Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Science Cannot Be Done Without The Intelligent Design of Scientists It Cannot Disprove Intelligent Design But It Can Prove Scientists Can Claim Stupid Stuff

Last night I got a message that Duncan Black's Brain Trust was on me again, apparently it's something they do between discussions of their TV viewing, dinner menu,  and their self congratulations on how much smarter they are than 95% of the world and how stupid everyone else is. Who needs that kind of stuff once you're out of 8th grade?  That's what Eschaton has become, which is perhaps why its owner has been whining about its failure to make him money in such a pathetic manner.  Why he is shilling for Jeff Bezos and his retail sweat shop, wanting the pennies on the dollar he gets from the labor of those wretches..

Anyway, one of the "brain" trustifarians is someone so bright that she adopted the name of the Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl, who is famous, among other things, for being the shit eating goddess, the goddess that eats shit.  I know, why would anyone who had bothered to actually read about  the goddess, Tlazolteotl,  choose that for a blog comment name.   I may have been the one who first pointed out to her that it would give someone who she attacked, like me, the opportunity to say, "shit in, shit out".  Apparently, from what she describes, she's some kind of lab tech at some biology lab or something on the West Coast and so considers herself a scientist.  I'd like to see her publications list or her CV but this isn't going to be about her, it's about another of those things I wrote that gave me a lot of pleasure.

She claimed, last night to have driven me from the blog of Greg Laden, which is rather odd because that's the place I pointed out she'd said that Richard Feynman didn't know anything about science, [see last night's late post and this link].   Far from "driving me from" Laden's blog, that was the one and only discussion I ever had there because he quoted something I'd just said at another blog, unattributed, in the title of his post,  "We can know nothing about the origin of life, "  to which he began,  Falsehood!!!   I don't think I'd ever looked at Laden's blog before then and have seldom looked at it since then, it's one of the cookie cutter neo-atheist Science Blogs, which are pretty uniform and not that interesting.  The uniformity of such blogs leads to them being not worth revisiting if you're interested in more than the same old crap, but I don't want to make this about Eschaton, either.

The topic of the origin of life on Earth interests me mostly because the alleged science of it, "abiogenesis"  is a great example of a scientific field that was invented and continued as part of the ideological promotion of atheism.   From  Alexander Oparin, the first significant figure in the "science" up till today, the effort is to "prove" that life arose from non-living matter spontaneously, as a result of randomly assembling molecules and, somehow which I don't think has ever been explained, structures made of those molecules all without any help from the intentional actions of an intelligent being.  Which, if you stopped to think about it for even five seconds, can't be done with science since science can't happen without the intentional actions of an intelligent being.  Everything about the field of abiogenesis, the famous Urey-Miller experiment, the not exactly related determination of the structure of DNA* even the "creation" or perhaps more accurately recreation of DNA which can be gotten in a lab to replicate (in the popular misunderstanding of that molecule) which are claimed as milestones on the road to clinching the argument for atheism, is the product of intelligent design.

You can't do science that proves a result is not the product of intelligent design because science can only be done through intelligent design.

Unless atheists can find some way to do science without intelligence or designed experiments, that quest is doomed by its foundational disconnect from logic, which only proves that scientists on that particular ideological quest will be allowed to shatter the most basic of all requirements of scientific assertion, logical coherence.

Which was obviously why Greg Laden denied the hard truth about the origin of life that I stated when I said that nothing could be known about the origin of life, that is because we don't have the evidence that would be necessary to know what the origin of life on Earth was.

