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The Design Inference Game
03/03/03 | Moi

Posted on 03/03/2003 8:27:25 AM PST by general_re

I thought a new thread was a good idea, and here seems to be a good place to put it, so as not to clutter up "News". The only topic available was "heated discussion", though. ;)

If any clarification about the pictures is needed, just say so, and I will try to at least highlight the part that I am interested in for you. Remember that I'm interested in the objects or structures or artifacts being represented, so don't be thrown off if the illustrations seem abstract.


TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: crevolist; dembski; designinference; evolution; intelligentdesign
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1 posted on 03/03/2003 8:27:25 AM PST by general_re
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To: Diamond
Speaking of "play ball" ;)

#1


2 posted on 03/03/2003 8:29:53 AM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: general_re
Wow. My first own personal thread, designed especially for me! I must be moving up in the world. Let me contemplate for a little while. I'll be back:^)

Cordially,

3 posted on 03/03/2003 9:08:40 AM PST by Diamond
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To: Diamond
My first own personal thread, designed especially for me! I must be moving up in the world.

Maybe someday you can get one that's not in the back room ;)

Please take as much time as you need. I'm in no hurry, and it won't bother me at all if it ends up taking several days or a week to get through all the examples, especially considering that we are both trying to maintain some semblance of a life outside of FR...

4 posted on 03/03/2003 9:14:22 AM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: general_re
I don't understand. Could you elaborate?
5 posted on 03/03/2003 10:04:09 AM PST by El Sordo (Once again, the slow kid in the class....)
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To: El Sordo
Patience. Diamond is pondering the picture before him.... ;)
6 posted on 03/03/2003 10:06:47 AM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: general_re
Ok. Call me crazy, but after extensive analysis I find that the apparent spheroid object represented by the two-dimensional picture is indeed the product of design.

To save you from asking me why, here's why I arrive at that inference.

The object itself is contingent, that is, irreducible to the natural laws of chemistry and physics. More telling, the configuration of the dye(?)on the surface of the "moisture absorbing" material is contingent because it is irreducible to the physics of dye and "moisture" absorbing" material.

The sphere, and particularly the markings, and indentations thereon are highly complex (that is, highly improbable)

The independent matching pattern is that some of the markings and lines bear striking resemblance to the conventions of a preexisting code or convention used by intelligent agents for communication, known as the English language.

If you want more detail or have questions, please feel free to ask.

(By the way, although incidental to our discussion, I did discover through extensive historical research that the object in question is not only a sphere but an actual person, "Wilson", who is portrayed in the real-life documentary about Tom Hanks, the Federal Express employee who was trapped on a deserted island along with Wilson for several years (maybe 5 years) after the FedEx plane in which they were flying crashed. I think it was 5 years. Anyway, they manged to escape on a home-made raft but unfortunately Wilson persished at sea.)

Cordially,

7 posted on 03/03/2003 12:26:50 PM PST by Diamond
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To: Diamond
#2

Ice crystal, ~150x magnification.

8 posted on 03/03/2003 12:54:21 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: Diamond
If you want more detail or have questions, please feel free to ask.

Just to let you know, I plan to save any commentary or requests for clarification until the end. However, if you need more information about any of the objects I post, please let me know - you'll notice I've captioned #2, so you don't have to speculate about what the object is made of, or how large it is, or that sort of thing. I'll try to do that where it's not immediately clear what the properties of the object are.

9 posted on 03/03/2003 1:13:03 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: general_re
May I respectfully suggest that you post here, in this thread, a compendium of the rules you devised, which are to be found in the old thread. That will help to clear up the confusion that some experience when they encounter this thread cold.
10 posted on 03/03/2003 2:00:36 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas)
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To: PatrickHenry; Diamond; All
A good idea.

Briefly, I post ten pictures of my choosing. Diamond, as the player, judges whether or not those objects are designed or not, according to Dembski's design inference. I post the pictures one at a time, he posts his verdict, and then his rationale behind each verdict. He is free to solicit advice or assistance from any source he sees fit - the only information that is off-limits is historical knowledge of whether a thing is designed or not. Using the same example from the previous thread, he cannot reason that a car is designed by using the fact that he once visited a car factory, or because he happens to know someone who designs cars - each object must be evaluated strictly on its own merits, by examining its inherent properties and qualities. Aside from that, he can use any method of analysis he likes. And at the end, we'll discuss the cases more fully.

