Friday, August 12, 2011

Vox Day Takes On PZ Meyer,"The Fowl Atheist"

Vox Day and PZ Meyer have been going at it for a while on the subject of evolution as science. Vox subscribes to a view that is close to mine, which is that evolution does not get held to the highest standards required of the physical sciences, to wit, experimental replication. And that real biology owes nothing to evolution in its dizzying charge forward. PZ defends evolution with his understanding of scientific methodology and philosophy of science. It's best to read the discussion in full, but here are some of Vox's comments which I liked:
Vox:
” When an astrophysicist or an economist gets a prediction based on a hypothesis wrong, his consequent assumption is usually that the hypothesis is incorrect. When an evolutionary biologist gets a prediction based on a hypothesis wrong, his consequent assumption is always that the hypothesis cannot possibly be to blame, there must be some missing factor that has not been properly taken into account. If evolution by natural selection has not taken place, then evolution by some other mechanism must have taken place; the logical conclusion that the core hypothesis is simply incorrect and evolution did not take place is seldom, if ever, considered an option.”
The deifying of evolution is a result of Philosophical Materialism, which is a rational fallacy. The functional materialism of science does not in any way predict the necessity of total materialism as a philosophy much less a worldview, regardless of the poverty of logical understandings of the Philosophical Materialists (who generally are also scientismists). But evolution cannot be questioned under Philosophical Materialism, and anyone who does is attacked and punished by excruciating peer pressure which is asserted by the likes of PZ who attaches a lot of name calling and other juvenilia. In the world of evolution, there are individual facts, and the connecting "facts" are made up, extrapolated from “mountains of evidence” all of which does not provide any absolute proof of the extrapolation other than circumstantial. The extrapolation is declared True. But there are hitches, such as the inability to justify abiogenesis. Even the concept of “life” itself is frequently denied, because it cannot be justified under materialist rules of reality. So life has no essence, as declares Materialist/Evolutionist Massimo Pigliucci. Materialism requires denying the obvious when the obvious gets in the way of the narrative.

Again, Vox:
” PZ's answer is completely irrelevant. There is zero evidence that abiogenesis ever took place, robustly imagined mechanisms for it notwithstanding. To claim that because there was no life before, but there is now, ergo abiogenesis occurred, is the very sort of philosophy that science has largely come to supplant. Evolutionists tend to wisely punt on the logically-dictated abiogenetic foundation upon which their materialist assumptions rest, but there is no reason anyone should permit them to do so. It's rather like economists who attempt to leave debt out of their equations. The numbers may all add up nicely without it, but leaving out the most important element tends to call the entire model into question.”
That abiogenesis had to have happened is again predicated simply on the Materialist Fallacy: there can be no other answer – By Definition (regardless of how erroneous the definition). And that is as anti-science as one can get, even if one tries to define it as "science" in order to justify one's erroneous Philosophical Materialism.

There's more; read it over at Vox’s place.

30 comments:

Nats said...

You have rejected the theory (because of your commitment to supernatural beings) and believe in creationism. You need to present evidence that creationism is correct before I dismiss you as illogical.

No argumentation can provide an incorrigible, final proof of evolution in the sense that you are seeking.

I am calling for a single empirical study that shows creation by a deity.

This needs to be empirical in the sense that it is measurable in real time with ordinary instrumentation, it is coherent in its results, it is replicated, and it is falsifiable.

Present a irrefutable, replicated, falsifiable empirical study.

Finally, please do send me real empirical validation of creationism it you find it.

Until then belief in special creation is illogical

So I will continue to poke at the nakedness of this non-empirical emperor. It has presented no case. It cannot prove its speculations. If it were not tied to a social agenda it would not be allowed by reasonable people to be elevated to the deification it now enjoys.

~Nats

Stan said...

You must be new here. I am not a creationist; your presupposition is incorrect. As is your premise, which seems to be that by demanding a Category Error and Naturalistic Fallacy you seem to be defending your position.

But Atheists who have been here for awhile know that their job is to provide a case for Atheism. Provide solid proof that there is no deity, because that is the basis of their worldview. So your sarcasm (surely you're not serious, because if you are that's the worst attempt to defend Atheism yet) doesn't go very far in defending Atheism.

