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

Voyageur

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Some of the seemingly European fairy tales reach back thousands of years and there are variants of the same stories in other parts of the world (e.g. the other side of Eurasia) and we share these stories despite cultural / religious / language borders. These fairy tales are also archetypal stories and it seems some reach back to the dawn of human history/ human societies. Fairy tales also teach about good and bad and what happens when you decide to go a "wrong" or "right" way. They also teach that there is evil in the world. Some of them teach that material goods are not important but human values. There are also supernatural elements in some fairy tales. There is more about them than the "children tales" our society want to see in them IMO.

I think that (fairy) tales and also cultural/ moral standards of a society could be as important as religion.
Had noticed what you said here when reading this thread this morning and it reminded me of something. Now I don't know if you ever caught some of what Harold Bayley (The Lost Language of Symbolism) had written, for instance the children's story Cinderella is a case in point that goes back a long way uin history having been weaved throughout cultures and myths. There is a pdf link here and it is not easy to cheaply find, or it was not then.

For example, check out Florian's take on this general topic that we just published on Sott.

It's a good example of how a different approach may appeal to different people.
I just read this. Excellent work, Florian!!!

Some very impressive writing you folks have done. :cool2:
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The other day, I came across some teaching material, that had a quote from the work of Charles Darwin showing his own doubts about the origin of the eye. I tried to find it in English and came across a page with links and quotes. Although sure these quotes must have been posted before, I could not find them, so I prefer to put it up again and with a bit of graphic for added clarity:
Charles Darwin Doubts about His Theory First an introduction:
Darwin proposed a theory, but he has two entire chapters that state the evidence his theory required that was missing. He assumed the evidence would be there some time in the future.

The entire book can be read online for free here: The Origin of Species. Here are links to the two chapters I am quoting from so you can read the quotes in context:

http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/chapter-09.html
Next are the quotes from Charles Darwin:
“To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.”
“Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms.”
Darwin apparently could "see" there was a problem for his theory when it tried to explain the eye, which is a bit more complicated than a modern Smart Board projector designed by engineers. True, a projector with internet connection has circuit boards and processors, but in the pictures below we have not even come to the level of the cell or the workings of the nerve connections and the brain.
30278
And it gets even more difficult when taking into account the next picture:
30275

No wonder, Darwin had doubts. That many generations of scientists either never heard of them or thought they could explain them away was their choice. What I admire in Darwin is his approach, he did not ignore the doubts, at least not completely.

On the above page there are other quotes which are also discussed in the reader comments:
If numerous species
, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory to descent with slow modification though natural selection.
[...]
I concluded that this great group had been suddenly developed at the commencement of the tertiary series This was a sore trouble to me, adding as I thought one more instance of the abrupt appearance of a great group of species. ”

“The case most frequently insisted on by paleontologists of the apparently sudden appearance of a whole group of species, is that of the teleostean fishes, low down in the Chalk period.”

“On the sudden appearance of groups of Allied Species in the lowest known fossilferous strata: There is another and allied difficulty, which is much graver. I allude to the manner in which numbers of species of the same group suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks.”

“Consequently, if my theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Silurian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Silurian age to the present day; and that during these vast, yet quite unknown, periods of time, the world swarmed with living creatures. To the question why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give no satisfactory answer.”

The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.”

“The several difficulties here discussed, namely our not finding in the successive formations infinitely numerous transitional links between the many species which now exist or have existed; the sudden manner in which whole groups of species appear in our European formations; the almost entire absence, as at present known, of fossiliferous formations beneath the Silurian strata, are all undoubtedly of the gravest nature.”
 

Joe

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Well, whether it's IC at the level of 19 or not has to be determined, and in reality, I'm pretty damn sure there's plenty of IC involved at many 'steps', so you're right. But from the point of view of arguing against Evolution, the small problem is that if the Darwinists showed that the 20 wasn't IC and you say "OK, I was wrong, but the 19 are IC!" then nobody's going to take you seriously anymore. Hence, even if not much has changed in reality, it's better to just pick a different argument. You have to look at it from the Darwinist point of view and consider what's going to look convincing enough for them, not for us.
I think you might be relying too much on the neo-darwinist argument, which is fundamentally anti-scientific, and trying to adhere to that or else "no one will take you seriously". Who, won't take you seriously? Neo-darwinists? Of course they won't, they don't take anything that isn't neo-darwinian seriously. Also, is there a consensus on what exactly IC means? If a part is removed from a system, does it have to not function at all for it to be deemed IC?

