Quotes: Short and Interesting
Designed performance - 2023 January
Every cell in our bodies is wildly more sophisticated than anything else humans have ever made. Biology is insanely complex, but never needlessly complex. Everything you find in biology is there for a very specific reason. Nature is an amazing designer and manufacturer. - Ralph DiMeo note
From a podcast of Mark in the Wild interviewing Ralph DiMeo. 8:30 (lightly edited)
Ralph has built a company that makes some of the best wool outerwear garments you can get. He is infectiously excited by wool. He has a very interesting blog on his website that overlaps product performance with personal life.
Ralph seems to take a standard view of biological origins of wool, but he also has a perspective of it being an engineered material.
These two views are an interesting contrast. The standard origins view explains minor biological diversification, but it doesn't provide scientific explanations of origins. It definitely doesn't explain ultimate origins; it doesn't explain origins above the level of species. The impotence of the standard view, therefore, stalls biological research since it doesn't support explanations for the complex engineering seen in biology.
Taking a full engineering perspective of biology is actually very different from the standard model. Engineered products (all of them) do not come from sources of randomness. This functional view which is now seen in systems biology has however restarted fruitful progress in biological research.
Reading the Bible - 2022 October
A Christian shouldn’t simply think that they must read the Bible. Instead think of what you should get out of the Bible when you read it. - Darren Twa note
From a Sunday talk.
When you read the Bible, ask yourself, "What does this teach me about God’s value system, and what does it teach me about relationships?"
The Bible is not just a book of theology. Even if it was, just believing correct theology does not lead you to good living or to Christian maturity. Look instead for what will help you understand right values and the application of these values.
Consciousness - 2022 September
Your consciousness is the part of you which deals with what is not yet determined. - Jordan Peterson note
From a Dave Rubin Report interview 48:00 (lightly edited)
In the morning when you wake up your consciousness emerges - from nothing in some sense. That which you will do is not pre-determined for the day. All those things you do which are habitual and deterministic are unconscious. They have turned into habit and you don’t have conscious control of them.
However, your consciousness is that part of you which deals with what is not yet determined. When you wake up you are concerned with a field of potential in front of you. That field of potential is the future - what could be but what is not yet. As a consequence of the choices that you make guided by your ethical aims, you transform that potential into actuality. You literally do that with your consciousness.
I think that is the reflection of the image of God in man. I think this is put forth in the earliest sections of Genesis because that’s what God does. He is a structure who confronts nothingness with consciousness - the Logos. He extracts out order from potential.
There is the interesting repetition in Genesis of the idea that if you confront potential with truth (the Logos) then the order that you produce is good. This is a really interesting ethical claim. You take this potential, and you interact with it morally. The consequence is that you produce reality, and the reality is good.
Humans are a microcosm of what God did.
Maturity - 2022 July
It’s very difficult to mature until you have children. The reason it’s hard is because you’re not mature until someone else is more important than you. It’s possible this could happen with someone like your spouse but not like with children. - Jordan Peterson note
From the Jordan Peterson podcast 13:40
about Instagram - 2022 June
I don’t want to waste my life peering into the windows of other peoples lives. - Ayo Tunde note
From the Cold Case Christianity podcast 19:00
To learn something, to acquire information, is to rule out possibilities. To understand the information conveyed in a communication is to know what possibilities would be excluded by its truth. - Robert Stalnaker
Information is the realization of one possibility to the exclusion of others within a reference class of possibilities. Information is measured via probabilities: the smaller the probability, the greater the information. - William Dembski note
From a talk on YouTube by William Dembski
Reason - 2022 Mar
So long as reason remains faithful and faith remains reasonable, both reason and faith should be held in high regard and encouraged to cooperate. - Holden and Haun note
Holden, Joseph M, and Christopher T Haun. “How Do We Understand the Relationship Between Faith and Reason.” The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 2021, p. 33.
Materialism - 2022 Jan
Materialism is a weak flame that is blown out by the breath of mature thinking. - Martin Luther King Jr. note
King, Martin Luther, Strength to Love, Fortress Press, 2010
Materialism is neither a deduction of logic or a fact of experience; it is a metaphysical prejudice. It cannot be justified from first premises. - David Bentley note
People are not relativistic about medicine, science and technology. [but] They are relativistic about ethics and religion. That is not post-modernism; that’s modernism. - William Lane Craig note
Modernism is all relativistic about "truth". Therefore, this point is surprising because as a society we don't have a consistent view of our world. In some cases (ethics and religion) we are squishy about things, but in others (medicine, science and technology) we act as if truth is absolute.
