to make such distinctions?

      Scott: "So, then tell us, Nic. What is your distinction?"

      I simply take omniscience to be what it is by definition. Omniscience is not an attribute which comes in various forms or by varying degrees. If you had an iota of understanding of the concept you would realize that. So, in effect, there are no distinctions when it comes to omniscience. There are no degrees or variations.

      Delete
    31. Nic: I simply take omniscience to be what it is by definition.

      And Calvin wasn't doing the same thing?

      Nic: If you had an iota of understanding of the concept you would realize that. So, in effect, there are no distinctions when it comes to omniscience. There are no degrees or variations.

      So, your argument is, I just don't have one iota of understanding, but you do? Nor did Calvin?

      But that implies there are infallible sources of knowledge that can be infallibly interpreted. And, if your in possession of that knowledge, then you've supposedly done just that.

      How can you, as a finite being, infallibly identify infallible sources of knowledge? How does that work, in practice?

      Delete
    32. Scott,

      Nic: "I simply take omniscience to be what it is by definition."

      Scott: 'And Calvin wasn't doing the same thing?"

      Omniscience is like pregnancy, either you are or you are not, there is no varying degrees. That's quite obvious in my opinion. As such, anyone, who holds to a belief in varying degrees of omniscience is, by the very definition of the word, wrong.

      Nic: If you had an iota of understanding of the concept you would realize that. So, in effect, there are no distinctions when it comes to omniscience. There are no degrees or variations.

      Scott: "So, your argument is, I just don't have one iota of understanding,..."

      Not if you believe omniscience to be something which can vary. So, it's up to you. Do you accept omniscience as an absolute, or do you see it as something which can be defined in a variety of ways?

      'But that implies there are infallible sources of knowledge,..."

      That's correct.

      "that can be infallibly interpreted."

      They can, but that is not always assured as man is not infallible.

      "How can you, as a finite being, infallibly identify infallible sources of knowledge?"

      As a fallible human I cannot infallibly identify sources of infallibility, but that does not then mean such sources do not exist.

      Delete
  6. The inmates are running the asylums.

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  7. It's not even argumentum ad consequential, since the article doesn't even provide a weak link between evolution and determinism.

    Furthermore, despite thinking evolution is the best explanation for the biological complexity we observe, I'm not a determinist in the conventional sense. So, it seems either I'm not an evolutionist or this would be yet another false prediction of Cornelius's "theory."

    Perhaps I should make my own Cornelius' Predictions site, to keep track of them.

    I'd note that, apparently, Cornelis let his Darwin's Predictions domain name expire. Now, it's a microsite promoting e-cigarettes.

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  8. What's particularly ironic here is that the the "compelling argument" being presented here, as Cornelius would say, is that if determinism is true then there is no reason to argue about anything, etc. So, it's not that anyone has proven dualism, but "disproven" determinism.

    For example...

    CH: After all, in experiments the neurons of human subjects showed activity before the subjects felt the urge to action. Ergo determinism. Your actions are the result of neural computations. Kreiman believes this work challenges important Western philosophical ideas about free will.

    So, here we have empirical criticism of the conventional idea of free will. Yet, Cornelius completely ignores it. No alternate explanation for these observations are provided. It's unclear how this differs from what Cornelius portrays as the supposedly only compelling argument that God wouldn't have created this world.

    Apparently, this kind of contrastive reasoning is bad form, except when it isn't.

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  9. There seems to be some confusion here between evolution and materialism. The materialist is often stuck with determinism but as long as an evolutionist holds that consciousness isn’t exclusively the result of neural-chemical interactions then they can accept free will. I personally think naturalistic macro evolution fails to explain necessary complex features within living creatures but that’s a different issue. There are theistic evolutionists that consider free will and evolution compatible.

    We function as if we have free will (we each had the choice to make a comment or not make a comment) but we are also influenced by the neural-chemical interactions in our brain. Most of our decisions have very little to do with our survival and shouldn’t even be selectable within an evolutionary context. Our brains don’t have any reason to create the illusion of free will or to force most of the outcomes we attribute to free will. Under a purely naturalistic sense our material brains wouldn’t even ‘know’ any outcomes to select. Since brain function requires resources any unnecessary functions (such as the ability to understand mathematics, chemistry and philosophy) shouldn’t have been selected by our ancestors. Both our ability to reason and our free will appear to be real and designed.

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    1. John Peters:

      There seems to be some confusion here between evolution and materialism. The materialist is often stuck with determinism but as long as an evolutionist holds that consciousness isn’t exclusively the result of neural-chemical interactions then they can accept free will.

      Agreed. The OP isn't saying evolution *necessarily* leads to materialism, but rather that it is a tendency. I'll clarify that.

      Delete
    2. John: Most of our decisions have very little to do with our survival and shouldn’t even be selectable within an evolutionary context.

      You seem to be operating under a very common, but naive, version of evolutionary theory.

      For example, we no longer think the unit of selection is limited to just organisms, (which you implied as the survival of the fittest) but also operates at the level of individual genes. I.E. evolution favors genes that accel at spreading throughout the population, in which organisms are part of their environment.

      Also, evolutionary theory operates under what is commonly known as the law of unexpected consequences.

      To use an example, people conjecture explanatory theories of how the world works, in reality, to solve problems. They are conjectures because we cannot mechanically extrapolate the contents of theories from observations. Nor, we cannot guarantee they will actually be successful at solving the problem in advanced. However, this is not the only implication as, being conjectures, we also do not know they will *not* end up solving some problem we didn't intend to solve, either. So, when people conjecture explanatory theories that allow us to make progress at solving the target problem we intended to solve, we create explanatory knowledge.

      But there are cases where we fail at solving the target problem, but end up solving some unintended problem. Or solve the target problem in addition to some other problem we did not intend to in the process. One such example is the 3M scientist that failed to solve the problem of making a super-strong adhesive, but unintentionally ending up solving the problem of a "low-tack", reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. This is non-explanatory knowledge because, at least initially, we lack an explanation for why our conjecture solved a problem we didn't intend to solve.

      In the case of biological Dariwnism, genetic variations creates non-explanatory knowledge via conjecture, in the form of genetic variation that is random *to any particular problem to solve* and though criticism, in the form of natural selection. As you pointed out, evolutionary processes cannot create explanations, so they cannot crate explanatory knowledge.

      Bological Darwinism creates what are useful rules of thumb, which is the form that most human knowledge consisted of very early in our history. Both people and biological Darwinism can create non-explanatory knowledge, while only people (once we realized how useful explanations can be) can create explanatory knowledge.

      IOW, our ability of understand mathematics, chemistry, etc. started out as a series of useful rules of thumb via unexpected consequences.

      For example, see this TED video by Daniel Wolpert on the evolution of the brain.

      John: Under a purely naturalistic sense our material brains wouldn’t even ‘know’ any outcomes to select.

      Can you elaborate on this further? For example, you seem to be suggesting that knowledge in specific spheres comes from authoritative sources and since nature isn't an authoritative source, evolution cannot be the source of that knowledge.

      Delete
  10. Most of the philosophical conundrum becomes irrelevant if we consider free will as a sensation. It's the feeling that we can choose without constraint, even if we prefer chocolate or are averse to broccoli spouts for biological reasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the question of free will is an empirical question, as posed in the cited study, philosophical speculation is pointless.

      As someone said, philosophy is the art of asking the wrong question and considering it profound.

      Delete
  11. Another part of the equation is that we have a number of good criticisms for the common sense idea of the arrow of time.

    So, it appears that philosophical questions like this are themselves based on the philosophical assumption that reality is obvious and actually reflects our common sense experience of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nic Free will is simply the freedom to make decisions as to what we will believe or not believe. We are free to make these decisions and are not bound by deterministic factors which force us to choose A over B.

    So you could choose to be an evolutionist if you wanted? And I mean actually be an evolutionist, actually be convinced that the theory of evolution is the best explanation of life on Earth that we have? Just by an effort of will?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ian,

      "So you could choose to be an evolutionist if you wanted? And I mean actually be an evolutionist, actually be convinced that the theory of evolution is the best explanation of life on Earth that we have? Just by an effort of will?"

      Sure. However, the problem you have is the fact that the theory of evolution is a woefully poor explanation
      for the existence of life on earth. Sorry.

      I do have a question, however. I was under the impression evolution was not an explanation of life but only an explanation of what has happened since life appeared. So which is it?

      Delete
    2. So, you're not free to choose what is or is not a poor explanation for the existence of life on earth?

      Delete
    3. Scott,

      "So, you're not free to choose what is or is not a poor explanation for the existence of life on earth?"

      Well, as I have chosen to believe evolution is an asinine attempt to explain life, one must assume I am free to make that choice.

      Sound logical thought is obviously not your strong suit.

      Delete
    4. So, you don't want to chose otherwise?

      Delete
    5. Scott,

      "So, you don't want to chose otherwise?"

      I would choose otherwise if the evidence demanded it.

      You might as well give up now, Scott. You're feeble semantic attempts are just that, woefully feeble.

      Delete
    6. So, your not free to choose the role that evidence plays in science?

      For example, I'm no longer an empiricist after being exposed to significant criticism of it. Specifically, I think it's a bad explanation for how knowledge grows.

      IOW, when we change our preferences, we adopt new ideas about how the world works.

      While it was an important improvement in that it promoted the importance of empirical observations, empiricism got the role evidence plays backwards. Theories are tested by observations, not derived from them.

      Nor is criticism of empiricism as a philosophy of science something I just made up.

      You might say, I think empiricism is an asinine way to explain how knowledge grows. When we try to take it seriously as an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows, nothing would be scientific.

      So, your objection to evolution as an explanation on empirical grounds does not survive rational criticism.

      IOW, so what if evolutionary theory isn't scientific under empiricism? Who cares? We've made progress since then. It's a red herring.

      Or are you denying that we've actually made progress since empiricism?

      Delete
    7. Scott,

      "So, your (sic) not free to choose the role that evidence plays in science?"

      I was right, you don't read well. More accurately, I believe you simply twist what ever anyone says to suit your own ends.

      "For example, I'm no longer an empiricist after being exposed to significant criticism of it. Specifically, I think it's a bad explanation for how knowledge grows."

      So, as you were once an empiricist, but are no longer an empiricist, you made a free will choice to cease being an empiricist, is that correct?

      "IOW, when we change our preferences, we adopt new ideas about how the world works."

      Is changing your preferences not a free will decision?

      Scott: "So, your objection to evolution as an explanation on empirical grounds does not survive rational criticism."

      Granted, it does not survive your criticism, but, as can be clearly seen, your argument is anything but rational. Sorry.

      "IOW, so what if evolutionary theory isn't scientific under empiricism? Who cares? We've made progress since then."

      Sure, progress has been made. Now demonstrate it was made due to evolutionary theory and would not have been made otherwise. We won't be holding our breath.


      Nic: You don't read well, do you?

      Scott; "I read well enough to know your response is ambiguous, as there were two options. This is the second time you've omitted the first."

      My response is ambiguous. Really? Let's review.

      Scott: "Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?"

      Nic: "No, just that we lack evidence for the existence of a multitude of universes."

      So, you asked me if I was suggesting we lack evidence of quantum phenomena, to which I replied, no. I also said what we did lack was evidence for a multitude of universes.

      Truly Scott, only in your cloistered mind would that be considered an ambiguous response.

      Delete
    8. Scott: "So, [you're] not free to choose the role that evidence plays in science?"

      Nic: I was right, you don't read well. More accurately, I believe you simply twist what ever anyone says to suit your own ends.

      I read well enough to notice you're avoided answering the question I asked.

      Nic: So, as you were once an empiricist, but are no longer an empiricist, you made a free will choice to cease being an empiricist, is that correct?

      By "free will choice", do you mean, can I "will" myself to become an empiricist again? No, I can't. There are criticism of empiricism which have not been refuted, so I don't think empiricism is a good explanation for how knowledge grows.

      Scott: "IOW, when we change our preferences, we adopt new ideas about how the world works."

      Nic: Is changing your preferences not a free will decision?

      Can you simply will yourself to adopt ideas about how the world works? I don't know about you, but I can't. I adopt new new ideas when I don't have significant criticism of them.

      Scott: You might say, I think empiricism is an asinine way to explain how knowledge grows. When we try to take it seriously as an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows, nothing would be scientific.

      Scott: So, your objection to evolution as an explanation on empirical grounds does not survive rational criticism.

      Nic: Granted, it does not survive your criticism, but, as can be clearly seen, your argument is anything but rational. Sorry.

      First, trying to take empiricism seriously as an explanation for how knowledge grows isn't rational? Why shouldn't we take take it seriously?

      Second, it's not merely "my" criticism. For example, it didn't take long to find at least one criticism: The Poverty of Empiricism search:

      Scott: "IOW, so what if evolutionary theory isn't scientific under empiricism? Who cares? We've made progress since then."

      Nic: Sure, progress has been made. Now demonstrate it was made due to evolutionary theory and would not have been made otherwise. We won't be holding our breath.

      I'm referring to progress beyond empiricism in the philosophy of science, Nic.

      IOW, if we have significant criticism of empiricism as an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows, to the extent that we don't actually use it, who cares if evolutionary theory isn't scientific under empiricism? It's a red herring.

      Delete
    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    10. Nic: You don't read well, do you?

      Scott; "I read well enough to know your response is ambiguous, as there were two options. This is the second time you've omitted the first."

      Nic: My response is ambiguous. Really? Let's review.

      Let's do exactly that...

      Scott: "Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?"

      Nic: "No, just that we lack evidence for the existence of a multitude of universes."


      Nic: So, you asked me if I was suggesting we lack evidence of quantum phenomena, to which I replied, no. I also said what we did lack was evidence for a multitude of universes.

      Which makes the third time you've conveniently omitted the first of two options. What I actually wrote was...

      Scott: Are you suggesting we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it were true in reality? Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?

      You're not under any obligation to my question. Nor am I under any obligation to pretend that you did.

      Furthermore, It's not even clear if you understand the subject at hand. The MWToQM simply takes quantum mechanics seriously. For example, see this paper on Schrodinger’s first proposal for the interpretation of quantum mechanics.

      Delete
    11. Scott,

      Nic: So, as you were once an empiricist, but are no longer an empiricist, you made a free will choice to cease being an empiricist, is that correct?

      Scott: "By "free will choice", do you mean, can I "will" myself to become an empiricist again? No, I can't. There are criticism of empiricism which have not been refuted, so I don't think empiricism is a good explanation for how knowledge grows."

      You have no idea what entails the concept of free will, do you?

      Scott: "IOW, when we change our preferences, we adopt new ideas about how the world works."

      Nic: Is changing your preferences not a free will decision?

      Scott: "Can you simply will yourself to adopt ideas about how the world works? I don't know about you, but I can't. I adopt new new ideas when I don't have significant criticism of them."

      You're simply incredible. You love to pontificate on things philosophical, but have absolutely not one iota of understanding of the concepts. Simply mind boggling.

      Scott: So, your objection to evolution as an explanation on empirical grounds does not survive rational criticism.

      Nic: Granted, it does not survive your criticism, but, as can be clearly seen, your argument is anything but rational. Sorry.

      Scott: "First, trying to take empiricism seriously as an explanation for how knowledge grows isn't rational? Why shouldn't we take take it seriously?"

      Really, in what way is it irrational? I would really be interested in seeing your rationalization of that argument.

      Scott: "Second, it's not merely "my" criticism. For example, it didn't take long to find at least one criticism: The Poverty of Empiricism search:"

      Oh, I get it, I'm to draw my conclusions as to what is true only upon what you and certain others think. If that's what you do I'm not surprised you're a smorgasbord of contradictions when it comes to rational thought.

      Scott: "IOW, so what if evolutionary theory isn't scientific under empiricism? Who cares? We've made progress since then."

      Nic: Sure, progress has been made. Now demonstrate it was made due to evolutionary theory and would not have been made otherwise. We won't be holding our breath.

      Scott: "I'm referring to progress beyond empiricism in the philosophy of science, Nic."

      Well there you go Scott, now that's a classic example of an ambiguous response.

      Scott: "IOW, if we have significant criticism of empiricism as an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows, to the extent that we don't actually use it, who cares if evolutionary theory isn't scientific under empiricism?"

      So we determine the efficacy of a system of knowledge gain based on what you perceive as a 'significant criticism'?

      I'd be interested to know, what are your significant criticisms and upon what are they based?

      Delete
    12. Scott,

      Scott: "Are you suggesting we shouldn't take quantum mechanics seriously, as if it were true in reality? Or perhaps you're suggesting that we lack evidence of quantum phenomena?"

      No, I'm not saying we should not take it seriously, and, no, I'm not suggesting we lack evidence of quantum phenomena. Are you happy now?

      We still lack any evidence of a multitude of universes,
      regardless of how much you want to try to argue quantum theory.

      Delete
    13. Nic: No, I'm not saying we should not take it seriously, and, no, I'm not suggesting we lack evidence of quantum phenomena. Are you happy now?

      Then why shouldn't observers be subject to the same quantum phenomena which we have evidence for, as everything thing else?

      The MWToQM simply accepts the mathematics of the wave function as it is. The wave does not collapse. Instead, we became part of the wave function. That's it.

      At which point, we become part of the probability it describes and end up in what appears to be one of many classical universes, which are actually part of a greater multiverse. It might sound bizarre at first glance, but It actually is the most straight forward and least strange interoperation of the most successful theory science has come up with.

      Regardless, if you're not an instrumentalist in respect to QM, and you reject the MWToQM, then how does the wave function actually reflect reality? What does it tell us? Or are you an instrumentalist in that it's meaningless to ask whether or not it's merely a useful fiction to predict outcomes?

      Nic: We still lack any evidence of a multitude of universes, regardless of how much you want to try to argue quantum theory.

      First, wouldn't that depend on the role that empirical evidence plays in science? Again, you seem to be assuming that we haven't make progress since empiricism.

      Second, the entire field of quantum computation was created as a way to test the MWToQM.

      Specifically, If Shor's algorithm can factorize a number 10^300 times faster than a classical computer, then where is that factorization happening, if not in 10^300 other classical universes that are also factorizing the same number? What's your alternative explanation?

      Note: I don't want to distract you, so I'll respond to your other comment later.

      Delete
    14. Scott,

      "First, wouldn't that depend on the role that empirical evidence plays in science? Again, you seem to be assuming that we haven't make progress since empiricism."

      Sure it would. As I am an empiricist, as are all rational thinkers, I hold to the position we have no evidence to support the existence of multiple universes.

      And please, don't try to argue you're a rational thinker, nothing could be further from the truth. As a determinist you are unable to make an informed choice from among various options as you believe your choice is pre-determined. As a anti-empiricist you reject the validity of experimental science and any other form of enquiry based on observable and testable factors as being a source by which we can gain knowledge. On what, exactly, would you base any form of rationalism?

      Seriously, Scott, your line of reasoning would make you the laughing stock of a first year philosophy class.

      "Specifically, If Shor's algorithm can factorize a number 10^300 times faster than a classical computer, then where is that factorization happening, if not in 10^300 other classical universes that are also factorizing the same number? What's your alternative explanation?"

      Let me see if I have this straight. You're claiming we are in contact with multiple alternate universes via a computer algorithm, is that correct, or have I misunderstood you?

      Delete
    15. Scott: "First, wouldn't that depend on the role that empirical evidence plays in science? Again, you seem to be assuming that we haven't make progress since empiricism."

      Nic: Sure it would. As I am an empiricist, as are all rational thinkers, I hold to the position we have no evidence to support the existence of multiple universes.

      All rational thinkers are empiricists? You do realize there is a difference between empiricism, which is a particular philosophy of science, empirical observations, and they role they play in science, right?

      Nic: And please, don't try to argue you're a rational thinker, nothing could be further from the truth.

      Again, it's not rational to try to take empiricism seriously as explanation for how knowledge grows?

      Specifically, empiricism says that all knowledge comes through the senses. However, should we take that seriously, this would include the contents of scientific theories - which do not actually come to us from our senses. For example, no one has ever experienced an atom or a quark. Nor do we actually experience anything directly. Observations are theory laden.

      Nic: As a determinist you are unable to make an informed choice from among various options as you believe your choice is pre-determined.

      That's simply false. If information does not determine our choices, then what does it mean to say you made an informed choice? In the MWToQM we are exposed to different information and circumstances which results in making different informed choices. And, in some other "worlds" circumstance were such that I ended up a theist that thinks like you do.

      Nic: As a anti-empiricist you reject the validity of experimental science and any other form of enquiry based on observable and testable factors as being a source by which we can gain knowledge.

      Except, I'm not an anti-empiricist. Again, empiricism was a key improvement because it promoted empirical observations in science.

      Nic: On what, exactly, would you base any form of rationalism?

      Rational criticism, not support. IOW, empiricism got the role empirical observations plays backwards. Theories are testing by observations, not derived from them.

      Nic: Seriously, Scott, your line of reasoning would make you the laughing stock of a first year philosophy class.

      Which seem rather odd thing to say, given that philosophy is source of the most significant criticism of empiricism.

      Nic: Let me see if I have this straight. You're claiming we are in contact with multiple alternate universes via a computer algorithm, is that correct, or have I misunderstood you?

      I suspect you have misunderstood me.

      For example, the multiverse in the MWToQM is not the same as the multiverse posited in bubble universes or string theory, where just anything happens. Rather, It's based on what we would experience if we take the wave function seriously, including that we're not immune to it for some inexplicable reason.

      Furthermore, Shor's algorithm doesn't cause us to contact other classical universes. Quantum algorithms, like Shor's, are based on taking the MWToQM seriously, as if it were true in reality. They are a prediction of the theory.

      Delete
    16. Scott,

      Nic: "As a determinist you are unable to make an informed choice from among various options as you believe your choice is pre-determined."

      Scott: "That's simply false. If information does not determine our choices, then what does it mean to say you made an informed choice?"

      Are you aware you're equivocating?


      "In the MWToQM we are exposed to different information and circumstances which results in making different informed choices. And, in some other "worlds" circumstance were such that I ended up a theist that thinks like you do."

      Why does the theme music from the Twilight Zone keep going through my mind?

      Nic: "Seriously, Scott, your line of reasoning would make you the laughing stock of a first year philosophy class."

      Scott: "Which seem rather odd thing to say, given that philosophy is source of the most significant criticism of empiricism."

      True nonetheless.

      "I suspect you have misunderstood me."

      I was assuming that to be the case.

      Delete
    17. Nic: Are you aware you're equivocating?

      You're trying to compare apples and oranges.

