The Instigator
InquireTruth
Pro (for)
Winning
94 Points
The Contender
TombLikeBomb
Con (against)
Losing
68 Points

The Law of Parsimony Favors Intelligent Design - B

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Post Voting Period
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after 26 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/24/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,856 times Debate No: 6625
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (72)
Votes (26)

 

InquireTruth

Pro

Resolved: The Law of Parsimony Favors Intelligent Design Over Alternative Theories.

Please abstain from the use of semantics.

I would like to thank my future opponent for his/her willingness to debate this topic. For the sake of clarity I will briefly summarize the rule of parsimony and Intelligent Design, and then follow with my numerically listed points.

The Rule of Parsimony: Essentially, the simplest theory wins. That is to say, the theory with the same explanatory power and least amount of assumptions is to be preferred.

Intelligent Design: Observed complexity is best explained by positing intelligence.

1. Certain users on this site – against the notion of intelligent design – are fond of oversimplifying Intelligent Design by simply saying, "God created." If one wishes to take this oversimplified version of ID, then one must admit it to be the most parsimonious explanation – with a whopping one assumption this simple theory garners the same explanatory power as alternative naturalistic theories.

2. The most common alternative theory cited to explain observed complexity is the Multiverse theory. This theory postulates that there are an infinite number of unobserved universes that exist. This would adequately explain the less than 1 in 10 raised to the negative 1,018 probability of life emerging by chance. The problem is they are postulating an infinite number of unobserved (and forever unobservable) entities, while intelligent design posits one unobserved (but potentially observable) entity. The rule of parsimony favors Intelligent Design in this regard.

3. It is has been said that the probability of life arising by chance is "billions of times more remote than the probability of a copy of Oxford Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop (1)." Alternative theories have to explain observed complexity using innumerous assumptions to explain unobserved processes. In Intelligent design we take what we know about how intelligent agents act when designing and are able detect design in our universe. Where the probability of naturalistic processes is so slim as to be impossible, intelligent design takes the trophy.

Conclusion:
My opponent must show an alternative theory to be more parsimonious than the one aforesaid. The alternative theory must have equal explanatory power and fewer assumptions.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

Sources:
(1) http://home.iitk.ac.in...
TombLikeBomb

Con

Crucial to your argument from parsimony is a theory of intelligent design that is, by your own admission, "oversimplified". So theists utilize omnipotence to maximize "explanatory power", mystery to eliminate falsifiability, and now oversimplification to achieve parsimony. But how can "God created" be any more singular than "the singularity created" (the corresponding secular oversimplification)?

Infinite universe theories, which constitute a subset of secular theories of everything, do not "explain the less than 1 in 10 raised to the negative 1,018 probability of life emerging by chance" (as probabilities max out at 1, I'll assume you mean simply "10 raised to the negative 1,018"), nor is that their intention. You make the mistake of thinking an unlikely event needs an explanation better than that it was possible. If you roll a 6 your first time at a craps table, do you require a greater explanation for your rolling a 6 than that a 5 in 36 chance is still a chance? Do you suspect the dice are loaded? When you roll dice, or indeed ask a random number generator to produce a number between 1 and 10 raised to the 1,018", a likely particular outcome is IMPOSSIBLE. The question you should be asking is not "what is the probability of this occurrence" but instead "what is the probability of an occurrence this improbable". Because of the nature of dice, the probability of an outcome at least as improbable as 5 in 36 is 30 in 36. What about the nature of the universe makes it impossible or even IMPROBABLE that some events with "10 raised to the negative 1,018" probabilities would occur?

Your source doesn't give a probability anywhere near "10 raised to the negative 1,018", and even the odds it does mention are suspect. It intends to find the probability of protein forming by "chance and normal thermal conditions". But what is the probability of certain thermal conditions remaining constant indefinitely? I'd imagine it's quite low. Another assumption is that the "92 natural elements" will be "distributed at random". What has the author learned that would lead him to believe "carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur" should be only as likely to appear as, say, radium, francium, actinium, thorium, and protactinium? The "natural" distinction seems incomplete. We call the "natural" elements "natural" because they're naturally common enough for us to have observed them in nature. Incidentally, they tend to have relatively low proton counts and are thereby simpler, more parsimonious, more likely, which explains their naturalness. Presumably, you wouldn't accuse Kurt Warner of cheating based on the extremely low probability that one out of about 6 billion non-cripples, "distributed at random", would make it to the Super Bowl twice. Your source goes on to make a classic mistake in probabilities, assuming that there is a certain amount of time or space required for an improbable thing to occur. If a Roulette wheel comes up 29 (or any other number), do you conclude that there must be 37 or 38 other Roulette wheels going at the same time, to justify the 1 in 37 or 38 chance occurrence? Do you conclude that same wheel must be on at least its 37th or 38th spin? Your source evidently does.

