• The Star of Bethlehem in the Blogosphere

    [Aaron Adair is somewhat of an expert on the Star of Bethlehem and I look forward to working with him on a book project on this subject. This post and the following series are from his own blog, Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars – JP]

    In my last post I looked at what I could find in the news or related to articles and books on the subject of the Star of Bethlehem. There wasn’t too much going on there, so now I want to explore what is going on in the world of blogs. I think this is showing where the conversations are really moving to rather than in newspapers and journal articles, at least for things not done in a strictly academic fashion.

    But in some ways, the search is a bit depressing. There were hundreds of posts about the Star, yet almost none of my blog posts were in the top 100. :( You all will help change that, right?

    In looking through, there were a very large number of blog or forum posts promoting the ideas of Rick Larson about the Star of Bethlehem. His views are taken primarily from the former meteorologist Ernest Martin. I wasn’t sure how popular Larson’s views really were, especially among those that know the Bible, but my perusal suggests it may be one of the most popular theories out there. Here are some of those postings that either just have the video from Larson (via YouTube especially) or otherwise positive about his work:

    1. The Star of Bethlehem-must see video
    2. Star of Bethlehem, Real?
    3. The Star of Bethlehem
    4. Star of Bethlehem
    5. MYSTERY OF THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM
    6. The Star of Bethlehem revisited
    7. THE “REAL” STAR OF BETHLEHEM
    8. The Star of Bethlehem – A Fairy Tale?
    9. The Star of Bethlehem
    10. Wanna know More about the Star of Bethlehem?
    11. Star of Bethlehem
    12. Star of Bethlehem (25 posts) (11 voices)
    13. Homeschool Christmas Special Topic: Star of Bethlehem
    14. The Star of Bethlehem
    15. The Star of Bethlehem Documentary
    16. Star of Bethlehem Documentary
    17. The Star of Bethlehem
    18. The Star of Bethlehem – A Review
    19. You know that whole “The Star of Bethlehem is Just Mythology” thing?
    20. The Star of Bethlehem

    All of these I found in the first 10 pages of Google blog hits, and all from the last couple of months. But I want to highlight two of them, the last two. Both come from Catholics at the website Patheos, and the last one is from a priest. So it seems that Larson’s film has had wide use for the faithful and the apologist defending the faith (item #19 uses the film in particular to prove the gospels aren’t myth).

    I should also note another promotion of the timeline and hypothesis of Larson/Martin given recently at a lecture by Science Oxford. They are not associated with the famous university, but they are an educational charity. The video of that presentation can be foundhere. It is from a few years ago, but nothing has really changed in the field to make it more or less correct pretty much.

    Leaving behind the Larson/Martin supporters, there are several blogs that give all the possibilities.

    1. That Christmas ‘Star of Wonder’ still leaves plenty to wonder about
    2. Star of Bethlehem
    3. The United Methodist Reporter: Star of Bethlehem: Exploring the mystery
    4. The Star of Bethlehem
    5. The star of Bethlehem -Theories and interpretations
    6. What Was The Star Of Bethlehem?
    7. Questioning Christmas: The Star of Bethlehem

    At the blog site Triablogue, they provide a number of resources about the Star, and they do more than pay lip service to the points of how the Star was understood as something supernatural by the readers of the era Matthew wrote. In my opinion, this is one of the better or more useful blog posts at the site.

    Moving around, a few locations are still favoring the conjunctions noted by Kepler, the ones in 7/6 BCE:

    1. The Star of Bethlehem: One Theory
    2. The Star of Bethlehem

    I have also found a few odd ideas out there, in particular relating the Star to Planet X or ared dwarf. There was also a talk that somehow included the Maya “prophecy” concerning 2012, but I don’t know the details; it may have just been mentioned to grab attention for astronomical things close to the solstice.

    Several other places give way to a supernatural, but historical, interpretation of the Star:

    1. The Star of Bethlehem
    2. Who Needs the Star?
    3. Star Of Bethlehem?
    4. The Star of Bethlehem
    5. Star of Bethlehem

    But not everyone is uncritical of the story. One example comes from a young man who likes to poke fun at the Institute for Creation Research–that’s a full-time activity, I would think. The CFI forums have a topic on the Pope and the Star, having some fun in the process. Andrew Sullivan links to another fun What If? from the creator of XKCD comics.

    Now, everything here, minus the one presentation I mentioned, was posted in the last couple of months. Going by that, even if there is little happening in the presses, the blogosphere is filled with people promoting one version or another of the Star, and there seems to be favoritism towards the ideas put forward by Rick Larson. I may need to blog about the issues with that person’s presentation later on (I had had an email from a professor wanting resources critical of it). Update: I have created a critique of Larson’s Star of Bethlehem documentary.

    But here I should announce something important: I will be publishing a book on the Star of Bethlehem this year! I am hooked-up with Jonathan Pearce who wrote the useful book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination. Aiming for September of this year, it should on its own be definitive in showing that all the naturalistic theories fail to match what Matthew 2 says about the Star, that none can be shown to have been astrological/astronomically interesting or meaning a king was born in Judea, and that the entire story is not historical. You know you want to have this under the Christmas tree, or perhaps on top replacing the Star you have up there because it never existed.

    Category: cosmologyJesusNaturalism

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    Article by: Aaron Adair

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    • qbsmd

      I once attended a lecture by an astronomer who, among other things, described the behavior of the Star of Bethlehem, explained why it wasn’t consistent with any natural phenomena, and concluded it was, by definition, a UFO report.

      • I suppose if they did see something, then by definition, if it is not a natural star, it must be a UFO (in the strict definition).

        However, the most probable explanation is that the whole episode was fabricated!

    • Don’t some Christians think the “star” of Bethlehem is actually referring to an “angel”. After all, Christ is called the day star and Lucifer is called the morning star.

    • Did my comment get removed?

    • An angel has been suggested in ancient sources, and it was also a point of comparison by the founder of Adventism, Ellen G. White. A lot of times conservative evangelicals will refer to the Shekinah glory of God. Nonetheless, the point is that these are things outside the normal activity of the stars, thus miraculous, thus low initial probability. But perhaps there is also evidence against the proposition? Stay tuned!

    • Oh, and a proper flying saucer has been seriously proposed as the Star as well back in the early 1970s. Though it wasn’t from Erich von Daniken, you can still blame him. (I do.)

    • My suggestion was that the star was actually the Flying Spaghetti Monster–no academic publishers would take it seriously, though.

    • Well when you have Christians who believe in astral projection, divine healing regardless if you are a Christian or not such as here:

      http://www.amazon.com/review/RED1K5S2Q1MML/ref=cm_cd_pg_next?ie=UTF8&asin=1610170024&cdForum=Fx17Y10XWP5M28W&cdPage=21&cdThread=TxXOBUD6G7I5DA&store=books#wasThisHelpful

      Anything goes

    • steclij

      It uselss to study astronomical charts of the time of Jesus’ birth to see if there is something coming together in the galaxies or stars, since the star is not a natural phenomenon, and is in every sense of the word  “supernatural”.

      And I want to correct Aaron Adair on a few items we have discussed on other posts, in particular the identity of the Magi:  they were not Zoroaster priests.  This is attested to by Aristotle who spent some time in Persia at the invitation of Alexander, and I don’t have to give the source for this since he surely knows it.

      The Magi or Magians, were scholars, not priests, in fact they were astronomers, scientists;  they were “wise men”, undoubtedly influenced by Aristotle’s visit to the east after Alexander’s conquest of the Persian Empire around 333 B.C.  Alexander was determined to “Hellenize” the East, and, under Aristotle’s leadershjp, he sent up Hellenic colonies in Susa, Ecbana, Isfahan and other Persian cities, schools similar to Aristotle’s Lyceum in Athens, where the study of the arts, geography, literature, theatre, architecture, music, mathematics, philosophy and science were shared with these conquered peoples. 

      At the time of Alexander’s conquest, some Jews were in exile in Babylon, the events of their exile recorded in the Book of Daniel and in the Book of Ezekiel.  It was in Babylon that a  cultural cross-fertilization took place: the Magi profiting from the Greek’s love of learning and the arts, and from the Jews, their God, their sacred writings and their religion.

      The Jews in Babylon also had their schools.  It is in Babylon that the synogogue  originated and the establishmentof Talmudic Schools, where the study of Jewish Law created the Babylon Talmjud, whose rabbis, like Hillel,  came to Jerusalem and taught there in the time of Jesus.

      “We have seen his star in the east and have come to adore him.”

      We know nothing of their backgrounds, what cities they came from or where they learned about “the newborn king of the Jews”.  But they came at the beckoning of a star that had no natural origin.  That does  not agree  with Aaron Adair’s principle of  “Methodological Naturalism”, since the star is obviously of supernatural origin and he can no sign of it in the astronomical charts of the time. 

      Therefore, he concludes  that the whole acccount in Matthew is fiction, or something called a “theologism”, to give the star and the event it announces, the result of ‘belief”, having no basis in history or reality.

      Why an athiest would take up the subject of the birth of Jesus and the star of Bethlehem can be for only one purpose: to hint, imply or say he has demonstrated that both the star and the birth of Jesus are the fictions of the writer’s imagination and that therefore Christianity is a fraud and an illlusion.

      He has given an atheist interpretation to the birth of Jesus a recorded in the Gospel of Matthew to bolster his own atheism  – but if it is true history, as I claim it is, his atheism goes up in smoke. 

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • From prior interactions, people may know that it isn’t worth trying to dialog with Cliff, so let me be quick in showing that every substantial point he says is wrong.

        Aristotle and Magi: There is no record that Aristotle every traveled to Persia; at best he spent time in Atarneus on the west coast of Asia Minor, a Greek (not even Persian) city-state. And the only mention of the magi in Aristotle’s extant works is in his Metaphysics 14.1091b and just how they have a supreme god similar to Zeus. So not only do you know nothing about Aristotle, but you don’t even know what he said. But if we look at sources that do say anything, you will know that the magi were Zoroastrian priests. For example, Apuleius says the Persian word for priest is ‘magus’, and that they originate from the teachings of Zoroaster (Defense of Apuleius 25-6). Other sources include Philo, Quod omnis probus liber 74; Cicero, De Legibus 2.26; De Divinatione 1.46, 90; De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum 5.87; Porphy, Life of Pythagoras 41; Clement, Stromata 1.15; (Pseudo) Plato, Alcibiades 122a. In addition, Origin in his Contra Celsum 1.58 distinguishes magi from the Chaldeans of the Babylonians. So Cliff, you are wrong, and every fact you said about the magi is contradicted by Greco-Roman sources. 

