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Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]

 
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Blader
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Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« on: August 03, 2007, 09:25:31 AM »

Colbert interviewed a guy last night, Behe, who just authored a book called "The Edge of Evolution" wherein he presumably ran the calculations based upon known mutation frequencies and concluded it is mathematically impossible for anything new or useful to evolve in living systems.

One of his arguments was based upon some HIV number crunching, the virus that causes AIDS.  He concluded that after a several decade period wherein one hundred billion billion HIV souls were born and died, representing "more mutations occurring than in all of life previously"Huh? that no new useful biochemical "parts" ever evolved within the virus during this epoch.

Had he actually bothered to review the HIV literature, he wouldn't have made such an ass out of himself by proving just how ill-informed he is on matters he uses to make his sweeping generalizations. 

A lowly biomedical technician working in an HIV lab in the midwest, hoping to go to grad school next year, sets him straight:
http://endogenousretrovir...e-please-allow-me-to.html

It absolutely boggles my mind how guys like Behe go about committing what amounts to intellectual fraud, and his dumb-minded audience laps this crap up like a kitten at a milk bowl.

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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2007, 09:33:16 AM »

Colbert interviewed a guy last night, Behe, who just authored a book called "The Edge of Evolution" wherein he presumably ran the calculations based upon known mutation frequencies and concluded it is mathematically impossible for anything new or useful to evolve in living systems.

One of his arguments was based upon some HIV number crunching, the virus that causes AIDS.  He concluded that after a several decade period wherein one hundred billion billion HIV souls were born and died, representing "more mutations occurring than in all of life previously"Huh? that no new useful biochemical "parts" ever evolved within the virus during this epoch.

Had he actually bothered to review the HIV literature, he wouldn't have made such an ass out of himself by proving just how ill-informed he is on matters he uses to make his sweeping generalizations. 

A lowly biomedical technician working in an HIV lab in the midwest, hoping to go to grad school next year, sets him straight:
http://endogenousretrovir...e-please-allow-me-to.html

It absolutely boggles my mind how guys like Behe go about committing what amounts to intellectual fraud, and his dumb-minded audience laps this crap up like a kitten at a milk bowl.


I don't know......I do this every day.
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gleek
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2007, 10:16:10 AM »

I guess the book The Edge of Evolution should be classified as a work of fiction.
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2007, 10:17:01 AM »

Intelligent Design's fundamental mistake is its attempt to prove the unprovable.  The existence of a Supreme Being is a matter of faith.  Said Supreme Being isn't likely to leave hard core evidence of his existence laying about - especially if our faith is a key point of his plan.  Either you believe or you don't. 

It's a mistake for faith to try and compete within the context of science.  They're incompatible.  The reverse, of course, is just as true.  Proving God does not exist is an impossible task.

I don't believe you actually meant this about people of faith in general but, just in case, categorizing them as dumb-minded isn't right.  There's an awful lot that goes into the human experience and for many people the comforting thought of a master plan helps them get through the day.  I struggle with it all myself.  I find it hard to believe that we're the one in a billion to the billionth power chance that all this "just happened".  Having said that, the universe is large.  Perhaps we are.  I find it a depressing thought to consider that everything we know plus everything we don't know is completely meaningless.

Either way, to each his own seems like a reasonable attitude.
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2007, 10:24:44 AM »

..


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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2007, 10:28:25 AM »

Intelligent Design's fundamental mistake is its attempt to prove the unprovable.
Prove it.
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gleek
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2007, 10:36:42 AM »

Intelligent Design's fundamental mistake is its attempt to prove the unprovable.  The existence of a Supreme Being is a matter of faith.  Said Supreme Being isn't likely to leave hard core evidence of his existence laying about - especially if our faith is a key point of his plan.  Either you believe or you don't. 

It's a mistake for faith to try and compete within the context of science.  They're incompatible.  The reverse, of course, is just as true.  Proving God does not exist is an impossible task.

I don't believe you actually meant this about people of faith in general but, just in case, categorizing them as dumb-minded isn't right.  There's an awful lot that goes into the human experience and for many people the comforting thought of a master plan helps them get through the day.  I struggle with it all myself.  I find it hard to believe that we're the one in a billion to the billionth power chance that all this "just happened".  Having said that, the universe is large.  Perhaps we are.  I find it a depressing thought to consider that everything we know plus everything we don't know is completely meaningless.

