Over the past couple of days, I headlined a discussion in a previous thread on how tainting accusations spread destructive untruths far and wide, using Wikipedia’s article on ID as an example. During the course of that discussion, I took time to do a point by point response to the lead. In turn, I think it worth the while to headline it:
KF, 33:>>Let’s go a little deeper in that opening remark at Wiki, to see how framing with disregard for truth or fairness can mislead:
>>Intelligent design (ID) is a religious argument for the existence of God,>>
1 –> If the design inference on the world of life were a natural theology argument, it would have long since been abandoned as a failed argument. [I add: Cf. the Gifford lectures, here, for an updated and broader view of the ambit of Nat Theol.]
2 –> Wiki here fails to address and account for how this argument was acknowledged from the days of Thaxton et al as incapable of indicating whether a designer of cell based life as observed on earth is within or beyond the cosmos.
4 –> On the cosmological side, of course, the first problem for the Wiki framing is that a key pioneer was a lifelong agnostic, who was clearly a practising scientist and saw the implications of fine tuning as indicative of design of the observed cosmos.
5 –> Now, this conclusion along with many other arguments could be used in an argument to God’s existence, but in fact the same can be said of results of science that seem to support evolutionary materialism, save that such are used in anti-theistic arguments.
6 –> So, motive mongering is futile when there is an issue of the merits of an empirically grounded inductive [modern sense] inference to the best explanation on the table.
7 –> Where, by definition, science is about empirically grounded inductive inferences regarding our world.
>> presented by its proponents as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins”,>>
8 –> Dishonest framing. No, the issue is that there is a question — a question — on the table: can we infer from observable reliable signs that certain features of objects, processes etc in the world indicate design as a or the key causal factor?
9 –> This is not confined to the origin of life, or of the various body plans, or even cosmology plus the world of life. No, it is a routine issue in archaeology, forensic science, cryptology, information theory/telecommunication science and more. In such fields the answer is routinely, yes.
10 –> For instance, in communications, a key question is informational, intelligent signal vs noise and signal:noise ratio is a key metric. So, it is beyond reasonable question that design inferences are a routine, uncontroversial part of scientific praxis.
11 –> Moreover, when one looks at a case of coherent, complex functional organisation such as an Abu 6500 fishing reel (no prizes for guessing one of my lifelong interests),
we may readily see that one can compose a description language that specifies its construction by a structured set of Y/N Q’s [ –> e.g. as AutoCAD uses], such that we see implicit information embedded in functionally specific organisation.
12 –> This means that discussion of information-bearing strings is WLOG.
13 –> So, the tainting accusation of dishonesty is beginning to fall apart.
>> though it has been found to be pseudoscience. >>
14 –> Of course, this accusation has been levelled at ID. It is primarily levelled by those who misrepresent what it is doing, its logic, its evidence and its conclusions.
15 –> If ID were simply a matter of philosophical theology, it would not be a scientific project. But as was shown above in outline, the assertions that this is the case are ill-founded.
16 –> Moreover, a great many of those who augustly pronounce such the case as well as those who propagate this claim in fact have imposed a radically loaded anti-theology based radical redefinition of science that makes science into applied atheism.
17 –> The assertions of the US NSTA, NAS etc are cases in point, where — as Lewontin all too tellingly though inadvertently summarised, science has been taken ideological captive to Scientism and to atheistical materialism.
18 –> A more serious investigation on phil of sci, however, would readily demonstrate that there is no good, simple, objective definition of science that allows it and its investigative methods to be easily demarked from non-science and from pseudo-science.
19 –> The sort of definitional imposition that we saw in Kansas or coming from the NSTA actually would make all of science into pseudo-science, by taking it ideological captive to atheism dressed up in a lab coat. [Let me add, as this is in-thread:
>>Whatever worldviews or cultural interests particular ID supporters, scholars or scientists may or may not have, that is objective. And, one may readily demonstrate that bias can go in a very different direction as regards origins sciences. Witness, the NSTA Board declaration of July 2000 as is cited above; which hopelessly entangles science and science education with evolutionary materialistic scientism and indoctrination of children in schools. Something which was demonstrated as not just theoretical just five years later when the same NSTA and the US NAS sought to hold children of Kansas hostage to a false declaration of invalid education for the thought-crime of their being taught an historically well founded, fairly traditional definition of science and its methods.
As in, here is the “heresy” on which students were to be stripped of accreditation for their whole education:
2001 radical re-Definition: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations of the world around us.” [Let me add, the 2007 re-imposition after a radical push to discredit the 2005 corrective: “Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.”]
2005 more traditional Definition: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.” [Emphases added.]
