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Thread: EVOLUTION: Science or Science Fiction? ~ Battle Royale IX

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    Your powers are weak, old man. Knight's Avatar
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    That's it for round #3.

    Stratnerd is back on the clock and has until Dec 15th at 11:35AM (MDT) to make his 4th round post.
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  2. #17
    Old Timer Stratnerd's Avatar
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    This may be my worst post yet in terms of style but yesterday was the final lecture, final lab and term papers were due (so for two days, I was tossing back and forth papers for students who are writing their first research paper.. and doing things like quoting entire pages). They’re still not graded. And my girlfriend is going through the final stages of a contested divorce. Excuses, excuses, excuses... I can look forward to brewing some stout and creating some empty bottles to put it in  Speaking of which, I need to split for babysitting duties…

    Shifting definitions
    Jim still misrepresents Evolution. Evolution is an explanation of how biodiversity came about on this planet but it only extends to a time where organisms, however simple, are reproducing (I thought that might be obvious). That’s the only thing that evolution attempts to explain. What Jim constantly refers to is ontological naturalism – atheism, an entirely different debate that already occurred here on TOL. Evolution does not make any claims about morality, ethics, life from nonliving material and many other phenomena given in the examples below. While these are interesting questions, they do not belong here and any future reference to them will be ignored for the sake of sticking to the topic at hand.

    Examples of erroneously extending Evolution and conflating it with ontological naturalism:
    Evolutionary claims, e.g., that life came from non-life, that acausal mindless chance spawned causal laws, that non-living, non-conscious matter became conscious and living, etc.,
    The Evolutionary hypothesis. This view says that things can become their opposites; that moral principles popped out of amoral matter; that molecules in motion spawned human dignity; that acausal chance and chaos produced universal laws of logic.
    and the worst case is
    This is a valid concern, and I can see why one might think the topic is changing. However, consider the claims that are being made by each side of this debate. On the one hand, you have a claim that living organisms mindlessly arose from non-living matter.
    who is making this claim?

    Read my definitions of evolution and see if I even hint at such a thing. From dictionary.com.
    Biology. a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species. b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.
    Some things Jim wrote (or cut and pasted):
    “The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions." -- Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986.
    With the exception of the very last sentence of the paragraph, I do not disagree with the concept of evolution as stated by Futuyma.
    And later Jim’s says “I agree fully with Stratnerd's definition of evolution as stated (please refer to Stratnerd's post, above, for his full definition).”

    If this is true then why does he repeatedly use a definition of Evolution that he didn’t agree to and I (and any scientist) would not use????
    So we should stick to the definition of Evolution that we agreed leave all the ontological baggage behind.

    Jim plays TAG

    Most of Jim’s arguments center on the origin of logic, induction, and uniformity of nature. Jim claim that only his notion of God can account for logic, induction, uniformity of nature. This is the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God or TAG. [Hats off to mighty_duck for bringing the TAG to my attention!] A theistic evolutionist would argue that God is the source of logic and uniformity AND evolution is true. The atheist and agnostic would argue that we do not know the source of logic and uniformity and arguments for them are tangential, at best, to questions such as the source of biodiversity. Only the Biblical literalist insists that TAG has something to do with the debate between creation and evolution. TAG is used between the atheist and theist concerning the existence of God- that other debate here on TOL.

    Examples of TAG

    Rather, given the existence and nature of God, creationists rightly expect nature to behave in a uniform fashion, and for induction to be a reliable method of systematizing knowledge and of generating principles.
    same can be said for the theistic evolutionist

    if you are going to assert that the theistic evolution cannot make this case then please outline the steps in the logic that led you to this conclusion. Ditto for below.
    The Creationist view is that supernatural forces are indeed at work, that God Himself ensures that nature behaves in a uniform way.
    same can be said for the theistic evolutionist
    This views says that the Creator made the universe and all that is in it, that moral principles come from His righteous character, that human dignity comes from being created in God's image, and that the laws of logic reflect the nature and attributes of God.
    same can be said for the theistic evolutionist
    and expects the Creationist to be able to give a play-by-play. If God had chosen to reveal the procedure, we could have that discussion. But He didn't.
    Here the theistic evolutionist has the upper hand. A creationist offers no explanation and admits that they cannot give one (so creationism itself is beyond falsification – the primary criteria most scientists use to judge if something is scientific. A theistic evolutionists explains the horse as a product of evolution and bases this argument on their God-given powers of logic. Nobody is asking and can give a play-by-play, I’m simply asking for a general mechanism.

    The TAG is presented above only concerns the existence of God, which isn’t debated here.

    But it does not follow logically that because God exists that creationism is true. The existence of God allows for the possibility that creationism is true but Jim will need to argue for that independently. It is a slap in the face of millions to dismiss Christians that do not believe in his flavor of Christianity and reject Biblical literalism (yea, I know that doesn’t matter); Christians that believe in a law-giving God but do not accept the Biblical literalists’ claims. Given that creationism presumes a God as define in Genesis, I do not know why he focuses so much energy on making arguments about the existence of God – I take that position as a given. Seems like more energy should be spent trying to show me and the skeptics that the Earth and all organisms that inhabit it are 6000 years old via evidence. If a convincing argument is made for creationism then the existence of God follows more easily (albeit not perfectly) than the other direction (God -> creationism).

    It seems like to that the basic premises of TAG is that human-constructed explanations that are logical (rationalizations) are True and that there can only be one rational explanation for a particular phenomenon. But real life shows this is not the case – rationalizations can be wrong, multiple rationalizations can exist and the number only depends on one’s imagination. So Jim’s argument that there’s only one rationalization for logic is not convincing or inconsequential. We would need to take him on this single unsupportable premise and there’s no justification to do so.


    Some meat on the bone….TAG -> creationism
    I take the statement below as being the crux of nearly everything Jim is arguing; his argument for God’s existence and the positive argument for Biblical literalism.

    We must justify our use of logic[L], our trust in the inductive principle [IP] and our reliance upon the uniformity of nature [UofN]. The only way to do that rationally is to recognize the verity of Genesis. If the God of the Bible exists, as I claim He does, and if the Bible is His inerrant, infallible Word, as I claim it is, then it follows that the account in Genesis of God's creative work is trustworthy
    SQ14 So if we accept that earth was supernaturally created and 6000 years old we would have also proved it that the earth was supernaturally created and 6000 years old? Yes [b]if[/u] we accept them as true then they are accepted as true. And this ain’t circular because?
    SQ15 What sort of justification of L, IP, and UN is necessary? Does the fact that you can rationalize it make it true?
    SQ15b Your concept of “uniformity” is unclear to me. What exactly is it and when does it apply? I have seen it in a few different contexts here.

    Philosophical (brain games) aside, the arguments about the origin of logic, uniformity are like background noise to everyday science including evolutionary biology. To take on Jim’s general position is to have no consequence (logic exists because God exists). To take on his specific arguments (logic et al confirms Genesis, Biblical inerrancy etc) however, is to close the door on skepticism – I consider this not only dangerous but a stupid move.

    I don’t know if Knight would allow it but it would be incredibly useful to me (and probably many other people) to have a separate page with definitions that we can refer to. I did this in one thread called “Science 101” . It would also be fair to Jim so he doesn’t need to repeat definitions that I’ve forgotten.

    Evolution as Science and Science as Science
    As I pointed out above Jim unnecessarily expands the definition of Evolution into ontological arguments. This is unacceptable. As for definitions of science, Jim’s definition is so vague as to be meaningless. He say’s
    science can comprise the enterprise of researching, discovering, analyzing, testing and synthesizing data.
    Thus a CPA is scientist! And so is a tarot card reader. And so is someone playing tic-tac-toe!

    Researching data? I’m not sure what that even means. Discovering data – I assume that means data collection. Analyzing data – I assume that means statistical analyses. Testing data – there’s an important term thrown in without much explanation but seems crucial to the question at hand.
    SQ16 How are we testing data and why? Do hypotheses play a role? How? Do we make predictions about what happens? How do we make predictions?
    Synthesizing data - no idea what this means in this context. Dictionary.com says “To combine so as to form a new, complex product:”.
    SQ17 By Jim’s definition of science, is Evolution science? Can we not research, discover, analyze, test, and synthesize data concerning Evolution?

    But Jim’s take on science is this
    And thus, for me to press my claim that the Creationist view is superior to the Methodological-Naturalist/Falsifiability-Framework view,
    Superior in what way? The fact that you cannot falsify any of your own claims? Because you don’t know when to suspend uniformity and invoke a miracle? I’m wondering how a presuppositonalist would do any research – on anything. I love skepticism/science for the reason it is antithetical to a self-insulating worldview like creationism. Let the bruise and battered theories fight it out. Those that emerge intact we can have even greater confidence in. A self-insulating episteme, now just looking at the explaining power of creationism, can never make this claim – outsiders will always be asking “well, how do you know” and you’ll need to start on the circularity path.

    SQ18 Enlighten us. To use a specific example, how would you go about figuring what elements of the landscape are the most important in regulating avian populations? How do invoke you invoke the creationist view? Do you formulate hypotheses? How do you include supernatural stuff? Do you test anything?
    Evolution is the unwarranted assumption of the uniformity of nature, which cannot be tested without begging the question or appealing to some "extra-natural" principle. Since this assumption does not come under the purview of MN, Evolution fails as science on this point.
    Substitute genetics, physiology, physics, cosmology, cytology, histology, etc for Evolution. In a very tortured way you are arguing that all sciences fail as being science.

    Let me put this simply; MN is the exclusion of supernatural explanations. Evolution is an explanation for biodiversity that excludes the supernatural. Gravity is an explanation that excludes the supernatural. Explanations from ecology, genetics, physiology, physics, cosmology, cytology, etc etc etc are all based on MN.

    To reduce this down to arguments about the source of logic, uniformity, etc is fruitless, get you know where and is like background noise for working scientists.

    And it’s done again:

    induction cannot be falsified without begging the question or appealing to some "extra-natural" principle. Since this assumption is not falsifiable, Evolution fails as science on this point as well.
    This leaves me scratching my head – what the heck are you talking about? Do you know?
    When science talks about falsification, we are talking about confronting hypotheses with data. I have no idea that you are talking about here. Again, substitute any science in your sentence and it fails so science fails as science.

    A testable and falsifiable hypothesis about evolution is that shared conserved DNA sequences are likely to have important and fundamental functions.

    Another puzzle is the claim that scientists are appealing to some "extra-natural" principle. Really? What? How can scientists can be appealing to an “extra-natural” principle when, by their vary nature are “removing God from the equation”? Very odd.

    SQ19Another puzzle is the claim that we appeal to “magical axioms”? What’s the difference between a magical and a non-magical axiom? Is magical like pulling a nearly endless supply of fish out of a basket? Or turning water into wine? Or stopping the sun?

    The section on using the information-theoretic approach to worldviews doesn’t deserve a response since (1) Evolution does not make the claims Jim says it does and (2) using untestable hypotheses. Only by redefining terms we agreed upon does he make any case and he can’t make excuses for putting in something untestable (a neatly conveniently ignore part of the IT approach). Unacceptable.


    ************************************************** *********************

    HQ19: Which label do you claim for yourself? And how would you define it?
    SA_19: Sorry, I haven’t thought about it much and I don’t have time to ponder these issues.

    Whereas Creationists view the uniformity of nature as neither an assumption nor as axiomatic. Rather, given the existence and nature of God, creationists rightly expect nature to behave in a uniform fashion, and for induction to be a reliable method of systematizing knowledge and of generating principles.
    SQ19: Since when is induction reliable? How does God create animals? – you have millions of cases to develop your hypothesis. How do we know this is reliable?

    SQ19b. Same goes for things like “rapid ice ages” that creationists have invented. How do we know this is a reliable induction?

    HQ11b :Why? On what rational basis does Stratnerd consider falsifiability to be an element of a scientific approach?
    SA_HQ11b. Induction may be misleading. This is why any scientists seeks to falsify their data – it increases confidence in their induction by doing their best to show it to be false. Or they can show induction to be false by showing that new cases conflict with predictions from induction.
    Now, I could simply focus my efforts on proving that Evolution is not science, and never bring up the subject of God at all. I could take the position of extreme Humean skepticism and reduce all scientific inquiry to utter absurdity.
    Spoken like a true philosopher.
    HQ20: On what rational grounds does Stratnerd assert the principle of Occam's Razor?
    SA_HQ20 Parameters added to an explanation are a waste if they do not add to the explanation.
    No, they come from scientific modeling based on the testimony of the Bible. They are not invented ad hoc. The ideas and models have a Source, namely, the Bible.
    SQ20: What is a scientific model in your mind?

    Again, not invented, but proclaimed or inferred by the Biblical text.
    SQ21:where’s does the text suggest a rapid ice age? If it wasn’t there are you still going to insist that it wasn’t invented?
    Again, the claims posited by Creationist scientists are not "made up" or ad hoc inventions. They originate in the text of the Bible.
    SQ22: Where in the Bible is super tectonics, rapid ice age, water vapor canopy, super light speed, super speciation mentioned?
    If the Bible is God's inerrant and infallible Word, as it claims to be, then one should rightly expect that whatever the Bible says about nature, about cosmogony, about anthropology, about biology, etc. would be accurate and true because the testimony came from the One who created it all and sustains it all.
    of course if it ain’t we can test the claims and declare them bunk when they fail.

    HQ21: Of the Biblical miracles Stratnerd is familiar with, which one would he claim was a violation of natural law?
    SA_HQ22. Walking on water, stopping the rotation of the earth, rising from the dead (after a few days), supernatural creation of the earth, supernatural creation of organisms, miraculously appearing fish from a basket, water turning into wine, a woman from a rib, a man from dust,

    If the God of the Bible exists, and if the Bible is God's inerrant/infallible Word, then it follows that the Creator has exclusive prerogative to determine and declare through His Book what is and is not reality.
    yup, “if” and if we do not blindly accept this assertion we will have to discover what reality is

    When pressed to explain and justify the basic tools of life that we all take for granted, or to give a basic account of where life originated or how things have become the way they are,
    what’s a basic tool of life? Digestion?
    he Evolutionist must resort to an invented ad-hoc story that reaches back into an imagined, unobserved past, passed on to subsequent generations by way of blind tradition, the basic premises of which are not to be questioned, but ignorantly assumed and embraced, lest the very fabric of so-called science be torn asunder. This is the stuff of myth and legend, not science.
    LOL, very grandiose indeed. I thought Evolutionists, any scientist really, posited hypotheses that are to be tested. Where did you get this skewed and erroneous view of biology and of science? You obviously don’t know the scientific community very well and have no idea what scientists do.

    HQ4c: Does Stratnerd believe someone who does not affirm Evolution is hindered in his or her ability to conduct scientific inquiry in such fields as genetics, epidemiology and ecology? If so, why?
    SA_HQ4c. Only in a few cases. For example, shared conserved regions across taxa would suggest that these are important for basic functions of cells. A creationists has nothing to say about it because the creationist has no idea how DNA was created.

    HQ5b:If you don't know how it works, then how can you know that the working of supernatural forces in nature would preclude making predictions?
    SA_HQ5b… that doesn’t make any sense, well, I mean, its obvious. You build hypothesis based on posited mechanisms – remove posited mechanisms – how do you make a prediction?

    To the point:
    SQ23:Make a testable prediction about how God created logic or a horse or anything you wish – be sure to justify it – that is, provide the logical links along the steps you take.

    HQ7a: I don't know anything about DNA (well, very little anyway). Nor do I espouse Intelligent Design. All I want to know is, why can't someone say "I.D. predicts that DNA ..."? On my view, I would say, "Creationism predicts that DNA would be orderly and comprehensible."
    SA_HQ7: because nobody understands how a super-intelligent would create DNA. Given the nature/function of DNA, your prediction is trivial. What would disorderly and incomprehensible DNA look like and how could we see it?

    HA_SQ1a: See HA_SQ1:, above. If you require further detail, I will be happy to oblige.
    please since this is the entire crux of your positive argument for creationism.

    HA_SQ1b:The latter. Randomness does not exist in nature. It is merely a theoretical construct.
    SQ23: Then why do keep detecting and creating randomness? Is order a theoretical contract? Why or why not.

    SQ3: Do you know of any way to know about the mechanics of creation so we might be able to make specific and testable predictions about organism – thus turning creationism into creation science (you’d be a hero to the creationist community).

    HA_SQ3: To answer your question directly, no, but I don't see how it is relevant, or how the inability to know the mechanics of creation precludes creationism from being creation science. I find it interesting that you want to know the mechanics of creation before you will allow Creationist-scientists to make predictions about organisms. But you don't know the mechanics of life from non-life, yet you presume to make predictions about organisms. It sounds like a double standard to me.
    This deserves special attention. Why is making predictions about creationism relevant? Well, if falsification is a necessary part of science and you can’t come up with a means to falsify your claims then you aren’t doing science and creation scientists cannot exist. Since they don’t allow falsification anyway, this point is secondary. By your standards of science their might be creationist scientists but so is the secretary that does the payroll and the guy that picks up trash.

    Life from non-life isn’t part of evolution. But that question can be investigated and approached scientifically because you can make falsifiable predictions by coming up with mechanisms that are hypotheses.

    HA_SQ5b:I believe changes do happen, but not to a sufficient degree to account for life (period) or the current diversity of life we see in the world today.
    SQ24: I asked this question before but what stops evolution? Why do you say that? Because it conflicts with your Biblical paradigm?

    HA_SQ6a:Yes, I followed the nomenclature. Loosely defined, perhaps. I was trying to play along, despite not being a biologist. Even single-celled animals are sentient, according to the broad definition of sentience, right?
    On further thought, I might say a general property of animals that Creationism predicts is extension and movement in space.
    say what? What does that mean?

    SQ6b. How do you justify it? Come up with some biological principals that would lead you to predict that snails and deer would be sentient.

    HA_SQ7.I don't see a rational alternative, unless one wants to believe in magic.

    Or you’ve just reached the limits of your imagination.

    Either a Personal and Powerful Creator made and sustains all that exists, or it's magic.
    SQ25: what’s the difference between a supernatural creator poofing life and the universe from nothing and magic?


    Evolutionist, as you admitted above, must ever be tentative even about the tools and methods he uses to do his science.
    yes, and?

    Should I bother wondering if Evolutionist scientists include the Creationist scientific community in their peer review process?
    Well, if a person is established in their field and has a track record of being able to produce scientific papers then why not? Behe probably gets papers all the time for organic chemistry. About evolution? Probably not – it ain’t his area.

    and I know of no other comparable peer-reviewed symposium on the planet that holds to the academic rigor that the ICC does.
    academic rigor? Because you open it to questions? I’ve never been to a symposia where ideas put out aren’t available to scrutiny. This is includes Society for Conservation Biology (particularly contentious and heated), American Ornithologists’ Union (at times heated but then people aren’t putting out hypotheses such as Water Vapor Canopies), Ecological Society of America. Now you know that the ICC doesn’t have the market cornered on academically rigorous symposia. What what are the consequences for science of peer-review at a meeting such as the ICC?