The Multiverse, in its final extension, is algorithmically the most parsimonious possible theory. Its wealth of universes is in fact the consequence of its algorithmic economy: 0 parameters. Your ID, on the other hand, specifies a particular physical universe caused by a single intelligent designer in a single metaphysical universe.

"In Intelligent design we take what we know about how intelligent agents act when designing and are able detect design in our universe." How could the behavior of intelligent designers lead you to conclude that a thing had been designed? Give me an example. Is there anything God is meant to have NOT designed, so that we could compare designed things with non-designed things? Was God, who's by definition more complex than His designs, designed? If not, how can complexity be the mark of design? If God, by his complexity, does require design, isn't an infinite regression of universes—or at least gods--also required?

I don't agree that ID has equal "explanatory power". In fact, ID can't explain the cause of a single thing besides genesis: every other event could be either the direct doing of God or the result of processes He set in motion long ago. ID is thus disruptive of attempts to explain most things.
Debate Round No. 1
InquireTruth

Pro

Introduction:
My opponent should take note of the things I DID NOT say. I did not posit a metaphysical universe, an omnipotent creator, or mystery (at least no more than alternative theories have areas of mystery). Intelligent Design merely says that observed complexity is best explained by positing intelligence.

1. Oversimplification

My opponent suggests that crucial to my argument is the idea of oversimplification. Of course this is wrong. I am merely suggesting that if one wishes to oversimplify ID to better fit the nuances of their supposed argument, they must rightly accept ID as more parsimonious. He suggests that the secular oversimplification (the singularity created) is equally as parsimonious. Unfortunately, positing intelligence is much different than positing the Big Bang. Why? The Big Bang theory observes current phenomena – like space expansion – and infers the initial singularity in which neither time, space, nor matter existed outside of. This is an unobservable phenomenon (and forever unobservable). We will call this assumption number 1.

The sustainability of our universe, its laws and constants, the origin of life – all require innumerous amounts of unobserved assumptions. Intelligence could adequately explain these phenomena (we are still on ID's first assumption).

Moreover, the initial singularity (and the Big Bang) requires THREE hypothetical entities that do not have scientific confirmation of existence: The inflation field, non-baryonic (dark) matter and the dark energy field to overcome gross contradictions of theory and observation (1). Indeed, if dark matter did exist, it would contradict the law of conversation of energy and matter. If there is a theory, with the same explanatory power and less assumptions, according to the rule of parsimony, it is to be preferred. Contradictions are a no-no too.

2. Dealing with probabilities

I made no mistake, I meant 1 in 10 raised to the negative 1,018. If my opponent believes that I have erred I would ask that you consult his resident mathematician. However, perhaps a more tenable mathematical model was produced by Professor Andrew Watson. He suggests that "life emerging is low – less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years (2)."

"You make the mistake of thinking an unlikely event needs an explanation better than that it was possible."

You make the mistake in misunderstanding the fact that theories, by their very nature, are designed to explain. Given the low probabilities of not only a sustainable universe, but the emergence of life itself, one must posit numerous assumptions. While observed complexity can be explained by positing a designer, it can also be explained by positing innumerable processes – but which one is more parsimonious?

I fully admit that it is logically possible for the universe to emerge by chance. But that is not what we are questioning. We are questioning whether Intelligent Design is a more parsimonious theory than alternatives.

Moreover, since you are using the dice analogy, given what we know about our universe's constants and life itself, the numbers rolled would have to be exactly 1,2,3,4,5…billion…trillion – all sequential – all in one try – or the universe would not be sustainable. The fact of the matter is that we do not merely look and say "this number is improbable," because it is no less probable then anything else that could have been rolled, but rather that we look and say "Wow, if these numbers were ANY DIFFERENT we would not have existed." This sort complexity and order is the mark of intelligence – therefore observed complexity can be explained by positing an intelligent designer.

Similarly, if I walked in the woods and saw a fully assembled log cabin, I would not insist that the trees happened to fall in such a way as to construct the cabin – I would rightly posit a designer – even if he be unobserved. In order for somebody to explain the log cabin without positing a designer, they would have to posit numerous assumptions and unobserved phenomena. Which is more parsimonious?

