Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#321  Postby hotshoe » Oct 01, 2010 1:38 am

Oh, and the argument from evil ? Jayzuz, Maryann, you should really be embarrassed by the illogic you demonstrate by throwing that into your atheist-mockery. Atheists don't have a problem with evil. You do. You christians do. We don't believe in an objective "evil" as opposed to an objective "good." You christians do. The problem of evil is not evidence for the non-existence of god - how could it be evidence for non-existence? No such thing. But it's proof that if a god does exist, it does not have the characteristics people like you feel it does.

You're the one who feels (or claims to know) that there is an omniscient omnipotent omnibenevolent father (somewhere, here there and everywhere). But those characteristics are logically unreconcilable. NO theologist has ever come up with a satisfactory answer to the problem, although every christian theologist claims to have. That's how they lie to themselves to live with their burden of faith, I guess. Or, that's what the heinous genocidal heart-hardening god of the christians forces them to believe, maybe. Who knows.
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He said, "Stick by my side and I'll be your guiding hand
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to"
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#322  Postby Ichthus77 » Oct 01, 2010 5:02 am

I'm going to agree to disagree on the athiest (belief or not belief) / faith (always blind or just belief lacking certainty) aspects of the discussion, and hope to read Greene again sooner than later. Y'all like to get scrappy, don't you?

If God does not exist then evil does not exist? God is an evil dictator that allows us to choose to follow the “Golden rule” so that there can be a happy ending?
Oldskeptic

Hm. What do you think of hotshoe's latest reply, wherein he says there is no evil? Evil does exist--it is a clue to God's existence (a clue to the existence of a real good--of which evil is a real privation...not opposite, just to be clear). The evil dictator part had only to do w/ the sort of God (unworthy of the title) who would not allow free will. Free will makes choosing love possible, but also its alternative...evil...and without the possibility of that alternative, there really isn't a choice...and love is not 'really' love unless it is chosen. In order to prevent all evil choices, or all pain (not just "physical" pain), the consequence ultimately would prevent love as well. Many leaders history deems evil dictators in hind-sight, start out w/ what they feel are good intentions. Preventing all evil choices at first blush looks like a good intention, but only an evil dictator would actually do it. The happy ending (despite circumstances that others may label "evil"...think Job) actually starts the moment you choose it here and now (your kingdom come...on earth...it is within you).

This conversation has hit so many different topics...
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#323  Postby GenesForLife » Oct 01, 2010 5:13 am

And the evidence for the existence of free will is?
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#324  Postby Ichthus77 » Oct 01, 2010 5:18 am

Sam Harris thinks there is objective moral truth without free will, and that your question is a "non-starter". What do you think about that?
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#325  Postby GenesForLife » Oct 01, 2010 5:22 am

Ichthus77 wrote:Sam Harris thinks there is objective moral truth without free will, and that your question is a "non-starter". What do you think about that?


Stop being disingenious and answer the friggin' question, I'm asking you a very simple question about this statement of yours.
Free will makes choosing love possible, but also its alternative...evil...and without the possibility of that alternative, there really isn't a choice...and love is not 'really' love unless it is chosen.


Where is the evidence for free will, and I don't do navel gazing, I rely on empiricism, so, evidence please...
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#326  Postby Ichthus77 » Oct 01, 2010 5:27 am

Deliberation, choice-making, planning, voluntary vs. involuntary biological systems, holding human animals (but not non-human animals) accountable/responsible for behavior--more so when the behavior is "pre-meditated"...that sort of thing.
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#327  Postby GenesForLife » Oct 01, 2010 5:59 am

Ichthus77 wrote:Deliberation, choice-making, planning,


Animals can do this too, point being? There are constraints exercised by both the genetic makeup and the neural/decision making machinery involved.

voluntary vs. involuntary biological systems


Conditioned reflexes and acquired behaviour dependent on training, for instance, you cannot choose not to have a pee but only until a certain period, this again is deterministic, and determined by bladder holding capacity, and the body exercising loss of voluntary control.

holding human animals (but not non-human animals) accountable/responsible for behavior--more so when the behavior is "pre-meditated"...that sort of thing.


Human behaviour too may be predetermined by atleast some factors, try, for instance, a correlation between excessive violence and MAO-1 variations, again determined, which counts against free will.

Look at this case, for instance... you might say choosing to behave well is a matter of free will...