      In the many worlds theory of QM, not only am I physically free to choose from all logically possible outcomes, but I actually exercise those choices. So, to say I think my choice is pre-determined isn't even wrong. It's simply not applicable. Yet, those choices are determined by what information I'm exposed to in each classical world, along with other factors.

      IOW, if equivocation is occurring, it's over what it means to choose something, not being determined.

      Nic: Why does the theme music from the Twilight Zone keep going through my mind?

      Is that supposed to be an argument?

      Nic: True nonetheless.

      It is? Are you suggesting they just don't teach those criticisms in first year philosophy? And students who attend it laugh at criticisms they are taught early?

      If not, then how is it "true none the less"?

      Delete
    18. Scott,

      Nic: "Are you aware you're equivocating?"

      Scott: "You're trying to compare apples and oranges."

      No, my friend, you are simply equivocating. You are trying to equate determine with determinism when the two are not the same. Determine is a transitive verb while determinism is a noun.

      "In the many worlds theory of QM, not only am I physically free to choose from all logically possible outcomes, but I actually exercise those choices. So, to say I think my choice is pre-determined isn't even wrong. It's simply not applicable. Yet, those choices are determined by what information I'm exposed to in each classical world, along with other factors."

      Isn't that just wonderfully convenient. You get to be and do all things over a multitude of universes. Now that is the very definition of wishful thinking.

      Nic: Why does the theme music from the Twilight Zone keep going through my mind?

      Scott: "Is that supposed to be an argument?"

      Nope, just a comment.

      Nic: "True nonetheless."

      Scott: "It is? Are you suggesting they just don't teach those criticisms in first year philosophy? And students who attend it laugh at criticisms they are taught early?"

      Sure they teach those criticisms, just as they teach first year medical students things they should not do. Sure there are plenty of nut cases in philosophy departments around the world who teach such concepts; I know I had my share of them over the years; but that hardly makes the concepts valid. And yes, we did laugh at them.

      Delete
    19. Nic: "As a determinist you are unable to make an informed choice from among various options as you believe your choice is pre-determined.
      Scott: You're trying to compare apples and oranges.

      Nic: No, my friend, you are simply equivocating. You are trying to equate determine with determinism when the two are not the same. Determine is a transitive verb while determinism is a noun.

      How can I be a determinist if I don't think think my choice is pre-determined? How would that work, exactly?

      Nic: Isn't that just wonderfully convenient. You get to be and do all things over a multitude of universes. Now that is the very definition of wishful thinking.

      You seem to be quite confused.

      First, It's not a scenario that started out as a wish, it's the result of taking quantum mechanics seriously, as if it were true in reality, and that we are part of the wave function.

      Second, by being part of the wave function, no one version of me gets to be and do all things. Apparently, you're arguing against a theory you don't even understand.

      Third, even if it were the case, would I not wish to be and do all things, like have terminal diseases, experience a world were the Cuban missile crisis started WW3, have my parents die young, be a serial killer, spend life in prison. etc. Why would I wish for that? While there are versions of me that are far wealthier than I am, other versions live in poverty. There are worlds where there is no renaissance period and everyone lives in poverty except for a chosen few.

      IOW, no, this isn't wonderfully convenient.

      Nic: Sure they teach those criticisms, just as they teach first year medical students things they should not do.

      They teach criticisms of empiricism, so they should ignore those criticisms when they encounter them? How would that be rational?

      Nic: Sure there are plenty of nut cases in philosophy departments around the world who teach such concepts; I know I had my share of them over the years; but that hardly makes the concepts valid. And yes, we did laugh at them.

      So, tell me Nic, what refutes criticisms of empiricism and makes them worthy of ridicule? Specially, what of criticism by Kant, Popper, Quine, etc?

      For example, empiricism implies solipsism, because nothing is provable beyond our immediate ability to experience the world. Nor does the contents of theories actually come from observations.

      Again, when we try to take empiricism seriously, as an explanation for how knowledge grows, it doesn't withstand rational criticism.

      Delete
    20. Scott,

      "Second, by being part of the wave function, no one version of me gets to be and do all things. Apparently, you're arguing against a theory you don't even understand."

      There are as many interpretations of the multiverse idea as there are exponents of the idea.

      "Third, even if it were the case, would I not wish to be and do all things, like have terminal diseases, experience a world were the Cuban missile crisis started WW3, have my parents die young, be a serial killer, spend life in prison. etc. Why would I wish for that? While there are versions of me that are far wealthier than I am, other versions live in poverty. There are worlds where there is no renaissance period and everyone lives in poverty except for a chosen few.

      IOW, no, this isn't wonderfully convenient."

      No, it's not very convenient, but it is a natural consequence of your philosophy.

      "They teach criticisms of empiricism, so they should ignore those criticisms when they encounter them? How would that be rational?"

      Understanding criticisms against a position is essential to truly understanding any subject. This is why you fail in your arguments, you do not have any real understanding of the views opposing you. You may think you understand them because you've read the view of critics, but your failure to understand them from a first person point of view leads to your irrational arguments.

      "So, tell me Nic, what refutes criticisms of empiricism and makes them worthy of ridicule? Specially, what of criticism by Kant, Popper, Quine, etc?"

      Simply that empiricism can be seen to work.

      I think it is important that you understand I do not see empiricism as the only source of understanding. I am sensing that this is the assumption from which you are operating.

      "For example, empiricism implies solipsism, because nothing is provable beyond our immediate ability to experience the world."

      Palpable nonsense. Solipsism would deny empirical knowledge. Solipsism is the belief that only the self can be known to exist, nothing more.
      Therefore, any claim to empirical knowledge beyond the existence of self would be summarily rejected.

      "Nor does the contents of theories actually come from observations."

      More palpable nonsense. I suppose objects falling to the ground had no bearing on the formulation of the theory of gravity? Where do you come up with these gems?

      "Again, when we try to take empiricism seriously, as an explanation for how knowledge grows, it doesn't withstand rational criticism."

      What does not withstand rational criticism is the whole structure of your world view.

      Delete
    21. Scott: ”Second, by being part of the wave function, no one version of me gets to be and do all things. Apparently, you're arguing against a theory you don't even understand."

      Nic: There are as many interpretations of the multiverse idea as there are exponents of the idea.

      If you think all criticisms of “the multiverse idea” are interchangeable, you’re making my point for me.

      Scott: IOW, no, this isn't wonderfully convenient."

      Nic: No, it's not very convenient, but it is a natural consequence of your philosophy.

      You false claim of “wishful thinking” is a consequence of my philosophy? Or did you just do a 180 to the fallacy of undesired consequences?

      Nic: Understanding criticisms against a position is essential to truly understanding any subject. This is why you fail in your arguments, you do not have any real understanding of the views opposing you.

      Like you’ve illustrated above?

      Nic: You may think you understand them because you've read the view of critics, but your failure to understand them from a first person point of view leads to your irrational arguments.

      Let me guess, if I changed my mind, I really wasn’t an empiricist in the first place?

      Nic: Simply that empiricism can be seen to work.

      Hume admitted we couldn’t justify induction, so he punted and said induction must work because it worked in the past. You’re essentially saying the same thing. Empiricism must work because we experience it working in the past. It suffers from the same fataltial flaw.

      Nic: I think it is important that you understand I do not see empiricism as the only source of understanding. I am sensing that this is the assumption from which you are operating.

      You’re not sensing it. You’re trying to explain my objections by conjecturing (guessing) a theory of what my perception is of you. The contents of that theory isn’t “out there” for you to sense. That’s a key part of the criticism of empiricism.

      Furthermore, I keep asking questions for the same reason. It’s unclear if you actually have any criticism beyond it disagrees with what you consider an infallible authorative source.

      Scott: "For example, empiricism implies solipsism, because nothing is provable beyond our immediate ability to experience the world."

      Nic: Palpable nonsense. Solipsism would deny empirical knowledge. Solipsism is the belief that only the self can be known to exist, nothing more. Therefore, any claim to empirical knowledge beyond the existence of self would be summarily rejected.

      That’s the rub, Nic. You can’t experience anyone’s consciousness but your own. So, the content of the theory that anyone else is conscious doesn’t actually come from your experience.

      Scott: "Nor does the contents of theories actually come from observations."

      Nic: I suppose objects falling to the ground had no bearing on the formulation of the theory of gravity? Where do you come up with these gems?

      So, you’re strategy is to simply disingenuously ignore distinctions I’ve made? To misrepresent the criticisms of emperisism? Rejection of empiricism isn’t the same as rejecting empirical observations. They are two separate things.

      Again, theories are tested by observations, not derived from them. For example, the evidence for general relatively wasn’t a picture of space time warping, but a dot here, rather than a dot there on the screen of some instrument. Nor had anyone experienced an atom doing anything before formulating atomic theory.

      Scott: "Again, when we try to take empiricism seriously, as an explanation for how knowledge grows, it doesn't withstand rational criticism."

      Nic: What does not withstand rational criticism is the whole structure of your world view.

      Can you elaborate on that in some way that doesn’t boil down to justification via an appeal to some infallible source?

      Delete
    22. Scott,

      "If you think all criticisms of “the multiverse idea” are interchangeable, you’re making my point for me."

      I don't know if interchangeable is really the right word, nor was I talking about criticisms. I was talking about interpretations.

      "You false claim of “wishful thinking” is a consequence of my philosophy?"

      Wishful thinking is not a consequence of your philosophy, it's the source.

      Nic: Understanding criticisms against a position is essential to truly understanding any subject. This is why you fail in your arguments, you do not have any real understanding of the views opposing you.

      Scott: "Like you’ve illustrated above?"

      No, not really. I think your responses prove my point perfectly as it's obvious you didn't even know what my points were. This is illustrated by the fact you thought wishful thinking was a consequence rather than a cause. A clear demonstration of my point that you do not understand the criticisms sent your way.

      "Empiricism must work because we experience it working in the past. It suffers from the same fataltial flaw."

      We also experience it happening in the present. As it has been experienced in the past and it's being experienced in the present, you really are being irrational to argue against its efficacy.

      "You’re trying to explain my objections by conjecturing (guessing) a theory of what my perception is of you."

      Not at all. I'm not really too concerned what your perceptions are of me as they have no effect on me whatsoever.

      "That’s the rub, Nic. You can’t experience anyone’s consciousness but your own."

      So you've been talking to yourself this whole time. You do realize that arguing with yourself is a sign of insanity?

      So, you’re strategy is to simply disingenuously ignore distinctions I’ve made?"

      I'm not aware you've mad any. You simply repeat the fact that you don't feel it to be a source of knowledge gain.

      "Again, theories are tested by observations, not derived from them."

      Sure theories are tested by observations, but they can also be derived from observations. Good grief man, that is exactly the process followed by Darwin. That's the origin of his famous note "I think."

      "Can you elaborate on that in some way that doesn’t boil down to justification via an appeal to some infallible source?"

      Sure, whether you care to admit it or not, you're a determinist and as such you have no foundation upon which to build any form of rationalism.

      Delete
    23. Nic: I don't know if interchangeable is really the right word, nor was I talking about criticisms.

      Then why do you think it’s unnecessary to actually understand a theory to successfully criticize it?

      Nic: I was talking about interpretations.

      I wasn't talking about other multiverse interpretations, which are significantly different. I was talking about how your response indicated you didn't understand the very theory you're criticizing. Evasive much?

      Nic: Wishful thinking is not a consequence of your philosophy, it's the source.

      If the actual consequences of MWToQM isn’t something I’d wish for, then it’s unclear how it represents wishful thinking. What else am I supposed to conclude? You being wrong is a consequence of my philosophy?

      Again, the MWToQM is a consequence of taking the wave function seriously, including that we are a part of it, not wishful thinking. In fact, I'd suggest, if anything is wishful thinking, it's the assumption that observers are somehow *not* part of the wave function.

      Nic: No, not really. I think your responses prove my point perfectly as it's obvious you didn't even know what my points were.

      Your "points" were a tactic to change the subject and avoid that very same criticism. My responses illustrated how they were non-sequiturs.

      Scott: ”Hume admitted we couldn’t justify induction, so he punted and said induction must work because it worked in the past. You’re essentially saying the same thing. Empiricism must work because we experience it working in the past. It suffers from the same [fatal] flaw. "

      Nic: We also experience it happening in the present.

      You know this how, Nic? Let me guess, you know empiricism is true because you experienced it working and empiricism is true?

      Scott: "You’re trying to explain my objections by conjecturing (guessing) a theory of what my perception is of you."

      Nic: Not at all. I'm not really too concerned what your perceptions are of me as they have no effect on me whatsoever.

      I’m wasn’t concerned with your motivation or what you though you perceived to be doing, but a rational explanation for what you were actually doing, in reality.

      Scott: "That’s the rub, Nic. You can’t experience anyone’s consciousness but your own."

      Nic: So you've been talking to yourself this whole time. You do realize that arguing with yourself is a sign of insanity?

      You’re not not the one claiming to be an empiricist, I am?

      Scott: So, you’re strategy is to simply disingenuously ignore distinctions I’ve made? To misrepresent the criticisms of [empiricism]? Rejection of empiricism isn’t the same as rejecting empirical observations. They are two separate things.

      Scott: For example, the evidence for general relatively wasn’t a picture of space time warping, but a dot here, rather than a dot there on the screen of some instrument. Nor had anyone experienced an atom doing anything before formulating atomic theory.

      Nic: I'm not aware you've [made] any. You simply repeat the fact that you don't feel it to be a source of knowledge gain.

      So, you’re not aware of what I wrote in bold above? You’re not aware of the link provided above? You aware of first year philosophy, but not aware of significant criticism of empiricism, by Popper, Quine, etc.?

      Nic: Sure theories are tested by observations, but they can also be derived from observations. Good grief man, that is exactly the process followed by Darwin. That's the origin of his famous note "I think."

      Again, the contents of Darwin’s theory wasn’t “out there” for him to experience. It started out as a conjecture - an educated guess. No one has formulated a “principle of induction” that actually works, in practice. As such, it’s unclear how Darwin could have used any such principle to mechanically extrapolate the specific contents of his theory, and that theory alone, from a series of singular observations. That’s the distinction being made, which you keep ignoring.

      Delete
    24. Scott: Can you elaborate on that in some way that doesn’t boil down to justification via an appeal to some infallible source?

      Nic: Sure, whether you care to admit it or not, you're a determinist and as such you have no foundation upon which to build any form of rationalism.

      Again, you response suggests you don’t understand the theory your criticizing. Not only am I actually physically free to choose differently, but I actually exercise all of those choices. However, since I’m also part of the wave function, each version of me only experiences making a single choice. It’s unclear how that equates to determinism.

      But, by all means, feel free to remind us what it means to have free will and what it means to be a determinist. Then point out how my view actually fits the latter.

      Oh, that's right. You never actually got around to explaining what you mean beyond, "we experience choosing things", which is compatible with what I just described.

      Apparently, that must be true because we experience it and empiricism is true?

      Delete
    25. Scott,

      "You’re not not the one claiming to be an empiricist, I am?"

      You are? Exactly how do you come to that conclusion?

      Nic: "We also experience it happening in the present."

      Scott: "You know this how, Nic?"

      Well genius, by the simple fact you've been responding to my posts for several days now. Either I empirically exist and am empirically responding to your posts, or you only think you've been responding and only think I exist and you are really insane.

      "You aware of first year philosophy, but not aware of significant criticism of empiricism, by Popper, Quine, etc.?"

      Why do you assume I am not aware of these criticisms? And does the mere existence of these criticisms makes them valid? Your logic is really puzzling to say the least.

      "Again, the contents of Darwin’s theory wasn’t “out there” for him to experience. It started out as a conjecture - an educated guess."

      That's not what you're claiming. You've clearly stated several times that theories do not form from observations, Darwin is simply one example which clearly refutes that statement. Darwin made observations and formulated his theory of evolution from those observations. To try to argue otherwise is simply asinine.


      "However, since I’m also part of the wave function, each version of me only experiences making a single choice. It’s unclear how that equates to determinism."

      To be honest. I'm getting really bored with this and if you wish you may choose to believe that's because I don't understand the idea of a multiverse, that's your prerogative. Or should I say that is what this version of yourself wishes to choose.

      So, to narrow this to a fine point why don't you provide some solid evidence for the existence of this wave function and the existence of your multiple selves, and ultimately mine as well. Provide this evidence and we'll discuss that. Honestly, I won't be expecting anything than simply more of your irrational and disjointed meanderings.

      Your motivation for this philosophy is simply wishful thinking and trying to counter that argument by invoking unpleasant consequences does nothing to alter that fact. The wishful thinking aspect is motivated by a desire to adhere to an explanation for phenomena which excludes God. The consequences which flow from that motivation become irrelevant in the face of the need to exclude God.

      So in short, provide some solid evidence and we'll discuss it, but I won't waste any more of my time discussing you're unfounded assertions that these multitude of universes actually exist.

      Delete
    26. Scott: You’re not not the one claiming to be an empiricist, I am?

      Nic: You are? Exactly how do you come to that conclusion?

      That's what I'm asking you, Nic.

      Given that I'm the one who has discarded empiricism, why on earth would you conclude I'm the one who's a solipsist? Either this yet another of your blatant non-sequitur replies to deflect criticism, or you're utterly confused about my position.

      Nic: Well genius, by the simple fact you've been responding to my posts for several days now. Either I empirically exist and am empirically responding to your posts, or you only think you've been responding and only think I exist and you are really insane.

      It seems we can add empiricism as yet another theory you do not understand. Again, empiricism was an improvement because it promoted the importance of empirical observations, but it got the role those observations played backwards.

      This doesn't mean I think there can be no knowledge, and therefore must be a solipsist, but that empiricists are confused about role observations play in acquiring it.

      Nic: I'm not aware you've [made] any. You simply repeat the fact that you don't feel it to be a source of knowledge gain.

      Scott: [Points out criticisms made here and elsewhere]

      Nic: Why do you assume I am not aware of these criticisms?

      Uh, because you said as much.

      Nic: And does the mere existence of these criticisms makes them valid?

      I referenced specific criticisms, not merely claimed some existed. See below

      Nic: That's not what you're claiming. You've clearly stated several times that theories do not form from observations, Darwin is simply one example which clearly refutes that statement. Darwin made observations and formulated his theory of evolution from those observations. To try to argue otherwise is simply asinine.

      Apparently, we're back to ignoring distinctions again.

      From this comment...

      Specifically, empiricism says that all knowledge comes through the senses. However, should we take that seriously, this would include the contents of scientific theories - which do not actually come to us from our senses. For example, no one has ever experienced an atom or a quark.

      From this previously referenced article

      Many researchers – and their advisors on research method – adopt a doctrine called empiricism, which claims that researchers may only use empirical methods. This restrictive doctrine impover- ishes any academic discipline where it is dominant. The main reason is that a discipline only qualifies for the status of a science after it has progressed beyond empirical generalisations to explanatory theories; but although empirical methods are useful for discovering the former, they are inherently useless for creating the latter. So the empiricist doctrine retards scientific progress. Researchers should be aware of this danger, and research methodologists should attempt to counter it.

      Delete
    27. Nic: I'm getting really bored with this and if you wish you may choose to believe that's because I don't understand the idea of a multiverse, that's your prerogative. Or should I say that is what this version of yourself wishes to choose.

      Again, by using the term "a multiverse" you seem to think that all criticisms are interchangeable. Why might that be, Nic?

      Nic: The wishful thinking aspect is motivated by a desire to adhere to an explanation for phenomena which excludes God.

      Finally! What took you so long? Their all interchangeable because you think they all exclude God. IOW, you don't have to actually understand them because they been divinely revealed to be wrong.

      Delete
    28. Scott,

      Nic: "Your motivation for this philosophy is simply wishful thinking and trying to counter that argument by invoking unpleasant consequences does nothing to alter that fact. The wishful thinking aspect is motivated by a desire to adhere to an explanation for phenomena which excludes God. The consequences which flow from that motivation become irrelevant in the face of the need to exclude God.

      So in short, provide some solid evidence and we'll discuss it, but I won't waste any more of my time discussing you're unfounded assertions that these multitude of universes actually exist."

      I noticed you refused to answer my request as above. This is where this is at now Scott. Either provide some viable evidence for your claims or I will move on. I will no longer accept simple assertions that your world view is correct, nor will I accept it as correct because some philosophers you choose to adhere to say it is correct. Provide some evidence or admit you have none other than your wishful thinking.

      We can chase this around the park forever and never get anywhere because you refuse to accept the fact you have no solid viable evidence that a multitude of universes exist along some wave function.

      Some cold hard evidence, Scott, now or I move on. Not that you will care I'm sure, because in another universe an alternate Me will continue to tolerate your
      dodge and weave style of debating. Not this guy and not in this universe.

      By the way, if you're right you'll have to live with the fact that in an alternate universe you'll be admitting I'm right.

      Delete
    29. Nic: "Your motivation for this philosophy is simply wishful thinking and trying to counter that argument by invoking unpleasant consequences does nothing to alter that fact. The wishful thinking aspect is motivated by a desire to adhere to an explanation for phenomena which excludes God. The consequences which flow from that motivation become irrelevant in the face of the need to exclude God.

      Scott: [They are] all interchangeable because you think they all exclude God. IOW, you don't have to actually understand them because they been divinely revealed to be wrong.

      You're essentially saying God wouldn't have chosen to create the world we observe in such a way that the MWToQM is true. So, my having adopted it must reflect a desire to exclude God, and therefore be wishful thinking. But how do you know that's what God would or would not do, Nic?

      Nic: So in short, provide some solid evidence and we'll discuss it, but I won't waste any more of my time discussing you're unfounded assertions that these multitude of universes actually exist."

      Quantum mechanics is the most successful scientific theory we've ever developed. And the MWToQM simply takes that theory seriously, as if it's true in reality, and that we're not somehow magically immune to it. So, we're back to you either claiming we lack evidence for the most successful scientific theory we've ever developed, or you really are an instrumentalist in regards to quantum mechanics after all.

      Again, if anything, it's wishful thinking to conclude we're not part of the wave function for some inexplicable reason.

      In regards to "solid evidence", I haven't responded because you have yet to address criticism of empiricism, such as that found in this previously referenced article. Specifically, your objection regarding the scientific status of MWToQM is the same regarding the scientific status of evolutionary theory....

      Many researchers – and their advisors on research method – adopt a doctrine called empiricism, which claims that researchers may only use empirical methods. This restrictive doctrine impoverishes any academic discipline where it is dominant. The main reason is that a discipline only qualifies for the status of a science after it has progressed beyond empirical generalisations to explanatory theories; but although empirical methods are useful for discovering the former, they are inherently useless for creating the latter. So the empiricist doctrine retards scientific progress.

      Who cares if either the MWToQM or evolutionary theory isn't "science" under empiricism, given that the idea that we actually use it doesn't survive rational criticism?

