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  1. If getting at the truth of a something were the most important thing to me, why would I waste time on an Objectivist message board? My goal is strictly altruistic. I'm merely trying to save a few seriously lost and benighted souls. Isn't that nice of me?
  2. Our lack of knowledge of particular causes does not entail "indeterminacy It's the other way around. Built-in metaphysical indeterminacy entails our necessary lack of knowledge. As I have said before, probability is subjective (epistemological), not objective (metaphysical). Nope. Rand was wrong. You are wrong. Indeterminacy -- I prefer Popper's term, "propensity" -- is metaphysical. After a specific event, such as abiogenesis, has occurred , Surely we can't just assume at the outset the very thing we intend to prove! Isn't that called "begging the question"? This is the case with coin tosses
  3. What on earth is the purpose of your questions here? Isn't that funny!!! I've been asking you the same question for the last few posts! I'll try a different a question: If you're OK with questioning the age of the universe as a whole -- merely as a hypothetical -- is it acceptable for you, or someone else, to question the age of something within the universe -- also as a hypothetical?
  4. All of the above are kinds of neural activities. This can be verified with MRI scans and PET scans. (I have had both done to me and I have "seen" my self think). Not quite. Neural activity correlates with thoughts. "Correlation" is not "identity." A whale swimming beneath the water causes the top of the water surface to form certain shapes: waves, vortices, etc. The waves and vortices correlate with the activity of the whale. But they are not the whale.
  5. and that when all the necessary and sufficient conditions are present, the probability of the outcome is 100 percent. The standard you've imposed of "All necessary and sufficient conditions", for a determinist, will, by necessity, result in an attempt at -- if not an outright claim of -- omniscience. That's easy enough to show. A coin toss has a probability distribution of 50/50 (50% heads, 50% tails). If you manage to discover "all necessary and sufficient conditions" that determine a heads or tails outcome with a probability of 100%, then you've merely pushed the indeterminacy back one step
  6. The very fact that Dawkins acknowledges that some "cheating" is involved in this particular case indicates that he is not depending on it to make his entire case. He goes on to argue that evolution requires no such predetermined goal. Then for the sake of keeping his demonstrations relevant to the point he is trying to make -- sound pedagogy, after all -- he should run a computer simulation that's actually like the evolutionary process he wants us to believe in. Run a simulation without a target sequence, and without a "filter" selecting letters by the standard of the target sequence, and see
  7. LOL. Assume the roads are in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota in non-urban areas. ROFL!! Now try actually observing reality. If the superhighway that real researchers confront when trying to move their critters from one side to the other were like an empty one in North Dakota, why must they always resort to intelligently-designed artifices for every lane to help the critters to the other side? In reality, most natural forces are completely hostile to the formation of life. Even Francis Crick claimed that the gap between non-living chemicals and the simplest living organism was far grea
  8. 7 minutes in, Dawkins admits that the genetic algorithm for "Me Thinks It Is Like A Weasel" is cheating (and by "cheating" he means "employing DESIGN for the sake of arriving at a predetermined goal"). He calls it "looking into the future." Everyone else calls it "teleology" or "deciding on a goal" ("goals" are all in the future). Sure. Just identify what force, or what entity, in nature functions as the designed computer algorithm specifying the desired target sequence of "Methinks It Is Like A Weasel" and I'll be happy to grant that a Darwinian process of "blind search" -- plus the ability
  9. No, Chatzaf, I was unaware that arguments regarding scientific theories are decided "true" or "untrue" in courts of law. When did that trend start? Part of your malfunction is that you spend zero time reading primary sources with which you suspect you already disagree on an ideological level, and too much time reading trashy secondary sources like "The New Yorker." Too busy? Or too afraid that you simply have no rational replies to a number of thorny problems in origins-of-life research that cannot be solved by invoking mathematical miracles?
  10. The "chances" that things with a certain identity will function in a certain way under certain conditions are 100%. Sure. If only we were omniscient. So let's see: One presumed Objectivist claims life would definitely arise from abiogenesis if only there were infinite time. Now another presumed Objectivist claims we would see the truth of the above statement if only we had infinite knowledge of all possible conditions necessary for it to arise by means of abiogenesis. The first is wishful thinking, similar to "if pigs had wings"; the second is naive determinism. If you throw a few relevant el
  11. You don't seem to understand that your theory has not been presented as a falsifiable proposition, which makes it self-invalidating. That's because it isn't a theory. I'm stating simple matters of physical fact and performing a 7th-grade math calculation in probability on that basis of those facts. I'm not theorizing about anything. You've committed a simple category error. Anyway, Karl Popper -- the originator of the idea that a true scientific theory differentiates itself from other sorts of discourse (such as religious doctrine, psychological analysis, aesthetic opinions, etc.) by being f
  12. Given sufficient time, do you think abiogenesis would be possible? Given enough time, do you think that lots of monkeys typing randomly on lots of laptops could manage to create "Atlas Shrugged"?
  13. Imo MSK meant to say: Maybe 'matter' "always was", which would mean that the universe was not created ex nihilo. Thinking of matter as eternal does not automatically imply that one has to assume a "steady state" universe. The accepted Standard Model of the Big Bang theory is that the original "singularity" that birthed all matter -- the sum total of all matter in the universe, compressed to a mathematical point -- itself arose ex nihilo. To claim that "matter always was" is to accept something other than the Standard Model -- perhaps an "oscillating universe" model. This, however, is simply
  14. Since you asserted the truth of a statement ("Mind is not an emergent property of matter"), the burden of proof falls on you. No it doesn't. I merely denied what others have asserted as true without evidence. If you assert "John F. Kennedy was assassinated by agents of the Federal Reserve because of his desire to reintroduce hard money into the economy" and I reply "Not so", I am not the one tasked with the burden of proof; you are. If you claim "Matter has an independent existence prior to mind, and mind emerges from matter as one its properties" and I reply, "Not so," again the burden of pr
  15. Am I willing to ask this question about the universe as a whole? Yup. Then you are willing ask if the universe has been around for an infinite amount of time, despite the fact that it was been definitely established to be no more than about 12 billion years old, and having had a definite beginning? Do you have any reasons for asking this question at all? Is it a matter of "keeping an open mind"? Healthy skepticism? Regarding common sense: It's a necessary though not sufficient cognitive tool and guide to action, especially in philosophy, and far more reliable than rereading "Introduction Objec