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Thread: William Lane Craig and the Kalam Cosmological Argument

  1. #16
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Excellent post, KCK. I am aware of Krauss and his excellent work. The theists argue what he refers to as "nothing" (empty space) isn't really nothing. Of course, they conveniently forget to mention they're shifting the goalposts since that's what nothing always referred to... until we learned it wasn't nothing!
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  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I gave you links. FWIW, MW is becoming the most popular theory to explain the mysteries of quantum physics, and while many of the most technical, mathematical details go over my head, I trust the physicists I've talked to that tell me that the math and evidence is there more strongly for it than its competing theories. But I also trust them when they tell me that it's hard to argue for without a thorough understanding of that math. One book I'd recommend is Vilenkin's Many Worlds in One, which is written for lay audiences (and that means anyone who did not study quantum physics formally, including mysef).
    I did check those links, but I couldn't follow them. Perhaps it was because it was late at night. I'll see if I can find Vilenkin in the library tomorrow.

    I don't think I have any problem with quantum physics. What I was asking evidence for was the multiverse that would allow chance to have created our universe. I don't think there is any evidence for that at the moment.
    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I'm not rejecting evidence. I acknowledge that what people refer to as out-of-body experiences are legitimate phenomena (that they experience something that feels as if they're out of their body), and I should acknowledge that since I experienced myself once (when I almost drowned as a child). It's just that the way you phrased the statement made it sound as if you accept such experience as ACTUAL out-of-body experiences, which assumes that there's not a purely neuro-biological explanation, and experiments have been done that have replicated a lot of the aspects of such things, as well as those of NDEs.

    AFAIC, these things are legitimate phenomena, but they are legitimate unexplained phenomena that, right now, don't provide solid evidence for being representative of a conscious LITERALLY out of a body, as opposed to a brain merely projecting itself as imagining being out of its body (as can happen in, say, lucid dreaming).
    I also want a neuro-biological explanation. I think there has to be one unless these experiences are somehow learned from culture.

    I've been watching some of Todd Murphy's videos describing a neurological basis for spiritual experiences. His mentor is Michael Persinger. Here's one I watched last night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmC1174POpA and Murphy's site is http://www.shaktitechnology.com/

    Regarding consciousness being literally outside the body, I think that is possible, since some people with NDEs described events, such as activities of the hospital staff, doctors and their family, they could not have known if consciousness was restricted to their body while they were dead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillCarneyKlans View Post
    How could our universe in all its complexity come into existence from absolute nothingness, if nothing comes from nothing? In his new book, "A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.
    I'm looking forward to reading Laurence Krauss' new book. It was a YouTube link to one of his talks on cosmology that made me realize that the big bang was far different than what I originally thought it was.
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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Why should 'Whatever begins to exist' have a cause?
    Haha because everything happen for a reason and so a planet is not without a cause because it is the serviant to humans to be about .
    a human is not without a cause for he has to have a reason to be and so is a serviant back to planet earth.
    Everything else exists because of something else, it is like a circular movement where everything is reliant upon another and so on and so forth. What goes around is comes around in a unified forever movement of existence.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillCarneyKlans View Post
    http://spectrummagazine.org/review/2...signature-cell
    Meyer methodically challenges the central doctrine of today’s scientific establishment that life arose from purely undirected materialistic and naturalistic forces in the absence of intelligence. [bio-info precedes evolution]
    I noticed something in the link you posted, KillCarneyKlans. It looks as if Stephen C. Meyer showed that chance could not have produced life since there are not enough opportunities for it to have done so randomly.

    Assuming a Big Bang about 13 billion years ago, there have been about 10 to the 16th seconds of time. Finally, if we take the time required for light to travel one Plank length we will have found “the shortest time in which any physical effect can occur.” This turns out to be 10 to the minus 43rd seconds. Or turning it around we can say that the most interactions possible in a second is 10 to the 43rd. Thus, the “probabilistic resources” of the universe would be to multiply the total number of seconds by the total number of interactions per second by the total number of particles theoretically interacting. The math turns out to be 10 to the 139th.
    But the odds of creation of that first cell forming randomly, according to the article, is 10 to the 41,000th power. Of course it could have gotten lucky.

    I have also wondered, given that a genetic mutation occurs about once every 3,500 years, which forms the basis of the mitochondrial DNA clock, are there enough years of history of life on earth for the changes leading to our species to have occurred solely by chance? Maybe it just got very, very lucky many, many times.
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  6. #21
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    I did check those links, but I couldn't follow them. Perhaps it was because it was late at night.
    Yudkowsky has an entire QP sequence aimed at laypersons where he tries to gently ease them into the mathematics necessary to follow along with the basic argument. The entire sequence in its entirety can be found here.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    What I was asking evidence for was the multiverse that would allow chance to have created our universe.
    One has to understand QP first, because MV and MW relates to the theory of decoherence and the mathematical arguments for favoring it over other interpretations. I do want to stress that MV and MW aren't necessarily mutually inclusive. To me, the MV is less interesting than MW in general, because, IIRC, the MV initially proposed that other universes arose out of the same quantum fluctuations. MW, however, is arguing that every apparent wave-function collapse is just the way in which we see one result happening in our world, while the other possibilities split into another.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    Regarding consciousness being literally outside the body, I think that is possible, since some people with NDEs described events, such as activities of the hospital staff, doctors and their family, they could not have known if consciousness was restricted to their body while they were dead.
    Be careful of such statements because most of the famous ones have been exaggerated or just plain false (the shoe on the upper floor of a hospital). Here is a very comprehensive overview of the claims made, the science behind some of it, and investigations of many of the most famous claims (Maria's shoe and Pam Reynolds). It's a good reminder of how so many facts get exaggerated or made up in the telling of stories.