      Nic: Some cold hard evidence, Scott, now or I move on.

      The MWT is consequence of taking information flow in quantum mechanics seriously, as if it's true in reality. So, evidence for that specific flow of information is evidence of the MWT.

      See this paper on the structure of the multiverse

      IOW, how information flows in QM would result in us appearing to exist in a single classical universe, with the exception of specific information flows predicted by the MWT. Those exceptions would flow as if there were other classical universes in parallel with ours. That information flow is best explained by the existence of those other classical universes.

      This is why I keep given you an out by asking if you're an instrumentalist in regards to quantum mechanics, in which many people are. If you are, then move on.

      Delete
    30. If you don't know what that means see the instrumentalism entry on Wikipedia.

      Note I suspect that most theists here are instrumentalists in regards to evolutionary theory as well. That is they reject scientific realism of evolutionary theory, as many people reject scientific realism of quantum mechanics.

      Instrumentalism is an interpretation within the philosophy of science that a successful scientific theory reveals nothing known either true or false about nature's unobservable aspects.[1] By instrumentalism, then, scientific theory is a tool whereby humans predict observations in a particular domain of nature by organizing laws, which state regularities, but theories do not unveil hidden aspects of nature to explain the laws.[2] Initially a novel perspective introduced by Pierre Duhem in 1906, instrumentalism is largely the prevailing practice of physicists today.[2]

      Rejecting the ambitions of scientific realism to attain metaphysical truth about nature,[2] instrumentalism is usually categorized as an antirealism, although its mere lack of commitment to scientific theory's realism can be termed nonrealism. Instrumentalism merely bypasses debate such as whether a particle talked about in particle physics is a discrete entity of individual existence, or is an excitation mode of a region of a field, or whether, reflecting an underlying reality that is not even a field, is something else altogether.[3][4][5] Instrumentalism holds that theoretical terms need only be useful to predict the phenomena, the observed outcomes.[3]

      Delete
    31. Nic: By the way, if you're right you'll have to live with the fact that in an alternate universe you'll be admitting I'm right.

      First, this is yet another example of how you don't understand the theory. Information flow is such that I don't "live" in those universes.

      Second, it represents yet another fallacious example of argument by undesired consequences.

      Delete
    32. Scott,

      "In regards to "solid evidence", I haven't responded because you have yet to address criticism of empiricism,..."

      Just as I thought, when it comes time to actually have the rubber meet the road you have nothing, nothing at all. Scott, you talk a big game, but that's all you've got, just a lot of talk. I'm in no way surprised.

      Take care, we'll probably run into each other on another thread.

      Delete
    33. Nic: I noticed you refused to answer my request as above.

      Scott: "In regards to "solid evidence", I haven't responded because you have yet to address criticism of empiricism, such as that found in this previously referenced article. Specifically, your objection regarding the scientific status of MWToQM is the same regarding the scientific status of evolutionary theory.... ."

      Nic: Just as I thought, when it comes time to actually have the rubber meet the road you have nothing, nothing at all.

      Not having answered your question in a previous comment because it's unclear indicates I have nothing at all? Surely, you can come up with something better than this, right?

      IOW, your request for "solid evidence" implicitly assumes empiricism, which makes it unreasonable unless you have refuted the criticisms directed at it. It does not withstand rational criticism. Responses such as everybody knows we use empiricism, or rational people reject criticisms directed towards it, isn't an argument.

      Furthermore, it's unclear how not having answered your question in a previous comment because it's unclear makes references to experimental tests in the current comment invisible or "nothing".

      Again, if you're not an instrumentalist in regards to QM, and you reject the MWToQM, then what does QM tell us about reality it you do take it seriously?

      Delete
    34. Scott,

      "Not having answered your question in a previous comment because it's unclear indicates I have nothing at all? Surely, you can come up with something better than this, right?"

      My question is perfectly clear. Your problem lies exactly where I said it does, you have no evidence; nada, zilch, nothing.

      Surely you can come up with a better excuse than whining about my question being unclear. The honest thing to do would be to admit the fact you have no evidence.

      So, I have to refute your criticism of empiricism before you're required to answer my question? How nice when you think you get to make up the rules as we go along. Well pal, no such refutation is required as you have not even come close to refuting empiricism. So, in fact, the ball is squarely in your court. You provide solid evidence against empiricism and we'll see what happens. However, I won't be expecting a return volley.

      And remember, I stated very clearly more than once that I am not one who believes all knowledge comes via empiricism exclusively, so you're not dealing with a closed mind on this subject.

      Delete
    35. Nic: Surely you can come up with a better excuse than whining about my question being unclear. The honest thing to do would be to admit the fact you have no evidence.

      Surely, you're capable of reading more than on paragraph from a comment, right?

      Scott: IOW, your request for "solid evidence" implicitly assumes empiricism, which makes it unreasonable unless you have refuted the criticisms directed at it. It does not withstand rational criticism. Responses such as everybody knows we use empiricism, or rational people reject criticisms directed towards it, isn't an argument.

      And regarding strong evidence....

      The MWT is consequence of taking information flow in quantum mechanics seriously, as if it's true in reality. So, evidence for that specific flow of information is evidence of the MWT.

      See this paper on the structure of the multiverse.


      Nic: So, I have to refute your criticism of empiricism before you're required to answer my question? How nice when you think you get to make up the rules as we go along.

      None of us are "required" to do anything, Nic. We're writing comments on a blog.

      But, just so I understand you correctly, the role that empirical observations plays in science is irrelevant as to whether a theory is scientific? I'm asking because that's precisely one of the criticisms of empiricism you seem to think is unnecessary to refute.

      Nic: Well pal, no such refutation is required as you have not even come close to refuting empiricism.

      I haven't? Why is that, Nic?

      The criticisms I've presented come from trying to take empiricism seriously as an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows, in reality. So, apparently, you think it's impossible to take empiricism seriously. Otherwise, it's unclear why criticism of empiricism irrelevant.

      Let me guess, empiricism works because, "that's just what God must have wanted", and how God "works" is impossible to explain or criticize by taking it seriously as an explanation for how the world works?

      Nic: And remember, I stated very clearly more than once that I am not one who believes all knowledge comes via empiricism exclusively, so you're not dealing with a closed mind on this subject.

      So, you're not asking for scientific evidence? After all, empiricism is an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows, right?

      Or perhaps we're not even on agreement on that, which would explain a lot.

      Delete
    36. Scott,

      "See this paper on the structure of the multiverse."

      Interesting reading. However, not a lot more than a load of speculation based on a lot of assumptions.

      Nic: Well pal, no such refutation is required as you have not even come close to refuting empiricism.

      Scott: "I haven't? Why is that, Nic?"

      Oh, maybe because empiricism is still a widely held view as to how knowledge can be gained. That might have something to do with it.

      "Otherwise, it's unclear why criticism of empiricism irrelevant."

      The criticisms are not so much irrelevant as they are impotent. The observable facts are very clear, empirical observations are indeed a source of knowledge gain.

      "Let me guess, empiricism works because, "that's just what God must have wanted","

      No, it works because it can be observed to work repeatedly. Why is that so hard to understand?

      "empiricism is an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows, right?"

      Of course it is an explanation as to how scientific knowledge grows. But as I have repeatedly said, it is not the only way it can grow.

      Delete
    37. Nic: Interesting reading. However, not a lot more than a load of speculation based on a lot of assumptions.

      Again, quantum mechanics is the most successful theory in the history of science when it comes to empirical testing. So, in saying it's a load of speculation and assumptions, apparently one of those assumptions you disagree with is that we should take it seriously as a description of reality.

      IOW, you're an instrumentalist when it comes to quantum mechanics. This is the out I keep giving you, but you refuse to take.

      Nic: Oh, maybe because empiricism is still a widely held view as to how knowledge can be gained. That might have something to do with it.

      I see. Evolution is a widely held view as to how biological complexity grows. Does that mean no one has come close to refuting it as well? The Copenhagen interpretation is a widely held, instrumentalist view of quantum mechanics. Does that mean you're a instrumentalist on QM after all?

      Nic: No, it works because it can be observed to work repeatedly. Why is that so hard to understand?

      Apparently, it's you who is having difficulty understanding. Empiricism says knowledge comes to us though the senses. Yet, you're saying we know empiricism works because we experience it working though our senses. That's begging the question.

      From the Wikipedia entry on The Problem of Induction...

      Next, Hume ponders the justification of induction. If all matters of fact are based on causal relations, and all causal relations are found by induction, then induction must be shown to be valid somehow. He uses the fact that induction assumes a valid connection between the proposition "I have found that such an object has always been attended with such an effect" and the proposition "I foresee that other objects which are in appearance similar will be attended with similar effects." One connects these two propositions not by reason, but by induction. This claim is supported by the same reasoning as that for causal relations above, and by the observation that even rationally inexperienced or inferior people can infer, for example, that touching fire causes pain. Hume challenges other philosophers to come up with a (deductive) reason for the connection. If a deductive justification for induction cannot be provided, then it appears that induction is based on an inductive assumption about the connection, which would be begging the question. Induction, itself, cannot validly explain the connection.

      Do you understand the problem, now?

      Delete
    38. One of the reasons why empiricists object to the contents of theories is because they were not the result of generalizing observations. This is a common objection in the case of evolutionary theory.

      To illustrate this, imagine theories are the mathematical result of adding groups of numbers. Empiricists claim theories are only scientifically valid if the numbers were input from "empirical" sources. And when you when you ask them how what they experience when forming theories, they describe supposedly having done just that. Criticism of empiricism takes the form that, regardless of what they might think they're experiencing, this doesn't withstand rational criticism because it simply does't add up. It's as if they describe an experience of adding 2+2 and ending up with 16. The total input from empirical sources only added up to 4. The other 8 wasn't an external input at all. It started out as, using the term you used in your objection above, speculation, conjecture, an educated guess.

      People are unique in that they are universal explainers. They can create explanatory theories about how the world works, in reality.

      To use another illustration, the current crop of artificial intelligence takes the form of feeding a computer a question, along with an existing list of answers, then having it pick which answers from that existing list best fits the question. It then assumes assume we'll have general artificial intelligence (GAI) if we could make the computer fast enough and give more storage to hold some threshold of existing answers.

      But this represents a fundamental confusion about how knowledge grows, which stems from empiricism.

      We'll know when we've actually created GAI when it outputs an explanation for a problem that we didn't originally input as part of the question. That's the key missing piece, which is what I'm referring to and doesn't come from observations.

      Furthermore, I've given concrete examples in which it's not observed to work. Again, no one ever observed an atom or a quark doing anything. It's an output that was never input as part of the problem.

      Nic: But as I have repeatedly said, it is not the only way it can grow.

      So, you're an empiricist, except when your not? Can you be any more vague?

      Delete
    39. Scott,

      "I see. Evolution is a widely held view as to how biological complexity grows. Does that mean no one has come close to refuting it as well?"

      The difference being that evolution cannot be observed, it is not testable and is not repeatable. We can test our empirical observations, and we can repeat them. So, there is no analogy there.

      Nic: No, it works because it can be observed to work repeatedly. Why is that so hard to understand?

      Scott: "Apparently, it's you who is having difficulty understanding. Empiricism says knowledge comes to us though the senses. Yet, you're saying we know empiricism works because we experience it working though our senses. That's begging the question."

      Certainly we gain knowledge through our senses, but for the 100th time I don't believe it is the only way.

      Tell me, do you live in fear every time you step onto an airplane, or enter an elevator, or cross the street? I doubt it because you have come to trust that the plane will not crash, or that the cable will not break; and if it does the brakes will work; and that the approaching driver will see the red light and stop. How have you come to these beliefs? Via empirical observation over multiple instances which give you the assurance that these activities are safe.

      You rely on knowledge gained empirically every minute of your life. It is so ingrained in your thought processes that you are not even aware of it functioning. You simply absorb the information without ever acknowledging its source. If you want to take Hume the his logical conclusion, you would live in uncertainty and fear your entire existence.

      That's just one flaw in Hume's argument. There is another which I am going to insist you discover on your own.

      As for 'begging the question', that's palpable nonsense. If I argue mixing blue and yellow will produce green and then mix blue and yellow to produce green, am I begging the question to say it is because I mixed blue and yellow that they produced green? Obviously not.

      As far as artificial intelligence goes, we seem to be in perfect agreement. You'll get no argument from me regards this comment.

      "So, you're an empiricist, except when your not? Can you be any more vague?"

      I never claimed to be an empiricist in the sense of believing it is our only source for gaining knowledge. I am an empiricist in the sense that I believe it is one way in which we can gain knowledge. I don't at all see that as being vague.


      Delete
    40. Nic: The difference being that evolution cannot be observed, it is not testable and is not repeatable. We can test our empirical observations, and we can repeat them. So, there is no analogy there.

      So, apparently, it has nothing to do with it being widely held, but observed repeatedly?

      It's widely held that dinosaurs are the explanation for fossils. Are dinosaurs empirically testable and repeatable?

      Nic: Certainly we gain knowledge through our senses, but for the 100th time I don't believe it is the only way.

      Again, empiricism is a specific philosophy of science. So, it's referring to the growth of scientific knowledge, not just knowledge in general. So, again, you appear to be confusing empirical criticism with empiricism, the philosophy of science.

      Nic: How have you come to these beliefs? Via empirical observation over multiple instances which give you the assurance that these activities are safe.

      No number of singular observations can justify a universal. Nor is the idea that any universal will continue "out there" for us to observe. So, what we have are conjectures that has withstood significant criticism.

      Nic: You rely on knowledge gained empirically every minute of your life. It is so ingrained in your thought processes that you are not even aware of it functioning. You simply absorb the information without ever acknowledging its source.

      I do? So, you should have no problem explaining just how that actually works, in practice. Please be specific.

      For example, theories of optics and geometry tell us not to experience seeing the sun rise on a cloudy day, even if a sunrise is really happening in the unobserved world behind the clouds. It's only though theory that not observing the sun in those cases does not constitute an instance of the sun not rising. And the same can be said if we observe the sun rising in a mirror or on video. It's theory tells us that we're not experiencing the sun rise twice.

      IOW, the very idea that something has been repeated is not a sensory experience. Theory aways comes first.

      Nic: If you want to take Hume the his logical conclusion, you would live in uncertainty and fear your entire existence.

      Again, suggesting that empiricists are confused about how knowledge grows is not the same as suggesting there is no knowledge. That's the false dilemma you keep presenting. I keep pointing this out, yet you keep ignoring it. Why might that be, Nic?

      Nic: If I argue mixing blue and yellow will produce green and then mix blue and yellow to produce green, am I begging the question to say it is because I mixed blue and yellow that they produced green? Obviously not.

      You're comparing oranges and apples again. I'm referring to justifying empiricism, the philosophy of science, by repeated past experience. If you can't tell the difference, I can't help you.

      Nic: As far as artificial intelligence goes, we seem to be in perfect agreement. You'll get no argument from me regards this comment.

      Except we're not. Again, if you can't tell the difference, then I can't help you.

      When we genuinely create new knowledge, we are not "programmed" with a list of existing explanations for solutions that come to use though our senses, which we then pick from. We create explanatory theories about how the world works as conjectures, which we then criticize. It's a creative process. Until we have a philosophical breakthrough in this area, we will not have GAI.

      Nic: I am an empiricist in the sense that I believe it is one way in which we can gain knowledge. I don't at all see that as being vague.

      Again, we're not just talking about the growth of any knowledge, but scientific knowledge. Nor are we just talking about empirical observations, but the empiricism, the philosophical theory of how scientific knowledge grows. The criticism is that, supposedly, evolution isn't science. Every time I try to clarify this, you tip toe around it.

      Delete
    41. Nic: The difference being that evolution cannot be observed, it is not testable and is not repeatable.

      I've always found this construction to be confusing. We can directly observe evolution. We can't directly observe the long history of evolution.

      Delete
    42. Scott,

      Get back to me when you figure out Hume's fallacy in his argument against induction. When and if you do you will come to see the foolishness of your arguments.

      "The criticism is that, supposedly, evolution isn't science. Every time I try to clarify this, you tip toe around it."

      Evolution uses scientific disciplines, but is not itself a scientific discipline, it is simply a philosophical word view. All disciplines involved in evolutionary thinking stand on their own without the need of evolutionary thought. Biology does not need evolution, neither does genetics, geology, etc., etc., On the other hand evolution needs all of them to support it. When they do not evolution crumbles to dust as we see happening now.

      Is that clear enough for you?

      Delete
    43. Zachriel,

      "I've always found this construction to be confusing. We can directly observe evolution. We can't directly observe the long history of evolution."

      I'm not surprised you find it confusing in light of the fact you are so confused to begin with. You seem to think such as things as bacteria remaining bacteria, constitutes observable evolution. How does the fact that bacteria never produce anything but more bacteria provide evidence for observable evolution which demands wholesale changes occur?

      Delete
    44. Nic: You seem to think such as things as bacteria remaining bacteria, constitutes observable evolution.

      As that's how biologists define the term, yes, changes in the heritable composition of bacteria is evolution.
      http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

      Nic: Evolution uses scientific disciplines, but is not itself a scientific discipline, it is simply a philosophical word view.

      Evolution is an observed process, and a biological theory. As a theory, it unifies many observations in the biological sciences.

      Delete
    45. ZAchriel,

      Nic: "You seem to think such as things as bacteria remaining bacteria, constitutes observable evolution."

      ZAchriel: "As that's how biologists define the term, yes, changes in the heritable composition of bacteria is evolution."
      http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

      Then everything is evolution as any change whatsoever constitutes evolution under such a definition. However, you're still stuck with the problem of being completely unable to show that the minor changes which occur within bacteria can be extrapolated to support common descent. Or do you think you can do that? Can you conclusively show the minor changes which occur in bacteria will inevitably result in the wholesale changes required to justify belief in common descent?

      Nic: Evolution uses scientific disciplines, but is not itself a scientific discipline, it is simply a philosophical word view.

      Zachriel: "Evolution is an observed process,..."

      Evolutionary mantra #1. Just keep saying it and it will be true.

      "and a biological theory."

      Sure it is. It's a theory which depends heavily on biology. The only rub is biology has absolutely no need at all for evolution.

      "As a theory, it unifies many observations in the biological sciences."

      And design does not unify many observations in biological sciences?

      Delete
    46. Nic: Then everything is evolution as any change whatsoever constitutes evolution under such a definition.

      In biology, it means heritable characteristics.

      Nic: However, you're still stuck with the problem of being completely unable to show that the minor changes which occur within bacteria can be extrapolated to support common descent.

      The primary evidence of common descent is the nested hierarchy and fossil succession.

      Nic: The only rub is biology has absolutely no need at all for evolution.

      That's like saying astronomers have no need of gravitational theory.

      A good theory is fertile and generates many testable hypotheses. A great theory spawns entire new fields of study. Evolutionary theory is the latter.

      Nic: And design does not unify many observations in biological sciences?

      Design 'theory' is scientifically sterile.

      Delete
    47. Zachriel,

      Nic: "Then everything is evolution as any change whatsoever constitutes evolution under such a definition."

      Zachriel: "In biology, it means heritable characteristics."

      So, are you saying evolution has many definitions/

      Nic: However, you're still stuck with the problem of being completely unable to show that the minor changes which occur within bacteria can be extrapolated to support common descent.

      Zachriel: "The primary evidence of common descent is the nested hierarchy and fossil succession."

      Does the term stuck record mean anything to you?

      Nic: The only rub is biology has absolutely no need at all for evolution.

      Zachriel: "That's like saying astronomers have no need of gravitational theory."

      Not at all, astronomers do need gravitational theory, biologists just don't need evolution. Contrary to what you believe, evolution is not on the same level as gravitational theory. That claim is evolutionary mantra #13

      "Design 'theory' is scientifically sterile."

      So, you're saying design cannot unify many observations in biological sciences, because that is what I asked you?

      Delete
    48. Nic: So, are you saying evolution has many definitions

      Yes. In a discussion of biology it refers to the process of evolution or sometimes to the theory of evolution.

      Nic: Does the term stuck record mean anything to you?

      The evidence doesn't go away because you don't like to hear it. Both the observation of the nested hierarchy and the fossil succession have spawned entire fields of study.

      Nic: Not at all, astronomers do need gravitational theory, biologists just don't need evolution.

      Not all astronomers need gravitational theory, but it's a unifying explanation of astronomical phenomena. Similarly, some biologists don't use evolutionary theory in their day-to-day work, but it's a unifying explanation of biological phenomena.

      Nic: Contrary to what you believe, evolution is not on the same level as gravitational theory.

      That's where you're supposed to put the argument.

      Nic: you're saying design cannot unify many observations in biological sciences

      "Design" is too vague to mean anything in science. You would have to propose a specific theory of design, which includes proposed answers to some of the basic questions of how, who, what, when, where, and why.

      Delete
    49. Zachriel,

      Nic: So, are you saying evolution has many definitions

      Zachriel: "Yes. In a discussion of biology it refers to the process of evolution or sometimes to the theory of evolution."

      So, we can simply apply the definition of evolution to any thing we wish. If things change it's evolution, if they remain the same it's evolution. Evolution explains everything.

      Nic: "Does the term stuck record mean anything to you?"

      Zachriel: "The evidence doesn't go away because you don't like to hear it."

      Nor does it get any better because you continually assert it. You still, after several weeks of asking, have failed to explain how nested hierarchies are evidence for evolution. I'm left with no choice but to conclude you have no idea how to answer that question. As I said before, it's simply rhetoric and when pressed for an answer you realize you simply don't have one. As such, you simply resort to repeating the rhetoric believing that its continual repetition will somehow make it true. It will not.

      "Both the observation of the nested hierarchy and the fossil succession have spawned entire fields of study."

      So what? Nobody denies the existence of fossils or similarities between creatures. The question is how does that make them evidence for evolution?

      "some biologists don't use evolutionary theory in their day-to-day work, but it's a unifying explanation of biological phenomena."

      Evolutionary theory is a unifying explanation for biology to evolutionary biologists. Big deal. That does nothing to counter my point that biology does not need evolution.

      Nic: Contrary to what you believe, evolution is not on the same level as gravitational theory.

      Zachriel: "That's where you're supposed to put the argument."

      Well I assumed you were smart enough to know the differences. Did I assume wrong?

      Nic: you're saying design cannot unify many observations in biological sciences

      "You would have to propose a specific theory of design, which includes proposed answers to some of the basic questions of how, who, what, when, where, and why."

