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Creationism and statistics

Debaterpillar
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9/30/2013 12:48:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This thread was inspired by a recent discussion with v3nesl:

At 9/30/2013 7:23:51 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 9/28/2013 5:23:57 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
The evolution/creationism debate is a good example of what I meant. It appears to me that while many Christians demand overwhelming evidence for evolution, ID is seen as self-evident. And while statistical considerations are stressed for trying to show how unlikely evolution should be, I've never seen it being addressed how statistically unlikely ID would be even if there were a creator. [...]
And while statistical considerations are stressed for trying to show how unlikely evolution should be, I've never seen it being addressed how statistically unlikely ID would be even if there were a creator.

Yeah, that would be nonsense, trying to handicap creation. Statistics are appropriate to evolution, since it claims a random process, but creation is a one-off kind of thing (presumably).

This is an issue that always bothered me and maybe someone (creationists?) would like to give me feedback on that.

Sure, since mutations are random, evolutionary progress is slow. Really slow. And thus it is generally stated by creationists, that it is statistically highly unlikely to happen.
What I never understood: Assuming there was a creator god, how likely is it, that every living being we know of has almost the same genetic make up?

I mean, if there is an omnipotent deity which could in principle create a huge diversity of different lifeforms, why are there no silicon-based plants? Or animals with fundamentally different amino acids?
No matter how statistically unlikely evolution may be - since for an omnipotent deity there should be an infinite number of different potential genetic systems, assuming* every one of those could be chosen with the same probability for every species, we have a zero (!) probability that creationism should lead to the current spectrum of fauna and flora.

Any opinions?

*) The same way it is assumed the progress from single-celled lifeforms to humans relies only on random (statistically equal) mutations blending out natural selection.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
Graincruncher
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9/30/2013 12:51:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
To be honest, similar genetic make-up is not inconsistent with a creator. For example, I write some (bad) fiction. It would not be difficult to see that similar devices and themes are used, because they are from the same creator.

However, any statistical objection to evolution on theistic grounds is meaningless. Things we know to happen may give very long odds, but they're still a lot better odds than using things we don't know about at all.
MysticEgg
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9/30/2013 12:56:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Arrhhhggg!

You sound like you're accepting this straw man! Evolution is not only likely but necessary for a species' survival! Evolve or die. The exception could be people that have ~95% child success rate, but even then we're still evolving; just we're evolving (relatively) slowly.
Debaterpillar
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9/30/2013 1:12:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 12:51:47 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
To be honest, similar genetic make-up is not inconsistent with a creator. For example, I write some (bad) fiction. It would not be difficult to see that similar devices and themes are used, because they are from the same creator.

That might be true for human creators, but for an omnipotent creator there should be no reason to choose one device over another. Each would be equally easy to apply and each would be equally successful if the surrounding environment were suitable, which an omnipotent being should be able to take care of.

However, any statistical objection to evolution on theistic grounds is meaningless. Things we know to happen may give very long odds, but they're still a lot better odds than using things we don't know about at all.
Just to clarify: I don't think that any of the theistic objections raised are valid at all. Scientifically, evolution is clearly the only game in town.
And (if MysticEgg's comment was directed at me) I'm sorry but I like taking 'straw men' :-) , because I'm really interested whether this issue has ever been addressed by creationists, as they play the 'statistically unlikely' card so often.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
Enji
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9/30/2013 2:13:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 1:12:59 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 9/30/2013 12:51:47 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
To be honest, similar genetic make-up is not inconsistent with a creator. For example, I write some (bad) fiction. It would not be difficult to see that similar devices and themes are used, because they are from the same creator.

That might be true for human creators, but for an omnipotent creator there should be no reason to choose one device over another. Each would be equally easy to apply and each would be equally successful if the surrounding environment were suitable, which an omnipotent being should be able to take care of.

However, any statistical objection to evolution on theistic grounds is meaningless. Things we know to happen may give very long odds, but they're still a lot better odds than using things we don't know about at all.
Just to clarify: I don't think that any of the theistic objections raised are valid at all. Scientifically, evolution is clearly the only game in town.
And (if MysticEgg's comment was directed at me) I'm sorry but I like taking 'straw men' :-) , because I'm really interested whether this issue has ever been addressed by creationists, as they play the 'statistically unlikely' card so often.

I think Todd Wood explains it nicely from a creationist point of view [http://toddcwood.blogspot.com...]. As Graincruncher says, similarity is not inconsistent with a creator - the question which creationists need to answer is why such similarity exists.
Graincruncher
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9/30/2013 2:30:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 12:56:07 PM, MysticEgg wrote:
Arrhhhggg!

You sound like you're accepting this straw man! Evolution is not only likely but necessary for a species' survival! Evolve or die. The exception could be people that have ~95% child success rate, but even then we're still evolving; just we're evolving (relatively) slowly.