Atheism fails every logical test, so that leaves emotional attachment to a failed worldview of rejection and negation without positive attachments. Atheism is merely rejectionism (it is not "being without a god-belief"). Atheists would like the world to think that Atheism provides a positive value to their lives on the one hand, and on the other hand they would like us to believe that it is purely passive, merely "without belief". That is non-coherent. And Atheism is without a defense for its belief.

Unless of course you can provide an empirical case for proving Atheism. Go for it. And you must use your own empirical requirements of course. But you knew that.

Nats said...

Ah, so you are an Aevolutionist. So instead of proving evolution wrong you must provide a case for Aevolutiuon.

I expect to see some solid proof of Aevolution.

KK Dowling said...

"I am not a creationist"


Creationism - belief that humanity, life, the Earth, or the universe are the creation of a supernatural being.


What part do you disagree with?

Stan said...

Nats said,
"Aevolutionist"
That also is incorrect. My assertion is that evolution is not True, in the philosophical sense of not incorrigibly unquestionable. It is based on instances, which are nearly unquestionable, and then the instances are connected with extrapolations. There are similarities in terms of DNA markers and HOX genes and so on. But the interrelationships are assumed and then presupposed in a philosophical manner. As a science, evolution is weak. But as Jerry Coyne shows, it is declared philosophically True.

Atheists are perfectly able to accept incomplete science as Truth and to add it to their "Knowledge", while rejecting any probability of a First Cause. The argument for the incompleteness of the empirical replicable experimental verification of evolution is demonstrable; the argument for the probable absence of a First Cause is not.

This is only one of the internal contradictions that are fundamental to Atheism.

Vox Day is correct in saying that evolution is unquestionable in today's Materialist scientista culture, and that the original definition has changed radically over time into something entirely different - yet the basic Materialist premise cannot be challenged for Philosophical reasons. That it is philosophical is easily seen by the inflamed anger and bitterness with which any challenge is met by the Materialists.

So it is not science as science is defined by Physics and the hard sciences, where no premise is sacred.

And to repeat, the weakness of evolution and its sacred position have no influence on real biology; real biology is done and then evolutionists use the results to "support" their philosophical beliefs. And there is no result possible that cannot support their beliefs since their hypothesis is all encompassing, Materially.

Stan said...

KK said,
"Creationism - belief that humanity, life, the Earth, or the universe are the creation of a supernatural being."

The term "creationism" carries much more baggage than your definition allows for. So this looks much like a word game which is so favored by Atheists. You have not asked for my beliefs, you have attempted to place me into a box, apparently in order to enable an attack on the box. Too simplistic.

KK Dowling said...

Well, do you believe the universe was created by a supernatural being?

KK Dowling said...

You're upset that science has a materialist premise.
Perhaps you can enlighten me to sciences that measure and test the supernatural.

It's not natural science like biology...

Definition of NATURAL SCIENCE
: any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomena

What about science in general...

Definition of SCIENCE
; such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena
the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding (...etc)

Your two complaints with science seems to be
-that it doesn't test the untestable and
-that a method designed to test the material world won't find your supernatural "First Cause"

There;s already a school of thought about the supernatural and the untestable. It's called religion and it's not science.

Stan said...

081311 KK



KK said,
"You're upset that science has a materialist premise.
Perhaps you can enlighten me to sciences that measure and test the supernatural."


You are wildly off the mark. I am not upset about anything. I make claims that are obvious. The claim that evolution has the same knowledge status as regular biology is without merit. It not only does not, it cannot merit the same status because it is diametrically opposite in its limitations. Evolution is a forensic discovery/extrapolate endeavor. Regular, forward-looking biology is empirical, replicable and contributes to knowledge in the normal empirical contingent mode, within the constraints of Inductive limitations of hypothesis formation, and Deductive limitations of non-falsification. Moreover, regular forward-looking biology does not depend on evolutionary theory (which is crazily volatile) for its hypotheses.

But, you are coming around. Science has a voluntary materialist premise. It is excellent at what it does... if it is done properly. I suggest that you read Karl Popper ("The Logic of Scientific Discovery") and other philosophers of science.