      And I suppose you think evolution provides answers to any of these questions? Can evolution answer how life began? No, so it tries to ignore the question by saying it's a separate topic. Nor can evolution supply answers to the remaining 'who, what. when. where or why? Evolution can be described as the 'some science'; somewhere, sometime. somehow, something happened which resulted in the vast array of life we see today.

      That's all you've got when you come down to it. Once all the rhetoric is stripped away that's all you have left, just a whole lot of unsupported speculation, assumption and extrapolation. Any evidence you think you have is explainable under other scenarios. Sorry, Zachriel, evolution is not the only game in town despite your passionate belief to the contrary.

      Delete
    50. Nic: So, we can simply apply the definition of evolution to any thing we wish.

      Um, no. In biology, it generally refers to changes in heritable characteristics in populations of organisms.

      Nic: You still, after several weeks of asking, have failed to explain how nested hierarchies are evidence for evolution.

      We have provided that explanation many times.

      Hypothesis: branching descent with modification
      Prediction: nested hierarchy of traits
      Observation: nested hierarchy of traits
      The observation supports the hypothesis.

      Nic: Well I assumed you were smart enough to know the differences.

      That's not an argument either.

      Nic: Can evolution answer how life began?

      Evolutionary theory doesn't attempt to answer that question.

      Nic: Nor can evolution supply answers to the remaining 'who, what. when. where or why?

      Sure it can. Evolutionary posits mechanisms and a history. Did you want to discuss the particulars?

      Delete
    51. Zachriel,

      "We have provided that explanation many times.

      Hypothesis: branching descent with modification
      Prediction: nested hierarchy of traits
      Observation: nested hierarchy of traits
      The observation supports the hypothesis."

      Wow, talk about the conclusion assuming the premise. There is no other possible way those similarities could arise?

      Nic: Well I assumed you were smart enough to know the differences.

      "That's not an argument either.'

      It wasn't meant to be> I just assumed you knew the differences. I must assume you don't.

      Nic: "Can evolution answer how life began?"

      "Evolutionary theory doesn't attempt to answer that question."

      That's really funny as it has attempted to do so several times and failed miserably on every occasion.
      The result? We'll just pretend it is not really important to the theory and hope nobody will notice.

      Nic: "Nor can evolution supply answers to the remaining 'who, what. when. where or why?"

      "Sure it can. Evolutionary posits mechanisms and a history. Did you want to discuss the particulars?"

      Sure, where and when did life begin? Why did it begin? How did it begin? What caused evolution to begin? Why did it begin? When did it begin? How did it begin?

      Let's start with those. And while you're at it maybe you can finally tell me why nested hierarchies are evidence for evolution? Contrary to what you may think, you still have not done so.

      Delete
    52. Nic: talk about the conclusion assuming the premise

      Um, that's the definition of a hypothesis, a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its empirical consequences.

      Nic: There is no other possible way those similarities could arise?

      There may very well be. That's why it is considered supporting evidence, not proof. The more independent ways we test the hypothesis, the stronger our confidence, but we can never be sure. Did you have a specific hypothesis with clear empirical implications?

      Nic: I just assumed you knew the differences.

      Still not an answer. Gravity is a unifying theory in astronomy. Evolution is a unifying theory in biology.

      Nic: Sure, where and when did life begin?

      Evolution is a theory that concerns how life changes over time, and doesn't purport to explain the origin of life. While the origin of life is an important question, there is no complete theory as yet.

      Nic: And while you're at it maybe you can finally tell me why nested hierarchies are evidence for evolution?

      Hypothesis: branching descent with modification
      Prediction: nested hierarchy of traits
      Observation: nested hierarchy of traits
      The observation supports the hypothesis.

      You don't seem to understand the scientific method, as you were confused on the nature of a hypothesis.

      Delete
    53. Zachriel.

      "Um, that's the definition of a hypothesis, a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its empirical consequences."

      But you have not done that and you empirically cannot do that.

      "Still not an answer. Gravity is a unifying theory in astronomy. Evolution is a unifying theory in biology."

      Still not meant to be. That evolutionary theory is a unifying theory in biology is true only for evolutionary biologists. As such, evolution only carries weight with evolutionary biologists. Such is not the case with gravitational theory.

      Nic: Sure, where and when did life begin?

      Zachriel: "Evolution is a theory that concerns how life changes over time, and doesn't purport to explain the origin of life. While the origin of life is an important question, there is no complete theory as yet."

      So that would be an 'I don't know. |Good, maybe we're making progress.

      Nic: And while you're at it maybe you can finally tell me why nested hierarchies are evidence for evolution?

      Zachriel: "You don't seem to understand the scientific method, as you were confused on the nature of a hypothesis."

      No, I am not confused, I just know a circular argument when I see one. You're assuming the similarity of traits is the result of descent with modification. As such your argument is as follows: descent with modification would lead to similarity of traits; similarity of traits can be observed; therefore, descent with modification has occurred. Therein lies the circularity.

      So, it is not I who does not understand the scientific method, it is you who does not understand logical fallacies.

      Delete
    54. Nic: But you have not done that

      Huh? The hypothesis is branching descent with modification.

      Nic: and you empirically cannot do that.

      What do you mean "empirically cannot do that"? You can conjecture most anything, as long as you can deduce empirical implications.

      Nic: That evolutionary theory is a unifying theory in biology is true only for evolutionary biologists.

      Evolution is the unifying theory in all of biology.

      Botanical Society of America: Far from being merely a speculative notion, as implied when someone says, “evolution is just a theory,” the core concepts of evolution are well documented and well confirmed.

      American Society for Microbiology: Evolution is not mere conjecture, but a conclusive discovery supported by a coherent body of integrated evidence.

      Nic: So that would be an 'I don't know.

      That's right. There's very little known about the origin of life.

      Nic: You're assuming the similarity of traits is the result of descent with modification.

      Not quite. The nested hierarchy is an *implication* of the branching descent.

      Nic: As such your argument is as follows: descent with modification would lead to similarity of traits; similarity of traits can be observed; therefore, descent with modification has occurred.

      First of all, it's not a mere similarity, but a nested hierarchy, something you still seem confused about. Second, your last line should be common descent is supported, not proven. It generally takes multiple independent lines of evidence to lend confidence to a theory. Finally, you seem to reject the scientific method, which is largely hypothetico-deduction.

      Hypothesis: The Earth rotates.
      Prediction: Retardation of the pendulum at low latitudes
      Observation: Retardation of the pendulum at low latitudes
      The hypothesis is supported. That doesn't prove the hypothesis. There may be other reasons we observe the retardation of the pendulum, but it is considered supporting evidence.

      alter-N: I just know a circular argument when I see one. You're assuming the retardation of the pendulum is the result of Earth's rotation. As such your argument is as follows: Earth's rotation would lead to retardation of the pendulum; retardation of the pendulum can be observed; therefore, the Earth rotates. Therein lies the circularity.

      So Edmond Halley didn't understand the scientific method. What you get wrong is that Halley didn't assume the retardation of the pendulum was due to Earth's rotation. Rather, given Earth's rotation, he *deduced* retardation of the pendulum as a necessary consequence. The retardation is linked to the Earth's rotation by a series of deductions. (If the Earth rotates, it will bulge about the middle, therefore lower latitudes will be farther from the Earth's center, so will experience less gravity, hence the pendulum will have a longer period than at a higher latitude. Halley 1677.)

      Assuming the Earth rotates, we deduce the pendulum will be retarded. Now observe the pendulum. What do you see?

      Assuming branching descent, we deduce the nested hierarchy of traits. Now observe the pattern of traits. What do you see?

      Delete
    55. Zachriel,

      "What do you mean "empirically cannot do that"? You can conjecture most anything, as long as you can deduce empirical implications."

      You have not tested it and you cannot test it.

      Nic: That evolutionary theory is a unifying theory in biology is true only for evolutionary biologists.

      Zachriel: "Evolution is the unifying theory in all of biology."

      Nope, only evolutionary biology. It may come as a shock to you, but not all biologists adhere to evolutionary thought. That's just another of your assumptions.

      "Botanical Society of America: Far from being merely a speculative notion, as implied when someone says, “evolution is just a theory,” the core concepts of evolution are well documented and well confirmed."

      Well, that settles it then.

      "American Society for Microbiology: Evolution is not mere conjecture, but a conclusive discovery supported by a coherent body of integrated evidence."

      Do you not know the difference between a scientific argument and a metaphysical argument?

      I'll give you a hint. What you just said is not a scientific argument.

      Nic: So that would be an 'I don't know.

      Zachriel: "That's right. There's very little known about the origin of life."

      But we do know it originated and evolved, right?

      Nic: You're assuming the similarity of traits is the result of descent with modification.

      Zachriel: "Not quite. The nested hierarchy is an *implication* of the branching descent."

      Could it not be an implication of common design? If not, why not?

      Nic: As such your argument is as follows: descent with modification would lead to similarity of traits; similarity of traits can be observed; therefore, descent with modification has occurred.

      Zachriel: "First of all, it's not a mere similarity, but a nested hierarchy, something you still seem confused about."

      I'm confused? You still have not been able to adequately explain what you mean by a nested hierarchy, give an example of one, or explain how it supports evolution.

      "Second, your last line should be common descent is supported, not proven."

      It would also support common design for a common need.


      "alter-N: I just know a circular argument when I see one. You're assuming the retardation of the pendulum is the result of Earth's rotation. As such your argument is as follows: Earth's rotation would lead to retardation of the pendulum; retardation of the pendulum can be observed; therefore, the Earth rotates. Therein lies the circularity."

      The only problem with your analogy is that we know the Earth rotates, so it is hardly analogous to the unknown concept of descent with modification leading to nested hierarchies.

      You really are bad at logical arguments.

      "What you get wrong is that Halley didn't assume the retardation of the pendulum was due to Earth's rotation."

      For the reason stated above and due to the fact we were not talking about Halley and the Earth's rotation, I did not get anything wrong. You just demonstrated further your inability to provide sound logical arguments.


      "Assuming the Earth rotates, we deduce the pendulum will be retarded. Now observe the pendulum. What do you see?

      Assuming branching descent, we deduce the nested hierarchy of traits. Now observe the pattern of traits. What do you see?"

      Again, you're equating the known concept of Earth's rotation with the completely assumed concept of descent with modification being the source of nested hierarchies. Your analogy is completely fallacious, and as such, so is your argument.

      I would suggest some basic lessons in the logical construction of arguments. They are sorely needed.

      Delete
    56. Nic: You have not tested it and you cannot test it.

      Not sure why you say that. It seems straightforward.

      Nic: Do you not know the difference between a scientific argument and a metaphysical argument?

      Yes. Botanists and molecular biologists say that evolution is a core concept in biology. Would you like additional statements from other biological fields?

      Nic: But we do know it originated and evolved, right?

      We know life had a beginning on Earth shortly after liquid water formed. And yes, we know extant life evolved from primitive life.

      Nic: Could it not be an implication of common design? If not, why not?

      We'd be happy to consider your hypothesis. Our only real example is human design, and human artifacts do not fall into a specific nested hierarchy.

      Nic: You still have not been able to adequately explain what you mean by a nested hierarchy,

      A nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is contained within its superset. Even more precisely, S is a nested hierarchy if S is a partially ordered collection of sets by inclusion such that given X∈S and Y∈S and Z∈S, if X⊆Y and X⊆Z, then Y⊆Z or Z⊆Y.

      Nic: give an example of one,

      Dewey Decimal. Biological taxonomy.

      Nic: or explain how it supports evolution.

      Hypothesis: branching descent with modification
      Prediction: nested hierarchy of traits
      Observation: nested hierarchy of traits
      The observation supports the hypothesis.

      Nic: It would also support common design for a common need.

      Well, no. That wouldn't result in a nested hierarchy. You really don't know what a nested hierarchy is, do you?

      Nic: The only problem with your analogy is that we know the Earth rotates, so it is hardly analogous to the unknown concept of descent with modification leading to nested hierarchies.

      Little know fact. They didn't have spaceships in the 17th century. They had to infer the Earth's movement. We introduced it because it is an example of hypothetico-deduction. You have a hypothesis. You deduce empirical implications. You test those implications. If the implications are observed, then the hypothesis is supported. That's is what is meant by scientific evidence.

      Nic: completely assumed concept of descent with modification being the source of nested hierarchies.

      Nested hierarchies are the logical implication of branching descent. It's the deduction part of hypothetico-deduction.



      Delete
    57. Zachriel,

      Nic: You have not tested it and you cannot test it.

      Zachriel: "Not sure why you say that. It seems straightforward."

      Because it's true.

      Nic: "Do you not know the difference between a scientific argument and a metaphysical argument?"

      Zachriel: "Yes. Botanists and molecular biologists say that evolution is a core concept in biology."

      That's NOT a scientific argument, that's simply an opinion. If you believe it's a scientific argument, demonstrate it scientifically.

      Nic: But we do know it originated and evolved, right?

      Zachriel: "We know life had a beginning on Earth shortly after liquid water formed. And yes, we know extant life evolved from primitive life."

      How do you KNOW that?

      Nic: "Could it not be an implication of common design? If not, why not?"

      Zachriel: "We'd be happy to consider your hypothesis. Our only real example is human design, and human artifacts do not fall into a specific nested hierarchy."

      Really, what about the books in a library under the Dewey Decimal System that you keep telling me is an example of a nested hierarchy? The Dewey System is a human design, is it not?

      "A nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is contained within its superset. Even more precisely, S is a nested hierarchy if S is a partially ordered collection of sets by inclusion such that given X∈S and Y∈S and Z∈S, if X⊆Y and X⊆Z, then Y⊆Z or Z⊆Y."

      How does this apply to biology and what is an example of such a hierarchy in biology. I keep asking, and you keep failing to answer.

      Nic: "or explain how it supports evolution."

      Zachriel: "Hypothesis: branching descent with modification
      Prediction: nested hierarchy of traits
      Observation: nested hierarchy of traits
      The observation supports the hypothesis."

      This is just too funny. You just keep repeating things by rote. I've already pointed out on a couple of occasions how this is simply circular reasoning. Despite that, you just mindlessly repeat the same fallacious argument. Why is that, Zachriel?

      Nic: "It would also support common design for a common need."

      Zachriel: "Well, no. That wouldn't result in a nested hierarchy."

      Why not?

      Zachriel: "You really don't know what a nested hierarchy is, do you?"

      Well. you've certainly demonstrated you don't understand the concept. I've been asking you for weeks for a definition and an example in biology and all I get is Dewey's Decimal System and dogs, cats and trout. Why is that?

      Nic: "The only problem with your analogy is that we know the Earth rotates,..."

      Zachriel: "Little know fact. They didn't have spaceships in the 17th century. They had to infer the Earth's movement."

      Well known fact, they didn't have spaceships in the 1800's, did they not know the Earth rotated?
      The ancient Greeks knew the Earth rotated.
      Halley was fully aware of the Earth's rotation, there was nothing hypothetical about it. Where did you get your education?

      Delete
    58. Nic: Because it's true.

      Here it is again; Hypothesis: branching descent with modification; Prediction: nested hierarchy of traits

      What part of that do you find problematic. The hypothesis is straightforward. The assumption is that life diverged from common ancestors, acquiring new traits over time. The entailment is that this will leave a nested hierarchy pattern of traits in the descendants. Do you understand the entailment?

      Nic: That's NOT a scientific argument, that's simply an opinion.

      Your claim is that "That evolutionary theory is a unifying theory in biology is true only for evolutionary biologists." Certainly, botanists and molecular biologists know whether evolution is a unifying theory in their own specialties.

      Nic: How do you KNOW that?

      The nested hierarchy, and the fossil succession.

      Nic: Really, what about the books in a library under the Dewey Decimal System that you keep telling me is an example of a nested hierarchy? The Dewey System is a human design, is it not?

      That's correct. The Dewey Decimal System is a nested hierarchy, but it is arbitrary, and there are many other equally reasonable ways to categorize books. There is only one basic nested hierarchy when it comes to categorizing biological organisms.

      Nic: How does this apply to biology ...

      Do you understand the pattern? Here's a picture:
      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIBPhylogeniesp2.shtml

      Nic: ... and what is an example of such a hierarchy in biology.

      The taxonomy of biological organisms based on objective character traits. And because of the structure of the nested hierarchy, any subset of the overall taxonomy is also a nested hierarchy. The taxonomy of therapoda forms a nested hierarchy.
      http://www.gavinrymill.com/dinosaurs/Cladogram/SaurischiaTherapoda.jpg

      Nic: I keep asking

      And we keep answering.

      Nic: I've already pointed out on a couple of occasions how this is simply circular reasoning.

      And we've explained why it is not circular reasoning, and provided a historical example.

      The hypothesis is just a tentative assumption. From the hypothesis we deduce empirical implications. In this case, the branching process with variation leads to a nested hierarchy of traits. Do you understand why?

      Zachriel: Common need wouldn't result in a nested hierarchy.

      Nic: Why not?

      Because it leads to a crossing of traits.

      Nic: I've been asking you for weeks for a definition ...

      A nested hierarchy is an ordered set such that each subset is contained within its superset. Even more precisely, S is a nested hierarchy if S is a partially ordered collection of sets by inclusion such that given X∈S and Y∈S and Z∈S, if X⊆Y and X⊆Z, then Y⊆Z or Z⊆Y.

      Nic: and an example in biology and all I get is Dewey's Decimal System and dogs, cats and trout.

      And biological taxonomy generally.

      Nic: Why is that?

      Um, because they are examples of nested hierarchies.

      Nic: Well known fact, they didn't have spaceships in the 1800's, did they not know the Earth rotated?

      Funny story. Edmond Halley measured the retardation of the pendulum, which provided the among the first direct evidence of the physical rotation of the Earth.

      Delete
    59. Zachriel,

      "Here it is again; Hypothesis: branching descent with modification; Prediction: nested hierarchy of traits"

      Why do you insist on believing if you simply repeat the same refuted argument ad nauseum it will somehow become correct? You cannot test branching descent with modification, you can only presume it. Why can you not understand that?

      Nic: That's NOT a scientific argument, that's simply an opinion.

      Zachrie: "Your claim is that "That evolutionary theory is a unifying theory in biology is true only for evolutionary biologists." Certainly, botanists and molecular biologists know whether evolution is a unifying theory in their own specialties."

      So, in your thinking it's a scientific argument because it's put forth by scientists. That's truly hilarious. Let's never hear you say I don't understand science ever again. Too funny!

      Nic: How do you KNOW that?

      ZAchriel: "The nested hierarchy, and the fossil succession."

      Neither of which tell you that life evolved from a single common ancestor. Both can be explained under a different scenario. You simply have n answers, do you?

      Nic: "Really, what about the books in a library under the Dewey Decimal System that you keep telling me is an example of a nested hierarchy? The Dewey System is a human design, is it not?

      Zachriel: "That's correct. The Dewey Decimal System is a nested hierarchy, but it is arbitrary, and there are many other equally reasonable ways to categorize books."

      It being arbitrary is irrelevant, it is a human construct of a nested hierarchy which you claim could not exist as a result of design. I'm afraid, Zachriel, you're going to have to face the fact you simply do not know what you're talking about. You're simply spouting evolutionary rhetoric by rote.

      "There is only one basic nested hierarchy when it comes to categorizing biological organisms."

      And what would be an example?

      Nic: How does this apply to biology ...

      Zachriel: "Do you understand the pattern? Here's a picture:
      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIBPhylogeniesp2.shtml"

      And exactly why could this pattern not arise via design?


      Nic: I've already pointed out on a couple of occasions how this is simply circular reasoning.

      Zachriel: "And we've explained why it is not circular reasoning, and provided a historical example."

      No, you've simply demonstrated you do not know what constitutes a circular argument.

      Zachriel: "The hypothesis is just a tentative assumption. From the hypothesis we deduce empirical implications. In this case, the branching process with variation leads to a nested hierarchy of traits. Do you understand why?"

      And you use your conclusions to support your assumptions, while your assumption is used to support your conclusion. That is circular reasoning.

      Zachriel: "Common need wouldn't result in a nested hierarchy."

      Nic: "Why not?"

      Zachriel: "Because it leads to a crossing of traits."

      Please elaborate.

      Nic: Well known fact, they didn't have spaceships in the 1800's, did they not know the Earth rotated?

      Zachriel: "Funny story. Edmond Halley measured the retardation of the pendulum, which provided the among the first direct evidence of the physical rotation of the Earth."

      It's a good thing to read more than the tripe you get from the Talkorigins, etc. Aristarchus of Samos (310BC-230BC). He proposed that the earth rotated on its axis and orbited the sun. His work was referenced by Copernicus.

      Delete
    60. Nic: You cannot test branching descent with modification, you can only presume it. Why can you not understand that?

      You can test the hypothesis by testing for its entailments. That's known as the scientific method. Why can you not understand that?

      In any case, that's why we provided the example of the retardation of the pendulum. Halley couldn't directly test for the Earth's rotation, but he could test for its entailments.

      Nic: So, in your thinking it's a scientific argument because it's put forth by scientists.

      Didn't say it was a scientific argument. We said that experts in botany probably would know whether evolution is important in their own field.

      Nic: Neither of which tell you that life evolved from a single common ancestor.

      The hypothesis leads to many testable predictions—which have been repeatedly confirmed.

      Nic: It being arbitrary is irrelevant, it is a human construct of a nested hierarchy which you claim could not exist as a result of design.

      A nested hierarchy is a pattern. While books and other artifacts can be arranged in many different consistent nested hierarchies, when classifying organisms by objective character traits, there is only one parsimonious classification.

      Nic: And what would be an example?

      The example is the classification of organisms based on objective character traits.

      Nic: And exactly why could this pattern not arise via design?

      It could. However, it would represent a severe limitation on the designer's capabilities, and not consistent with how known designers work. While the nested hierarchy follows naturally from branching descent (which also explains the fossil succession), it would be an ad hoc assumption for a designer, designed to look like branching descent.

      Nic: No, you've simply demonstrated you do not know what constitutes a circular argument.

      If it was circular, then it must be true by necessity. However, the observation may or may not be consistent with the prediction. Hence, it is not circular.

      Nic: He proposed that the earth rotated on its axis and orbited the sun.

      Sure, but Aristarchus did not have direct evidence. Nor did Galileo. You're minimizing one of the most important observations of the 17th century. The reason we introduced it was so you can see how the scientific method works.

      Hypothesis, entailed prediction, observation.

      Delete
    61. Zachriel,

      "Didn't say it was a scientific argument. We said that experts in botany probably would know whether evolution is important in their own field."

      Well, as I asked for a scientific argument I'm left to conclude you cannot provide one.

      Of course evolutionary scientists view evolution as important to their fields of study. That goes without saying. However, those scientists which are not evolutionists do not view evolution as important. The result being, despite your firm belief to the contrary, evolution is not the all unifying theory of science.

