Monthly Archives: November 2010

Hearing Jonathan Witt and William Dembski on ID


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Article reads: Creationism means you believe literally the creation account in the Bible. Intelligent design means only that you believe the complexity of nature indicates that some form of intelligence designed the universe.

Behe on design


Behe writes: My contention is that ‘the purposeful arrangement of parts’ to achieve a specific purpose is the criterion that enables us to recognise design. I argued that the conclusion of design in the bacterial flagellum and in many other biological systems is no different from discerning it for a mousetrap or a Ford Mondeo.

Reactionaryism in Turkey


Article reads: Since 1908, reactionaryism has been part of the official rhetoric in Turkey. Philosophically, it is based on 19th-century positivism and scientism — the idea that science is the sole guide and savior for humankind — and on the belief that history progresses toward better days.

Global warming gave us the dinosaurs


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Article reads: Global warming 300 million years ago triggered the evolutionary burst which caused lizards to evolve into dinosaurs, scientists revealed today.

Mammals grew larger when dinosaurs died


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Article reads: Researchers have demonstrated that the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago paved the way for mammals to get bigger – about a thousand times bigger than they had been. The study, released today in the prestigious journal Science, is the first to quantitatively explore the patterns of body size of mammals after the demise of the dinosaurs.

Why natural selection does not explain biological evolution

See my new paper:

Abstract reads: The indifferent process of natural selection has been dubbed “the blind watchmaker” by Richard Dawkins. Arguments against natural selection are presented that relate to both ontology (reason-based) and epistemology (evidence-based), and the belief that the blind watchmaker drives evolution is revealed to be only a stipulation, at best. The belief is found coming from a metaphysical preference towards naturalism. A new account of evolution is presented that does not hold naturalism as a preference, and permits teleological (or guided) evolution and vitalism. This new account departs from the hidden agenda of naturalism, and fully discloses its preference towards self-evidence in its pursuit of truth.

Those of you that follow my blog have seen these arguments before.

Observing thanksgiving: my review of my book

I will be observing thanksgiving, and my I blog posting will also be slowed.
Here is something I can share, during this time of giving. It is not customary for an author to review his own book. However, potential readers are entitled to see book reviews, and my book has very few reviews. Therefore, I present my review below, written in the third person.
Review title: Taking Science into Mysticism

Albert Einstein said that “the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.”

Smith (page 54) hints that physical laws would go undiscovered, if we could not somehow “feel” them. We feel laws because they are experiential, they had to be conceived in the mind and then empirically verified. And in this exercise science has found itself unable to get beyond Kant`s metaphysical barrier that separates the phenomenal (appearance) from the noumenal (what is beyond). The feeling that lets us discover laws is exterior to the laws, and is given to us starkly.

It is worth noting that a forward causation finds its self referral in its backward reception. Law given as an action that is found within a symmetry implies nothing about an absolute determinism (or causation). Rather, the law is held together by a middle-term that marries the forward presentation to its reception. Symmetry is like a mirror, and the action is balanced enough to become a law. However, when Smith (page 58) notes that the middle-term is ineffable he brakes strongly away from Platonic strictures that never change. The “law” of nature reveals an action that is imbedded on a symmetry, and (in one example) the photon as messenger particle touches the time-less. Einstein`s riddle is solved. The world is comprehensible because we had to feel its laws, and this truism is comprehensible. It could be no other way!

What about the second law of thermodynamics? The second law of thermodynamic is starkly real. However, Smith (pages 14-16) tells us that its statistical derivation is incomplete if it is our hope to promote this law as a universal. The second law hides its fatal equivocation. Something that is represented by statistical mechanics is said to be the same as something that recognizes order and dissipates heat. Therefore, the second law hints of a duality given by a representation and its recognition, and what holds the synthesis together is a middle-term again. Smith will have us believe this implicates an emotional center that is a necessary condition for cognition. The heat-death might signify the repayment of past debt: the repayment of Karma in the best tradition of Eastern mysticism.

Smith (chapter 4) is critical of Darwin`s theory of evolution by natural selection. A different argument (not found in the book) can be made more succinctly: Darwin’s theory assumes a friendly sample space given as Richard Dawkins’s bioform space, and it assumes a dynamic (responsive to biological change) and smooth ( friendly to natural selection) fitness landscape. That is, Darwin’s theory comes with a precondition that natural selection can never explain, as this boundary is hardwired into the very fabric of space-time. Or stated another way: Randomness and selection are not context independent. Smith (page 81) hints that the precondition for evolution might as well be an innate vitality, and it is transcendence that describes our evolution.

Smith uses his Trinitarian logic throughout his book, and deconstructs science to reveal a middle-term that cannot be excluded from reason (despite Aristotle`s assertion to the contrary). This deconstruction reveals the sender-receiver unity (or Trinity), and this is as far as we can go if it is our hope to stay within traditional science. Therefore, what is vital and dearest to us is beyond law. However, our affections are now attached to the middle-term rather than the caricatures that had been so captivating before the awakening. And so much emerged from the middle-term because Kant`s barrier is literally in our face. That which is self-evident requires no proof of its existence, we merely accept that which is found in relation to reason and its felt emotions. Smith (chapter 7) takes science into mysticism.

The spirit loves freedom, and there is great pleasure in seeking an escape through the newly discovered middle-term. However, it cannot be that freedom is an absolute, and at best freedom is only a temporary flight of mind. Freedom as an expression of passion seeks a higher expression, and only worthy passions are able to find their compassion. Self-cultivation carries the heavy burden of judgement and criticism that is beyond freedom, and so few readers will have the tolerance needed to acknowledge Smith`s thesis. The emotional center cries out when faced with its own self-criticism, and so a science turned scientism is preferred by the secular mind.

Blinded by a simple theory


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Opinion reads: Evolutionary progress requires only two things: random genetic variation, followed by natural selection to ensure the survival of those variations that make the organism fitter for its environment. These principles elegantly explain the fossil record, protective coloration, the genetic similarities of all species, drug-resistant diseases, cancer, the intricacy of ecosystems, and are even used to develop efficient computer algorithms.

Posthuman delusions


Opinion reads: Ultimately, the fact that the developed world is infused with technoscience in all its varied, mangled forms does not mean core aspects of what it means to be a human being aren’t still up for grabs. One fruitful gap in modern science is that “the human” is still, at its base, a mystery. And while the championing to reduce this mystery through such endeavors as those under the umbrella of neuroscience should be encouraged, as long as there are still active agents who must navigate a world of social complexity, we will have expressions of how to do this. And we will discuss these artistic and literary expressions. And the humanities will continue, even if the discussion is, one day, between a carbon based intelligence and, say, a silicon or virtual one.

Selling evolution to the pubic


Article reads: An annual workshop of Indiana University’s Biocomplexity Institute, this year titled Biocomplexity XI: “The Evolution of Cooperation: Paradoxes of Collectivity & Individuality,” will include a guest public lecture by Richard Michod, a University of Arizona professor who is head of UA’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department.