    Intellect alone does not grant a correct understanding of scripture. It's a heart issue, a moral issue. The fear of the Lord, not intellectual horsepower, is the beginning of knowledge.
    In this case reliable knowledge is defined by the self-insulating episteme of creationism. And how do you know this knowledge is reliable without jumping on a circular track of arguments?

    HA_SQ10: Natural law describes forces and fields that operate in nature. Natural order merely describes the regularity we observe in nature.

    SQ25aWhat is the natural law that allows for men to rise from the dead, walk on water, temporarily stops the sun, creates organisms and a universe spontaneously?

    SQ25bHow does uniformity of nature fit into natural laws and natural regularity?

    No one is convinced to change their perception of the universe by evidence, because one's perception of the universe that which governs how evidence is viewed,
    I know this isn’t true because it was evidence that made me reject the claims of the Biblical literalist. True though, if you presuppose the Bible is inerrant then you are immune to contrary evidence. Although that’s a very comforting position to take (your worldview can’t be wrong), I find it very dissatisfying.

    Also, there are plenty of writings, by friends, close relatives, loved ones, of Charles Darwin and other movers and shakers of that period to betray the true impetus behind what they published and how they published it.
    Since I’m most interested in Darwin, can you provide an example of his true impetus?

    HA_SQ12: …How is it, in a worldview such a Evolutionism where the very tools and methods of science are tentative and suspect, that one would ever come to the conclusion (as if conclusions are even available to someone who cannot justify the use of their tools & methods) that < dissimilarities = dissimilar purposes> is circular reasoning?
    Explanations are tentative… not the tools and methods. I hope I never implied it because I do not feel that way. The tools and methods of science, methodological naturalism, skepticism, logic, falsification (and now the information-theoretic framework) have a long history of success in our understanding of the world.

    HA_SQ13: Two reasons: (1) Common descent of dissimilar organisms violates logic and reality and cannot account for the diversity of life we see around us, and (2) God's Word indicates special, recent (young earth) creation, which precludes the kinds of changes asserted by the Evolutionary view.
    The thing about organisms is that organisms aren’t dissimilar or similar per se – traits are. And similarity is posited to come from convergence (dissimilar ancestors) or homology. What you’ll find is that organisms will be similar for some traits and others will be dissimilar. Vertebrates share many similarities (one being the the backbone) and many dissimilarities. You’re posts about this do not take this into account so I can’t see where you’re coming from.

    Also, here’s the really strange thing: “common descent of dissimilar organisms violates logic” – if evolution (lower case) PREDICTS increasing divergence (via accumulating mutations) then dissimilarities (in some traits) are perfectly logical!

    HA_SQ13b: I don't know. But I think, armed with the tools and methods of science, coupled with a cogent biblical worldview, a Creationist biologist could provide an answer.
    What tools and methods are you referring to?
    Battling TOL creationist jerks-for-Jesus since 1998

    I'd rather be (e^-lamba*lambda^x)/x! -ing!

    Everything might be wrong! -Richard Feynman

    My God I love Star Trek TNG

  3. #18
    Your powers are weak, old man. Knight's Avatar
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    Over 1000 post club Hilston's Avatar
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    Round IV Post
    17 Dec 2005

    This round comprises the following:

    I. Allegations of Shifting the Topic and Definitions
    A. The evolving definition of Evolution
    B. Sticking to the Topic
    C. Stratnerd on Justification
    D. Methodological Naturalism
    E. The [Non-]Claims of Evolution
    II. The 'Out-ing' of Hilston
    III. The 'Out-ing' of Theistic Evolutionists and Stratnerd's Defense of them
    IV. The Necessity of the Biblical-Creationist God and the Nature of Evidence
    V. Methodological Naturalism is Self-Refuting.
    VI. Stratnerd's Questions

    I. Allegations of Shifting the Topic and Definitions
    There have been complaints from Grandstand participants regarding an alleged shifting of the topic on my part. Also, we now see complaints from Stratnerd that I've shifted definitions. The latter is true in the case of term that I was not initially aware of (methodological naturalism), the rationale of which is explained below.

    A. The evolving definition of Evolution
    Stratnerd's original definition of Evolution went like this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Another definition [of Evolution], and the one that interests most readers here, is evolution as an explanation for the diversity we see today. So this is the same definition as the broad scale but restricting it to longer time scales thus becoming a historical hypothesis or theory.
    Now he has given an additional stipulation, adding the "time where organisms ... are reproducing." He writes:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Evolution is an explanation of how biodiversity came about on this planet but it only extends to a time where organisms, however simple, are reproducing
    Of course he adds, parenthetically: ... (I thought that might be obvious).

    But note that by limiting the definition of Evolution to a time in which reproduction is occurring, Stratnerd implies that Evolution is not concerned with the time one second before the first organism reproduced. According to the stipulated limit of Stratnerd's definition, the Evolutionist must exclude and cannot extend to the pre-reproductive state of the first organism; nor does it extend to any proto-organisms that failed to reproduce. The point of all this hair-splitting is to demonstrate that, regardless of Stratnerd's calculated effort to strategically bury the collective-ostrich-head of Evolutionism in the primordial sand, he cannot justifiably ignore the obvious ontological questions concerning the original organism, even before it reproduced. Consider this a segue ...

    Sticking to the Topic.
    Recall that this is a debate about whether or not Evolution is science. While Evolution and science are all about factual claims and evidence, this is a debate about the topics themselves, the extra-natural underpinnings of what comprises science and whether or not Evolution passes muster. If we're going to talk about the limits and applications of science ("the pursuit of reliable knowledge (acknowledging that these are tentative explanations) via making justifiable hypotheses and testing such hypothesis is observation or experiment" ~Stratnerd), and do so rationally, we must be prepared to justify our use of the tools and methods of science.

    Therefore, the question before us is about what is or is not justified knowledge (I thought that might be obvious, to borrow a phrase). It should therefore come as surprise that this is unavoidably an epistemological question, that is: How do we know what we know? What I've attempted to do, and will continue to strive toward, is a clear understanding of Stratnerd's underlying assumptions about science and Evolution, and how he knows what he knows. This necessarily includes not only his views of the tools and methods of science and how he justifies them, but also his take on such extra-natural things as his view of human dignity and moral standards. Those who are claiming that there has been a shift of the topic are reacting to what is in reality a clarifying of the debate.

    C. Stratnerd on Justification
    Lest there be any protest against my demand for a justification of Stratnerd's tools and methods of science, it should be noted that Stratnerd is not above setting his own requirements for justification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    The way I build predictions is by means of “if-then” statements with justification. If you cannot justify it then you can’t make the “then” connection (see intelligent design for examples) ... In my line of work, I develop a pool of hypotheses to explain a pattern. We can only include a particular hypothesis (model) if we can justify it ... you need to be able to justify what you put in there. ...
    Stratnerd even includes it as part of his definition of science (which I already quoted above):
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    So, in summary, my definition of science is: the pursuit of reliable knowledge (acknowledging that these are tentative explanations) via making justifiable hypotheses and testing such hypothesis is observation or experiment.
    In a discussion or debate about the nature of science and whether or not a particular theory qualifies as such, the stipulation to justify one's hypotheses must itself be justified. Thus, it is not at all a shifting of the topic for me to require Stratnerd to provide and to justify the basis for his science.

    It is a foundational issue, and if it can be shown that the Evolutionist cannot justify the terms and methods by which his explanation is formulated (i.e. Evolution as an explanation of how biodiversity came about on this planet, extending only to a time where organisms, however simple, are reproducing ~Stratnerd), then it fails as science.

    D. Methodological Naturalism
    Here is an area where I must admit a prior lack of understanding, and hence a subsequent shift in definition. Stratnerd charges me with: "What Jim constantly refers to is ontological naturalism – atheism ..." I don't believe there is such a thing as true atheists. Search my posts in this debate. I never refer to atheists or atheism as a real phenomenon. It is a label. It is a descriptive term, but I don't think such a state exists in actuality. However, Stratnerd was correct to point out the shifting of the definition in my treatment of it. This concerns what I view as the logical outcome of Methodological Naturalism: Given the Bible's claim that God holds all things together, methodological naturalism, by its prejudicial dismissal of anything and everything extra-natural, becomes a form of ontological naturalism.

    E. The [Non-]Claims of Evolution
    Stratnerd writes:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Evolution does not make any claims about morality, ethics, life from nonliving material and many other phenomena given in the examples below. While these are interesting questions, they do not belong here and any future reference to them will be ignored for the sake of sticking to the topic at hand.
    I'm familiar with the claim, but I beg to differ. The questions belong because Evolution, by Stratnerd's own definition, is "an explanation of how biodiversity came about on this planet, extending only to a time where organisms, however simple, are reproducing." The biodiversity of life on this planet cannot exclude from the equation the behavior of organisms for whom morality, cosmogony and values are very real issues that affect their lives. Even Stratnerd's definition of science invokes the notion of value, referring to "the pursuit of reliable knowledge" and to "making justifiable hypotheses." Such definitions necessarily include morality, ethics, values and origins in the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    However, consider the claims that are being made by each side of this debate. On the one hand, you have a claim that living organisms mindlessly arose from non-living matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    who is making this claim?
    Many Evolutionists do. Of course they obviously are careful not to state the claim in such bald terms. It is inescapably implied and it follows from the stipulation to disallow any and all considerations of the extra-natural. If God is not part of the equation, then living organisms, by default, mindlessy arose from non-living matter. I know, I know, theistic Evolutionists would disagree. They have other problems for which I would happily offer consultation, but they'll have to get in line.

    II. The 'Out-ing' of Hilston
    As if it were some secret, Stratnerd apparently had a secondary "Eureka!" moment when his comrade, mighty_duck, revealed to him that Hilston is a proponent of the Transcendental Argument for God's existence (TAG). Anyone could easily discover this by a simple Google search (use quotes around my full name, "James Hilston"), by visiting my personal website (www.jameshilston.com), by visiting my church's website (www.tgfonline.org) or by searching here on TOL for my debates with anti-Theists and evidentialist Christians.

    In protest of its relevance, Stratnerd writes:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    The atheist and agnostic would argue that we do not know the source of logic and uniformity and arguments for them are tangential, at best, to questions such as the source of biodiversity.
    HQ22:Is this Stratnerd's own position ["we do not know the source of logic and uniformity"]?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Only the Biblical literalist insists that TAG has something to do with the debate between creation and evolution.
    It is an inevitable logical progression. I thought that would be obvious. By contrast, I find it fascinating that the Methodological Naturalist would define science as a pursuit of reliable knowledge and require justification for proffered hypotheses, all the while insisting that it is irrelevant to seek to establish a rational foundation for knowledge or to justify one's tools and methods of knowing. These are legitimate and crucial questions that can only be answered by a transcendental consideration of one's theory of knowledge and of science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    The TAG is presented above only concerns the existence of God, which isn’t debated here.
    Note that I have not asked Stratnerd to disprove or to argue against God's existence. Note that I have not at any point tried to convince Stratnerd of God's existence. Based on the complaints I've read so many times by anti-Theists about the way Christians like to discredit Evolution, but let themselves off the hook from having to prove their own view, I stated that I would not only disprove the opponent's position, but that I would prove my own. This was met with favor by onlookers. Now, if Stratnerd wants to protest my discussion of God's existence, that's fine. But it should be obvious, if I'm going to make an argument for my own view and not merely disprove evolution, then I cannot rightly ignore the proof for God's existence, since the very notion of Creationism cannot be separated from the Creator Himself.

    III. The 'Out-ing' of Theistic Evolutionists and Stratnerd's Defense of them
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    Rather, given the existence and nature of God, creationists rightly expect nature to behave in a uniform fashion, and for induction to be a reliable method of systematizing knowledge and of generating principles.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    same can be said for the theistic evolutionist.
    Of course. But the fact that a theistic Evolutionist can provide a rational justification for knowledge and the tools of science doesn't guarantee that he applies them correctly or espouses a coherent Theism. Being able to justify one's methodology does not guarantee right conclusions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    if you are going to assert that the theistic evolution cannot make this case then please outline the steps in the logic that led you to this conclusion. Ditto for below.
    The theistic Evolutionist can certainly make this case; he just misapplies it and shoots himself in the foot by undermining the teaching of the One Who grounds his methodology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    The Creationist view is that supernatural forces are indeed at work, that God Himself ensures that nature behaves in a uniform way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    same can be said for the theistic evolutionist
    Again, of course. But the fact that a theistic Evolutionist acknowledges there are supernatural forces at work does not guarantee right conclusions. The same can be said of me. I fully grant that. But this would then become a debate between me and the theistic Evolutionist, and again, he would have to wait in line with the rest of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    This views says that the Creator made the universe and all that is in it, that moral principles come from His righteous character, that human dignity comes from being created in God's image, and that the laws of logic reflect the nature and attributes of God.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    same can be said for the theistic evolutionist
    Of course. But the fact that a theistic Evolutionist acknowledges the Source of moral principles, human dignity and the laws of logic does not guarantee right conclusions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    ... and expects the Creationist to be able to give a play-by-play. If God had chosen to reveal the procedure, we could have that discussion. But He didn't.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Here the theistic evolutionist has the upper hand. A creationist offers no explanation and admits that they cannot give one (so creationism itself is beyond falsification – the primary criteria most scientists use to judge if something is scientific.
    Have I argued that Creationism is scientific?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    A theistic evolutionists explains the horse as a product of evolution and bases this argument on their God-given powers of logic. Nobody is asking and can give a play-by-play, I’m simply asking for a general mechanism.
    What Stratnerd is requesting isn't available via science, which he defined as "the pursuit of reliable knowledge (acknowledging that these are tentative explanations) via making justifiable hypotheses and testing such hypothesis is observation or experiment."

    The creationist explains the horse as the creative work and design of God and bases this argument on the revealed Word of God. The general mechanism is God's creative power and volition. He. Made. It. The Evolutionist, be they theistic or non-theistic, assumes something he cannot prove or test. Whenever he thinks he is seeing the result of Evolution (capital "E"), he is actually only seeing the result of evolution (lower case "e"). However, this comes thinking as no surprise from non-theistic paradigm that deliberately and preemptively precludes all considerations of the extra-natural in its investigation.
    IV. The Necessity of the Biblical-Creationist God and the Nature of Evidence
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    But it does not follow logically that because God exists that creationism is true.
    It does indeed follow logically for this reason: the Biblical-Creationist conception of God is the only unambiguous, philosophically defensible, logically consistent and internally coherent conception of God that does not undermine human reason and experience. Other conceptions of God may want their day in court as well, and I would be happy to debate any conception of God that wants to get in line and take a number. But for now, since I'm only one person, two people at most (on a good day), those other debaters will have to wait their turn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Seems like more energy should be spent trying to show me and the skeptics that the Earth and all organisms that inhabit it are 6000 years old via evidence. If a convincing argument is made for creationism then the existence of God follows more easily (albeit not perfectly) than the other direction (God -> creationism).
    It is noteworthy that elsewhere Stratnerd complained that I'm conducting my side of Battle Royale in a manner too similar to one that has already occurred here on TOL. Of course, I disagree and challenge anyone to prove this charge. But now Stratnerd is asking me to address topics that have already been argued extensively, not only here on TOL, but in scores and scores of books.

    Most importantly, however, this statement by Stratnerd demonstrates to me that he, like most Evolutionists I've encountered, has not reflected adequately on the nature of evidence and how it is to be evaluated when it is being viewed through the eyes of conflicting of worldviews. By his request for evidence, it seems he does not appreciate or acknowledge the task that is before us. We have conflicting worldviews. Stratnerd holds to a view of reality that excludes, in advance, any and all extra-natural considerations. He thus accepts or rejects all factual claims according to, or in terms of that governing presupposition. On the other hand, I hold to a view of reality that is extra-natural, that the universe has been created by God in accordance with what is taught in the Bible. I therefore accept or reject all factual claims according to the dictates of that governing presupposition. So, for example, the methodological naturalist will insist that the Bible cannot be true because of certain alleged discrepancies. But whenever such factual claims are made by gainsayers to disprove the Bible, the Creationist will insist that any discrepancy found will have a rational explanation.

    Does it get us anywhere to lob factual claims of evidence back and forth, challenging each other to explain one evidence after another, knowing that we will each be evaluating, accepting and rejecting evidence in terms of our respective governing presuppositions? Of course not. It is the proverbial Mexican Standoff, and frankly, the world has seen quite enough of those types of debates. What needs to be addressed, and I claim it is the only rational approach to this difference of opinion, is the conflict of worldviews, or our fundamental perceptions of reality. The difference of opinion between the Methodological Naturalist and the Creationist cannot be resolved by each camp taking the same evidences and sorting them according to their controlling assumptions. The problem lies not in a lack of evidence. The problem lies not in a lack of intellectual horsepower. The problem lies in the conflict of fundamental assumptions that govern our view of reality.

    Since the question before us is about what is or is not science, i.e., justified knowledge, we should not be surprised to find that this is unavoidably an epistemological question, that is: How do we know what we know? What I've attempted to do, and will continue to strive toward, is a clear understanding of Stratnerd's underlying assumptions about reality. How he knows what he knows. This necessarily includes his views of such unscientific things as his view of human dignity and moral standards. This is why I continue to ask him to justify his tools and methods of knowing.

    V. Methodological Naturalism is Self-Refuting.
    Stratnerd has defined Methodological Naturalism as "the assumption that we can only test natural explanations." Although Stratnerd claims that such an approach does not say anything either way about the existence of the supernatural, it should be noted that MN is, at base, deliberately Godless in its assumption. By excluding the extra-natural from the equation, the Methodological Naturalist has, from the outset, presumed to push away the Creator who holds all things together. Since the very foundation and underlying assumption of Methodological Naturalism is a stipulated exclusion of any notion of the extra-natural, I am warranted in challenging the Evolutionist to justify the tools and methods by which they claim to do science whilst ignoring the extra-natural. The Creationist -- the Methodological Extra-Naturalist, if you will -- has a justification for his use of those tools and methods, and that is the existence and attributes of God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    ... Jim’s argument that there’s only one rationalization for logic is not convincing or inconsequential. We would need to take him on this single unsupportable premise and there’s no justification to do so.
    Here's the justification and the support: the rejection of the God of the Bible reduces all reasoning and science to absurdity. Go ahead and test it. Because apart from the God of the Bible, the laws of logic and the pursuit of science are shot dead with their own weapons. Logic cannot logically justify itself, and science cannot scientifically justify itself. The goals and enterprise of logic and science cannot even get started, rationally. Their assumed use of tools and methods are incompatible with their stated premise. To get around this, Methodological Naturalism as a hypothesis must then assert that logic and science are axioms that do not need to be proven. But of course, this violates Stratnerd's own requirement for the justification for a hypotheses.

    VI. Stratnerd's Questions
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    I take the statement below as being the crux of nearly everything Jim is arguing; his argument for God’s existence and the positive argument for Biblical literalism.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    We must justify our use of logic[L], our trust in the inductive principle [IP] and our reliance upon the uniformity of nature [UofN]. The only way to do that rationally is to recognize the verity of Genesis. If the God of the Bible exists, as I claim He does, and if the Bible is His inerrant, infallible Word, as I claim it is, then it follows that the account in Genesis of God's creative work is trustworthy.
    SQ14 So if we accept that earth was supernaturally created and 6000 years old we would have also proved it that the earth was supernaturally created and 6000 years old? Yes if we accept them as true then they are accepted as true. And this ain’t circular because?

