OT: Huckabee, Ughh

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Jeff wrote:

First you have to define your terms. Define "creationism" then we can talk about tests.
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Looks like Huckleberry is just a flash in the pan anyway. Distant 3rd in New Hampsire.
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How about this for a test, presented to me by a very solid Southern Baptist friend the day before he died of stomach cancer: "Pray in one hand and shit in the other. See which fills up the fastest."
I make no pretense about knowing whether or not there is a God, but every test I've ever heard of comes up like the above. If there is a God, I'll be damned if I believe people like Jerry Falwell and his ilk are his messengers.
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Charlie Self wrote:

This has zip all to do with the testing of a hypothesis. Creationism is a hypothesis, whether it's right or wrong is irrelevant, you can't test it until you know what you are testing.
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wrote:

Certainly not all of it, but they did set up the Noachian Flood as an explanation for geology and a timeline of 6000 years, both of which are certainly open to evaluation and both of which fail miserably.
That's why the new incarnation of creationism, so-called Intelligent Design, doesn't bother trying to explain anything, it just says "something did it" and leaves it at that. Of course, since "something did it" isn't testable, ID cannot be a scientific concept and, as we saw in the Dover trial, it gets thrown out quite handily.
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dpb wrote:

Of course - that's the only possible answer given the constraints that are baked into the scientific method. It's like saying, "I'm deaf so music must not exist".

That's a fairly poor "explanation" at best, and certainly begs how one could be so certain that there are no other possible combinations that might work. Some of this is undoubtedly because there is more science to be done. Some of this is because too many rational people sneer at metaphysics as irrelevant - to their detriment. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tim Daneliuk snipped-for-privacy@tundraware.com PGP Key: http://www.tundraware.com/PGP /
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

Which constraints are you speaking of? The only constraint is it has to be able to explain how things are observably working. Some concepts in modern physics at the moment are so removed from what was considered mainline as recently as forty years ago as to be totally unrecognizable, yet they seem to be what may resolve areas that previous theory failed on. If it continues to pan out, that's great; if it doesn't, something else will have to be teased out to make a little more progress. There's no constraint on the direction something will head other than, as noted also below, it is consonant w/ observable experiment.

Of course on it's own it's poor; it's a nontechnical characterization of the way the mathematics seem to be leading...we're finding there are only a very few possible solutions to the systems as the best describing how things work and it appears that the farther we go, the more constraints we find.
Again, yes, it's yet incomplete, but that seems at least at the moment to be the way things are heading.
You'll have to actually study quite a bit to get a grasp for it but Brian Greene has written some of the most accessible works with very little mathematics actually required to at least grasp the gist of things.
It's an unfortunate problem that science has become so esoteric that it is very difficult to translate to the average joe who doesn't have the mathematical background. It would be great if something would happen that would allow for a great simplification back to something approaching Newton's laws that could be shown "how it works" in pretty simple terms, but it just doesn't appear to be going to happen. It's that dichotomy that causes the non-technical to try to retain even harder to their metaphysical world imo.
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Its called fantasy land. If you knew anything about science (based on your position in this discussion I conclude you know very little) you would know that science is not always perfect and comes with error bars. The educated in the art accept these error bars and work within its limitations.

While we are making crazy assumptions lets include these as well: Assume the earth is 6,000 years old. Assume man and dinosaur walked the earth at the same time. Assume evolution is unfounded.
If we assume the above to be true (including your assumption) then I am at a loss.

And religion fills in these gaps for you. I'm happy for you. Another score for "The God of the Gaps". The gaps by the way are getting smaller and smaller every passing year.

Again. I'm glad that religion can fill in the "Gaps" for you.

Ok since you brought up first cause, let me ask you a few questions. If religion answers 'first cause' then did God always exist ? What 'caused' God? The "first cause" notion reflects ignorance of the scientific method. Theological philosophizing is offered as a substitute for independent, empirical validation of ones scientific conclusions.

Sounds like a plan Timmy.

I wasn't really asking a question Timmy, I was giving you an example of how science could answer "Why is it here" type questions. Questions you stated science was not capable of doing. I do not accept nor desire answers to questions that are purely metaphysical in nature. I know, you require them.

