Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Really, Its Astounding How Stupid You Guys Are While Being Taken As Educated People

So, you know, I might feel upset about an article about an MIT physicist who became also a devoutly religious Orthodox Jew who spends long hours studying The Law - making a point that I have about the high level of intellectual activity the Orthodox scholars' study represents - if I were the kind of atheist who insists that religion is incompatible with science,  but that's you, not me.  As it happens, I read about Jeremy England's speculations a good while ago and my head remains quite unexploded.

But, here's a little clue, Simels, you have to actually read the article to know what it said, though in your case even reading it three times and looking up all the ideas and words in it that you don't understand probably wouldn't do it, considering that it's you.

Yes, I'm going to break my resolution to ignore you again because, as you have been doing at Duncan Blacks's ever shrinking chat room for years now, I'm informed you are libeling me tonight.

By the way and about the article you think is going to upset me which you obviously didn't read or understand, I don't think Meagan Walsh knows the difference between Darwinism and evolution, just as an aside.  Nor the fact that the majority of people who accept the reality of evolution in North America, Europe and some other places would have to be Christians or the numbers in the surveys wouldn't work.  Her article says:

The Rabbinical Council of America even takes the stance that “evolutionary theory, properly understood, is not incompatible with belief in a Divine Creator.”

Which would be a good short description of the policy of most non-fundamentalist Christian churches in regard to evolution and science, in general. It's not that unlike what it says in the official, Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church.  That she apparently doesn't know this doesn't lead me to think her journalistic preparation for writing this article saw accuracy on that point as being very important.   I have gradually come to see having a journalism degree from an elite institution as being a disqualification to be a reporter.   They certainly don't seem to emphasize accuracy and research.

While I know this is the kind of article that gets atheists all excited, that's because 1. they don't understand that as a description of how life began on Earth that this is the most attenuated of speculation, since there is no remnant of that event available to hold up the speculations against.  In other words, what they say can't be verified. 2. that they fail to understand that any religious believer who believes God created the universe  also believes God created what we understand as "physical law".   Anyone who believes "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth shouldn't be at all upset by England's speculations.   Someone who believes that God created the physical universe believes he created all of it, as it is, as opposed to how anyone might believe it to be.

A more subtle point in the article, one which Walsh may have actually gotten right in her title is this,

Vijay Pande, a Stanford chemistry professor. “Jeremy’s proposal makes life a consequence of physical laws, not something random.”

Which would, actually,  be far more upsetting to the traditional atheist-Darwinist dogma in which life arising and developing depends ENTIRELY on the random meeting and combination of molecules and random mutations occurring to them.  The idea that physical law includes that which leads to the development of life is certainly consonant with many  traditional interpretations of the ideas contained in Genesis, including the repeated declarations that God found the creation of life good.

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

So if God thought it was so good that they keep saying that, it would be expected that they would find that physical law would seem to encourage the creation of life wherever the previous descriptions of the creation of atmospheres, bodies of water, dry land, things like that happened.

I will risk your head exploding when I point out that other than the flip side of your ideological coin, the scriptural fundamentalists, anyone who thought that Genesis was inspired and an allegorical description of the creation of life as told in line with the early Iron age knowledge of natural philosophy,  could take what England and Pande say with total equanimity.

I would think that a biologist who cared about the standards and absolute requirements of their science might be a lot more upset about a physicist's speculations in this area having much to do with the very specific and very unknowable origin of life on Earth.   Physicists do tend to have some rather naive ideas about life, not understanding that what the actual form of life that is being considered matters entirely in biology, if actually talking about what happened is the question.  And, as I've noted many, many times, the evidence of the one and only way in which life began here, on Earth, is lost in the shifting 3.5+ billion years that are believed, as of now, to separate us from that event.  The comparison with even the very earliest resolvable fossilized remains of microscopic life, coming hundreds of millions of years of very possibly evolving life forms, is little to go on.  Every single one of the descendants of that primordial first living being is unlike it in the most relevant way.   All other life came from living beings, the original organism in the line didn't.   Which is the crucial problem which the alleged science of abiogenesis can't possibly solve without having the actual, resolvable remains of that, one organism, which will almost certainly never be available for study.   I've been bringing that up for years online and no one has ever been able to tell me how such a discovery can possibly be made without having that fossil evidence to lead them in the right direction.

