Friday, June 22, 2007

Two Equals




Above are two photographs. One is a bank teller and the other is an automated teller machine.

According to atheism, materialism and determinism, both are machines; one made from metal and plastic, one from protein and nucleic acid. Both have the same purpose. Both will be maintained until they wear out and will then be disposed of. Perhaps the biggest difference between them is that an intelligent designer created the automated teller machine, however the bank teller was not created by any intelligence. She was created by chance chemical combinations accumulating over three billion years.

Does anyone not find this analysis to be a little absurd?

29 comments:

avrum68 said...

It seems bizarre to me as well. But my background - that being anything BUT science - allows for such mystery.

My wife - background in medicine, math and gene therapy - agrees with you 100%. AND she's well versed in Darwin.

I asked her how two people, with exact same body of knowledge, can arrive at such different conclusions. She said the evidence, or lack thereof, doesn't support either theory 100%. And because there are so many loop holes, atheists and deists can draw their own conclusions.

Anyway, I thought JP would like to know that there's one scientist who agrees with his conclusions.

Personally, I'm much more impressed by the fact that the things most of us dedicate our finances, emotions and energy towards, are beyond scientific explanation. I'm thinking of our longing for love, creative expression, leisure, self-actualiation, etc., etc. It would seem we are hard wired for meaning. And hence, the idea of a God, who creates, could have created a being to be moved by, and seek out, meaningful experiences.

On a side note, is it just me, or are all the angry, foaming-at-the-mouth atheists ex-Christians?

jewish philosopher said...

Unfortunately not. Mark Perakh, based on my correspondence with him, is as angry as they come, although in his book “Unintelligent Design” he actually defines himself as an agnostic. With all due respect for Professor Perakh, I almost called the Animal Control Bureau for him, but thankfully rabies doesn’t spread by email.

avrum68 said...

Well JP, here's a timely letter in today's Globe and Mail that I think you'll enjoy:

Kudos to Preston Manning for his appropriate advice to Richard Dawkins and his associated zealots (An Inquisition In Science's Name - June 20). As a molecular biologist, I am one of many who hold Mr. Dawkin's contribution to biology in the highest regard. But I wish he would stick to his area of expertise and stop embarrassing himself fin publications such as The God Delusion.

To those in search of a balanced education in the contributi9ons and absurdities of science, I highly recommend physicist Len Fisher's Weighing the Soul. One day, someone may prove the existence of the Higgs boson, one of many concepts in physics based on faith, just as one day we will all die and may have proof of the existence (or not) of God. As Dr. Fisher so aptly describes it, a scientists is often, like Alice, required to believe six impossible things before breakfast. It is fortunate that one of those things (O Ye Of Little Faith - letters, June 21) is not that "Mr. Dawkin's way leads to enlightenment".

avrum68 said...

Author of the letter:

David B. O'Gorman,
Departments of Biochemistry and Surgery, University of Western Ontario

Cameron said...

Avrum, to answer your question, 'it's just you'.

Cameron

Mark said...

"With all due respect for Professor Perakh, I almost called the Animal Control Bureau for him, but thankfully rabies doesn’t spread by email. "

Words mean things! When you say "with all due respect", then proceed to accuse one of being a rabid animal, there is definately something wrong.

How do you define being angry? Is it not possible, perhaps, that some of your diests are equally angry and are projecting?

avrum68 said...

"Avrum, to answer your question, 'it's just you'."

Me thinks not, but anyhoo...

jewish philosopher said...

Mark, are you Mark Perakh??? If so, thank you for reading my blog. However I am afraid that I did find Professor Perakh's emails to be very, very aggressive. One could even describe them as "rabid" in the sense of "Raging; uncontrollable; extremely zealous or enthusiastic; fanatical".

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Does anyone not find this analysis to be a little absurd?

Most strawmen are.

jewish philosopher said...

Friar, perhaps you would enlighten me as to why my comments are a misrepresentation of my opponent's position.

