Which of these two scenarios is more logical?

Scenario 1: A boy is placed in a room with a pile of lego and he builds a lego castle.

Scenario 2: A pile of lego is placed in an empty room for infinity and a castle is built.

Please tell me which scenario is more logical first, and then you can go on and point out the fallacies and flaws in my argument, thanks.

Posted: May 12th 2009

Dave Hitt www

These are two entirely different scenarios. One room contains a biological creature, one does not.

You might as well ask – in which of these two rooms is it more likely the boy will be rushed to the hospital with a Lego brick stuck in his nose?

Posted: May 14th 2009

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flagellant www

This is the sort of question with which it’s fruitless to engage. It appears to be an attempt to argue from analogy, an unsound form of disputation. I shall reply differently.

Any attempt to postulate 'God is the answer’, from anything atheists might respond, is ridiculous. 'God’ as agency always fails against 'Who made God?’ and the anthropomorphic answer 'Homo sapiens invented god’. What’s wrong, instead, with the scientific statement, about the origins of life, 'We don’t know’, followed by 'It’s being worked on’? And, thanks to Science and open, inquiring minds, we now know infinitely more about the World than the religiosi, several thousand years ago, ever did.

Experiments have demonstrated how amino acids might have arisen billions of years ago, and there is very considerable evidence from, among other things, the study of fossils to support the Principle of Evolution.

It’s ridiculous to hope that there’s a god, instead of looking at the overwhelming evidence supporting Evolution.

Why stick to ideas promulgated at a time of ignorance? Why not learn about the current evidence, rather than ask provocative, unsound questions?

Posted: May 14th 2009

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George Ricker www

Your scenarios don’t work as analogies for any sort of process found in nature. Positing artifacts (legos and castles) as stand-ins for the products of natural processes, such as evolution, is invalid.

Here’s a better question for you to ponder.

Given what we know, and are learning, about the universe we occupy, what seems more likely?

(a) It is the product of undirected natural processes for which there is considerable evidence.

(b) It was created by a supernatural agent for which there is no evidence and no accounting.

There is much we don’t know about the origins of the universe and the origins of life. However, it is not helpful to label ignorance or uncertainty as “God” and then attempt to plug that non-concept into the gaps in our knowledge.

“God did it” is not an answer. It is a pietistic way of begging all questions.

Posted: May 14th 2009

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Which is more logical?

Scenario 1: Humans arose from biological processes proceeding over unimaginable timespans.

Scenario 2: God did it in 6000 years, and just made it look like scenario 1 for some undisclosed reason.

The evidence for the first scenario is voluminous, and the case continues to get more and more compelling as we learn more about biology. If, for example, you look at the paths of some human nerves, they take paths that make no sense unless you know that they are descended from similar nerves in fish.

The evidence for the second is tenuous at best. And even if the evidence was there, you have to figure out what created God.

Or perhaps it’s Gods all the way down

Posted: May 14th 2009

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Paula Kirby www

In your first scenario you account for the existence of the lego castle, but you do not account for the existence of the boy. And the existence of the boy, being by definition far more complex than a lego castle, is really the far more difficult thing to explain, isn’t it?

Of course humans make things. But just because we make things – knowingly and consciously – this doesn’t mean that EVERYTHING has to have been made knowingly and consciously. Think of river gorges: the river isn’t an intelligent designer, but nevertheless the physical processes involved as it passes through the landscape change that landscape dramatically, shaping it and defining it. 'Creating’ it, you might say: without design, without intelligence, over vast stretches of time.

The point is, we can account for how humans came into existence and acquired the ability to make things (through a long process of evolution by natural selection).

Those who advocate an intelligent designer consistently fail to account for how THAT came into existence. And frankly, this is a complete cop-out. However complex and improbable life on Earth is, and however in need of an explanation, any designer capable of actively CREATING all that would be far MORE complex and far MORE improbable, and would ITSELF require an explanation of how it came into being.

Christians invariably sidestep this issue and say 'Oh, but we don’t believe in a god that was created, we believe our god has always existed.’ But that won’t do, I’m afraid: you can’t simply DECREE such things. That isn’t how knowledge about reality is arrived at.