I happen to believe in the single ancestor of all life theory, though that isn't a scientific belief, it can't be because it is entirely unsupported by science but is an inference based on the obvious inter-relatedness of all presently known life on Earth. In that, and only that,  I'm a totally conventional Darwinist, as is virtually every atheist with whom I've gotten into this topic.  And I'm a stickler about the requirements of science, something which few of them seem to be.  Observation is especially necessary in the biological sciences, without the specific evidence of that, specific organism, unique in the entire line of life since it didn't come from a living organism, we can't know how it came to be alive, we can't know anything about its anatomy, its functioning its metabolism, how it sustained its life and, most remote from anything like knowlege, how it, almost certainly without precedent in Earth's previous history, successfully reproduced itself, producing one or more offspring without dying in the process.  How did it tear itself apart and heal itself, producing another, presumably like it in its biology and ability to sustain life in what became its habitat by its presence and, also, reproduce, without dying.  The naive answer, "DNA" is, itself an even larger hurdle because it is unlikely in the extreme that that molecule developed or became active outside of a living organism.   Answering "RNA" is no more of an answer to that question because the same problem of how such a complex, elaborate molecule and its more elaborate action in biology could have come about without cellular chemistry in a living organism produces unanswerable complexities as well.

I love it when atheists try to claim abiogenesis as being what it can not be unless the extremely unlikely happens, they discover and correctly identify that original organism, the very first one, the parent of us all in presumably fossilized remains that are resolvable enough to determine anything about them.   Which would, in itself, be miraculous as the closest thing like that we have is what must have been from hundreds of millions of (presumably) evolving years after that event and those are hardly resolvable in that detail and tell us nothing like a complete picture of life at that stage. Abiogeneis cannot be the study of the origin of life on Earth because there is no evidence on which to build science about the origin of life on Earth on.  Abiogenesis, as it is used ideologically by atheists is evidence that they tend to sacrifice rigorous thought and rigorous science in the interest of their non-scientific ideological beliefs and that they are allowed to get away with it because their belief is atheism.  It is only one of the areas in science where atheism has been allowed to do that, present day cosmology has been driven mad through that use of science, as well.   As, frequently,  have the social sciences, of which Greg Laden is a practitioner.

Here is a post I did in answer to one of the less stupid commentators at Greg Laden's blog so, of course, it wasn't Tlaz.  I would put a lot of it differently today because in the intervening four years I've come to see the kind of decadence Laden's POV imposes on science as being far more pervasive and far more dangerous to science and its use in the world.  Laden never did admit that my point about the lack of evidence was valid because to do that would be to admit that we can know nothing about the origin of life on Earth without that evidence and he was unwilling to be honest about it. The increased facility of lying is another thing I have come to conclude is another product of atheist promotion in science and in the wider society.   When you don't believe it is objectively wrong to lie, you will lie when you want to and you can get away with it.   Atheists are always being allowed to get away with it.

We Cannot Know About The Lost Past Without Evidence

For the past week I've been engaged in a long discussion at Greg Laden's blog about whether or not we could know anything about the origin of life, the way in which life first arose from non-living matter, what life was like and other aspects of that problem. Here is the link to that discussion for anyone who is interested in it. A long answer to Stephanie Z, one of my antagonists in that brawl has been caught up in moderation for a while now so I am posting it here and will attempt to notify her that it is here. Please note that, as in my argument with Sean Carroll last year, I've tried to get some questions answered by Greg Laden, so far he has been unwilling to respond to them. The last version of those were asked at comment #202 at the link, I will post them in a note after the comment 

Stephanie Z. anything that creates a scenario and action and proposed organisms would be the creation of a narrative. Which isn't bad in itself, to some extent it is necessary to do that. But when you want to call your narrative science you have to be able to bring it farther, you have to compare it to the part of the actual universe you want it to represent. Science is all about making assertions about aspects of the actual universe, as it is or as it was. That is used, among other things, to make predictions that can be tested. Though, in this case, you can't go back and retrospectively make predictions about the origin of life and turn those into science because you can't compare what you might discover against the now lost evidence of what that was.

The famous Miller-Urey experiment succeeded in synthesizing amino acids in a laboratory. They were successful in showing that those would form under the conditions they set. That's what they proved could happen in the part of the actual universe they created in their vessels, with the chemical and physical conditions they created. Any narrative description of that experiment would be almost completely reliable as science.