Cameron said...

JP: According to atheism, materialism and determinism, both (the automated teller and the human teller) are machines; one made from metal and plastic, one from protein and nucleic acid.

CH: Sigh. This is of course, mostly false. 'Atheism' makes no comment at all on the matter, and 'materialists' simply insist that both the machine and the person are made of 'natural materials' - i.e. plastic and steel for the machine, and flesh and blood for the person. Strict determinists however might agree with your assessment, so while you got that one right (out of three tries) you are still of course, mostly wrong.

JP: Both have the same purpose.

CH: Only if you have a very limited sense of 'purpose'. The automated teller machine is designed to dispense money. Did your intelligent designer design the human teller for the same purpose? Giving them fingers to count on and a brain designed to count monetary units? I think not, but its your teleology at work here.

JP: Both will be maintained until they wear out and will then be disposed of.

CH: Sounds like you are wistful for a workers paradise. I had always wondered if you theists weren't all closet commies hoping for your sky god to fix the economy for you.

JP: Perhaps the biggest difference between them is that an intelligent designer created the automated teller machine, however the bank teller was not created by any intelligence. She was created by chance chemical combinations accumulating over three billion years.

CH: But that bank teller wasn't designed by any intelligence. Having just fathered a child I can assure you that people are created not by designing them, but through another process entirely - one that includes random elements like which of my millions of sperm are welcomed into the loving embrace by my wife's ready to be fertilized egg.

JP: Does anyone not find this analysis to be a little absurd?

CH: I certainly do.

JP: Friar, perhaps you would enlighten me as to why my comments are a misrepresentation of my opponent's position.

CH: I can help with that. Your comments misrepresent atheism by conflating it with both materialism and determinism. You make this rhetorical move early on, and then proceed to attack the position as absurd. Needless to say we (atheists) object.

As a reminder, the atheist position is limited, we insist merely 'there is no supernatural being'. All the rest that you rail against (humanism, materialism, etc.) is a sideshow. There are Christian and Jewish materialist thinkers, yet you insist only on bashing atheists. You also frequently smear atheists with labels like 'socialist', 'communist', 'nazi', etc. as if the contingent fact these ideologies were atheist makes atheists complicit in those ideologies.

Indeed, the strawman is a frequent target of your wrath.

jewish philosopher said...

I think you'll find that few atheists are spiritualists and indeterminists. Perhaps you’re the exception to the rule.

Even if you believe that individuals are the partially the result of the chance, however the first human couple was clearly designed. The bank teller is far more purposeful and complex than the ATM.

Cameron said...

JP: I think you'll find that few atheists are spiritualists and indeterminists. Perhaps you’re the exception to the rule.

CH: I'll admit that I myself am a materialist - but it is not necessarily the case that an atheist must be a materialist (and again I give you Buddhists, Confucianists, etc.). And for the record, I'm not a determinist.

JP:...however the first human couple was clearly designed. The bank teller is far more purposeful and complex than the ATM.

CH: I'd suggest that we know much differently. Early humans carry a large number of flaws - especially compared to modern humans. From excessively bowed legs, to much shorter life-spans, to smaller cranial capacities, they enjoyed few of the advantages we modern humans do. Indeed, what seems most clear is that there is no 'first couple', and that humans evolved.

I should note that for you to argue that the creation myth of Genesis is 'real' can only be argued on faith grounds - there are simply no evidenciary reasons outside of faith to consider this myth to be true.

Whereas the opposite is the case for the science of evolution - a science whose truth is not only dominant, but now so essential that entire branches of science are dependent on, and mutually reinforcing of, it.

The entire arm of biology we call 'genetics' springs from, and is based on, evolution being the explanation for changes in species over time.

I further make the case that evolution isn't true simply because it is atheistic, it is true because it corresponds with the facts of the universe.

(This is in contrast to something that actually is an ideological construct, like Lysenkoism, where it is false even though it is clearly atheist - not because it is atheist, but because in the end it's claims did not comport with reality.)