The difference is that for the latter there often is testable evidence repeatable by anybody, so we think scientifically about it. However for ethics and religion we act as if it is non-testable, in the realm of opinion.
I think that ethics and religion is testable. However, in these areas people often want what they want such that they don't care about evidence.
Consciousness - 2021 Dec
My definition of consciousness is intentionality, the capacity to be about some thing. - Michael Egnor note
This capacity includes qualia and emotions.
Note that in contrast a rock is non-living and is never about something.
Consciousness is deeply related to our unique human ability to tell and understand stories. - Darren Twa note
From a private conversation.
I take the classic philosopher’s definition of science which is: the systematic study of natural effects according to their causes.
I think that God is the ultimate cause of nature and the ultimate cause of us. So I think that understanding God and understanding the spiritual aspects of our soul is a scientific endeavor. I think if we leave that aspect out, our science is incomplete. - Michael Egnor note
Church and Jesus
The institutional church and Jesus are always related but they’re not the same exact thing. - Audrey Assad note
Science does not need humans to share a common ancestor with monkeys - materialism does. note
Evil and Good - 2021 Nov
We Christians sometimes talk about the problem of evil. ("If there is a good God why is the world such a mess?") But actually for the atheist there is the problem of good. If the world is random and chance and meaningless, why do we all instinctively call some aspects of it good? - NT Wright note
The Ask NT Wright Anything podcast Episode 92
The gates of hell are locked from the inside. - C.S. Lewis
Thinking About Thinking
Any theory that invalidates thinking cannot be true because you reach it by thinking. - C.S. Lewis note
This context was a talk by John Lennox:
"What do you do science with? You do it with your mind. Evolution suggests that the mind is the end product of a mindless thoughtless randomly-driven process. If that is the case, why should we trust our mind for doing science? Why should we believe that our mind is rational enough to be able to do science?
"If our computers were the result of a random chance-driven process, we would not trust them for anything. For the same reason any materialistic explanation for our mind means that we can’t trust it for science or for truth."
God is the explanation for why there are scientific explanations. - John Lennox
My biggest argument for thinking that human beings are special is that God became one. - John Lennox
Ignoring the evidence from the fossil record that points to intelligent design is a kind of science denial. - Gunter Bechley note
"In my view the fossil evidence clearly points to intelligent design because the observed changes happened much too quickly to be explained by an unguided naturalistic process. They have to be explained with an Intelligent agent.
"For me personally a lightbulb went on when I discovered that this is not based on an argument from ignorance, not based on a kind of god-of-the-gaps argument, but is based on a rational inference to the best explanation. We know that only intelligent causes can cause this effect [sudden infusions of specified complex information]. We look at the evidence and see that this evidence clearly points to this cause.
"So, ignoring the evidence from the fossil record that points to intelligent design is a kind of science denial."
Evolution News (at 33:30)
Living Things Try
Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defined living things as things that strive for their own perfection. This distinguishes living things from non-living things because a rock does not wake up and try to be a better rock. Whereas, living things to degrees of success try to make themselves better examples of what they are. So the information in living things is directed to ends, but you don’t see this in non-living things. - Michael Egnor note
Context: There is information in living things that is different than what is seen in naturally produced things, such as rocks.
The Mind Matters podcast interview of Robert Marks by Michael Egnor
Arguments - 2021 Oct
Rational arguments don’t create belief, but the lack of them destroys conviction. - C.S. Lewis
A perceptive observation - 2021 Aug
The test of whether you love God is whether you love your neighbor. -Jay Richards note
ID the Future podcast (at 4:10): Jay references the greatest commandments as given by Jesus (in Matthew 22:35-40).
Culture - 2021 Sept
Christianity is the operating system of our social structures. - Jordan B Peterson
Kinds of Knowing - 2021 Aug
Participatory knowing gives you a field of affordances. Perspectival knowing makes certain affordances salient to you perspectively, giving you a situational awareness. The situational awareness tells you which skills from your procedural knowing you should bring to bear. Once those skills are in action, you are getting the right kind of causal interaction with the world for your propositional evidence. - John VerVaeke note
The Jordan B Peterson Podcast S4 E34