Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dr. Paul Davies and the Anthropic Principle

I had the pleasure of listening to Paul Davies while he was on his book tour for his latest book. I was able to interact with him during the Q&A session and at the book signing.

While Davies raises several points worth commenting on and pondering on, I wanted to give some clarification to his argument (which isn't explicitly stated in the Guardian article) and my main critique of his overall argument.

Paul Davies doesn't want to appeal to God creating the universe nor does he want to appeal to the multiverse theory to explain the incredible fine-tuning of the universe. Davies appeals to quantum mechanics. Now, I am no expert in quantum mechanics, so I am going to go with what Davies said during his presentation.

In quantum mechanics, the quantum states are not determined until you observe them. Davies extends this to the anthropic principle. Life forms set the laws of physics. It is a quantum-feedback loop. In other words, our observations now determine the previous state of the laws of nature. I have his book, so I may fine-tune (pun intended) that description.

Well, for a guy who wants to avoid depending on theism he ends up depending on theism. How? The observer/non-observer distinction is meaningful only if God exists. Davies wants to go down the pantheistic route, as far as I can tell. Neither atheism nor pantheism can give you a meaningful distinction between observer and non-observer.

If we are just atoms bouncing around, there is no difference between a chair and yourself. If that's the case, if we have observers, atheism cannot be true.

Pantheism makes all of nature God. So how can pantheism give you a valid observer/non-observer distinction? I don't see how it can. Atheism and pantheism are very similar if not the same. One says nature is all there is (by and large). The other just labels everything as "god."

So if you can't get a proper distinction between observer and non-observer, Davies view has a major problem. But if God exists, we can have meaningful observers. God created them.

So Davies wanted to avoid God and he ends up needing God to get his theory to work. So why bother with his theory in the first place?

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Friday, June 29, 2007

From Douglas Wilson: Atheism, Beachballs, and the Special Olympics

Ok, that's my title.
Scripture teaches us that unbelievers suppress the truth in unrighteousness. But this language suggests that the operation is not effortless. In order to sin, and in order to persist in it, we have to fight against something that is true about ourselves. We are created in the image of God, and despite the fall into sin, we still retain that image. When God told Noah that the death penalty was to be applied in cases of murder, He did so because men still bear that image, however defaced by sin it may have been.

Therefore unbelievers who suppress the truth of God are expending a good deal of effort to hold a beach ball under water. Periodically it gets away from them, even though repentance has not occurred. When this happens, the results can be a bizarre flailing to get the ball back under. All such attempts to regain the calm but quivering respectability that existed before the ball got loose can be seen in various frantic civil legalisms.

Let us pretend that the illustration got away from us, just like the beach ball. What is all this supposed to mean? When the law of God is resisted and suppressed, the men who do this are objectively guilty, despite what they want to feel. This objective guilt results in subjective feelings of guilt – quivering arms holding that beach ball down. When the charade is revealed in some civil atrocity – genocide, rampant abortion, widespread sodomy – it is no longer possible to pretend that we are all decent folks just enjoying ourselves at the pool. Instead of admitting what we were doing, the response is to start splashing and yelling, pretending that we are saving someone from drowning.

In other words, when it becomes apparent that we as a people are disregarding God’s law in some flagrant way, the next thing to watch for is some kind of moral crusade that will help compensate for it. This is the meaning behind our yelling and splashing and imaginary heroics. In our nation today, a woman who is six months pregnant can go to a clinic and have the child terminated. Not only can she do this, she can receive considerable social support in doing so. The law of God is flagrantly insulted. But if that same woman stood on a busy street corner, visibly pregnant, and smoked herself a pack of cigarettes, she would be the brunt of a lot of cold, icy stares. How dare she risk a low birth weight? More than one social observer has noted the ethical incoherence of this.

But this is why unborn children can be killed for having birth defects, but if they navigate their way past our abortion laws and are successfully born, we will arrange special Olympics for them, handicapped parking spacing in every parking lot in town, and disability access into every building in the nation. We, in a fever pitch of moral do-goodism, are insisting that such handicapped individuals have a fundamental right to be able to access anything – except for their lives.


Hamas's Mickey Mouse Rip-off Murdered by 'Israelis'

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Fairness Doctrine

Not content with NPR, the New York Times, MSNBC, most of Hollywood, ABC, CBS, NBC, the LA Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer.... to get their message out liberal politicians would now like to institute the fairness doctrine upon talk radio, which would require equal time for opposing points of view.

While this sounds fair, the net effect will be to kill the format because radio stations don't want to put on liberal shows which get little ratings.

So it is pretty obvious that liberals want to use the force of government to silence opposing points of view. I would really like to think better of them, but I can't really see how.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Best Argument Against Universal Health Care
Government cannot overcome the laws of economics. All resources are limited. Supply and demand set price, quantity, and quality. When you promise something for free, you run out of supply as people consume resources regardless of need.