    Personally, I would love to learn that consciousness can exist outside the body, primarily because I don't think the singularity will happen in my lifetime. But, currently, there's no solid evidence to support it, and you know a theory is in trouble when it's having to tout made up and exaggerated stories as evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    It looks as if Stephen C. Meyer showed that chance could not have produced life since there are not enough opportunities for it to have done so randomly.
    I would question how Meyer could've possibly known how many chances it had. Our minds boggle at very large numbers, but we overestimate the unlikelihood of events occurring in the context of how many trials there were. In the case of something like the universe, we simply have no idea how many quantum fluctuations it may have taken to get a universe that was "tuned" for life. Likewise, in the case of abiogenesis, it's hard to know how many opportunities such material had to come together to form the first microscopic life.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    I have also wondered, given that a genetic mutation occurs about once every 3,500 years, which forms the basis of the mitochondrial DNA clock, are there enough years of history of life on earth for the changes leading to our species to have occurred solely by chance?
    One has to be careful when talking about "chance" when it comes to evolution. There are some things that are purely random, and some that are adaptive or, to put it perhaps more accurately, it's random on the smallest level, but as certain DNA sticks around across generations it has a greater and greater chance of reproducing in the next. We have a tendency of thinking as our species as some kind of end-point without realizing that every generation is different in some ways from the previous. Evolution is rarely (if ever) and event that produces a completely new species within a generation, it's usually just small changes over time that add up to a big change when we observe two points along the scale. So I would imagine there was plenty of time for us to get to this point.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    Excellent post, KCK. I am aware of Krauss and his excellent work. The theists argue what he refers to as "nothing" (empty space) isn't really nothing. Of course, they conveniently forget to mention they're shifting the goalposts since that's what nothing always referred to... until we learned it wasn't nothing!
    This singularity in conventional Big Bang theory is not the same variety of nothing.

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    Is this the Krauss everyone is referring to?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eNjmN9Xtmg

    He got completely savaged by Craig in that debate and then had the gall to write a nasty blog about Craig afterward, one to which Craig responded with typical class. Seriously, of all Craig's debate opponents, Krauss was probably the worst--at the very least, one of the worst.

    Excerpt from Krauss's blog:

    I believe that if I erred at all, it was in an effort to consider the sensibilities of the 1200 smiling young faces in the audience, who earnestly came out, mostly to hear Craig, and to whom I decided to show undue respect. As I stressed at the time, I did not come to debate the existence of God, but rather to debate about evidence for the existence of God. I also wanted to demonstrate the need for nuance, to explain how these issues are far more complex than Craig, in his simplistic view of the world, makes them out to be.


    For the record, I cannot recall a single thing the audience did to Krauss to make him think any respect he showed them was "undue." The truth is that Krauss was horribly unprepared, ended up making a fool of himself and used his blog to vent his narcissistic rage.

    The following link is to Krauss's entire blog post and Craig's response.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/lawre...nd-perspective
    Last edited by stuntpickle; 05-07-2012 at 01:20 AM.

  9. #24
    Excellent post, KCK. I am aware of Krauss and his excellent work. The theists argue what he refers to as "nothing" (empty space) isn't really nothing. Of course, they conveniently forget to mention they're shifting the goalposts since that's what nothing always referred to... until we learned it wasn't nothing!
    [Thank-you, you too, and you all here at OL.com ... obviously if you've read any of my other posts ... you can see I come at this problem from a theist perspective ... this is a hotly debated question ... but, I really don't want debate ideology or politic's ... though we will have to use these terms no doubt ... I'm just saying this so you know where I'm at and where I' am coming from ... cause sometimes these debates can get messy ... Anyways, I was just adding my 2 cents ... As far as shifting the goal posts I won't debate whether Krauss is coming from this or intending this ... the perspective that I come from revolves about around the observation that ...]

    The Perfect Number 496 and the Prime Number 37 - Historum - History Forums
    http://www.historum.com/blogs/killca...number-37.html

    When approaching the speed of lite, mass goes to infinity, space becomes a null point, and you couldn't carry or unload enough fuel to overcome the force of gravity. Scientist suppose a quatum element called a tachon travels faster than light. Below this is string theory. Creating anything from a null space perspective is totally impossible but they say this is seen in the moments of the Big Bang when alll the physical elements break down ... of course gravity would be the last of the GUT elements to break down and the measure by which we would know. Which would be a point close to infiniti [The Irresistable Force] ... whereas we know just before 0 Kelvin, nuclear forces and apparently quatum activity comes into play [The Immovable Object] ... Strings unlike the chaotic Quatum World or the rather? .. the mundune physical world ... Dimensions itself in a torus or torodial plane, a donut shape

    YesNo is right in the fact ... that without an element of consciousness, design, intelligence, forethought ... we wouldn't be asking these questions ... There's actually more than a few examples in the natural world that point to this fact. [Egyptian Blue, Chinese Jade, Prussian Blue, certain geometric shapes created by nature, prime number deriatives, etc ...]

    I'm looking forward to reading Laurence Krauss' new book. It was a YouTube link to one of his talks on cosmology that made me realize that the big bang was far different than what I originally thought it was.
    Causation, Effectation and Intelligence - Historum - History Forums
    http://www.historum.com/blogs/killca...ml#comment1491

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...n-1527306.html
    Proofs of God in a photon - SCIENCE Since quantum physics, the idea of a purposeful universe has become scientifically admissible. Scientists themselves, however, remain firmly divided ... Theologians are discussing the origins of the physical universe, the beauty of the fundamental laws of physics and the wonder of the complexity of nature. Scientists, too, are discussing what they suggest may be a sense of purpose behind the universe and questioning why those laws of nature should be exactly the way they are and why they give rise. The problem comes to a head in cosmology where it is hard to explain what happened in the early universe without asking why.

