Darwin's Black Box - Michael J. Behe and Intelligent Design

whitecoast

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I'm about forty percent through DBB. I wanted to bring up an interesting part of the book, which I think does show fingerprints of hyperdimensional forces.

Behe describes a key mechanism of the acquired immune system below:
When a microscopic invader breaches the outer defenses of the body, the immune system swings into action. This happens automatically. The molecular systems of the body, like the Star Wars anti-missile system that the military once planned, are robots designed to run on autopilot. Since the defense is automated, every step has to be accounted for by some mechanism. The first problem that the automated defense system has is how to recognize an invader. Bacterial cells have to be distinguished from blood cells; viruses have to be distinguished from connective tissue. Unlike us, the immune system can’t see, so it has to rely initially on something akin to a sense of touch.

Antibodies are the “fingers” of the blind immune system—they allow it to distinguish a foreign invader from the body itself. Antibodies are formed by an aggregation of four chains of amino acids (Figure 6-1): two identical light chains, and two identical heavy chains. The heavy chains are about twice as big as the light chains. In the cell, the four chains make a complex that resembles the letter Y. Because the two heavy chains are the same and the two light chains are the same, the Y is symmetrical: if you took a knife and cut it down the middle you’d get identical halves, with one heavy and one light chain in each half. At the end of each pronged tip of the Y there is a depression (called a binding site). Lining the binding site are portions of both the light chain and the heavy chain. Binding sites come in a large variety of shapes. One antibody might have a binding site with a piece jutting up here, a hole over there, and an oily patch on the edge. A second antibody might have a positive charge on the left, a crevice in the middle, and a bump on the right.

If the shape of a binding site just happens to be exactly complementary to the shape of a molecule on the surface of an invading virus or bacterium, then the antibody will bind to that molecule. To get a feel for it, imagine a household object with a depression in it and a few knobs poking up out of the depression. My youngest daughter has a doll wagon with front and back seats—something like that will do nicely. Now take the wagon/object, go around the house, and see how many other articles will fit snugly into the depression, filling both the front seat and the back seat without leaving any spaces. If you find even one, you’re luckier than I am. Nothing in my house fit snugly in the wagon, and neither did anything in my office or laboratory. I imagine there’s some object out in the world with a shape complementary to the wagon’s, but I haven’t found it yet.

The body has a similar problem: the odds of any given antibody binding to any given invader are pretty slim. To make sure that at least one kind of antibody is available for each attacker, we make billions to trillions of them. Usually, for any particular invader, it takes 100,000 to find one antibody that works.

When bacteria invade the body, they multiply. By the time an antibody binds to a bacterium there may be many, many copies of the bug floating around. Against this Trojan horse that breeds, the body has 100,000 guns, but only one works. One handgun isn’t going to do much good against a horde; somehow reinforcements have to be brought in. There’s a way to do this, but first I have to back up and explain a bit more about where antibodies come from.

There are billions of different kinds of antibodies. Each kind of antibody is made in a separate cell. The cells that make antibodies are called B cells, which is easy to remember because they are produced in the bone marrow.2When a B cell is first born, mechanisms inside of it randomly choose one of the many antibody genes that are encoded in its DNA. That gene is said to be “turned on”; all other antibody genes are “turned off.” So the cell produces only one kind of antibody, with one kind of binding site. The next cell that’s made will in all likelihood have a different antibody gene turned on, so it will make a different protein with a different binding site. The principle, then, is one cell, one type of antibody.

Once a cell commits to making its antibody, you might think that the antibody would leave the cell so it could patrol the body. But if the contents of all B cells were dumped out into the body, there would be no way to tell which cell the antibody came from. The cell is the factory that makes the particular type of antibody; if the antibody finds a bacterium, we need to tell the cell to send us reinforcements. But with this hypothetical setup, we can’t get a message back.