Straw man.

Were you sleeping?

Do you have any more anecdotal observations for me Timmy?

Thank you. Are you collecting a tithe?
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On Sat, 05 Jan 2008 18:56:25 -0500, wrote:

It's turtles, all the way down!
(Sorry, couldn't resist.)
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GarageWoodworks wrote:

And if you knew anything about science you'd grasp the notion of a thought experiment. Boundary condition analysis and the creation of artificial boundaries for the purpose of understanding the limits of how a system works is a time-honored method of doing both mathematics and science. As I have done both - academically and professionally at one point or another in my career, I'd say you haven't a clue what you're talking about here.

You are being argumentative for its own sake. The statement "Assume <some condition>" is a common and very useful intellectual construct when doing research, mathematics, or analysis. Something with which you've evidently never become acquainted.

You are so buried in the mechanical details it seems you don't understand the question, let alone the breadth of possible answers. Suffice it to say that the "gaps" that are going away are all in the minutae and mechanical detail that science is quite wonderful at studying. The gaps at the metaphysical and first cause level cannot be circumscribed by science - in mathematician's terms science is too "weak" as system for that.

Where - at any point - did I mention religion? I have certainly argued for something more than just science as a way to know things and I affirm the importance of faith, but religion is a human organizational tool which has little or nothing to do with this conversation ... except, perhaps, to act as a strawman whipping boy for you.

There several possible answers to your question:
1) The universe we observe does not actually exist - it is an illusion.
2) The universe does exist, but we cannot meaningfully examine it. As a practical matter, this is the same thing as 1).
3) The universe exists and is itself infinite in material, energy, time and space. This one is unlikely given our current understanding of physics.
4) The universe we see was brought into existence by something/someone. That something/someone is itself eternal OR it too was created by something/someone. By means of (mathematical style) induction, we conclude that there is either an infinite depth of creators (The "Turtles All The Way Down" theory) or at some point the induction ceases and there is an ultimate creator that transcends time/space.
NONE of these possibilities can be effectively by science. But ALL of them are, in fact, possibilities. This inability to speak to the questions is no some lack of sufficient science, it is innate to the method.
Doesn't it bother you even slightly that the method you worship so devoutly is tongue-tied on the most important question humans have: How did we get here? Not "How did we become human?", but "How did we - all of us living things - come to inhabit this location with these conditions at this moment in the history of the universe?" "How is it that the 'rules' of physics are as they are?" "Why are the various physical constants and the recurring presence of pi and e so evident everywhere?" According to you, it's just magical.

"If I cannot mangle the question into something that science can address, I will demean the question or otherwise try to avoid it."

"I am deaf, so there cannot be music."
<SNIP>

You did no such thing. You provided an example of a very mechanical process. I asked an ontological question, you gave me auto mechanics.

I "require" nothing. I just don't have my fingers in my ears screaming "I can't hear anything". I merely admit the probability that the universe of True Things is far larger than the universe of True Things Science Can Figure Out. It is ironic that you exhibit zealotry that would put the most out-there religious but to shame in your intense desire to only admit science as a source of valid knowledge. It's heartwarming to see.

No so. You throw the "Bible rigid Christians" in my face as if a) You actually understand what they thing (which I seriously doubt) and b) They are the only possible expression of faith. Talk about strawmen...

No. I got pretty much straight As in all these classes (science, math, and theology). I went on to do graduate work in a fairly abstruse area of mathematics and did Ph.D. coursework in that same area. In that same general timespan, I spent several years doing applied research wherein the entire body of my work involved nothing but the scientific method and statistical reduction of the results. 'That good enough for you? (No doubt your extensive reading of National Geographic and Scientific American makes you are more credible commentator...)
You can try to attack me all you like, but you have a gigantic hole in your theory of knowledge. You wish to limit yourself to one (very important) way of knowing things. When I point out that there are other things to be known, you dismiss them as unimportant, irrelevant, or plain foolish. Why? Because your pet system cannot cope with the questions. This is called "intellectual dishonesty".
The reason metaphysics ever got any traction in philosophy was because people - way brighter than you or I - figured out a long time ago that these questions mattered. Now we have science groupies - not actual scientists, many of whom are people of devout faith - bent of telling all the rest of us that it is only science that matters because these other questions are too hard/abstract/unapproachable with their "Swiss Army Knife Of Knowledge". It's dishonest and puerile.
You'll notice that I have never assaulted the value and facility of science. In its appropriate domain, it is the best way we can find things out - at least so far as we know today. But I am not silly enough to think it will remotely be able to answer every important question in my life/culture/society.