    HA_SQ14 That is indeed circular. And it's not my argument. My argument is, the only way to justify the use of L, IP and UofN is to recognize the God of the Bible as the foundation of them. Whenever the Methodological Naturalist asks for evidence, he is already assuming, without justification, the verity of logic and science, which is disallowed according to his own espoused governing assumption that excludes anything extra-natural. Logic and science in their formulation are extra-natural in their every essence, and are therefore excluded by Methodological Naturalism. When the Methodological Naturalist presumes to use L, IP and UofN, he is unwittingly acting like a Creationist, because only Creationism offers a rational basis on which to employ those tools.

    SQ15 What sort of justification of L, IP, and UN is necessary? Does the fact that you can rationalize it make it true?

    HA_SQ15: The necessary justification is a rational basis to believe their are a reliable means to true knowledge and a reason to proceed on the conception that L, IP and UofN will continue to be reliable means to true knowledge. And again, I don't claim to be able to "rationalize" my use of L, IP and UofN. My claim is that the Bible grounds and verifies my use of them.

    SQ15b: Your concept of “uniformity” is unclear to me. What exactly is it and when does it apply? I have seen it in a few different contexts here.

    HQ_SQ15bUniformity refers to the regularities we see and experience in our interactions with the world. 2+2 always seems to work out to 4. For the Creationist, this makes sense. Chairs generally hold us up, and when they fail, we do not immediately assume magic or voodoo at work, but look for a reason for its failure that is consistent with the regularities we see. For the Creationist, this makes sense. When the Creationist scientist sees unusual behavior in the laboratory, he does not immediately assume that God did something differently, rather, he searches for a reason that is consistent with God's Word and the uniformity God has imposed on His creation. When the Methodological Naturalist adds 2+2, sits in a chair and does work in the laboratory, he is, in practical terms, unwittingly pretending to be a Creationist, because according to his own espoused conception of reality, none of this makes sense. In conceptual terms, he is actually appealing to magic and science fiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    To take on Jim’s general position is to have no consequence (logic exists because God exists).
    The difference is between being able to justify one's use of science and relegating science to magic. That is a serious consequence from where I'm sitting. And from Stratnerd's own pen, justification is not something to be regarded lightly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    To take on his specific arguments (logic et al confirms Genesis, Biblical inerrancy etc) however, is to close the door on skepticism – I consider this not only dangerous but a stupid move.
    I do not claim "logic et al confirms Genesis, Biblical inerrancy, etc." My claim is that, without Genesis, Biblical inerrancy, etc., logic makes no sense. My skepticism is undaunted by the solid justification of the tools and methods of science in my worldview. I continue to doubt, I continue to evaluate evidence, I continue to test hypotheses, but I can use the necessary tools and methods and rely on their verity with confidence because of Who is back of them. The Methodological Naturalist cannot. It's a don't-ask-don't-tell policy for MN.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    As for definitions of science, Jim’s definition is so vague as to be meaningless. He says:
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston
    ... science can comprise the enterprise of researching, discovering, analyzing, testing and synthesizing data.
    Here's my full definition from my very first post:
    My attempt to secure a consensus on the definition of science was inconclusive. Based on what I saw in my "travels", I would characterize science in three ways. First, science can comprise the enterprise of researching, discovering, analyzing, testing and synthesizing data. Second, science can refer to a certain body knowledge that results from the aforementioned enterprise. Third, science can pertain to the application of the aforementioned body of knowledge to real-world circumstances and needs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Thus a CPA is scientist! And so is a tarot card reader. And so is someone playing tic-tac-toe!
    Of course. That's not the issue. The issue is: Can the CPA, tarot card reader and tic-tac-toe enthusiast justify how and what they know about accounting, "divination," game theory?

    By the way, Stratnerd apparently misunderstood my (unfortunately badly casted) sentence when he asks about:
    Researching data? ... Discovering data ... Analyzing data ... Testing data ...
    My sentence would have been better understood had I written it this way: "... science can comprise the enterprise of synthesizing data, researching, discovering, analyzing, and testing." In other words, it wasn't my intent to suggest a transitive relationship of each gerund to "data." Which makes SQ16 moot. I sincerely apologize for that. I'm embarrassed.

    SQ17: By Jim’s definition of science, is Evolution science? Can we not research, discover, analyze, test, and synthesize data concerning Evolution?[/quote]Capital "E" evolution, no. Lower-case "e" evolution? Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    But Jim’s take on science is this
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston
    And thus, for me to press my claim that the Creationist view is superior to the Methodological-Naturalist/Falsifiability-Framework view, ...
    Superior in what way?
    Superior in its ability to justify its knowledge hypothesis, which Stratnerd explicitly requires in his definition of science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    I’m wondering how a presuppositionalist would do any research – on anything.
    The Creationist/presuppositionalist justifiably uses the tools and methods of science to do research. The Methodological Naturalist has no justification for using the tools and methods of science, and therefore must act like a Creationist in order to use them. Both will have success because God is behind L, IP and UofN. But success only does not justify.

    SQ18: Enlighten us. To use a specific example, how would you go about figuring what elements of the landscape are the most important in regulating avian populations?

    HA_SQ18: I suppose I would first try to discover what element of the landscape have effects upon avian populations. I would probably then try to ascertain the degree of effect each element had upon avian populations. What Stratnerd has apparently skipped over in his question is the foundation of this debate: On what basis does Stratnerd presume to apply the tools and methods of science required to make sense of and answer his own question? On what basis does Stratnerd proceed on the assumption that the tools and methods that have apparently worked in the past will continue to work in the future? The Creationist has a cogent answer, and Stratnerd must pretend to be a Creationist in order to even ask the question.

    SQ19Another puzzle is the claim that we appeal to “magical axioms”? What’s the difference between a magical and a non-magical axiom? Is magical like pulling a nearly endless supply of fish out of a basket? Or turning water into wine? Or stopping the sun?

    HA_SQ19:All axioms are magical. The Creator making things is not magic. It is, well, creation. The Creator changing things is the prerogative of a personal, infinite, omniscient Creator.

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    That's it for round #4. This battle is now more than halfway completed. And what a battle it is!

    Stratnerd is back on the clock and has until Monday Dec. 19th at 11:46AM (MDT) to make his 5th round post.
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    I. What evolution is and what it ain’t

    I. A. What Evolution is

    I pointed out that Jim has used a definition of Evolution not agreed to and a definition that no scientist uses. He continues to do so.

    He countered by suggesting that I added a stipulation not in the original definitions. This is hardly as egregious as totally ignoring an agreed upon definition and using a definition that no scientist uses but, more importantly, there’s no stipulation added – I am only trying to clarify the definition we agreed upon.

    Indeed, I did say “[E]volution as an explanation for the diversity we see today. So this is the same definition as the broad scale but restricting it to longer time scales thus becoming a historical hypothesis or theory.

    What is the broad scale definition? I wrote “In a broad sense, organic evolution, the type of evolution we are interested in here (as opposed to cultural evolution and other “evolutions”), can be thought broadly of as change in populations through generations.” and “collections of individuals that share their genome through reproduction.”

    So Evolution starts when organisms start reproducing. If I’m accused of “hair-splitting” that’s fine – I’d rather work with definitions that split hairs than ones that are so vague that they’re meaningless.


    I.B. What evolution ain’t


    I.B.1. Abiogenesis
    Jim avoids the term abiogenesis but the online (m-w.com) definition is
    the supposed spontaneous origination of living organisms directly from lifeless matter
    [b]Non-overlapping definitions because they are different phenomena.[b] Discussion about Evolution usually include terms such as phylogeny, inheritance, speciation, and includes reproducing organism. Discussions about abiogenesis usually include entropy, RNA first, protein first, metabolic-first, etc. Everyone understands that evolution and abiogenesis are different.

    he cannot justifiably ignore the obvious ontological questions concerning the original organism, even before it reproduced.
    I just did.

    1.B.2 Evolution is not about cosmogony
    1.B.3. Evolution is not about the “view of human dignity and moral standards”

    II. But is Evolution scientific?


    II.A. Standard definitions
    From m-w.com the definition of the scientific method is
    principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses
    emphasis added
    If you look at my opening post this is just about what I said about what science and how to do it (I love when that happens).
    Now compare this definition to what Evolutionary biology does and one can easily see that Evolution falls within this definition.
    Jim’s only recourse is to argue that science is not science! Jim argues that only the Biblical literalists view can account for things such as logic and uniformity of nature. This is an extension of the belief that creationism is absolutely true. Creationism is, of course, unscientific. And there you have it – the dog chasing his tail.
    II.B. Jim’s definition
    Jim provides his own definition of science (one you probably won’t find in a science textbook):
    First, science can comprise the enterprise of researching, discovering, analyzing, testing and synthesizing data. Second, science can refer to a certain body knowledge that results from the aforementioned enterprise. Third, science can pertain to the application of the aforementioned body of knowledge to real-world circumstances and needs.
    my emphasis
    As I mentioned before, almost everyone is a scientist under this definition.
    I don’t have internet at my house so I’m not sure what number question I left off on but let me start with 30…
    SQ30 What are we testing? A hypothesis? Why test [given your faith in induction?]? If you don’t like falsification, what do you do with conflicting data?
    SQ30b If you had data that conflicted with your creationists views, would you dismiss is a priori? Don’t you find that position a little too insulating?
    For example, you’re a scientist that examines the population genetics of birds on an island. Using known mutation rates you estimate that the population coalesced (when the population is founded – which fits nicely into a creationist perspective) 100,000 thousand years go.
    SQ30c Do you dismiss your findings as aberrant? Do you modify your version of creationism (e.g., that the timeline is way off). What if you repeat the exercise with a different species of bird and you get the same date? And you do it again and again and get the same results – consistent results? Now a geologist estimates the age of the island and you get a similar estimate. Do you dismiss all these independent data? Do you, CAN YOU, modify your views of creation?
    So, what’s Jim’s take on Evolution, given his own definition?
    Capital "E" evolution, no. Lower-case "e" evolution? Yes.
    Because “Evolution, although it employs scientific principles by borrowing them from the Creationist toolbox, is blindly religious, and therefore does not qualify as science.” [opening post]
    So Evolution does science but a crucial scientific principles itself (especially, according to Jim, methodological naturalism) is self-refuting so no science qualifies as science.
    IV. But is Creationism scientific?

    No. By the standard definition it isn’t and apparently Jim doesn’t disagree.
    By the Merriam Webster dictionary, creationism can’t be science; it disqualifies itself because it doesn’t have recognition and formulation of a problem [see above]
    quote]Quote:
    Originally Posted by Stratnerd

    Here the theistic evolutionist has the upper hand. A creationist offers no explanation and admits that they cannot give one (so creationism itself is beyond falsification – the primary criteria most scientists use to judge if something is scientific.
    Have I argued that Creationism is scientific? [/quote]
    You said
    To answer your question directly, no, but I don't see how it is relevant, or how the inability to know the mechanics of creation precludes creationism from being creation science.
    [SQ31] Then what’s “creation science”? Are you going to use the term then argue that it doesn’t exist?
    Ironically, Jim claims that the tools of the scientist are borrowed from Creationism, which, by it’s very nature, not science.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Stratnerd

    A theistic evolutionists explains the horse as a product of evolution and bases this argument on their God-given powers of logic. Nobody is asking and can give a play-by-play, I’m simply asking for a general mechanism.

    The creationist explains the horse as the creative work and design of God and bases this argument on the revealed Word of God. The general mechanism is God's creative power and volition. He. Made. It.
    “He. Made. It.” Doesn’t explain anything and leaves the question begging (How did He do it), which, according to Jim, is a logical fallacy.

    V. Methodological naturalism
    V.A. What it is?
    I need to clarify what I mean by MN. While this will be seen as shifting the definition, I only hope to clarify my view on MN. When a scientist asks “why does this phenomenon occur?” the scientist can only incorporate explanations that do not involve the supernatural. The scientist need not make the assumption that the supernatural does not exist – he or she or it can even posit the workings of the supernatural at work. However, the scientist cannot incorporate such workings into a testing framework.
    For example: here are a number of explanations that you can rationalize for the primary regulator of community structure in a microcosm
    a. nutrient levels available to the producers
    b. population dynamics of the producers
    c. population dynamics of the herbivores
    d. population dynamics of the predators
    e. God

    These are all biologically justifiable (causal links between the response and predictor variables) hypotheses. There are theoretical reasons why each one should change the entire contents of the microcosm. I include God for the sake of argument. We can now experiment with a-d by adding/subtracting individuals or manipulating nutrient levels. How does one deal with God in this situation? How can you manipulate God to demonstrate the effect on the system? You can’t. So MN is simply the admission that you can’t incorporate the supernatural in a falsification framework.

    V.B. What is ain’t
    methodological naturalism, by its prejudicial dismissal of anything and everything extra-natural, becomes a form of ontological naturalism.
    V.B.1. Ontological naturalism. Ontological naturalism is a universal statement. Methodological naturalism makes no such universal claim – not even on a small scale. You must simply leave out supernatural explanations because there’s nothing you can do with it. Consider God to be background noise if you want.
    V.B.2. Self-refuting. Methodological naturalism is only self-refuting if you accept Jim’s argument. I do not.
    V.B.3. A hypothesis.
    To get around this, Methodological Naturalism as a hypothesis must then assert that logic and science are axioms that do not need to be proven. But of course, this violates Stratnerd's own requirement for the justification for a hypotheses.
    MN is not a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a tentative explanation that posits a causal relationship between a predictor and response variable. Regardless, science (including Evolution justifies the use of MN because (repeating myself) the supernatural cannot be included (even if we want it to) in a falsification framework of science. Sure, ontologically speaking Jim can argue all about God being everywhere and the source of logic but then God is reduced to background noise. But if we are talking about answering real scientific issues, such as the cause of a particular disease, the nature of inheritance, etc, then the supernatural cannot be incorporated because, as Jim pointed out, we have no idea how to.
    VI. Sticking to the Topic.
    Jim suggests that our claims for him going off topic are unfounded. And he seems to think that this has something to do with him asking for justification of the tools of science. This isn’t the case. What we are objecting to is the redefinition of Evolution to include the things it doesn’t.
    VII. Justification
    VII.a What I’m talking about
    When I use the term justification, I usually use it in regards to hypotheses. In fact, I’d to think that the use is strict but I’m sure that somebody can find cases outside this. However, I stress that we need to justify our scientific hypotheses that propose causal links between the prediction (independent) and the response (dependent) variables.
    We stress justification of hypotheses because, if you don’t, you are only making assertions and you can make as many assertions as you want (look how many are brought up in this debate). For example, you can ask what regulates avian populations in the Georgia Piedmont. Hypotheses: the price of silver in Singapore, the taste of marshmallows, the geological strata in Finland, etc. These are not justifiable because we cannot make serious causal connections. We can however make several rational explanations and that include nest predation, predation on adults etc.
    VII.b. What Jim is talking about
    Something else.
    I have never seen, except this debate, the need to justify the source of logic, uniformity of nature, etc. Here’s the NSF site on what matters.. Regardless, of the field (genetics, evolutionary biology, histology) you’re not asked to justify the source of logic.
    Ask a scientist, any scientist, if they consider the question of the source of logic, uniformity of nature, etc in their work. First, you’ll get a blank look. Then a “what?” Then ask them if they accept logic, and uniformity of nature, etc blindly. First, you’ll get a blank look. Then a “what?”. Then they’ll say “the philosophy department is down on Thatch Street across from the Stupid Onion (Student Union).” There are two professional and published scientists on this board, AHarvey and myself, and look at our reaction to these questions.
    VIII. My take on TAG

    As if it were some secret, Stratnerd apparently had a secondary "Eureka!" moment when his comrade, mighty_duck, revealed to him that Hilston is a proponent of the Transcendental Argument for God's existence (TAG).
    True! I was totally puzzled where Jim was coming from. The TAG argument makes me envision every scientist around the world wandering around the hallways struggling to come up with the origin of logic, a rational explanation for the uniformity of nature, etc. Luckily for us (scientists), such questions are “background noise” and we actually get to writing grants and making important discoveries for us. Again, only if you accept the TAG argument does it have consequence. Jim will claim that it is True if I buy it or not but I do buy on some “deep” level I just choose to ignore it.

    Jim’s argument is centered on the assumption that the only way to rationalize logic, UofN, etc is the acceptance of the Biblical God.

    Actual human experience, however, shows that rational answers are not necessarily correct. Therefore, we not need accept Jim’s argument. The argument used throughout every one of his posts. How else can we rationalize the use of logic? It doesn’t matter because you might be wrong anyway.

    Anyone could easily discover this by a simple Google search (use quotes around my full name, "James Hilston"), by visiting my personal website (www.jameshilston.com), by visiting my church's website (www.tgfonline.org) or by searching here on TOL for my debates with anti-Theists and evidentialist Christians.
    If only I had that kind of time… like Aharvey has pointed out – here’s a debate about evolution sans biology.

    HQ22:Is this Stratnerd's own position ["we do not know the source of logic and uniformity"]?
    SA_HQ22: Being a scientist with dirty boots and papers to show for it, I feel completely confident in saying that where logic comes from is irrelevant to understanding the natural world. If you want to understand the universe and make ontological arguments then you’ll probably need to consider it. I cannot make sense of the question “what is the source of logic” since logic, to me, is a human construct. As for the uniformity of nature, as someone that studies ecology and understanding evolution – I don’t know what uniformity you’re talking about. If uniformity was universal I wouldn’t expect something called “history” – a phenomenon that is replete with contingency after contingency. As for the reliability of induction – I believe in no such thing – that’s why I do science – I know induction is not reliable when it comes to more interesting questions.
    As I pointed out in a post in the peanut gallery, I consider those that ask questions like this to be nearly useless in science – they do have entertainment value. As Feynman put it, “cocktail philosophers are always on the periphery looking in.”
    These are legitimate and crucial questions that can only be answered by a transcendental consideration of one's theory of knowledge and of science.
    In most of the sciences that do not conflict with Biblical literalism then these questions such as “the source of logic” are irrelevant because they have no real consequence. Would Watson and Crick discover the structure of DNA if they were Biblical literalists or atheists? Probably would make no difference. However, for questions that are touched on by Genesis then Jim is absolutely right. If one has the attitude that the have the absolute truth then you will make statements like “there are no scientific reasons to question the overall accuracy of extant Biblical texts.” If we listen to these cocktail philosophers we turn off the skepticism, put away the microscopes, and stop asking the most interesting questions.
    Of course I (and all of science) will be charged with “blind faith in magical axioms.” Well, our magical axioms and our blind faith in them works exceedingly well.
    Here's the justification and the support: the rejection of the God of the Bible reduces all reasoning and science to absurdity. Go ahead and test it.
    As I pointed out above, this relies on accepting Jim’s argument and there’s no need to. Of course you can’t test it so asking so is just silly.
    Being able to justify one's methodology does not guarantee right conclusions.
    I’ll say amen to that!
    IX. Evidence
    But now Stratnerd is asking me to address topics that have already been argued extensively, not only here on TOL, but in scores and scores of books.
    Certainly, absolutely, positively! Let me pull out the evidence presented by creationists and let me show in a public debate in a site called “Theology Online” what I big pile of crap it truly is.
    Stratnerd holds to a view of reality that excludes, in advance, any and all extra-natural considerations.
    I do? My science does but not my reality. Not at all. Are you conflating scientific explanations for universal ontological statements yet again?