Fortunately, the body is smarter than that. When a B cell first makes its antibody, the antibody anchors in the cell membrane with the prongs of the Y sticking out (Figure 6-2). The cell does this trick by using the gene for the normal antibody, and also using a little piece of a gene that codes for an oily tail on the protein. Since the membrane is oily, too, the piece sticks in the membrane. This step is critical, because now the binding site of the antibody is attached to its factory. The entire B cell factory patrols the body; when a foreign invader enters, the antibody-with-attached-cell binds.

Now we have the factory close at hand to the invaders. If the cell could be signaled to make more of the antibody, then the fight would be helped by reinforcements. Fortunately, there is a way to send a signal; unfortunately, it’s pretty convoluted. When an antibody on a B cell binds to a foreign molecule it triggers a complex mechanism to swallow the invader: in effect, the munitions factory takes a hostage. The antibody then breaks off a piece of membrane to make a little vesicle—a self-made taxicab. In this taxi, the hostage is brought into the B-cell factory. Inside the cell (still in the cab) the foreign protein is chopped up, and a piece of the foreign protein sticks to another protein (called an MHC protein). The cab then returns to the membrane of the cell. Outside the factory, along comes another cell (called a helper T cell). The helper T cell binds to the B cell, which is “presenting” the chopped-up piece of invader (the foreign fragment in the MHC protein) for the T cell’s consideration. If the fit is just right, it causes the helper T cell to secrete a substance called interleukin. Interleukin is like a message from the Department of Defense to the munitions factory. By binding to another protein on the surface of the B cell, the interleukin sets off a chain of events that sends a message to the nucleus of the B cell. The message is: grow! FIGURE 6-2 SCHEMATIC DRAWING OF A BCELL. The B cell begins to reproduce at a rapid rate. T cells continue to secrete interleukin if they are bound to a B cell. Eventually the growing B-cell factory produces a series of spinoff factories in the form of specialized cells called ‘plasma cells.’ Instead of producing a form of the antibody that sticks in the membrane, plasma cells leave off the last oily piece of the protein. Now free antibody is extruded in large amounts into the extracellular fluid. The switch is critical. If the new plasma-cell factories were like the old B-cell factory, the antibodies would all be confined to quarters and would be much less effective at inhibiting the invaders.

Could this system have evolved step-by-step? Consider the vast pool of billions to trillions of factory B cells. The process of picking the right cell out of a mixture of antibody-producing cells is called clonal selection. Clonal selection is an elegant way to mount a specific response in great numbers to a wide variety of possible foreign invaders. The process depends on a large number of steps, some of which I have not discussed yet. Leaving those aside for now, let’s ask what the minimum requirements are for a clonal selection system, and if those minimum requirements could be produced step-by-step.

The key to the system is the physical connection of the binding ability of the protein with the genetic information for the protein. Theoretically this could be accomplished by making an antibody where the tail of the Y bound to the DNA that coded for the protein. In real life, however, such a setup wouldn’t work. The protein might be connected to its genetic information, but because the cell is surrounded by a membrane, the antibody would never come in contact with the foreign material, which is floating around outside the cell. A system where both the antibody and its attached gene were exported from the cell would overcome that problem, only to run into a different one: outside the cell there would be no cellular machinery to translate the DNA message into more protein.

Anchoring the antibody in the membrane is a good solution to the problem; now the antibody can mix it up with a foreign cell and still be near its DNA. But although the antibody can bind the foreign material without floating away from the cell, it does not have direct physical contact with the DNA. Since the protein and DNA are blind, there must be a way to get a message from one to the other.

Behe then describes an alternative, theoretical system which is far more simpler in structure and function:
Just for now, for the sake of argument, let’s forget about the tortuous way that the message of binding actually gets to the B-cell nucleus (requiring the taxicab, ingestion, MHC, helper T cells, interleukin, and so on). Instead let’s imagine a simpler system where there’s only one other protein. Let’s say that when the antibody binds to a foreign molecule, something happens that attracts some other protein—a messenger to take word of a hostage to the factory nucleus. Maybe when the hostage is first found, the shape of the antibody changes, perhaps pulling up a little on the antibody’s tail. Perhaps part of the antibody’s tail sticks into the inside of the cell, which is what triggers the messenger protein. The change in the tail could cause the messenger protein to scuttle into the nucleus and bind to the DNA at a particular point. Binding to the right place on the DNA is what causes the cell to start growing and to start producing antibody without the oily tail—antibody that gets sent out of the cell to fight the invasion.