Many, but the most important thing is that you wouldn't respond this vigorously if you weren't worried that there just *might* be some validity to my argument. That's good. Perhaps it will drive you to learn more than you could ever imagine.

No. I hope I am kicking out the bricks in your teetering, if self-satisfied, understanding of how we actually know things.
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Some can not be answered by science TODAY. But I think it is silly to accept metaphysical (supernatural) answers to YET unanswered questions.

You mentioned 'theology' several times. And that theology trumps science. I don't think I really went out on a limb when I used the word 'religion', but let me rephrase. I'm glad that your theology is capable of filling in the "Gaps" for you.
Is that better?

This really does not address 'first cause'. What caused the illusion that I am perceiving?

This really does not address 'first cause'. What 'caused' the universe?

Unlikely ok, lets ignore this one.

If that something/someone is eternal then did they not require a 'cause'?
1) If the answer is 'no' then the 'first cause' argument becomes ad hoc and prejudicially applied (logically impermissible). And we are right back where we started, with no more understanding of 'causation'. 2) If the answer is "yes" they required a 'cause', then what was it? And what 'caused' that something/someone?
Furthermore which something/someone does 'first cause' entail? Zheus? Jehovah? etc.

Did the ultimate creator require a 'cause'? See (1) and (2) above.

Why can't the answer be that we just don't know? Why does there have to be an "ultimate creator"? Maybe the universe in one form or another, always existed. See 'conservation of mass energy'.

No they are not tongue tied. You choose to be deaf to the possibilities they offer.

These 'rules' of physics might not even be "as they are". Physics, or physical laws are human descriptions of how the universe behaves and are subject to future 'human' revision.

Strawman.
No, I will consider the question and explore possibilities that are founded in science (non-metaphysical). If science can not answer the question, I will not resort to supernatural answers to appease myself. I will state that the question is presently unanswerable.

"I do not have the answers so I will resort to the metaphysical (supernatural) to appease myself."

No. You stated that science couldn't answer "why is it here", with no reference to the metaphysical, and I gave an example to the contrary (unlike you, I do not comprehend sentences with a metaphysical mind-set).

??
Not really. Come on, MATH?? Not impressed.

Nope. Although my Ph.D. doesn't make me any more qualified to discuss theology than yours, mine is at least scientific (medicinal chemistry).

Why? Because I don't look for metaphysical (i.e. supernatural) answers to questions we have YET to answer? Geesh. Guess I'm "intellectually dishonest".

Why can't you accept that maybe we just don't know things. Why so quick to accept metaphysical doctrine?

Hey Sparky, hate to break it to you, will NEVER have the answer to every important question in YOUR life. ;^)

The same applies to YOU.

No. No bricks scathed. I will never resort to the metaphysical as a last ditch effort (when all else fails) to answer questions regarding any topic.
At the very least, I hope you walk away from this accepting the fact that your 'first cause' argument is not valid.
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GarageWoodworks wrote: <Many SNIPS Throughout>

You insist in maintaining a religious-like faith in the ability of science - in principle - to answer every quetion that matters in the future. It's absurd on its face. Science is consciously and by intent limited to discussions of the empirically observable physical universe.
that better?

Why do you insist on dragging this back to a discussion of a particular religious tradition? I haven't done so precisely because you'd like to erect a strawman argument that hinges on human foibles. I'd rather have the conceptual dicussion untainted by religious auto mechanics.

You evidently did not read the previous paragraph.

