I Origins Is Irreducibly Irritating

I Origins Is Irreducibly Irritating

I sat down to talk with Mike Cahill and Michael Pitt of I Origins to get to the bottom of this sci-fi flick.

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Flatland is not only a satirical novella but one of the most influential pop maths books of all time. It's such a genius way of introducing ideas about space. (See also, Flatterland which was a kind of homage/sequel to Flatland by Ian Stewart)

I was kind of hoping there would be more... discussion in that discussion, but it's so full of notes: and digressions that it just feels like so much fluff and background noise. The only point of interest I can see is Pitt calling the MPDG trope "bullshit," but for all the extra words he didn't say much of anything.

I suppose that's par for the course with interviews like these, but if you're not able to have an intelligent, candid discussion about a film idea or role... what's the point?

Kieve:
I was kind of hoping there would be more... discussion in that discussion, but it's so full of notes: and digressions that it just feels like so much fluff and background noise. The only point of interest I can see is Pitt calling the MPDG trope "bullshit," but for all the extra words he didn't say much of anything.

it's ironic he calls it bullshit because he dances around the issue when in act the character actually IS that damn trope. He just doesn't want to admit it.

Besides the point, the irreducible complexity of the eye is already recognized as untrue. All living tissue reacts to light (usually, it burns). From there, it becomes a simple matter for primitive light-sensitive organs to develop, being able to detect the light in broad ways and from there, it's just a matter of slowly refining how sensitive the organ is until you have the eye. There are, in fact, several species that we've discovered which have proto-eyes. I believe the tuatara is one example, which has a third proto-eye that assists in in maintaining its circadian rhythm (we think, although we're not sure; this naturally assumes I'm remembering correctly). So the actual premise is downright bullshit at the core, as some basic research into the subject would have turned up.

AxelxGabriel:
it's ironic he calls it bullshit because he dances around the issue when in act the character actually IS that damn trope. He just doesn't want to admit it.

Yeah, I haven't seen the movie (and have zero interest in doing so), so I don't feel confident asserting opinions on it myself. But nor did I read anything in that interview that struck me as "she's not, here's why."

The rest of the interview posted is much the same. Bob asks question, Cahill or Pitt responds with something tangential and empty that doesn't address the question, and I'm left wondering "why did I bother reading at all?" There's no 'getting to the bottom' of anything, or getting anywhere.

Ugh, I don't think I could be an interviewer. Just reading it felt incredibly awkward. Then again, I'm a pretty conflict-adverse kinda guy. It astounds me sometimes how ostensibly intelligent people can craft a story that is so intellectually bankrupt.

I Origins sounds like it would be annoying for me to watch, but Lucy sounds cool.

Ugh. Just ugh. I was really looking forward to iOrigins if only because the work produced by its makers/actors (Another Earth, Sound of my Voice, and The East) was all very fresh and interesting. Its a shame that it sounds like not only would I not care for their new movie, but actively hate it.

Still, I owe it at least a watch given how much I liked their previous work. Maybe once its out on Netflix I'll give it a go.

Wait, you have a "brilliant" scientist who's project is being executed with the goal of knocking down irreducible complexity? That whole premise is friggin' nonsense. Why would any scientist, let alone a "brilliant" one, waste time on a project who's stated goal is to disprove something that is ludicrous on its face? Granted the filmmakers certainly don't seem to see it this way, but that's just headache-inducing all on its own. Irreducible complexity is barely a coherent idea, let alone something scientists would be spending time "trying to disprove." Ugh...

Regardless of which way you want to spin it these sorts of films/literature are always annoying because they have an angle they want to push and mold the other side of the argument into whatever form they need to help emphasize the tone/point of the narrative.

This is something that can be used in both directions, it's bullshit either way and always come off as incredibly smug.

Well if our "Brilliant Scientists" want to go after God then they are (once again) going about it in the wrong way.

Look, the big problem with Atheistic Evolution is that they can't prove that you can go from non-life to life using purely scientific means.

By definition science must be repeatable so if life arose via naturalistic means then you should be able to replicate it in a lab. Until then the atheistic theory is just as much of a faith-based position as my theistic one.

seiler88:
Well if our "Brilliant Scientists" want to go after God then they are (once again) going about it in the wrong way.

Look, the big problem with Atheistic Evolution is that they can't prove that you can go from non-life to life using purely scientific means.