      Nic: And exactly why could this pattern not arise via design?

      Zachriel: "It could. However, it would represent a severe limitation on the designer's capabilities, and not consistent with how known designers work."

      Why would it represent a severe limitation on a designer's capabilities? Architects are known designers, how is it not consistent with how they work?

      "it would be an ad hoc assumption for a designer, designed to look like branching descent."

      Why would it be an ad hoc assumption simply designed to look like branching descent?

      Nic: "No, you've simply demonstrated you do not know what constitutes a circular argument."

      "If it was circular, then it must be true by necessity. However, the observation may or may not be consistent with the prediction. Hence, it is not circular."

      Yep, you have no idea what constitutes a circular argument. That's good to know.

      Nic: "He proposed that the earth rotated on its axis and orbited the sun."

      Zachriel: "Sure, but Aristarchus did not have direct evidence. Nor did Galileo. You're minimizing one of the most important observations of the 17th century."

      Since Aritarchus work on this subject did not survive we have no idea what he knew or did not know. It is quite safe to assume he had more than a hunch or he would not have been referenced by later researchers.

      As for minimizing the work of Halley, I'm doing no such thing. I'm simply pointing out the fact Halley was aware the Earth was rotating and was working on evidence to better understand what was occurring and the implications.

      "Hypothesis, entailed prediction, observation."

      All of which must be repeatable to qualify as science. As you cannot replicate the origin of life, or the beginning of evolution, along with a myriad of other factors, it does not qualify as science.

      Delete
    62. Nic: However, those scientists which are not evolutionists do not view evolution as important.

      Have no idea what you mean by evolutionists, but botanists think enough of it to make a public statement.

      Nic: The result being, despite your firm belief to the contrary, evolution is not the all unifying theory of science.

      No, just the unifying theory of biology.

      Nic: Why would it represent a severe limitation on a designer's capabilities?

      Because it means there is no significant borrowing across lines of development, something humans do all the time.

      Nic: Architects are known designers, how is it not consistent with how they work?

      Because there is no single objective nested hierarchy for buildings. Architects borrow extensively across lines of development.

      Nic: Why would it be an ad hoc assumption simply designed to look like branching descent?

      The same reason it's ad hoc to assume angels move planets to look like gravity at work.

      Nic: Yep, you have no idea what constitutes a circular argument.

      Handwaving. Circular reasoning means that conclusion is entailed in the premise, therefore given the premise the conclusion must be true. However, with hypothetico-deduction, the conclusion depends on the results of an observation.

      Nic: I'm simply pointing out the fact Halley was aware the Earth was rotating and was working on evidence to better understand what was occurring and the implications.

      The Halley experiment, and the vast majority of scientific experiments, are of the exact same form as form of our argument above; hypothesis, entailed prediction, observation.

      Delete
    63. Zachriel,

      "Have no idea what you mean by evolutionists, but botanists think enough of it to make a public statement."

      Well, by evolutionists I mean those who believe in the process of evolution. I thought that would be somewhat obvious, but apparently not.

      "No, just the unifying theory of biology."

      Again, only for evolutionary biologists. Biologists who do not accept evolution do not see it as a unifying theory of biology.

      Nic: "Why would it represent a severe limitation on a designer's capabilities?"

      "Because it means there is no significant borrowing across lines of development, something humans do all the time."

      This sounds really strange to me. Indulge me and explain further what you mean.

      Nic: Architects are known designers, how is it not consistent with how they work?

      Zachriel: "Because there is no single objective nested hierarchy for buildings. Architects borrow extensively across lines of development."

      What do you mean when you say there is no single objective nested hierarchy fro buildings? Are you saying there is nothing that is common to all buildings?

      Nic: "Why would it be an ad hoc assumption simply designed to look like branching descent?"

      Zachriel: "The same reason it's ad hoc to assume angels move planets to look like gravity at work."

      This doesn't even remotely address the question. Please try to supply an intelligent answer.

      Nic: Yep, you have no idea what constitutes a circular argument.

      Zachriel: "Handwaving. Circular reasoning means that conclusion is entailed in the premise, therefore given the premise the conclusion must be true. However, with hypothetico-deduction, the conclusion depends on the results of an observation."

      You present nested hierarchies as evidence for evolution, and evolution as the explanation for nested hierarchies. That's classic circular reasoning.

      Nic: "I'm simply pointing out the fact Halley was aware the Earth was rotating and was working on evidence to better understand what was occurring and the implications."

      Zachriel: "The Halley experiment, and the vast majority of scientific experiments, are of the exact same form as form of our argument above; hypothesis, entailed prediction, observation."

      Fine, but you make the mistake of assuming all hypotheses are equal. Halley knew the Earth rotated. Halley's hypothesis was the rotation of the Earth would be evidenced by particular events. He then set out to test the hypothesis. The difference with your hypothesis is that it is based on an assumption and you use your conclusion to support your assumption and your assumption to support your conclusion. Can you grasp the difference?

      Delete
    64. Nic: by evolutionists I mean those who believe in the process of evolution.

      Ah, so those who don't believe in evolution don't think evolution is important. Quite profound.

      Nic: Biologists who do not accept evolution do not see it as a unifying theory of biology.

      Virtually all biologists accept evolution.

      Nic: This sounds really strange to me. Indulge me and explain further what you mean.

      For instance, when Ford adds a feature, it isn't long before other car makers add the feature.

      Nic: What do you mean when you say there is no single objective nested hierarchy fro buildings? Are you saying there is nothing that is common to all buildings?

      If you want to understand the nested hierarchy, you might try to an example or two. Let's look at the Dewey Decimal System. Dewey divides books into broad categories; philosophy, religion, science, literature. Each of these categories are further subdivided; for instance science is divided into astronomy, physics, chemistry. These categories are also subdivided, for instance physics is divided into classical mechanics, acoustics, light, modern physics. These can then be subdivided ad infinitum. There's a rule for each of these subdivisions so that each book has a proper classification. However, Dewey Decimal is not the only way to subdivide books. There are other equally rational ways to categorize books.

      Or buildings. Try to classify buildings, and you will find there is more than one rational way to go about it. You might start with materials as the primary subdivision. Or you might start with purpose.

      But when you classify organisms by objective character traits, there is only one reasonable way to categorize organisms. Sure, you could put dolphins with the fishes because they both swim and have similar hydrodynamic shapes; but it's clear if you look closely that dolphins group better with land mammals. This process of objective classification has been systematized, and is subject to independent testing.

      Nic: This doesn't even remotely address the question. Please try to supply an intelligent answer.

      Of course it answers the question. But to state it more explicitly, it's ad hoc because it doesn't follow from the hypothesis. It's tacked on.

      Nic: You present nested hierarchies as evidence for evolution, and evolution as the explanation for nested hierarchies. That's classic circular reasoning.

      alter-Nic:You present elliptical orbits as evidence for gravity, and gravity as the explanation for elliptical orbits.

      The claim is that gravity entails elliptical orbits, so observing elliptical orbits supports the claim. The two things, gravity and elliptical orbits, are linked by deduction.

      Nic: Halley's hypothesis was the rotation of the Earth would be evidenced by particular events.

      The hypothesis is the Earth's rotation. He deduced the retardation of the pendulum as a necessary consequence of the Earth's rotation. By observing the retardation of the pendulum, he confirmed the Earth's rotation. Galileo struggled with this issue.

      Nic: The difference with your hypothesis is that it is based on an assumption and you use your conclusion to support your assumption and your assumption to support your conclusion.

      If the pendulum wasn't retarded, it would contradict the hypothesis of Earth's rotation. If organisms didn't fit a nested hierarchy, it would contradict branching descent with modification.

      Delete
    65. Nic: Get back to me when you figure out Hume's fallacy in his argument against induction. When and if you do you will come to see the foolishness of your arguments.

      That's what I've been asking you for, Nic. Surely, if there is a fallacy in Hume's argument against induction, you shouldn't have a problem producing it, right?

      This is not to be confused with Hume's fallacy of justifying induction with induction, which begged the question. Wait.. let me guess, you think this fallacy refutes criticism of induction?

      Scott: Again, we're not just talking about the growth of any knowledge, but scientific knowledge. Nor are we just talking about empirical observations, but the empiricism, the philosophical theory of how scientific knowledge grows. The criticism is that, supposedly, evolution isn't science. Every time I try to clarify this, you tip toe around it.

      Nic: Evolution uses scientific disciplines, but is not itself a scientific discipline, it is simply a philosophical word view.

      Now you're gone from tip toeing to tap dancing...

      One can use "scientific disciplines" and not be an empiricist. This is because empiricism is a specific philosophy of science that says the growth of scientific knowledge occurs when theories are generalized from observations. If a theory was not derived by generalizing observations, an empiricist would object to that theory having scientific character.

      This is one of the significant criticisms of empiricism, in that it would greatly impede science if one tried to actually take it seriously as an explanation for how scientific knowledge grows.

      So, again, you're being vague when you write...

      Nic: I am an empiricist in the sense that I believe it is one way in which we can gain knowledge. I don't at all see that as being vague.

      We're not just talking about any knowledge, but scientific knowledge.

      Furthermore, one could just as easily point out that empiricism is "simply a philosophical word view." Does that mean it's irrelevant?

      Nic: All disciplines involved in evolutionary thinking stand on their own without the need of evolutionary thought. Biology does not need evolution, neither does genetics, geology, etc., etc., On the other hand evolution needs all of them to support it.

      No other theory explains specific aspects of all these fields expect evolutionary theory. Sure, if you think it's *necessary* to explain those aspects, then it would come as no surprise that you don't think biology *needs* evolution. In fact, if you think that God did it, no such explanation would be possible, by definition, as God operates in an inexplicable way.

      Nic: When they do not evolution crumbles to dust as we see happening now.

      Are you suggesting we're experiencing evolution crumbling to dust?

      Delete
    66. Correction: Sure, if you think it's not *necessary* to explain those aspects, then it would come as no surprise that you don't think biology *needs* evolution. In fact, if you think that God did it, no such explanation would be possible, by definition, as God operates in an inexplicable way.

      Delete
    67. Nic: Wow, talk about the conclusion assuming the premise. There is no other possible way those similarities could arise?

      Again, Are dinosaurs merely an interpretation of our best explanation of fossils? Or are they *the* explanation for fossils?

      We never speak of the existence of dinosaurs, millions of years ago, as an interoperation of our best theories of fossils. Rather, we say that dinosaurs are the explanation for fossils. Nor is the theory primarily about fossils, but about dinosaurs, in that they are assumed to actually exist as part of the explanation.

      And we do so despite the fact that there are an infinite number of rival interpretations of the same data that make all the same predictions, yet say the dinosaurs were not there, millions of years ago, in reality.

      For example, there is the rival interpretation that fossils only come into existence when they are consciously observed. Therefore, fossils are no older than human beings. As such, they are not evidence of dinosaurs, but evidence of acts of those particular observations.

      Another interpretation would be that dinosaurs are such weird animals that conventional logic simply doesn't apply to them.

      One could suggests It's meaningless to ask if dinosaurs were real or just a useful fiction to explain fossils. (Which is an example of instrumentalism as found in the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.)

      Not to mention the rival interpretation that designer chose to create the world we observe 30 second ago. Therefore, dinosaurs couldn't be the explanation for fossils, because they didn't exist until 30 seconds ago.

      None of these other interpretations are empirically distinguishable from the rational theory of dinosaurs, in that their existence explains fossils. But we discard them because they all represent a general purpose means to deny absolutely anything.

      That's what you're appealing to, Nic. A general purpose means to deny anything.

      Delete
    68. Scott,

      "That's what I've been asking you for, Nic. Surely, if there is a fallacy in Hume's argument against induction, you shouldn't have a problem producing it, right?"

      Nice try, but you're going to have to figure it out on your own. It's not that hard, all you've got to do is think it through. I am not going to do your work for you. I'm sure you will think I'm just bluffing, but the fallacy is there and when you discover it, if you do, it will destroy the basis for every argument of yours I have read.

      Have fun.

      Delete
    69. Zachriel,

      "Ah, so those who don't believe in evolution don't think evolution is important. Quite profound."

      An arrogant, condescending attitude from the guy who asked me to define what I meant by the term evolutionist. Now that's funny.

      Nic: Biologists who do not accept evolution do not see it as a unifying theory of biology.

      Zachriel: "Virtually all biologists accept evolution."

      Wow, an argument from majority. I'm so impressed, Zachriel.

      Nic: This sounds really strange to me. Indulge me and explain further what you mean.

      Zachriel:: "For instance, when Ford adds a feature, it isn't long before other car makers add the feature."

      So Ford was the first to have a transmission?

      "If you want to understand the nested hierarchy, you might try to an example or two. Let's look at the Dewey Decimal System. Dewey divides books into broad categories; philosophy, religion, science, literature. Each of these categories are further subdivided; for instance science is divided into astronomy, physics, chemistry. These categories are also subdivided, for instance physics is divided into classical mechanics, acoustics, light, modern physics. These can then be subdivided ad infinitum. There's a rule for each of these subdivisions so that each book has a proper classification. However, Dewey Decimal is not the only way to subdivide books. There are other equally rational ways to categorize books."

      Are you EVER going to provide a biological example? I'm pretty much convinced you cannot think of one, because you really have no idea what you're talking about.

      "Or buildings. Try to classify buildings, and you will find there is more than one rational way to go about it. You might start with materials as the primary subdivision. Or you might start with purpose."

      Sure, there are various ways to approach a building, but are you saying they have nothing in common?

      Nic: You present nested hierarchies as evidence for evolution, and evolution as the explanation for nested hierarchies. That's classic circular reasoning.

      Zachriel: "alter-Nic:You present elliptical orbits as evidence for gravity, and gravity as the explanation for elliptical orbits."

      Can you demonstrate scientifically through repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolution? As the answer is no, you again have no analogy.

      Nic: The difference with your hypothesis is that it is based on an assumption and you use your conclusion to support your assumption and your assumption to support your conclusion.

      Zachriel: "If the pendulum wasn't retarded, it would contradict the hypothesis of Earth's rotation."

      Not really as some other factor may be responsible for retarding the pendulum You simply cannot deny the fact that at the time of Halley they were aware of the Earth's rotation.

      Zachriel: "If organisms didn't fit a nested hierarchy, it would contradict branching descent with modification."

      But perhaps branching descent with modification is not the explanation for nested hierarchies. You just can't quit chasing your tail, can you? You're critical thinking is exceptionally shallow. That's not meant as an insult, it's just an unfortunate fact. You really need to work on it.

      Delete
    70. Nic: Wow, an argument from majority.

      It's an appeal to authority.

      Nic: So Ford was the first to have a transmission?

      No, Panhard and Levassor made the first automobile transmission in 1894. The design was quickly copied and improved by other manufacturers, starting with Renault. Such crossings mean that nested hierarchies for automobiles or most other artifacts will be arbitrary.

      Nic: Are you EVER going to provide a biological example?

      We have. The taxonomy of biological organisms based on objective character traits. And because of the structure of the nested hierarchy, any subset of the overall taxonomy is also a nested hierarchy. The taxonomy of therapoda forms a nested hierarchy.
      http://www.gavinrymill.com/dinosaurs/Cladogram/SaurischiaTherapoda.jpg

      For that matter, {{dog, cat}, trout}. We've provided you examples repeatedly. Would you like others? Take most any subset of organic taxonomy, and it will form a nested hierarchy; mammals, eukaryotes, amniotes.

      Nic: Sure, there are various ways to approach a building, but are you saying they have nothing in common?

      Of course they have something in common. There are many many ways to classify buildings. This is unlike organisms for which there is only one way to reasonably classify them.

      Nic: Can you demonstrate scientifically through repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolution?

      Specifically, branching descent with modification. It's a mathematical pattern.
      http://www.zachriel.com/nested/

      Nic: As the answer is no, you again have no analogy.

      It's not an analogy. It's a mathematical fact about the branching process.

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      Nic: Not really as some other factor may be responsible for retarding the pendulum

      Now you got it! That's why a positive result is only considered support, not proof. The retardation of the pendulum is hardly trivial, and is hard to explain otherwise, being the result of a long train of very specific deductions. Similarly with the nested hierarchy and branching descent. That's why we rely on multiple independent tests to provide confidence in a scientific claims. With evolution, we also have the fossil succession, embryonic development, molecular evidence, mathematical support, and direct experimental observations.

      Nic: You simply cannot deny the fact that at the time of Halley they were aware of the Earth's rotation.

      So was Galileo, but the greatest scientist of the age couldn't come up with direct evidence.

      Nic: But perhaps branching descent with modification is not the explanation for nested hierarchies.

      Sure. Other things might possibly explain the nested hierarchy. Did you have an specific hypothesis, one that not only explains the nested hierarchy, but all the other evidence, one that might actually provide specific and distinguishing empirical predictions?

      Delete
    71. Z: So was Galileo, but the greatest scientist of the age couldn't come up with direct evidence.

      Galileo tried to say the tides were due to the sloshing effect of the Earth's movement, but no one took that seriously; tides were clearly tied to the Moon's movements. Nonetheless, Galileo shattered the crystal spheres.

      Delete
    72. Scott: "That's what I've been asking you for, Nic. Surely, if there is a fallacy in Hume's argument against induction, you shouldn't have a problem producing it, right?"

      Nic: Nice try, but you're going to have to figure it out on your own. It's not that hard, all you've got to do is think it through. I am not going to do your work for you.

      Nice try? Do my work for me? I've already presented the argument and the fallacy of justifying induction with induction. So, if anyone is expecting work to be done for them, it's you not me.

      Nic: I'm sure you will think I'm just bluffing, but the fallacy is there and when you discover it, if you do, it will destroy the basis for every argument of yours I have read.

      You've discovered it, but can't elucidate it properly. Why might that be, Nic? Could it be that it doesn't withstand rational criticism should we try to take it seriously?

      Again, theory comes first, not observation, and I've provided examples of this, which you simply have ignored. It's as if you think it's just obviously wrong because you experience performing induction, and you justify that with it supposedly having worked in the past, which begs the question. So, apparently, you think there is some other overriding assumption that necessitates it regardless, like Hume.

      Let me guess, without induction there could be no knowledge. But we have knowledge, so induction? But that's a false dilemma.

      Is that really what I'm supposed to discover?

      Delete
    73. Nic: Not really as some other factor may be responsible for retarding the pendulum

      And one could use the same general purpose strategy to deny anything in regards to fossils. We can't observe or reproduce dinosaurs. And there are alternative interpretations of that same evidence that suggest dinosaurs never actually existed millions of years ago.

      Yet we say that dinosaurs are *the* explanation for fossils, and I'm guessing you don't object to that conclusion. Right?

      If so, apparently, you think your simply entitled to use that strategy arbitrarily, where ever you see fit, when it conflicts with your religious views?

      Is that really the core issue here?

      Delete
    74. Scott,

      "Nice try? Do my work for me? I've already presented the argument and the fallacy of justifying induction with induction. So, if anyone is expecting work to be done for them, it's you not me."

      "You've discovered it, but can't elucidate it properly. Why might that be, Nic? Could it be that it doesn't withstand rational criticism should we try to take it seriously?"

      Can't figure it out I see. Well, just keep working at it. And trying to goad me into telling you won't work. It will withstand rational criticism, but again, you've proven to be quite irrational in your approach from the beginning so you may face special challenges.

      Delete
    75. Zachriel,

      Nic: Wow, an argument from majority.

      Zachriel: "It's an appeal to authority."

      Sorry, Zachriel, committing two fallacies with the same sentence doesn't make it better. It's not like a double negative.

      Nic: So Ford was the first to have a transmission?

      Zachriel: "No, Panhard and Levassor made the first automobile transmission in 1894. The design was quickly copied and improved by other manufacturers, starting with Renault. Such crossings mean that nested hierarchies for automobiles or most other artifacts will be arbitrary."

      Well, that went right over your head. Ces't la vie.

      Nic: "Are you EVER going to provide a biological example?"

      We have. The taxonomy of biological organisms based on objective character traits."

      That's not an example. Do you not understand the concept of an example? What character traits would constitute a nested hierarchy?

      Nic: "Can you demonstrate scientifically through repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolution?"

      Zachriel: "Specifically, branching descent with modification. It's a mathematical pattern.
      http://www.zachriel.com/nested/"

      Mathematical patterns are not repeated experiments. Try again.

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      And this mythical creature would be?

      Nic: Not really as some other factor may be responsible for retarding the pendulum

      "Now you got it! That's why a positive result is only considered support, not proof. The retardation of the pendulum is hardly trivial, and is hard to explain otherwise, being the result of a long train of very specific deductions. Similarly with the nested hierarchy and branching descent. That's why we rely on multiple independent tests to provide confidence in a scientific claims. With evolution, we also have the fossil succession, embryonic development, molecular evidence, mathematical support, and direct experimental observations."

      Except the nested hierarchies you treasure so highly can be explained very efficiently, and in my opinion more accurately, via design. I certainly hope with your comment on embryonic development you're not promoting the idea of ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

      Delete
    76. Nic: Sorry, Zachriel, committing two fallacies with the same sentence doesn't make it better.

      It's not an argumentum ad populum, but a valid appeal to authority. Botanists probably know whether evolution is important in the field of botany.

      Nic: Well, that went right over your head.

      It shows how traits cross among human artifacts.

      Nic: That's not an example.

      Of course it's an example. You do understand that a nested hierarchy is a collection of sets?

      Nic: What character traits would constitute a nested hierarchy?

      It's based on the overall pattern of character traits. Using our previous example, cat and dog have far more character traits in common with each other than either do with trout, including placentas, mammaries, hair, bellows lungs, four-chambered heart.

      Nic: And this mythical creature would be?

      As we said, it is a mathematical result that branching descent leads to a nested hierarchy. It's a consequence, a deduction, an entailment. While it's an obvious mathematical result, it certainly can be demonstrated through repeated trials that branching descent with modification leads to a nested hierarchy of character traits. A common use, in genealogy, is the nested hierarchy created by paternal descent.

      Nic: Except the nested hierarchies you treasure so highly can be explained very efficiently, and in my opinion more accurately, via design.

      Keeping in mind that human artifacts don't form an objective nested hierarchy based on traits, we're waiting for that explanation, including specific and distinguishing empirical predictions.

      Delete
    77. Zachriel,

      Nic: "Sorry, Zachriel, committing two fallacies with the same sentence doesn't make it better."

      ZAchriel: "It's not an argumentum ad populum, but a valid appeal to authority. Botanists probably know whether evolution is important in the field of botany."