There doesn't *have* to be one. But neither is it intellectually consistent to insist that there *isn't* one. One has to be open to this possibility.

So you acknowledge that - in principle - *something* can be "eternal"? You're moving in the right direction.

The "possibilities" - all told - still cannot embrace the notion of ultimate first cause UNLESS science declares the universe, time, space, matter, energy, and so forth to be eternal in its own right. Not only does this seem unlikely, it is doubtful that science - in principle - could ever demonstrate this.

And thereby ignore some of life's most important/interesting questions all because *you can't get to answers using your favorite system of inquiry*. This is what is know as a "fundamentalist" religious position.

No. I do not have all the answers, so I will continue to explore them even if I cannot use science as a mechanism to do so because discovering True Things is more important to me than clinging to my present methods alone.

No, what is "dishonest" is dimissing questions that cannot be addresses by science as being prima facia unimportant. You're putting the defense of your system ahead of your desire to discover True Things. This is the *exact* same criticism I have of the vast majority of organized religions: They put their system ahead of the Truth (whatever it may be).

I would kindly suggest that metaphysics is not a "doctrine" nor is it "supernatural" (necessarily) nor is it anti-rational. These are all accusations that have been minted in the Rationalist/ Empiricist camp bent on defending science as the *sole* source of knowledge. Metaphysics is way more interesting than you're giving it credit. And yes, "I don't know yet" is a perfectly valid answer no matter what one's way of discovering things might be.

Yeah, I get that. I also get that much of the joy of discovery is in the asking of the question. That's true in any discipline - discovering the right question is half the batter. So - just because metaphysics gets a little gooey now and then - doesn't mean the questions at hand aren't important and interesting.

Oh, I've already stipulated that science brings us knowledge. I don't find science worrisome, I find it inspiring. So no, I'm not even slightly worried there is validity to science.

Then you will never find meaning in your life beyond its mechanical details ... which is your privilege.

Nope. It is entirely valid, just not under the rules of science.
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You mean, many CONVENIENT snips right? Concessions maybe?

This is your strawman whipping boy. I do not view science as a religion, this is your contention.

What you FAIL to understand is that what we can not OBSERVE today, we may be observing TOMORROW. Some said years ago that we would never completely understand how proteins fold because we will never be able to witness the act. Recently (months ago), advances have been made in the field of electron imaging that enable us to OBSERVE today what we couldn't yesterday, like protein folding.
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/85/8552sci1.html
What is not OBSERVABLE today might be TOMORROW! I can not emphasize this enough.

All of theology hinges on human foibles Timmy.

In case you missed my other post, I will paste it below:
I intended to address your Turtle theory, but forgot to come back. It is an ridiculous theory, one that most people would have trouble swallowing.
This is what I call a 'QUICK FIX" to the blunder that is the "first cause" argument.
It is more plausible to me that mass-energy always existed. Matter in some form or another, always existed (needed no supernatural creator).

See Russell's Tea Pot.
<Russell's Tea Pot> "If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."
I, like Bertrand Russell, say that the burden of proof doesn't lie with me, but with YOU.

Yes. Mass-Energy. No deity.

Bingo! You are making progress. Only science will not make that declaration TODAY, nor TOMORROW.
This is a GAP. You can choose to fill it with THEOLOGY.

Naive. See above example regarding 'protein folding'.

Another strawman whipping boy for you. I am not ignoring the questions. I choose not to fill the GAPS with theology. I leave the question, not ignored, but acknowledged and unanswered.

Strawman. I never wrote that I dismissed any questions and regarded any as unimportant. See above.

You are leaving behind logic and reasoning in order to appease yourself.

Thin ice Timmy. I would kindly suggest that it is exactly that.

The questions are interesting and important. agreed. I still will not accept an answer based purely on theology and/or metaphysics.

No, I do not find "meaning" by filling in the Gaps with metaphysics.

