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Intelligent Darwinism?

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Stephanos
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50 posted 05-29-2007 08:00 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
I apologise for the fairy reference Stephen but you have to apologise for the following...


As much as I'd like to apologize, I can't with good conscience.     The following is an excerpt from a review of "Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth" by Robert Shapiro.


The first DNA molecule did not have enough time for 'spontaneous generation' given the overwhelming odds of 1 chance in 10 to the 40,000th power (1 followed by 40,000 zeros). Nobel Prize contender Dr. Fred Hoyle, who coined the term `Big Bang' in the 1940's, came up with this number. In fact, Shapiro says the odds are much greater than that, 1 chance in 10 to the 100 billionth power. These odds have been calculated based on the complexity of the 2000 enzymes in the cell, each consisting of 100 to 1000 specific amino acids linked together in a specific sequence. Hoyle assumed already-assembled amino acids in the pre-biotic soup, and Shapiro assumed `reduced' chemicals instead.


I'm really not interested in quibbling over various versions of odds either, since it matters little which version you accept.  All who are honest and qualified have proposed astromnomical numbers, whose odds require what amounts to religious devotion on the part of those who believe life developed spontaneously.  


Stephen.
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51 posted 05-29-2007 09:12 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

Do you believe everything in nature is handled by God?

What about sicknesses and tumours, natural disasters, etc?  

Stephanos
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quote:
Do you believe everything in nature is handled by God?

What about sicknesses and tumours, natural disasters, etc?


I'll weave around a bit and answer this question en route.  

The Jews once had a water-tight theology which said that blessing was a sign of God's favor, and adversity was a sign of his displeasure.  They attributed all sickness, misfortune, and general mayhem to sin and God's punishment.  Later theology sought to correct this extreme belief.  The book of Job is the most notable example of this reformatory theology, but also the book of Ecclesiastes.  In addition to these Old Testament examples, we have in the New Testament the episode where Jesus corrects his disciples when they suggested that either a blind man or his parents were responsible for his being born blind, due to personal sin.  

While I never would want to return to such an unrealistic (and sometimes cruel) extreme of belief, I still recognize that much suffering in this world is due to sin ... if not to directly punish, at least to alert us to the fact that all is not well, and help us to aim at spiritual renewal.  C.S. Lewis once wrote that God whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts to us in our pains.  Part of it is living as fallen human beings, in need of redemption, and is part and parcel of this present world.  


Of course this doesn't mean that sin cannot be the direct cause of pain, or that God doesn't specifically punish.  Because I believe there are cases where he does.  However there are also experiences of pain and "evil" that seem to defy what we would humanly recognize as justice.  This is the problem of Theodicy, so often encountered in the Bible.  To me, it is tempered by the fact that we all have sinned, and shouldn't be turned to impiety because life is hard.  Though it is hard, it is also concurrently good.  It is also tempered by my understanding that there are purposes in hardship that go beyond first glance.  And in that sense, God is benevolently "involved" even in what may seem random at best, and cruel at worst.  At the very least, hardship is an opportunity to seek his deliverance, help, and answer.  


So ultimately I would have to answer "yes" to your question.  And I guess I would have to say that if God may be involved where it seems he is absent, and where no "design" can be divined by us in a situation, then how much more when telos is obvious, as in the creation of life?  


Stephen.
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53 posted 05-30-2007 10:59 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
I'm really not interested in quibbling over various versions of odds either, since it matters little which version you accept.  All who are honest and qualified have proposed astromnomical numbers, whose odds require what amounts to religious devotion on the part of those who believe life developed spontaneously.


