How do you identify intent?

In February, I read the case of the ‘Inexplicable Omelette’, in which the author played off a difficult question: how can you tell whether something has come into its current form ― been constructed or altered ― with intent? His argument was that some things are too complex to consider unintended, and even an omelette is obviously intended. The language seemed off, and I’d like to explain how I propose navigating this question.

In discussion, the author threw around a lot of words with the implication they were mutually exclusive. ‘Intentional’ was one word, however its antonym was swapped around: ‘Unintentional’ was used, but so was ‘random’ and ‘chaos’, and these allow the author to muddy the water by tying complexity to intention. The first step is to explore this language use, as in rational discussion these words have places and functions. The second thing to do is create a defensible order to considering details to evaluate whether something is intentional or not.

The first thing to do, then, is to create a dichotomous pair: a word and its antonym that can be titles for categories that encompass everything, without overlap. The concept in question is ‘Intention’, so that is our first word. There’s no need for suspense: the other word is ‘Unintentional’. It is neither chaos nor randomness. It is worth discussing why not.

Randomness refers to the unpredictability of an event. The result of rolling of a fair die is random because the subsequent event is unpredictable. (The unpredictability can even be assigned a probability. This has its own interesting consequence: that many events, on average, do become predictable; that you can expect 4 to show up ten times in sixty throws.) That which is intentional and that which is random is not a complete set ― i.e. not everything is one of the two ― and neither are they mutually exclusive ― i.e. something can be both. Physics describes unintentional nonrandom behaviour of energy and matter: the trajectory of the moon around the Earth; the cooling of a freshly brewed coffee; the arc of a bouncing basketball. What is more damning for the author’s thesis is that this nonrandom behaviour can even have the property of creating order and complexity. Gravity creates stars; it makes matter gather and eventually coalesce. Entropy also facilitates complexity (see here and here). Why this is important ― that complexity doesn’t relate to intention ― is important later.

Chaos is about nonlinear systems, where small changes in initial conditions lead to big changes in the result. Where changes in the initial conditions matter at a scale more resolute than we perceive, chaos becomes identical to randomness. But this only happens at those scales. Chaos can be predictable (see this gif). Coin pusher arcade games are intentionally chaotic, the falling of a leave is chaotic without intent.

Our dichotomous pair must be ‘intentional’ and ‘unintentional’.

Now we have to device a method of evaluating whether something is intentional. To do this, I am employing Occam’s Razor ― not multiplying my entities unnecessarily. Intent itself is an entity, as is the agent that has the intent, so wherever possible one looks for explanations without intent. Failing that, an explanation using the intent of an agent we already know to exist is a lesser entity than speculating an agent we don’t know to exist e.g. droppings in the forest more better explained by a moose than Bigfoot. With that in mind, here’s the process:

(1) Do sufficient explanations exist, without calling upon intent?
If yes, end. If no, go to 2.

(2) Do sufficient explanations exist, calling on the intent of agents we already know to exist?
If yes, end. If no, go to 3.

(3) Could sufficient explanations exist, calling on the intent of agents we do not know to exist?
If yes, go to 4. If no, double check initial observation.

(4) Time to fund some research!
The best you have here is woolly conjecture and an hypothesis in need of investigation. Bear in mind, your research could uncover an intention-free explanation; it’s what normally happens.

(At point 3, the ‘Do’ becomes ‘Could’ to reflect the fact we are not talking about explanations that do exist, but instead on sheer imagination.)

Taking some examples the comments thread brought up, let’s look at a pile of sand compared to a three story sandcastle. Starting at stage 1, can we explain these things without calling on an agent with intent? Well, a pile of sand we can, sure: erosion. End. A sandcastle? Not so much, no. I mean, we could call on quantum fluctuations, but the probability is so vanishingly small that it isn’t a ‘sufficient explanation’. Go to 2. Can we call on a known agent with intent? Yes, people do build sandcastles. End.

(Note, I’m not saying this is a method of developing a complete explanation. I am saying this is a method of identifying intent.)

Now, as the initial discussion was simply a way of changing the words and sneaking the ‘design argument for God’, where this conversation goes next isn’t smooth; it’s a shoehorned talking point in the hope that I would lose track of where we were and have to admit to being wrong: is a human more like a pile of sand or a sandcastle? Admit it, you wanted to say ‘humans are more like a sandcastle’, didn’t you? The fact is the answer depends on your perspective and metric.

If you are talking from the perspective of complexity, then sure, humans are more like sandcastles. But we have already discussed whether complexity is at all relevant to the issue of intent. Remember, gravity and entropy are unintentional and yet facilitate, in a predictable fashion, complexity. But, as the implication is then than humans must require an explanation with intent, we see the metric and the perspective are being switched. From the perspective of explanations, humans are more like the pile of sand: a cumulative natural process over vast time, without intent, provides a sufficient explanation.

This bait and switch is now the fodder for any normal subject of the ‘design arguments for God’: the universe, life, complex life, consciousness and even intentions. Complexity and mystery are the crowbars to trick you into assuming intent. But, I think the structure I provided is defensible and helps you really see if proclaiming intent is justified.

255 thoughts on “How do you identify intent?”

  1. Nice rebuttal, although it will mean nothing (at least externally) to John Branyan. He was an astonishing case of deception and evasion, all designed to prop-up his pantomimes.

    Seems he’s given up blogging. Last i heard he was trying to sell classes in “comedy”… which is truly hilarious considering he was perhaps the least funny person I have ever encountered.

      1. I watched one of his videos when he first started cluster-bombing my blog. It was painful, skipped forward to the end to see what his grand ending would be, and it was a toilet seat protector joke. If I remember correctly, it was the same one I used in grade 3.

      2. No one saw a hung parliament and coalition with the DUP coming.
        I mean — I saw a hung parliament coming… but the DUP? Wow.

  2. Well said. I think one could argue that complexity is also subjective and this must also be acknowledged by the original author. The fact that he finds evolution complex is a matter of opinion. I am sure some scientists find it quite comprehensible and understandable compared to their understanding of nuclear physics. Things that seem complex to us, may simply be due to the limits of our own intelligence. Once an imagine some alien civilization 1000’s of years past your own (or more) finding the things we think are complex as elementary to them. Of course what computers have given us the power to really see is how simplicity gives rise to complexity. We can use simple bits of command to process greater levels of complexity, even in an iterative way like evolution. We know how hydrogen, the simplest of elements, gives rise to heavy atom in the cores of stars giving rise to bodies that have a mixture of elements needed for the formation of complex organic molecules.

    Of course the question that every proponent of intelligent design must answer is if complexity is an example of intention, then whatever created that complexity must be necessarily more complex. So who created that? And it becomes a never ending question until the theist decides…well you know God just always was and is. Um…okay…but they’ve given away the game then, because they’ve still said that at least something complex exists without intention. Their argument is thus over unless they can provide direct evidence of their claim, which they never can. A bottom up model of the universe is ultimately the only explanation that avoids this never ending chain of increasing complexity requiring an intentional creator.

  3. Cool topic and nicely presented. I think there is a human tendency to attribute mind/intent to many things because early people hoped to control that mind like they, as children, controlled their parents by crying out for things they needed. If the Sun were a god, then by prayer they could call upon it to warm them in Winter and grow their crops in the spring.

    From our earlier discussions you know that I believe there are two kinds of intent: (a) the instinctual biological drive to survive, thrive, and reproduce, and (b) a deliberately chosen intention of an intelligent species through mental calculations performed in the brain.

    Biological intent emerges with the first DNA molecule capable of self-replication. Random variations produce growing complexity while natural selection eliminates those that fail the purpose of survival. The result is that only those that behave as if they intend to survive actually survive. Those that appear to lack that intent become extinct.

    Eventually, intelligent species are produced, with a neurology sufficient to support imagination, evaluation, and deliberate choosing, and providing a special advantage to survival.

    While there is no intent behind the process of evolution, it nevertheless produces life forms with both biological (instinctual) and deliberate (rational) intent.

    And that is sufficient, I believe, to end the search for intent at “(2) Do sufficient explanations exist, calling on the intent of agents we already know to exist?” (However, we do still have three levels of social organization which can each have its own intent: the individual, the society, and the species).

  4. “Intent” requires an “agent”. Also, there can be actions which are intended, but the results (although perhaps predictable) were not intended (a person going to a bar may or may not intend to get drunk, and getting in their car afterward probably do not intent to smack into a bunch of children in a crosswalk). So if we take a look at mankind, there are exactly 5 possibilities:

    1) An agent (God if you prefer) intended to create man.
    2) An agent intended to create an environment which would generate something like man
    3) An agent intended to create an environment which was not intended to generate anything like man, but did.
    4) An agent unintentionally created an environment which then generated man.
    5) There was no agent, so there was no intent in the generation of man.

    Must there have been intent behind the existence of man? No, there is a chance that our existence was unintended but was the result of an intended action (case 3) or completely unintentional (cases 4 and 5). Ignoring intent, there is a greater chance that our existence came about through the process of evolution (cases 2 through 5).

    If your goal is to look for the “unintentional”, then the process stated will often allow you to reach that goal, being a good process to support your preferred hypothesis. However, it is not guaranteed to reflect “truth”, and is not even a reliable way of determining “intent”

    In the examples, you attribute “unintentional” to gravity and entropy. But if our environment was designed by God, would He not have designed (and intended) gravity and entropy to work exactly as they do? Do you really think He said “Hey, how come all My animals aren’t floating around in the air”?

