Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Universe: The Greatest Magic Show?



In his book The Illusion of Conscious WillDaniel M. Wegner a professor of psychology at Harvard University, claims that our sense of conscious agency is ALWAYS imaginary. In other words we are actually robots or zombies who only imagine ourselves to have free will.

Richard Dawkins, the chief atheist propagandist, has likewise declared that living things possess a very successful "Illusion of Design", so successful that to this day most Americans "stubbornly" refuse to believe it is an illusion.

So according to atheists, we live actually in  a strange magical world where nothing is what it clearly seems to be.

How convenient for psychopathic hedonists. The idea that God created us, that we have a soul, that there may be an unavoidable reward or punishment in the afterlife, that we even have any free will and moral responsibility to begin with are all illusions. Whatever the atheist does he can claim that his hormones, brain chemistry and bad parents made him do it and so long as he can avoid going to jail (not difficult if you have a little luck and/or a good lawyer) he has nothing to worry about.

I personally believe that, barring very strong evidence to the contrary, things are what they appear to be. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

49 comments:

Jeff said...

"I personally believe that, barring very strong evidence to the contrary, things are what they appear to be. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. "

This is not really a philosophy of knowledge (epistomology). It is more like pop psychology advice, akin to "go with your gut". Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

I believe that atheists can learn some positive things from religion, even if they don't believe the core dogma. For example, sense of community and purpose, importance of life cycle and family, emphasis on obligations and ethics from a young age.

OTOH, religion needs to internalize things like equality, freedom and fairness.

Anonymous said...

Wegner's claims are based on the evidence gained from tests and experiments.

Dawkins's claims are aims are based on the evidence gained from tests and experiments.

The claim that God created us? Based on your personal wish to explain why you are not a psychopathic hedonist even though people have registered formal complaints against you.

Things are what they appear to be, what the evidence tells us. Hence, no god.

jewish philosopher said...

"It is more like pop psychology advice, akin to "go with your gut"."

It's the way every rational person lives.

"Wegner's claims are based on the evidence gained from tests and experiments.
Dawkins's claims are aims are based on the evidence gained from tests and experiments."

It's all based on nothing. 

Dawkins argument is: Monotheism is no better than atheism. Monotheists don't know where God came from, atheists don't know where life came from. Monotheists don't have a video tape of God creating life, atheists don't have a video tape of life evolving. So they're even. And since atheism is more simple (no God) that makes it better. 

What he is ignoring is that the fossil evidence not only omits evolution, it indicates catasrophism, not evolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event

Second of all, he is ignoring the fact that monotheists consider God to be eternal and therefore do not need to explain where He came from.

Wegner does not argue that free will does not exist – he assumes it does not exist.

http://scienceblog.com/14392/the-illusion-of-free-will/

Presumably he believes that since evolution, not God, created us, we do not have a soul and if we have no soul we have no free will.

What I think is interesting is how shocked the public is by people like Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Peterson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Caylee_Anthony

People, even very educated, sophisticated people, claim to be amazed that perfectly normal, nice people could murder their own beloved pregnant wife or small child, dump the body like a bag of trash and feel no twinge of remorse. However the truth is obvious: they have simply absorbed the twisted thinking of our society's leading intellectuals, our professors and scientists. They know that there is no God, no soul, no heaven or hell, no free will and therefore no moral responsibility.  

Jeff said...

As we see in many parts of the Middle East at present, religious belief confers no immunity from mass murder. Quite the opposite, in fact.

"It's the way every rational person lives."

No, some of us think about things, too.

jewish philosopher said...

This blog is promoting orthodox Judaism and we are generally pretty good about violence.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/09/orthodox-jewish-crime.html

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/02/massacre-of-midianites.html

Sane people think however they don't routinely think that things which they see or feel are illusory.

Jeff said...

Then it is just as sane to pray a totem pole as it is to prey to hashem.

jewish philosopher said...

You should definitely not pray to anything.

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2828.htm#9

Besides that, believing in God is no different than believing for example in gravity or magnetism. No one has seen gravity or magnetism or knows what they are, however we see their effects and know that they exist. No one sane claims that they are "illusions".  

http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question30.html

http://discovermagazine.com/2008/may/02-three-words-that-could-overthrow-physics

Jeff said...

That sounds very pantheistic.
God=nature.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm just pointing out that we have no problem believing in the reality of unseen, unknowable forces.

Unless it involves God, the soul, etc then all of a sudden everything is a big illusion.