Even in such a simplified scheme, we are left with three critical ingredients: (1) the membrane-bound form of the antibody; (2) the messenger; and (3) the exported form of the antibody. If any of these components is missing, the system fails to function. If there is no antibody in the membrane, then there’s no way to connect a successful antibody that binds a foreign invader to the cell containing the genetic information. If there is no exported form of the antibody, then when the signal is received there is nothing to send out into the world to fight. If there is no messenger protein, then there is no connection between binding the membrane antibody and turning on the right gene (making the system about as useful as a doorbell whose wires had been cut).

A cell hopefully trying to evolve such a system in gradual Darwinian steps would be in a quandary. What should it do first? Secreting a little bit of antibody into the great outdoors is a waste of resources if there’s no way to tell if it’s doing any good. Ditto for making a membrane-bound antibody. And why make a messenger protein first if there is nobody to give it a message, and nobody to receive the message if it did get one? We are led inexorably to the conclusion that even this greatly simplified clonal selection could not have come about in gradual steps.

Even at this simplified level, then, all three ingredients had to evolve simultaneously. Each of these three items—the fixed antibody, the messenger protein, and the loose antibodies—had to be produced by a separate historical event, perhaps by a coordinated series of mutations changing preexisting proteins that were doing other chores into the components of the antibody system. Darwin’s small steps have become a series of wildly unlikely leaps. Yet our analysis overlooked many complexities: How does the cell switch from putting the extra oily piece on the membrane to not putting it on? The message system is fantastically more complicated then our simplified version. Ingestion of the protein, chopping it up, presenting it to the outside on an MHC protein, specific recognition of the MHC/fragment by a helper T cell, secretion of interleukin, binding of interleukin to the B cell, sending the signal that interleukin has bound into the nucleus—the prospect of devising a step-by-step pathway for the origin of the system is enough to make strong men blanch.

A materialist who does not believe in intelligent design may be forgiven for asking, if there is such clear evidence of intelligence in the structure of proteins, their domains, and the signal transduction cascades that mobilize gene expression, white blood cells, etc, then why is the system evidently a lot more complex than it needs to be to get to the same ends?

If the sole purpose of that system was to simply function as it was supposed to, what exactly does the additional complexity contribute?

From a Darwinian perspective, they're not charged with coming up explanation as to how that works, since to them it's all random anyway (their challenge is of course to prove the theoretical rate of mutation and effectiveness of natural selection acting on a population actually match up with what we observe in nature, as is layed out in Genetic Entropy and Evolution 2.0.)

From the perspective of intelligent design, the appearance of extraneous complexity can also be explained by the existence of multiple purposes, as well as the possibility of multiple designers. The more features you build into a household appliance, the more complex it necessarily becomes. Of course, we have an advantage looking at appliances because, as the designers, we can infer the purpose behind certain components and features. But since the designers of life are obviously not human, the kind of purposes behind certain things are not immediately obvious to us, either because of our unfamiliarity, or because we have limited ability to comprehend certain things.

How this works back around to hyperdimensional battles is, they are chiefly through us, and through our biology. If you have two intelligent opponents attempting to outsmart one another, they're going to compete in altering an external "playing field" according to certain constraints in a sort of intelligence arms race to manipulate conditions to their advantage. For two brilliant people facing off, if the game was very simple (like Tic-tac-toe), there would be constant stalemates and both sides would be thwarted in the exercise of their abilities to achieve their ends. So the complexity of the game is expanded (say, by graduating to the game Chess or Go) to allow more effective maneuvering, novel functions, etc. to outsmart the opponent.

