biology & if

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torredifuoco

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Mar 28, 2006, 3:04:50 PM3/28/06
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hi, i'm looking for games on the subject. ecology, genetics,
biochemistry, microbiology, bioethics, botany, and so on. could you
suggest me any title with a little biology in it?

max "torredifuoco" bianchi

Adam Thornton

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Mar 28, 2006, 4:28:19 PM3/28/06
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In article <eabi22dpt18o1q6de...@4ax.com>,

torredifuoco <bianchi.ma...@TOGLIQUESTOtiscali.it> wrote:
>hi, i'm looking for games on the subject. ecology, genetics,
>biochemistry, microbiology, bioethics, botany, and so on. could you
>suggest me any title with a little biology in it?

"Glowgrass."

Adam

Jake Wildstrom

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Mar 28, 2006, 11:48:40 PM3/28/06
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The Prophet torredifuoco , known to the wise as bianchi.ma...@TOGLIQUESTOtiscali.it, opened the Book of Words, and read unto the people:

>hi, i'm looking for games on the subject. ecology, genetics,
>biochemistry, microbiology, bioethics, botany, and so on. could you
>suggest me any title with a little biology in it?

I am reminded, with shame, that I requested (and received) permission
to port "Brainscape" to Inform _years_ ago. I still haven't done it.

But, er, anyways, consider the IBM-PC game (or its AGT port)
"Brainscape".

--
D. Jacob (Jake) Wildstrom, Math monkey and freelance thinker

"A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems."
-Alfred Renyi

The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily endorsed by the
University of California or math department thereof.

Timofei Shatrov

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Mar 29, 2006, 4:16:05 AM3/29/06
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On Tue, 28 Mar 2006 21:28:19 +0000 (UTC), ad...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton)
tried to confuse everyone with this message:

"Crimes Against Mimesis" :)


--
|WAR HAS NEVER SOLVED ANYTHING|,----- Timofei Shatrov aka Grue---------.
|(except for ending slavery, ||mail: grue at mail.ru ================ |
| fascism and communism) ||============= http://grue3.tripod.com |
|...and Saddam's dictatorship |`----------------------------------[4*72]

Sophie Fruehling

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Mar 29, 2006, 6:37:00 AM3/29/06
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torredifuoco <bianchi.ma...@TOGLIQUESTOtiscali.it> writes:

>hi, i'm looking for games on the subject. ecology, genetics,
>biochemistry, microbiology, bioethics, botany, and so on. could you
>suggest me any title with a little biology in it?

Not a game, but there's an educational MS-DOS program called
'Diagnosis' which uses a textadventure-like interface complete
with a simple parser to teach plant disease diagnosis to crop
protection students.

You can get it from www.simtel.net (the file is PLDIAG11.ZIP),
but it's only a demo version.

--
Sophie Frühling

The cube tastes like sugar. You are suddenly surrounded by a herd
of moose. They start talking to you about a moose-load of things.

Greg Boettcher

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Mar 29, 2006, 11:06:32 AM3/29/06
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Timofei Shatrov wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Mar 2006 21:28:19 +0000 (UTC), ad...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton)
> tried to confuse everyone with this message:
>
> >In article <eabi22dpt18o1q6de...@4ax.com>,
> >torredifuoco <bianchi.ma...@TOGLIQUESTOtiscali.it> wrote:
> >>hi, i'm looking for games on the subject. ecology, genetics,
> >>biochemistry, microbiology, bioethics, botany, and so on. could you
> >>suggest me any title with a little biology in it?
> >
> >"Glowgrass."
> >
>
> "Crimes Against Mimesis" :)

If "Crimes Against Mimesis" teaches botany, then surely "Stiffy Makane:
The Undiscovered Country" is not bad for learning anatomy. Heh heh...
sorry.

Greg

Michael J. Schülke

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Mar 29, 2006, 11:09:29 AM3/29/06
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Greg Boettcher wrote:
> If "Crimes Against Mimesis" teaches botany, then surely "Stiffy Makane:
> The Undiscovered Country" is not bad for learning anatomy. Heh heh...
> sorry.
>
It certainly tells us a lot about what certain people *believe* to be
the facts of anatomy.

SCNR
Michael

Adam Thornton

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Mar 29, 2006, 5:25:23 PM3/29/06
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In article <442a5036...@news.readfreenews.net>,

Timofei Shatrov <gr...@mail.ru> wrote:
>On Tue, 28 Mar 2006 21:28:19 +0000 (UTC), ad...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton)
>tried to confuse everyone with this message:
>>In article <eabi22dpt18o1q6de...@4ax.com>,
>>torredifuoco <bianchi.ma...@TOGLIQUESTOtiscali.it> wrote:
>>>hi, i'm looking for games on the subject. ecology, genetics,
>>>biochemistry, microbiology, bioethics, botany, and so on. could you
>>>suggest me any title with a little biology in it?
>>"Glowgrass."
>"Crimes Against Mimesis" :)

"Sins," actually.

