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Teleological Argument

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Paaatrick

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Why is life special?
« on: September 28, 2013, 06:24:30 pm »
Hey all.

I want to pose another question I got from a friend of mine some days ago.
He thinks that the teleological argument fails in presupposing that life is more special than say a stone. The existence of life is (roughly) the same as that of a stone, a planet or any other phenomenon in the universe. Why on this view think that design is necessary for life, if life is no more probable than the existence of anything else?

- Paaatrick

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2013, 07:35:02 am »
Thats a point ive always thought. The universe is no more fine tuned for life than  it is for cup cakes.

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philtime

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 08:50:30 am »
The universe seems much more fine-tuned for the existence of rocks than for life.

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joppe

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2013, 10:33:39 am »
If the laws of physics were altered, there wouldn't be any rocks, let alone life.
Your objection fails there.
Saying you 'merely lack belief' in God while arguing for naturalism is the same as saying you 'don't have a political opinion' while praising a political party.

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Jubilee

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2013, 12:37:48 pm »
Hey all.

I want to pose another question I got from a friend of mine some days ago.
He thinks that the teleological argument fails in presupposing that life is more special than say a stone. The existence of life is (roughly) the same as that of a stone, a planet or any other phenomenon in the universe. Why on this view think that design is necessary for life, if life is no more probable than the existence of anything else?

- Paaatrick

You don't need to assume that life is intrinsically worthwhile. All you need to confirm a teleological hypothesis in any domain is to have a hypothesis advocated independently of the confirmatory observation, and then to make that observation.

For example, say I get dealt two random cards in black jack, a 4 of hearts and a 10 of spades. Now, say after the dealing, a friend of mine tells me that he thinks someone intentionally stacked the deck so I would get the 4 and the 10--no reason, just his claim. In bayesian terms, yes, his hypothesis is confirmed by the evidence because the existence of a deck stacker makes my cards more likely than the chance hypothesis. The problem with the deck stacker hypothesis, however, is that the prior probability is low because it is ad hoc and unmotivated.

Let's change the scenario a little. Say that a friend of mine has all day been saying that the dealer loves it when people get 4's and 10's in any card games. This fact motivates the deck stacker hypothesis when I find that I do in fact have the 4's and 10's, and thus the deck stacker hypothesis becomes pretty probable.

Same with theism and the fine-tuning. Theists have been saying for ages that the universe exhibits signs of design for life. Now that scientists have discovered that life is extremely improbable, the "cosmic stack" hypothesis is not ad hoc and is strongly confirmed by the observation.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2013, 01:14:10 pm »
"I want to pose another question I got from a friend of mine some days ago.
He thinks that the teleological argument fails in presupposing that life is more special than say a stone. The existence of life is (roughly) the same as that of a stone, a planet or any other phenomenon in the universe. Why on this view think that design is necessary for life, if life is no more probable than the existence of anything else?"

Your friend's question strikes me as  bizarre.  On what basis does he conclude that the existence of life is roughly the same as that of a stone?  Certainly, any life form is far more complex than a stone.  The complexity of life makes it far less probable that a living organism would exist without design then a stone.  One can see that even within our own solar system where the earth is the only planet with life.  Perhaps I am missing his point?

When he says " teleological argument fails in presupposing that life is more special than say a stone" what exactly does he mean?

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 09:46:02 am »
I cant speak for the friend, but what I would say is there is more reason to think the universe is desgined for life than it is for cup cakes.
If someone said the unvierse was fine tuned for cup cakes Ithink we would laugh at them. So why take the claim that its fine tuned for life any mroe seriously?

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 12:25:44 pm »
I cant speak for the friend, but what I would say is there is more reason to think the universe is desgined for life than it is for cup cakes.
If someone said the unvierse was fine tuned for cup cakes Ithink we would laugh at them. So why take the claim that its fine tuned for life any mroe seriously?

Maybe I am a little dense, but I don't follow your point.  Was this an argument?  Perhaps you could elaborate.