      1. Ah, but God is theorized to be “outside” of time, so either “knows” what will happen, or can “look ahead” to see what will happen. And as for the “passage” of time, “a day is like a 1000 years and 1000 years is like a day” to Him..

      2. Perhaps, but then you have to ask yourself, why would such a being conceal itself behind a veil of seemingly impenetrable ‘naturalism’? What purpose would this effort to secure its anonymity serve?

      3. Very simple (although incomprehensible), God desires people to have faith. If you have proof, you don’t need faith, and it is, in fact meaningless by the very definition of faith..

      4. As a person risking eternal damnation, I’m not in favor of it. But I don’t have enough information to judge the “ethicalness” of the behavior. The ethics of any being are only validly judgeable by that being’s peers. Doesn’t stop us from doing it, though.

      5. Of course you have enough information to assess the ethical nature of the behaviour.

        The Creator (who is both judge and executioner) has purposefully (intentionally) concealed himself behind a curtain of impenetrable naturalism, masking his existence from conscious entities (humans) whose souls will be cast into an eternal fire if they do not believe in that entity who is hiding from them.

        Is that ethical?

      6. Ok, if I have enough information to judge, I will. Yes, it is completely ethical in the environment which God exists and from His point of view.

      7. You don’t like it, and neither do I. But our opinions are of no more importance to God than the opinion of the mosquito we just smashed is to us.

      8. If we were to create something greater than ourselves, we would not be able to validly judge it. (Watch out, you AI enthusiasts).

      9. But we did create God in our own image. The Bible describes a God with lots of human personality traits.

        On the other hand, it is also true that morality is species specific. What’s good for the shark may be very bad for the swimmer. So, when we judge God, it is in terms of what is good or bad for us.

      10. Perhaps we created God, and perhaps God created us. We can’t know for sure until it is too late to do us any good.

        And the Bible was allegedly written by man, inspired by God, and it is not surprising that man put things in terms he understood. In the case of the shark, I suspect you would prefer the judgement of man over that of shark, because we are man. And I would agree that man’s judgement rules, but only because man is the superior creature. If God was invented by man, then we did a pretty crappy job of it, inviting negative judgement. If God exists, then our judgement of Him is at best of mild interest to Him, and His judgement of us is what matters to Him and should matter to us, because He would be the superior creature.

      11. Where Did God Come From?

        A newborn child, cold and hungry, cries out to the universe for food and warmth. He is gathered up in his mother’s arms, and is comforted, and fed.

        We don’t remember this experience, but it is one we’ve all shared. I believe it leaves us with a sense that we might implore a greater being to come to our aid in time of trouble, and that it is likely the seed of the idea of ‘God’.

        On a cold day, I walked out of the apartment ready to shiver. Stepping out of the shadow and into the sunlight, I felt a warmth and comfort, as if I were loved by the Sun. And I understood how easy it was for our ancestors to view the Sun as a god.

        In early history people worshipped multiple gods, prayed to them for favors and offered them gifts so that the rains would water their crops, and the river would not flood their homes. By coincidence, this sometimes appeared to work. Psychologists have since discovered that behavior that was intermittently rewarded was more difficult to extinguish than behavior that was consistently rewarded. And so superstition flourished.

        But then something new was added. Monotheism took the strong position that there was only one God.

        And not only was this the God to pray to and worship, but this God also expected you to follow rules. If you followed the commandments, you would prosper, if not in this life, then in the next.

        I remember the preachers from my youth, Oral Roberts and Norman Vincent Peale, teaching that God is a Good God, and that following Him brings both blessings and expectations. I remember the prayer at dinner, “God is Great, God is Good …”.

        God became a way to make being good and doing good both valuable and sacred. And that is why the idea is still useful today, even by those of us who use the term in a literary rather than a literal sense.

      12. I would say God is very very much interested in our opinions, given it is our opinions (on and of him) by which he’s going to judge us on.

      13. Not to mention that without gravity, the earth would not be “tethered” to the sun, and so life could not have developed, and if created, could not have survived.

  5. If one were to pick up a book and read it, one would discover intent.

    This is possible because the author of the book used language (code) to transmit coherent, comprehensible information to the reader.

    Obviously, the book didn’t just happen all by itself (Occam’s Razor).

    Since the natural world is comprehensible through the language of mathematics, intent is evident.

    The natural world didn’t just happen all by itself (Occam’s Razor).

    That intent comes from God.

    Further, all of the functions of life result from code that is read and processed.

    That code proves intent.

    Life didn’t happen all by itself (Occam’s Razor)

    That intent is God.

    That God exists had been proven by modern science.

    1. Or, stuff-in-motion is eternal, without a creator (Occam’s razor).

      The reliable behavior of matter includes transformations occurring naturally, such as the accumulation of matter into super dense black holes until a tipping point is reached where it reliably explodes into a new universe. A process which repeats over time as that matter is slowly re-accumulated into black holes that recombine over time.

      Other combinations of matter occur with theoretical predictability as quarks join to form atoms, and atoms join to form molecules, and, under the right conditions, molecules of simple DNA appear, capable of forming various species of living organisms, which either survive or die.

      Those that survive modify their environment by consuming it as food to provide energy to modify their environment in other ways to improve their chance of survival.

      From this evolves the many intelligent animal species, capable of understanding their environment, and recognizing that certain things are good for it (e.g., edible plants and animals), and other things are bad for it (e.g., poisonous plants and animals that eat us).

      In its efforts to deal more effectively with its environment and pass on critical information to its progeny, it classifies objects, behaviors, and events as Good or Evil. And anthropomorphizes these into a God and a Devil.

      Just another way of lookin’ at it.

      1. Marvin,

        Physics, the study of objects in motion, is not conducive to common sense nor Occam’s Razor.

        I recommend a freshman physics class so that you might make that discovery for yourself.

        But before the physics, you must learn the math. Do that too in order to learn the language (code) of this subject.

        I also recommend a freshman biology class where you might also learn about the code imbedded in all living things.

        All this so you might not bore people with the irrelevance of the great theory of evolution which is another topic all together.

      2. I’m sorry, but I didn’t drop by to discuss me, or you, for that matter. The topic is “intent”, and where that comes from.

        It appears to me that living organisms exhibit “purposeful” behavior, that is, behavior that can be attributed to a biological drive to survive, thrive, and reproduce. The tree grows roots into the ground and branches to the sky to produce the food it needs to survive, thrive, and reproduce. The lioness brings down the buffalo to feed her cubs. Bees build hives, termites build mounds, and people build cities.

        When we ask “Why?”, we get the same answer, to survive, thrive, and reproduce. That is the purpose.

        Intelligent species have sufficient neurological development to imagine, evaluate, and choose the means of achieving this purpose. This is the point where “deliberate intent” and “conscious intent” emerges. Instead of relying entirely on instinct, we can model different scenarios in our head, and choose the one that seems the most promising.

      3. Marvin,

        You have missed the point.

        And you missed the point because you are uneducated.

        To understand what I am talking about you need to have studied freshman physics, biology and calculus.

        I am not trying to insult you.

        But clearly, from your comments, you have no idea what I am talking about.

        And what I am talking about is science, namely, physics, biology and mathematics.

      4. Well, I’m always open to learning something new. And I never dispute facts. People often suggest that I read this or that book. My response is usually that I don’t accept homework assignments.

        And if the book had sufficiently enlightened them, then they should be able to speak to the specifics of what they had learned, and apply it to the issue at hand. But if they cannot do this, then the book they are recommending hasn’t really done them much good. And if it has done them no good, then what do they expect it will do for me?

        The worst case would be that I’d end up reading the book and then having to explain it to them. And that doesn’t sound fair to me.

      5. I wouldn’t invest too much time in SoM — it’s all homework assignments and calling you uneducated if you don’t conclude what he concludes (regardless of how clearly he may or may not be thinking).

      6. Language, as you describe it, does not imply intent. In normal use, language implies an intended meaning from the ‘speaker’ and an understood meaning from the ‘listerner’.
        You are using language to mean nothing like that. You arae using it as meaning ‘an observer assuming intent or meaning while watching from afar’.

        That much is fine, but then conflating the two — that’s the mistake.

      7. Allallt,

        Language does more than imply intent.

        Language signifies intent.

        Civilized people spend decades mastering the use of language so that intent may be expressed as clearly and understandably as possible.

      8. Then the bleeding hearts change the language to avoid offending a few people and the uncivilized kids slang it up and pretty soon nobody understands what anyone else is REALLY saying…

      9. Pretty much. In those days, it was an expression of displeasure or even punishment from God. These days, we eagerly do it to ourselves.

      10. And once you’ve done the freshman class where people simplify the idea of DNA down to “language”, take a more advanced class, where that insipid analogy is dropped.

        And, while you’re at it, learn what “conducive to” means.

      11. Allallt,

        That idea of DNA as a coded language is not simplified in freshman classes, nor is it dropped in more advanced classes.

        In fact, students must master complex software that deciphers the coded language of DNA.

        Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.

      1. Allallt,

        It was Francis Crick who came up with the central dogma of molecular biology:

        DNA -> RNA -> Protein

        This is the information flow in living systems.

        That information is coded by four specific molecules called nucleotide bases:

        adenine guanine thymine cytosine

      2. “Dogma”?
        That’s the “information flow”?
        Golly – I’d get yourself back into those classes if I were you.

      3. Allallt,

        I have already presented the scientific proofs of the existence of God.

        And I have stated here clearly, that to understand scientific proof, one must first understand science and math.

        Here at your blog I dumb down the proofs to clear, easily understood logical argument which draws its conclusions from facts.

        And still, that is not enough for you.

