Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Responding to Pavielle

A new blog has been created called The God Debate where opening statements in a debate on the existence of a god have been published.

In
the opening statement of the pro-god position, its author Pavielle affirms "the absolute nature of truth" as "the solid base on which much of my argument rests." Pavielle rightly points out that certain positions on the nature of truth are self-defeating, such as those which affirm as a truth the view that truth cannot be known. Such views are often the outcome of frustrated mysticism.

Additionally, Pavielle asks readers to "check out some characteristics of truth," which are listed as follows:

- Truth is not invented, but discovered
- Truth is transcultural
- Truth is unchanging even though our beliefs about the truth may change
- Beliefs cannot change a fact
- Truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it
- All truths are absolute truths

Pavielle then proceeded to present a case intended to prove, not the existence of the Christian god per se, but what is identified as "a generic theistic God," which I understand to refer generally to an invisible conscious entity whose consciousness has the power to bring matter into existence, assign objects their identity, essentially to create reality in one way or another.

In
the comments section of Paveille's opening statement, I interacted with a small portion of what was presented, focusing on the issue of "the origin of life." In that section, Pavielle accused "Darwinists" of taking their views on the origin of life "on faith," which I called into question. Additional commonplace criticisms against evolution and abiogenesis were also introduced in Pavielle's opening statement, and I responded to a few of them as well. Specifically I raised the concern that Pavielle's overall argument, as presented in the overview so far presented, is difficult to distinguish from an argument from incredulity. This is because much of his case in this section dwells on what are thought to be probabilities that are so unlikely as to be considered "astronomical." I found this ironic given Pavielle's own pointers regarding the nature of truth: if something is true, it's true regardless of our beliefs (for "beliefs cannot change a fact") and one's estimation that something is utterly unlikely to happen does not trump the actual state of affairs (for "truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it"). Since unlikely things do in fact happen, our estimation that some postulated occurrence is highly improbable is not sufficient to rule it out.

Pavielle then responded to my criticism, and that's where we begin. (From here on, I will address Pavielle in second person address.)

Pavielle wrote:
Origon of Life- That it sright. Darwinists take the origon of life theory on faith."
Yes, you did affirm this, but I'm wondering how you would support the highly generalized claim that "Darwinists take the origon of life theory on faith." Nothing you have presented indicates why one should suppose this is the case. It may be the case that some do this, but that would only speak for those who do, not those who do not or might not.

Pavielle wrote:
I was not condemning faith by any means. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of most atheists.
Now it seems you're mixing issues. You asserted (without argument) that "Darwinists take the origon of life theory on faith," and then seem to conflate this to atheists as such. But an atheist is simply someone who has no god-belief, and this requires no faith since it is not a commitment to any affirmation. Non-belief in square circles, for instance, is not a faith-based position. It's not even a "position" per se, since it does not posit anything. At any rate, I thought you were trying to present an argument for the existence of a god. Whether or not any particular atheist is guilty of hypocrisy is irrelevant.

Pavielle wrote:
They take certain things on faith, but then mock those who have faith in God.
I'd like to see an example of this, in the words of card-carrying "Darwinists" themselves. Specifically an example showing that they "take the origon of life theory on faith" and then ridiculing others for accepting views on the basis of faith.

Pavielle wrote:
Deduction must be used of course. As for explenations, I believe that is what I am trying to do right now. Both theists and atheists should be able to logically explain their stance.
Fair enough. Let's proceed.

Pavielle wrote:
the mathematical probablility of biogenesis is astronomically low.
Low probability is ultimately irrelevant. The mathematical probability of the bullet fragment hitting James Tague on his cheek in Dallas on November 22, 1963 was also "astonomically low," and yet it happened. Probability assessment is fine for estimating future outcomes. But if something happened, it happened regardless of the odds. Again, truth is absolute, right?

Pavielle wrote:
And there is little evidence that supports it. You say there is some, but did not actually mention any. Until you bring it in, there is no evidence to support biogeneis in this debte.
Just by saying that "there is little evidence that supports it" suggests that you are already aware that at least some evidence which supports it exists. But to clarify my position (since I am not here to argue in defense of abiogenesis per se; others are far more able than I am on this matter), let me just say this. I'm open to supposing that abiogenesis occurred, and I'm also open to supposing that life has always existed. If it's the case that abiogenesis occurred, and we learn this is the case, I'm open to accepting that as truth. If it is discovered that life has always existed, then if that's true, it's true. This is to say that it is a curiosity, but it is not an important issue in my worldview. Life exists. That's a fact, and that's something I need to deal with an act on. How it "got here" is rather moot to me. But I will also mention that I see no good reason to suppose that life is the creation of an invisible magic being which has the power to turn its wishes into reality at will. Where you say that you don't have enough faith to be an atheist (as if non-belief in invisible magic beings were a product of faith; it's not), I'm too honest to be a theist.