Hah! I suspect I will not be the only person to laugh at this, thanks to my posts on here. I am about as out-spoken an atheist as you're likely to find. Evolution is not only likely, but has been comprehensively supported by large amounts of evidence that has undergone extensive peer-review. But, you do raise an interesting perspective; regardless of what the evolution-denial crowd may think about the past, I wonder how they feel about how we'd fare without evolution going into the future? I would also be interested to compare the figures of how many of those people there are with how many climate-change-deniers there are around as well and in which sub-groups they predominantly lay.

Human evolution is a tricky one, for a couple of reasons. Not in that it doesn't or hasn't happen(ed), but that:

- We are biased consider whatever we are at a given time to be 'human' and therefore genetic deviance from past norms may be given too little/much significance for judging evolutionary processes as a whole.

- We now have such a large genepool that, if I've understood what I've read correctly, that the known evolutionary processes are no longer as applicable as they once were.

- We can, to a significant enough extent to matter, change our environment in ways that allow us to adapt it to us, removing the pressure that requires us to adapt to it.

None of which is to question the evidence and absolute reality of evolutionary processes and their importance in both our history and our future. They're just things I though of in response to what you said.
v3nesl
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9/30/2013 2:36:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 1:12:59 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
...
Just to clarify: I don't think that any of the theistic objections raised are valid at all. Scientifically, evolution is clearly the only game in town.

Oh come on, man up. The first step in finding truth is to decide not to be intimidated, but to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

I don't know if this applies to you, but folks often confuse a precise and colloquial definition of 'likely'. The formal definition of statistics is really a description of the medium: A penny has two equal faces, therefore the chance of head or tail is 1/2. A die has six equal faces, the chance of any particular face is 1/6. And so on.

On the other hand, 'likely' is often used as a preliminary narrowing down of possibilities that our mind has presented us. Our brains are massively parallel 'fuzzy logic' engines that assign a sort of weight to possibilities and present our conscious minds with the best ones. This is very useful, of course, but is quite different from formal statistics. And getting at obscure truths is often a matter of finding ways to bypass this preliminary sorting mechanism.

So, I've got to run, but I think talking about whether the creator is 'likely' is the colloquial use and not formal statistics.
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Graincruncher
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9/30/2013 2:41:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 1:12:59 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
That might be true for human creators, but for an omnipotent creator there should be no reason to choose one device over another. Each would be equally easy to apply and each would be equally successful if the surrounding environment were suitable, which an omnipotent being should be able to take care of.

Unless there were an optimal algorithm for such, in which case it would - so far as we can reason such things - make sense for that to be the case with a creator. Or, if we're extrapolating from the only information we have, it could be a case of aesthetics; a creator may be equally capable of using different tools, but have a preference for one.
Debaterpillar
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9/30/2013 4:16:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 2:13:58 PM, Enji wrote:
At 9/30/2013 1:12:59 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 9/30/2013 12:51:47 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
To be honest, similar genetic make-up is not inconsistent with a creator. For example, I write some (bad) fiction. It would not be difficult to see that similar devices and themes are used, because they are from the same creator.

That might be true for human creators, but for an omnipotent creator there should be no reason to choose one device over another. Each would be equally easy to apply and each would be equally successful if the surrounding environment were suitable, which an omnipotent being should be able to take care of.

However, any statistical objection to evolution on theistic grounds is meaningless. Things we know to happen may give very long odds, but they're still a lot better odds than using things we don't know about at all.
Just to clarify: I don't think that any of the theistic objections raised are valid at all. Scientifically, evolution is clearly the only game in town.
And (if MysticEgg's comment was directed at me) I'm sorry but I like taking 'straw men' :-) and I'm really interested whether this issue has ever been addressed by creationists, as they play the 'statistically unlikely' card so often.

I think Todd Wood explains it nicely from a creationist point of view [http://toddcwood.blogspot.com...]. As Graincruncher says, similarity is not inconsistent with a creator - the question which creationists need to answer is why such similarity exists.
Exactly what I searched for, thanks. Still, sadly no reason is presented for which there should be similarity in a creationism world... so Todd Wood basically admits, he has no idea why all organisms have similar genetic make up as evolution would predict it.

At 9/30/2013 2:41:07 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 9/30/2013 1:12:59 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
That might be true for human creators, but for an omnipotent creator there should be no reason to choose one device over another. Each would be equally easy to apply and each would be equally successful if the surrounding environment were suitable, which an omnipotent being should be able to take care of.

Unless there were an optimal algorithm for such, in which case it would - so far as we can reason such things - make sense for that to be the case with a creator. Or, if we're extrapolating from the only information we have, it could be a case of aesthetics; a creator may be equally capable of using different tools, but have a preference for one.
But arguing with aesthetics would only be an a posteriori reasoning. If dodos had had a silicon-based genome, it could be argued that t h i s was aesthetically most appealing.
So since nothing is known about the aesthetic (or other) preferences of an alleged creator, it would be statistically correct to assign an equal likelihood to every possible "world". Thus, still zero possibility as far as statistical math is concerned.
But I agree, one could in principle try to argue that way. Thanks for all the input :-) .
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
Debaterpillar
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9/30/2013 4:27:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 2:36:33 PM, v3nesl wrote:
At 9/30/2013 1:12:59 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
...
Just to clarify: I don't think that any of the theistic objections raised are valid at all. Scientifically, evolution is clearly the only game in town.