        You don’t get it because you don’t want to get it.

        Atheism is your religious faith and there is nothing anyone can do to dissuade you from it.

      4. SOM, we’ve had this discussion before. When you dumb things down, your proofs leave out important parts, so are no longer logically valid. In order for a logical conclusion to be incontrovertibly valid, all premises must be shown to be true, and every “step” in the logical argument must be valid. You can’t say “X is so and Y which implies Z is so and by some process the listener can’t understand, that makes A so”.

      5. Its been a while and I don’t recall exactly. I think one of the missing steps was something like the one(s) between showing that some intelligence did something and then concluding that God exists without how showing that the intelligence must be God.

      6. Um, I call shenanigans. You put forward “proofs” a few times in the past, and I pointed out the logical flaws then, and a) you never responded and b) you apparently can’t remember those occasions either. At least I remember that they happened…

      7. It is reasonable to remain skeptical of what has yet to be empirically demonstrated. What is proof for you may be insufficient to convince others who have alternative hypotheses to explain what we both see. On the other hand, most of us would agree that it had to take a miracle, either by God or by the Devil, to get Trump elected.

      8. Marvin,

        What I am claiming is that proof of God’s existence has been empirically demonstrated by the standards used in modern science.

        But would you not agree that when the transmission of coherent information is detected and understood, that this indicates intelligence?

      9. SOM, do you include “artificial” intelligence? Suppose you had a link to a “person” with whom you held a fairly coherent conversation, and that person was actually a computer programmed to mimic a person. Is that program intelligent? Intelligence is obviously present, but might not it be held by the creators of the program and not the program itself?

      10. Cat,

        Artificial is just that, artificial.

        But the “I” in AI didn’t happen all by itself.

        It is a result of the designer, who is a non-artificial human being.

      11. What I am claiming is that proof of God’s existence has been empirically demonstrated by the standards used in modern science.

        Awesome. Can you show me the biology text books where the word “God” is mentioned…

      12. No. Coherent information is indeed transmitted by DNA, however, the incoherent versions did not survive. So, for example, if we were to generate all possible combinations of DNA, including those coherent (able to survive) and those incoherent (unable to survive), then self-selection would result in coherent information in extant DNA.

        We have an extraordinary variety of life forms. And mutations are not rare. Even within a species there can be replication errors introducing small variations, many of which are quite survivable, while others have devastating effects on the offspring.

        If there were a creator God, then it would be reasonable to expect a limited variety of perfect species, balanced in a planned environment where harm for all was minimized.

        But what we seem to have instead is some people with normal color perception and others who are born colorblind, not to mention a hazardous environment containing volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, droughts, ice ages, and so on.

      13. Marvin,

        That incoherence is stripped to keep the language coherent is yet another sign of intelligence.

        Also, in all immune systems is memory.

        That is, hostile language (disease) is purged and remembered should the hostile language return.

        That living systems have imbedded intelligence which reads and edits language and detects selfness and otherness using language, indicates intelligence.

        Your argument is based on method, not on what actually is.

        That a method doesn’t measure up to your standards is not objective and is not scientific.

      14. Purpose, to survive, thrive, and reproduce, emerges with the living organism. Intelligence emerges to help serve this purpose when there is sufficient neurological development to enable imagination, evaluation, and choice.

        The immune system would also emerge to serve the purpose of the living organism. And I’m sure a biologist could give us a list of many other subsystems that serve special purposes to aid the survival of one species or another. For example, species sensitive to temperature ranges would need some way to regulate temperature. We sweat to cool down and shiver to warm up, but reptiles go underground for cooling and seek sunlight for warmth.

        A living organism is a collection of specialized cells working together for their mutual benefit. (Hmm, I suppose the DNA would be literally the Constitutional agreement as to who does what).

        But to get back on point, purpose is uniquely encapsulated in each living organism and species, and it exists nowhere else in the universe. The same can be said of intelligence, it serves the individual, the society, and the species.

        That is where we find the meaning of “good”. We call something “good” if it meets a real need that we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species. And that is the basis of an objective morality.

        The question we are discussing is whether this could have occurred naturally or whether it requires some super intelligent designer.

        Whether true or not, the God concept has many good uses. It is an anthropomorphic expression of the absolute Good. Christians use it to convey to their children a sense that our universe is good, despite the many adversities we face. The idea of Heaven and Hell simplify communicating the fact that our lives become better as more people seek good for others as they seek it for themselves, and our world becomes worse as more people seek good for themselves at the expense of others.

      15. Martin,

        Your personal opinions (narratives) about the way things ought to be aren’t arguments against the scientific proof.

        Language indicates intelligent motive and purpose.

        Science has known about the language imbedded in DNA for over half a century.

      16. The language you refer to is the specific structure of chromosomes. The information they carry is the blueprint for building a specific type of living organism. The purpose they carry out is to survive, thrive, and reproduce. Those DNA molecules that fail to accomplish this simply do not survive to reproduce. Those that are successful become species of living organisms.

        As far as I know, we’ve not yet created a living organism from scratch in the lab. But I think that chemists have produced certain proteins and RNA.

        One might also say that non-living matter also “carries information” in its structure. The number of electrons in an atom’s shell determines whether and which other types of atom’s it might join up with to form a molecule. When combined with other atoms you may get properties that are different from those of the uncombined atoms, such as the freezing point of H2O verses the freezing points of Hydrogen or of Oxygen.

        But we don’t normally assign intelligence to Hydrogen and Oxygen. Nor do we say the reaction is “purposeful”.

        But the behavior of living organisms seems to be “goal-oriented”. We can explain the behavior of living organisms in terms of gathering food from its environment to support the ability to reproduce itself. So, from this standpoint we can say it’s behavior is purposeful.

        Intelligence would be the ability to imagine alternative means to achieve its purpose, mentally evaluate how each alternative will play out, and choose the option which we think will work out best.

      17. Marvin,

        No, the language I refer to is NOT the structure of chromosomes.

        Chromosomes are a physical structure of DNA.

        Chromosomes are tightly wound and folded DNA.

        Chromosomes are unwound when cells reproduce themselves and when sperm and egg are manufactured.

        The language of life is contained in the DNA molecule, specifically the 4 nucleotide bases:

        adenine guanine thymine cytosine

      18. Ah! Thank you for the correction. Yes, that is what I meant. I should have used the term “gene” rather than “chromosome”. A gene would be the collection of chemical A G T C “words” that define a given property or trait in a species. I suspect I had all of that in college biology, but it’s been more than 50 years. My only refresher would be magazines and TV programs over the years discussing genetics.

        Evolution suggests these variations are due to naturally occurring mutations. Those variations that aided survival in a given environment survived, while less successful variations became extinct.

        Intelligent design suggests these variations were deliberately planned in advance by a mind.

        If evolution is sufficient explanation, then it would be simpler than explaining the extra mind that we can’t account for. And that’s why the skeptic would prefer the explanation without a “Creator God”.

      19. Marvin,

        The evolution narrative concerns speciation and variety among living things.

        That narrative has been commandeered by the atheist religion to wink God out of existence.

        Evolution has no bearing on the fact that intelligible information is embedded in DNA and is read, edited and repaired by proteins which are themselves, precision manufactured, software specified tools.

        Tools also indicate the intelligence, by the way.

      20. precision manufactured, software specified tools

        Interesting. Care to explain then the amoeba proteus: a gelatinous, microscopic, single-celled blob of primitive organics that boasts a staggering 670 billion base pairs in its genome, whereas a 5 trillion-celled human being has only 2.9 billion base pairs?

      21. Cool, which church?

        When I sang in the choir it was with the local Unitarian Universalist congregation. They have room for atheists, humanists, as well as Christians, Buddhists, etc. etc. In fact, there was an adult education class called “Create Your Own Religion”. How cool is that!

        I was raised in the Salvation Army and sang and played in the band (baritone horn). Used to love Summer camp where they’d pipe band music through speakers in the woods. Started going with my ex-wife there.

        In the five years my mother was with me before she died in April, we’d go to the local UMC. Loved singing the old favorites in the congregation.

      22. Unitarian Universalist, eh? What are their “core” beliefs? Can’t be that “God or gods exist” because otherwise athiests (at least “strong” or “gnostic” ones) would not be appropriate.

      23. Here’s a link to the About Us page from my church’s website:

        Note the sublinks at the bottom to the UUA (national site) and some of our branches for Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Pagans, HUUmanists, etc.

        We call ourselves “creedless” but assert 7 principles derived from 6 sources:

        7 Principles:
        1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
        2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
        3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
        4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
        5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
        6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
        7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

        6 Sources:
        1. Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
        2. Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
        3. Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
        4. Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
        5. Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
        6. Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

      24. The principles are admirable and the sources reasonable. Sounds like a worthy organization. But it hardly seems like it can accurately be called a “church”. And it doesn’t seem to be involved with anything like a religion.

      25. We sing hymns, listen to sermons, socialize, perform weddings and funerals, all the regular stuff people go to church for. Basically a Church is a support organization for people seeking to be good and to do good. We also participate in Interfaith activities like PACEM which provides overnight shelter for the homeless in winter.

      26. Those are all wonderful activities. But without a principle like, oh, “God exists”, calling it a church is like calling a mule driven wagon a Ferrari.

      27. I’m pretty sure that “God exists” would not be called a “principle”. Principles are general rule statements you use to guide ethical choices. Whether “God exists” or not is a matter of personal belief. And it that belief helps you to behave yourself, then by all means embrace it.