Because science has voluntarily accepted its material limitations, it has nothing to say about non-material subjects. This is where Philosophical Materialists go afoul of logic and science both. Because there is no scientific capacity to address non-Material issues, it - science - cannot be used to claim that material entities are all that exist. Science, under its acknowledged materialist limitations, cannot prove the Philosophical Materialist claims. Therefore, Philosophical Materialism suffers from unprovability within its own knowledge framework constraints. Being unprovable, it is a blind belief system which proclaims its own Truth without either science or logic to back it up.

”Your two complaints with science seems to be
-that it doesn't test the untestable and
-that a method designed to test the material world won't find your supernatural "First Cause"


I have no complaints with science, contrary to your misreading of what I have said. I’ll try to be more clear and succinct:

(a) Science has limits which are physical;

(b) Philosophical Materialism is neither scientific nor logical;

(c) Using science and Philosophical Materialism as an excuse for Atheism is both false and irrational. Stated differently: Materialist philosophies and methodologies cannot make truth claims about non-material subjects: that is a Category Error.

(d) Atheism is a position that requires that a case be made for its defense.

(e) This case cannot be made using science or Philosophical Materialism because that is a Category Error.

(f) Truth claims can be made for non-materialist pursuit such as Mathematics and Logic. The limitations of such claims are contained in the claim (unlike Philosophical Materialism and Atheism).

We can discuss any or all of these statements as you wish.

Martin said...

As long as you are not identical to your parents, and as long as there are selective environmental pressures, evolution in its broadest sense cannot fail to occur.

I really don't see the problem, and there is no materialist assumption here. In order to dispute that evolution occurs, you need to show that either a) you are identical to your parents, or b) environmental pressure does not occur.

I would hope that by now you would be aware of Aristotelian teleology, and how it permeates all of nature, and how it is the ID movement who has given in to mechanistic materialism and thus needs to try to apply teleology from the outside, as a supernatural intervention, whereas the Aristotle metaphysical system has teleology as a fundamental part of nature.

On that view, evolution only confirms teleology, and does nothing to support a mechanistic materialist viewpoint.

Stan said...

KK said,
"Well, do you believe the universe was created by a supernatural being?"

It appears to me that the logical claim that a First Cause for the universe existed outside the mass-energy space-time dimensions is more credible than that it did not, or that if it did it was "natural", i.e. mass-energy, space-time constrained.

Rather than "supernatural" which again carries unfortunate baggage, maybe "meta-universal" or "meta-material" would be closer.

Martin said...

Stan, don't miss my comment above.

--- (3 Dashes) said...

It's not our fault that the words "supernatural" and "creationist" have "unfortunate baggage". The word "atheist" has baggage that you are so very happy to play up. Words like "meta-material" already have a meaning and it's not supernatural.

Stan, you are a creationist who believes in the supernatural.

Stan said...

Martin,
I'm taking your comment under consideration for awhile. As I understand plato.stanford's post on Aristotlean teleology, it is highly disputed even in its simpler form. And it seems to me that I can think of non-teleological events, although I have not thought them through, so perhaps they are not, in the long run. The other side of that coin is that it is possible to impute purpose where it is not, so that is a hazard to deducing falsifications for teleology.

Aristotle was a "matterist"; in his sense of the word, matter included non-material things such as forms and potentialities. It seems that matter was real, but non-material in the sense that Bertrand Russell considered intellect and Freewill to be a separate "substance" from material substance. This is dualism of material and non-material, which accounts for Aristotle's definition of "soul" as the final cause of biological life, yet non-material... as I understand it.

While these things are interesting, PZ and others specifically deny teleology as existing in nature, and they insist on randomness in evolution, regardless of the mechanism other than that. Not to mention that they deny duality, of course.

I still don't buy the idea that because two parents produce an offspring with differences from either of themselves that it is justified to claim that as anything more than local change within the set; it cannot show origins outside the set, or any reason to think that sub-populations will ultimately leave the set. Changes are required in order to produce characteristics that do not exist in the set.

However, as I said, I am taking it under consideration. I need to get Aristotle's "Physics" for my pile of to-reads.

Stan said...

(---)said,
"It's not our fault that the words "supernatural" and "creationist" have "unfortunate baggage". "

Who said it was your fault??

"The word "atheist" has baggage that you are so very happy to play up. Words like "meta-material" already have a meaning and it's not supernatural."

The word Atheist just means one thing: rejection of God. The word "supernatural" refers to all sorts of bizarre beliefs, which I am sure you would like to attach to me. Same goes for "creationist". As for meta-material, I'm not attached to that box label either.