Anyone is free to formulate an opinion if they wish, but Diamond is the only player, and the only person whose opinion counts right now, so if anyone out there wishes to toss their two cents in, I recommend it either be directed to him, or held until we complete all ten items. Personally, though, I suggest that anyone who might want to offer assistance to him wait for him to state for himself whether or not he wishes to receive unsolicited advice, before flooding him with messages out of the blue.

11 posted on 03/03/2003 2:17:05 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: All
On the Origins of This Thread
12 posted on 03/03/2003 2:53:46 PM PST by Condorman
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To: general_re; Diamond
How did I get here, and why is that man holding a basketball?
13 posted on 03/03/2003 2:57:16 PM PST by exnavy
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To: general_re
So, to make a long story short, your conditions are acceptable. Play ball! :^)

To: general_re

your conditions are . . .

ah, those epic endeavors. "conditions for the possibility of" The architectural principle of the modern age might oblige to tip the hat to Aristotle. But to a Nietzsche or a Foucault grinning at us with sardonic smiles?

1256 posted on 03/03/2003 12:21 PM CST by cornelis

To: cornelis

Some say "is", some say "isn't". I say "let's find out". It is what it is, regardless of who likes it or dislikes it, who promotes it or dismisses it, or who takes comfort in it or is injured by it...

1257 posted on 03/03/2003 12:29 PM CST by general_re

To: general_re; Diamond

what it is

I don't know exactly what it you are going after. In any case, the conditions is what they are: particular. The result of discovery will be the same, particular.

A certain presumption--perhaps still tame and legitimate in Aristotle but certainly not after Kant--imagined that particular conditions could be generalized beyond themselves and raised to a universal status.

Of course they is what they are. A unified field theory is likewise limited. One of the joys of the press was the political hay they made with Einstein's theory of relativity. Perhaps they did not "universalize" the theory, but they certainly took great pleasure in extending and generalizing it into fields from which it did not originate. Hayek called this the abuse of reason.

1258 posted on 03/03/2003 1:01 PM CST by cornelis

To: cornelis

I don't know exactly what it you are going after. In any case, the conditions is what they are: particular. The result of discovery will be the same, particular.

If the design inference consistently passes or consistently fails such tests, we may then inductively reason our way to a conclusion about the worth of it. If we were so inclined, we could then take the next step into Humean skepticism and dismiss that conclusion for the simple reason that the inductive principle is unproven. But, since virtually everything we think we know is gained inductively, that does not strike me as a useful position to take.

1265 posted on 03/03/2003 2:36 PM CST by general_re

General_re, if the design inference consistently passes, you may be happy. But we may not, except by some other presumption, inductively reason whereby that particular consistency is turned into a universal. With or without Hume, consistency can only translate into universality on the basis of something else--in your case--the "useful position." The useful position has often enough devolved into historicism.

In short, your logical conclusion gives no right to make an existential conclusion extending beyond the particular inferences you begin with. Perhaps if the two mate well, the logical and existenial, you have a credible consistency, and perhaps widely applicable. However, you cannot end with universal conclusions without beginning with universal inferences.

Happy Trails.

14 posted on 03/03/2003 3:24:22 PM PST by cornelis (The Parmenides Club taking memberships calls now.)
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To: cornelis
But we may not, except by some other presumption, inductively reason whereby that particular consistency is turned into a universal.

I merely point out that by that logic, you have no rational basis for believing that the sun will rise tomorrow - after all, just because it has passed the test and risen on all the yesterdays we have experienced, that does not mean that one can generalize and declare that it will rise tomorrow. And yet I cannot help but suspect that you have an opinion on the subject regardless...