Way back, I pulled some classic dictionaries from my shelves:
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]>>]
>>Proponents claim that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”>>
20 –> Notice how long the introduction takes to get around to allowing design thinkers and theorists to speak in their own voice, having first framed the whole matter and determined a conclusion that implies that this is little more than a lie?
21 –> This is an example of lying by half truth.
22 –> Yes, the just cited is what design theorists say for themselves, and they have backed it up with now about 100 publications in the peer reviewed and professional literature, even in the teeth of the sort of hostility that we see here.
23 –> Of course, that inconvenient fact also has to be buried.
>> Educators, philosophers, and the scientific community have demonstrated that ID is a form of creationism>>
24 –> Asserted is true, framed and accused is true, but demonstrated is false.
25 –> By distracting from the focal design inference issue and reframing as an exercise of philosophical theology, this is made to seem plausible, but this is speaking with disregard to highly material truth.
26 –> For first instance, design inferences are in fact routinely used in indisputably scientific contexts — information theory, and such is relevant to looking at the explicit and implicit information found in cell based life and body plans, as well as the implicit information found in the structure of the cosmos that is credibly fine tuned in many ways that jointly work to support such life.
27 –> For second instance, just the D/RNA code in the living cell is an alphabetic, complex, algorithmic, linguistic entity, raising the obvious question:
Can codes, so language and algorithms plus associated execution machinery credibly assemble themselves out of lucky noise and blind mechanisms in Darwin’s warm little pond or the like pre-life environment?
28 –> the struggles of OOL are eloquent testimony to the obvious answer, no, the search challenge in implied configuration spaces is far too hard to make a lucky accident a credible explanation. And onward, this luck has to grow to miraculous proportions across the world of life.
29 –> What is in fact done is to impose an ideological redefinition of what science is, does and concludes, which then begs the question. That fallacy is then imposed by authoritative pronouncement backed up by institutional power, sometimes in pretty ruthless and dirty ways.
30 –> And even so, something on the order of a hundred professional grade publications say different, and say so on evidence that is as obvious as the DNA code in action in protein synthesis.
31 –> Trillions of examples suffice to consistently show that functionally specific and complex, information rich coherent organisation can be and routinely is produced by intelligently directed configuration.
32 –> Where, as we are patently highly contingent beings, we cannot exhaust the set of possible designers to carry out such intelligently directed configuration. that silly caricature of an inductive inference has long passed sell-by date.
33 –> In fact, the current case of an apparently tumbling elongated object passing through our solar system on a hyperbolic path and raising a discussion of it being an alien space ship suffices to show the point.
34 –> My own comment on the matter is, it is most likely an elongated rock, tumbling away as it passes through space and happened to come into our neighbourhood.
>>that lacks empirical support>>
35 –> A trillion cases of FSCO/I arising by observed design and showing that reliably this feature points to design as credible causal factor, gives the lie to this assertion. So do the about 100 professional publications out there.
36 –> So strong is this body of evidence that it has to be denied and dismissed at any cost.
>> and offers no testable or tenable hypotheses.>>
37 –> Rubbish. A single credible observed demonstration of FSCO/I coming about by blind chance and mechanical necessity would suffice to destroy the design inference on the world of life.
38 –> An Internet full of cases shows just how reliable it is that such FSCO/I comes about by design, and the config space search challenge readily shows that there is a reason why that is so.
39 –> Let me go to the Wiki article on the Million/Infinite Monkeys theorem to see if the remarks on random document generation are still there. Okay, here we go:
The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. In fact the monkey would almost surely type every possible finite text an infinite number of times. However, the probability that monkeys filling the observable universe would type a complete work such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time hundreds of thousands of orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low (but technically not zero).
In this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces an endless random sequence of letters and symbols. One of the earliest instances of the use of the “monkey metaphor” is that of French mathematician Émile Borel in 1913, but the first instance may have been even earlier . . . .
The theorem concerns a thought experiment which cannot be fully carried out in practice, since it is predicted to require prohibitive amounts of time and resources. Nonetheless, it has inspired efforts in finite random text generation.
One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t” The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.
A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulated a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:
RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…
Due to processing power limitations, the program used a probabilistic model (by using a random number generator or RNG) instead of actually generating random text and comparing it to Shakespeare. When the simulator “detected a match” (that is, the RNG generated a certain value or a value within a certain range), the simulator simulated the match by generating matched text.
40 –> 19 – 24 ASCII characters is 133 to 168 bits, roughly 330 bits short of the 500-bit lower end of the FSCO/I complexity threshold. The search space of that sort of length is about a factor of 2.2 * 10^99 short of the 3.27*10^150 implied by the config space for 500 bits. Where for each bit the space doubles.