If the assertion is that they recreated natural conditions on the early Earth, that is embroidering the narrative of the story with far less reliable content. No place on the early Earth was just like the conditions inside their vessel, I doubt there was anyplace like the inside of their vessels with exactly those contents and under the kind of electrical charges and temperatures, anywhere. However amino acids formed on the natural Earth, it wasn't under the same conditions they created in their experiment. The suggestions people took from their experiment that they had successfully shown how the synthesis of some building blocks of life had, in fact, happened, is the creation of a narrative about the natural world. One which can be told in a pretty far fetched manner.

Unfortunately, narratives created about that natural world need something more to become reliable enough to be considered science, they need to be able to be matched to observations of what they are purported to represent. And in this attempt, there is almost nothing to go on in that regard. So the narrative remains a narrative instead of a representation of the natural world and universe. Only a lot of people, some within science, most outside of it, mistake that narrative for a representation of the earliest glimmerings of life, as it happened on the early Earth when it isn't. If they want to believe that, that's their right, if they want to say they've nailed it down as it happened on the early Earth, they can do that but they really haven't.

Let me go farther. Just as the I.D. ("Intelligent Design") industry wants to use science to support their favored narrative of the origin of life, including divine intention, materialists have wanted to refute that idea with science, many of them within science, most of them merely sci-fans. Of course, science only being legitimately able to address physical evidence and what you can say about its physical properties, it can't clear up the question of divine intent in evolution or anything else. Trying to use science to put God in the picture or to take God out of the picture is not a scientific effort, science is incompetent to do either. It is an ideological abuse of science.

I contend that a lot of the less reliable science of the past century and a half have been attempts to nail down the proof of ideological materialism with science. Sometimes, as in Francis Crick's crusade to "put the nail in the coffin of vitalism" something like that is a stated goal. Things like that have been claimed for science from the beginning of science. Claims that science supports the presence of God are also made but not as often, at least not until the rise of pseudo-scientific creationism. With the possibilities of profits and financial backing, the ideological abuse of science will likely flourish. Look at what it did for some of the most blatantly absurd assertions in psychology.

All of those narratives about the universe, both the ones with God and the ones putting the nail in God's coffin are the creations of stories in the name of science and, in so far as they claim to be science, the people telling them are lying. There would be no way to know if the universally accepted triumph of the ideological materialists would have precluded the possibility that what they hadn't discovered had merely been the real way God created life on Earth, as opposed to the Genesis narrative. Being quite as naive about that as the creationists, materialists overlook that before God is said to have created life, that God created the material universe, all of it, at every scale of resolution, including molecules, atoms, subatomic particles and even whatever might fill it way, way, way down at the Planck scale. And God was said to have set it in motion. Which would include the motions of planets and stars and the combinations of atoms and molecules. Materialists, in the end, are stuck with the exact same tools to use to convert people to their point of view, they have to convince them. No matter how much they want to use science to do that, no matter how many ignorant people they might convince with their sciency narrative, that narrative is not reliable as science, it falls outside of what science can do.

Given the naivety of creationists and others unaware of science, they might be forgiven for believing the hype that it has powers which it doesn't. There isn't any excuse for highly educated scientists to believe that it does except that there are obvious holes in their educations.

You can't deal with God with science, it is outside of the only legitimate subject matter of science, it can't be done with its methods and tools which are not designed to look at or for anything but that part of the physical world that are susceptible to its methods and tools. Everything else falls outside of its competency, any claims made that extend outside of those are unreliable, they don't cut the mustard as science. Or, honest science, at any rate.

Whatever the scientists who think they are working on this problem do s that they can show that they could produce whatever results they have produced, in the way they did it. Lacking evidence of the real beginning of life, as it happened in the natural world, claims about the applicability of their work to that problem are speculations, they can't be known to be reliable, they can't even be tested for unreliability against the real thing. No more than claims which have, actually, been made about life in the distant reaches of the universe. Dawkins has claimed those farthest reaches of the universe for natural selection when there is absolutely no way to know if that is true. It's possible that natural selection has happened on only one planet in the entire universe. His claim is ideological it isn't scientific. It is no more legitimate than a claim that a six day creation happened on another planet. It's his preferred creation myth.