15 posted on 03/03/2003 3:37:03 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: general_re
inferential placemarker
16 posted on 03/03/2003 3:37:08 PM PST by longshadow
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To: longshadow
Differential placemarker.
17 posted on 03/03/2003 3:40:07 PM PST by balrog666 (When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain)
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To: general_re
I merely point out

Right. You point it out. And this too: inference from consistency into a credible prediction is one kind thinking, the transfer of that kind of knowledge into other fields of knowledge is something else altogether, requiring--as you say--"the useful." I suspect you have an opinion on the first kind, and I trust we won't be abusive on the second.

18 posted on 03/03/2003 4:04:32 PM PST by cornelis
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To: longshadow
Torrential placemarker.
19 posted on 03/03/2003 4:24:28 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas)
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To: cornelis
My only intent is to test the design inference on its own merits. From this, we can reasonably infer the worth of the design inference, and the design inference only. To take the usefulness - or lack thereof - of the design inference to be indicative of the worth of any other hypothesis is not a logically tenable position, with the exception of those hypotheses that rely on the validity or non-validity of the design inference as a premise.
20 posted on 03/03/2003 4:45:54 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: general_re
with the exception of those hypotheses that rely on the validity or non-validity of the design inference as a premise.

I recognized from the beginning that you were making exceptions with your language of "the useful." We'll see how it plays out.

21 posted on 03/03/2003 5:20:01 PM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis
Okay. I don't know quite what to say, other than to disclaim liability if someone's house should collapse because it turns out that they built it on sand....
22 posted on 03/03/2003 5:35:36 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: cornelis; general_re
Dude, what's your beef? The claim is that design can be detected without historical knowledge. This is a test of that claim. Or are you already hedging your bets?

I hesitate to speak for general_re, but I suspect he would be happy to give you a turn when he and Diamond are done. But I count 18 pictures left until anyone else gets to play.
23 posted on 03/03/2003 6:13:52 PM PST by Condorman ("Mongo don't know; Mongo but pawn in game of life." -- Mongo)
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To: Condorman
Don't worry about it - everybody's in such a hurry to get to the end. Eight more, and then we'll have a right old free-for-all ;)
24 posted on 03/03/2003 6:24:28 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: general_re
Eight? I thought that after the first 10 had been beaten to death Diamond was going to front 10 of his own.

Mebbe that should be another thread entirely...
25 posted on 03/03/2003 6:42:23 PM PST by Condorman (A bad idea can only survive if it need not stand the test of reality.)
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To: Condorman
Oh, that's right - forgot about that. LOL. Maybe we should make that a thread of its own, you're right ;)
26 posted on 03/03/2003 6:43:41 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: Condorman; Phaedrus; Dataman; independentmind; x; betty boop; Nebullis
The claim is that design can be detected without historical knowledge

An interesting game. Is it European?

27 posted on 03/03/2003 9:20:30 PM PST by cornelis
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To: general_re; cornelis
I merely point out that by that logic, you have no rational basis for believing that the sun will rise tomorrow - after all, just because it has passed the test and risen on all the yesterdays we have experienced, that does not mean that one can generalize and declare that it will rise tomorrow.

This seems an incredible statement from an evolutionist whose entire existence is grounded in the inductive.

28 posted on 03/04/2003 3:52:44 AM PST by Dataman
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To: cornelis
An interesting game. Is it European?

Somewhere between nineteenth century German and postmodern.

The game seems to be a non sequitur in progress: If general_re can find a picture that seems to be designed but is not, then nothing is designed?

29 posted on 03/04/2003 4:00:59 AM PST by Dataman
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To: Dataman
Again, the purpose of this thread:

Try to keep up.

30 posted on 03/04/2003 6:07:22 AM PST by Condorman (A bad idea can only survive if it need not stand the test of reality.)
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To: cornelis
However, you cannot end with universal conclusions without beginning with universal inferences.

A very nice point, cornelis, re the constraints of logical constructs. It is, nonetheless, a stimulating exercise going on here and a pleasure to watch good minds work.

For myself, I cannot escape the belief, really a conclusion, that all of the Universe, all of reality, is a product of design and that we are exploring its modes, means and mechanics. "How?" is a fascinating question. "Why?" is more fascinating.