3. My opponent espouses the multiverse theory

I presume that this is the alternative theory my opponent wishes to defend as the most parsimonious. He contends that the multiverse theory is the most parsimoniously possible theory because it:

"is algorithmically the most parsimonious possible theory. Its wealth of universes is in fact the consequence of its algorithmic economy: 0 parameters."

Of course the idea of 0 parameters is already in contradiction with algorithmic economy. 0 parameters allow for infinite steps, but algorithms, by definition, have a finite amount of steps (3). Also, parsimony does not look at the parameters, but the steps. Each algorithmic step serves as an assumption. Every unobserved (and forever unobservable) universe posited by the Multiverse theory counts as an assumption. Since it posits an infinite number of unobserved universes, one can easily say that ID is infinitely more parsimonious than the Multiverse theory (it does, in fact, "make up" an infinite amount of unobserved universes, all to explain the mathematical improbability of this one).

4. God and complexity

Even if it were God specifically that I was invoking, this would be wrong. A certain game designer said, "mass quantities of information can easily be produced from much smaller quantities of information. A fractal is perhaps the most obvious example of huge quantities of new information being produced from a very small amount of initial information. For example, thirty-two lines of C++ code suffice to produce a well-known fractal known as the Sierpinski Triangle (4)." So to assume that God must therefore be complex is an unfounded assertion and contra-observation.

Sequential, intricate, and organized patterns are markers of designs – we have observed this in our own designs. By way of microcosm, we are able to infer design in our universe.

It is funny that my opponent would wish to bring up the idea of infinite regress – because it was he who is positing an infinite amount of universes. Let us take this syllogistically:

1. Actual infinities do not exist in the real world
2. A beginningless series of events is an actual infinity
3. Therefore, the universe must have had a beginning

Since motion requires time, the initial singularity must have been motionless. But all things at rest stay at rest unless acted upon. Therefore, even the initial singularity requires cause. We are in infinite regress unless something is both eternal, uncaused, and as Aquinas first stated, unmoved.

5. ID and explanatory power

My opponent suggests that ID can only account for the beginning of our universe (though he rightly admits that "every other event could be either the direct doing of God or the result of processes He set in motion long ago)." The only reason he assumes ID to have less explanatory power is because it is "disruptive of attempts to explain most things." But this is the fallacy of consequences. ID itself IS itself an explanation. Even still, the big bang theory and the multiverse theory only explain "genesis" as well. We are talking about the origins of the universe, and if ID suffices to explain that, and indeed most parsimoniously, I would say my burden is fulfilled.

Conclusion:
1. My opponent must therefore prove that the multiverse theory contains absolutely no assumptions.
2. He must prove that the designer must be more complex than its design.
3. He must prove that, if we found a perfectly sustainable log cabin in the woods, that we should assume it naturally fell together. AND that this marvelous phenomenon is more parsimonious than positing a designer.

Sources:
1. http://bigbangneverhappened.org...
2. http://www.scientificblogging.com...
3. http://dictionary.reference.com...
4. Vox Day, TIA 153
TombLikeBomb

Con

FYI: it's customary to quote your sources, whether they're cited or not, when you draw from them word for word.

Probabilities:

"I meant 1 in 10 raised to the negative 1,018. If my opponent believes that I have erred I would ask that you consult his resident mathematician." I would ask you consult this children's website: http://www.mathsisfun.com.... As "10 raised to the negative 1,018" is the reciprocal of "10 raised to the 1,018", "1 in 10 raised to the negative 1,018" is PRECISELY "10 raised to the 1,018". The result is the same in the case of [(1 in 10) raised…)] as in [1 in (10 raised…)]. My opponent will excuse my unwillingness to engage in an esoteric discussion of probabilities many googols of times greater than the probability that 1=1. "Less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years", in being a valid probability, is certainly more tenable. It's also quite a bit less than "billions of times more remote than the probability of a copy of Oxford Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop", no matter how we define the latter. And as you reread your deceptively-quoted source, note that its figure is not referring to the probability of "life" generally but of "intelligent life" evolving from simple life. Your source doesn't even mention the probability of life itself emerging on Earth, probably because it's considered in the mainstream to be a virtual certainty. Applying statistical methodology to the rapidity with which Earth (once habitable) evolved life, http://arxiv.org... estimates the probability to be near unity and >13% at 95% confidence. And that's just the probability of life emerging given a SINGLE habitable planet. There are most likely billions of habitable planets, which makes the probability of even intelligent life emerging a virtual certainty, even if we use the low-end probability of life (13%).

