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CHartsil corrected on “mechanisms” [–> signs and techniques] of design

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CHartsil has now earned UD objector poster-child status, regarding a talking point he used to try to divert a News thread:

If ID is science, then put it through the scientific method. You don’t just get to say it’s a valid alternative when evolution has been put through the wringer and ID proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design.

Let’s take this in steps of thought:

>> If ID is science, then put it through the scientific method.>>

1 –> This raises the issue as to what science properly understood is, and what its methods are. As there has been a recent agenda to redefine science as applied materialism dressed up in a lab coat, a useful reference is high-quality dictionaries from before this imposition was attempted:

science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990 — and yes, they used the “z” Virginia!]

scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster’s 7th Collegiate, 1965]

2 –> So, let us remind ourselves of a flowchart presentation of the design inference process in the context of seeking to identify causal explanations of an entity, phenomenon or process, step by step:

explan_filter

3 –> Quite plainly, as the design inference works based on systematic observation, formulates the issue of cause in a way amenable to empirical investigation and to empirical testing (is the design inference on sign reliable — yes), it is patently scientific. Regardless of the many fallacious talking points to the contrary.

4 –> We need not detain ourselves on the technical point that there is, strictly speaking, no one size fits all and only science method. The school science approach of observation, hypothesis, inference and prediction then comparison with further observation is good enough for present purposes.

5 –> So, as was drawn to CH’s attention immediately but predictably ignored, the design inference has been “put through” the scientific method long since; indeed it is founded on it:

 cf here at UD for [longstanding] record on how the design inference process applies methodical scientific reasoning (though there is no one size fits all sci method . . . ) . . . design is a cognitive, intentional, intelligent creative process that shapes objects, systems, processes, networks etc conceptually to achieve a purpose, generally reflecting as well forces, materials and constraints of nature and other constraints such as energy, economic cost-effectiveness, socio-cultural acceptability etc. Design is simply not to be reduced to mechanism, but on trillions of examples it often leaves strong signs that are observable and not credibly explicable on blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. If you would doubt or dismiss this, simply ponder that to compose an objection to design thought you were forced to create another case in point of such, the functionally specific complex organisation and associated information in the s-t-r-i-n-g of glyphs in your comment. That is, the very act of objecting exemplifies the main point.

 >>You don’t just get to say it’s a valid alternative>>

6 –> Strawman caricature. Design thinkers from the 1980’s on have addressed technical issues in responsible detail . . . as CHartsil full well knows or ought to know but has willfully chosen to misrepresent . . . and such have credibly (or at minimum arguably) warranted their conclusions. On the cosmological side the work traces to the 1950’s. Any responsible observer would acknowledge this.

>>when evolution has been put through the wringer>>

7 –> Rhetorical exploitation of a broad envelope of meaning for the term “evolution.”

8 –> Evolution can mean everything from minor variations  with finch beaks or the like, to a grand narrative of the origin and diversification of life, usually on claimed blind chance plus mechanical necessity only.  Microevolution is empirical, the extrapolation of that to a grand metaphysically tinged macroevolutionary narrative of the origin and diversification of life is not observed or observable, and the problem of imposed a priori materialism has often biased conclusions that are too often presented to students and the public as indisputable facts comparable to for example the roundness of the earth.

9 –> The objection is limbering up, how dare you include origin of life, Evolution is not about origin of life. ANS: Tell that to the authors of ever so many school and college textbooks that present this as a package deal, and especially tell that to the Smithsonian, which has long since presented the following tree of life icon:

Darwin-ToL-full-size-copy

10 –> In fact, a better picture in light of developments in recent years would be:

tre_or_web11 –> In fact, it can be confidently asserted that there is no macroevolutionary mechanism that has been warranted by observation as accounting for origin of major body plans or features of such plans. If there is an objection simply demand the actual observations (as opposed to ideologically loaded reconstructions).

12 –> To see why I say this, let me contrast the well known remarks of Lewontin and Johnson. Let us clip from the post on Marks’s reply to the war between science and religion thesis, a few days back:

I think we need to also compare Lewontin:

demon_haunted. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . .   the problem is to get them [hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . 

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, thatwe are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute[[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.  [ “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added.  If you wish to dismiss this as “quote-mined” . . . an implication of calculated or at least willful dishonesty, kindly cf the wider cite and notes here.]

. . . and, seminal ID thinker, Philip Johnson in reply:

For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
. . . .   The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

There are some very serious things the new atheists, rationalists and fellow travellers have to answer for.

13 –> BTW, this raises the issue, what is a mechanism? AmHD:

mech·a·nism (mĕk′ə-nĭz′əm)n.

1.a. A machine or mechanical appliance.  b. The arrangement of connected parts in a machine.
2. A system of parts that operate or interact like those of a machine: the mechanism of the solar system.
3. An instrument or a process, physical or mental, by which something is done or comes into being: “The mechanism of oral learning is largely that of continuous repetition” (T.G.E. Powell).
4. A habitual manner of acting to achieve an end.
5. Psychology A usually unconscious mental and emotional pattern that shapes behavior in a given situation or environment: a defense mechanism.
6. The sequence of steps in a chemical reaction.
7. Philosophy The doctrine that all natural phenomena are explicable by material causes and mechanical principles.

14 –> Note carefully, meaning 3 in the context of meanings 1 and 2. An intelligent process by which something is done or comes into being can be termed a mechanism. However, as there is the problem of colouring from meaning 7, method, technique or process is a more useful, less ambiguous, less loaded phrasing.

15 –> This instantly makes mincemeat of the following:

>>and ID proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design. >>

16 –> If mechanism can be, with due cautions, used to describe how things are done or come into being, then — absent question-begging Lewontinian a priori materialism — the mental in action is as much a “mechanism” as the physical. And if technique is what is meant, intellectual techniques are techniques.

17 –> So, as was pointed out and predictably dismissed, Dembski’s opening words — yes, his opening words — in his preface to No Free Lunch, p. ix, do in fact describe a general “mechanism” . . . let’s break it out in pointwise steps:

How a designer gets from thought to thing is, at least in broad strokes, straightforward:

(1) A designer conceives a purpose.

(2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan.

(3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions.

(4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials.

What emerges is a designed object, and the designer is successful to the degree that the object fulfills the designer’s purpose.

18 –> Where also (as cited and also just as predictably ignored) Wikipedia in its article on Design, notes:

Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns).[1] Design has different connotations in different fields (see design disciplines below). In some cases the direct construction of an object (as in pottery, engineering, management, cowboy coding and graphic design) is also considered to be design.

More formally design has been defined as follows.

(noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints;
(verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)[2 . . . expanding: Ralph, P. and Wand, Y. (2009). A proposal for a formal definition of the design concept. In Lyytinen, K., Loucopoulos, P., Mylopoulos, J., and (Robinson, W.,) editors, Design Requirements Workshop (LNBIP 14), pp. 103–136. Springer-Verlag, p. 109 doi:10.1007/978-3-540-92966-6_6.]

Another definition for design is a roadmap or a strategic approach for someone to achieve a unique expectation. It defines the specifications, plans, parameters, costs, activities, processes and how and what to do within legal, political, social, environmental, safety and economic constraints in achieving that objective.[3]

Here, a “specification” can be manifested as either a plan or a finished product, and “primitives” are the elements from which the design object is composed.

19 –> So, if a mechanism for design is wanted, it has been given, and is familiar from our own experience of ourselves as designers. Indeed, to object, CHartsil and others of like ilk have had to compose designs, using mechanisms that are instantly familiar from the above.

20 –> But perhaps what was meant is techniques of design.

21 –> That, too has long since been discussed but ignored in the rush to make and repeat, over and over again, favourite, hobby-horse talking points. Let me use the latest summary presented in the thread:

The computers of various types being used to compose and read comments, the comments, the Internet we are using and the wider world of technology are replete with cases in point. Such demonstrate to the willing mind how design is inherently intelligent, creative, cognitive, a fruit of rational and purposeful contemplation (as opposed to blindly mechanical GIGO limited algorithmic computation though the aid of such devices is common). There are techniques, systems and even a science of design, TRIZ, the theory of inventive problem solving.

Were you seriously interested, such could and would have long since been investigated or at least reflected on.

Designers often uses specialised techniques, especially in processing primitives to produce the entities reflecting the underlying thought.

In the case of the world of cell based life, I pointed to cases of actual first baby steps intelligent design of life forms, through molecular nanotechnologies, by Venter et al. Beyond, lie the general techniques of biochemistry and organic chemistry.

That is insofar as “mechanism” — technique is a more correct term — is applicable, design techniques relevant to the world of life are an empirically established fact in a world of genetically modified organisms.

We could go on, highlighting how built-in ability to undergo at least some degree of incremental adaptation to environment by chance variation and differential reproductive success would manifest the design goal and technique of robustness in the face of a variable environment. Including, some degree of graceful degradation rather than brittle designs overly prone to catastrophic failure on slight variation leading to extinction.

22 –> But in a more fundamental sense, all of this is a chasing after red herrings led away to strawman caricatures.

23 –> For, the focal issue in design theory is not mechanisms but signs that (per inductive investigation and linked analysis) reliably point to design as cause. Notice, how Dembski and Witt define, explain and argue regarding Intelligent Design as a scientific enterprise:

We know from experience that intelligent agents build intricate machines that need all their parts to function [–> i.e. he is specifically discussing “irreducibly complex” objects, structures or processes for which there is a core group of parts all of which must be present and properly arranged for the entity to function (cf. here, here and here)], things like mousetraps and motors. And we know how they do it — by looking to a future goal and then purposefully assembling a set of parts until they’re a working whole. Intelligent agents, in fact, are the one and only type of thing we have ever seen doing this sort of thing from scratch. In other words, our common experience provides positive evidence of only one kind of cause able to assemble such machines. It’s not electricity. It’s not magnetism. It’s not natural selection working on random variation. It’s not any purely mindless process. It’s intelligence  . . . . 

When we attribute intelligent design to complex biological machines that need all of their parts to work, we’re doing what historical scientists do generally. Think of it as a three-step process: (1) locate a type of cause active in the present that routinely produces the thing in question; (2) make a thorough search to determine if it is the only known cause of this type of thing; and (3) if it is, offer it as the best explanation for the thing in question. 

[[William Dembski and Jonathan Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy, pp. 20-21, 53 (InterVarsity Press, 2010). HT, CL of ENV & DI.]

24 –> Likewise, Stephen Meyer outlines:

The central argument of my book [Signature in the Cell]  is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form [–> note the terms he uses]). Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power [–> i.e. in any reasonably attempted examination of an origin of life setting]. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question . . .

25 –> That is, we are doing an origins related scientific investigation and seek to inductively infer to best explanations on tested, adequate, reliable signs. Where it turns out that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I) have but one empirically reliably known causal explanation, intelligently directed configuration aka design.

26 –> So, we are entitled to infer on that induction that where we see FSCO/I, and particularly digitally coded complex functionally specific information, its best current scientific explanation is design. That immediately implies that the best, empirically grounded, inductive, scientific explanation of the living cell and key mechanisms in it such as protein synthesis:

Protein Synthesis (HT: Wiki Media)
Protein Synthesis (HT: Wiki Media)

. . . is design.

27 –> Absent, ideological a priorism that imposes evolutionary materialism before the actual facts are allowed to speak for themselves.

________________

The remaining question, then is whether we will allow the facts to speak for themselves, and whether we will adhere to the principle that “mechanisms” used to explain traces form the unobservable deep past of origins, must first be shown to be causally adequate before being admitted as serious candidate explanations. If that is applied, the design inference is the only serious explanation for the FSCO/I and especially the dFSCI in life. END

PS: In light of onward discussions, Mar 9, I give a concrete, simple case in point of FSCO/I, an Abu 6500 C3 fishing reel exploded view (cf discussion here) that shows complex, functionally specific organisation, implying associated information that describes the particular clusters of configs that will work properly:

abu_6500c3mag

The same nodes-arcs, specific configuration to achieve function is seen in the protein synthesis process illustrated above, starting with the coded algorithmic (step by step) instructions in the DNA transferred to the mRNA and used to control protein chain assembly in the ribosome. In turn, proteins must fold and fit to function, often in ways that require key-lock fitting of parts.

200 Replies to “CHartsil corrected on “mechanisms” [–> signs and techniques] of design

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    Well, gee. I really like the essay on Science, but I think it kinda misses the point.

    Intelligent Design assumes (or can assume) that the Designer has a tool set that we can probably never comprehend. Kinda like asking a snake about the mechanisms of “walking”. If we could even NAME the tools in the tool set, we would be almost as intelligent as the Designer, even if we still didn’t have the power to use the tools. The collision of the proto-Moon with the proto-Earth was clearly “designed”.

    Astronomers began to propose that the planets went around the Sun long before they could explain the mechanism that caused this to work flawlessly. Tycho Brahe spent a lifetime OBSERVING the sky and making notes about what he observed. Would ANYONE suggest that what Brahe did was NOT Science? Kepler would later uncover the implications of Brahe’s work, but Kepler could ONLY do this because of Brahe’s painstaking research. 100 years from now, humans might have a better idea of how (and why) Design works.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Mahuna,

    Interesting thoughts.

    I say, yes, we can discuss the issue that abstract analyses, observational studies and inductions on them have been key steps of science, as in:

    Copernicus –> Brahe –> Kepler –> Newton –> Einstein etc

    Up to the last, there was no causal mechanism apart from disputes on action at a distance and fields that affect space.

    However, it is also pivotal to draw out that mechanism can properly refer to a creative mental act, and that if technique was meant specifically, such techniques have been on the table since Venter et al as FACTS.

    KF

  3. 3
    logically_speaking says:

    One of the things CHartsil keeps barking on about is this “mechanism of design”. He doesn’t seem to understand design IS the mechanism.

    For arguments sake, a design mechanism for me, would consist of the processes by which a stucture is planned out and built to completion with possible time and resource constraints.

    To clarify, a design mechanism is,

    1. having a plan or blueprint of the finished article.

    2. The gathering or building of tools and resources necessary for the final build.

    3. The actual building of the stucture in accordance with the blueprint/plan with the tools and resources now available.

    Intelligent Design =

    Intelligence is the cause, design IS the mechanism.

    Intelligence is the cause, design is the effect.

  4. 4
    velikovskys says:

    One of the things CHartsil keeps barking on about is this “mechanism of design”. He doesn’t seem to understand design IS the mechanism.

    Design can be mechanism, but that is not the meaning of design in ID. ID definition of design is a pattern of the elements of a thing. Certain patterns are beyond nature.What ,who or how that pattern formed is shelved for later .

    For arguments sake, a design mechanism for me, would consist of the processes by which a stucture is planned out and built to completion with possible time and resource constraints.

    True, but all design is not planned out, some designs are never completed, any without some knowledge of the possible designer neither time or resource constraints can be evaluated.

    That I believe is CHartsil’s point, ID is structured to avoid the question of specific mechanisms that actually created life. It cannot compete on a mechanistic level with evolutionary science.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    We don’t even know the specific mechanisms that created Stonehenge. We don’t know the specific peoples who built it. We don’t know why and the when keeps changing.

    And that is something within our capability of producing. How are we supposed to elucidate a mechanism for something that is way above our capability?

  6. 6

    It cannot compete on a mechanistic level with evolutionary science.

    Many of the mechanisms of evolution are fairly well known; the question is if those mechanisms are more aptly characterized as being by chance, by chemical affinity, or by design wrt specific outcomes of those processes.

    ID, like natural law and chance, is a category of causation. It’s like asking what the “mechansims” of chance are, or the “mechanisms” of natural law. Such causal categories are descriptions of sets of behaviors & outcomes. Evolutionary science gives us the facts of interacting molecules and organic phenomena; we assess those behaviors which we call processes or “mechanisms” and then assess if their behaviors are best described as being by chance, natural law (chemical affinity), design, or some mixture.

    For example, selection is a mechanism; it might be random in nature. It might be algorithmic in nature. It can be by intelligent design (selective breeding). CHartsil is confusing causal categories with specific, observed processes/mechansims. Unless CHartsil can demonstrate any known evolutionary process to be by chance and/or natural law (meaning, sufficient to the task described), then he cannot rule out the possibility that such processes are designed.

    He simply attempted to abscond with all known evolutionary processes into the non-designed camp by fiat.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    VS, what is the empirically substantiated adequate cause of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information? ANS: Per trillions of cases in point with no credible observed exceptions, intelligently directed configuration, aka design. On well known inductive reasoning FSCO/I is therefore a known, reliable sign of design, one backed up by the needle in haystack search challenge that confronts suggested blind forces. If CHartsil wants to ask about specific techniques to carry out the constructive work in the context of the world of life, he has long since been pointed to Venter et al who show that molecular level intelligent design of life forms is already a known fact. KF

  8. 8
    Thomas2 says:

    Whilst ID theory can be understood as providing scientific explanation (design) and, at certain levels, mechanism (in the sense of formal causation, and, by implication, efficient causation), another way to construe it is as providing a scientific description of design (within limits).

    As a would-be scientific description it provides a limited probabilistic mathematical law rather than explanation (or theory, as used by scientists in one of the many senses that they employ this word, NAS decrees notwithstanding). In this way it is similar to Newton’s Law of Gravitation which provides a mathematical (albeit, deterministic) description of the behaviour of gravity (within limits) but which does not provide either a mechanism or an explanation for gravity.

  9. 9
    rvb8 says:

    Joe,

    the mechanisms that created Stonehenge were human sweat, and human ingenuity, both products of millions of years of selection. ‘Selection’ is the mechanism of evolution. What is the ‘mechanism of ID? That is the question we are all, with bated breath, waiting to hear an answer to.

    Not withstanding kairosfocus’s endless posts, a simple answer along the lines of Darwin’s sublimely beautiful RM+NS, would be a starting point for any counter theory. Ready, Set, begin!

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Thomas2:

    Interesting thought.

    RVB8:

    You have done little more than echo CHartsil’s error while dismissing its correction. I suggest that you start from the highlighted dictionary definition to begin to see the issue regarding “mechanism” and mind.

    As for your insertion of an evolutionary materialist, lab coat narrative on the origin of mind, kindly answer the issue of the evident implications of such [i.e. self referential incoherence and thus self-refutation], starting from this observation by famed evolutionary theorist J B S Haldane:

    “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 [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    In that context, kindly address the issue of our being under moral government by OUGHT, pointing to a world-foundational IS that grounds such. A good place to begin is, do we have genuine rights that go beyond might and manipulation make ‘right’? (I put it to you that, as say the US DoI of 1776 and its Dutch antecedent of 1581 allude to i/l/o the line of thought from Vindiciae to Lex Rex and Locke, after centuries of debate, the only serious candidate to be such a world-foundational IS, is the inherently good Creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. [Cf. here, onwards.])

    KF

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM & Joe (attn, logically_speaking [LS]):

    I find it interesting that one sense of “mechanism” enfolds intelligence/mind in action.

    But, it is also significant that the influence of a priori materialism so distorts ability to think clearly that it is advisable to distinguish intelligent creative conception carried forward from thought to thing by means of technique. And, to highlight that something like FSCO/I is an empirically reliable, successfully tested observable sign that points to intelligent cause.

    Stonehenge and the Pyramids notoriously challenge us to understand the technique used to create such marvels at such an early date. But that is separate from how the FSCO/I in both distinctly and strongly points to creative intelligence directing configuration.

    LS has a point well worth pondering:

    Intelligent Design =

    Intelligence is the cause, design IS the mechanism.

    Intelligence is the cause, design is the effect.

    When we ponder the molecular nanotechnology of cell based life, thus the origin of life and of body plans, we see abundant FSCO/I. Including codes used to express algorithms . . . which outright implies language and purposeful, goal-directed composition of software. Before the existence of organic life as we know it.

    The notion that codes, algorithms and associated nanotech execution machines with an integrated von Neumann self-replicating facility can write themselves out of forces of diffusion, chemical kinetics and the like in some warm pond or the like, frankly, is a patent absurdity. An absurdity exposed by the inherent logic underlying the second law of thermodynamics. Namely, in a configuration space of possibilities that is blindly explored via molecular forces, we can only reasonably expect to see patterns consistent with the overwhelming bulk of the clusters. Patterns of simply describable order, much less those of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, will be maximally implausible under such circumstances. (And yes I am alluding to Kolmogorov, Chaitin and co on complexity and description length, thence the point that the entropy of a system of thermodynamic interest can be measured as average missing info — think, string of y/n, structured q’s [i.e. bits] — to specify microstate given a macrostate description.)

    Sewell is right to observe that in an open system, that which was overwhelmingly improbable under isolated conditions only becomes likely if something is crossing the boundary that makes it likely.

    And, when one looks to an observed cosmos — the only observed cosmos — that exhibits fine-tuned physics and cosmological circumstances that set it to a deeply isolated operating point that supports C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life, that points to design of the cosmos. A cosmos that credibly had a beginning and calls out for a cause.

    An adequate cause.

    KF

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    To clarify, a design mechanism is,

    1. having a plan or blueprint of the finished article.

    2. The gathering or building of tools and resources necessary for the final build.

    3. The actual building of the stucture in accordance with the blueprint/plan with the tools and resources now available.

    Intelligent Design =

    Intelligence is the cause, design IS the mechanism.

    1. So where is the plan/blueprint for, say, the bacterial flagellum? What is the evidence for the existence of this blueprint?
    2. What were the tools and resources used in the final build of the bacterial flagellum? What’s the evidence that these were the tools and resources used?
    3. When/where was this building of the bacterial flagellum done? What evidence do we have that this was done in accordance with the blueprint?