That's some very *bad* botany right there.

Adam

Steve Evans

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Mar 29, 2006, 9:15:43 PM3/29/06
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Sophie Fruehling wrote:
> torredifuoco <bianchi.ma...@TOGLIQUESTOtiscali.it> writes:
>
> >hi, i'm looking for games on the subject. ecology, genetics,
> >biochemistry, microbiology, bioethics, botany, and so on. could you
> >suggest me any title with a little biology in it?
>
> Not a game, but there's an educational MS-DOS program called
> 'Diagnosis' which uses a textadventure-like interface complete
> with a simple parser to teach plant disease diagnosis to crop
> protection students.

In a similar vein there's "Cheiron" from last year's IF Comp, which is
a hospital/diagnosis simulator done as IF.

http://baf.wurb.com/if/game/2818

There are also other games with a "medical" theme out there, I guess,
such as Chris Klimas's "Mercy" (a game I haven't played, but which
reviews suggest may touch on bioethical themes):

http://www.sparkynet.com/spag/m.html#mercy

In "Slouching Towards Bedlam" the PC's actions can influence the spread
or otherwise of an "infection". Hmmm... Better insert your own spoiler
space before that last one.

And arguably, issues of bioethics are raised in "Stiffy Makane: The
Undiscovered Country", if you adopt a rather liberal interpretation of
the term.

--Steve

torredifuoco

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Mar 30, 2006, 6:05:40 PM3/30/06
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Il Tue, 28 Mar 2006 22:04:50 +0200, torredifuoco ha scritto:

>biology?

thanks, folks. i see it's a nearly unexplored scenario...

max "torredifuoco" bianchi

ChrisM...@hotmail.com

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Apr 3, 2006, 5:42:11 PM4/3/06
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I'd love to see a game dealing with the unguided evolution vs
intelligent design of biology controversy. Perhaps there could be two
different conclusions, with the player able to determine which
explanation is discovered to be true.

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 3, 2006, 6:02:02 PM4/3/06
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Do you really think you could find someone to write it who hasn't
already made up his mind on the subject? I mean, if I tried to do
that, I'd be showing one side as ridiculous and the other as
simply true, and any given player would see half the game as
offensively ignorant and the other half as boringly preachy.

It's not like a moral quandary, which can fruitfully be explored in
a work of fiction by showing characters with different, valid
viewpoints. Even if the author *was* even-handed, playing the game
wouldn't resolve anything about the real world.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't thrown you in military prison without trial,
it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're an American.

Adam Thornton

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Apr 3, 2006, 7:50:58 PM4/3/06
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In article <1144100531.4...@j33g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

OK, just for that, I'll throw the Flying Spaghetti Monster into _Mentula
Macanus: Apocolocyntosis_. Except that the Romans didn't have pasta,
since it was introduced to Italy by Marco Polo. So I need a Classical
equivalent of the FSM. Anyone?

Adam


Simon

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Apr 3, 2006, 10:35:14 PM4/3/06
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The Marco Polo myth was invented by the secret Ostrich Ragout Society
in an attempt to discredit flying spaghetti.

"Why is everyone throwing bowls of spaghetti at the gladiators?"

"That's not spaghetti, that's linguini."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure. Spaghetti hasn't been introduced yet."

"No spaghetti? Then what are we going to eat for dinner?"

"Ostrich Ragout, of course."

"But that's what we had last night! Why can't we have a Caesar's Salad
instead?"

"Only Caesar gets to have the Caesar's Salad. The rest of get Ostrich
Ragout."

"That doesn't seem fair. We ought to do something about that."

"Too late now. The ides of March have come and gone already. You'll
have to wait until next year."

"Why can't we eat Eggs Benedict?"

"That's not available yet either. You'll have to wait for the
Benedictine monks to get back from Holland so that they can introduce
the sauce to Italy."

"Italy? Who's Italy?"

"Nobody knows. That's why it's taking so long to do the
introductions."

"Why can't the Benedictine take care of the introductions?"

"Because nobody knows them either! Hopefully this will all be sorted
out before Marco Polo is born."

"Ha! I don't believe in Marco Polo."

"Shh! Don't let the Ostrich Cabal hear you say that! They'll throw
you to the lions."

"I don't care! I'll go crazy if I have to eat any more Ostrich
Ragout! Quick, grab me some of that flying linguini!"

"Too late." <splat> "Now it's garbage."

