Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Je ne sais quoi: the debate with Immune to Indoctrination continues. . . .

By Michael David Rawlings

Continued from "Spiritual Particles of Empirical Substance?!"
See the entirety of Immune to Indoctrination's argument.

First things first. . . .

I shared:
The Evolutionary model says that it is not necessary to assume the existence of anything, besides matter and energy, to produce life. That proposition is unscientific. We know perfectly well that if you leave matter to itself, it does not organize itself—in spite of all the efforts in recent years to prove that it does. —Dr. Wilder-Smith
Your response:
Maybe I'm just nit-picking his wording (but what['] s a quote without it's wording?) but he's obviously wrong. When water gets cold its molecules will organize themselves into a rigid, crystalline structure that many would consider aesthetically pleasing. Many other examples exist. It's very simple and mostly unrelated to the abiogenesis argument, but it is, undeniably, matter organizing itself. —Immune to Indoctrination
Right you are. But the error is not Dr. Smith's, it's mine. I carelessly ripped that quote from its context without properly prefacing it, which, by the way, begins with the observation that the cosmos entails a foundational universal of material organization. He then goes on to say that "[t]he Evolutionary model says that it is not necessary to assume the existence of anything, besides matter and energy, to produce life. . . ."  Hence, his observation goes to the organization of biological systems, the aggregation and polymerization of infrastructural and informational complexity beyond nature's fundamental and unspecified structures.

* * * * *
I never said spiritual entities do not exist. . . . I just explained why science is justified in ignoring them ["spiritual or supernatural things"] completely. —Immune to Indoctrination
Well, things get a little confusing when you insist that science cannot regard transcendent things, but then heedlessly go on about things that do not exist like scientific definitions of God and spiritual particles of empirical substance. That's why after reading your second installment, which appears to go on in the same vein while simultaneously correcting my alleged misapprehension, I asked for clarification:
Science cannot ascertain or assert anything whatsoever about that which is not empirical. Yes or no? If no, please explain. —Michael David Rawlings
Your response:
Yes I agree. I'll rephrase to avoid any confusion: Science can only make assertions about things for which objective evidence or data can be collected. This data must be potentially reliable enough to test the subject directly or indirectly by experiment. If the data can't be collected science can't form a theory for or against. Of course I view this as science's biggest strength not a weakness. It basically means 'no faith allowed' and it's why we've progressed so much. —Immune to Indoctrination
Great! I agree, mostly, for whether you are aware of it or not, science does entail an apriority of faith as a matter of practicality: the assumption that the rational forms and logical categories of the human mind are reliably synchronized with the apparent substances and mechanics of empirical phenomena. Beyond that, the above is precisely what traditional methodological naturalism holds . . . unlike ontological naturalism, which is gratuitously mired in a metaphysical caveat that leads it's proponents to habitually invoke sarcastic theological arguments when challenged by standard scientific practice as we shall plainly see.

I wrote:
Spiritual concerns are not incompatible with science. They are transcendental. That's all. Science simply cannot address them in any case whatsoever. And that's why science is the weakest of the three major branches of human inquiry. Theology is king. Philosophy is queen. And as the rational precedes the sensorial, science is contingently based on the former and cleans up the leftovers as directed. —Michael David Rawlings
Your response:
Wow. I've NEVER heard a claim like that before. First of all, your attempt to link rationality with theology and philosophy before science is simply ridiculous. —Immune to Indoctrination
Uh . . . Immune, the only reason you haven't heard that before is because you're not well read in the history of ideas. But more to the point, your incoherent statement, sans any detectable argument, appears to suggest that science embodies the ontological and epistemological presuppositions on which it contingently rests. This demonstrates that you do not apprehend the realities of the matter at all, and it appears that you are unaware of the nature and perhaps even of the existence of your own a priori biases. Further, in addition to its procedural technicalities, the scientific method is an overlapping, cognitive orchestration of observations, interrogatives, suppositions, evaluations and inferences. What's ridiculous is the idea that science and its methodology precede metaphysics and rational formulation—as if the former established and outlined themselves, as if the empirical data of experimentation interpret themselves.