So to sum up my criticisms on your latest post;

- The philosophies of atheism, determinism and physical materialism are not equivalent, and actually mean separate things from each other.

- Human beings were clearly not designed, wheras ATMs clearly are.

- The Genesis account is a creation myth, not reality.

jewish philosopher said...

As I have suggested elsewhere, evolution is merely atheistic propaganda. Its only practical scientific application of is eugenics. Creationists also believe in genetics; we just believe God created the genes.

avrum68 said...

"Indeed, what seems most clear is that there is no 'first couple', and that humans evolved."

Can you provide a Biblical passage that would suggest the "first couple" looked anything like...you...me? I'm curious about your assumption.

"there are simply no evidenciary reasons outside of faith to consider this myth to be true."

I here ya pal. I feel the same way about love, art, hope, psychodynamic therapy...the list goes on and on.

david said...

The Bible doesn't say we look as we did at creation. What the bible says is that we are created in Gods image. We share many of our physical features with many animals, and God is a spiritual being not a physical one. Considering this we can resonably assume that when the bible says that we are created in Gods image It refers not to physical features, rather something spiritual. Whatever it means, there is no mention of how we are looked at creation so even if we have evolved physically since then, and I am yet to see any evidece that we have, it does not call the Genesis Account into any doubt.

jewish philosopher said...

I would assume that the first couple was brown (most humans are) and very good looking (after all, God Himself created them). They were created fully mature. Think of a couple of very athletic Hawaiian 20 year olds.

Henry said...

You are well out of line with mainstream Orthodox Jewish thinking on this matter.

Judaism, unlike Catholicism, has no universally recognised authority, nevertheless, there are individuals such as the late Rabbi Kook, whom, especially as a convert, you should be looking to for guidance. It is just not good enough for you to put out views like this and make out that they are part of Orthodox Judaism, because clearly they represent only a quirky intellectual backwater.

'many prominent rabbis were quick to reconcile the Torah with the truths of science. "It is the power of the Torah that all theories can be included," wrote one Montreal-based Orthodox rabbi in the summer of 1925, at the time of the Scopes trial. A few years earlier, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, chief rabbi of pre-state Palestine, assured his followers that evolution, "more so than all other philosophical theories, conforms to the kabbalistic secrets of the world." '

jewish philosopher said...

All pro-evolution statements made by so called rabbis have been made post-Darwin and are apologetics. They have no authentic Jewish basis.

If evolution is true, Judaism is false.

Henry said...

Rabbi Kook was a highly revered authority. His views are more authentically Jewish than the stuff you have picked up from heaven knows where, but it has the bad odour of American Fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity all about it.

Evolution is as well supported by evidence as any scientific theory can be, and Judaism is true as far as it goes, apart from a few medieval and subsequent add-ons which attempt to define Jewish doctrine against Christianity.

jewish philosopher said...

Henry, I know you cannot be familiar with these sectarian nuances, however Rabbi Kook is highly respected within the modern Orthodox community only. Other Orthodox groups consider him to have been either eccentric or heretical.

This blog follows a more right wing philosophy and may be the only blog currently doing so.

Henry said...

How right is right? Anyhow, thank goodness this is not a dispute I need to concern myself with except as an observer - I just have to follow the Bishop of Rome if I am looking to find what the orthodox doctrine is.

jewish philosopher said...

As I mention in my profile "This blog as a rule follows the teachings of the Lithuanian rabbinical seminaries of the 1920s and 1930s."

Henry said...

Why choose them, particularly?

jewish philosopher said...

Based on my analysis, I believe those teachings are the most faithful to the authentic meaning of the Talmud.

Henry said...

So you have made up your own mind, if only about whom to follow. But then again, who is to say that he is the best authority?

jewish philosopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jewish philosopher said...

How do you decide which doctor is the best? You have to make an assessment.

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