Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Correcting Wikipedia on ID


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.

3 –> So, it has here set up a strawman, which it proceeds to knock over, indeed the very word “religious” is in the eyes of the intended audience, already tainting.

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”,[1][2]>>

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.[3][4][5] >>

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.”[6]>>

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.

Yockey’s analysis of protein synthesis as a code-based communication process

Step by step protein synthesis in action, in the ribosome, based on the sequence of codes in the mRNA control tape (Courtesy, Wikipedia and LadyofHats)


Protein Synthesis (HT: Wiki Media)

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,[1] 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”.[24]

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:


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

gpuccio, I can imagine the interesting conversations you may have with your son about science. The author of one of the main textbooks on Systems Biology is a physicist. Is one of your children a biologist? My attraction to biology was triggered years ago by a textbook on human development that was used by one of my children in medical school. I dared to looked into it. I didn't understand anything that was written in it, but some of the processes described in it seemed like taken from science fiction films. As a control systems engineer working on software development projects for engineering design, I couldn't believe what I was reading there. I had never seen, or even imagined anything like that. The biological systems made the successful engineering design software we had developed look much simpler than the most basic Lego Dupplo. Simply bizarre. Unexplainable. My professional pride collapsed to the ground. What started as curiosity, gradually turned into fascination that eventually became an irresistible obsession. Literally an uncontrollable addiction. Things got so out of control that I was forced to make a drastic -and very risky- change in my career. Blame it on modern biology? :) Dionisio
gpuccio @28: That's really meaningful humor at its best. It shows how sharp an observant you are. I don't think someone else here could have written it better. Thanks. Dionisio
Dionisio: I know how interested you are in morphogen gradient formation, even if it seems that we know exactly how hat happens! :) However, "Whew" was effective! gpuccio
@26 correction Whew ---> What Dionisio
gpuccio @22: To me the advantage of biology is that WYSIWYG. No room left for pseudoscientific speculation or pop tabloid gossiping, as it happens in the branches of physics dealing with time and space. When we look at fundamental processes like morphogen gradient formation and interpretation, the raised questions are very specific. For example, what determines which protein is to be the signaling molecule in a given case? What determines the location of the morphogen sources, their initiation and stopping time, the secretion rates? What determines the transport method and the route to reach the target cells? How are they interpreted? Whew determines the source/sink ratio? And so on. There's no philosophy in that. Those are current areas of research. Dionisio
gpuccio @22: "Fine tuning, in its more recent forms, is really an amazing argument. Absolutely convincing for all people with an open mind!" Agree, but there's a major problem with that assertion: "open-mindedness" doesn't seem like an abundant thing out there these days. Hence, many folks may not get it. Dionisio
Dionisio: Indeed, his explanation of the thermodinamics problems is one of the most clear I have ever read. It reminds me that my son, who is also a physicist, told me many times that it was wrong to look at entropy alone, but that the important concept is free energy. Maybe now I am starting to understand better what it means! :) gpuccio
Dionisio: I like these Brian Miller articles very much indeed! It seems that he is a physicist. That explains much! :) gpuccio
KF: I agree. Fine tuning, in its more recent forms, is really an amazing argument. Absolutely convincing for all people with an open mind! But you know, the point is always that, when we speak of what happens "before" time and space, if so I can say, or anyway before (logically) everything that we perceive in reality, a touch of philosophy comes in, however good our arguments are. Not that that is a negative thing, I love philosophy when correctly made! :) But it is always convenient to remind others that the biological argument for design is not about what comes "before", and is not specially metaphysical (although, like all scientific theories, it certainly has metaphysical implications). Biological design happens in time and space, in the full context of reality as we know it. So, my aim is not, in any way, to criticize the cosmological argument for design (I am a big fan of it), but rather to emphasize the more "pragmatic" context of the biological argument. That's all. :) gpuccio
Dionisio: Maybe the 10th? There is a lot of way to go for that, and I am confident that many "new" ways will be proposed in the meantime! :) gpuccio
GP, physical cosmology has always run close to the border with Philosophy. But, the fine tuning is pretty clear. KF kairosfocus
gpuccio, Logically, a careful observer would conclude that if biology research discoveries continue to increase at the exponential rate they are now, pretty soon neo-vitalism should replace Neo-Darwinism in number of official subscribers. However, such a conclusion might be inaccurate, because it assumes that most people go where true evidences lead, but is that really the case? BTW, what about the "third way"? Could neo-vitalism be considered "the 4th way"? :) Dionisio
@15 follow-up I forgot to provide the link for interested readers: The Origin of Life: Correcting Common Mistakes on Thermodynamics "The driving tendencies in nature on the early Earth would have been analogous to seismic tremors rearranging the books in the library" https://evolutionnews.org/2017/12/the-origin-of-life-correcting-common-mistakes-on-thermodynamics/ Dionisio
@15 follow-up I forgot to provide the link for interested readers: The Origin of Life: Dangers of Taking Research Claims at Face Value "All simulations that purport to be breakthroughs in origins problems follow the same pattern." https://evolutionnews.org/2017/12/the-origin-of-life-dangers-of-taking-research-claims-at-face-value/ Dionisio
