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

Approaching Infinity

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Yes, and the funny (or not) thing is that you actually don't need to worry about explaining psychopaths using Darwin's theory. Because according to this theory, we basically are ALL psychopaths! Now, try to use Darwinism to explain why anyone in the whole history of humanity has ever done even ONE altruistic thing - then you will get into trouble!

I consider this kind of Darwinian reasoning of "looking for evolutionary advantages" totally sloppy. "People have heads. Explanation: They needed to see and think, because this made it easier to kill tigers..." Just ridiculous.

Stove also makes a useful distinction between evolution and biology (adding that this scandalizes Darwinians LOL). In other words, you can analyze bodies and organisms functionally, like in the olden days of biology. No need for nonsensical speculations about "evolutionary advantages" in the distant past that nobody knows anything about anyway.
I don't think the Darwinists are completely wrong; they just look at things from the wrong side of the equation, and end up looking like idiots in the process. The argument can be made that most of the things the biologists say are advantageous for survival actually are. (They basically turn something that should be obvious on the face of it into something allegedly 'deep' and profound, but which is actually just a truism.) But they are that way because there is direction inherent in evolution. We didn't get opposable thumbs because some random mutation accidentally conferred an advantage; thumbs conferred an advantage, and so we acquired them, for that purpose. But the idea of survival advantage doesn't exhaust the reasons for most of these forms and features. In most cases, there are reasons in addition to survival. Altruism is probably one of those. There are advantages to altruism in addition to mere physical survival. And a better word for advantage is value.

Basically, you can take a lot of evolutionary arguments, just flip them around, and they make better sense.
 

Renaissance

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I think it can be seen how the seeds were set early on in the formation of America to latch onto a materialist mindset. Many of the early Americans were incredibly industrious, which provided an ideal population to propel the industrial revolution and quickly advance the 'American way of life'. It's interesting how materialist science really took hold in the US after the great depression and WWII. It's like the country experienced a collective disintegrative process and were looking for something to stabilize them. Look at those people who join cults, and you can see how often they experienced some sort of trials and tribulation just prior to joining. It's basic shock doctrine stuff that helped crystallize the cult of materialism on the foundation that was built with materialistic science. Material goods, industry, and infrastructure are all appear on the superficial level to be solid and 'feel good' things on which to rely. Interesting that its infrastructure, once regarded as a symbol of American strength and goodness, is now crumbling. It goes to show how a house built on sand is going to fall, and "great was its fall".
 

Approaching Infinity

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I think it can be seen how the seeds were set early on in the formation of America to latch onto a materialist mindset. Many of the early Americans were incredibly industrious, which provided an ideal population to propel the industrial revolution and quickly advance the 'American way of life'. It's interesting how materialist science really took hold in the US after the great depression and WWII. It's like the country experienced a collective disintegrative process and were looking for something to stabilize them. Look at those people who join cults, and you can see how often they experienced some sort of trials and tribulation just prior to joining. It's basic shock doctrine stuff that helped crystallize the cult of materialism on the foundation that was built with materialistic science. Material goods, industry, and infrastructure are all appear on the superficial level to be solid and 'feel good' things on which to rely. Interesting that its infrastructure, once regarded as a symbol of American strength and goodness, is now crumbling. It goes to show how a house built on sand is going to fall, and "great was its fall".
And a huge help for the introduction of materialism was cultural marxism. See this article on SOTT, for example: No, 'Cultural Marxism' is not just a buzz word -- Sott.net

It was essentially a multi-pronged attack from numerous groups: the anti-religion enlightenment types and the marxists seem to have been the biggest and most influential, IMO. The scientific materialist types are kind of an ideology of negative space - they rarely state their basic assumptions and principles clearly, because for the most part they don't even know what they are. But that hole can then be filled by an explicit ideology like cultural marxism. Basically the scientists prepare the ground by hollowing out the worldview, and the marxists plant the seeds of actual ideology.
 