All who are honest and understand probability Stephen would also mention why the figures are misleading.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html

quote:
Coin tossing for beginners and macromolecular assembly

Here is a experiment you can do yourself: take a coin, flip it four times, write down the results, and then do it again. How many times would you think you had to repeat this procedure (trial) before you get 4 heads in a row?
Now the probability of 4 heads in a row is is (1/2)4 or 1 chance in 16: do we have to do 16 trials to get 4 heads (HHHH)? No, in successive experiments I got 11, 10, 6, 16, 1, 5, and 3 trials before HHHH turned up. The figure 1 in 16 (or 1 in a million or 1 in 1040) gives the likelihood of an event in a given trial, but doesn't say where it will occur in a series. You can flip HHHH on your very first trial (I did). Even at 1 chance in 4.29 x 1040, a self-replicator could have turned up surprisingly early. But there is more.
1 chance in 4.29 x 1040 is still orgulously, gobsmackingly unlikely; it's hard to cope with this number. Even with the argument above (you could get it on your very first trial) most people would say "surely it would still take more time than the Earth existed to make this replicator by random methods". Not really; in the above examples we were examining sequential trials, as if there was only one protein/DNA/proto-replicator being assembled per trial. In fact there would be billions of simultaneous trials as the billions of building block molecules interacted in the oceans, or on the thousands of kilometers of shorelines that could provide catalytic surfaces or templates.
Let's go back to our example with the coins. Say it takes a minute to toss the coins 4 times; to generate HHHH would take on average 8 minutes. Now get 16 friends, each with a coin, to all flip the coin simultaneously 4 times; the average time to generate HHHH is now 1 minute. Now try to flip 6 heads in a row; this has a probability of (1/2)6 or 1 in 64. This would take half an hour on average, but go out and recruit 64 people, and you can flip it in a minute. If you want to flip a sequence with a chance of 1 in a billion, just recruit the population of China to flip coins for you, you will have that sequence in no time flat.
So, if on our prebiotic earth we have a billion peptides growing simultaneously, that reduces the time taken to generate our replicator significantly.


The calculation by Fred Hoyle and N.C. Wickramasinghe has been ripped apart so many times I'm surprised you've used it, here's a useful link to check before you quote more.
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/addendaB.html

Stephanos
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54 posted 05-30-2007 01:13 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch,

How about Shapiro who is not a Christian, and only claimed that he's tired of myth being passed of as science?  Shapiro's calculations were more devastating than Hoyle's.  I'm really no math wizard, and can't adequately compare the validity of these calculations with their criticisms (especially such unbiased *ahem* criticisms as "Infidels.org").  But, if there is a consensus to be gained, it is that the odds are frightfully small.  And intuitively, that's not hard to understand.  It's still plain enough to see that what we are talking about is a devotion to a framework, or paradigm ... a way to look at the world, that was not gained through empiricism.  And I'm not saying that it's wrong to do so.  I think people need to have a grid of truth by which to look at things (I obviously do that myself).  What I am saying, is that it's wrong to label it as "science".    


Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (05-30-2007 02:42 PM).]

Stephanos
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55 posted 05-30-2007 02:28 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Craig,

Even given what you say above, a "replicator" is only a small part of the picture.  Consider this article on the formation of the first primitive cell ...

http://www.iscid.org/pcid/2002/1/4/mullan_primitive_cell.php


Again, the probability of life arising from one life (no matter which way you look at it, is damningly small.  We could go on, back and forth, about relative concessions in the area of probability.  I don't know about you, but admittedly, I'm unqualified to delve into the really detailed mathematical arguments.  


On a different note, What I would like to do (this being a philosophy forum) is to examine the history of thought as it relates to evolution.  There is much surrounding the advent of the theory, that gives someone like me suspicion that it was partially originated and wholly usurped by a precommitment of philosophy or ideology.  This will prove that the atheistic naturalism was not a conclusion of Darwinism, but a precondition for its arrival and widespread acceptance.

As to whether this theory really supports the atheism, is a question I have answered in the negative.  But the love affair between atheism and evolution from the start, is useful for me to show that the atheistic naturalism was in no way a conclusion of the science, but a catalyst for its formulation and popularization.  The religious-like fervor of atheistic evolution, cannot only been seen stalwart in the face of small odds, and lack of direct evidence, but in the philosophical dialogue preceding and surrounding the arrival of Darwinism.  

With my next reply, I'll try to show you in greater detail what I'm talking about.

later,
      
Stephen
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56 posted 05-30-2007 06:57 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
How about Shapiro who is not a Christian, and only claimed that he's tired of myth being passed of as science?  Shapiro's calculations were more devastating than Hoyle's.