31 posted on 03/04/2003 6:36:34 AM PST by Phaedrus
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To: Phaedrus
It is, nonetheless, a stimulating exercise going on here and a pleasure to watch good minds work.

I agree. Diamond and general_re are very able.

32 posted on 03/04/2003 6:51:03 AM PST by cornelis
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To: general_re; Phaedrus
For myself, I cannot escape the belief, really a conclusion, that all of the Universe, all of reality, is a product of design

Herein lies the difficulty of answering the ice cyrstal problem.

As one of my conditions stipulated, the criterion proposed by Dembski is not useful for determining that something is NOT designed. It is useful, however, for detecting design.

Thus, my answer to the ice crystal picture is this:

Putting aside the context of anthropic principle for purposes of this answer, the object in question lacks the contingency and possibly the independently given pattern necessary to positively infer design. While inorganic crystalline strucures do indeed have a certain level of complexity, they do not meet the standard of contingency required by the criterion, since the formation of ice crystals is reducible to the operation of physical/chemical laws of chemical bonding, temperature, and so on. There might be a specification pattern inherent in the six-pointed star but since the crystal is the result of physical necessity it is not neccessary to ascertain whether or not what looks like a six-pointed star constitutes an independently given pattern in this case.

So, Regis, putting aside anthropic parameters, without which ice cystrals would not be possible, the ice crystal does not exhibit the level of specified complexity that would render a secure design inference. Yes, Regis, that's my final answer to #2. If you feel my answer is not satisfactory for some reason related to the conditions of the test please let me know and I will try to be more specific.

Cordially,

33 posted on 03/04/2003 7:56:25 AM PST by Diamond
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To: Diamond
... the object in question [the ice crystal picture in post #8] lacks the contingency and possibly the independently given pattern necessary to positively infer design.

The tension mounts, the ominous music in the background grows louder ...

(And I, for one, can't figure out what the answer means.)

34 posted on 03/04/2003 8:07:35 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas)
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To: Diamond; the_doc
I think I would have perished in the movie theater had I been made to endure that movie. No offense to its fans.

Hey, doc, Diamond is talking like an engineer today.
35 posted on 03/04/2003 8:32:54 AM PST by CCWoody
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To: cornelis
An interesting game. Is it European?

The game is the ID version of science. IDism is an American invention. I think general_re, et al., are trying to head off the abuse of science by well-meaning but seriously misguided creationists.

36 posted on 03/04/2003 8:41:41 AM PST by Nebullis
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To: cornelis
[I]nference from consistency into a credible prediction is one kind thinking, the transfer of that kind of knowledge into other fields of knowledge is something else altogether, requiring--as you say--"the useful." I suspect you have an opinion on the first kind, and I trust we won't be abusive on the second.

IDists abuse of reason:

Human design can be inferred. Therefore, everything that looks designed and is not designed by humans is designed by an Intelligent Designer.

37 posted on 03/04/2003 8:50:52 AM PST by Nebullis
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To: Nebullis
Bingo.

But let's help out the little guy: Aristotle tells us that someone can be right with the wrong reason.

It is slowly dawning on a few that the same logical errors can be perpetrated by any and every participant in the debate.

38 posted on 03/04/2003 9:02:53 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Nebullis
IDists abuse of reason:

Human design can be inferred. Therefore, everything that looks designed and is not designed by humans is designed by an Intelligent Designer

With all due respect, Nebullis, detecting the activity of intelligent agency is an indisputably common form of rational activity. This thread constitutes a test, proposed by general-re on another thread, which I at leat hope will serve as an evaluation of the competing explanatory power of chance, necessity, and design with respect to whatever pictures of the general's choosing he posts. One of my goals in accepting this challenge is to determine more precisely, to use your phrase, what "everything that looks designed" actually means with reference to chance, necessity, or design. The method is my application of the three-fold criterion of contingency, complexity and specificity to whatever pictures the general posts. Although I am particularly unsuited to the task, I have accepted the general's challenge because no one else so far had done so. If you have suggestions for, or challenges to my application of the stated criterion in this experiment I for one certainly welcome your input.