By definition science must be repeatable so if life arose via naturalistic means then you should be able to replicate it in a lab. Until then the atheistic theory is just as much of a faith-based position as my theistic one.

You're confusing abiogenesis and evolution. Evolution is the process of organisms evolving over time - The key being that it starts from something and describes how that thing changes. Abiogenesis is the process of life arising from non-life, which is really what you're talking about here.

There is a significant amount of work into demonstrating abiogenesis in a lab, and a number of key principals (Such as the generation of organic components from inorganic ones) have been demonstrated. Research is far from complete, but it is progressing - it's less 'we don't know how this happened' and more 'we don't know exactly which ingredients were used just yet.'

But that's beside the point, which is that none of this is attacking God at all, merely expanding our knowledge of how the physical laws of the universe interact. Unless you define God not only as creator of life but the only individual capable of generating an organic being from inorganic matter, this discovery would not directly threaten your faith. A number of Christian groups (including the Catholic Church if I recall correctly) accept evolution as the method by which God modified life. It is probable that should a complete explanation for abiogenesis be uncovered it would simply be added to religious canon as 'how God did what he did' rather than as proof that God didn't do it at all.

Really it's less a war between Christians and Atheists and more a war between those who feel that knowing it happened is good enough and those who wish to see how the trick was done - regardless of who (if anybody) performed it.

I think "I Origins" is going to be my new go-to example for the kind of science fiction film that I hate.

seiler88:
Well if our "Brilliant Scientists" want to go after God then they are (once again) going about it in the wrong way.

Look, the big problem with Atheistic Evolution is that they can't prove that you can go from non-life to life using purely scientific means.

By definition science must be repeatable so if life arose via naturalistic means then you should be able to replicate it in a lab. Until then the atheistic theory is just as much of a faith-based position as my theistic one.

You're assuming that the conditions that created life are currently reproducable in a lab. Earth was a radically different place when life was first formed, everything since then has been adaptation to a changing environment. There's also the question of sample size, it's also possible that the process requires an ocean-sized body of liquid to recreate that first lifeform. It's like asking a caveman to split the atom, they don't have the tools to do it.

Hilarious article, Bob! The hate is tong in this one. Once I saw Bob rant about I Origins in the first minute of his Lucy review, I knew he would hate it. That one woman Just had Manic Pixie Dream girl written all over her. I don't know what "twee" means in this context, but I think it's meant to be insulting.

Wait. Oh no. He included a link to a TVTropes page! Must...not...click... NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

BrotherRool:
Flatland is not only a satirical novella but one of the most influential pop maths books of all time. It's such a genius way of introducing ideas about space. (See also, Flatterland which was a kind of homage/sequel to Flatland by Ian Stewart)

Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.
- Lex Luthor

Gorrath:
Wait, you have a "brilliant" scientist who's project is being executed with the goal of knocking down irreducible complexity? That whole premise is friggin' nonsense. Why would any scientist, let alone a "brilliant" one, waste time on a project who's stated goal is to disprove something that is ludicrous on its face? Granted the filmmakers certainly don't seem to see it this way, but that's just headache-inducing all on its own. Irreducible complexity is barely a coherent idea, let alone something scientists would be spending time "trying to disprove." Ugh...

Maybe the theme "proving there is an after life" was too mainstream for this movie.

CaitSeith:

Gorrath:
Wait, you have a "brilliant" scientist who's project is being executed with the goal of knocking down irreducible complexity? That whole premise is friggin' nonsense. Why would any scientist, let alone a "brilliant" one, waste time on a project who's stated goal is to disprove something that is ludicrous on its face? Granted the filmmakers certainly don't seem to see it this way, but that's just headache-inducing all on its own. Irreducible complexity is barely a coherent idea, let alone something scientists would be spending time "trying to disprove." Ugh...

Maybe the theme "proving there is an after life" was too mainstream for this movie.

Hell, I even think the whole conceit of reincarnated people having the same eyes as the person who lived before them is kind of a neat idea. But this whole thing is like having some super scientist setting up an experiment to disprove intelligent design or a geologist grappling with the difficulty of showing the Earth is older than 6,000 years. It's just a hugely nonsensical proposition.

seiler88:
Well if our "Brilliant Scientists" want to go after God then they are (once again) going about it in the wrong way.