Jeff said...

Unseen yes, unknowable no. (note the difference between unknown, of which there are many things, and unknowable which by definition is outside the realm of scientific knowledge.)

jewish philosopher said...

I'm sure you'll agree that many things which we understand are beyond the understanding of a goldfish or a mouse. By the same token, there is every reason to assume that many things, or perhaps almost everything, is unknown and unknowable to us as well.

Ironmistress said...

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

If it requires batteries, it most likely isn't a duck.

Jeff said...

It is entirely plausible, or even probable, that there are things not knowable to us.

What I object to in your assertion is the selective use of the concept. When something doesn't make sense, is illogical or contradictory, its "unknowable". (like the problem of evil, or the inherent problems in reincarnation), However, you (or rabbis) seem to know a lot about things that are supposed to be unknowable. The soul is unknowable, yet you make all of these assertions about the nature of the soul, its fate in the afterlife, etc.

So, if we can't comprehend our consciousness and sense of self, fine. Call it a soul, and say its unknowable. But then you can't throw at me all kinds of "truths" about burning in hell and ultimate justice, because, hey, its unknowable! You can't possibly know anything about it, since it is not accessible to the senses or to scientific inquiry.

jewish philosopher said...

"If it requires batteries, it most likely isn't a duck."

There's no battery. There is no clear evidence that intelligent design in nature or free will are "illusions".

"It is entirely plausible, or even probable, that there are things not knowable to us."

What bothers me is that regarding God and the soul many atheists get all excited about how they will not believe in something which they cannot see and do not understand and then they start ridiculing "magic sky daddies" and "spaghetti monsters". However of course you believe in plenty of things which you cannot see and do not understand - start with gravity and magnetism for example.

Jeff said...

For all we know, our "soul" stays with our body after we die, and we lie there, entrapped, in our graves, while our body decomposes, for all of eternity. Now there's a Hitchcock movie for you!

The above scenario is not knowable, but not any more implausible than the scenarios you describe.

Jeff said...

" start with gravity and magnetism for example."

Of course those things can be readily measured and demonstrated. Not so god or souls.

jewish philosopher said...

"The above scenario is not knowable, but not any more implausible than the scenarios you describe."

My scenario is based on divine inspiration:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence. And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn the many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:2-3

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt3412.htm

Also, the Torah refers to God as being "just".

The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He. Deuteronomy 32:4

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0532.htm#4

If so there is no hell, where was the just punishment for Stalin or Mao?  

"Of course those things can be readily measured and demonstrated."

The evidence, from design in nature and from our own perception of self awareness and free choice, are as convincing as any evidence of magnetism or gravity. 

Ironmistress said...

"If it requires batteries, it most likely isn't a duck."

There's no battery. There is no clear evidence that intelligent design in nature or free will are "illusions".


We have no evidence of intelligent design. So far it is more plausible to assume both free will and intelligent design as illusions than divine concepts. Or, like Jean-Paul Sartre said: We are doomed to freedom.

What bothers me is that regarding God and the soul many atheists get all excited about how they will not believe in something which they cannot see and do not understand and then they start ridiculing "magic sky daddies" and "spaghetti monsters".

It is the burden of proof.

Prove me there are deities and I'm a believer. Prove me Finns are actually descended from one of the Ten Lost Tribes and I'll become a baalat t'shuva.

However of course you believe in plenty of things which you cannot see and do not understand - start with gravity and magnetism for example.

We have solid evidence - both a priori and a posteriori - of gravity and magnetism. The theories of gravity and magnetism are quantifiable and falsifiable and in accordance to the scientific method.

We do not have evidence of existence of deities. While near-death experiences exist and they are real phenomena, the evidence is so far anecdotal, and even if we accept them, the near-death experiences suggest God is nothing like described in Torah.

Occam's razor.

jewish philosopher said...

"We have no evidence of intelligent design."

The evidence is everywhere and overwhelming. Atheists admit that as well, but claim "oh it's a illusion".

"Prove me there are deities and I'm a believer."

Prove me there is evolution and I'm a believer.

"We do not have evidence of existence of deities."

Sure we do.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

Ironmistress said...

"We have no evidence of intelligent design."

The evidence is everywhere and overwhelming.


No, it isn't. It is just anecdotal but not binding. There may be intelligent designer after this all, but just as well there might not be and everything is just mindless play of mindless forces of nature.

"Prove me there are deities and I'm a believer."