Now that I've taxed your very limited understanding, I will also note that, somewhat typical of the speculations of non-biologists and, sadly, way too many biologists sharing your ideological passions,  trying desperately to figure out how they can make life having happened in the total absence of the evidence they would need, they come up with all kinds of wild speculations.  Reducing it to crunching numbers in a computer, comparing the creation of life to a very living soprano causing a crystal goblet to shatter with her singing, while it might be some interesting physics and maybe even some relevant information about the physics of energy relevant to life, it will not tell you much of anything about how it happened and will almost certainly either be incorporated into the many different, conflicting theories that abiogenesists have already cooked up without that evidence, and, I'd expect, will lead to more, diverse, conflicting theories incorporating what Jeremy England comes up with.  The article says:

These are pretty things to ponder. Unfortunately, England’s work hasn’t yet provided any answers.... 

Here let me interrupt to repeat that

"England’s work hasn’t yet provided any answers..."

... leaving the professor in a kind of speculative state as he doggedly tries to put numbers to it all. “He hasn’t put enough cards on the table yet,” Franck says. “He’ll need to make more testable predictions.” So it remains to be seen where England will land in the end. Other scientists have made similar claims about energy dissipation in the context of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, but none has found a definitive means for applying this science to the origin of life.

And I'll point out that last point again because it makes exactly the same point I have about the place of speculation about the origin of life in the total absence of the fossilized evidence you would need to actually study it.

"...none has found a definitive means for applying this science to the origin of life."

Only, you have to have done what you obviously didn't do, READ THE ARTICLE and, even more so, UNDERSTAND IT.   I did and my head is quite intact.


  1. I have no idea what that "argument" was about this in the beginning, and I really don't care (hint hint!). I can tell it wasn't really worth knowing about.

    But as recently as seminary I was taught Genesis 1 expressed the relationship between Creator and Creation; that it was, in short, a theological statement about the nature of God (God=Creator), which is in no way delimiting but which tells us about the relationship between God and us and everything (i.e., Creation).

    It's not a definitive statement, nor a complete one (how does one encapsulate God?). But it gets you somewhere.

    Then there's the modern philosophical notion (coming out of Wittgenstein) of speech-act theory, and the notion of the "performative" act, an act which is performative of what is stated. So God says "Let there be light," and there is light. God doesn't "create" light, God's speech (the "Word", hello, Gospel of John!) is performative, and light is. The performative act does not require a relationship between actor and action, such as when the sculpture takes chisel to the stone to create the statue. The performative act, by definition, cannot belong to the set which it inaugurates. It gets us closer, again, to Aristotle's unmoved mover, although in this case the mover is moved, but the connection to the Creation is not the movement itself.

    This gets to be too much to compress into a comment, but the point is: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." I'm sick to death of the "gotcha!" style of argument so popular in the sandbox that is the Internet. Ignorant people making ignorant claims because thinking is too damned hard and too damned disturbing and might upset their little mental apple carts.

    Most of what I see in comments at websites is people refusing to think beyond their own prejudices and settled notions and very, very stupid ideas. You really, really can't fix stupid.

  2. "here's a little clue, Simels, you have to actually read the article"

    Here's a bigger clue, Sparky -- why should I read the article? I have absolutely no interest in the issues it raises. The only reason I ever bring shit like that up is because it allows me to mock you for your obsession. And goads you into wasting your time and energy on writing turgid pieces of crap like the essay above.

    Thanks for playing.

    1. I have published this incredibly stupid comment because I think anyone who demands evidence of the stupidity which I mentioned should see what I referred to.

      Other than reading the article and looking up a few links, this was a piece of cake to write, I think it took about fifteen minutes. I did the research to be able to answer it long ago when I wrote previous posts on the relevant topics.

    2. Simels really needs to get a life.

      This is pathetic.

    3. He has my open invitation to ignore my existence. I'd love to ignore his.