If you look at a fresh battlefield or, larger still, an entire war theater, you're going to see some military bases here and there, troops dispatches, logistical lines, etc, but also some crater-filled battlefields, bombed out cities, and mass graves. If a Darwinist saw this picture, they would conclude that all that assembled by random means. If we took the opposite approach and said this scene was a product of intelligence, we would be right. But a product of a single intelligence would be like a country at peace and prosperous like, say, Japan. The warzone would most likely resemble land acted upon by competing intelligences, due to evident existence of zones where competing intelligences faced off and generated entropy in the field (the destroyed parts, but also the areas near enemy lines and no-mans-lands where there is more chaos).

Another hypothesis I had about that was the idea of "military" (intelligence) budgets for each side to focus on and deal with certain challenges in the hyperdimensional warfare. Some battles are perceived as more important than others depending on which side you are on, which is a general feature of asymmetric warfare. And the battle between STO and STS is clearly asymmetric from the perspective of one side being "allowed" to violate free will, while the other cannot, but fares well anyway because it is nourished by the higher densities of the information field (instead of being fed upon by same like the STS).

To go back to the military analogy, STS is like the tyrannical military with no moral or legal scruples in how it conducts warefare, violating human rights constantly, but is also weighted down by parasitic institutions in the military that constantly take battle spoils for themselves (think military-industrial complex). STO is like a noble military which strictly adheres to the principles of defensive combat only, immaculately safeguards the lives of civilians, etc, and which has vastly superior technology. Sort of like the US vs Russia.
 

Joe

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How this works back around to hyperdimensional battles is, they are chiefly through us, and through our biology. If you have two intelligent opponents attempting to outsmart one another, they're going to compete in altering an external "playing field" according to certain constraints in a sort of intelligence arms race to manipulate conditions to their advantage

Interesting idea, although I'm not sure about the idea of there being any direct intervention by "STO forces" in our biology, at least not in an ongoing way and not in the same way as it can be theorized by "STS forces". But then that leaves open the question of what 'fights back' 'through us', in terms of the C's comment about the battle being "through you"? Perhaps it's our own efforts to gain and use knowledge?
 

zak

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Some years ago while visiting Longwood Gardens, I was marvelling at the amazing, complex beauty of the many varied orchids on display. I kept thinking that although we know plants will adapt to attract pollinators, I had to think that neither insects or animals could fully appreciate the absolute beauty of these flowers - that only a human could! I guess in my own way, I was firming up a belief of intelligent design over evolution, but in the more conventional sense that this spectacular natural beauty was a manifestation of God meant for human eyes and appreciation.

To keep going in this way , there is this podcast of the Dr. Ann Gauger on Why Scientific Materialism is No Match for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness:
https://www.discovery.org/multimedi...sm-is-no-match-for-truth-beauty-and-goodness/

And also her article on The Transcendental Treasury of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
If you want to cultivate a spirit of gratitude, I’d like to suggest that you spend some time in meditation on truth, beauty, and goodness. They each represent gifts to us, things that make life possible, intelligible, and worth living. They are such essential qualities that we call them transcendentals. They transcend our everyday knowledge and point toward a source that is at least capable of truth, beauty, and goodness.
Why do we value them?
  1. They are the foundations on which a life worth living is built.
  2. They enable discovery, creation, and nurturing of others.
  3. They are not wishful thinking.
  4. They are transformative.
  5. They are indicators that the world is rich, purposeful, and meaningful.
  6. They are the product of a designer who knows truth, beauty, and goodness.

[Goodness] results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing. . . . The Greek word translated “goodness,” agathosune, is defined as “uprightness of heart and life.” Agathosune is goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous.
Truth, beauty, and goodness have their being together. By truth we are put in touch with reality, which we find is good for us and beautiful to behold. In our knowing, loving and delighting, the gift of reality appears to us as something infinitely and inexhaustively valuable and fascinating. —Thomas Dubay
 

Gaby

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Another thing that becomes totally clear when you read the book is that Darwinian ideas aren’t just any old pathological theory. They are pure psychopathy. There is no other way to put it.

It sounds like a therapeutic reading to me!