Prove me there is evolution and I'm a believer.


Here you are. That is not to say there could not be a deity to design the evolutionary process or set its targets. If I was God, I certainly would use evolution to create life. It just will produce the best results.

"We do not have evidence of existence of deities."

Sure we do.


No, we don't. What you offer is just anecdotal tales and indices, but not evidence.

You offer the Pascal's Wager as the solution. There is nothing wrong in that - Blaise Pascal was a both a brilliant scientist and devout Christian, so you aren't the first, but Pascal's Wager does have its weaknesses as well.

Ironmistress said...

Paul Tobin writes: "The world today, perhaps more than ever, is in need of our undivided, moral and rational, attention. The problems of the world, both natural and man-made are many: famine, floods, the greenhouse effect, the ozone hole and the irreversible extinction of countless species of plants and animals. The only chance the world has is for humankind to understand that this world is all we have, there is no other, no afterlife. Only we can solve the world's problems. The solutions for the problems of the world and for life in general are not to be found in Christianity. Christianity, in fact, is part of the problem. "

What he writes makes pretty much sense, but I am pessimist.

The very essence of Homo sapiens can be condensed in four words, and they are stupidity, greed, lechery and laziness.

The problems Mr. Tobin points do exist and they are real, but we as humans are simply unable to solve them. Unable because the problems are far more complicated than anyone can think of, and any solutions will just create even worse problems. Unable also because we are not willing to do it. We are not willing to bargain from our pleasures a single bit. The solutions are costly and will make lives miserable. We as humans always put our short-term pleasure ahead of long-term survival.

This world is all we have and it is not a nice prospect. We have absolutely no hope on solving our problems and even if we could, we are not willing. The very nature of Capitalism is against it. Only a Fascist or Communist world government could force us to do it: people begin to behave sensibly only when other alternatives are blocked and deviant behaviour is punished.

There is no solution to world's problems. The only sensible thing is to have fun while it lasts.

jewish philosopher said...

"everything is just mindless play of mindless forces of nature."

Likewise, all the comments which I receive from you may be just mindless play of mindless forces of nature - for example static on a telecommunications line somewhere. I see no evidence of intelligent design other than anecdotal.

"Here you are."

I've read that years ago and even corresponded with the author at one point about seven years ago. It's very unconvincing and refuted here.

http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1a.asp

"What you offer is just anecdotal tales and indices, but not evidence."

There have been people in modern western democracies put to death on far less evidence.

"The very essence of Homo sapiens can be condensed in four words, and they are stupidity, greed, lechery and laziness."

Which is precisely why God gave us the Torah. The Talmud says in Kiddushin 30b: "I created the Evil Inclination, and I created Torah as an antidote for it."

http://www.torah.org/learning/lifeline/5762/pesach.html

"The only sensible thing is to have fun while it lasts."

Which never works. 

Was the recently deceased atheist icon Christopher Hitchen's having fun?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens#Esophageal_cancer_and_death

or American atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madalyn_Murray_O'Hair#Murder

or atheist performer John Lennon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennon#8_December_1980:_Death

All lived very troubled personal lives and died miserably and prematurely. So good luck with your Godless life of fun.

Ironmistress said...

"everything is just mindless play of mindless forces of nature."

Likewise, all the comments which I receive from you may be just mindless play of mindless forces of nature.


That answer is known as a "straw man", and it is not considered a good discussion technique.

"Here you are."

I've read that years ago and even corresponded with the author at one point about seven years ago. It's very unconvincing and refuted here.


No. It is only questionized, but I cannot see any rebuttal. The science - evolutionary paradigm - prevails.

"What you offer is just anecdotal tales and indices, but not evidence."

There have been people in modern western democracies put to death on far less evidence.


Which only proves the justice system is fallible, nothing else. It is assumed some 10% to 15% of all people hanged in UK in the 20th century were either innocent or the sentence was grossly overmeasured.

You still offer nothing but anecdotal evidences and indices. The sieve of science is far stricter than that of justice.

Which is precisely why God gave us the Torah. The Talmud says in Kiddushin 30b: "I created the Evil Inclination, and I created Torah as an antidote for it."

Which makes God as the source of all evil. Which means humans are not culpable on what they do.

This is exactly the old critique of Calvinism. Your argument makes God similar as the Calvinist God - an irrational, whimsical tyrant who hates his children and uses them as nothing but toys. I have already stated reading Torah leads into misotheism, and you well show also why it does.