Oh come on, man up. The first step in finding truth is to decide not to be intimidated, but to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

I'll follow the evidence wherever it leads. I even got convinced of the existence of the Higgs boson when they found it, although I always refused to believe nature is so inelegant to add that odd scalar...
So, if I changed my mind concerning the Higgs, I'd change it on every scientific topic - if and only if the evidence is compelling. And at least to me, evolution is by far the most successful explanation.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
Graincruncher
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9/30/2013 4:35:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 4:16:28 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
But arguing with aesthetics would only be an a posteriori reasoning.

I am merely pointing out that it isn't an unreasonable possibility.

If dodos had had a silicon-based genome, it could be argued that t h i s was aesthetically most appealing.

Indeed, but they don't. Even if they did, the original objection - the homogeneous nature of genetic material across species - can still be countered with the objection that aesthetic intent could account for whatever state of affairs may be described.

So since nothing is known about the aesthetic (or other) preferences of an alleged creator, it would be statistically correct to assign an equal likelihood to every possible "world". Thus, still zero possibility as far as statistical math is concerned.

Statistical mathematics is most certainly a useful field, but it is not the same as absolute statistics, whereby anything that has a non-zero probability is potentially accountable for. It is plausible to suggest that, based on what we know and describe in terms of intelligent entities, an intelligent creator would have aesthetic preferences. It is also plausible that such a being would not have such preferences, but to give an honest account of things we must include this in our terms.

But I agree, one could in principle try to argue that way. Thanks for all the input :-) .

No problem. I think sky faeries are a load of horseshit too, for the record.
Illegalcombatant
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9/30/2013 10:22:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Sorry Debate Pillar, your not going to make much of a creationist.

You have the audacity now to ask what about the probability equation on the other side of the argument........

1) The probability of (insert intelligent designer of choice here) exists
2) The probability (insert intelligent designer of choice here) that it chose to do A over B, C, D etc

Look, X is so improbable therefore God did it ok ?
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Debaterpillar
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10/1/2013 6:25:45 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 10:22:51 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
Sorry Debate Pillar, your not going to make much of a creationist.

You have the audacity now to ask what about the probability equation on the other side of the argument........

1) The probability of (insert intelligent designer of choice here) exists
2) The probability (insert intelligent designer of choice here) that it chose to do A over B, C, D etc

Look, X is so improbable therefore God did it ok ?
I agree (if I understand you properly) that the 'probability argument' against evolution is just a straw man, it's just I didn't ever see it being addressed completely anywhere and I (and maybe some others too) was interested in knowing whether creationists already have any explanation that issue in my first post.

Assuming for the sake of the argument that some intelligent designer exists (so in my 'thought experiment' I set your (1) to probability p = 1), then I think (2) is still zero, statistically. At least if creationists are allowed to argue using the bible alone, since there is nothing stated about the preferences of their god for a specific world.

Fact is, I doubt that any side will convince the other any time soon. So why not chomping on straw men in the mean time?
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
Debaterpillar
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10/1/2013 6:38:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 4:35:08 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
Statistical mathematics is most certainly a useful field, but it is not the same as absolute statistics, whereby anything that has a non-zero probability is potentially accountable for.

True. But if we want to compare the (necessary non-zero) probability for evolutionary progress, which is constantly claimed by creationists to be too small, then we should use statistical mathematics, because that's what the creationists do there, too. When they say "X is less probable than Y, so Y must have happened" (regardless of whether X actually is), then they refer to a simple statistical comparison.

It is plausible to suggest that, based on what we know and describe in terms of intelligent entities, an intelligent creator would have aesthetic preferences. It is also plausible that such a being would not have such preferences, but to give an honest account of things we must include this in our terms.

If we only take assumptions from the bible, than I'd still go with an equal probability for every possible combination of genetic make ups for the species, since nothing is said of any divine preferences. Being honest, any creationist must either admit that or make things up that aren't in the bible, which would be blasphemous.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
v3nesl
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10/1/2013 7:33:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 6:38:11 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 9/30/2013 4:35:08 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
Statistical mathematics is most certainly a useful field, but it is not the same as absolute statistics, whereby anything that has a non-zero probability is potentially accountable for.

True. But if we want to compare the (necessary non-zero) probability for evolutionary progress,

Nobody can actually do statistics on evolution, because nobody knows the parameters. I think it was you on the other thread making the point that it's absurd to expect evolution to be demonstrated because it took so long. So, if it can't be demonstrated, it means you don't actually know the parameters, and therefore you can't do the statistics. You can't handicap a race if you don't even know who's running.