Pavielle wrote:
A single cell is considered the simplest lifeform by all scientists. Virus particularly. Simple life exists today and it cannot be made any simpler. Biochemists have proved this. It couldn't exist now, and it couldn't have existed a long time ago.
Can you explain how you know that, just because it's supposed that "it couldn't exist now" (based only on what we know now), it also "couldn't have existed a long time ago"? I'm sure you're aware that scientists are generally open to new discoveries (especially if they make these discoveries themselves). What conclusively rules out the supposed possibility that at some time in the distant past there existed some life form, which may now be extinct for all we know, and which was even simpler than the single-celled organisms we currently consider to be the simplest life forms? Again, I'm not claiming there was such a thing. But I see that you are claiming there could not have been such. Should scientists go into the field of paleo-biological research with the assumption that organisms less complex than the life forms currently considered to be the simplest in existence could not have existed? What would drive such an assumption? A confessional investment in a religious devotional program? Is that responsible science? Is that openness to absolute truth?

Pavielle wrote:
It woulnd't have functioned and therefore would not have evolved. Hard knocks for evolution.
And yet below, we'll find that the concern for simplicity vs. complexity in nature is really a moot issue after all. Again, if evolution took place, it took place, whether we find it incredible or not.

Pavielle wrote:
And you make a good point in my favor by saying that even non-organic molecules aren't simple. That decreases the chances that they would develop naturally.
I think you missed my point then. Recall what you had written:
Even the earliest organisms would have had the equivalent of 100,000 encyclopedias of information stored in them!
But if this is the case with non-organic molecules as well, then the concern for simplicity may in fact be nothing more than a chimera after all. If nature, in the form of both organic and non-organic compounds, is info-packed, then highlighting the (unargued) supposition that "the earliest organisms would have had the equivalent of 100,000 encyclopedias of information stored in them" loses its power to impress. Indeed, simply because some article of fact is by itself impressive does not constitute an argument securing desired conclusions.

Pavielle wrote:
Incredulity? You think my argument is based on that? Incedulity is an emotion. My argument is based on mathematical probabilities. And since the attittude of the person does not affect the truth (As you so aprtly reeaffirmed) then your attitude does not affect such probabilities.
From what I can tell, your argument seeks to employ mathematical probabilities to secure the view that things are so unlikely that they are beyond reasonable credibility. That's the overwhelming impression that I walked away with when I read it.

Pavielle wrote:
Okay: You want an exact definiton of the Principle of Uniformity. Here it is.
Yes, it would be beneficial for your argument to inform it with some indication of what you take to be its key principles. Recall what you had written:
The Principle of Uniformity suggests that such complexity of life could not have evolved without guidance.
So as I look through your (unattributed) definitions of the principle of uniformity, I'll be looking specifically to see how they might "suggest" that complex life forms "could not have evolved without guidance." By 'guidance' I am supposing you have in mind some consciously directed oversight administered by some (presumably *living*) entity which deliberately sought to bring about the current state of affairs on earth (a planet teeming with diverse life forms) as a desired outcome. If you meant something fundamentally different (i.e., some natural process which did not involve a form of consciousness directing outcomes), then you may want to clarify this in future statements.

Pavielle wrote:
The principle of uniformity or the 'The Principle of Uniformity of Nature' postulates that the laws of nature discovered on Earth apply throughout the universe.
It's not clear to me how this rendition of "the Principle of Uniformity of Natureā€¦ suggests that such complexity of life could not have evolved without guidance."

Pavielle wrote:
A stronger Uniformity principle is that the laws of event causation have remained constant throughout time (uniformitarianism) as well as applying everywhere in the 'modern' universe. For instance, the idea in Physics that there has been no change in the fine-structure constant since the Big Bang.
Again, it's not clear how this "suggests" some form of "guidance," as I understand this term to mean.

