Precisely what are you saying?
There must be a God or a Force that was so intelligent s/he did x, y, z
Why couldn't something beyond our understanding, at the moment, ultimately
explain our existence?
Centuries ago much less could be explained than it can be today. Suppose
centuries ago people just stopped asking questions, and said it's all due to
a God. Where would we be today?
Your way, when cast as "science," is stereotyped as stupid because it
rejects deductive reasoning and shuts off further investigation and
When cast as "faith," your way is perfectly acceptable and even deductive.
I think you've got it! You have made it past the mental block that is
driving so many other posts. My argument has *nothing* to do with religion,
or faith, or any putative god. I do not say anything specific or knowable is
the source of design (or in my philosophy, constant creation). My personal
hunch - and it is only a hunch - is that the nature of the source of
creation is beyond our knowledge. That is also the hardest conjecture to
prove, but not impossible. All we can say with any certainty is that
evolution has not brought us here, with the capacity for this very
discussion. I am still waiting for a rebuttal on that point. Creationist
theory leaves the field wide open to investigation - unlike the evolutionist
view, which insists the case is closed.
My religion - my faith - has *absolutely* nothing to do with the question of
"how we got here" - not a bit more than my choice of pajamas has anything to
do with it. It is all about the science. You can toss all my philosophy into
the street, and the argument against evolution of Man holds. After all,
science was my philosophy and my religion when I developed the argument.
BTW - deductive reasoning won't get you far, especially in things like this.
Inductive reasoning is the preferred approach, because it is more powerful
Dang - you don't have it. Creationism isn't a religious theory. If a sect
called The Divine Temple of the Mystical Monkey decided Planet of the Apes
was a documentary and adopted evolutionism as a central tenet, that does not
make evolution a religious theory. The very same applies to creation theory.
No god need exist, but it allows for the existence of one... exactly as
evolution theory does.
Welcome to the world of science! Mathematics and philosophy are riddled with
such teasers, with the search for some famous mathematical proofs dating
back many centuries.
I am asking you and all the others to refute my thesis: that there is no
known or hypothesized mechanism in evolutionary theory to explain the sudden
development of advanced abstract thought over a span of fewer than 10,000
generations. If you can prove that, I'll stop saying it.
No, it doesn't. We are talking about creation theory, not about specific
sects. Creationism allows for any intelligent design (including my own
Solipsist philosophy) while evolutionism allows no variation.
How many options can you offer under evolution theory?
It is a mistake to speak for others, and I hope you don't think I represent
anybody else in my beliefs or arguments.
Buddhists, for example, take great excepton to the assertion that their
religion spells out origin beliefs.
Very true. I don't expect anybody to agree with me. But my challenge to
evolution as the origin of you and me is 100% secular, and I am waiting for
anybody to address it.
No - deductive reasoning, by nature, results in a constantly shrinking
working field. Theories are not allowed under the rules of deduction,
because the results have to be known before the question can be expressed...
theories are inductive tools.
The main reason to put that possibility on a back burner is the suddenness
of the appearance of abstract thought. If it had emerged over 30 million
years rather than 30 thousand, I would definitely think your explanation was
the more likely.
My arguments don't address a source of the universe - that really is a
different matter entirely - but address how mankind came to be what it is: a
new dimension of intelligence.
Given the gaps in the history, I'm not so sure we're all that sure it happened
in 30k. Perhaps we just don't know about the evidence, or perhaps it really
happened that fast. Evolutionary "leaps" happen.
AFAIK, Darwin never addressed creation of anything but species. Not life, not
humanity. But it seems to be a logical extension.
By the way, Darwin had a theory; ID/Creationism are at best hypotheses.
My 30K time frame is based on the earliest indication of abstract thought
we've found, cave paintings in France. Given that we may not have found the
earliest ones done yet - and that the very earliest may well have been done
with charcoal or animal blood and have vanished over time - the actual
beginning may have been as much as 100K years ago. Maybe the caves with the
earliest painitngs are full of Iraqi WMDs ;-)
A bigger objection is the absence of any clear mechanism for the development
of abstract thought, particularly to the extent we are capable of it.