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “In order to disprove common descent, one could find anomalous (for evolutionary explanations) fossils in the geological strata, rabbits in the Cambrian era being the classic example.”

    as to the infamous pre-Cambrian rabbit, that certainly would not falsify common descent

    The evolutionist J. B. S. Haldane, when asked what would convince him that evolution was false, replied that finding a rabbit fossil in pre-Cambrian rocks would do quite nicely. Such a fossil would, by standard geological dating, be out of sequence by several hundreds of millions of years. Certainly such a finding, if rigorously confirmed, would overturn the current understanding of the history of life. But it would not overturn evolution.
    Haldane’s rabbit is easily enough explained as an evolutionary convergence, in which essentially the same structure or life form evolves twice. In place of a common underlying intelligent design, evolutionists invoke evolutionary convergence whenever confronted with similar biological structures that cannot reasonably be traced back to a common evolutionary ancestor.
    So long as some unknown or unexplored evolutionary pathway might have led to the formation of some biological structure or organism, evolutionists prefer it over alternative explanations such as intelligent design. And since the unknown and unexplored allow for an infinity of loopholes, the committed evolutionist regards Darwinian and other materialist explanations of life’s origin and subsequent development as always trumping alternative explanations, regardless of the evidence.
    – By William A. Dembski

    “What Would Disprove Evolution?” – July 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late). Paleontological theory, however, allows for such devices as “ghost lineages” to repair the damage; see ENV’s coverage here and here. (links on the site)
    Again, discordance between molecular and anatomical phylogenies is commonplace in systematics; see here.(link on the site)
    But we expect Coyne is able to handle these anomalies via his shock-absorbing adjective “complete,” which allows an indefinitely large range of possibilities, short of “complete” discordance (whatever that means).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....61891.html

    Moreover, if common descent were truly falsifiable, as all robust theories of science are, then why does the Cambrian explosion itself not falsify the Darwinian assumption of common descent?

    Cambrian Explosion Ruins Darwin’s Tree of Life (2 minutes in 24 hour day) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQKxkUb_AAg

    What Types of Evolution Does the Cambrian Explosion Challenge? – Stephen Meyer – video – (challenges Universal Common Descent and the Mechanism of Random Variation/Natural Selection)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaF7t5wRFtA&list=UUUMhP2x7_7psVO-H4MJFpAQ

    The reason why the Cambrian does not falsify common descent for Darwinists is because Darwinists are always able to imagine fossils where none exist, or to imagine transitions that never occurred. Once again, Darwinism is NOT a testable science, but is pseudo-science masquerading as a science.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design – video
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    “The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form). Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question.”
    Stephen Meyer – earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

    Meyer-Marshall Debate (On the Cambrian Explosion) – Dec. 4, 2013:
    Excerpt: Meyer pointed out that Marshall’s position reversed the requirement of the historical scientific method as pioneered by Darwin and Lyell, both of whom insisted that our present knowledge of cause and effect should constrain our theorizing about the evolutionary past. Meyer said that Marshall’s willingness to jettison that principle reflected his own prior commitment to a materialistic worldview. (Marshall had previously in his review and in the debate, accused Meyer of allowing his theistic perspective and motivation to color his analysis of the evidence.)
    http://www.discovery.org/csc/medved/?p=7001

    Stephen Meyer’s Rebuttal to Robert Asher’s “Mechanism” Argument –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....81161.html

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: as to the infamous pre-Cambrian rabbit, that certainly would not falsify common descent

    A rabbit in the Precambrian could not be due to evolution. It would precede, by far, any plausible ancestor.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this claim:

    “However, to disprove “Intelligent Design Theory”, we first need a clear statement of such a theory that is not simply a “god-of-the-gaps” argument such as Behe’s irreducible complexity or Dembski’s complex specified information.”

    First off, the ‘god of the gaps argument is the fallacious belief that the necessity for using God as an explanation in science has had to retreat further and further as our science has advanced. That belief simply is not true. If anything, materialistic explanations have had to retreat further and further, (i.e. materialism of the gaps), whilst Theistic explanations in science have become far more widespread and robust in their explanatory power. Here is a short list of materialistic/naturalistic predictions/explanations compared side by side with Theistic predictions/explanations:

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted time-space energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted time-space energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (Gonzalez). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact it is even very good at pointing us to Christianity:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & The Shroud Of Turin – (video)
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Of supplemental note:

    Contextuality is ‘magic ingredient’ for quantum computing – June 11, 2012
    Excerpt: Contextuality was first recognized as a feature of quantum theory almost 50 years ago.,,,
    Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. That’s part of the weirdness of quantum mechanics.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-w.....antum.html

    It is very interesting to point out how recent findings for quantum non-locality for photons, (Contextuality; Zeilinger), dovetails perfectly into some of the oldest philosophical arguments for the existence of God and offers empirical confirmation for those ancient philosophical arguments. For instance, quantum non locality provides empirical confirmation for the ancient philosophical argument for ‘being’, for ‘existence’, itself!

    Aquinas’ Third way – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V030hvnX5a4

    God Is the Best Explanation For Why Anything At All Exists – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjuqBxg_5mA

    As well, non local, i.e. beyond space and time, quantum effects provide solid support for the argument from motion. Also known as Aquinas’ First way. (Of note, St Thomas Aquinas lived from 1225 to 7 March 1274.)

    Aquinas’ First Way – (The First Mover – Unmoved Mover) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmpw0_w27As

    Aquinas’ First Way
    1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.
    2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually.
    3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act.
    4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature.
    5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.
    6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series.
    7) This Pure Act– Prime Mover– is what we call God.
    per Michael Egnor

    Or to put the argument much more simply:

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    The following video is also very helpful in understanding the “First Mover” argument:

    The Laws of Nature (Have Never ‘Caused’ Anything) by C.S. Lewis – doodle video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    And in support of ‘the first mover’ argument, in the following video Anton Zeilinger, whose group is arguably the best group of experimentalists in quantum physics today, ‘tries’ to explain the double slit experiment to Morgan Freeman:

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? (Prof. Anton Zeilinger) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Prof. Zeilinger makes this rather startling statement in the preceding video that meshes perfectly with the ‘first mover argument’::

    “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    If that was not enough to get his point across, at the 4:12 minute mark in this following video,,,

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6101627/

    Professor Zeilinger states,,,

    “We know what the particle is doing at the source when it is created. We know what it is doing at the detector when it is registered. But we do not know what it is doing in-between.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    Thus, since it is not possible to explain the actions in the universe without reference to a beyond space and time cause, (as has been postulated from Theism for hundreds of years), then not only is God not becoming a ‘god of the gaps’, as atheists falsely claim, but God is in fact, scientifically speaking, becoming ‘God of the whole show!’

  17. 17
    Zachriel says:

    logically_speaking: 1. having a plan or blueprint of the finished article.

    That could conceivably just be in ‘mind’.

    logically_speaking: 2. The gathering or building of tools and resources necessary for the final build. 3. The actual building of the stucture in accordance with the blueprint/plan with the tools and resources now available.

    That’s what most people mean when they ask about the mechanism. It’s the who, what, when, where, how.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, 12:

    In order to disprove common descent, one could find anomalous (for evolutionary explanations) fossils in the geological strata, rabbits in the Cambrian era being the classic example. Until then, evolutionary explanations remain supported by the current data.

    Sorry, you have it back ways around, as every tub must stand on its own bottom.

    No-one has shown that proposed mechanisms of chance variation and differential reproductive success of the various types have adequate capacity to cause FSCO/I, required for significant body plan novelties. The gross extrapolation of micro-changes that do not generally show significant informational innovation, is not a good counter to this.

    What has happened is that — as Lewontin admitted (cf. OP, I just added a cover from Sagan’s book he was reviewing) — a priori evolutionary materialism has been imposed ideologically on origins science, and prevails by techniques such as improper materialism loaded redefinition of science and its methods. Grand ideological question-begging in short.

    Philip Johnson (also cited in the OP) is right, in his retort to Lewontin:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    When we get to the “root” of the tree of life (insofar as that is a common perception, cf the Smithsonian diagram in the OP), this issue is redoubled because so-called natural selection . . . actually, culling out by differential reproductive success of sub-populations on environmental pressure . . . is not applicable. That’s because the origin of self-replicating cells is in the stakes.

    In short, the issue of the origin of FSCO/I is pivotal.

    And, the attempt to pretend and suggest that the design inference is ill-formed and not properly subject to empirical test fails. As you full well know or should know.

    For, as has been repeatedly pointed out in your presence, and that of your ilk of objectors, should functionally specific, complex interactive organisation and/or associated information beyond 500 – 1,000 bits be empirically shown to credibly come about by factors of blind chance and mechanical necessity only, the design theory programme would collapse. A simple test of creating random text beyond 73 – 143 ASCII characters that effects something like coherent English text would suffice.

    Of course, in fact on trillions of cases FSCO/I is routinely and only seen to come from intelligently directed configuration. Design.

    This is backed by the blind needle in haystack analysis challenge that has ever so often been pointed out. An analysis that is organically connected to the statistical foundations of 2LOT. As I know directly — that is the line of thought that led me to take design theory seriously. (Cf my always linked briefing note through my handle.)

    KF

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, kindly cf OP on “mechanism,” endlessly repeating an error does not convert it into truth, nor does demanding of ID that it answer a question not germane to the one it answers well and which is more than enough to make the point. FSCO/I for instance, is a reliable sign of design, with implications for how we think on OOL and OO body plans. KF

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    as to the question of ‘where is the blueprint?’, this is of related interest:

    Digital Physics Argument for God’s Existence – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Xsp4FRgas

    Digital Physics Argument
    Premise 1: Simulations can only exist is a computer or a mind.
    Premise 2: The universe is a simulation.
    Premise 3: A simulation on a computer still must be simulated in a mind.
    Premise 4: Therefore, the universe is a simulation in a mind (2,3).
    Premise 5: This mind is what we call God.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

    As to the question of ‘mechanism’, it should be noted that atheists have profoundly confused mere mathematical description with the superior explanatory power of agent causality:

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf
    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – 2012 talk
    University of Wyoming J. Budziszewski
    http://veritas.org/talks/profe.....er_id=2231

    and when agent causality is rightly let into the picture, (instead of the ‘blind’ causality of atheists), then unification between Quantum Theory and Relativity is achieved in the resurrection of Christ from death:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-548425
    infinity, incompleteness, and God
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-551702

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Empty (Empty Cross Empty Tomb) with Dan Haseltine Matt Hammitt
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F22MCCNU

  21. 21
    Joe says:

    Earth to Aurelio Smith- There isn’t any theory of evolution. Also Universal Common Descent cannot be tested. Also your position doesn’t have a mechanism capable of getting beyond populations of prokaryotes and that is given starting populations of prokaryotes.

    And seeing that evolutionism cannot account for rabbits the pre-cambrian rabbit drivel just exposes their desperation.

  22. 22
    Joe says:

    rvb8:

    the mechanisms that created Stonehenge were human sweat, and human ingenuity,…

    LoL!

    both products of millions of years of selection.

    Bald assertion.

    ‘Selection’ is the mechanism of evolution.

    Natural selection has proven to be impotent. You need something else.

    What is the ‘mechanism of ID?

    Design is a mechanism. Artificial selection is a specific design mechanism. “Built-in responses to environmental cues” is yet another design mechanism. Evolutionary and genetic algorithms use a targeted search- another design mechanism.

    Why do you think your inability to think means something?

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “A rabbit in the Precambrian could not be due to evolution. It would precede, by far, any plausible ancestor.”

    Who gets to decide what is plausible? That’s the whole problem with Darwinism. There is no rigid, objective, criteria in Darwinism for falsification. When Darwinism is ‘falsified’ for a person it is all a matter of subjective opinion, i.e. the person personally decides when Darwinian explanations have become implausible.

    I say the Cambrian falsifies common descent, you say it doesn’t. So what, who cares what we think? Exactly where is the objective mathematical standard, separate from both our subjective opinions, so as to arbitrate the matter objectively?

    Once again, without such a objective standard, Darwinism is simply a non-falsifiable pseudo-science that does not even qualify as a real science!

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge
    http://izquotes.com/quote/147518

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/9957206/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness_Scirus_Topic_Page_

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, often the plan of an object is implicit in its configuration, hence the practice of reverse engineering. In some cases, apart from the plan in the mind’s eye, that is the only instantiation of the plan — and certainly the only tangible one. Think, did you construct a formal essay plan before composing your comment? The string data structure and contents in your posts are cases in point of FSCO/I tracing to design. If your conception of plans and the like cannot meet such a test, it is inadequate. That is why the definitions in the OP are so carefully composed with significant inputs from engineers. KF

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    Crick defined biological information. Don’t blame ID because your position cannot account for it.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, I sugest to you that you take a time out to acquaint yourself with basic facts. If you actually genuinely struggle to understand what functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is — as opposed to merely playing at well worn and long since past sell-by date rhetorical tricks, I suggest you may wish to start here with a recent summary. Note especially what Leslie Orgel had to say in 1973 — this is NOT a (suspect . . . ) design theory innovation, it is a longstanding engineering fact of life that was recognised as applicable to OOL studies in the 1970’s. KF

    PS: Let me clip a key part of that OP though the whole needs to be read and viewed:

    >> it should be readily apparent . . . let’s expand in step by step points of thought [u/d Feb 8] . . . that:

    a –> intelligence is inherently purposeful, and

    b –> that the fishing reel is an example of how the purposeful intelligent creativity involved in the intelligently directed configuration — aka, design — that

    c –> leads to productive working together of multiple, correct parts properly arranged to achieve function through their effective interaction

    d –> leaves behind it certain empirically evident and in principle quantifiable signs. In particular,

    e –> the specific arrangement of particular parts or facets in the sort of nodes-arcs pattern in the exploded view diagram above is chock full of quantifiable, function-constrained information. That is,

    f –> we may identify a structured framework and list of yes/no questions required to bring us to the cluster of effective configurations in the abstract space of possible configurations of relevant parts.

    g –> This involves specifying the parts, specifying their orientation, their location relative to other parts, coupling, and possibly an assembly process. Where,

    h –> such a string of structured questions and answers is a specification in a description language, and yields a value of functionally specific information in binary digits, bits.

    If this sounds strange, reflect on how AutoCAD and similar drawing programs represent designs.

    This is directly linked to a well known index of complexity, from Kolmogorov and Chaitin. As Wikipedia aptly summarises:

    In algorithmic information theory (a subfield of computer science and mathematics), the Kolmogorov complexity (also known as descriptive complexity, Kolmogorov–Chaitin complexity, algorithmic entropy, or program-size complexity) of an object, such as a piece of text, is a measure of the computability resources needed to specify the object . . . . the complexity of a string is the length of the shortest possible description of the string in some fixed universal description language (the sensitivity of complexity relative to the choice of description language is discussed below). It can be shown that the Kolmogorov complexity of any string cannot be more than a few bytes larger than the length of the string itself. Strings, like the abab example above, whose Kolmogorov complexity is small relative to the string’s size are not considered to be complex.

    A useful way to picture this is to recognise from the above, that the three dimensional complexity and functionally specific organisation of something like the 6500 C3 reel, may be reduced to a descriptive string. In the worst case (a random string), we can give some header contextual information and reproduce the string. In other cases, we may be able to spot a pattern and do much better than that, e.g. with an orderly string like abab . . . n times we can compress to a very short message that describes the order involved. In intermediate cases, in all codes we practically observe there is some redundancy that yields a degree of compressibility.>>

  27. 27
    velikovskys says:

    Joe
    We don’t even know the specific mechanisms that created Stonehenge. We don’t know the specific peoples who built it. We don’t know why and the when keeps changing.

    If ID cannot solve such a trivial question ,how is it going to solve the question of life?

  28. 28
    Joe says:

    Aurelio Smith is ignorant of the fact that Crick defined biological information? Really? Why are you here, Aurelio? Obviously you don’t know anything about what is being discussed.

    Read Crick’s “Central Dogma”- and biological information is FSCO/I.

    http://www.dna.caltech.edu/cou.....ma1970.pdf

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    vel:

    If ID cannot solve such a trivial question ,how is it going to solve the question of life?

    It isn’t a trivial question, ID is nOT trying to solve it and ID has solved the question of life.

  30. 30
    Joe says:

    A little history demonstrates that Sir Francis Crick talked about biological information in his “Central Dogma”. For example:

    Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or on amino acid residues in the protein.

    Each protein consists of a specific sequence of amino acid residues which is encoded by a specific sequence of processed mRNA. Each mRNA is encoded by a specific sequence of DNA.  The point being is biological information refers to the macromolecules that are involved in some process, be that transcription, editing, splicing, translation and functioning proteins. No one measures the biological information in a random sequence of DNA nor any DNA sequence not directly observed in some process. The best one can do with any given random DNA sequence is figure out its information carrying capacity. You couldn’t tell if it was biological information without a reference library.

    And Leslie Orgel first talked about specified complexity wrt biology:

    In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.

    As far as I can tell IDists use the terms in the same way. Dembski and  Meyer make it clear that it is sequence specificity that is central to their claims.

    That is the whole point- if sequence specificity matters the tighter the specification the less likely blind physical processes could find it. Yup those dreaded probabilities again, but seeing yours doesn’t come with a testable model it’s all we have. See Is Intelligent Design Required for Life?

    With that said, to measure biological information, ie biological specification, all you have to do is count the coding nucleotides of the genes involved for that functioning system, then multiply by 2 (four possible nucleotides = 2^2) and then factor in the variation tolerance:

    from Kirk K. Durston, David K. Y. Chiu, David L. Abel, Jack T. Trevors, Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Vol. 4:47 (2007):

    [N]either RSC [Random Sequence Complexity] nor OSC [Ordered Sequence Complexity], or any combination of the two, is sufficient to describe the functional complexity observed in living organisms, for neither includes the additional dimension of functionality, which is essential for life. FSC [Functional Sequence Complexity] includes the dimension of functionality. Szostak argued that neither Shannon’s original measure of uncertainty nor the measure of algorithmic complexity are sufficient. Shannon’s classical information theory does not consider the meaning, or function, of a message. Algorithmic complexity fails to account for the observation that “different molecular structures may be functionally equivalent.” For this reason, Szostak suggested that a new measure of information—functional information—is required.

  31. 31
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: kindly cf OP on “mechanism,”

    kairosfocus: If mechanism can be, with due cautions, used to describe how things are done or come into being, then — absent question-begging Lewontinian a priori materialism — the mental in action is as much a “mechanism” as the physical.

    But that’s not what people are generally asking about when asking about a mechanism. The idea or plan has to be implemented into physical reality at some point. They want to know the who, what, when, where and how.

    rvb8: the mechanisms that created Stonehenge were human sweat

    And levers.

    bornagain77: There is no rigid, objective, criteria in Darwinism for falsification.

    Haldane provided a rigid, objective and very specific criterion, a rabbit in the Precambrian. You can find such strata in North America and east Asia. Good luck!

  32. 32
    Joe says:

    Aurelio:

    Well, he didn’t give a definition of biological information in that paper, now, did he?

    Yes, he did. I quoted him.

    Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or on amino acid residues in the protein.

    That is biological information.

    I see it is a lift from a blog post from your own blog.

    So what? It is more than you can comprehend.

  33. 33
    Joe says:

    Haldane provided a rigid, objective and very specific criterion, a rabbit in the Precambrian.

    That isn’t objective. Not only that yours cannot account for any rabbits…

  34. 34
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    But that’s not what people are generally asking about when asking about a mechanism

    Sure it is.

  35. 35
    CHartsil says:

    Meyer himself admits there’s no mechanism for ID. That means there can be no model, so it can’t be considered a scientific theory.

    It’s a string of poorly connected and invalid inferences comparing living systems to non-living systems. If you’re saying a system being ‘specified’ means it’s designed then just saying that a living system is specified in order to call it designed is question begging.

  36. 36
    CHartsil says:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=874855845911745&set=p.874855845911745&type=1&theater

    >It’s really real science you guys, but we don’t actually have that whole ‘explanation’ or ‘model’ thing… [SNIP–no adverts CH, KF]

  37. 37
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel (37):

    A rabbit in the pre-Cambrian would, for all practical purposes, prove common descent false. But one doesn’t need to prove common descent false to show the weakness of “Darwinism” — which was the word used by BA77. Common descent might be true, but Darwinian theory might be a lousy explanation of it. In fact many historians and philosophers of science have found Darwinism (which for practical purposes from about 1935 on meant the Modern Synthesis) to be very shaky (in comparison with the reigning scientific theories in other fields) on the question of falsification — Stanley Jaki (scientist and historian of science), Karl Popper, Mortimer Adler, Thomas Nagel, etc. “Natural selection” can explain anything, or very nearly anything, *after* the fact, but can predict almost nothing *before* the fact. That’s like an economic theory that can boldly explain the Great Depression a year after it happened, but whose advocates were conspicuously absent in the years before the Depression when their predictions would have been timely and useful.

    I’ve seen “natural selection” used to explain why altruism is an advantage, and I’ve seen it used to explain why selfishness is an advantage. I’ve seen it used to explain why flight would have been an advantage to reptiles, while remaining silent about why so many reptiles did not take to flying. I’ve seen it used to explain (on a PBS special, complete with utterly fabricated computer images of dog body evolution) how the dog body is much superior for the purposes of hunting than the cat body, while failing to explain why the dog family, being so superior, has not competed the cat family out of existence in all areas originally inhabited by both. I could go on and on.

    The point is that natural selection is great at Monday morning quarterbacking — once you *know* what survived, you can always concoct some qualitative-level story about why it survived — but lousy at prediction. On the other hand, when you compare the theory of natural selection with theories in real natural science, e.g., the theories in everyday chemistry and physics, you notice a huge difference. The latter are genuinely predictive.

    The organic chemist sets about to create a new substance, and based on his knowledge of chemical bonds, molecular shapes, distribution of charges, etc., predicts that the new substance will or will not be soluble in water or in alcohol, will have a boiling or melting point of such and such, will absorb light of such and such frequencies, etc. And then he tests his new molecule when it is made, and his prediction is either confirmed or falsified. He puts his theory on the line. And if his predictions aren’t confirmed, he admits there is an error in his theory somewhere. He can’t retreat into an infinite number of just-so stories that presume the truth of the very mechanism that he is trying to establish. His theory is too precise to leave much wiggle-room.

    But ask six evolutionary biologists what will happen to all the plant and animal species in a given patch of jungle that has never seen a rabbit before if you release ten thousand mating pairs of rabbits there; the six evolutionary biologists may well give you seven predictions, or they may (with their usual evasive prudence) give you no prediction at all. But all six of them will have perfectly good selectionist explanations for the outcome 200 years later — once they know the outcome. What amazing scientific acumen!

    This is why evolutionary biology has always been low on the pecking order of the natural sciences, and why evolutionary biologists are so prickly and defensive, in a way that other scientists aren’t, when their theory is criticized. They know that “natural selection” is such a broad concept that it can cover almost any contingency, and has nothing like the precision of mechanisms alleged in laboratory chemistry and physics. But they don’t like the world to point that out, because like all mothers, they cherish their baby and think it is the prettiest of all babies.