        Also, the magi in the Parthian period did not show an interest in astronomy or astrology (which were the same subject matter in the minds of the ancients). That I already showed, but I may as well give the sources again since someone out there may be willing to read them (but you won’t, Cliff, it seems). Gerard Mussies, “Some Astrological Presuppositions of Matthew 2: Oriental, Classical and Rabbinical Parallels” in van der Horst, Aspects of Religious Contact and Conflict in the Ancient World, pp. 25-44, esp. pp. 28-37; De Jong, Traditions of the Magi, pp. 397-8; Zaehner, Zurvan, pp. 147-65, 369, 377f, 400f, 410-1; Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, p. 238; Encyclopedia Iranica Vol. 2, pp. 258-9.

        Cliff also doesn’t understand why this point matters: if the magi had no interest in stars or astrological prognostication, then it makes their interest in the Star of the Jewish king strange and less likely historical. So because Cliff is in such denial, he cannot even understand the point, let alone argue against it with anything that looks like a fact.

        I also have to note Cliff’s complete butchering of the history of what happened in Persia after Alexander the Great’s conquests. While indeed numerous things came from Greece to the Middle East, there was even more going in the other direction. It was from around this time that the Babylonian planetary theories of motion and calculation were introduced to the West, that astrology was brought over to Greece (usually with the school set up by Berossus on the island of Cos), and centuries of astronomical observations had been recorded, records that allowed Hipparchus two centuries later to discover the precession of the equinoxes. So the history Cliff creates has influence go one-way and is Euro-centric.

        So Cliff, you’re wrong on facts, unable to understand arguments, don’t know how to do history, and a little bit racist. Oh, and you act like a jerk the whole time and fire off the same insults even when they cannot apply to people of the same faith-tradition as you (as you did with Raymond Brown). Don’t expect me to even give you the time of day, but let this comment stand here to show that what you do is fractally wrong.

    • steclij

      Aaron – Most of your facts  in the matter of Aristotle are wrong and you should know better. Why do you think Alexander sent for Aristotle and what do you know about the Hellenism in Persia>   Don’;t give me or anyone else the impression that I don’t know what I am talking about and a degree in Physicss does not give  credentials in history. 

      The Metaphysics was written long before Aristotle’s journey to Persia and you are totallly wrong about the Magi.  Some of them went over to the Zeroasterian religion, but those who were authentic Magi did not..  Your supposition of better sources is unfounded and most are quoted just to support your atheist explanatiion of Matthew. All you have are statements contrary to mine giving the impression that you are better informed. 

      Your work on the Star of Bethlehem invalidates any claim to scholarship that you may have and everyone knows that it comes from an atheist pen.  Your knowledge of the East after Alexander is minimal.   It is a much richer and  more  complicated period than you indicate. 

      You are not only wrong on facts but also on interpretation and I doubt if you know even the geography of Alexander’s conquest of Persia and the East.  I will let readers decide where the truth lies.  it is not a matter of faith it is a matter of history and your hint that you are dealng with history and I am dealing fable or fiction blinds that fact that we are dealing with a text to which you have given an atheist and humanist interfpretation. 

      There are no astrologcal presuppostions in Matthew, but there are atheist presuppositions in your interpretations of Matthew.  And to put it more bluntly what the hell is an atheist doing turning his attenion to the Christian Gospel?   It is to use them and interpret for his own atheist purposes and that is about as dishonest as any scholar can get.  We are dealing with a text and the history contained in the test.  You have an ulterior motive and I do not.   I say the text speaks for itself – I take the text as it is -You use your scholarship  to discredit it.  I’ll let the rest of the world decide about that. 

      If I remember Vladimir Soloviev;s story of the Anti-Christ, who allluded to the fact that he had a theological degree from Tubingen and had written an exegetical work that experts praised as groundbeaking.  The Anti-Christ as exegete???  You are not the one to give an exegesis of  Matthew – because everyjone know where you will take the text and why.

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

    • steclij

      Aaron – As for credentials, let you give you mine – but  that must wait until I rush off the hospital to anoint a man who is dying.  Your access to sources is llimited and most of the souirces you  quote from are secondary sources.  I have primary  sources and access to the Vatican lilbrary, the Greek library at Grottoferratta, on the edge of Rome and the resources of the library at the Aristotelian University  in  Greece and am friends with Catholic and Greek Orthodox priests who studied iln  Athens.  But more later.

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • Wow. Aaron provides you with references galore.

        This is your reply:

        You are not only wrong on facts but also on interpretation and I doubt if you know even the geography of Alexander’s conquest of Persia and the East.  I will let readers decide where the truth lies.  it is not a matter of faith it is a matter of history and your hint that you are dealng with history and I am dealing fable or fiction blinds that fact that we are dealing with a text to which you have given an atheist and humanist interfpretation.  –

        Your historical arguments are simply non-existent.

    • steclij

      Aaron – To continue

      I have been a priest for almost sixty years, and  have known scientists of every description . As chaplain at Edwards Air Force Base, where I almost entered the astronaut program, i carried on conversations and intense debates with scientists actively involved in scientific work, not sitting behind a desk or podium in a classroom.  Many of these scientists were members of my Air Force Parish, but most were working on base in every major scientific speciaty.

      Some were atheistrs, some were Catholic, some were world-famous, some were pilots who flew the X-15, the Dyna-Soar, the U-2, or some other hush-hush  aircraft and went on secret missions all over the world.  They were not wrapped up in secondary sources. and we argued and debated from primary sources.  They did not try to win an argument on the basis of  their status or their Ph. D.’s, but from the facts of an issue.  The chief issue  with many of them was their atheism.

      Their atheism was not based on attacking the Bible, but on Methodological Naturalism and the infantile idea that science has disproven the existence of God.  When we stuck to science, they were bested, because science can give you only more sciencde, and you do not explain the universe by the sum of its parts.  They dismissed history as you do by an appeal to mere suppositions: unfounded, unproven and uncertain.

      Your atheism is a concoction of unrellated and unprovable assertions that you support with an appearance of authority based on  book publications written for an audence of  admirers who read the same books, subscribe to the same jounrals, go to the same conferences, and inhabit the same self-congratulating websites with an arrogance that borders on hubris.

      Your main goal is to disprove the historicity of  the Gospels with a show of scholarship, drawing secondary sources of  your self-congratulating team.  You write for your coterie of  authors repeating the same line in publications that may make the New York Times listt of best sellers, but drop out of sight when other more sensational titles come in view.

      The problem is your sources: historical, scientific, Biblicalk, and I don’t think you have considered doing firsthand research at the Aristotelian University of Salonika, when you lift  your pen to write about Aristotle, or any of other primary documents in the institutions I have mentioned. 

      I doubt if you have ever consulted the Library of Congress, the Medieval Institute in Toronto – Oxford, perhaps wilth its memories of :Popper and Wittgenstein, but certainly not the British Museum and its copy of the Codex Sinaitilcus, or St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, with documents going back to almost the time of Jesus

      I am sure you are totally unaware of the descendants of  the blood relatives of Jesus alive today, called the Desposyni in early Christianity.  You are hopelessly out of touch with primary sourcdes and in trying to defend your positions you are simply talking  through your hat.

      My novel, “The Treasure of Kefer Shimon”  is based on primary sourcesl, even though it is a novel, and you might take a look at it and learn a few things you have overlooked in your attack on the historicity of Matthew.

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • You write a lot. But if you analyse the content of what you write, there is nothing there. No substance. No verifiable claims. No references. No philosophy. Nothing. all you do is write the same thing over and over in every thread you have ever written. Over 60 years has just entrenched your views, but it seems like you are not even sure why you hold those views anymore. You seem unable to justify your beliefs other than endlessly attacking methodological naturalism.

        Of course, using any kind of proper analysis, such as a Bayesian approach, will lead you quite obviously to MN as far more sensible than supernaturalism. I suggest you look up the underpinnings of inductive reasoning (scientific reasoning) which is based on uniformities which can only be predictive using MN.

        In fact, to deny MN is to deny science. And to deny science is to deny every single piece of technology you use. Your precious air base is full of rather luckily derived pieces of machinery.

        What I am trying to say is this: you haven’t got the slightest idea what you are talking about. Again.

    • steclij

      Jonathan –  For as man who denies free will, you use it rather well, and you have not not yet demonstrated ad experimentum proofs f that the determinist engines of Physics are the causes of  the lack of free will in human beings.  If you can’t demonstate the truth of your statements ad experimentum you conclusions are not  valid because not proved.

      You are right, I do not take you seriously because the very title of your books reveal your bias.  The only people who take you seriously are either mild or militant atheists who have a psychotic hatred of Christianiy;. 

      Farher Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

    • steclij

      Jonathan – Bayesian Probability is functional only in mathematics.  Or haven’t you heard?

      Father clifford stevens
      Boys Town, nebraska

    • steclij

      Jonathan – The reason why Bayesian Probablity applies only to Mathematics i s  that in other sciences, there are too many variables.  You can compute but  the result is way off the charts.  You cannot divide  16 by 333 and come up with anything that makes sense, especially when you apply it to beliefs.  What is your point?

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

    • So, I’m wrong, yet you fail to provide a single reference to contradict anything I said. Hmm, smells like bullshit. Looks like you have the motto “Merda taurorum animas conturbit.”

      Oh, and don’t bother advertising your novel; it might get caught by the spam filters when you advertise rather than provide anything useful to a conversation.

    • steclij

      Jonathan = Bayesian Probability has led many a statictician to insanity.  I have  already torn apart the theses of your books  and most of your posts were deleted.  Doesn’t that tell you something?  It is your Bayesian  “logic”” that is the problem.  It is a circular logic going nowhere.  That fact that you state something does not make it true.  Your basic premise is false – that MN is a scientific deduction.  You have taken that on pure faith.

      Father Clifford Stevens

      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • Ha ha ha ha ha. That is priceless. Give me one example, just one example of you “tearing apart the these” of my books.

        Wow. And you, a person who has yet to establish, despite being asked umpteen times, his epistemological and historical method such that he can reliably and adequately differentiate fact from falsity. 

        I suggest you look into this critique of presuppositionalism – http://freethoughtblogs.com/reasonabledoubts/2012/02/22/episode-98-presuppositional-apologetics-part-2/ – which should give you an insight into how attempting to critique MN in the manner you do is wholly ridiculous. If you think God can and does just routinely pop down to earth and fiddle irregularities, then you couldn’t establish any reliable probability theory, or in fact any scientific inductively based theorising.

        On your methodology, which you are yet to explain in any detail, other than through negative assertions contra-MN which have no epistemic weight at all, all uniformities should be off the cards.