Natural selection works on the basis of greater adaptability based on
inheritable characteristics, and nothing associated with abstract thought
appears to have a significant inheritable component. Certainly the effect is
not so pronounced that abstract thinkers would have entirely supplanted the
non-thinkers in 3000 generations, or in 10,000. (Insert your own wry comment
about whether non-thinkers are gone.)
There are two central questions: (1) did something happen in the last 100K
years or less that fed the rise of abstract thought, and with it agrarian
societies, writing and art? If the answer is "no" you are excused from the
second question. (2) If so, what could have been the nature of that change;
the form of the change rather than the putative source of the change?
I agree with you on that. Darwin's work was good, solid stuff and not at all
as controversial as the extrapolations that followed. Really, the problems
with the extrapolations didn't/don't stem from the theories but from the
unwarranted enthusiasm for the farthest extensions. I don't even have a
problem with the theory that hominids were the evolutionary result of a
spark of life (my guess: one surviving spark) eons ago, or even that the
original spark(s) was/were the result of natural albeit rare chemical
processes - even though those too are hypotheses, as you describe. My big
problem is the jump from evolved hominids to mankind.
OK, to side with our fearless warrior Mike, you have to admit that he stands
his ground in a very respectable, even though obviously not popular, way.
People "believe in" either Creationism or Evolutionism and that's just that,
a belief, and unfounded except for personal conviction. You believe in
something you can't prove. In this case , you can't prove one or the other.
(full disclosure - I'm far away from being a religious nut, actually, not
religious at all, and the whole Creationism debate seems far-fetched - but
that doesn't imply that the "other" theory is true).
As long as these things are not proven but remain theories, there's no point
in beating each other up about them. The idea is to remain critical and only
accept as fact (or theory, in this case) what jives with your own point of
view, and remain open to the possibility of "the other side" (or a third!)
Another good discussion topic (not that I want to hijack a Honda or consumer
newsgroup!) is the whole "Big Bang" theory. Here's a writeup by a well-known
and respected scientist (PhD in chemistry and critical thinker), Alexander
Shulgin, on the "Theory of the Big Bang":
At one point it was well respected "scientific fact" that the earth is flat.
We learn something new every day...
Where was that? I have tried to make clear that my religion does not involve
"how we got here" and in fact is not related to anything beyond the strictly
spiritual. It is a fallacy that I have persistently tried to dispel that
intelligent design and creation theories are necessarily religious. As I
have stated many times here, the source of the sudden capacity for abstract
thought is not known and possibly can not be known.
The erroneous presumption that creation = fundamental Chritianity is one
that causes a great deal of trouble.
Hoo, boy! That would take on a life of its own!
I am fascinated that a century ago we could sum up the mechanics of the
universe in a (large) handful of Newtonian formulas and equations. With the
advent of relativistic mechanics and their spectacular success in predicting
anomalies in celestial behavior there was some head scratching. Quantum
mechanics really made a mess of things, so we need Superstring Theory (which
in turn uses Grassman number systems; systems that are merely consistent
without being applicable to reality) just to make our 4 dimensional universe
fit into 10-dimensional model. The simplest explanation at this point is
that the universe itself is impossible. But that isn't an attractive option.
Sure Mike's theory leaves open the possibility of a god. It also leaves
open the possibility of multiple gods, or aliens, or even... mice. That
no more makes it a "religeous" theory than it does an X-Files theory.
If Mike's "theory" is that which ID puts forth, then it has to be an
"intelligent" entity that originated (x, y, z) on earth etc.
If what Mike says proposes no particular cause behind a certain phenomenon,
then it's not a "theory" in the scientifc sense.
If one possibility left open for explaing life's origins is "gods" then of
course this is religion about which we're talking.
The language is important. So are strong deductive reasoning skills; we
couldn't be having a rational conversation without them.
The trick sometimes is identifying those that do not have strong deductive
reasoning skills. Until one does, one will waste a lot of time talking
nonsense. Plus, of course the person lacking deductive reasoning skill can't
really follow proofs. S/he'll seize on some part of an argument and not look
at the entire argument. A part of an argument is not thee full argument
No - we can't say that. We can only say what should be the most common
scientific response, "we don't know."