    Fortunately, the brighter, less doctrinaire young evolutionary biologists are not so wedded to selectionism as the older generations were, and we are seeing more and biologists who place relatively less emphasis on selection and relatively more emphasis on the origins of biological innovation. Dawkins etc. are looking increasingly very old hat.

    I don’t expect we will ever find a Cambrian rabbit, but I still think neo-Darwinism is a pathetically weak scientific theory. Basically everything Darwinian is warmed-over 19th-century economic theory, applied to biology. We live in the 21st century now. Surely we can have an evolutionary theory based on the natural science of today (information theory, the physics of biological form, molecular biology, etc.) rather than the economic theory of pre-Victorian parsons. It’s time to retire Darwin along with the icebox and the player piano.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    AS,

    First, can you tell us what Sir Francis Crick wrote to his son March 19, 1953 . . . several years before his sequence hypothesis of 1957?

    If you cannot, you have a lot of home work to do.

    If you can but are playing selectively hyperskeptical dismissive rhetorical games, that speaks volumes.

    Onward, I refuse to accept that you do not recognise what FSCO/I is about, as you are an educated person in a highly technological age. Had you cared to follow the previously linked discussion, you would have seen several case studies that demonstrate what FSCO/I is, by being cases of a nodes arcs Wicken-style “wiring diagram” that illustrates how components or facets of a complex functional entity are arranged and coupled together to achieve function.

    I am utterly sure you are familiar with the need for parts to be properly arranged and coupled together to interact, resulting in composite function. And, that you know that the overwhelming bulk of possible clumped or scattered arrangements will fail to work because of the process logic.

    The Abu 6500 C3 reel is a capital, fairly simple case.

    Next, such a bill of components is arranged with properly oriented and coupled parts to attain function.

    This can be reduced to a structured sequence of y/n q’s, where the length of the string gives an index of complexity in bits and the structured semantic content describes the wiring diagram, as Wicken described. (More often in engineering we speak of exploded views or assembly diagrams etc.)

    That is, we here see the organisation and the associated information. Functional specificity can be seen by assessing what a proportion of noise injected into the description will do — generally disrupt, absent very careful engineering that gives graceful degradation. (This specific interaction of particular components to achieve function and sensitivity to perturbation beyond a fairly limited tolerance is the root of the metaphor, islands of function in configuration space.)

    The configuration space for just 500 bits, from 000 . . . 0 to 111 . . . 1, has in it 2^500 ~ 3.27*10^150 possibilities. For 1,000 bits that rises to 1.07*10^301. The first, all the atoms of the solar system, searching new configs every 10^-14 s (a fast chem rxn rate) for its lifespan, would be able to blindly search as one straw to a cubical haystack comparably thick as our galaxy’s disk.

    Effectively, negligible search.

    And if you are searching for a golden search, blind searches are effectively subsets chosen at random from the config space. The set of searches is therefore the set of subsets, of cardinality 2^[2^500]. Calculator or computer smoking territory. Search for search is exponentially harder than the straight blind search.

    And yet, you tossed off the first 72 characters of your objecting posts, 500 bits worth of ASCII characters, in doubtless a minute or so if so much. And yes, a functionally specific character s-t-r-i-n-g is precisely a case of the node-arc pattern, an example of FSCO/I.

    To object, you had to exemplify that FSCO/I has one empirically known, analytically plausible source, design.

    This is an example of the absurd selective hyperskepticism that is routinely resorted to by objectors to FSCO/I and what it points to.

    Inadvertently, such objections and the attitude they make all too plain, tell us just how strong the point is.

    KF

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: “Natural selection” can explain anything, or very nearly anything, *after* the fact, but can predict almost nothing *before* the fact.

    That’s not quite correct. Given population genetics, natural selection has often been equated to change beyond what is expected due to drift alone, but more recent research has strengthened the relationship between posited natural selection and environmental pressures.

    Timaeus: I’ve seen “natural selection” used to explain why altruism is an advantage, and I’ve seen it used to explain why selfishness is an advantage.

    Yes, they are countervailing influences, and there is substantial support for natural selection and its relationship to altruism.

    Timaeus: I’ve seen it used to explain why flight would have been an advantage to reptiles, while remaining silent about why so many reptiles did not take to flying.

    Life diversifies to occupy available niches — because it has to do with opportunity.

    Timaeus: I’ve seen it used to explain (on a PBS special, complete with utterly fabricated computer images of dog body evolution) how the dog body is much superior for the purposes of hunting than the cat body

    Not superior, just different, and in somewhat different niches.

    Timaeus: The point is that natural selection is great at Monday morning quarterbacking — once you *know* what survived, you can always concoct some qualitative-level story about why it survived — but lousy at prediction.

    What’s interesting about that is that Darwin saw the evidence for macroevolution, but had to conjecture about microevolution. Today, not only can we directly observe microevolution, but we can directly observe natural selection in the wild. Quite the lucky guesser that Darwin.

    Timaeus: But ask six evolutionary biologists what will happen to all the plant and animal species in a given patch of jungle that has never seen a rabbit before if you release ten thousand mating pairs of rabbits there; the six evolutionary biologists may well give you seven predictions, or they may (with their usual evasive prudence) give you no prediction at all.

    What they can all predict is that any new species will be descendants of existing species.

    Timaeus: I don’t expect we will ever find a Cambrian rabbit …

    Come on now. Why not?

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil,

    it is obvious that you are simply making empty dismissive self-repetitions.

    In addition, you have not taken time to read before further objecting. Meyer said that design is not MECHANISTIC (responsibly free and rational intelligence is creative and fundamentally non algorithmic . . . it is not blind computation per equally blind structures and initial conditions, with the odd injection or two of equally blind and irrational chance . . . ); that is, it is not under meaning 7 in the OP’s citation from AmHD but instead falls under senses 1 – 3.

    Let me clip points 12 – 17:

    13 –> BTW, this raises the issue, what is a mechanism? AmHD:

    mech·a·nism (m?k??-n?z??m)n.
    1.a. A machine or mechanical appliance. b. The arrangement of connected parts in a machine.
    2. A system of parts that operate or interact like those of a machine: the mechanism of the solar system.
    3. An instrument or a process, physical or mental, by which something is done or comes into being: “The mechanism of oral learning is largely that of continuous repetition” (T.G.E. Powell).
    4. A habitual manner of acting to achieve an end.
    5. Psychology A usually unconscious mental and emotional pattern that shapes behavior in a given situation or environment: a defense mechanism.
    6. The sequence of steps in a chemical reaction.
    7. Philosophy The doctrine that all natural phenomena are explicable by material causes and mechanical principles.

    14 –> Note carefully, meaning 3 in the context of meanings 1 and 2. An intelligent process by which something is done or comes into being can be termed a mechanism. However, as there is the problem of colouring from meaning 7, method, technique or process is a more useful, less ambiguous, less loaded phrasing.

    15 –> This instantly makes mincemeat of the following:

    [CHartsil:] >>and ID proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design. >>

    16 –> If mechanism can be, with due cautions, used to describe how things are done or come into being, then — absent question-begging Lewontinian a priori materialism — the mental in action is as much a “mechanism” as the physical. And if technique is what is meant, intellectual techniques are techniques.

    17 –> So, as was pointed out and predictably dismissed, Dembski’s opening words — yes, his opening words — in his preface to No Free Lunch, p. ix, do in fact describe a general “mechanism” . . . let’s break it out in pointwise steps:

    How a designer gets from thought to thing is, at least in broad strokes, straightforward:

    (1) A designer conceives a purpose.

    (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan.

    (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions.

    (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials.

    What emerges is a designed object, and the designer is successful to the degree that the object fulfills the designer’s purpose . . .

    Your downfall is that you had to create a design in order to post an objecting comment, so you know — or full well should know — from the inside that FSCO/I can be and is routinely produced by intelligence using techniques of design.

    But so caught up are you in a mechanistic view of the world that you are unwilling to acknowledge that intelligence riutinely acts into the world by using design techniques, or that when such does so it often leaves empirically detectable and reliable traces.

    So, we are epistemically fully entitled per the logic of induction (the logic of science) to confidently infer from sign to signified, as we infer from star light and its spectral lines to the composition of a star.

    Such is of course testable and in principle falsifiable . . . just show that something like FSCO/I is empirically known to come from blind chance and mechanical necessity. But the root problem is this, a worldview level imposition of a priori evolutionary materialism and linked lab coat clad scientism that ends in self referential absurdity.

    Haldane put it this way:

    “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 [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    KF

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, 43: Crick has in fact given a very relevant and general meaning of information as it relates to strings, in what you tried to dismiss. However, his March 1953 remarks are even more revelatory. Can you cite them? KF

  42. 42
    CHartsil says:

    “it is obvious that you are simply making empty dismissive self-repetitions.”

    >From the one that can’t provide a single mechanism for ID while simultaneously wanting to call it a theory.

    >3. An instrument or a process, physical or mental, by which something is done or comes into being:

    >An instrument or process

    >instrument or process

    Just saying “Intelligence did it” is not a process, it’s the same assertion ID proponents have been making for decades.

  43. 43
    Hangonasec says:

    KF @51

    Crick has in fact given a very relevant and general meaning of information as it relates to strings, in what you tried to dismiss.

    No, he has given a very specific definition, relating only to the sequential transfer that takes place in transcription and translation, and which cannot flow back from the translated product – itself a string – in any biological system. This does not even come close to being an all-encompassing definition of ‘biological information’. And the fact that other strings can also be read sequentially is frankly irrelevant.

  44. 44
    harry says:

    Zachriel @37

    But that’s not what people are generally asking about when asking about a mechanism. The idea or plan has to be implemented into physical reality at some point. They want to know the who, what, when, where and how.

    Intelligence is a known reality. Everybody recognizes and accepts the fact that intelligent agency is not only the best, but also the obvious explanation for many phenomena.

    Nobody thinks the inscription on the Rosetta Stone was the fortunate, albeit freakish product of mindless erosion.

    Everybody assumes the famous, prehistoric images in the Lascaux cave were not the mindless, accidental, albeit very unlikely natural coloration of the cave walls.

    Everybody commonly and easily distinguishes between that which is the result of intelligent agency and phenomena that were brought about mindlessly by the blind forces of nature.

    So, what word do you want to use instead of “mechanism” for intelligent agency being a necessary causal factor in these and a trillion other undisputed instances of it being so, especially in regard to instances of technology? Intelligent agency was obviously a causal factor in the inscription on the Rosetta Stone coming about. What is your preferred terminology in that instance?

    If aliens remotely controlling an extraterrestrial drone parked it on planet Earth, as unfamiliar looking as it might appear to us, we would be able to tell it was intelligently designed as opposed to it being an extremely peculiar natural phenomenon brought about mindlessly and accidentally. How would we know that? The same way a visitor to the U.S. who had never heard of Mt. Rushmore, upon seeing it, wouldn’t think its formation was a natural, albeit peculiar coincidence.

    How would you counter one who insisted the extraterrestrial drone was merely an extremely odd product of the blind, mindless forces of nature? And insisted you were destroying science by resorting to intelligent agency as an explanation? How would you explain the “who, what, when, where and how” of the drone’s origin to him? Would the fact that Earthlings simply didn’t know that about the drone make it any less obvious that the existence of the drone was not a mindless accident?

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    H, can you provide the March 1953 remark I am speaking to and have specifically called on AS to provide? If not, with all due respect you do not know what you are talking about. KF

    PS: BTW, DNA code is just that, digital, string data structure coded algorithmic information. Which is a manifestation of language, goal-directed process logic and more. All, at the foundation of the living cell.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil, you obviously struggle to accept that your own intelligence and exercise of your mind to compose a text string in English — a case of FSCO/I — shows how intelligent configuration is a “mechanism” in its own right in sense 3 of the AmHD. The incoherence in evolutionary materialist thought as highlighted by J B S Haldane, is showing. KF

  47. 47
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    You merely repeat standard Darwinian excuses for their unprincipled elasticity of explanation, excuses which would never be tolerated in any *real* natural science.

    The narrator on the PBS special did not say “different” about dogs, but “better” — and gave detailed anatomical differences that were supposedly “better”.

    On wings, you say, life diversifies according to opportunity. Right! And what if there were opportunities for twice as many flying species as we have? Why weren’t they realized, if flying really does confer an advantage? Dawkins tells us it’s no problem to make an eye, that evolution has done it twenty, thirty times. If so, it could have done the same with wings, many times. So why aren’t there more flying creatures?

    Because the whole niche is now filled? How do you know that? How do you know the whole niche is filled? If your argument is “it must be filled, otherwise there would be a greater variety of flying creatures,” then you are just arguing in a circle. I’m asking you to prove from first principles how big the niche was and how many times we would have expected attempts to fill it and how many flying species you would predict. And you can’t do it. You can only explain after the fact. That’s why selectionist explanation is pseudoscientific, except in very obvious cases of microevolution.

    You obviously have not read Darwin; I have. You have his view backwards. It is microevolution that he was able to confirm (if even that), though his study of the differences between varieties and species. Macroevolution he inferred from the fossil record and geographical distribution etc., but he hadn’t a clue what the mechanisms might be beyond a mere extension of microevolution.

    The level of natural selection we observe in the wild is trivial, nowhere near enough to account for major changes such as new body plans.

    Your account of evolutionary theory is 30 years behind. You had better start reading some Shapiro, Newman, Wagner, Jablonka, etc. You’re time-frozen in the 1970s.

    Finally, you write:

    “What they can all predict is that any new species will be descendants of existing species.”

    What a joke of a science! It can predict that *maybe* new species will form, and that if they are, they will be descendants of existing species? You need a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology to say that? A janitor or bus driver could figure that out. Compare that with the example of what a *real* scientist can predict, i.e., a wide variety of the properties of a not-yet-created compound; often its color, ductility, crystalline structure, melting point, etc. can be predicted based on theory. Evolutionary biologists can do nothing comparable. They can’t say whether the rabbits’ morphological or other features will cause them to die out, or successfully compete with other species, or how the rabbits’ diet will alter the balance of plant species, etc. All they can do is watch, and wait, and then offer learned selectionist explanations (all entirely ad hoc) after the fact. They are Monday morning quarterbacks — and never will be anything else.

    At least, not the Darwinians among them. Fortunately, Darwinian theory is moribund, so evolutionary biology still has a chance of one day becoming a real science; but it won’t be people like you who will be the scientific practitioners.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, one last time; can you tell us what Crick said about DNA in March 1953? KF

  49. 49
    Timaeus says:

    Aurelio Smith (58):

    Your reading comprehension leaves something to be desired.

    I *never* dismissed the scientific evidence for “common descent” or “change over time.” I criticized the explanatory power of *natural selection* regarding large-scale changes. My critique contained a particular claim about evolutionary *mechanisms*, not a claim that evolution had not occurred.

    Nor did I–as you seemed to be indirectly charging–promulgate any “religious dogma” or pit any such dogma against arguments for “common descent.” I have no religious objection to common descent. I have scientific and logical objections to neo-Darwinism. If you proved to me that God did not exist tomorrow, I would still say that neo-Darwinism is a hopelessly weak explanation for evolution.

    I’d say you have ID and creationism badly conflated in your mind, so that you don’t understand what ID proponents are saying. It would help if you would cease imputing ideas to people that they have not asserted. And don’t assume that I am in 100% agreement with anyone else posting here. I agree with many people here regarding many things, but the fact is that some of the ID people here are YECs and OECs and I’m neither. Nor is Behe, nor Denton, nor Torley …

    As for the rest, yes, it is obvious that there are many flying species. But how many is too many? Zachriel has no Darwinian prediction how many we might expect. That makes it impossible for us to say whether or not the number of species we do in fact have confirms or falsifies Darwinian predictions. Whether there were only 10 flying species, or a million times as many as there are now, Darwinian after-the-fact explanation could rationalize it.

    By never making any claim about the future, but always restricting their analysis to the fait accompli, they make “natural selection” almost immune from falsification. How convenient. If only the theories of ether and phlogiston had been able to pull that trick, we’d still have them now. And therein you have the explanation why, in the past 150 years, physics and chemistry have progressed by leaps and bounds, whereas Darwinians still don’t have a clue about the origin of novel body plans, and still can’t give you even an approximate prediction of what will happen to the jungle ecology after the rabbits are introduced.

  50. 50

    AS said:

    In order to disprove common descent, one could find anomalous (for evolutionary explanations) fossils in the geological strata, rabbits in the Cambrian era being the classic example.

    In the first place, ID and common descent are entirely compatible, so that is not a very fruitful area for debate. In the second place, you’re taking evolutionary evidence as it is (no pre-cambrian rabbits) and then, in circular fashion, asserting that it is evidence for “evolutionary explanations”:

    Until then, evolutionary explanations remain supported by the current data.

    It’s as if you have absolutely no comprehension of what I wrote in the post you are supposedly responding to.

    You are apparently again confusing specific processes for a category of causal agencies. Lets posit “common descent” as an evolutionary mechanism; so what? Is common descent best characterized as a chance process, a natural law process, or a designed process? You need more than a simple assertion to make a case about the nature of such evolutionary processes and what they are supposedly able to account for.

    However, to disprove “Intelligent Design Theory”, we first need a clear statement of such a theory that is not simply a “god-of-the-gaps” argument such as Behe’s irreducible complexity or Dembski’s complex specified information.

    Hard to figure out what you mean here. You cannot disprove “intelligent design theory” because intelligent design is a known fact – we know humans intelligently design things that nature cannot (for all intents and purposes) produce otherwise via their teleological design agency. ID is a category of causation known to exist.

    In particular cases specific ID claims are made, such as the irreducibly complex nature of the bacterial flagellum or the inability of chance variations to build complex functioning proteins. Those specific claims are subject to falsification – and many have attempted to do just that.

    Those that accept evolutionary theory do so, I claim, because the hypothesis is well supported by evidence and subject to falsification by contrary evidence. So far, there has been no plausible contrary evidence presented.

    You are again losing specificity. IDists by and large accept evolutionary theory (the theory that life forms change over time); what they reject are the Darwnistic (materialistic) characterizations of the processes involved and necessary to achieve certain results, and the ideological insistence that only non-intelligent causations can be conisdered.

    When it is so apparent that there is at least prima facie evidence for intelligent involvement (code and translation systems, irreducibly complex systems, etc), such pre-emptive ideological certainty is not only unwarranted, it is contra-indicated.

    What you and others attempt to do, whether conscious of it or not, is co-opt the terms “evolutionary theory”, “evolutionary mechanisms” and “evolutionary processes” as Darwinistic (chance/natural law & no intelligent design) without making any case whatsoever for it, then insist the burden is on ID advocates to prove otherwise.

    Until your side makes a case that such mechanisms and processes are actually chance & natural law mechanisms/processes, all you are doing is making unsupported assertions.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    AS:

    Interesting that you did not link the letter (I see it was auctioned for a tidy sum) or cite it:

    http://voices.nationalgeograph.....auctioned/

    (Scan plus transcript.)

    Let’s clip some key parts:

    D.N.A. can be thought of roughly as a very long chain with flat bits sticking out. The flat bits are called the “bases”. The formula is rather like this. [shows sugar-phosphate pop-link chain with side bases –> this is the node-arc s-t-r-i-n-g data structure, with the info storage on the perpendicular side bases via prong-height similar to prongs on a Yale type lock] . . . .

    Now on one chain, as far as we can see, one can have the bases in any order [–> physcicodynamic arbitrariness giving high contingency, allowing for coding with 4 discrete possibilities, 2 bits, per node], but if their order is fixed, then the order on the other chain is also fixed [–> 2 complementary copies giving redundancy] . . . .

    It is like a code. If you are given one set of letters you can write down the others.

    Now we believe that the D.N.A. is a code. That is, the order of the bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another). [–> direct, and apt comparison to the string data structure used to communicate information textually, perhaps 32 state Baudot code would be more apt here than ASCII which was a decade or so in the future] You can now see how Nature makes copies of the genes. Because if the two chains unwind into two separate chains, and if each chain then makes another chain come together on it, then because A always goes with T, and G with C, we shall get two copies where we had one before . . . .

    n other words we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life. The beauty of our model is that the shape of it is such that only these pairs can go together, though they could pair up in other ways if they were floating about freely. You can understand that we are very excited. We have to have a letter off to Nature in a day or so. Read this carefully so that you understand it. When you come home we will show you the model.

    In short, even before writing Nature in the famous 1953 paper (the “letter”), Crick was already thinking ahead to the sequence hypothesis of 1957, and understood how DNA was information-bearing in a string data structure, implying a baseline info carrying capacity of two bits per base.

    So, it is a fair understanding of Crick to see him as speaking in terms of information and coding in a direct parallel to alphanumeric text. And of course we see ACGT right from the start.

    We know, proteins are coded based on 3-letter codons, that coding starts with a START/methionine codon, that chaining proceeds to a stop and more. We also know that fold-function is strongly related to AA sequence, and more.

    In short, Crick is thinking in digital, string data structure coded information terms. (Wasn’t he the physicist by training and wasn’t he coming off a spot of Bletchley too? [Vague memory here. Checked, physics yes, Admiralty research lab.])

    All of which are highly significant for our context.

    Remember one thing the FSCO/I concept does is it shows that analysis on strings is WLOG, once one specifies descriptions of configs. As the previous post on FSCO/I discussed.

    KF

  52. 52
    CHartsil says:

    “CHartsil, you obviously struggle to accept that your own intelligence and exercise of your mind to compose a text string in English — a case of FSCO/I — shows how intelligent configuration is a “mechanism” in its own right”

    No, it can be called intelligent *because* we know the mechanisms for it. Enunciation, typing, digital conversion etc.

    No such mechanisms exist for ID. You’re stalled out at ‘intelligence’

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil,

    you are simply wrong. Wrong to the point of finding yourself in opposition to a major aspect of the logic of science.

    From the fact of observed FSCO/I, well beyond the reach of blind chance and mechanical necessity, we have good empirically grounded reason to conclude intelligent cause.

    Where, we know the reality and general capabilities of such intelligence in the first instance from the inside. As, we are conscious, self-aware designing intelligences who regularly produce FSCO/I.

    We live in a world with a recent base of trillions of cases of such FSCO/I of known provenance, and in every case, it comes from intelligently directed configuration.