        I don’t think you understand the implications of claiming methodological naturalism as being incorrect.

        Unless you are rather naively conflating methodological with metaphysical naturalism. But that would be dumb.

        And this is great, especially as you have said it maybe 30 times:

        “For as man who denies free will, you use it rather well, and you have not not yet demonstrated ad experimentum proofs”

        Of course, I have given 270 pages of both inductive and deductive evidence.

        And explained painfully to you that disproving determinism does not prove libertarian free will. But you are too insane to understand this. Quantum uncertainty does not give you ownership over your actions.

        I suggest reading here, too:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilemma_of_determinism

        Since you appear unable to understand the most basic of ideas. While you are at it, please explain to me, both philosophically, and THEN empirically, how we have contra-causal free will.

    • steclij

      Aaron – I am in conversation with two atheists who attack the historicity of the Star of Bethlehem and the Virgin birth of Jesus Christ based upon a bias called Methodological Naturalism, which they hide behind  as if it were the key to Biblical interpretation.  An atheist, you have the audacity to make yourself an exegete of  a Christian document, not for purposes of truth, but to lay a Biblical groundwork for your atheism – this is a circular reasoning not worthy of man who claims to have a  Ph. D.  Certainly not in Biblical exegesis. The claim that you make is only to give support to your atheism.  I think it is very clear what your claim to “objective” scholarship is all about. 

      Father Clifford stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • Er, no.

        They attack it on grounds of historical analysis. Analysis that you would agree with if the claims were from another source or religion. You need to up your game, because your comments are barely worth responding to.

    • steclij

      Jonathan – That is a bold-faced lie.  And Aaron knows it.  It is precisely on historical grounds that we disagree
      And now the whole world knows it.  You and he are trying to impose an atheist interpretation on a Christian document.  Why?  Because it is Christian   Nothing more need be said. 

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • And to repeat again, so the whole world knows it, what is your method of historical analysis? 

        I wrote a whole book solely on the historical analysis of the nativity. You wrote a negative review on amazon without even reading it. And you have the audacity to come here and pronounce your nonsense? Wow.

    • steclij

      Jonathan – No, you did a hatchet job on the Nativity of Jesus Christ, just as you did a hatchet job on Quantum Mechanics,  There is no causal link between Physics and human biology and none between Physics and the intellectual and volitional powers – that is pure fiction AND  there is no causal link between the microscopic and macroscopic levels of the human body—the mechanisms of Physics are indetereminate – so blows your denial of free will all to hell. The renunciation of causality in Physics is the result of the indeterminacy principle – which is the backbone of modern Physics, and you seem to have a pretty good ownership of your actions, at least with the pen AND the laws of Physics are not operable in living matter or where have you been since Watson and Crick? 

      Aaron should correct you on Indeterminacy in Physics and what it means in biology and anthropology. 

      Father Clifford stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • You are funny, Cliff. Funny, because you make grandiose assertions built on really silly and naive mistakes. Let’s look at your last post.

        you did a hatchet job on Quantum Mechanics,  There is no causal link between Physics and human biology and none between Physics and the intellectual and volitional powers – that is pure fiction AND  there is no causal link between the microscopic and macroscopic levels of the human body—the mechanisms of Physics are indetereminate – so blows your denial of free will all to hell.

        So you claim that I did a hatchet job on QM, and claim determinism is necessary for a denial of free will AND THEN SAY there is no causal link “between Physics and the intellectual and volitional powers”!!! Ha ha. A flat contradiction right off the bat.

        As for connections to biology, you just flat out don’t seem to have a clue. Look up Quantum Biology (a term Schrodinger coined back in 1946).

        Look, whether or not quantum indeterminacy prevails (and presently the most common theory amongst physicists is the many worlds theory which is deterministic, though one must be careful about such surveys since it depends what conference you attend as to what type of physicists you ask), has no implication upon the philosophical problem of free will. QI, at best, provides a random variable in the causal circumstance which in no way provides the agent with causal ownership and thus responsibility.

        So, until you actually provide some substantial claim, you really do need to be quiet. This forum is for critical thinking and analysis, not the childish assertions you make.

      • Andy_Schueler

        There is no causal link between Physics and human biology

        The laws of physics apply in Biology just as they apply everywhere else. 

        and none between Physics and the intellectual and volitional powers

        Wrong again. To give just one example – an action potential of one of your neurons (i.e. the neuron “firing” and activating connected neurons) is based on conformational changes in voltage-gated ion channels in the cell membrane of this neuron. And these conformational changes are governed by the laws of physics (and are NOT deterministic – but also not random with a uniform probability distribution, see Aaron´s last comment). 

        that is pure fiction AND  there is no causal link between the microscopic and macroscopic levels of the human body

        To paraphrase Heisenberg – this is not even wrong. You seem to be very confused…

        AND the laws of Physics are not operable in living matter or where have you been since Watson and Crick?

        Based on this comment – I´m willing to bet everything I own that you don´t have the foggiest idea what it was that Watson and Crick discovered and what it meant for Biology. Hint: Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA – and DNA is not made out of fairy dust or some other magic stuff, it is governed by the same physical laws as every other molecule in this universe. 

    • Cliff, since you asked me about quantum indeterminacy and to correct Jon, allow me to:

      Actually, Jon is correct, and you are wrong. Quantum indeterminacy doesn’t mean “completely indeterminate”  or that there is no connection between the micro and macro world. The whole idea of a probability wave is that some states are more probable that others, and some states are not possible at all. If quantum indeterminacy was what you thought, all probability waves would be flat–all states are equi-probable. That is not true either on the blackboard or in reality. Hell, that should be so fraking obvious that you have to be delusional to think that anything is equally probable as anything else. Is it just as likely water will travel uphill as down? No? Then perhaps you shouldn’t pretend to know about quantum physics.

      There is also a rather clear connection between quantum physics and biology: chemistry. The bonding of atoms together is governed by the electron clouds of those atoms, and those clouds are described by the probability functions of QM. And all biological processes can be reduced to chemical reactions and thermodynamics. There isn’t a vital force or anything that past scientists speculated about before the 20th century.

      So your physics understanding is wrong. Heck, take everything you said about science, make it the opposite, and then you’re in the ballpark when it comes to reality.

      But how about our disagreement about historical analysis? Actually, it cannot be a disagreement there because you continuously claim that because I’m an atheist I cannot do exegesis of the Bible and I use methodological naturalism. So your problem is not historical but theological/philosophical. But unfortunately you cannot even understand the debate, let alone provide a single fact in your favor. In fact, you are now at the stage of making shit up: mimesis wasn’t used by the ancients (wrong), only the real magi weren’t Zoroastrians (based on not a single fact), the historians of the past were excellent (except when the have stories like giant gold-digging ants), Aristotle moved to Persia after Alexander the Great’s conquests there (no, he didn’t, and he lived between Athens and Chalcis after 335 BCE). All you have is bluster and claim sources and knowledge that you haven’t displayed except by further claims of your own connections intellectual powers (of which I have yet to see).

      This is really where you need to put up or get lost. But you are so automated in your responses I fear you yell at fried eggs about their methodological naturalism when you burn them. Then again, your regularity of doing this proves that Jon is right about determinism over contra-causal free will; you can’t help complaining about MN.

      Unless you change how you are arguing, you’re proving to be an all-around failure of logic and an intellectual coward. Put up or shut up, as the saying goes.

    • steclij

      Aaron – I said there is no causal relationship. As for the rest of your diatribe, I am not going into Bohm and a host of others to make a few distinctions that you are not making, including a few physicists at Cern and Los Alamos.  I know the school you are coming from and it reeks with atheistic biases –  what are doing tackling that question in the first place?.  There are also a few Japanese who wouild pointedly disagree with you.  You are no authority on modern Physics and certainly not on Quantum Mechanics. You are an apologist for atheism  and your scalpel is aimed at the throat Christianity, not at the furtherance of Physics.  So don’t give me that hollier than thou business about your superior knowledge of P hysics.  You have bastardized your profession  by the use you have made of it – pretending to be an authority on Biblical history. 

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • This is how it goes:

        Cliff: I am right, I am right, I am right.

        Anyone else: Here are a number of references and some substantiated pieces of evidence to show otherwise. *provides sources and evidence*

        Cliff: I am right, I am right,I am right.

        Anyone else: But what about all of that evidence that you have not dealt with?

        Cliff: That is just atheistic bias! I am right, I am right, I am right!

        And the circularity of his argument goes on, ignoring evidence which disproves god because it is atheistic. Therefore God. Wow, that’s dense. 

      • You are no authority on modern Physics and certainly not on Quantum Mechanics. –

        Ha ha! You do realise that if he is not, then you REALLY aren’t. Don’t reverse appeal to authority and then try to make claims which do not adhere to your own standards! You get worse.

    • steclij

      Andy Schueler – Throw aside your grade school textbook –  are you an atheust, too?  What ax do yoyu have to grind?  Are you gong to waste your science for the cause these other two have dedicated their science.  Take a plane to Cern and then come back and maybe we can talk about Physics. 
       
      There is no causal relationship beyween Physics and living matter, or between lbiology and the human intellectual and volitional powers.  No CAUSAL relationship.  There is an intermingling of the various powers, but no CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP. That has neen known since Schrodinger and Bohm.  Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.  The intellectual and volitional powers of Human beings do not follow the laws of Physics or biology.  They follow their own laws. 

       I challenge you to demonstrate ad experimentum by name, functiion and operation  how the laws of Physics have a causal effect upon living matter and on the intellectual and volitional powers of human be
      Put up or shut up!

      Father Clifford Stevens

      • Brilliant.

        Andy is a contributor to this blog. He is a PhD molecular biologist. He can literally school you. 

        You are being really stupid for several reasons. i suggest you 
        1) define physics
        2) define what biology is made of, if not physical matter

        You are digging yourself a rather ignorant hole. I now predict, no doubt accurately, how andy will take you to task over this utterly stupid claim:

        ” I challenge you to demonstrate ad experimentum by name, functiion and operation  how the laws of Physics have a causal effect upon living matter and on the intellectual and volitional powers of human be
        Put up or shut up!”

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy Schueler – Throw aside your grade school textbook –  are you an atheust, too?  What ax do yoyu have to grind?  Are you gong to waste your science for the cause these other two have dedicated their science.  Take a plane to Cern and then come back and maybe we can talk about Physics. 

        You should consider rephrasing whatever point you were trying to make here – it currently is incoherent gibberish. 

        There is no causal relationship beyween Physics and living matter, or between lbiology and the human intellectual and volitional powers.