I won't argue that.
That one I will argue. The theory of evolution still leaves open the
possibility of "gods" as does almost any theory. They also leave open the
possibility of the "Chariot of the Gods" theory (hey - that one does qualify
as a theory). Religion is here only if you insist on bringing it in.
Science rarely offers proofs. If there were a proof, it would be a theorem,
not a theory. You are right that it requires deduction to arrive at a proof,
but under the rules of deduction the theorem is the result of the proof -
theories are not allowed. Theorems are invariably as dull as rice cakes.
Induction is used for virtually everything in the real world - court
battles, accident and incident investigations, even safety analyses. Every
analysis I have ever seen or done relies on probabilities: what is the way
to bet? The one my manager most appreciated was one of the loosest;
measuring system availability after one of our biggest facilities lost all
power (don't ask!). One dimension had the impact of traffic on our system
bracketed between 30% and 50%, but the precisions of the time dimension
coupled with the marginal nature of the outage we were measuring kept the
uncertainty of our system availability to within a few tenths of a point. My
estimate was the only one any of us could come up with - everybody else was
trying to count trees rather than measure the forest. Loose as it was, that
report has become a model for our current availability reporting.
The world also has fewer certainties than it did even a half century ago, as
a result of probability theory extended from quantum theory. There is even a
piece of equipment in production that uses "impossible" (now only
"ridiculously improbable") action: the Tunneling Electron Microscope. There
is also serious research into faster-than-light communications based on
quantum tunneling - only microwaves that can penetrate a thick metal block
There is a miscommunication here.
Intelligent Design theory claims an "intelligent" entity originated (x, y,
z) on earth. If you support ID theory, then you are making the same claim.
The theory of evolution contains itself to an explanation of the scientific
evidence before it. It of course is silent on the topic of gods.
No scientific theory will purport to explain a lack of evidence. This lack
of evidence is what we have in the case of god.
Michael, if you want to claim there is no "intelligent designer" in the
concepts of "Intelligent Design," then it's your right to be nonsensical.
But if you insist on being nonsensical, then we cannot have a rational
I will repeat that, if you have faith there may be a god, then I certainly
can't disprove it. But since you also have no scientific evidence to prove
it, it denotes a religious position, not a scientific one.
We can quibble about the meaning of "scientific evidence," but then you're
arguing that the same quibbling be done in science classes. Don't kids have
enough to learn in science classes already?
Leave these subjects to social studies/philosopy/theology classes.
(I do not suppose, though, that one position is superior to the other.
Religion has value to many people. So does science.)
What you are struggling to say is that a scientific theory is not a
But in fact science (including scientific theories) and rational discourse
could not proceed without deductive reasoning (among other things).
Likewise an inductive argument could not proceed without the tools of
deductive reasoning. (An inductive argument's main structure is different
from a deductive argument, but it uses the tools of deductive reasoning in
part to formulate it.)
Deductive reasoning is ubiquitous. Science could absolutely not proceed
without it. A rational discussion could not proceed without it.
Science also cannot proceed without inductive reasoning.
I am confident that you have seen and done many, many analyses that rely on
The courts, accident or whatever investigations, use deductive reasoning
Supreme Court opinions by and large are an overdose of deductive reasoning.
Probabilistic predictions of course also rely heavily on deductive
Here's an easy example of how people use deductive reasoning:
All babies that have testicles are said to be boys.
This baby has testicles.
This baby is said to be a boy.
Here's an easy example of how we use deductive reasoning at
Early 1990s Hondas that fail to start only under x, y, z, conditions most
likely have a, b, c wrong with them.
Ten of the posts to alt.autos.honda this summer concerned early 1990s Hondas
failing to start under x, y, z conditions.
Most had a, b, or c wrong with them.
Or, if you prefer, the main relay problem is nearly as ubiquitous as
deductive reasoning. ;-)
So of course deductive arguments can and do use probabilities often.