"If I walked in the woods and saw a fully assembled log cabin, I would not insist that the trees happened to fall in such a way as to construct the cabin" because there is evidence of another cause. I've seen beings (people) who are capable of designing log cabins; I presumably see the evidence of their tools, the existence of which I've previously verified; I can see how such a structure would serve certain proven interests of such beings; I've even seen footage of such such a feat. But a log cabin is exceedingly simple in comparison with two of the major factors of its production: men and trees, of which there appears to be no intelligent designer. Whatever your theory of genesis, for example, I'm sure you'll admit that humans are an evolved species. To be less contraversial, if you walked into the woods and saw a fully assembled monarch butterfly, would you insist that the caterpillar happened to alter its anatomy in such a way as to construct the butterfly? Of course you would. And I doubt you would suspect the caterpillar of any intelligence at all, much less a butterfly design.

Multiverse:

How did I know, when first you pleaded for abstinence from semantics, you would use a dictionary as source? On wiktionary.org, I find this in the usage notes: "Though some technical definitions require that an algorithm always terminate in a finite number of steps, this distinction is not generally observed in practice." Even YOUR OWN LINK contains a variety of definitions, a minority of which stipulate a finite number of steps, one of which explicitly allows an infinite number of steps, none of which mention universes. It would have been better if you'd provided a source for this: "parsimony does not look at the parameters but the steps." But let's go with "steps", for the sake of argument. Max Tegmark's (extreme) Multiverse (http://arxiv.org...) makes one assumption: everything can be reduced to computable, decidable mathematical structures. It denies all reality beyond mathematical structure, and thus assumes no universes beyond what you assume when you deny their existence. How can you deny a mathematical structure? Tacitly, you're recognizing it only to deny that it has material, spiritual, or other representation, or that it represents mind, matter, etc. Multiverse rejects all such dualism, and thus so far assumes at least as little as you do. But then you begin to make assumptions: you assume that a universe of particles or other extra-mathematical features conferring "reality", which mathematics can at best correspond to; additionally, you assume an intelligent designer is behind it. A good analogy would be an egalitarian population that's conquered by one or two (of their own or foreign). Previous to the introduction of the category "boss", the vast population was the focus. After the introduction of "boss", the focus is the boss(s). Though the population has increased if anything, the focus has decreased. Similarly, ID if anything contains more assumptions than Multiverse, but it introduces a "real"-"unreal" classification and focuses on the real. Multiverse, like ID, is so-named because the number of its focus, not the number of its assumptions. At the very least, Multiverse must be ruled false (thus making parsimony a moot point) before it can be ruled anti-parsimonious. As the history of scientific progress has been a progression toward pure mathematical description, such a ruling would be ill-founded.

God and Complexity:

"A certain game designer said "mass quantities of information can easily be produced from much smaller quantities of information"" in the program. But the program did not intelligently design the game; the "game designer" did, and his simple program came at the behest of his complex vision. He and the computer designer are each more complex than the game. In order for your intelligent designer to be less complex than a log cabin, his "intelligence" would have to redefine the word. You credit him with designing a universe, when by your own definition of entities simple enough not to have required a designer, he couldn't had a computer game or even a log cabin in his nonexistent mind. But let's suppose there could exist a mind simpler than a log cabin and that that mind created some simple thing that by chance evolved into our current environment. Then chance has proven itself capable of greater complexity than design, thus destroying your argument from complexity! Sierpinski has a mere concept of infinite and visualizes perhaps a few repetitions of the fractal. He designs only the algorithm, and it is only by the external effort of the unintelligent, complex computer that he gets a very complex triangle. Did the intelligent designer have the assistance of a computer before it was invented by his "design" homo sapien?

Having designed "sequential, intricate, and organized patterns", we can infer by "microcosm" that all of such are designed? Ok, I don't know if you can see this, but I hold in my hand a paperweight. I created it by smashing a rock with a hammer, upon which an appropriately-sized fragment broke off. Am I to infer by microcosm that every broken rock is so deliberate? I now breath out carbon dioxide. Am I to infer by microcosm that all carbon dioxide originates in the breathing process?

"Actual infinites do not exist in the real world" requires explanation. "Since motion requires time, the initial singularity must have been motionless. But all things at rest stay at rest unless acted upon." Both motion and rest require time! Motion and rest are defined as and necessarily observed as difference or lack of difference between consecutive moments. With no known prior instant, it is just as presumptive to expect rest as it is to expect motion
Debate Round No. 2
InquireTruth

Pro

Introduction:

I am sorry if I forgot to quote something – though I'm not sure what you are referring to. A lot of what was said was copy and pasted from one of my previous debates.

