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Posted by: Happy_Heretic ( )
Date: September 09, 2019 03:20PM

Jerry Coyne takes David Gelernter to task, but also illuminates a bit on the origins of self-replicating DNA/RNA strands as well.

Here is the original article by David Gelernter:

https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/

And the refutation:

https://quillette.com/2019/09/09/david-gelernter-is-wrong-about-ditching-darwin/

I post these because, from time to time, some here have argued that "Micro-evolution" is explained by Darwin, but "Macro-evolution" isn't supported by Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. To me its like saying "Yes... seconds and minutes are real.. but hours?" Nonsense.

The LDS Cult doesn't take a stand, but there were plenty of "testimonies" when I was a member that declared Darwin a servant of satan.

Happy Reading:

HH +)

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: September 09, 2019 11:06PM

It's good you brought this up since it's so interesting and important!

I've thought long and hard about that last line in the post: "The LDS Cult doesn't take a stand, but there were plenty of "testimonies" when I was a member that declared Darwin a servant of satan."

For a church that proclaims that they are the experts in what is true, they sure aren't taking a stand on what's actually important. They are failing miserably in defending what they are suppose to be believing in. And it all stems from the fact that they don't seem to know anything, Parents aren't teaching their kids anything important, and Mormons are led by old men who don't know (or care about) anything either.

Maybe the fault is that the leadership are not trained as scientists, academians, or theologians. They haven't developed that scientific reasoning of deep thought and reason.

They are trained in business and government. Men like Oaks love to talk about "the law" but they don't seem to be interested in explaining "the why."

the LDS church is raising a whole generation that can't even begin to defend what they think is right. And the leadership doesn't care to learn anything new.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 12:10AM

Jerry Coyne is a self-styled professional debunker, FWIW. Lots of arm waving there.

Mormons and Muslims have the lowest acceptance rates of evolution. Darwin himself didn’t rule out a supernatural component to natural selection. That came later. But to accept the massive body of evidence behind evolution requires accepting the Adam and Eve story as fiction. Won’t happen in Mormonland.

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Posted by: Happy_Heretic ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 03:26PM

Uh... clearly you don't know Jerry Coyne. Here:

"Jerry Allen Coyne (born December 30, 1949) is an American biologist known for his work on speciation and his commentary on intelligent design. A prolific scientist and author, he has published numerous papers elucidating the theory of evolution. He is currently a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. His concentration is speciation and ecological and evolutionary genetics, particularly as they involve the fruit fly, Drosophila.

He is the author of the text Speciation and the bestselling non-fiction book Why Evolution Is True. Coyne maintains a website and writes for his blog, also called Why Evolution Is True. He is a hard determinist." From Wikipedia.

He is not a"self-styled" debunker. He is a PhD in Biology with a lifetime of work in the field expert.

HH =)

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Posted by: Happy_Heretic ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 08:51PM

Coyne received a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary. He then earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Harvard University in 1978, working in the laboratory of Richard Lewontin. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Timothy Prout's laboratory at The University of California at Davis, he took his first academic position as assistant professor in the Department of Zoology at The University of Maryland. In 1996 he joined the faculty of The University of Chicago.

HH =)

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 09:54PM

Yes. Those educational achievements indicate that Coyne is probably a very solid analyst. The case is not conclusive but when compared to his unschooled rivals, he gets the benefit of the doubt until countered with excellent argumentation.

And when accused of being a charlatan, it is helpful to see what sorts of research he has done and his record in peer-reviewed journals. That record is formidable. What follows below is a partial list of publications, excluding his books and a roughly equal number of other journal articles. I don't expect anyone to read it all, but a simple sampling should put to rest any notion that Coyne is a joke.

If you are going to challenge this man on evolution, you'd better bring the bit dogs, not some whelp who trained in journalism as an undergraduate.

Coyne, Jerry A. (25 April 1985). "The genetic basis of Haldane's rule". Nature. 314 (6013): 736–7388. doi:10.1038/314736a0. PMID 3921852.

Coyne, Jerry A. (29 September 1988). "A couple of cross-pollinators". Nature. 335 (6189): 467. doi:10.1038/335467a0.

Coyne, Jerry A. (20 April 1989). "Protean evolution". Nature. 338 (6905): 672. doi:10.1038/338672a0. Retrieved 9 February 2014.

Coyne, Jerry A. (28 September 1989). "The European identity". Nature. 341 (6240): 363. doi:10.1038/341363a0.

Coyne, Jerry A. (1 March 1990). "Endless forms most beautiful". Nature. 344 (6261): 30. doi:10.1038/344030a0. PMID 18278018.

Coyne, Jerry A. (6 February 1992). "Genetics and speciation". Nature. 355 (6360): 511–515. doi:10.1038/355511a0. PMID 1741030.

Coyne, Jerry A. (28 May 1992). "Much ado about species". Nature. 357 (6376): 289–290. doi:10.1038/357289a0.

Coyne, Jerry A. (22 July 1993). "Recognizing species". Nature. 364 (6435): 298. doi:10.1038/364298a0.

Coyne, Jerry A. (19 May 1994). "Rules for Haldane's rule". Nature. 369 (6477): 189–190. doi:10.1038/369189a0. PMID 8183338.

Coyne, Jerry A. (31 August 1995). "Speciation in monkeyflowers". Nature. 376 (6543): 726–727. doi:10.1038/376726a0.

Coyne, Jerry A. (19 September 1996). "God in the details". Nature. 383 (6597): 227–228. doi:10.1038/383227a0.

Coyne, Jerry A. (29 April 1999). "The self-centred meme". Nature. 398 (6730): 767–768. doi:10.1038/19677.

Coyne, Jerry A.; Catherine S. C. Price; Kelly A. Dyer (29 July 1999). "Sperm competition between Drosophila males involves both displacement and incapacitation". Nature. 400 (6743): 449–452. doi:10.1038/22755. PMID 10440373.

Coyne, Jerry A. (2001). "Creationism by Stealth". Nature. 410 (6830): 745–746. doi:10.1038/35071144.

Coyne, Jerry A.; Anna Llopart; Susannah Elwyn (26 September 2002). "Fruitflies (Communication arising): Pigmentation and mate choice in Drosophila". Nature. 419 (6905): 360. doi:10.1038/419360a. PMID 12353025.

Coyne, Jerry A. (18 May 2005). "When science meets religion in the classroom". Nature. 435 (7040): 275. doi:10.1038/435275a. PMID 15902230.

Coyne, Jerry A.; Matthew Cobb (27 August 2008). "Atheism could be science's contribution to religion". Nature. 454 (7208): 1049. doi:10.1038/4541049d. PMID 18756233.

Coyne JA, Shapin S, Colwell R, Nowak M, Ravetz J, et al. (24 September 2008). "Which science book should the next US president read?". Nature. 455 (7212): 464–467. doi:10.1038/455464b.