        Ethics serve morality. Morality seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. Ethical rules are designed to serve that purpose. I believe this is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 22:35-40, which, as a Humanist, I would paraphrase like this: “Love Good, and love it for others as you love it for yourself. All other rules serve these two.”

      28. As a person, “God exists” is a matter of personal belief. As a “Church”, it is kind of the defining principle. If you, as an organization, do not believe God exists, how can you worship Him without drowning in hypocrisy? If you don’t have any idea of what He wants you to do, how can you educate your members about His wishes?

        You say you have “sermons”. If they are not lessons about God, or lessons about life in harmony with God, then how can they be called sermons?

        Let me suggest that rewriting the Bible is probably above your pay grade. Jesus was very clear that loving God, the father, His father, the deity of the Jews and available to everybody else, totally and completely, was Rule 1.

      29. First, it is important to keep in mind that the UU is neither theistic nor atheistic. Individual members may believe, or not believe, in any number of versions of God(s). Sermons may be taken from any number of different sources and the life lessons taught. I remember how proud I was when the young people did a presentation at church of the many ways that people view what happens after death. Each child spoke to one of the post-death beliefs, including reincarnation, Heaven, simply ceasing to exist, and several others.

        Now, as to my personal beliefs, keep in mind that, from a Humanist perspective, we humans already wrote the Bible. We have no God to blame for the things we don’t like in the Bible.

        The evidence seems pretty clear that the Bible was written by people. God appears to be very human in his anger as well as his love. Many of the Bible’s fables have parallels in other religions. And we notice the reformation of ideas and rules that took place with the introduction of Christianity.

        Today we have additional reformation as humanity reconsiders its attitudes toward homosexuality. The Episcopal Church now welcomes as one of its Bishops, Gene Robinson, who is openly gay. (Of course, the UUA was pretty much already there from the beginning of the LGBT marriage movement).

        So, the Bible is still a work in progress, like it was when Peter and Paul were arguing over whether Gentile converts should be circumcised.

      30. Again, sounds like a wonderful organization, providing services similar to those of a church, but does not seem to actually be a church. In order to be a “church”, wouldn’t it have to hold to some view about God and preferably act in accordance with that view?

      31. Well, we’d have to have common views about something, and we do. But what actual difference would it make to believe or not believe in a God? Both the believer and the unbeliever must deal objectively with reality.

      32. It’s always good when an organization has at least some views in common. And there is no requirement that any of those views have anything to do with God. For an organization, a business, a club. But in order to be a “church”, there would seem to have to be some view of God in common.

      33. Ah, but Good is superior to Neutral or Bad, and Man’s tendency is to think of himself first at the cost to others which is at best Neutral, so Man tends to be inferior to Good. So yes, you can worship Good as a goal rather than as an entity.

      34. “Be good for goodness sake”.

        Like the discussion happening in parallel about the meaning and implcaitions of the word “machine”, calling a congregration that doesn’t worship the Biblical God a “Church” is, at least, a new meaning to the word.

      35. I’m pretty sure that in India there are many churches that do not worship “the Biblical God”. Check out Hinduism in Wikipedia. And I’m pretty sure that Buddhism didn’t originally require any particular God. It was more about spiritual practices and getting free of illusions (sort of like Ecclesiastes I suspect, “This too is vanity”).

      36. Correct, there are many, many churches which don’t worship the Biblical God. But every single one of them worship SOME God or gods.

      37. Buddhism is not a God based religion. An atheist can also be a Buddhist. It is more like a philosophy of life, or a psychology. One may submit to training under a Buddhist master without assuming him to be a supernatural being.

        A Church functions as a gathering place for people seeking to be good. A Religion is a collection of beliefs and practices that provides spiritual (psychological and emotional) support for people seeking to be good.

      38. I can’t say that I know anything about Buddhism, but if there is no concept of a God or any kind of existence after the death of the body, then I would not call it a “religion” nor would any meeting places be a “church”. It would be, as you say, a Philosophy.

        No, a Church serves as a meeting place for people seeking to “get right with” some form of deity. “Being good” is not something you can do by going someplace and listening to people talk. Being good requires first of all, determining what “good” is, and then going out and doing it. Ah, you say, but our “church” is where we go to find out what “good” is. Balderdash. At your “church” the best you can hope for is to find out what other people, no better than you, think “good” is. You can determine what is good on your own, or you can accept a concept of good from a superior entity, but any concept you get from your peers has a high probability of being flawed.

      39. Objectively, we call something “good” if it meets a real need we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species.

        Operationally, most of the things we call “good” and “bad” have been told to us by our parents, teachers, ministers, and peers. A Church also functions to pass on our values and our ethical rules to our children. We send our kids to Sunday School for that.

      40. Parents are presumed to be superior to us because of their greater age and life experience. Teachers are presumed to be superior to us because of their training. Ministers are presumed to be superior to us because of their relationship with God, who is claimed to be far superior to us. Peers are, by definition, the same as us, and as such, should no be relied upon for anything they don’t have credentials for. “Ministers” without God are just peers with a fancy title.

      41. Ministers are better at the job of ministering. A peer in the church would be another member of the congregation. At the UU, our minister is like an Army chaplain, in that he is familiar with a wide variety of religions and their practices. Whether he believes in God or not is less important than his ability to offer counseling and support both to those who do believe in God and to those who don’t.

        A lot of people come to UU when they’ve run into a problem with the church that raised them, but still seek the moral support and communion with others within a Church. Others have grown up within UU and were raised in the UU educational programs at each grade level.

        I first ran into the UU in College. They had a Friday night social for university students, with games and guest speakers. I attended a friends UU wedding and was very impressed. The church in Richmond had a sign over the door, “Let No One Be a Stranger Here”. When it became my time to marry, I called on Rev Gold. He did an interview with me and Betty first, as ministers do, to make sure we were ready. And he performed the ceremony in the park.

      42. I explained why parents, teachers and ministers with a relationship with God can POTENTIALLY be a superior source of information. What qualifications does a “minister” with no relationship with God have to be a superior source of information than your friend Joe? Is “Rev Gold” a “Reverend”? How did he come by that position without a relationship with God? Not to say Rev Gold is not very good at what he does; I’m just wondering how someone going to another UU organization elsewhere can be assured their head guy is as good as yours without extensive experience with him.

      43. The UU congregation forms a search committee when they need a new minister. The committee interviews applicants, who have been trained by the UUA, and may have them appear as guest ministers for the congregation to meet. I’m not sure if “Reverend” is the correct word, but if it is then it would be an honorific, such as “Your honor” for a judge. The website provides more data at

      44. “Church” does not mean “place of worship”. It means “congregation of Christians”.
        The “Church” is the people.
        But even in common parlance (which I’m happy to accept as a formal change in language) “Church” refers to the place that Christians gather to worship.
        There are Mosques and Synagogues and Temples and Gurdwaras, of course…

      45. When I use the capitalized form of Church and Religion I mean to refer to the general or archetypical concept rather than the specific example. Sorry for the confusion.

      46. As long as you call an organization not only not of Christians, but those with no common God concept a “Church” or a “church”, there will continue to be confusion.

      47. Anonymous,

        We do not find God walking among us as he did with Adam. But we do find many different myths of creation and myths of gods. Fables seem to address questions for which we had no answers: like Where did the Earth and People come from? Why is life so hard? (Eden) Why are there different languages? (Babel) Which God is the real thing? Is there life after death? (reincarnation? Heaven? (Pharisees) or simply death? (Sadducees)).

        When at the end of our rope we embrace superstition. We have sought magical cures, imagining diseases to be caused by curses or by demons. We call out to the Heavens for assistance, praying to the Sun or Moon, or to one of the little statues on the mantle. Or perhaps we embrace the placebo effects of Antoine Mesmer’s magnetism or Oral Robert’s miracles.

        Science seeks more reliable answers. Science is skeptical of beliefs that cannot be objectively confirmed. When my sister says she believes in “A Course in Miracles”, I suggest to her that she has an ethical obligation to march herself down to the nearest hospital and begin curing people.

        Given two explanations of the same phenomenon, we prefer the one that doesn’t include gods and demons.

        So, that’s where we’re coming from. If we can explain the emergence of purposeful behavior from non-living matter, and we can explain the emergence of intelligence from living organisms, then we think we have a better explanation than one that requires a supernatural being that created the world by design.

        On the other hand, we may believe in God(s) for other purposes, such as psychological/spiritual support.

      48. Marvin,

        Scientific proof is not a myth.

        Here is a short science video on mRNA translation.

        Notice the language used in the lesson:

        “All the components of a molecular machine lock together around the RNA to form a miniature factory called a ribosome.”

        “Each transfer molecule carries a three letter code that is matched with the RNA in the machine.”

        “Inside the ribosome, the RNA is pulled through like a tape.”

        “The code for each amino acid is read off, three letters at a time, and matched to three corresponding letters on the transfer molecules.”

        “Ribosomes can make any kind of protein. It just depends what genetic message you feed in on the RNA.”

      49. Right, and if you wanted to design your own DNA you’d use CRISPR to unzip, modify, and re-zip. DNA replicates itself, either entirely for reproduction, or partially to create specific proteins for specific functions.

        These actions are what I’d call “purposeful”, but the location of that purpose is within that living organism and its species, not in any other place within the entire universe.

        The universe itself has no purpose or intent in bringing about living organisms. Even evolution lacks intentional agency, even though we speak in a literary sense of Nature “selecting” which species will survive.

        Purposeful agency emerges as a new property within the universe with the appearance of the first living organisms. Living organisms have an interest, even though unspoken, in what happens next. Those that survive will have some mechanism of survival.