Dembski defines IC as:

"a system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, nonarbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system's basic, and therefore original, function"

If one part is removed through RM, and the system still works but not optimally as per its original function (as is the case in the whales' blood clotting), then can that be claimed as evidence that the system is not IC? Could it be evidence that it is IC, i.e. ANY reduction in functionality (even where functionality remains but sub-optimal) means the system is IC?
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I think you might be relying too much on the neo-darwinist argument, which is fundamentally anti-scientific, and trying to adhere to that or else "no one will take you seriously". Who, won't take you seriously? Neo-darwinists? Of course they won't, they don't take anything that isn't neo-darwinian seriously. Also, is there a consensus on what exactly IC means? If a part is removed from a system, does it have to not function at all for it to be deemed IC?
I had similar thoughts regarding this discussion. MI, I think it's laudable that you want to get to the bottom of this and do it thoroughly, but look at the ridiculous "debunking" the neo-Darwinists have engaged in with regard to IC. Like showing up at the infamous Scopes Trial with a mousetrap as tie-strip!! This is their level! They simply don't want to get it, even if it's screaming in their faces.

The way I understand the concept of IC is simply that we're talking about systems that derive their function through an interplay of its parts, whereas the function of the overall system is different from that of the individual parts. That is, each part alone can't do the job, it's the whole system that does it. Which of course means it could not have "evolved" one part at a time by NS/RM. That's the point. Whether you can remove one part or the other and the system is still somewhat functional doesn't matter and is just silly nitpicking by the neo-darwinists. What does that change in terms of how the system could have evolved one non-functional part at a time? It's again the neo-Darwinist's tactic of being obscure, nit-picky and coming up with vague stories. Either you can explain to me, specifically and precisely, how the blood-clotting system could have evolved, evolutionary pathways and all, one functional part at a time, somehow arriving at a complex system with a distinct function without aiming for it, or you cannot.
 
Reading Darwin's comments above seems to proffer the idea that he was putting forward an hypothesis NOT a theory, and I think in any argument put forward by ID proponents those quotes should be mentioned. The Darwinians rely on him so much let them refresh themselves on his actual words. I hope this suggestion doesn't seem trite.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Next are the quotes from Charles Darwin:
“To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.”
“Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms.”
Those are great quotes.
 
Who, won't take you seriously? Neo-darwinists?
Well, the hardcore ones are lost causes. It's more about the people who were indoctrinated with it at school but read sott articles, though my comment about being taken seriously was more of a theoretical one about principles. If your argument gets weakened by an actual fact, it's hard to continue making that same argument.

Also, is there a consensus on what exactly IC means? If a part is removed from a system, does it have to not function at all for it to be deemed IC?
From DBB:
a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning
So I'd say yes, that's exactly the point.

If one part is removed through RM, and the system still works but not optimally as per its original function (as is the case in the whales' blood clotting), then can that be claimed as evidence that the system is not IC? Could it be evidence that it is IC, i.e. ANY reduction in functionality (even where functionality remains but sub-optimal) means the system is IC?
No, if one part removed only decreases the function but doesn't kill the organism, basically, it shows that this one step (in the opposite direction) could have been made by RM+NS. That's the whole point of the IC argument. Evolutionists expect that functionality increases in quality with every step, so anything before the final evolutionary step is expected to work worse. The point of IC is that without any one part, it doesn't work at all, thus such an evolutionary stage couldn't have existed. Note the meaning of "irreducible". If it can be reduced by one step and still function, it's not irreducible.

Of course another thing is that, for evolution to be true, every step must be possible and not just an arbitrary one or the last one.