Renaissance

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It was essentially a multi-pronged attack from numerous groups: the anti-religion enlightenment types and the marxists seem to have been the biggest and most influential, IMO.
I think it's pretty fair to say the modern Western world was largely formed out of the Age of Enlightenment. So it's fascinating to see this conflict between pro-western advocates and Marxists when the two have such common roots in materialist/Enlightenment thinking, a shared Achilles heel.
 

luc

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I think it's pretty fair to say the modern Western world was largely formed out of the Age of Enlightenment. So it's fascinating to see this conflict between pro-western advocates and Marxists when the two have such common roots in materialist/Enlightenment thinking, a shared Achilles heel.
Yes, that's really fascinating to watch. And the postmodernists, too, are obviously creatures of the enlightenment. The revolution is eating its own children, as it always has been I guess. It seems that materialism, fueled by Darwinism, plays a key role in this "unhinging" process.

Basically, you can take a lot of evolutionary arguments, just flip them around, and they make better sense.
Yes, this is how I see it as well. Instead of wild speculation about hypothetical "savage times", you can just say: this or that feature has this or that function or purpose, i.e. defense etc. The trouble begins though if you assume that the only purposes are survival and reproduction, because no matter how you twist it, things like altruism, curiosity beyond immediately useful things etc. simply cannot be explained in those terms. It also runs counter our experience of life. Homeostasis might be a better candidate than survival/reproduction, but even that concept has its limits, or rather depends on how exactly you define it.
 

Windmill knight

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But the idea of survival advantage doesn't exhaust the reasons for most of these forms and features. In most cases, there are reasons in addition to survival. Altruism is probably one of those. There are advantages to altruism in addition to mere physical survival. And a better word for advantage is value.
I know we have mentioned this before in different words:

Reading the above, as well as thinking about Whitecoast's post here (about the evolution of more complex organisms, and which suggests to me that the survival of higher life-forms is favored at the individual level, rather than the species level), it's almost as if evolution is not aiming to the survival of the fittest, but to the 'quality of life' of the members of a species.

The more basic the species, the more chance it will have to survive as a species, although each of their members have very ephemeral and fragile lives. The more complex species, like humans, are much closer to total extinction than bacteria - but the quality of the experience of life of each individual is incredibly greater than that of an individual bacteria. By quality of life I mean: humans perceive much more, they feel and think, have free will, can appreciate beauty and values, etc. - and as far as we know, bacteria don't.

It's as if the Universe is invested in having life-forms which have an increasingly greater capability of experiencing and knowing the Universe. Which is consistent with the idea that the purpose of Creation is for the Universe to know itself.

Imagine if the idea of evolution had been predicated on the notion of 'knowing Creation' rather than 'the survival of the species', and how that might have affected our cultural and social memes.
 

Azur

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It's as if the Universe is invested in having life-forms which have an increasingly greater capability of experiencing and knowing the Universe. Which is consistent with the idea that the purpose of Creation is for the Universe to know itself.

Imagine if the idea of evolution had been predicated on the notion of 'knowing Creation' rather than 'the survival of the species', and how that might have affected our cultural and social memes.
Looks like that Idea has caught on, even at this low level, in our media...

And it was discounted. Sorta.





;-D
 

Tuatha de Danaan

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Just finished reading HERETIC, one scientists journey from Darwin to Design.

So informative on the methods used to defame ID scientists. However, whilst the author feels frustrated and exasperated, he never shows any sign of
anger or hate for his enemies. He really seems to take everything thrown at him as a challenge. Very easy book to read and eye opening. The name calling is truly nasty, and with no efforts to debate or discuss. The Neo-Darwinist's standard defamation is Pseudo-scientism.. Leisola, however, is buoyed by the fact that so many scientists are now dropping the Neo-Darwinist theory with so much new evidence coming forward...

On the point about ID scientists being called Pseudo-scientists Leisola mentions a little historical detail that was rather interesting. It relates to a thing called THE SEMMELWEIS REFLEX.. This was coined in the 1850's and it refers to "the rejection of new knowledge because it contradicts entrenched norms, beliefs and paradigms.