While I accede to no labels, Atheists do accept the Atheist label, and until recently they rejected God. Now they claim they are innocent of God theories and have no opinion. But in reality they do reject God, just as Atheists historically did.

KK Dowling said...

The word Atheist just means one thing:

That's right, continue.

rejection of God.

No. Atheist mean "not theist"

CHRIS said...

Of all the world's religions, why are the theistic traditions especially objectionable and irritating to atheists?

Or is that a false notion and atheists are, in fact, just as scandalized by the idealist philosophies of East and West?

Stan said...

KK said,
"”No. Atheist mean "not theist"”

I write the response to this so often that I need to save off a copy and cut & paste it in every few days.

A person who has never heard of theism is without theism: ignorant.

A person who has heard of theism and accepts it is a theist.

A person who has heard of theism and rejects it is an Atheist.

If a person has heard of theism and forgets that he heard about it, he remains ignorant.

If a person has heard of theism and still maintains that he is not theist without having rejecting it, he has committed an internal contradiction (non-coherence) which is irrational. Moreover, he places himself in the same category as geese, snails, fungus, rocks, and various types of waste, all of which are “not theist”. Certainly this is not the intent of the Atheist, but what is the intent of making an irrational claim? Many Atheists have come to realize that they cannot make a case for their belief system, and that under the necessary conditions for rebuttal, must disprove the argument and must provide a credible case for the opposing position. The new (irrational) definition is an attempt to avoid having to make a coherent case for their position/worldview. Despite this attempt, it becomes obvious that it is more important to the Atheist to defend an irrational worldview with an irrational argument than it is to address it freely and square on.

If the original argument is for a First Cause of the universe with attendant necessary capabilities, and if the rebuttal is “not theist”, then the rebuttal has not addressed the argument and fails.

No matter what the original argument might be, the rebuttal of "not theist" fails.

Stan said...

Chris,
If behaviors count for anything then Christianity is anathema to Atheists and the other religions are just along for the ride. Christianity is a proximate threat of an objective (or at least non-subjective) control on their personal behaviors, and Atheists reject such controls as abusive.

Certainly some Christians exacerbate the Atheists' discontent by reminding the Atheists of such controls (actually recommended self-controls). So Atheists are particularly annoyed at the presence of Christians.

In a Muslim environment Atheists might still be annoyed but would necessarily be annoyed in silence for obvious reasons. The Christian threat to Atheists is merely that Christianity annoys Atheists, who are determined to create their own morality if they see a need for it.

KK Dowling said...

"I write the response to this so often that I need to save off a copy and cut & paste it in every few days."

I honestly thought you were already replying with cut and paste.

No matter what the original argument might be, the rebuttal of "not theist" fails.

It was a correction of your incorrect definition of the word "atheist". The English word "atheist" does not mean "rejection of God" (I noticed the capital letter G.) It means "not a theist". It's great you have opinions about theists, atheists and agnostics but it doesn't change the meaning of the word.

Many Atheists have come to realize that they cannot make a case for their belief system,

All I know is I've never seen a theist present an argument for a god that conformed with reality or wasn't based on logical fallacies. Not understanding the origins of the universe is not a good reason to believe in a god. Let alone a all-powerful timeless invisible super-being who is intensely concerned with how humans use their sex-organs.

I was a Christian for few decades. I got into apologetics. I wanted to bring people to Christ but I kept finding the reasons to believe were based on logical fallacies.

In a Muslim environment Atheists might still be annoyed but would necessarily be annoyed in silence for obvious reasons. The Christian threat to Atheists is merely that Christianity annoys Atheists, who are determined to create their own morality if they see a need for it.

For hundred of years, Christians have killed unbelievers for their god. You might be sad that I can speak my mind in this country without being killed but it is progress. Christians are still burning people as witches or unbelievers in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Papua New Guinea. (And releasing video of the burnings which I don't recommend watching.)

CHRIS said...

I'm curious. Are there any stats on the percentage of the avowed atheist population who are ex-believers that "defected"?

Despite their certain disagreement, atheists strike me as a reactionary group with an axe to grind. Not theist after all. As opposed, perhaps, to a true a-theist, a Buddhist.

The so called "weak atheist" stance strikes me as a co-opted agnostic position.