1. Probability of Life

We can quibble about probability and the equations used – but in the final analysis, when all is said and done, the emergence of life from nonliving material is, quite frankly, highly improbable. It is improbable for simple life forms to evolve into intelligent creatures. It is improbable that life itself would emerge from nonliving matter by completely unguided processes. But this really does not matter, because we are talking about parsimony. Each unobserved process counts as an assumption (or something made up). Intelligence IS observed and IS a natural phenomenon. Intelligence eliminates the need for unobserved processes (it eliminates the numerous assumptions). Intelligent design is therefore more parsimonious.

The Log Cabin Analogy

My opponent assumes that the only reason we should assume an intelligent designer is because we have seen beings capable of creating such things. But this is a red herring. The analogy serves to represent how many unobserved processes would have to be posited in order to explain the fully assembled log cabin if we refused to permit the idea of an intelligent designer. Of course the log cabin COULD have fallen together by unguided processes – but this is highly improbable and not at all parsimonious. The intricate nature of our laws and the fine tuning our universe exudes is parsimoniously explained by posting intelligence.

2. Multiverse theory

My opponent thinks that I need to substantiate the idea that each assumption should count as an assumption – it seems straight forward to me. Before we can even begin to consider Max Tegmark's ideas, they must, at the very least, be considered a theory. Indeed, Max Tegmark's ideas and the multiverse proposition in general, cannot be reasonably classified as scientific theories because they are not empirically testable and do not make testable scientific propositions. Let me give an example, "there are 900 billion alternative universes that are made out of varying types of cheeses, the most common of which is probably chedder." This is not empirically testable and offers no scientific propositions – and can therefore be disregarded. As Christopher Hitchens is noted for saying, "what can be asserted without evidence, can be disregarded without evidence." As it seems then, parsimony is a moot point in regards to the multiverse theory and Max Tegmark's grand idea (1).

On Actual Infinites

The universe MUST have had a beginning because an actual infinite is impossible. Therefore the universe could not have existed infinitely in the past because that would be an actual infinite. Everything that begins to exist has a cause – therefore, the universe had a cause. It seems my opponent has some qualms with the idea that actual infinites cannot exist – a man of his mathematical proclivities should be quick to realize the difference between potential and actual infinites. Moreover, actual infinites can exist as mathematical concepts, but not in actual reality because it would lead to absurdity. William Lane Craig says it best,

"Perhaps the best way to bring home the truth of (2.11) is by means of an illustration. Let me use one of my favorites, Hilbert's Hotel, a product of the mind of the great German mathematician, David Hilbert. Let us imagine a hotel with a finite number of rooms. Suppose, furthermore, that all the rooms are full. When a new guest arrives asking for a room, the proprietor apologizes, "Sorry, all the rooms are full." But now let us imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms and suppose once more that all the rooms are full. There is not a single vacant room throughout the entire infinite hotel. Now suppose a new guest shows up, asking for a room. "But of course!" says the proprietor, and he immediately shifts the person in room #1 into room #2, the person in room #2 into room #3, the person in room #3 into room #4 and so on, out to infinity. As a result of these room changes, room #1 now becomes vacant and the new guest gratefully checks in. But remember, before he arrived, all the rooms were full! Equally curious, according to the mathematicians, there are now no more persons in the hotel than there were before: the number is just infinite. But how can this be? The proprietor just added the new guest's name to the register and gave him his keys-how can there not be one more person in the hotel than before?(2)"

But Craig goes on to explain how it can get even stranger. Imagine that an infinite number of guests came to check in. The proprietor informs them that they can make room and begins to shift all of the guests from the odd rooms into the even rooms (1 to 2 and 2 to 4 and so on) – infinitely – and so that all the odd rooms are now vacant and can accommodate the infinite amount of new guests. But the rooms were full before they got there? And, of course, given the nature infinities, the same amount people are in the hotel as there were before. Craig goes on to explain that if we had all the guests from rooms 4, 5, 6, and infinitely up, check out, we would still have the exact same amount of people in the hotel as we had before – such is the nature of infinites.

Now, if my opponent is a person who believes that such a hotel could truly exist in reality, than I applaud him for having such an amazing ability to conceive the impossible. As is stands however, actual infinites are impossible.
This alone renders the idea of actual infinites existing in reality – and therefore the multiverse theory – as a silly idea.

