Sunday, February 19, 2017

God, Intelligent Design, and The Illusion of Technique

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On Secular Outpost , Eric Sotnak [1] opens debate against Intelligent Design (ID) by approaching it politically, DeVos ls ID and  she will be imposing it upon the schools, so here's why it's wrong.... Eric is approaching it through the notion of defending evolution, I have no intention of attacking evolution so I am approaching it through an understanding of belief in God. The issues transcend both politics and evolution, ID is just fancy packaging to dress up creationism in a more respectable garb, but the basic concept  that the universe is  the product of mind I support; it is that issue that I  approach as a from of belief in God. 

If you really want to fight what's about to happen to the educational system then you need to join the political struggle and back the resistance, Major part of the resistances is Christians. You don't see my feed on facebook but most of the anti-Trump stuff I see on FB is from Christians. Atheists ate still about 3% Christians are about 80% so it just stands to reason most anti-Trump feeling will be Christians,We resistance Christians are pretty pissed about what the Republicans have done (fundies included) to the faith. Eric is above making little wise cracks about Christians but not all of the posters of SOP are, this topic no less draws some of those comments.

There are three major issues I will deal with here, Two are used by Eric and one is my own. First there is Probability of naturalistic origin as opposed to Supernatural one,,
Secomdoy, the mechanism for creation , and thirdly the illusion of technique, This is the concept I barrow from William Barrett and his Book of that title.
[2] I will be making use of this concept in a major way kn  my upcoming book God,Science, and Ideology. The point being that the way the  issues are discussed in the conventional argument between ID and evolution feeds into the ideology that motivates scientism, not to accuse Eric of being scientistic.

Eric argues that Irreduceable Complexity (IC), a major argument in favor of ID,  is more probably a product of naturalistic forces rather than supernatural."But it is at least less improbable that it should have come about by supernatural means (intelligent agency).IC is about various organisms that are complete in themselves such as microbes that are like little motors,any part missing would mean the whole organism would fail to function, I have seen the same kind of argument made about the eye, So evolution could not have produced such an organism because it would have to start out whole, Sotnak argues that the probability is with a naturalistic outlook at the product of IC.  But he can't make good on that claim because there is no way to subject God to probability. Especially not with Bayes because (1) any setting of a prior is strictly biased, on either side. (2) No new info coming in about God because God is not given in sense data, If God is not given in sense data then God can't be subjected to probability, Consider the limitations of trying to use probability such as Bayes theorem for any kind of question about religious faith,m not merely the likelihood of God creating IC.

 Bayes’ theorem was introduced first as an argument against Hume’s argument on miracles, that is to say, a proof of the probability of miracles. The theorem was learned by Richard Price from Bayes papers after the death of the latter, and was first communicated to the Royal society in 1763.[3] The major difference in the version Bayes and Price used and modern (especially skeptical versions) is that Laplace worked out how to introduce differentiation in prior distributions. The original version gave 50-50 probability to the prior distributions. The original version gave 50-50 probability to the prior distribution.[4] The problem with using principles such as Bayes theorem is that they can’t tell us what we need to know to make the calculations of probability accurate in dealing with issues where our knowledge is fragmentary and sparse. The theorem is good for dealing with concrete things like tests for cancer, developing spam filters, and military applications but not for determining the answer to questions about reality that are philosophical by nature and that would require an understanding of realms beyond, realms of which we know nothing. Bayes conquered the problem of what level of chance or probability to assign the prior estimate by guessing. This worked because the precept was that future information would come in that would tell him if his guesses were in the ball park or not. Then he could correct them and guess again. As new information came in he would narrow the field to the point where eventually he’s not just in the park but rounding the right base so to speak.

The problem is that doesn’t work as well when no new information comes in, which is what happens when dealing with things beyond human understanding. We don’t have an incoming flood of empirical evidence clarifying the situation with God because God is not the subject of empirical observation. Where we set the prior, which is crucial to the outcome of the whole thing, is always going to be a matter of ideological assumption. For example we could put the prior at 50-50 (either God exists or not) and that would yield a high probability of God.[5] Or the atheist can argue that the odds of God are low because God is not given in the sense data, which is in itself is an ideological assumption. It assumes that the only valid form of knowledge is empirical data. It also ignores several sources of empirical data that can be argued as evidence for God (such as the universal nature of mystical experience).[6] It assumes that God can’t be understood as reality based upon other means of deciding such as personal experience or logic, and it assumes the probability of God is low based upon unbelief because the it could just as easily be assumed as high based upon it’s properly basic nature or some form of elegance (parsimony). In other words this is all a matter of how e chooses to see things. Perspective matters. There is no fortress of facts giving the day to atheism, there is only the prior assumptions one chooses to make and the paradigm under which one chooses to operate; that means the perception one chooses to filter the data through.

