The Castle Where you can't play basketball

A recent thread has reminded me of a guy, Mike Manea, that had a blog years ago, I think it’s gone. He’s a 7th Day Adventist and really into the technical stuff, but gets it horribly wrong. He had some theory about proving God, but he had this analogy about how he couldn’t get the science community to consider it.

He asked, what if there was a girl’s basketball team that was doing well and some of them wanted to be on the boy’s team? Then the boys said, okay, if your best girl’s team can beat our best boy’s team, then girls can play on the boy’s team. That would be a pretty high bar, and the girls would continue to be locked out of the boy’s league. He said it’s how he feels, with his theory. That he needed funding and research teams, but he could never get that.

I’m sure he felt that way, but I’m also sure he was blind to how science works. I tried pointing out that it was religion that held that “boy’s team” position for centuries, but he ignored that. I think we can look at how science is not being applied to men’s and women’s sports and see the advantages of scientific approaches. Science has, and to some degree still does, suffer from sexism, but sexism is not defended by science (okay, some fringe stuff). With science, you should be gauged on your skills and abilities on the court, not what is under your clothes.

I see people on the internet doing this, less clumsily than Mike, but still the same line of reasoning. They point to problems with getting published, the ivory tower of peer review, the need for degrees and credentials, and claim this is locking out new ideas. To some degree, they are right, it happens. But scientific principles themselves can be applied to critique science itself, that’s what makes it science. Science doesn’t claim to know with certainty, that’s religion, and sometimes it’s “someone on the internet”.


I fully agree.

Let us imagine a scientist who wants to prove a god’existence, god being immaterial.

He meets a big problem. Atoms, protons, ADN and so have material existence, even light. But there were hypothesis well before being proved material. Here the task is much more difficult.

For me, to scientifically prove that something immaterial exists is scientifically impossible, nowadays.

An usual way is to try to demonstrate that natural phenomena are the manifestation of this god.

The big trouble is that most of these phenomena have been proved to have material causes, even earthquakes.

So, we get a “god of the gaps” problem, and that has had many solutions for a thousand years or more, Spinoza being one of the best shots at it. But he, like many alive today, wanted to maintain some larger all-encompassing force, some proof that since you can’t prove otherwise then there must be a God. At one time, with Mike Manea, I came across a probability that was sketched out and put the probability at some fraction of a percent. Not very good odds for building your worldview.

I agree with the fundamental error in the concept of a sentient supernatural agency.

This is why I believe the concept of a fundamental quasi-intelligent but non-sentient mathematically ordered universe is the perfect counter to all theistic views

Whereas there is no evidence of a motivated God , there is abundant evidence for a mathematically ordered creative system. Chaos theory already addresses the non-sentient ordering of emergent regular patterns from a state of chaos.

Even if a non-motivated process is probabilistic, all events themselves are mathematically deterministic in essence.

This is why I believe that, in view of a demonstrable perfectly functional mathematical process, the notion of a God is superfluous and by Occam’s razor, …, etc, etc !!!

What attributes of the universe have a semblance of intelligence?

Natura Artis Magistra (Nature is the teacher of the Arts and Sciences)

All of our arts and sciences are based on naturally occurring logical patterns and regularities.
These discoveries are already described in Chaos Theory describing the very beginning of emergent regular patterns, i.e. Logical guiding equations of physical interaction in accordance with inherent value inputs via mathematical function, resulting in deterministic outputs.
Schematic depiction of a function described metaphorically as a “machine” or “black box” that for each input yields a corresponding output

Note, if "Garbage IN results in Garbage OUT, then the universe could not have chronologically evolved as it demonstrably has evolved and “described” by human symbolic intelligent (mathematical) language.

Thus, if human mathematically intelligent descriptions of natural phenomena can be said to have been symbolically codified from discovered and observed natural phenomena, then this logically suggests a quasi-intelligence inherent in universal properties and operations, all based on the geometry and consistent and repeatable physical interactions.

IMO, the Universe is a quasi-intelligent pattern (object) based on physical values and evolved by regular and repeatable logical functions.

This is why I like Tegmark’s ; “certain mathematical patterns acquire associated emergent intelligent functions”. a + a = b, a + b = c, b + c = d, … is an abstract mathematically intelligent (logical) expression, also known as the Fibonacci Sequence.

This sequence occurs everywhere throughout the universe, from petal counts of daisies on earth, to spiral galaxies in deep space, The “golden ratio” is a quasi-intelligent function of the physical universe.


Detail of the saucer plant, [Aeonium tabuliforme]
(Aeonium tabuliforme - Wikipedia)
, showing the multiple spiral arrangement (parastichy)

Main article: Patterns in nature
See also: Fibonacci number § Nature

Johannes Kepler wrote that “the image of man and woman stems from the divine proportion. In my opinion, the propagation of plants and the progenitive acts of animals are in the same ratio”.[66]

The psychologist Adolf Zeising noted that the golden ratio appeared in phyllotaxis and argued from these patterns in nature that the golden ratio was a universal law.[67][68] Zeising wrote in 1854 of a universal orthogenetic law of “striving for beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art”.[69]

I don’t see quasi-intelligence - whatever that is - let alone intelligence, in order any more than there’s meaning, purpose, intent.