        A virus, for example, invades the cell of another species to acquire what it needs to reproduce. It does so without thinking or planning, it just finds itself there and starts making a copies of itself.

        Intelligent species, like most animals and people, can step outside of instinctual reactions, and find creative ways to solve their survival needs, like building beehives, or sending their kids to college.

      50. I suspect you’ll say that the structure of life supports the view of an intelligence external to that life, and I’ll say it does not, but rather the intelligence is what’s left over after the unsuccessful species are subtracted. The facts will all be the same, but the interpretation and implications drawn will be different.

        What do you suggest is the source of the external intelligence you claim must exist?

      51. Marvin,

        My argument is based on the scientific conclusion that the transmission of coherent information indicates intelligence.

        SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is based on the same foundation.

        In archeology, tool making is used as a standard of intelligence.

        So I am being totally consistent with modern scientific thinking here.

      52. The transmission of coherent information presumes an intelligent sender attempting to communicate with an intelligent receiver in a language that is shared by the sender and the receiver. I suspect that would be the rationale for “coherent information” logically implying “intelligence”.

        The “communication” going on within and between the cells of a living organism would be intra- and inter-cellular. They would not necessarily imply an external sender.

      53. Marvin,

        The “communication going on within and between the cells of a living organism” indicates embedded intelligence.

        It’s like Cat was saying regarding artificial intelligence.

        The “I” in AI is embedded by the designers. Then the AI entity functions according to how it was designed.

      54. This comment comes in addition to my previous comment about DNA not showing an intent of the transmitter and so is not a ‘language’ in the normal sense:

        Information is normally substrate independent. We don’t find that with DNA. DNA transfer is an actual mass transfer; you have to transfer specific molecules.
        That is not so for the information in this comment; this information existed in my head, was transcribed into a keyboard, transmitted across the internet and re-transcribed at your computer.

        So, DNA is not information. It might be simple to discuss it in such terms, but it stretches the definition.

        As soon as you stretch the definition of a word, or use it outside of the normal meaning, you don’t get to drag the old implications with it. That’s a example of an equivocation fallacy.

      55. I think I’d have to go along with calling DNA “information”. Now that we have more and more tools for decoding it, we will find it full of useful information about a prospective offspring’s characteristics. So, for the geneticist, it is the primary source of this type of information. The intelligence (knowing how to decode it), in this case, would be located in the geneticist.

        We don’t normally refer to automatic functions as “intelligence”. When the heart beats, for example, it takes no thought, and we normally associate thinking with intelligence.

        The functioning of DNA seems to be automatic behavior. On the other hand, environmental factors and internal factors seem to influence the “expression” or appearance of certain genetic traits. But I suspect I’m getting in over my head on that.

        The transmission of genetic information during reproduction would also be an automatic process. The offspring gets two versions of each gene, one from each parent, and the dominant version normally appears.

      56. I accept this definition of information. But it does mean that tree rings and ice cores are also information — but our firm understand of how that “information” was laid down points out that information does not have to be intelligently authored.

        The position I am defending is that if you stretch a definition of a word, you have to abandon all the old baggage of that word. Failure to do that is vacuous rhetoric.

        Currently, that’s the best SoM is offering us.

      57. The use of a particular term is no guarantee that the term was used accurately,and in some cases may have been chosen deliberately to mislead. For instance, if I disagreed with then President Obama about something, I might have been called “racist” by someone in an effort to minimize me or drive people away from listening to me or encourage me to spend all my time defending myself instead of pointing out the flaws in some Obama action.

        Thus, just because the link uses the word “machine” to describe something which has some aspects in common with the classical concept of the word, does not guarantee that it is actually a machine. “Machine-like” perhaps. Conversely, calling something which may not mesh perfectly with the classical concept a machine does not guarantee it is NOT a machine. One can often tell from context whether the words are being chosen to push a position more than impart accurate information, and this context seems loaded towards swaying opinion.

      58. Cat,

        Scientists are not politicians.

        They do their best to use accurate language.

        And if you watch the video which is an accurate representation of mRNA translation then it becomes clear that the language used is completely accurate.

      59. Actually, I think you’ll find that the successful scientists ARE politicians, or at least have and deploy political skills. Doing science generally costs money, and its the people who can attract the money who are doing a lot of the science.

        I’m not saying the video is not accurate, or even that the terms are inaccurately applied. The problem is these terms invite inadequately coupled inferences. A) I have machines as a key part of my structur, B) All machines are made by somebody, therefore C) I must have been made by somebody. The problem is that the B hypothesis is based on the classical concept of machine, while the enhanced concept presented by the video has not been shown to have the same common elements as the classical concept. Thus this invalid proof of conclusion C was “encouraged” by the language of the video.

      60. Cat,

        There is no scientist alive who is politically motivated to state that science proves the existence of God.

        And who are you to argue with scientists who are using correct, descriptive language to explain the basic concepts of molecular biology?

      61. Probably not. But there are many scientists who are politically motivated to push their own scientific concepts.

        I’m not arguing with the scientists responsible for the video. Now if someone were to take the language of the video and attempt to use that invalidly in a proof of something, that would annoy me.

      62. Cat,

        The content of the little video on mRNA translation is consistent with the content in all the classes I have attended on molecular biology.

        I can guarantee that there is no politics involved.

        It’s just straight science.

      63. OK, you’re probably right. Now. I’ll bet there were “politics” involved back when they were trying to get the funding to figure this stuff out. Doing research and experimentation is not cheap, and the money comes to the areas which are well packaged.

      64. I don’t know. The video looks like a simple tool for teaching genetics. I don’t think the video makes any assertions regarding God or intelligence.

      65. No, it doesn’t. But I’ve seen a case where someone took the “machine” description and claimed that since all machines were invented by an intelligence, those machines were designed by an intelligence. Maybe they were, but twisting words is not the way to prove it.

      66. Allallt,

        Please take a moment to watch the video.

        You will see that the ribosome is a tape reader and the mRNA is information-containing tape.

        That we are viewing an actual machine is undeniable.

      67. I think I’d have to go along with calling it a “machine” as well. The issue remains as to whether the machine was created by an intelligence external to the natural world or whether the machine is the natural result of random combinations that proved useful to survival and thus were reproduced in all the survivors.

      68. Marvin,

        Machine or not, coherent, readable, purposeful information is transmitted and acted upon within organism.

        That is what indicates intelligence (God).

        You and Allallt can play word games all day long and quibble over definitions.

        But you can’t make the obvious go away.

      69. Ok, we’ll call it a “biological machine” to distinguish it from the “mechanical machines” we are familiar with. I don’t think you’ll get any argument that a mechanical machine was designed and implemented by an intelligence. And it is certainly possible and even likely that a biological machine was also designed and implemented by an intelligence. But it is also possible that the biological machine came about without any external intent, so we cannot use the existence of the biological machine as a valid proof of the existence of that intelligence. Sorry, “indication of” is not proof. “Proof” has rules which elevate it above belief or opinion.

      70. The appearance of intelligence within species can be a natural event. It does not require the presumption of a God. The presumption of a supernatural being simply raises more questions: What intelligence designed this God?

      71. Marvin,

        I am not claiming intelligence within species.

        My claim concerns the transmission of coherent information within the molecular biology of living creatures.

      72. Marvin,

        I will give the definition of God that has been around for over 2500 years or so:

        God is the Creator, or as Aristotle put it, the First Cause.

      73. But what was the cause of God? Nothingness, if there ever was such a thing, would exclude a God, because a God is something.

        Since we observe (a) that stuff-in-motion exists, and (b) it could not have come out of nothing, then it must have always been here. Stuff-in-motion must therefore be eternal, and the idea that there was ever a universal state of nothingness, must be wrong. Now, for us as individuals, we note a starting point at birth, and an ending point at death. And that may be why we intuitively (but incorrectly) presume a prior state of nothingness.

      74. Marvin,

        Now you are demanding that I do your thinking for you.

        I won’t do that.

        You have to develop your own mental faculty of reason.

        Otherwise you’ll turn out like Allallt who won’t believe anything unless it is spoon-fed into his mind by a text book, preferably authored by a fellow atheist.

      75. Then I’ll prove my argument. There is no evidence of the existence of a supernatural being that created the universe. However, there is empirical evidence that the universe exists. And, since one cannot get something out of nothing, it must be the case that the stuff of the universe is eternal, that it has always existed, and that it will always exist.

        We also have evidence of the major transformations which appear to have occurred naturally. Background radio waves point to a Big Bang event. We deduce from the existence of black holes throughout our current universe (usually around the center of most galaxies), that a super-condensed ball of matter was likely the source of the Big Bang. We also have theories covering the formation of the heavier elements from lighter elements during stellar events.

        And we also have reasonable theories of how life first came into existence automatically under the right conditions, and how the earliest and simplest forms of life eventually became complex living organisms with the ability to think rationally.

      76. Marvin,

        “There is no evidence of the existence of a supernatural being that created the universe. ”

        I just presented you with evidence.

        Your refutation has been a pyrotechnic display of ignorance.

        You are neither versed in science or philosophy.

      77. I’ll ignore your irrelevant insults, for now. Your theory is that God must exist because life appears to be intelligently designed. Science offers other explanations for that appearance without resorting to imaginary supernatural beings.

        I have never claimed to know all of that science. But I believe that it has a greater likelihood of being true than the God theory.

        I did watch your video and have seen other similar presentations from science films. None of them, including yours, claimed the existence of any supernatural beings.