    I noticed something in the link you posted, KillCarneyKlans. It looks as if Stephen C. Meyer showed that chance could not have produced life since there are not enough opportunities for it to have done so randomly.
    http://www.historum.com/blogs/killca...-response.html
    Quote: One of my issues with stuff like ID is how...it doesn't actually provide any fundamental answers, to anything which matters. Added to which, it begs the question, who created the supposed creator? Etc. ad infinitum. You know how it goes. Apart from anything else, there appear to be two issues to consider, the origin of life and the evoluton of life.
    Yes, this is true. But Infomation is just DATA that is acted upon [by something]. I just heard some guy say last night, that said with the explosion of knowledge, that AI systems may become sentient within in a few hundred years surpassing human abilities. We already know that within a few decades, our knowledge will increase beyond itself expotentally; the doubling effect. The ultimate would be a quatum powered computer that could test all 0-to-infiniti possibilities with 1 pass. Some Computer AI specialists think pre-cursor's of Intelligent AI of this kind might even be forming with the increase of multi-informational-tasking computer comunication systems on the net. Anyways, interesting stuff ... Still you have Searle's Chinese Box Problem Paradox ...

    God by the Numbers | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/...rch/26.44.html

    [One] number coming from astronomy that points to God is 1 in 10 to the 10 to the 123. Oxford professor Roger Penrose discusses it in his book The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind. It derives from a formula by Jacob Beckenstein and Stephen Hawking and describes the chances of our universe being created at random. Penrose spoofs this view by picturing God throwing a dart at all the possible space-time continua and hitting the universe we inhabit. The Beckenstein-Hawking formula is too complicated to discuss here, but another approach to the same problem involves the fine-tuning of the universe and the existence of habitable planets. [And Probably its inhabitants]

    I have also wondered, given that a genetic mutation occurs about once every 3,500 years, which forms the basis of the mitochondrial DNA clock, are there enough years of history of life on earth for the changes leading to our species to have occurred solely by chance?
    The Perfect Number 496 and the Prime Number 37 - Historum - History Forums
    http://www.historum.com/blogs/killca...number-37.html

    Arithmetic inside the universal genetic code
    ScienceDirect - Biosystems : Arithmetic inside the universal genetic code
    http://www.whatabeginning.com/Misc/G...s/Abstract.htm

    Vladimir I. shCherbak, Department of Applied Mathematics, al-Faraby Kazakh National University, 71 al-Faraby Avenue, Almaty 480078, Kazakhstan, CIS Received 28 October 2001;&#xa0 revised 23 April 2002;&#xa0 accepted 10 December 2002.* Available online 28 June 2003

    The first information system emerged on the earth as primordial version of the genetic code and genetic texts. The natural appearance of arithmetic power in such a linguistic milieu is theoretically possible and practical for producing information systems of extremely high efficiency. In this case, the arithmetic symbols should be incorporated into an alphabet, i.e. the genetic code. A number is the fundamental arithmetic symbol produced by the system of numeration. If the system of numeration were detected inside the genetic code, it would be natural to expect that its purpose is arithmetic calculation e.g., for the sake of control, safety, and precise alteration of the genetic texts. The nucleons of amino acids and the bases of nucleic acids seem most suitable for embodiments of digits.

    http://www.whatabeginning.com/Misc/Genetics/Rakbou.htm
    The genetic code turns out to be a syntactical structure of arithmetic, the result of unique summations carried out by some primordial abacus at least three and a half billion years ago. The decimal place-value numerical system with a zero conception was used for that arithmetic. It turned out that the zero sign governed the genetic code not only as an integral part of the decimal system, but also directly as an acting arithmetical symbol. Being non-material abstractions, all the zero, decimal syntax, and unique summations can display an artificial nature of the genetic code. They refute traditional ideas about the stochastic origin of the genetic code. A new order in the genetic code hardly ever went through chemical evolution and, seemingly, originally appeared as pure information like arithmetic itself."

    [the abstract to his "The Arithmetic Origin of the Genetic Code" which appears (2008) as a chapter in the book "The Codes of Life" ISBN 978-1-4020-6340-4 (Online)] These features emerge from the study of, the peer-reviewed paper, "A harmonic structure of the genetic code" by MM Rakocevic and, the privately published article, "The numeric connections of the genetic code" by J-Y Boulay.

  10. #25
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    This singularity in conventional Big Bang theory is not the same variety of nothing.
    I didn't say anything about the singularity...

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    Is this the Krauss everyone is referring to?
    Oh, I don't deny that Craig "demolished" Krauss in their debate, because Craig has infinitely more experience at live debate and could really be called a master of all of the formal elements. He "demolishes" pretty much everyone he faces in live debate because almost none of the people he faces have any experience in the live debate format. I'd be much more interested him doing a book-length debate similar to what he did with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong with someone like Krauss or Carrier who could take the time to formulate their rebuttals and explanations of how quantum cosmology and Bayes should be used in this matter. Krauss went into the debate with Craig very much in his "lecturer" mode (as can be seen here), and you can tell by the way in which we keeps talking to the crowd, not about Craig's points, but about the most recent discoveries in quantum cosmology. It's complex stuff, and there's far too much of it and it's far too nuanced to get into it like it deserves to be in such a limiting format. Craig was there to argue (and, I admit, he does that very, very well), while Krauss was there to teach.