@15 follow-up I forgot to provide the link for interested readers: The Origin of Life: The Information Challenge "fundamentally different approaches by ID advocates and critics toward assessing evidence" https://evolutionnews.org/2017/12/the-origin-of-life-the-information-challenge/ Dionisio
gpuccio, That's an interesting article indeed. Thanks for the link. I noticed the same author wrote these recent articles too: The Origin of Life: The Information Challenge Today I will identify the fundamentally different approaches by ID advocates and critics toward assessing evidence. The Origin of Life: Dangers of Taking Research Claims at Face Value All simulations that purport to be breakthroughs in origins problems follow the same pattern. The Origin of Life: Correcting Common Mistakes on Thermodynamics The driving tendencies in nature on the early Earth would have been analogous to seismic tremors rearranging the books in the library Dionisio
Dionisio: As I have said, I am a (potential) “neo-vitalist”. Looking at this interesting article, it seems that I am not the only one! :) https://evolutionnews.org/2017/12/intelligent-design-and-the-advancement-of-science/ gpuccio
EugeneS and gpuccio always manage to make quite a delightful exchange of ideas. I don't know much about the Eastern Orthodox flavor of Christianity. In the years I resided in Russia I was an oblivious atheist, hence didn't care about that. I was more than once in what seemed like the greatest swimming pool in Moscow, but didn't know it had been built in the place where a building of the orthodox church had been demolished by Stalin's request. EugeneS, have you heard of that story? https://orthodoxwiki.org/Cathedral_of_Christ_the_Saviour_(Moscow) Dionisio
KF: You are right, of course, but that's why I have always thought that cosmological ID is "scientific, but with a touch of philosophy", if I can say so. Not more, however, than common astrophysics! :) And of course the context of biological objects is life, but still I think that we have no idea of what life is, while we can certainly debate the functional information in biological objects. Functional information can be found both in living beings and in non living machines. In both cases, if complex, it must have been designed. I think that living beings are much more than the information in them. In that sense, I am a (potential) "neo-vitalist", and I have never hidden that! :) But I doubt that ID, at present, (or, for that, any other scientific approach) can tell us much about life. In that sense, probably like EugeneS, I would consider life as a deep mystery, at present well beyond the boundaries of science. gpuccio
EugeneS: By the way, I have not read (yet) the “Triads For The Defense of Those Who Practice Sacred Quietude” that you mention, but I have always been deeply fascinated by Hesychasm, and greatly inspired by my limited readings of Philokalia. :) gpuccio
GP, cosmological ID does address issues on the origin of the observed cosmos. Also, while the focus for ID touching the world of life is indeed information, it is in just that context: the world of life. KF kairosfocus
EugeneS: Thank you for your thoughts. I think that I have to clarify further my views about these issues. I will try to do that, in brief. You say: "Who told us that reality can be totally covered with scientific models?" Of course it can't. To think that way is, indeed, scientism. Reality is much more than what science can understand. I absolutely agree with you on that. I also absolutely agree with you about the limits of rational thought, about scientism, and about the limits of science itself. But still I don't agree that ID is, in any way, connected to scientism. You say: "What I mean is that the beginning of nature (and of life) could not have been natural. It was supernatural by necessity." OK, as a personal choice I usually avoid to use words like "natural" and "supernatural". But I will accept this statement, for the sake of discussion. But ID is not about the beginning of nature. Nor is it about the beginning of life. Indeed, ID is only about the origin of functional information in biological objects, as a result of conscious design. Natural or supernatural it may be, but certainly that information is designed. Now, the input of functional information in biological beings is in no way restricted to the "beginning" of life. It has been happening in time and space throughout natural history. That can be a miracle, or may be not. Whatever it is, it is something that is well part of reality, and of a specific part of reality: our planet, our natural history (I am using the term "natural" here only because it is the usual way to describe "what has happened on our planet in the time span of its existence"). An important point: functional information does not explain life: it is necessary for life to exist, but there is no evidence that it is sufficient. Functional information is a specific configuration of matter which can be used to achieve purposes. A clock has a lot of functional information, but it is not alive. ID is about functional information, not about life. That's why it is fully scientific, and it is not related to scientism in any way: it is analyzing a scientific problem (a specific form of configuration of material objects) in a scientific way. The tool is perfectly appropriate for the task. Even if the origin of biological information were in some way "supernatural", still that information, in the end, must be frozen in some configuration of material objects. Therefore, it can and must be analyzed from a scientific point of view. Because science can and must analyze what happens in material objects. From its point of view. The important point of view of ID is that we have strong evidence, scientific evidence, that complex functional information can be generated, in material objects, only by the intervention of conscious beings (the designers). That is a scientific result, perfectly appropriate, even if the nature of consciousness itself remains a mystery. We, as human beings, design things all the time, and achieve the constant "miracle" of generating new complex functional information. Nothing else in the universe can do that, except for the designer(s) of biological objects. Science has to accept its limits, but must also accept its responsibilities. It cannot ignore facts, facts that are observable and undeniable. While to believe that science is the "ultimate arbitre" of reality is foolish, to believe that science cannot have a role in intepreting observable parts of reality is equally wrong. Maybe the "miracle" of consciousness cannot be explained by science (I definitely believe that). But, certainly, the results, in matter, time and space, of the intervention of conscious beings can and must be studied by science. Complex functional information is the main specific result of the intervention of consciousness on matter. We have a vast book of observable complex functional information in reality: human artifacts and biological objects. As a person who deeply loves science exactly for its limits, I feel the duty to apply it to all things to which it can be applied: designed objects are such a thing, and they must be studied from a scientifc point of view. gpuccio
