FYI: this post has been moved here.


  1. Isn't Kansas the Land of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    I suspect that Scott C. Todd's statement is probably biased by the assumption (shared by most but not all ID followers) that an intelligent designer would necessarily be supernatural.

    If there was repeatably producible evidence (which didn't depend on the beliefs of the experimenter in order to come out properly) pointing to an intelligent designer, that designer would practically by definition be a natural (non-supernatural, "appropriate within a naturalistic worldview") object, and something for science to study.


    I like the "omni-science/omniscience" pun. Still not as cool as "truthisnowhere / truthisnowhere", but still cute.

  2. Thus, Prof. Dawkins can declare that life originated by “luck” and be quite pleased to have merely employed the secular equivalent of “miracle.”

    So true...lol.

  3. Dawkins doesn't really focus on the origin of life- he is a biologist, not a chemist.

    As for how life began, it is complicated, but doable. There are currently three theories- soup, vents and ice.

    Also, luck is not the secular equivalent of a miracle- luck is rolling a d20 and getting 20 five times in a row and a miracle is getting a 25. Seriously- how does that happen?

  4. Skinner, you day the origin of life is "doable"?

    That's great! So do it!

    You will be famous!

    I will be waiting here for the info.

  5. What do you propose as a 'reliable way to the truth' about the supernatural world?

    You can claim that science is overrated, but I defend it as the only proposed method that has demonstrated its worth. And so I ask you, by what mechanism can we evaluate supernatural claims and sort the truth from the bunk?

  6. Here is what Dawkins says about the progress of science in terms of origins of life...

    "Design is a workable explanation for organized complexity only in the short term. It is not an ultimate explanation, because designers themselves demand an explanation. Ultimately they must have evolved by gradual degrees from simpler beginnings."

    Nature laws cannot explain the irreducibly complex human machinery like a high end plastic molding machine, nor can it explain the engine contained in your car. The motors in the living cell do in fact bare a resemblance to that of human machinery, however biomachines are so advanced in construction and operation compared to their human counterparts, thus indicating God's signature in the creation.

    It's not surprising that Dawkins continues to embrace more and more the idea of alien life (even though there is no proof) having a part in the creation of life on earth.

  7. kuhlmann said,

    "You can claim that science is overrated, but I defend it as the only proposed method that has demonstrated its worth. And so I ask you, by what mechanism can we evaluate supernatural claims and sort the truth from the bunk?"

    This question shows up right on cue. It is a major issue that deserves more than a comment to answer it. I will address this in a post in a day or two.

    Thanks for the question,


  8. Great comments everyone.
    Samuel Skinner take a gander at this post I put up some time ago, it covers various theories:
    John Horgan, “In the Beginning…”

  9. Give me money, time and a lab and I'll take a shot at it... well, actually I'll dump it on Stanley Miller. He has experience in this matters.

    Life isn't irreducibly complex- see viruses. Are they life are nonlife?

    Also, Dawkins has said that proposing an alien origin doesn't answer the question- it might be possible, but it doesn't answer abiogenisis.

  10. Mariano: we discussed abiogenesis in a previous thread (although I can not find it now, it may have been deleted).

    I'm somewhat disappointed that you'd simply rehash your old arguments here while completely ignoring the input you received back then. Your complaint that abiogenesis in the lab only demonstrates the intelligence of the experimenters is groundless. Would you say that anything demonstrated in a lab by intelligent people can only happen in a lab when set up by intelligent people? I think you realize the error of such a conclusion (if not I can provide some examples). That's almost like saying that a computer simulation of an exploding star, because it took a great deal of intelligence to set it up, precludes a star from exploding.

    Again, the point of creating life in the lab is not to arrive at a final answer to how life actually began on Earth - this we will most likely never know - but to prove to ourselves that it can happen naturally. I still think you should read Kauffman's latest book, which I recommended to you back then, and also Smith & Szathmary "The Origins of Life." There's also a recent and very comprehensive treatment here: The Emergence of Life (which I haven't read, but it was recommended to me).

  11. I believe that Prof. Hube is over stating that case a little. The scientific method is a very good way of finding out truth and is usually claimed as the best way we know of yet. But I've never heard anywhere until this quote that it is the ONLY way. Science rests on the acknowledgement of what we do not know, which generally precludes absolute statments like this one.

  12. adonais- I've read The Emergence of Life, and it's a pretty good overview of current research. Also good is Robert Hazen’s Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origins.

  13. Stan,

    I was just looking over these old comments. I look forward to your upcoming post about a reliable method for evaluating supernatural claims.

  14. Samuel Skinner,
    As I stated in the post to which you refer, I referenced Vox Day for his analysis of various studies.

    Indeed, that is why I love “6 Modern Myths About Christianity and Western Civilization" by Philip J. Sampson. I only wish that he would turn the book into a series. But then again, why bother with things like facts when you can simply keep on promulgating the historical myths that everyone already knows are “true.”

    The answer is “To the ‘someone’” and brings me to your second question. Personages such as Mr. Walker will first admit that there is no intrinsic good or evil and then set out on a rampage of condemnation. Fine, he is condemning what he pleases based on his personal preferences but that is all that he is doing. And so in his view nothing is objectively atrocious because there is no intrinsic evil. And that is why presuming that there is no intrinsic good or evil he can say “atrocity” and someone else can say “not so” and neither is absolutely correct. This is my main contention.

    I certainly appreciate the resource recommendations. We actually agree that “the point of creating life in the lab is not to arrive at a final answer to how life actually began on Earth - this we will most likely never know” although we appear to part ways one the issue of whether successful origin of life experiments will “prove to ourselves that it can happen naturally.” It may, but it may also merely prove that intelligent scientists can make it happen.


  15. Mariano,

    Thanks for your reply. I totally agree with you that without moral objectivity, no one is absolutely correct. What I'm trying to get at, though, is the negative implication that follows from that. Is it just intellectually unsatisfying or are there practical concerns for our world if everyone stops believing in moral objectivism? What are you concerned will happen? Maybe the answer is so obvious to you that you think this is a trick question or something, but I assure you it's not. Just pretend you're talking to a six year-old (it's not far from the truth, right? =oP) and explain why it's so important to have objective morality.

    Would it just violate your intuition that the proposition "Raping innocent children is wrong" must evaluate to 'true'? Or would it spell the end of the human race?

    If someone else wants to answer, that's cool too. Or even if someone wants to point to a reference, that's fine. Thanks!

  16. kuhlmann,
    Perhaps the negative implications are simply stated as: let us take a look around today and this is what we find already.
    For example, if someone believes that it is moral to brutally and painfully murder and beautiful, healthy, innocent and defenseless human baby in the womb then it is moral. If someone else believes that it is not, then it is not. Yet, these two cannot both be true. But people confuse the concept of truth to mean something tantamount to what they prefer.
    So one person states that it is immoral and another that it is moral, a right, a freedom, or as Dan Barker states it—a wonderful thing and a blessing.
    That anyone could consider the most vulnerable human beings on earth, dehumanize them by referring to them as conceptus, zygote, embryo, byproduct of conception, etc. and view them as nothing but obstacles or as a certain politician recently put it, a punishment, shows us very clearly what life without moral objectivity entails. 42,000,000 abortions (that we know of) in 3 decades and we are still arguing about it.