      Yes, it is an ad populum argument. An appeal to authority would require you to appeal to a specific expert on a specific subject. Just to claim the majority of biologists are evolutionists is a classic example of argumentum ad populum. You really need to educate yourself in these things.

      Nic: "That's not an example."

      Zachriel: "Of course it's an example. You do understand that a nested hierarchy is a collection of sets?"

      Aw, now we might be getting close. How about an example of some of these sets?

      Nic: "And this mythical creature would be?"

      Zachriel: "As we said, it is a mathematical result that branching descent leads to a nested hierarchy. It's a consequence, a deduction, an entailment. While it's an obvious mathematical result, it certainly can be demonstrated through repeated trials that branching descent with modification leads to a nested hierarchy of character traits. A common use, in genealogy, is the nested hierarchy created by paternal descent."

      What you can do with mathematics is not akin to what may happen in actual organisms. As such, mathematical equations do not meet the standard of repeatable demonstrations. You cannot go back and repeat the process which evolution claims resulted in whales, for example.

      Nic: "Except the nested hierarchies you treasure so highly can be explained very efficiently, and in my opinion more accurately, via design."

      Zachriel: "Keeping in mind that human artifacts don't form an objective nested hierarchy based on traits, we're waiting for that explanation, including specific and distinguishing empirical predictions."

      If I understand you correctly, this means because an automobile has parking assist there is no relation to the fact it also has a six speaker stereo system. That everything in an automobile or a building, is arbitrary. Am I catching on now?

      Delete
    78. Nic: An appeal to authority would require you to appeal to a specific expert on a specific subject.

      Um, we appealed to the Botanical Society of America on the subject of evolution who say that "the core concepts of evolution are well documented and well confirmed." That's a valid appeal to authority.

      Nic: How about an example of some of these sets?

      Mammalia, eukaryota, therapoda. Please note that mammalia and therapoda are sets within eukaryota.

      Nic: What you can do with mathematics is not akin to what may happen in actual organisms.

      Perhaps. It's possible life doesn't branch, or descendants don't resemble their ancestors. But if you have a branching pattern with reasonable degrees of modification, it results in a nested hierarchy based on character traits. Do you understand why this is so?

      Nic: That everything in an automobile or a building, is arbitrary.

      No. Just that there are multiple consistent nested hierarchies for vehicles and buildings.

      Notably, you didn't provide the alternative explanation, much less specific and distinguishing empirical predictions.

      Delete
    79. Scott: "You've discovered it, but can't elucidate it properly. Why might that be, Nic? Could it be that it doesn't withstand rational criticism should we try to take it seriously?"

      Nic: Can't figure it out I see. Well, just keep working at it. And trying to goad me into telling you won't work.

      Of course it won't work, Nic. I can't goad you into telling me something you don't know.

      Nic: It will withstand rational criticism, but again, you've proven to be quite irrational in your approach from the beginning so you may face special challenges.

      If by, irrational in my approach from the beginning, you mean expecting you to actually take your own theory of the growth of scientific knowledge seriously, for the purpose of criticism, then yes. I could see how someone could consider that irrational.

      Simply put, I've actually presented arguments and referenced criticisms. "everybody knows" or "they are irrelevant" isn't an argument. Justifying induction with induction is begging the question.

      The thing is, I can't even get you to explain what it means to call yourself an "empiricist", in any meaningful way. As such, it comes as no surprise that you cannot explain how empiricism would work, in practice, either.

      And then there's entire series of comments that you don't even bother calling "irrelevant'.

      Again, are dinosaurs merely an interpretation of our best explanation of fossils? Or are they *the* explanation for fossils? After all, we cannot repeat dinosaurs or empirically observe them, right?

      And there are an infinite number of rival interpretations of the very same data that make all the same predictions, yet say the dinosaurs were not there, millions of years ago, in reality. Right? So, why don't you object to paleontology as well?

      IOW, if we actually try to take your objections seriously, which is rather difficult for reasons I've outlined above, they simply do not add up.

      And I'm irrational?

      Delete
    80. Nic: Except the nested hierarchies you treasure so highly can be explained very efficiently, and in my opinion more accurately, via design.

      Then, by all means, explain the concrete nested hierarchies we find in nature using design.

      Delete
    81. Scott,

      "Of course it won't work, Nic. I can't goad you into telling me something you don't know."

      No, you can't goad me into telling you. Yes, I do know what the fallacy is. But obviously you still haven't found it. Not surprising really.

      Keep at it, never say die, keep your nose to the grind stone, etc.

      Delete
    82. Just so up I understand you correctly, you know of a fallacy in a theory that you cannot explain or elaborate on? How does that work, exactly?

      Yet, you somehow expect me to discover it.

      And I'm the irrational one?

      Delete
    83. Scott: Then, by all means, explain the concrete nested hierarchies we find in nature using design.

      Actually, why don't you start out by explaining design with design. Because, that's effectively what you're proposing to have done.

      Here's a hint: all you have done is push the problem up a level without actually solving the problem. Actually, that's not quite correct. You've pushed the problem up a level, while making it worse in the process.

      Any deigned that could design micro-machines would itself be fine tuned for the purpose of, well, designing micro-machines. Right? Which is significantly more complex than the machines themselves. So, the problem only get's worse.

      But it doesn't stop there, as this designer supposedly designed all of those machines to work together, so it would be even more fine tuned, which makes the problem exponentially worse. So, by your on supposed criteria, that designer would need a fine tuner, etc.

      Let me guess, you know the fallicy with this argument as well, but we can't goad you into telling us, either?

      Delete
    84. Scott,

      "Any deigned that could design micro-machines would itself be fine tuned for the purpose of, well, designing micro-machines. Right? Which is significantly more complex than the machines themselves. So, the problem only get's worse."

      You're simply falling into the old infinite regression fallacy. You just keep spouting fallacy after fallacy. You must read a lot of Dawkins.

      You are right on one point, the problem gets worse, but only for you. Still no luck with the Hume fallacy I bet.

      Delete
    85. Scott,

      "Just so up I understand you correctly, you know of a fallacy in a theory that you cannot explain or elaborate on? How does that work, exactly?"

      Well. it would appear I understand it well enough to spot a fallacy, which is something you've not been able to do.

      Delete
    86. Zachriel,

      "Um, we appealed to the Botanical Society of America on the subject of evolution who say that "the core concepts of evolution are well documented and well confirmed." That's a valid appeal to authority."

      Yes, you appealed to the Botanical Society of America, an organization of many botanists, not all of whom are evolutionists. As such, you are only appealing to a majority of the society and therefore, again applying an argumentum ad populum.

      "Perhaps. It's possible life doesn't branch, or descendants don't resemble their ancestors. But if you have a branching pattern with reasonable degrees of modification, it results in a nested hierarchy based on character traits. Do you understand why this is so?"

      Sure I do, and I always have. My point has always been there is a different explanation for this phenomenon, design. Not only is it a legitimate alternative it is infinitely more logical in face of the fact that the process of evolution to which you appeal is anything but logical in its nature.

      Nic: "That everything in an automobile or a building, is arbitrary."

      Zachriel: "No. Just that there are multiple consistent nested hierarchies for vehicles and buildings."

      Well, this is interesting. We've gone from you stating nested hierarchies would not be found in designed systems, to now claiming designers would create multiple consistent nested hierarchies in buildings and automobiles, etc. So, you obviously see nested hierarchies as being consistent with the design scenario.

      Delete
    87. Nic: Yes, you appealed to the Botanical Society of America, an organization of many botanists, not all of whom are evolutionists. As such, you are only appealing to a majority of the society and therefore, again applying an argumentum ad populum.

      An argumentum ad populum is an appeal to the opinion of the people or masses. We provided a consensus opinion of botanists, expressed through their professional organization, about the importance of evolution to their own field of study. That's a classic ab auctoritate, not ad populum.

      Zachriel: But if you have a branching pattern with reasonable degrees of modification, it results in a nested hierarchy based on character traits. Do you understand why this is so?

      Nic: Sure I do, and I always have.

      If so, you wouldn't have asked "Can you demonstrate scientifically through repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolution {branching descent with modification}?" You would have simply acceded the point.

      alter-Nic: Yes, branching descent with modification leads to an objective nested hierarchy of character traits, but there may be other mechanisms that can lead to a nested hierarchy, such as design.

      Nic: My point has always been there is a different explanation for this phenomenon, design.

      Why do you think the designer would be restricted in such a fashion, and how does that explain the fossil record?

      Nic: We've gone from you stating nested hierarchies would not be found in designed systems, to now claiming designers would create multiple consistent nested hierarchies in buildings and automobiles, etc.

      Z, 7/15: While books and other artifacts can be arranged in many different consistent nested hierarchies, when classifying organisms by objective character traits, there is only one parsimonious classification.

      Z, 7/16: Such crossings mean that nested hierarchies for automobiles or most other artifacts will be arbitrary.

      Nic: So, you obviously see nested hierarchies as being consistent with the design scenario.

      As we already mentioned, organisms group naturally into an objective nested hierarchy, while human artifacts form many different equally consistent nested hierarchies due to ningrampant crossings between lineages. Your proposed designer is limited to far less capabilities than mere humans.

      Delete
    88. Zachriel,

      "An argumentum ad populum is an appeal to the opinion of the people or masses. We provided a consensus opinion of botanists,"

      Appealing to the consensus is still an appeal to majority as a consensus is, by definition, the opinion of the majority.

      You're not arguing against me, you're arguing against the rules of logic and well established, and accepted linguistic standards. Consensus is simply the majority opinion. An appeal to consensus is an appeal to the majority.

      Zachriel: "But if you have a branching pattern with reasonable degrees of modification,... Do you understand why this is so?"

      Nic: "Sure I do, and I always have."

      Zachriel: "If so, you wouldn't have asked "Can you demonstrate scientifically through repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolution {branching descent with modification}?"

      Nonsense. I can understand your argument, that does not mean your argument has merit. You can't demonstrate by repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolutionary forces. For example, you cannot repeat what evolution claims is the developmental pathway of whales. All you can do is look to fossil evidence and say this is what happened in the opinion of evolutionary thought. That's not repeatable, demonstrable and observational science.

      Zachriel: "alter-Nic: Yes, branching descent with modification leads to an objective nested hierarchy of character traits, but there may be other mechanisms that can lead to a nested hierarchy, such as design."

      Did I somewhere say that branching descent with modification leads to an objective nested hierarchy? I think what I said was that design would result in what evolution likes to call nested hierarchies. I see them more as basic design components much like we see used by human designers regularly. Quite different statements.

      Nic: "My point has always been there is a different explanation for this phenomenon, design."

      Zachriel: "Why do you think the designer would be restricted in such a fashion, and how does that explain the fossil record?"

      Why would using similar component systems to achieve similar ends be a restriction? This is not a scientific argument, Zachriel, it's a metaphysical argument. You're basing your argument not on science but on the belief you know best what a designer should or should not do in the course of designing a system.

      Nic: "We've gone from you stating nested hierarchies would not be found in designed systems, to now claiming designers would create multiple consistent nested hierarchies in buildings and automobiles, etc."

      Z, 7/15: While books and other artifacts can be arranged in many different consistent nested hierarchies, when classifying organisms by objective character traits, there is only one parsimonious classification.

      Z, 7/16: Such crossings mean that nested hierarchies for automobiles or most other artifacts will be arbitrary.

      Nic: June 6/14; " Widespread application of useful features is a hallmark of design, not so in blind, purposeless evolution."

      Zachriel: June 6/14 "Which is why artifacts rarely form into nested hierarchies! Human designers don't respect such boundaries."

      So, on June 6/14 you said human designers don't respect such boundaries and by July 16/14 you're moving towards human designers using nested hierarchies. Thank you for confirming my point, I appreciate it.


      Nic: "So, you obviously see nested hierarchies as being consistent with the design scenario."

      Zachriel: "As we already mentioned, organisms group naturally into an objective nested hierarchy, while human artifacts form many different equally consistent nested hierarchies due to ningrampant crossings between lineages. Your proposed designer is limited to far less capabilities than mere humans."

      Maybe my designer is just infinitely more efficient than human designers. Did that thought ever cross your mind?

      Delete
    89. Nic: Appealing to the consensus is still an appeal to majority as a consensus is, by definition, the opinion of the majority.

      Um, no. If you go to the Mayo Clinic and a team of medical doctors and specialists reach a consensus that you have cancer, then it is reasonable to believe you have cancer and take appropriate action, because it is a valid appeal to authority.

      On the other hand, if you cite an expert who expresses an opinion far outside the consensus opinion of his field, then it is not a valid appeal to authority.
      http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html

      Nic: you're moving towards human designers using nested hierarchies

      Our position has been consist. Artifacts do not form a single objective nested hierarchy. Organisms do. Why do you think we provided the Dewey Decimal system as an example?

      Nic: You can't demonstrate by repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolutionary forces.

      Please quit misstating the claim. We can't discuss the evidence unless you understand the nested hierarchy and why the nested hierarchy is a necessary consequence of branching descent with modification. It's not the complicated, and it is essential. See Darwin 1859.

      Delete
    90. Scott: "Any [designer] that could design micro-machines would itself be fine tuned for the purpose of, well, designing micro-machines. Right? Which is significantly more complex than the machines themselves. So, the problem only get's worse."

      Nic: You're simply falling into the old infinite regression fallacy. You just keep spouting fallacy after fallacy. You must read a lot of Dawkins.

      First, the party "falling" into the regression fallacy is the one who infinitely references some justification in their argument. As such, it's unclear how I'm could be the one committing the fallacy.

      Second, in case you've forgotten, I'm not the one claiming to be an empiricist. That would be you. So, no, I'm not the one who would be stuck with an infinite regress.

      Third, an infinite regress is not actually my criticism. Rather I'm specifically pointing out a problem with justificationism, which empiricism is which based on. Namely, in justificationism, one arbitrarily determines what does or does not need to be justified. And their justification for doing so is to claim we most stop somewhere to prevent, you guessed it, an infinite regress. IOW, they claim that we would either be left with an infinite regress, which is impossible and would result in no knowledge, or some ideas must be "basic" and are immune to criticism. However, this is a false dilemma.

      In your case, you're arbitrarily determined that a designer is not subject to the very criticism you've made regarding biological organisms.

      Delete
    91. Scott: "Just so up I understand you correctly, you know of a fallacy in a theory that you cannot explain or elaborate on? How does that work, exactly?"

      Nic: Well. it would appear I understand it well enough to spot a fallacy, which is something you've not been able to do.

      Which fallacy might that be, Nic? Oh, right, the fallacy you won't disclose? How can it "appear" that you're spotted a fallacy when I haven't experienced you disclosing it? Where's the hard proof?

      And, by understood well enough to spot, you mean like you supposedly understood my criticism well enough to spot the "infinite regression" fallacy I supposedly fell into? Apparently, rather than pay attention in philosophy 101, you were to busy laughing at criticisms you didn't understand.

      Delete
    92. As for testability....

      From What did Popper really say about evolution

      What Popper calls the historical sciences do not make predictions about long past unique events (postdictions), which obviously would not be testable. (Several recent authors—including Stephen Jay Gould in Discover, July 1982—make this mistake.) These sciences make hypotheses involving past events which must predict (that is, have logical consequences) for the present state of the system in question. Here the testing procedure takes for granted the general laws and theories and is testing the specific conditions (or initial conditions, as Popper usually calls them) that held for the system.

      As to repeatability and appeal to authority....

      What about repeatability? It is the observations that must be repeatable, if only to establish their validity independently of any one person's authority. This does not mean that the hypothetical mechanism or the phenomenon concerned must be repeatable or reproducible. In the experimental laboratory where the phenomena being studied are short-lived and transient, it is usually necessary to reproduce them in order to repeat the observations. But scientists must wait for the recurrence of natural phenomena—such as eclipses, earthquakes, seasonally recurring biological phenomena, and so forth. Yet, if a phenomenon is a stable, more or less permanent long-term condition, observations may be repeated anytime. A geologist may return to a geological formation to repeat or make new observations, or an anatomist or paleontologist may reexamine a museum specimen, either corroborating or refuting someone else's previous observations. Clearly, then, a hypothesis postulating a unique past event is scientific—as long as it has observable consequences for the present that can be repeatedly verified by any observer.

      So, no, Nic. We're not appealing to authority.

      Delete
    93. Zachriel,

      "Um, no. If you go to the Mayo Clinic and a team of medical doctors and specialists reach a consensus that you have cancer, then it is reasonable to believe you have cancer and take appropriate action, because it is a valid appeal to authority."

      You obviously do not understand the nature of the fallacy of appealing to the majority. Whether or not I have cancer; which I do by the way, leukemia, to be exact; is not determined by majority opinion. 9 out 10 oncologists could insist I have cancer, it would not mean I have cancer. If I did not have cancer the opinion of the 9 would mean nothing and the opinion of the 1 would mean everything. Is it becoming clear now? Whether something is true or not true is not at all dependent upon the majority belief. As such, any appeal to a majority as evidence of a position is fallacious.

      Where an appeal to authority would be justified would be in the case of a group of doctors consisting of 9 podiatrists and 1 oncologists expressing their opinion as the whether or not I had cancer. The opinion of the 1 oncologist would carry more weight than the 9 podiatrists. That is a legitimate appeal to authority. can you see the difference?

      "Our position has been consist (sic)."

      I just demonstrated it has not. Move on.

      Nic: "You can't demonstrate by repeated experiments that nested hierarchies come about due to evolutionary forces."

      Zachriel: "Please quit misstating the claim. We can't discuss the evidence unless you understand the nested hierarchy and why the nested hierarchy is a necessary consequence of branching descent with modification. It's not the complicated, and it is essential."

      I'm not misstating the claim, I'm simply pointing out obvious facts. You continue to argue by rote stating that nested hierarchies come only via branching descent with modification, when it's been clearly shown that is not the case. A design scenario would explain them more logically.

      Delete
    94. Scott,

      "Which fallacy might that be, Nic? Oh, right, the fallacy you won't disclose?"

      Scott, I told you from the start I would not help you out on this one and I won't, so learn to live with it,

      I must assume you've still not found the flaw in Hume's argument, too bad. All I can do is encourage you to keep working on it. It would really help if you were a little more open minded about the subject. Your problem is you've obviously built your whole philosophical outlook on this one argument and you simply cannot grasp what may be wrong with it. It's too up close and personal. It is going to take a lot of determination on your part if you're ever going to figure it out.

      As for your 'supposed' falling into infinite regression, it was more in line with a full fledged face plant.

      Delete
    95. Nic: 9 out 10 oncologists could insist I have cancer, it would not mean I have cancer.

      If 10 out of 10 oncologists insist you have cancer, they could be wrong, but it would be reasonable to consider that you probably do. Per your 'logic', this conclusion would be fallacious because it is just an argument ad populum without regard to the quality of the opinions being offered.

      Nic: I just demonstrated it has not.

      No, it just means you haven't been able to follow the argument. Human artifacts do not form a single objective nested hierarchy. You can form artifacts into any number of different nested hierarchies, but the choice between them is arbitrary, such as Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress classifications. On the other hand, there is a single objective nested hierarchy for most organisms.

      Nic: I'm not misstating the claim

      Let's see.

      Nic: You continue to argue by rote stating that nested hierarchies come only via branching descent with modification

      You're misstating the claim.

      While branching descent leads to an objective nested hierarchy, it is quite possible other mechanisms can do the same. You have suggested design as a plausible explanation, but haven't been able to show why the nested hierarchy is entailed, except that the designer must have an "inordinate fondness" for nested hierarchies.

      Delete
    96. Scott,

      "Clearly, then, a hypothesis postulating a unique past event is scientific—as long as it has observable consequences for the present that can be repeatedly verified by any observer."

      'Repeatedly verified by any observer.' Therein lies the rub, Scott. Not all observers of the evidence, eg. fossils; agree on what that evidence is supposedly saying. So who do you believe? Obviously you believe the observer who holds as true the same hypothesis as you. If you believe all the evidence came about via evolutionary forces you will agree with that interpretation. If you do not agree with evolutionary thought you will not agree with an evolutionary interpretation.

      The simple fact is, there are different types of scientific enquiry; empirical, wherein you can repeatedly test and observe results based on your hypothesis, and forensic science where you are restricted to interpreting remains from past events which are not observable or repeatable.

      Evolution falls into the second category and is therefore not observable, repeatable and testable science. That is a simple fact, and that is all I've ever claimed.

      "So, no, Nic. We're not appealing to authority."

      "From What did Popper really say about evolution: "What about repeatability? It is the observations that must be repeatable, if only to establish their validity independently of any one person's authority. This does not mean that the hypothetical mechanism or the phenomenon concerned must be repeatable or reproducible. In the experimental laboratory where the phenomena being studied are short-lived and transient, it is usually necessary to reproduce them in order to repeat the observations. But scientists must wait for the recurrence of natural phenomena—such as eclipses, earthquakes, seasonally recurring biological phenomena, and so forth. Yet, if a phenomenon is a stable, more or less permanent long-term condition, observations may be repeated anytime. A geologist may return to a geological formation to repeat or make new observations, or an anatomist or paleontologist may reexamine a museum specimen, either corroborating or refuting someone else's previous observations. Clearly, then, a hypothesis postulating a unique past event is scientific—as long as it has observable consequences for the present that can be repeatedly verified by any observer."

      Let me see if I've got this straight. You appeal to an authority, Karl Popper, to argue you're not appealing to an authority. Interesting how your mind works.

      Delete
    97. Nic: 'Repeatedly verified by any observer.' Therein lies the rub, Scott. Not all observers of the evidence, eg. fossils; agree on what that evidence is supposedly saying.

      No, but they should agree on the observations. What differs is the hypothesis, and the entailments of the hypothesis.

      Nic: Obviously you believe the observer who holds as true the same hypothesis as you.

      What? No! You have more confidence in a hypothesis that predicts the data.

      Nic: The simple fact is, there are different types of scientific enquiry; empirical, wherein you can repeatedly test and observe results based on your hypothesis, and forensic science where you are restricted to interpreting remains from past events which are not observable or repeatable.

      They both use the same basic method of hypothesis-testing. Astronomy is a typical science that has little in the way of direct experimentation. Few astronomers make up batches of stars for testing.

      Nic: Evolution falls into the second category and is therefore not observable, repeatable and testable science.

      Of course the history of life is testable. We have fossils. Or don't you think we can reliably say that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth?

      Delete
    98. Zachriel,

      "If 10 out of 10 oncologists insist you have cancer, they could be wrong, but it would be reasonable to consider that you probably do."

      Now, you're starting to catch on, I think. Yes the 10 oncologists could all be wrong, and that is exactly the point of the fallacy.