Ontological naturalism, which is your bag, and traditional methodological naturalism, which is mine, are not science, Immune. They're the underlying philosophical constructs which inform our respective views of what science is and our interpretations of empirical data. And here's a news flash for you: your obsessive insinuation of transcendent concerns in a discussion about the science of prebiotic chemistry is annoying, for in the world of methodological naturalism after the tradition of a Baconian or Lockean empiricism, there is no place set for them at the table at all. No plates, no glasses, no silverware . . . no chairs! Or as Locke would put it: je ne sais quoi, i.e., I do not know.

But it would appear that the "science" of ontological naturalism knows a lot about transcendent entities, namely, that they don't exist. And what precisely is the scientific or empirically demonstrable evidence for this knowledge? There is none, of course. The substance of this is nothing other than the reiteration of the materialist's faith-based, metaphysical presupposition.

I wrote:
Creation and ID scientists have justifiably concluded that the results of nearly sixty years of prebiotic-chemistry research resoundingly falsify abiogenesis. —Michael David Rawlings
Your response:
I bet it's fun to falsify things when your beliefs were specifically designed to be unfalsifiable. . . . Biogenesis is obviously false. —Immune to Indoctrination
No. See, you're mistaken about this, my friend.  The spontaneous generation of life out of non-living organic matter is obviously false. It was falsified by Pasteur's body of research, and it's indisputable that insofar as science can presently ascertain or assert, in accordance with its structural rules and limitations, life does not and cannot arise from inanimateness. Pasteur's axiom stands, and it most certainly is of a nature that is subject to falsification, a circumstance that nearly sixty years of prebiotic research necessarily concedes. Indeed, proponents of abiogenesis had in the beginning quite casually expected to falsify it, only to reinforce its validity with their research instead.

If all life came from life where did the first life come from? —Immune to Indoctrination
Ah! Here we have a legitimate scientific question, only to be followed by a theological argument of sorts against a standing scientific axiom—mere sophistry, a denial, laced with insult and one non sequitur after another.
Of course some supernatural creator being would not be considered life in scientific terms, and even if it was, it itself would break the "law". Clearly life came from non-life it's just a matter of how and when. Biogenesis is even more contrary to creationism than abiogenesis. Abiogenesis explains how and when but not why. It can still be claimed God guided it. Biogenesis destroys the concept of God all together and paints a universe where life has always existed. I'm su[r]prised you haven't come to that conclusion yourself. I can only assume your thinking is impaired by the layer of dishonesty that[']s required for you to sustain your beliefs. —Immune to Indoctrination
Of course, those who have minds that still work perceive the unhinged logic of this screed and that it ultimately derives from the materialist's gratuitous apriority. And science? Why, it's nowhere in sight. In the meantime, the Creation scientist—standing on the only legitimate foundation for science, a traditional methodological naturalism—responds to the question: "currently, all we can say scientifically is that life comes from life; beyond that, je ne sais quoi." There's no appeal to the transcendent or denial of the same. No philosophizing here. Science cannot ascertain or assert anything whatsoever about that which is not empirical or not in evidence.

I don't understand how you can concede that science can't address the immaterial whatsoever and then call materialism pseudoscience. That[']s totally contradictory. You've lost that assumed credibility I gave you earlier. —Immune to Indoctrination
. . . he blurted, as if methodology and materialism were synonymous, underscoring my credibility and the utter lack of his own.


In any event, I actually referred to “the pseudoscientists of materialism”.  By definition materialism holds that matter is the only substance that exists.

In the meantime, back in the world of real science: je ne sais quoi.

While the experimental data indisputably falsify spontaneous generation and chemical evolution, the pseudoscientists of materialism argue that abiogenesis must be true, not based on any demonstrable empirical evidence, but based on the unscientific apriority that nothing exists but matter—as if from some elevated vantage point outside the space-time continuum they were authoritatively describing something more than the limitations of sensory perception, as if the universal potentialities of human consciousness were merely the stuff of subjective impressions, as if all of cosmological history were necessarily an unbroken chain of natural cause-and-effect.

In the meantime, back in the world of real science: je ne sais quoi.

You and your materialist cohorts show your hand every time you're compelled to defend your unscientific conjectures—gratuitous extrapolations—with philosophical gibberish.

In the meantime, back in the world of real science: je ne sais quoi.