    Does it get us anywhere to lob factual claims of evidence back and forth[?]
    YES!
    frankly, the world has seen quite enough of those types of debates.
    Frankly, the world had not seen enough of these debates!
    [SQ32]You claim that evidence had nothing to do with the establishment of Evolution and made the assertion that it was more about the desire to establish a God-less worldview. Do you have any hard data to back this up?
    [SQ32b]Specifically, you made this claim about Darwin and claimed to know the incentive for him putting forth evolution. Got data?

    How do we know what we know? What I've attempted to do, and will continue to strive toward, is a clear understanding of Stratnerd's underlying assumptions about reality….This is why I continue to ask him to justify his tools and methods of knowing.
    Simple, I use what works. How do I know something works? I look at the philosophies and methods that make the greatest advances in science. Skepticism of induction and methodological naturalism (not ontological naturalism) have been essential to these advances.

    Synoposis "Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong. " –Feynman.
    Battling TOL creationist jerks-for-Jesus since 1998

    I'd rather be (e^-lamba*lambda^x)/x! -ing!

    Everything might be wrong! -Richard Feynman

    My God I love Star Trek TNG

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    Round V ~ Hilston

    Evolution: Science or Science Fiction

    ROUND V OUTLINE
    I. Some Preface Remarks
    A. Hair-Splitting.
    B. Playing Catch-up on Questions.
    II. Bringing the Issues into Sharp Focus
    A. What Evolution Is Vs. The Underpinnings And Implications of Evolution
    B. When Worldviews Collide [And When They Don't], Redux
    C. The Apparent Motivation To Contradict Evolutionary Forebears With Linguistic Revision
    III. What [Stratnerd Claims] Evolution Ain’t
    II. But is Evolution scientific?
    A. Evolution, or Evolutionary biology?
    B. Science is Science; Evolution is Magic
    C. Stratnerd's Definition is Better, Drop Jim’s
    D. Some Questions from Stratnerd
    III. But is Creationism scientific?
    IV. More Questions from Stratnerd.
    V. Stratnerd on Methodological naturalism
    A. What It Is.
    B. Stratnerd on What Methodological Naturalism Ain’t
    VI. Stratnerd on Justification
    VII. Stratnerd's Take on TAG
    VIII. Jim's Questions.
    IX. Summary of Round V
    X. The Marathon Begins: Answers to Stratnerd's Remaining Questions
    A. Answers to Stratnerd's Remaining Questions
    B. Further Clean-Up
    C. Woe, woe, woe, it's magic ...
    D. Are The Tools & Methods of Science Tentative, Or Not?

    I. Some Preface Remarks
    A. Hair-Splitting. I think Stratnerd mistakenly took one of my statements as an accusation of hair-splitting. It was not my intent to imply that. I was actually referring to my own hair-splitting when I used the term in my previous post.
    B. Playing Catch-up on Questions. There were a good pile of Stratnerd's questions that I missed in my Round IV post. Those are including at the end of this Round's post.

    II. Bringing the Issues into Sharp Focus
    A. What Evolution Is Vs. The Underpinnings And Implications of Evolution
    I understand Stratnerd's concern about my statements concerning Evolution. I recognize that my criticisms extend beyond the definitions he and I agreed upon. That is not a mistake; it is quite deliberate and justified. In my defense, I will say that I have not ignored the definition of Evolution that Stratnerd and I agreed upon, nor was it my intent to give it a meaning that scientists would dispute. Rather, I have sought to evaluate Evolution on the basis of what it, by the agreed-upon definition, claims and the necessary underpinnings and implications of those claims. I have no problem with Stratnerd's definition. What I have a problem with is Stratnerd's refusal to acknowledge the necessary foundation and ramifications of the agreed-upon definition.

    B. When Worldviews Collide [And When They Don't], Redux
    If I were a biologist working side-by-side with Stratnerd, I'm sure we could get along fine, getting our boots dirty, formulating hypotheses, applying our skepticism to various scenarios, trying to understand changes in avian populations (as long as we limited our calculations to observational data) and how various elements of the landscape might affect them, and perhaps publishing papers. As a Creationist, I wouldn't hesitate to use the term "evolution" to describe the changes we were observing and studying. Our respective worldviews, in practical terms, could very well have little effect on our actual work. Stratnerd would irrationally proceed on the assumption that science works just fine apart from any extra-natural considerations. I would proceed on the assumption that science could not possibly work at all without the power and volition of the Creator sustaining the uniformity of nature and backing the inductive principle. But unless one of us or some set of circumstances were to broach the subject, we could possibly work for years together, not knowing we had such diametrically antithetical views of the foundation of our scientific methods and of God as Creator.

    Note that these differences could exist, not only between those of scientific professions, but also between plumbers, beauticians, rodeo cowboys, mushroom farmers and soccer moms -- anywhere that fundamental conceptions of reality are not overtly manifested or declared (which is why I did not include such professions as journalism and Satanic High Priests).

    The example above describes two men, Stratnerd and me, each with an anti-thetical worldview to the other, yet, within a particular narrow domain of scientific study, we get along fine. We even share homebrew recipes. However, if Stratnerd were to begin to extrapolate our findings beyond the actual purview of science, making unjustified uniformitarian assumptions and formulating unjustified hypotheses, such as those that would suggest long eons of time, then we would suddenly encounter between us a collision of worldviews (and I would probably start calling him names). Likewise, if I were to begin to discuss with my colleague my view that the changes we observe are all part of God's purpose of adaptation within distinct kinds of animals in a young-earth framework, then we would likewise suddenly encounter a collision of worldview between us (and I would duly expect him to start calling me names).

    But I say all this to emphasize what this debate is not about. At the point of collision between us, it is not a battle of evidence, because we would have both looked at and evaluated the same evidence. Rather the collision would be about our fundamental conceptions of reality and our precommitments to certain overarching principles. It would not directly be a disagreement about how to formulate hypotheses or how to test them (although this would become pertinent when I began to attack Stratnerd's purported basis for these principles). It would not directly be a disagreement about what constitutes the scientific method or whether or not nature is uniform (although these would come into play when I critiqued Stratnerd's use of these tools).

    Prior to this clash, working side-by-side, Stratnerd and I could have assumed the verity of all the methods and tools of our profession and not have broached the subject of whether or not the scientific method or induction is going to work tomorrow the way it did today. The actual working and application of "dirty-boots science" -- which I concede to include evolution (lower case "e") -- would not have been in question. But upon clashing over our fundamental conceptions of reality, we would suddenly be confronted with a difference in opinion about whether or not Evolution (upper case "E"), which I now equate to Methodological Naturalism, qualifies as "dirty boots science." I say it doesn't, and not because of what the definition explicitly states, but because of what Evolution, as defined, implicitly demands, namely an unscientific assumption about the nature of reality. And this brings us now to our current debate.

    Stratnerd and others object to an alleged movement of the goal post. I claim that Stratnerd and others have not clearly recognized where the goal post has been all along.

    C. The Apparent Motivation To Contradict Evolutionary Forebears With Linguistic Revision
    I realize that Stratnerd wants to completely remove the metaphysical issues from the Evolution discussion, and has gone so far as to claim that Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, moral standards, etc. I claim that the wording of his definition, and the subsequent tweaking of it, betrays the trend of modern Evolutionists in recent years to limit the purview of Evolution, likely due to the recent and ongoing controversy over the teaching of origins in the classroom.

    The Intelligent Design movement, which I do not support nor agree with, has apparently been effective in pressing the issues concerning what is scientific about evolution (lower-case "e") and what is unscientific about Evolution (upper-case "E"), namely, claims concerning the unobservable and untestable biochemical origin of life. When one considers the bickering that goes on between I.D. proponents and Evolutionists, each accusing the other of engaging in non-scientific inquiry regarding the unobservable and untestable past, it makes sense that both camps would want to eschew any claims that extend too far into the distant past.

    So now it appears that Evolutionists want to deny being unscientific by blurring the distinctions alleged by the I.D. movement entirely, and as part of that effort, it seems they have been more careful and vociferous in removing the subject of the origin of life from the table. Hence, Stratnerd's definition:
    [Evolution is] an explanation of how biodiversity came about on this planet, extending only to a time where organisms, however simple, are reproducing.[Emphasis added ~ JH]

    But this modern definition differs significantly from those of well-known Evolutionist predecessors. In the following quotes, I want to fully disclose that I did not check them all, as some are from partisan secondary sources (which I've listed). But my guess is there are plenty more where these (originally) came from:

    “Evolution is a process which has produced life from non-life, which has brought forth man from an animal, and which may conceivably continue doing remarkable things in the future. In giving rise to man, the evolutionary process has, apparently for the first and only time in the history of the Cosmos, become conscious of itself.” (T. Dobzhansky, “Changing Man,” Science, v. 155, January 27, 1967, pp. 409–15). [From the "quote mine" titled That Their Words May Be Used Against Them: Quotes from Evolutionists Useful for Creationists, Henry M. Morris, Institute for Creation Research, 1997]

    "Evolution comprises all the stages of the development of the universe: the cosmic, biological, and human or cultural developments. Attempts to restrict the concept of evolution to biology are gratuitous. Life is a product of the evolution of inorganic nature, and man is a product of the evolution of life." (Dobzhansky T.G., "Changing Man," Science, 27 January 1967, Vol. 155, No. 3761, p409) [ibid.]

    "[A]ll aspects of reality are subject to evolution, from atoms and stars to fish and flowers ... to human societies and values - indeed, that all reality is a single process of evolution." (Huxley J.S., "The Humanist Frame," in Essays of a Humanist, [1964], Penguin Books: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1969, reprint, p.78) (source)

    "[T]he concept of evolution has been applied not only to the living world but to the nonbiological as well. Thus, we speak of the evolution of the entire universe, the solar system, and the physical earth, apart from the organisms that inhabit it ... the origin of life is best explained as the outcome of precellular chemical evolution, which took place over millions of years." (Dobzhansky T.G., Ayala F.J., Stebbins G.L. & Valentine J.W., Evolution 9, 1977, p.9) [From Origin of Species Revisited: The Theories of Evolution and of Abrupt Appearance, W.R. Bird, 1991].

    In his popular #1 bestseller, Cosmos, Carl Sagan describes Evolution from hydrogen atoms to human beings:
    "Congealing and warming, the Earth released the methane, ammonia, water and hydrogen gases ... After a time the seas achieved the consistency of a warm, dilute soup. Molecules were organized ... And one day a molecule arose that quite by accident was able to make crude copies of itself ... Gradually, imperceptibly, life had begun ... Single-celled plants evolved ... Eyes and ears evolved ... Organisms buzzed, crawled, scuttled ... survived by swiftness and cunning. And then, only a moment ago, some small arboreal animals scampered down from the trees. They became upright and taught themselves the use of tools, domesticated other animals, plants and fire, and devised language. The ash of stellar alchemy was now emerging into consciousness. At an ever- accelerating pace, it in vented writing, cities, art and science, and sent spaceships to the planets and the stars. These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do, given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution. It has the sound of epic myth, and rightly. But it is simply a description of cosmic evolution as revealed by the science of our time." [Emphasis added, Sagan C., Cosmos, 1980, pp. 338]

    Richard Dawkins, in his national bestseller, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, he writes:
    "What is the largest single event of sheer naked coincidence, sheer unadulterated miraculous luck, that we are allowed to get away with in our theories, and still say that we have a satisfactory explanation of life? [Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, 1987, p. 139]

    Dawkins goes on to describe the mathematical probability of the life from nonlife, referring to it as the Spontaneous Generation Probability (SGP). He writes:
    "It is the SGP that we shall arrive at if we sit down with our chemistry textbooks, or strike sparks through plausible mixtures of atmospheric gases in our laboratory, and calculate the odds of replicating molecules springing spontaneously into existence in a typical planetary atmosphere." [ibid., p. 144]

    But Stratnerd emphatically asserts, contrary to such Evolutionary big-hitters as Sagan, Huxley, Dobzhansky and Dawkins:
    ... Evolution starts when organisms start reproducing.

    Can there be any doubt that we see linguistic revision taking place before our very eyes?

    In his Dec. 1, 2005 National Review article, Tom Bethell, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science writes:
    ... if you define evolution as a change of gene ratios, well, yes, there has been such a change of ratios in the population of bacteria. So, if your definition of evolution is sufficiently modest, then you can call evolution a fact. Others define evolution as "change over time." That's a fact, too.

    But we know perfectly well that, to its devotees, evolution means something much more than that. [Emphasis added ~ JH]

    We are expected to believe — and I do mean believe — that evolution answers the important question: How did life, in all its abundance, appear on Earth? [Emphasis in original]

    ~ Tom Bethell, "Don't Fear the Designer"

    III. What [Stratnerd Claims] Evolution Ain’t
    Stratnerd offers the Webster definition of abiogenesis. "The supposed spontaneous origination of living organisms directly from lifeless matter." He says that ain't what Evolution is, "Everyone understands that evolution and abiogenesis are different.". Dawkins, Sagan, Dobzhansky and Huxley disagree.

    Hilston previously wrote:
    [Stratnerd] cannot justifiably ignore the obvious ontological questions concerning the original organism, even before it reproduced.

    Stratnerd replies:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    I just did.
    Please note the operative term: "... justifiably ..."

    Stratnerd claims: Evolution is not about cosmogony. See above quotes. The big guns disagree.

    Stratnerd claims: Evolution is not about the “view of human dignity and moral standards” Here is what Sagan wrote later in the same passage cited above:
    But any account of cosmic evolution makes it clear that all the creatures of the Earth, the latest manufacturers of the galactic hydrogen industry, are beings to be cherished. ... the Darwinian less is clear: There will be no humans elsewhere ... Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. [ibid. pp. 338-339]
    To what does "every one of us is precious" refer, if not "human dignity"? To what does "let him live" address, if not moral standards? Despite Stratnerd's claims to the contrary, Evolution is a worldview, one which Carl Sagan and other proponents proudly championed, as indicated by the aforementioned excerpts and many others.

    II. But is Evolution scientific?
    A. Evolution, or Evolutionary biology?
    Stratnerd offers the Websterdefinition of the scientific method as "principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses." He then challenges:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Now compare this definition to what Evolutionary biology does and one can easily see that Evolution falls within this definition.
    I'm curious that Stratnerd has in these last two rounds suddenly begun to use the term "Evolutionary biology." Is Stratnerd attempting to move the goal posts?

    B. Science is Science; Evolution is Magic
    Stratnerd accuses me of arguing that "science is not science." On the contrary, and by the example with which I opened this post, I have every confidence in the methods of science. What I am skeptical about is the paradigm of its practitioners. Science is science as long as it conforms to the scientific method that Stratnerd correctly defined. When one presumes to do science without a justified cogent basis for what one is doing, one is being irrational and not scientific. When one proffers a proposition that ventures outside or beyond the reach of the scientific method, then it is no longer science. Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalists and Evolution as a paradigm are guilty on each count, respectively.

    Despite the devastating quotes from the various architects of Evolutionary dogma, I will continue to restrict my critique to Stratnerd's definition of Evolution. What I will not do, however, is bury my head in the sand next to Stratnerd's in order to pretend that his definition of Evolution does not impose grave, irrational demands upon its proponents, or does not impose significant, far-reaching and incoherent ramifications by its claims.

    1. The Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist worldview demands that its proponents exclude all matters extra-natural from consideration. It is a self-refuting premise. It is an unjustified stipulation. It is, itself, extra-natural in its very essence. Without any means whatever to justify the E/MN hypothesis (see below) without committing the logical fallacy of question-begging, the Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist must adopt a belief in magic.

    2. The Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist worldview involves irrational ramifications, not the least of which is the inability to justify the tool and methods, the necessary implications that life spontaneously generated from non-life, that singularity spawned diversity, that universal laws and Newtonian physics plopped out of acausal chance and randomness.

    C. Stratnerd's Definition is Better, Drop Jim’s
    Since I agreed with Stratnerd's definition of science very early in this debate, we could have used his exclusively and avoided what follows. But it nonetheless serves to make an important point:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    As I mentioned before, almost everyone is a scientist under this definition.
    Of course. Recall my very first post, in which I typed: "However, in the broadest sense of the word, I would say that everyone is a scientist, that is, we all use science to varying degrees and with varying success as a means to understand our world. To be human is to be a scientist in the broadest sense, as we cannot escape the tools and methods of science that inform us of the world around us."

    D. Some Questions from Stratnerd
    SQ30.1: What are we testing? A hypothesis?
    HA_SQ30.1: I think I may have missed something.

    SQ30.2: Why test [given your faith in induction?]?
    HA_SQ30.2: Faith in induction is necessary for testing anything and everything. You can't conduct a test without faith in induction. The question is: Is such a faith in induction justified? For the Creationist, it is. For the Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist, it's not. Not only so, but the E/MN must presume upon the Creationist worldview in order to make sensible use of induction.

    SQ30.3: If you don’t like falsification, what do you do with conflicting data?
    HA_SQ30.3: I'm fine with falsification as a tool; I just don't agree with defining science that way.

    SQ30b.1: If you had data that conflicted with your creationists views, would you dismiss is a priori?
    HA_SQ30b: I would not dismiss the data. I would try to find the best way to understand the data to be consistent with the Creationist framework, which is the necessary and sufficient foundation for all intelligibility, including the perception and collection of data. If those efforts were inconclusive or even seemed to be contrary, then I would assume incomplete knowledge or erroneous assumptions and suspend judgment until I have a fuller understanding. Epistemologically speaking, the Creationist view is the foundation of knowledge, thus it isn't rationally possible for data, duly interpreted, to conflict with the Creationist worldview.

    SQ30b.2: Don’t you find that position a little too insulating?
    HA_SQ30b.2: Insulation against error is a good thing, and that is exactly the direction in which the justification of one's tools and methods can move. Insulation against the Creator is a bad thing, and that is what every scientist who employs Methodological Naturalism is doing, whether self-consciously or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    For example, you’re a scientist that examines the population genetics of birds on an island. Using known mutation rates you estimate that the population coalesced (when the population is founded – which fits nicely into a creationist perspective) 100,000 thousand years go.

    SQ30c: Do you dismiss your findings as aberrant? Do you modify your version of creationism (e.g., that the timeline is way off). What if you repeat the exercise with a different species of bird and you get the same date? And you do it again and again and get the same results – consistent results? Now a geologist estimates the age of the island and you get a similar estimate. Do you dismiss all these independent data? Do you, CAN YOU, modify your views of creation?
    In order to study a certain species of bird, one should have factual knowledge about birds in general, how species relate to one another, to other animal life, to human beings and to the Creator. However, on the surface level of his question, Stratnerd has posed something isn't about science. Extrapolations into the unobserved past, whether by avian biologists or geologists, about mutations rates, avian populations and the ages of rocks are conjecture at best. On a more relevant level, the Methodological Naturalist who presumes to formulate a hypothesis, let alone the actual procedure of testing it, is pretending to be a Creationist by expecting the stated hypothesis to be comprehensible in the ears of others (induction) and for expecting the tools and procedures that worked last time will work this time as well (uniformity of nature).