Given the low standards for education in this country, I suppose I should
not be surprised that you do not see how much deductive reasoning is used in
the above example. (There is some inductive reasoning, too, but the argument
above could not succeed without also using principles of deduction.)
That argument itself is deductive. <shrug>
snip, because Usenet banter about "quantum theory" occurs as often as
examples of Godwin's law. Trite. Nothing new. Waxing philosophical about
quantum theory on Usenet is an exercise in self-indulgence and does not
You want profundities? Go read most anything but Usenet.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:39 PM
Subject: Re: OT: What the heck do they teach in college??
Exactly as intelligent design does - the concept does not require a god. It
only requires an intelligence, the nature of which may not be knowable.
Not nonsensical at all. I also scoff at Daniken's ideas, but it demonstrates
that religion is not implied by ID.
My objection is to using evolutionary theory to explain the existence of
humans capable of deep abstract thought. There is no theoretical mechanism
for it, and the idea that such a radical and inexplicable change would occur
worldwide over the course of a few thousand generations as a result of
natural selection is more nonsensical than believing we are transplanted
from... wherever it was Daniken said we came from. My position does not
involve a god, but the likelihood of an undetermined intelligent influence
based on preliminary indications. I don't know what religion you want to
call that. However, religions that exclude the possibility of gods are
defined as atheist. You are welcome to your religious beliefs, even though
you insist the question of "how we got here" fit that religion by excluding
the possibility of a god.
I think we are not on the same page there. I do not claim any scientific
evidence, but rather that the source of our mental abilities is still a
mystery. It is merely hard to avoid the conclusion it is from a greater
intelligence, in keeping with a principle recognized by the Artificial
Intelligence (AI) devotees: No intelligence can create a greater
I don't think you are talking about deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning
can only fill in within the perimeter of our knowledge and can never expand
it. It is only a way of rearranging what we already accept as fact; it is
No - never, for the reasons I gave. I doubt you have ever seen them outside
formal proofs, because deduction requires predetermined certainty. Virtually
all of what is called deduction (especially by Sherlock Holmes) is
Can you give an example? I can't think of one at all, or why we would go to
the Supreme Court for deduction. I believe the usual goal is
Not deductive reasoning (logic), but reckoning. Given the initial location,
speed and time, the present location can be deduced, with an error budget.
It follows the deductive models, in that the inputs are "given," but it is
That is a good example. It also illustrates the triviality of deduction.
It is also logically inaccurate, since any number of the ten posts may have
been from the exception group. Changing it to "Most _probably_ had a, b, or
c wrong with them" fixes it.
An easy way to categorize deduction and induction is that if a computer can
work out the logic, it is deductive. It takes some pretty sophisticated AI
to break into the world of induction.
Probabilities must be worked into all logic very carefully. Your Honda
example illustrates that by the loss of the word "probably." Notice that the
"probability" must entirely resolved in the conclusion, so that it is only
No - there is no deduction in that report beyond the unspeakably trivial.
Deduction in professional reports is best left to the reader unless it is
specifically required to support the next (inductive) argument. Including
deductive conclusions except as a bridge makes the text tedious and
insulting to the reader, much as the "boy definition" example above would.
It's a matter of professional style and respect for the reader's
intelligence. Induction is almost always needed to make sense of raw data -
that's why it is called "analysis."
I notice you have still not given your qualifications. I am still an
engineer. But I wonder why you deduced (and that part *is* structured as
deduction) "the low standards for education in this country" mandate my
incompetence to do the job I'm trained for and have practiced for 30 years.
Are all engineers unqualified (as you seem to assert)? The conclusion does
not seem to follow from the postulate, unless you have some specific
knowledge of my qualifications that you left unstated. Is your education
from outside "this country" or do you exhibit the same incompetence?
The conclusion is "the world has fewer certainties than it did even a half
century ago," but it drew directly from what postulates (as deduction must)?
That paragraph had virtually no logic in it; just free argument. But I'm
glad you were able to identify my writing as inaccurate - I must have been
using a foreign character set that caused me to miss a lot ;-). I await the
release of the redacted (syn: edited) text.
Where did you get your training in logic, anyway? Your qualifications,
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