    Live debate formats make for an entertaining way to look at various topics, but they aren't really a good (or even semi-decent) forum for investigating the evidence for claims that are utilizing (more like manipulating) the evidence from theoretical physics and quantum cosmology. Krauss is an actual theoretical physicist, Craig is a theistic philosopher who has mastered debate and mastered cherry-picking quotes from theoretical physicists (like Guth and Vilenkin, whom, btw, don't agree with Craig's conclusions) that he can use to fit into his arguments and overwhelming debate opponents with a "gatling gun barrage of arguments" (as I believe Richard Carrier called it). Krauss is right that Craig doesn't understand physics. Mathematicians are right when they say he doesn't understand math. But convincing others of that is more difficult when it takes an hour (if not more) to fully rebut a point it takes Craig 10 seconds to make.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    Craig lost a lot of credibility to me when he admitted that the first proposition was actually a probability claim based on a very incomplete picture of modern quantum cosmology, but yet he's still using it as proposition and pretending that the conclusion is a deductive proof. One of the major problems with the argument in general is that all of the evidence for the 1st proposition are found in observing physical space-time, and yet he's attempting to apply the principles learned inside space-time to something that must've happened "outside" or "before" space-time (again, whatever concepts like "outside" and "before" even have in such a state).
    First, I think you might misunderstand something here. A valid argument is one whose form makes deduction possible. You are here attempting to criticize the soundness of the Kalam, and that's fine: that's what you, as an atheist, are supposed to do. However, your criticisms don't infringe upon the nature of its deduction or its validity. You can have a completely valid deduction from completely false premises.

    Consider:

    1. All men are made from jello.
    2. Socrates is a man.
    Therefore, Socrates is made from jello.

    This is a proper deduction from false premises.

    Even something as opaque as:

    1. P
    2. Q
    Therefore, R.

    ...can be considered a valid deduction.

    The distinction between validity and soundness is probably one of the most fundamental principles in logic.

    Rather than sit here and try to wrestle over the meaning of words such as "proof", let me just state that Craig confesses to not being able to ascertain (emphasis on certainty) the existence of God.

    Again, you seem to misunderstand the metaphysical nature of the first premise. Metaphysics essentially sets out to state what there is and how it is. Metaphysics is, by the way, involved in some way in every aspect of human inquiry. For instance, the uniformity of physical laws across the universe that science assumes is not an empirical observation, but rather a metaphysical judgment.

    The first premise of the Kalam is not based simply upon observed physical phenomena, but also on typically a priori judgments such as that the Cartesian thinking I began to exist. By the way, you seem perilously close to making a positive assertion yourself that you would be entitled to defend against nearly the entirety of modern philosophy, and that is that premise 1 should be based on observable phenomena.

    I'm not sure whether you are purposefully misstating the basis for the first premise or doing it only accidentally. Craig is quite clear on what the premise is based on.

    Consider:

    First and foremost, the causal premiss is rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic.

    Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/causa...#ixzz1uACKFhMk


    Craig is so prolific that we don't have to sit around and wonder what he really means; he's very willing to tell us himself. You actually seem to be mistaking his refutation of quantum particles being uncaused as the philosophical basis for the first premise.


    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    The Kalam also is completely reliant on the A theory of time, especially for Craig's claims about impossible infinities, but B theory of time is probably more popular amongst cosmologists right now, and that would (or, at least, should) stop Craig from arguing infinity when viewed as a series of linear succession because there is no such thing (it only appears so from our perspective). I also find it curious he insists on arguing against "actual" infinities when infinity is used all of the time by physicists. He says we only engineer the rules against adding and subtracting to/from infinity because allowing it leads to contradictions, but I've never heard him explain how that's different than any mathematical axioms we have! Everytime he talks about "actual" infinities he does it by imagining finite things, and Hilbert's Hotel is still very much an attempt to imagine infinite through the finite. A better example is to imagine a circle as infinite. One cannot add to or subtract from the circle until they've made it finite to begin with, and I've often thought that ever model we have is just our attempts to cut finite chunks out of an omnipresent infinite.
    Much wrong here; a lot to correct.

    First let's do away with the two fallacies here. To suggest that Craig is wrong because he does not adhere to a B theory of time is an argumentum ad populum and an argumentum ad verecundium. Moreover, Craig isn't simply some hokey small town apologist. He wrote his dissertation on theories of time, and his central academic focus was actually on time. He is, himself, an expert, which does not make him right, but it does seem to address the subtle ad hominem that Craig isn't qualified.

    Second, you seem to be equivocating on "infinity." Yes, mathematicians and physicists regularly use infinity, but they use it in a theoretical manner rather than in a practical one. No physicists "uses" practical or actual infinities. Moreover, even the belief that practical infinities exist is controversial and rare. One such supporter Roger Penrose is fairly upfront that he suspects that they will be eventually useful but that they have not, as yet, been at all so.

    I am familiar with Hilbert's Hotel, but that's a thought experiment just like The Grim Reaper Paradox that purports to explode the hotel. But you point out the obvious problem with your point when you state explicitly that it's an attempt to "imagine" the infinite. Practical or actual infinities are not a necessary component of Big Bang cosmology.

    The problem with cutting finite chunks from any infinite thing is that it results in a paradox. If you are simply manipulating numbers on paper, then there are special procedures for manipulating infinity, whereas there are no such restrictions when presented with an infinite number of M&Ms. So if I take every other M&M from the pile, the total number of M&Ms in the pile remains the same, and, in fact, the number I removed is the same as the original pile. The problem here is that infinity is without value, and to try and render it actually is to try and confer value upon it.


    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I will say this: Craig is a smart guy, and I have as much respect for him as I do any modern theist philosopher (except Plantinga), but there is a reason that his logical arguments fail to impress actual scientists (Stenger, Krauss) and that's because they recognize how silly it is to apply high-school syllogisms to something that has turned out be as completely counter-intuitive as quantum physics and early cosmology. The Kalam, as interesting it is, is still capitalizing on "God of the Gaps" as there are still "gaps" in our knowledge when it comes to this subject.
    I see you stole Krauss's "high school syllogisms" insult right from his bitter little blog. Just so you know, most atheists agree Krauss got spanked by Craig. Moreover, Krauss was a jerk before, during and after their debate. No philosopher is trying to "impress" scientists. Philosophers are doing their own proper work.