        The Bible has many fables like the Creation Story, Adam and Eve, and Noah’s Ark, and the Tower of Babel, which attempt to answer a child’s questions like, “Where did the world come from?”, or “Why do we wear clothes?”, or “Why doesn’t God provide us with an abundant garden to live in?”, or “If the flood covered the whole earth, then how could the animals survive?”, or “Why do people speak different languages?”

        But a fable serves its purpose without guaranteeing us any truth. Science seeks to find the actual answers to these questions, without resorting to fables.

      78. Allallt,

        You have proven once again that you don’t have the intellectual capacity to think beyond what someone (who you already agree with) tells you.

        It is pathetic that you can’t tell the difference between an assertion and evidence.

      79. You haven’t presented evidence. You have asserted that DNA is information and language, in the traditional or classical definitions of the words and then tried to drag the traditional or classical implications of that over.
        You have asserted that cell organelles are machines in the classical, traditional and mechanical sense of the word, and tried to drag the implications of that over as well.

        Providing substantive criticism is, by the way, evidence of thought. The fact that you only think non-critical agreement is actually critical thought is, very much, the pinnacle of conversation with you.

        So, thanks for dropping by.

      80. Allallt,

        You keep your snotty little nose glued to the textbooks.

        In the mean time, I’ll be out in the real world experiencing the glory of real knowledge.

      81. Okay — time to put your chips down, SoM. What are you referencing? If you are referencing textbooks, I want to know what text books. If you are referencing “the glory of real knowledge”, I want an explanation of what that means.

        What I can’t be bothered with is you alternating between “it’s in any good text book” and “you don’t need a text book”.

      82. Allallt,

        The molecular biology is in secular college textbooks.

        The excitement I invite for you is to make the connection yourself without having to be told what to think by a textbook.

        What I suggest is that you go do your own research and find the answers yourself.

        First, study Aristotle.

        He will teach you how to think rationally according to your own human nature.

        Then study the relationship between code, language and mathematics.

        I did that when I was studying for my degree in electrical engineering.

        Then study a basic freshman class in biology.

      83. It may be that we have already done our searches, and just came to different conclusions than you did. In my case, I was raised believing in a creator God. My father was a Salvation Army minister (captain) who had a few churches. But he also had a small problem with women and with guns. He got involved with a woman that he was helping with furniture donations and such. He wanted to divorce my mom and marry this woman. But she broke it off. When he continued to pursue her, she accused him of threatening to kill her, so he went to jail. When he got out, he took his .38 to her house. She met him outside with a .22 and shot him twice. He shot her and she fell into the gutter. Then he walked over, shot her in the head and then shot himself.

        I was in the 8th grade, I think. And this caused me to do some thinking over the next few years. One thing I thought about was the idea of Hell as eternal torture. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that there was nothing anyone could do in a finite time on Earth that could justify being tortured for eternity. At some point, the penalty would grossly outweigh the crime.

        So I decided that a God who would condemn anyone to Hell could not, must not, exist. And between high school and college I began reading some philosophy books at the public library. Turns out that I was not alone in my conclusion.

        Despite this, I still valued my Christian upbringing. Churches do teach morality to children, through stories, and they instill important values, and attitudes. So I never regretted my early church experience.

        Surprisingly, although the SA is a fundamentalist church, I was exposed to a positive attitude towards science. I remember at our annual Bible Conference this officer who did object lessons with chemistry. He said his brother, researching Moses turning gold into blood, discovered a way to create a red dye from gold that was used in some of the earliest traffic lights.

        And I’m pretty sure I was first exposed to Einstein’s time dilation through a TV program by the Moody Bible Institute of Science. That’s the one where a fellow traveling in a rocket near light speed comes back and everyone else has aged, but he’s still young.

        When I asked my mother about evolution, she quoted the scripture about “a thousand years is like a day with the Lord”, suggesting that creation could have actually been via evolution.

        My point is that my fundamentalist upbringing did not suggest any incompatibility between religion and science.

        So, each of us has come along his own path to get where we are now.

      84. None of the literature supports your side of the discrepancy we’re discussing here…
        Oh — and we noticed the discrepancy because we can think.

        But thanks for your time. It’s been something — as always.

      85. Allallt,

        A standard tactic of atheists is to hallucinate something stupid, then assign the stupidity to their opposition, then demand that their opposition explain the stupidity.

        Your demand for a textbook is stupid.

        I don’t do stupid.

        If you can’t pull your snotty nose out of a textbook, then being stupid is your problem, not mine.

        Besides, if I came up with a textbook, you would come up with another excuse.

        Atheism is a dead religion, reserved for idiots.

        Science has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      86. SOM, with Spicer now gone, I hope you become the new Press Secretary for Comrade Trump. Your flavour of genius demands a bigger microphone.

      87. Who do you do this for? Do you have friends round to turn this into a spectator sport? Do you think derision and not actually supporting your claims is a teaching tool? What are your goals?

      88. If Science has proven that God exists beyond a shadow of a doubt, then yes, atheism would be “dead” and only idiots would continue to accept it. If Science has done that, it has kept it a deep dark secret, which defeats the value of such proof.

        People have attempted to give us examples of this proof, but every one I’ve seen has been flawed. Until that proof has been provided to the world, and verified to be valid, atheism continues to be a supportable option.

        Let me suggest that rather than making a claim which can be easily dismissed by anybody who wants to, you actually provide that valid proof so it can’t be dismissed..

      89. Cat,

        Atheism is the belief that everything just happened all by itself.

        Such a belief is obviously stupid.

        If atheists are obviously stupid, they haven’t a prayer in the realm of science and mathematics.

      90. Empirical observation shows us a universe that exists, but not where it comes from. Both the atheist and the theist are skeptical of the idea that something could come from nothing, so we presume something must be eternal. The atheist theory is based upon the empirical evidence that stuff in motion does exist, because we can see it, right there, in front of us. So that same stuff, in one form or another, must be eternal. The theist, proposes that a supernatural creator must exist with the magical ability to create something from nothing.

        Typically, fables precede, and are replaced by scientific explanations.

      91. Everything always was, or everything was spoken into existence are not the only two possibilities. The third possible option, no matter how unlikely, is that everything came from “elsewhere”, which actually might turn out to be a subset of either of the other two possibilities.

      92. Right. There’s no reason to stop at just two theories when we’re in the area of the speculation. Did you have a particular “elsewhere” in mind, or is that just what you’re calling theories 3 to N?

      93. No, “elsewhere” is binary, that is, anywhere which is not “here”. The postulated “singularity” could be partially or mostly “somewhere else”. Or it could have existed completely in whatever dimension God calls home or some other dimension.

        Actually that is not quite true; the source of everything could be “here” or “elsewhere” (not “here”), as well as “nowhere”. That is, created from nothing.

      94. Or perhaps a mirror copy made of anti-matter. Anyway, we may also limited by our perspective, as in the “Flatland” narrative where everyone lived in a single 2-dimensional plane and were thus only able to see a sphere only as a circle where it intersected with their flat universe. (By the way, the original book is misogynistic (women are straight lines and not too bright) so not recommended for girls, except in the cartoon version). .

      95. Well, the answer to the brain in a vat, solipsism, and simulation is the same: we must presume the only reality we can be aware of is actually real.

      96. We don’t even have to assume that. Just that we care about the reality we can observe — and would care about a greater reality if we observed it.

      97. Atheism is the belief that there is no God or gods. Period. Although it is not part of atheism, this usually LEADS to accepting the belief that things happened randomly, and eventually led to “everything”. And this latter belief is not “stupid”. It is a widely held theory (by some people who are far from stupid as well as some who are dirt dumb), which has not yet been either proven or disproven, which explains “everything”, no matter how unlikely the posited series of events would be. Oh, by the way, that God created everything is also a widely held theory (by some people who are smart and some who can count their IQ on their fingers) , which has not been either proven or disproven, and is no more or less “stupid” then the Evolution theory.

        You know what is “stupid”? Accepting any theory, which is unproven by the very definition of the word, as unquestionable “fact”, which it cannot be by the definitions of both words.

      98. Cat,

        God is the Creator, the First Cause.

        If you don’t believe that the universe was created or caused, then you believe everything just happened all by itself.

        Thinking that things happened “randomly” is even more stupid than believing they just happened by themselves.

        Atheists work very hard to mask their ingrained ignorance behind math words like “random” and science words like “evolution.”

        Thankfully I am educated enough not to fall for atheists tricks.

      99. The question I’d like answered is why create? What possible reason did the “creator” (as you are positing this hypothesis) have in creating this artificial scape? What purpose was it intended for?

      100. Why does anyone create anything? Some do it in part for profit; perceiving it will provide them with something they want or need. Some do it simply for the joy of creating. Some do it accidently.

      101. I don’t believe that, and if you had any memory at all, you’d remember that. But you don’t work off memory, you work off of the current instant. If someone questions you, they are wrong, stupid and worthy of contempt. Certainly not worthy of compassion for not being as brilliant as you, certainly not worthy of love, since the only people worthy of love are those who kiss your feet no matter how smelly they are. And there is no chance that if you believe something, that it is unquestionable fact. Never mind that you can’t prove it, or even bear to hear it questioned without flying into a tizzy.

      102. And by the way, you didn’t answer my suggestion. Here it is again, to jog your memory:

        People have attempted to give us examples proof of God, but every single one I’ve seen has been flawed. Until that proof has been provided to the world, and verified to be valid, atheism continues to be a supportable option. If you have valid proof that God exists (as you claim), present it. Saying you have it proves nothing (about God)…

      103. Cat,

        The scientific proofs of God that I have presented here and on my blog are flawless.