I had similar thoughts regarding this discussion. MI, I think it's laudable that you want to get to the bottom of this and do it thoroughly, but look at the ridiculous "debunking" the neo-Darwinists have engaged in with regard to IC. Like showing up at the infamous Scopes Trial with a mousetrap as tie-strip!! This is their level! They simply don't want to get it, even if it's screaming in their faces.
Maybe I can put it this way: I'm not trying to explain things to Richard Dawkins (pointless), but I am trying to explain it to people who have read his books and heard his arguments. So to an extent you kind of have to work with Dawkins's dumb arguments because people believe them and will do so until someone shows them that they're wrong and how. Of course Dawkins won't accept anything, but many people only (think they) know what they've learned in school and what they've read in Dawkins's books. So even if you show them some things that make sense to them, there's that "well, yeah, but Dawkins says..." kind of reaction, and you know how the mind works. They heard Dawkins's arguments first and there's already a bias towards them. Until somebody shows them that Dawkins's arguments are dumb and illogical, they can't move forward. So as much as it sucks, there is some reason to get to "their level" in some sense. And the IC thing has been tossed around from one side to the other with various levels of 'debunking', and people have heard various versions of 'IC debunked', so I'm trying to get the facts straight to make sure I'm not saying something that's not true. Yes, it's stupid details and semantics, but I think it has its merit too. It's like Joe said, there are all kinds of people who need to hear things in all kinds of different ways, so there have to be different approaches, etc. And part of it is of course that I'm just trying to figure out some details for myself.

Either you can explain to me, specifically and precisely, how the blood-clotting system could have evolved, evolutionary pathways and all, one functional part at a time, somehow arriving at a complex system with a distinct function without aiming for it, or you cannot.
That is absolutely true, and nobody has been able to do that. I was addressing basically a technicality about whether one particular thing is IC or not, disregarding of what it means for all the other steps that would have to be involved, to see whether I can safely say that "blood clotting is IC" without anyone being able to easily prove me wrong. You're right that this whole thing is utterly stupid and we shouldn't even be talking about most of these things because nobody should take them seriously, but when most people have been brainwashed with this garbage in school...

Anyway, as long as we're learning something, it's all useful!
 
To get back to the issue of morality, I've been thinking about it and what children should or shouldn't be taught, and how it relates to religion and materialism. So this is my idea about what I would teach children, starting with some core principles:

• All there is is lessons, and we're all here to learn (all kinds of things).
• You have free will, but so does everyone else!
• You're responsible for your actions.
• Knowledge protects, ignorance endangers.
Knowledge increases the quality of your life.
• Nobody is more important than anyone else.
Self-importance decreases the quality of your life.
• Suffering teaches us about ourselves and our relationship to others.
• Karma & reincarnation explain how things balance themselves out in the long run.


Most of this is pretty universal and uncontroversial. The only metaphysical thing here is karma/reincarnation. This can probably wait until the children are a bit older, but ultimately that's the thing that gives sense to many other things. Justice, reward, punishment, consequences, responsibility: all that is explained and solidified by karma.
Karma efficiently replaces God, without all the downsides. There are no wars in the name of karma. There are no "my karma is better than your karma" arguments. God has mostly been something for people to argue about and kill each other over. Not helpful.

Free will is important to understand mainly in the sense of free will of others, which relates to tolerance and understanding. Everyone's different, and they want different things, and that's all right. We're all learning all kinds of different lessons. Also, people have all kinds of beliefs. Don't believe everything they'll tell you, and let them believe whatever they want.

There shouldn't be any dogma in any of this. There is nothing you must or must not do in an absolute sense, but there are consequences, responsibility, and lessons. Because of that, there are things you must or must not do if you want to get certain results. You're free to be mean to everyone, but you'll have to suffer the consequences. Experience will teach you whether it's worth it.

Nobody's entitled to anything. Appreciate the things you have, and don't take them for granted. The universe can take them away any moment.

Self-importance may be a bit difficult to explain to kids (and may not even be too good for the really young ones), but understanding it and working on reducing it has been one of the most helpful things I've done in my life, so at some later point I would certainly focus on that. It also relates to understanding other people's points of view.

It's not only about what you teach but also how. Patience, tolerance, harmony... They should be taught in a way that explains the reasons. "You must be patient! (or else)" doesn't teach anybody anything. Authoritarian imperative is the worst possible form of teaching, if you can even call it that. (And that's what religion largely does.) Why patience? Because impatience leads to mistakes, bad decisions, broken things, unpleasant emotional states like anger or frustration, and it annoys everyone around you. Not so difficult to explain, if only people have the patience to think about it for a minute.

I don't buy that children are too stupid to understand these things. Many of these things can be taught quite early. A related problem is, though, that some adults are not very good at explaining things properly. In this case, relatives and close friends can help, but ultimately, some failure in this regard is unavoidable. I don't think the solution is to institutionalise this kind of education, like religion and church. It will take about 5 minutes before some dipshit starts thinking about hijacking the system for spreading some idiotic ideas. It always ends up like that and will keep happening until humanity is much smarter than it is now. So it's better to let some parents fail than to risk a perpetual system failure like we've had all along. The small failures are, after all, just more lessons. (Though so are the big ones, but how much do you really want to pay for the mistakes?)