    Lastly, my challenge to you was rhetorical, as was your jab about my trying to explain something to a physicist. That you think your "refutations" address "serious flaws" is startling. Let me quickly explain something to you: the only thing we can be sure about the Kalam is that there are no obvious flaws, since otherwise we wouldn't know about it. Both atheistic and theistic philosophers agree that the Kalam is a damned fine argument, and if ever there comes a point that there are, in the academic literature, found to be "serious flaws" within it, then everyone will stop talking about it. It seems as though you have found some standard rebuttals on the web, but you do not recognize that rebuttals are par for the course, and they exist for nearly every argument ever made. If there were "serious flaws" in the argument, then no one would be interested in offering a rebuttal. If you actually tried these refutations out on Craig, himself, he would savage you intellectually just as Krauss would savage me if I tried to start arguing Big Bang cosmology with him. That you can't see this is disturbing.


    P.S, Just realized I didn't address your timeless, spaceless, etc complaints. try to do it later.
    Last edited by stuntpickle; 05-07-2012 at 05:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I didn't say anything about the singularity...

    No, but you did say that nothing has always meant some ambient energy in space (or something to that effect). I was pointing out that the singularity, which is supposed to be a zero-volume entity, is not at all the sort of nothing you are pretending that everyone refers to. Conventional Big Bang cosmology is really talking about no-thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    First, I think you might misunderstand something here. A valid argument is one whose form makes deduction possible.
    I wasn't complaining about the validity, I was complaining about the fact that Craig is knowingly turning something he admitted was only a probability into a proposition and "selling it" as if it were true. It sounds real nice to put a deductive argument out there, but what's the point if you acknowledge that one of the premises are in doubt? Forget the syllogism and spend your time just debating the issues surrounding that one proposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    For instance, the uniformity of physical laws across the universe that science assumes is not an empirical observation, but rather a metaphysical judgment.
    I was going to say this before the thread in General Literature was locked, but I didn't realize (at first) you were using metaphysics in the classic sense to simply refer to statements about the natural world. I see it used more (today) to refer to things that are actually meta(beyond)physics. But I'm still a bit curious as to how you're using "metaphysical judgment" in this context. Our understanding of "the uniformity of physical laws" DOES come from observation. If those laws didn't hold in what we observe, we wouldn't assume they held. So what distinction are you making between empiricism and metaphysical judgment?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    The first premise of the Kalam is not based simply upon observed physical phenomena, but also on typically a priori judgments such as that the Cartesian thinking I began to exist... the causal premiss is rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic.
    I have, of course, heard Craig make the ex nihilo nihil fit argument many times, but the argument doesn't work. The problem is is that Craig, by his own admission, has never observed nothing. To state nothing comes from nothing one would actually have to be able to see nothing come from nothing, or else you might as well say nothing can come from blobligock. It's just as coherent.

    The argument Craig makes is actually rooted in observances of the physical world. The kind of "nothing" Craig talks of is the "nothing" of empty space in our universe. How do I know that? Because ever example Craig has ever given about of "nothing comes from nothing" is always along the lines of "Beethoven or Eskimo villages or... don't just pop into existence out of nothing!" But Beethoven and Eskimo villages exist within spacetime, within the physical universe, where the "nothing" of empty space actually weighs more than all the physical matter there is thanks to dark matter and dark energy. So when Craig talks about observing "nothing coming from nothing" he's either knowingly lying and manipulative, or unwittingly wrong, because what he's observing isn't nothing coming from nothing, but nothing coming from a whole lot of something.

    How do I know it's a whole lot of something? Well, by Craig's own admission! When Craig is shown the quantum vacuum, meaning empty space with no physical matter in it, he says "but that's not nothing! It's a seething sea of fluctuation energy." Well, congrats Craig, because if that's not nothing, then please show me nothing! Can nothing even exist? What's more, that seems to be the "nothing" he's referring to every time he gives examples of how "nothing comes from nothing." So, as I see it, he can either start calling the quantum vacuum nothing, and then he must admit something can come from nothing, or he can call the quantum vacuum something, and admit he's never actually observed nothing coming from nothing, thus making the ex nihilo nihil fit argument an incoherency because we don't even know if nothing exists or can exist.

    One final point, and that's that virtual particle still appear to be uncaused. Craig likes to say they're "caused," but when you have something that happens that you can't predict, how can you ever determine a cause? Every cause I know of we've discovered was because we were able to eliminate the variables to one thing, and repeat a result using that one thing we then labeled "cause". The entire notion of "cause" has a spatial, temporal, predictive, and empirical element built right into it, and virtual particles may violate all of them. FWICT, Craig has only shown that they're contingent, but contingency still isn't the same as cause. If I break a window, that window breaking is contingent on my mother having given birth to me, but that birth did not cause the window to break. What's more, how do we assess causes sans space-time?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    To suggest that Craig is wrong because he does not adhere to a B theory of time is an argumentum ad populum and an argumentum ad verecundium...
    Appealing to the popular opinions of experts is really all anyone can do here until something is proved empirically or mathematically. Still, if one is assessing probabilities on the truthfulness of propositions on subjects of which one isn't an expert in, assessing the popular opinions of those experts is a good place to start. That Craig is going against the grain shouldn't be all that surprising when we know he has a particular bias going into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    Second, you seem to be equivocating on "infinity."
    There is a reason we tend to believe that if theoretical math works out on paper, it may have its representative in reality as well; the reason being that math has proved so immensely valuable for modeling that reality so far. The fact that infinity works on paper is, itself, a good argument that it may have some basis in actual, practical reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    The problem with cutting finite chunks from any infinite thing is that it results in a paradox. If you are simply manipulating numbers on paper, then there are special procedures for manipulating infinity, whereas there are no such restrictions when presented with an infinite number of M&Ms.
    I'm not sure if you got my point... Hilbert's Hotel and the M&M examples are ways in which to imagine infinity by finite successions of things, which makes more sense if the A Theory of time is true, because then time is linear progression/succession of moments. But consider for a moment that B Theory is true and all time is omnipresent and we're merely observing it from one point and the illusion of time is merely a reflection of our limited epistemology. In that scenario, infinity becomes the totality of everything. In fact, there are no finite things, and everything we imagine as finite is just us drawing outlines in a circle. I always thought that would make sense of, eg, Godel's Incompleteness Theorems, because the natural numbers are, by their nature, treating reality as if it were finite. The limitations of treating the infinite as finite, as we observe the outline of things, would naturally lead to incompleteness.