Coyne JA, Poeppel D, Brown M, Solomon S, Wang MW, et al. (29 July 2009). "A break from the bench". Nature. 460 (7255): 574–577. doi:10.1038/460574a. and Science as well as recent publications from other journals.

Moehring, A. J.; Llopart, A.; Elwyn, S.; Coyne, J. A.; Mackay, T. F. C. (2006). "Genetic basis of prezygotic reproductive isolation between Drosophila santomea and D. yakuba due to mating preference". Genetics. 173 (1): 215–223. doi:10.1534/genetics.105.052993. PMC 1461457. PMID 16510787.

Coyne, J. A.; Elwyn, S. (2006). "Does the desaturase-2 locus in Drosophila melanogaster cause adaptation and sexual isolation?". Evolution. 60 (2): 279–291. doi:10.1554/05-008.1.

Coyne, J. A.; Elwyn, S. (2006). "Desaturase-2, environmental adaptation, and sexual isolation in Drosophila melanogaster". Evolution. 60 (3): 626–627. doi:10.1111/j.0014-3820.2006.tb01143.x.

Watson, E.; Rodewald, E.; Coyne, J. A. (2007). "The courtship song of Drosophila santomea and a comparison to its sister species D. yakuba". Eur. J. Entomol. 104: 145–148. doi:10.14411/eje.2007.020.

Noor, M. A. F.; Coyne, J. A. (2007). "Speciation in the new millennium: What's left to know? Israel J. Ecol". Evolution. 52 (3–4): 431–441. doi:10.1560/ijee_52_3-4_431.

Hoekstra, H. E.; Coyne, J. A. (2007). "The locus of evolution: evo devo and the genetics of adaptation". Evolution. 61 (5): 995–1016. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2007.00105.x. PMID 17492956.

Coyne, J. A. 2008. Short guide: sympatric speciation" Curr. Biol 17:r787-r788.
Drosophila 12 genomes consortium. (many authors, including myself). 2008.
Evolution of genes and genomes on the Drosophila phylogeny" Nature 450:203-218.

Coyne, J. A.; Kay, E. H.; Pruett-Jones, S. (2008). "The genetic basis of sexual dimorphism in birds". Evolution. 62 (1): 214–219. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2007.00254.x. PMID 18005159.

Matute, D. R.; Novak, C. J.; Coyne, J. A. (2009). "Temperature-based extrinsic reproductive isolation in two species of Drosophila". Evolution. 63 (3): 595–612. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2008.00588.x. PMID 19087181.

Matute, D. R.; Butler, I. A.; Coyne, J. A. (2009). "Little or no effect of the tan locus on pigmentation levels in viable female hybrids between Drosophila santomea and D. melanogaster". Cell. 139 (6): 1181–1188. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.10.033. PMC 2798109. PMID 20005810.

Matute, D. R.; Coyne, J. A. (2010). "Intrinsic reproductive isolation between two species of Drosophila". Evolution. 64 (4): 903–920. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00879.x. PMID 19891626.

Matute, D. R.; Butler, I. A.; Turissini, D. A.; Coyne, J. A. (2010). "A test of the snowball theory for the rate of evolution of hybrid incompatibilities". Science. 329 (5998): 1518–1521. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.363.4994. doi:10.1126/science.1193440. PMID 20847270. (Subject of News & Views in Nature doi:10.1038/news.2010.476)

Coyne, J. A. (2010). "The evolutionary calculus of depression". Psychiatric Times. 27: 32–33.

Coyne, J. A. (2012). "Science, religion, and society: the problem of evolution in America". Evolution. 66 (8): 2654–2663. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01664.x. PMID 22834762.

Butlin, R. K.; Saura, M.; Charrier, G.; Jackson, B.; André, C.; Caballero, A.; Coyne, J. A.; Gallindo, J.; Grahame, J. W.; Hollander, J.; Kemppainen, P.; Martínez-Fernández, M.; Panova, M.; Quesada, H.; Johannesson, K.; Rolán-Alvarez, E. (2013). "Parallel evolution of local adaptation and reproductive isolation in the face of gene flow". Evolution. 68 (4): 935–949. doi:10.1111/evo.12329. PMC 4261988. PMID 24299519.

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Posted by: Happy_Heretic ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 12:14PM

Thanks Lot's wife. Jerry has one hell of a VITAE. No need to bother with "know-nothing critics." They are always engaging in "refutation by denigration." If they wish to confront Dr. Coyne themselves they can always comment on his blog at "whyevolutionistrue...". He is more than capable of defending his views on Evolution by natural selection. That is what makes him an expert. He can tell you why his views have merit.

HH =)

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 06:40PM

"Jerry Coyne is a self-styled professional debunker, FWIW. Lots of arm waving there."

COMMENT: That is to put it mildly. Coyne is a perfect example of someone who is so caught up in his own self-importance that he fails to see just how ludicrous his positions are. Here is one example where he is called out for claiming that his extreme scientific materialism somehow supports humanism, and human values. In other words, according to Coyne, human beings are just biological, deterministic, machines; there is no free will; and the self is an illusion. (Standard themes by Coyne) Yet, somehow such a view supports humanism; i.e. individual meaning, choice, values, etc. Really, the guy is a nut case. And I don't care how many degrees he has.

https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 07:48PM

The Internet is taking a toll on “extreme scientific materialism” as well as brain-dead religious cults. The truth is somewhere in between.

It seems scientific materialism peaked in the 20th Century and is slowing waning as its hardcore proponents die off. The Feynman era was an interesting time to grow up in. He had a very popular gospel, along with others of his time. But to everything there is a season. It almost seems like a Renaissance is happening behind the scenes.

I think this century will be the one where the Universe really spills the beans. A real golden age for both science and spirituality.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 08:07PM

Henry, this is lame. You may be right about Coyne, but the article you cite is not impressive.

Moreover, the author of that article is a journalist. He has an undergraduate degree, was a "contributor" to his college newspaper, and is an opinion writer at the NYT and as well as a blogger. That is it. I can find no indication that he has any background in anything related to evolution. And you are citing his word against that of a tenured professor at Chicago with an extensive list of publications in first-rate biology journals. This is David versus Goliath but without the slingshot.

You have to do better than that.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 08:19PM

I was not intending to support the point of view of the author in this link, or elevate his credentials. The fact that he, as a layman, can expose such obvious flaws in Coyne's reasoning is telling, however. He describes his exchange with Coyne and quotes him in a manner that exposes the absurdity of his position, which position has been expressed in lots of places, including Coyne's own books. So, it hopefully made the point I was trying to make.

Moreover the link is concise and accessible for people on the Board. That is why I used this link.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 08:27PM

That's fine, Henry. I understand your logic.

But the article is largely beside the point. Much of it relies on the assumption that readers share the author's views on religion. If they do, they're likely to find his conclusions logical. But if they do not, they won't. I think the article's reception on RfM will break down along those lines.