KF I had looked for it. I could not find any online English translation of "Triads", only contemporary texts about it. There must be a translation at least in print! I am glad that we are of the same opinion regarding science and pseudo-scientific biases... GP What I mean is that the beginning of nature (and of life) could not have been natural. It was supernatural by necessity. Science cannot study a miracle. It is not meant to be used for such a purpose. Science is there to study natural phenomena i.e. given nature (including life) already exists. When attempted to be applied to 'explain' the supernatural, it invariably fails. In this case, a scientific model can exist but it will not be a true and trustworthy account of what actually happened. Think of an extrapolated curve where no data can possibly exist. The curve exists over an interval where there is no data to support it. When misused, science distorts our understanding of reality. Who told us that reality can be totally covered with scientific models? No one can give us any guarantee that this is the case. Usually, atheists complain that the world view of a theist is anthropocentric. Well, I think that it is the atheistic belief that rational thought can yield an ultimate and profound account of reality that is pathetically anthropocentric. Great scientists, such as Max Planck, recognized the limits of rational thought in unravelling the mistery of creation because we are part of it. Therefore there is a limit to what science can do. What's more, science cannot be self-sufficient and cannot answer the most important questions of humankind: why am I here? What is the meaning of my life? Etc. So science is secondary to a world-view. Scientism is a world view where science is deemed to be the ultimate arbitre. In the actual fact, though, it is the ego of the scientist, not science, that is the judge. In the world of science, there is no love, only chemistry, no meaning, only atoms. Simply because science was never meant to answer the spiritual questions, scientism is a failure. ID as a scientific inquiry is also necessarily limited. Trouble is, science itself is myopic, it cannot see its own limits and needs to be told where to stop. When there is an understanding of this, the desire to perform an 'autopsy' of a miracle is less than without such an understanding. EugeneS
F/N: a 40:1 hit:comment ratio is one of the most extreme I have seen here at UD for a normal thread. It probably implies a lot of interest but less willingness to un-lurk. Come on in, the water's fine, so long as you don't play the troll. KF kairosfocus
GP, I think Dr Selensky is alluding to how we respond to Scientism, which will inevitably affect and thus subtly influence us in various ways -- something we need to watch for. I doubt it means that scientism rules the roost in ID. KF kairosfocus
EugeneS: "Seriously speaking, I think ID itself is a child of scientism." What do you mean? My idea is that ID is a scientific theory, therefore, if we want, a child of science, bot of scientism. As I see it, scientism is a bad philosophy, which states, more or less, that science is the only, or at least the most reliable, source of knowledge. For everything. I think that the correct way of thinking is that science is the best source of knowledge for some specific problems (the scientific problems), and probably a source of interesting reflections for others. Scientists are those who try to use science as a (bad) dogma in issues where science has very little to say. But I don't think that ID tries to do anything like that. Indeed, the main idea in ID is that design detection in biology is a perfectly scientific issue, and therefore can be addressed scientifically. Of course, theories about the identity of the designer(s) have grater implications, and certainly may involve philosophy and/or religion. gpuccio
Of course, there is a big difference in reach between Wiki (one of the world's top ten sites) and UD, a specialist blog on ID. But never underestimate the power of truth -- even if it seems to be a voice out in the wilderness. kairosfocus
ES, that is true -- a corrective to bias does not solve the root problem which lies in worldview and linked cultural agenda issues. For instance, few are truly aware that scientism is inherently self-referentially incoherent. Science is not and cannot be either the only begetter of truth, nor is it the begetter of the only truths that count. It is however to be noted that many are unaware of the bias and misrepresentation problem. So, there is necessity to make a clear statement of specific objection to tainting misrepresentation and of some correction (here, by showing an actual alternative). KF PS: Any quick online source? kairosfocus
While correcting biases is worth it by itself, doing so will not get to the root cause of the problem. Seriously speaking, I think ID itself is a child of scientism. For this reason, I can go with it only up to a certain point. I think that if people want to defeat scientism (at least in their own personal struggle for truth), they need to dig deeper. My take on the problem of scientism is that of St Gregory of Thessaloniki (St Gregory Palamas) as he laid it out in "Triads For The Defense of Those Who Practice Sacred Quietude", a must-read for those who want to see science in the true light. St Gregory is one of the greatest Orthodox Christian theologians. EugeneS
Wiki's deceitful lead on ID exposed, yet again. kairosfocus

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