      "Per your 'logic', this conclusion would be fallacious because it is just an argument ad populum without regard to the quality of the opinions being offered."

      No, it would not be fallacious because it was an argument ad populum, it would be fallacious to believe I must have cancer simply because they say so. If I have cancer it is only because I do actually have cancer, not because the 10 say so. Are you really not able to grasp why ad populum arguments are fallacious?

      Nic: I just demonstrated it has not.

      Zachriel: "No, it just means you haven't been able to follow the argument. Human artifacts do not form a single objective nested hierarchy. You can form artifacts into any number of different nested hierarchies,..."

      It is you who does not follow the argument. I gave you literally weeks to figure out the fact that human designs do follow what you would call nested hierarchies, but you were unable to grasp it. The only thing which came to your mind was the Dewey Decimal System. What you like to call nested hierarchies permeate human designs. All buildings form 'nested hierachies' in that all buildings are structures, all buildings have frames, all buildings constitute an enclosed area, etc. All buildings have many things in common which would fall into what you call a nested hierarchy.

      Buildings can be further classified into dwellings, warehouses, office buildings, etc. All of which have unique sets of their own. But all these buildings share the same basic systems, structure, access, frame, etc.

      Automobiles do as well. If an automobile has an engine, it must have a fuel delivery system, and an exhaust system as the engine will not function without them. An automobile can also be classified with other modes of transportation which would include many of the same dedicated system sets, planes, trucks, ships, etc. They all have a means of propulsion which means they all share means of fuel delivery, exhaust, etc. As well, all modes of transportation require intelligence to function, be it direct operation or intelligently designed remote systems.

      All buildings and all modes of transportation are the result of human intelligent design and all contain dedicated sets of traits in order to function. Why attribute what we see in nature to blind branching descent with modification, when all our experience tells us that such interrelated systems come about by intelligent agents using design?

      The whole idea of so called 'nested hierarchies' being solid evidence for branching descent with modification is palpable nonsense. Virtually every human designer will follow preset patterns in designing systems, be they buildings, modes of transportation, computers, residential developments, whatever you can think of.

      The very existence of these systems in natural organisms is overwhelming evidence for design and actually counter evidence to the idea of descent via blind evolutionary forces.

      Delete
    99. Nic: Yes the 10 oncologists could all be wrong, and that is exactly the point of the fallacy.

      It's an appeal to authority, which as an inductive argument can be valid when

      * The cited authority has sufficient expertise.
      * The authority is making a statement within their area of expertise.
      * The area of expertise is a valid field of study.
      * There is adequate agreement among authorities in the field.
      * There is no evidence of undue bias.

      The proper argument against a valid appeal to authority is to the evidence.

      Nic: No, it would not be fallacious because it was an argument ad populum, it would be fallacious to believe I must have cancer simply because they say so.

      No. An appeal to authority is an inductive argument, meaning the experts could be wrong, but they more likely right than laypersons. It is a valid appeal to authority to think you probably have cancer if 10 out of 10 oncologists conclude you do.

      It's obviously not fallacious.

      Nic: What you like to call nested hierarchies permeate human designs. All buildings form 'nested hierachies' in that all buildings are structures, all buildings have frames, all buildings constitute an enclosed area, etc. All buildings have many things in common which would fall into what you call a nested hierarchy.

      We had brought buildings up on 7/1/5. Glad you have finally decided to try and form a nested hierarchy out of buildings.

      If all buildings have structures and all buildings have frames, then they all belong in the same set.

      Nic: Buildings can be further classified into dwellings, warehouses, office buildings, etc.

      Okay, so we have the universal set of buildings which is comprised of at least three subsets; dwellings, warehouses, office buildings.

      Nic: All of which have unique sets of their own.

      You need at least one more level for nesting. You might break one of the other sets down. Let's see what you come up with.

      Then, we'll try to the same with organisms.

      Delete
    100. We had brought buildings up on 7/15.

      Delete

    101. Nic: 'Repeatedly verified by any observer.' Therein lies the rub, Scott. Not all observers of the evidence, eg. fossils; agree on what that evidence is supposedly saying.

      Zachriel: "No, but they should agree on the observations. What differs is the hypothesis, and the entailments of the hypothesis."

      If by agreeing on the observations you mean they all agree that the fossil they are looking at has teeth, if it indeed does have teeth, that is true. But if you mean they must all agree as to when it lived, when it died, how it died, whether it was transitional, etc. Then no, they will not agree on the observations.

      Nic: Obviously you believe the observer who holds as true the same hypothesis as you.

      Zachriel: What? No! You have more confidence in a hypothesis that predicts the data."

      In this case the data is often assumed from the hypothesis. For example, if you believe the animal died a natural death and slowly floated to the bottom of a sea and was slowly covered by sediment, you will have confidence that is what the data is telling you. If, on the other hand, you believe the creature died a violent and abrupt death and was buried quickly in a vast amount of sediment you will conclude that is what the data is telling you.

      So, in short, your hypothesis will influence the prediction of the data.

      Nic: "The simple fact is, there are different types of scientific enquiry; empirical, wherein you can repeatedly test and observe results based on your hypothesis, and forensic science where you are restricted to interpreting remains from past events which are not observable or repeatable."

      Zachriel: "They both use the same basic method of hypothesis-testing. Astronomy is a typical science that has little in the way of direct experimentation. Few astronomers make up batches of stars for testing."

      No, they do not. If I hypothesize that blue and yellow pigments combined in equal parts will produce green, I can mix the two colours repeatedly and demonstrate empirically that my hypothesis is supported.

      However, if blue and yellow existed only in the past, I could not mix them to test whether or not my hypothesis is supported. I would have to rely on many assumptions in an attempt to support my hypothesis.

      So, no, Forensic science and empirical science do not rely on the same hypothesis testing methods.

      Nic: "Evolution falls into the second category and is therefore not observable, repeatable and testable science."

      Zachriel: "Of course the history of life is testable. We have fossils. Or don't you think we can reliably say that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth?"

      Sure, dinosaurs once roamed the earth. But we can't tell by looking at fossils that velociraptors communicated and hunted in packs which is one conclusion being drawn from fossils by evolutionists. Now,if velociraptors still existed we could empirically study that question. See the difference?

      Delete
    102. Zachriel,

      "The proper argument against a valid appeal to authority is to the evidence."

      But you're appealing to the authority to validate the evidence. Your claim is the majority accepts this particular interpretation of the evidence and therefore, the interpretation of that evidence is valid. That's an appeal to the majority, and it is fallacious.

      Suffice it to say we'll have to agree to disagree on this and let's move on.

      Nic: What you like to call nested hierarchies permeate human designs. All buildings form 'nested hierachies' in that all buildings are structures, all buildings have frames, all buildings constitute an enclosed area, etc. All buildings have many things in common which would fall into what you call a nested hierarchy.

      Zachriel: "We had brought buildings up on 7/1/5. Glad you have finally decided to try and form a nested hierarchy out of buildings."

      I brought up the argument in June, you simply missed it.

      Zachriel: "If all buildings have structures and all buildings have frames, then they all belong in the same set."

      All buildings are structures, not have structures.

      Nic: "Buildings can be further classified into dwellings, warehouses, office buildings, etc."

      Zachriel: "Okay, so we have the universal set of buildings which is comprised of at least three subsets; dwellings, warehouses, office buildings."

      Is there a question there, or a point you're trying to make?

      Nic: "All of which have unique sets of their own."

      Zachriel: "You need at least one more level for nesting. You might break one of the other sets down. Let's see what you come up with."

      For what do I need at least one more level? Are you referring to buildings or modes of transportation?

      Delete
    103. Nic: For example, if you believe the animal died a natural death and slowly floated to the bottom of a sea and was slowly covered by sediment, you will have confidence that is what the data is telling you.

      No. That's just a hypothesis. You still have to deduce the entailments, predictions, and observations; then withstand critical scrutiny from other scientists. These results are also of interest to geologists, not just paleontologists, so they will crosscheck using their own methods.

      Nic: If, on the other hand, you believe the creature died a violent and abrupt death and was buried quickly in a vast amount of sediment you will conclude that is what the data is telling you.

      Again, that is just the hypothesis.

      Nic: So, in short, your hypothesis will influence the prediction of the data.

      Of course it does. There are many types of fossilization. Slow sedimentation will lead to one set of predictions, while fast coverage will lead to another set of predictions. And observation will be the key to determining which hypothesis is more likely correct.

      Nic: I would have to rely on many assumptions in an attempt to support my hypothesis.

      Even direct experimentation often relies upon many assumptions, while many conclusions about the past are very straightforward. It's still hypothesis-testing.

      Nic: Sure, dinosaurs once roamed the earth.

      And the scientific evidence strongly supports that conclusion, even though it's not directly observable or repeatable. However, it is testable! From the hypothesis, we deduce entailments and empirical predictions, then test them.

      Nic: But we can't tell by looking at fossils that velociraptors communicated and hunted in packs which is one conclusion being drawn from fossils by evolutionists.

      That is still considered tentative. However, we do know that some dinosaurs nested in colonies and cared for their newly hatched young, much like birds.

      Nic: Now, if velociraptors still existed we could empirically study that question. See the difference?

      It can be more difficult, but it's still the same process of hypothesis-testing.

      Nic: But you're appealing to the authority to validate the evidence.

      We were appealing to authority. That is correct. When it comes to whether or not evolution is central to the botanical sciences, then checking with botanists is certainly reasonable.

      Nic: I brought up the argument in June, you simply missed it.

      Then you should have the one true objective nested hierarchy for buildings all worked out!

      Nic: For what do I need at least one more level?

      For a nested hierarchy. We were referring to buildings, which you say you've been working on since June. This is what we have so far:

      {dwellings, warehouses, office buildings}

      There's no nesting. You said "All of which have unique sets of their own." That's what we want. You don't have to have a complete breakout for discussion, but you do need at least one more level — otherwise nothing's nested. Maybe dwellings of straw, wood, and bricks.

      Buildings = {dwellings, warehouses, office buildings}

      Dwellings = {straw, wood, bricks}

      Buildings = {{straw, wood, bricks}, warehouses, office buildings}


      Delete
    104. Zachriel,

      Zachriel: "Even direct experimentation often relies upon many assumptions,... It's still hypothesis-testing."

      Sure, it's hypothesis testing, but very different forms. Hang gliding is a very different form of flying than sitting in a jet.

      Nic: "Sure, dinosaurs once roamed the earth."

      Zachriel: "And the scientific evidence strongly supports that conclusion,...though it's not directly observable or repeatable."

      Where and when did I say the evidence did not support such a conclusion? All I ever said was that it was not repeatable, testable, science, which it is not. As such conclusions must be drawn in a different manner and such conclusions are open to interpretation depending on one's presuppositions. That has always been my argument. Your problem is that you're not able to admit your interpretation may be wrong, so you try to argue that you're practicing real science while those who disagree with you are not.

      I'm simply pointing out the different nature of empirical and forensic science investigations. You can't apply empirical science techniques to the fossil record and reach conclusions such as velociraptors hunting in packs, or that whales evolved from land dwelling mammals. Those conclusions rely totally on interpretations influenced by your presuppositions

      Zachriel: "However, it is testable!,..."

      Empirically demonstrate all the changes required to transform a land dwelling mammal into a sea dwelling mammal.

      Nic: "But we can't tell by looking at fossils that velociraptors communicated and hunted in packs,..."

      Zachriel: "That is still considered tentative."

      It doesn't even qualify as tentative, it's 110% speculative.

      Zachriel: "However, we do know that some dinosaurs nested in colonies and cared for their newly hatched young, much like birds."

      Sure, that we can be quite sure of. Does that mean dinosaurs evolved into birds? There is an old saying about being in the ball park with an estimation. This doesn't even qualify as being in the same country as the ball park.

      Nic: Now, if velociraptors still existed,..."

      Zachriel "It can be more difficult, but it's still the same process of hypothesis-testing."

      How do you propose to demonstrate velociraptors communicated and used that communication to cooperate in the form of pack hunting?

      Zachriel: "We were appealing to authority. That is correct. ... then checking with botanists is certainly reasonable."

      Because something may be reasonable does not mean it is not fallacious.

      Zachriel: "For a nested hierarchy. We were referring to buildings, which you say you've been working on since June.

      I haven't been working on it at all, really. It's just obvious. Obvious that is if you're competent in critical thinking.

      "There's no nesting."

      Sure there is, all are structures, all have frames, all are an enclosure of space resulting in an interior. Though each can be unique in their function they all share those features at the very least.

      Whether the building is made of straw, wood or brick, it will share those features. Whether it is a dwelling, a warehouse, an office building, a factory, it will share those features. Whether it is 100 floors in height or all on one level it will share those features. And most importantly, no matter how basic the building, no matter how big or small, no matter how technical or simple, they are all the result of intelligent design.

      Zachriel, it is clearly time you admit your precious argument of 'nested hierarchies as sound evidence for branching descent with modification' is without force and completely without effect. Your precious 'nested hierarchies' are to be found everywhere in intelligent design scenarios.

      Delete
    105. Nic: Sure, it's hypothesis testing, but very different forms.

      There are differences.

      Nic: All I ever said was that it was not repeatable, testable, science, which it is not.

      That's where you're wrong. It is testable. It's called hypothesis-testing.

      Nic: As such conclusions must be drawn in a different manner and such conclusions are open to interpretation depending on one's presuppositions.

      Um, no. Dinosaurs roaming the Earth is a strongly supported scientific claim, and there is no subjective interpretation involved in reaching that conclusion.

      Nic: You can't apply empirical science techniques to the fossil record and reach conclusions such as velociraptors hunting in packs, or that whales evolved from land dwelling mammals.

      Of course you can. But you might want to work with Dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It's a strongly supported scientific claim. It's not subject to interpretation any more than any other scientific claim.

      Nic: Empirically demonstrate all the changes required to transform a land dwelling mammal into a sea dwelling mammal.

      As long as you think historical claims, such as dinosaurs roamed the Earth is not a testable claim, then you had better work with the basics.

      Nic: Sure, that we can be quite sure of.

      Why are we quite sure that some dinosaurs cared for their young? Can we see the toddlers in the nest? Can we watch the parents bring food to the nest?

      Nic: How do you propose to demonstrate velociraptors communicated and used that communication to cooperate in the form of pack hunting?

      As we said, the claim is tentative and subject to criticism. You might surmise pack hunting from the size of prey, teeth marks, track marks. At this point the evidence is still insufficient.

      Nic: Because something may be reasonable does not mean it is not fallacious.

      You're actually claiming that if 10 out of 10 oncologists say someone has cancer, then it is a fallacy to reach the conclusion that the person probably does have cancer.

      Nic: Sure there is, all are structures, all have frames, all are an enclosure of space resulting in an interior.

      That's not a nested hierarchy of building. You really don't know what constitutes a nested hierarchy. A nested hierarchy is a collection of sets. Try to put it in set notation like we did above.

      Delete
    106. You do realize that when discussing the nested hierarchy we're talking about taxonomic classification. We've provided a precise definition previously.

      primates ⊂ mammals ⊂ amniotes ⊂ vertebrates

      Delete
    107. Zachriel,

      "Um, no. Dinosaurs roaming the Earth is a strongly supported scientific claim, and there is no subjective interpretation involved in reaching that conclusion."

      It appears you don't read well either. Why am I not surprised? I agreed it's scientifically provable to show dinosaurs existed. You're so used to arguing by rote, you don't even comprehend what someone writes, you just react.

      Nic: "You can't apply empirical science techniques to the fossil record and reach conclusions such as velociraptors hunting in packs, or that whales evolved from land dwelling mammals."

      Zachriel: "Of course you can."

      Then do it! If it can be done you will be able to easily chart exactly how you would go about it. I'm looking forward to seeing how you plan to recreate all those extinct transitional creatures. Something which you are required to do in order to empirically demonstrate your case. This should be good.

      Nic: "Empirically demonstrate all the changes required to transform a land dwelling mammal into a sea dwelling mammal."

      Zachriel: "As long as you think historical claims, such as dinosaurs roamed the Earth is not a testable claim, then you had better work with the basics."

      You possess a bad combination of characteristics, a lot of arrogance mixed with a whole bunch of ignorance.

      Apparently it's necessary to repeat myself, repeatedly. I NEVER said the existence of dinosaurs was not testable. I said the evolution of whales from land dwelling mammals was not empirically testable and it is not. If you think it is please lay out exactly how you would do it as I requested above.

      Nic: "Sure, that we can be quite sure of."

      Zachriel: "Why are we quite sure that some dinosaurs cared for their young? Can we see the toddlers in the nest? Can we watch the parents bring food to the nest?"

      We can see the nests seemed to be grouped, which could lead one to conclude the young were cared for. But no one can know for sure. When it comes to velociraptors cooperating by hunting in packs and communicating as they did so, there is absolutely zero evidence. It is complete story telling. Therein lies the difference between those scenarios.

      "That's not a nested hierarchy of building. You really don't know what constitutes a nested hierarchy. A nested hierarchy is a collection of sets. Try to put it in set notation like we did above."

      Wood frame (vertebrates) - dog house (amniotes) - garden shed (mammals) - garage (primates) - house (humans).

      I've provided what you asked for, but I'm sure you will find some excuse as to why it is not acceptable. However, I really don't care. I've come to realize that no amount of logic or demonstration of facts will have any effect on you. You are simply too close minded to listen to anything which does not agree with your view of the world.

      Seriously, I'm done with this topic. I've clearly demonstrated that what you like to call nested hierarchies are to be found everywhere in human design and you simply refuse to accept the fact. I have spent over six weeks explaining and demonstrating that fact to you. I'm just not going to waste any more of my time.

      Delete
    108. Nic: I agreed it's scientifically provable to show dinosaurs existed.

      Yes, we read that. However, you also said claims about the past weren't "testable" science. If you can't test it, then how can you say it is a scientific conclusion? You also said claims about the past were open to "interpretation depending on one's presuppositions", making it subjective. If it is subjective, then how can you say it is scientifically "provable"?

      Nic: I NEVER said the existence of dinosaurs was not testable.

      You said that claims about history were subjective and not testable.

      Nic: I said the evolution of whales from land dwelling mammals was not empirically testable and it is not. If you think it is please lay out exactly how you would do it as I requested above.

      By testing the claim's empirical entailments.

      Nic: Wood frame (vertebrates) - dog house (amniotes) - garden shed (mammals) - garage (primates) - house (humans).

      vertebrates ⊃ amniotes ⊃ mammals ⊃ primates ⊃ humans

      Woodframe ⊃ dog house ⊃ garden shed ⊃ garage ⊃ house

      That doesn't make sense. garden sheds are not a subset of dog houses. Maybe you mean Woodframe = {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}? If so, how does this fit into your previous classification, which doesn't contain the set woodframe?

      How about this we proposed previously:

      Buildings = {{straw, wood, bricks}, warehouses, office buildings}

      Replacing wood with {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}, we have

      Buildings = {{straw, {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}, bricks}, warehouses, office buildings}

      That's a nested hierarchy. Is this what you mean?

      Nic: I've clearly demonstrated that what you like to call nested hierarchies are to be found everywhere in human design

      You still haven't provided a nested hierarchy for artifacts, such as buildings. They're easy to make. Are you okay with the one we just provided?

      Just to clarify, you do realize we're discussing taxonomy, not meronomy?

      Delete
    109. Scott: "Which fallacy might that be, Nic? Oh, right, the fallacy you won't disclose?"

      Nic: Scott, I told you from the start I would not help you out on this one and I won't, so learn to live with it,

      Huh? I have to learn to live with a refutation you haven't disclosed?

      Nic: I must assume you've still not found the flaw in Hume's argument, too bad. All I can do is encourage you to keep working on it. It would really help if you were a little more open minded about the subject.

      Assume? I've volunteered what you might consider potential "refutations" which you haven't even acknowledged. At all. So, it's unclear how you're genuinely interested in even having an discussion on the matter.

      Nic: Your problem is you've obviously built your whole philosophical outlook on this one argument and you simply cannot grasp what may be wrong with it.

      Hume's response was flawed because it punted by justifying induction inductivity. So, if you think I'm argument begins and end with Hume, then you're off the mark yet again. Here's a hint: when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

      Nic: As for your 'supposed' falling into infinite regression, it was more in line with a full fledged face plant.

      I see. So when I point out how your already vague criticism was mistaken, you retreat to something even more vague, like "face plant"? Exactly what does that mean anyway?

      Let me guess, next you'll go from even more vague to refusing to tell me? And I'll just have to live with that too?

      Again, if this is what you consider "refutation"....

      Delete
    110. Nic: 'Repeatedly verified by any observer.' Therein lies the rub, Scott. Not all observers of the evidence, eg. fossils; agree on what that evidence is supposedly saying.

      So, it's about agreement? But any piece of evidence is comparable with many theories, including an infinite number that have yet to be proposed. So evidence cannot prove a theory or make it more probable.

      For example, not all observers of evidence agree that evidence supposedly says anything at all. That's been my point all along. As such, evidence is comparable with many theories, not just empiricism. So, are you suggesting this lack of agreement on evidence means we cannot make any progress using evidence at all?

      Nic: The simple fact is, there are different types of scientific enquiry; empirical, wherein you can repeatedly test and observe results based on your hypothesis, and forensic science where you are restricted to interpreting remains from past events which are not observable or repeatable.

      Again, see above. Nor have you explained how empiricism works, in practice. So, you haven't actually distinguished between observing results and interpretation results. It's really that simple.

      Nic: Now, you're starting to catch on, I think. Yes the 10 oncologists could all be wrong, and that is exactly the point of the fallacy.

      So, wait, now you're saying it's not about agreement?

      "Theory X could be wrong" is a bad criticism because it's equally applicable to all ideas. So, you can't even us it in a critical way. This includes the idea that dinosaurs actually existed millions of years ago, to be *the* explanation for fossils.

      Those fossil are also comparable with a number of theories that indication dinosaurs never existed millions of years ago, so they couldn't be the explanation for fossils.

      Furthermore, you're again confusing a mere appeal to authority with having good explanations as to why 10 oncologists opinion would be correct. They are familiar with a wide range criticism on cancer diagnosis. What we want is the contents of theories, not their providence.

      Nic: Let me see if I've got this straight. You appeal to an authority, Karl Popper, to argue you're not appealing to an authority. Interesting how your mind works.

      Again, see above. Observations of my referencing Popper are compatible with multiple theories. One, a fallacious appeal to authority, or two, the actual contents of argument I quoted from the article, and other arguments from Popper, which you can look up and reference using this article as a starting point. Good ideas (and good criticism) is good regardless of its source.

      Since we disagree on what the evidence is supposedly saying about observations of my reference, does that mean we cannot make any progress on the issue?