Look, the big problem with Atheistic Evolution is that they can't prove that you can go from non-life to life using purely scientific means.

By definition science must be repeatable so if life arose via naturalistic means then you should be able to replicate it in a lab. Until then the atheistic theory is just as much of a faith-based position as my theistic one.

There is a little difference between faith-based theories and scientific-based theories: Faith-based are unquestionable and rarely get replaced. Scientific ones are debated by scientists and put into test as soon as technology allows it, until they are either replaced with more accuarate ones (or debunked totally) or are proven true and become laws (heck! Scientists are even trying to recreate the Big Bang!).

Others have tackled the "problem" with "atheistic" evolution, so I guess that just leaves this.

Hiramas:

Atheists believe what has been proven. period.

Well, no. "Atheist" only means that you don't believe in God. Everything else is up for grabs. An atheist can believe in new age, supernatural stuff, aliens, pop sci, etc.

Atheism is a single point of belief. It doesn't even address science. You will see a higher instance of atheists in scientific fields, but that doesn't mean anything. You have atheists with no interest in methodology, verification or falsification.

seiler88:

By definition science must be repeatable so if life arose via naturalistic means then you should be able to replicate it in a lab. Until then the atheistic theory is just as much of a faith-based position as my theistic one.

Falterfire has already made it clear that you're making the common mistake of confusing abiogenesis with evolution, but I'd also call you out on this bit. It's certainly not the case that 'by definition' science has to be repeatable, or at least not in the naive way you define it. Science is about creating falsifiable hypotheses. There are in fact any number of excellent theories about how life might have originated, and all of them are perfectly scientific, falsifiable theories that don't have to be 'repeatable' in the sense you imply.

My personal favourite abiogenesis theory is that life may have begun in micropores in rocks near geothermal vents - essentially very fine pumice stone. The small pores act almost like ready-made cells, and each one can easily become its own individual cocktail of chemicals. Some of those chemicals may have entered into a self-catalysing cycle and begun to spill over into neighbouring pores, creating competition between the most effective cocktails. Excitingly, the process has been to some extent replicated in the lab, and apparently something remarkably close to the Krebs cycle that forms the basis for all cellular metabolism appeared. (If you want to read more, the first couple of chapters of Nick Lane's 'Life Ascending' give an excellent introduction)

Of course, we'll probably never know what the origin of life *did* look like - and even if we did 'reproduce' it in the lab that wouldn't produce it. But that's not the point. The point is to show that it *could* have happened that way. And of course each one of these theories also makes certain predictions about things we'd expect to see in a biota that arose in that way. In general, people who think 'how could you possibly know that' have no conception of the incredible ingenuity of scientists in coming up with ways to test their theories.

As one further example of this, the same book 'Life Ascending' includes a really interesting discussion of how we can test the two competing theories of how complex eukaryotic cells might have evolved from simpler prokaryotic cells, either by a cell that normally predated on other cells accidentally swallowing a cell that wasn't digested but instead went on to form a useful symbiotic relationship, or by a number of cells forming a symbiotic relationship first and then developing a cell memreane that surrounded them and turned them into a new complex cell. It sounds like the kind of thing that's impossible to test, but some incredibly ingenious experiments backed up with plausible arguments suggest it's the second option that makes most sense.

Zachary Amaranth:
Others have tackled the "problem" with "atheistic" evolution, so I guess that just leaves this.

Hiramas:

Atheists believe what has been proven. period.

Well, no. "Atheist" only means that you don't believe in God. Everything else is up for grabs. An atheist can believe in new age, supernatural stuff, aliens, pop sci, etc.

Atheism is a single point of belief. It doesn't even address science. You will see a higher instance of atheists in scientific fields, but that doesn't mean anything. You have atheists with no interest in methodology, verification or falsification.

I accept your criticism of my methodology.
See, more science ;P
It is true that there are a lot of people who have a faith of some sort and are atheist strictly speaking.
But in a more colloquial sense, we often mean people with a rational world view without any supernatural power, which was my intention.
My basis stands, though. Atheism is NOT a faith or a religion because of fundamentally different paradigms.

Finally on Topic:
Somehow this reminds me of "book of eli" a sci-fi adventure story turned smacked-with-a-bible religious imagery.

I've come to the conclusion that reality is patterns of mass and energy coalescing and dispersing. That's it. We only think we're special because we think we're special. What we are is what matter and energy do under these particular circumstances.