3. The complexity of God

Seeing as how this is a moot point anyways since we are not talking about God but about intelligence, I will spend little time on this. Intelligent Design does not seek to explain the nature of the designer, no more than the Big bang seeks to explain infinite nature of the initial singularity. But the idea that complex things need to be created by ever more complex things is contra-observation. Indeed, if my opponent wishes to believe this notion he must admit that everything that exists now is the product of an even more complex mechanism – but what about the Darwinian notion of simple to complex?

Conclusion:
I would like to thank my opponent for a stimulating debate.

Questions that he ought to answer:
1. The probability of the origins of life notwithstanding – explain how posting numerous unobserved processes is more parsimonious than positing intelligence?
2. Explain how actual infinites can exist in reality.
3. What are the scientific propositions of the multiverse theory and how can it be empirically tested?

Inquire Truth

Sources:
1. http://arxiv.org...
2. http://www.leaderu.com...
http://cs.unc.edu...
http://ourworld.compuserve.com...
http://www.trueorigin.org...
TombLikeBomb

Con

Probability of Life:
"We can quibble about probability and the equations used", but that would be a debate. Better to simply reassert a "final analysis" that was refuted. While "the emergence of life from nonliving material is…highly improbable" might have been an understandable thing to say in Round 1, my immediate objections to the underlying methodology were never responded to, nor was http://arxiv.org... evidently even glanced at. And while I remain in agreement with Pro that "it is improbable for simple life forms to evolve into intelligent creatures" on a single habitable planet, his own figure (.01%) remains an insignificant hurdle for the billions of habitable planets in this universe alone. Despite the fact that such allegedly low probability was put forward as the reason I must accept either ID or the allegedly less parsimonious Multiverse, probability "really does not matter, because we are talking about parsimony"? "Intelligence", like unintelligence, "IS observed and IS a natural phenomenon". But, as Pro put it, "intelligent design posits one unobserved…entity", namely the intelligent designer. But it is not "Intelligence" that "eliminates the need for unobserved processes": an unintelligent entity with equal lack of definition would do just fine.

Log Cabin "Analogy":
Nowhere do I assume that "the only reason we should assume an intelligent designer is because we have seen beings capable of creating such things". Pro is the one who does not understand the concept of interdependent probabilities, and he's projecting that weakness onto me. Pro uses a sequential method of determining cause: first, see that unintelligent cause is "improbable" or infers more than 1 entity; second, "permit the idea of an intelligent designer" to avoid the scrutiny of the first step. Because I even inquire about evidence of design (as distinguished from defaulting to design), Pro worries that I'm scrutinizing the wrong hypothesis. First of all, if probabilities aren't equal, parsimony is inactive and "favors" nothing. Second, while unintelligent cause of a log cabin is in any case "highly improbable", it increases in likelihood upon observance of the log cabin. So does intelligent cause. Before we see the log cabin, it is "highly improbable" that there is a log cabin of any kind: most spots, there is no log cabin, neither built nor fallen into place. So what happens to our probabilities when we become sure there is a log cabin there? As there is no other choice but "intelligent" and "unintelligent", our probabilities must ultimately sum to 1, but what distribution? It should seem a silly question: obviously, each probability should increase in proportion to its initial size. But Pro prefers to effectively give ALL of the new probability to intelligent design, both in the log cabin "analogy" and in the more important case of life, in which the probability of unintelligent cause—while initially quite low (but still higher than the probability of intelligent cause, which Pro has provided only an argument from ignorance for)—becomes massive after the fact of life.

Multiverse:
If a theory must be "empirically testable" or else "parsimony is a moot point", Pro should have provided an empirical test of ID. If the apparent failure of existing theories is enough to lead one to default to ID, why shouldn't it be enough to lead one to default to Multiverse? On the other hand, Multiverse is empirically testable. For example, the WMAP cold spot (http://space.newscientist.com...) lends credence to it. While there is no apparent reason for God to have put a giant hole in the universe, the observation is entirely consistent with quantum entanglement of universes.

Actual Infinities:
Pro has said:
A."Actual infinites cannot exist", and
B."Everything that begins to exist has a cause".
But how can A be true if B is true? B allows for only two possibilities for ultimate cause: an infinite causal regression or a cause that's itself infinite (by virtue of having no beginning).