I bet it's fun to falsify things when your beliefs were specifically designed to be unfalsifiable, complete with beings who reside in separate realms to avoid detection and are openly contrary to logic and reason. You guys are just hiding behind your impenetrable wall of poorly defined phrases ('transcendental', 'spiritual', 'God' etc.) and taking cheap shots at people who have truly inquisitive minds and won't accept your overly simple, illogical, paper-thin, faith-based answers to the universe's toughest questions. —Immune to Indoctrination
Still more of this, eh? Like I said at the top, you don't understand what classical empiricism is about at all. You've been brainwashed by the likes of Dawkins et al., atheist savants who incessantly demonstrate their ignorance about the history of ideas that reside beyond their reductionist world of stunted cognition. I told you in my last post that "Creation scientists abide by the conventions of a traditional methodological naturalism and faithfully distinguish the essential difference between the inferences they make about the constituents of empirical phenomena and the assertions they make about the potentialities of the transcendent. . . . They are doing nothing different today than what most of the great scientists had been doing since Copernicus . . . before Darwin came along." But you paid it no heed. The only one who keeps reverting to theological or philosophical arguments, i.e., to "overly simple, illogical, paper-thin, faith-based" blather against established scientific theory is you!

"Abiogenesis explains how and when but not why", you write. LOL! My friend, you child, abiogenesis can't even begin to account for the mind-boggling complexities involved in the aggregation and polymerization of the pertinent precursors, much less the realization of biological systems. It's not even close. Your claim is the bluster of one who does not grasp the realities of prebiotic chemistry at all.

And finally, we have this bit of superfluous nonsense:
Secondly we must have wildly different ideas of what 'theism' is (in practice). To me its the study of ancient writings and the attempt to reconcile them with what we see in nature and what we've discovered scientifically. That[']s by FAR the most generous definition I can come up with. —Immune to Indoctrination
That's exactly right: I know what revealed religion and theology are, and you don't. But then again, what does any of this have to do with the substance and the limits of scientific inquiry? What does any of this have to do with abiogenesis? I thought for once I had run across an atheist who actually knew the science and was prepared to discuss it. Instead, you're just another Bill Maher knockoff, veering off into one irrelevant metaphysical vignette after another.

Look. I've heard all of the atheist's trite and conceptually illiterate appraisals of theological matters before. It's all pretty stock. What are there, two, maybe three routine litanies consisting of maybe a half-dozen clich├ęs strung together in a semblance of thought?

But since you keep bringing the matter up out of context, i.e., are so masochistically insistent on getting a theological beat down as well: the idea of the transcendent, the idea of God objectively exist in and of themselves, as they indisputably impose themselves on human consciousness without the latter willing that they do so. These things are not akin to mere cultural idealizations like unicorns or leprechauns as atheists foolishly argue. They entail the force of universal and ultimate origination. And the atheist, whether he be ultimately right by accident or not, acknowledges the truth of this every time he opens his mouth to deny their existence. And by accident, I mean that he might be right, objectively speaking, not because it's rational to flatly deny that which is indisputably possible, but merely because he stumbled into it as a matter of blind faith. In other words, concluding that God must be, is not a matter of faith at all. Faith goes to in whom or what one places it. I conclude that God must be by reason; I place my soul in the hands of Jesus Christ by faith, as opposed to tossing it over to the likes of Allah or Vishnu or, in your case, Mindless Rocks.

You see, If I want theology, I can go to Augustine or Aquinas or Henry. Beyond Christ crucified and resurrected on your behalf and mine, what could possibly be the point of discussing such matters with you at this stage? Suggested reading: Summa Theologica, Aquinas. And after that monument of exquisitely precise, systematic logic of unassailable, self-evident truths, masterfully extrapolated from the Bible, rolls over you and your prattle about an "impenetrable wall of poorly defined phrases", you can crawl back to me for yet another drubbing, my friend.

Come on, Immune, just talk to me like a real person. Forget about all the rubbish that typically passes between believers and non-believers. "I can only assume your thinking is impaired by the layer of dishonesty that[']s required for you to sustain your beliefs", you write.  Oh, really? That's truly what you believe? And you, you're truly as stupid as your stubborn disregard for certain indispensable rules of science would imply, rules without which science would quickly veer off into la-la land? I don't believe that.

Stanley Miller himself in the spirit of real science acknowledged after decades of prebiotic research that insofar as science was concerned, we do not know at this point and may never know how life began. Presently, in terms of natural cause, there's no way to explain away or to overcome nature's prebiotic, monomeric dead ends. All we can do at this point is move on with the materials and biotechnology derived from extant life. And you would see that if you were to take the blinders off.

The debate concludes in "Checkmate".

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