Results There was a main effect of adversity but not of monoamine oxidase A on risk for conduct disorder. Low monoamine oxidase A activity increased risk for conduct disorder only in the presence of an adverse childhood environment. Neither a passive nor an evocative genotype-environment correlation accounted for the interaction.

Conclusion This study replicates a recent report of a genotype-environment interaction that predicts individual variation in risk for antisocial behavior in boys.


and this

The activity of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in blood platelets among criminals undergoing forensic psychiatric examinations was studied. As compulsiveness, disturbed perceptions of reality, etc. are states not known to be related to MAO and yet possibly cause aggressiveness and violence among psychotic patients, we divided the patients into 2 groups, psychotic and nonpsychotic offenders. There was lower MAO activity among violent offenders than among nonviolent offenders. The difference between the violent and nonviolent offenders became greater when the subjects with a history of psychosis were removed. Furthermore, in the group of psychotic offenders, there was no statistical difference between violent and nonviolent individuals in this regard.


In both cases there are extraneous deterministic factors to at least some extent, which rubbishes the notion of free will.

And just to add to the weightage of the MAO research...

Cloning of MAO (monoamine oxidase) A and B has demonstrated unequivocally that these enzymes are made up of different polypeptides, and our understanding of MAO structure, regulation, and function has been significantly advanced by studies using their cDNA. MAO A and B genes are located on the X-chromosome (Xp11.23) and comprise 15 exons with identical intron-exon organization, which suggests that they are derived from the same ancestral gene. MAO A and B knockout mice exhibit distinct differences in neurotransmitter metabolism and behavior. MAO A knock-out mice have elevated brain levels of serotonin, norephinephrine, and dopamine and manifest aggressive behavior similar to human males with a deletion of MAO A. In contrast, MAO B knock-out mice do not exhibit aggression and only levels of phenylethylamine are increased. Mice lacking MAO B are resistant to the Parkinsongenic neurotoxin, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetra-hydropyridine. Both MAO A and B knock-out mice show increased reactivity to stress. These knock-out mice are valuable models for investigating the role of monoamines in psychoses and neurodegenerative and stress-related disorders.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2844879/

There is definitely evidence towards a genetic predisposition that may manifest in violent/aggressive/antisocial behaviour , which can be exacerbated by environmental factors, which together are deterministic, all your examples of evidence for "Free will" fail.
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#328  Postby GenesForLife » Oct 01, 2010 6:06 am

And oh, regarding planning in animals...

http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v4/n8 ... n1180.html

According to the 'mental time travel hypothesis' animals, unlike humans, cannot mentally travel backwards in time to recollect specific past events (episodic memory) or forwards to anticipate future needs (future planning). Until recently, there was little evidence in animals for either ability. Experiments on memory in food-caching birds, however, question this assumption by showing that western scrub-jays form integrated, flexible, trial-unique memories of what they hid, where and when. Moreover, these birds can adjust their caching behaviour in anticipation of future needs. We suggest that some animals have elements of both episodic-like memory and future planning.


http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... 01294.html

Groups of animals often need to make communal decisions, for example about which activities to perform1, when to perform them2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and which direction to travel in1, 6, 7; however, little is known about how they do so10, 11, 12. Here, we model the fitness consequences of two possible decision-making mechanisms: 'despotism'6, 7, 10 and 'democracy'1, 6, 7, 10. We show that under most conditions, the costs to subordinate group members, and to the group as a whole, are considerably higher for despotic than for democratic decisions. Even when the despot is the most experienced group member, it only pays other members to accept its decision when group size is small and the difference in information is large. Democratic decisions are more beneficial primarily because they tend to produce less extreme decisions, rather than because each individual has an influence on the decision per se. Our model suggests that democracy should be widespread and makes quantitative, testable predictions about group decision-making in non-humans.


There are evolutionary constraints, genetic constraints and environmental constraints which can determine potential behaviour to varying extents, and this really doesn't make "free will" free. Even Buddhist and Hindu woo about Karmic disposition , which is still irrational and rubbish, does a better job of explaining evil than Xtian "Free Willy" apologetics.
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#329  Postby hotshoe » Oct 01, 2010 6:50 am

Ichthus77 wrote:

Hm. What do you think of hotshoe's latest reply, wherein he says there is no evil?

Naughty, naughty, Maryann. Would you care to quote me on that ? No, nevermind, I'll quote myself:
myself wrote:We don't believe in an objective "evil" as opposed to an objective "good."

Would you care to point out where in that sentence I said "there is no evil" ?