Either way, to each his own seems like a reasonable attitude.

How does the existence of a supreme being make everything we know meaningful?
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2007, 10:45:14 AM »

How does the existence of a supreme being make everything we know meaningful?

Whatever. 

I'm not trying to change any minds here at all.  Doesn't matter to me what anyone believes or doesn't believe.  I'm not even sure what I believe.  Perhaps I'm just stupid.  I'm certainly not smart enough to understand why people holding one belief often hold such malevolent contempt for those holding another belief.  That coin has two sides of course.  I'm an equal opportunity opponent of fanaticism.  Disgusted
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2007, 10:52:51 AM »

How does the existence of a supreme being make everything we know meaningful?

Whatever. 

I'm not trying to change any minds here at all.  Doesn't matter to me what anyone believes or doesn't believe.  I'm not even sure what I believe.  Perhaps I'm just stupid.  I'm certainly not smart enough to understand why people holding one belief often hold such malevolent contempt for those holding another belief.  That coin has two sides of course.  I'm an equal opportunity opponent of fanaticism.  Disgusted

That was a serious question. I'm not trying to change your mind either. I'm just wondering how the existence of a supreme being makes your own existence meaningful. You said it's depressing to think that life is meaningless if it simply occurred because of chance. If the supreme being created life, and you don't know his/her/its intentions, aren't you back to square one?
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2007, 11:07:34 AM »

How does the existence of a supreme being make everything we know meaningful?

Whatever. 

I'm not trying to change any minds here at all.  Doesn't matter to me what anyone believes or doesn't believe.  I'm not even sure what I believe.  Perhaps I'm just stupid.  I'm certainly not smart enough to understand why people holding one belief often hold such malevolent contempt for those holding another belief.  That coin has two sides of course.  I'm an equal opportunity opponent of fanaticism.  Disgusted

That was a serious question. I'm not trying to change your mind either. I'm just wondering how the existence of a supreme being makes your own existence meaningful. You said it's depressing to think that life is meaningless if it simply occurred because of chance. If the supreme being created life, and you don't know his/her/its intentions, aren't you back to square one?

If there is a Supreme Being, no matter its intentions, there is meaning to our existence.  Obviously this might be a meaning we cannot fathom.

If there is not, if this is just a phenomenal roll of the dice, there can be no meaning.  In a random collision of chance there is only a random collision of chance.

Faith provides the answers.  I'm not saying I have them.  I'm not saying my faith isn't at preschool levels.  I'm saying that if you have faith you find the answers that work for you.  I envy many of those people to be honest.  My wife is one of them.  She's a very happy person.

Lest this degenerate into pointing out specific foibles of those who do have faith, whether they be Islamic terrorists or fundamentalist Christian bigots or simply flawed individuals of any persuasion, I too share a distaste for their actions - actions made worse by their utilization of their faith as justification.  Doesn't make faith wrong.  Makes those individuals wrong.
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2007, 11:30:06 AM »

How does the existence of a supreme being make everything we know meaningful?

Whatever. 

I'm not trying to change any minds here at all.  Doesn't matter to me what anyone believes or doesn't believe.  I'm not even sure what I believe.  Perhaps I'm just stupid.  I'm certainly not smart enough to understand why people holding one belief often hold such malevolent contempt for those holding another belief.  That coin has two sides of course.  I'm an equal opportunity opponent of fanaticism.  Disgusted

That was a serious question. I'm not trying to change your mind either. I'm just wondering how the existence of a supreme being makes your own existence meaningful. You said it's depressing to think that life is meaningless if it simply occurred because of chance. If the supreme being created life, and you don't know his/her/its intentions, aren't you back to square one?

If there is a Supreme Being, no matter its intentions, there is meaning to our existence.  Obviously this might be a meaning we cannot fathom.

But that still only answers the "how" and not the "why" of our existence. Also, what if the intentions of the supreme being are evil? If you don't know his/her/its intentions, you must consider evil intentions as a possibility. How, then, can that be comforting?