Richard Bos

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Apr 4, 2006, 6:19:46 PM4/4/06
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ad...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton) wrote:

> In article <1144100531.4...@j33g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> <ChrisM...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >I'd love to see a game dealing with the unguided evolution vs
> >intelligent design of biology controversy.

Piffle. There is no controversy. There is only a movement of
particularly dishonest fundamentalists making trouble.

> >Perhaps there could be two
> >different conclusions, with the player able to determine which
> >explanation is discovered to be true.
>
> OK, just for that, I'll throw the Flying Spaghetti Monster into _Mentula
> Macanus: Apocolocyntosis_. Except that the Romans didn't have pasta,
> since it was introduced to Italy by Marco Polo.

That may be a myth. If my pasta cook book is to be believed, Apicius
gave recipes using fresh pasta. OTOH, it _is_ Italian and therefore
perhaps a bit over-enthusiastic in its culinary chauvinism. Still, the
Marco Polo story is far from proven.

Richard

Adam Thornton

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Apr 6, 2006, 6:03:58 PM4/6/06
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In article <4432ee45...@news.xs4all.nl>,

Richard Bos <rl...@xs4all.nl> wrote:
>That may be a myth. If my pasta cook book is to be believed, Apicius
>gave recipes using fresh pasta. OTOH, it _is_ Italian and therefore
>perhaps a bit over-enthusiastic in its culinary chauvinism. Still, the
>Marco Polo story is far from proven.

"Lagana" sounds closer to a flatbread--sorta like pizza--than
Spaghetti. as it was apparently baked. (Yes, I'm aware of the cognate,
and that that would indeed imply a wide, flat noodle, presumably the
easiest kind to make). I'm not at all sure it counts as a Noodly
Appendage, even if you allow it to be boiled.

Adam

ChrisM...@hotmail.com

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Apr 11, 2006, 6:24:23 PM4/11/06
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Interesting response AP but I think your skepticism is a little
excessive, and before I address the issue of how to handle an IF of
this theme I'll just have to explain how I see this controversy first.

Yes, this debate harbours much fundamentalism, but when you get right
down to it it's easy to see why. Essentially the current controversy is
another version of the friction between the metaphysical poles: on one
side the "nihilistic/atheistic/materialistic" worldviewers and on the
other the "moralistic/theistic/spiritualistic" worldviewers. The former
look at the world and see nothing but meaningless chaos upon which man
must enforce his will (that's if he is even assumed to have one) while
the latter see an instructive, purposeful creation which actively
assists man in his development... even when it appears not to do so.

>From the evolutionists you have a whole heap of theories that support
the former and of course the IDers have a whole heap of theories that
support the latter. All that distinguishes these theories from other
forms of the argument is that they go the 'scientific' route. Instead
of the philosophical problem of evil you have the scientific theories
of random mutations. Likewise, in place of intuitive appeals to
"mystical" experiences you have the scientific theory of irriducible
complexity. But the quickest way to get beyond a lot of the rubbish is
to cut right to the heart of the debate and examine the problem of
abiogenesis.

This is the problem of FIRST life. All mechanisms and ideas involving
organic life coming from previously existing organic life are not
relevent. The only options left for anyone considering this problem
are: "life came from lower-than-life" or "life came from
higher-than-life".

So we have theories like "chemical evolution", which is the idea that
life spontaneously arose from non-living processes that neither think
nor care because they lack a consciousness from which to do so. Over at
the other pole we have the idea that life came from something that not
only thinks, but has an unimaginable mastery over thought.

Which theory is correct? We have no 'scientific' evidence for either of
these theories which is to say that we have observed neither. So which
way do we lean? And perhaps more importantly, why?

If I find myself in the unfortunate position of being eaten alive by a
pride of lions, I would hope you would forgive me for thinking of the
world as shit. Nature is a load of pointless shit. I should have shot
the lions while I had the chance, I'm an idiot who deserves to die for
not doing so.

Is it going to be the theory of natural selection that makes me wish I
had shot the lions or the fact that the lions are nibbling my still
quivering kneecaps?

On the other hand, I'm lost out at sea and delusional from salt water.
I pray for help and moments later what appears to be a dolphin comes
and assists me back to land. I'd have thought I'd be cut some slack if
after this I professed that we bear witness to a world of miracles and
higher purposes (or should that be porpoises... sorry)

Would it be the argument to irreducible complexity that lead me to
consider the dolphin a messenger of God or the actions of the dolphin
itself?

This is how I think the question could be approached in a work of
interactive fiction. Don't get me wrong, the scientific content would
be important and would have to be accurate. Any portrayl of the
controversy that did not show how the ID theory of "irriducible
complexity" is a direct answer to one particular passage of Darwin's
'Origins' would be woefully inadequate. This would not be "The Scopes
Trial", IF style.