        And you admit that you are unable to support your claim that my proofs are flawed.

        Allallt’s claim is that for a proof to be valid it must appear in a textbook.

        That claim is beyond ridiculously stupid.

        Marvin rants and raves some hallucinated insanity that black holes spawn other universes as his argument against actual scientific proof that God exists.

        In the end, you and Allallt need another smarter, holier atheist to tell you what to think before you think it.

        And that is truly sad, because truly free thinking people have a brain of their own and don’t need a textbook of approved ideas to tell them what to believe.

      104. Dude, you are delusional. You have provided a couple of examples of “proofs”, which were in fact, flawed, and I pointed out the flaws, and guess what, you ignored those replies entirely. And seemingly don’t even recall those conversations taking place, perhaps because your fragile psyche can’t bear any question which could cause any question to your belief system.

        Let me say it again in words maybe even you can understand. If anyone, anywhere had any valid proof that God exists, and provided that proof to the world, atheism would be, as you say, “dead”. NOBODY has provided that valid proof, and every attempt from YOU has been demonstrably invalid, so atheism is still just as valid a belief as your belief system. Either may be wrong, but neither is “stupid”, and holding either view does not make the holder stupid. The way one “worships” one’s belief can be stupid, and frankly, the stupid one in this discussion is not me, Allallt or Marvin.

        And it would seem that any person who found a valid proof that God exists and did NOT share it with the world would likely be a tool of Satan, wouldn’t you say? The same could be said for someone who went to great lengths to present Christians in as poor a light as possible. Et tu, SOM?

      105. Science is not delusional (mostly), since most of what they state can be proven or at least matches up with all known facts, and most in the sciences admit that things they think they know may someday be found to be not so. That is what the word “theory” means.

        Your delusion is not that God exists, but that whatever you say is “Truth” simply because you believe it. In particular, the statement that “Science has proven the existence of God”. I’m not saying that is not true, I’m saying that as far as I know that has not happened. All that would be required for me to agree with that statement would be for you to present that proof and it to be valid. You have attempted presentation of proofs like that a couple of times, and I have shown how these “proofs” are invalid. Rather than work with me to “fix” the proofs, if possible, you ignore the flaws and continue to say that valid proofs exist. As well as wildly insult those who disagree with you, which does an incredible amount of damage to your case.

        You have probably driven more people further from God than you have brought closer to God…

      106. Sorry, that is not a valid proof either. We have not YET detected any supernatural being or environment, and perhaps never will, since they are, pretty much by definition, outside of our environment and don’t necessarily follow the same natural laws our environment does. Lack of proof for something is not proof against it.

        So it is possible there is a supernatural being who is responsible for our existence and it is possible the non-supernatural events you posit resulted in our existence. You can believe whichever works for you, but until you have VALID proof of your preference or against the alternative, realize that your belief is currently only a theory and any other theory which has not been disproven should not be discarded out of hand.

      107. I would drop this sentence from your cosmogony: “We deduce from the existence of black holes throughout our current universe (usually around the center of most galaxies), that a super-condensed ball of matter was likely the source of the Big Bang.”

        We deduce from running red-shift backwards that all the stuff was in a much smaller space. That’s the deduction.

      108. The description of the “singularity” seems to synch up with the description of a black hole, a whole lot of matter in a very small space, held together by a mass gravity so strong that at photon can’t escape.

        The use of the term “singularity” suggests an infinitely small point, which I suspect is a mathematical convenience, for graphing expansion out from a point. But that abstraction seems implausible to me. The singularity, if it is going to explode at all, should reach that tipping point before it becomes a non-existent abstraction. After all, how small can you squeeze all of the matter in a whole universe?

        Personally, I think it’s safe to suggest that it was bigger than a bread box.

      109. “The singularity, if it is going to explode at all, should reach that tipping point before it becomes a non-existent abstraction.”

        I don’t think we’re talking about a subject where “before” is a sensible idea. We are not in a situation to think that some previous universe collapsed inward on itself, shrinking rapidly until it was some small size, even if it was bigger than a breadbox, and then exploded again into our universe. The singularity may be a consequence of the instability of “nothing” (Krauss, A Universe from Nothing)
        So far as we can tell, blackholes don’t explode — they slowly radiate to death.
        A big difference between a blackhole and The Singularity is that a blackhole is a point in space; The Singularity is all of space in a point.

      110. Well, when we consider eternity, there is always a before. We can say that we are always precisely in the middle of eternity, because there is an eternity behind us and another eternity ahead (the math is that 1/2 eternity = eternity, and 2 x eternity also = eternity).

        And when we consider infinity, there’s always more space (the thought problem is “What is on the outside of our universe?”). The limits of visible space is an arbitrary limit. The limit of our particular universe is an arbitrary limit.

        So, reality may very well extend infinitely. It may contain many universes and even an infinite number of universes, for all we know. That’s what I meant by Big Bangs going off all over the place like popping corn.

        Now, unlike some, I would expect all universes to be similar in nature. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. 🙂

        I don’t go along with the idea that the rules in one universe could be entirely different from another. Nor do I believe that every choice creates two more alternate universes. That’s all fantasy to me.

        All we can really go by is what we’ve seen. And if we’ve seen one rabbit, then it is not unreasonable to imagine that there might be more.

      111. There are some fun ones here. Like, the “Laws of Logic” – were they authored? If they were authored, then they could have been otherwise. If they can’t have been otherwise, then they didn’t need to be authored… so are true in all universes.

        What I will say is that it is plausible to have an eternity in one direction but have it finite the other way…

      112. There are no laws on thinking (perhaps there should be 🙂 The laws of logic apply to argument and violation of any of them speaks poorly of your position.

      113. I have a pretty good instinct about logical errors, though I’ve never bothered to learn their assigned names. Sometimes labelling the (uh, what do you call them?, Oh yeah) “fallacies” gets in the way of the discussion, especially if you get one wrong.

      114. This is true. Naming a fallacy makes a number of assumptions about the maturity of your interlocutor: that they won’t take it personally; that they are willing to discuss the validity of this charge and perhaps be willing to learn; that they won’t now hijack the conversation with a series of fallacies about how just because they made a fallacy doesn’t mean they are wrong…

        But, if you can’t make those assumptions about your interlocutor, it might not be worth having a discussion with them.

      115. Okay. I usually find it irritating because then I have to go look it up the fallacy. If the person’s thinking is unsound, then it should theoretically be possible to describe the nature of the unsoundness, and explain that to them.

      116. Well, if I ever name one and you’re not sure I’m happy to describe what I mean. I try not to use a term I don’t understand.

      117. You are assuming all universes follow the same physical laws. And they likely do, as long as they are in the same “dimension” as ours. But there might be other dimensions which have different sets of physical laws.

      118. Aww — poor little SoM is inventing his own ‘mental faculty’, independent of textbooks, experts and peer review. But he doesn’t see the flaw in that.

      119. Allallt,

        Textbooks are great for beginners.

        But no great discovery ever comes from textbook.

        All great discoveries come from people who not only understand the text but who are able to think on their own.

        I invite you to such power.

        It is the stuff of great civilizations.

      120. Great discoveries make it into textbooks.
        The point is, your points aren’t in academic biological texts; they are not verified; they are not agreed on by the experts in the field.

      121. I don’t believe in a “first cause”. The state of everything is a matter of stuff-in-motion, and that appears to be eternal, without a beginning and without an end.

      122. Marvin,

        In other words, you are ignorant and you want to stay that way.

        You have turned out to be the usual waste of time.

        Belief in atheism requires hard core, ingrained ignorance.

        Good bye. Fair well.

      123. Thanks, I wasn’t sure how that would play in this forum. I try not to be rude, but this guy has been calling me ignorant and unworthy since I’ve been here. If you care to teach somebody something, then you don’t start by insulting them. And if he’s not here to share information and opinions, then why is he here?

      124. He is here to claim both that he has already given you the information and that he won’t give you the information — and to claim to have attended any freshman class that suits his current needs.

      125. And yet when I deal with the first cause issue he presumes I’m ignorant of it because I didn’t read his particular link. I gave him the resolution of the first cause issue and he continued to assert I was ignorant about it.

      126. He is allegedly here to “save” you. Unfortunately he is not showing you an attractive picture of what he is selling. In fact, you might have to go as far as to the Westboro Baptists to find someone presenting a less enticing view of Christianity.

      127. Sorry, no, First Cause is just as caused as the 372nd cause. God existed before (our) time began. What happened before then, we don’t know and can’t know, or even comprehend.

      128. Cat,

        If the First Cause is the same the 372nd cause, then there is no difference between 1 and 372.

        So, like Marvin you are spouting ignorant nonsense.

        I do recommend following the link I provided which explains what the First Cause is.

      129. If by ignorant, you mean I did not understand the term “First Cause”, then you are correct. Now I do, but think it is a term which can easily mislead people. The link explains what is meant by it, so I see what you are saying, and it is a valid theory, but not adequate for proof. There is no proof the cyclic nature Marvin posits is not happening.

        If by ignorant, you mean I don’t blindly agree with you, then you are also correct. Of course anyone who blindly agrees with anyone else has a high probability of ignorance. The wise person questions that which does not make sense to him. The wisest person questions everything.