    III. But is Creationism scientific?
    No. By the standard definition it isn’t, because the scientific method can only apply to that which comes under the purview of its tenets.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    No. By the standard definition it isn’t and apparently Jim doesn’t disagree.
    That is correct. Although I must admit, I have and do use the term "creationism" and "creation science" (lower case "c") to refer to creationistic science, that is, when a Creationist applies the scientific method, which I do view as actual science (such as the hypothetical scenario with which I opened this post). But in "mixed company," i.e. in the midst of a debate between competing worldviews, I try to be more careful.

    IV. More Questions from Stratnerd.
    Setting up Stratnerd's question, Jim previously wrote: To answer your question directly, no, but I don't see how it is relevant, or how the inability to know the mechanics of creation precludes creationism from being creation science. [Emphasis added ~ JH]

    SQ31: Then what’s “creation science”? Are you going to use the term then argue that it doesn’t exist?
    HQ_SQ31: Well, first of all, I was merely mirroring the way you posed the question. Stratnerd wrote:
    "SQ3: Do you know of any way to know about the mechanics of creation so we might be able to make specific and testable predictions about organism – thus turning creationism into creation science (you’d be a hero to the creationist community)." [Emph. added].
    As I mentioned above, I do sometimes use the term "creation science" to mean "creationistic science," and what is meant by the term is parallel to the way I view evolution (lower case "e"). "Creationistic science" is probably a better term, although, to be clear, all valid science is inherently creationistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Ironically, Jim claims that the tools of the scientist are borrowed from Creationism, which, by it’s very nature, not science.
    The tools are not science. The application of them is. To be more precise, the tools used by the Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist are borrowed from God, the very Foundation of science. The Creationist is justified in his use of the tools; the E/MN is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    “He. Made. It.” Doesn’t explain anything and leaves the question begging (How did He do it), which, according to Jim, is a logical fallacy.
    There is no question-begging in the statement that God made the horse by His creative power and volition. God's creative power and volition are transcendent, thus we are limited to seeing the effects of His power and volition.

    [To be cont'd ...]

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    [Round V, part 2]
    V. Stratnerd on Methodological naturalism
    A. What It Is.
    In his attempt to defuse the time bomb of Methodological Naturalism, he offers a clarification. I don't blame him for trying, but unfortunately, as it will be demonstrated, he only succeeds in hastening the ignition of its squib. What an awful metaphor. Sorry about that. I'm getting loopy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    When a scientist asks “why does this phenomenon occur?” the scientist can only incorporate explanations that do not involve the supernatural.
    If the scientist employs logical inference, he has incorporated a supernatural premise in his explanation. If the scientist assumes uniformity, he has involved an extra-natural premise in his explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    The scientist need not make the assumption that the supernatural does not exist – he or she or it can even posit the workings of the supernatural at work.
    HQ23: I must ask: Do you now retract the following statements?:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd, previously
    Methodological naturalism assumes that only natural forces are at work. The reason why I say that it really doesn’t matter is that it is impossible to make predictions when supernatural forces are at work.
    And this?:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd, previously
    Another aspect of science is methodological naturalism but the very nature of supernatural creation is antithetical to a naturalistic explanation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    However, the scientist cannot incorporate such workings into a testing framework.
    This is not only untrue, it is irrational. Note that Stratnerd previously acknowledged,
    "If you define supernatural as being beyond the five senses then sure, I do [believe that supernatural forces are at work] - mathematics."
    Whenever Stratnerd uses mathematics in his procedures, whenever Stratnerd assumes the verity of induction and makes logical inference, he is incorporating the workings of the supernatural (extra-natural) into his testing framework.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    For example: here are a number of explanations that you can rationalize for the primary regulator of community structure in a microcosm
    a. nutrient levels available to the producers
    b. population dynamics of the producers
    c. population dynamics of the herbivores
    d. population dynamics of the predators
    e. God

    These are all biologically justifiable (causal links between the response and predictor variables) hypotheses. There are theoretical reasons why each one should change the entire contents of the microcosm. I include God for the sake of argument.
    It is a category error to include God as a primary regulator. This will be seen below. God is not a primary regulator in anything in this current Biblical economy (except in regeneration and salvation-- theological points for those interested). Rather, He is secondary and all-pervasive in that role. He is the very atmosphere in which science can take place. As transcendent and omni-sustaining of all natural laws, His existence and attributes are what make the very formulation of the proposition intelligible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    We can now experiment with a-d by adding/subtracting individuals or manipulating nutrient levels. How does one deal with God in this situation?
    You don't; you can't. His role as secondary regulator of all things without exception is on a transcendent level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    How can you manipulate God to demonstrate the effect on the system? You can’t.
    Exactly. But that doesn't mean you can justifiably ignore the fact that His existence is the foundation of science. The fact that that the formulation of your hypothesis is intelligible, and that your tests yield successful results, is all due to the secondary regulatory governance of the Creator upon His creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    So MN is simply the admission that you can’t incorporate the supernatural in a falsification framework.
    Note that Stratnerd contradicts himself in exactly this point. Earlier he said:
    "If you define supernatural as being beyond the five senses then sure, I do [believe that supernatural forces are at work] - mathematics."

    B. Stratnerd on What Methodological Naturalism Ain’t
    Hilston previously wrote: [M]ethodological naturalism, by its prejudicial dismissal of anything and everything extra-natural, becomes a form of ontological naturalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Ontological naturalism is a universal statement. Methodological naturalism makes no such universal claim – not even on a small scale.
    If the E/MN posits the exclusion of all extra-natural considerations, then ON is inescapably implied, and utterly irrational. The statement of the exclusion is itself extra-natural. It is a self-refuting claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    You must simply leave out supernatural explanations because there’s nothing you can do with it.
    I again remind Stratnerd of his previous statement:
    "If you define supernatural as being beyond the five senses then sure, I do [believe that supernatural forces are at work] - mathematics."

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Consider God to be background noise if you want.
    As I stated above, this "Background Noise" is the very atmosphere in which we live, and move and have our existence; God makes science possible and intelligible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Self-refuting. Methodological naturalism is only self-refuting if you accept Jim’s argument. I do not.
    Will Stratnerd accept his own argument? Again, I bring up the previous statement:
    "If you define supernatural as being beyond the five senses then sure, I do [believe that supernatural forces are at work] - mathematics."

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    A hypothesis.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston
    To get around this, Methodological Naturalism as a hypothesis must then assert that logic and science are axioms that do not need to be proven. But of course, this violates Stratnerd's own requirement for the justification for a hypotheses.
    MN is not a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a tentative explanation that posits a causal relationship between a predictor and response variable.
    Of course it is a hypothesis! The Methodological Naturalism hypothesis posits a causal relationship between the laws of logic/science and true explanations/results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Regardless, science (including Evolution justifies the use of MN because (repeating myself) the supernatural cannot be included (even if we want it to) in a falsification framework of science.
    Please refer to Stratnerd's above concession regarding the supernatural character of mathematics. Falsification itself is extra-natural in character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Sure, ontologically speaking Jim can argue all about God being everywhere and the source of logic but then God is reduced to background noise.
    Interesting. I would say God is magnified as omnipresently essential to the success of science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    But if we are talking about answering real scientific issues, such as the cause of a particular disease, the nature of inheritance, etc, then the supernatural cannot be incorporated because, as Jim pointed out, we have no idea how to.
    Please refer to Stratnerd's above concession on this point.

    VI. Stratnerd on Justification
    1. What Stratnerd is talking about
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    When I use the term justification, I usually use it in regards to hypotheses. ... However, I stress that we need to justify our scientific hypotheses that propose causal links between the prediction (independent) and the response (dependent) variables.
    I agree. Therefore, I would like to ask Stratnerd to justify his Methodological Naturalism hypothesis. He proposes Methodological Naturalism as a (tentative?) explanation that posits a causal relationship between a predictor (the application of logic and scientific methods) and a response variable (true results). How does Stratnerd justify this hypothesis?

    2. What Jim is talking about
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Something else.
    That cracked me up. Seriously. I almost fell off my chair because it just sounded so funny in my head when I read it. Perhaps it's just the effects of loopiness again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    I have never seen, except this debate, the need to justify the source of logic, uniformity of nature, etc. ... Regardless, of the field (genetics, evolutionary biology, histology) you’re not asked to justify the source of logic.
    This is because, within a shared worldview, foundational questions about fundamental presuppositions and precommitments are not immediately relevant. However, when the debate is between different and opposing worldviews, for reasons I've explained above and in previous posts, this is exactly where debates about ultimate questions about the nature of reality and knowledge should take place: On a presuppositional level, examining the crux of the differences between worldviews, requiring justification for things that are otherwise taken for granted, and asking the tough questions about how one accounts for the foundations of our knowledge, the intelligibility of human experience and the successes of science and logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    There are two professional and published scientists on this board, AHarvey and myself, and look at our reaction to these questions.
    I understand; I encounter this often, even among "my own." The fact is, I'm compelled by sound reason and the clear testimony of the Bible, both by divine command and by example, to address opposing systems of thought in this way. I am saddened that more Creationists do not take the Biblical approach to these kinds of debate. I am often frustrated and embarrassed for those who find themselves in a proverbial Mexican standoff, clueless about how to make any progress or how to bring resolution to such discussions.

    VII. Stratnerd's Take on TAG
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Jim will claim that it is True if I buy it or not but I do buy on some “deep” level I just choose to ignore it.
    Ignore what? (Kidding). I'm sorry to lay this on you. (Not really). The very statement, "I just choose to ignore it," the very act or effort you put into ignoring it, affirms it loud and clear, because without the Background Noise (which is starting to grow on me, by the way), you could not make any statement, let alone an intelligible one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Actual human experience, however, shows that rational answers are not necessarily correct.
    I'm slack-jawed at this statement. Please give me an example of such an experience. I have never, ever had one.

    VIII. Jim's Questions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    I cannot make sense of the question “what is the source of logic” since logic, to me, is a human construct.
    If the laws of logic are but a human construct, then they are no longer laws If everything is just matter in motion, which is the necessary implication of Evolutionistic Methodogical Naturalism, then the so-called "laws of logic" become merely brain states. But if they're merely brain states, then they can't be laws, because what happens in one man's brain does not legislate over what is in another man's brain, nor does it necessarily correspond with what happens in the brain of another. If the laws of logic are merely human constructs or conventions, then what justifies the assumption that a law of logic that is demonstrated in one area of human experience be taken as true in other similar areas not yet experienced? On what grounds does someone posit "If A is B, and B is C, then A is C"? On what rational basis does one proceed through life on the assumption that such a transitive description should be taken as true in general? If the laws of logic are merely sociological constructs, then anyone can arbitrarily stipulate their own laws by claiming contradictions are factual truths, that question-begging is legitimate argumentation, that it's OK to be irrational, etc. But no one comes to a debate or reads a debate expecting the participants to behave or to think that way. Nor is it expected that they should first sit down and agree upon logical constructs. When we step up to debate, it is already assumed that the laws of logic are universal, invariant and necessary for discursive thought and rational discourse.

    As if Stratnerd's evisceration of the laws of logic were not enough, what follows is something straight out of the Twilight Zone™. These statements floored me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    As for the uniformity of nature, as someone that studies ecology and understanding evolution – I don’t know what uniformity you’re talking about.
    Then please consider the following links:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    As for the reliability of induction – I believe in no such thing – that’s why I do science – I know induction is not reliable when it comes to more interesting questions.
    Didn't Stratnerd say: "Science would stall if it wasn’t for induction"? What in the world was Stratnerd talking about when he said that? Without induction, Stratnerd wouldn't be able to understand the words of this sentence. He would have no reason to assume the symbols before his eyes had any meaning whatsoever, let alone representing actual words and thoughts, let alone having any confidence that the meanings of the words represent the thoughts of the person who originally typed them. For help on the meaning of "induction," please consider the following links:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Well, our magical axioms and our blind faith in them works exceedingly well.
    This is exactly the point. The reason they work so well, despite the Methodological Naturalists ability to account for them, is that God is the powerful, personal, volitional and purposeful "Background Noise" to every breath, to every movement and to everything that exists in creation. The fact that the laws of logic, the permutations of mathematics, and the tool and methods of science have repeated success in the world is that God sustains the orderly working of the universe by His power and will. That is to say, the Methodological Naturalist breathes God's air, moves God's molecules and applies God's logic whenever he does his science, and thereby unwittingly hijacks the Creationist tools and methods, unconsciously steps into the shoes of the Creationist in order to make sense of science and his experience in the world.

    IX. Summary of Round V
    Recall the hypothetical scenario I described at the beginning of this round's post. It must be emphasized that, although Stratnerd and I are, in the example, using the same scientific methods, setting up the same kinds of hypotheses, conducting the same kinds of experiments and arriving at the same conclusions, everything Stratnerd does is at base irrational. Having no cogent basis for the techniques and methods he employs in his science, he becomes utterly unscientific on the grand scale. Furthermore, were he to attempt to impose his Evolutionistic/Methodological Naturalism upon his studies and attempt to reinterpret his findings in light of those paradigms, he would be breeching the scope of the scientific method, departing from it tenets and would thus compromise the integrity of, and disqualify, his work as science. On the other hand, by recognizing that science could not possibly work at all without the power and volition of the Creator sustaining the uniformity of nature and backing the inductive principle, the Creationist is justified in his use of the tools and methods of science, and by limiting the scope of his hypotheses to the purview of the scientific method, he maintains scientific integrity.

    X. The Marathon Begins
    A. Answers to Stratnerd's Remaining Questions

    SQ32: You claim that evidence had nothing to do with the establishment of Evolution and made the assertion that it was more about the desire to establish a God-less worldview. Do you have any hard data to back this up?
    HA_SQ32:I do, but they're not data that would fit into your paradigm. You would dismiss it like a 6,000 year-old Grand Canyon.

    SQ32b: Specifically, you made this claim about Darwin and claimed to know the incentive for him putting forth evolution. Got data?
    HA_SQ32b: Yes, but again, the data would be dismissed. The Bible says all men know God, but those who reject Him deliberately push Him away. They search for reasons to disregard Him and presume their own autonomy in order to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    How do we know what we know? What I've attempted to do, and will continue to strive toward, is a clear understanding of Stratnerd's underlying assumptions about reality….This is why I continue to ask him to justify his tools and methods of knowing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Simple, I use what works.
    Note that the phrase, "I use what works," is question-begging in the extreme. Here is the importance of justifying one's so-called "axioms." In order to that a certain method "works," one cannot use that method to assess it. This is what the Methodological Naturalist is left with. It's like using one's own eyes in isolation to test for colorblindness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    How do I know something works? I look at the philosophies and methods that make the greatest advances in science.
    HQ24:For example?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Skepticism of induction and methodological naturalism (not ontological naturalism) have been essential to these advances.
    HQ25:For clarity, is Stratnerd here saying that he is skeptical of induction and methodological naturalism? Didn't Stratnerd elsewhere say ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Explanations are tentative… not the tools and methods. I hope I never implied it because I do not feel that way. The tools and methods of science, methodological naturalism, skepticism, logic, falsification (and now the information-theoretic framework) have a long history of success in our understanding of the world.
    [To be cont'd AGAIN ...]

  11. #26
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    Final segment of Round V

    B. Further Clean-Up
    There were some statements and questions by Stratnerd that I did not answer in my previous post. The remainder of this Round V installment will be devoted to answering Stratnerd's previous questions, with just a couple additional counter-questions of my own.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    Evolution is the unwarranted assumption of the uniformity of nature, which cannot be tested without begging the question or appealing to some "extra-natural" principle. Since this assumption does not come under the purview of Methodological Naturalism, Evolution fails as science on this point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Substitute genetics, physiology, physics, cosmology, cytology, histology, etc for Evolution. In a very tortured way you are arguing that all sciences fail as being science.
    When we are talking about justifying one's tools and methods, the result is that scientists who can justify their tools and methods (Creationists) have justified knowledge. Whereas scientists who cannot justify their tools (Methodological Naturalists), do not have justified knowledge. As I've said before, both Creationist scientists and Evolutionist scientists do science in that they employ the tools and methods of science. They both have success and can arrive at true knowledge in the work that they do. The difference is that the former has a worldview in which those successes make sense. The latter does not, and must pretend to be Creationists to do science, all the while appealing to a manufactured myth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Let me put this simply; MN [Methodological Naturalism] is the exclusion of supernatural explanations.
    Methodological Naturalism is thus self-refuting, because Methodological Naturalism is itself an extra-natural stipulation, and it employs tools and methods that cannot be justified without appealing to the supernatural (i.e., extra-natural), which Methodological Naturalism explicitly excludes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Evolution is an explanation for biodiversity that excludes the supernatural.
    The very concepts involved in recognizing biodiversity -- the perception of distinctions, the use of logical inference, the applications of the tools and methods of science -- are all extra-natural, abstract principles. The explanation itself is extra-natural in that it invokes the extra-natural abstract principles of perception and inference, which undermines the exclusion of the extra-natural. The same goes for gravity, ecology, genetics, physiology, physic, cosmology, cytology, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Gravity is an explanation that excludes the supernatural. Explanations from ecology, genetics, physiology, physics, cosmology, cytology, etc etc etc are all based on MN [Methodological Naturalism].
    Gravitational acceleration is an extra-natural concept. We see instances of it, but the principle itself is extra-natural. The mathematics used to calculate gravitational acceleration are extra-natural. Similar examples could be given about all fields of science. The extra-natural is inextricably embedded in the scientific enterprise. Methodological Naturalism is a contradiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    To reduce this down to arguments about the source of logic, uniformity, etc is fruitless, get you know where and is like background noise for working scientists.
    Were it not for that which "working scientists" (as if they're some kind of elite class of people) consider "background noise," science would be impossible. Stratnerd admitted this when he said, "Science would stall if it wasn’t for induction – but induction is speculation and we don’t know if this new idea is worth anything until it proves its mettle." As men of science, it should not suffice to merely relegate the wonder of the tools and methods to "background noise." Indeed, it is irrational to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston
    Induction cannot be falsified without begging the question or appealing to some "extra-natural" principle. Since this assumption is not falsifiable, Evolution fails as science on this point as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    This leaves me scratching my head – what the heck are you talking about? Do you know?
    This is what concerns me. As a working scientist, you must have studied these things. As a man who respects science and rationality, you must have asked the pertinent questions about induction and what justifies its use in the scientific enterprise. For you to claim it is merely "background noise" is alarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Another puzzle is the claim that scientists are appealing to some "extra-natural" principle. Really? What? How can scientists can be appealing to an “extra-natural” principle when, by their vary nature are “removing God from the equation”? Very odd.
    The appeal to uniformity is extra-natural. We don't find uniformity growing in certain climates but not in others. Uniformity is an extra-natural concept. It is abstract in character. Induction is not something you can collect and store in mason jars in your cellar. Scientists appeal to the inductive principle whenever they do science. It is not perceived as a concrete entity, but is rather abstract in character, not found in nature, and therefore, extra-natural.