Note: These are the questions mentioned at the top of this post.

Greg Laden, I can't find that you've answered my questions about what you are asserting. Would you answer them now?

1. When you talk about "the origin of life" do you mean the actual event that happened in the way it did and only in the way that it did, resulting in exactly the organism that it did result in, or do you mean something else. 

2. Do you also agree that if you are not talking about that, specific, event you are not talking about something that really happened but something that didn't happen? 

*  Both Watson and, especially, Crick said that promoting atheism and destroying religious belief was strong in their motivation.   Crick said his entire life in science was motivated by his disdain for religion and his desire that it be eradicated.


  1. Crick said his entire life in science was motivated by his disdain for religion and his desire that it be eradicated.

    I can find, in religious teachings, a basis for humility that teaches one not to try to make the rest of humanity conform to one's preferred ideology. It's pretty much summed up in the so-called "Golden Rule," which can be used in a religious context, but doesn't have to be. It requires more than kind thinking, of course, as the atheist Sartre understood. His existential ethic is a variant on the GR, but with the burden on the individual who, in choosing what "human" is, chooses for all humankind (thus creating a basis for an ethos).

    Remove any such ethos, either based in commonality under a deity, or in Sartre's version (or just in some very vague "brotherhood of man," a toothless idea, which is why Sartre doesn't rely on it. Ethics need bite to take hold; it can't just be pleasant nostrums and appealing suggestions), and you have Crick, working away to destroy something he cannot destroy, and to oppose something he simply doesn't like in the world.

    It's the very definition of selfishness, and while there are plenty of selfish believers among Christians, at least Christianity (I speak only for the religion I know) teaches one to be selfless.

    What does science teach about how we treat others?

    1. As a political blogger, my focus is, always, on making things actual in society and in the law, which I have come to believe can't be done one the basis of science or on any non-religious program of "ethics". It might achieve something, it won't be sustainable because it doesn't, in the end, really believe in it, themselves. In the absence of morality that requires you to do unto others as you would have done unto you, even as you would rather not only not do that but to use others for your ends, you get the worst of human behavior in human history and today.

      I think that's possible in Christianity, I think it's possible in Judaism and, as I'm still learning, in Islam, it's possible in other religious traditions, though all of those depend on human beings and human beings, being fallible, fail, frequently. I don't think it's possible under atheism, materialism, scientism, as the even more rampant violations of the golden rule under atheist and other allegedly scientific governments prove.

      Under the real religion of most materialists, Mammon, just as it implies in the Gospel, all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately, for us, instead of the worship of foreign gods the heresy that infects Christianity most often is Mammonism. It is apparent even on liberalish blogs.

  2. I generally agree with most of what you write at this blog, but not so much in this case. Nobody claims they are trying to determine exactly how the first organism formed-- that would be absurd. What they are trying to do is discover some plausible natural sequence of events by which it could have happened. As best I can tell, there has been some progress, but there is still plenty of room to wonder if it is as easy as some scientists like Sagan have claimed-- in fact, some mainstream non- creationists ( and no, I don't mean Fred Hoyle) have fallen back on the idea that maybe it happened only because the universe might be infinite, so it was bound to happen somewhere. Which would mean life in the universe is extremely rare.

    My problem is with the popularization so that you see in TV and magazine articles which tend to give an exaggerated view of the progress, as though we nearly have the problem licked.

  3. I went back and read the blog comment threads where the discussion developed and it did begin with some rather naive statements by people I think were non-scientists. But it was Greg Laden, who is a scientist, well an anthropologist, and I did look at the claims either made by or made for the work of scientists like Urey and Miller by scientists.

