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Re: Rationalism

Postby Monad » Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:03 am

Jack wrote:I posed the following question to the writer of a letter to the Times about creationist material being sent to schools. Which of these two statements is the more rational?

1 Nothing created everything from nothing.

2 Something created everything from nothing.

Or to reduce them even further,

1 Nothing created everything.

2 Something created everything.

There's nothing rational about these statements. They simply reflect the fact that it's easy to get confused by the outmoded teleological assumptions present in much of our language and grammar and then mistake that as "logic".
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Postby Anonymous » Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:10 am

mcowan32 wrote:
There is no mechanism for the abiogenesis of the complex macromolecules of living organisms.

Robin D. Knight and Laura F. Landweber. The Early Evolution of the
Genetic Code. Cell Volume 101, Issue 6 , 9 June 2000, Pages 569-572

Donald E. Ingber. The origin of cellular life. BioEssays Volume 22,
Issue 12 , Pages 1160 - 1170

Protein synthesis, for example, is irreducibly complex,

Wrong again Nick: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/behe.rev.html

As every year 7 Biology student will tell you: only life begets life.

Only those students who are taught creationist crap or inadequate biology.

Spontaneous generation was debunked (grin) by Redi in the late 17th century.

Perhaps because modern scholars like investigating problems using modern
techniques. That's the spirit of inquiry, continually and pushing the
boundaries of exploration and knowledge. That's critical inquiry, not
your religious-based views in a kid's science classroom.

See the letter in today's The Times:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 63,00.html


Postby Jaf » Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:11 am

On Mon, 09 Oct 2006 18:45:51 -0500, you wrote:

Spontaneous generation was debunked (grin) by Redi in the late 17th century.

'Irreducible complexity' has been debunked several times in the late 20th
and early 21st centuries.
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Postby Oolon Colluphid » Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:05 am

mcowan32 wrote:As I've said elsewhere, God created chickens with the capacity to lay eggs. (Don't laugh unless you have a better answer.)

Nope. They evolved from earlier amniotes (specifically, theropod dinosaurs).

Therefore: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Perhaps you could explain why he created them with the genes for making complete fibulas with separate tarsals, and for teeth? No modern birds have either of these phenotypic features, but their putative ancestors most certainly did.

Why did god design gannets and boobies with nostrils? Why did he shape blue-footed booby behaviour so the males collect nesting materials? What are a kiwi's wings for? If he was so damned clever with this egg business, why didn't he givepenguins a pouch (or vivipary)?

And so on. Seems your god-designer is a bit of a pillock.
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
-- Douglas Adams
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Postby George Jelliss » Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:15 pm

As I read Jack's original question what he is asking about is not the origin of life (abiogenesis) but the origin of the universe. This is more of a philosophical or metaphysical question than a scientific one. Though of course we could also discuss whether metaphysical questions can legitimately be considered part of science or not.

Anyway the following is an argument I have used on other forums, in response to claims that something cannot come from nothing, or 'Owt for Nowt' as they put it in Yorkshire:

By definition the universe is 'everything that exists'. So outside or before the universe (if indeed those terms have any meaning) there is by definition nothing. No space, No time, No gods, Nothing. So the universe must have come into existence, at time zero, out of nothing (though since there was no time before time zero what 'coming into existence' might mean is dubious).

Another way of looking at this is in terms of fuzzy logic. Absolute nothingness is an absolute concept. It only has to become slightly fuzzy and we have Something. And thst something is what we call the universe! Bart Kozko in his bok on fuzzy logic has a more sophisticated version of this argument, involving entropy, but I think this gets the essence of it.

Some quantum theorists talk about the universe appearing due to a "fluctuation in the void". I'm not sure if this is the same argument, it depends whether their "void" is something or nothing.
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