In the time being, I'm reading "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions" by David Berlinski which is turning out to be a good complementary reading for this topic. It is certainly a very funny and therapeutic reading. A short description of the book:

Militant atheism is on the rise. In recent years, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have produced a steady stream of bestselling books denigrating religious belief. These authors are merely the leading edge of a larger movement that includes much of the scientific community.

In response, mathematician David Berlinski, himself a secular Jew, delivers a biting defense of religious thought. The Devil’s Delusion is a brilliant, incisive, and funny book that explores the limits of science and the pretensions of those who insist it is the ultimate touchstone for understanding our world.
 

luc

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It sounds like a therapeutic reading to me!

In the time being, I'm reading "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions" by David Berlinski which is turning out to be a good complementary reading for this topic. It is certainly a very funny and therapeutic reading. A short description of the book:

Therapeutic is the right word! If you like Berlinskis book, I think you will like Stove's book as well. If Berlinski is kind of an aristocrat duelling with the pretentious materialists, Stove is more of a Clint Eastwood type smashing into the salloon and causing bloody mayhem.

Just finished the book, and it has some lengths in chapters 2-3 IMO, and I have some minor quibbles with him, but even there he provides some very interesting historical background and the hilarity of what happens when for once, you take Darwinism seriously. But wait till he takes on Dawkins and his pathological predecessors, culminating in the second-last chapter, „Paley’s revenge“ – what a bloody carnage! This guy is a philosophical Rambo, helicoptering straight into Darwinian HQ and starting a ridiculous shooting spree! It really feels as if someone had just put a vacuum cleaner on my head and sucked out centuries worth of pathological material, transmitted via education and popular tropes, out of my brain. What a formidable performance, Mr. Stove. Rest in peace man.
 

genero81

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This guy is a philosophical Rambo, helicoptering straight into Darwinian HQ and starting a ridiculous shooting spree! It really feels as if someone had just put a vacuum cleaner on my head and sucked out centuries worth of pathological material, transmitted via education and popular tropes, out of my brain. What a formidable performance, Mr. Stove. Rest in peace man.

Well I have it, and made a start on it. I still have a small portion of DBB to finish as well. I'll let ya know what I think. ;-)
 

Windmill knight

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A materialist who does not believe in intelligent design may be forgiven for asking, if there is such clear evidence of intelligence in the structure of proteins, their domains, and the signal transduction cascades that mobilize gene expression, white blood cells, etc, then why is the system evidently a lot more complex than it needs to be to get to the same ends?

If the sole purpose of that system was to simply function as it was supposed to, what exactly does the additional complexity contribute?

From a Darwinian perspective, they're not charged with coming up explanation as to how that works, since to them it's all random anyway (their challenge is of course to prove the theoretical rate of mutation and effectiveness of natural selection acting on a population actually match up with what we observe in nature, as is layed out in Genetic Entropy and Evolution 2.0.)

From the perspective of intelligent design, the appearance of extraneous complexity can also be explained by the existence of multiple purposes, as well as the possibility of multiple designers. The more features you build into a household appliance, the more complex it necessarily becomes. Of course, we have an advantage looking at appliances because, as the designers, we can infer the purpose behind certain components and features. But since the designers of life are obviously not human, the kind of purposes behind certain things are not immediately obvious to us, either because of our unfamiliarity, or because we have limited ability to comprehend certain things.

That's a very good observation, whitecoast. I believe that Behe did touch briefly on this matter; that is the counterargument that 'if there is intelligent design, why are we designed imperfectly?' I can't remember what Behe's answer to that was, but I do remember thinking that the obvious reply was that we can safely argue that there was an intelligent designer, but we still know nothing of the designer, its nature, capabilities, objectives or circumstances, and that doesn't devalue the arguments in favor of design.

I imagine that a religious person would feel uncomfortable trying to explain why organisms are imperfect and have some systems which are not optimal, even if they are pretty good. But that's because they are thinking that God himself must the designer. But for us, that is not so much of a problem, because we can see how there could have been several designers, acting at different times and with cross-purposes, so it makes sense that the final product would not be as polished as one would imagine and would be 'patched' here and there. In fact - and this is what I mostly take away form your post - the very fact that there is extra complexity where it isn't needed is a sign that several designers have acted on organisms at different times, and so the evidence fits better with the cosmology of the Cs than that of traditional religions. Very interesting!
 