I also think it wouldn't hurt to do 2 minutes (or whatever they can reasonably handle) of meditation with the kids every now and then, and to suggest they try it every day. They may suck at it, and it may not catch on, but you can't go wrong with trying. If it happens to work out, they have acquired a good lifetime habit.

Another thing worth cultivating is will. Spoiled children who get everything they want become weak and don't fare well in life. Training will can be turned into games to make it more fun.

It's also good to learn to accept things you cannot change. Many people spend their whole lives worrying and complaining about things they can't do anything about. If you can change the situation, don't complain and change it. If you can't, just accept it and learn to live with it.

I think these are pretty basic things that don't rely on anything religious and don't have any obvious downside. Only the last bullet point is metaphysical and impossible to demonstrate.

Here are some things I would definitely NOT teach children. In fact, I would warn them about such notions.

>God wants you to do certain things and not do certain other things. (Antithesis to free will.)
>You must believe certain things (like Jesus is saviour) or you'll be punished (eternal hell). (This imprints dogmatism and kills critical thinking.)
>If you do bad things, you get some metaphysical, hard to comprehend punishment, like hell. (This instils fear instead of teaching true responsibility.)
>Some people (Christians, Jews, Americans, whatever) are "special". (This cultivates self-importance, self-righteousness, "us vs them" mentality.)

Notice how these all exist in Western religions. I find it strange how people (including for example Jordan Peterson) keep trying to save Christianity when it's full of this dogmatic nonsense while at the same time Buddhism got the basics right. The problem of a religious approach is that the 'reasons' why you should or shouldn't do things are dogmatic and often illogical. If you like a more religious approach, then I think the good parts need to be separated from the dogma and nonsense, and taught on their own, outside the context of a particular religion, because that will always bring the other stuff with it.

On the other hand, materialism has its own serious problems. It denies free will, consciousness outside of the brain, and of course karma and reincarnation. Denying free will basically destroys responsibility and removes meaning from life. It's hard to even maintain the idea of lessons and learning if everything is predetermined by the past. In a materialist context, it's difficult to explain reasons for any non-material values. That's the kind of trouble stemming from Darwinism.

So religions impose dogmatism and usually contain all kinds of made up nonsense, and materialism is devoid of meaning and there isn't really a reason for anything. Neither of these seem conducive to teaching morals in a meaningful way.
 

Joe

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I find it strange how people (including for example Jordan Peterson) keep trying to save Christianity when it's full of this dogmatic nonsense
I wouldn't say it's "full" of dogmatic nonsense, which is the reason I think Peterson is trying to "save" it.

The problem of a religious approach is that the 'reasons' why you should or shouldn't do things are dogmatic and often illogical. If you like a more religious approach, then I think the good parts need to be separated from the dogma and nonsense, and taught on their own, outside the context of a particular religion,
I think that's precisely what Peterson has been attempting to do.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
They simply don't want to get it, even if it's screaming in their faces.
I think this is vital to keep in mind. These types are so heavily emotionally invested in wanting a purely mechanistic theory for the development of biological life to be true that they are willing to grasp at straws and agree with any argument, no matter how flimsy, that might somehow save their beloved theory against overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

So we don't want to think in terms of changing their minds. However, we don't want to make it easier for them to refute what we are trying to argue for by making unnecessary mistakes either. OSIT
 

Joe

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
No, if one part removed only decreases the function but doesn't kill the organism, basically, it shows that this one step (in the opposite direction) could have been made by RM+NS. That's the whole point of the IC argument. Evolutionists expect that functionality increases in quality with every step, so anything before the final evolutionary step is expected to work worse. The point of IC is that without any one part, it doesn't work at all, thus such an evolutionary stage couldn't have existed. Note the meaning of "irreducible". If it can be reduced by one step and still function, it's not irreducible.
As per the quote from Dembski (and the exact definition of IC is not fixed), a system can still be IC if removing a part reduces optimal functioning but still maintains some original function. This is assuming that you can't continue to remove parts and with each part removal the system continues to work, to some extent (when would that EVER happen??)