That’s why I call it quasi. It isn’t intelligent, but it behaves as if it is but without purpose or intent.

Quasi = (latin) As if

A virus is a quasi-living organism. Not fully alive, not fully inanimate, but it acts as if it were alive.

In a dynamic environment (the entire universe), there is an immediate set of processes associated with the various types of dynamic expressions.


    1. the branch of mechanics concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of forces.
    1. the forces or properties which stimulate growth, development, or change within a system or process.

Dynamics can be subdivided into kinematics , which describes motion, without regard to its causes, in terms of position, velocity, and acceleration; and kinetics, which is concerned with the effect of forces and torques on the motion of bodies having mass.

And I believe that is an important distinction in view of the evolutionary processes that select for natural survival advantage and continue to add greater complexity in refinement and adaptation to the environment.

None of these natural phenomena have intent or conscious motive. Natural selection for survivability in all forms and patterns is sufficient to drive the evolutionary processes via quasi-intentional natural selection of best adaptation.

I wish I could express this more clearly, but I really believe in this direction lies the secret of evolution toward maximum efficiency and survivability, ultimately resulting in meaning, purpose, intent.

Viruses are a fact of life.

As if secretive as if intentional as if meaningful as if purposeful as if numinous evolution is what we bring to the party.

Viruses maybe a fact of life, but we don’t have to get many of them due to vaccines. Evolution is often inevitable.

1 Like

Often?! Viruses are doing it somewhat faster than we are! Up to five orders of magnitude.

‘the human genome mutation rate is similarly estimated to be ~1.1×10−8 per site per generation.’

‘The highest per base pair per generation mutation rates are found in viruses , which can have either RNA or DNA genomes. DNA viruses have mutation rates between 10−6 to 10−8 mutations per base per generation, and RNA viruses have mutation rates between 10−3 to 10−5 per base per generation’


Fortunately the human biome has many defensive symbionts, some in the form of “bacteriophages”


and some in the form of “virophages”


Sorry, what’s the connection? Unless there’s a loopback to anti-viral therapy as virophages attenuate the giant host viruses they parasitize?

Human virome

The human virome is the total collection of viruses in and on the human body.[3][4][5] Viruses in the human body may infect both human cells and other microbes such as bacteria (as with bacteriophages).[6] Some viruses cause disease, while others may be asymptomatic. Certain viruses are also integrated into the human genome as proviruses or endogenous viral elements.[3]

Viruses evolve rapidly and hence the human virome changes constantly.[7] Every human being has a unique virome with a unique balance of species.[4][8] Lifestyle, age, geographic location, and even the season of the year can affect an individual’s exposure to viruses, and one’s susceptibility to any disease that might be caused by those viruses is also affected by pre-existing immunity and both viral and human genetics.[9]

Human virome - Wikipedia

Wonder world of phages: potential biocontrol agents safeguarding biosphere and health of animals and humans- current scenario and perspectives
Ruchi Tiwari, Sandip Chakraborty, Kuldeep Dhama, Mohd Yaqoob Wani, Amit Kumar, Sanjay Kapoor


Darwin’s theory of natural selection and concept of survival of fittest of Wallace is a universal truth which derives the force of life among all live entities on this biosphere. Issues regarding food safety along with increased drug resistance and emerging zoonotic infections have proved that multidisciplinary efforts are in demand for human and animal welfare. This has led to development of various novel therapies the list of which remains incomplete without mentioning about phages.

Homologous and non-homologous recombination along with point mutation and addition of new genes play role in their evolution. The rapid emergence of the antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria have created keen interest in finding necessary alternatives to check microbial infections and there comes the importance of phages. Phages kill the bacteria either by lysis or by releasing holins. Bacteriophages; the viruses that live on bacteria are nowadays considered as the best biocontrol agents.

They are used as replacers of antibiotics; food industry promoter; guard of aquatic life as well as of plants; pre-slaughter treatment agents; Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food additives; Typing agent of bacteria; active tool of super bug therapy; in post harvest crops and food and during post infection and also to combat intracellular pathogens viz. Mycobacteria and Mycoplasma. Cyanophages/phycophages are particularly useful in controlling blooms produced by various genera of algae and cyanobacteria. By performing centrifugation studies and based on electron microscopy certain virus like particles containing ds RNA have been confirmed as mycophages.

They are well proven as threat to pathogenic fungi (both fungal hyphae and yeast). Those that infect yeasts are called zymophages. Virophages have exquisite specificity for their viral host, hence can extensively be used for genetic studies and can also act as evolutionary link. After the discovery of very first virophage till now, a total of 3 virophages have been discovered including the Sputnik virophages that are used to study genetic recombination.

Virophages also find their application in antiviral therapy; as engineer of ecological system etc. In brief, present review deals with various dimensions of these beneficial viruses that are being used and can be successfully used in future for safeguarding biosphere including animal and human health.

Yeah the Russians missed out on antibiotics at the start and continued to use what we Brits had discovered decades before in India: the healing powers of the sacred Ganges are for real.