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Fire Ants and Flies

I just finished watching a show about fire ants and flies which place their fertilized eggs into the ant. A person likened it to hitting a moving pickup truck on the freeway. There was an obligatory "they evolved together that's why they have this relationship and responses to each other."

So some fly picks on a particular ant. Implants their eggs in them. The chemical reaction of the ants to this particular fly spur the ants on. The larvae eventually kill the host and the process continues.

So let's invoke evolution. It's the "Darwin of the Gaps". No realistic step-by-step scenario is needed.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

An Interesting Critique of Michael Moore's Sicko

Blogger accuses Moore of lying by selectively picking stories.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Marx is Dead, Freud is Dead, and Darwin is Felling Really, Really Sick

Every once in a while there is a flurry of news which shows how badly Darwinism, as a theory, is doing.

All of these articles are from the excellent blog Uncommon Descent.

1) A scientist doubts his own experiment. It shows that highly conserved regions of DNA, which according to Darwinism would come under natural selection pressures, can be knocked out with no affect to the organism. This would be a major problem for Darwinism.

2)The cell employs counter-circuits.

3) Turbulent times in the world of phylogeny:
IF YOU want to know how all living things are related, don’t bother looking in any textbook that’s more than a few years old. Chances are that the tree of life you find there will be wrong. Since they began delving into DNA, biologists have been finding that organisms with features that look alike are often not as closely related as they had thought. These are turbulent times in the world of phylogeny, yet there has been one rule that evolutionary biologists felt they could cling to: the amount of complexity in the living world has always been on the increase. Now even that is in doubt.

While nobody disagrees that there has been a general trend towards complexity - humans are indisputably more complicated than amoebas - recent findings suggest that some of our very early ancestors were far more sophisticated than we have given them credit for. If so, then much of that precocious complexity has been lost by subsequent generations as they evolved into new species. “The whole concept of a gradualist tree, with one thing branching off after another and the last to branch off, the vertebrates, being the most complex, is wrong,” says Detlev Arendt, an evolutionary and developmental biologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.

The idea of loss in evolution is not new. We know that snakes lost their legs, as did whales, and that our own ancestors lost body hair. However, the latest evidence suggests that the extent of loss might have been seriously underestimated. Some evolutionary biologists now suggest that loss - at every level, from genes and types of cells to whole anatomical features and life stages - is the key to understanding evolution and the relatedness of living things. Proponents of this idea argue that classical phylogeny has been built on rotten foundations, and tinkering with it will not put it right. Instead, they say, we need to rethink the process of evolution itself.

Update: More articles!

4) Forgot this important piece of news: Death of the Junk DNA Idea, which was an Intelligent Design prediction.

5) Dual-Coding Genes.
A recent article in Public Library of Science discussed how dual-coding genes – genes which overlap and code for multiple proteins when read through different reading frames – are "hallmarks of fascinating biology" and "nearly impossible by chance" to the extent that evolutionary biologists have held "skepticism surrounding" their very existence. Now it seems they do exist, and they don't quite match Ayala's vision of biology, where "[c]hance is an integral part" of the "design of organisms is "dysfunctional" and "not intelligent."

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gina Tuley, Thief
"I am not the type to steal, but because we are so mistreated, when I saw things I just didn't do anything," said Gina Tuley, a former Wal-Mart bakery worker, who quit her job at the Seagoville, Texas, store in March. A big complaint was that her hours had been cut, reducing her take-home pay.

Well, Gina Tuley, you are indeed that type of person. You are a thief. You have violated the spirit of the command "thou shalt not steal" and that makes you a thief.

And before you, Gina Tuley, think I'm being too hard on you, I would like you to know that I too am a thief. We are all thieves. We steal in small ways and large ways. We rob God of what is due to Him. And that is why we need forgiveness.

If you are a thief, you must ask Jesus for mercy and turn from your sin. There is forgiveness for thieves like Gina Tuley, and myself.

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Lieberman Opponent Doesn't Like Lieberman's Tough Talk About Iran

Lieberman wants us to "be prepared to take aggressive military action." And for that he should resign from the Senate, say his critic.

Yeah we shouldn't be prepared. We should be completely unprepared. Seriously, this guy is overreacting.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Good Bye, Bob Barker

I'm not sure if this was my favorite game show, but it was always close to my heart. My grandfather and I would watch this together.

For some reason, I would most likely forget it was on when I was home from work. Maybe it was because my grandfather wasn't around.

Just make sure you get your pets spayed or neutered.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Study Shows Health Benefit to Hops


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Amendments to Immigration Bill Which Would Deport Criminals

I know the bill is complex, but why would this be a problem?


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