They'll be about as accurate too Stephen whether from a Christian, an atheist, or even a Greek witch - which is to say not at all, I'd steer clear of the argument from probability it's a bit of a red herring.

If it's a gazillion to one it might still happen on the very first try as the coin-tossing example showed.

What they're talking about is single step selection and as pointed out evolution uses cumulative selection and none of them factor this in to their calculations.

If you accept their figures you then have to wonder how big a number the probability of a very complex thing like god's going to be. (I wouldn't recommend that any evolutionists use this btw it has the same flaws as any other argument from probability).

quote:
This will prove that the atheistic naturalism was not a conclusion of Darwinism, but a precondition for its arrival and widespread acceptance.


That should be interesting "a precondition for the arrival of Atheism"; I'd start compiling a list of atheists that pre-date Darwinism if I were you it may be useful.

Here's one to start you off - Diagoras (5th century BC)

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quote:
If it's a gazillion to one it might still happen on the very first try as the coin-tossing example showed.

True enough that one step could conceivably happen on the first attempt. To get from a carbon atom to life as we see it today, however, requires an uncountable series of these serendepidous step. If you want to push statistics then the odds against that become much greater than astronomical.

I think you're right. Statistics is not a useful tool since it deals with probability. The probability here is essentially zero.
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58 posted 05-31-2007 01:02 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephen: This will prove that the atheistic naturalism was not a conclusion of Darwinism, but a precondition for its arrival and widespread acceptance.

Craig:  That should be interesting "a precondition for the arrival of Atheism"



Am I gonna have to get you glasses?  I didn't write "a precondition for the arrival of Atheism".  I wrote that (increasing) atheism was a precondition of the arrival and widespread acceptance of Darwinism.  Surely I've never thought that unbelief is a novel thing, only some of its more creative justifications.         


You'll see what I mean when I post.


quote:
If you accept their figures you then have to wonder how big a number the probability of a very complex thing like god's going to be. (I wouldn't recommend that any evolutionists use this btw it has the same flaws as any other argument from probability).


Belief in God is religious in nature, not subject to probability.  By definition, if God were subject to probability, he would have to rescind his deity.  It's just that I openly admit my precommitment to God.  My whole goal is to show that naturalistic atheism is a precommitment also, not the conclusion of evolutionary science ... making evolution and the question of God, only related by the insistence of some.  
  

However probability might be considered when asking whether an information-rich molecule like DNA was made without intelligence or intention?  I'm really not sure.  I've never believed that probability was a silver-bullet argument, but only something that might point out the curious fact that naturalistic atheism is a kind of metaphysical pre-commitment (held with the zeal of religion) which has been superimposed upon scientific theory.


Stephen.  
Brad
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59 posted 05-31-2007 02:15 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Atheism is actually quite novel -- it's really only been believed by more than a handful of people since the mid-nineteenth century.

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60 posted 05-31-2007 07:47 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Not a Poet,

quote:
True enough that one step could conceivably happen on the first attempt. To get from a carbon atom to life as we see it today, however, requires an uncountable series of these serendepidous step. If you want to push statistics then the odds against that become much greater than astronomical.


Actually using cumulative selection the odds get smaller as shown in the Shakespeare example I gave earlier.

The odds of tossing a coin and getting heads is 2 to 1, tossing eight heads in a row using single step selection makes the odds 256 to 1, thatís because every time you get tails (or a failed mutation) you have to start again.

The odds change if you use cumulative selection and are allowed to bank each head (advantages mutation), say you throw a head on the very first try, what are the odds you'll throw another on your second try? Using single step selection the odds will be 4 to 1 using cumulative selection you are only trying to get another head so they're only 2 to 1.

As I said earlier though probability is a red herring, it's quite possible to throw 8 heads in a row on the very first try but it's also possible to throw nothing but tails whether you throw 256 times or 256 billion times. However using cumulative selection means that you only need to throw one head to be one eighth of the way to your target.