    That, by itself would ground a strong inductive inference on sign without knowing actual dynamics. Which, is a practice at least as old as Hippocrates, who pioneered the art of diagnosis and prognosis on signs in C5 BC, most grimly, his well known sign of impending death. Let me clip one recent reference:

    Perhaps the most prognostically useful eponym attributed to Hippocrates is the Hippocratic facies, a countenance often present at the verge of death.28,29

    “You should observe thus in acute diseases; first the countenance of the patient, if it be like those of persons in health, and especially if it be like its usual self, for this is best of all. But the opposite are the worst, such as these: a sharp nose, hollow eyes, sunken temples; the ears cold, contracted and their lobes turned outwards; the skin about the forehead rough, stretched and parched; the color of the face greenish or livid… be it known for certain that the end is at hand.”

    This morbid facial expression has been associated not only with advanced cancer,30 but also trauma,31 heart disease, and, as noted by Sir William Osler in his classic medical text Practice of Medicine,32 peritonitis and typhoid fever.

    That is, on a general knowledge that disease process will have consequences on bodily systems, certain consistent patterns can be reliably associated with the underlying process and its stage, here that of impending passing away.

    This inference on sign has no dependence on knowing specific mechanisms, but is linked to inductive reasoning, in the form of inference to best, empirically grounded explanation. Where, explanations can work at many levels.

    Let me go all the way back to a prelim b/g note for the ID foundations series:

    As a preliminary step to a discussion [DV, to follow] of the significance of and warrant for the design inference, let us now symbolise how we interact with and draw inferences about signs and symbols (generally following Peirce et al [Added, Feb 28: including P’s thought on warrant by inference to best explanation i.e. abductive reasoning; where also warrant can be understood on Toulmin, Plantinga, Gettier and others (cf broader discussion here )]):

    __________________

    Signs: I observe one or more signs [in a pattern], and infer the signified object, on a warrant:

    I: [si] –> O, on W

    a –> Here, as I will use “sign” [as opposed to “symbol”], the connexion is a more or less causal or natural one; e.g. a pattern of deer tracks on the ground is an index, pointing to a deer.

    (NB, 02:28: Sign can be used more broadly in technical semiotics to embrace “symbol” and other complexities, but this is not needed for our purposes. I am using “sign” much as it is used in medicine, at least since Hippocrates of Cos in C5 BC, i.e. to point to a disease on an objective, warranted indicator.)

    b –> If the sign is not a sufficient condition of the signified, the inference is not certain and is defeatable; though it may be inductively strong. (E.g. someone may imitate deer tracks.)

    c –> The warrant for an inference may in key cases require considerable background knowledge or cues from the context.

    d –> The act of inference may also be implicit or even intuitive, and I may not be able to articulate but may still be quite well-warranted to trust the inference. Especially, if it traces to senses I have good reason to accept are working well, and are acting in situations that I have no reason to believe will materially distort the inference.

    e –> The process of observation may be passive, where I simply respond to effects of the sign-emitting object; or it may involve active emission of signals or interaction with the object. For instance, we may contrast passive and active sonar sensing here, noting that both modes are used by sea-animals as well as technical systems. (NB: “Object” is here used in a very broad sense [u/d 02:17: it includes objects and credibly objective states of affairs].)

    f –> A sign can also be iconic, i.e sufficiently resembling [u/d, 02:17: or representing] the object to be recognisable as a representation, as a general class [a rock shaped like a face] or in specific [a sculptural portrait]. [u/d 02:28: In the case of a mace in its rest in Parliament, unless an elaborate form of a former weapon sits there, Parliament is not legitimately in session.] . . .

    In this sense, FSCO/I is an inductively strong sign of intelligently directed configuration, i.e. design as cause.

    We also can see (at the next level of analysis) that the relevant config spaces beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity [3.27*10^150 to 1.07*10^301 possibilities from 000 . . . 0 to 111 . . . 1] are such that blind chance and necessity search on the gamut of solar system or observed cosmos are maximally implausible as credible causal antecedents to FSCO/I as effect, due to the needle in haystack challenge. Through analysis that is organically connected to the well known statistical foundation of 2LOT . . . relative statistical weights of relevant clusters of microstates accessible under given circumstances.

    That is we have co-ordinated positive and negative reasons to inductively infer design on FSCO/I. Directly, intelligently directed purposeful configuration — a general technique — is a known source of FSCO/I, as common as the composing of comments (including objecting ones) in this thread. Indirectly, it is not only the only actually observed cause, but it is the case that other possible candidates that may be clustered as blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are maximally implausible due to the needle in a haystack search vs resources to search challenge.

    None of this, have you been able to overturn by counter example or counter-analysis.

    But, utterly ideologically committed to a priori evolutionay materialism and/or its fellow travellers, you have hastened to create an artificial objection by demand for “mechanism.”

    To sustain such, you have ignored the point that is as accessible as the AmHD cite in the OP and brought to your attention above, that action of intelligent mind is reckoned a viable case of a “mechanism.”

    Indeed, it is one you had to revert to to compose objections.

    And, you have repeatedly refused to acknowledge the simple empirical fact that molecular nanotech based engineering of cell based life forms has been a fact of life for a generation, attached to frequently headlined names such as Venter. Intelligent design of life forms is a fact of our day to the point where there are protest movements against the technology.

    Let us observe Wiki:

    Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. New DNA may be inserted in the host genome by first isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using molecular cloning methods to generate a DNA sequence, or by synthesizing the DNA, and then inserting this construct into the host organism. Genes may be removed, or “knocked out”, using a nuclease. Gene targeting is a different technique that uses homologous recombination to change an endogenous gene, and can be used to delete a gene, remove exons, add a gene, or introduce point mutations.

    An organism that is generated through genetic engineering is considered to be a genetically modified organism (GMO). The first GMOs were bacteria in 1973 and GM mice were generated in 1974. Insulin-producing bacteria were commercialized in 1982 and genetically modified food has been sold since 1994. Glofish, the first GMO designed as a pet, was first sold in the United States December in 2003.[1]

    Genetic engineering techniques have been applied in numerous fields including research, agriculture, industrial biotechnology, and medicine. Enzymes used in laundry detergent and medicines such as insulin and human growth hormone are now manufactured in GM cells, experimental GM cell lines and GM animals such as mice or zebrafish are being used for research purposes, and genetically modified crops have been commercialized.

    As common as enzymes in laundry detergent and insulin for diabetics . . .

    The objections, in short are specious and factually inadequate. Indeed, they depend on insistent rejection and denial of fact and logic in order to sustain an obvious a priori ideological commitment.

    And, again, I point out what you refuse to face . . . the ideology has long since fatally stumbled coming out the starting gates as it is self-referentially incoherent. As Haldane aptly summed up:

    “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 [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    Responsibly free, intelligent, self-aware mindedness is in fact fact no 1, the fact through which we access and process all others.

    So, when we see you resorting to dismissive talking points such as “You’re stalled out at ‘intelligence’” that tells us that you have become ideologically blinded to the most patent facts of conscious intelligent self-aware life.

    Since you are stalled out on intelligence, let’s note Wiki again, to drive home just how 101 this is:

    Intelligence has been defined in many different ways such as in terms of one’s capacity for logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity and problem solving. It can also be more generally described as the ability to perceive and/or retain knowledge or information and apply it to itself or other instances of knowledge or information creating referable understanding models of any size, density, or complexity, due to any conscious or subconscious imposed will or instruction to do so. . . . .

    From “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” (1994), an editorial statement by fifty-two researchers:

    A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—”catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.[5]

    From “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns” (1995), a report published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association:

    Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person’s intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of “intelligence” are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen, somewhat different, definitions.[6][7] . . .

    In short, while a challenge to pin down in a hard and fast precising definition, intelligence is a widely understood concept, manifest in our direct experience of ourselves in our world. And it is manifest that intelligence allows us to purpose, appreciate opportunities, challenges and limitations, creatively plan, then use our capacities to direct configuration of entities to form composite wholes that depend on interaction of correct, correctly oriented, arranged and coupled parts to achieve an effective function, i.e. to create FSCO/I.

    At this point, I am led to quote scripture in warning.

    First, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, on enlightenment vs en-darkenment:

    Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. [And, so also the things money buys: material objects, pleasures, influence and power, prestige etc.]

    In the second, the apostle Paul echoes Jesus’ insight as he calls for a new way of seeing and living . . . along the way presenting a powerful diagnosis of the roots of stubborn clinging to darkness in the futility of en-darkened mindsets:

    Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

    18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

    20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. [ESV]

    A word to the wise is sufficient.

    KF

  54. 54
    CHartsil says:

    “you are simply wrong. Wrong to the point of finding yourself in opposition to a major aspect of the logic of science.”

    Says the one that thinks ID can be a theory without so much as a testable mechanism

    “From the fact of observed FSCO/I, well beyond the reach of blind chance and mechanical necessity, we have good empirically grounded reason to conclude intelligent cause.”

    For roughly the twentieth time, just calling it specified complexity is question begging. Life being specified/designed is what you have to prove. Just repeating it does not, nor will it ever make it so.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil, again and again, it has been shown to you that a lot of science is not mechan_ISTIC; but your obvious materialist ideology (founded on self-referential incoherence) leads you into refusing to see that. Already, you saw the line of thought Brahe –> Kepler –> Newton –> Einstein on Gravitation, where until E no “mechanism” was on the table; we would hardly dare dismiss Brahe’s observations or Kepler’s calculations or Newton’s synthesis of laws as and action at a distance as not science. But much more directly, you refuse to achnowledge that intelligent, minded conduct that shapes configurations to achieve desired ends is an effective causal explanation and even — as AmHD noted, a “mechanism,” though a better terminology is causal factor acting through knowledge, skill, creative insight and technique. Agent action os a cause, indeed it explains your own comments. You again refuse to acknowledge the demonstrated fact that since the 1970’s intelligent design of cell based organism, albeit in primitive stages, is a human technology; demonstrating that intelligent design is a possible and adequate cause. Thus, overall it is patent that you are exhibiting the fallacy of the insistently closed, ideologised, selectively hyperskeptical and hostile mind speaking in disregard to duty to truth, fact or fairness, in hopes of somehow gaining an advantage thereby. En-darkenment, imagining itself to be enlightened. I suggest to you, that you need to take some time out and think again. KF

    PS: I see that you are at the level of refusing to acknowledge that functionally specific, complex interactive organisation and associated information, FSCO/I, is an observed commonplace fact of our world. I therefore point you to the case of the Abu 6500 C3 reel, and onwards. A descriptive terminology is just that, description. Perhaps, you need reminding that sciences seek to describe, explain, model, predict and reliably influence or control empirical reality. FSCO/I then extends directly to the world of cell based life, and on both direct induction backed by trillions of cases with no credible exceptions and the challenge of blind needle in haystack search, it is a sign of cause by intelligently directed configuration. To overthrow this all that would be needed is a counter-example . . . and BTW, “proof” is not in the province of science, providing empirically reliable inductive warrant is; it is selective hyperskepticism to demand an inconsistent standard of warrant for the inference to design on FSCO/I as a reliable sign, when just so stories backed by a priori ideological materialism is what you have . . . actually not even that for OOL, the most relevant context. It is obvious failure to find such which has led to all the fallacious dismissive rhetorical gymnastics you have been exerting at UD and elsewhere. Which, as you have been exposed and corrected on, includes fake Facebooks.

  56. 56
    Joe says:

    Wow, just wow. Crick writes a paper in which he defines information with respect to biology and the evos here say that isn’t a reference to biological information? Really???

    Are our opponents really that daft and desperate?

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I think it useful to sum up what science seeks to be and do, again; clipping from IOSE:

    >>science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein’s favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world. >>

    At any given stage, scientific claims are provisional, subject to further development, or even correction. And, science is always subject to the limitations of inductive reasoning, which may produce high confidence but does not provide deductive certainty.

    Scientism, the error of supposing that science and its methods delimit access to significant truth and/or knowledge, is its own refutation. For the very assertion of scientism is a claim in epistemology and logic, which means such is a philosophical claim, beyond the limits of science. Scientism cannot meet its own proposed test and fails.

    KF

  58. 58
    Joe says:

    Pathetic- Intelligent Design is NOT about the specific design mechanisms used for the mere FACT that the specific design mechanism used is not required to be known before we can determine if an object, structure or event is the product of intelligent design.

    CHartsil is obviously ignorant when it comes to science.

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe, there are two forms of ignorance. First, primary due to simple lack of exposure and understanding. Second, due to indoctrination in a mind-closing ideological framework which then reacts dismissively or worse to correction. As at now, I have put on the table the primary source document, Crick’s letter to his son that apparently antedates even the famous letter to Nature. It shows how key informational concepts lay at the heart of Crick’s understanding. Let us see if there will be a reasonable responsiveness. Failing which, poster-child status has been well and truly earned. KF

  60. 60
    Joe says:

    kairosfocus, it boggles the mind:

    “It’s information, it’s biological but it ain’t not no biological information! You jumped to that conclusion for no reason!”

    How can one debate people who think like that?

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe, CHArtsil has set out on the propagation of error in the teeth of correction on the merits; substituting en-darkenment for enlightenment. He thus earns poster-boy status. His attempted defence of his insistent errors above simply underscores the problem. One hopes that he and others will at length wake up and do better: break the chains of intellectual slavery and come out of the materialist cave of shadow-shows. A good sign will be when he can face the implications of Haldane’s remarks on sawing off the branch on which we sit. As for wanting a mechanistic account of design, that betrays the insidious influence of self-refuting materialism to the point of refusing to reckon with the classic inductive method of inference on tested, reliable signs. I suppose he would be astonished to know that by observing patterns, the ancients could predict without understanding mechanisms, e.g. eclipses. And of course Medicine has long relied on diagnostic signs. KF

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe, we can reason with, correct and where necessary expose those who insist on error; for the sake of the onlooker and for record. With AS, it is obvious that he did a Google or equivalent search and realised what was coming but could not bring himself to quote the letter himself. Let’s see what he will do overnight. KF

  63. 63
    gpuccio says:

    CHartsil:

    IMO, the question is rather simple.

    a) Design is a process where a specific form is outputted to a material medium by a designer. Who is the designer? A conscious intelligent purposeful being who does the following:

    a1) Has a conscious representation of a form.

    a2) Desires to output it.

    a3) Has access to the tools to output that form to a material medium, and uses those tools to do exactly that.

    b) Therefore, the specific characteristic of a design process is imply the following: the form that we observe in the designed object comes from a conscious representation, and is intentionally outputted to the material medium.

    Now, please note that to understand and apply this definition, we need not to know how we can explain consciousness, or how a conscious representation originates, or why a conscious beings desires to output it to the outer world. All we need to know is that the conscious representation of the form precedes the implementation of the form, and that the process of implementation is intentional.

    c) The means by which a designer implements the form, on the other hand, are certainly an important part of the understanding of the design process. That’s why I have always stated here that it is an integral part of the ID theory to ask questions about those means of implementation.

    d) However, it is equally true that the design inference itself, as based on CSI or any equivalent property, does not rely on an understanding of the means of implementation: it only relies on the observation of a property (CSI) which is a reliable marker of a design process.

    e) So, to sum it up:

    e1) We can reliably infer design by the observation of CSI in a material object

    e2) To support a design explanation, we need not know what consciousness is, or how conscious beings build their cognitions, or why they have purposes. Those questions are certainly part of a philosophy of consciousness, but they are not needed to recognize a design process as the origin of an artifact.

    e3) We do not need to know the means of implementation of a specific design to infer design as the origin of an object.

    e4) However, questions about the means of implementation of a specific design are certainly part of the scientific inquiry, are pertinent and, once we accept a design inference as a possible explanation, need to be addressed.

  64. 64
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Everybody recognizes and accepts the fact that intelligent agency is not only the best, but also the obvious explanation for many phenomena.

    Disembodied intelligence is not an explanation for any phenomenon. A human using a chisel is an explanation.
    http://www.passports.com/sites...../pieta.png

    harry: Nobody thinks the inscription on the Rosetta Stone was the fortunate, albeit freakish product of mindless erosion.

    Nobody things it was due to a disembodied intelligence, but humans, using human tools, in human time, for human purposes.

    harry: Everybody assumes the famous, prehistoric images in the Lascaux cave were not the mindless, accidental, albeit very unlikely natural coloration of the cave walls.

    Maybe the creators left evidence of their existence.
    https://diydilettante.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/tumblr_lolbkg0uws1qejujro1_500.jpg

    harry: If aliens remotely controlling an extraterrestrial drone parked it on planet Earth, as unfamiliar looking as it might appear to us, we would be able to tell it was intelligently designed as opposed to it being an extremely peculiar natural phenomenon brought about mindlessly and accidentally. How would we know that?

    By its resemblance to human designs.

    harry: The same way a visitor to the U.S. who had never heard of Mt. Rushmore, upon seeing it, wouldn’t think its formation was a natural, albeit peculiar coincidence.

    Imagine finding rocks carved in the features of humans on a planet inhabited by humans known for carving rocks. Maybe it was a disembodied intelligence.

  65. 65
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Disembodied intelligence is not an explanation for any phenomenon.

    Your ignorance is not an argument.

  66. 66
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: The narrator on the PBS special did not say “different” about dogs, but “better” — and gave detailed anatomical differences that were supposedly “better”.

    You might want to provide a reference, but cats are obviously well-adapted to their own niches.

    Timaeus: And what if there were opportunities for twice as many flying species as we have?

    There are about ten thousand species of birds that range from the Arctic to the Antarctic. That’s not to mention flying insects, mammals and reptiles, as well as air-borne microbes, pollen, seeds, etc.

    Timaeus: That’s why selectionist explanation is pseudoscientific, except in very obvious cases of microevolution.

    It’s not science except when it is.

    Timaeus: It is microevolution that he was able to confirm (if even that), though his study of the differences between varieties and species.

    No. Darwin couldn’t observe microevolution. He only had indirect evidence of macroevolution. His theory predicts microevolution.

    Timaeus: The level of natural selection we observe in the wild is trivial, nowhere near enough to account for major changes such as new body plans.

    That is incorrect. The rate of observed evolution is much, much higher than necessary to account for historical transitions. Rates of thousands of darwins have been observed in nature.

    Timaeus: A janitor or bus driver could figure that out.

    Yes, just like the bus driver probably knows the Earth revolves around the sun. It’s established science.

    Timaeus: Evolutionary biologists can do nothing comparable.

    Of course they can. For instance, they can predict what you’ll find in certain rocks.
    http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/searching4Tik.html

  67. 67
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ Zachriel! With Tiktaalik the fossils show fish->tetrapods-> fishapods. Is tat what evolutiionism predicts, Zachriel? Is that what common descent predicts?

    The rate of observed evolution is much, much higher than necessary to account for historical transitions.

    That is pure unsupportable spewage.

  68. 68
    James Grover says:

    For many years I worked in the design center for a major American vehicle manufacturer. I saw and participated in complex design processes from initial concept to finished products. I also participated in the design and implementation of the manufacturing processes used to bring vehicle designs to fruition. I am intimately familiar with design and manufacturing processes, in other words, and the mechanisms involved throughout those processes.

    The challenge to ID supporters to identify and describe the mechanisms involved in biological design has never come close to being answered. The silly “design is a mechanism” answer isn’t even worth a response–it’s beyond ludicrous. You can’t form analogies to human design processes unless the analogies make sense. Until IDers can describe the nature of the designer, the mechanisms used in developing and implementing the design, and how we can verify design intent, there is nothing except Paul Nelson’s “bag of powerful intuitions.” Try using those to design and manufacture a product.

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    James Grover:

    The challenge to ID supporters to identify and describe the mechanisms involved in biological design has never come close to being answered.

    That question doesn’t have anything to do with ID. However Dr Spetner has posited “built-in responses to environmental cues” back in 1997.

    . The silly “design is a mechanism” answer isn’t even worth a response–it’s beyond ludicrous.

    That’s ludicrous. Saying design is the mechanism eliminates entire classes of causes and sets us down a path of investigation.

    The who and how always come AFTER design is detected. Those questions are answered by studying the design and all relevant evidence. We have no idea how most of the ancient megalithic structures were built. Does that stop them from being artifacts?

  70. 70
    James Grover says:

    The identification of mechanisms has nothing to do with ID? What?

    Saying design is the mechanism indicates ignorance of (or intent to obfuscate)the whole idea of mechanisms in this context.

  71. 71
    Joe says:

    James Grover, The ignorance is all yours. ID is not about the mechanisms for the reason provided. ID is about the detection and study of design in nature.

    A mechanism is a way or means of getting a result- doing something. For example you can do something by design or willy-nilly.

  72. 72

    James Grover:

    Two of the proposed mechanisms/processes of ID, in regards to biological evolution, are:

    Selective breeding/artificial environment control

    Directed variation (directed manipulation of genes or other biological system infrastructure)

  73. 73
    Silver Asiatic says:

    James Grover

    I saw and participated in complex design processes from initial concept to finished products.

    Design is about the concept.

    I also participated in the design and implementation of the manufacturing processes

    ID is about detecting design, not implementation.

    I am intimately familiar with design and manufacturing processes

    What is the mechanism for the design? Not the manufacture, but the design itself.

    The challenge to ID supporters to identify and describe the mechanisms involved in biological design

    If you want to redefine what ID is, then feel free to start your own investigation. I’d call it something other than ID though to avoid confusion. ID researches evidence of intelligent design in nature. When design is detected, the ID project is complete at that point. Other fields of study can work on the identity of the designer.

    You can’t form analogies to human design processes unless the analogies make sense.

    An ID opponent here agreed with the comment that the mechanism that produces a sonnet is the combination of ink, a pen, paper and a moving wrist.

    Again, the mechanism of a sonnet is the design, plan, concept and idea of the sonnet. A sonnet can be spoken ‘interiorly’ before it is ever put on paper. That’s the design of the sonnet – and the design is the mechanism that produces it.

    Until IDers can describe the nature of the designer, the mechanisms used in developing and implementing the design, and how we can verify design intent, there is nothing except Paul Nelson’s “bag of powerful intuitions.” Try using those to design and manufacture a product.

    Try using an blind, unintelligent, unguided process to come up with a new design for a car.