I distinguish genetics from evolution, btw. Mendel was a man of math and statistics, Darwin was not. So, selecting from existing information, whether direct or indirect possibilities, that's an entirely different thing from hypothesizing that the information itself came about by the same method.

The problem for a creationist like me is that evolutionists want us to do their work for them. They can't demonstrate evolution themselves, so they say it's our job to disprove the possibility. That's a cop-out, in my view. It's the responsibility of the one making a claim to demonstrate the claim, and if they can't do it, quit calling it 'settled science'. Evolution remains what it has been for 150 years - a wild assed guess. It just happens to be a very popular guess with certain scientists, but it is still a guess and not science.

And I, fwiw, think it's pretty much complete nonsense. Mendel, yes, Darwin, no way.
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Graincruncher
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10/1/2013 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 6:38:11 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 9/30/2013 4:35:08 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
Statistical mathematics is most certainly a useful field, but it is not the same as absolute statistics, whereby anything that has a non-zero probability is potentially accountable for.

True. But if we want to compare the (necessary non-zero) probability for evolutionary progress, which is constantly claimed by creationists to be too small, then we should use statistical mathematics, because that's what the creationists do there, too. When they say "X is less probable than Y, so Y must have happened" (regardless of whether X actually is), then they refer to a simple statistical comparison.

If they understood statistics, they wouldn't be disagreeing with them constantly. I don't think that repeating a bad argument is wise, at it could be seen by some of validation.

If we only take assumptions from the bible, than I'd still go with an equal probability for every possible combination of genetic make ups for the species, since nothing is said of any divine preferences. Being honest, any creationist must either admit that or make things up that aren't in the bible, which would be blasphemous.

Being honest, any creationist would have to admit that they've painfully ignorant on the subject and shouldn't be talking about it in the first place. Honesty is not in the rulebook for these people.
v3nesl
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10/1/2013 7:45:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 7:38:29 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
...

Being honest, any creationist would have to admit that they've painfully ignorant on the subject and shouldn't be talking about it in the first place. Honesty is not in the rulebook for these people.

Here we go, our first ad hominem of a Tuesday morning. What a surprise. You'd think the people with science on their side could just produce the evidence, but no, the first resort is always to shoot the messenger. I wonder why?
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Debaterpillar
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10/1/2013 8:35:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 7:33:00 AM, v3nesl wrote:
Nobody can actually do statistics on evolution, because nobody knows the parameters. I think it was you on the other thread making the point that it's absurd to expect evolution to be demonstrated because it took so long.

Well, I said it's absurd to expect to observe the entire evolutional progress of the first chordates to humans in a lab - yes. But since all "small" aspects of evolution can be verified (and have been), and there further is no physical reason for which these shouldn't accumulate, you can at least say that there is a non-zero possibility. There's a non-zero possibility for everything after all.
Except for - and that's what I'm curious about - if there's an infinite number of possible outcomes each equally likely. There isn't a non-zero probability for a fauna formed by evolution, since natural selection rules out almost every other genetic make up (silicon-based DNA would be unstable, etc.). But there is for a world, that an omnipotent creator would have designed, as this deity could have adapted physics, chemistry, etc. without any more of an effort.
So you c a n predict the outcome of the race no matter how slow one of the two runners actually is, if the other one cannot walk at all.

If you disagree I'd really be interested to hear what exactly is wrong with my line of reasoning from a creationist. Why should our world (with all species being genetically alike) not have an exactly zero probability in creationism?

So, if it can't be demonstrated, it means you don't actually know the parameters, and therefore you can't do the statistics. You can't handicap a race if you don't even know who's running.

So, you're basically saying that you can't argue against evolution using statistical assessments? If so, that's in fact the first time I hear that from a creationist, and I think that would be a step forward for both parties in this endless debate.

The problem for a creationist like me is that evolutionists want us to do their work for them. They can't demonstrate evolution themselves, so they say it's our job to disprove the possibility. [...] It's the responsibility of the one making a claim to demonstrate the claim, and if they can't do it, quit calling it 'settled science'.

I disagree, but anyway: What stand-alone evidence is there then for creationism?
"Me fail English? That's unpossible." Ralph Wiggum.
Graincruncher
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10/1/2013 8:36:58 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 7:45:13 AM, v3nesl wrote:
Here we go, our first ad hominem of a Tuesday morning. What a surprise. You'd think the people with science on their side could just produce the evidence, but no, the first resort is always to shoot the messenger. I wonder why?

You guys are producing the evidence in bucketfuls, you halfwit. Just because you don't realise it doesn't change that fact.

I note, by the way, that you still don't understand what 'information' is in this context. You know, on an unrelated note.

Sorry, what was that about evidence?

The above is a rhetorical question. Please don't bother replying because you've shown yourself to be quite the moron on this topic and I've no desire to waste time listening to your ignorant bleating again.
v3nesl
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10/1/2013 9:38:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 8:35:59 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 10/1/2013 7:33:00 AM, v3nesl wrote:
Nobody can actually do statistics on evolution, because nobody knows the parameters. I think it was you on the other thread making the point that it's absurd to expect evolution to be demonstrated because it took so long.