Even if you remove cumulative selection probability isn't a good argument because calculating probability requires a preset goal whether that goal is tossing eight heads in a row or getting a hole in one at golf and Evolution has no preset goal, it's like a golfer randomly hitting the ball. People aren't amazed that a golfer lands his ball on one particular blade of grass when there are a million blades of grass on the fairway even though the probability is a million to one.

Stephen,

Sorry my mistake, so what you're saying is that the theory of evolution came about because there were atheists; I look forward to your post.

Brad,

quote:
Atheism is actually quite novel -- it's really only been believed by more than a handful of people since the mid-nineteenth century.


I think you'd need to add openly somewhere in the above, at most points in history being an atheist wasn't really conducive to your health or well-being,  a good evolutionary technique for survival would have been to keep your atheism to yourself.

Saying that I agree that Darwin and Wallace's theory in 1858 and the publication of "On The Origin of Species" - (Darwin 1859) did legitimise existing atheism and act to increase atheistic belief among the populace.

Ron
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quote:
As I said earlier though probability is a red herring, it's quite possible to throw 8 heads in a row on the very first try but it's also possible to throw nothing but tails whether you throw 256 times or 256 billion times. However using cumulative selection means that you only need to throw one head to be one eighth of the way to your target.

I wish I had more time to participate in this excellent thread, but I just couldn't let this one continue to pass unchallenged, Grinch.

Setting aside the irony that you're trying to use probability to challenge the validity of probability, your interpretation of cumulative selection relies on the improbability of a 100 percent success rate.

You only need to throw one head to be one eighth of the way to your target IF that first heads results in a viable, self-replicating life form. Otherwise, you don't get to keep the heads, you have to start all over again from scratch. When you're exploring the possibility of a FIRST self-replicating life form, there is no cumulative selection. It's all random chance.


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quote:
The odds of tossing a coin and getting heads is 2 to 1, tossing eight heads in a row using single step selection makes the odds 256 to 1, thatís because every time you get tails (or a failed mutation) you have to start again.

The odds change if you use cumulative selection and are allowed to bank each head (advantages mutation), say you throw a head on the very first try, what are the odds you'll throw another on your second try? Using single step selection the odds will be 4 to 1 using cumulative selection you are only trying to get another head so they're only 2 to 1.

Absolutely untrue. If your goal had been to throw 8 heads, regardless of the number of tries then that works. Your stated goal, however, was to throw 8 heads in a row. True enough, you may throw a head the first try then the odds on the second throw are still 1 in 2. If that second throw fails, you can't keep your previous success and ignore the failure. You have to start over or your throws will not be "in a row."

So, unless you are proposing that life as we know it today sprang from a few carbon atoms in a single step, your "cumulative statistics" theory simply does not apply. I think even staunch Darwinists would claim that life evolved in an almost uncountable sequence of steps. Each one of those steps would defy the statistical probability of its occurrance. Since each is sequential, the cumulative result becomes the mathematical product of the individual probabilities, the exact opposite of what you have proposed. Keeping in mind the above statement and the accepted definition of in-a-row, what is the probability of throwing a billion heads, in-a-row?

Pete

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quote:
Setting aside the irony that you're trying to use probability to challenge the validity of probability


Ron,

I thought I was using an example of probability to explain why, in this case, calculations of probability arenít much use.  

quote:
your interpretation of cumulative selection relies on the improbability of a 100 percent success rate.


Not really, with cumulative selection you get to keep the successes and discard the failures, that's not to say there aren't failures just that they don't carry the "start again" cost of single step selection.

quote:
When you're exploring the possibility of a FIRST self-replicating life form, there is no cumulative selection. It's all random chance.


You could jump straight in at a self-replicating life form but why start there; it's not necessarily true that the first replicator was a life form at all. In fact given the premise that there was no life before the first life form appeared suggests that the first self-replicator wasn't a life form at all.

Dr. Alexander Graham Cairns-Smith for instance suggested that clay crystals could have been the first replicators and an inorganic precursor to organic life.