    SQ19:Another puzzle is the claim that we appeal to “magical axioms”? What’s the difference between a magical and a non-magical axiom? Is magical like pulling a nearly endless supply of fish out of a basket? Or turning water into wine? Or stopping the sun?

    HQ19: Which label do you claim for yourself? And how would you define it?
    SA_19: Sorry, I haven’t thought about it much and I don’t have time to ponder these issues.

    HQ_SA19:It is central to this discussion. Elsewhere you describe yourself as a "non-Theist." What did you mean by that description?

    SQ19.1: Since when is induction reliable?
    HA_SQ19.1: Since the universe was created.
    HQ_SQ19.1]: Can you give an instance of when induction has failed? (I can't believe I'm asking this).

    SQ19.2: How does God create animals? – you have millions of cases to develop your hypothesis. How do we know this is reliable?

    HA_SQ19.2: In all of those millions of cases, there is no way to scientifically reverse-engineer organisms to find out how they were created, especially given that a transcendent Being, God, created them via means that have not been revealed to us, which probably would be incomprehensible to us.

    SQ19b. Same goes for things like “rapid ice ages” that creationists have invented. How do we know this is a reliable induction?

    HA_SQ19b: I don't know. It may not be. It's a model. It should be examined the way any other model is examined. Whether or not it can be scientifically ascertained as true is a different matter. It could be mere speculation, or a combination of conjecture and scientific data.

    Stratnerd writes, in answer to HQ11b:
    SA_HQ11b. Induction may be misleading. This is why any scientists seeks to falsify their data – it increases confidence in their induction by doing their best to show it to be false. Or they can show induction to be false by showing that new cases conflict with predictions from induction.

    I think Stratnerd is confusing the principle of induction, which is the focus of my question, with particular applications of induction. We must not confuse the principle itself, which is necessary for making human experience intelligible, and certain cases where human application seems to fail. When I sit in a chair without testing it first, I've employed the inductive principle. When the chair collapses, induction hasn't failed me. My information about the structural integrity of the chair is what was lacking. Induction would inform me that the structural integrity of the chair had been compromised since the last time I sat in it. Induction would also inform me that a similar chair with similar structural problems would similarly collapse. The larger question for the non-Theist is: Where does this principle come from? And why is it so useful? The Creationist knows the answer, and is therefore justified in his use of induction. The Methodological Naturalist is left with blind faith.

    HQ20: On what rational grounds does Stratnerd assert the principle of Occam's Razor?
    SA_HQ20: Parameters added to an explanation are a waste if they do not add to the explanation.
    HQ20b: On what rational grounds does Stratnerd assert that parameters added to an explanation are a waste if they do not add to the explanation?

    SQ20: What is a scientific model in your mind?
    HA_SQ20: A hypothesis formulated on the basis of observed phenomena and the Creationist framework.

    SQ21: where’s does the text suggest a rapid ice age? If it wasn’t there are you still going to insist that it wasn’t invented?
    HA_SQ21: The young earth thesis (Creationism) coupled with observed phenomena currently in the world suffices to suggest a rapid ice age.

    SQ22: Where in the Bible is super tectonics, rapid ice age, water vapor canopy, super light speed, super speciation mentioned?
    HQ_SQ22: Genesis 1:6,7,14, 21-25 10:25,32 1Chronicles 1:19

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    If the Bible is God's inerrant and infallible Word, as it claims to be, then one should rightly expect that whatever the Bible says about nature, about cosmogony, about anthropology, about biology, etc. would be accurate and true because the testimony came from the One who created it all and sustains it all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    of course if it ain’t we can test the claims and declare them bunk when they fail.
    God's inerrant and infallible Word is the very foundation of all your reasoning and science. Therefore, on what rational basis could one "test" the claims of the Bible and declare them bunk? The very formulation of the statement is Creationistic in that no other worldview can make human experience intelligible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    If the God of the Bible exists, and if the Bible is God's inerrant/infallible Word, then it follows that the Creator has exclusive prerogative to determine and declare through His Book what is and is not reality.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    yup, “if” and if we do not blindly accept this assertion we will have to discover what reality is
    Stratnerd misses the point. Without the God of the Bible, there is no discovering of anything, let alone ascertaining what is reality. The very tools and methods by which discoveries happen make no sense in a universe that is only matter in motion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    When pressed to explain and justify the basic tools of life that we all take for granted, or to give a basic account of where life originated or how things have become the way they are, the Evolutionist must resort to an invented ad-hoc story that reaches back into an imagined, unobserved past, passed on to subsequent generations by way of blind tradition, the basic premises of which are not to be questioned, but ignorantly assumed and embraced, lest the very fabric of so-called science be torn asunder. This is the stuff of myth and legend, not science.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    LOL, very grandiose indeed. I thought Evolutionists, any scientist really, posited hypotheses that are to be tested. Where did you get this skewed and erroneous view of biology and of science? You obviously don’t know the scientific community very well and have no idea what scientists do.
    Again, Stratnerd misses the point of the Bible's "grandiose claim." Without the God of Creationism, scientists couldn't do "what scientists do." Neither could Evolutionists, biologists, the scientific community, nor the cable guy.

    SQ23: Make a testable prediction about how God created logic or a horse or anything you wish – be sure to justify it – that is, provide the logical links along the steps you take.
    HQ_SQ23:There is no need to make a prediction about how God created a horse; it is known. He made it by supernatural divine fiat. The details of the method transcend human comprehension. This knowledge is justified by God's existence and attributes. Of course, this is not viewed as compelling or persuasive to the Methodological Naturalist, because Methodological Naturalism, an extra-natural construct, excludes the extra-natural in advance, without warrant, without justification.

    SQ1a: How does the presence of regularities prove that God exists?
    HA_SQ1a: See HA_SQ1:, above. If you require further detail, I will be happy to oblige.

    SQ1a.1: please since this is the entire crux of your positive argument for creationism.
    HA_SQa.1: In a universe that is mindless, Godless, purposeless, as E/MN necessarily demands, it is the equivalent of believing a magician actually possesses the powers he pretends to wield. One must believe in a cosmic trick to conceive of diversity springing from singularity, of non-life producing life, of non-conscious matter spawning minds and consciousness, of matter in motion producing universal, invariant laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    The latter. Randomness does not exist in nature. It is merely a theoretical construct.
    SQ23: Then why do keep detecting and creating randomness?
    HA_SQ23:Randomness, if it existed, could not be detected. A thousand nines in a row might be the result of randomness; it might not. It's not something that can be known or detected apart from having universal experience and possessing infinite knowledge.

    SQ23.1: Is order a theoretical contract? Why or why not.
    HA_Q23.1: No. Order is a reflection of the character of God in Creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Why is making predictions about creationism relevant? Well, if falsification is a necessary part of science and you can’t come up with a means to falsify your claims then you aren’t doing science and creation scientists cannot exist.
    I don't claim that Creationism is science, just as I don't agree that Evolutionism is science. There are creationists who do science, and there are evolutionists who do science. But as overarching perspectives of reality, neither Creationism nor Evolutionism is actual science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    By your standards of science their might be creationist scientists but so is the secretary that does the payroll and the guy that picks up trash.
    Of course.

    SQ24: I asked this question before but what stops evolution? Why do you say that? Because it conflicts with your Biblical paradigm?
    HA_SQ24:Yes, the chronology of the Earth's history as taught in the Bible does not allow for the long eons of time required by Evolutionists to account for the diversity of life. However, a more fundamental matter should be noted by Stratnerd's question: Why is Stratnerd pretending to be a Creationist? By taking notice of regularities and diversity in nature, he is not being consistent with his Methodological Naturalism. He is assuming the existence and operation of extra-natural abstract entities such as induction and the laws of logic in order to make such observations and to frame the actual question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    God created the animals and distinguished them from plants and other non-living matter. As animals, they would have defining characteristics, such as being sentient, defined as "1. Having sense perception; conscious. 2. Experiencing sensation or feeling." Being able to move would be another. ... the Creationist recognizes that nothing would or can exist without the supernatural, namely God, holding all things together and sustaining the natural order and the uniformity, which God, by His creative and sustaining power, imposes upon creation.
    SQ7: [but related to the questions above] Can you back up this assertion? Do just have to believe it?

    HA_SQ7. I don't see a rational alternative, unless one wants to believe in magic. Either a Personal and Powerful Creator made and sustains all that exists, or it's magic. Even if one buys the Occamic tenet of parsimony, unwarranted complexity should incline you toward the Creator ... instead of the magic ...

    To this, Stratnerd replies:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Or you’ve just reached the limits of your imagination.
    This is a noteworthy unwitting concession on the part of my opponent. He would rather presume intellectual autonomy and use his imagination to come up with anything in order to avoid the Creator-God to as the explanation of sentient life, all the while presuming upon the Creationist conception of reality by using the tools and methods of science.

    C. Woe, woe, woe, it's magic ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    Either a Personal and Powerful Creator made and sustains all that exists, or it's magic.
    SQ25: what’s the difference between a supernatural creator poofing life and the universe from nothing and magic?

    HA_SQ25: The difference is, the magician is a man who pretends to have the ability to make things appear and vanish at will. Magic is normatively understood as deception, sleight of hand, and misdirection, and we-the-audience are willing to suspend our disbelief for the sake of being entertained and getting our money's worth in enjoyment of the act. No rational person would actually believe the magician actually possesses those powers. But, sadly, this is exactly what has happened en masse in the case of Evolutionary magic. The Evolutionists ask the unwitting spectators to suspend disbelief that mindless matter can give rise to conscious life. Then, after the entertainment is over, the Evolutionists do not take off the tuxedo and bow-tie, but instead, with a straight face, demand that the spectators move from suspension of disbelief to actual belief in the magician's power.

    In the case of the Creator, He actually possesses the power, the volition, and the attributes that can account for the existence of the laws of logic, the tools and methods of science, moral standards and the uniformity of nature.

    D. Are The Tools & Methods of Science Tentative, Or Not?
    I'm confused concerning Stratnerd's view of the tools and methods of science. I need to understand why the following statements by Stratnerd seem so contradictory.

    Earlier, Stratnerd seemed to be tentative about the certainty of scientific methods. Jim had asked Stratnerd:
    HQ2b: Does Stratnerd, in terms of his Evolutionary worldview, hold any methods (scientific,etc.) or principles (logic, inference) as certain?

    To that, Stratnerd replied:
    SA_HQ2b: Explanations are what we consider tentative. Are any methods certain? Probably not, at least I would consider it useful to be skeptical. [Emphasis added ~ JH]

    This tentativeness seemed to be further affirmed in the following:
    A little later, Jim wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    All people use the tools of logic and the methods of science to varying degrees. Some are more successful than others, for reasons unrelated to whether or not they are Creationists. The point is, all else equal, the Creationist alone can do science with a justified general confidence, whereas the Evolutionist, as you admitted above, must ever be tentative even about the tools and methods he uses to do his science.
    To which Stratnerd replied:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    yes, and?
    But most recently, Stratnerd has stated:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Explanations are tentative… not the tools and methods. I hope I never implied it because I do not feel that way. The tools and methods of science, methodological naturalism, skepticism, logic, falsification (and now the information-theoretic framework) have a long history of success in our understanding of the world.
    HQ26: I'm merely looking for clarity and understanding. What did Stratnerd mean by his earlier statements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    In this case reliable knowledge is defined by the self-insulating episteme of creationism. And how do you know this knowledge is reliable without jumping on a circular track of arguments?
    It is fascinating to me how often non-Theists will readily criticize what they view as circularity in the views of others, but seem to utterly fail in seeing it in their own view. The reliability of knowledge is grounded linearly, not circularly, in the existence of God. The reliability of knowledge is not used to directly prove the existence of God, therefore the justification of knowledge is not circular. However, note that the Methodological Naturalist circularly presumes to use the tools of science to justify the tools of science ("It works"), and does not even attempt to justify them.

    SQ25a: What is the natural law that allows for men to rise from the dead, walk on water, temporarily stops the sun, creates organisms and a universe spontaneously?

    HA_SQ25a: Allows? The Creator is able, by His power and volition, to manipulate His creation and to alter the perceived natural order, without violating the laws of nature or of logic.

    SQ25b: How does uniformity of nature fit into natural laws and natural regularity?

    HA_SQ25b: The uniformity of nature is synonymous with natural laws. In Biblical history, the natural order (i.e. perceived regularities) could change according to God's volition and purpose in the form of miraculous events. As a side note, such miraculous event do not occur presently, for theological reasons beyond the scope of this discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    True though, if you presuppose the Bible is inerrant then you are immune to contrary evidence. Although that’s a very comforting position to take (your worldview can’t be wrong), I find it very dissatisfying.
    Yet Stratnerd is apparently undaunted by his own circularities, using the tools of science to justify the tools of science, which were somehow spawned from some mindless, purposeless magical source.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    What tools and methods are you referring to?
    The tools of science would be the universal laws of logic and mathematics, as well as the particular applications of our sensory faculties and our reasoning abilities. The methods of science would be the collection and observation of data, the formulation of hypotheses, the testing of hypotheses, then rejection or support of hypotheses, and the publishing of findings for the benefit of the scientific community.

    If Stratnerd truly believes that the tools and methods of science are tentative, then he should be continually testing chairs before sitting in them. That's because, by Stratnerd's claim above, the inductive principle is tentative. Stratnerd would never finish balancing his checkbook, because, according to Stratnerd, the arithmetic he used five minutes ago is tentative. He would have no reason to trust the calibration of his instruments, because the uniformity of nature, on Stratnerd's view of reality, is tentative. This is the living contradiction that is presented by Methodological Naturalism.

    Whew. Fin.

    Jim

  12. #27
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    That's it for round 5.

    Stratnerd has until December 23rd 11:30AM (MDT) to make his 6th round post.

    At that point we will take a Christmas break. (I will insert two days into the schedule therefore Hilston's 6th round post will NOT be due on Christmas yet will be due on the 27th)
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    I. Justification Schmustification


    As I pointed out in my last post, justification relates to the hypotheses we invoke to explain natural phenomena (examples are given). What makes something scientific or not relates to the ability of a hypothesis to be falsified. The mantra repeated by Jim is that if we cannot justify a tool of science, as opposed to a scientific hypothesis, it makes that particular question or science unscientific. By conventional standards, this type of argument is invalid. Definitions delineate what is and is not considered that thing or concept and to determine if something is part of that definition we compare the criteria by which is based. We’ve even come to an agreement about what science is but this definition is ignored when asking if something is scientific or not. It like saying a fruit is defined by containing seeds and a pericarp but an apple is not a fruit because an apple is red.
    Simple, I use what works.
    Note that the phrase, "I use what works," is question-begging in the extreme. Here is the importance of justifying one's so-called "axioms." In order to that a certain method "works," one cannot use that method to assess it. This is what the Methodological Naturalist is left with. It's like using one's own eyes in isolation to test for colorblindness.
    Not really. The success of methodological naturalism (and falsification) by (1) various scientists and (2) it’s ability to discover new and explain new phenomena justify it’s use and this is nothing like testing your own eyes in isolation. Why does it work? Natural explanations are adequate for explaining natural phenomena. Science doesn’t seek Truth only accurate descriptions of natural phenomena and the accuracy is judge by the ability to incorporate new cases.


    II. Creationism is not scientific


    II.A. Evidence need not apply

    Jim’s creation science includes all sciences as long as the practitioner is a creationist. However, I think we both agree that creationism itself and all the subsequent explanations that it attempts to incorporate (e.g., origin of biodiversity) is not scientific because it cannot be falsified – a perfectly insulated worldview.
    Insulation against error is a good thing,
    Only in a debate or argument. However, in the world of science, insulating explanations of the natural world are an abomination. The way we have confidence in explanations is that they are open to testing and are self-critical. Like Popper said, explanations (those arrived at inductively) need to “prove their mettle”. And on a personal level, I would hate to have absolute faith in something like that – I would always get the creepy feeling like I might be totally deceived. I feel like the arguments that Jim puts forth sets him up perfectly to deceive himself.
    thus it isn't rationally possible for data, duly interpreted, to conflict with the Creationist worldview.
    A person that never sees himself as being wrong has always come across to as the person most likely to be wrong.

    Jim claims that the Principle of Uniformity works. Yet how can this be reconciled with instances that directly clash with his Biblical literalism. Nuclear decay rates, if constant through time suggest an Earth billions of years old. Mutation rates that we observe today put the age of our species over 100,000 years. Observed mutation rates of organisms consistently show ages that are > 10,000 years. We know that mutations accumulate and result in phenotypic changes yet Jim says that there are limits.

    [SQ33] At what point does the PofU stop working? Do your presuppositions have superiority over the external world? How would you know if you are deceiving yourself?

    SQ21: where’s does the text suggest a rapid ice age? If it wasn’t there are you still going to insist that it wasn’t invented?
    HA_SQ21: The young earth thesis (Creationism) coupled with observed phenomena currently in the world suffices to suggest a rapid ice age.
    So where’s the mention of rapid ice ages in the text?

    SQ22: Where in the Bible is super tectonics, rapid ice age, water vapor canopy, super light speed, super speciation mentioned?
    HQ_SQ22: Genesis 1:6,7,14, 21-25 10:25,32 1Chronicles 1:19
    Genesis 1:6 = God says let there be creation of land
    Genesis 1:7 = God created land
    Genesis 1:14 = God says let there be lights in the firmament
    Genesis 21-25 = creation of animals
    Genesis 10:25 = the earth was divided
    Genesis 10:32 = the nations were divided on earth after the flood
    1Chronicle 1:19 = Genesis 10:25

    I didn’t see any mention of rapid ice ages, water vapor canopy, or super light speed. Super speciation is used to account for the number of extant species and how Noah could logistically take care of millions of species and that’s not mentioned in there. The only ad hoc you account for is super plate tectonics. And that’s if you assume that earth and firmament are equivalent and they’re actually referring to the movement of peoples.
    So it was a few thousand years ago that continents moved to their present positions within a lifetime?


    II. B. Explaining creation

    Originally I said “He. Made. It.” Doesn’t explain anything and leaves the question begging (How did He do it), which, according to Jim, is a logical fallacy.
    There is no question-begging in the statement that God made the horse by His creative power and volition. God's creative power and volition are transcendent, thus we are limited to seeing the effects of His power and volition.
    HQ_SQ23:There is no need to make a prediction about how God created a horse; it is known. He made it by supernatural divine fiat. The details of the method transcend human comprehension
    SQ34 the question that is “begged” is “how does divine fiat work to manifest objects out of nothingness?

    SQ34b If it defies rationality then how do you stop creation from becoming irrational?



    III. Getting the fundamentals right


    III. A. The Supernatural

    Jim and I have very different definitions of the supernatural. For Jim, anything outside the senses is supernatural so thoughts are supernatural, logic is supernatural, and mathematics are supernatural.

    Jim tries to make the claim that I accepted this definition by saying "If you define supernatural as being beyond the five senses then sure, I do [believe that supernatural forces are at work] - mathematics.". First, as Alethia pointed out, the statement opened with an “if”. A condition by which I would accept it – but I don’t accept that condition. More importantly, and conveniently left out, I also said “Do I really think that adding two plus two is supernatural – not really”. So I reject that the five senses delineate the supernatural. Like logic, the workings of mathematics are abstractions that exist in the mind and are not “extra-natural”. Therefore, all the arguments where Jim suggests the tools (such as logic and mathematics) are “extra-natural” are not valid.