Pavielle wrote:
There is also another definition that the Principle of Uniformity states that nothing that is now impossible in principle was ever the case in the past.
It's still not clear how some form of "guidance" is suggested by any of this. In fact, quite the opposite is suggested (at least, by my understanding). These suggest to me that guidance would not be needed, since natural laws were in operation. Is "guidance" needed for the movement of tectonic plates? I don't think so; geological forces, operating according to natural law, make this happen. Is "guidance" required for intercellular activity? I don't think so; biochemical forces are at work here. From what you have presented, I'd say quite the opposite is suggested.

Pavielle wrote:
There it is. The Principle of Uniformity affirms that natural laws are uniform throughout the universe. In my argument, I am reffering to the laws of probability, which make it highly unlikely that the universe could have spontaneoulsy come into being.
But if the universe always existed (which is my view; see below), then there's no need even to entertain the notion "that the universe could have spontaneously come into being." Existence exists, and the things that exist act according to their natures (that's the law of causality). So again, some form of conscious direction choreographing it all is not even implied, let alone "suggested."

Pavielle wrote:
My watch example is not about comparing natural life to that which is artifical. You misenterpereted.
It may not have been your intention, but that is what your use of the watch in fact does: it compares (quite explicitly in fact) biology to artificial mechanisms, and I see this in itself as a means of stacking the deck. If your case has solid facts behind it, you wouldn't need to do this.

Pavielle wrote:
It was a simple demonstration in probability.
One that actually misses its own point. Suppose you take that watch, as you suggested we do, put it into a bag and smash it with a hammer, and then shake it, every time you dump the contents of the bag onto a table top, you're going to have a new arrangement. Each arrangement is going to be statistically unique, and given the number of pieces involved and the spread of their distribution upon pouring out of the bag, just as astronomically improbable as the next outpouring will be. The whole thought experiment invites us to impose anthropomorphic conceptions of order to natural causality, which is why the comparison of biological organisms to artificial devices begs the question. It does this by seeding our expectation of a specific outcome: that the destruction of an object will result in its reassembly. But why should we expect this? Appeals to probability do not address this question, nor do they actually serve what the case intends to establish, for every outcome can be assessed as improbable in one way or another.

Take for example a deck of cards. If I were to give the deck of cards a good shuffle, and then I asked you to draw four cards, and you drew four aces right off the top, you'd probably say "Wow! What are the odds of that happening?!" That's because we put a certain value on like cards that the universe as such does not apply (the universe does not "value" anything; it wouldn't need to). But suppose you drew a seven of clubs, a queen of hearts, a two of diamonds and a nine of hearts. I could just as easily exclam "Wow! What are the odds of that happening?!" Statistically both outcomes are equally improbable, equally unique. I could say in equal amazement to both outcomes, "I've never seen that before!" So appeals to probability really do not impress me in the final analysis. I'm more interested in why you think a conscious agent is involved in the appearance of life on earth. But your argument seems to skirt from directly engaging this specific issue, which is the big daddy issue of theism.

Moreover, it remains to be explained exactly to what in nature (or in the details of the theory of evolution) the smashing of the watch and shaking of its parts in a bag are supposed to be analogous. The theory of evolution does not teach that new species evolve from the smashing and shaking up of their ancestors. So this in itself constitutes a weakness in your analogy.

Pavielle wrote:
In fact, becuase the universe is more complex than any watch, the probability of the universe simpley coming into being without guidance is actually less.
Well, for one thing, I see no reason to suppose that at one time the universe did not exist, so it seems arbitrary as well as conceptually fallacious to look for an explanation for how it "came to be." If the universe has always existed (again, see below), then there's no need to fuss over "the probability of the universe simpley coming into being," with or without guidance. Again, the issue which needs your attention is this notion of "guidance" which you want to introduce. Splitting hairs about probability is beyond moot; we all know that highly improbable things take place all the time. But since your case for divine guidance rests on the assumption that the universe did not always exist, just by knocking out the latter I've already provided good reason to reject the former. Hence my atheism (that is, non-belief in theism) is on solid ground.

Pavielle wrote:
If you would like, I can use a different analogy, but the effect will be the same: All the parts of a cell are floating in infinity. What are the chances that they will come together perfectly? Astronomical. Even after millions and millions of years? Still astronomical.
And the lack of impressiveness remains the same. Not to mention that the notion of "floating in infinity" is meaningless to me, the supposition that it is highly or "astronomically" improbable that the contents of the first cell would somehow unite into a single entity, is not sufficiently conclusive to warrant our consideration of alternative explanations, especially if they are arbitrary and internally contradictory, such as is the case with theism. It remains to be proven that such is impossible. By saying that the occurrence in question is merely improbable, you are, whether you realize it or not, tacitly conceding that said occurrence is still possible, just unlikely. So if the occurrence is conceded to be possible, then the urgency to consider alternatives loses steam.