        You can repeat that ad nauseam – that doesn´t make it true. I´ve already given you one specific example for why it is not true. I can try to explain it on a more basic level if you are currently unable to understand it. 

        Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.

        Again, whatever you think cells are… you are mistaken. 
        Try this:
        http://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Cell-Bruce-Alberts/dp/0815341059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362042585&sr=8-1&keywords=molecular+biology+of+the+cell
        But maybe start with this first:
        http://www.amazon.com/Biology-Coloring-Book-Robert-Griffin/dp/0064603075/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362042608&sr=1-2&keywords=biology+grade+school

         I challenge you to demonstrate ad experimentum by name, functiion and operation  how the laws of Physics have a causal effect upon living matter

        Challenge accepted.
        Understanding how proteins act requires understanding how proteins fold in three dimensions (i.e. their 3D-structure) and how this structure changes in response to changes in the chemical environment. 
        Theoretically, this problem is solved by the Schrödinger equation:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation (which is a mathematical expression of how the quantum states of a physical system change over time)
        In practice, this cannot be computed (it would take too long) for large molecules like proteins. But using heuristics to approximate the results of the Schrödinger equation works very well and matches almost perfectly the experimental results from X-ray crystallography and NMR studies. One early example:
        http://www0.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/d.jones/t42morph.html
        Understanding protein behaviour in such a way has become standard practice in the pharmaceutical industry, and they pay a shitload of money for software like this:
        https://www.schrodinger.com/productsuite/1/
        => and they do it not because it works – the laws of physics do apply for proteins, they apply for DNA, they apply for phospholipids and they apply for everything else. 

    • steclij

      Jonathan – If he is brilliant , let him go ahead – in a laboratory.  An atomic particle in its actiion upon what???  must create a living cell.   That is the first step. 

      I don’t want a description.  I want an experiment.

      Father Clifford Stevens

      • How many times have you worked in a lab experimenting on this. Er, I imagine Andy does it almost everyday.

        And the flipside, since the burden of proof is on you since you are contesting the massive consensus, is to show IN THE LAB, experiments that do prove your thesis. You see, you have silly demands, and your stupidity is being somewhat publicly exhibited.

    • steclij

      Andy – Will not do

      Proteins are living molecules.  You can;t start with living matter.You must start

      with atomic particles.

      Father Clifford Stevens

      • You don’t have a CLUE.

        You demand how physics interacts with biology (actually biology is made up of physical matter which interacts according to physical laws). Andy shows you, and then you claim that he can’t use living matter…!

        How the hell does he show the use of causal physical laws in biology if you are not permitting him to use living cells?

        Oh, and proteins aren’t living. They are the building blocks of living cells. So some work.

        “Proteins are the “workhorse” molecules of life, taking part in essentially every structure and activity of life. They are building materials for living cells, appearing in the structures inside the cell and within the cell membrane. While many of the proteins are structural proteins, many are regulatory proteins called enzymes.
        They contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen like the carbohydrates and lipids, but they also contain nitrogen and often sulfur and phosphorus.

        Protein molecules are often very large and are made up of hundreds to thousands of amino acid units. The 20 amino acids are combined in different ways to make up the 100,000 or so different proteins in the human body. Some of these proteins are in solution in the blood and other fluids of the body, and some are in solid form as the framework of tissue, bone and hair. Shipman, et al. suggests that they make up about 75% of the dry weight of our bodies.

        Proteins can be characterized as extremely long-chain polyamides. The amidescontain nitrogen, and nitrogen composes about 16% of the protein atomic content. These proteins are created in the body by condensation of amino acids under the influence of enzyme catalysts, using patterns or direction from thenucleic acids in the cells.

        The amino acid units in a protein molecule are held together by peptide bonds, and form chains called polypeptide chains. The sequencing of the 20 amino acids forms a kind of alphabet for expression of the type of protein, leading to a very large number of types of proteins.

        In the cell, the DNA directs or provides the master blueprint for creating proteins, using transcription of information to mRNA and then translation to actually create proteins.
        A comment from Miller “Living things, after all are constructed by the execution of a series of genetic messages encoded in DNA. Genes, the functional units of that genetic program, generally encode proteins, which are the workhorses of the cell. As our exploration of the genomes of humans and other organisms expands, it becomes clear that those proteins can do just about everything required to produce an organism …” 

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy – Will not do
        Proteins are living molecules.  You can;t start with living matter.You must start
        with atomic particles.

        You just shifted the goalposts. Previously, you challenged us to:
        ” I challenge you to demonstrate ad experimentum by name, functiion and operation  how the laws of Physics have a causal effect upon living matter”
        => which we did (not that we had to, the burden of proof is on you if you contradict entire scientific disciplines without any evidence whatsoever).

        And now, you shift the goalposts to:
        “You can;t start with living matter.You must startwith atomic particles.”

        => which is a completely different point. And a point that you would be unable to understand anyway because you are currently too ignorant about the basic concepts (as demonstrated by your comment “Proteins are living molecules” ). 

        As Jonathan explained – Proteins are not “living matter”, they are biologically relevant macromolecules like DNA, but they are in no way, shape or form “alive” using any scientific definition for “life” that has ever been proposed. But to stay within your misconceptions of proteins being “living matter” – let´s start with atomic particles as you challenged us to:

        Human bodies are able to synthesize 12 of the 20 standard proteinogenic amino acids. These 12 are derived from intermediate products of the citric acid cycle, which is based on chemical reactions that in turn are governed by the same physical laws as every other chemical reaction is. The source molecules that enter the citric acid cycle are produced in pathways like Glycolysis – which in turn are based on source molecules like Glucose (a sugar). The raw carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur come from various sources – one of the major sources is Photosynthesis which uses sunlight to metabolize water and carbon dioxide to sugars (i.e. input for Glycolysis, as mentioned above). Where this water comes from is explained here and where the carbon comes from is explained here
        And the evolution of the citric acid cycle is explained here.

        So, here is your synthesis of proteins (which again, are NOT “living matter”) from atomic particles, for more details, consult:
        http://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Cell-Bruce-Alberts/dp/0815341059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362048776&sr=8-1&keywords=molecular+biology+of+the+cell

        And now it´s time for you to put up or shut up, you say:

        Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.

        Explain in detail which cellular process in your opinion is not governed by the laws of physics and provide evidence for your claim.

    • steclij

      Jonathan – You are the one who said that Physics could cause life.  Show me.

      Farher Clifford cstevens

      • Do you mean abiogenesis?

        Go watch The Wonders of Life with Brian Cox, the new BBC series which shows pretty extensively a physical case for the start of life. Or go and research abiogenesis. But don;t come here and demand x, y and z without doing the requisite work yourself.

    • steclij

      Jonathan – Proteins are biological molecules.
       
      We are not talking about interaction.  We are talking about Physics causing living matter.

      Father Clifford Stevens

    • steclij

      Jonathan – Proteins are biological molecules.
       
      We are not talking about interaction.  We are talking about Physics  causung life.

      Father Clifford Stevens

    • steclij

      Jonathan – The first causal action of Physics must first cause living matter. Only then can interaction take place.
      Interaction is not causality.

      I have proved my point.

      Your book on free will is a fraud.

      Father Clifford Stevens

    • steclij

      Jonathan – Proteins are biological molecules.
       
      We are not talking about interaction.  We are talking about Physics

      I did not say that physical laws are not operative in living matter or that interaction does not take place,

      I said that the laws of Physics have no CAUSAL effect upon living matter.

      Father Clifford Stevens

    • steclij

      Jonathan – You took my challenge on my terms and you even chose your champion.  I made  it very clear: ad experimentum, in a. laboratory  that the laws of  Physics have a  causal  effect upon living matter AND on the human volitional powers.  Your thesis cannot be demonstrated ad experimentum.  You have lost the game.

      Father Clifford Stevens

      • Andy_Schueler

        Jonathan – You took my challenge on my terms and you even chose your champion.  I made  it very clear: ad experimentum, in a. laboratory  that the laws of  Physics have a  causal  effect upon living matter AND on the human volitional powers.  Your thesis cannot be demonstrated ad experimentum.  You have lost the game.

        We did demonstrate exactly that. The fundamental physical forces (particularly the electromagnetic force) acting on particles (as described mathematically by the Schrödinger equation for example) is the cause for all observable biological processes – metabolism, reproduction,  cell communication (including the communication of neurons) etc. pp. – as I explained for the examples of protein folding  here:
        http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/02/19/the-star-of-bethlehem-in-the-blogosphere/#comment-815100765
        or protein synthesis here:
        http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/02/19/the-star-of-bethlehem-in-the-blogosphere/#comment-815184373

        Your claim that:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.”
        is thus demonstrably false (and it was always just a mere assertion to begin with because you have never given any evidence to support it). 

        You are wrong on every conceivable level and you are either too dishonest to admit that or too ignorant to understand that you are wrong.  

    • steclij

      Andy — I said that descriptions are not enough, you have to show in a laboratory that the laws of Physics cause living matter just as Jonathan has to demionstrate ad experimentum that the laws of Physics andf biology cause the human volitional power – by the very action of atomsic particles and of living matter.

      Father Clifford Stevens 

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy — I said that descriptions are not enough, you have to show in a laboratory that the laws of Physics cause living matter just as Jonathan has to demionstrate ad experimentum that the laws of Physics andf biology cause the human volitional power – by the very action of atomsic particles and of living matter.

        And I have demonstrated exactly that – I cited the literature which demonstrated that experimental results for protein folding (based on X-ray crystallography and Nuclear magnetic resonance) and theoretical results based on first principles (the fundamental physical forces – particularly the electormagnetic force – acting on particles) are in perfect agreement (which in turn also demonstrates the effect of physical laws on cognitive faculties, because communication between neurons – based on the action potential of neurons – is based on conformational changes in voltage-gated ion channels (hint: those are proteins)).

        And I pointed to the literature which demonstrates that protein synthesis is based on chemical reactions that are governed by physical laws as every chemical reaction is – all the steps in the pathways I pointed to have been studied in the lab. 

        I could do the exact same for every other observable biological process.

        Again, for more details, consult a basic textbook like:
        http://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Cell-Bruce-Alberts/dp/0815341059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362052167&sr=8-1&keywords=molecular+biology+of+the+cell (which includes plenty of citations for experimental studies). 

        Your claim:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.”
        => is simply idiotic and should be embarrassing for a high school kid that didn´t flunk his / her science classes. And you never even tried to support it with any evidence whatsoever but dishonestly insist on repeating it ad nauseam even after it has been proven wrong multiple times. 