41 –> this illustrates the search challenge.
In short, had Wiki done what NWE did, for example:
ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent [intelligently directed configuration, that is design; which is habitually associated with the action of intelligent agents]. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy . . .
. . . we would have no complaint, but that is exactly what it did not do. It has clearly spoken with disregard to truth in hope that what it said and suggested would be taken as true, in pursuit of some end.>>
It is also worth the pause to put up a related summary on the actual state of professional-grade publications supportive of ID:
PART I: INTRODUCTION
While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications.
In 2011, the ID movement counted its 50th peer-reviewed scientific paper and new publications continue to appear. As of 2015, the peer-reviewed scientific publication count had reached 90. Many of these papers are recent, published since 2004, when Discovery Institute senior fellow Stephen Meyer published a groundbreaking paper advocating ID in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. There are multiple hubs of ID-related research.
Biologic Institute, led by molecular biologist Doug Axe, is “developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology.” Biologic conducts laboratory and theoretical research on the origin and role of information in biology, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, and methods of detecting design in nature.
Another ID research group is the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, founded by senior Discovery Institute fellow William Dembski along with Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Their lab has attracted graduate-student researchers and published multiple peer-reviewed articles in technical science and engineering journals showing that computer programming ”points to the need for an ultimate information source qua intelligent designer.”
Other pro-ID scientists around the world are publishing peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific papers. These include biologist Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin Superior, Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig who recently retired from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.
These and other labs and researchers have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some published by mainstream university presses), trade-press books, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books. These papers have appeared in scientific journals such as Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Complexity, Quarterly Review of Biology, Cell Biology International, Physics Essays, Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum, Physics of Life Reviews, Quarterly Review of Biology, Journal of Bacteriology , Annual Review of Genetics, and many others. At the same time, pro-ID scientists have presented their research at conferences worldwide in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science.
Collectively, this body of research is converging on a consensus: complex biological features cannot arise by unguided Darwinian mechanisms, but require an intelligent cause.
Despite ID’s publication record, we note parenthetically that recognition in peer-reviewed literature is not an absolute requirement to demonstrate an idea’s scientific merit. Darwin’s own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience — his Origin of Species — not in a peer-reviewed paper. Nonetheless, ID’s peer-reviewed publication record shows that it deserves — and is receiving — serious consideration by the scientific community.
The purpose of ID’s budding research program is thus to engage open-minded scientists and thoughtful laypersons with credible, persuasive, peer-reviewed, empirical data supporting intelligent design. And this is happening. ID has already gained the kind of scientific recognition you would expect from a young (and vastly underfunded) but promising scientific field . . .>>
So, Wiki clearly needs to drastically correct its ID article. That is not going to happen as, there, the trolls rule the roost and will instantly “fix” any correction from their agenda. If you persist, Wiki’s rules will be pulled and a bizarre argument will ensue, leading to your expulsion, for truth and fairness have long since been disregarded in the interests of agenda.
Nor, sadly, is this an isolated case — though it is particularly egregious. There is a powerful, dominant evolutionary materialistic scientism interest embedded in major institutions across our civilisation, that demonstrates the inadvertent accuracy of Lewontin’s description of their power game:
. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . ] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . 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,
[ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]
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]
. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident
[–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]
that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] 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 . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]
Lewontin is plain and inadvertently revealing, others are a bit more veiled, but it is worth the pause to also point out a Board declaration of July 2000 of the US national Science Teachers Association:
The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts [–> ideological imposition of a priori evolutionary materialistic scientism, aka natural-ISM; this is of course self-falsifying at the outset] . . . .
[S]cience, along with its methods, explanations and generalizations, must be the sole focus of instruction in science classes to the exclusion of all non-scientific or pseudoscientific [–> loaded word that cannot be properly backed up due to failure of demarcation arguments] methods, explanations [–> declaration of intent to censor instructional content], generalizations and products [–> declaration of intent to ideologically censor education materials] . . . .
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 [–> undermined by the question-begging ideological imposition and associated censorship] . . . .
Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations [–> ideological imposition of a loaded definition] and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements [–> question-begging false dichotomy, the proper contrast for empirical investigations is the natural (chance and/or necessity) vs the ART-ificial, through design . . . cf UD’s weak argument correctives 17 – 19, here] in the production of scientific knowledge.
We would be well advised to take due note on how frequently those who have a duty to communicate well warranted truth and to characterise people, ideas and movements fairly instead speak with disregard to truth, in hope of gaining an advantage from the intent that what they say or suggest will be taken as true. END