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2013, 02:30:40 am »
The argument made by the thiest is that universe is fine tuned for life, the response by the sceptic is that the universe is no more fine tuned forlife than it is fine tuned for cup cakes. Both rely on the same values for the physical constants of nature.

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2013, 10:51:19 am »
The argument made by the thiest is that universe is fine tuned for life, the response by the sceptic is that the universe is no more fine tuned forlife than it is fine tuned for cup cakes. Both rely on the same values for the physical constants of nature.

I still don't get your point.  Consider this:

1) If I were to find a cupcake on the ground, I would reasonable assume that it was designed by an intelligent being and that it did not come into existence through the random interaction of matter. To state the matter differently, if I found a cupcake on another unexplored planet, I would count that as very strong evidence that intelligent life exists on that planet.

2) Accordingly for there to be a reasonable chance for cupcakes to exist in this universe, the universe must be finely tuned for the existence of intelligent life. 

3)  Finally,  to say that the universe is finely tuned for the existence of intelligent life or for the existence of cupcakes is to say pretty much the same thing.

What is your point?

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2013, 03:17:43 am »
i think you are missing the point. Let me give you another example that wil drive it home better. If you find a snow flake in the ground, do you assume its intelligently desgined?

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2013, 04:13:24 am »
i think you are missing the point. Let me give you another example that wil drive it home better. If you find a snow flake in the ground, do you assume its intelligently desgined?

No, I would not think a snow flake was intelligently designed nor would advocates of the ID movement.  I do think a cupcake is something that would have to have been  intelligently designed. I am surprised you cannot see the obvious distinction between the two that leads in one case to a design inference and in the other case not.

Let me propose a thought  experiment.  Imagine you visited an unexplored planet and found snow. Would you count this evidence of intelligent life on the planet?
Next,  imagine you visited an unexplored planet and found  a dozen  cupcakes.  Would you consider that to be evidence of intelligent life?

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2013, 05:27:51 am »
I think you are mssing the context of the argument, when the original poster talks about life being no idfferent to a stone , what they are clearly tlakign abotu is the fine tuning argument. Its nothing to do with the ID argument obviosuly , that would nto make sense at all.
The problem with the fine tuning argument is that , as you agreed there is no design inference froma  snow flake. yet the fine tuning argument works equally for a snow flake than for life. There is no reason to repfer one over theother. If the values for constants were different snow flakes couldnt exist, nor could cup cakes. So there is more reason to say the universe is fine tuned for life than to say its fine tuned for cup cakes or snow flakes.

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ontologicalme

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2013, 07:15:29 am »
Conscious agents bring into the world features that are not found in the physical world, as morally and aestheticly significant capacities,and the capacity to abstract from the world features that are there, but could not be exploited (but through intentionality) as  knowledge and experiencing the world, these are exclusively intrinsic features brought by conscious agents, that are added to for the first time to a world with out conscious beings, and which enrich the quality of this world. 


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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2013, 08:19:42 am »
"The problem with the fine tuning argument is that , as you agreed there is no design inference froma  snow flake. yet the fine tuning argument works equally for a snow flake than for life. There is no reason to repfer one over the other. If the values for constants were different snow flakes couldnt exist, nor could cup cakes. So there is more reason to say the universe is fine tuned for life than to say its fine tuned for cup cakes or snow flakes"

I am not getting your point.  Sure, for rocks and snowflakes to exist, the universe has to be fine tuned.  For example, the forces of contraction and expansion of the universe would have to be properly balanced.  Neither rocks nor snow flakes could exist if the universe quickly collapsed after it came into existence nor if the universe expanded so rapidly that matter was too dispersed for stars and planets to form.  If you want to say that the universe is fine tuned for the existence of snowflakes and rocks that is fine by me.  It is not clear to me why this would be a criticism of the fine tuning argument.

I would note that the degree of fine tuning necessary for life to exist is likely greater than for a snowflake, but perhaps not

By the way, most people would agree that a snowflake is not designed because while it can be described as complex, it does not have specified complexity.  On the other hand, a book could not come into existence except by the work of an intelligent agent because a book does have specified complexity.  If you don't understand the term, "specified complexity" perhaps you should visit an Intelligent Design website.