Is it that you have reading problems ? Really, I would be so much more understanding if that is your handicap, than if you just choose to distort and lie about what everyone else says for your own political purposes.

Evil does exist--it is a clue to God's existence (a clue to the existence of a real good--of which evil is a real privation...not opposite, just to be clear).
Is that a fact, Maryann ? What's your evidence for this hippy-dippy assertion ?
The evil dictator part had only to do w/ the sort of God (unworthy of the title) who would not allow free will. Free will makes choosing love possible, but also its alternative...evil...and without the possibility of that alternative, there really isn't a choice...and love is not 'really' love unless it is chosen. In order to prevent all evil choices, or all pain (not just "physical" pain), the consequence ultimately would prevent love as well.
Is that a fact ? My my, what a shame you believe that. Guess you don't believe in heaven then. All will freely, of their own wills, choose to sing the praises and bask in the glory once they reach heaven. And yet, there won't be any evil in heaven, so we were told. An omnipotent god who could arrange for there to be no evil in heaven while allowing for the free will of the "risen" could surely make - at the very least - less evil on earth while allowing for - at the very least - enough free will of the "fallen" to allow love as a meaningful choice. Or maybe the difference is that you really don't believe in omnipotence. That's OK. Omnipotence is a truly fantastically ridiculous thing to believe in. It's just such a shock to find a true christian like you contradicting omnipotence in public like this.
Many leaders history deems evil dictators in hind-sight, start out w/ what they feel are good intentions. Preventing all evil choices at first blush looks like a good intention, but only an evil dictator would actually do it. The happy ending (despite circumstances that others may label "evil"...think Job)
Fuck that goddamn "god just wants us to learn from our own mistakes" shit. Anyone who would say that is less moral than a gorilla, who actually has empathy for others. Even stupid parents try not to let their children jump off the roof or eat poison just so the kids can learn from their mistakes. Your so-called omniscient god would have the knowledge to make a better plan, one which still resulted in the happy ending but without so much torture along the way. The truth is, if your god existed, it would be the most heinous dictator ever imagined, and all the suffering which we do in fact incur would only exist because it was gleefully rubbing its hands in sadistic pleasure.
actually starts the moment you choose it here and now (your kingdom come...on earth...it is within you).
Sure thing. Just keep lying to the children being eaten to death by parasites that the kingdom of heaven is within them. Just keep lying to the woman being raped that the kingdom of heaven is within her. Just keep lying to the young man, working to feed his family, trapped in the coal mine, that the kingdom of heaven is within him. You're a privileged white woman. Of course, the kingdom of heaven is within you.

The kind of smarmy self-satisfied self-serving hypocritical bullshit you write is sickening.
Now, when I talked to God I knew he'd understand
He said, "Stick by my side and I'll be your guiding hand
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to"
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#330  Postby hotshoe » Oct 01, 2010 7:23 am

Prediction was:
hotshoe wrote:So we can safely suggest that among the other things Maryann refuses to admit into her worldview, she won't admit a simple wikipedia entry:

wiki wrote:Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[2] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[3] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[4] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[5][6]
<snip>

Maryann didn't let me down. Hooray, and thank you to Maryann for making my prediction come true:

Maryann wrote:I'm going to agree to disagree on the athiest (belief or not belief) / faith (always blind or just belief lacking certainty) aspects of the discussion ...


God forbid she might agree with the neutral wiki position. :nono:

Sure, we'll agree to disagree; we're in accordance with the actual usage and we'll disagree with Maryann and her ilk when they insist on using the terms wrongly. :lol:
Now, when I talked to God I knew he'd understand
He said, "Stick by my side and I'll be your guiding hand
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to"
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#331  Postby trubble76 » Oct 01, 2010 10:00 am

Ichthus77 wrote:

trubble, hotshoe, and anyone else included in this aspect of the discussion: if atheism is not a positive belief (in a world with no God, or in the nonexistence of God), but rather a lack of belief (in the existence of God, or in a world with God), then...

I give you...

hehehe *snort*

THE NEW THEISM.

