Author Topic: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument  (Read 15896 times)

Offline Eyesabide

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #90 on: May 11, 2013, 11:24:03 AM »
 


So my answer is that no, it's not equally probable that god exists

For whatever it is worth, I am open to you starting any religion you wish, but that is because I believe in the principles of the U.S. Constitution, not because of any personal religious beliefs I may or may not have. This discussion is, however, focus on the existence or not existence of God. Not belief systems.

So, if it is unequal in probability that God does or does not exist, and using your example of the lottery to support that; we have a few options.
(1.) Never buy a lottery ticket/ resolutely deny the existence of God.
(2.) Recognize the possibility of winning the lottery, but not playing.
(3.) Playing hoping you will win.
(4.) Playing KNOWING you will win, but might have doubts.
(5.) Always buy a lottery ticket/ resolutely accepting that you eventually will win.

Yes, there are many other variables. No need to go ad nauseum.

Forgive my spelling. "Schroedingers Cat" tells us that if something cannot be seen, it exists and does not exist at the same time. We also know, if the case of the cat, given enough time the cat will eventually die. If we apply Occams Razor, whether or not the probability of the cat dying from poison
is exceeded on the timeline, we still do not know if the cat exists inside the box.
The box must be opened to find out, Occams razor cannot conclude.

The use of Occams Razor supports Schroedingers Cat, and there is an equal probability of God's existence.

Now, back to the analogy of your lottery. Do you resolutely deny the possibility of the existence of God? If so, it is OK, that is of your faith and I respect that. No harm, no foul and we had an interesting exchange. Your input got me thinking and there is great value in that. Thank you once again.
Muskets High!

Offline MFA

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #91 on: May 11, 2013, 11:35:44 AM »
OK, let's look at it this way.

If I asked you whether or not invisible flying unicorns live on Pluto, you would probably say no.  Can you prove that invisible flying unicorns don't live on Pluto?  No?  Then would you be open to me starting a religion and trying to dictate political policy and scientific research on the basis that, since you can't disprove the existence of invisible flying unicorns on Pluto, they must exist?

The reason why we don't believe in invisible flying unicorns living on Pluto is that, although in theory we could construct some convoluted theory as to how they might existence, probability tells us that the chances of their existence are negligible.  Occam's Razor tells us that believing in such beings is unnecessary because it is not needed to explain any evidence.

So my answer is that no, it's not equally probable that god exists any more than it's equally probable to win the lottery as it is to not win it.

You're right.  It's logically true that it is impossible to prove a negative.

Offline Sci Fi Fan

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #92 on: May 11, 2013, 11:39:41 AM »
You're right.  It's logically true that it is impossible to prove a negative.

Depending on the context, yes, it can be.

Meaning that using the "you can't prove God does not exist" argument is no more reasonable than my applying the same argument to support the existence of talking pancakes on Jupiter.

What you obviously haven't learned is that all scientific theories must be falsifiable, meaning that they could be disproved through observation or experiment.  Any claim that is designed to never be disprovable is not a legitimate theory.

Offline MFA

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #93 on: May 11, 2013, 12:10:26 PM »
Depending on the context, yes, it can be.

Meaning that using the "you can't prove God does not exist" argument is no more reasonable than my applying the same argument to support the existence of talking pancakes on Jupiter.

That's right.

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What you obviously haven't learned is that all scientific theories must be falsifiable, meaning that they could be disproved through observation or experiment.  Any claim that is designed to never be disprovable is not a legitimate theory.

Um, no.  All scientific theories must be falsifiable.  Your condescension is unwarranted and unwanted.  I have not suggested a scientific claim that is not disprovable.  I also don't hold to the fallacy that only what can be scientifically proven can be held as true.

Offline Sci Fi Fan

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #94 on: May 11, 2013, 01:19:29 PM »
I also don't hold to the fallacy that only what can be scientifically proven can be held as true.