Anyway, I was wondering why Pinkie Pie is my favorite, even though I am more like Fluttershy personally. Now that I know about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, I know why. Also why I am oddly attracted to Audrey Hepburn, and why most of the women who gravitated into my life are like Holly Golightly (including one actually named Holly Golightly, but that's for another day.)

It sounds like MB disliked the movie more because it hit his particular buttons than anything in the movie itself. Still, I have to give him credit that he made it clear the "No, I don't research much" quip was in jest- a lot of Internet commentators writing about a viewpoint they opposed would have been all too happy to play that out of context.

I am not aware of any scientist who is notable that actually is using their scientific research to "disprove God". No good scientist or scientific thinker would ever waste their time with such an endeavor.

Zachary Amaranth:
Others have tackled the "problem" with "atheistic" evolution, so I guess that just leaves this.

Hiramas:

Atheists believe what has been proven. period.

Well, no. "Atheist" only means that you don't believe in God. Everything else is up for grabs. An atheist can believe in new age, supernatural stuff, aliens, pop sci, etc.

Atheism is a single point of belief. It doesn't even address science. You will see a higher instance of atheists in scientific fields, but that doesn't mean anything. You have atheists with no interest in methodology, verification or falsification.

Don't tell all the Atheists on the internet that. You'll make them all mad. Seems like a lot of the ones on Youtube confuse the two as interchangeable. Atheist = scientific to most of them, or at least it would seem.

Baresark:

Don't tell all the Atheists on the internet that. You'll make them all mad. Seems like a lot of the ones on Youtube confuse the two as interchangeable. Atheist = scientific to most of them, or at least it would seem.

To be fair, I'm not a big fan of most internet atheists (or, I guess, I should say the celebrity ones) anyway. From TAA telling someone to drown in rape semen to Dusty Smith accusing the Jews of bringing it all on themselves, there's a lot of bullshit out there. And honestly, they're a good chunk of the reason I didn't want to actually identify as one for so long.

Oftentimes, these views are actually justified by "skepticism." Though, I guess that just proves that atheists are human. Good ones, bad ones, and in between.

At the same time, there's a decent chunk of people who know better than to assume atheism is (inherently) scientific. Matt Dillahunty (The Atheist Experience, as well as several other folks from that show) talks about just this sort of thing. I think Steve Shives has been around the point, and even Penn Jillette, who I disagree with on many things, points out that pretty much everyone's got their rational blind spots.

And while I'm not looking for a fight with the internet atheist community, I certainly won't back down from this just because the loudest and most prominent ones seem to be willing to fling feces.

But yeah. They may disagree, and they're demonstrably wrong. There may be a strong correlation between atheism, skepticism, and sicence, but it's not a given.

I feel like I missed out on the entire discussion as I Origins isn't playing where I live. Then again its poorly named for a religious movie as I would've thought it was a prequel to iRobot.

As for the whole Atheist thing I'd prefer the word Nonreligious over it. I'd also prefer people to stop using the word Atheism as Atheists as an Ism doesn't exist. Then again I guess that wouldn't stop Religious from misusing words.

As far as youtube goes most Nonreligious on there seem desperate for views, content, & drama. I tend to consider getting involved with vlogging then change my mind as it seems too toxic.

The only Nonreligious youtube vloggers I still follow are AronRa, The Thinking Atheist, RDF, & JRF. My favorite of those being AronRa. Though if he had his own vlog I'd go with A.C. Grayling since I favorited "The Unconsidered Life" & "Teach The Controversy".

seiler88:
Well if our "Brilliant Scientists" want to go after God then they are (once again) going about it in the wrong way.

Look, the big problem with Atheistic Evolution is that they can't prove that you can go from non-life to life using purely scientific means.

By definition science must be repeatable so if life arose via naturalistic means then you should be able to replicate it in a lab. Until then the atheistic theory is just as much of a faith-based position as my theistic one.

On the subject of faith, science does not 'believe', it merely strongly suspects based on what can be demonstrated to be true. In the case of abiogenesis, we can observe that life exists and infer that it must have come from somewhere. Looking back, we suspect that at one point the Earth was incapable of supporting life and from there conclude that it must have, at some point, started.