  74. 74
    velikovskys says:

    Wjm:
    Two of the proposed mechanisms/processes of ID, in regards to biological evolution, are:
    Selective breeding/artificial environment control

    I guess there goes Free Will

    Directed variation (directed manipulation of genes or other biological system infrastructure)

    How is this manipulation accomplished?

  75. 75
    James Grover says:

    Silver Asiatic, Thanks for bringing to light another of the dead stops in ID “research.” The ID search for design assumes Homo sapiens to be the target. In my first post I used the phrase “design intent.” We know what car designers intend at every step of the way, down to the smallest component and basic material. How do we know what the intent of the designer of biological structures was/is? If we assume Homo sapiens to be the target, we’re making an argument that assumes its own conclusion, one of the most basic of logical errors. All of the probability arguments against unguided evolution go out the window if you assume the target to be us.

  76. 76
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    What is the mechanism for the design? Not the manufacture, but the design itself.

    In human design there is feedback loop between manufacture of the design and the initial concept.

  77. 77
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JG

    I note that you avoided the question and shifted the topic to intent.

    How do we know what the intent of the designer of biological structures was/is?

    ID observes the design. I know you’re interested in who the designer is, but as I explained, you need a different field of research for that topic.

    In the same way, don’t ask a biologist to explain cosmological fine tuning. Don’t ask for the Darwinian explanation of the origin of life. Darwin was about evolution of existing organisms. ID is about detecting design – not the nature or intent of the designer.

    The ID search for design assumes Homo sapiens to be the target …

    I’m sorry could you explain that? I don’t understand what you mean by the target.

    The target of the ID search is that which is designed. Homo sapiens are not the target of ID research – the target is “evidence of intelligent design in nature”.

  78. 78
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    The design is what produces the concept. The design is the mechanism that distinguishes what the product is. The design actually creates the manufacturing process itself.

  79. 79
    gpuccio says:

    James Grover:

    Please, look at my post #75.

    Much of the confusion is generated by not understanding the difference between the design inference in biology, and a more complete theory of biological design.

    The inference of design by CSI means that we observe a marker of design in the object (CSI), and we infer a design process as the best explanation. That is one thing.

    Another thing is wondering who the designer of designers could be.

    Still another thing is to ask what mechanisms were used to implement the design.

    Still another thing is to ask how the designer developed the cognitions and representations to design the objects.

    Still another thing is to wonder what the purpose or plan of the designer was/is.

    While all these questions are legitimate, they have different status and they refer to different areas of thought.

    At present, the design inference and the reliability of CSI in making it are the main issue at stack in our discussions. That is absolutely fair, because the design inference is the starting point in the whole reasoning: if there is no reason to infer design for biological objects, there is no need to go on in the reasoning itself.

    The hypotheses about the nature of the designer or designers are fascinating, but I am afraid that at present they belong mainly in philosophy or religion or both. Frankly, we know too little to face that problem empirically. According to the nature itself of the design inference, the only general implication is that the designer must be a conscious intelligent purposeful being, and have access to tools to implement his representations.

    The issue of those mechanisms, instead, is certainly approachable empirically. Of course, that does not mean that with our present data it can be solved. I have often debated possible scenarios here. I have often stated that, at present, the best empirical evidence is in favour of guided variation, for example guided transposon activity. The important point here is that different scenarios can be empirically distinguished, as our understanding and our data grow.

    The final two questions are essentially philosophical, at present, although it is perfectly legitimate to try to infer something about the designer’s purpose or about specific plans from the designed objects. The essential point here is in the words “to try”.

  80. 80
    James Grover says:

    Silver Asiatic, you asked “What is the mechanism for the design? Not the manufacture, but the design itself.”

    Design begins as a thought process in the head of the designer, of course. It’s eventually expressed through old-fashioned drawing on paper, or more likely use of some form of CAD software. There are standardized methods of applying dimensioning and tolerances such that the thing in question is made in accordance with design intent, to the required level of accuracy and precision.

    The question that IDers can’t answer and always try to avoid is how the “thought process” of the unknown designer is implemented such that design intent is satisfied. If we don’t know the designer, we have no way of knowing what the intent might be. If we assume the intent, we create a basic error in logic.

  81. 81
    James Grover says:

    gpuccio wrote: “The inference of design by CSI means that we observe a marker of design in the object (CSI), and we infer a design process as the best explanation. That is one thing.”

    Somehow the “specified” part of CSI is always overlooked or avoided. Once again, this type of inference is useful only if design intent is known. Where are the specifications? Why should we assume that anything is specified if we don’t have a specific target in mind? If we agree that all elements have to be somewhere either in isolation or combination, why is one arrangement more or less likely than another if we don’t know what the intent was?

  82. 82

    velikovskys said:

    How is this manipulation accomplished?

    By whatever means are available to whomever is doing the manipulation.

  83. 83
    Box says:

    J.Grover: The question that IDers can’t answer and always try to avoid is how the “thought process” of the unknown designer is implemented such that design intent is satisfied.

    Correct. ID doesn’t address this important question. ID modestly confines itself to design detection.

    J.Grover: If we don’t know the designer, we have no way of knowing what the intent might be.

    Correct. Although arguably one can infer some intent from the artifact itself. Similarly a Lamborghini looks like it is made for speed.

    J.Grover: If we assume the intent, we create a basic error in logic.

    Not sure about that, but obviously if the assumption has no foundation it is just that: a baseless assumption. Anyway ID refrains itself from making such assumptions.

  84. 84
    CHartsil says:

    “CHartsil, again and again, it has been shown to you that a lot of science is not mechan_ISTIC”

    Science is absolutely mechanistic. It’s a must for a theory. Otherwise you’re stuck at hypothesis.

    Joe, I never said it wasn’t biological information. I said if you’re calling it specified information, then it’s your burden to demonstrate that. Just repeating it will never make it so

    “Joe, there are two forms of ignorance. First, primary due to simple lack of exposure and understanding. Second, due to indoctrination in a mind-closing ideological framework which then reacts dismissively or worse to correction”

    Psychological projection is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.

  85. 85
    Box says:

    CHartsil: Science is absolutely mechanistic. It’s a must for a theory. Otherwise you’re stuck at hypothesis.

    Nice try, but no cigar. It’s not a “hypothesis” that entangled particles are indeed ‘entangled’, even if the underlying mechanism is utterly unknown.

  86. 86
    CHartsil says:

    “It’s not a “hypothesis” that entangled particles are indeed ‘entangled’, even if the underlying mechanism is utterly unknown.”

    Strawman. They’re by definition entangled because entanglement was defined specifically to describe that phenomenon. ID was not formed based on the observation of biological phenomenon but rather the invalid inference of comparing it to non-living systems.

  87. 87
    Box says:

    CHartsil: Strawman. They’re by definition entangled because entanglement was defined specifically to describe that phenomenon.

    I’m not even sure what you are trying to say here, but nope, entangled particles are entangled because some unknown mechanism causes them to be entangled. You obviously hold that this is not science, but I’m sure many will disagree with you.

    CHartsil: ID was not formed based on the observation of biological phenomenon but rather the invalid inference of comparing it to non-living systems.

    Again, not sure what you are trying to say here, but that doesn’t come across as defining the foundations of ID.

  88. 88
    Joe says:

    CHartsil:

    Joe, I never said it wasn’t biological information. I said if you’re calling it specified information, then it’s your burden to demonstrate that.

    LoL! Biological function is the specification. Dembski went over that in “No Free Lunch”.

  89. 89
    James Grover says:

    Box @95: If we know nothing about intent, how is it possible that there is Complex Specified Information? How can there be specification without intent?

  90. 90
    James Grover says:

    Joe @100: Now we’re getting somewhere. If “Biological function is the specification,” how is this not a first-order tautology?

  91. 91
    Joe says:

    James Grover- Make your case. So far all you have done is prove you are ignorant of ID.

  92. 92
    velikovskys says:

    Wjm:
    By whatever means are available to whomever is doing the manipulation.

    Glad you are not my cardiologist.

  93. 93
    CHartsil says:

    “Biological function is the specification.”

    Who specified it? How? When? By what mechanism? How long did this take? What falsifiable predictions can be made from that?

  94. 94
    CHartsil says:

    “Glad you are not my cardiologist”

    Hahaha.

    >Somewhere, some unknown time ago some designer did some stuff and now life is really all just like complex and junk… but it’s science you guys, seriously.

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil, nope, science is not mechanistic, unless by science you mean evolutionary materialist scientism. But, that is not science but an ideology that likes to dress up in a lab coat. KF

  96. 96
    Box says:

    James Grover #101,

    “specified” has no obvious correlation with a general intent of any designer – which I thought you were discussing. Nor is it a term invented by ID.

    Stephen Meyer:

    (…) molecular biologists beginning with Francis Crick have equated biological information not only with improbability (or complexity), but also with “specificity,” where specificity” or “specified” has meant “necessary to function.”

  97. 97
    James Grover says:

    Joe @ 103, I asked a simple question. I don’t know what case you want me to make.

  98. 98
    Joe says:

    CHartsil:

    Who specified it? How? When? By what mechanism? How long did this take? What falsifiable predictions can be made from that?

    I have already been over all of that. You really must be desperate.

  99. 99
    Joe says:

    James Grover- How is it a first order tautology? That’s the case you need to make. Duh

  100. 100
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Your attempted dismissal on invalid comparison to non-living systems also fails. When living systems have FSCO/I in data storage that expresses coded algorithmic digital information that is then used in a molecular nanotech NC machine that assembles proteins step by step we are seeing the same pattern of phenomena as in other information processing systems. The pattern of functionally specific, interactive, complex information is very much a common observation and cries out for adequate causal explanation. It so happens that the only observed adequate cause and the only cause that will not fall to the blind needle in haystack challenge is intelligently directed configuration, AKA design. The problem is not with the induction but with your a priori materialism that refuses to let the evidence speak for itself. KF

  101. 101
    CHartsil says:

    “I have already been over all of that.”

    You made the assertion of design, never got past that.

    “You really must be desperate.”

    Says the guy that just deflected

    “When living systems have FSCO/I ”

    You have yet to demonstrate they do. Just asserting it will never make it so.

  102. 102
    James Grover says:

    Box @108: If “specified” is synonymous with “necessary to function,” are we not assuming that the function in question was designed? In other words, isn’t this yet another tautology? How do we determine that the function itself is “necessary” or “specified”? If the thing that’s necessary to function were removed (a la irreducible complexity), how do we know that whatever is left isn’t “specified”?

  103. 103
    CHartsil says:

    James, exactly. It’s the epitome of question begging.

  104. 104
    velikovskys says:

    SA:

    The design is what produces the concept.

    Without a concept there is nothing to design.

    The design is the mechanism that distinguishes what the product is

    Which definition of design are we using, now? Design is a pattern of elements of a thing, ID. Or design as the process and mechanism that results in that pattern. Soup to nuts.

    . The design actually creates the manufacturing process itself.

    It can to a point, but all material design is subject to material limitations. Some design to be feasible uses existing processes. Design has many aspects. Design can evolve , chance can play a part. Design can mimic nature.

  105. 105
    velikovskys says:

    Kf:
    CHartsil, nope, science is not mechanistic, unless by science you mean evolutionary materialist scientism

    That must be news to geologists studying plate tectonics, astronomers studying Ceres , and physicists at the LHC

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    James Grover,

    First, I think you will find that there are many qualified and experienced technical designers in and around UD. But our general experience with something so simple as composing a comment of at least 143 characters, is more than enough for us to understand intelligently directed configuration as adequate cause for functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information.

    Which can be readily identified from the fact that a modest disruption of a text string in English would render it meaningless, or putting in wrong parts or breaking parts etc. will render an entity based on correctly assembled correct parts non-functional.

    Functional specificity sensitive to having the right parts, correctly oriented, arranged and coupled is a commonplace of observation.

    As has been pointed out ever so many times.

    Beyond that, the point is that science — and many in and around UD have relevant qualifications — is about a fairly wide range of activities that seek to observe, describe, categorise, understand, explain, model, predict and influence or control empirical reality in a reliable way. Hopefully, accurately, but there are too many cases of missing that for us to be over-confident.

    It is a perfectly legitimate scientific exercise to discover and inductively validate observable signs that indicate relevant states of affairs; in this case causal process. And, design is a well known empirical causal process that intelligently directs configurations to achieve goals.

    That functionally specific complex organisation and associated information exists is patent.

    It happens to be a commonplace observation in the world of technology and men like Orgel and Wicken long since saw that this is highly relevant to the molecular nanotech world of life; Wicken, in fact, memorably spoke of wiring diagrams.

    Starting with the protein synthesis process, which is at the heart of life.

    And, on trillions of cases, FSCO/I as described — cf previous recent discussion here — has just one reliably known adequate cause, design.

    Further to this, an analysis of the configuration space for such entities (a cut down phase space without considering momentum, roughly) will show that once we are beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of description length to specify states, we are well beyond the plausible reach of a sol system or observed cosmos scope search. On an analysis that is organically connected to that which gives stat mech foundations for 2LOT.

    The real problem is not with the inductive reasoning as just outlined, but where it points: design of cell based life.

    Now, as for design “mechanisms,” I think for many reasons this is not a good choice of words, as there are certain mechanistic philosophies that are apt to create much confusion. But insofar as it is applicable, intelligently directed creation of entities, design, is legitimately a mechanism. And, I know full well this opens up the issue of evolutionary materialism’s self referential incoherence on mindedness which undermines the claims of such materialists. In a nutshell, famed Evolutionary theorist J B S Haldane put it very well:

    “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 [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. ]

    I have suggested that it is a more clear way of thinking to understand design as the creative cognitive process that manifests intelligently directed configuration, whether as a plan or a model or an exemplar or whatever. As such it uses techniques, knowledge, skills etc, and leads to creation of objects, systems, processes etc that often exhibit characteristic signs such as FSCO/I. At simplest level, digital, coded text strings — which happen to be WLOG as 3-d node-arc networks can be reduced to description on structured sequences of y/n q’s which also happen to measure complexity in bits and define config spaces.

    Which is where we came in.

    KF

  107. 107
    kairosfocus says:

    VS, I repeat, science is not mechanistic. There are cases of science where scentists do explain based on mechanism, often dynamic-stochastic mechanisms, but science is far broader than that. It seems that here is a need for familiarity with history and philosophy of science, e.g. the chain of scientific work that runs Copernicus –> Brahe and Galileo –> Kepler –> Newton –> Einstein and Planck et al; which, so happens to be a line of descent across two major scientific revolutions in Physics. Newtonian Gravitation, specifically, was non-mechanistic, and he explicitly repudiated attempted speculative mechanisms . . . even at the cost of taking flak over claimed occult forces with action at a distance; wisely so, it would take 200+ years and major advances in Math to get to the tool-kits that could create the Relativistic concept of gravitation. Advances, for which Newton laid much of the foundation. Demanding mechanisms as a required criterion of being scientific is counter to a lot of good science across history and to the full range of purposes of doing science and practices that are scientific. I suggest that you put down the rhetorical matches you are playing with before you burn up far more than you hope to. KF

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil,

    “When living systems have FSCO/I ”

    You have yet to demonstrate they do. Just asserting it will never make it so.

    You have repeatedly been pointed here for more than adequate warrant.

    Either you are utterly unfamiliar with protein synthesis, or else you are utterly brazen with the fallacy of confident manner in dismissive assertions.

    Neither horn of that dilemma would be a good place to end up gored.

    KF

  109. 109
    Box says:

    James Grover,
    you may find this article on the design inference interesting.

    J.Grover:

    If “specified” is synonymous with “necessary to function,” are we not assuming that the function in question was designed? In other words, isn’t this yet another tautology?

    Crick and many micro-biologists who are atheists will obviously disagree.

    J.Grover:
    How do we determine that the function itself is “necessary” or “specified”?

    I don’t think I understand what you are getting at. I can only come up with the flimsy answer that in biology what functions and what doesn’t function (and what is necessary and not) is fairly obvious.

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    James Grover (attn CH):

    FSCO/I is an observable, and specificity of configuration to achieve function (with some room for variability, but not that much . . . ) is extremely EMPIRICALLY familiar.

    When something can be observed — think of how many clumped any which way or scattered configs of the parts for a 6500 reel are possible, and proportionately how many will work and why . . . just to keep the matter concrete; it is not begging questions to accurately describe it.

    The desperation to dismiss at all costs is transparent.

    KF

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Just to help us focus, let me clip first Orgel then others from the recent post:
    _______________

    >> . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.

    These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure. [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here, here and here (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).] One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions. [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes.

    [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196. Of course,

    a –> that immediately highlights OOL, where the required self-replicating entity is part of what has to be explained (cf. Paley here), a notorious conundrum for advocates of evolutionary materialism; one, that has led to mutual ruin documented by Shapiro and Orgel between metabolism first and genes first schools of thought, cf here.

    b –> Behe would go on to point out that irreducibly complex structures are not credibly formed by incremental evolutionary processes and Menuge et al would bring up serious issues for the suggested exaptation alternative, cf. his challenges C1 – 5 in the just linked. Finally,

    c –> Dembski highlights that CSI comes in deeply isolated islands T in much larger configuration spaces W, for biological systems functional islands. That puts up serious questions for origin of dozens of body plans reasonably requiring some 10 – 100+ mn bases of fresh genetic information to account for cell types, tissues, organs and multiple coherently integrated systems. Wicken’s remarks a few years later as already were cited now take on fuller force in light of the further points from Orgel at pp. 190 and 196 . . . ]

    . . . and J S Wicken in a 1979 remark:

    ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [[i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’[[“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    . . . then also this from Sir Fred Hoyle:

    Once we see that life is cosmic it is sensible to suppose that intelligence is cosmic. Now problems of order, such as the sequences of amino acids in the chains which constitute the enzymes and other proteins, are precisely the problems that become easy once a directed intelligence enters the picture, as was recognised long ago by James Clerk Maxwell in his invention of what is known in physics as the Maxwell demon. The difference between an intelligent ordering, whether of words, fruit boxes, amino acids, or the Rubik cube, and merely random shufflings can be fantastically large, even as large as a number that would fill the whole volume of Shakespeare’s plays with its zeros. So if one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as high a possibility of being true.” [[Evolution from Space (The Omni Lecture[ –> Jan 12th 1982]), Enslow Publishers, 1982, pg. 28.]

    Why then, the resistance to such an inference? . . . >>
    ________________

    I answer: ideology.

    KF

  112. 112
    James Grover says:

    Kairosfocus, with due respect and your dense block of red text notwithstanding, I maintain that CSI and/or FSCO/I cannot escape from the event horizon at the edge of the black hole of tautology. This seems abundantly obvious to me. If a thing is judged to be designed by merit of the perception of CSI (I use the shorter initialism for brevity) then the argument assumes its own conclusion. Just because a thing is “complex” and does things doesn’t ipso facto mean that the thing it does is the result of design intent. You are saying, in essence, “We know it’s designed because it’s got CSI, and we know it’s CSI because it’s complex and functions somehow.” This is a non-starter if I ever saw one.

    Without a priori religious convictions, none of it makes any sense.

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    JG, as thread owner I cannot help the colour of text. It seems to me you need to take some time out to ponder the nature of inductive reasoning, then examine just what FSCO/I is, starting with the already linked illustration of the exploded view of a 6500 reel, going on to compare with protein synthesis as showing several instances of the same nodes-arcs interactive functionally specific pattern. So far, you are setting up and knocking over loaded strawmen. KF

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: BTW, have you paused to read what Orgel, Wicken and Hoyle long since had to say? That is highly material context.

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: FYI, gene engineering methods in use today

    http://oregonstate.edu/instruc.....s-2004.pdf

  116. 116
    Box says:

    James Grover: If a thing is judged to be designed by merit of the perception of CSI (I use the shorter initialism for brevity) then the argument assumes its own conclusion.

    Correct. I can only agree, but this is not how the design inference works.
    Here Dembski explains the basics (youtube).

  117. 117
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have added an illustration of the Abu 6500 reel as a PS to the OP above, to help those genuinely seeking to understand.

  118. 118
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    Which definition of design are we using, now?

    Design: Formulation or a plan – devised. Concept, invention, idea …

    @92 “Design begins as a thought process in the head of the designer”

    From the video @128: Design is a possible cause for what has been observed. “Are the molecular machines that we observe the result of a plan?”

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    JG, I note that functional specificity based on observable interactions and correct describable configs of parts is a material issue. It also happens to be what was put on the table in the 1970’s. That is a good part of why I focus on it, it is not as abstract as generic specification and Kolmogorov complexity etc are. KF

  120. 120
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JG

    Just because a thing is “complex” and does things doesn’t ipso facto mean that the thing it does is the result of design

    ID does not propose that complexity alone is the hallmark of design.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    VS, for our purposes, probably the clearest brief definition of design is INTELLIGENTLY DIRECTED CONFIGURATION. KF

  122. 122
    gpuccio says:

    James Grover:

    No, the specification, and in particular the functional specification, is defined with no reference to the intent of the designer.

    Please, look at this OP of mine about the issue:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....n-defined/

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    SA [–> attn JG & CH], correct, for our context we need to focus on functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information. Functional specificity implies highly configuration dependent with relatively few configs showing relevant function. Complex organisation refers to the specific interactive nodes-arcs pattern that works, and requires that it has in it at least 500 – 1,000 bits of information, i.e. the config space of possible ways to connect the parts is at least 3.27*10^150 to 1.07*10^301, swamping the blind search resources of our sol system or the observed cosmos. Trying to reduce this to mere complexity and/or to suggest that — OBSERVABLE! — specificity of configs to achieve function is meaningless, tautological or question-begging erects a strawman caricature. KF

  124. 124
    kairosfocus says:

    GP, thanks — always great to see you in action. KF

  125. 125
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Thought exercise. If you get a large array of buckets and put in each one a correct set of 6500 reel parts then shake up as long as you want, what will be the predictable result, why? If you take the assembly diagram and follow reasonable steps over the course of say 1/2 hr, what would happen, why? What is the difference and what does this tell you about the nature of FSCO/I in light of the above? KF

  126. 126
    velikovskys says:

    KF:
    VS, I repeat, science is not mechanistic. There are cases of science where scentists do explain based on mechanism,

    Yes, like whenever they seek to answer how something came to be. Like whenever they preform experiments and manipulate variables. Like when they try to explain how things work. Then there is the science which does none of those things it seems, I always thought that was philosophy.

    often dynamic-stochastic mechanisms, but science is far broader than that.