The Scientist (the interactor's character) is a scholar of some repute
and largely agnostic on the ID/EVO issue. His position could be
something like: "I see that unguided evolution happens, I am not blind.
Yet I have some doubts as to the extent of the changes it can bring
about." He is thus free to either decide that those doubts were
unfounded, or to conclude that some other kind of force is required to
enact those changes.

The IF would have a large court case as it's backdrop. Based on what he
has written elsewhere, The Scientist has been asked to speak for one of
the parties involved. He agrees but privately he begins to address his
doubts with renewed vigour. He meditates on the subject not just when
at work or in the courtroom but also at other times.

For the purposes of the IF, actions taken in certain episodes of this
character's life influence the way his thinking is going. In some cases
it is very easy to see what form this influence will take (for example,
during a conversation with a proponent of either theory) while other
epiphanies are far more subtle. Certainly the two examples used earlier
in this post are way too blunt for a work of IF but the same idea would
be present: that how the world treats you and (more relevent to the
interactor) how you treat the world, determines your worldview at least
as much as purely intellectual matters.

Anyway, by the time The Scientist is called to speak at the trial, the
whole thing is on a knife point. What he has to say may (and does)
decide the outcome. And by this point he is absolutely sure where his
allegiances lie...

but is the interactor? Part of the fun of this could be seeing whether
the conclusions The Scientist drew from events matched those of the
interactor. Well my point is I definately think it would be do-able.
You just wouldnt approach it like a propaganda piece, with the
intention of "setting the record straight" or whatever. :)

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 11, 2006, 6:45:26 PM4/11/06
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In article <1144794263.4...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com> you
wrote:

> Interesting response AP but I think your skepticism is a little
> excessive, and before I address the issue of how to handle an IF of
> this theme I'll just have to explain how I see this controversy first.
>
> Yes, this debate harbours much fundamentalism, but when you get
> right down to it it's easy to see why. Essentially the current
> controversy is another version of the friction between the
> metaphysical poles: on one side the
> "nihilistic/atheistic/materialistic" worldviewers and on the other
> the "moralistic/theistic/spiritualistic" worldviewers.

Ah, no. Evolution is no more atheistic or nihilistic than the theory
of gravity or Maxwell's equations. Plenty of biologists believe in
God. (And plenty of atheists have morality, too. Now that you mention
it.)

The dichotomy you describe has been thrust upon evolutionary theory by
religious fundamentalists. It's an argument in bad faith, if you'll
pardon that phrase, to begin with.

And that, I'm afraid, is all I can say about that. You have a notion
of a game; I suggest that you try to write it. That has traditionally
been the best way of convincing people that a game on a particular
topic is workable. :)

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

It's a nice distinction to tell American soldiers (and Iraqis) to die in
Iraq for the sake of democracy (ignoring the question of whether it's
*working*) and then whine that "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

ChrisM...@hotmail.com

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Apr 11, 2006, 7:03:01 PM4/11/06
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>> Ah, no. Evolution is no more atheistic or nihilistic than the theory
>> of gravity or Maxwell's equations.

Richard Dawkins once stated that Darwin's theory of evolution made it
possible to finally be "an intellectually fulfilled atheist"

>> Plenty of biologists believe in
>> God.

Well yes, you can always say "God did it that way" but what Darwinism
does is introduce a blind watchmaker that can substitute for God. So it
assists the worldviews I forwarded up here.

>> (And plenty of atheists have morality, too. Now that you mention
>> it.)

My point is that any morals coming from an atheist come straight from
the atheist (or other atheists). It is not a morality inherent in the
world itself: the world is amoral and we must force our moral will upon
it. There is no justice so we must make it.


>> The dichotomy you describe has been thrust upon evolutionary theory by religious fundamentalists. It's an argument in bad faith, if you'll pardon that
>> phrase, to begin with.

Richard Dawkins: "Darwin's theory of evolution made it possible to be
an intellectually fulfilled atheist"

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 11, 2006, 7:23:20 PM4/11/06
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Here, ChrisM...@hotmail.com wrote:
> >> Ah, no. Evolution is no more atheistic or nihilistic than the theory
> >> of gravity or Maxwell's equations.
>
> Richard Dawkins once stated that Darwin's theory of evolution made it
> possible to finally be "an intellectually fulfilled atheist"

So? That's one atheist's view of evolution, not evolution's stance on
religion.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

If the Bush administration hasn't subjected you to searches without a
warrant, it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because of
the Fourth Amendment.

ChrisM...@hotmail.com

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Apr 11, 2006, 8:08:27 PM4/11/06
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>> So? That's one atheist's view of evolution, not evolution's stance on religion.