Posted: May 14th 2009

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Reed Braden www

Legos are not pre-disposed to connect to each other in the way that organic molecules are, and there is no natural selection process for Legos. The non-castle Lego formations wouldn’t be weeded out to leave only the most castle-like formations because castles are not more suited to survive in their environment of an empty room than any other formation.

Unless you’re made of Legos, your non-argument falls apart where it starts. Is your brain made of Legos? I can’t believe we’re actually talking about this. Is this a serious question?

Posted: May 14th 2009

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SmartLX www

You’re drawing a parallel to the origin of the universe or the origin of life, or both. It’s a skewed parallel either way. Scenario 2, intended to sound like the less logical one, assumes that the building blocks are just sitting there to begin with, and this is where it clashes with reality.

In the case of abiogenesis (the emergence of life), the building blocks were in constant motion. They were thrown together by winds, waves, earthquakes, lava flows, rivers and anything else on the planet which doesn’t need life to move. They had almost unlimited opportunities to join up in different combinations until the first rudimentary self-replicators were formed. After that point, evolution took over.

Regarding the origin of the universe, neither scenario is even in the ballpark. In the case of a cyclical or otherwise eternal universe, again the building blocks were in motion leading up to the Big Bang, which was just one event in a continuum. In the case of a universe which actually did start with the Big Bang, the building blocks still weren’t just sitting idle because they didn’t exist before the Bang and/or there was no time until the Bang.

No scientific theory actually posits that the building blocks of anything sat completely inert for any time at all, let alone eternity, before spontaneously forming anything. Such action violates energy conservation and any theory positing such action would be torn down. Scenario 2 is no more logical than Scenario 1, but to represent reality in your analogy you would need a third scenario.

Posted: May 13th 2009

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As far as which one of your scenarios are logical, I would say that they both contain the fallacy of a non sequitur.

If the boy is anything like my brother and his friends when they were kids, I can imagine easily that it would be 'logical’ that the Lego bricks get kicked around. Then the boyz would leave the room in a huff, finding the nearest big-finned Chevy in the street, against which they would slouch, smokings cigs and discussing baseball (with me on the side hoping they 'accidentally’ impale themselves on the fins!)

And why a castle? Why not a hospital or a casino? In the real world, natural selection influences and shapes the outcome, resulting in different forms.

Essentially, who created the boy? And who created whatever created the boy? And if god was always there, then why could not the universe always be there (especially since there is no evidence WHATSOEVER neither of the supernatural nor deliberate intent in our common descent)?

In addition to the strong human propensity for desiring and seeing intention where it is not, another difficulty humans have since they evolved in the mid-scale world (not too big, not too small), is understanding just how immense infinity is. After all, human recorded history is just a blip in terms of how old the universe is. And yet, religion insists that humanity is the center and be all of this universe. Not much humility there. Or curiosity. Or courage.

The god concept is a failed hypothesis; it does nothing but create more questions that it answers (not that it even answers any of the important questions.) Cosmology and abiogenesis are different fields than evolution. Work is being done in all of those fields to deepen our understanding of the universe.

Religious folks need to concern themselves more with our psychological/perception limits, like seeing intention where there is none and our inability to grasp the immensity of the universe rather than their nutty obsession with the imaginary sin-committing ability of humans and their dead-end concept that their lives were intended by a supernatural being.

The very embracing of the god concept highlights human limits, because it is basically imprinting our mid-world perception (and not at all surprising, a very patriarchal one at that — God, our father, who art in heaven…) on a scale that is beyond our comprehension, thusly encasing the immenseness and mystery of the universe in an unyielding and suffocating carapace. We need to see reality as clearly as possible. Science, not religion, is our tool to get through the barrier of our evolved limits.

Posted: May 13th 2009

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bitbutter www

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by logical in this context. If we accept the premise of an infinite stretch of time in scenario 2, the spontaneous appearance of a castle (indeed of every possible castle) is guaranteed to happen sooner or later. But in scenario 1 it’s not a certainty that a boy placed in a room with lego will build a castle. So scenario 2 is more likely.

It sounds like you might be trying to make an argument about the appearance of life. If that’s the case, the sudden appearance of a complex lego castle doesn’t work as an analogy.

We don’t yet know exactly how the first replicator molecules emerged, but we can say with confidence that they were very simple units. Complexity and the attributes we normally associate with life developed very gradually, through natural selection.

Posted: May 13th 2009

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