Stan said...

081411 define atheist.
KK said,
”it was a correction of your incorrect definition of the word "atheist". The English word "atheist" does not mean "rejection of God" (I noticed the capital letter G.) It means "not a theist". It's great you have opinions about theists, atheists and agnostics but it doesn't change the meaning of the word.”

a’the-ist, n. one who believes that there is no God.
Webster’s Deluxe Unabridged Dictionary, Second Ed, 1979.

athe-ist \’a-the-ist\ n : one who denies the existence of God.
”The Merriam Webster Dictionary New Edition, based on Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Ed. 2004.

a*the*ist (a’the*ist)n One who denies or disbelieves in the existence of God.
The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English language, Deluxe Encyclopedic Edition, Trident Press, 2004.

Notice again the capital G.

Atheists have changed the meaning of the word. Not me. You must be careful when correcting someone; use a source.

”All I know is I've never seen a theist present an argument for a god that conformed with reality or wasn't based on logical fallacies.”

If by reality you mean Materialism, then of course not: your expectation is a Category Error. As for fallacy, you have not addressed any arguments here, much less claimed any logical fallacies for arguments; your presence has been of the sniper type.

”Not understanding the origins of the universe is not a good reason to believe in a god. Let alone a all-powerful timeless invisible super-being who is intensely concerned with how humans use their sex-organs.”

And that’s an example. “Not a good reason” is without any force of logic, and it is a total misrepresentation of the argument for a First Cause. The rest of it is merely snark, since “let alone” is not an argument, and humans using their sex organs is not a part of any logical argument of which I am aware; it is merely a dig at an ethic of which you do not approve and have given no reason or alternative ethic.

”I kept finding the reasons to believe were based on logical fallacies.”

We’ll need more than that in order to know your actual reasons. Provide an argument and the fallacy it is based on. Then we can talk about it. Otherwise it is just an empty, baseless accusation.

”For hundred of years, Christians have killed unbelievers for their god. You might be sad that I can speak my mind in this country without being killed but it is progress. Christians are still burning people as witches or unbelievers in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Papua New Guinea. (And releasing video of the burnings which I don't recommend watching.)”

And For the last 100 years, Atheists and humanists have killed more than the Christians did over their entire history. Your selective horror is an indication of bias in favor of the Atheist crimes of the 20th century. Do you wish to defend that position? If you choose the “No True Scotsman” fallacy, at least apply it fairly.

The following statement is indicative of the irrationality which now possesses you:

"You might be sad that I can speak my mind in this country without being killed but it is progress."

There is no rational excuse for such an accusation against me. You have no basis for this statement; I suggest that you get help.

Martin said...

KK Dowling,

All I know is I've never seen a theist present an argument for a god that conformed with reality or wasn't based on logical fallacies.

Check out the seven theistic arguments on my blog.

KK Dowling said...

Am I going to see arguments for theism or deism?

FrankNorman said...

KK, Why not go and look, and decide for yourself what the arguments prove?

Martin said...

KK Dowling,

I would highly recommend starting with Aquinas' First Way. The argument is for theism, not deism.

Chris said...

I'm not entirely clear on a very important point in the atheist worldview. Do atheists claim that the "stuff" of existence is eternal and that the big bang was simply the beginning of the expansion of the universe?

Or "once upon a no-time" there was absolutely nothing, and then, "bang"- something?

It strikes me that the materialist's quest for the TOE is
a classic case of epicycling.
I've noticed that quantum mechanics are often invoked to refute Aquinas' arguments. Interestingly, however, the discoveries of the quantum world has turned many a physicist away from positivism and materialism.

I can understand how the anthropomorphism of theism can be difficult to approach; nevertheless, the numerous problems associated with metaphysical naturalism makes the defense of a physicalist understanding of reality rather dubious.

Chuck said...

1. Everything that exists must have a cause.
2. The universe exists.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
4. God doesn't need a cause
5. So God made the universe.

Game over.

Nats said...

1. Learn about quantum events.
2. The universe does exist. I award you one point.
4. Special pleading.
5. Even if all the other points were correct this doesn't follow.

Game over. You received one point.

Martin said...

Chuck,

Everything that exists must have a cause.

This is the atheist version of "if we evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys??!!!"

Read my blog, linked above, if you want to learn about cosmological arguments.