No it is not valid.
Let's try it again:
Does your creator/something/someone/deity not require a 'cause'?
1) If the answer is 'no' then the 'first cause' argument becomes ad hoc and prejudicially applied (logically impermissible). And we are right back where we started, with no more understanding of 'causation'. 2) If the answer is "yes" they required a 'cause', then what was it? And what 'caused' that something/someone?
If you truly accept the Turtle Theory, then it shouldn't be too huge a leap for you to accept that maybe mass-energy always existed.
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On Sun, 06 Jan 2008 13:58:45 -0500, wrote:

Very nice. I can see my education was lacking, since I can't recall ever seeing that quote before.
But I do recall a much shorter quote from GBS, "Faith is an opinion with no facts to back it up."
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You mean, many CONVENIENT snips right? Concessions maybe?

This is your strawman whipping boy. I do not view science as a religion, this is your contention.

What you FAIL to understand is that what we can not OBSERVE today, we may be observing TOMORROW. Some said years ago that we would never completely understand how proteins fold because we will never be able to witness the act. Recently (months ago), advances have been made in the field of electron imaging that enable us to OBSERVE today what we couldn't yesterday, like protein folding.
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/85/8552sci1.html
What is not OBSERVABLE today might be TOMORROW! I can not emphasize this enough.

All of theology hinges on human foibles Timmy.

In case you missed my other post, I will paste it below:
I intended to address your Turtle theory, but forgot to come back. It is an ridiculous theory, one that most people would have trouble swallowing.
This is what I call a 'QUICK FIX" to the blunder that is the "first cause" argument.
It is more plausible to me that mass-energy always existed. Matter in some form or another, always existed (needed no supernatural creator).

See Russell's Tea Pot.
<Russell's Tea Pot> "If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."
I, like Bertrand Russell, say that the burden of proof doesn't lie with me, but with YOU.

Yes. Mass-Energy. No deity.

Bingo! You are making progress. Only science will not make that declaration TODAY, nor TOMORROW.
This is a GAP. You can choose to fill it with THEOLOGY.

Naive. See above example regarding 'protein folding'.

Another strawman whipping boy for you. I am not ignoring the questions. I choose not to fill the GAPS with theology. I leave the question, not ignored, but acknowledged and unanswered.

Strawman. I never wrote that I dismissed any questions and regarded any as unimportant. See above.

You are leaving behind logic and reasoning in order to appease yourself.

Thin ice Timmy. I would kindly suggest that it is exactly that.

The questions are interesting and important. agreed. I still will not accept an answer based purely on theology and/or metaphysics.

No, I do not find "meaning" by filling in the Gaps with metaphysics.

No it is not valid.
Let's try it again:
Does your creator/something/someone/deity not require a 'cause'?
1) If the answer is 'no' then the 'first cause' argument becomes ad hoc and prejudicially applied (logically impermissible). And we are right back where we started, with no more understanding of 'causation'. 2) If the answer is "yes" they required a 'cause', then what was it? And what 'caused' that something/someone?
If you truly accept the Turtle Theory, then it shouldn't be too huge a leap for you to accept that maybe mass-energy always existed.
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GarageWoodworks wrote:

Snipped for brevity, not rhetorical effect. No concessions, just eliminating sidebars no longer germane.
More done below.

You may not "view" it that way, but you *behave* that way when you disallow even the possibility of knowing things by means other than science.

More auto mechanics. I have no question and do no dispute that science will make progress *up to the limits of it's philosophical boundaries*. You understand science well, you barely seem to have a handle on the philosophy that underpins it ... or you wouldn't be so confident of it's boundless applicability.

Ad hominem. All human knowledge - of ANY kind - hinges on one or more assumed starting axioms. There are no counterexamples. What you "know" always ends up depending on what you believed in the first place. Science is not immune from this fact.

Not my theory, but one of several possible answers to your question.

This is what I call really misunderstanding the larger discussion.

Why is this more plausible? The universe at-large is the most complex "machinery" of which we are aware. All other "machinery" is therefore and by definition *less* complex. When presented with this "lesser" machinery, pretty much all rational/functional humans understand that the machine in question got put together or "built" somehow, by some intelligent agent. Yet, somehow, when we rise to the level of the highest level of complexity ever observed, we're just supposed to take it on "faith" that "it always existed" and there is no intelligent cause. Astonishing. Just because I cannot explain the intelligent cause isn't prima facia evidence that it cannot/does not exist. It's an absurd line of reasoning found only in the strict Rationalist/empiricist camp. Honest scientists acknowledge that science must be mute on the question and that the question is legitimate. But you worshipers of empiricism to the exclusion of all other forms of thought simply cannot bring your self to do this. Like I said, Astonishing.