But now step back and get a wider picture: suppose you want me to think that it is patently impossible for this to happen, given the known laws of nature. But then you want me to accept as not mere possibility, but as a holy fact, that a form of consciousness wished the universe into existence. Think about that for a moment. What known laws of nature support this notion? You appealed to the known laws of nature in order to rule out the possibility of life somehow generating from non-living substances, but then when it comes to considering the alternative that theism promotes, the laws of nature are no longer to be consulted in the matter. Is there any evidence in nature of a consciousness which can make real and actual something it wishes in its imagination? I'd like to see this. Perhaps it could wish me a million dollars.

Pavielle wrote:
This is a kind exapmle, since I am even giving the cell (A natrual thing) time. Time wouldn't have existed prior to the Universe becuase time, space, and matter must coexist. Also, the cell (Analogous to the Universe) already has all its parts. The Universe would have come from nothing. FInally, the universe is more complex than a cell.
None of this is meaningful to me since I do not begin with non-existence. Since I begin with existence (i.e., the universe), I have no need to hypothesize about what could or could not have existed "prior to the Universe." In fact, the expression "prior to the Universe" is utterly referenceless (unless of course one sacrifices his rational faculty on the altar of his imagination and proceeds to invent fantasies). If we begin with existence, then there's no problem. But if we begin with non-existence, then you've got an insurmountable problem: questions of how existence came to exist where there was no existence before necessarily presuppose the law of causality (for you cannot answer the "how" part of the question without at least implicitly assuming the law of causality), and yet the law of causality itself presupposes the fact of existence (since causality is the relationship between an entity and its own actions). So, unless you're willing to commit the fallacy of the stolen concept, you need to begin with existence.

Theism, however, seeks a compromise between these two: it wants thinkers to take seriously the notion that existence needs an explanation in something beyond it (e.g., "The universe had a cause!"), but it also tries to pass itself off on the legitimacy of beginning with something already existing. The stipulation of theism, however, is that this pre-existing something cannot be the universe as such (even though the universe is the sum total of existence, and we know this exists); rather, it wants to begin with a form of consciousness, which simply dooms theism to metaphysical subjectivism: it asserts that a subject of consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over all objects distinct from itself. There's nothing more subjective than such a view, and nothing more antagonistic to the concept of truth as such.

Pavielle wrote:
As for life being natural of unnatural, that cannot be assumed or determined directly. It must be deduced through evidence. I was not assuming anything. Just demonstrating the low probability of the universe coming into being spontaneously.
I hope you see the point of the objection I raised. If life is natural, then there's no reason to suppose that natural processes are insufficient to make life a reality. We see this all day long. But the argument you want to make needs to trade on the notion that life is somehow analogous to designed artifice (like a watch). I've given some indication as to why this is a very weak analogy. Doug Krueger gives more points to show why the design argument rests on a weak argument in his book What Is Atheism?

Pavielle wrote:
I would enjoy it if you would attempt to tear apart the rest of my arguemnt. Particularly about the Big Bang Theory.
Regarding the 'big bang' theory, see below. As to other parts of your piece, they will have to wait until another time. For now, I hope it is clear why the portions of your opening statement that I have reviewed are conclusively dismissable.

Pavielle wrote:
By trying to tear apart my arguments against evolution and biogensis, you merely rebuttled my intimations at the nature of God.
That's all I sought to do. In fact, I was hoping to find stronger indicators of the existence of a conscious entity behind it all (to account for the "guidance" that you have asserted), but your statement provided no justification for this that I could find.

Pavielle wrote:
The Big Bang Theory is the clicker.
If that's the case, then I don't think you have a case.

Pavielle wrote:
It is ulimately what decides if there is a God or not.
If that's the case, why doesn't the bible ever discuss the 'big bang' theory? Why the need for all the prophecies, an incarnation in first century Palestine, and other "signs" to demonstrate its existence?

Pavielle wrote:
Scientifically at least.
Ah, I see. You mean, as opposed to religious faith. Got it. Well, we can put the matter to rest then.

Pavielle wrote:
All you have proved in your arguemnts is that you disagree with me that God created life.
If that's what you think, I suggest you go back and review what I have presented. What I did is show how your reasons for supposing that a conscious entity was involved in the development of life on earth are dismissable. You've not shown that they can withstand my points of criticism. This is more than simply disagreeing with you. In fact, I could still agree that a god created life (for instance, I could wish that this were the case in spite of evidences to the contrary), so my agreement or disagreement are not a factor here.