        We put up – you didn´t, you simply spew the same ignorant garbage over and over again like a trained parrot.

    • steclij

      Jonathan = If it’s demonstrably false –   demonstrate it. 

      Father Clifford Stevens

    • steclij

      Andy – Nothing that you affirm indicates a causal relationship between the laws of Physics cand living matter or between the laws of Physics and human volitional powers.  I

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy – Nothing that you affirm indicates a causal relationship between the laws of Physics cand living matter or between the laws of Physics and human volitional powers.

        Example:
        The fundamental physical forces – particularly the electromagnetic force – acting on the particles that make up a protein molecule, causes changes in the quantum states of these particles over time (effect). 
        Experimental verification: Experimental studies on protein folding and theoretical studies based on first principles (the fundamental physical forces – particularly the electromagnetic force – acting on the particles) are in perfect agreement as I explained here:
        http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/02/19/the-star-of-bethlehem-in-the-blogosphere/#comment-815100765 

        You are wrong on every conceivable level and either too dishonest to admit that or too ignorant to understand that (or both). 

    • steclij

      Andy – Nothing that you affirm indicates a causal relationship between the laws of Physics and living matter or between the laws of Physics and the human volitional Powers. That is the issue.

      Father Clifford  Stevens

      • Andy_Schueler

        I have no idea which particular aspects you don´t understand (my bet currently would be that you don´t understand any of the relevant concepts). But to break it down:
        We demonstrated the cause-effect relationships between physical laws and biological processes – giving two specific examples in detail. Do you understand what “cause-effect” relationship means ? Maybe your confusion is based on that. 
        If you still disagree that there is a cause-effect relationship between physical laws and the behaviour of protein molecules (for example), then explain (in detail!) why our demonstrations (e.g. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v450/n7167/abs/nature06249.html – I can send you the pdf if you have no library access) so far are insufficient and specifically – which specific experimental verification for this claim is still missing in your opinion.

        Finally, it is not acceptable that you simply repeat claims like these:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.” 
        ad nauseam, without any evidence whatsoever!
        This is simply ridiculous – you contradict entire scientific disciplines (e.g. structural biology and biochemistry) without ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER – but you have the audacity to tell us to “put up or shut up”, even after we already demonstrated in detail how you are wrong. We had no intellectual obligation to do that – we could have simply pointed to a standard textbook like:
        http://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Cell-Bruce-Alberts/dp/0815341059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362054607&sr=8-1&keywords=molecular+biology+of+the+cell
        and ask YOU to prove it wrong – the burden of proof is on your side. 

        Put up or shut up Father Stevens, and be reminded of the commandments regarding honesty for an alleged follower of Christ. 

    • steclij

      Andy – Changes in quantum states are still on the level of Physics and of matter, not on the level of biology, so your explanation does not compute  Even Schrodinger recogntzed that.

      The laws of Physics cannot explain living matter. It can only interact with it.  No one has ever questioned interaction. Atomic particles cannot become living matter by the laws of Physics.  It is the living matter that absorbs matter.  Living matter cannot emerge from atomic particles,.  Biology operates beyond the laws of Physics and operates by its own laws.

      Father Clifford Stevens

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy – Changes in quantum states are still on the level of Physics and of matter, not on the level of biology,

        Nope, changes in the quantum states of proteins and other biologically relevant molecules indeed do cause biological processes, like the action potential of neurons. We have been talking about biological processes – protein folding and protein synthesis to be specific – all the time, whether you realize that or not.    

        so your explanation does not compute  Even Schrodinger recogntzed that.

        I assume that you mean this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_Life%3F I have actually read that book, have you ? Curiously, Schrödinger agrees with me – not with you, which leads me to assume that you have not actually read him but dishonestly use the authority of his name, hoping that I would not be aware of the opinions he actually held. 

        The laws of Physics cannot explain living matter. It can only interact with it.  No one has ever questioned interaction.

        Either you don´t understand your own words or you are lying, because you said:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.”
        => so, YOU did indeed question that.
        Also, explain what specifically you mean by “interaction” and how “interaction”, in your opinion, is different from a cause-effect relationship. 

        Atomic particles cannot become living matter by the laws of Physics.  It is the living matter that absorbs matter.  Living matter cannot emerge from atomic particles,.

        Matter is not “alive” – that is simply a nonsensical claim. Specific arrangements of matter can form a living organism, but no single component of this organism is “alive”. There is no such thing as “living matter”. You seem to be a follower of some vitalistic philosophy – arguing that living organisms are, at least in part composed of non-physical elements or governed by non-physical forces – which is a scientifically absurd notion since centuries by now. 
        If you disagree, the burden of proof is on you – put up or shut up. Which component of an organism is non-physical (hint: that does not mean “immaterial”, a magnetic field (for example) is not a non-physical element) or governed by non-physical causes ? Please provide citations for the experimental studies supporting your claim.

         

        Biology operates beyond the laws of Physics and operates by its own laws.

         
        Let me quote myself:
        Finally, it is not acceptable that you simply repeat claims like these:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.” 
        ad nauseamwithout any evidence whatsoever!
        This is simply ridiculous – you contradict entire scientific disciplines (e.g. structural biology and biochemistry) without ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER – but you have the audacity to tell us to “put up or shut up”, even after we already demonstrated in detail how you are wrong. We had no intellectual obligation to do that – we could have simply pointed to a standard textbook like:
        http://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Cell-Bruce-Alberts/dp/0815341059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362054607&sr=8-1&keywords=molecular+biology+of+the+cell
        and ask YOU to prove it wrong – the burden of proof is on your side. Put up or shut up Father Stevens, and be reminded of the commandments regarding honesty for an alleged follower of Christ.

    • steclij

      AND  biological laws are not derived from Physics.  What am I trying to prove?  That Physics is not the cause of living matter, and the laws of Physics abd biological laws are not the cause of the human volitional powers. THAT is the causality I am talking about.

      Father Clifford stevens

      • Andy_Schueler

        AND  biological laws are not derived from Physics.

        Give an example – which “biological laws” are you talking about ? The Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium ? Dollo’s principle of irreversibility ? Be specific. 
        You are making an empirical claim. Demonstrate it with physical evidence. Which “biological law” is not rooted in the laws of physics. 
        Put up or shut up Father Stevens. 

    • steclij

      AND that is where Jonatrhan is  wrong in his book on free will.  The Laws of Physics and of biology are not the cause of the human volitional powers. That is his unscientific error

      Father Clifford stevens. . 

      • Andy_Schueler

        AND that is where Jonatrhan is  wrong in his book on free will.  The Laws of Physics and of biology are not the cause of the human volitional powers. That is his unscientific error

        So you retract ALL your earlier statements along the line of:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.” 
        And you now want to argue exclusively that human cognitive faculties are not governed by the laws of physics, while all other biological processes are ?

        Yes or No Father ? 

    • steclij

      No.  Neither biological faculties nor uniquely biological activities are governed by the laws of physics and the same is  true for the human volitional powers.  do you deny this?

      Fr. CJS

      • Andy_Schueler

        No.  Neither biological faculties nor uniquely biological activities are governed by the laws of physics and the same is  true for the human volitional powers.  do you deny this?

        How many times do I have to ask you to define your terms ? I explained in detail how the laws of physics have a cause-effect relationship with biological processes and I have pointed to the literature outlining the experimental evidence to support this. 
        You have yet to engage even a single point I made – I have explained how the laws of physics have a cause-effect relationship with protein folding, I explained how that leads to a cause-effect relationship with biological processes like cell communication (including communication of Neurons), I explained how protein synthesis is rooted in the laws of physics etc. pp. 
        You have brought nothing to the table besides mere assertions repeated ad nauseam. If you think my explanations are wrong or misleading, then explain where exactly I was wrong!  

        DEFINE YOUR TERMS – what would be an example of a “uniquely biological activitiy” ? Give an example, and provide citations for the experimental evidence that the “activity” in question is not rooted in the laws of physics. 

        Put up or shut up Father. 

        • Cliff. If you don’t start 
          1) engaging with the evidence provided you
          2) provide some positive evidence yourself

          and if you keep
          1) ignoring everything presented to you
          2) merely asserting without any attempt at epistemologically (philosophically or empirically) grounding

          then you will be banned. You will be my first ever banned poster since you are being dishonest and disingenuous. I don’t take this lightly. You MUST do a better and more honest job. 

          And rather than attack this declaration as ‘trying to silence dissenters’ or some such other predictable diatribe, I suggest you get off your rather intellectually lazy backside and do some work, or at least start admitting that you do not understand what you are talking about.

          • Jon, it seems that is may be advisable. Cliff is trying to contract everyone from physics to historiography without a particle of a fact while being disingenuous in his positions and willingness to engage points. There isn’t a conversation happening, and least not one that I think benefits a reader coming to this comment section.

            • I think you’re right. I will give him the benefit of the doubt over a couple more posts, and if he does not start engaging and providing, he’ll be banned.

      • I suggest you might be advised to look into the area of biophysics.

        You really don’t have much of a right to say what you do. Every time you demand something like ” I challenge you to demonstrate ad experimentum by name, functiion and operation  how the laws of Physics have a causal effect upon living matter and on the intellectual and volitional powers of human be”, we can just demand the antithesis of you – you need to demonstrate how they don’t, or how free will is existent, logically and empirically.

        And anyway, what do you want us to do, fly you over from Boy’s Town to Germany to do some tests with Andy in his university lab?

        I suggest you start providing something more than powderpuff.

    • steclij

      Andy – There is no cause and effect relatiomship in the unique nature and activity of the human senses.  You are  talking about the material substratum of the sense faculties. I  am talking about the unique nature and activity of those senses.  Your reduction of sense  life to the physical substratum of the senses speaks generically rather than specifically – don’t you biologists take even basic courses in logic?  You can affirm and deny but your lack of abiltty to distinguish is  somewhat crude and barbaric.  

      Father Clifford stevens 

      • Cliff

        I think you misunderstand causality. It is as equally a metaphysical concept as a material concept. 

        This misconception is obvious, since you say a truly stupid thing on many an occasion, such as “There is no cause and effect relationship in the unique nature and activity of the human senses.”

        Which means our sense are nothing but random.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy – There is no cause and effect relatiomship in the unique nature and activity of the human senses.

        And now you shift the goalposts again.
        You started with:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.”  
        => but were unable to defend this claim in any way, shape or form – but were too dishonest to admit that. 

        So you opted to shift the goalposts to:
        “Andy – Will not do
        Proteins are living molecules.  You can;t start with living matter.You must start
        with atomic particles. ”
        => which is nonsensical to begin with because proteins are not “living matter” – but I could prove you wrong even when we accept this nonsensical premise.

