In recent days, objector ES has been twisting the concept of Wickensian functionally specific information-bearing complex organisation into post-modernist deconstructionist subjectivist pretzels, in order to obfuscate the plain inductive argument at the heart of the design inference and/or explanatory filter.
For example, consider these excerpts from the merry go round thread:
ES, 41: . . . If a conscious observer connects some observed object to some possible desired result which can be obtained using the object in a context, then we say that the conscious observer conceives of a function for that object . . . . In science, properties of the material just are, without purpose, because everybody knows purpose is subjective. Functionality comes in when you get engineerial, and then it’s more up to the “objective functionality” of the engineer than of the material . . .
KF, 42: When one puts together a complex composite such as a program or an electronic amplifier ckt or a watch or an auto engine or many other things, function is not projected to it by an observer. I wuk, or i nuh wuk, mon. Was that a bad starter motor, a run down battery, out of gas, dirty injector points and more. Was that a bug in syntax or in semantics. Was that a BJT miswired and fried, did you put in the wrong size load resistor so it sits in saturation when it was meant to be in the middle of the load line, did you put in an electrolytic cap the wrong way around, etc. Is this a heart attack triggered by a blood clot etc. Function is not a matter of imagination but observation. And you full well know that or should.
Joe, 44: Earth to E. Seigner- functionality, ie a function, is an OBSERVATION. We observe something performing some function and we investigate to try to figure out how it came to be the way it is. Within living organisms we observe functioning systems and subsystems. As for “information”, well with respect to biology ID uses the same definition that Crick provided decades ago. And we say it can be measured the same way Shannon said, decades ago.
ES, 46: To an observer it looks like cars take people to work and shopping. But most of the time cars stand in garage motionless, and sometimes they fail to start. If the observer is truly impartial, then it’s not up to him to say that the failure to start or mere standing is any less of the car’s function than the ability of being driven. The car’s function is what the car does and when the car fails to start then that’s what it does and this is its function. Of course this sounds silly, but it’s true . . .
BA, 48: It is clear to me now. You have drunk deeply from the post-modernist/constructivist Koolaid. Kairosfocus and gpuccio be advised — attempting to reason with such as E.Seigner is pointless.
Let’s first remind ourselves as to what the glorified common-sense design inference process actually does as an exercise in inductive, inference to the best current explanation on empirically observed evidence:
. . . and also, of the significance of Wickensian functionally specific, complex information and Orgellian informational specified complexity for a blind, needle in haystack search; as highlighted by Dembski et al:
While we are at it, let us remind ourselves of what FSCO/I looks like in the form of functionally specific organisation in the technological world:
. . . and, in the life of the cell, as the Ribosome constructs a protein (which is a functionally specific string structure) based on the coded algorithmic information in the mRNA tape:
. . . not to mention, the parallel in the punched paper tape reader used for older computers and NC machines:
(When things have been strawmannised and twisted into pretzels, it helps to straighten them back out again. Where also, a picture is worth a thousand words.)
However, Mr Arrington has a point.
While those caught up in po mo deconstructionist schemes are hardly likely to have a sudden change of heart on the strength of a mere blog comment or even a headlined post, the rest of us can draw lessons from what we see laid out before us. I therefore crave the indulgence of a promoted comment to headlined status, including a snippet of intensely personal history of my homeland. For, comments get buried and forgotten within hours, but a headlined post is for the record:
I trust that the astute onlooker will be inclined to indulge so personal a response, and will duly draw on the hard-bought lessons of history (and of my family story . . . ) as just outlined. END
PS, Sept 30: ES has been making heavy weather over the idea of a primitive tribe encountering a can opener for the first time and not understanding its function (which he then wishes to project as subjective):
And, a modern development showing meshing serrated gears:
However, this is both incorrect and irrelevant to recognising from aspects of the can opener that exhibit FSCO/I, that it is designed:
1 –> Whether or not the primitive seeing an opener for the first time can recognise its purpose and contrivance that integrates materials, forces of nature and components into a functioning whole, that functionally specific, complex organisation for a purpose exists and is embedded in how the opener is designed.
2 –> Just by looking at the evident contrivance manifested in FSCO/I that is maximally unlikely to obtain by blind chance and mechanical necessity — as with the fishing reel above, the primitive is likely to perceive design.
3 –> The rotating gears with matched teeth set to couple together alone implies highly precise artifice to build centred disks, cut matching gearing, mount them on precisely separated and aligned centred axes, with other connected parts already demonstrates design to a reasonable onlooker.
4 –> The precisely uniformly thick handles joined in a pivot, and reflecting rectangle-based shapes would be equally demonstrative.
5 –> Where, actual intended function has not been brought to bear. (And note, we see here again the implicit demand that the design inference be a universal decoder/ algorithm identifier. That is a case of setting up and knocking over a strawman, where . . . just on theory of computation, such a universal decoder/detector is utterly implausible. The point of the design inference is that on inductively confirmed reliable signs such as FSCO/I we may confidently identify design — purposefully directed contingency or contrivance — as key causal factor. It seems that any number of red herrings are led away from this point to convenient strawman caricatures that are then knocked over as though the actual point has been effectively answered on the merits. It has not.)
6 –> But of course, that functionality dependent on specific components and an arrangement otherwise vanishingly improbable, reeks of design and the function can be readily demonstrated, as the patents diagram shows.
[the] ultra-modernist, ugly- gulch- between- the- inner- world- and- the outer- one [of] sophomorised Kantianism fails and needs to be replaced with a sounder view. As F H Bradley pointd out over a century ago, to pretend to know that the external world is un-knowable due to the nature of subjectivitiy . . . the denial of objective knowledge . . . is itself a claim to objective knowledge of the external world and a very strong one too. Which therefore is self-referentially incoherent. Instead, it is wiser to follow Josiah Royce’s point that we know that error exists, undeniably and self evidently. Thus, there are certain points of objective knowledge that are firm, that ground that objective truth, warrant and knowledge exist, and that schemes of thought that deny or denigrate such fail. Including post modernism, so called. Of course, that we know that error exists means we need to be careful and conservative in knowledge claims, but the design inference is already that, it is explicitly inductive on inference to best explanation on observed patterns and acknowledges the limitations of inductive knowledge including scientific knowledge. [A Po-Mo] selectively hyperskeptical focus on the design inference while apparently ignoring the effect of that same logic on science as a whole, on history, on common sense reality and on reason itself, simply multiplies the above by highlighting the double standard on warrant.
8 –> In short, we have here a case of clinging to an ideological absurdity in the teeth of accessible, well-warranted correction.