The theism of the New Theism is not a belief, but a lack of belief--a lack of belief in a world with no God--a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God--because, there is just no evidence for the belief that there is no God. All the evidence (who? we dunno who...it couldn't be atheists, because they don't believe anything...) use to support the nonexistence of God is in fact irrational gibberish invented by spin doctors and regurgitated by the unthinking masses. Their strongest evidence--the argument from evil--contradicts itself when you consider that if there is not always a real good (God) to which moral truth always corresponds, then there is no real evil (and thus no real argument from evil). And it is answered by the reality that if God, like an evil dictator, did not allow us to choose evil, the choice of Golden Rule love-despite-circumstances would be impossible--and he promises a happy ending for all those who choose it (or, at least, do not reject it). Therefore, going with our intuition that there is a real good, we favor a theistic conclusion (there is no faith involved in this, but somehow, we are not quite certain, either), but really we just lack belief in the nonexistence of God. We don't really believe anything.

Seriously. That's what y'all atheists sound like.


Seriously? Is that the best you can do? You reject the definition of atheism and replace with what you think is the definition of atheism and your justification for that is wordplay with double negatives? You do realise that in that little passage you have rejected your positive belief in god for a passive one, don't you? I wonder how your god might view that rejection.

You reject science and the mountains of good evidence behind it, on the basis of....wordplay. Step back, be honest with yourself, and realise that you believe simply what you were taught to believe and what you want to believe. Evidence is nothing to you, and that's why you can be wrong and happy about it.
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#332  Postby Shrunk » Oct 01, 2010 10:25 am

Ichthus77 wrote:Mkay...well...this makes me want to reread Greene, so I will, but I've got these epistemology books that are first in line.


So, while you're doing that, can we count on you editing your blog to remove all the fallacious references to Greene supporting your argument? After all, you said your blog was deliberately dumbed down to avoid confusing the scientifically naive theists who might happen to read it. Since they might be depending on you for their scientific education, you don't want to mislead them, do you?
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#333  Postby Bud's Brain » Oct 01, 2010 11:35 am

Ichthus77 wrote:

Bud's Brain, truth just means "corresponds to reality". Evolution has so much evidence supporting it, you can go ahead and call it true, or truth. For the sake of humility, though, we won't say we are absolutely certain of it. We'll leave room for faith==not unreasoned, blind faith, of course--totally justified faith...just not "absolutely certain".


Actually, it doesn't. Go find your closest god botherer and ask if Jesus' gospel is truth.

Edit: a more precise description would be: Is evolution as predicted in the ToE right? The answer would be yes, given the overwhelming evidence to support it.
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#334  Postby Oldskeptic » Oct 01, 2010 9:25 pm

Maryann wrote:

Oldskeptic

Hm. What do you think of hotshoe's latest reply, wherein he says there is no evil? Evil does exist--it is a clue to God's existence (a clue to the existence of a real good--of which evil is a real privation...not opposite, just to be clear). The evil dictator part had only to do w/ the sort of God (unworthy of the title) who would not allow free will. Free will makes choosing love possible, but also its alternative...evil...and without the possibility of that alternative, there really isn't a choice...and love is not 'really' love unless it is chosen. In order to prevent all evil choices, or all pain (not just "physical" pain), the consequence ultimately would prevent love as well. Many leaders history deems evil dictators in hind-sight, start out w/ what they feel are good intentions. Preventing all evil choices at first blush looks like a good intention, but only an evil dictator would actually do it. The happy ending (despite circumstances that others may label "evil"...think Job) actually starts the moment you choose it here and now (your kingdom come...on earth...it is within you).


Well, hotshoe and others have taken care of most of this so I’ll leave that alone, but there is this assertion that people choose to fall in love.

Love is one of the worst examples one could use to try to support the existence of freewill. People do not choose to fall in love or be in love. In the case of romantic love it is purely biological. With the right combinations of chemicals/hormones in the brain you are in love, without them you are not, and there is no way to choose to have these chemical combinations.

1)Androgens and estrogens cause what could be called love but a better word would be lust, as in an incessant drive for sexual gratification. Here you want to have sex with someone.

2)With high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine combined with low serotonin you are in love characterized by sexual attraction and varying levels of obsession with the person that causes this situation. Here you want to be with someone and have an emotional connection.

3)With stable levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin but elevated levels of oxytocin and vasopressin you are in love characterized by attachment and fondness to anyone that causes this situation. Here you are comfortable with the emotional connection and being with someone.

To paraphrase Helen Fisher we can no more choose to be in love or not than we can choose to be hungry or not.