        So you shifted the goalposts again to:
        “AND that is where Jonatrhan is  wrong in his book on free will.  The Laws of Physics and of biology are not the cause of the human volitional powers. ”
        => focussing only on “human volitional powers” (without ever defining that term in any way of course)

        And now you shift the goalposts for the third time(!) to:
        “There is no cause and effect relatiomship in the unique nature and activity of the human senses”
        => which is so absurd that I don´t even know where to begin. You are talking about qualia – which are defined as subjective experiences. There can be no scientific discussion over the nature and existence of qualia – only a philosophical one.

         I  am talking about the unique nature and activity of those senses.

        You do NOW – you did not, a few comments ago when you still desperately tried (and failed) to defend this claim:
        “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.”  
        => admit that this claim was Bullshit and then we can move on to discussing qualia (and I refer you to Jonathan for that discussion since I´m not a philosopher). 

        You can affirm and deny but your lack of abiltty to distinguish is  somewhat crude and barbaric. 

        Says the guy who has yet to even DEFINE HIS TERMS after dozens of comments! 
        We did YOUR homework and explicated your nonsensical ideas to prove them wrong – from your nonsensical claims about the laws of physics not applying in biology to your nonsensical claims about “living matter”. 
        You are lazily sitting back, shifting the goalposts constantly, never providing any evidence for your claims, ignoring all counter-evidence against your claims and then you have the audacity to accuse others of having a “crude ability to distinguish” and being uneducated in logic ?
        Back at you Father Stevens – you are a dishonest, uneducated and obnoxious fool.  

    • steclij

      Andy – I appreciate the lesson in Biophysics but it was my understandung that you were going to demonstrate ftom Physics Jonathan’s thesis that the human intellectual and volitional powers were controlled and determined  by the Laws of Physics.  I am familiar with most of the things you brought up about Biophysics, but you did not prove the point at issue: that the human will in its specific activity is determined and controlled by
       the Laws of Physics.  In fact, I don’t think you believe it yourself.  

      I am sorry it was a waste of time for you.

      Father Clifford Stevens

       

      • All of which appeared to be a diversion away from admitting you had no historical method that could differentiate truth from falsity (short of just believing anything merely because it was in the Bible). At least using BT or the criteria set out in, say, Prevenier, will get you somewhere, and has consistent applicable methodology. 

        See my debate with apologist Randal Rauser on this very issue: http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2012/12/24/my-debate-with-on-the-nativity-with-apologist-randal-rauser-now-available/

        All in all, you have been scrabbling around ineffectually, making assertions without backing a single one up, and you STILL haven’t been able to refute the dilemma of determinism…

        As the brilliant Derk Pereboom states:

        “Let us now consider the libertarians, who claim that we have a capacity for indeterministically free action, and that we are thereby morally responsible. According to one libertarian view, what makes actions free is just their being constituted (partially) of indeterministic natural events. Lucretius, for example, maintains that actions are free just in virtue of being made up partially of random swerves in the downward paths of atoms. These swerves, and the actions they underlie, are random (at least) in the sense that they are not determined by any prior state of the universe.

        If quantum theory is true, the position and momentum of micro-particles exhibit randomness in this same sense, and natural indeterminacy of this sort might also be conceived as the metaphysical foundation of indeterministically free action. But natural indeterminacies of these types cannot, by themselves, account for freedom of the sort required for moral responsibility.
        As has often been pointed out, such random physical events are no more within our control than are causally determined physical events, and thus, we can no more be morally responsible for them than, in the indeterminist opinion, we can be for events that are causally determined.”

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy – I appreciate the lesson in Biophysics but it was my understandung that you were going to demonstrate ftom Physics Jonathan’s thesis that the human intellectual and volitional powers were controlled and determined  by the Laws of Physics. 

        That is hard to believe because if your claim actually is and always was limited to human cognitive faculties – and no other biological process, and you actually never intented to defend claims like:
        – “You took my challenge on my terms and you even chose your champion.  I made  it very clear: ad experimentum, in a. laboratory  that the laws of  Physics have a  causal  effect upon living matter AND on the human volitional powers. ” (why did you not limit this claim to “human volitional powers” ? )
        – “No.  Neither biological faculties nor uniquely biological activities are governed by the laws of physics and the same is  true for the human volitional powers.”
        – “Living cells have their own laws – but they do not follow the laws of Physics.”  
        – “Proteins are living molecules.  You can;t start with living matter.You must start
        with atomic particles. “=>  why did you ever make these claims to begin with ?? 
         

        I am familiar with most of the things you brought up about Biophysics

        Then why did you make nonsensical claims like “Proteins are living molecules” and why were you apparently confused about how proteins are synthesized by living organisms (why did you challenge me to explain where they come from ?  “You can;t start with living matter.You must start with atomic particles” – your words…).

        but you did not prove the point at issue: that the human will in its specific activity is determined and controlled by the Laws of Physics. 
        In fact, I don’t think you believe it yourself.

        => 1. “Determined” is the wrong word because it relies on particular (and unpopular) interpretations of quantum mechanics. “Governed” would be much more appropriate.
        2. If this is all you want to argue, you have a lot to retract first – see above.
        3. What makes you think that you are in any position to judge what I do or do not believe ? 
        4. If by “will” you mean “human cognitive faculties” and by “determined” you mean “governed” (in a not necessarily deterministic way) then we have plenty of evidence to prove this claim:
        – Human cognitive faculties demonstrably rely on a functional human brain.
        – All that needs to be accounted for to explain the human brain is a handful of particles – eletrons, protons and neutrons – interacting via the fundamental physical forces, under “everyday” physical conditions (“everyday physics” meaning the distances, energies, masses etc. under which human brains are operational (i.e. NOT the inside of a black hole or a particle accelerator))
        – The physical laws governing the behaviour of protons, neutrons and electrons under these conditions are known and complete, this is a complete description of the behaviour of electrons at everyday energies, it doesn´t include things like the weak nuclear force or interactions with the Higgs field, but this is completely irrelevant for everyday energies (again, we are talking about the physical conditions at which human brains are actually operational – not the inside of a particle accelerator).
        – Quantum field theory demonstrates that currently unkown particles that are able to interact with the particles we know can be created by collisions between the particles we know (the logic behind a particle accelerator) – therefore we DO know that we are aware of all relevant particles and forces under the physical conditions at which human brains are operational.
        – If you want to argue that there is any unknown and potentially non-physical force that interacts with human brains (an alleged “soul” or “free will” for example) you have to demonstrate that Quantum field theory is wrong and that the Dirac equation is not absolutely accurate under the physical conditions in which the human brain is actually operational (and the Dirac equation might well be the empirically best supported physical description that humans ever developed – it is supported by countless experiments spanning many decades).

        Your move father, put up or shut up. 

        • steclij

          Type your reply…

      • Andy_Schueler

        deleted – double post.

    • steclij

      Jonathan – Of course I’ve been playing a game with you – to mmake you see that I  have free will  and to make you say tthat I AM responsible for my actions and you just  accused me of that.  That is enough proof for me that even you do not believe the thesis of your own book on Free Will.  I thought Andy was going to defend your thesis, but all he did was give me a refresher course in Biophysics. 

      I keep up with you and your activities on your  website  and I wish you well.  You may hear me from time to time as you continue work of nitpicking the Deity and playing Don Quixote, chasing the windmills of Faith as you continue your journey into atheist oblivion.  . 

      Father Clifford stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

       

      • Andy_Schueler

        Jonathan – Of course I’ve been playing a game with you – to mmake you see that I  have free will  and to make you say tthat I AM responsible for my actions and you just  accused me of that.  That is enough proof for me that even you do not believe the thesis of your own book on Free Will. 

        Where did Jonathan ever argue that the absence of libertarian free will makes the concept of personal accountability superfluous ? 

          I thought Andy was going to defend your thesis, but all he did was give me a refresher course in Biophysics.

        The existence of libertarian free will is incompatible with physics – much of what we do know about physics has to be spectacularly wrong if there is any currently unknown force interacting with human brains under everyday conditions (the conditions under which brains are actually operational):
        http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/02/19/the-star-of-bethlehem-in-the-blogosphere/#comment-815443456

        • steclij

          Andy – Your Physics is specttacularly wrong because you can’t see the difference between Physics as Physics and Physics as the substratum of the biology and cognitive powers of Homo Sapiens.  Another mistake in logic typical of atheists. One small mistake in bhe beginning………….but you know Aristotle

          Fr CJS

    • steclij

      Now that I have disposed of Jonathan and his denial of free will, I want to turn to the question of the human intellectual and volitional powers and your reduction of them to outgrowths of the humam biological powers, and
      Andy Scheuler’s statement that  free  will is incompatible with Physics.  That is the statement of an atheist and has nothing to do with science.  The very statement is incompatible with the human reasoning process whuch us free from biological control an d, if it is controlled, is not reason , but the ravings of  maniac.

      Yourr whole approach to the human intellectual and volitional powers applies only to Ethology and not to Anthrpology, the same mistake in liogic as that of Richard Dawkins.  I claim as I did before that you have bastardized science to serve your atheistic agenda..

      Father Clifford Stevens
      steclij

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy Scheuler’s statement that  free  will is incompatible with Physics.  That is the statement of an atheist and has nothing to do with science.

        Wrong on every conceivable level, try reading my comment before replying to it. 

        The very statement is incompatible with the human reasoning process whuch us free from biological control an d, if it is controlled, is not reason , but the ravings of  maniac.

        Incoherent gibberish. 

        Yourr whole approach to the human intellectual and volitional powers applies only to Ethology and not to Anthrpology, the same mistake in liogic as that of Richard Dawkins.

        More incoherent gibberish – seriously did you have too much of the communion wine Father ? 

        I claim as I did before that you have bastardized science to serve your atheistic agenda..

        Mere assertion. 

      • “Now that I have disposed of Jonathan and his denial of free will,”

        WTF? This might be THE funniest line I have ever seen written on the internet. I was going to accuse you of having some form of personality disorder, but thought it might be a little too ad hom. Now I genuinely think you do.

    • steclij

      Andy – No, not an assertion,.  You have just given yourself the “will” of a chimpanzee and, if so, your words are gibberish>

      Steclij

      • Andy_Schueler

        Andy – Your Physics is specttacularly wrong because you can’t see the difference between Physics as Physics and Physics as the substratum of the biology and cognitive powers of Homo Sapiens.

        Incoherent gibberish – again. 