Douthat is preaching to the choir, which is a lot smaller than he thinks.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 08:46PM

Point taken. I didn't look at it that way. But it shows you that when challenging religious views on the basis of science one should be careful; including one's choice of authorities. Otherwise the effect might be the opposite of what was intended.

People on the Board tend to think in absolutes: All things religious is nonsense; all things scientific is sound, and all one needs to do is apply a little critical thinking to understand the difference. This leads not only to a gross misunderstanding of the issues involved, but often a misguided license to ridicule opposing points of view. Now certainly some points of view are deserving of ridicule, but religion certainly does NOT have a monopoly on such views.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 10:50PM

I am taking a deep dive into the science of imprecision and Guessing-Until-You-Get-It-Right.

In order to conduct my studies, I need an 80/20 nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere, a modicum of caloric intake, a bit of shelter and a pinch of love.

When my studies are complete, I will keep the results to myself because I don't want the "Precise" school of thought to profit from what I've been able to stumble upon.

I will die happy.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 11:10PM

With your face between two bell shaped curves?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 11:58PM

Well done.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 12:04AM

People here do tend to view thing in absolute terms. That is true.

But I find it surprising that you are interpreting this episode as indicating the dangers in relying on bad science when challenging religion. Why am I surprised? Because what happened was the opposite. You challenged a serious academic with a badly flawed pro-religion article. That supports the conclusion that it is dangerous to challenge science with bad analysis.

You are playing a bit of a shell game, portraying evidence against your favored position as evidence in support of it.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 10:16AM

But I find it surprising that you are interpreting this episode as indicating the dangers in relying on bad science when challenging religion. Why am I surprised? Because what happened was the opposite. You challenged a serious academic with a badly flawed pro-religion article. That supports the conclusion that it is dangerous to challenge science with bad analysis.

COMMENT: The article was specifically about Jerry Coyne's critique of the author's religious point of view, demonstrating quite effectively that Coyne's own position was inconsistent. However "pro-religion" the article was, or even substantively flawed in that regard, its point about Coyne (the point of the article) was well-taken. That is all I was pointing out.
___________________________________

You are playing a bit of a shell game, portraying evidence against your favored position as evidence in support of it.

COMMENT: No! When I post on the Board it is not about "my favored position." It is in response to positions, attitudes, and arguments that I believe are either false or short-sighted, whatever position they might support. I have "attacked" the arguments of theists and atheists when they deserve being attacked. Admittedly, I tend to focus my criticisms on positions that appear to be in lock-step with the so-called scientific skeptics, like Dawkins and Coyne, because it seems to me that this perspective is what is sorely needed on the Board. But as to criticism, I am an equal opportunity offender, which is undoubtedly why I am generally not well-received or embraced by either the atheist or theist camps on the Board. Let's be honest, I probably annoy just about everybody. :)

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 01:23PM

Citing a bad article in favor of any position weakens that position. Using a dilettante like Dothout to refute Coyne, a man with very strong credentials, is a mistake. Once you have done that, your choices are 1) acknowledge Dothout's limitations and hope people nevertheless accept his conclusion, or 2) realize that most people will read both and, seeing Dothout's failure, conclude that Coyne is right.

If your rebuttal evidence is worse than the argument you are rebutting, the effect is to make that argument more credible, not less.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 02:16PM

Citing a bad article in favor of any position weakens that position.

COMMENT: I cite articles for their arguments, not because I agree with everything the author states. And in that sense I don't care where the arguments are coming from. I do not shut the door on anyone; not even Dothout! Let them make their case.
_______________________________________

Using a dilettante like Dothout to refute Coyne, a man with very strong credentials, is a mistake.

COMMENT: No it isn't. Credentials don't mean a thing. After all, why did Coyne himself bother to substantively address this guy if he was concerned about credentials and not arguments?

Moreover, if I cared about credentials I wouldn't be here, since I myself have none. Credentials don't do a thing to support or refute a sound argument; not a damn thing! This example shows that even a "dilettante" like Dothout (or myself) can see through someone like Coyne.
____________________________________

Once you have done that, your choices are 1) acknowledge Dothout's limitations and hope people nevertheless accept his conclusion, or 2) realize that most people will read both and, seeing Dothout's failure, conclude that Coyne is right.

COMMENT: This is ridiculous. Dothout's uses direct quotes from Coyne, and his criticisms logically speak for themselves as applied to those quotes. It is you that are dismissive of Dothout's argument simply out of a weighing of credentials. That is a classic ad hominin fallacy pure and simple. People can conclude what they want. But if they conclude Dothout's argument here was a failure because of his lack of credentials--like you have apparently done--they will miss the entire point.
_____________________________________

If your rebuttal evidence is worse than the argument you are rebutting, the effect is to make that argument more credible, not less.

COMMENT: This is NOT about evidence. The evidence was Coyne's own statements; and the logic applied by Dothout was directed to those very statements. What more do you want? A PhD? Does a person have to renounce his religious beliefs before you are willing to take a simple logical argument seriously?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 06:14PM

I don't care about appeals to authority. Knowing one's background is helpful in evaluating the arguments--whether there might be more than meets the eye--but that is all.

In this case Dothout's replies to Coyne are flaccid. I look up their backgrounds to see if Dothout may in fact be saying something deeper than it appears. The answer is he is exactly what he presents as: his arguments are all there is.

They are weak arguments that only work if someone already shares the author's transparent presumptions. His piece will go over well with the choir, but no one else is going to stay till the end of the concert.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 09:42AM

I don't care about appeals to authority. Knowing one's background is helpful in evaluating the arguments--whether there might be more than meets the eye--but that is all.

COMMENT: Arguably, you just made an inconsistent statement. On the one hand you don't care about authority; yet on the other hand you do. What could there possibly be that is "more than meets the eye" revealed by one's authority that is relevant to the validity and soundness of an argument? This is a back-door example of an ad hominem fallacy.
______________________________________

In this case Dothout's replies to Coyne are flaccid. I look up their backgrounds to see if Dothout may in fact be saying something deeper than it appears. The answer is he is exactly what he presents as: his arguments are all there is.

COMMENT: No. You looked up backgrounds to find an excuse to be dismissive of Dothout; i.e. to see if the *motivation* for his argument warrants dismissal of it. Here again, Dothout's motivation is entirely irrelevant.
_________________________________

They are weak arguments that only work if someone already shares the author's transparent presumptions. His piece will go over well with the choir, but no one else is going to stay till the end of the concert.

COMMENT: Notice you have not bothered to either state the argument you are attacking, or express any support for your claim that it is weak. In fact, it is clear that in your distain for Dothout's background and his ID motivation you have lost sight of the argument itself.