But whatever the first step towards life was you are absolutely correct it would have been in the form of single step selection, every first occurrence has to be, in the case of coin tossing that would be 2 to 1 odds, cumulative selection would then take over. However that puts us straight back into the dual horned dilemma of probability. No matter how great or small the chances of something happening are it doesn't prevent them from happening or guarantee they'll happen at all within the given probability range.

quote:
Absolutely untrue. If your goal had been to throw 8 heads, regardless of the number of tries then that works. Your stated goal, however, was to throw 8 heads in a row. True enough, you may throw a head the first try then the odds on the second throw are still 1 in 2. If that second throw fails, you can't keep your previous success and ignore the failure. You have to start over or your throws will not be "in a row."


Pete,

Your absolutely right Pete and at the same time completely wrong.      

Adding a rule that allows you to keep any heads and ignore any tails factors in cumulative selection into the coin toss, this allows addition to the "in a row" set without regard for the failures. The rule is simply a device to mimic how cumulative selection works in the evolutionary process.

You are absolutely correct however that in single step selection 8 attempts are taken and any tails means that you would definitely have to start again.

In fairness the misunderstanding is probably due to my ham-fisted explanation of cumulative selection I can see your point and hope I've clarified the matter.

Craig

[This message has been edited by Grinch (05-31-2007 05:07 PM).]

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quote:
However that puts us straight back into the dual horned dilemma of probability. No matter how great or small the chances of something happening are it doesn't prevent them from happening or guarantee they'll happen at all within the given probability range.

True. But . . .

. . . just as scientists must live their lives as if some things were beyond doubt, we all must live our lives as if the far spectrums of the probability curves were labeled with binary true and false values. The rising of the sun tomorrow is only a probability, too, but I don't waste my time making contingency plans. I mark that a true value and get on with life. The molecules of air in this room are in constant motion, bouncing against each other in ways that can only be described by probability curves, but I don't bother to wear a gas mask everywhere I go just because there's a statistical possibility they might all bounce in the same direction at the same time and end up congregating in the far corner. I label that probability false and get on with life.

While it's certainly true that probability offers us no guarantees one way or the other, in today's world of Planck and Heisenberg, probability is nonetheless the ONLY guide we have available. Put another way, you probably shouldn't bet any of those quarters you're flipping against the sun rising tomorrow or me asphyxiating any time soon.

Statistical probability is a cornerstone of modern science. Quantum physics, in particular, cannot exist without its reliance on probabilities. To deny its value is to send us back to about 1890, throwing away almost everything we've accomplished in the last hundred years. If you insist on excluding evolution from probability analysis, you essentially exclude evolution from the realm of science and enter it into the realm of mysticism. Statistically, Life seemingly shouldn't have happened. But, of course, it did, and you want to explain that apparent anomaly by pointing out that probabilities, even those at far ends of the spectrum, are still just probabilities and not absolute certainties.

And I can't disagree with you. You're absolutely, one hundred percent, dead-on correct. Probably the only difference is, where I come from, we call those miracles.
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65 posted 06-01-2007 12:20 AM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Probability handles hypothesis
Hypothesis handles uncertainty
Uncertainty is human's fear
which will be eased by a number
between 0, 1 from calculation
based on known uncertain facts
and to be read with other references
again of uncertain factors

Look at the evolution of cars and computers
Every stage is there.

My thought

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quote:
Look at the evolution of cars and computers. Every stage is there.

Did you forget that they were intelligently designed?  

Stephen.
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Can water evolve into ice or ice into water without any intervention by God?
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Water turning into ice when the temperature changes is a chemical property of H20, not an example of bilogical evolution.  

Stephen
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I know.  But elements and temperature are a major part of biological evolution as well.  Try evolving into a life form in Mars' or Venus' current temperatures and see how much success you have.    
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biological.....self-reproducing.

I'd love to see poems reproducing on PIP.
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I was trying to work out why I never got back to this - then my wife reminded me I was ill at the time.