"The only sensible thing is to have fun while it lasts."

Which never works.


Says who?

Reality check: We all will end up exactly just as dead when we've died. Nobody will be any less dead if he's lived frum and nobody will be any more dead if he hasn't. The life is too dang short to be wasted in living of fear of whimsical and evil deities any less than believing in horoscopes, witchcraft or magic.

And I am still not an Atheist but an Agnostic.

Just think Albert Einstein as the scientist, Thomas Edison as the engineer, Brian May as the entertainer and Bertrand Russell as the philosopher and you get some idea on how the Agnostics relate to the world.

Russell died peacefully in the age of 98. The last words of Edison were "It is incredibly beautiful out there". Einstein lived a long and productive life. And May has made an incredibly career both as musician and astronomer.

jewish philosopher said...

You see this is why I don't publish all of your comments - they just don't make sense, and I suspect that they are written while drunk.

"No. It is only questionized, but I cannot see any rebuttal."

"The sieve of science is far stricter than that of justice."

What kind of nonsense is this? What exactly does it mean? "Questionize" is not even a word. Where is your evidence?

So anyway, this type of possibly drunk blogging is why I really am not bothering to post most of your stuff. I don't have time. Sorry.

But anyway, let me try to ask a serious question. I'm really sincere about this. If anyone out there has an answer, please help. Really.

According to atheists, the world about 3.8 billion years ago was covered by water, above which was an atmosphere of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. There were volcanic eruptions, thunder storms and ultraviolet light from the sun. However the earth was absolutely sterile and lifeless.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Earth#4.3_Ga:_Oceans_and_atmosphere

Today, we find the earth teeming with millions of species of life. Each organism is incredibly complex, so complex that creating a computer simulation of one bacterium is still beyond the reach of science.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/17/health/17iht-sncoli.html

Furthermore, living things exhibit immense purposefulness, with each organ, cell and organelle assisting in the organism's survival and reproduction.

So my question is: what is the probability of all this complexity and purposefulness appearing without the involvement of some extremely powerful and intelligent designer? 

Surely after 150 years of atheistic science someone should have done the math and come up with a number, at least an approximation. What is it? One chance in a thousand? A trillion? A million trillion? Atheists of the world: Give me a number with some solid explanation behind it.

I suspect the real answer is: zero. It would never happen. 

This, more than anything else, is where atheism is simply, clearly falsified, end of story, Q.E.D. Without God, we could not be here.

See these links for details.

http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/did-life-form-by-accident/

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html 

Jeff said...

"I suspect the real answer is: zero. It would never happen."

You are left, of course, with the question of the likelihood of a god.

Since we have no other creations to infer from, where there is indeed a god, who was responsible for it, it cannot be calculated.

It therefore biegs the question of creation; when asked about the likelihood of evolution, you answer its impossibly improbable and must be God. However this answer assumes there is a god and that he is indeed capable of creating.

jewish philosopher said...

Once we conclude, as I think we just have, that abiogensis and evolution are impossible, then the only alternative explanation is God and the chance of God existing is 100%. Bear in mind that prior to 1859, all leading mainstream scientists were what we would now call intelligent design advocates and old earth creationists. Once you invalidate Darwin, you go back to that.

Jeff said...

"Once we conclude, as I think we just have, that abiogensis and evolution are impossible,"

I do not concede that point at all. The probabilities are exceedingly small, but the time frame and number of potential worlds are exceedingly large...

jewish philosopher said...

Again, I want a number with some intelligible explanation. At least an approximation, some realistic estimate.

As explained here

http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/did-life-form-by-accident/

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html 

I think it's zero.

jewish philosopher said...

This is the best that I could find on the Internet:

"At the moment, since we have no idea how probable life is, it's virtually impossible to assign any meaningful probabilities to any of the steps to life" according to Ian Musgrave 

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html

who is a senior lecturer for medical research at the University of Adelaide.
 