In the Grand Hotel paradox, the proprietor shifts "on to infinity": first, for all x is a member of N (the particular infinite number of rooms), he shifts x to x+1. Later, he shifts x to 2x. But what makes Craig think this would be any more possible for a non-circular infinite set than it would be for a non-circular finite set? The guest in room #N will have nowhere to go, there being no room numbered higher; and yet he'll be joined by the guest from the room to his left. Later, the guests in all rooms to the right of room#N/2 (half of all rooms) will have nowhere to go, N/2*2 being the largest multiple of 2 in the hotel. And yet guests from rooms numbered N/2 or less will distribute themselves evenly among all evens, thus making the number of twice occupied rooms equal to the number of unoccupied ones: N/4. In each case, the proprietor of the Grand Hotel has done nothing more spectacular than what the proprietor of any finite number of rooms could have done: made room for the new by squeezing the old. Alternatively, the rooms could be ordered circularly, resulting in the following: first, the guest in room #N shifts to room #1; later, the guests in all rooms numbered higher than N/2 redistribute themselves among all evens, which are already occupied by the former occupants of odd-numbered rooms N/2 or less. After the fist set of shifts, there are no unoccupied rooms and the new guest is out of luck. After the second set of shifts, the odds are unoccupied because the evens are twice occupied.

Craig also errs in thinking the new guest-list would be "just infinite". It certainly remains infinite, but it's no more "just infinite" than "11 mice" is just odd. In certain circumstances, it is useless to know anything more than a number's parity. In such circumstances, and particularly when dealing with large numbers, odds will be simplified to "o" or "1" or "odd". Similarly, 1—and, less often, infinity—is often an insignificant addition to infinity. In such cases, "infinite" simply suffices. Otherwise, mathematicians distinguish infinities by their relation to the set of natural numbers, in which case the hotel had N, N+1, and 2N (or 2N+1, depending on the second hypothetical's memory) guests, respectively. In any case, it shouldn't be at all surprising that intuition breaks down in the case of infinities. It wasn't long ago we finally wrapped our heads around the idea of 0, so there's no reason to throw in the towel and find God just because infinity is weird.

God and Complexity:
"The idea that complex things need to be created by ever more complex things is contra-observation", but the idea that the designer must be more complex than the design certainly isn't. Darwin's simple-to-complex works because simple did not design complex. But when you add purpose to the cause, you encumber it with all the complexity of the result.

Conclusion:
Pro wants me to "explain how posting numerous unobserved processes is more parsimonious than positing intelligence", but he has yet to explain how the general category "unintelligence" is any less observed or parsimonious than the general category "intelligence". And we can only speak in generalities, because Pro refuses to explain the processes that brought us from his particular designer's intelligence to now, genesis, or anywhere in between. He is ashamed of being a Christian and cringes at my use of the word "God", so I doubt he would go any further than "intelligence" even if we had 10 debates. But for unintelligent causation, he is extremely interested in the processes involved in particular theories. Such processes are often considered to be plural because that's what the data suggests. ID can just as easily be singular, because there is no evidence for it one way or the other.
Debate Round No. 3
72 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jammer 7 years ago
Jammer
A major victory for InquireTruth.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>Every decided sporting event in history, according to the PPC, was more likely thrown, in a perfect conspiracy involving all refs and losing team members, than simply lost.

And surprise, most conspiracy theorists are on the far right!
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
The prime principle of confirmation (PPC), like the rule of parsimony, is an absurd thing to consider--except perhaps in the margins. And like the rule of parsimony, the PPC does not even favor ID. To the first point, no matter what the outcome of a roll of the dice, the PPC always favors their having been weighted to produce that result. Every decided sporting event in history, according to the PPC, was more likely thrown, in a perfect conspiracy involving all refs and losing team members, than simply lost.

So what is our observation here? As you say, a mostly-dead universe in which life is so unlikely as to be extremely rare. From the necessary perspective of one of the least boring parts of such universe, we find DNA such as that which produces down syndrome, that which produces the hyena, and that which produces the widow's peak. We can see many stars, most of which are either too poorly sized or too poorly placed to support habitable planets. Depending on our capacity for mundane facts, the list could go on indefinitely.

Taking all facts together, what is the probability (ballpark it), given an unidentified capable entity, of the intelligent designing of this particular universe or one that would evolve into this particular one? Remember, the more you reduce design to a general outline, the more "fine-tuning" you surrender to chance. An archeologist would go by the intentions and capabilities of the subject. As God's capabilities include universe-building by design, the remaining question is WHY. God is not more likely than pure chance to have created this particularity until we provide him motivations. What is the PURPOSE of this universe that would motivate its construction? You'll have a tough time naming a single purpose for which there aren't billions of things in the universe useless to or even disruptive of it. That is quite unlike designs we're familiar with.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>All observation lends credence to the hypothesis of a faithful wife.

You posted no such qualifier IN YOUR DEBATE. You did not follow up "Intelligent design is likely" with "All observation lends credence to the hypothesis of a dead universe".