All the argument is saying is that Coyne's own materialist statements about the meaningless of the universe, and the illusion of genuine altruism are inconsistent with his humanist values, which is entirely true! If you disagree, let's have an argument. Tell us how one can dismiss genuine human altruism (i.e. the capacity to make free and deliberate choices in the service of others at the cost of one's own well-being) while retaining fundamental human values. (e.g. the value instantiated by the human capacity to make free and deliberate choices in the service of others at the cost of one's own well-being,)

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 02:16PM

Well, that is a mischaracterization of how I address these things.

What happened is I read the article. I saw some remarkably facile arguments and some bizarre digressions like the one on epistemology (criticism of what was effectively Nietzsche's analysis of ontology and epistemology) and thought why would Henry would provide it.

So I thought there must be something that, on first pass, I had missed. At that point I went to see who Coyne and Dothout are, which is a good way to see both their perspectives and their ability to address the questions in debate. I did that and quickly realized why Dothout was presenting arguments that appeared so unimaginative.

You may call that "appeal to authority," but from my perspective it is intellectual due diligence. I started with the arguments and then decided to give Dothout a second chance. What I discovered is that he is in no way an expert on this stuff and has not published anything serious on the topic at all. My initial impression was therefore further substantiated.

What you write in your final paragraph, for instance, the notion that Coyne leaves no basis for altruism, is old hat. Dothout and you argue that point frequently but it completely discounts the altruism that exists among all social animals. What are we to do? Ignore the vast body of work on those topics and treat Dothout as if he is the first person to consider them? My foray into his background indicates there probably isn't much point giving him the benefit of that doubt.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 08:52AM

Well, that is a mischaracterization of how I address these things.

COMMON: Sorry, but you just demonstrated how you address "these things." You look at an argument and rather than considering it on the merits, you consider the credentials of who wrote it and judge it accordingly. That is precisely what you did here. And what is shocking is that you do not even realize it.
________________________________

What happened is I read the article. I saw some remarkably facile arguments and some bizarre digressions like the one on epistemology (criticism of what was effectively Nietzsche's analysis of ontology and epistemology) and thought why would Henry would provide it.

COMMENT: What are you talking about? Tell me what he said and why it was wrong. And while you are focusing on every little criticism you can find about Dothout, why are you not responding to the substance of Dothout's criticism of Coyne, which is what the article is about. The reason you give him a free pass is because he has credentials--and *that" is your main focus of interest. (After all, consider the need you felt to provide a laundry list of his publications. The fact that you would provide such a list says it all about where your focus is!)
____________________________________

So I thought there must be something that, on first pass, I had missed. At that point I went to see who Coyne and Dothout are, which is a good way to see both their perspectives and their ability to address the questions in debate. I did that and quickly realized why Dothout was presenting arguments that appeared so unimaginative.

COMMENT: This is absurd. The reality is that you did not like what Dothout was saying, so you tried to figure out a way to dismiss it while avoiding the substance of the argument, which you are still avoiding.
_________________________________

You may call that "appeal to authority," but from my perspective it is intellectual due diligence. I started with the arguments and then decided to give Dothout a second chance. What I discovered is that he is in no way an expert on this stuff and has not published anything serious on the topic at all. My initial impression was therefore further substantiated.

COMMENT: You can call it what you want. But your whole exchange here is a classic, text book, use of the ad hominem fallacy. Pure and simple.
____________________________________

What you write in your final paragraph, for instance, the notion that Coyne leaves no basis for altruism, is old hat. Dothout and you argue that point frequently but it completely discounts the altruism that exists among all social animals.

COMMENT: No it doesn't. Did you get this form Jerry Coyne? Altruism has many forms and proposed explanations, including in particular, behavioral altruism and psychological altruism. This is how Elliot Sober characterizes the issue in his seminal book "Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior." (Don't worry, Sober he is an academic scholar, and a leading authority on altruism, so it is okay to consider his views.)

"An organism behaves altruistically--in the evolutionary sense of the term--if it reduces its own fitness and augments the fitness of others. In contrast, the concept of psychological altruism applies, in the first instance, to motivational states, and only derivatively to the behaviors those motives may cause. The shift from altruism as a property of behavior to altruism as a property of motives may seem trivial, but in fact it introduces a new set of issues."
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What are we to do? Ignore the vast body of work on those topics and treat Dothout as if he is the first person to consider them? My foray into his background indicates there probably isn't much point giving him the benefit of that doubt.

COMMENT: Well, you just no only ignored "the vast body of work on those topics" including perhaps the most seminal work on the subject in academia. You do not need to give Dothout the benefit of the doubt--THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. All you need to do is read his argument. It is all there. If you think he is wrong, for God's sake state why! Credentials have nothing to do with it--unless you are hung up on authority, which you obviously are.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 11:51AM

Holy goddamn, LW, you write soooooo much to avoid a simple question:

If self is an illusion, how can this self generate its own purpose(s)?

(And if you want someone more acedemic to tell you the obvious, that Jerry Coyne is a prat, at best, thensearch Massimo Pigliucci.)

Human

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 12:20PM

Coyne does not argue that life is illusion.

So there's that.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 12:28PM

But “that” is meaningless, so...

Besides, he clearly states that *he* makes purpose:

“But we make our own purposes, and they’re real. Right now my purpose is to...”

This “my” is an illusion making things “real”, according to Coyne.


I guess “life” is real because an illusion said so? Okay, you may have “that” if you’d like.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 12:32PM

You made a false statement. Coyne did not say life is an illusion.

Here you repeat that false statement. Repetition does not make something true.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 12:37PM

You made a false statement. I did not say that Coyne said life is an illusion.

In fact, I said Coyne said life is real.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 12:41PM

Okay, so you are claiming that Coyne said he is an illusion.

That is false. His nod to Nietzschean epistemology is an intellectually honest thing to do; he acknowledged it but did not commit himself to it. To the contrary, he posits that people can create their own meaning--which presupposes that those people exist.

I'm not sure why that is confusing.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 12:17PM

This is BS, Henry, and what is more, it is tedious.

You are generally a logical man, but there are times when you go way out on a limb with really silly arguments. Here I tell you that I read the article, found it insipid and a discredit to you, and then explain that I gave your brilliant fellow traveler the benefit of the doubt. He does not deserve it, and frankly neither do you.

In the interest of following you down this particular rat hole, here's why Dothout should be working at Krispy Kreme. Paragraphs One and Two: Creating a category of idiots and then suggesting Coyne belongs in it. Coyne is like a Marxist, or a millenarian, or an inquisitor. He is an evangelist. Could you explain to me why that is rational dialogue? How is it substantial as opposed to ad hominem? This is exactly how the Mormon apologists couch their "substantive" discussions: by starting with mischaracterizations and insults. A more honest author would skip that crap and address substance.

