Posted: Dec 06, 2015 5:08 pm
by Calilasseia
crank wrote:I have thought for a while, and used as an argument, that, at the cosmological level, any significant dicking around with the laws of nature would be evident, if not at our current level of understanding and observational capabilities, at some level well short of god-like. Obviously, this is yanked out of my rear end, but seems reasonable.

Actually, one of the principal arguments I've been deploying against supernaturalists for some time, is that any magic entity they care to dream up, that intervenes in the physical universe in the way that they assert, necessarily has observational consequences. And as a corollary, it is perfectly legitimate to look to observational data to see if those consequences are realised. No, you didn't pull this out of your rear end, it shows rather that you have a better understanding of the issues than the typical pedlar of apologetics.

crank wrote: I don't have a clue how this would apply to our evolutionary history, but I would guess it's likely. Anyone think the first is reasonable? Or any thoughts on the latter?

The idea that any meaningful intervention in the physical universe would have observable physical consequences, is entirely reasonable. And destroys at a stroke the pretence on the part of supernaturalists, that their magic entities can meddle with the universe and its contents unhindered, whilst simultaneously remaining "ineffable". But rigour never was a part of supernaturalist assertions and apologetics to begin with.

This would apply regardless of the physical system under consideration, and since evolution is a physical system, it would apply thereto. Any genuine interventions would leave behind them persistent physical evidence.

crank wrote:To 'guide' evolution from the beginning with us as the end result seems absurd. All that guiding, did it include the KT impact? Or the other mass extinctions? I would call that god going, oops, let me start over.

Except that if you dispense with merely asserted magic entities full stop, this all simply becomes historical contingency. If a process multiplies certain genes in the biosphere, it's more likely that those genes will become the substrate for the emergence of novelty. On the other hand, if that same process deletes genes from the biosphere, then those genes, by definition, aren't going to be a substrate for anything.

crank wrote:Is he nudging molecules, physical law, or tigers? Any of the above? Why did it take so efing long, were all the near-us hominids trial runs?

The amount of micro-managing that would be needed to result specifically in us humans, starting from prebiotic molecules, would be so enormous that it's difficult to see how any entity engaged in this process would have any time to interfere elsewhere in the universe. Unless of course it cloned several sextillion copies of itself to ease the labour. But then you would need all of those several sextillion copies to be working to the same plan, which would introduce some interesting communication overheads.

If on the other hand, you simply accept the evidence that we're here because the laws of physics permitted our emergence, and the relevant physically permitted historical events took place, without any direction, you can sweep away all superfluous asserted magic entities, and be happily content with the fact that testable natural processes are sufficient for the task.