Voyageur

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Stove is more of a Clint Eastwood type smashing into the salloon and causing bloody mayhem.

Just finished the book, and it has some lengths in chapters 2-3 IMO, and I have some minor quibbles with him, but even there he provides some very interesting historical background and the hilarity of what happens when for once, you take Darwinism seriously. But wait till he takes on Dawkins and his pathological predecessors, culminating in the second-last chapter, „Paley’s revenge“ – what a bloody carnage! This guy is a philosophical Rambo, helicoptering straight into Darwinian HQ and starting a ridiculous shooting spree! It really feels as if someone had just put a vacuum cleaner on my head and sucked out centuries worth of pathological material, transmitted via education and popular tropes, out of my brain. What a formidable performance, Mr. Stove. Rest in peace man.

That was great, luc, needed a laugh too. Will surly read this.
 

Starshine

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This discussion is brilliant and I want to share my gratitude to you all who contributed. It really is a great feeling to share your enthusiasm considering your discoveries. If everything is connected in some roundabout way, knowing that you Laura just experimented a sensation of being born again after all you've discovered throughout those years of research directly affect us in a real way. I feel joyful in that sense.
Thank you luc for your contributions too, it's been really inspiring and it has been giving me much hope.
The power of such discussions is really transformative. I'm finishing 12 rules of Life, of JBP, and I found Rule 9's last chapter to be exactly descriptive of this discussion and a definition of the Forum in itself.

Conversation on the Way [Rule 9]
The final type of conversation, akin to listening, is a form of mutual exploration.
It requires true reciprocity on the part of those listening and speaking. It allows all participants to express and organize their thoughts. A conversation of mutual exploration has a topic, generally complex, of genuine interest to the participants. Everyone participating is trying to solve a problem, instead of insisting on the a priori validity of their own positions. All are acting on the premise that they have something to learn. This kind of conversation constitutes active philosophy, the highest form of thought, and the best preparation for
proper living.
The people involved in such a conversation must be discussing ideas they genuinely use to structure their perceptions and guide their actions and words.
They must be existentially involved with their philosophy: that is, they must be living it, not merely believing or understanding it. They also must have inverted, at least temporarily, the typical human preference for order over chaos (and I don’t mean the chaos typical of mindless antisocial rebellion). Other conversational types—except for the listening type—all attempt to buttress some
existing order. The conversation of mutual exploration, by contrast, requires people who have decided that the unknown makes a better friend than the known.
You already know what you know, after all—and, unless your life is perfect, what you know is not enough. You remain threatened by disease, and self-deception, and unhappiness, and malevolence, and betrayal, and corruption, and pain, and limitation. You are subject to all these things, in the final analysis, because you are just too ignorant to protect yourself. If you just knew enough, you could be healthier and more honest. You would suffer less. You could recognize, resist and even triumph over malevolence and evil. You would neither betray a friend, nor deal falsely and deceitfully in business, politics or love.
However, your current knowledge has neither made you perfect nor kept you safe. So, it is insufficient, by definition—radically, fatally insufficient.
You must accept this before you can converse philosophically, instead of convincing, oppressing, dominating or even amusing. You must accept this before you can tolerate a conversation where the Word that eternally mediates between order and chaos is operating, psychologically speaking. To have this kind of conversation, it is necessary to respect the personal experience of your conversational partners. You must assume that they have reached careful, thoughtful, genuine conclusions (and, perhaps, they must have done the work
that justifies this assumption). You must believe that if they shared their conclusions with you, you could bypass at least some of the pain of personally learning the same things (as learning from the experience of others can be quicker and much less dangerous). You must meditate, too, instead of strategizing towards victory. If you fail, or refuse, to do so, then you merely and automatically repeat what you already believe, seeking its validation and insisting on its rightness. But if you are meditating as you converse, then you listen to the other person, and say the new and original things that can rise from deep within of their own accord.
It’s as if you are listening to yourself during such a conversation, just as you are listening to the other person. You are describing how you are responding to the new information imparted by the speaker. You are reporting what that information has done to you—what new things it made appear within you, how it has changed your presuppositions, how it has made you think of new questions. You tell the speaker these things, directly. Then they have the same effect on him. In this manner, you both move towards somewhere newer and
broader and better. You both change, as you let your old presuppositions die—as you shed your skins and emerge renewed.
A conversation such as this is one where it is the desire for truth itself—on the part of both participants—that is truly listening and speaking. That’s why it’s engaging, vital, interesting and meaningful. That sense of meaning is a signal from the deep, ancient parts of your Being. You’re where you should be, with one foot in order, and the other tentatively extended into chaos and the unknown.
You’re immersed in the Tao, following the great Way of Life. There, you’re stable enough to be secure, but flexible enough to transform. There, you’re allowing new information to inform you—to permeate your stability, to repair and improve its structure, and expand its domain. There the constituent elements of your Being can find their more elegant formation. A conversation like that places you in the same place that listening to great music places you, and for much the same reason. A conversation like that puts you in the realm where
souls connect, and that’s a real place. It leaves you thinking, “That was really worthwhile. We really got to know each other.” The masks came off, and the searchers were revealed.
So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom. It is for this reason that the priestess of the Delphic Oracle in ancient Greece spoke most highly of Socrates, who always sought the truth. She described him as the wisest living man,
because he knew that what he knew was nothing.
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.