But I am not trying to prove anything. My contention here is- and has been - that science is not complete enough to discover all True Things. This makes you roil with discomfort and either: a) Attack the messenger or b) Try to diminish the question so as not to have to address it at all since your system cannot. I haven't said that I *know* the answer to all the transcendent questions. I've just said that the questions are important.

You have just stated your theological position. It is "theological" because it: a) Cannot be empirically demonstrated, even in principle. and b) Takes a position about deity. Like I keep saying, you're at least as religious as any theologian I ever met, you just don't like admitting it.
<SNIP>

I never once left reason or logic behind. I'm just honest enough with myself to realize that reason and logic have real limits. I know you sneer at mathematicians - as all scientists are taught to do from the first day - but you might want to spend some time with Kurt Goedel who laid to waste the infinite sufficiency of logic back in the 1930s. In doing so, he destroyed the house of cards that Russell, Whitehead, et al had been trying to construct for decades. In short: Logic itself is not self-consistent and has very real limits. This is innate to ALL of the disciplines that depend on logic.

Only because you don't understand it.

So ... if the questions are not open to empirical examination and you refuse the metaphysical approach to thinking about ... you are effectively ignoring the questions thereby denying how "interesting and important" you find them.
<SNIP Of Repetitive Discourse>
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By stating that I view science as a religion, you are trying to state that I am just as irrational as you.

No more possible than a "teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit"
Lots and lots of "Tea Pots".

It is nothing short of an weak attempt to 'fix' an obviously flawed argument.

Your argument above uses backwards logic. See below
I am supposed to believe that this machinery you describe was designed by an "intelligent agent" into a form that was accommodating to the needs of humans that would inhabit "earth" billions of years later. I am not supposed to believe that life on earth evolved to fit the environment we have. I am supposed to believe that the entire universe was personally tailored by some "intelligent agent" for us.
To use your phrase here is a "thought experiment": Most major cities are situated around a river. Suppose an 'alien' from outer space views our planet and notices this phenomenon. The 'alien' might conclude that the life forms on Earth placed the rivers there because they provided a source of water and transportation. This would be backwards logic (like you use). The rivers were not placed there by design by the inhabitants, the cities formed around the river out of need.
To the alien, the placement of the rivers appeared to be 'miraculous' in design.

You gave me as possibilities to a question I asked that the creator always existed. And the turtle theory claims that there was always a creator that created the creator to infinity. You can take those on "faith" that "it always existed (creator)", but you have a problem with the possibility that the universe always existed in some form (mass-energy) OR that it had a non-creator beginning. Astonishing!

Sorry Timmy. That's the way it goes. I have a hard time convincing people about the "Celestial Tea Pot", so I know how you feel.
The burden of proof lies with you, not with those who contest it, they do not have to dis-prove the existence of your 'creator'. For the same reason I can not be sure if the celestial "Tea Pot" exists.
One more thing. Why don't you call it (intelligent cause) what it is? Intelligent design (ID). Is it that much of a dirty word for you?

You are asking us to "take a leap of faith" and accept the 'creator' first cause as a possibility. This is just a huge of a leap of faith as asking you to believe in a "Celestial Tea Pot" as a possibility.

This is not the 'golden key' to believe in all things irrational.
Like I said ad nauseum, you want (desire/need) to fill the GAPS of science with the irrational.

? Do you really believe this or is this tongue-in-cheek?

Timmy. Read this slowly: <pasted from a previous, and obviously UNREAD reply of mine> I am not ignoring the questions. I choose not to fill the GAPS with theology. I leave the question, not ignored, but acknowledged and unanswered.
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GarageWoodworks wrote:

I do not believe faith to be irrational. It may be "meta-rational" (outside reason exclusively) but it is not inherently anti-rational. I am merely pointing out that you defend your worldview with the same zeal of a true convert when you exclude the possible validity of other (meta-rational) knowledge systems. This was not meant to be an insult but an observation.

I was only trying to list the possible answers to the question you raised. (Because you asked.) I wasn't particularly arguing for any of them, though I have my own ideas on which ones are most valid. You're swinging at shadows here.

Nowhere have I asked you to "believe" anything. I've asked you to: A) Acknowledge that there are other possibilities for finding True Things outside the means of science to test and B) To quit looking down your intellectual nose at people who do not accept science as the sole source of valid human knowledge. What you personally believe is none of my business and I wouldn't presume to tell you that I know better.

You have been watching too many TV Evangelists. There are a great many people of faith who accept intelligent cause/design w/o being threatened by the current thinking in science around cosmology and evolution. Like so many steeped only in the scientific school, you seem completely unaware of the breadth of intellectual tradition and debate that takes place in various communities of faith. We are all not members of the Swampwater Baptist Church.
Incidentally, some of the most visible writers in the Intelligent Design movement affirm an old universe and the mechanisms of evolution, in whole or in part. So stop painting with the brush of partial knowledge. I'd say these people know your world WAY better than you understand theirs.

Ibid - you are boxing a shadows. Yes, there are some strict Biblical literalists to whom your argument applies. But they are hardly the only voice in the faith community, and they are not likely even the dominant voice. See, I was educated among those very people (very well educated, by the way). I disagree with their literalist position for a lot of reasons having nothing to do science (I do not read a book on auto mechanics to affirm or deny a faith tradition, nor do I do the inverse - use the Bible to understand auto mechanics.) But, and forgive me for saying this, unlike you and yours, I *understand why* they've taken the literalist position they have. It is rooted in church history going back as far as the Protestant Reformation all the way through the early 20th Century. Biblical literalism isn't some ignorant anti-science theology at it's core - though certainly there are people like that who affirm Biblical literalism. It is a survival mechanism for the orthodox among the Protestant denominations. I won't bother saying more about it here than that, but you are REALLY missing the point if you think these are the only or main voices among people of faith.

It requires faith in any of these circumstances. An infinite universe cannot be proven from within itself (cf Goedel). An infinite succession of Gods cannot be rationally demonstrated. Neither can an infinite God. We're all choosing some faith, some of us are just more up front about it than others.

Why you insist in erecting this straw man is beyond me. I am not trying to prove anything. I am trying to get you and yours to quit being so intellectually snotty to people who admit other possibilities for knowing things. In particular, your assumption that a life of faith inherently leads to irrational thought is baldly false and folks of your ilk ought to figure this out and act with a bit more decorum in the matter.

<SNIP of repetition>

Tongue-In-Cheek. But I do think you said something like "Math? Gimme a break..." or words to that effect when we were whipping out our academic credentials.

And with that, I shall let you have the last word if your wish.
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On Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:25:17 -0600, Tim Daneliuk wrote:

Pi is 3.1415...... I exclude the validity of all other values for Pi.
The Earth is round (OK, pear shaped). I exclude the validity of all who say the earth is flat.
IOW, if we didn't do a lot of excluding, there'd be an awful lot of bullshit given credence.
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Larry Blanchard wrote:

But these "facts" are the consequence of the axioms of science and mathematics. Notice that I've been careful to not suggest that epistemologies outside science are qualified to comment about what goes on *within* science *and vice versa*. To restate something I said earlier in a different context: I do not read auto mechanics books to understand Biblical text nor do I use the Bible as a guide to repairing my Chevy.
It is the pure Rationalist/empiricists that want the world of knowledge entirely to themselves. My comment throughout all this thread has been consistent: When the topic at hand is amenable to the Rationalist/empiricist method, then by all means, it ought to be used to the exclusion of all other systems. But the R-E method has real limits - notably an inability to comment on First Cause - and in this area, the R-E world needs to swallow some humility pills and accept those limitations ... just as you ask the snake handlers to stay out of science.
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