Well, I said it's absurd to expect to observe the entire evolutional progress of the first chordates to humans in a lab - yes. But since all "small" aspects of evolution can be verified (and have been), and there further is no physical reason for which these shouldn't accumulate, you can at least say that there is a non-zero possibility.

You can't really say there is non-zero possibility for anything that's never been done. So you simply don't know what the statistics are for evolution. It remains, as I've said, merely a guess.

This 'small aspect' business - it's like saying "I drove a nail into a board, therefore I know I can build a house".

There's a non-zero possibility for everything after all.

No, there's not, and this might be an important concept to grasp. What are the odds of rolling a 13 with two dice? The odds are zero, of course, and don't change if you roll the dice for 4 billion years.

Except for - and that's what I'm curious about - if there's an infinite number of possible outcomes each equally likely. There isn't a non-zero probability for a fauna formed by evolution, since natural selection rules out almost every other genetic make up (silicon-based DNA would be unstable, etc.). But there is for a world, that an omnipotent creator would have designed, as this deity could have adapted physics, chemistry, etc. without any more of an effort.

Are you hinting at the 'loaded dice' theory, that supposed God set up all the pieces so evolution would occur?

I guess my question here is - why the emotional need to turn oneself inside out to salvage evolution? What is it that makes the hypothesis so emotionally appealing to some people? I don't get it, personally. To me, Occam's razor is that if it looks designed, it probably is. It's the obvious option, in my mind - an elegant and exquisite design like the ecosystem is just that - a design.

Why should our world (with all species being genetically alike) not have an exactly zero probability in creationism?


You think a designer wouldn't use similar techniques across his entire product line? That's a strange thing to say, to my mind. Here's a conundrum for you: If a designer used different techniques to do the [exact] same job, wouldn't that mean he deliberately used non-optimal techniques in some cases?

A designer can do anything. A painter might deliberately make a rotten painting to tweak the pompous critic, for instance. So, to evaluate a designer's design, you must get at his motivations. Statistics aren't the right tool for that job.


So, if it can't be demonstrated, it means you don't actually know the parameters, and therefore you can't do the statistics. You can't handicap a race if you don't even know who's running.

So, you're basically saying that you can't argue against evolution using statistical assessments? If so, that's in fact the first time I hear that from a creationist, and I think that would be a step forward for both parties in this endless debate.


Well, if someone proposes that life came about by a random process, it's valid to point out the statistical hurdle. I'm just saying that evolutionists don't actually have scientific basis for claiming a random process in the first place.


I disagree, but anyway: What stand-alone evidence is there then for creationism?

The creation is the evidence for creationism. If you find a creation, there must have been a creator.
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Debaterpillar
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10/1/2013 10:54:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 9:38:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
This 'small aspect' business - it's like saying "I drove a nail into a board, therefore I know I can build a house".

No, it's like saying "I drove a nail into a board, therefore I know I can drive 1000 nails into a board, which will then look quite different from how it currently does".
There's a non-zero possibility for everything after all.

No, there's not, and this might be an important concept to grasp. What are the odds of rolling a 13 with two dice? The odds are zero, of course, and don't change if you roll the dice for 4 billion years.

I might regret it, because it feels like provoking a landslide of "statistics against evolution" straw men, but since you said you refused them either, I'll just go along. Well, actually the possibility to roll 13 with two dice is not exactly zero. Since for every molecule in one dice there is a non-zero possibility to jump out of the rigid grid of its fellow atoms by the tunnel effect, there is in fact a possibility that one dice is rearranging itself spontaneously to have 7 eyes. It's really small, however.
Yet - and this is important to be mentioned along whenever this might be quoted - this is not the case for the much more likely evolutionary progress, in which only one molecular event can lead to a fundamental mutation of the entire biological system.

Are you hinting at the 'loaded dice' theory, that supposed God set up all the pieces so evolution would occur?

No.

To me, Occam's razor is that if it looks designed, it probably is. It's the obvious option, in my mind [...]
A bit off-topic, but this further depends on what looks designed to you. As I've told you in another thread, the only reason we commonly expect a house to be designed, is, because humans design houses. If I were to present a smartphone to an isolated tribe in the Amazonas region, they wouldn't assume it to be designed - they would have no clue what it could be and maybe assume a natural origin, if that's what they know from their environment.
And if speciation and self-ordering of certain structures would happen a thousand times faster and more obvious, what now appears 'designed' to some may likely not anymore.

You think a designer wouldn't use similar techniques across his entire product line? That's a strange thing to say, to my mind. Here's a conundrum for you: If a designer used different techniques to do the [exact] same job, wouldn't that mean he deliberately used non-optimal techniques in some cases?

And here's the problem: What is optimal? In evolution the concept of "optimal" is pretty straight forward, speaking of natural selection, etc.. If you could adapt the environment in arbitrary ways, then every "design" could be optimal. Also, making animals genetically more different from human would prevent their viruses to jump on us (ebola, swine flu, bird flu, etc.), so from our position that would've been even better. What is the definition of 'optimal' you're using here?