Pavielle wrote:
You did not disprove His existence or His involvement in the Big Bang.
There is no need to prove that the non-existent does not exist. If X does not exist, why would anyone need to prove it doesn't exist? The onus is on you to prove that it does exist, if you want others to take your claim that it exists seriously.

Pavielle wrote:
In fact, unless you can come up with some specific evidence in favor of biogenesis and evolution (I plan to add more against it as the debate goes on), you have failed to disprove any of my points.
Wrong again. Your points, even if we accept them as you have presented them, would only show that abiogenesis is "astronomically improbable," based on what we know now. This would not prove that it is impossible, which is what you would need to prove in order to rule out naturalistic explanations. But then there's the quandary that I pointed out above: you want me to suppose that explanation X is so improbable as to dismiss it as virtually impossible, and yet embrace explanation Y as not only merely possible but absolute holy fact, and yet I would have to be utterly dishonest to do this.

Pavielle wrote:
Most of them you merely conveniently misinterperted to suggest that I was operating on and emotional level and therefore my argument was flawed.
I don't think I misineterpreted what you had presented. The portion of your argument that I reviewed reads quite strongly as one reducing ultimately to an argument from incredulity, disguised of course to look like something else, but an argument from incredulity in the end. Earlier in your opening statement, you affirmed absolute truth, in fact you affirmed views which reduce to the primacy of existence principle (since you affirmed that one's attitudes and beliefs do not alter the facts which inform our truths). But then you went on to say how improbable all these proposed solutions are, which is intended to mean we should think them too beyond the pale to be believeable. Hence, we ultimately have an argument from incredulity: if naturalistic explanations are deemed "astronomically improbable," then it would be ridiculous to believe them. Consequently, the explanation resides in something "beyond nature," and the believeability of this alternative explanation is not questioned or scrutinized. It might fly if I were confessionally committed to such an argument's intended conclusion and wanted to settled nagging doubts which are difficult if not impossible to fully quench. But is that an intellectually honest course to take?

Pavielle wrote:
As I have clarified, I am operating on natural and mathematical laws to determine probability.
Your argument's appeal to mathematics and probability is really just a cover, in order to give your faith claim an air of respectability. But look at how the views of absolute truth you presented in your opening statement presuppose the primacy of existence principle (which is the recognition that existence exists independent of consciousness), and yet what you want to conclude in your argument reduces to the primacy of consciousness view of metaphysics (which asserts that reality, existence, the universe, etc. depend on a form of consciousness - cf. your "guidance"). This is to say, you need to identify your starting point, show it to be conceptually irreducible, identify the means by which you are aware of it, and then explain how it is compatible with the position you are defending. Then, if you continue to insist that your god is real, you will need to explain how other thinkers can distinguish your god from something you're simply imagining. Until you can do all of this, your case will remain vulnerable to my criticism, for these issues are where the rubber hits the road.

Pavielle wrote:
Oh yeah... You can't say that life always existed unless the Universe was infinite. But since you did not dispute the Big Bang Theory, we must assume that the Universe is finite. Thus, since life was developed after the Universe, the existence of life must also be finete. In other words, life can not have always existed and evolved.
You're confusing the term 'infinite' with 'eternal', which I have found to be quite a common habit among theistic apologists. The two are not the same. My position holds that the universe is finite but also eternal. This is not a contradiction for the terms are not incompatible. Finitude in this respect has nothing to do with time, but with identity. To exist is to be something specific, i.e., to be finite. The concept 'infinity' can only refer to a potential (such as the potential to continue extending a series beyond any specific measurement), not to an actual. The actual is always finite. The concept 'eternal', on the other hand, indicates that temporal measures do not apply. This is the case with the universe. By 'universe' I mean the sum totality of all that exists. To posit that any thing exists, is to include it, by virtue of its actual or supposed existence, in the totality of what exists, which is the universe. Since time is a form of measuring motion, it requires a standard, such as the earth's orbit around the sun: one orbit equals one year. Thus temporal measurement is possible within the universe (i.e., within the totality of all that exists), since relative motion between bodies takes place within the universe. But when it gets to the universe as such, since there is by definition no such thing as something that exists outside the universe (the universe by definition includes everything that exists), temporal concepts do not apply for there is no relative motion between the universe and "something else" to provide those concepts with the fixed standard they require. Hence, the universe is literally eternal.