I thought an article on Darwinism with the title THE SEMMEKWEIS REFLEX. would be rather amusing and a rebuttal to Pseudo-scientism.

On a more serious note Leisola cites one example of the tragic effects of Darwinism. A high school teacher once gave him an essay of one of her students. According to the student, science had given him reasons to believe that life was meaningless... Where does a young person go from there with that outlook?
 

Approaching Infinity

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Just finished reading HERETIC, one scientists journey from Darwin to Design.

So informative on the methods used to defame ID scientists. However, whilst the author feels frustrated and exasperated, he never shows any sign of
anger or hate for his enemies. He really seems to take everything thrown at him as a challenge. Very easy book to read and eye opening. The name calling is truly nasty, and with no efforts to debate or discuss. The Neo-Darwinist's standard defamation is Pseudo-scientism.. Leisola, however, is buoyed by the fact that so many scientists are now dropping the Neo-Darwinist theory with so much new evidence coming forward...

On the point about ID scientists being called Pseudo-scientists Leisola mentions a little historical detail that was rather interesting. It relates to a thing called THE SEMMELWEIS REFLEX.. This was coined in the 1850's and it refers to "the rejection of new knowledge because it contradicts entrenched norms, beliefs and paradigms.

I thought an article on Darwinism with the title THE SEMMEKWEIS REFLEX. would be rather amusing and a rebuttal to Pseudo-scientism.

On a more serious note Leisola cites one example of the tragic effects of Darwinism. A high school teacher once gave him an essay of one of her students. According to the student, science had given him reasons to believe that life was meaningless... Where does a young person go from there with that outlook?
I just finished this one the other day, too, and agree. It was excellent. There wasn't anything really new in it that I hadn't already read elsewhere, but the authors did a great job presenting the main arguments for ID and against Darwinism in a simple, easy-to-follow way. So it's a great intro to the ideas. Plus, the stories are entertaining and informative (and maddening).
 

Laura

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I just finished this one the other day, too, and agree. It was excellent. There wasn't anything really new in it that I hadn't already read elsewhere, but the authors did a great job presenting the main arguments for ID and against Darwinism in a simple, easy-to-follow way. So it's a great intro to the ideas. Plus, the stories are entertaining and informative (and maddening).
Some of the stories of the way the scientific mainstream attacked very good scientists were absolutely tragic. That story about the guy at the Smithsonian gave me PTSD flashbacks to Vinnie Bridges and gang.

NEARLY finished with "Darwinian Fairtytales" and I agree with Luc that it is definitely a MUST read for everybody. He covers so many things from so many angles. It's not just a breath of fresh air, it's a darned hurricane!!!

At this point, after reading all the best the Darwinians' had to offer, about 30 books or so, then the take-downs of Darwinian theory such as Genetic Entropy, etc, then the ID books, and now, DF, I'm coming to the idea that evolution is, purely and simply, bunkum. There is no "evolution"; there is only concentrations of tendencies or traits that are ENGINEERED and already present in the genotype.

Reading about what billions and billions, even trillions, of bacteria do in the way of "evolution" was pretty sobering. There simply is no way that genetic mutations can lead to anything except broken machines.

It was back when I was reading all the paleontology, following the fossil records from the very beginning of the earth, as far as mainstream science understands it, as a supplement to all the evolutionary theory, that I found an amazing book. It is LOADED with pictures and I went through it during about 20/25 NeurOptimal sessions. The one thing that impressed itself on me as I went through this book was: SOMEBODY was having one heck of a time PLAYING and EXPERIMENTING all the way through that process.

So yeah, we, as humans, are composed of a smorgasbord of everything that has been experimentally engineered before. And everything else is, too. You can see this process as clear as day when you go through this book.
 

luc

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The one thing that impressed itself on me as I went through this book was: SOMEBODY was having one heck of a time PLAYING and EXPERIMENTING all the way through that process.
As I'm trying to think all this through and while writing, I noticed one aspect in my "thought train" that I don't think we have talked about here or that the IDers talk about much, as far as I know. It is this: the whole ID/anti-Darwinian argument, when it comes to evolution, is that somehow there must have been an infusion of information into the system. There can't be no other way, since the Darwinian process cannot produce information.

