Author Topic: "A Planet without Laughter" by Raymond Smullyan  (Read 12897 times)


  • Miscreant Erendrake
  • Administrator
  • Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 5081
  • Gender: Male
  • infidel barbarian
Re: "A Planet without Laughter" by Raymond Smullyan
« Reply #240 on: December 31, 2014, 04:11:49 AM »
I really think you're missing the point here. I've said that none of these subjects really interest me because they're all disputed. And they mostly concern things that I consider far out of the realm of the provable: pre-history. So when I post a link to an article on, or to a Wikipedia article on Schroeder, or to a page on some other site you don't like, I'm not saying they're necessarily right and you're wrong, or even that I'm in full agreement with everything the referenced piece; I'm simply demonstrating that the subject is disputed, most likely impossible to resolve, and thus not of immediate interest to me.

I don't think I'm missing your point at all, and I like your links. They highlight the universally wretched quality of support for the Creationist position. Example after example of woefully inaccurate and/or misrepresented science, coupled with laughably transparent dishonesty. When you use such sources, it only serves to emphasize the flimsiness of your claim that the topic is "disputed."
It seems to me the important things in life ought to be more obvious to an experienced and mature human than that. Which is why I try to focus on things we have all experienced first-hand.

The evidence is conclusive to experienced and mature people who've bothered to examine it without ideological blinkers. Those who're ridden by Morton's demon, on the other hand, will always prefer to focus on something else.

Things like:

(a) our own individual creative endeavors (like writing posts on this forum);

(b) the ubiquitous appearance of design in things natural and artificial (like guitar amps and human bodies);

(c) clear distinctions in kind (like fish and people);

(d) belief as the prime motivator behind all enduring pursuits (including all of the very non-scientific "Aha!"s and hunches and insights and inspirations that drive the entire scientific enterprise);

(e) practical and scalable simulations (balloons and blimps come to mind);

(f) simple probability calculations (as in, "What's the chance of that ever happening?"); and

(g) the aesthetic, moral, and emotional corollaries of different doctrines (Could an unbeliever, for example, ever convincingly write a story like "Les Miserables"?).

People have repeatedly pointed out to you the inescapable reality that conclusions derived from intuition are very often incorrect. If our species had relied on intuition, we'd still believe that the Earth was the immovable center of the universe, that thunder and lightning were supernatural phenomena, that heavier objects fall faster then lighter ones, and so on. Yes, intuition serves a useful purpose, but to get a grip on reality we need to question it, and investigate to discover whether what it leads us to believe is correct or not. When the results of investigation contradict intuition, experienced and mature people will accept those results. They don't ignore the contradictions and lie about the results of the investigations.

Regarding the biblically derived concept of "kinds," baraminology has repeatedly failed to produce anything of scientific value, and continues to do so.

Aesthetic, emotional and moral corollaries do not affect the accuracy of scientific investigations. In addition, you've received responses to that particular canard in previous threads. It's my recollection that you didn't even acknowledge most of them, as is your wont.

Now it appears to me that the atheistic evolutionary perspective on things requires me to reject, in one sense or another, all of the above. In effect, if I have understood everyone's replies to my posts here correctly, the "Happy Atheist" community view is that:

(a) the concept-design-construction paradigm that all people in all times and all places have found so effective bears no relation to how the universe (or we ourselves!) have come to be;

(b) our experienced intuitions regarding the appearance of design in human artifacts can usually be trusted, but the same intuitions regarding natural things must be considered completely and utterly illusory;

(c) clear distinctions in kind are really mere differences in degree;

(d) reason must be exalted to a position far beyond its capacity to replace belief as our prime motivator;

(e) practical and scalable simulations aren't important;

(f) simple probability calculations aren't important; and

(g) that we must abandon all hope when we enter here, since our certain and not-too-distant end -- whatever we think, say, or do -- is non-existence.

Your (a) through (d) are answered above. Regarding (e); when I showed you a practical and scalable simulation, you went into full denial mode, replete with shifting goalposts and circular reasoning. You may have convinced yourself that example wasn't relevant, but your reasons for rejecting it were spurious.

As to (f); the probability calculation you put so much store in is faulty and dishonest, as is shown by the response linked for you by Dobermonster. Included on that page is a link to a comprehensive examination of the reasons why that calculation has no bearing on reality. I imagine it will give you great pleasure to ignore that link as you have so many others.

I don't know why you think that (g) has any relevance to the issue of evolution, since there are many experienced and mature Christian people who accept it and still maintain their belief in their god and an afterlife. Atheism is not dependent on the theory of evolution, and the theory of evolution is not dependent on atheism.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Now you're just pulling my leg.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken