donaldm

Oct 032007
 

The (in)famous PZ Myers, well-known ID critic and staunch Darwinist and philosophical naturalist, is at it again. He has written a “review” of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary. PZ starts off in a huff:

I tried. I really, honestly, sincerely tried. I’ve been struggling with this book, The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul, by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary, for the past week and a half, and I’ve finally decided it’s not worth the effort. It’s just about completely unreadable.

Poor fellow. It must have been a real effort for him to try to comprehend the book. Continue reading »

Sep 252007
 

In many discussions across the blogoshere about the existence of God or supernatural entities, the claim is often made that there’s no reason to think that such things exist because there simply is “no evidence”. Those who do think such entities exist are either “delusional” a la Richard Dawkins, or holding such beliefs “without evidence”. In either case, the theist has somehow failed in his or her epistemic duties to retain such beliefs, especially in our modern, scientific world.

But what precisely is the problem? Is it really a case of “no evidence”, meaning that no observation or phenomenon has ever or could ever provide evidence for the existence of God?
If that is what is meant, it would seem to be reasonable to ask for evidence that such a claim is true. But what that evidence would even look like isn’t at all clear. Or maybe what is meant is that there may be some observations that could be seen by some as evidence for the existence of God, but that there are no known principles that can connect that evidence to the conclusion. In its stronger forms, it is added that no one has ever or will ever know of such principles. What evidence there is for such a claim isn’t clear either. Continue reading »

Sep 182007
 

I’ve recently had the “privilege” of discussing some of the implications of so-called methodological naturalism (MN) on one or two blogs. For Darwinists, especially Darwinists who take philosophical naturalism (PN) as true, MN is an absolute necessity for scientific practice.
Thus MN becomes an extension of PN, and has the effect of making science a correlate of PN. Now, many defenders of MN would argue that isn’t the case at all and that MN is quite separate from PN and in no way implies its truth or even demands that PN be followed. But is that possible? Given what MN says and how it operates within science, is there a principled way to distinguish between it and full-blown PN?

I don’t think there is. Continue reading »

Feb 182007
 

Sal’s recent OP about setting up a YC discussion blog got me thinking about the influence and role that philosophical presuppositions play in how one views science and scientific findings, or even in how one defines what science is. As I follow discussion after discussion on various blogsites regarding YEC v OEC v Naturalism, it becomes more and more clear that ones philosophical, theological or metaphysical presuppositions about the world play a very large and defining role is how one arrives at any conclusions about these matters, or even how one views evidence for or against these views. Unfortunately, it also seems to be the case that few will admit to these presuppositions, and try to make the case that they derive their position “purely” from the science itself. However, it doesn’t seem to me that a good case can be made for that position. Continue reading »

Feb 142007
 

In a howling funny ironic letter to the editor of the London Times our favorite foil Richard Dawkins tries to commit humility while accusing theologian Alistari McGrath of hubris and dogamtism. After picking myself up off the floor where I was rolling in laughter, I thought I’d share this little tid-bit with you all here at TB. I don’t know whether to file this under “humor” or “sarcasm”. Either will do. Here’s a little tid-bit from RD’s (humble) letter: Continue reading »

Feb 062007
 

Our friends at The Panda’s Thumb are planning a re-enactment podcast of the
Dover trial and are looking for voice talent. Imagine my surprise when I
received this e-mail today from someone named Lee Bowman:

Are you a voice talent? Andrew Arensburger is looking for volunteers!
http://www.ooblick.com/pandas/

Casting director is PZ Myers (self appointed).

PZ is the “self-appointed” director. You gotta give PZ points for Chuzpah!!

Check out the details on this website Continue reading »

Feb 052007
 

Observing last night’s Super Bowl XLI, it seems to me that one could argue that Peyton Manning posesses all the qualities one might expect from an intelligently designed quarterback. Indeed, his level of play has all the hallmarks of specified complexity we routinely associate with design.

Rex Grossman, on the other hand, seems to be the end result of the blind, purposeless process of evolution. I suspect he will be “selected out” in this years draft.

Feb 052007
 

As if we needed any more evidence of just how disingenuous Richard Dawkins is, check out this little tidbit I got from a friend of mine.

Richard Dawkins: 4 December 2006

Richard Dawkins You Ask The Questions

Question: Why have you not engaged in public debate with Alister McGrath, Mary Midgley, Michael Ruse, Keith Ward, or indeed anyone else who would present you with a serious challenge? JAMES RADFORD, By e-mail

RD: The producers of my Channel 4 documentary [Root of All Evil?] invited the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi to be interviewed by me. All declined, doubtless for good reasons. I don’t enjoy the debate format, but I once had a public debate with the then Archbishop of York, and The Observer quoted the verdict of one disconsolate clergyman as he left the hall: “That was easy to sum up – Lions 10, Christians nil.” Continue reading »

Dec 202006
 

Well, Richard Dawkins is at it again. This time he’s up in arms over an organization called Truth in Science over in the United Kingdom. Here’s a letter to the editor that RD put in The Guardian.

From The Guardian

Creationism in the classroom
Tuesday December 19, 2006
The Guardian

An organisation calling itself Truth in Science has recently used its (evidently large) financial resources to distribute DVDs promoting “intelligent design” to all schools (Report, December 7). The leading scientist behind Truth in Science is Andrew McIntosh, professor of thermodynamics at Leeds University. He has repeatedly said the world is only 6,000 years old. Given that all the scientific evidence points to approximately 4.6bn years as the true age of Earth, the scale of his error is remarkable.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the university has issued an official disclaimer: “Professor Andrew McIntosh’s directorship of Truth in Science, and his promotion of that organisation’s views, are unconnected to his teaching or research [here]… The university wishes to distance itself publicly from theories of creationism and so-called intelligent design, which cannot be verified by evidence.”

However, the claim that McIntosh’s eccentric view of reality is unconnected with his teaching or research as a professor of thermodynamics would appear to be cast into some doubt by a conversation that I recently had with him on BBC Belfast’s Sunday Sequence. McIntosh publicly stated that evolution is incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics.

In the light of this clear connection between McIntosh’s creationist views and his understanding of thermodynamics, Leeds University will presumably need to revise its press release.

Richard Dawkins

Continue reading »

Dec 142006
 

Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and the just out Letter to a Christian Nation (L2CN) has a remarkable capacity for constructing straw men. Indeed both his books are filled with total misrepresentations of views with which he adamantly disagrees. I guess he deems it easier to beat up a monster of his own making than attempt to deal with actual arguments and facts. As an example, let me offer the following quote from the introduction to L2CN:

According to a recent Gallup pole, only 12 percent of Americans believe that life on earth has evolved through a natural process, without the interference of a deity. Thirty-one percent believe that evolution has been “guided by God”. If our worldview were put to a vote, notions of “intelligent design” would defeat the science of biology by nearly three to one. This is troubling, as nature offers no compelling evidence for an intelligent designer and countless examples of unintelligent design. But the current controversy over “intelligent design” should not blind us to the true scope of our religious bewilderment at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The same Gallup poll revealed that 53 percent of Americans are actually creationists. This means that despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antquity of the earth, more tha half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue. Those with the power to elect our president and congressmen — and many who themselves get elected — believe that dinosaurs lived two by two upon Naoh’s ark, that light from distant galaxies was created en route to the earth, and that the first members of our species were fashioined out of dirt and divine breath, in a garden with a talking snake, by the hand of an invisible God.

From Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris, (New York, Alfred A. Knopp, 2006), pp x-xi.

How many misrepresentations of facts and arguments can be stuffed into one paragraph ( like cramming college kids into a VW bug!). Continue reading »