Other than God, name something that can't be scientifically supported that you hold as objectively true.  Note that the existence of God is an assertion of the literal existence of a being, and that the claim involves an entire and elaborate creation process that can't possibly be considered true for one person and not true for another.

Offline MFA

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #95 on: May 11, 2013, 01:24:03 PM »
Other than God, name something that can't be scientifically supported that you hold as objectively true.  Note that the existence of God is an assertion of the literal existence of a being, and that the claim involves an entire and elaborate creation process that can't possibly be considered true for one person and not true for another.

The universe can be rationally understood.
Our own rationale is trustworthy in the pursuit of truth.
My wife loves me.
If A=B and B=C then A=C.

None of these things can be empirically verified.

And yet I hold to all of them as true.  Not only that, if some of them were not true, then scientific pursuit itself would be useless.

Offline Sci Fi Fan

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #96 on: May 11, 2013, 06:56:22 PM »
The universe can be rationally understood.

You drop a pencil.  It falls accelerating at [roughly] 9.8 m/s^2.  You add five and six.  You get eleven.

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Our own rationale is trustworthy in the pursuit of truth.

You know you don't have much of an argument when you have to fall back on the most irreducible tautological statements to defend your point.

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My wife loves me.

You can empirically support this through her actions, facial expressions, words, etc.  You could even hypothetically run a brain scan.  This isn't a very strong example.

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If A=B and B=C then A=C.

And you think the specific existence of a deity with a very particular set of attributes and actions can be axiomized just because the most basic axioms of all mathematics can as well?   :lol:

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None of these things can be empirically verified.

Actually, they all can.  That if A=B and B=C then A=C can be observed everyday.

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And yet I hold to all of them as true.  Not only that, if some of them were not true, then scientific pursuit itself would be useless.

So because some things are allegedly unsupportable (even though all of your examples are rather lacking), that means that you can invent any entity you want and call it rational?   :rolleyes:

Let's go back to invisible flying unicorns, then.  You can't empirically verify them...but you can't empirically verify that you can draw a straight line between any two points on a plane, right?  So that means that they must exist!

Offline MFA

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #97 on: May 11, 2013, 07:04:40 PM »
You drop a pencil.  It falls accelerating at [roughly] 9.8 m/s^2.  You add five and six.  You get eleven.

Every time?  Presumably.  Provable?  No.

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You know you don't have much of an argument when you have to fall back on the most irreducible tautological statements to defend your point.

Prove that our rationale--the apparent result of random processes and natural selection--is trustworthy.

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You can empirically support this through her actions, facial expressions, words, etc.  You could even hypothetically run a brain scan.  This isn't a very strong example.

I guess you'd have to start by proving that love exists.  Is that possible, scientifically.  Then you'd have to prove that actions, facial expressions, words, etc., are representations of what that "love" is, and show how there is no ulterior motive.

Come on, this isn't difficult.  You cannot prove that one person loves another.

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And you think the specific existence of a deity with a very particular set of attributes and actions can be axiomized just because the most basic axioms of all mathematics can as well?   :lol:

Um, no.  Are you deliberately misunderstanding?

I said that not everything that we accept is true can be proven scientifically.  You asked for examples.  I am giving you some.  Please try to stay on track.  I can understand how, if you are actually processing what I am posting, this could be challenging a hardcore naturalist.

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Actually, they all can.

Actually, no, none of them can.

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That if A=B and B=C then A=C can be observed everyday.

You can observe examples of this.  You cannot prove it mathematically, logically, or scientifically.  It is an axiom.  It's not provable.

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So because some things are allegedly unsupportable (even though all of your examples are rather lacking), that means that you can invent any entity you want and call it rational?   :rolleyes:

Oh.  Wait.  Is that what I said?

Oh!  No, I didn't!

Are you trying to be an idiot, or does it just come naturally?

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Let's go back to invisible flying unicorns, then.  You can't empirically verify them...but you can't empirically verify that you can draw a straight line between any two points on a plane, right?  So that means that they must exist!