Third Paragraph: I'm smart and everyone can see that. Excellent. It fits perfectly with the first two paragraphs: my enemy is a Marxist inquisitor and I am conspicuously brilliant. What, Henry, remains to be said after that? We know who wins the argument because of the three paragraphs of personal nonsense, so there's no need to look at content. Dothought might as well dispense with the rest of the article because he's made his argument and declared himself the winner.

Then in the next few paragraphs, the heart of Dothout's opus. Coyne is "Promethean" because he believes people can create meaning in their lives even if life is accidental. How can it possibly be that life has meaning if the origins of life did not? That would be brilliant if it were not so obviously fatuous. People create meaning in their lives all the time regardless of how they were "created." The child of rape or incest goes on to build a meaningful life despite the fact that s/he was born in crime or ignorance. And yet Dothout, and you, assert that a meaningful life requires a meaningful origin. Do you not see how stupid that is?

Next comes the banal assertion that if genetics dictate social harmony, then the individual should conform to his KKK group or join in with Nazis in 1930s Germany rather than resist--because that is what harmonization would mean. This argument suffers from two profound flaws. Flaw the first: the interests of society and harmony are much greater than joining the popular kids at school. In fields from technology to art to politics, outliers make major contributions over the longer term despite opposition in the shorter time. Viewed in genetic terms, there is a reason natural selection hasn't fully eliminated sociopathy and narcissism: there are times when such people--FDR in the former category, Churchill in the latter--save society by resisting short-term threats to it.

Flaw the second: if altruistic behavior is genetic and in some degree pre-cognitive and hence impulsive, then it need not function always in a logical way. Consider the mother bear who sacrifices herself for her cubs. Did that action require a worldview? Did it require religion? Did it necessarily imply a rational action that serves the interest of the community in any particular case or is it merely an impulsive pattern of behavior that, more often than not, results in pro-social outcomes? Dothout's position, and yours, is that such instinctive altruism is not altruistic unless it is rational and always yields the right outcome. It is difficult to imagine a more linear, and in the case of human or even mammalian impulse, risible claim.

Then he goes on to say that Coyne's proposed genetically based moralism doesn't work because it can't lead to absolute moral principles like "thou shalt not murder." But already Dothout's pulled a trick: the biblical imperative is "thou shalt not kill." But even Christianity hasn't produced such a moral rule: if it had, it would have been wrong to fight against Hitler. The Christian rule is "thou shalt not kill" unless there are good moral reasons to kill. Dothout tries to squirm out of that problem by switching the imperative from "thou shalt not kill" to "thou shalt not murder" because that allows some forms of justifiable killing. But we notice the sleight of hand: we see that he can't even defend the Mosaic rule and feels the need to amend it to make it fit his sensibilities. That, Henry, is an acknowledgement that religion has not, in this his best example, reached the moral absolute that he says a real moral code must.

Finally, he writes that Coyne must show how Darwinism produces a comprehensive moral code. And yet we have seen that religion has failed to meet that standard both theoretically and practically. In short, this problem alone is enough to invalidate the entire article. Dothout insists that the atheistic moralists produce a moral code that he knows--witness the shift from "kill" to "murder"--religion can't offer.

So no, Henry, I do not think Dothout deserves much consideration. If you want to tout such articles, go ahead. But it makes you look weak. You are a smart man, but there are times when you get so wedded to a proposition that you substitute lengthy defenses of flaccid arguments that are in fact transparent. In this case you posted a seriously flawed article and then felt the need to defend it. You should not lend your credibility to something so facile, someone so intellectually dishonest.

These are the points I alluded to when I said this article was beneath you. The contrast between this facile and self-indulgent tripe and your intellect motivated me to learn more about the two contestants. If you want to act like I only care about what my subsequent examinations yielded, so be it. But you are still left defending something that in a wiser moment you should have apologized for.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2019 01:26PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 02:06PM

In the interest of following you down this particular rat hole, here's why Dothout should be working at Krispy Kreme. Paragraphs One and Two: Creating a category of idiots and then suggesting Coyne belongs in it. Coyne is like a Marxist, or a millenarian, or an inquisitor. He is an evangelist. Could you explain to me why that is rational dialogue? How is it substantial as opposed to ad hominem? This is exactly how the Mormon apologists couch their "substantive" discussions: by starting with mischaracterizations and insults. A more honest author would skip that crap and address substance.

COMMENT: Look, I am not saying that Dothout is the epidemy of rational thought. Nor am I saying that this essay is devoid of meaningless rhetoric. But certainly Coyne is no stranger to bad logic and meaningless rhetoric. That said, the point is to get past such things and focus on the argument that is the substance of the essay. The point, in a nutshell, is that Coyne dismisses all things about human nature that are required to support his acknowledged humanistic values. Please try to defend him on that score.
____________________________________

Third Paragraph: I'm smart and everyone can see that. Excellent. It fits perfectly with the first two paragraphs: my enemy is a Marxist inquisitor and I am conspicuously brilliant. What, Henry, remains to be said after that? We know who wins the argument because of the three paragraphs of personal nonsense, so there's no need to look at content. Dothought might as well dispense with the rest of the article because he's made his argument and declared himself the winner.

COMMENT: Here is the third paragraph:

"What’s striking about his response, though, is the extent to which its own account of the secular, materialist world-picture actually illustrates precisely the problems and tensions that I was talking about, in ways that even a casual reader should find obvious but which Coyne apparently did not. He can see the weak points in a religious argument, but the weaknesses of his own side of the debate are sufficiently invisible to him that his rebuttal flirts with self-caricature."

I find this criticism of Coyne exactly correct! And Dothout then goes on to explain why. It is basically his thesis statement.
_____________________________________

Then in the next few paragraphs, the heart of Dothout's opus. Coyne is "Promethean" because he believes people can create meaning in their lives even if life is accidental. How can it possibly be that life has meaning if the origins of life did not? That would be brilliant if it were not so obviously fatuous. People create meaning in their lives all the time regardless of how they were "created." The child of rape or incest goes on to build a meaningful life despite the fact that s/he was born in crime or ignorance. And yet Dothout, and you, assert that a meaningful life requires a meaningful origin. Do you not see how stupid that is?

COMMENT: It is, of course, fair to differentiate between a proposed lack of meaning to the universe or the origin of life, and a proposed meaning in one's personal life. However, it does NOT make sense to claim meaning in one's personal life, while claiming that "the self" and freewill are illusions. That is where Coyne gets into trouble with his materialist assumptions. And Dothout is quite right. Coyne seems totally oblivious to this obvious inconsistency.
______________________________________

Next comes the banal assertion that if genetics dictate social harmony, then the individual should conform to his KKK group or join in with Nazis in 1930s Germany rather than resist--because that is what harmonization would mean. This argument suffers from two profound flaws. Flaw the first: the interests of society and harmony are much greater than joining the popular kids at school. In fields from technology to art to politics, outliers make major contributions over the longer term despite opposition in the shorter time. Viewed in genetic terms, there is a reason natural selection hasn't fully eliminated sociopathy and narcissism: there are times when such people--FDR in the former category, Churchill in the latter--save society by resisting short-term threats to it.