    My point is a general one about science purportedly done in the absence of the confirmation in the physical universe being available due to that being destroyed in the past, certainly forever lost and unavailable or certain never to be had. Which is especially true for the origin of life since it actually does concern an actual organism which could only be what it was in the way that it lived and reproduced. The fact that the original organism which gave rise to us all (a conjecture I believe is most probable, though we can't know that) would have had a unique origin by the most unknown of methods of assembly from non-living matter which, somehow, became alive, makes it especially and uniquely unknowable. For scientists, science reporters, etc. to lead people to believe they can know what that organism was like and how it came about is grotesquely dishonest and that is, actually, what the effort of abiogenesis amounts to.

    My point that science can't possibly demonstrate that life came about through random events without any intelligent intention since every single thing scientists either find through experiment or through observation involves intelligent intention is, I think, obvious. The assertion that what happened in the beginning of the universe or the beginning of life happened in the absence of design is as groundless as claims that science shows the hand of God but it's even more baseless as an assertion of scientific truth because it willfully ignores that all a scientist who did such an experiment or interpreted an observation has done through their design or purposeful interpretation is to show that it can happen by intelligent design. It is impossible for science to demonstrate the opposite of intelligent design or intentional input. There are inescapable vicissitudes imposed by the fact that all we can know is the product of our intelligence and all we can do, intentionally, involves intelligence.

    1. I agree that science can't disprove God-- I am only saying that workers in the field of abiogenesis are engaged in a legitimate quest to determine if there is some plausible naturalistic sequence of events which could give rise to life. They might fail, of course, and even if they succeed it won't prove that life actually originated that way. it would still be a fascinating result.

      What happens in this debate is that militant atheists and fundamentalist Christians both make philosophical claims which they pretend can be supported by science, but this simply isn't the case no matter who is right about the science. Take something mundane like the weather--I think the weather is explained by natural causes and we pretty well understand the basic physics--at the same time I think t makes sense for a farmer in a drought to pray for rain. How would God answer the prayer if He chooses to do so? I don't know. I would imagine an unimaginably intelligent being with powers beyond our grasp could intervene in ways we could detect no matter how hard we tried . How much do our pets understand about the human created world they live in?

    2. Lots of typos in my posts, I see. Sorry about that-- it seems to happen a lot when I'm on an iPad and I often don't see them until after posting.

    3. I found the Hasker paper I mentioned.


      As mentioned, I first found this at the David Chalmers website, which has more links to papers on consciousness than you could ever hope to read.

  4. Btw, looking at some of your other posts I have a much higher opinion of evolutionary theory and in particular,, natural selection, than you. And I think there are people who have constructed mathematical models for " altruism"-- I put the term in quotes because I don't think there is any room in a purely material universe for the feelings of love and affection which I believe can be found even in some animals. But a clever person could conceivably construct a model for how a mutation which encourages cooperation might spread-- some, I think, claim to have done that. I think Martin Nowak who is a Christian does this kind of thing. But this sort of model doesn't explain love-- that sounds sappy, but I mean it.

    There is a Christian philosopher whose name escapes me who wrote a piece attempting to show that consciousness was inconsistent with materialism-- his point was that natural selection could only pick out tendencies to behave in ways that increase survival, but not the beliefs or feelings that go with them. If an antelope reacts to a cheetah by running away, it is irrelevant whether it feels the emotion of fear that presumably accompanies that action. The David Chalmers website had links to a great many papers on consciousness and this was one-- you might be interested. I think the philosopher who wrote the paper I just described was Hasker-- the name just popped into my memory.

  5. I'll stop bugging you after this, but I think you might have the wrong impression of abiogenesis if you read the endless wars between atheists and evangelicals. The scientists who are actually in the field love to tear each other's ideas apart--as in any area of science with an unsolved and fascinating problem, they get attached to their own ideas, but they obviously care about the problem for its scientific interest and not because they are trying to disprove God (though with some that might also be a motive). Here is a biochemist named Nick Lane who has been writing both popular books and scientific papers for years on the subject (you can google him, but I'm linking to a paper). I'm no biochemist and can't judge the validity of his ideas, but this is a guy obviously fascinated by a puzzle and not just some idiot ideologue with an ax to grind about God.