It hasnít  affected my thoughts on probability though.

quote:
just as scientists must live their lives as if some things were beyond doubt, we all must live our lives as if the far spectrums of the probability curves were labeled with binary true and false values. The rising of the sun tomorrow is only a probability, too, but I don't waste my time making contingency plans. I mark that a true value and get on with life. The molecules of air in this room are in constant motion, bouncing against each other in ways that can only be described by probability curves, but I don't bother to wear a gas mask everywhere I go just because there's a statistical possibility they might all bounce in the same direction at the same time and end up congregating in the far corner. I label that probability false and get on with life


Iím glad to hear that Ron, it sort of proves how inane it is to calculate the probability of life emerging, life emerged, the evidence is all around us, we can just label it true and leave it at that.

quote:
To deny its value is to send us back to about 1890, throwing away almost everything we've accomplished in the last hundred years. If you insist on excluding evolution from probability analysis, you essentially exclude evolution from the realm of science and enter it into the realm of mysticism.


Iím not excluding probability from the analysis of evolution Iím simply saying that it doesnít add or detract from the argument on way or the other, it is in effect a red herring.

quote:
Life seemingly shouldn't have happened. But, of course, it did, and you want to explain that apparent anomaly by pointing out that probabilities, even those at far ends of the spectrum, are still just probabilities and not absolute certainties.


Iím saying three things, first that thereís a possibility that life was inevitable, that the probability one way or the other isnít accurately calculable and so is pointless to use as an argument. Secondly that even if the probability that life emerged without the aid of a supernatural hand is infinitesimally small it is still possible and thirdly that  probability is a double edged sword - how improbable is a supernatural being?

quote:
And I can't disagree with you. You're absolutely, one hundred percent, dead-on correct. Probably the only difference is, where I come from, we call those miracles


If by miracle you mean something happening that seems improbable then we donít disagree at all, if by miracle you mean something that is made possible by intervention by a supernatural entity I do disagree. Improbable things happen all the time to varying degrees, thereís no evidence or necessity to presume supernatural involvement in any of them.

I think Ockham would have agreed with that.


MOCindy
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since 07-30-2008
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72 posted 08-09-2008 08:30 PM       View Profile for MOCindy   Email MOCindy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for MOCindy

Grinch,
quote:
Improbable things happen all the time to varying degrees, thereís no evidence or necessity to presume supernatural involvement in any of them.

Would you like to give some examples?

And your  supernatural means
1. God. or
2. Unknown? or
3. unexplainable?

C


Stephanos
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Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


73 posted 08-09-2008 10:00 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch,

I'm glad you winked when you said it, since Ockham himself was a Franciscan Friar and a believer in God.  Don't grab that razor too quickly.



Stephen
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


74 posted 08-10-2008 06:40 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
Would you like to give some examples?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17113222/
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=de3_1199549840
http://news.notiemail.com/noticia.asp?nt=10680442&cty=200

These are examples of people surviving falls from great heights against seemingly improbable odds, but that isnít exactly what I meant when I said:

Improbable things happen all the time to varying degrees

I was referring to occurrences that show that using probability to calculate possibility isnít a good idea. My earlier golf ball example is the easiest to explain:

If here are a million blades of grass on a green probability suggests that the odds of a golf ball pitched from the edge of the green landing on any particular one of them is roughly a million to one. Common sense however dictates that the ball has to land on one of them which is why this one in a million occurrence isnít necessarily deemed a miracle.

Letís suppose that life was always going to appear, that it was as inevitable as the golf ball landing on a blade of grass, in that case calculating the probability of life appearing is pointless. It doesnít matter  how high the improbability is, the fact that it happened and the possibility that it was always going to happen makes the calculation useless.

quote:
And your supernatural means

God


Stephen,

The wink was for Ron, I know he likes to use Will's razor and thought the irony wouldn't be lost on him.

While I agree that William of Ockham was a Franciscan Friar thereís no evidence however to support your claim that he believed in god, thatís just a presumption. Not one shared by the pope of the time it seems who excommunicated him some time around 1330.

Even without that Williams beliefs are impossible to know for certain. For instance if I lived in 1300 Stephen Iíd be claiming to believe in god if the alternative was to burned at the stake as a heretic. All we can say is that we donít know if William believed in god or not but either way that doesnít have a bearing on my use of his theory of parsimony.



 
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