Well, if someone proposes that life came about by a random process, it's valid to point out the statistical hurdle. I'm just saying that evolutionists don't actually have scientific basis for claiming a random process in the first place.

One could point out the statistical hurdle (of that you admitted we have know idea whether it exists at all), but the issues I mentioned still imply statistics favor evolution over creationism. Unless you can explain to me, why all organisms beings genetically virtually identical should be optimal.

The creation is the evidence for creationism. If you find a creation, there must have been a creator.

I think you're rushing things. If there's a 'creation', you only know that it was formed somehow. Snowflakes are quite complex, but they are self-ordering structures. No one builds them, either.

Wow, huge post. Sorry to every reader who didn't just skip this, if there's any :- ) .
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v3nesl
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10/1/2013 11:31:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 10:54:24 AM, Debaterpillar wrote:
At 10/1/2013 9:38:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
This 'small aspect' business - it's like saying "I drove a nail into a board, therefore I know I can build a house".

No, it's like saying "I drove a nail into a board, therefore I know I can drive 1000 nails into a board, which will then look quite different from how it currently does".

No, it's more like "I drove a nail into a board, therefore I can build a house".

We're not talking about "different", like the moon is different from jupiter, we're talking about the fabulously complex ecosystm.

There's a non-zero possibility for everything after all.

No, there's not, and this might be an important concept to grasp. What are the odds of rolling a 13 with two dice? The odds are zero, of course, and don't change if you roll the dice for 4 billion years.

I might regret it, because it feels like provoking a landslide of "statistics against evolution" straw men, but since you said you refused them either, I'll just go along. Well, actually the possibility to roll 13 with two dice is not exactly zero. Since for every molecule in one dice there is a non-zero possibility to jump out of the rigid grid of its fellow atoms by the tunnel effect, there is in fact a possibility that one dice is rearranging itself spontaneously to have 7 eyes. It's really small, however.

Yeah, it's zero, can't happen, let's be realistic here. If we took your approach to its logical conclusion we couldn't even do science - prediction would be impossible, anything can happen.

Yet - and this is important to be mentioned along whenever this might be quoted - this is not the case for the much more likely evolutionary progress, in which only one molecular event can lead to a fundamental mutation of the entire biological system.


Sure, but only if you're changing an already highly complex genome. This is not really relevant to a hypothesis of how the genome developed in the first place.

...If I were to present a smartphone to an isolated tribe in the Amazonas region, they wouldn't assume it to be designed - they would have no clue what it could be and maybe assume a natural origin, if that's what they know from their environment.

I don't think so. Maybe they'd think it was from the gods or something, but they wouldn't think it emerged spontaneously.

No, look, recognizing design is generally not that difficult, I wouldn't bang my head against that wall.

And if speciation and self-ordering of certain structures would happen a thousand times faster and more obvious, what now appears 'designed' to some may likely not anymore.


I don't know what you mean by that (at all).

... Also, making animals genetically more different from human would prevent their viruses to jump on us (ebola, swine flu, bird flu, etc.), so from our position that would've been even better. What is the definition of 'optimal' you're using here?

Unless you can explain to me, why all organisms beings genetically virtually identical should be optimal.


I have to ask you a question: If the ecosystem is a design, would you not agree that it is a design of extreme genius? Take most any specimen - self reproducing, gets its own fuel, extraordinarily adaptable and fault tolerant, etc. etc. There's nothing remotely as sophisticated in human design. So when people start down this path of trying to find fault with nature's design, I think it's because they've never taken on a difficult project themselves, so they're just clueless, there's no future in the discussion.

The creation is the evidence for creationism. If you find a creation, there must have been a creator.

I think you're rushing things. If there's a 'creation', you only know that it was formed somehow. Snowflakes are quite complex, but they are self-ordering structures. No one builds them, either.


Yeah, they're not actually complex, they just look cool. They're like fractals - a relatively small amount on information makes something that looks cool to a human observer. but the complexity is actually in the human brain, not the snowflake.

No, again, humans don't really have much problem identifying design, I've got no interest in playing pretend on this kind of stuff.
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Debaterpillar
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10/1/2013 12:12:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 11:31:53 AM, v3nesl wrote:
No, it's more like "I drove a nail into a board, therefore I can build a house".

I'm talking about different in the sense of speciation and the emergent new species. Accumulating mutations lead to a genetically slightly different species, so the "board" will still be a "board".

Yeah, it's zero, can't happen, let's be realistic here. If we took your approach to its logical conclusion we couldn't even do science - prediction would be impossible, anything can happen.

Anything can happen with a non-zero possibility. It is just very, very tiny after all; that's how science is done - by saying applying voltage to a wire there'll be a current with existent but neglectable losses. Taking all physics seriously on this one, it i s actually non-zero.