Perhaps he's not thinking in terms of Bayes but just asserting that we only have empirical evidence of naturalistic things. First of  all He's right about the issue of  biological development of organisms, there is no way to something like that to a direct SN origin. But as long as we are not fighting evolution we can't expect that standard of empirical evidence to rule out God as the ultimate origin of all things. After all we have direct empirical evidence of physical laws or mutliverse or string membranes but some scientists want to assume these things. Remember I do not argue for proof that God exists but rather for a "rational warrant fro belief, " the subtitle of my book. In that book I argue for warrant for belief based upon empirical evidence oft the co-determinate, That is the concept of Schleiemacher very much like the idea of foot prints in the snow, We don't have direct empirical evidence of God but we do have empirical evidence of the co-determinate,k the effects of God or as I have it The Trace of God. Of course the draw back there is that you have to know wast effects God would leave so we know them when we see them, That is an issue for another time. Read the book.[7]

Eric also makes a second point about the mechanism through whichGod creates, "The claim is usually made using the term “design.” But this avoids the question of how, exactly, the design is implemented. That is, if the bacterial flagellum begins as a design in the mind of an intelligent designer, how does the designer get the flagella into the world."[8] The problem here is that the mechanism I could advance is also a mystery to us, The saving feature is we know it exits, in fact all knowledge comes to us through this mechanism: mind, If we assume consciousness is a basic property of nature an assumption well argued for B y David Chalmers for example, [9] this gives us a justification for understanding mind as the basis of reality and then we can see God as the mind that is the basis of reality. Issac Newton had a concept that the universe is the "sensorium of God" which I take to mean the universe was God's interface with tangability,[10] There as a great deal of opposition on this point from Libnetz and it does indicate that Newton tendking to think in very physical and mechanical terms even ab out God. Libeniz claimed Newton understood space as an organ God needed to see, of course that;'s an exaggeration. [11] Be that as it may the are more modern examples such as that of University of Oregon Physicist Amit Gaswami, who sees thought as the basis of reality rather than energy.

The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter, and everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter, the basic constituents—building blocks—of matter. And cause arises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles; elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain. But all the way, the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particles. This is the belief—all cause moves from the elementary particles. This is what we call "upward causation." So in this view, what human beings—you and I—think of as our free will does not really exist. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary phenomenon, secondary to the causal power of matter. And any causal power that we seem to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. This is the current paradigm[12]

My overall point is mind can be the mechanism and the world is a thought in the mind of God.

Not Bill Gates: "Therefore it is more likely that DNA was magically popped into existence by a supernatural agent than that it came about through natural processes."

Sure but the natural process, all natural processes wre kicked of by the SN power, the miomd tha thinks the universewhy not? All reality was so popped. Look, your question how could God go from idea in mind to real world? I don't think that's a fair question because it's eh kind thing of which we can't gain knowledge empirically; if we can't gain knowledge we can't assert it can't be done.Moreover,I have a theory of it, That is to take seriously Newton;s idea that the universe is the sensorium of God, I take that to mean analogous to thought in a mind,So God is thinking the world, Look you are assuming an evolutionary process is more: realistic than a mind thinking of things but it's no moreso, that's relative, we are startling from nothing. God would be all there is,so any thought God has is reality.You are assuming some kind of pre given set of physical laws governing a process of nature, that's really just God without the personality.

That brings up the third problem, the illusion of technique, The false notion that we can know it all because we can manipulate nature to a certain degree, We don';t know why we are here  or what started the big bang expansion or where the energy that makes the universe cane from,We pretend that we have it all under control because we only accept that which we can manage and manipulate the rest we pretend is not important, that means we have many mechanisms we do not understand.


[1] Eric Sotnak, "Intelligent Design: Get Ready for Another Round,l" Secular Outpost, (Feb. 17,2017) blog, URL:  (accessed: 2/18/17)
Eric Sotnak teaching Philosophy at  University Of Akron.

[2] William Barrett, The Illusion of Technique: The Search for Meaning in a Technological Civilization, New York:Anchor, 1979, no page indicated.

[3]Geoffrey Poitras, Richard Price, Miracles and the Origin of Bayesian Decision Theory pdf$$$.pdf
Faculty of Business AdministrationSimon Fraser UniversityBurnaby, BCCANADA V5A 1S6. Geoffrey Poitras is a Professor of Finance in the Faculty of Business Administration at Simon FraserUniversity. Lisited 12/22/12.
[4] ibid
[5] Joe Carter, “The Probability of God” First Thoughts. Blog of publication of First Things. (August 18, 2010) URL:  visited (1/10/13). Carter points out that when Unwin (an atheist discussed in previous chapter) puts in 50% prior he gets 67% probability for God. When Cater himself does so he get’s 99%.Cater’s caveat: “Let me clarify that this argument is not intended to be used as a proof of God’s existence. The sole intention is to put in quantifiable terms the probabilities that we should form a belief about such a Being’s existence. In other words, this is not an ontological proof but a means of justifying a particular epistemic stance toward the idea of the existence or non-existence of a deity.The argument is that starting from an epistemically neutral point (50 percent/50 percent), we can factor in specific evidence for the existence or non-existence of a deity. After evaluating each line of evidence, we can determine if it is more or less likely that it would entail the existence of God.”
[6] Metacrock, "The Scale and The universal Nature of Mystical Experience," The religious a priroi blog URL: see also the major argument I sue for documentation in that article,  In P, McNamar (Ed.), Where God and science meet, Vol. 3, pp. 119-138. Westport, CT: Praeger. linked in Google preview.

[7] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God:Rational Warrant For Belief. Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct, 2014

[8] Satnak op oct. all quotes by Sotnak from this article

David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a theory. England, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 3-5.on line version: Scribd, David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Theory of Conscious Experience, webstie Department of Philosophy, University of California at Santa Cruz, July 22 1995, visited 3/1/11 on line page numbers apply.

[10] Alexander Koyré, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press,  1957, 235-239

[11] Ibid 239

[12] Gaswami

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