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/ian.musgrave
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Adelaide

"Any argument for design based on estimated mutation probabilities must therefore be purely speculative." according to Peter Olofsson

http://www.talkreason.org/articles/chanceprob.cfm

who is the Professor and Chair Mathematics Department Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 

http://ramanujan.math.trinity.edu/polofsson/index.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_University_(Texas)

Incidentally, regarding the issue of how mathematically likely it is that the universe is fine tuned to support life, the best that atheists can do is to conclude that it may not be unlikely: 
"Other Values for Physical Constants May Not Be Physically Possible"
"Other Values for Physical Constants May Be Highly Improbable"
"There May Be an Ensemble of Other Worlds"
according to Theodore Drange.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/tuning-revisited.html

Professor Emeritus at West Virginia University, where he taught philosophy from 1966 to 2001.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Drange
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Virginia_University

In other words, atheists believe that although they don't know how unlikely it is that we got here without God, and it certainly seems unlikely, however they are sure that we did. This is simply blind faith.

Jeff said...

I'll give you a probability of evolution if you give me a probability of the existence of an all powerful god that always existed.

In any case, no matter what non zero number I could give you, it would make no difference to you anyway. You would simply reject it as unlikely.

The fact that you ask the question doesn't put the burden of proof on me.

jewish philosopher said...

Instead of saying evolution created us, why not say leprechauns created us. Sure, it's unlikely, but that's not a problem for you.

Jeff said...

The evidence for leprechauns is about the same is evidence for god. Zero.

jewish philosopher said...

The evidence for God is overwhelming. 

Dawkins himself admits that the "heart (or an eye or a bacterial flagellum) looks designed". And he admits that evolution is improbable. How improbable, even the most fanatic atheists admit is unknown. Dawkins only absurd defense of atheism is that: if the eye evolving is unlikely, then God evolving is even more unlikely.

http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/features/101500/the-illusion-of-design

Of course, no monotheist ever suggested that God evolved or was ever created at all. 

These are just the rantings of a psychopath, not "scientific facts".

With atheism refuted by mathematics, we go back to what even scientists admitted before 1859: God did it.

Jeff said...

"the evidence for god is overwhelming"
We are underwhelmed.

"Of course, no monotheist ever suggested that God evolved or was ever created at all. "

It is a completely legitimate question to ask,what god came from. The fact that no monotheist asked it doesn't give an excuse to evade the question.

BTW I think god does evolve. Since he only exists in man's mind, and our conceptions about god have changed over time, so has god.

jewish philosopher said...

The whole atheistic concept of multiverses, abiogensis and evolution is simply a baseless fiction with zero chance of being true. This simple fact falsifies atheism.

Taking all the physical variables into account, Roger Penrose computed that the probability of an environment occurring where life could exist among all the possible results of the Big Bang is on the order of 10^123 to one

http://www.creationofuniverse.com/html/equilibrium03.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Penrose

Ilya Prigogine, chemist-physicist, recipient of two Nobel Prizes in chemistry, wrote: “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.”

http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/did-life-form-by-accident/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Prigogine

Atheists don't deny these types of pessimist estimates, only adding "The creation of God is even less likely!" which is absurd since no monotheist ever claimed that God was created. Atheists however must explain how we originated without God.

Anonymous said...

"Atheists however must explain how we originated without God."

We actually believe it was a cat who lives in your ceiling. He willed the universe and all life into existence. Every micron of the universe proclaims his existence. Rub him gently between the ears or you will have condemned yourself.

jewish philosopher said...

Had God not revealed Himself at Mount Sinai, that might have been quite plausible

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2006/12/truth-of-judaism.html

and certainly more reasonable than the pseudoscience of atheism.

Jeff said...

Rather than get sucked into an exchange of ridicule (which can be fun...) I will stick to the argument.

But please answer, how did God get here? And what was He doing for the billions of years until man appeared?

To say that "he always was" is simply philosophical musing and doesnt answer the question as to how he came about.

If you claim that he is beyond our comprehension,fine, but then you can't pretend to know the answers, either.

Since we don't have direct knowledge or experience with other gods we cant infer anything about your god either. We do have experience with the Greek Gods, many of whom in fact were created. So why can't one god be created?

http://www.greek-gods.info/theogony/

If you want to define God as "that which allowed/brought the universe and life into existence-- well then I believe in God. Thats pantheism. And evolution is His mechanism. You have a problem with that?

The revelation claims have already been dealt with and properly disposed of. Just a classic argument by special pleading.

Jeff said...

I would add that making evolution and belief in god incompatible is a philosophical choice that YOU make, and is not a logical necessity. True, evolution does not require god, and more than gravity does. But many religious folks in all faiths don't see things in black and white as you do.

The argument about atheism is a seperate argument from than about evolution.

Therefore atheism cannot be a "pseudoscience".

jewish philosopher said...