    Then I think the phrase you are looking for is exclusively mechanistic

    It seems that here is a need for familiarity with history and philosophy of science, e.g. the chain of scientific work that runs Copernicus –> Brahe and Galileo –> Kepler –> Newton –> Einstein and Planck et al; which, so happens to be a line of descent across two major scientific revolutions in Physics. Newtonian Gravitation, specifically, was non-mechanistic, and he explicitly repudiated attempted speculative mechanisms . .

    All knowledge as I am sure you know is finite, there is much that anyone can learn. It seems even the great Newton was victim of the human condition since Newtonian Graviation has been superceeded.Though his theory still provides a mechanism to calculate trajectory. Perhaps you might provide an example of scientific endeavor which is non mechanistic, for those less learned. Thanks

  127. 127
    kairosfocus says:

    VS,

    nope, again.

    So long as science has a goal to be accurate to reality and has a recognition that claimed causal factors need to pass the test of observed empirical adequacy, all relevant candidate factors should be considered.

    This includes intelligently designed configuration.

    Further to this, the only actually observed cause of FSCO/I – one hopes the pretence that it does not exist or is somehow ill-defined or begs questions has now been surrendered — is intelligently directed configuration. Which includes many observed techniques but in our observation always traces to the creative originality of an intelligent agent.

    This is not credibly reducible to blindly mechanical computation, and yet it is as close as our own individual self-experience. (Cf Haldane’s comment as cited above on why this becomes so.)

    Going further, it easily surmounts complexity barriers involved in the FSCO/I definition (500 – 1,000 bits) that easily swamp blind chance and/or mechanical necessity — two other serious candidates — on the gamut of solar system or observed cosmos.

    Intelligently directed configuration, aka design, has every reason to sit at the table of explanation as of right not to be pushed under it and kicked in the head like a stray dog.

    But, that is exactly what has demonstrably happened at the hands and feet of a lab coat clad ideologically committed evolutionary materialist magisterium.

    As a solid sign of that, observe, onlookers: if the objectors above had simply had demonstrations of the capacity of blind chance and necessity to create FSCO/I, they would have given them, which would have the instant effect of collapse of the design inference on signs relative to the world of life.

    The very fact of the sort of convoluted, strawman tactic rhetorical stunts above speaks volumes on the failure of blind chance and mechanical necessity to pass the vera causa test on FSCO/I.

    KF

    PS: I pointed to a 400 year line of history in the foundational science, physics, to substantiate that attempts to push a demand for mechanistic explanation into the definition of science are utterly ill informed and strawmannish. That remains the case, on pain of deeming the work of Newton et al unscientific. In short, selective hyperskepticism again.

  128. 128
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel (78):

    Your example of Tiktaalik is not what I meant by “prediction.” It is an non-negotiable demand on my part that a natural science be able to make predictions of the kind I specified. If it can’t make such predictions, I don’t count it as natural science. Period. And if evolutionary biologists have much lower standards than I do (and than all real scientists do) for what counts as “science”, I thumb my nose at all of them. I couldn’t care less what they think.

    In any case, the “prediction” ballyhooed about Tiktaalik was one I could have made at about age 10, based on my then-understanding of evolution. Obviously a transitional form, if it exists, will be found in strata from an appropriate date. So you look in rocks of the appropriate age, just as you would look in a hardware store, not a dress shop, if you were looking for a hand drill. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure that out.

    I would suggest that you read Darwin before you embarrass yourself talking about him any further.

  129. 129
    rhampton7 says:

    Timaeus,

    I don’t see how ID theory, as its currently formulated, could satisfy your demand for “predictions.” At least with MN, predictions are a hypothetical extrapolation of natural (“mindless”) forces by way of mathematical models. But the future actions of the Intelligent an Agent(s) can not be extrapolated when who or what they may be is a complete unknown.

    Given that ID posits that life, outside of human manipulations, is ongoing project of one or more intelligences — what can ID theory possibly predict that these intelligent agents will design in the future?

  130. 130
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: Your example of Tiktaalik is not what I meant by “prediction.”

    Making empirical predictions that are entailed in a hypothesis is exactly what is meant by the scientific method.

  131. 131
    Joe says:

    Making empirical predictions that are entailed in a hypothesis is exactly what is meant by the scientific method.

    Unguided evolution doesn’t have any entailments. Had the tetrapod tracks in Poland been found before Shubin set off for the Arctic, he would have changed his plans.

  132. 132
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    Design: Formulation or a plan – devised. Concept, invention, idea …

    @92 “Design begins as a thought process in the head of the designer”

    Then what?

  133. 133
    velikovskys says:

    KF:
    VS, for our purposes, probably the clearest brief definition of design is INTELLIGENTLY DIRECTED CONFIGURATION. KF

    100% of the configuration? Are children intelligently directed configurations?

  134. 134
    Box says:

    velikovskys:
    Then what?

    Depends. Possibly a search for suitable materials, a place for production and a sponsor.

  135. 135
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    You wrote:

    “Making empirical predictions that are entailed in a hypothesis is exactly what is meant by the scientific method.”

    Yes, that is verbally correct, but originally those empirical predictions were understood to be about future events. Future *events* — not future *discoveries* (e.g., Tiktaalik) of *past* events. But Darwinians, desperate to count their anemic hypothesis as “science,” have recontextualized the definition so that they never have to predict anything about the future, but can still call their hypothesis “scientific.” Meanwhile, real scientists, i.e., chemists and physicists and engineering professors, offer hypotheses that actually predict what will happen in the future, such that if the future event doesn’t fall out as predicted, their hypothesis is falsified.

    Come back to me, Zachriel, when you have the spine to predict a future event based on Darwinian theory, and the willingness to say that Darwinian theory has been falsified when the future event doesn’t occur as predicted.

  136. 136
    velikovskys says:

    KF:
    So long as science has a goal to be accurate to reality and has a recognition that claimed causal factors need to pass the test of observed empirical adequacy, all relevant candidate factors should be considered.

    Depends on which level of causation that one wishes to explain as to what is relevant

    This includes intelligently designed configuration.

    Human intelligently designed configurations include mechanistic explanations in order to be translated into the physical.

    As a solid sign of that, observe, onlookers: if the objectors above had simply had demonstrations of the capacity of blind chance and necessity to create FSCO/I, they would have given them, which would have the instant effect of collapse of the design inference on signs relative to the world of life.

    Flawed logic on both counts . Just because you do not accept the premise that natural processes created the configuration of life does not prove it inaccurate, the diversity of life could be that demonstration.

    Second one cannot ever discount a design inference which has no entailments , intelligence can mimic natural causation if that is the goal, intelligence can use natural processes to create its configurations

    PS: I pointed to a 400 year line of history in the foundational science, physics, to substantiate that attempts to push a demand for mechanistic explanation into the definition of science are utterly ill informed and strawmannish.

    No actually you didn’t make an argument at all, you merely asserted it was true. Just as you have avoided an actual example

    That remains the case, on pain of deeming the work of Newton et al unscientific.

    Plea to authority, Newton was a genius, that does not mean he was right about everything . Newton was a man of his time and that is how his work is judged,

    In short, selective hyperskepticism again

    Just the opposite,

  137. 137
    Timaeus says:

    rhampton7:

    Your question is easily answered. Unlike many people in the ID camp, I do not regard ID as a historical theory of origins, but as an ahistorical theory of design detection.

    Design theory cannot be a predictive science, in my sense of “predictive science.” You cannot predict, based on the fact that an architect designed an airplane today, that he will design a helicopter tomorrow.

    Further, design is not a “mechanism.” An architect’s drawing is not a “mechanism” for building a house. The mechanism for building a house is a steam shovel, a hammer, a saw, etc.

    It is ridiculous for opponents of ID to demand a “mechanism” of design, and equally ridiculous for defenders of ID to try to provide a “mechanism” of design. There are mechanisms for *implementing* design, but design itself is not a mechanical thing, any more than moral choice or musical creativity is a mechanical thing.

    I am afraid I have to part with some of my colleagues here on this.

    Darwinian theory, on the other hand, is a historical account of origins. It therefore must postulate a physical mechanism. And if a scientist understands a physical mechanism, he should be able to make predictions about the future, i.e., if he really fully understands the genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, ecological connections, evolutionary history, etc., of the entity “rabbit,” he should be able to make predictions about what will evolve when a rabbit is unleashed in a new environment.

    But no Darwinist is bold enough to do this. They just keep yapping about Tiktaalik.

  138. 138
    Paleysghost says:

    “CHartsil corrected” pops out in the headline as if you were referring to an individual of importance and not just a college freshman using a FAKE name who lies about being a Cell Biologist on facebook.

  139. 139
    Paleysghost says:

    We dealt with this clown by ignoring his brainless rants and moving on with life. So glad he found a platform of vindication where his inane copy / pasted rambling get’s lost and buried in the plethora of internet garbage bits.

  140. 140
    kairosfocus says:

    VS,

    If a definition of science is to be apt, that definition should enfold the full range of scientific work. Otherwise, it is useless or misleading.

    Science across history and today.

    Thus, it must accommodate, inter alia:

    a: exploration and observation, experiment, description, categorising and cataloguing,

    b: taxonomy, conceptualising,

    c: seeking to understand, explain, theorise, analyse and model,

    d: prediction and empirical test towards empirical reliability (and with the hope of truth),

    e: seeking to influence and/or control phenomena,

    f: the range from individual effort to large scale institutional collaboration, debates and even quarrels;

    g: the fact that consensus is always provisional, and that major widely accepted theories have been later shown to be wrong or seriously incomplete;

    h: that there is no one size fits all and only science simple method.

    That’s a tall order, but it is warranted by any serious review of the history and/or philosophy of the natural sciences. Bring in social and psychological/behavioural sciences and the matter would expand far wider given their characteristics. But then I find Americans tend to use Science to focus on what I studied as Pure and Applied Natural Sciences. Requisites of sound education will bring in a need to look at logic, mathematics and ethics, as well as some highlights of history and key exemplars . . . which serve as controls on understanding, approach, values and praxis. As in, were the Nazi medical experiments genuine science?

    (For 30+ years they were used as empirical basis for many things in advancing medicine, but the results were gradually replicated in ethical ways until they could be definitively set aside. But older physicians will know that more lives have been saved based on the findings than were lost in the holocaust, which was part of a cruel dilemma that motivated the replacement studies. Churchill spoke of “dark science.”)

    I cited the list of pivotal physical theorists across 300 – 400+ years and highlighted that much of their work was explicitly non-mechanistic (including Newton’s) in order to underscore the requisites of capturing the full range of science. Agenda-serving redefinitions that do not properly reckon with such are fallacious.

    One plain consequence is that science is not and cannot be mechanistic or algorithmic. It is not computable.

    No surprise to the thoughtful and informed.

    As for defining design in terms of intelligently directed configuration, the issue is material impact aspect by aspect — a key term I have emphasised for years [and something I found it advisable to draw out explicitly rather than leave implicit as per WmAD given debate tactics . . . ], cf. the design inference flowchart above [which FYI was specifically appreciated by WmAD] — of the objects, phenomena and processes under investigation. Obviously, the three broad categories of causal factors are going to be at work and interact, but by using the conceptual ability to focus on aspects we can disaggregate outcomes in order to study relevant parts.

    This we routinely do when we study even so classically simple a phenomenon as a pendulum’s oscillations, averaging out scatter and taking steps to distinguish small from large amplitude swings etc. The issue of the personal equation is longstanding and instructive as is the study of errors of observation.

    So, we can indeed identify certain aspects of phenomena such as FSCO/I, which we can trace to their consistently observed adequate cause, intelligently directed configuration, aka design. We then apply the form of inductive reasoning (modern sense) known as abductive inference to best [current!] explanation, to see that we here have an empirically reliable sign of design. The application of configuration space and blind search analysis will show why it is maximally implausible that such should come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    This is actually routine in many settings, even the inference to agency behind posts in UD threads is an example. We do not infer to lucky noise on the Internet, nor do we treat arguments as mere inevitable outcomes of mechanical behaviour of CNS neural networks shaped by blind forces of nature and nurture towards survival and advantage, modified only by blind chance. We take reasoning seriously.

    The debate is not even over whether such FSCO/I can be inserted into life forms by design. As WJM is arguing in a parallel thread, breeding and gene tech etc demonstrate that as simple fact. What is at stake is that there is a contentious debate over reconstructing the unobservable deep past of origins.

    Some would insert a methodological a priori, so-called methodological naturalism, that in effect imposes a priori evolutionary materialism and/or views constructed to fit with it. This is not properly warranted.

    Instead, the same vera causa principle championed by Newton and espoused by Lyell and Darwin alike, is reasonable. In assessing causal factors for traces in the here and now of entities, processes etc that are spatially or temporally inaccessible or the like, we should revert to factors shown to have adequate causal capability.

    For FSCO/I, that strongly points straight to what the a priori materialists would exclude, design.

    KF

    PS: It is sufficiently important to separately note that Newton’s work as crystallised in Principia and Opticks, was pivotal to consolidating modern science. Therefore, to point to this fact is not fallacious appeal to authority but to highlight that a sound definition, description or understanding of science must needs appropriately reckon with paradigmatic cases. The attempted rhetorical dismissal of my so doing as fallacious appeal to authority that appears above in your comment, betrays a deep failure of historically anchored understanding of science.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    Timaeus, ID is indeed pivotally about design detection on empirically credible signs. The major relevant context for that is that we have key origins-linked traces to be adequately explained per causes observed as now in operation. That is, vera causa. KF

    PS: Perhaps, some moderation of tone.

  142. 142
    kairosfocus says:

    Paleysghost, there comes a time for a definitive correction of the insistently fallacious and abusive on the record. CHartsil has earned poster-child status, and is being here headlined and corrected for reference. He has continued to demonstrate why he has earned such status, and two others above have earned a similar status, both now back at lurking status. One, after doubtless seeing in [blue-]black and white literally in Crick’s hand, just how wrong he was. Headlined status is pending. KF

  143. 143
    CHartsil says:

    “You have repeatedly been pointed here for more than adequate warrant.

    Either you are utterly unfamiliar with protein synthesis, or else you are utterly brazen with the fallacy of confident manner in dismissive assertions.”

    Specified means designed. That’s the claim you’re making in the first place. You can’t just assert that protein synthesis, or any other biological function, is specified in order to show it’s designed. It’s completely circular logic and question begging.

    “CHartsil has earned poster-child status, and is being here headlined and corrected for reference.”

    It’s so sad that you honestly believe anyone but the creationists here are being corrected.

  144. 144
    CHartsil says:

    “We dealt with this clown by ignoring his brainless rants and moving on with life. So glad he found a platform of vindication where his inane copy / pasted rambling get’s lost and buried in the plethora of internet garbage bits.”

    By that you mean I was censored because you couldn’t keep up. I mean you couldn’t even understand how the evolution of a system that could not be reduced debunked the idea of irreducible complexity.

    I’m pretty sure anyone with a triple digit IQ gets that one.

  145. 145
    Joe says:

    CHartsil is so dim it doesn’t understand that to refute IC you have to demonstrate how UNGUIDED processes produced it AND it has to be a substantial structure, meaning it has to have many components. If you show that unguided evolution can produce a 3 component IC structure it does not mean it can produce a four component system. You have to go large and then all IC under that is taken care of. Dr Behe goes over that- as if it needed to be said.

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil,

    just stop your irresponsible and agenda-serving strawman tactic distortions now.

    Enough:

    Specified means designed. That’s the claim you’re making in the first place. You can’t just assert that protein synthesis, or any other biological function, is specified in order to show it’s designed. It’s completely circular logic and question begging.

    Specified, for example, does not “mean” designed and you full well know it or should know it.

    It means, in context that to attain a given relevant function, component parts must be organised and coupled in a particular cluster of ways, i.e. we end up with an island of function in a sea of possible clumped or scattered arrangements. This was carefully explained in materials pointed out to you.

    Nor does specified by itself entail designed.

    A simple examination of the per aspect explanatory inference flowchart in the OP would suffice to show that a JOINT question of complexity beyond 500 – 1,000 bits AND functional specificity is addressed before it would be inferred that a given aspect of an object, system, phenomenon or process etc would be held to have been designed.

    Can you read such a diagram?

    If not then you have no business trying to criticise and dismiss what you have irresponsibly not exerted a minimum of reasonable effort to understand.

    If you do, then you are equally willfully speaking in disregard to truth to set up and knock over a strawman caricature.

    FYI, as the first decision diamond shows, if an aspect of something is of low contingency under closely similar initial conditions, it is held that it is credibly explained on mechanical, lawlike necessity, such as F = m*a etc. Such laws would be investigated and validated. This is the first default.

    FYFI, if instead the aspect is indeed highly contingent, such can trace to blind chance and unless it is sufficiently complex and functionally specific, that is inferred. This is because if something is too simple, even if it is highly dependent on particular configuration to function, such could credibly come about by chance.

    Also, if something is not functionally specific [does not come from a narrow, simply describable target zone in the config space], but may be complex, that too could arise by chance. A typical toss of 1,000 coins will be near 50-50 H-T, but will be in no particular order. This is the bulk cluster of possibilities. (L K Nash’s introduction to statistical thermodynamics actually uses this case to illustrate the key points of thermodynamics. And yes, you had better believe that is part of the background considerations.)

    But if the 1,000 coins were to express the ASCII codes for the first 143 characters of this post, then that would be highly contingent, functionally specific in a relevant sense and sufficiently complex for the gamut of our solar system. The inference — one backed by trillions of observed cases — would be that such FSCO/I reflects intelligently directed configuration.

    In short, only what passes a joint complexity-specificity criterion will be inferred as showing a marker of design.

    The diagram, of course, as usual, puts this in a much easier to understand framework. A diagram like the one in the OP is indeed worth a thousand words.

    In the case of the Abu 6500 C3 reel, just the main gear is enough to be well past the threshold, as can be inferred from what is required to specifically describe and manufacture it. The FSCO/I is quite evident from the exploded view diagram. (And BTW, I just notice that famed thermodynamicist J W Gibbs’ PhD, apparently one of the first Engineering PhDs awarded in the US, was on an investigation of spur gears. This all comes together, again!)

    The illustration of protein synthesis similarly exhibits high contingency relative to the world of organic chemistry possibilities. The coded sequence of DNA is highly contingent and the dialects of the genetic code show further contingency. The code is so also. The sequence for just one typical 300 AA protein that must fold, fit and function indicates high specificity and complexity. The nanomachinery and processes to unzip DNA and create an mRNA template add to this. Then the clipping and editing for eukaryotes, but we can stick with bacteria etc. Then, passing through gates to the cytoplasm and engagement with a ribosome and successive chaining using loaded tRNA’s — where the RNA code is effected — then halting, folding (perhaps chaperoned) shows a highly contingent, highly complex, functionally specific process.

    Again the OP diagram shows all this in a much more digestible form than an elaborate verbal description can.

    The cumulative complexity is well past 500 or 1,000 bits, there is high contingency, and high functional specificity.

    There is too much config space, and there are not enough atomic or temporal resources in the observed cosmos to sample any appreciable fraction of the resulting haystack. In simple pictorial terms, if the number of possible configs for just 1,000 bits that can be explored by 10^80 atoms in our cosmos each looking at 1 config per 10^-14 s (a fast chem rxn rate) across 10^17 s were to be turned into a straw, the number of possibilities for 1,000 bits would form a cubical haystack that would swallow up the observed universe as if it were a small blob. The search resources of the observed cosmos would sample just one straw from that haystack.

    That is why blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are not credible approaches to hit on FSCO/I at such a threshold.

    And yet, I took only a few moments of intelligently directed configuration to compose those first 143 characters. Some minutes suffice for this whole post.

    That is what we are talking about here.

    Notwithstanding any effort needed to learn how to read the flowchart and to understand the blind needle in haystack config space search challenge, your irresponsible continued misrepresentations constitute unacceptable behaviour.

    You can, and should do better than you have done, and with the above utterly discredit yourself as qualified to critique what you either have not troubled to understand or else have chosen to misrepresent.

    Consider yourself further corrected.

    The remaining question at this point, is your responsiveness to such correction.

    KF

  147. 147
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Timaeus

    It is ridiculous for opponents of ID to demand a “mechanism” of design, and equally ridiculous for defenders of ID to try to provide a “mechanism” of design. There are mechanisms for *implementing* design, but design itself is not a mechanical thing, any more than moral choice or musical creativity is a mechanical thing.

    I am afraid I have to part with some of my colleagues here on this.

    I will tend to agree with you except that the term ‘mechanism’ is used loosely – as with ‘natural selection is a mechanism’.
    I don’t think we can call natural selection a physical mechanism, in that sense. But if we can, then design could be a similar sort of mechanism (that which moves the thing to creation).
    The initial thought is what motivates or moves the process.

    We see design in nature – thus a plan was created. The design drives the subsequent process.

    What is the mechanism that produces software?

    In one sense, none – because software is not the output of a mechanical (in the strictest sense) process.

    The development of living beings is not a mechanical process either.

  148. 148
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, very good comparison, and of course D/RNA in living systems is a software carrier, the software being in what specifies the sequence of bases in the strand. KF

  149. 149
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: Yes, that is verbally correct, but originally those empirical predictions were understood to be about future events. Future *events* — not future *discoveries* (e.g., Tiktaalik) of *past* events.

    By your standard, most of astronomy, including the observations of Galileo, aren’t science. It’s about observations. If someone can predict the content of previously unseen rock, then it is an empirical prediction consistent with the scientific method.

  150. 150
    velikovskys says:

    Box:
    Depends. Possibly a search for suitable materials, a place for production and a sponsor.

    Sometimes, sometimes design starts with the materials and creates the design from there. ” I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

    Cutting a board 2 inches short can radically change a design.

  151. 151
    logically_speaking says:

    I have been really busy these past few days. I seem to have missed another cracking thread.

    I have only managed to skim though this thread, so I might of missed a lot but I just wanted to share some thoughts.

    Bob O’H asks,

    “1. So where is the plan/blueprint for, say, the bacterial flagellum? What is the evidence for the existence of this blueprint”?

    I would say it exists as/in the digitally encoded information stored in the DNA along with it’s corresponding epigenetic information.

    “2. What were the tools and resources used in the final build of the bacterial flagellum? What’s the evidence that these were the tools and resources used”?

