UD News’ Walking dead thread offers an opportunity to address some common talking points and/or assumptions of many objectors to design.
In this case, I replied to some key claims by RVB8, at 21 in the thread:
[KF, 21:] >>I see your intended sting in the tail at 18 above:
Actual experiments to detect a designer? Impossible.
It seems, that we deplorable lightweight IDiots need to take a few moments to explore some more BTB . . . back to basics.
In the scientific study of origins and similar observation- of- traces contexts, experiment is not possible in the sense of say re-running the actual past. (And computer simulations, never mind execrable abuses of language, are not experiments nor are they manifestations of actual reality.)
What is possible is to infer to the best current, empirical evidence controlled explanation. One that is based on empirically reliable findings, and which is subject to further findings. The matter is never utterly closed.
This brings us to Newton’s vera causa principle: in seeking to explain traces of the unobservable remote past, we should refer to causes we can observe in action that adequately account for materially similar consequences in the here and now.
For relevant instance, we readily observe functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information — posts in this thread, car engines, even screw threads count. Trillions of cases with a reliable, consistent causal pattern: intelligently directed configuration. Furthermore, as Orgel pointed out in 1973 (and as AutoCAD etc manifest), we may reduce such to description language, in effect a structured yes/no string of bits. Under suitable encoding and compression, aggregate bit string length — say, n — is a metric of information content.
Which, then specifies a configuration space of 2^n possibilities; with the characteristic that functional configs typically come in clusters, metaphorically, islands of function in seas of non-function. Thence, we see the search challenge on sol system or observed cosmos scale atomic and temporal resources such that 500 – 1,000 bits is a conservative threshold beyond which we can be reliably certain that an entity with that much FSCO/I came about by intelligently directed configuration. As, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity on sol system or observed cosmos scope, are grossly inadequate to address the degree of functional complexity and high contingency implied.
That is, we see how the design inference is warranted on seeing at least 500 – 1,000 bits of FSCO/I — it is the only empirically warranted, causally adequate explanation.
(For example, the text of your posts mounts up at 7 bits per ASCII character. Your comment at 18 above is 801 characters, 5,607 bits. 2^5,607 = 7.502 *10^1,687, which cannot be reasonably searched on 10^80 atoms, 13.8*10^9 y (~10^17 s), reaction rates of 10^12 – 10^14/s.)
Note also what is perhaps the most important point: the design inference here detects intelligently detected configuration as best current causal explanation, not any particular designer.
In short, yet another persistent misrepresentation of the design inference — one that has persisted for years in the face of repeated correction.
In that context, your opening remarks are seen to be wholly unwarranted and revealing of a presumption of superiority:
I don’t think ‘design’ will ‘fizzle out’. We are evolved to see patterns and design in everything, and there will always be those that deny science and lean towards the lazy answer.
If we are simply blindly playing out blind chance and mechanical necessity that shaped brains as GIGO-limited computational substrates, then responsible freedom to logically think, analyse and warrant conclusions vanishes in a poof of evolutionary materialistic self-falsification.
As Haldane pointed out long ago:
“It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays , Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]
In short, those glib words about how “We are evolved to see patterns and design in everything,” prove a tad too much, and bring down the proud tower of evolutionary materialist thought in an explosion of self-falsification.
In that light, the sneers about being lazy and denying science are little more than rhetorical posturing and insults against those who dare to question the imposition of a priori evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers on science.
Time for a re-think, it seems.>>
Perhaps, we can now set aside barbed disdain for design thinkers and actually examine the merits. END