COMMENT: The point is that if human beings are nothing more than genetics, and other deterministic materialist criteria, there would be no point or reason to assign moral blame in any social context. The moral basis for the interests of society and harmony become totally illusory, and subject to individual intuitions, be they Western, Eastern, or Nazism. There is no metaphysical grounding. And more to the point, individuals could not make free, moral, nondeterministic, choices to further a preferred social outcome, if they were just determinist biological automatons. Natural selection, as a materialist, deterministic, process offers no help here. You need to explain why Coyne's brand of materialism as applied to human beings, leaves any room for morality and freewill (and thus the prospect of a meaningful life)--except as an illusion.
_________________________________________

Flaw the second: if altruistic behavior is genetic and in some degree pre-cognitive and hence impulsive, then it need not function always in a logical way. Consider the mother bear who sacrifices herself for her cubs. Did that action require a worldview? Did it require religion? Did it necessarily imply a rational action that serves the interest of the community in any particular case or is it merely an impulsive pattern of behavior that, more often than not, results in pro-social outcomes? Dothout's position, and yours, is that such instinctive altruism is not altruistic unless it is rational and always yields the right outcome. It is difficult to imagine a more linear, and in the case of human or even mammalian impulse, risible claim.

COMMENT: We cannot speak to a mother bear on this issue because we do not understand animal mentality. But we can speak to human beings, and the issue there with respect to altruism is motivation and action. And in this context rationality and freewill are essential components. Now, you could try to invoke evolutionary psychology as an explanation of our moral sense, and as the ultimate explanation of altruistic behavior, but this has been tried and it doesn't work. For one reason we are back to a psychological determinism. That is NOT what we generally mean when we praise altruistic behavior. What we mean is that a person did the altruistic moral action WHEN HE OR SHE COULD HAVE DONE OTHERWISE. THEY WERE NOT JUST PROGRAMED IN THE RIGHT WAY. Whether you couch human nature in physical terms or psychological terms, as long as it remains deterministic you have a problem with freewill, and thus a problem with personal meaning.
___________________________________________

Then he goes on to say that Coyne's proposed genetically based moralism doesn't work because it can't lead to absolute moral principles like "thou shalt not murder." But already he's pulled a trick: the biblical imperative is "thou shalt not kill." But even Christianity hasn't produced such a moral rule: if it had, it would have been wrong to fight against Hitler. The Christian rule is "thou shalt not kill" unless there are good moral reasons to kill. Dothout tries to squirm out of that problem by switching the imperative from "thou shalt not kill" to "thou shalt not murder" because that allows some forms of justifiable killing. But we notice the sleight of hand: we see that he can't even defend the Mosaic rule and feels the need to amend it to make it fit his sensibilities. That, Henry, is an acknowledgement that religion has not, in this his best example, reached the moral absolute that he says a real moral code must.

COMMENT: Look, I don't think the Bible gets us to moral principles in any satisfactory or effective way; and I reject all arguments to the contrary. Moreover, I have no interest in defending religion generally. But that does not change the fact that if you want meaning in life (like Coyne insists upon) you had better leave room in your worldview for a human nature that transcends determinism, in all of its forms.
_______________________________________________

Finally, he writes that Coyne must show how Darwinism produces a comprehensive moral code. And yet we have seen that religion has failed to meet that standard both theoretically and practically. In short, this problem alone is enough to invalidate the entire article. Dothout insists that the atheistic moralists produce a moral code that he knows--witness the shift from "kill" to "murder"--religion can't offer.

COMMENT: What Coyne must show is that there is *some* materialist account of human beings; be it Darwinist, Physicalist, Behaviorist, Reductionist, or whatever, that upon rational analysis gets you to the prospect for a *meaningful* life, which requires the ability to control that life through free choices. This burden has nothing to do with religion; and the fact that religion cannot do it either is beside the point. Dothout's essay was defensive against Coyne. The main point was to show that Coyne's worldview is not sustainable. That point was well stated. Suggesting that religion was a viable alternative was problematic for different reasons.
_______________________________________

So no, Henry, I do not think Dothout deserves much consideration. If you want to tout such articles, go ahead. But it makes you look weak. You are a smart man, but there are times when you get so wedded to a proposition that you substitute lengthy defenses of flaccid arguments that are in fact transparent. In this case you posted a seriously flawed article and then felt the need to defend it. You should not lent your credibility to something so facile, someone so intellectually dishonest.

COMMENT: I stand behind everything I said in this exchange. When you read an essay like this, you do not have to take everything as gospel, or else reject the whole. You ask yourself whether the logic of the main thesis has validity; i.e. whether Coyne has a double standard on "meaning," and draw a conclusion on that. You do not have to buy into anything or everything else. And most certainly, you cannot dismiss his point because you do not like his religious orientation.
_____________________________________

These are the points I alluded to when I said this article was beneath you. The contrast between this facile and self-indulgent tripe and your intellect motivated me to learn more about the two contestants. If you want to act like I only care about what my subsequent examinations yielded, so be it. But you are still left defending something that in a wiser moment you should have apologized for.

COMMENT: I picked this essay as an example not because it shows how rational religious people can be. I picked it because is shows how irrational Coyne can be when attacking religion people; such that his arguments against religion become ludicrous ineffective. As Human pointed out, there are many of Coyne's own peers that criticize him for his narrowmindedness. But that was not my point here.

That said, if *for you* this was a bad example, I can accept that and move on.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 04:55PM

> COMMENT: Look, I am not saying that Dothout is the
> epidemy of rational thought. Nor am I saying that
> this essay is devoid of meaningless rhetoric.

Then don't post it. Find something that is both "rational" and devoid of "meaningless rhetoric."


--------------------
> That said, the point is to
> get past such things and focus on the argument
> that is the substance of the essay. The point, in
> a nutshell, is that Coyne dismisses all things
> about human nature that are required to support
> his acknowledged humanistic values.

False. He dismisses SOME things about human nature that YOU THINK are required to support humanistic values. But that isn't the standard.

> Please try to
> defend him on that score.

I don't accept your premise so I don't see the need to defend him against your views.


----------------
> COMMENT: Here is the third paragraph:
>
> "What’s striking about his response, though, is
> the extent to which its own account of the
> secular, materialist world-picture actually
> illustrates precisely the problems and tensions
> that I was talking about, in ways that even a
> casual reader should find obvious but which Coyne
> apparently did not. He can see the weak points in
> a religious argument, but the weaknesses of his
> own side of the debate are sufficiently invisible
> to him that his rebuttal flirts with
> self-caricature."

> I find this criticism of Coyne exactly correct!
> And Dothout then goes on to explain why. It is
> basically his thesis statement.