>O? But you asserted it as well. Shall I quote you? It seems you will say anything, even if it is contradiction with your prior reasoning.

Where did I say the universe was fine-tuned?
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
"not nearly so fine-tuned as you assert."
O? But you asserted it as well. Shall I quote you? It seems you will say anything, even if it is contradiction with your prior reasoning.

"You made no such qualifier, my example sticks"
All observation lends credence to the hypothesis of a faithful wife.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>But since you have consistently avoided reason and have demonstrated a remarkable ability to oversimplify my arguments to better fit the nuances of your irrational claims, it seems they will forever remain but empty insults.

There is no way to oversimplify your arguments. It is impossible.

>But it is even MORE probable that she is not. See, do you understand how that works?

You made no such qualifier, my example sticks.

>So THIS is the damning mathematical evidence against fine-tuning?

Yes. If the Creator is intelligent enough to make this universe livable for 1 planet out of a billion, why not 1 out of a million, or a thousand? Why not pepper the cosmos with Planets Earth? This universe is not nearly so fine-tuned as you assert.
Posted by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
If you were rationally competent your insults would actually serve as more than ad hominem casuistry. But since you have consistently avoided reason and have demonstrated a remarkable ability to oversimplify my arguments to better fit the nuances of your irrational claims, it seems they will forever remain but empty insults.

"(It's probable) your wife's cheating on you."

But it is even MORE probable that she is not. See, do you understand how that works? The prime principle of confirmation is used to see if observation supports hypothesis 1 or hypothesis 2. She may very well be cheating on me, it is simply more likely that she is not. I have made no claims to truth or proof.

"In fact, it is 99.999999999.... % dead."

Which only makes the likely hood of life on this planet all the more unlikely. So THIS is the damning mathematical evidence against fine-tuning? But most of our cosmological constants and laws are not just things that permit life, but actually the very sustainability of our universe. Life is VERY improbable, but so is our universe – which very much resembles design. Einstein said our universe is "marvelously arranged." Francis Collins, head of the human genome project, calls DNA the very language of God. Fred Hoyle insists that the very development of stars is proof of design.

If you are so confident, you should challenge me to a debate – maybe then you will specifically negate the offered premises.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
Quick, invite your conservative friends to vote-bomb this crapfest.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>It seems you STILL can't get it right.

Oh, but there is much that I did get right. I got it so right that you refuse to acknowledge how right I got it.

>What if our laws of physics were different? Is there a god? What would it feel like to touch a cloud? Have you ever looked at your hand? I mean, like, REALLY looked at it? Yes, my "answer" was meaningless and poorly thought out, but so was the question.

Also, for old time's sake,

>You are beneath discussing even the smell and quantity of my farts with.

>>This would have been funny if you got it right the first time. But it seems your insults are as careless as your reasoning.

>It would've been funny because it would have been true. Of course, if I were to say it now, it would still be true.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>This would be your assumption and thus the error of your insult. I never asserted anything (except that one hypothesis is less improbable than another) - surreptitiously or otherwise.

But of course you did. Here, let me illustrate: "(It's probable) your wife's cheating on you."

>Is tantamount to me asking, what if there IS a God. If the way you justify the mathematical impossibility (or just high improbability) of this universe, is by saying that the laws of physics could have been differently, then you have thrown empiricism, math, and other scholarly devices out the window - all while surreptitiously asserting your own improbable hypothesis.

You forgot to mention that I appended "What if our laws of physics were different" with

>Is there a god? What would it feel like to touch a cloud? Have you ever looked at your hand? I mean, like, REALLY looked at it? Yes, my "answer" was meaningless and poorly thought out, but so was the question.

>This is the most mathematically and empirically damning evidence against intelligent design? Out of all the evidence you could possibly muster, THIS is what you have considered to be the most overwhelming opposition?

You missed the point, perhaps deliberately, which was that our universe is mostly dead. In fact, it is 99.999999999.... % dead. You could say it behaves like a computer, or you could say it behaves like a bunch of balls of rock and gas floating around in empty space in mathematically predictable patterns that show no intelligent behavior and serve no discernible purpose whatsoever.

>Now Jason, you have really gone and made me chuckle this time.

Have I cooked your chicken? Or have I done something else, your emotional response to which can be expressed by you in words not seen outside of 50's sitcoms?

>I have stated that ID predicts that the universe would resemble design and be fine tuned.

There's a lot of wasted space for something that's supposedly fine-tuned. Just sayin'.
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