Much reading to ensue in the times to come to get up to speed on that topic! Thanks for those recommendations.
I remember being really skeptical about religion in my juvenile dictionary, as a teenager. I just saw too many flaws in it, it was just fiction. It's through Science that I actually became convinced of the Divine Nature of All. It's pure awe to even begin to grasp the complexity of the World. My definition of materialism has just been expanded. Randomness is definetly not an answer. Actually, I realize how pretentious ideologues are with their single idea to explain it all.
I remember buying Meyer's "Signature in the Cell" book back in 2013, even though I haven't read it yet, it's funny because because my ex-girlfriend (banned 3 times from the forum at that time) really wanted me to NOT buy it even though I was really curious and I stayed with a mixed feeling since just by her injonctions. Strange how things work. Go figure. An event that seemed irrelevant at that time takes an all new meaning in light of your discoveries.

And yes, the revelation that Darwinisim/Neo-Darwinism is purely and simply "Worship of the material universe" makes it as psychopathic as it can get.

I think that once we all get fully up to speed on this reading, it might be time to see it as an AIM for this group to help counteract Darwinism, to spread the word of Intelligent Design as the obvious, logical, EVIDENTIAL basis for life and thus, the context in which other questions can be answered.

Up to this moment, I have never felt any kind of impulse to really stand up for anything in a big way, but I tell ya, this is inspiring.

And for us all too. Better get up to speed on improving ourselves. With so much clues given, it is not a matter of choice anymore. It is duty.
 

luc

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Just want to mention one of the many insights I got out of David Stove's book: he sometimes mentions thinkers that made brilliant arguments against the various pathological strains that run through the history of philosophy and human thought. But I didn't recognize most of those names! Most of the names folks and even those who studied philosophy know promoted some very toxic ideas that kind of "stuck" and (de)formed the collective mind.

An early session comes to mind where Laura asked if there was kind of a battle and "you guys lost" - no kidding! "Random mutation" is as bad an explanation for biological evolution as it is for the evolution of philosophy and human thought in general. The mental landscape we live in is incredibly fine-tuned - towards soul-smashing, that is!! Intelligent design, anyone? There simply is no way any human conspiracy could bring that about. All those conspiracy theories about free masons or what have you just don't cut it. There is a vast and advanced intelligence behind this "fine-tuning" business, and not of the benevolent kind!