BUT: Maybe the reason why Darwinism kind of, sort of seems plausible at first sight is that it allows at least one type of information to flow in: namely the informational background of the environment. If you think about it, the environment IS information: if you explore new territory, this means you gather information. If something wounds an organism, it is information: better not to return to this place. And if something kills it, it's an "information event" telling the gene pool: this one ain't fit. So, even in hardcore-Darwinism, information flows in from the environment.

It seems to me that this is the trick Darwin pulled off: the "natural selection" process is decisively non-random, i.e. information-driven, hence it can make us overlook the impossibility of random mutations producing anything new. And perhaps that's another piece of the puzzle: we shouldn't focus only on what's going on within the organism, but also how the environment shapes it, which is just another way of saying: how the environment infuses information into it. So maybe this is sort of dynamic, a feedback loop, a mutual exchange of information: the organism receives information from the environment and actively uses this information to adapt; this in turn changes the environment and so on. And this becomes all the more interesting if we view the environment not as a dead world, but as part of the living system. It is all information-based.

So in this light, the "experimenting" might have gone on from both sides of the equation: the organisms and the environment. Whoever is the "experimenter" and however they do it, perhaps all that is needed are subtle adjustments in this "feedback loop" and off we go in this or that direction?

I'm still not sure what to make of this thought - in my writing, I used it to debunk a possible attack on the design argument by Darwinians, namely that we don't need any "information influx" for evolution to work, by showing that even in Darwinism, you do need an information influx (i.e. natural selection by the environment). Don't know if that makes sense?
 

Laura

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Well, here is the book. I think everybody should have a copy. And it's giant and heavy, so you sure get bang for your buck because it is CHEAP. What an incredible book. Over 500 pages, and so big it takes two hands to pick it up.

29101

With an extensive catalog at its heart, Prehistoric Life profiles hundreds of fascinating species in incredible detail. The story starts in earnest 3.8 billion years ago, with the earliest-known form of life on Earth, a bacteria that still exists today, and journeys through action-packed millennia, charting the appearance of new life forms as well as devastating extinction events. Of course, the ever-popular and endlessly intriguing dinosaurs feature large, but Prehistoric Life gives you the whole picture, and the plants, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals that are the ancestors of today's species also populate its pages, making this book unprecedented in its coverage of prehistory. Specially commissioned artworks use cutting-edge technology to render species in breathtakingly realistic fashion, with astonishing images of prehistoric remains, such as skeletons and fossils, to complete the story. To put all the evidence in context, the concept of geological time is explored, as is the classification of species and how the evidence for their evolution is preserved and can be deciphered.

 

genero81

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At this point, after reading all the best the Darwinians' had to offer, about 30 books or so, then the take-downs of Darwinian theory such as Genetic Entropy, etc, then the ID books, and now, DF, I'm coming to the idea that evolution is, purely and simply, bunkum. There is no "evolution"; there is only concentrations of tendencies or traits that are ENGINEERED and already present in the genotype.
Right, there are biological context/ containers to be used by something other, or outgrown and discarded by the indwelling soul. Or so I'm thinking. Biological life is being engineered at another level for multiple reasons and purposes. OSIT- It's definitely not just randomly developing of it's own accord.
 

Laura

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I don't think the environment "shapes" anything beyond what already is engineered into the genotype. It can bring it out, or suppress it, but it cannot "shape" it in the sense of "evolution". There is no material evolution, I don't think; there is only evolution of consciousness utilizing the engineered machines to do so. And the more I think about the details that Behe and pals have given about the real experiments that have been done, the understanding of the irreducible complexity of living machines, I think that every single species was individually engineered out of the "experimental parts" that were previously engineered through billions of years of Earth's history. That, in itself, is sort of evidence of the evolution of consciousness, not just at our level, but at the level of the engineers. They were using our reality, Earthy, other planets, etc, to learn things, to experiment, to create, and to utilize their creations as portals for their own entry into the material world for their own learning and growth.
 
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