So now, after three paragraphs of vacuous attacks, Dotouth is finally getting to substance? Great. But that admits that the previous material, inane rhetoric, was superfluous.


---------------
> COMMENT: It is, of course, fair to differentiate
> between a proposed lack of meaning to the universe
> or the origin of life, and a proposed meaning in
> one's personal life. However, it does NOT make
> sense to claim meaning in one's personal life,
> while claiming that "the self" and freewill are
> illusions.

Saying that is possible, nay important, to create meaning in one's personal life presupposes that "the self" exists. Raising existential issues does not preclude acceptance of reality, which is his position as it has been that of many philosophers. Dothout and you are taking an acknowledgement of complexity and asserting that that is Coyne's conclusion, a conclusion that is contradicted by his patent statements about the self and meaning. In short, you are presenting a straw man.


---------------
> That is where Coyne gets into trouble
> with his materialist assumptions. And Dothout is
> quite right. Coyne seems totally oblivious to this
> obvious inconsistency.

Only if you fasten on the nuance and skip the main point.


----------------
> COMMENT: The point is that if human beings are
> nothing more than genetics, and other
> deterministic materialist criteria, there would be
> no point or reason to assign moral blame in any
> social context.

You see, there is your straw man. Coyne speaks of the existence of the self and of free will in some form and some degree, and you and Dothout reject that and insist that Coyne must, because you want, represent an absolutely deterministic view--which he does not. You simplify the man to the point of caricature and then attack that caricature, which is a straw man. It would be better to read what Coyne actually said.


------------
> The moral basis for the interests
> of society and harmony become totally illusory,
> and subject to individual intuitions, be they
> Western, Eastern, or Nazism.

Only if one accepts your caricature of Coyne.


-------------
> There is no
> metaphysical grounding. And more to the point,
> individuals could not make free, moral,
> nondeterministic, choices to further a preferred
> social outcome, if they were just determinist
> biological automatons. Natural selection, as a
> materialist, deterministic, process offers no help
> here. You need to explain why Coyne's brand of
> materialism as applied to human beings, leaves any
> room for morality and freewill (and thus the
> prospect of a meaningful life)--except as an
> illusion.

Except that all of this is your gloss on what Coyne said. I feel no need to defend your simplification, your misinterpretation, of his words.


---------------
> COMMENT: We cannot speak to a mother bear on this
> issue because we do not understand animal
> mentality.

Wait--aren't you the one who speaks of free will? And here you are denying that to animals who, like humans, generally but not universally act in ways that appear altruistic? This is simply writing off evidence that doesn't support your conclusion.


---------------------
> But we can speak to human beings, and
> the issue there with respect to altruism is
> motivation and action.

Having just refused to accept the "altruism" of animals, you say we must presume the "altruism" of humans, who are genetically virtually the same as other animals. The only way that makes sense is if you assert that humans differ from animals in the sense of having a "soul" or something like it. So you are presuming your conclusion.


----------------
> And in this context
> rationality and freewill are essential components.
> Now, you could try to invoke evolutionary
> psychology as an explanation of our moral sense,
> and as the ultimate explanation of altruistic
> behavior, but this has been tried and it doesn't
> work.

Hell yes it works. As it does in other species. But you have just denied other species free will and the ability to choose, so you win. Right? Well, I think your division between humans and other animals is untenable and hence feel no reason to follow you to your preferred conclusion.


-----------------
> For one reason we are back to a
> psychological determinism.

No, we are not.


-------------
> That is NOT what we
> generally mean when we praise altruistic behavior.
> What we mean is that a person did the altruistic
> moral action WHEN HE OR SHE COULD HAVE DONE
> OTHERWISE. THEY WERE NOT JUST PROGRAMED IN THE
> RIGHT WAY. Whether you couch human nature in
> physical terms or psychological terms, as long as
> it remains deterministic you have a problem with
> freewill, and thus a problem with personal
> meaning.

Unless, like Coyne, you believe there is a significant but not complete degree of determinism. You know, like we see in twin studies--or in animal studies, which I refuse to rule out on your terms. So if one rejects your absolutist views, like Coyne does, the problem never arises.


----------
> COMMENT: Look, I don't think the Bible gets us to
> moral principles in any satisfactory or effective
> way; and I reject all arguments to the contrary.
> Moreover, I have no interest in defending religion
> generally. But that does not change the fact that
> if you want meaning in life (like Coyne insists
> upon) you had better leave room in your worldview
> for a human nature that transcends determinism, in
> all of its forms.

"Transcends determinism?" Coexists with determinism. The answer is coexistence. A person who is abused as a child may lose his moral conscience and empathy and hence has a much narrower range of moral options available. Or a person may be born with severe mental or physical disabilities and hence have a constrained range of physical and indeed moral options. THAT is how determinism and free will interact. THAT is what Coyne describes and why he can see a significant extent of determinism and still leave room for free choice and moral meaning.

It is only through mischaracterizing his views by asserting them in extreme form that you get your straw horse to assail.


---------
> COMMENT: What Coyne must show is that there is
> *some* materialist account of human beings; be it
> Darwinist, Physicalist, Behaviorist, Reductionist,
> or whatever, that upon rational analysis gets you
> to the prospect for a *meaningful* life

False. He only has to jump through your hoop if he accepts your inaccurate interpretation of his ideas. Why would he do that?


------------------
> which
> requires the ability to control that life through
> free choices.

A crippled person still has free will and the ability to move. It may not be as great as someone free of such constraints, but it exists. Your critique does not apply to Coyne, who has said that individuals have the ability to create meaning in their own lives.


---------------
> The main point was to
> show that Coyne's worldview is not sustainable.
> That point was well stated.

It was not well stated. It required that he misconstrue the very Coyne words that he quoted. Coyne allows for free will. Dothout says he absolutely does not. Dothout attacks the "absolute," which exists only in his own--and in your?--mind.


--------------
> COMMENT: I stand behind everything I said in this
> exchange. When you read an essay like this, you do
> not have to take everything as gospel, or else
> reject the whole. You ask yourself whether the
> logic of the main thesis has validity; i.e.
> whether Coyne has a double standard on "meaning,"
> and draw a conclusion on that. You do not have to
> buy into anything or everything else. And most
> certainly, you cannot dismiss his point because
> you do not like his religious orientation.


I am an agnostic. I do not reject religion out of hand. If the argument were good, I'd find it interesting and perhaps illuminating. Dothout's article is facile. Coyne's "doubt standard" is absolutely correct. Like so many things in life, free will and determinism coexist. A person on drugs has diminished judgment and free will; a person without legs can move but not as freely as others; a comatose person has little or no free will. Anyone who thinks free will and determinism do not coexist, anyone who believes the choice between those is binary, is profoundly wrong. Dothout, therefore, is wrong.