No, look, recognizing design is generally not that difficult, I wouldn't bang my head against that wall.

And if speciation and self-ordering of certain structures would happen a thousand times faster and more obvious, what now appears 'designed' to some may likely not anymore.

I don't know what you mean by that (at all).

I admit, my explanation was a bit unclear. The example with the tribe may have been unfortunate, but consider this: If you were to experience an explosion in your neighborhood, you would likely suppose it was unnatural. Maybe some device broke or there was something wrong with the gas pipes. But over 99% of all explosions are natural: Volcanoes, stellar prominences, etc.. Yet, if something explodes, your first thought certainly won't credit it to a natural phenomenon. Which is right, as long as we're dealing with human affairs (as living in a city in an apartment).
But if we knew that on Mars 5 million years ago there was some explosion, someone saying "if something explodes, there must have been a bomb" due to Occam's Razor would be pretty weird.

I have to ask you a question: If the ecosystem is a design, would you not agree that it is a design of extreme genius? Take most any specimen - self reproducing, gets its own fuel, extraordinarily adaptable and fault tolerant, etc. etc. There's nothing remotely as sophisticated in human design. So when people start down this path of trying to find fault with nature's design, I think it's because they've never taken on a difficult project themselves, so they're just clueless, there's no future in the discussion.

So in conclusion: Our world must be optimal, because it must be. Then in creationism there's no at least theoretically testable reason for genetic similarity after all, is it?

No, again, humans don't really have much problem identifying design, I've got no interest in playing pretend on this kind of stuff.
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v3nesl
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10/1/2013 12:23:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 12:12:33 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
...
So in conclusion: Our world must be optimal, because it must be. Then in creationism there's no at least theoretically testable reason for genetic similarity after all, is it?


Ok, I'm going to have to speak plainly: You're being absurd here. OF COURSE the various designs of a single designer are going to look similar. Design reuse is standard practice in engineering - why would you reinvent the wheel when you already have something that works?

Forgive me for being personal, but I think you have to find the courage to admit that life could be designed. It's a perfectly valid hypothesis, and you need to recognize that you have emotional, not rational, objections to the possibility.
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RoyLatham
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10/1/2013 12:25:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 7:33:00 AM, v3nesl wrote:
The problem for a creationist like me is that evolutionists want us to do their work for them. They can't demonstrate evolution themselves, so they say it's our job to disprove the possibility. That's a cop-out, in my view. It's the responsibility of the one making a claim to demonstrate the claim, and if they can't do it, quit calling it 'settled science'. Evolution remains what it has been for 150 years - a wild assed guess. It just happens to be a very popular guess with certain scientists, but it is still a guess and not science.

Evolution has been demonstrated in a number of ways. The fossel and genetic marker records are, of course, demonstrations. Recently evolution was demonstrated in the laboratory. A scientist cultured 44,000 generations of a bacterium:

"But sometime around the 31,500th generation, something dramatic happened in just one of the populations - the bacteria suddenly acquired the ability to metabolise citrate, a second nutrient in their culture medium that E. coli normally cannot use.

Indeed, the inability to use citrate is one of the traits by which bacteriologists distinguish E. coli from other species. The citrate-using mutants increased in population size and diversity."
http://www.newscientist.com...

Another demonstration is by ring species. http://en.wikipedia.org... An example is when a certain plant or animal is introduced at one point on a mountainside or other bounded area of habitat. As the species expands around the circumference of the mountain it evolves. This translates the time history of evolution into a spatial presentation. At least 23 cases of ring species have been identified. http://www.actionbioscience.org...
v3nesl
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10/1/2013 12:30:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 12:25:06 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
At 10/1/2013 7:33:00 AM, v3nesl wrote:
The problem for a creationist like me is that evolutionists want us to do their work for them. They can't demonstrate evolution themselves, so they say it's our job to disprove the possibility. That's a cop-out, in my view. It's the responsibility of the one making a claim to demonstrate the claim, and if they can't do it, quit calling it 'settled science'. Evolution remains what it has been for 150 years - a wild assed guess. It just happens to be a very popular guess with certain scientists, but it is still a guess and not science.

Evolution has been demonstrated in a number of ways. The fossel and genetic marker records are, of course, demonstrations.

No, of course they are NOT demonstrations, they are the data the hypothesis is based on.

well, i have to run to a meeting, I'll try to get back to the other points later.
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RoyLatham
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10/1/2013 12:38:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/30/2013 12:48:35 PM, Debaterpillar wrote:
Assuming there was a creator god, how likely is it, that every living being we know of has almost the same genetic make up?

This argument is too easily answered by divine will. Plants and animals have to eat to survive, so if each was an entirely different composition they would be inedible to the others.