I just wonder why high school and college textbooks don't clearly explain "Scientists don't believe in evolution because they know that it happened. In fact, the chance that it happened is astronomically tiny. However the reason that scientists believe in evolution is because the only alternative is that God created us, and for God to have evolved would be even less likely than for life to evolve." Make that into a sticker to put on biology textbooks.

Jeff said...

I would guess that the main reason textbooks don't say that, is because it is false.

BTW do you have a problem with pantheism?

Here's a way for you to get unstuck from your problem about chance, since you seem to be really hung up on this.

Imagine 2 men talking. One says to the other, "you know, what do you think of the chances that on Feb 27, 2012, 2 bloggers will write to each other on the internet, one named Jeff X and the other Jacob Stein, and they will write about the pseodoscience of evolution." The other one would probably say, justifiable, "almost zero". Infinitessimally small, right?

Yet it just happened. How can this be?

The paradox is solved be realizing that we can only plausibly assign probabilities to categories of things which have been observed and part of our experience (thus we can know how likely or unlikely they are) , when the specific event in question has not yet occured. Probability is inferring about the unobserved from the observed. Assigning a probability to evolution or creation is like assigning the probability that Jacob Stein would be born 50 years ago and write a Torah Philosophy blog. It is a meaningless question, unless somebody actually predicted it.

Since we have no experience with creation of universes or gods, we cannot assign probabilities to them. And since are projecting backwards after the fact, the question has no meaning.

Having said that, 3 and half billion years is a long time, and a lot of shit can happen...Think of the Superbowl and what happened in 2 minutes!

ksil said...

the guy that won the powerball lottery also had tiny odds, but he won!

i think that god put all this evidence of evolution on earth to trick us! yea! to test us!

silly old man....

jewish philosopher said...

"I would guess that the main reason textbooks don't say that, is because it is false."

Why?

"BTW do you have a problem with pantheism?"

I've described God here.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/12/higher-power-as-i-understand-him.html

"Since we have no experience with creation of universes or gods, we cannot assign probabilities to them."

We have experience with machines and we can make some pretty good guesses about the chance of a millions of species of self reproducing, self nutritioning, self healing machine developing spontaneously in a big pool of water. Cosmologists apparently can take guesses about the likelihood of our universe having by chance the properties which make life possible. The chances seem to be about zero.

Sometimes my dog steps on my iPad while I'm trying to do something. What if I told you that in the course of several days of playing with my iPad, my dog authored a novel which is now a New York Times best seller. You might express incredulity and bring up questions about how unlikely it is that something like that could happen. I could explain that first of all no one knows since we have such little experience with canine authors. Secondly, since it's already happened, therefore the chance of it happening is 1. Thirdly, the universe is so big and so old that anything could happen eventually. Would these arguments be convincing or would most people suspect that I or some other intelligent author wrote the book?

Just as a side issue, I wonder why atheists believe that their opinions are interesting or may have any value. After all, your beliefs are not the result of free choice between different options, but rather are the result of your heredity and environment and you have to believe whatever you believe regardless of how nonsensical it might be.        

natschuster said...

The person who won the powerball had a very slight chance of winning, true, but a lot of people played, so the chances that one person would win were pretty good. And we can get some idea about the odds of a functioning biomolecule forming from scratch. If it is a protein with 1oo acids, then the chances are 1/20^100. That a pretty small probability. Since there were only 10^19 second since the Big Bang, time constraints are a real issue,

Jeff said...

NatSchuster:

Don't forget to multiply by the number of nanograms of mass that exist in the universe. Each particle has its own opportunity.

TP: I believe that we discussed your question about why anybody is interested. It is because that is what social beings do. Discuss, communicate, persuade.

jewish philosopher said...

However you as an enlightened, scientific person know that whatever you write is merely the result of random brain impulses and does not necessarily have any validity whatsoever. You imagine that you are freely and rationally choosing between different ideas, however that is merely an illusion.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

Proteins are not made out of just any particles. They are made out of very specific configurations of certain amino acids.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

I didn't see a whole lot on the link about Plaestinians rewrting history. It does say that they excavated the Temple Mount to attempt to prove that the Bais HAmikdosh wasn't built there. The fact that they had to prove it via archaeology shows that even they knew that they couldn't just re-write history, and not have anyone question it. They need proof. And the fact that they whitewash what is presented to the west shows that they know people will question their version.

Joe said...

Maybe Mr. Wagner imagines that we have imaginary free will... That would make more sense.