--------------
> COMMENT: I picked this essay . . . because is shows how
> irrational
> Coyne can be when attacking religion people; such
> that his arguments against religion become
> ludicrous ineffective.

It did nothing of the kind. If you want to engage Coyne effectively, you should pick an author who is willing to debate the DEGREE of free will, not argue about absolutes that no one believes in.


------------------
As Human pointed out,
> there are many of Coyne's own peers that criticize
> him for his narrowmindedness.

Perhaps you should have reached for one of those, someone who could argue with Coyne about the relative degrees of determinism and free agency. THAT would have been interesting and maybe enlightening. But Dothout is not capable of such a debate. Using him here weakens your point.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2019 05:01PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 12:25AM

And what does P.Z.Myers have to say about this ?

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 11:36AM

I'd like to hear what J.P. Patches has to say on the matter!

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 01:10AM

J.P.Patches is dead.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 01:48AM

So is Timothy Leary.

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 02:33AM

No, no, he's outside looking in.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 02:54AM

No need then for a late lament?

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 03:01AM

But we decide which is right and which is an illusion.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 03:04AM

Darn, it was just recently Tuesday afternoon!

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 03:16AM

Just what the truth is, I can't say any more.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 03:35AM

Well, my friend, I guess we know how you spent the 1970s!

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 03:39AM

Words relating to the process of becoming an exmo:


Gazing at people, some hand in hand
Just what I'm going through they can't understand
Some try to tell me, thoughts they cannot defend
Just what you want to be, you will be in the end

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 03:48AM

Yes, it is a memorable album, one whose lyrics stick in your head.

I still remember the first time I heard it. I was at an uncle's house going through his stack of old records. The cover appealed, so I took it out and listened to it. That may also have been the first time I ever came across Dark Side of the Moon.

That old uncle wasn't as square as he appeared!

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 11, 2019 04:02AM

I spent the 70s studying. Between high school, college, and graduate work, I didn't have time for much else (yes, I am an old fart!).

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 02:51PM

You are clearly a nerd. And that means something coming from me!

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 01:00AM

I will happily accept that description

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 02:41AM

:-)

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Posted by: TopperToppington ( )
Date: September 13, 2019 02:06PM

For those who wish to read up on the science of Evolution by Natural Selection.

TopperToppington

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Posted by: wwfsmd ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 01:32PM

Whenever people start talking Intelligent Design I just roll my eyes.

It is just a postponement or moving in time the ultimate question about evolution. You've moved it from talking about evolution on Earth to that of supreme being(s). God explains a lot magically to help with Earth theories for some people who cannot accept macro evolution. But then we're saying macro-evolution is so improbable that elsewhere in the Universe a God-like being came into existence. And that somehow more probable than macro-evolution? Cool beans. Eye roll.

Let's start working on how this Intelligent Designer came about. Oh yeah, he's always been there. See, problem solved.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 21, 2019 11:22AM

Whenever people start talking Intelligent Design I just roll my eyes.

It is just a postponement or moving in time the ultimate question about evolution. You've moved it from talking about evolution on Earth to that of supreme being(s).

COMMENT: The ID argument has to do with explaining biological complexity. The argument essentially states that certain instances of such complexity cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution. As such, they further claim that such complexity is *better explained* by postulating an intelligent designer. The "ultimate question" in explaining such complexity is the same Darwinism as it is for ID: It is not the nature or existence of a supreme being, per se, it is the nature and existence of whatever ultimately caused the universe to be the way it is.
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God explains a lot magically to help with Earth theories for some people who cannot accept macro evolution. But then we're saying macro-evolution is so improbable that elsewhere in the Universe a God-like being came into existence. And that somehow more probable than macro-evolution? Cool beans. Eye roll.

COMMENT: Biological complexity exists at all levels of organisms, from the single cell to the complex biological systems of human beings and other animals. Intelligent design is about all levels of such complexity, and generally does not distinguish between micro and macro evolution. Moreover, ID does not expressly incorporate "God" in its arguments, but if they did they certainly would NOT say that God came about through evolutionary processes. Again, all ID theory says is that certain instances of biological complexity cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution, and that therefore the best explanation is a designer. Where that designer came from is irrelevant to the argument, just as where the laws of nature came from is irrelevant to the arguments for Darwinian evolution.
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Let's start working on how this Intelligent Designer came about. Oh yeah, he's always been there. See, problem solved.

COMMENT: Darwinian evolution by natural selection is ultimately based upon physical processes that are encompassed by the laws of physics and chemistry, plus whatever "emergent" laws and properties arise therefrom. These natural laws are said to account for all biological complexity. Thus, if you insist on pinning the theist down to the question of "Where did God come from," it is also fair to pin the Darwinist down to the question "Where did the laws of nature come from." The second question is just as complicated as the first because such laws themselves "appear" on their face, as well as by scientific evaluation, to be "designed" for the existence of life and all its complexity. So, the answer to both questions is metaphysical, and relying upon one as a weapon against the other is ineffective. If you insist that the natural explanation "automatically" trumps the "design" explanation simply because it is "natural," you beg the question. If you attempt to invoke "Occam's Razor" to support naturalism, there is no such substantive scientific principle.

Finally, from modern science we now know that ID theory was exactly right about biological complexity: Classic Darwinism is insufficient to explain it. However, ID was *apparently* wrong about the need for a designer, because other biochemical mechanisms coupled with natural selection *apparently* can explain it.

In any event, your eye rolling problem appears to be a psychological response to misinformation.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 07:43PM

“But then we're saying macro-evolution is so improbable that elsewhere in the Universe a God-like being came into existence.”

That is a bit of a leap, and my main problem with the term “Intelligent Design”. It implies a designer. Perhaps there is a designer in the poetic sense, but science isn’t poetry. When something happens that isn’t supposed to happen, how does science deal with it? Usually, the same way TBMs dismiss “little flecks of history”. The scientific mind is cultivated to work that way. That’s been my observation in enough cases to see the trend. The world needs its Coynes, but expertise cuts both ways. Sometimes it means not being able to see what is right in front of you.

Pantheism is one explanation that doesn’t need a “designer”. God is then an emergent property of “conscious” matter. It explains how consciousness can arise in us without having to rely on it arising from unconscious material. An emergent God has its own problems with time. It doesn’t work without time. If the God realm is timeless, “As Man is, God once was” is nonsense. Living things simply “are”, without beginning or end. Immortal experiences of one collective “thing” that we call God. We can thank Augustine for our linear view of time. So much for religious authorities. Secularism kept up the tradition.

Interestingly, the increasing popularity of Pantheism represents a return to Animism, the idea that all living things have a spiritual basis. Is it right? I think it’s at least practical. It’s a good antidote to the nature-destroying exploitative view put forth in Genesis. Man giving himself dominion over all the Earth hasn’t exactly been an environmental success story.

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