Richard Dawkins is the most well known proponent of Darwinian evolution
here in the UK. I'm aware I'm arguing against the man here but when
such a prominent spokesperson says something like that perhaps it is
worth investigating why.

On that note I'd like to clarify the comments you picked up on:

Unguided evolutionary theories are *nihilistic* because the processes
and mechanisms involved do not have any inherent meaning. Any meaning
we project onto them (such as the world evolving in order to achieve
perfection) comes from us only. All of this evolutionary "hard work"
could be wiped out in an instant by an asteroid and the world wouldnt
give a damn.

Unguided evolutionary theories are *atheistic* because they offer a
Godless explanation. If a book entirely lacks political commentary then
it is a-political. If an organism entirely lacks any kind of sexual
reproduction it is a-sexual. If a theory lacks any mention of God then
it is a-theist (even though theists disagree with atheistic
metaphysics, they'd have to conceed there are plenty of atheistic ideas
out there!)

Unguided evolutionary theories are *materialistic* because they explain
phenomena purely in terms of material properties. The organism is
presumed to consist of (and be explained by) only it's material parts.
The main mechanism is entirely material: random mutation.


ID theory is *moralistic* because it presumes some kind of grand plan
for life. We can act to further that plan or to hinder it (whether we
can know what the plan actually IS is another question but I'll save
the theology).

ID theory is *theistic* because otherwise you face an infinite
regression of designers.

ID theory is *spiritualistic* because it appeals to non-material
properties (intelligence) and strongly implies non-material entities
(God, the Soul)

Stephen Bond

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Apr 12, 2006, 4:32:49 AM4/12/06
to
ChrisM...@hotmail.com wrote:

> On that note I'd like to clarify [SNIP]

Here you only clarify that you have missed the point.

By your own criteria, natural selection is no more nihilistic
or atheistic than any scientific theory. It no more follows
that those who accept it have a "nihilistic/atheistic worldview"
than that those who accept Newton's laws of motion have
a nihilistic/atheistic worldview. In other words, it's a
dishonest and irrelevant argument, like most creationist
arguments.

Anyway, this is totally off-topic for rgif. If you have
any more to say on the matter, take it to talk.origins.
(Though your use of creationist shibboleths like
"unguided evolution" and "ID theory" suggests your
mind is already made up.)

Stephen.

solar penguin

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Apr 12, 2006, 4:56:43 PM4/12/06
to

<ChrisM...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>
> Richard Dawkins once stated that Darwin's theory of evolution made it
> possible to finally be "an intellectually fulfilled atheist"
>

Dawkins, despite his claims, is not a _true_ atheist. He's just an
agnostic with ideas above his station.

He doesn't really _believe_ in the non-existence of God or gods, just as
he doesn't really _believe_ in anything for himself, he just blindly
accepts it because that's what his science tells him to think.

Now compare him to someone like me. I'm a spiritual atheist. I
genuinely _believe_ in the non-existence of all gods as a matter of pure
faith. This faith is an essential part of me, of my personality, of my
very soul.

If science were one day to prove conclusively the existence of a god,
scientists like Dawkins would abandon their atheism and blindly follow
science to worship this god. I would reamin a true atheist, since my
faith would be true enough and pure enough and strong enough to allow me
to believe that despite the facts, somehow the science must be wrong,
and somehow the god must be fake. This is beacuse I am a _true_ atheist
and not a jumped-up agnostic like Dawkins.

When he says "evolution made it possible to finally be an intellectually
fulfilled atheist," what he really means is "evolution made it possible
for some agnostics to call themselves atheists even though they aren't
really, and so they held atheism back, robbing it of any possible
spirtiual element and preventing it from rising to become a religion in
its own right alongside other religions."


--
___ _ ___ _
/ __| ___ | | __ _ _ _ | _ \ ___ _ _ __ _ _ _ (_) _ _
\__ \/ _ \| |/ _` || '_| | _// -_)| ' \ / _` || || || || ' \
|___/\___/|_|\__,_||_| |_| \___||_||_|\__, | \_,_||_||_||_|
|___/
http://www.freewebs.com/solar_penguin/

solar penguin

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Apr 12, 2006, 5:03:49 PM4/12/06
to

<ChrisM...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>
> Richard Dawkins is the most well known proponent of Darwinian
evolution
> here in the UK.


Darwinian evolution ~= atheism.

It's possible to be an atheist and not believe in Darwinian evolution
(e.g. some branches of Buddhism are technically atheist faiths) and vice
versa. Dawkins doesn't speak for all of atheism. Personally, I
wouldn't even include Dawkins as a true atheist at all.