    Well let’s see, according to http://study.com/academy/lesso.....tions.html

    “The eukaryotic flagellum is a long, rod-like structure that is surrounded by an extension of the cell membrane like a sheath. The bulk of the structure is a filament called an axoneme. Necessary materials are transported along the flagellum. The whole structure is anchored in a basal body which is similar to a centriole in structure”. And, “Microtubules supporting it from within. These microtubule doublets surround two single microtubules. This arrangement is called the 9 + 2 structure”. Also, “The nine microtubule doublets have dynein arms that are powered by ATP. The arms cause the microtubules in each pair to slide against one another. This causes the flagellum to bend, allowing the cell to move. Radial spokes extend toward the central microtubules. Their role is not known, but they may play a role in stabilizing the flagellum”.

    So right off the bat we have a transport system to take resources to where they are needed. We can also see that anchors and stabilizers are required. The power to run all this is ATP.

    Apparently there are about 40 different proteins that are made to build and to help build the flaggelum.

    There’s so much more to this awesome machine but if you are really interested in science and discovery I will let you do your own research.

    “3. When/where was this building of the bacterial flagellum done? What evidence do we have that this was done in accordance with the blueprint”?

    Well we can see flagella being built today, this is how we know so much about its building process.

    As for is it being built to the blueprint, I guess that’s why we are decoding DNA and trying to understand the additional epigenitics.

    Zachriel,

    “logically_speaking: 1. having a plan or blueprint of the finished article.

    That could conceivably just be in ‘mind’”.

    Zac it’s a rarity but I agree, however I think the reason for a “blueprint” is that if there are multiple builders they all need to know the plan and work off the same blueprint.

    “logically_speaking: 2. The gathering or building of tools and resources necessary for the final build. 3. The actual building of the stucture in accordance with the blueprint/plan with the tools and resources now available.

    That’s what most people mean when they ask about the mechanism. It’s the who, what, when, where, how”.

    Yes thoughs questions come after design has been detected, and we have got past all this “what’s the design mechanism” nonsense objection to ID. I am glad you understand that there is an intelligent design mechanism.

    To everyone,

    The so called mechanism for (Darwinian) evolution is, natural selection plus random variation.

    So another mechanism of Intelligent Design would then for me be, artificial selection plus controlled variation.

  152. 152
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Sometimes, sometimes design starts with the materials and creates the design from there. ” I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

    The design exists in the mind of the sculptor. The marble can inspire the design, but it doesn’t create it.

    ID looks for evidence of design that we can recognize. It doesn’t rule out anything necessarily as ‘not designed’ – only that some things don’t show as much evidence.

    A failed implementation of a design could result in a scrap heap of materials. From that, it’s difficult to detect any design.

  153. 153
    velikovskys says:

    SA:

    I don’t think we can call natural selection a physical mechanism

    Actually it is: “a natural or established process by which something takes place or is brought about.”

    Whether you agree it is sufficent or not.

    But if we can, then design could be a similar sort of mechanism (that which moves the thing to creation).

    Exactly, how intelligence or non intelligence directs the creation of the configuration. And my point is that that direction is part of design if it provides feedback to refine the configuration.

    Or you can just think of the final configuration as the design ignoring how it came to be, which is less interesting

    The initial thought is what motivates or moves the process.

    To paraphrase necessity is the mother of design.

    We see design in nature – thus a plan was created. The design drives the subsequent process.

    Only if one needs that process to result in a specific end

    What is the mechanism that produces software?

    Intelligence, knowledge, inspiration

    In one sense, none – because software is not the output of a mechanical (in the strictest sense) process.

    Actually it is mechanism by definition , testing the software refines the design for instance

    The development of living beings is not a mechanical process either.

    Living beings exist in a physical sense, some process brought that about, a mechanism.Even creation ex nihilo is a mechanism.

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    VS, how did you come to create the post you just made? What does that have to do with the fact that from the FSCO/I in it we may infer on sign to its causal source in intelligent design, however and wherever you particularly composed it, on your smartphone screen or whatever? That tweredun is different from how tweredun, and antecedent to it. Then, tell me why I should not conclude that this line of objections is anything more than yet another red herring led away to a strawman? Backed up by endless repetition as though that would convert it into anything more than a caricature? Why have you all seemingly abandoned the direct knockout: show that FSCO/I can credibly per observation, come from blind chance and necessity? Could it be, that after dozens of such failed attempts, it is pretty clear that it is indeed a reliable sign of design? If so, then why play rhetorical, distractive games? KF

  155. 155
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    Sorry for my sharp tone at the end of my previous post.

    There is a different between mere astronomy and astrophysics. An astrophysicist should be able, in principle anyway, to predict future events that a mere astronomer cannot, because the astrophysicist knows (or claims to know) not merely geometrical relationships between heavenly bodies, but the causes of their behavior. For example, if an astronomer does not happen to know anything about nuclear physics, he will not be able to predict many of the events that will happen in the lifetime of a star.

    Predictions involving the deeper physics of heavenly bodies might be hard to verify in a single human lifetime, to be sure, but in principle are possible. So, for example, if the theory of stellar evolution is correct, it should be possible to predict what our sun will be like (size, color, temperature, etc.) 1 billion years from now.

    More easily testable is our understanding of celestial mechanics; we send vehicles to Mars that land within a few hundred feet of the projected target. The ancients could not have done that, even if we gave them rockets and fuel powerful enough to make the trip. The reason for this is that they had only a kinematic, not a dynamic, understanding of the motions of bodies in space. We can therefore do more than merely predict, based on past patterns, when a given planet will reappear in a certain part of the sky; we can direct any object of our choice to any part of the solar system that we desire. We can predict that if we launch craft X on date Y with initial velocity Q that it will land on Mars on such and such a date, at such and such a latitude. Evolutionary biology has nothing like this kind of predictive power regarding future consequences of present actions.

    Further, examples like Tiktaalik pertain to the verification of common descent, not the verification of mechanisms. We don’t know from merely finding the fossil that the creature was generated by random mutation plus natural selection, for example. We know only that it was generated by *some* mechanisms of change.

    The question I’m interested in is: what would one predict would evolve from X in environment Y after Q generations, if random mutation and natural selection are the only, or at least primary, causes of evolution?

    Astrophysicists can predict the history of a star over billions of years, yet evolutionary biologists can’t predict the evolutionary history of a group of rabbits introduced into the Amazon for even the next thousand years. But an evolutionary biologist living a million years from now will pretend to be able to “explain” (in terms of random mutations plus natural selection) why the rabbits became what they became — but conveniently only after the fact. He’s like the economist who can explain why the recession has happened, but failed to predict that recession. The alleged theoretical knowledge of causes always seems to show up after the effects are common knowledge; but one would have thought anyone who had a real *science* of nature would be able to predict the effects before they happened, because he had an understanding of the causes.

  156. 156
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: if the theory of stellar evolution is correct, it should be possible to predict what our sun will be like (size, color, temperature, etc.) 1 billion years from now.

    You should reconsider your view of the scientific method. A prediction a billion years out can be supported based on a well-established theory, but that theory has to be verified by observations in the here-and-now. Astronomy and paleontology are certainly sciences.

    Timaeus: We don’t know from merely finding the fossil that the creature was generated by random mutation plus natural selection, for example. We know only that it was generated by *some* mechanisms of change.

    Not just *some* mechanism, but incremental change. You are correct, though, that the existence of Tiktaalik has more to do with common descent than with the mechanisms of adaptation, except insofar as those mechanisms work incrementally.

    However, we do note that each of those incremental changes results in an organism that is adapted to a specific environment. We can directly observe and measure rates of natural selection and they are far beyond what is necessary to explain the historical record.

    Timaeus: Astrophysicists can predict the history of a star over billions of years, …

    Sometimes. Sometimes not.

    Timaeus: yet evolutionary biologists can’t predict the evolutionary history of a group of rabbits introduced into the Amazon for even the next thousand years.

    Of course not. Evolution is posited to be a contingent process, so we wouldn’t expect to be able to make those kinds of predictions.

  157. 157
    Zachriel says:

    Timaeus: We don’t know from merely finding the fossil that the creature was generated by random mutation plus natural selection, for example. We know only that it was generated by *some* mechanisms of change.

    A canonical example is the evolution of the mammalian middle ear, where each change resulted in increased auditory sensitivity while maintain the function of the jaw. This transition is strong evidence consistent with natural selection.

  158. 158
    Eric Anderson says:

    A canonical example is the evolution of the mammalian middle ear, where each change resulted in increased auditory sensitivity while maintain the function of the jaw. This transition is strong evidence consistent with natural selection.

    You mean . . .

    A canonical example is the alleged evolution of the mammalian middle ear, where each hypothetical, unobserved change allegedly resulted in increased auditory sensitivity while somehow being able to maintain the function of the jaw. This hypothetical, unobserved transition (if we actually knew what had occurred and could confirm that it occurred through a Darwinian-type process) would be is strong evidence consistent with natural selection.

    There. Fixed it.

  159. 159
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: A canonical example is the alleged evolution of the mammalian middle ear …

    Common descent, which Timaeus seems to accept, allows the temporal ordering of the transition. We can then see that each step increases auditory sensitivity while maintaining the function of the jaw. This would, then, be a selectable transition.

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    EA, prezactly. KF

  161. 161
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    The design exists in the mind of the sculptor. The marble can inspire the design, but it doesn’t create it.

    I agree, but to my thinking the inspiration and knowledge and experience are necessary for the existence of the design in the sculptor’s mind, those things are part of the design process and are reflected in the intelligently directed configuration.

    Just as physical skills of the sculptor required to render the intelligently directed configuration in marble , modifying the design to the physical perfections and imperfections of the material. Design reflects the craftsman’s choices too.

    ID looks for evidence of design that we can recognize. It doesn’t rule out anything necessarily as ‘not designed’ – only that some things don’t show as much evidence.

    That seems perfectly reasonable, but my contention is that nature has the ability create configurations as well and non intelligent directed configurations are designs too, just directed by a different process than some human directed configurations.

    Just as not all human directed configurations are created by the same processes.

  162. 162
    kairosfocus says:

    VS,

    think in terms of config spaces.

    For something that can be described in 1,000 bits or 143 ASCII characters down to the particular state, there are 1.07*10^301 possibilities. Whilst, functionally specific, interactive complex configs will be sharply constrained by the requisites of relevant interaction to attain function. So, we see deeply isolated, narrow islands of function in very large config spaces.

    Indeed for the 1,000 bit space the 10^80 atoms of the observed cosmos, searching 10^14 configs per second each will only be able in 10^17 s [timeline to BB] search as one straw to a cubical haystack so large that the observed cosmos would be a tiny blob within it. So, there would be no good reason to expect blind chance and mechanical necessity to hit on the sort of functionally specific complex organised configs we are dealing with.

    As an illustration of the contrast, consider 1,000 coins. Toss em, we expect to see the overwhelming bulk reflected, near 50-50, with he H-T pattern in no particular order. But if instead we were to see the ascii code for the first 143 characters of this post, we would instantly infer design. As this is one of those islands of function not credibly searchable by chance on the gamut of observed resources.

    Yes, natural chance phenomena trigger many things of high contingency, but what they do not generally do, for good reason, is pick up FSCO/I like that within any reasonable scope of observation. Because of the blind, needle in haystack search challenge vs cosmos scale atomic and temporal resources.

    And, VS, this is the third time today I have had to explain something as simple as that; which could have been inferred from the flowchart at the head of this thread.

    You have been a critic of design theory for many years and are obviously educated, can you therefore explain to me why it is that you have been unable to make sense of the basic logic just outlined or represented by the flowchart above?

    That just does not add up.

    KF

  163. 163
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    A canonical example is the evolution of the mammalian middle ear

    From what? How many many mutations did it take? What genes were involved?

    “No Joe, it looks like it to me. If you squint during development you can see it. If you use your imagination the fossils will tell you.”

  164. 164
    harry says:

    Zachriel @76,

    You believe intelligence is a reality, right? You believe there are some phenomena, those with significant functional complexity — like television sets and laptop computers — that simply aren’t going to come into being without intelligent agency being a causal factor, right? If so, then in the case of a phenomenon of unknown origin exhibiting significant functional complexity, it would be entirely legitimate and reasonable to consider intelligent agency as being one of the causal factors in its coming into being, right? It is entirely reasonable to do so because there are no known instances of significant functional complexity coming about mindlessly and accidentally. As for the most functionally complex phenomenon known to us — life — those who refuse to even consider the possibility of intelligent agency being a causal factor in its emergence appear to do so simply because that consideration is a threat to their atheistic convictions. True science requires relentless objectivity that follows the evidence wherever it leads, regardless of the religious/philosophical implications of its discoveries.

  165. 165
    Zachriel says:

    harry: You believe intelligence is a reality, right?

    Sure, for a simple, qualitative definition of intelligence.

    harry: You believe there are some phenomena, those with significant functional complexity — like television sets and laptop computers — that simply aren’t going to come into being without intelligent agency being a causal factor, right?

    Sure, for a simple, qualitative definition of functional complexity.

    harry: If so, then in the case of a phenomenon of unknown origin exhibiting significant functional complexity, it would be entirely legitimate and reasonable to consider intelligent agency as being one of the causal factors in its coming into being, right?

    Sure, it can reasonably be considered. In science, that would mean determining independent and testable entailments of the hypothesis.

    harry: It is entirely reasonable to do so because there are no known instances of significant functional complexity coming about mindlessly and accidentally.

    You are putting the conclusion where the argument belongs.

  166. 166
    harry says:

    Zachriel @ 77

    You are putting the conclusion where the argument belongs

    And just what is this instance of significant functional complexity for which it has already been demonstrated how it might come about mindlessly and accidentally? Science is nowhere near understanding how life came about mindlessly and accidentally, much less demonstrating how that might happen. One can’t possibly explain how an instance of significant functional complexity might have emerged accidentally until one understands at least one way of intentionally bringing it about. Again: There are no known instances of significant functional complexity coming about mindlessly and accidentally.

  167. 167
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    I agree, but to my thinking the inspiration and knowledge and experience are necessary for the existence of the design in the sculptor’s mind, those things are part of the design process and are reflected in the intelligently directed configuration.

    It’s a good point. The design process is not totally independent of the mechanism or the materials. In some cases, part of the design concept includes how it would be implemented. But it’s still fair to say that we can detect that something was designed, without knowing precisely how it was done.

    Just as physical skills of the sculptor required to render the intelligently directed configuration in marble , modifying the design to the physical perfections and imperfections of the material. Design reflects the craftsman’s choices too.

    I agree. We can know something about the craftsman’s design-concept by looking at the finished product. So, some field of study could look at that. But I think you have to conclude “this was designed” first. After that, you can try to understand something about the process, or other things the designer reveals.

    That seems perfectly reasonable, but my contention is that nature has the ability create configurations as well and non intelligent directed configurations are designs too, just directed by a different process than some human directed configurations.

    True. We can see that natural forces can create configurations that appear as if they’re designed. But it’s the cases where randomness and known natural laws cannot create the configuration that we start to infer design. It’s not design-of-the-gaps either because we know that intelligence can create the thing under observation. So, the inference is based on something known by analogy.

    Just as not all human directed configurations are created by the same processes.

    The common aspect to many of them is that we know they were designed. Stonehenge, Hieroglyphics, the Pyramids, the Rosetta Stone – different design processes but all give evidence of having been designed by intelligence (some propose that the pyramids were designed by non-human extra-terrestrials).

  168. 168
    Timaeus says:

    Zachriel:

    I didn’t say that astronomy wasn’t a science. You read that into my comments. The term “astronomy” is broad and loose, and in some people’s usage includes astrophysics, which I would say is scientific in the sense I specified. But astronomy in the sense of simply being able to predict the next conjunction of two planets requires only mathematics. The ancients could do that without any of the causal understanding developed by Galileo, Kepler, Newton, etc. Astronomy in the ancients’ day was a mathematical science, not a science of the type we know of from the 17th century onward.

    According to the logic employed in popular expositions of evolution, including the PBS special I mentioned, evolutionary theory *should* be able to make detailed predictions of the kind I asked for, at least to some extent. For example, the special indicated that the jawbones and other features of the dog made it a superior hunter to the cat. This was stated without qualification. Therefore, it follows that if a population of dogs was released into an area where previously cats had been the only hunting mammals, the dogs, being “fitter” for hunting (not my claim, the claim of the narrator, speaking for “evolutionary science”), would be selected for, and the cats would be selected against, and over time dogs would replace cats in that particular location. Thus, we would have a test for Darwinian theory; if dogs did not replace cats, something is wrong with the theory. If in every environment where there are small mammals to be hunted, we find both dogs and cats in abundance, the theory is in trouble.

    Now you can try to put the blame on the PBS narrator rather than the theory; you can say that the original claim about the jaw of the dog etc. was too broad, that no set of skeletal features alone can convey superior fitness to a hunter. Fine, but then you have to refine the criteria for “fitness” in predatory mammals. So at the very least you have to say that pro-evolutionary writers make crude and inaccurate statements. But if you refine your concept of fitness too far, if you say it depends on a zillion different factors in a complex interaction, then “fitness” becomes too elusive a concept to be useful.

    If you say fitness for hunting animals depends on jaw size *plus* running speed, OK, that might work in some cases. But what about cases where a dog has both greater jaw size and greater speed, and there are still lots of ocelots and lynxes around? Well, you can say, it also depends on some third factor. But what about the case where the dog surpasses the cats in all three factors? Are you going to posit a fourth? And so on, ad infinitum? If you are going to do that, then you have to give up the idea of predicting fitness based on the creature’s particular traits. You might as well just say that whatever combination of traits survives must by that fact be more fit; but then you aren’t predicting survival from fitness at all, but simply inferring fitness from survival. So if someone asks you what Darwinism predicts, you will say it predicts that the fitter will survive, and if someone asks you how to recognize the fitter, you will say “watch and see what survives, and then you will know the fitter.” So Darwinism predicts that what survives, survives. What a useless analysis!

    Useless, and also insincere, since *after the fact* the Darwinian theorist often *does* single out particular traits as conferring fitness in an environment; it is only *before the fact* that the Darwinian avoids all mention of the advantages that particular traits will give a creature in the struggle for survival. That is why opposites such as selfishness and altruism are never used as predictors of future evolutionary success, but only brought in after the fact, as ad hoc explanations. This is an old trick of economists. And it’s not surprising, given that the basic theoretical insight of Darwin’s theory was borrowed from 19th-century economics.

    Regarding one of your claims, I deny that anyone on the planet can measure “rates of natural selection,” unless we are talking about trivial examples of microevolution. And in any case, it isn’t “natural selection” that is mainly responsible for evolutionary change. Natural selection is only a veto; it has no constructive or creative power. The origin of novel biological form requires other causes that are truly creative. All the sharp young evolutionary biologists are now investigating these other causes. Only the old guard who follow Dawkins etc. still place so much value on natural selection.

    You seem to have conflated “evolution” and “Darwinian theory” so thoroughly that they have become virtually identified in your mind. I think it is quite possible to formulate “evolution” in largely non-Darwinian terms, and I think the next 50 years of evolutionary theory will move in that direction. Indeed, the movement has already started: Shapiro, Wagner, Newman, etc. But I didn’t hear about this movement from Coyne, or Dawkins, or Ken Miller, or the NCSE, or Myers, or Panda’s Thumb. I heard about it from columnists here. If you want news on cutting-edge developments, UD is the place to come. 🙂

  169. 169
    CHartsil says:

    I wonder if creationists are even dimly aware of the fact that relatively little of what Darwin knew or did is part of modern evolutionary synthesis.

  170. 170
    Curly Howard says:

    But that would require them to actually learn something about modern evolutionary theory, CHart.
    That would just be asking too much of them.

  171. 171
    James Grover says:

    Harry @178: Let’s turn back the clock 150 years and see how many ways this sentence can be completed with reference to things and phenomena that are now understood and have been demonstrated:

    “Science is nowhere near understanding [Fill in the blank] much less demonstrating how that might happen.”

    A common creationist error is the assumption that what is unknown now will never be known, and that magic must be invoked as an explanation in lieu of knowledge. Science has done a pretty good job of filling in the blanks for a long time. Creationism, not so much.

  172. 172
    Paleysghost says:

    I couldn’t help noticing how the discussion has now turned to attacking Magic and Creationism (not related to the OP) since Chartsil’s retarded argument has been shredded and sent out to sea on a burning ship.

    Seems to be the standard MO.

  173. 173
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil,

    before playing at creationism in cheap tuxedo canards and mockery, were I you I would first sort out my understanding of the explanatory factor flowchart, you have earned no 2 appearance as a poster child. Albeit it will be joint. (AS, at least, has had the good sense to bow out once the March 19, 1953 letter was introduced.)

    You would also be well advised to ponder the difference between a God of the gaps argument and the vera causa principle that causal factors brought into play to explain traces from the remote past etc, should first be demonstrably empirically adequate to cause like effects. As in, what factor-X has been shown to be causally adequate to give rise to FSCO/I? And why is this of such empirical and analytical reliability that FSCO/I may be freely taken as a sign of Factor-X, per the logic of inference to best empirically grounded explanation?

    Curl:

    See the above.

    JG:

    You too have confirmed your irresponsible behaviour poster child status.

    KF

  174. 174
    Joe says:

    I wonder if creationists are even dimly aware of the fact that relatively little of what Darwin knew or did is part of modern evolutionary synthesis.

    I wonder if evolutionists are even dimly aware of the fact that they don’t have a mechanism capable of getting beyond populations of prokaryotes. They don’t have anything testable and their mechanisms have proven to be impotent.

  175. 175
    Timaeus says:

    CHarstil wrote:

    “I wonder if creationists are even dimly aware of the fact that relatively little of what Darwin knew or did is part of modern evolutionary synthesis.”

    Not being a “creationist” I can’t speak for what creationists are or are not dimly aware of, but I can speak for myself. I’ve read great gobs of Darwin, slowly and carefully, so I know what he said. I’ve also read lots of stuff by later evolutionary biologists up to the time of living evolutionary theorists like James Shapiro. In particular, I know what the “Modern Evolutionary Synthesis” taught, having read works by some of its founders, e.g., George Gaylord Simpson, and having followed the writings of its acolytes, e.g., Dawkins and Ken Miller. That modern evolutionary synthesis (which was worked out from approximately 1937 to 1947, and later integrated with the DNA and protein stuff discovered in the 1950s and early 1960s), was the basic orthodoxy of mid-20th century evolutionary biology, and while there were always dissenters, the dissent has been mounting in recent years — which is what the Altenberg conference dealt with.