    The supernatural, to me, is the workings of a supernatural entity and is obvious when the “laws” of physics and biology are suspended. I call them miracles – the Bible is replete with examples where “natural laws” no longer apply. Examples include, bushes burning without loss of mass and talk, a man splits a sea with a staff, fruit imparts knowledge, men rise from the dead and walk on water, etc.

    III.B. Methodological Naturalism

    III.B.2 What MN is
    The Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist worldview demands that its proponents exclude all matters extra-natural from consideration.
    Methodological naturalism is the concept that science can only include natural explanations for the causes of natural phenomena. This is what I was referring to as “local”. Jim takes this and forces us to believe that MN extends to the “global” or universal and essentially equates MN with ontological naturalism.

    The example:
    Originally Posted by Stratnerd

    For example: here are a number of explanations that you can rationalize for the primary regulator of community structure in a microcosm
    a. nutrient levels available to the producers
    b. population dynamics of the producers
    c. population dynamics of the herbivores
    d. population dynamics of the predators
    e. God
    We are not asking where logic comes from or if God exists. We simply want to know why there might be a certain proportion of herbivores to producers. I provide “local” hypotheses. Lest, I be accused of changing definitions, I’m merely attempting to clarify.

    Since we do not know how God may regulate communities we cannot test it. So it’s left out. We do not claim that God doesn’t – indeed he might. How would we know?

    What was Jim’s reaction to this example?

    It is a category error to include God as a primary regulator.
    Not sure that a category error is or what a primary regulator is but this sounds like the functional aspect of methodological naturalism.

    As a side note, such miraculous event do not occur presently, for theological reasons beyond the scope of this discussion.
    side note? What you are saying is that methodological naturalism is valid, up to a point, and then is no longer valid? No doubt, Jim will repeat the mantra that MN excludes the supernatural so MN can’t be justifiably used because it doesn’t account for the uniformity of nature, induction, logic, etc. But MN doesn’t care about the origin of these, like I’ve been saying, it’s like background noise. In the present case it only cares about how to explain how biological communities are structured. I imagine that Jim, as a lawyer could get a criminal case dismissed because the prosecutor admitted that he was using methodological naturalism to link the suspect to the case therefore his whole case was built on an irrational worldview. My point is things like logic work regardless of your worldview and can successfully describe the world around us.

    Jim adds a historical stipulation to his assertion that God is not the “primary regulator”. I assume that “primary regulator” means that the “laws” of nature are suspended. I’m not sure, though, when this applies because Jim dismisses miracles (rising from the dead, walking on water, turning into salt for looking a particular direction, parting a sea with a staff) as not breaking natural law (simply because these miracles can be sensed). So, Jim utilizes the concept of MN until it conflicts with his self-insulating worldview. This makes sense, we can only rationalize up to the point when rationality (the laws of logic) were created. For the biblical literalist, I suppose this even occurred at the very beginning – in fact, I bet Jim likes the version of Genesis where it is said “In the beginning was logic [logos]” – I know I do.

    Of course, if we do not accept Jim’s argument then we can ignore these imaginary bounds on our hypotheses and get to questions about the origins of biodiversity, the origin of life, and the origin of our universe. This isn’t a methodological worldview (there’s no such thing) but we can apply the concept of MN to all natural phenomena.

    III.B.2. What MN isn’t

    [i]A hypothesis[i]. Maybe this term should have been defined on the onset but in the context of science, a hypothesis is a tentative explanation about causal mechanism. MN is a contingency of our scientific hypotheses.
    Of course it is a hypothesis! The Methodological Naturalism hypothesis posits a causal relationship between the laws of logic/science and true explanations/results.
    Really? And how does this hypothetical cause and effect work to get a “true” explanation? How does logic cause a true explanation? [what is a true explanation anyway?]
    A world view. It is exhausting to explain this over and over but MN has nothing to say either way about the existence of the supernatural but only implies that supernatural hypotheses are not testable. There’s no way to include or include a volition of a supernatural being. Sure, if one were to ask for a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life then spontaneity is obviously part of it – how could it not be? One can have an alternate hypothesis that God did it –methodological naturalist doesn’t have anything to say either. However, since we have absolutely no idea of how that’s done then we can’t test that hypothesis can we? This is no different from asking what structures biological communities or what is the structure of DNA or how do organisms develop from a zygote.

    Insulation against God. There’s no conflict between belief in a supernatural diety and needing natural explanations for natural phenomena.

    “universal laws and Newtonian physics plopped out of acausal chance and randomness”
    In your world-view you don’t allow for uniformity except in your worldview which is the only explanation for uniformity because you don’t allow for uniformity in other worldviews because your worldview is the only explanation for uniformity, and so on. Rinse. Repeat.
    HQ23: I must ask: Do you now retract the following statements?
    The following statements were:
    Methodological naturalism assumes that only natural forces are at work. The reason why I say that it really doesn’t matter is that it is impossible to make predictions when supernatural forces are at work.
    Another aspect of science is methodological naturalism but the very nature of supernatural creation is antithetical to a naturalistic explanation.
    SA_H23. No. I’d have to buy your argument but I don’t.

    III.C. Falsification

    One of the common elements in the definitions of science used by Jim and myself is “testing”. The scientist uses tests (observations or experiments) in an attempt to show that an explanation is false. Falsification is the primary criteria by which a hypothesis (not a tool or method of science) is judged to be scientific or not.

    I asked [SQ30.2] “Why test [given your faith in induction?]” and this is the reply
    HA_SQ30.2: Faith in induction is necessary for testing anything and everything. You can't conduct a test without faith in induction. The question is: Is such a faith in induction justified? For the Creationist, it is. For the Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist, it's not. Not only so, but the E/MN must presume upon the Creationist worldview in order to make sensible use of induction.
    SQ35 There is no answer in this response what or why we should test.
    I have every confidence in the methods of science.
    HA_SQ30.3: I'm fine with falsification as a tool; I just don't agree with defining science that way.
    SQ35b With the exception of two of the critical parts: falsification and methodological naturalism. What is left? Skepticism? What definition were you agreeing with?

    III.D. Tools of Science: Tentative or Not

    I'm confused concerning Stratnerd's view of the tools and methods of science. I need to understand why the following statements by Stratnerd seem so contradictory.
    HQ26: I'm merely looking for clarity and understanding. What did Stratnerd mean by his earlier statements?
    [b]SA_HQ26[b] I’ve never given it much thought but now that I have I do not think that the tools of science (logic, mathematics, falsification, MN) are not tentative. What is tentative is our explanations/hypotheses about natural phenomena.
    This is what concerns me. As a working scientist, you must have studied these things. As a man who respects science and rationality, you must have asked the pertinent questions about induction and what justifies its use in the scientific enterprise. For you to claim it is merely "background noise" is alarming.
    How do I know something works? I look at the philosophies and methods that make the greatest advances in science.
    HQ24:For example?
    SA_HQ24. Relativity. Structure of DNA.
    What I consider background noise is the “origin” of logic. I don’t consider induction to be background noise.

    IV. What Evolution is… yet again



    ]claims and the necessary underpinnings and implications of those claims. I have no problem with Stratnerd's definition. What I have a problem with is Stratnerd's refusal to acknowledge the necessary foundation and ramifications of the agreed-upon definition.
    Jim still insists in making evolution more than the definition. To support his assertion he gets a bunch of quotes that are examples of how one can mistakenly conflate Evolution and abiogenesis (Dobzhansky), Evolution with ontological naturalism (Dawkins, Sagan), or uses “evolution” in the broadest sense not relevant here (Huxley, 2nd Dobzhansky). They don’t point out shifting definitions but errors (if not taken out of context). What Bethell is mentioned for, I have no idea other than to add effect. Guys like Dawkins don’t have an evolutionary worldview per se but are ontological naturalists of which evolution is a part. Then there are guys like Dobzhansky, Fisher (the biggest “guns”) and Conway-Morris (a big “gun”) whose “Evolutionary worldview” included God as the grand architect and Jesus Christ as his son. One of my best friends works on catfish evolution, is a professed “Evolutionist” and is also a Christian. So the ramification of an Evolution worldview is what? Christianity? Atheism? Or maybe there is no ramification as these divergent (actual) worldviews demonstrate. I’ve been at three major universities now and I know scores of Evolutionary biologists yet I have yet to meet one professed atheist! I’m not saying they don’t exist (Dawkins comes first to mind) I just don’t buy (and neither do professional Evolutionary biologists) your claim that there are ramifications of an Evolutionary worldview.

    Jim says
    What I will not do, however, is bury my head in the sand next to Stratnerd's in order to pretend that his definition of Evolution does not impose grave, irrational demands upon its proponents, or does not impose significant, far-reaching and incoherent ramifications by its claims.
    of course Jim will continue to misrepresent evolution. Is this surprising to anyone?

    Jim suggests that I have somehow changed my definition of Evolution by adding “Evolution starts when organisms start reproducing.” Look at my definition of Evolution that I’ve been using all along (following paragraph) and see if “... Evolution starts when organisms start reproducing” changed anything.

    “So this is the same definition as the broad scale but restricting it to longer time scales thus becoming a historical hypothesis or theory.” Where broadly was defined as “change in populations through generations”. As far as I know you get generations through reproduction and if organisms are not reproducing then how can they be evolving? So how my attempt at clarification got misconstrued as “linguistic revision” is beyond me and probably beyond TOLers.

    [SQ36] How did my adding “Evolution starts when organisms start reproducing” qualify as linguistic revision?


    V. The scientific nature of Evolution and delving into the past



    III. A. Moving goal posts?

    Soon after the linguistic revision assertion I was then accused of moving a goal post. Supposedly this occurred because I referred to the study of Evolution as Evolutionary biology. To me, the terms are nearly synonymous – Evolution being defined above (and in each of the previous 5 rounds) and Evolutionary biology is the study of Evolution. How this is moving a goal post is beyond me.

    When one presumes to do science without a justified cogent basis for what one is doing, one is being irrational and not scientific. When one proffers a proposition that ventures outside or beyond the reach of the scientific method, then it is no longer science.
    Right and methodological naturalism and falsification is part of every scientific pursuit so… no science is science.

    Historical questions
    on the surface level of his question, Stratnerd has posed something isn't about science. Extrapolations into the unobserved past, whether by avian biologists or geologists, about mutations rates, avian populations and the ages of rocks are conjecture at best.
    Sure, absolutely. But all hypotheses are conjecture. Nobody observes population regulation, what structures biological communities, chemical reactions, and, previously, molecular structure. Historical hypotheses are no different.

    But this does not mean that these types of questions are beyond the bounds of science. Scientists hypothesize a mechanism (or, better yet, mechanisms) at work then from those hypotheses build a number of predictions that one would expect with and without the purported mechanism. [Let Jim repeat him mantra that this isn’t even possible – it totally depends on buying his argument – which I don’t].

    The best test of a hypothesis, especially a historical hypothesis is congruence among independent lines of data.

    So if molecular data agree with geological data we have more confidence. If geological, molecular, paleontological data agree with each other then we have even more confidence. And so on.

    This is exactly how E/evolution works. Scientists posit relationships and mechanism of evolution and these are tested by experiments and observations.

    If you build a worldview based entirely on argument without the ability of testing it with the external world or even have the ability to question it, you’ll never know how badly you are fooling yourself. Jim and his fellow Biblical literalists ilk have no choice but to dismiss all contrary data and forcing them to come up with ad hoc explanations or to twist reality.

    VI.Rationality, Logic, Induction


    Actual human experience, however, shows that rational answers are not necessarily correct.
    I'm slack-jawed at this statement. Please give me an example of such an experience. I have never, ever had one.
    Not so serious but real example: I often lose my keys. A rational explanation is that they fell out of my pocket and are sitting on my truck seat. I go to my truck and the keys are not there (case 1) Another rational answer is that the keys are in my shirt pocket (I hate wearing shirts with no pockets) and the keys are not there (wrong again!). The keys are actually still sitting in the door but I never even thought of it but there they are, in plain sight (a perfectly rational and correct explanation but I didn’t think of it).

    A more serious example, at one time human kind thought that the Sun revolved around the Earth – an explanation for the rising and setting of the Sun that was based on sound reason and the clear testimony of the Bible. Sound familiar?
    If the laws of logic are but a human construct, then they are no longer laws If everything is just matter in motion,
    [SQ37] why? Are you saying that natural laws are real things that are out there for us to discover? Or are they descriptions of nature created by humans?

    I prefer the latter – that way we can always modify our descriptions when new and contrary data become available. If natural laws exist and we become committed to them then we end up needing to artificially explain away these contrary cases. You will have a very comfortable position of always being right but then you run the risk of completely deceiving yourself.
    If the laws of logic are merely human constructs or conventions, then what justifies the assumption that a law of logic that is demonstrated in one area of human experience be taken as true in other similar areas not yet experienced? On what grounds does someone posit "If A is B, and B is C, then A is C"?
    Brains do not experience “A = B, B=C, therefore A=C” so they cannot be experienced differently by different people.
    As for the reliability of induction – I believe in no such thing – that’s why I do science – I know induction is not reliable when it comes to more interesting questions.
    Didn't Stratnerd say: "Science would stall if it wasn’t for induction"? What in the world was Stratnerd talking about when he said that?
    The relevant definition from the American Heritage Dictionary (working without internet access) of induction is “3.a. The act or process of deriving general principles from particular facts or instances”. That’s what I’m talking about. What in the world is Jim talking about?

    Yes, science would stall if not for induction. However, induction is by no means a road to “truth”. It provides a tentative explanation that needs to be tested (i.e., we do our best to falsify it). If a particular inductively-derived explanation stands up to falsification then we can have greater confidence in that explanation (no need to keep testing chairs so to speak). If an explanation is falsified then it gets dumped as an explanation despite being perfectly rational (e.g., the Sun circling the earth).

    Questions and Miscellaneous


    Mindreading

    Questions

    SQ32b: Specifically, you made this claim about Darwin and claimed to know the incentive for him putting forth evolution. Got data?
    HA_SQ32b: Yes, but again, the data would be dismissed. The Bible says all men know God, but those who reject Him deliberately push Him away. They search for reasons to disregard Him and presume their own autonomy in order to do so.
    Your data is the Bible? You’re right I do dismiss this “data” since it’s a mere assertion. I was hoping you might have a letter of Darwin’s. Another reason to reject this assertion is that many “philosophers” in Darwin’s time saw the study of nature as firsthand revelation of God’s handiwork.
    [SQ38] Darwin may have rejected Genesis but you have no idea if he was rejecting God do you?
    HQ_SA19:It is central to this discussion. Elsewhere you describe yourself as a "non-Theist." What did you mean by that description?
    SA_HQ_SA19: When asking questions about the natural world, I use methodological naturalism which is neutral to claims about the supernatural.
    SQ19.1: Since when is induction reliable?
    HA_SQ19.1: Since the universe was created.
    HQ_SQ19.1]: Can you give an instance of when induction has failed? (I can't believe I'm asking this).
    The Sun circles the earth. Or the chair that broke. I don’t claim to have infinite knowledge – if I did I wouldn’t need induction.
    I think Stratnerd is confusing the principle of induction, which is the focus of my question, with particular applications of induction. We must not confuse the principle itself, which is necessary for making human experience intelligible, and certain cases where human application seems to fail. When I sit in a chair without testing it first, I've employed the inductive principle. When the chair collapses, induction hasn't failed me. My information about the structural integrity of the chair is what was lacking. Induction would inform me that the structural integrity of the chair had been compromised since the last time I sat in it. Induction would also inform me that a similar chair with similar structural problems would similarly collapse.
    So in theory, induction is never wrong because you’re always armed with the right knowledge. I’ll have to say that situation does not exist for us mere mortal so we must test our induction.
    HQ20: On what rational grounds does Stratnerd assert the principle of Occam's Razor?
    SA_HQ20: Parameters added to an explanation are a waste if they do not add to the explanation.
    HQ20b: On what rational grounds does Stratnerd assert that parameters added to an explanation are a waste if they do not add to the explanation?
    SA_HQ20b. Given that you could ask an infinite series of “and rationalize that” it seems pointless to answer.
    TAG
    SQ7: [but related to the questions above] Can you back up this assertion? Do just have to believe it?

    HA_SQ7. I don't see a rational alternative
    Again, this means nothing other than the limitations of your imagination and ignoring the fact that rationalization does not imply reality. So you do just need to believe it.
    It is fascinating to me how often non-Theists will readily criticize what they view as circularity in the views of others, but seem to utterly fail in seeing it in their own view. The reliability of knowledge is grounded linearly, not circularly, in the existence of God.
    But you presuppose God. And simply say that you can’t rationalize God because of his transcendence. So the very basis of your argument is irrational.
    Battling TOL creationist jerks-for-Jesus since 1998

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    Round 6 ~ Part I

    Outline:

    I. Evolution Is Still A Worldview
    II. Independent Lines of Data and Survival of the Fittest.
    III. The Evolutionist as an Epistemological Loafer
    IV. Methodological Naturalism, Justification and Question-Begging
    V. Stratnerd on "Question-Begging"
    VI. Stratnerd on the Supernatural
    VII. Methodological Naturalism Is Epistemologically Bankrupt
    VIII. Questions, Answers
    IX. Stratnerd on Rationality, Logic, Induction

    I. Evolution Is Still A Worldview
    Stratnerd continues to protest the claim that Evolution is more than a biological definition, but is rather worldview. Consider for a moment what would be required for me to accept only the definition of Evolution that Stratnerd and I are using. For me to accept Evolution as true, I would have to contradict and deny my fundamental beliefs about reality. That is because Evolution is more than a mere definition about biological change; it is a philosophical vision. As I demonstrated in several quotes of Evolutionists, Stratnerd's vociferous denials are tantamount to linguistic revision. Note that my use of the LR phrase in my previous post did not pertain to Stratnerd's definition of Evolution (as he alleges), but rather to his refusal to see Evolution as an all-encompassing worldview, as his forebears so plainly and unambiguously affirmed. He calls it "conflation" to include the perspectives of Dobzhansky, Dawkins, Sagan and Huxley in a description of the Evolutionist paradigm. He calls the quotes "errors." I call it history; and connecting the proverbial dots.

    Of course, Stratnerd will point to Dobzhansky as a theistic Evolutionist. However, Dobzhansky's statements oppose, contradict and undermine the explicit teachings of the Bible. He writes:
    “Evolution is a process which has produced life from non-life, which has brought forth man from an animal, and which may conceivably continue doing remarkable things in the future. In giving rise to man, the evolutionary process has, apparently for the first and only time in the history of the Cosmos, become conscious of itself.” (ibid.)

    Stratnerd then refers to theistic Evolutionists that he knows, as if the existence of people holding mutually exclusive ideas suffices to prove that Evolution somehow isn't a worldview. Any professing theist who holds to Evolution has compromised the teachings of the Bible and undermines its Truth. Any Evolutionist who is not anti-Theistic has simply not adequately reflected on the implications of Evolutionism, nor have they taken the theory to its logical conclusions to fully consider how it ramifies in their worldview.