Steve Evans

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Apr 13, 2006, 3:05:57 AM4/13/06
to

solar penguin wrote:

> If science were one day to prove conclusively the existence of a god,
> scientists like Dawkins would abandon their atheism and blindly follow
> science to worship this god. I would reamin a true atheist, since my
> faith would be true enough and pure enough and strong enough to allow me
> to believe that despite the facts, somehow the science must be wrong,
> and somehow the god must be fake. This is beacuse I am a _true_ atheist
> and not a jumped-up agnostic like Dawkins.

That is one of the silliest things I've heard. I had no idea that there
was such a bird as a "spiritual athiest".

Perhaps, I'll try my luck as a "spiritual" anti-Newtonian, on the basis
that not believing in the "fact" of gravity will help preserve my skin
tone.

solar penguin

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Apr 13, 2006, 6:07:44 AM4/13/06
to
Steve Evans <ybo...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

>
> That is one of the silliest things I've heard.

You'll hear much stranger things than that from me if I decide to stick
around. You see, I've always looked inside myself and formed my own
beliefs that work for me, even they do sometimes seem silly compared to
what we're told to believe!

> I had no idea that
> there was such a bird as a "spiritual athiest".
>

Like I said in another post, some ranches of Buddhism are atheist
faiths. There's a lot more to atheism than Dawkins and his group of
pro-science crackpots. The trouble is, they dominate the debate so much
that other, older, arguably more authentic, forms of atheism don't get a
look in any more.

(Imagine if the Mormons were the loudest, most vocal, group of
Chrisitans, and people forgot that other, older, forms of Chrisitianity
ever existed. And then finally, when you point out that Mormonism isn't
authentic Christianity, someone insists it's 'the silliest thing I've
heard.')

> Perhaps, I'll try my luck as a "spiritual" anti-Newtonian, on the
> basis that not believing in the "fact" of gravity will help preserve
> my skin tone.

Look inside yourself and believe whatever personally works for you.
Just don't automatically accept what other people want you to believe.
If that means you're happier and more comfortable rejecting the inverse
square law of Newtonian gravitation for an inverse cube, then go for it!
:)

--
___ _ ___ _
/ __| ___ | | __ _ _ _ | _ \ ___ _ _ __ _ _ _ (_) _ _
\__ \/ _ \| |/ _` || '_| | _// -_)| ' \ / _` || || || || ' \
|___/\___/|_|\__,_||_| |_| \___||_||_|\__, | \_,_||_||_||_|
|___/
http://www.freewebs.com/solar_penguin/

** I'm sorry but I think it was Isaac's own favorite, so I wasn't an
asshole.

** I have no organic parts. The problem is, we know.


Steve Evans

unread,
Apr 13, 2006, 8:17:17 AM4/13/06
to
On Thu, 13 Apr 2006 11:07:44 +0100, "solar penguin"
<solar....@tiscali.co.PLEASE.DO.NOT.THROW.SPAM.AT.ME.uk> wrote:


>(Imagine if the Mormons were the loudest, most vocal, group of
>Chrisitans, and people forgot that other, older, forms of Chrisitianity
>ever existed. And then finally, when you point out that Mormonism isn't
>authentic Christianity, someone insists it's 'the silliest thing I've
>heard.')
>

It isn't the concept of "spiritual atheism" that I find so silly (as
contradictory as the term seems to me) - it's that anyone who, having
accepted that a "fact" exists, could then refute it on the basis of
the "strength", "purity" and "trueness" of their faith.

In my experience, even those with fundamentalist religious beliefs
will choose to refute that evidence or a fact exists where it clashes
with their faith, rather than admit the fact and then choose to ignore
it due to the "purity" of their convictions.

Ignoring things that you know to be fact seems like an unnecessarily
dangerous approach to take to life. Please take care when crossing the
road.

--Steve

ChrisM...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 13, 2006, 8:33:06 AM4/13/06
to
Stephen Bond: AlthoughI respect the fact that you don't want to see
this thread lurch wildly off-topic, I also do not appreciate being
labelled dishonest or accused of using dishonest lines of reasoning. So
I'd like to offer here a brief response.

Firstly yes, the laws of physics, taken on their own, are both
nihilistic and atheistic. Nihilistic because they do not in any way
comment on the signifigance of our lives (or of the world) and
a-theistic because they do not see fit to mention God in any way (think
"atheistic" like "asexual"). However there are arguments to intelligent
design relevant to physics (although they are currently not as highly
publicised as the anti-Darwin biological arguments, such as Dr Mike
Behe's theory of irreducible complexity). In fact Newton himself
advocated the "fine tuning" argument for God, and when faced with
inconsistencies in his early theory of gravitational attraction he
proposed as part of that theory acts of Divine intervention which
corrected them. Kepler, Copernicus and pretty much all of the other
"founding fathers" of science can be seen to hold similar positions.