BTW, I digged a bit into Stove's background, and his story is fascinating in and of itself. I think part of what killed him is that his brilliant mind could reach behind the veil, and it was just too much for him, as it would be for any single guy without a network and at that time (80ies/early 90ies) when the whole big plan, all these dark strains running through history, came together to destroy our souls, but before there was the internet or any countering force. Stove committed suicide in 1994 after contracting cancer and after he fled the university because of the postmodernist/Marxist takeover. Man, this guy sometimes wandered into the wrong places, but he got close to figuring things out, but just not close enough. I feel sorry for him. (There is a site dedicated to him here, if you want to read more.)
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The mental landscape we live in is incredibly fine-tuned - towards soul-smashing, that is!! Intelligent design, anyone? There simply is no way any human conspiracy could bring that about. All those conspiracy theories about free masons or what have you just don't cut it. There is a vast and advanced intelligence behind this "fine-tuning" business, and not of the benevolent kind!
Maybe malevolent design is more appropriate.
 

goyacobol

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
There is a vast and advanced intelligence behind this "fine-tuning" business, and not of the benevolent kind!

Funny you should say that.

This really goes way back...

Session 18 October 1994:
Q: (L) Were Adam and Eve attempting to obtain knowledge to free themselves from bondage when they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge?

A: Adam and Eve are symbolic.

Q: (L) But were they in bondage and trying to help free themselves with the help of a benevolent "serpent"?

A: Not benevolent.

Q: (L) Were they already in bondage to someone else when the Lizzies came?

A: No. They were free. The symbolic story of Adam and Eve was a story of enticement to false knowledge. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was focused, imprisoned knowledge.

Thank goodness we are reading from so many other less "imprisoned" sources of knowledge.
 

genero81

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Took me a minute to get the book read in it's entirety, but just finished it. I found it a bit tedious through a good portion due to Behe's detailed accounts of cellular systems. But all of that was necessary for the purpose of the book. In the end, Behe's rational and compelling arguments were impeccable. Indeed the afterward was perhaps the most telling of what's happening and has been happening in the scientific 'community' as well as the halls of academia. It's absurd that proponents of Darwinian evolution are using science as their shield so to speak, when the scientific method is to form a hypothesis from relevant data and when new data is found that does not match the hypothesis, to throw it out and postulate a new one. But then absurdities seem to be the norm these days rather than the exception.

Great book
 

Gaby

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
But then absurdities seem to be the norm these days rather than the exception.

I'm still reading "The Devil's Delusion" and it appears to me that a good way to describe all the mental gymnastics that most PhDs go through to defend Darwinism is "predator mind":

« ‘I want to appeal to your analytical mind, ‘ don Juan said. ‘Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradiction between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of beliefs, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal. »

« ‘But how can they do this, don Juan?’ I asked, somehow angered further by what he was saying. ‘Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep? »

« ‘No, they don’t do it that way. That’s idiotic!’ don Juan said, smiling. ‘They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuver – stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind.
The predators’ mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now. »

Don Juan continues: « ‘I know that even though you have never suffered hunger… you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuver is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear.' »
 

Aeneas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Behe details well how everything fits like hand in glove on the molecular level of the cell. It is truly a marvel how everything works in harmony and how one can't take one thing away without compromising the whole system.

When in comes to genetic engineering, then Behe is very hopeful of the many advances that can be made, mentioning how (back in 1996) a slight tinkering in the DNA code is being used to make cows produce more milk. The saying "as above so below" comes to mind. In other words, we are tinkering with the DNA in nature like designers, but without having the overall picture/understanding of what the small tinkering in genetic engineering will lead to. In other words a designer needs to have the full picture up and down the food chain of what these small tinkerings do. Accepting the designer at the molecular level is one thing, but why not at the macro level? We are far from understanding the wisdom inherent in The Living System of which we are apart. What is clear for any observer of nature is that it is totally integrated, with checks and balances.

I am looking forward to the other books by Behe, so perhaps he sees it differently now. It is also possible that he doesn't go there for a reason, perhaps picking the battles where he can come from his professional academic strength.

At the Barcelona conference in 2011, Laura talked about The Living System. Here is a link to the Sott article: Presentation: The Living System, Evolution, the Purpose of Life and the Sixth Extinction -- Sott.net
 
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