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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#335  Postby Ichthus77 » Oct 02, 2010 4:39 pm

Genesforlife and OldSkeptic, I am also familiar with the theory of repeated exposure (regarding attachment, which some mistake for love). Golden Rule love can be practiced without any sort of attachment, and in the face of it, especially if we are aware of all of that. We're really talking apples and oranges here (they are both fruit that nourish the body, but still very different). Having a limited (or compulsive) set of options or possible motivations does not mean a choice is never self-determined (many learn to overcome their compulsions), and affirming free will is not affirming that all thought/behavior is self-determined (it does leave room for instinct). If you were to provide evidence that certain non-human animals choose as freely as human animals, it would be no argument against free will, only an argument in favor of the free will of those non-human animals. What you call "genetic constraints" of "decision making machinery"--I call being wired for choice (Sartre called it being "condemned to be free"). I will totally grant that we are not free to choose among options of which we are not aware, but that is saying something about freedom, not free will. Free will is the ability to choose among the options of which we ARE aware. We can say that others are more or less free, but we cannot say they do not have free will. That is why education is so darn important. If we didn't have free will, education would increase no one's freedom.

hotshoe--wikipedia (or any other source you can name) is not neutral.

trubble--lol...I do not reject science.

Shrunk--I never claim Greene supports my argument, and the quote on there being a first cycle is relevant to my argument. You would be surprised how many people think the cyclic model is the only path to an eternal universe. I used to think that, before reading Greene. People oughtta know.

Bud's Brain--"right"..."true"...six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Time to resign again. Thanks for the invigorating discussion :) You're a fun group and you keep me on my toes. Hope you'll submit something to the carnival.
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#337  Postby GenesForLife » Oct 02, 2010 7:06 pm

haha Hack, forecasting another occurence of Shaker's law?
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#338  Postby xrayzed » Oct 05, 2010 5:00 am

I’ve been out of the loop for a few days. A few points to catch up on:


Ichthus77 wrote: If someone simply has not decided yes or no about whether God exists, and so has no definitive belief that a God exists (or that a God doesn't exist), that does not mean they are an atheist--it means they are agnostic (perhaps there is a better word for it, since gnosis is knowledge, not just belief). If they claim to be an atheist, they are claiming to have a belief that God does not exist.


Actually I’d consider myself an “agnostic atheist”.

"Agnostic” is commonly used to denote some sort of middle-ground, as you note agnosticism is about gnosis. So theism/atheism has to do with one’s belief in god(s), while gnosticism/agnosticism has to do with one’s claims to knowledge about gods. The following is a reasonable comparison of the differences:

1. Agnostic atheist: does not believe any god exists, but doesn't claim to know that no god exists
2. Gnostic atheist: believes that no god exists and claims to know that this belief is true
3. 3. Agnostic theist: believes a god exists, but doesn't claim to know that this belief is true
4. 4. Gnostic theist: believes a god exists and claims to know that this belief is true

Source: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php? ... ._agnostic

Some atheists may claim to have a belief that God does not exist. I don’t. Some atheist claim to know God does not exist. I don't.

I hope that clears that up.

Ichthus77 wrote:If the "some other being" is not subject to entropy, then all the math/logic about entropy does not apply to that "some other being". But math/logic itself would indeed apply, originating from/in it.

I'll assume that you’re still missing my point, and not being deliberately evasive.

I’ll try to simplify the question:

Why is it entirely reasonable that there can be a conscious being that has always existed, but it is inconceivable that there can be a non-conscious thing that has always existed?
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#339  Postby Shrunk » Oct 05, 2010 10:21 am

xrayzed wrote:I’ll try to simplify the question:

Why is it entirely reasonable that there can be a conscious being that has always existed, but it is inconceivable that there can be a non-conscious thing that has always existed?


Since Maryann has left the building, I'll give your question a crack: It's hard to tell thru her turgid prose and convoluted logic, but her point seems to be that you can't demonstrate the existence of either, so then atheism is a position of faith just as much as theism is.

By that logic, the following statement is also true: Suppose two doctors are treating a patient who seems to have an infection, but the identity of the pathogen is unknown. The first doctor believes the illness is caused by an as-yet unknown virus or bacteria and endeavours to find the correct one. The second doctor believes the patient is cursed by Zeus and sacrifices a bull to appease the god.

The positions of both doctors are equally based on faith.
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Re: Information Theory, Complexity, & Dawkins' 747 (help?)

#340  Postby trubble76 » Oct 05, 2010 10:50 am

Ichthus77 wrote:
trubble--lol...I do not reject science.


Really? Then I must admit to assuming that someone that changes definitions of words to suit their arguments and that makes this sort of argument is not someone open to reason and science. Carry on.
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