The difference with the naturalistic, unguided evolution Darwin
introduced is that it automatically rules out any arguments to
intelligent design in a way the laws of physics do not. According to
this school of thought the design of biological organisms is only
"apparent design". The main agent of change (random mutations) is not
actually a designing force but a copying error that just happens to
occasionally produce what appears to us as design. While the law of
gravitational attraction is, on it's own, atheistic and nihilistic
(according to my definition of the terms at least), it can easily be
included in a larger metaphysical system which easily reverses those
tendancies. So if you were to just pluck out Newton's equations then
you'd have a nihilistic/atheistic formula. If you were to take on board
all of Newton's ideas then you'd have an ID position.

This is not so with Darwin. Any theistic evolutionist will have to
conceed that any evidence he may forward for the existence of God will
have to come from elsewhere (or admit that it is 100% faith based, like
solar penguin's atheism).

But like I said, to cut through the crap just look at the problem of
abiogenesis. In the absence of pre-existing genetic material
neo-Darwinism's main agent (random mutations) is entirely absent.

The choice becomes between:

a) life just spontaneously happened from non-life for no particular
reason
b) life was purposefully created by super-life for a reason

Stephen Bond

unread,
Apr 13, 2006, 10:32:33 AM4/13/06
to
ChrisM...@hotmail.com wrote:
> I also do not appreciate being
> labelled dishonest or accused of using dishonest lines of reasoning.

I'm sure you don't.

> However there are arguments to intelligent
> design relevant to physics (although they are currently not as highly
> publicised as the anti-Darwin biological arguments, such as Dr Mike
> Behe's theory of irreducible complexity).

Behe is a charlatan whose "theories" were exposed as
unscientific during the Kitzmiller trial. He and the
Discovery Institute dishonestly use their pseudoscience
-- mostly warmed-over versions of arguments that were
discredited a hundred years ago -- to push a Christian
fundamentalist agenda.

In repeating their arguments (and the rest of your mail
is full of tired old creationist canards that have been
rebutted time and again), you're repeating arguments
made in bad faith, even if you mean it sincerely.

Thanks for 'coming out' as a creationist, by the way.
It's good to know where your desire to 'explore both
sides' is coming from.

Stephen.

Bob

unread,
Apr 13, 2006, 12:09:50 PM4/13/06
to
I don't think ID should be honored by discussing it on a scientific
level. It's a belief (I'm fine with that) but has nothing to do with
science.

Bob

Adam Thornton

unread,
Apr 16, 2006, 8:28:42 PM4/16/06
to
In article <1144931586.5...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

<ChrisM...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>The choice becomes between:
>
>a) life just spontaneously happened from non-life for no particular
>reason
>b) life was purposefully created by super-life for a reason

Where'd that super-life come from, then?

Adam


Steve Evans

unread,
Apr 16, 2006, 9:47:52 PM4/16/06
to
On Mon, 17 Apr 2006 00:28:42 +0000 (UTC), ad...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton)
wrote:

It just spontaneously happened from non-superlife for no particular
reason, obviously.

Actually, there would seem to be other possibilities for the origin of
life that ChrisMullans has missed here - like:

c) life was created by super-life for no particular reason, or

d) life spontaneously happened from non-life on a pristine celestial
orb purposefully created by super-life for a reason.

I kinda like this last one and can imagine the metaphysical frown of
our super-life, on realising that one of Its perfect celestial spheres
unaccountably has stuff growing all over it.

They're all good theories, I'm sure. Even if none of them approach the
simplicity or purity of vision of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.

--Steve

ChrisM...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 20, 2006, 2:51:38 PM4/20/06
to

Well there are two ways to approach that question from my position:

1) asking where super-life (aka God, lets not mince words) came from is
a separate question that in no way lessens the validity of God as an
answer to the previous question. For example, if we ask how a watch
came to be we can identify a watchmaker. If we then ask how the
watchmaker came to be then we're just asking another question: it
doesnt change the fact that the watchmaker made the watch.


2) The logic behind theology is as follows:

Things that begin to exist require a cause
God (being transcendent of time/space issues) did not begin to exist
Therefore God requires no cause

Victor Gijsbers

unread,
Apr 20, 2006, 3:59:09 PM4/20/06
to
ChrisM...@hotmail.com wrote:

> Well there are two ways to approach that question from my position:

I think you are presenting your position as being quite a bit stronger
than it, in fact, is.