    The paradoxes of cutting finite chunks out of infinity is precisely in the nature that one can not consider infinity in finites, whether they be M&Ms (which implicitly assumes the M&Ms are separate from each other and the person counting) or hotel rooms (which implicitly assumes hotel rooms are separate from each other and its residents). If infinity is to be infinite it seems to me it would have to be everything without finite distinction, and trying to imagine the infinity through finite distinctions doesn't work. The paradox doesn't reflect a problem with infinity, but rather with our tendency to view things as being separate and finite naturally.

    That also shouldn't be such a radical notion either, considering how much we've come to learn in the 20th century about how our perspective on reality has naturally distorted how we see and interpret that reality. One thing that should make anyone suspicious about, eg, the Kalam is when Craig says that something is rooted in our "metaphysical intuition" because, seriously, who can reasonably appeal to human intuition's innate ability for discovering metaphysical truths? As I said elsewhere, to our metaphysical intuition, the Earth is flat, the sun revolves around it, light doesn't bend, empty space is empty and nothing, and Schrodinger's Cat can't be both alive and dead; the metaphysical intuition of humanity sucks royally.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    Just so you know, most atheists agree Krauss got spanked by Craig.
    I agreed as well, and I explained why. Live formal debate is not a sufficient forum to dig into these issues with the kind of depth they require to understand.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    the only thing we can be sure about the Kalam is that there are no obvious flaws, since otherwise we wouldn't know about it.
    The fact that Craig has made a deductive argument out of premises he admits can only be probabilities is itself a major and obvious flaw. Any proper Bayesian would be rolling their eyes the minute they saw someone trying to turn a probability into a boolean proposition. It reeks of intellectual dishonesty.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntpickle View Post
    No, but you did say that nothing has always meant some ambient energy in space (or something to that effect).
    No, I didn't say that. What I said that was that nothing used to refer to empty space, which people used to think was actually empty, and then nothing came to mean something else when physicists discovered empty space wasn't empty. It's a good example of moving the goalposts. Unfortunately, changing definitions doesn't change reality. I've thoroughly parsed this problem before, but if you want me to go through it again, I can. It has to do with how our brain incorrectly processes language over time and with the acquisition of new facts. The short version would be that a term exists to refer to one thing, one thing is discovered to be something else, the term should lose it's meaning, but instead it still feels like a real thing that has a basis in reality, even though it lost its original referent. That's what's happened with "nothing".
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I wasn't complaining about the validity, I was complaining about the fact that Craig is knowingly turning something he admitted was only a probability into a proposition and "selling it" as if it were true. It sounds real nice to put a deductive argument out there, but what's the point if you acknowledge that one of the premises are in doubt? Forget the syllogism and spend your time just debating the issues surrounding that one proposition.
    All premises are in doubt. Logic cannot justify itself.


    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I was going to say this before the thread in General Literature was locked, but I didn't realize (at first) you were using metaphysics in the classic sense to simply refer to statements about the natural world. I see it used more (today) to refer to things that are actually meta(beyond)physics. But I'm still a bit curious as to how you're using "metaphysical judgment" in this context. Our understanding of "the uniformity of physical laws" DOES come from observation. If those laws didn't hold in what we observe, we wouldn't assume they held. So what distinction are you making between empiricism and metaphysical judgment?
    I'm trying not to be rude. But it becomes difficult to know how to proceed when errors or misunderstandings start to compound exponentially.

    I never said metaphysics referred simply to "statements about the natural world." To even make the distinction of a natural world from abstract things like beauty and the number two is already metaphysics. There's more to philosophy than "the natural world"; there always has been and always will be, and this is not at all controversial. Even the naturalist must consent to metaphysical discussion apart from nature at some point.

    You seem to have this notion that philosophy is no longer important when, really, the truth is that philosophy is all-important, but it's so incredibly robust and diffuse that it encompasses the entirety of the academy now. Science is literally a branch of philosophy, and it was conducted in precisely that manner under the name "natural philosophy" for centuries. It's just that the establishing principles and foundations are so conventional now that rarely do persons recall its philosophical origins. The idea that a discussion of God is one in which science opposes philosophy is absurd. The truth is that discussions of God involve the collision of differing worldviews, of which neither has a proper claim on science.

    No, the uniformity of physical laws is not an observation, but an inductive inference from an inconsequential amount of observation and a lot of philosophizing. If you want to understand the problems of induction start with Hume and then read a couple hundred years worth of literature. There's no real reason science ought to work, yet we both have worldviews that assume it does.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I have, of course, heard Craig make the ex nihilo nihil fit argument many times, but the argument doesn't work. The problem is is that Craig, by his own admission, has never observed nothing. To state nothing comes from nothing one would actually have to be able to see nothing come from nothing, or else you might as well say nothing can come from blobligock. It's just as coherent.
    It doesn't matter whether you think ex nihilo nihil fit works. Let's try to stay on topic. The point is that ex nihilo nihil fit is, contrary to your assertion, the basis of the first premise of the Kalam and not quantum theory.