    SQ36: How did my adding “Evolution starts when organisms start reproducing” qualify as linguistic revision?

    HA_SQ35:[/b] It didn't. Your emphatic exclusion of abiogenesis, ontological naturalism, etc., from Evolutionist's worldview is what qualifies it as linguistic revision.

    II. Independent Lines of Data and Survival of the Fittest.
    Stratnerd writes:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    The best test of a hypothesis, especially a historical hypothesis is congruence among independent lines of data.
    Consider the following statement by T.H. Morgan:

    "For it may be little more than a truism to state that the individuals that are best adapted to survive have a better chance of surviving than those not so well adapted to survive" (as quoted in Bethell, 1976).

    Stratnerd mentioned independent lines of data. Consider the claim that the best-selling beers are micro-brewed beers. Suppose, every time a best-selling beer was mentioned, someone immediately concluded: "It's a micro-brewed beer; if it's one of the best-selling, then it's a micro-brew." Would that be considered scientific? Of course not, because, as Stratnerd points out, there must be congruence along independent lines of data. There must be justification for concluding that there is a relationship between one class of things (best-selling beers) and another class of things (micro-brewed beers). What would be the way to make the best-seller/micro-brew relationship scientific? By independently establishing the characteristics of the two classes being compared.

    First we can independently establish the class of micro-brewed beers. Next we can independently establish the class of best-selling beers. Then we can correlate the two and decide whether or not all the best-selling beers are in fact micro-brewed beers.

    Let's apply this logic to the Evolutionary hypothesis, referred to as "survival of the fittest." An Evolutionist talks about the accumulation of mutations that result in phenotypic changes, arguing that organisms possessing the most advantageous features will survive. Those having advantageous phenotypic changes are regarded as the "fittest." So every time the Evolutionist talks about a surviving organism, he asserts that the surviving organism was the fittest. However, there is a problem with that reasoning, namely, the two classes of organisms -- the survivors and the fittest -- have not been independently established and verified. What are the independent criteria for fitness? How can the fittest organisms be identified apart from those who survived? The Evolutionist worldview assumes that the survivor is the fittest by default, unscientifically. The fact is, it is not a testable hypothesis, because the organisms that did not survive are not around to be tested. Not only that, but the fittest organisms may not have survived for reasons that had nothing to do with their fitness for survival. To make such a claim as "the fittest organisms survive" is the same as saying "micro-brewed beers are the best-selling beers" without first establishing each class independently of the other. With no way of establishing first the class of "fittest" organisms, the Evolutionary premise of the "survival of the fittest" becomes a tautology: "The Survival of the Survivors."

    Stratnerd writes:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    This is exactly how E/evolution works. Scientists posit relationships and mechanism of evolution and these are tested by experiments and observations.
    Yet, immediately above we see that a foundational plank of Evolution is inherently flawed and fails to meet Stratnerd's criteria of testability and observation.

    III. The Evolutionist as an Epistemological Loafer
    Consider the following hypothetical scenario:

    The Pneumatist believes in the existence of air and claims that all breathing depends on the air's existence and that without air, all breathing would be rendered impossible. The Apneumatist does not believe in the existence of air and claims that there is no evidence for the existence of air, and all the while he continues to breathe air. The Pneumatist points out to the Apneumatist the fact that, if air did not exist, he could not be breathing. But the Apneumatist responds and says, "No, you're wrong to say that my breathing would be impossible without air, because I AM in fact breathing!"

    This is the a similar scenario as we see in this debate. The Creationist believes in the existence of God and claims that the success of the tools of science depends on the extra-natural guidance and governance of God and that without Him, all science would be rendered impossible. The Methodological Naturalist refuses to acknowledge the extra-natural and claims that there is no need to consider the extra-natural in the scientific enterprise. The Creationist points out to the Methodological Naturalist the fact that, if God did not govern the natural by the extra-natural, he could not do science. But the Methodological Naturalist responds and says, "No, you're wrong to say that the success of the tools science would be impossible without God's governance, because my science is successful!"

    What we see in both of these scenarios is the failure to acknowledge the very foundation of what is being taken for granted. Our ability to know, to learn, to infer, to reason at all, depends upon the existence and attributes of a supernatural, personal God. Epistemology, the understanding of how we know what we know, has no rational foundation apart from God. Yet, the Methodological naturalist presumes to reason, to make inference, and to have knowledge. I do not deny their ability to do so, just as I would not deny the Apneumatist's ability to breathe God's air, but they cannot justify or rationally account for why they are successful at their science and how they breathe God's air. In the absence of cogent justification for breathing and reasoning, the anti-Creationist continues to breathe and to reason, but they do so without warrant, the whole time presuming upon the Creationist worldview and perception of reality in order to breathe and to make sense of everyday life. That is to say, the Methodological Naturalist/Evolutionist/anti-Creationist has not done, indeed could not do, his own work in order to justify what he knows and his theory of knowledge. By continuing to make claims to knowledge, he thus becomes an epistemological "loafer," tacitly borrowing Creationistic reasoning, and hijacking the tools of science without justification.

    IV. Methodological Naturalism, Justification and Question-Begging
    Stratnerd insists on justification for one's hypotheses, yet when asked to apply his own requirement to the hypothesis of science itself, he refuses. He limits the requirement to "... the hypotheses we invoke to explain natural phenomena." In other words, he wants to be arbitrary and to create for himself "a perfectly insulated worldview." He claims, arbitrarily, that "[w]hat makes something scientific or not relates to the ability of a hypothesis to be falsified." But this he cannot prove, nor is any attempt made to justify this hypothesis.

    When charged with question-begging in his assumption of Methodological Naturalism, Stratnerd answers with further question-begging, appealing to successes of science, as if that answers the charge. It does not. The successes of science do not make sense in a naturalistic, random, chance universe. They only make sense on the Creationist worldview, in which nature is created and sustained by a personal, purposeful, all-knowing Creator.

    Stratnerd says the "ability [of Methodological Naturalism] to discover new and explain new phenomena justify its use and this is nothing like testing your own eyes in isolation." It most certainly is. How does one determine that one's eyes see the world correctly? How does one determine that the logic one uses to understand the world cogitates correctly? By the use of logic? How does one ascertain whether or not Methodological Naturalism yields results that correspond to reality? By the use of Methodological Naturalism? He wants to appeal to other scientists and the successes of science, but how does Stratnerd himself assess the work and successes of other scientists? By sensory and reasoning faculties and a methodology that have not been proven and for which he has no means of calibration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Why does [Methodological Naturalism] work? Natural explanations are adequate for explaining natural phenomena.
    Note that Stratnerd's statement is philosophical in nature, and as such, it is not materialistic or "natural." It is a self-refuting claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Science doesn’t seek Truth only accurate descriptions of natural phenomena and the accuracy is judge by the ability to incorporate new cases.
    Whenever someone makes such a statement, the question must be asked: Is that true? Is it true that science does not seek Truth? Would not accurate descriptions of natural phenomena be considered "true" descriptions? These types of word games are common, at least in my experience. I had an Anthropology instructor make the same claim: "We're not interested in Truth; we're interested in the facts," as if to throw the Creationist off the trail by putting an upper-case "T" on the word "Truth" and artificially distinguishing it from "accurate descriptions." Nevermind that facts are meaningless apart from a context with which to interpret and to apply them. Nevermind that there is a true and a false way to interpret and to apply facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Jim’s creation science includes all sciences as long as the practitioner is a creationist.
    Anti-Creationist thinking destroys science by rendering it arbitrary and by reducing it to philosophical absurdity. Only the Creationist can rationally do science. That is not to say that the anti-Creationist can't do science, but he cannot do so rationally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    However, I think we both agree that creationism itself and all the subsequent explanations that it attempts to incorporate (e.g., origin of biodiversity) is not scientific because it cannot be falsified – a perfectly insulated worldview.
    Please consider: I have a worldview that says God is the Creator of the universe, that He created this universe in 6 days some 6,000 years ago, that the Bible is God's inerrant and infallible message to mankind. Is my view insulated against views that are contrary? Absolutely! Any hypothesis that requires acceptance of an old earth is rejected as contrary to God's Word, and therefore contrary to science. Stratnerd has a worldview that says the universe is random matter in motion, yet nature behaves in a uniform way that can be correctly understood by strictly naturalistic methods. Is his view insulated against views that are contrary? Absolutely! He refuses to even entertain the question of how he justifies his assumptions about nature and his method of science: A perfectly insulated worldview.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    The way we have confidence in explanations is that they are open to testing and are self-critical.
    Note that the anti-Creationist is not open to testing or being self-critical about their hypothesis of knowledge. Again, the Evolutionist betrays his special pleading and arbitrariness by stipulating requirements that he will not apply to his own hypothesis of knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Like Popper said, explanations (those arrived at inductively) need to “prove their mettle”. And on a personal level, I would hate to have absolute faith in something like that – I would always get the creepy feeling like I might be totally deceived.
    Does Stratnerd ever get the creepy feeling like he might be totally deceived about Methodological Naturalism?

    Hilston wrote: ... thus it isn't rationally possible for data, duly interpreted, to conflict with the Creationist worldview.

    Stratnerd replies:
    A person that never sees himself as being wrong has always come across to as the person most likely to be wrong.
    I did NOT say that the Creationist "never see himself as being wrong." What I am saying is, when the Creationist finds out that he is wrong, he has a reliable foundation (God's existence and the laws that reflect His character) upon which to assess his error and to proceed toward correcting it or finding a better explanation. The Methodological Naturalist does not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Yet how can [the Principle of Uniformity] be reconciled with instances that directly clash with his Biblical literalism.
    Without getting into what Stratnerd means by "Biblical literalism" (e.g. I do NOT believe Jesus' statement "I am the Door" meant that He was made of wood and hinges), there are no instances where the principle of uniformity clashes with the teachings of the Bible. In fact, the uniformity of nature and the regularity of nature are prerequisite to miracles. If there were no regularity, then nothing could be ascertained as miraculous. If there were no uniformity, there would be no knowledge or learning whatsoever by which to ascertain anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Nuclear decay rates, if constant through time suggest an Earth billions of years old.
    What does that then suggest? From a Biblical perspective, the nuclear decay rates obviously were not constant through time. Furthermore, the Methodological Naturalist has no justifiable grounds on which to even talk about "rates," because the very notion suggests the uniformity of nature, which is contrary to the Evolutionist's view of random chance processes in a universe comprising matter in motion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    We know that mutations accumulate and result in phenotypic changes yet Jim says that there are limits.
    The Bible says there are limits. I don't make any claims on my own authority.

    SQ33:At what point does the PofU stop working?
    HA_SQ33: Excellent question! Let's suppose it stopped working right now. How would you determine that it stopped working? By noticing non-uniformity in nature? But wait, how would you notice non-uniformity if the principle of uniformity has stopped working? Once again, the Methodological Naturalist is caught question-begging in the extreme, and Godless science is reduced to arbitrariness and utter skepticism; knowledge becomes absurd. For the Creationist, true and justified knowledge is based on the order and uniformity God has imposed on His creation.

    SQ33.b: Do your presuppositions have superiority over the external world?
    HA_SQ33.b: No. Only God has superiority over the external world.

    SQ33.c: How would you know if you are deceiving yourself?
    HA_SQ33.c: It is not rationally possible for God not to exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilston, previously
    HA_SQ21: The young earth thesis (Creationism) coupled with observed phenomena currently in the world suffices to suggest a rapid ice age.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    So where’s the mention of rapid ice ages in the text?
    It is inferred. Believing in Evolution requires contradicting the Bible, which the rational Creationist will not do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    I didn’t see any mention of rapid ice ages ...
    It is inferred. For me to accept Evolution, I would have to contradict the teaching of the Bible regarding a young earth. The evidence that the ice age occurred, combined with the observation that we are not currently in an ice age, draws out the conclusion that the ice age was rapid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    ... water vapor canopy, ...
    The waters above the firmament describe the WVC. Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    ... or super light speed. ...
    It is inferred. See example of ice age, above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Super speciation is used to account for the number of extant species and how Noah could logistically take care of millions of species and that’s not mentioned in there.
    This is a common but unfounded claim. Consider the following: Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    So it was a few thousand years ago that continents moved to their present positions within a lifetime?
    Of course.

    V. Stratnerd on "Question-Begging"
    It appears to me that Stratnerd isn't clear on what is meant by "begging the question" or "question-begging." He seems to think that it means, "evokes a question" or "raises a question." It doesn't. Question-begging is a logical fallacy, also known as petitio principii. It is "the term for a type of fallacy occurring in deductive reasoning in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises."

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Originally I said “He. Made. It.” Doesn’t explain anything and leaves the question begging (How did He do it) ...
    See what I mean? Stratnerd is using his own definition of "question begging" to describe what I said, but then applies my (normative) definition to my statement in order to critique it. Stratnerd then quotes me: "There is no question-begging in the statement that God made the horse by His creative power and volition. God's creative power and volition are transcendent, thus we are limited to seeing the effects of His power and volition. ...

    Hilston previously wrote: HA_SQ23: There is no need to make a prediction about how God created a horse; it is known. He made it by supernatural divine fiat. The details of the method transcend human comprehension.

    SQ34: the question that is “begged” is “how does divine fiat work to manifest objects out of nothingness?
    HA_SQ34: Stratnerd does it again. "Question-begging" is not the same as "prompting the question" or "raising the question," as Stratnerd seems to think. In answer to his question, the workings of divine fiat, beyond the descriptions that God creates by His power and volition, are not revealed.

    SQ34b: If it defies rationality then how do you stop creation from becoming irrational?
    HA_SQ34b: It does not defy rationality; rather, it grounds rationality; it provides an epistemological footing on which to base all of our knowledge and reasoning; it guarantees that creation will not suddenly become irrational. However, note that the anti-Creationist/Evolutionist/Methodological Naturalist view is left, not only without any guarantee, but with absolutely no warrant whatsoever to proceed on the assumption that knowledge acquired two seconds ago will have any correspondence to reality two seconds from now. The Evolutionist, in order to make sense of reality and to avoid irrationality and radical skepticism, must presume upon the Creationist worldview.

    VI. Stratnerd on the Supernatural
    Stratnerd wants to quibble over a disagreement regarding the defintion of "supernatural," as if that gets him off the hook of having to account for abstract conceptual entities such as the laws of logic and mathematics. Regardless of whether he calls them "supernatural" or "extra-natural" (which I prefer) or simply "ideas" or "concepts," Stratnerd has to deal with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    So I reject that the five senses delineate the supernatural. Like logic, the workings of mathematics are abstractions that exist in the mind and are not “extra-natural”.
    Let's see. They "exist in the mind," but are not "extra-natural?" If the laws of logic are natural, as Stratnerd asserts, we should be able to open up someone's "mind" (wherever that is) and scrape out the laws of logic and put them in a beaker. I find it discouraging that after six rounds of discussion, we are still having to clarify basic concepts of reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Therefore, all the arguments where Jim suggests the tools (such as logic and mathematics) are “extra-natural” are not valid.
    You've got to be kidding me. Have you ever tripped over a quotient? Perhaps you've found some modus ponens in your pants pocket that went through the wash? Did you ever spill a jar of syllogisms? Or perhaps you've sprinkled some 2s on your spaghetti? I hate it when I get pi stuck between my teeth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    The supernatural, to me, is the workings of a supernatural entity and is obvious when the “laws” of physics and biology are suspended. I call them miracles ...
    OK, fine. What do you call the law of non-contradiction? Is it physical? Tangible? Natural? "Natural"? Earlier you called mathematics an "abstraction," which is the opposite of "concrete." What is an abstraction, if not "extra-natural"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    – the Bible is replete with examples where “natural laws” no longer apply. Examples include, bushes burning without loss of mass and talk, ...
    This is the work of the Creator. He is able to manifest fire, while sustaining the molecular integrity of the bush. No laws are broken. Regularity is interrupted, but no laws are broken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    ... a man splits a sea with a staff, ...
    Moses spoke for God, Who, through His power and volition, caused a great wind to blow the waters apart and to accelerate the drying of the seabed. No natural laws were broken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    ... fruit imparts knowledge, ...
    It was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; the tree and its fruit were symbolic. The fruit did not actually impart knowledge or cause their spiritual death.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    ... men rise from the dead ...
    Lazarus and Jesus were not zombies. Their blood was restored, their organs repaired, their bodies were fully functional after being resurrected. No natural laws were broken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    ... and walk on water, etc.
    The Greek says that Jesus and Peter actually walked upon the surface of the water, meaning that God somehow caused the water to support their weight. This does not require the breaking of natural law, but rather the manipulation of molecular structure. Etc.

    VII. Methodological Naturalism Is Epistemologically Bankrupt
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Methodological naturalism is the concept that science can only include natural explanations for the causes of natural phenomena.
    And so continues the irrational belief that scientific tools and methods have anything whatever to do with reality on the basis of blind, purposeless, random chance and matter in motion. This is the epistemological loafer dressed up in Creationist clothes, presuming to use God's tools and to breathe God's air.

    In his list of possible explanations for the "primary regulator of community structure in a microcosm," Stratnerd listed "God." I pointed out to Stratnerd that he was making a category error, pointing out that God does not act as a primary regulator. Stratnerd responded:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Not sure that a category error is or what a primary regulator is but this sounds like the functional aspect of methodological naturalism.
    Interestingly, Stratnerd seemed to understand exactly the kind of distinction I was trying to make, which was betrayed by his qualification between "local" and "global."

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    We are not asking where logic comes from or if God exists. We simply want to know why there might be a certain proportion of herbivores to producers.
    More epistemological loafing. The Evolutionist wants to ask questions (which would be impossible in a random chance universe) and to use reason to discover and to know things, but he ignores the foundation of learning and knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    Since we do not know how God may regulate communities we cannot test it. So it’s left out.
    But it's not. It can't be. If you leave God out of the equation, you have no such thing as reason or knowledge, let alone the concept of "regulate."

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    We do not claim that God doesn’t – indeed he might. How would we know?
    It's the wrong question. You do know. Every time you have a coherent thought and type a coherent sentence, God's existence is screamed at you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    So, Jim utilizes the concept of MN until it conflicts with his self-insulating worldview.
    This is false. The concept of Methodological Naturalism is inherently Godless and irrational. When the Creationist employs logic, balances his checkbook, learns to speak a new language, etc., he recognizes that God is behind all regularity, uniformity, logic, knowledge and the tools of science. He does not, like the Evolutionist, pretend the extra-natural is irrelevant or doesn't exist. Rather, he knows that his knowledge and science are grounded in the existence of the extra-natural.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratnerd
    And how does this hypothetical cause and effect work to get a “true” explanation? How does logic cause a true explanation? [what is a true explanation anyway?]
    The use of logic can generate true explanations. For example, my keys are missing. I find my keys between the cushions of the couch. What is the explanation? They fell out of my pocket while I was sitting on the couch. Thus, logic can generate a true explanation. This is how MN is a hypothesis. The Evolutionist posits a causal relationship between MN and true explanations. Of course, it's not a justified hypothesis, and thus fails as science. In fact, it reduces science to radical skepticism and philosophical absurdity.

    (Cont'd Part II)

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