> 1) asking where super-life (aka God, lets not mince words) came from is
> a separate question that in no way lessens the validity of God as an
> answer to the previous question. For example, if we ask how a watch
> came to be we can identify a watchmaker. If we then ask how the
> watchmaker came to be then we're just asking another question: it
> doesnt change the fact that the watchmaker made the watch.

You sketch two scenario's.

A.
"Where does this watch come from?"
"It was made by Rolex Inc, a watchmaker."
"Ho, wait, that's no legitimate answer... for where did that watchmaker
come from?"

B
"Where does life come from?"
"It was made by God."
"Ho, wait, that's no legitimate answer... for where did God come from?"

Now, we will all agree that in A, the questioner is wrong in deriding
the answer. You would have us conclude that the same is true in B, by
analogy. But can we accept that analogy? By your own reasoning, I think
we have to conclude that we cannot.

We would be right to dismiss B as we dismiss A if B, like A, were a case
of asking for a causal explanation of some event. It is certainly
possible to read B that way, although the causal efficacy of God is of
course something of a problem, and showing that God was even the
possible cause of something seems a daunting problem. Never mind -
reading B as merely asking a causal question is not its most natural
reading within the debate that is held here. For you wrote, and I agree:


'Essentially the current controversy is another version of the friction


between the metaphysical poles: on one side the
"nihilistic/atheistic/materialistic" worldviewers and on the other the

"moralistic/theistic/spiritualistic" worldviewers"'


So what the questioner in B _really_ asks is "where did values, goals,
spirit come from?". To this, the answer "God created them" is quite
rightly dismissed, because God is ex hypothesi a being with values,
goals and spirit. The answer is thus inadequate; it assumes the
existence of that the genesis of which is called into question.

Within the debate of this thread, then, the rebuttal "Hey, but where did
God come from?" seems quite reasonable. It is only a confusion between
the causal question of abiogenesis and the metaphysical question of the
genesis of values, goals and actors that obscures this point.

> 2) The logic behind theology is as follows:
>
> Things that begin to exist require a cause
> God (being transcendent of time/space issues) did not begin to exist
> Therefore God requires no cause

Well, this seems hardly relevant to the debate, as nobody here has
argued that God requires a cause in space and time. But, two things.

1. The first premiss is highly dubious. Essentially, it is a causal
version of Leibniz's Principle of Sufficient Reason, and that is NOT an
uncontested claim.
2. What holds for God also holds for the Universe, for it too transcends
space and time.

These two points have always seemed to make the First Cause argument
pretty doomed to me. Of course, you were not proposing that argument, or
at least I do not think so. I think you are proposing a version of the
Argument from Design, right?

But the argument from design cannot be justified by the above
theological reasoning, for what _it_ assumes is not that everything must
have a cause, but that things which are very complex and 'unlikely'
cannot come into existence without being created by an intelligence.
God, too, seems to be very complex and 'unlikely', and it would be hard
to block the inference that therefore she, too, needs to have been
created by an intelligence. This conclusion is certainly unacceptable,
and thus, I would say, the reasoning behind the argument from design has
been exposed as fallacious.

Kind regards,
Victor

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Apr 21, 2006, 2:50:58 PM4/21/06
to
Here, ChrisM...@hotmail.com wrote:

>
> Adam Thornton wrote:
> > Where'd that super-life come from, then?
>
> Well there are two ways to approach that question from my position:

Folks, there is a newsgroup for these kinds of arguments, and there's
a reason it's unreadable.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't subjected you to searches without a warrant,

it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're an American.

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Apr 24, 2006, 5:52:06 PM4/24/06
to
Stephen Bond wrote:
> ChrisM...@hotmail.com wrote:
>> I also do not appreciate being
>> labelled dishonest or accused of using dishonest lines of reasoning.
>
> I'm sure you don't.
>
>> However there are arguments to intelligent
>> design relevant to physics (although they are currently not as highly
>> publicised as the anti-Darwin biological arguments, such as Dr Mike
>> Behe's theory of irreducible complexity).
>
> Behe is a charlatan whose "theories" were exposed as
> unscientific during the Kitzmiller trial. He and the
> Discovery Institute dishonestly use their pseudoscience
> -- mostly warmed-over versions of arguments that were
> discredited a hundred years ago -- to push a Christian
> fundamentalist agenda.

We Christians want nothing to do with it, thank you very much. I am sick
of having the name of my religion hijacked by a gang of willfully
ignorant devil worshipers.

--
John W. Kennedy
"Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's
sake, it is by me that he had truly sworn, though he know it not, and it
is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then,
though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his
deed is accepted."
-- C. S. Lewis. "The Last Battle"

ChrisM...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 1:51:17 PM4/30/06
to
I agree that this should go no further off-topic but I very much
enjoyed Victor's response so I shall reply in private when I get time.
:)

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