I did not comment on the 'big bang' theory, first because it does not counter my position that the universe is eternal (it serves more to explain the current inflationary distribution of what exists in the universe as opposed to offering an explanation for existence as such), and also because I tend to take such theories with a heaping grain of salt: I am not an advocate of the 'big bang' theory, but I'm open to accepting it as truth if the evidence for it is conclusive. Then again, it's like the issue of the origin of life: I don't think it's a very important issue, certainly not in philosophy. (I know, this tends to disturb many theists since they want people to take the question of origins so seriously; it's an area of inquiry where speculation and fantasy are quite difficult to distinguish from cogent assessments, thus providing ample opportunity for mystics to insert the hand of their invisible magic being.)

Pavielle wrote:
Gees, one last thing. If we are not to determine the origon of life by basing are deductions are life that currently exists, then we would be floating in the dark and using only blind faith. In that case, someone who said that all life arose from a pot of noodle soup would be just as locigally valid as the scientist or creationist. If we can't deduce the origon or development of life by looking at living things today, then evolutionists are way off base becuase that is exactly what they do.
I agree that we need to take the knowledge that we have already validated of the present as a point of departure. This would include our knowledge of the primacy of existence principle as well, especially given its fundamentality to cognition. But I also think that scientists should guard against arbitrarily ruling out what may actually be genuine possibilities, especially if new discoveries give them at least some objective footing. That's all I'm saying. Deeming something as astronomically improbable may be impressive to some, but if something that is thought to be astronomically improbable actually happened, then it happened, simple as that. (Again, truth is absolute, right?)

Pavielle wrote:
And, of course if bio-genisis is true then it will always be true, regardless of what I think. But it is a double edged sword. If God exists, He will always exist, regardless of what you may or may not believe Dawson.
Again, you appeal to the primacy of existence principle to undergird your view of truth, which is rational. But I suggest you examine this issue deeper so that you can see just why it is the case that the notion of a god contradicts this very necessary basis of truth as such.

Pavielle wrote:
Sorry, I keep noticing little inconsistencies in the rebuttal and have to keep going back to adress them.
Do you think there was an inconsistency in what I wrote? If so, can you pinpoint it for me?

by Dawson Bethrick

4 Comments:

Blogger Pavielle said...

Hey Dawson,

You make some excellent points. I will be glad to continue this discussion... at some point. I will certainly write a response as soon as I can. However, it might not be for a while. I am incredibly busy right now becuase of AP exams and orchestra stuff. So be patient and I will get back to you.

Thanks for taking an interest! :)

-Pavielle (AKA Pavi)

March 29, 2006 5:57 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

"The Principle of Uniformity suggests that such complexity of life could not have evolved without guidance."

Yes and that guidance is called natural selection. Why do you suppose that the guidance must be conscious? Richard Dawkins goes into much detail and makes an astounding case in "The Blind Watch Maker". Natural selection is infact, the blind watch maker.

March 30, 2006 5:20 PM  
Blogger Not Reformed said...

Interesting discussion...I hope Pavielle will continue to respond.

And Dawson, today, March 31, is your day!

http://www.oshel.com/everyday.htm

March 31, 2006 6:07 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Responding in order...

Pavielle, thanks for dropping by my blog. I have a firsthand understanding of what busy schedules are like, so I can appreciate the caveat. Please take the liberty to explore my blog articles, the exchanges in the comments sections, and the sources I cite, and feel free to ask questions as you like.

Jerry, great to see you drop by again! In fairness to Pavielle, she did not, in her opening statement, explicitly stipulate that the "guidance" she cited must be conscious, but I think this is pretty well implied. I just want to make it clear that if she supposed that the "guidance" to which she referred is not thought to be seated in a form of consciousness, she should make this clear. Then again, in her first rebuttal to Ian, she does make it pretty explicit that whatever it is she wants to prove is supposed to possess consciousness, for she refers to it in personal terms (e.g., "He," "Him"), and ascribes to it attributes which are only meaningful on the assumption of consciousness (e.g., it can "choose" between alternatives, it is "supremely intelligent," it can purposely "design" its creations, etc.). Of course, these all turn out to be stolen concepts in the theist's hands.

Not Reformed, HA! How did you come across that? Bunsen Burner Day! I love it! I have to share that with the crew over at Goose!

Regards,
Dawson

March 31, 2006 4:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home