Oh, is that what I siad?  No.  What I said was that we accept things that are true than cannot be empirically verified.  I supported it.  Now you're leaping to all kinds of conclusions.

Do you know what a "straw man argument" is?  I can provide a link for a definition, if you'd like...

Please respond to what I am saying and not what I am not saying.  I haven't been a dick to you.  Please don't act like one to me.

Offline Sci Fi Fan

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #98 on: May 11, 2013, 07:09:41 PM »
Every time?  Presumably.  Provable?  No.

You don't understand what empirical evidence means.  You certainly don't understand what "scientific proof" entails.  Hint: all scientific theories "suffer" from the flaw you just pointed out, ranging from Newton's laws of motion to every study ever conducted.  They all entail inductive reasoning that technically don't constitute mathematical proof.  Scientists construct models that explain observations and experimental data.

So yes, all of your examples can be proven scientifically.  You just don't understand what this actually means.

If you actually meant "you can take something as true without mathematical, deductive proof", then sure.

Offline MFA

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #99 on: May 11, 2013, 07:37:39 PM »
You don't understand what empirical evidence means.  You certainly don't understand what "scientific proof" entails.  Hint: all scientific theories "suffer" from the flaw you just pointed out, ranging from Newton's laws of motion to every study ever conducted.  They all entail inductive reasoning that technically don't constitute mathematical proof.  Scientists construct models that explain observations and experimental data.

So yes, all of your examples can be proven scientifically.  You just don't understand what this actually means.

If you actually meant "you can take something as true without mathematical, deductive proof", then sure.

See, but that's where we the following:  the universe is rational and can be rationally understood.  This can be broken down into:

1)  The universe follows consistent patterns that we can codify as "laws."
2)  Our brains are capable of understanding these patterns and we can trust the rationale of our minds.

These are foundational.  We presume them to be true.

We cannot prove them.

Offline Sci Fi Fan

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #100 on: November 16, 2013, 02:01:08 PM »
I'm sorry guys for the long delay, but I'm feeling bored right now, so...

Every time?  Presumably.  Provable?  No.

The scientific method is based on empiricism.  You don't "prove" anything, you establish theories to explain observations.  Gravity is just a theory, but to argue that we therefore shouldn't live our lives on the assumption that it exists is just absurd.

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Prove that our rationale--the apparent result of random processes and natural selection--is trustworthy.

On the basis of whether or not it makes successful predictions.  Evolutionary Theory had been enormously successful in predicting observations, and hence many of its principles are used by biologists and biochemists.  Creationism/intelligent design are not falsifiable and make no working predictions.

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I guess you'd have to start by proving that love exists.  Is that possible, scientifically.  Then you'd have to prove that actions, facial expressions, words, etc., are representations of what that "love" is, and show how there is no ulterior motive.

Come on, this isn't difficult.  You cannot prove that one person loves another.

You cannot prove that the sun revolves around the Earth.  You cannot prove that what you see is real.  Science deals with probability.  Outside of possibly mathematics nothing can really be known for "certain".

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Um, no.  Are you deliberately misunderstanding?

I said that not everything that we accept is true can be proven scientifically.  You asked for examples.  I am giving you some.  Please try to stay on track.  I can understand how, if you are actually processing what I am posting, this could be challenging a hardcore naturalist.

You don't really understand how the scientific method operates if you think scientific theories require "proof".

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You can observe examples of this.

That's exactly what science does...

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Oh, is that what I siad?  No.  What I said was that we accept things that are true than cannot be empirically verified.  I supported it.  Now you're leaping to all kinds of conclusions.

Do you have any idea what "empirically verified" even means?  Newton's law of universal gravitational attraction can be empirically verified.  You ridiculously suggested that it cannot be "proven" by pointing out a fundamental limitation of empiricism - well no shit sherlock, that's like criticizing a math equation because it's not a number.

Offline MFA

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #101 on: November 19, 2013, 04:54:24 PM »
I'm sorry guys for the long delay, but I'm feeling bored right now, so...