The Theist/Atheist split is on the question of whether or not a supernatural agent was causal in the development of life on Earth. Science has, at this point, proven that such an agent was unnecessary irrespective of whether or not one acted in that capacity. Organic molecules forming natural chemical chains leading to primitive life precursors and life have been quite thoroughly demonstrated at this point. We have shown that it /can/ happen, and available data suggests that primitive conditions on Earth were likely to cause it to happen in a fashion similar to some of the scenarios we've examined under laboratory conditions. There are, in fact, a number of ways in which life /could/ have formed under those conditions on Earth...what we don't know is which specific method actually occurred (including the possibility of methods unknown).

None of which 'disproves' a God of any sort. Demonstrating that the universe and it's contents can operate absent a supernatural agent does not indicate that a supernatural agent is absent...merely unnecessary to the operation of the universe.

The problem in that space is that one cannot meaningfully prove a God in the first place...God, by typical definition, requires one to be a God to be able to reliably analyze. Since we are fallible, we can easily mistake things for Godlike phenomena. The scientific method is merely a means by which we winnow out errors over time to determine to high degrees of certainty what actually is, irrespective of personal experience and beliefs.

The reason atheism increasingly coincides with scientific naturalism is that no theories concerning God hold up to scientific scrutiny. Worse, theistic claims often fly in the face of demonstrable truth. This doesn't disprove God either, but it does suggest that if there is a God we do not, as a species, know anything of substance about it.

The irony doesn't seem to strike him. "We're going to induce the creation of eyeballs in a species to prove that an invisible man in the sky didn't induce the creation of eyeballs in other species. CHECKMATE ATHEISTS!"

But even beyond that, science and religion are not mutually exclusive, and I'm tired of the idea that they have to be.

RJ Dalton:
Besides the point, the irreducible complexity of the eye is already recognized as untrue. All living tissue reacts to light (usually, it burns). From there, it becomes a simple matter for primitive light-sensitive organs to develop, being able to detect the light in broad ways and from there, it's just a matter of slowly refining how sensitive the organ is until you have the eye. There are, in fact, several species that we've discovered which have proto-eyes. I believe the tuatara is one example, which has a third proto-eye that assists in in maintaining its circadian rhythm (we think, although we're not sure; this naturally assumes I'm remembering correctly). So the actual premise is downright bullshit at the core, as some basic research into the subject would have turned up.

While reading bobs interview I had to go look up irreducible complexity because I'd never even heard of it. Now I'm kinda pissed. They actually tried to make a pseudo science movie around this stupidity? I mean the evolution of the eye is taught in grade school. Correct there's many many species that have basic light sensing nodules which serve very specific purposes based on their natural environment. We now understand the very basic needs and function of light sensory. The eye is too complex to have been evolved over time??? 1492 wants it's science back.

Irreducible complexity is a terrible and ultimately timely defense for intelligent design. In fact it's counter-productive because anything they throw out there as too complex will be simplified and understood given time. It's like saying in 1805 that the moon was made by god because we can't reach out and touch it.

I remember seeing the trailer for this film which I don't even recall pushing ID but I was still bored senseless by. It's sad to go back and watch it knowing it's just a shill.

I actually hold nothing against the concept of a great pianist or flying spaghetti monster it's these strongholds of organized faith and defense mechanisms they need to balance hatred and xenophobia on that cause me ire. Just believe in a higher power or don't. We can reach the great barrier, pass it find no god and scientists will still be ok with the idea of god. chillax.

On the topic of MPDG. I know a lot of users here are the younger crowd and see these wonderful girls all the time. Those girls do exist. Kind of. I've dated a few and as an adult with a heart a car and job I say they should come with a warning label. They're usually drunks with no future at 30 and have some kind of baggage that will eventually cause them to cheat on you or force you into some kind of depressing love triangle that will break your heart. They also seem to be broke...a lot. Enjoy the time but stay sober.

Now there's plenty of ever optimistic women out there (usually aquarius for some goddamn reason) who are kooky artist types and are good people with ideas about where life should take them. The difficulty is discerning the difference before your heart gets crushed and the former tricks you into getting shot in a drug deal gone wrong. Yeah that actually happened to me :(..

*also bob my god man never go to battle with a zealot wielding possible misinformation. off-topic semantics correction is the flaming sword of the asshole! It was the Lama and he said if science ever disproved his beliefs he'd just have to change them. It would be nice if more people listen to him.

 

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