      IOW, if we take your objection seriously, as if it's true in reality, it doesn't seem to withstand rational criticism.


      However, if I recall correctly, don't you think there is at least one infallible source that can be infallibly interpreted? Wouldn't that represent an appeal to authority? Also, how did you infallibly determine which of many supposed infallibly sources can be infallibly interpreted? How would that work, in practice?

      Please be specific.

      Delete
    111. I wrote..

      Scott: For example, not all observers of evidence agree that evidence supposedly says anything at all. That's been my point all along.

      To elaborate, as Nic will likely try to portray this as the usual false dilemma between no knowledge and inductivism, evidence doesn't say anything about the *contents* of theories.

      IOW, observations of what scientists do is comparable with many different theories of how scientific knowledge grows, such as, empiricism (which is a variant of justificationism) and critical rationalism, which is deductive in nature. And it's compatible with an infinite number of yet to be proposed theories as well.

      So, again, if we try to take your objection seriously, it would appear that you think we cannot make progress via observations at all because not everyone agrees on what observations of scientists doing science is "supposedly saying."

      Note: I don't actually believe you think this. I'm asking the question not only expecting to be found wrong, but found wrong in a specific way that allows us to make progress on what your actual objection is.

      Of course, I'm being charitable in assuming you actually have an objection that can be taken seriously.

      Delete
    112. ZAchriel,

      Nic: I agreed it's scientifically provable to show dinosaurs existed.

      Zachriel: "Yes, we read that. However, you also said claims about the past weren't "testable" science. If you can't test it, then how can you say it is a scientific conclusion?"

      There are two forms of scientific enquiry; empirical, which is testable, repeatable and observational science. Hands-on science, if you prefer.

      The other is forensic science which is based on interpretation of unobserved, untestable and unrepeatable events.

      Saying we know scientifically that dinosaurs existed is an example of the the former in that we can be hands on with the fossils. What they did while alive, how they interacted, how they died, etc., is an example of the latter. Not very hard to understand really.

      Zachriel: "You also said claims about the past were open to "interpretation depending on one's presuppositions", making it subjective. If it is subjective, then how can you say it is scientifically "provable"?"

      Some things simply are not scientifically provable. That creatures we call dinosaurs existed can be proven. But beyond that point very little can be proven to 100% acceptability.

      Nic: I NEVER said the existence of dinosaurs was not testable.

      Zachriel: "You said that claims about history were subjective and not testable."

      Claims about their habits and interactions, etc. are not testable.

      Nic: "I said the evolution of whales from land dwelling mammals was not empirically testable and it is not. If you think it is please lay out exactly how you would do it as I requested above."

      Zachriel: "By testing the claim's empirical entailments."

      That hardly qualifies as laying out exactly how you would empirically test the evolution of the whale.

      Zachriel: "That doesn't make sense.,,,"

      Of course it doesn't. No answer I give you will make sense because you do not want to see the fact that your precious little idea of the sanctity of nested hierarchies as evidence for evolution has been destroyed.

      Delete
    113. Scott,

      "I see. So when I point out how your already vague criticism was mistaken, you retreat to something even more vague, like "face plant"? Exactly what does that mean anyway?"

      My criticism was not vague nor was it mistaken, you went into full fledged infinite regression mode.

      Your claim was if nature was designed and fine tuned, the designer had to be even more finely tuned, which by extension means the finely tuned designer was in fact finely tuned by an even more finely tuned designer, which means that finely tuned designer was in turn.......

      That is the very definition of infinite regression.

      Scott: "Again, if this is what you consider "refutation"...."

      It is a refutation, clear and simple. There is no doubt whatsoever you appealed to infinite regression. It was painfully obvious.


      Scott: "Huh? I have to learn to live with a refutation you haven't disclosed?"

      You've got to live with the fact that; 1. the refutation of Hume's argument exists and has all along; and 2. I'm not going to tell you. I want you to find it yourself as that will have at least some chance of making you admit you're wrong.

      Delete
    114. Nic: There are two forms of scientific enquiry; empirical, which is testable, repeatable and observational science.

      When you observe a fossil, that's empirical evidence of the past existence of an organism. Paleontology is an empirical science, and involves observation and testing.

      Nic: What they did while alive, how they interacted, how they died, etc., is an example of the latter.

      Dinosaurs walked, had sex, laid eggs. Many traveled in groups. Some made nests and cared for their young. Some hunted and ate meat. Others ate plants.

      Delete
    115. Nic: But beyond that point very little can be proven to 100% acceptability.

      Nothing in science is 100%.

      Nic: Claims about their habits and interactions, etc. are not testable.

      Sure they are, for instance, finding colonies of nests supports colonial nesting. Finding toddlers with undeveloped bones in colonial nesting sites supports the hypothesis they were being fed.

      Nic: That hardly qualifies as laying out exactly how you would empirically test the evolution of the whale.

      By testing the entailments of the claim. If whales descended from land vertebrates, then there should have been primitive whales with hind limbs, for instance.

      Nic: Of course it doesn't.

      Now try a substantive answer.

      Nic: Wood frame (vertebrates) - dog house (amniotes) - garden shed (mammals) - garage (primates) - house (humans).

      vertebrates ⊃ amniotes ⊃ mammals ⊃ primates ⊃ humans

      Woodframe ⊃ dog house ⊃ garden shed ⊃ garage ⊃ house

      That doesn't make sense. Garden sheds are not a subset of dog houses. Maybe you mean Woodframe = {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}? If so, how does this fit into your previous classification, which doesn't contain the set woodframe?

      How about this we proposed previously:

      Buildings = {dwellings, warehouses, offices}
      Dwellings = {straw, wood, bricks}

      Buildings = {{straw, wood, bricks}, warehouses, office buildings}

      Replacing wood with {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}, we have

      Buildings = {{straw, {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}, bricks}, warehouses, office buildings}

      Just to clarify, you do realize we're discussing taxonomy, not meronomy?

      Delete
    116. Zachriel,

      Nic: What they did while alive, how they interacted, how they died, etc., is an example of the latter.

      Zachriel: "Dinosaurs walked, had sex, laid eggs. Many traveled in groups. Some made nests and cared for their young. Some hunted and ate meat. Others ate plants."

      All can be inferred from their mere existence. Details cannot be empirically tested. For instance you cannot test whether some dinosaurs hunted in packs and used tactical strategies while doing so. Nor can you actually prove from the existence of nests that the young were cared for after hatching. Leatherbacks create nests for the eggs and yet the hatchlings are left to their own devices upon hatching. This may be the case for some or all dinosaurs as well.

      I actually have no problem with the claim that dinosaurs built nests and cared for their young, why should I? My point is simply that such actions cannot be empirically demonstrated.

      Nic: "Claims about their habits and interactions, etc. are not testable."

      Zachriel: "Sure they are, for instance, finding colonies of nests supports colonial nesting. Finding toddlers with undeveloped bones in colonial nesting sites supports the hypothesis they were being fed."

      As reasonable as all these beliefs sound and probably are, the fact remains they can only be inferred, not demonstrated by repeated testing.

      Zachriel: "By testing the entailments of the claim. If whales descended from land vertebrates, then there should have been primitive whales with hind limbs, for instance."

      You simply don't get it do you? Even if you were to find a creature labeled a whale with what you determined to be hind limbs, you cannot demonstrate the hind limbs came about via evolution. Perhaps it is nothing more than an extinct form of whale which had what could be described as hind limbs.

      You still don't see that some argumentation is circular.

      If whales evolved we should find whales with hind limbs. We find whales with hind limbs. Therefore whales evolved. That's classic circular reasoning and evolutionary thought is absolutely rife with such fallacies.

      To present this as empirical science one would be required to actually reproduce the evolution of the whale in real, observable time, and be able to do so repeatedly. That you fundamentally cannot do and as such the claims of being able to empirically prove whale evolution are completely vacuous.


      Subset: noun; "a part of a larger group of related things."

      Zachriel: "That doesn't make sense. Garden sheds are not a subset of dog houses."

      Why not? Can a garden shed not function as a dog house? My garage functions as a dog house. I think you're only further demonstrating you do not grasp the concept you hold so dear.


      Delete
    117. Nic: My criticism was not vague nor was it mistaken, you went into full fledged infinite regression mode.

      That's the false dichotomy you keep presenting, Nic. That's the mistake. Apparently, you can't see that.

      Nic: Your claim was if nature was designed and fine tuned, the designer had to be even more finely tuned, which by extension means the finely tuned designer was in fact finely tuned by an even more finely tuned designer, which means that finely tuned designer was in turn.......

      You're making the textbook justificationist argument that some things need not be justified because, if they were not, the only supposed option would result in an infinite regress and there could be no knowledge. And you're projecting that on me.

      You're aware of this criticism of justificationism, right?

      See: http://www.the-rathouse.com/Bartley/Leeson-vol.html

      Nic: It is a refutation, clear and simple. There is no doubt whatsoever you appealed to infinite regression. It was painfully obvious.

      Do doubt? But that's exactly my point. This is a typical response from a justificationist viewpoint. However, I'm not a justiifcationist. You're assuming I'm stuck with the same two options (no knowledge or justificationism), but I'm not. Apparently, you cannot recognize that your conception of human knowledge is subject to criticism, so you think I must share it with you. I don't.

      Nor does it actually solve the problem is supposedly claims to solve. It just pushes the problem up a level while making it worse. If you think it does actually solve the problem, then you think there is some basic belief that does not need to be justified, which is justificationism.

      Nic: You've got to live with the fact that; 1. the refutation of Hume's argument exists and has all along; and 2. I'm not going to tell you.

      I'm trying to take that seriously, Nic, but I'm having difficulty because you haven't actually disclosed what this refutation is yet. So, how does that work exactly, in practice?

      Nic: I want you to find it yourself as that will have at least some chance of making you admit you're wrong.

      It's not clear that you actually understand the issue enough to actually refute it. In fact, it's not clear that you think understanding the issue is even necessary at all, which suggests you think it's an "obvious" refutation. At best, you've made a circular augment, which apparently isn't the refutation since it's one you've already "told" it to me.

      However, given that you think I've obviously appealed to an infinite regress, which is a common response to criticism by justificationists, it seems you're not well versed in the subject of epistemology in the first place.

      Delete
    118. Nic: All can be inferred from their mere existence.

      Again, those [fossils] are also compatible with a number of theories that [indicate] dinosaurs never existed millions of years ago, which implies they couldn't be the explanation for fossils.

      We cannot empirically observe or reproduce dinosaurs, yet the theory is primarily about dinosaurs, in that they really existed.

      So, again, when we try to take your objections seriously, as if it were true in reality, it doesn't withstand rational criticism. Something doesn't add up.

      Delete
    119. Nic: Nor can you actually prove from the existence of nests that the young were cared for after hatching.

      Young found in colonials nest with undeveloped bones means they were hatched before they could forage for their own food.

      Horner, Ecological and behavioral implications derived from a dinosaur nesting site, University of Washington Press 1987.

      Nic: My point is simply that such actions cannot be empirically demonstrated.

      That just shows you don't know what empirical means.

      Nic: the fact remains they can only be inferred

      Which is most of science.

      Nic: Even if you were to find a creature labeled a whale with what you determined to be hind limbs, you cannot demonstrate the hind limbs came about via evolution.

      Lucky guess? Finding a fossil whale with hindlimbs is an astonishing find.

      Nic: That's classic circular reasoning and evolutionary thought is absolutely rife with such fallacies.

      That just shows you don't know what constitutes the scientific method.

      If the Sun is powered by fusion, it should emit neutrinos. The Sun emits neutrinos. While this doesn't 'prove' the Sun is powered by fusion, it supports the hypothesis.

      Nic: To present this as empirical science one would be required to actually reproduce the evolution of the whale in real, observable time, and be able to do so repeatedly.

      alt-Nic: To show that the Sun is powered by fusion, one would be required to actually produce a sun in real, observable time, and be able to do so repeatedly.

      Nic: Subset: noun; "a part of a larger group of related things."

      A ⊂ B. Set A is a subset of set B if all of the elements set A are contained in set B.

      Nic: Can a garden shed not function as a dog house?

      Sure. However, for garden shed ⊂ dog house, then every garden shed would have to be a dog house, which is not the case.

      Delete
    120. Scott,

      "Apparently, you cannot recognize that your conception of human knowledge is subject to criticism, so you think I must share it with you. I don't."

      You don's share my concept of human knowledge? You're kidding! That puts this whole discussion on a new plane. I'll need some time to think this over.

      Delete
    121. Zachriel.

      "Sure. However, for garden shed ⊂ dog house, then every garden shed would have to be a dog house, which is not the case."

      Only if your presupposition demands that the garden shed evolved from the dog house.

      Nic: "To present this as empirical science one would be required to actually reproduce the evolution of the whale in real, observable time, and be able to do so repeatedly."

      Zachriel: "alt-Nic: To show that the Sun is powered by fusion, one would be required to actually produce a sun in real, observable time, and be able to do so repeatedly."

      Maybe I'm wrong, but I was under the impression the sun was still active and can be observed and tested in real time.

      Delete
    122. Nic: Only if your presupposition demands that the garden shed evolved from the dog house.

      No. We're just discussing sets. Apples are a subset of fruit. All apples are fruits. Mice are a subset of rodents. All mice are rodents.

      Garden sheds are only a subset of dog houses if all garden sheds are dog houses, which is not the case.

      Delete
    123. Nic: Maybe I'm wrong, but I was under the impression the sun was still active and can be observed and tested in real time.

      So, we can produce the core of the sun, which we invoke to explain its surface? I'd like to hear about that mission and its results. Do you have a reference link?

      Delete
    124. Scott: This is a typical response from a justificationist viewpoint. However, I'm not a justiifcationist. You're assuming I'm stuck with the same two options (no knowledge or justificationism), but I'm not. Apparently, you cannot recognize that your conception of human knowledge is subject to criticism, so you think I must share it with you. I don't.

      Nic: You don's share my concept of human knowledge?

      That's not an argument. Nor are you disagreeing with me.

      To clarify, you don't think I'm stuck with two options: an infinite regress (which is impossible and would result in no knowledge) or concluding there must be basic beliefs that need not be justified? If not, then how does proposing a designer solve the problem?

      Also, how did you conclude I went into "full fledged infinite regression mode"?

      Again, observations of my criticism are compatible with a number of theories, including that I've discarded justificationism completely. Not everyone agrees on what those observations mean. Yet you seem to have concluded I went into "full fledged infinite regression mode". So, apparently, it's not about agreement after all.

      Delete
    125. Scott,

      Nic: "You don's share my concept of human knowledge?"

      Scott: "That's not an argument. Nor are you disagreeing with me."

      No, Scott, it's not an argument. It's called sarcasm.

      Delete
    126. Zachriel,

      "No. We're just discussing sets. Apples are a subset of fruit. All apples are fruits. Mice are a subset of rodents. All mice are rodents.

      Garden sheds are only a subset of dog houses if all garden sheds are dog houses, which is not the case."

      Garden sheds are a subset of structures. All garden sheds are structures.

      Delete
    127. Scott,

      "So, we can produce the core of the sun, which we invoke to explain its surface?"

      I never thought of that, but you could be right, Scott. The sun may be hollow.

      Delete
    128. Nic: Garden sheds are a subset of structures.

      That's right (more particularly, buildings). Which means this is not a parallel structure:

      Nic: Wood frame (vertebrates) - dog house (amniotes) - garden shed (mammals) - garage (primates) - house (humans).

      This properly represents supersets and subsets.
      vertebrates ⊃ amniotes ⊃ mammals ⊃ primates ⊃ humans

      This does not.
      Woodframe ⊃ dog house ⊃ garden shed ⊃ garage ⊃ house

      Maybe you meant this:

      Buildings = {dwellings, warehouses, offices}
      Dwellings = {straw, wood, bricks}

      Buildings = {{straw, wood, bricks}, warehouses, office buildings}

      Replacing wood with {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}, we have

      Buildings = {{straw, {doghouse, garden shed, garage, house}, bricks}, warehouses, office buildings}

      So garden sheds are a subset of Buildings. Is this what you meant?

      Nic: The sun may be hollow.

      Sure, and based on your position on science, we can't know until we mount an expedition to the center of the Sun.

      Delete
    129. Scott: This is a typical response from a justificationist viewpoint. However, I'm not a justiifcationist. You're assuming I'm stuck with the same two options (no knowledge or justificationism), but I'm not. Apparently, you cannot recognize that your conception of human knowledge is subject to criticism, so you think I must share it with you. I don't.

      Nic: "You don's share my concept of human knowledge?"

      Scott: "That's not an argument. Nor are you disagreeing with me."

      Nic: No, Scott, it's not an argument. It's called sarcasm.

      Call it whatever you like, but the end result is that you avoided the actual substance of my comment.

      For example..
      Scott: To clarify, you don't think I'm stuck with two options: an infinite regress (which is impossible and would result in no knowledge) or concluding there must be basic beliefs that need not be justified? If not, then how does proposing a designer solve the problem?

      Nic: [crickets]

      Scott: Again, observations of my criticism are compatible with a number of theories, including that I've discarded justificationism completely. Not everyone agrees on what those observations mean. Yet you seem to have concluded I went into "full fledged infinite regression mode". So, apparently, it's not about agreement after all.

      Nic: [crickets]

      Delete
    130. Scott: "So, we can produce the core of the sun, which we invoke to explain its surface?"

      Nic: I never thought of that, but you could be right, Scott. The sun may be hollow.

      Except, being wrong about how the sun works doesn't necessitate it being hollow, Nic. Is that the best you can come up with? Really?

      Delete
    131. Zachriel,

      Nic: "The sun may be hollow."

      Zachriel: "Sure, and based on your position on science, we can't know until we mount an expedition to the center of the Sun."

      It appears neither you or Scott grasp the concept of sarcasm. Not surprising I guess.

      Delete
    132. Scott,

      "To clarify, you don't think I'm stuck with two options: an infinite regress (which is impossible and would result in no knowledge) or concluding there must be basic beliefs that need not be justified? If not, then how does proposing a designer solve the problem?"

      I agree beliefs must be justified. However, justification is a subjective concept. What I may consider justifiable you may not. So, if you have a way of making justification of beliefs completely objective, I would like to hear it.

      In regards to a designer, I believe it is a completely justifiable proposal based on our knowledge and experience. I fully understand you do not take such a position and that is fine. We will simply have to agree to disagree.

      " Again, observations of my criticism are compatible with a number of theories, including that I've discarded justificationism completely. Not everyone agrees on what those observations mean. Yet you seem to have concluded I went into "full fledged infinite regression mode". So, apparently, it's not about agreement after all."

      You did go into infinite regression. Whether you were aware of it or not is another matter. The claim that the designer of a finely tuned creation must itself be more finely tuned is, on the face of it, an infinite regression argument. Unless of course, you are willing to admit at some point the designer is not itself designed. Are you?

      Delete
    133. Scott,

      "Except, being wrong about how the sun works doesn't necessitate it being hollow, Nic. Is that the best you can come up with? Really?"

      I'm aware of that. I just do not consider it a topic worth discussing.

      Delete
    134. Zachriel,

      "So garden sheds are a subset of Buildings. Is this what you meant?"

      No, I meant garden sheds are a subset of structures. Buildings are a subset of structures. So garden sheds can be a subset of both buildings and structures.

      Delete
    135. Nic: No, I meant garden sheds are a subset of structures. Buildings are a subset of structures. So garden sheds can be a subset of both buildings and structures.

      You forgot dog houses and garages. Where do they fit? So far we have:

      Nic: Buildings can be further classified into dwellings, warehouses, office buildings, etc.

      Nic: Wood frame (vertebrates) - dog house (amniotes) - garden shed (mammals) - garage (primates) - house (humans).

      Nic: garden sheds are a subset of structures. Buildings are a subset of structures.

      Your nested hierarchy is still not clear. Perhaps you can use set notation as we did above.

      Delete
    136. Zachriel,

      "You forgot dog houses and garages. Where do they fit? So far we have:"

      I have not forgotten anything. I've more than demonstrated that you can create what you like to view as 'nested hierarchies' using almost anything as a starting point, be it buildings, vehicles, etc.

      The reason you find it unclear is simply the result of the fact you wish it not to be the case. But the simple truth is 'nested hierarchies' are useless as convincing evidence for evolution. They appear all through human design scenarios and as such can be used to demonstrate intentional design more effectively than they explain random branching descent with modification.

      Seriously, it's time to move on.

      Delete
    137. Nic: I have not forgotten anything. I've more than demonstrated that you can create what you like to view as 'nested hierarchies' using almost anything as a starting point, be it buildings, vehicles, etc.

      No, you haven't. You've named a few things but not how they are arranged into sets.

      Nic: The reason you find it unclear ...

      The way to make it clear is to use set notation. It's very easy to construct a nested hierarchy of buildings. Start with this, which you already provided:

      Buildings = {dwellings, warehouses, offices}

      To make a nested hierarchy, you need to break out one of the subsets of Buildings. That's what we mean by nesting.

      Delete
    138. Scott: "To clarify, you don't think I'm stuck with two options: an infinite regress (which is impossible and would result in no knowledge) or concluding there must be basic beliefs that need not be justified? If not, then how does proposing a designer solve the problem?"

      Nic: I agree beliefs must be justified. However, justification is a subjective concept. What I may consider justifiable you may not. So, if you have a way of making justification of beliefs completely objective, I would like to hear it.

      Nic, in case it's not clear, I'm trying to take your objections to evolutionary theory seriously, as if they were true in realty, in that all of your objections to other scientific claims, or lack there of, should conform to them.

      Specifically, when I try to take your claim that "beliefs need to be justified" seriously as an explanation for how knowledge grows, then it seems you have problem of infinite regression, as those beliefs would need to be justified by some other beliefs, and those beliefs would need to be justified by other beliefs, etc.

      Since an infinite regression is impossible in practice, it seems that you either think some beliefs need to be justified, while others do not, or that justification as you're using it here isn't positive, in the sense that it moves from the more general to the more specific.

      In the case of the former, which is formally known as justificationism, the class of beliefs that do not need to be justified are often called basic beliefs or axioms, and are supposedly immune to criticism.

      A key criticism of justificationism is that justificationists appear to decide what beliefs do not require justification, and are therefore not subject to criticism, in an arbitrary manner. When this is pointed out, a common response is to claim we must stop somewhere or we're left with an infinite regression.

      When I pointed out that you appear to think "design" is immune from the very same criticism you apply to biological features, you responded by claiming I fell into an infinite regress.

      But, if I've got it wrong somewhere along the way, please point out exactly where, and how your view differs. Please be specific.

      Delete
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