The scientific method is based on empiricism.  You don't "prove" anything, you establish theories to explain observations.  Gravity is just a theory, but to argue that we therefore shouldn't live our lives on the assumption that it exists is just absurd.

You're right.  Nobody's suggesting that.

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On the basis of whether or not it makes successful predictions.  Evolutionary Theory had been enormously successful in predicting observations, and hence many of its principles are used by biologists and biochemists.  Creationism/intelligent design are not falsifiable and make no working predictions.

Circular.  "It makes successful predictions."  How do you evaluate whether or not a prediction is successful?  Do you...um...use your own rationale?

What you're ultimately saying is that the legitimacy of our own rationale requires the use of our own rationale.

That has absolutely nothing to do with creationism or intelligent design.  Why did you bring that up?

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You cannot prove that the sun revolves around the Earth.  You cannot prove that what you see is real.  Science deals with probability.  Outside of possibly mathematics nothing can really be known for "certain".

And of what value is that?  All you've done is put a huge hole in empiricism now.

So...do you take these "predictions of evolution" on faith?

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You don't really understand how the scientific method operates if you think scientific theories require "proof".

So...what do they require?

They require evidence, verifiability, and, as I have argued from the beginning, a certain degree of "faith."

You've already said that "nothing can be known for certain" and now you are implying that the scientific method does not require "proof."  So...

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That's exactly what science does...

Yes, it observes examples and makes predictions.  Based on...?

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Do you have any idea what "empirically verified" even means?  Newton's law of universal gravitational attraction can be empirically verified.  You ridiculously suggested that it cannot be "proven" by pointing out a fundamental limitation of empiricism - well no shit sherlock, that's like criticizing a math equation because it's not a number.

Well, "sherlock," I'm not the one that's trying to argue that empiricism is infallible when it comes to establishing or verifying what is true.  It looks like you have argued yourself in a giant circle until you have agreed with my original premises.  You're just unwilling to acknowledge that you're left with some kind of "faith."

Offline Sci Fi Fan

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Re: Problems with the so-called "watchmaker" argument
« Reply #102 on: November 19, 2013, 07:06:42 PM »
Circular.  "It makes successful predictions."  How do you evaluate whether or not a prediction is successful?  Do you...um...use your own rationale?

No, we see that the evolution of fossils happens to follow a sequential order in which more recent fossils down a certain line more closely resemble the current relevant species.  This is not explained or even remotely compatible with creationism.  More complicated evidence includes this (ignore the provocative title lol):



Something predicted by evolution over a century ago just happens to be true.  Not something you can say about creationism that is purely reactive, rationalizing itself to fit with evidence that always contradicts older incarnations.


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They require evidence, verifiability, and, as I have argued from the beginning, a certain degree of "faith."

Why do you keep bringing up the faith argument?  Let's assume for a moment that this is true.  So what?  It applies to everything in science, history, religion, and whatever - why is this relevant to evolution?

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You've already said that "nothing can be known for certain" and now you are implying that the scientific method does not require "proof."  So...

Yes.  It requires that it fit the known evidence and successfully predict new evidence.  This technically proves nothing; this technically does not prove general relativity.  What are you trying to establish here, aside that evolution suffers the same "flaw" as every piece of knowledge outside mathematics?

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Yes, it observes examples and makes predictions.  Based on...?

 :blink: On the evidence...of which there is an unimaginable quantity of for evolution.  We know more about the evolution of life than we do about gravity - although any theoretical physicist will tell you that is not saying much.

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Well, "sherlock," I'm not the one that's trying to argue that empiricism is infallible when it comes to establishing or verifying what is true.

Show me where I state it's infallible.  I make it very clear that it is fallible.  But unless if you want to go live in a secluded rainforest in the Amazons you have accepted that modern empiricism (science) works.  And even then you'd quickly learn to trust your empirical knowledge if you want to survive for any time at all.

 

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