        Andy – No, not an assertion,.  You have just given yourself the “will” of a chimpanzee and, if so, your words are gibberish

        Almost a coherent sentence – but only almost, I did not “give myself the “will” of a chimpanzee” (wtf is that even supposed to mean ?)

    • steclij

      Andy – The statement that the denial of free will does not deny personal responsibility for my choices is a blatent contradiction and you and Jonathan Pearce are guilty of massive deception in the name of the action of proteins and electromagnetism and your ” superior”  knowledge. 

      Everything you say is not for science’s sake but to further an atheist agenda and you know it.  You will twist words and the sciences  from their obvious and plain meanings and insert an atheist interpretation – and then appeal to your “superior” knowledge of “science”.

      You are using science fraudently for atheist purposes and that is evident in the very title of this website. So I am going to expose  you with science itself.  You are wrong about the causality of Physics in the sense of the laws of Physics creating living matter from the action of electrons and other sub atomic particles and although Physics can interact with proteins and other living matter it it cannot create life, as you imply.

      The same is true of human cognitive and volitional powers. T hey are not biological entities, even though they use a material body and biological senses and biological powers in interactive association.  Your reduction of what is specificallly human in man to  biology and Physics is  unscientific and lacking any evidential support.

      But the reduction of human beings to mere bioliogy is part of your atheist agenda, as is clear from every post that appears on Richard Dawkins’  website.  You are intent to use science for atheist purposes and that has become  an addiction for everyone of you.  I am going to use science against you because you think that is your strongest weapon. 

      I was humored by your use of science in a way that you thought   would overwhelm me with your knowkedge of one science through which you make judgments about  the whole of reality.  But you are Johmmy-one-note and do not represent the symphony of the sciences, most of which you know nothing about, as I could detect from your limited terminology.

      Father Clifford Stevens

      • Andy_Schueler

        Everything you say is not for science’s sake but to further an atheist agenda and you know it. 

        Oh, two can play that game – everything you say is a lie to promote your zombie-worshipping death cult and you know it
        See, it´s easy to make up shit about others, it´s not very nice though and believe it or not – your religion actually has commandments against that. 

        You are wrong about the causality of Physics in the sense of the laws of Physics creating living matter from the action of electrons and other sub atomic particles and although Physics can interact with proteins and other living matter it it cannot create life, as you imply.

        The same incoherent and ignorant (“living matter” again…) bullshit that I´ve already refuted in at least half a dozen comments…
        And since you don´t even try to engage any of our arguments, you are simply trolling at this point. 

        Your reduction of what is specificallly human in man to  biology and Physics is  unscientific and lacking any evidential support.

        For a dishonest fraud like you maybe because you simply ignore all the evidence:
        http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/02/19/the-star-of-bethlehem-in-the-blogosphere/#comment-815443456 

        I am going to use science against you because you think that is your strongest weapon.

        That´s cute father but I´m afraid you would have to learn something about science to do that…

    • steclij

      First of all, molecular biology and biophysics are still mostly in the theoretic stage, and and the key relationships of physics to biology are still in the experimental stage, since the instruments needed for observation and hypothesis are limited and an exact knowledge of the interaction of RNA and DNA to protein has not been clearly identified.  Both sciences are in their infant stages and the study has blossomed into so many sub-sciences that new specialties arrive everyday. 

      So your attempt to draw conclusions about the interaction of the the physical, the chemical and the biological is premature and without any empirical foundation.

      Fathrer Clifford Stevens

      • Cliff

        STOP ASSERTING GIBBERISH!

        “You are using science fraudently for atheist purposes and that is evident in the very title of this website. So I am going to expose  you with science itself.  You are wrong about the causality of Physics in the sense of the laws of Physics creating living matter from the action of electrons and other sub atomic particles and although Physics can interact with proteins and other living matter it it cannot create life, as you imply.”

        If you really believe the poppycock you are writing, then you need to stop being lazy and start substantiating your claims. If you are going to expose us with science, then do some fricking science or at least report some.

        You claim you have disposed of my arguments without having reported what my arguments are, or any philosophical or empirical refutation of them.

        You are, quite simply, the most delusional man I have ever conversed with. Except it is not a conversation, there is no Socratic dialiectical process. So, if you want to remain and discuss things, open your mind, don’t be disingenuous, and LISTEN to what people say, Simply sticking your fingers in your ears and making assertion after assertion is very boring and will get you banned.

        Imagine you are in a public live debate. If you don’t substantiate your assertions, you will lose points, and you will lose – by getting thrown out.

        I don’t mind being proved wrong. That is the joy of being properly open to evidence and argument. That process of refining knowledge into a more robust and reliable conclusion is at the heart of the scientific method. 

        Starting with a conclusion and asserting your way toward it ex post facto is simply bad philosophy.

      • Andy_Schueler

        First of all, molecular biology and biophysics are still mostly in the theoretic stage

        “The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.”
        – Lao Tzu
        You, Father, are not a wise man – you are an idiot.
        You literally don´t know anything about the topics you try to discuss, all you have is a long list of misconceptions and instead of addressing any of our arguments or reading and learning about the fields you want to discuss – you insist on arguing against your own misconceptions. And that makes you an idiot. 

        So your attempt to draw conclusions about the interaction of the the physical, the chemical and the biological is premature and without any empirical foundation.

        No it isn´t, I actually specifically addressed why my conclusion is everything but premature. 
        But even if I´m wrong – you could not possibly know it since you are too ignorant to follow the arguments.

    • steclij

      Andy – What a long and drawn out soliloquy as if I had stumbled unknowingly on some secret room in your house where you hide the the secret formula for chocolate pudding – and that is just what I wanted,.  What a waste of talent, what an infantile life’s achievement – using that brilliant mind and lifelong devotion to knocking God out of the sky and using  your talents to try to prove that Jesus Christ is a fiction and a hoax – not very convincing, but moving earth and heaven and some very bad history in the bargain,.  It is not your argumens that are at issue, although I question most of  your facts and find your history misplaced, it’s your intentions in the use of those arguments. 

      Oh, I have followed the arguments and know where they are going: to defend an athleism  that is unworthy of your scientific dedication and, worse still, using that scientific prowess for atheistic purposes, in the name of science.  If that is not the bastardization of science, I don;t know what is,.  You have refuted nothing: you have stated your opinions in a field that is still in its infancy and have thrown your Ph. D. in the mud in the process.
      And you have intrerpreted your facts with your hand on a dagger aimed at the death of God, joining a conspiracy of  masters of one science who considered themselves master of  all history and everything human.

      You and your colleagues use your science as intellectual bullies, claiming a competence you do not have to judge the ages. poisoning the waters of the human dialogue and and making yourselves masters of deceit,.What in the world is an atheist doing claiming to be an exegete of the Gospel of Matthew?  Look at the heading of this website and the issues discussed,  That speaks for itself and you need not preach to me about honesty and fairplay,.  You have broken all the rules of the human  dialogue with a malicious intent that now the whole world that listens to these posts is keenly aware of.,

      Father Clifford Stevens
      Boys Town, Nebraska

      • Andy_Schueler

        Get your mental health examined – you are either drunk of your ass or you are clinically insane. 
        Seriously, get help. 

      • So anyone who disagrees with you on the exegesis of, say, Matthew, is malicious and dishonest?

        Wow, what a way to inspire and motivate honest and open debate.

        THAT is why you have no real epistemic right to your claims.

    • steclij

       A
       
       
       
       

    • steclij

      Andy – I do follow your arguments and they end up at an epistimetic deadend.  Your cognitional theory is wacky.  I refuted it in my first year of college.  You don’t reason on your data  You affirm and deny, but you cannot distinguish.  You mistake the essence for the ens.  It is your  lack of reasoning power going from known to unknown  that is lacking. 
       
      That is why it is mostly circular reasoning. You end up where you started. It’s like a fine surgeon who has become a butcher.  You cannot discern the reason for things, so all you have is a catalogue of unrelated items. 

      In every experiment there are physical, semantic, epistemological and methodical elements.  You deal only with semantics, as long as you have a name you think the  name proves something.  In other words, you don’t make scientific sense of your data.  You think the data is the argument and you end up begging the question.

      You state a lot of things.  You prove nothing. What were you trying to prove with all that data? 

      I say that it proves only that  there is interaction between Physics and Living Matter, but it does not prove that the Laws of Physics change particles of matter into living matter, or to make any substantial change in living matter.

      Father Clifford Stevens

      • Cliff, your post is not good enough.

        “Andy – I do follow your arguments and they end up at an epistimetic deadend.”

        How? Why?

        “Your cognitional theory is wacky.”

        What does this even mean? How is it wacky?

        “I refuted it in my first year of college.”

        Great. Define what you are talking about and provide your refutation. ANOTHER baseless, useless assertion.

        “You don’t reason on your data ”

        You bloody hypocrite.

        “You affirm and deny, but you cannot distinguish.”

        Affirm or deny what? You don’t even clarify what the hell you are talking about. and YOU are the one that does not distinguish ANYTHING.

        “You mistake the essence for the ens.  It is your  lack of reasoning power going from known to unknown  that is lacking. ”

        WTF? What are you talking about? You have shown NO REASONING. You simply assert, as you are doing here. There is no logical progression, no syllogism, nothing. You are full of shit.

        “That is why it is mostly circular reasoning. You end up where you started. It’s like a fine surgeon who has become a butcher.  You cannot discern the reason for things, so all you have is a catalogue of unrelated items. ”

        You are the most circular reasoner on the planet. You assert anything that disagrees with your position as dishonest and malicious, without showing why, and without producing counterpoints.

        “In every experiment there are physical, semantic, epistemological and methodical elements.  You deal only with semantics, as long as you have a name you think the  name proves something.”

        Absolute bullshit. Andy has produced citations, examples, empirical data and ACTUALLY WORKS IN THE DISCIPLINE. Ether produce something of substance or you are banned.”In other words, you don’t make scientific sense of your data.  You think the data is the argument and you end up begging the question.

        “You haven’t made scientific sense of a single word you have said.

        “You state a lot of things.  You prove nothing. What were you trying to prove with all that data?”

        YOU ARE FRICKING KIDDING ME? GO AND READ EVERY POST HERE. HE HAS STATED, EVIDENCED, CITED, EXPLAINED, THEORISED, EMPIRICALLY DEFENDED. WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE? You have done nothing but assert conclusions, which usually don;t make sense, based on the square root of naff all.

        “I say that it proves only that  there is interaction between Physics and Living Matter, but it does not prove that the Laws of Physics change particles of matter into living matter, or to make any substantial change in living matter.”