    The modern synthesis (often called neo-Darwinism) was built on Darwin’s basic insight of common descent and natural selection, but it refined them with Mendelian genetics and with the idea that variation was caused by “random mutations.” It also held to the dogma of the complete separation of “germ plasm” from environmental influences — a dogma we now know to be false. It also held to an oversimplified notion of the relationship of DNA, proteins, and traits, which we also now know to be false. It was also extremely “gene-focused” and there is now strong evidence that gene-focused biology, even regarding inheritance, is an oversimplification.

    ID’s attack is primarily against this mainstream 20th-century evolutionary synthesis, which is the view advocated by the vast majority of the pro-evolution commenters here. The number of commenters here who are sophisticated enough to have read some of Wagner, Jablonka, Newman, Shapiro, etc., is vanishingly small. Mostly the pro-evolution gang here spouts the standard cliches, with great overemphasis on selection and/or random mutations. I don’t see much evidence of real first-hand acquaintance with the most theoretically interesting and exciting stuff that is being written today.

    Neo-Darwinism is old hat. ID is right to criticize it. And many of ID’s criticisms match those of non-ID-supporting, non-religious, secular biologists. You can find parallels to ID criticism in Margulis, Shapiro, Newman and many others.

  176. 176
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: That’s what most people mean when they ask about the mechanism. It’s the who, what, when, where, how”.

    logically_speaking: Yes thoughs questions come after design has been detected

    No. Science doesn’t work that way. There’s always an interplay between findings. If you *hypothesize* design, then it entails the who, what, when, where, how and why. Even if you thought the evidence for design was strong, when you notice the lack of obvious evidence for the implementation, it weakens the original finding.

    logically_speaking: So another mechanism of Intelligent Design would then for me be, artificial selection plus controlled variation.

    With traditional human selection, the variation is natural.

  177. 177
    Zachriel says:

    harry: And just what is this instance of significant functional complexity for which it has already been demonstrated how it might come about mindlessly and accidentally?

    Evolution is posited to explain functional complexity. The point was that you didn’t argue your point, but just restated your position, a process you repeated again.

    Timaeus: Astronomy in the ancients’ day was a mathematical science, not a science of the type we know of from the 17th century onward.

    Yes, and the astronomy of the modern world has made many scientific discoveries that predict observations, but don’t predict future astronomical events. For instance, if an astronomer predicts a configuration of exoplanets, then tests the hypothesis, then that is a valid instance of the scientific method.

    Timaeus: For example, the special indicated that the jawbones and other features of the dog made it a superior hunter to the cat.

    We asked for a citation. If you can’t find it, then please use a different example.

    Timaeus: If you are going to do that, then you have to give up the idea of predicting fitness based on the creature’s particular traits.

    It’s possible to measure fitness. It’s fairly easy in the lab, but though very difficult, can also be done in nature.

    Timaeus: I deny that anyone on the planet can measure “rates of natural selection,” unless we are talking about trivial examples of microevolution.

    Of course you can only measure rates of natural selection for microevolution. That’s because evolution is a very slow process. You can, however, infer it for historical periods. The entailment is that observed rates of natural selection must be greater than or equal to inferred rates of natural selection from the historical record.

    Timaeus: The origin of novel biological form requires other causes that are truly creative.

    Creativity doesn’t require a designer.

    Timaeus: Neo-Darwinism is old hat. ID is right to criticize it.

    Nothing like beating a dead horse. A lot has happened in evolutionary biology since neodarwinism was introduced, what? eighty years ago.

  178. 178
    rhampton7 says:

    CHarstil,

    Timaeus and I discussed previously the nature of “ID’s primary attack,” which Stephen Meyer calls “Methodical Naturalism” (NM). Here he explains how it is fundamental to the different viewpoints:

    I suggested that our disagreement derives less from differing assessments of the current status of evolutionary theory (i.e., the science) than from differing views about the rules of science and, specifically, whether those rules preclude consideration of the design hypothesis and require scientists to search into the indefinite future for some materialistic cause or process as the best explanation for all phenomena and events whatever the evidence. In other words, I suggested that the series had clarified that our real disagreement mainly concerns the legitimacy of design inferences and the closely related issue of whether methodological naturalism should be regarded as a normative convention governing all scientific theorizing.

    Furthermore, Meyer claims that even a Christian viewpoint of God having created the universe and letting natural forces should be considered methodological naturalism:

    Darrel’s description of his philosophy and theology of nature is admirably clear. It amounts to the a priori conviction that during natural history God acts mainly (or exclusively) through secondary causes such that we are justified in seeking — into the indefinite future — only law-like material processes to explain natural phenomenon — including, the origin of fundamentally new forms of life and the origin of the information necessary to produce them. His philosophy of nature constitutes a tacit commitment to the idea that all phenomena and events in natural history can be (or should be) explained by reference to what theologians think of as “secondary causes.” But that is just another way of expressing a commitment — perhaps a distinctively Christian way of expressing a commitment — to the principle of methodological naturalism. And that, of course, was exactly my point.

    By Meyer’s reckoning, if the nests of the Weaver Bird are indications of design then they are truly intelligent designers. Thus their intelligence of the Weaver bird, and the information/designs it creates, can not possibly be explained by material processes. Therefore the intelligence of the Weaver Bird is supernatural.

    Is Meyer being sloppy with this conflation of intelligence with non-material processes? Timeaus would say so, but after this most recent post, I think not.

  179. 179
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A reminder from the OP on the ideological bias problem of a priori evolutionary materialist scientism, which is quite often injected by means of imposing methodological naturalism:

    ________________

    >> 11 –> In fact, it can be confidently asserted that there is no macroevolutionary mechanism that has been warranted by observation as accounting for origin of major body plans or features of such plans. If there is an objection simply demand the actual observations (as opposed to ideologically loaded reconstructions).

    12 –> To see why I say this, let me contrast the well known remarks of Lewontin and Johnson. Let us clip from the post on Marks’s reply to the war between science and religion thesis, a few days back:

    I think we need to also compare Lewontin:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them [hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute[[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [ “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. If you wish to dismiss this as “quote-mined” . . . an implication of calculated or at least willful dishonesty, kindly cf the wider cite and notes here.]

    . . . and, seminal ID thinker, Philip Johnson in reply:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    There are some very serious things the new atheists, rationalists and fellow travellers have to answer for. >>
    _________________

    Lewontin speaks as a member of the dominant scientific elites, regarding their views. The ideological imposition and intent of indoctrination have serious consequences that undermine the integrity of origins science praxis and education.

    The US NSTA board in 2000 underscored this:

    The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added.]

    This is the US National Science Teachers Association, 15 years ago. Much of the thread above reflects this dogmatic imposition of a priori evolutionary materialism and warping of the definition, methods and standards of science and science education. Not to mention, it reflects a de facto, unannounced surrender of the scientific vision of freely seeking the empirically founded truth regarding our world, instead turning science and science education into little more than applied atheism dressed up in a lab coat.

    Betrayal of trust and duty is not too harsh to attach to such abuses of trust and influence.

    And, we need to wake up to that reality and act to restore a sounder basis.

    KF

  180. 180
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7, I think you too need to ponder and respond to the just cited. KF

    PS: Inference to design as cause relative to the world of life as you full well know or should know as a long-time participant in discussions, does not entail an inference on the ontological nature of intelligences involved. This has been openly accepted by modern design thinkers since Thaxton et al in the early 1980’s. When one looks on a different domain, evident fine tuning of the cosmos that sets up a world that supports C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life, that speaks to cosmological design, but that has not even been seriously engaged above. I am rapidly reaching some conclusions on the underlying attitudes to fairness and facts in discussion on the part of far too many objectors to the design inferences that I do not really want to draw, but find it increasingly hard to avoid.

  181. 181
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, I will pick just one point. Yes, we know that claimed macroevolution ever since Darwin’s peroration, has been held to explain the world of life after OOL. The problem is, it has never been shown that:

    Chance variation (claimed source of variations in various forms)

    MINUS differential culling out due to differences in reproductive success

    –> descent with evolutionary modification

    –> cumulating to origin of body plans etc [macro-evo]

    –> branching tree evolution at macro-level

    –> tree of life framework

    Has been observed such that power to innovate at body plan level rises beyond gross extrapolation backed up by ideological imposition.

    Thus, the scheme fails the vera causa test.

    Such changes require ability to create FSCO/I and in general only intelligently directed configuration can pass the vera causa test for such. Backed up by the implications of the blind chance and necessity needle in a haystack search challenge.

    No wonder, the UD pro darwinism essay challenge still lingers without a serious Darwinist effort to actually warrant their claims in a context where ideological impositions cannot tip the scales.

    There is much more that you need to correct, but you all have drained far more focus than you have a proper right to across today.

    KF

    KF

  182. 182
    rhampton7 says:

    KF,

    Stephen Meyer claims that intelligence is not a material phenomena. Consequently, all searches for material processes that could generate information are destined to fail. That is, by definition, a priori commitment to intelligence as a supernatural process. Meyer can retract the linkage to the supernatural by simply and clearing stating that:

    1) Some (perhaps all) intelligences may be the sole result of natural processes.
    2) Consequently, natural processes may indeed be capable of generating new information, IC, SC et al.
    3) Thus the intelligent designs of the first cell, the Cambrian Explosion, et al. may also be the product of an intelligence solely the result of natural processes.

  183. 183
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7,

    Meyer is echoing a long tradition on that, directly tied to the self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialist attempts to account for responsible rational mind and more broadly agency. For instance as I have cited several times above, here is famed evolutionary theorist J B S Haldane:

    “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 [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    The assumption that responsibly free rational mind can be reduced to computation on neural networks programmed genetically and psycho-socially, is in deep trouble.

    But even if it were not, intelligence and its characteristic products such as FSCO/I can be readily linked inductively as has been done over and over again above.

    I think you need to do some wider reflection. Here on may help.

    KF

  184. 184
    rhampton7 says:

    KF,

    The nests of the Weaver bird are evidence of an intelligent agent by way of demonstrated design. Why should that be a problem for methodical naturalism?

    It’s not, of course, unless the claim is made that the Weaver bird’s intelligence must be (in whole or in part) supernatural. And it’s Meyer’s logic that positions intelligence as the antithesis of materialism.

    Only if intelligence is supernatural does methodical naturalism fail.

  185. 185
    Daniel King says:

    Only if intelligence is supernatural does methodical naturalism fail.

    That looks like a topic for another Original Post.

  186. 186
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7, you already have enough food for thought, from Haldane. KF

  187. 187
    Joe says:

    rhampton7:

    Only if intelligence is supernatural does methodical naturalism fail.

    That is incorrect. Intelligence could be non-natural and mn fails.

    If methodological naturalism can account for intelligence then ID fails. MN can’t account for weaver birds.

  188. 188
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Evolution is posited to explain functional complexity.

    Unguided evolution has failed to explain functional complexity. Unguided evolution doesn’t have any entailments.

    A lot has happened in evolutionary biology since neodarwinism was introduced, what? eighty years ago.A lot has happened in evolutionary biology since neodarwinism was introduced, what? eighty years ago.

    And all of it points to the impotence of unguided evolution, including natural selection.

    Nice own goals…

  189. 189
    rhampton7 says:

    Daniel King,

    I certainly hope so, especially if Stephen Meyer were to clarify his thoughts on the matter. As I said previously, Timaeus thinks it’s just a sloppy conflation on his part. But is it?

  190. 190
    Silver Asiatic says:

    kf @ 160 – thanks and good elaboration.

  191. 191
    Silver Asiatic says:

    rh7 – your challenge would be to show how blind, unintelligent material processes could create an intelligence.

  192. 192
    CHartsil says:

    “your challenge would be to show how blind, unintelligent material processes could create an intelligence.”

    Descent with modification and differential reproductive success.

  193. 193
    Mung says:

    Silver Asiatic to rhampton7:

    your challenge would be to show how blind, unintelligent material processes could create an intelligence.

    CHartsil:

    Descent with modification and differential reproductive success.

    Indeed. If more idiots and morons enter the population there will be more idiots and morons in the population.

    Is that your solution? Introduce more idiots and morons into the population and intelligence will emerge?

  194. 194
    CHartsil says:

    “Is that your solution? Introduce more idiots and morons into the population and intelligence will emerge?”

    Idiocracy is only a possibility in humanity because we’ve evolved to the point where we can effect our own selection factors.

  195. 195
    Mung says:

    Let’s all vote for more fools. Perhaps by voting for more fools more fools will appear. When enough fools vote, voting will be foolish. With enough fools voting, by pure dumb luck alone an intelligent individual will be elected.

  196. 196
    CHartsil says:

    “I couldn’t help noticing how the discussion has now turned to attacking Magic and Creationism (not related to the OP) since Chartsil’s retarded argument has been shredded and sent out to sea on a burning ship.”

    So there are still creationists who really believe ID isn’t creationism?

  197. 197
    Mung says:

    CHartsil:

    Idiocracy is only a possibility in humanity because we’ve evolved to the point where we can effect our own selection factors.

    Idiots can determine their own fate? Really?

    When you say “we’ve evolved” do you mean you idiots have evolved? How so?

  198. 198
    Mung says:

    CHartsil:

    So there are still creationists who really believe ID isn’t creationism?

    Gather enough idiots and morons together and they may even by chance agree on how some term can be defined to mean anything they like, especially if they can employ that re-definition to make those they disagree with appear to be the enemy.

    The only enemy here is the enemy of reason. Idiots and morons are by definition the enemuies of reason. Don’t you agree?

    So whence your haste to associate with idiots and morons? Are you perhaps an enemy of reason?

    Rhetorical question.

  199. 199
    CHartsil says:

    “Idiots can determine their own fate? Really?

    When you say “we’ve evolved” do you mean you idiots have evolved? How so?”

    Humans in general

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icmRCixQrx8

    “So whence your haste to associate with idiots and morons? Are you perhaps an enemy of reason?”

    Projection and deflection

  200. 200
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil

    Your performance over the past little while has now slipped over the border into trollish abuse and slander. (I will advise others, don’t feed da trolls! In particular, beware of trying to fight fire with fire — water works better.)

    This is coupled with a track record where you are credibly associated with Facebook fakery and the insistent pushing of loaded strawman caricature talking points; that’s track record not projection. Above, you have shown yourself impervious to reasoned correction and patently out of your depth. For instance, on the most charitable interpretation, even when it is sitting there in front of you and is explained, you cannot understand a simple flowchart of the design inference explanatory filter. On the less charitable view, you are willfully distorting and deceitful . . . which would fit with your reported trollish misbehaviour at Facebook. Track record, not projection, again.

    That is a sorry track record to have, and it lends support to the sort of concerns that have long been on the table regarding the amorality inherent in evolutionary materialism, since Plato c 360 BC, warned in plain terms (with the ghost of Alcibiades clearly at his shoulder):

    Ath. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”)], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse], and not in legal subjection to them.

    What more, do I say?

    (Apart from, there is no further point to prolonging this thread, as you have plainly refused correction and have gone to pushing slanders regarding design theory.)

    Let me now speak for record:

    1 –> You need to cease from propagating false accusations and insinuations, and take a time out to gain a more balanced and accurate, fair-minded understanding. So far, you come across as an astroturf tool and troll, a willing agent of a cause that has to resort to alinskyite tactics. Let me clip from Rules for Radicals (cf. the general discussion on indoctrinated, closed minded objectionism and activism here in context of the wider issue of selective hyperskepticism), by way of a corrective warning:

    5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” . . . .

    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. [NB: Notice the evil counsel to find a way to attack the man, not the issue. The easiest way to do that, is to use the trifecta stratagem: distract, distort, demonise.] In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

    “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

    “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

    2 –> Yes, what you are doing is nothing new, and it has been inadvertently exposed for what it is by its own cynical leading adherents a generation ago. And it has been duly exposed and condemned since Plato 2350 years ago. The lessons of history were paid for in blood and tears; such as refuse to heed them, doom themselves to pay much the same price over and over again.

    3 –> As a first step to turning back from such folly that leads only to chaos and destruction, take time to read and ponder the UD weak argument correctives, and this recent post on the reality and relevance of FSCO/I will also help you. (Pay particular attention to the per aspect explanatory filter.)

    4 –> I will pause to correct a key canard promoted by NCSE and Barbara Forrest et al. DEsign theory, as the WACs highlight, is not Creationism in a cheap tuxedo. Historically, on the cosmological side it traces to work by lifelong agnostic and British, UK-based astrophysicist, Sir Fred Hoyle and the discovery of cosmological fine tuning from 1953 on. This is decades before ill-advised US Supreme Court and lower court rulings of the 1980’s, and is in utterly different jurisdictions.

    5 –> On the world of life side, deep antecedents include Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder of modern evolutionary theory and his growing conviction from 1869 on that the evolutionary process manifested signs of purposefulness. You would be well advised to read his The World of Life, from 1910 on. Let me clip:

    . . . the most prominent feature of my book is that I enter into a popular yet critical examination of those underlying fundamental problems which Darwin purposely excluded from his works as being beyond the scope of his enquiry.

    Such are, the nature and causes of Life itself ; and more especially of its most fundamental and mysterious powers growth and reproduction. I first endeavour to show (in Chapter XIV.) by a care-ful consideration of the structure of the bird’s feather; of the marvellous transformations of the higher insects ; and, more especially of the highly elaborated wing-scales of the Lepidoptera (as easily accessible examples of what is going on in every part of the structure of every living thing), the absolute necessity for an organising and directive Life-Principle in order to account for the very possibility of these complex outgrowths.

    I argue, that they necessarily imply first, a Creative Power, which so constituted matter as to render these marvels possible ; next, a directive Mind which is demanded at every step of what we term growth, and often look upon as so simple and natural a process as to require no explanation ; and, lastly, an ultimate Purpose, in the very existence of the whole vast life-world in all its long course of evolution throughout the eons of geological time.

    This Purpose, which alone throws light on many of the mysteries of its mode of evolution, I hold to be the development of Man, the one crowning product of the whole cosmic process of life-development ; the only being which can to some extent comprehend nature; which can perceive and trace out her modes of action ; which can appreciate the hidden forces and motions everywhere at work, and can deduce from them a supreme and over-ruling Mind as their necessary cause.

    For those who accept some such view as I have indicated, I show (in Chapters XV. and XVI.) how strongly it is sup-ported and enforced by a long series of facts and co-relations which we can hardly look upon as all purely accidental coincidences. Such are the infinitely varied products of living things which serve man’s purposes and man’s alone not only by supplying his material wants, and by gratifying his higher tastes and emotions, but as rendering possible many of those advances in the arts and in science which we claim to be the highest proofs of his superiority to the brutes, as well as of his advancing civilisation.

    From a consideration of these better-known facts I proceed (in Chapter XVII.) to an exposition of the mystery of cell-growth ; to a consideration of the elements in their special relation to the earth itself and to the life-world ; while in the last chapter I endeavour to show the purpose of that law of diversity which seems to pervade the whole material Universe.

    6 –> Then, from 1953 on, the discovery of DNA’s structure and the presence of coded information and associated molecular machinery in the cell posed significant challenges to OOL thought and to notions of easy branching-tree evolutionary schemes. Thus, across the 1970’s, Leslie Orgel and J S Wicken went on epochal record, record that echoes down to today — save, in the evolutionary materialist echo-chambers that dominate institutions, education systems and too many media houses. Wicken, 1979:

    ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [[i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [[“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    . . . and Orgel, 1973:

    . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:] These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure. [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here, here and here (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).] One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions. [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196.]

    7 –> Then, from 1984 — not 1987 on! — on, technical design theory was launched by Thaxton et al, who published The Mystery of Life’s Origin, which critically reviewed thought and evidence on early earth circumstances, then looked at relevant chemical kinetics and thermodynamics. They then looked at various OOL proposals, and raised serious questions on evidence pointing to design of life; noting carefully that the evidence from the world of life did not allow conclusions as to whether a designer/creator of life on Earth was within or beyond the cosmos. In short, building on Venter et al, a molecular nanotech lab could account for what we see.

    8 –> I challenge you to download and honestly read TMLO. If, you have the slightest modicum of a sense of responsibility to truth and fairness. Design theory and thought do not come down to silly exaggerations and distortions of the significance of the so-called “wedge” document — only the deeply polarised and indoctrinated would dismiss serious scientific analysis in favour of projective conspiracy theorising while neatly omitting to mention massive evidence of a heavily funded longstanding, too often utterly ruthless radical evolutionary materialist scientistic secularist agenda in our civilisation. He hit back first (and BTW using fair means) is its own condemnation and refutation. If you doubt or would dismiss this, disregarding the implications of Lewontin’s infamous NYRB remarks cited in the OP, then note the Board of the US Science teachers association, July 2000:

    The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . . Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. This both embeds a priori evolutionary materialism in its insistence on the naturalistic and distorts the proper contrast, between natural and the ART-ificial, as has been on the record for design thought since Plato in The Laws, bk X, 2350 years ago. The resort to loaded language betrays attitude, agenda and lack of regard for truth and fairness . . . at Board level and in a self-exposing statement that reportedly reflects million dollar research.]

    9 –> Likewise, the strawman caricature of the per aspect explanatory filter you indulged above, joined to unresponsiveness to correction simply do not commend themselves. Attempts to dismiss or distort the significance of functionally specific, interactively complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I, are equally unimpressive.

    10 –> While I am at it, let me remind you again of the root self-refuting self referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism, once it touches on trying to enfold our conscious rationality in its account of phenomena. J B S Haldane, noted evolutionary theorist:

    “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 [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. NB: cf wider expansion here on.]

    And more.

    Please, take a time out to reflect and correct your manifest errors. DV, in the next few days, we will move on to round two. That will give you time to calm down and actually reflect.

    And yes, you will be featuring in further headlines here at UD, as one who presented himself as a poster-child for many of the concerns we have. So, no this is not “censorship” or whatever programmed talking point string you are liable to trigger. You had adequate opportunity and failed to address cogent correction but insistently doubled down — on the record.

    Now, it is time for the next level.

    KF

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