If there is not, if this is just a phenomenal roll of the dice, there can be no meaning.  In a random collision of chance there is only a random collision of chance.
Even if a supreme being created life, your personal existence was still due to chance. If a different sperm cell penetrated the ovum in your mother's Fallopian tube, you wouldn't exist here today. Instead of being depressed that life could be meaningless because your existence is due to chance, you can just as well feel happy that luck shined on you however many years ago. You, in fact, got luckier than hitting lotto by your mere existence. So cheer up!

Faith provides the answers.  I'm not saying I have them.  I'm not saying my faith isn't at preschool levels.  I'm saying that if you have faith you find the answers that work for you.  I envy many of those people to be honest.  My wife is one of them.  She's a very happy person.
Faith may provide answers, but it doesn't guarantee truth.

Lest this degenerate into pointing out specific foibles of those who do have faith, whether they be Islamic terrorists or fundamentalist Christian bigots or simply flawed individuals of any persuasion, I too share a distaste for their actions - actions made worse by their utilization of their faith as justification.  Doesn't make faith wrong.  Makes those individuals wrong.
Isn't this sort of like saying "blame the messenger, not the message?"  Grin
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2007, 11:41:42 AM »

Why do you equate as "meaningless" the embracing of a view of life that is derived through the  study and examination of natural order?

What on earth is meaningless about understanding how things work?  Knowing the complex atmospherics that underly a beautiful Hawaiian sunset doesn't make a quiet moment staring westward over the vast pacific ocean any more meaningless than if one imagines color fairies exist to sprinkle the sky for our pleasure.  If anything, it adds meaning to the grandeur.

The reality is science didn't pick a fight with religion; it has been the fundamentalists, like Behe, who have simply dismissed out of hand vast areas of incredible progress in human understanding.  And the  scientific mimicry that they practice in order to market this collective ignorance is a fraud perpetrated on people who, unfortunately, just don't know any better or would somehow prefer not to.

As you suggest, there is nothing that science can offer with any definitive strength that would be mutually exclusive with religious faith.  But isn't it odd that it is the religious who seem most fearful of scientific discovery?  THEY are the ones who set themselves up for a fall with their god of the gaps arguments by saying "we don't understand how that works, but God sometimes works in mysterious ways."  And then, when the science ultimately derives a natural explanation for that previously mysterious phenomenon,  their God seems further diminished.

I'm like Darwin.  I don't argue against religions.  I argue against the ignorance that (some) religions purposefully foster.

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I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds, which follows  from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biased by the pain which it would give some members of my family, if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion"
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2007, 11:44:16 AM »

Where's prkchop and wj when you need them...  En Guard Jerkoff Sleep
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2007, 11:49:10 AM »

gleek, that's just too much nitpicking over what, for me, is a simple issue.  Sure, the big man upstairs might be evil.  If so, we're all *fudge*ed.  Sure, biologically my existence is like winning the lotto.  Who said the winner of the race wasn't put there by God?  (btw, I'm not depressed, a depressing thought doesn't Kurt Cobain make.)  Sure, faith doesn't guarantee truth.  It does guarantee perceived truth.  It's there for the person holding it.  The other six billion of us don't need to worry about the truthfulness of another's faith.  Only they do and if they believe, voila, there you go.

This is fairly futile and I honestly don't like to get into these discussions with other than a few close friends.  I think I have a decent idea where you stand on things and that's fine.  You're probably more settled into your beliefs (or lack thereof) than I am.  That works for me.  I'm not a philosopher nor am I a theologian nor am I a scientist.

Indeed, the first of my two main points in the original post is that the Intelligent Design supporters are making a mistake fighting their fight within the realm of the scientific method.  They have no chance at all and cannot possible prove the unprovable.  The other was more of a musing on what makes the more strident of the stormtroopers on either side tick.  Why do so many feel they have to shove their beliefs down the throats of others?  Makes me wonder if they're gettin' any at home.   Smiley
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Re: Intelligent Design smackdown [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2007, 11:52:45 AM »

I tend to not care much about how or why anyone thinks we're here. As long as they don't try to make me believe what they do, or live by rules that are exclusively reflective of such, I got no beef.  Angel
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