Imagine a system with 20 parts, remove 1, it still works, but sub-optimally. Keep removing 1 part at a time, and presumably at some point it's going to stop working, like stop clotting blood. So take the system at the point where it stopped clotting blood and then look at the additional part that was required to make it clot blood. Was the addition of that part "accidental"? As we know already, no matter what way we look at it, it is statistically highly unlikely that the awesome functionalities of living systems could have happened by RM and NS, and given that they are all likely the product of design, then they are all, BY DEFINITION, "irreducibly complex" because they were DESIGNED!

Saying that something is "irreducibly complex" is just a scientific cover term by intelligent design proponents to avoid saying "intelligent design". So the fact that a blood clotting system in whales still functions when you remove a part of the system in no way proves that RM and NS is at work. It simply means that, in some cases, when you remove part of a system that was designed, it still retains sub-optimal functioning. Why? Because it was well designed. So we're back to our bottom line: blind and unintelligent RM and NS can't produce intelligent systems.
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
That is absolutely true, and nobody has been able to do that. I was addressing basically a technicality about whether one particular thing is IC or not, disregarding of what it means for all the other steps that would have to be involved, to see whether I can safely say that "blood clotting is IC" without anyone being able to easily prove me wrong. You're right that this whole thing is utterly stupid and we shouldn't even be talking about most of these things because nobody should take them seriously, but when most people have been brainwashed with this garbage in school...
Personally, I think it's important to anticipate this sort of criticism and show that it doesn't fly, but I would include (and maybe even focus on) the general point Windmill Knight, Joe and I have made. In other words, show that you understand the critics, while simultanously pointing out how utterly hopeless and missing the point it is to take some rigid definition of IC and then show why according to this definition, an argument is wrong. I like Windmill Knight's bike analogy. It's also like saying that you can remove an atom, and the system still works, therefore Darwinism is true! If you can bring this general point across, hopefully those who are still on the fence will realize the level of desperation the Neo-Darwinists operate at. Yes, the other technical points (such as those Approaching Infinity brought up) are good as well, but it shouldn't sound like the whole IC arguments depends on proving that you cannot ever remove one part of the system without the whole thing collapsing 100%. In other words, it should be made clear that some pseudo-debunker citing the blood clotting system doesn't even begin to address the issue so that someone taking it seriously will stop doing so :)
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thinking about the discussion whether atheists can be moral and such, I think part of the reason this is such a hot topic is that the issue comes with so much baggage.

Perhaps a better way to put it is this: can there be ethical behavior without a sense of meaning? That seems to be the crux. Now, materialism flat-out denies that there is such a thing as meaning. Everything is dead matter, there is no free will, consciousness is an illusion and so on. No life after death, no meaning of life or death, no telos, i.e. life's general, higher goal. Nothing.

Darwinism knows only one meaning of life: survival and reproduction. Here it is contradictory to materialism, because under materialism, there is no telos, there can't be any goals. But just like the postmodernist neo-Marxists, Darwinian materialists just ignore the glaring contradiction.

So how can you live an ethically sound life without meaning? You simply can't. Meaninglessness is the definition of nihilism. Even utalitarian or Kantian considerations don't make sense without meaning. If we are pre-determined, consist of dead-matter etc., who cares about "bettering society", about finding meaning in helping people, sacrifice, grow etc.? How can you look at your experiences and derive lessons from them - finding meaning in them and therefore in your life? Impossible.

Now, there are of course many people who buy Darwinism-materialism and yet are good people. But I would say they behave ethically despite Darwinism-materialism. They just refuse to think it through, and they shield a part of their mind from the implications. For example, when something bad happens in their lives, they try to decipher the meaning of it. They listen to their "sense of meaning"; they sacrifice things for the benefit of others because of higher values, and so on. But none of this makes any sense under Darwinism-materialism.

And so, this materialist, Darwinism-fueled ideology eats away at people's consciousness/conscience, at their soul. As long as they accept it, it will corrode and invade their sense of meaning, their outlook on life as something imbued with meaning. The fact that many people still manage to be good people under this ideology is not at all proof that this ideology is compatible with (much less conducive to) an ethical life; rather, it's a testament of people's resilience against this soul-smashing ideology. But at one point, if you don't realize how entirely wrong this ideology is, your soul will be in danger.