        Of course neither of these actually has any relationship to my intellect (or yours). If you are using the term correctly and mean I have a low IQ and/or am not educated, sorry Charley, that dog won’t hunt. Ignoring every other field for the moment, your knowledge of logical argument is far inferior to mine, or at least poorly applied. Odd how despite me agreeing with your point of view, we still end up at loggerheads a lot…

      130. I’m surprised you never heard of the First Cause argument before reading the link.

        The solution is that, if something must be eternal, then “stuff-in-motion” would be that thing. “Stuff” refers to matter in all its forms, whether super-condensed sub-atomic stuff as we theorize existed in a “singularity” prior to the Big Bang, or the super-dispersed stuff that makes up our visible universe. “Motion” includes both movement as well as all the transformations as quarks become the components of atomic elements which become components of molecules, etc.

        That stuff is eternal solves the “what created stuff out of nothing?”, because there never was a state of nothingness to begin with. That motion (and transformation) is eternal solves the “first cause” problem, because all of causation results from stuff being in flux.

        Any questions?

      131. I’d heard of something similar to “First Cause”, but not labeled with those words.

        “if something must be eternal, then “stuff-in-motion” would be that thing” That could be the eternal thing, but why MUST it be? And why would something in our environment be eternal? It seems counter intuitive; for something to be eternal, wouldn’t it need to exist in an environment not slaved to time as our environment is?

      132. In presuming stuff-in-motion is eternal, we must also assume it doesn’t disappear via entropy. Entropy would be a transformation that does not remove anything. In Wikipedia, in their article on the Big Bang, they mention that one cosmological theory also involves a Big Crunch. There is a separate Wiki entry for the Big Crunch. The expanding universe would cease expanding at some point and matter would be drawn back together again by gravity, back into the singularity. And this could then erupt into another Big Bang, and go on like an eternal yo-yo effect. Here is how they describe it: “Eventually all matter would collapse into black holes, which would then coalesce producing a unified black hole or Big Crunch singularity.”

        The idea has been around for a long time. I’m sure I read about it prior to Wikipedia’s existence (I’m 71 by the way).

        Now, if the expansion of our current universe continues, and never reverses, then another possibility would be that stuff from our universe would eventually bump into stuff from other universes, heading in the opposite direction. Where they meet could produce additional black holes growing into singularities that Bang Big into new universes. Sort of like two universes reproducing sexually. 🙂

      133. I’m not sure I follow the last paragraph. How are you defining a “universe”? (My glossary page makes a few attempts, but I’m willing to hear new definitions.)

      134. A universe would be that stuff produced by a Big Bang event of a single “singularity”. Given infinity, there would be room for many such universes. It’s a bit presumptive to suggest that our universe would be the only one, given so much room to fill. 🙂

      135. Okay, but from your description, which doesn’t seem to distinguish between a blackhole and a singularity, Hawking radiation would be a universe…?

      136. No, not just the Radiation. All the stuff from that singularity, all the galaxies that we normally consider to be part of our universe. For all practical purposes, there “appears” to be just this universe because the, uh, whatever you call that boundary of visibility, prevents us from ever seeing anything beyond this one universe.

        But, having conceived the possibility of infinity, it would be reasonable to assume there may be an infinite number of other universes out there, and I mean way way way out there. Somebody had a famous quote about life existing on other planets, and that if ours was the only one, then what a waste of space. The same logic should suggest that if infinity is real, then, having established there is at least one universe, their may be others out there as well.

        Other universes could provide a theoretical framework for explaining our continued and accelerating expansion. Suppose there are black holes surrounding us out there that are drawing the content of our universe outward. (And perhaps when they all have a Big Bang, we get squished into another singularity again).

        Another idea of the accelerated expansion might be that we are no longer expanding, but actually being pulled back to the center, and relativistically it only appears like we’re moving outward, because everything else is just moving inward instead.

        But all this stuff is totally in the realm of speculation and imagination. Perhaps we’ll see it in Sci-Fi someday.

      137. Marvin,

        Additionally, the discoveries of modern science have categorically proven that your observation b) is dead wrong.

        The universe had a definite beginning.

        That means it was caused.

        Logically, rationally, reasonably then, God is that cause, that First Cause, that caused the universe to begin and come into being.

      138. Step 1) Stars begin accumulating matter until they begin fusion.
        Step 2) The largest stars go through an explosive transformation in which parts explode outwards, but other parts fall inward, creating a new black hole.
        Step 3) As stuff moves about, these black holes begin accumulating more and more matter, and probably combine with other black holes into a super-dense ball of stuff.
        Step 4) At some tipping point of accumulation, a “last straw” is reached, and the black hole explodes with a Big Bang into a fresh Universe.
        Step 5) Go to step 1.

        There is no “first” cause. The process is eternal. It has always been and will always be.

        Not only that, but, given infinity to fill, universes are likely being created by Big Bangs all over the place, like popcorn. Perhaps there is even some exchange of matter between them.

      139. Marvin,

        Your step 4, that black holes explode into new universes is pure fantasy.

        Again, you need to get educated.

        Modern cosmology which is taught at ALL universities never claims that black holes explode into new universes.

        “Universes are likely being created by Big Bangs all over the place…”

        …is a monumentally stupid, ignorant statement.

      140. The Smolin fecund theory of the universes, with Black Holes exploding into new universes, isn’t widely accepted and barely supported and is difficult to think of how it could be falsifiable… I wouldn’t lead with it.

      141. Had to look that one up! I’m not sure where I ran across “stuff-in-motion”, but it is more likely from something Bertrand Russell may have said. I was reading some philosophy as a teenager at the public library, but not physics.

      142. False. Modern science has not found a definite beginning.
        Modern science has found an expansion from a singularity. The origin of that singularity or whether that singularity is what came ‘first’ (so far as that term makes sense with the function of time at this stage) is all still open.

      143. What did God create?
        And, given this definition, would you be willing to accept — should the evidence come in — that “The Creator” is a non-intelligent physical process?
        If yes, then I have little to no quibble.
        If no, then you are not offering the definition you are actually using.

      144. Actually, it is a form of “tape”, much like paper tape used to carry data for a medical lab computer. It is only different in form, but functionally equivalent. And the chemical machine reading the tape is like the lab computer reading the paper tape, such that it is in form a “machine” accepting input and producing output, which is functionally a machine, even though it is a different machine than the lab computer.

        However, neither machine has its own purpose. Both are following instructions, such that neither would be said to have a “will” of its own. The purpose of its actions would be found in the higher level organization, the living organism in one case, and the clinical lab in the other.

      145. Cat,

        It is a tape reader!

        The mRNA is the tape containing the information and the ribosome is the tape reader and molecular factory that fabricates the amino acids into proteins according to the information on the tape.

      146. Dude, I spent the first 10 years of my career designing tape readers, and what is described is NOT a tape reader. It is LIKE a tape reader, it functions “similarly”, “in the same manner as”, a tape reader but that does not make it a tape reader.

      147. Cat,

        Don’t you think it is odd that nature’s tape reader outdates any one of your designs by a billion years or so?

        Human beings are conscience living creatures.

        So it is no coincidence that our technology mimics natural processes.

      148. Yeah, maybe we “stole” the idea which resulted in tape readers from the biological machine inside us. “I say, that’s a pretty good way of transferring information. Of course we can’t make those chains, but maybe if we use paper or mylar we can get some percentage of the benefit. But then we can’t use the chemical reader, but optics or magnetism may serve adequately”

      149. Cat,

        From the Judeo Christian point of view, man was created in the image of God. Therefore it makes perfect sense that we would mimic God’s intelligence in our own technology.

      150. But not a classical machine, with all the implications or a classical machine (to borrow Cat’s terms).

        To go back to my terms, you’re stretching the definition (of both machine and language) and trying to drag along all the implications of the traditional senses of the word.

      151. Cat didn’t argue anything of the sort.

        You are applied concepts to a “classical” concept of a machine, which has not been shown to fit the “enhanced” concept of a machine.

        That’s his point. Really easy to follow.

        My point is similar.

      152. You are welcome to prefer the simple explanation, as long as you realize that neither your preference or simplicity has any requirement to be correct.

      153. How does the intelligence of an immune system explain hayfever? An allergy to a non-harmful “pathogen” that it never “learns” is harmless… because it isn’t actually capable to learning because it is not an intelligent process.
        It appears to have a much more elegant explanation — features and bugs — as a blind unintelligent process than an intelligent one.

      154. Trump was elected for one reason and one reason only. He was markedly (even though unpleasantly) different from all the other candidates, who convinced a lot of people that every single one of those other candidates would continue to screw us over as much as they possibly could in the same ways as their seemingly identical predecessors did, and things would only get worse. Trump got the vote because he was DIFFERENT. Whether that difference is a good thing is another question altogether. Whether things will get worse, better or stay the same is to be determined. Of course, there are some people who will be worse off, but the important metric is how I and the country as a whole fare.

      155. Here, at this blog, you make assertions that are clearly nonsense.
        For one, you speak of scientific proof.
        Second of all, you imply that you are trained to an advanced level in biology and philosophy (or whatever subject suits your need) and then argue from this false position of authority.

        You can’t cite sources.
        You can’t offer specifics.
        When you do offer specifics, any level of further reading reveals you’re being disingenuous.

  6. Allallt,

    I don’t argue from any sense of authority.

    I am just trying to teach you what is taught in nearly every freshman biology class.

    But you are a religious fanatic and no better than the rubes who believe in a flat earth or that the earth is only 6000 years old.

    1. Find me the textbook or journal articles you’re basing this on, then. Otherwise you’re simply taking a shit freshman’s class.

      Unless it’s not a biology class, but a ‘theology’ or ‘apologist’ class that is trying to dress things up to suit their needs.

      1. Find me the text book you’re using.
        The one that talks of DNA as an authored language and of cell organelles are intelligently constructed machines.

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