Cordially,

39 posted on 03/04/2003 9:39:31 AM PST by Diamond
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To: Diamond
In addition to the ten images you agreed to classify, how would you like to earn some bonus points by trying this one?


Nature or design?

40 posted on 03/04/2003 9:56:08 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas)
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To: PatrickHenry
You've got me there on that one. What IS that thing%^0?

Cordially,

41 posted on 03/04/2003 10:08:09 AM PST by Diamond
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To: PatrickHenry
Actually, the gruesome object in your post is discussed at some length in Dembski's upcoming book, "The Mistake Inference."
42 posted on 03/04/2003 10:21:02 AM PST by atlaw
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To: Diamond
With all due respect, Nebullis, detecting the activity of intelligent agency is an indisputably common form of rational activity.

That's a non sequitur and not resolved. I was commenting to cornelis, who in his posts implied that general_re is making invalid generalizations, that it's the IDists who leap to an invalid inference of universal design from the particular of human design. It is not established that what we know about human design in any way applies to something designed by an Intelligent Designer. The tests for such design is simply gap-gaming.

43 posted on 03/04/2003 10:49:00 AM PST by Nebullis
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To: Nebullis
IDists who leap to an invalid inference of universal design from the particular of human design. It is not established that what we know about human design in any way applies to something designed by an Intelligent Designer

I do apologize for the intrusion into your remarks to cornelius. You are correct that what we know about human design cannot neccesarily be attributed to any other intelligent agency. Yet, if we observe similar phenomena, what are we to make of it? What demarcation criteria can be proposed distinguishing science for what you apparently regard as non-science?

Cordially,

44 posted on 03/04/2003 11:31:05 AM PST by Diamond
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To: Diamond
Let me be sure that I understand before moving on to the next one. Are you saying that you don't have enough information to render a definitive answer? That is, given more information about the properties of the object, would you be able to produce an answer? If so, I can try to provide more to you to assist you in so doing. Or are you stating that the information given is adequate, but does not support a determination of the presence of design?

More concisely, is your answer "not enough information to tell" or "it doesn't look designed, but there remains the possibility of a false negative"?

45 posted on 03/04/2003 3:50:30 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: Diamond; general_re; PatrickHenry; Nebullis; cornelis; CCWoody
With regard to the basketball and ice crystal, I would say that it is transcendentally obvious that these things are designed. The fact that others will not agree with me won't deter me from asserting that. The Creator agrees with me.
46 posted on 03/04/2003 4:14:02 PM PST by the_doc
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To: the_doc
With regard to the basketball and ice crystal, I would say that it is transcendentally obvious that these things are designed.

Certainly a valid position to stake out. However, the design inference states that there is a logical process we may employ in order to definitively prove design - it is that process that is being put to the test, not so much the notion that things are or are not designed.

47 posted on 03/04/2003 4:23:54 PM PST by general_re (Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.)
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To: the_doc; Diamond
I agree. I would say that evolution as a theory is already dead. What is funny in a way is that evolutionists attempt to explain what they don't know whereas Design inference deals with what we already know.
48 posted on 03/04/2003 5:56:00 PM PST by CCWoody
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To: the_doc
With regard to the basketball and ice crystal, I would say that it is transcendentally obvious that these things are designed. The fact that others will not agree with me won't deter me from asserting that. The Creator agrees with me.

I fear that I lack the sensory apparatus needed to perceive things transcendentally. For those who may be similarly disadvantaged, could you explain in a little more detail how it is that you can determine design? For example, even if a man were blind, I could explain to him how to distinguish between a real and an artificial plant. I could do this by showing him how to use his sense of touch, smell, and taste for this purpose. It's not the same thing as seeing, but he could nevertheless learn to tell the difference, and he could then agree with me in distinguishing real plants from fake ones. Surely, your transdendental perception of design can likewise be detected, however crudely, by the standard senses to which most of us are limited. So could you give us some more information about how it is that you detect design?

49 posted on 03/04/2003 6:40:39 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas)
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To: PatrickHenry
You have the same sensory apparati as I do. But you can't see what I see, because you don't want to see what I see.
50 posted on 03/04/2003 6:50:59 PM PST by the_doc
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