I just finished Bernardo Kastrup's book "Thie Idea of the World - A multi-disciplinary argument for the mental nature of reality", which I think is great in many ways. In the last two essays in the book, Kastrup makes some interesting comments about the psychological/ethical implications of materialism (which he calls physicalism). They were originally journal articles, you can read them online for free here:

The Physicalist Worldview as Neurotic Ego-Defense Mechanism

Not Its Own Meaning: A Hermeneutic of the World
 
Last edited:

Approaching Infinity

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
As per the quote from Dembski (and the exact definition of IC is not fixed), a system can still be IC if removing a part reduces optimal functioning but still maintains some original function. This is assuming that you can't continue to remove parts and with each part removal the system continues to work, to some extent (when would that EVER happen??)
Not quite. If you can remove a part, then it wasn't part of the irreducibly complex system. Both Behe and Dembski make that clear in their definitions. As Dembski wrote in the definition you quoted: "each part in the set is indispensable". The classic example is a mouse trap. It can't function at all when ANY one of its parts is removed; each is indispensable. But you can add parts to a mouse trap that aren't part of its irreducibly complex base, which is where I think you were going with this example:

Imagine a system with 20 parts, remove 1, it still works, but sub-optimally. Keep removing 1 part at a time, and presumably at some point it's going to stop working, like stop clotting blood. So take the system at the point where it stopped clotting blood and then look at the additional part that was required to make it clot blood.
That's the point at which the system is irreducibly complex. A mouse trap might have a bell on it, or a battery-powered light, or whatever else for whatever additional or modified purpose. But those additions aren't part of the irreducibly complex system. I don't know for sure, but I think the Evolution News article on the blood clotting system was essentially making the same point: that the part missing in whales isn't actually part of the irreducibly complex system - and that Behe never argued it was.

Was the addition of that part "accidental"? As we know already, no matter what way we look at it, it is statistically highly unlikely that the awesome functionalities of living systems could have happened by RM and NS, and given that they are all likely the product of design, then they are all, BY DEFINITION, "irreducibly complex" because they were DESIGNED!
I think you're conflating concepts here. All irreducibly complex systems are designed. Not all designs are irreducibly complex.

Saying that something is "irreducibly complex" is just a scientific cover term by intelligent design proponents to avoid saying "intelligent design".
Nope, it's just that irreducibly complex systems are the most obviously designed, and therefore they present the best ammunition against Darwinists who must try to argue that each part got added onto the previous part sequentially and by accident. Other systems or features are not so obviously designed - which why Behe devotes so much space in Darwin Devolves looking at advantageous features which ARE a result of RM and NS: to show what the actual limits of RM and NS are. As long as a particular feature isn't part of an irreducibly complex system, it's always possible that it might have been an accident. That requires serious study to determine. But if you can make a good argument for an irreducibly complex system, there's arguably no chance that any of the core parts got there by accident.
 
Perhaps a better way to put it is this: can there be ethical behavior without a sense of meaning? That seems to be the crux. Now, materialism flat-out denies that there is such a thing as meaning. Everything is dead matter, there is no free will, consciousness is an illusion and so on. No life after death, no meaning of life or death, no telos, i.e. life's general, higher goal. Nothing.
Exactly. I don't think atheism is necessarily a problem. It just means no God, but you can believe in all kinds of other things. Even Buddhists don't generally concern themselves with "God". But they do concern themselves with karma, and there's meaning.

But materialism by definition eliminates meaning. As you said, "no free will, consciousness is an illusion". In that kind of setting, there's just no way to get any meaning out of it. And with no meaning, it makes sense to just do whatever the hell you want, with disregard to anybody else's well-being.

Now, there are of course many people who buy Darwinism-materialism and yet are good people. But I would say they behave ethically despite Darwinism-materialism. They just refuse to think it through, and they shield a part of their mind from the implications.
I agree. They either perceive some kind of meaning intuitively, or it comes from the programming of the society. They had been taught what they can or cannot do, and this has created some sense of what's "right". There's confusion between "right" and "lawful", because people think about such things only heuristically and it's all muddled in their minds.

Materialism is irreconcilable with reality, to the point that materialists basically argue against themselves, against their own reason, against their own consciousness, and so on. They have to abandon materialism regularly to be able to live at all. Their beliefs are, and pretty much must be, inconsistent with their actions.

Also not all who believe in evolution are materialists. Even some Christians apparently believe in evolution. So there should be plenty of cognitive dissonance going on in general.

I guess you could separate two kinds of people. One is the hardcore Darwinists, who really believe all that retarded shit that comes with it. The other is people who started their lives with morality and meaning, in whatever form, and just kind of accepted Darwinism/evolution at school and never thought it through. It's like they truly "believe" in meaning, and just "accept" Darwinism because everyone around them does.
 
Top Bottom