        I say that it proves… Wow. You prove nothing, because you posit nothing. There is no substance. This is your penultimate post if you cannot do a better job on the next one. Absolute final warning.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Clifford, 
        your last comment is 224 words long, and does not address anything I said in any way, shape or form. 
        The comment before is 353 words long, and did not address anything I said in any way, shape or form.
        And in none of the other of the roughly two dozen or so comments of yours did you ever address any of my arguments in any way, shape or form.

        Your verbose ramblings could easily be compressed to:
        “- You are an ATHEIST!!!!!!! 
        – Also, your arguments are totally illogical – I can´t explain specifically how, but I´ll just drop the names of randomly selected logical fallacies without explaining how they relate to any of your arguments in any way, shape or form. 
        – I don´t care about any of your arguments because you are an ATHEIIIIIIIIIIST and it is thus clear that you are lying anyway.
        – When we talk about human biology, physics does not apply, because human bodies clearly work by MAGIC and magic alone – BECAUSE I SAY SO!!! And I don´t care about any of your fancy “evidence” because you are an ATHEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIST!!!!!!!”

        See, I just saved you lot´s of time – now you can just copy-paste the relevant sentence instead of wasting your time on a needlessly verbose 300+ words comment that could easily be reduced to one of those sentences. 

    • steclij

       So Andy’s great learning leads to Bethlehem and the star and the Magi?  What kind of logic is that?  What is he trying to prove?  Where is the link between his great learning and the Star of Bethlehem?  That’s a rather strange place for a Molecular Biologist to be. 

      Fr CJS  
       
       
       

    • steclij

       So Andy’s great learning leads to Bethlehem and the star and the Magi?  What kind of logic is that?  What is he trying to prove?  Where is the link between his great learning and the Star of Bethlehem?  That’s a rather strange place for a Molecular Biologist to be.  What kind of credentials does he have for THAT???  And what kind of an appeal is crude language and references that would make your grandmother blush?  

      With all that learning he has not proved what he set out to do: demmonstrate that the laws of Physics can turn particles of matter into living matter or use living matter to determine the activities of the human will.  The crux is there: the collision of matter with matter to turn matter into living matter or –  to use living matter(biology) to affect the activities of the human will.

      We cannot identify all the atomic and subatomic particles that we call Physics and we certainly cannot identify all the forms of living matter we  call biology.  On what is his selection of particles in Physics based on.
       
       
       
      Fr CJS

      • Andy_Schueler

         So Andy’s great learning leads to Bethlehem and the star and the Magi?  What kind of logic is that?  What is he trying to prove?  Where is the link between his great learning and the Star of Bethlehem?  That’s a rather strange place for a Molecular Biologist to be.

        1. I did not say a single word about Bethlehem, Magi, Stars or anything like that. What the fuck are you talking about ? 
        2. You wrote more than two dozen comments about scientific topics (at least you tried to do that), yet you are a priest – what a strange topic for a priest to address! What are you trying to prove ?! Where is the link ?! (see how nonsensical that sounds when someone plays the same trick on you ?). 

        And what kind of an appeal is crude language and references that would make your grandmother blush?

        You dare complain about a lack of civility after you´ve accused everyone here several times of being a liar ?

        With all that learning he has not proved what he set out to do: demmonstrate that the laws of Physics can turn particles of matter into living matter or use living matter to determine the activities of the human will.  The crux is there: the collision of matter with matter to turn matter into living matter or –  to use living matter(biology) to affect the activities of the human will.

        We cannot identify all the atomic and subatomic particles that we call Physics and we certainly cannot identify all the forms of living matter we  call biology.  On what is his selection of particles in Physics based on.

        And again, you don´t address any of my arguments in any way, shape or form – but rather insist on arguing against your own idiotic misconceptions.

    • steclij

      Andy – You can blame your friend Jonathan for this dilemma.

      He wrote a book in which he claimed that the determinist laws of Physics so affects the human will that it produces the illusion of free will.  I thought you got into the picture to demonstrate that his thesis is true – and do you you believe it yourself?

      Fr CJS    
       
       
       

      • Andy_Schueler

        What has ANY of this to do with your previous comment:

        So Andy’s great learning leads to Bethlehem and the star and the Magi?  What kind of logic is that?  What is he trying to prove?  Where is the link between his great learning and the Star of Bethlehem?  That’s a rather strange place for a Molecular Biologist to be.  What kind of credentials does he have for THAT???

    • steclij

      Andy – What are you doing then on a page with the heading: “The Star of Bethlehem in Blogosphere”?

      Fr CJS

    • Cliff, are you not even honest enough to deal with Andy’s arguments that you have to claim they are not relevant in this blog comment section when you brought them up in the first place?!?

      If you want to get back to arguments about the evidences concerning the Star of Bethlehem and the Magi, then I suggest you drop the other matters. Accusing someone of addressing what you bring up as not relevant is worse that moving the goal post–it’s running with it to another field for another sport.

    • steclij

      Aaron – Andy’s arguments are completely irrelevant because he has not faced the question that brought me into this conversation in the first place: Jonathan’s claim that the determinist laws of Physics causes an illusion of free will in human beings.  That is so contrary to human experience that it calls into question his sanity and any other opinions he may have on anything.   Andy’s posts have never touched that question ad experimentum.  He has just thrown out facts that no one can deny, but never touched upon what it is that causes the illusion of free will, but opens  the question – does he have other illusions if he holds to that one?.

      I hold that there is no scientific evidence for Jonathan’s claims and Andy’s posts have not given any scientific support to Jonathan’s thesis.  He acts as if Molecular Biology were a fixed science, but all you have to do is to read the journals (how many are  there?) to  realize that even the terminology is in flux, and the data is not ready even for hypotheses. 
       
      He seems to have said with regard to my question on the matter of free will: Question Closed.  The Human Genome and the multiplicity of genetic coded indicates that the door is wide open.

      Fr CJS
       

      • You CLAIM to have read my book. Refute every single scientific claim made therein.

        Go on.

        Do it now, or do one. Stop mouthing off this incessant bile of assertion without giving a single sodding piece of evidence, without giving a single sodding piece of philosophy. You are the worst arguer I have ever come across online. You have nothing to add. Either your next post evidences your claims or that is it. You are on borrowed time.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Aaron – Andy’s arguments are completely irrelevant because he has not faced the question that brought me into this conversation in the first place

        I didn´t bring this stuff up, I addressed your  assertions – if you now think that those are “irrelevant”, than why the fuck did you ever make them in the first place ?! 

        He acts as if Molecular Biology were a fixed science, but all you have to do is to read the journals (how many are  there?) to  realize that even the terminology is in flux, and the data is not ready even for hypotheses. 
          
        He seems to have said with regard to my question on the matter of free will: Question Closed.  The Human Genome and the multiplicity of genetic coded indicates that the door is wide open.

        At first I thought that your ignorance is only surpassed by your arrogance and confidence – but now I´m not so sure any more, might also be the other way around.

      • “Andy’s arguments are completely irrelevant because he has not faced the question that brought me into this conversation in the first place”
        That’s not what you said before. You said they were irrelevant because they didn’t deal with the Star:

        “Andy – What are you doing then on a page with the heading: “The Star of Bethlehem in Blogosphere”?”

        and

        “So Andy’s great learning leads to Bethlehem and the star and the Magi?  What kind of logic is that?  What is he trying to prove?  Where is the link between his great learning and the Star of Bethlehem?  That’s a rather strange place for a Molecular Biologist to be.”

        You brought up the subject of physics, biology, and free will, Andy responded, and then you complained about Andy talking about these things when it didn’t deal with the Star of Bethlehem.

        Cliff, you cannot even do the least bit of honest engagement of ideas. You obviously didn’t ready Jon’s book on free will; even when he presents you his list of sources, you still claim he didn’t do any research. You say that anyone arguing here about this subject were are malicious. And every time we bring up evidence, you say that it only is there to protect our atheist bias and yet you show not a single fact against it. When one side has AND presents facts, the other side doesn’t, that that latter side claims to be right and have all the facts on their side, while impugning the character of their opponents with what looks like psychological projection, they are, by definition, suffering from a delusion.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusion

        If you cannot substantiate your claims with evidence, with cited, credible sources, without hundreds of words of bluster, while continuously misrepresenting your opponents, while changing subject and moving the goal post, while attacking the character of your opponents, then you are worse than incompetent.

        • I’ve blacklisted him. I hope he doesn’t cause you issues on your blog. It’s sad – the first I have ever done. But the sheer bluster and ignorance. I can’t tell you the number of times I have said the same thing to him for him to ignore and not get it (eg quantum – it seems Andy and I might have different interpretations, but both appear to still deny contra-casual free will).

          • He was just popping up again at my blog, leaving comments on a number of spots with little more than insult and accusation. Did you know we are part of a world-wide conspiracy to destroy Christianity?

            Yeah, so I told him to actually converse like a normal person or be banned. He accused some more. I said again insults and accusations lead to banning. He continued. So he’s banned there as well.

            From the looks of it, he goes around the Internet leaving these sorts of comments. He’s the David Mabus of the Catholic Church.

            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dennis_Markuze

            • Aah, Mabus. He’s back, apparently, too!

              Yes, I’m so sorry you had to experience the idiocy of the man. It is so hard not to just shout at him rather rudely!

    • steclij

      There is no science in your book but just assertions which you will not demonstrste ad experimentum.  You juggle the tthree explanations: Libertarian, Compatibilism, Determinism -, mix and juggle them together and then take your pick.  But the  grossest fallacy in the whole book is that you are using the very free will that you claim doe not exist.  No one in his right mind can take you seriously.  Now you say that denying free will does not mean what you say you say it means. The book is a farce and a fraud. 

      Fr CJS

      • FAIL.

        And you clearly haven’t read the book, which is why I reprted you to Amazon for filing a negative review without having read it. You then proceeded to prove that in the ensuing conversation, admitting you had not read it.

        Anyway, I will paste the references (predominantly philosophical and scientific) to the book, just so people can see your lies. The fact that you still do not understand that quantum does not affect free will in the slightest just demonstrates how stupid you are.

        Oh, and you’re banned. I gave you AMPLE opportunity to defend your claims. You failed miserably. Embarrassingly. Pathetically.

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    • steclij

      My dear fellow – You have just refuted the thesis of your book.  “Quantum does not affect free will in the slightest”:  Then why did you write the book claiming that free will is can illusion?

      Fr CJS

      • Idiot. Read the book. You’d understand why you have been spouting shit without any good reason or understanding. Jeez.

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    • loretta Sunshine

      Because I love the star of Bethlehem, The best gift I have ever received from my son was having a star named after me! It is so beautiful and it is a gift that keeps on giving. http://www.starregistry.com.