    I can't believe what you're writing here. The nothing Craig is referring to is not observable because it isn't A thing but NO thing. To even make your point you have to resort to a double negative, which would actually mean Craig has observed something. To suggest that Craig needs to have observed nothing is to say that Craig needs never to have observed anything. The word "nothing" is hardly incoherent. Every dictionary includes it, every child understands it, and this is hardly some major point of contention. You are literally trying to impose the standards of empirical observation on nothing. So if you are stating that empirical standards should be used in observing nothing, then I invite you to stop trying to use them.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    The argument Craig makes is actually rooted in observances of the physical world. The kind of "nothing" Craig talks of is the "nothing" of empty space in our universe. How do I know that? Because ever example Craig has ever given about of "nothing comes from nothing" is always along the lines of "Beethoven or Eskimo villages or... don't just pop into existence out of nothing!" But Beethoven and Eskimo villages exist within spacetime, within the physical universe, where the "nothing" of empty space actually weighs more than all the physical matter there is thanks to dark matter and dark energy. So when Craig talks about observing "nothing coming from nothing" he's either knowingly lying and manipulative, or unwittingly wrong, because what he's observing isn't nothing coming from nothing, but nothing coming from a whole lot of something.
    Craig's metaphysics is based in part on observations of the physical world, but it is also based on more than that. Have you ever heard of Descartes? You understand that nearly everyone concedes that there are a priori arguments, right? This is wholly uncontroversial. "Cogito ergo sum" does not come from observing the physical world.

    The only reason you've only heard Craig talk about Eskimo villages and Beethoven is because you haven't read his scholarly material. He has tons of material talking about Platonic forms and various other immaterialities. He's using those examples so that lay persons understand him. In fact, the most common example he uses is that he (I) came into existence, and he is talking about the Cartesian I.

    The last part is just absurd. Craig has never claimed to have actually observed an actual phenomenon of nothing coming from nothing.


    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    How do I know it's a whole lot of something? Well, by Craig's own admission! When Craig is shown the quantum vacuum, meaning empty space with no physical matter in it, he says "but that's not nothing! It's a seething sea of fluctuation energy." Well, congrats Craig, because if that's not nothing, then please show me nothing! Can nothing even exist? What's more, that seems to be the "nothing" he's referring to every time he gives examples of how "nothing comes from nothing." So, as I see it, he can either start calling the quantum vacuum nothing, and then he must admit something can come from nothing, or he can call the quantum vacuum something, and admit he's never actually observed nothing coming from nothing, thus making the ex nihilo nihil fit argument an incoherency because we don't even know if nothing exists or can exist.
    Fallacy of equivocation. Craig is simply making the point that his nothing and the quantum nothing are not the same. You are equivocating to make a fallacious refutation.

    When you make the ridiculous demand to be "shown nothing", you must understand that everyone in the world just complied with your request.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    One final point, and that's that virtual particle still appear to be uncaused. Craig likes to say they're "caused," but when you have something that happens that you can't predict, how can you ever determine a cause? Every cause I know of we've discovered was because we were able to eliminate the variables to one thing, and repeat a result using that one thing we then labeled "cause". The entire notion of "cause" has a spatial, temporal, predictive, and empirical element built right into it, and virtual particles may violate all of them. FWICT, Craig has only shown that they're contingent, but contingency still isn't the same as cause. If I break a window, that window breaking is contingent on my mother having given birth to me, but that birth did not cause the window to break. What's more, how do we assess causes sans space-time?
    This reads like obfuscation. The only thing we know about quantum fluctuations is that we don't know what's going on. There are any number of theories about what is happening, and no one knows for sure. Craig isn't required to demonstrate how this is caused since it's your point. You are asserting that these particles come into being without a cause, and we do not know that to be the case. Not knowing if something has a cause is NOT the same as knowing something to have no cause. It's your assertion, and you have the explanatory onus.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    Appealing to the popular opinions of experts is really all anyone can do here until something is proved empirically or mathematically. Still, if one is assessing probabilities on the truthfulness of propositions on subjects of which one isn't an expert in, assessing the popular opinions of those experts is a good place to start. That Craig is going against the grain shouldn't be all that surprising when we know he has a particular bias going into it.
    No, that's not all anyone can do. One can actually try to adjudicate the issues, and I believe Craig is capable of doing that. The problem is one of audience. And as we've seen, with complications of metaphysics, deduction and what "nothing" means the additional layer of what "time" means would prove too difficult for most. You can read Craig's scholarly works for an engagement with the issue. BTW, Craig also has an argument from contingency that works regardless of which theory of time is used.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    There is a reason we tend to believe that if theoretical math works out on paper, it may have its representative in reality as well; the reason being that math has proved so immensely valuable for modeling that reality so far. The fact that infinity works on paper is, itself, a good argument that it may have some basis in actual, practical reality.

    I'm not sure if you got my point... Hilbert's Hotel and the M&M examples are ways in which to imagine infinity by finite successions of things, which makes more sense if the A Theory of time is true, because then time is linear progression/succession of moments. But consider for a moment that B Theory is true and all time is omnipresent and we're merely observing it from one point and the illusion of time is merely a reflection of our limited epistemology. In that scenario, infinity becomes the totality of everything. In fact, there are no finite things, and everything we imagine as finite is just us drawing outlines in a circle. I always thought that would make sense of, eg, Godel's Incompleteness Theorems, because the natural numbers are, by their nature, treating reality as if it were finite. The limitations of treating the infinite as finite, as we observe the outline of things, would naturally lead to incompleteness.
    Are you familiar with the Grim reaper Paradox, which purports to prove the impossibility of actual infinities?