I like the "lesser God" argument. Creationists understand the basic claims of evolution, that species mutate and natural selection promotes differentiation into species. Suppose God exists and has a divine plant for earth. That plan must include what we now have on earth. One way God might choose to arrive at our present state is to create a few laws of nature and let an evolutionary process bring us to the current state. God could do this if he chose to, because God is omnipotent and omniscient, and we know that evolution does not pose a logic contradiction. The creationist says that God instead chose to not use a unified self-generating mechanism, but instead chose to intervene countless times to set things right. The Creationist God is therefore not nearly as clever as the God who works through evolution. That defies the concept of God as omniscient.

It seems to me that the only answer to that argument is the "we cannot understand why God does what he chooses." That then goes off on the tangent of how God can be incomprehensible to man, if man is made "in God's image."
RoyLatham
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10/1/2013 12:47:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 12:30:56 PM, v3nesl wrote:
At 10/1/2013 12:25:06 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
At 10/1/2013 7:33:00 AM, v3nesl wrote:
The problem for a creationist like me is that evolutionists want us to do their work for them. They can't demonstrate evolution themselves, so they say it's our job to disprove the possibility. That's a cop-out, in my view. It's the responsibility of the one making a claim to demonstrate the claim, and if they can't do it, quit calling it 'settled science'. Evolution remains what it has been for 150 years - a wild assed guess. It just happens to be a very popular guess with certain scientists, but it is still a guess and not science.

Evolution has been demonstrated in a number of ways. The fossel and genetic marker records are, of course, demonstrations.

No, of course they are NOT demonstrations, they are the data the hypothesis is based on.

well, i have to run to a meeting, I'll try to get back to the other points later.

The orbits of the planets confirm Newton's Laws. That's how Newton confirmed Newton's Laws. Are you says that every observation of Newton's Laws must be discounted as not being confirmation, because they are the phenomenon the laws are supposed to explain? There is no other way to confirm a theory but to look at the world and see that what happens conforms to the theory.

Darwin had very little of the fossil record and no DNA data whatsoever. The use of genetic markers (the erroneously named "junk DNA") to trace evolution is only a few decades old. So why, exactly, are they not confirmations of the theory?
v3nesl
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10/1/2013 1:05:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 12:47:09 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
At 10/1/2013 12:30:56 PM, v3nesl wrote:
At 10/1/2013 12:25:06 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
At 10/1/2013 7:33:00 AM, v3nesl wrote:
The problem for a creationist like me is that evolutionists want us to do their work for them. They can't demonstrate evolution themselves, so they say it's our job to disprove the possibility. That's a cop-out, in my view. It's the responsibility of the one making a claim to demonstrate the claim, and if they can't do it, quit calling it 'settled science'. Evolution remains what it has been for 150 years - a wild assed guess. It just happens to be a very popular guess with certain scientists, but it is still a guess and not science.

Evolution has been demonstrated in a number of ways. The fossel and genetic marker records are, of course, demonstrations.

No, of course they are NOT demonstrations, they are the data the hypothesis is based on.

well, i have to run to a meeting, I'll try to get back to the other points later.

The orbits of the planets confirm Newton's Laws. That's how Newton confirmed Newton's Laws.

No, Newton was trying to explain the motion of the planets. What he did was to derive the equations for gravity and inertia based on terrestrial experiments, and then showed that the planets appeared to follow the same equations.

You guys may misunderstand me: I'm not saying the evidence for evolution is necessarily invalid, I'm just pointing out that evolution has not been subjected to the scientific method. Nobody has demonstrated that things could happen the way Darwin proposed.


Darwin had very little of the fossil record and no DNA data whatsoever. The use of genetic markers (the erroneously named "junk DNA") to trace evolution is only a few decades old. So why, exactly, are they not confirmations of the theory?

As above, they may be evidence for evolution; they are not, however, the scientific method. This is a sort of forensic evidence; circumstantial evidence. It is not testing the theory, demonstrating that, for instance, given markers come from mutation and only from mutation.
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v3nesl
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10/1/2013 1:14:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/1/2013 12:25:06 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
...

Evolution has been demonstrated in a number of ways. The fossel and genetic marker records are, of course, demonstrations. Recently evolution was demonstrated in the laboratory. A scientist cultured 44,000 generations of a bacterium:

"But sometime around the 31,500th generation, something dramatic happened in just one of the populations - the bacteria suddenly acquired the ability to metabolise citrate, a second nutrient in their culture medium that E. coli normally cannot use.


So, first of all, how do you know this is not a genetic variation?

More importantly though, if the most that happened after 44000 generations was a change in diet, I see that as evidence that evolution doesn't happen. The bacteria clearly aren't ever going to cease being bacteria, there's no hint of Darwinian evolution even after 44K generations.


Another demonstration is by ring species. http://en.wikipedia.org... An example is when a certain plant or animal is introduced at one point on a mountainside or other bounded area of habitat. As the species expands around the circumference of the mountain it evolves. This translates the time history of evolution into a spatial presentation. At least 23 cases of ring species have been identified. http://www.actionbioscience.org...

Again, IDers don't dispute genetics. We don't dispute adaptation, we don't dispute that children and grandchildren don't look exactly like their parents. What we note is that variation on an existing theme is quite different from self-creation.
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