    The irony of bringing up Godel's incompleteness theorems is wonderful. So we agree truth does not entail provability and that the more precise a system is the more incomplete it is? So you admit that God could exist regardless of what reason has to say about it?

    "In your last letter you asked the weighty question, whether I believe that we shall meet again in an afterlife. About this, I can only say the following: If the world is rationally constructed and has meaning, then there must be such a thing. For what sense would there be in creating a being, which has such a wide realm of possibilities for its own development and for relationships to others, and then not allowing it to realize even a thousandth of those? That would be almost like someone laying, with the greatest effort and expense, the foundations for a house, and then letting it all go to seed again."

    --Kurt Godel

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    The paradoxes of cutting finite chunks out of infinity is precisely in the nature that one can not consider infinity in finites, whether they be M&Ms (which implicitly assumes the M&Ms are separate from each other and the person counting) or hotel rooms (which implicitly assumes hotel rooms are separate from each other and its residents). If infinity is to be infinite it seems to me it would have to be everything without finite distinction, and trying to imagine the infinity through finite distinctions doesn't work. The paradox doesn't reflect a problem with infinity, but rather with our tendency to view things as being separate and finite naturally.
    This works in theory, which no one debates. But when you actually render the round pie of the infinite into a physical world of knives, it all goes to crap. People can simply start cutting pieces. Try to think of time as distinct arrangements of matter, which, regardless of how they are arranged, are still distinct. Observation is a knife. We are subtracting from your supposed infinite all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    That also shouldn't be such a radical notion either, considering how much we've come to learn in the 20th century about how our perspective on reality has naturally distorted how we see and interpret that reality. One thing that should make anyone suspicious about, eg, the Kalam is when Craig says that something is rooted in our "metaphysical intuition" because, seriously, who can reasonably appeal to human intuition's innate ability for discovering metaphysical truths? As I said elsewhere, to our metaphysical intuition, the Earth is flat, the sun revolves around it, light doesn't bend, empty space is empty and nothing, and Schrodinger's Cat can't be both alive and dead; the metaphysical intuition of humanity sucks royally.
    Again, you say you understand metaphysics, but then you make me wonder. There's nothing at all suspicious about Craig using the phrase "metaphysical intuition." When I sit down in a chair, I expect the chair not to dissolve into nothingness, which is a metaphysical intuition.

    This is what's so frustrating about discussing this with the average atheist. They will just start throwing around all these really complicated ideas like Hilbert's Hotel, but at the same time, they demonstrate a misunderstanding about basic metaphysics. The result is that you get this really prodigious tower built atop a tiny pebble, and the resulting structure just falls down on its own.

    Look, you sound like a really smart guy who has done a lot of research on his own, but I think there are some strange problems with what you're saying that make the conversation very weird. And by the way, what Craig means by "metaphysical" is not at all controversial.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I agreed as well, and I explained why. Live formal debate is not a sufficient forum to dig into these issues with the kind of depth they require to understand.
    You make it sound as though Krauss would fare better in written format. Krauss's problem wasn't that he was trying to lecture or that Craig was simply a better debater, but that he doesn't know the first thing about how to properly frame the discussion. He was ridiculing Bayesian probability during the debate and tried to say Craig was attempting to obscure the conversation with some ludicrous equations. And the truth is Bayesian probability is the only way to approach the issue of the debate, which Krauss, himself, chose.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    The fact that Craig has made a deductive argument out of premises he admits can only be probabilities is itself a major and obvious flaw. Any proper Bayesian would be rolling their eyes the minute they saw someone trying to turn a probability into a boolean proposition. It reeks of intellectual dishonesty.
    LOL! Wrong. Certainty died with logical positivism. All premises are now only probable. This is why there are Christian philosophers back in the academy.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    No, I didn't say that. What I said that was that nothing used to refer to empty space, which people used to think was actually empty, and then nothing came to mean something else when physicists discovered empty space wasn't empty. It's a good example of moving the goalposts. Unfortunately, changing definitions doesn't change reality. I've thoroughly parsed this problem before, but if you want me to go through it again, I can. It has to do with how our brain incorrectly processes language over time and with the acquisition of new facts. The short version would be that a term exists to refer to one thing, one thing is discovered to be something else, the term should lose it's meaning, but instead it still feels like a real thing that has a basis in reality, even though it lost its original referent. That's what's happened with "nothing".
    No, you tried to pretend that Craig was equivocating and "moving the goalposts" in his discussion of "nothing" since he was really talking about ambient energy. And I rightly pointed out that Craig was talking about the same nothing that was in orthodox Bing Bang cosmology, which is NOT ambient energy. It seems to me that your entire understanding of Craig is based off his response to a rebuttal concerning quantum fluctuations, and this is why your view of the Kalam is so distorted.
    Last edited by stuntpickle; 05-07-2012 at 09:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    Evolution is rarely (if ever) and event that produces a completely new species within a generation, it's usually just small changes over time that add up to a big change when we observe two points along the scale. So I would imagine there was plenty of time for us to get to this point.
    The small changes over time seems to contradict the punctuated equilibrium arguments of Eldridge and Gould, but that is a side issue.

    The question is whether it is possible for the sequence of events to be mathematically random. I would imagine that the sequence of events, if they were caused by chance, were a very, very lucky sequence of events, that is, they could NOT be considered mathematically random simply because they happened too quickly, regardless of whether there was any actual design involved or not.

    Now I don't know how to measure this and I would be interested in help from anyone on this.

    We know how long life existed on the planet. We know the rate of random mutations. I don't know how many random changes are necessary to go from the simplest DNA to the most complicated DNA (which may not be human DNA). I don't know what a unit of such change would be in the DNA. Can anyone provide a link that would help with information on this?
    Don't forget the poetry contests at http://www.online-literature.com/for...s-amp-Contests

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