Atheism Darwinist rhetorical tactics Functionally Specified Complex Information & Organization FYI-FTR Origin Of Life Science, worldview issues/foundations and society Selective Hyperskepticism

FYI-FTR: Part 8, an objection — >>nobody has solved the OOL challenge from an ID perspective either. And they never will until ID proposes the nature of the Designer (AKA God) and the mechanisms used (AKA “poof”). >>

Spread the love

The captioned comment comes by way of an email, from YM:

>>nobody has solved the OOL challenge from an ID perspective either. And they never will until ID proposes the nature of the Designer (AKA God) and the mechanisms used (AKA “poof). >>

(In addition, I have received a slander-laced remark from one of the denizens of the circle of hostile sites that confirms on the ground stalking and includes implicit threats. Duly shared with appropriate authorities. This sort of uncivil reaction strongly suggests that this series is having an impact.)

The response as headlined indicates that there is now an attempt to shift the burden of warrant to ID regarding OOL. This, we will now address, first pausing to list this series of (DV, daily) articles so far:

>>Let’s discuss: >> Elizabeth Liddle: I do not think the ID case holds up. I think it is undermined by [want of . . . ???] any evidence for the putative designer . . . >>

FYI-FTR*: Part 2, Is it so that >>If current models are inadequate (and actually all models are), and indeed we do not yet have good OoL models, that does not in itself make a case for design>>

FYI-FTR*: Part 3, Is it so, that >> . . . What undermines the “case for design” chiefly, is that there isn’t a case for a designer>>

FYI-FTR: Part 4, What about Paley’s self-replicating watch thought exercise?

FYI-FTR: Part 5, on evolutionary materialism, can a designer even exist?

FYI-FTR: Part 6, What about “howtwerdun” and “whodunit” . . . >>[the ID case has] no hypothesis about what the designer was trying to do, how she was doing it, what her capacities were, etc.>>

FYI-FTR: Part 7, But >>if you want to infer a designer as the cause of an apparent design, then you need to make some hypotheses about how, how, where and with what, otherwise you can’t subject your inference to any kind of test>> >>

A good place to begin a response is with a current comment by EA in the Lemonade thread:

>> . . . We have a pretty good sense as to what would be, at a minimum, required for abiogenesis. It has been discussed in detail in numerous papers, books, here on this blog and elsewhere. Yes, there may be (I would say there certainly are) additional requirements beyond those that abiogenesis researchers have outlined, but that only makes your story less likely, not mine. And that is the trajectory the evidence has taken ever since Watson and Crick — new understanding has only made the abiogenesis story less likely at every turn. The evidence is clearly not on the side of naturalistic abiogenesis. It is for this reason that many researchers, people who actually work in the area and recognize the issues, have posited various things to try to get around the problems with abiogenesis — panspermia and the multiverse being the most common ideas (neither of which helps, however).

More fundamentally, your logic is flawed. You cannot put forth some wild idea like abiogenesis and then claim that (a) because no-one knows how your wild idea could have happened (you of course having not offered any details), that (b) no-one can refute your wild idea because they don’t know the details of your wild idea (again, remember, because you haven’t offered any details). Then you follow it up with a demand that anyone who want to refute your wild idea has to themselves provide the details of your idea (you, again, having not offered any). This is not a good faith effort to follow the evidence; it is not logical; it is nothing more than rhetorical gamesmanship.

Feel free, though, to propose with some detail a process of abiogenesis that has any reasonable chance to work in the real world, and then we can critique your idea. Until then, your assertion that abiogenesis is likely is nothing more than a bald assertion — an assertion that flies in the face of decades of intense research and concerted effort and an assertion that has the added weakness that (a) such a thing as abiogenesis has never been known to happen naturally in the real world, and (b) no-one, ever, at any time has been able to demonstrate anything that even comes close to abiogenesis, nor to even propose a rational hypothesis that passes the laugh test.

If you want to look into the issues with abiogenesis I would encourage it. It is an incredibly fascinating and sobering topic. Start by looking at some of the posts over the last year or so on this website (search for abiogenesis). Meyer’s Signature in the Cell is a good book; others are legion. BA77 can provide a whole host of additional books, papers, articles documenting the insurmountable hurdles in the materialistic abiogenesis paradigm.>>

(BTW, if you are wondering about the use of unusual ersatz quote marks, WP has made some recent changes that at minimum my PC does not like.)

So, the first thing to be squarely faced, is that there is no credibly adequate, observed blind watchmaker mechanism that gets us from reasonable chemicals and concentrations in a reasonable prebiotic environment to self-replicating, metabolising, code and algorithm-using cell based life. Where such proposed environments have ranged from Darwin’s warm and salty pond, to the seas to deep ocean volcanic vents, to gas giant moons, to comet cores, onwards to interstellar giant molecular clouds, etc.

In short, patently, the vera causa test:


. . . has not been passed for even minimal serious scientific consideration, and that at what Smithsonian clearly indicates is the root of the whole tree of life icon:


And, oh, yes, that is assuming that a tree is to be retained as the proper descriptive architecture:

tre_or_web(On fair comment, a bush-like pattern with multiple “horizontal” cross-links looks a lot like what common design with code re-use and adaptation would look like.)

But now, we need to address the objection step by step:

>>nobody has solved the OOL challenge from an ID perspective either.>>

1 –> Burden of warrant shifting. Every tub must stand on its own bottom, and there must be adequate cause for a given class of effect.

2 –> To date, the only observed, credibly grounded adequate cause for functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information (FSCO/I) is intelligently directed configuration, that is the process of design.

3 –> So, we are fully warranted to examine aspects of the phenomenon to be explained, cell based life, and apply the causal factor explanatory filter in that light:

explan_filter4 –> Already, for a generation, we have seen intelligently directed configuration of genomes, at present including the work of Venter et al. That is, intelligent design is known to work for the living cell.

5 –>Further to this, specifically the genetic code is known to be variable, with some two dozen documented variants to date. This is in a context that clearly shows DNA to be a code-oriented, digital string data structure:

DNA is a string digital data structure which stores coded information in the specific sequence of bases, G/C/A/T, both for protein coding and for regulation/control
DNA is a string digital data structure which stores coded information in the specific sequence of bases, G/C/A/T, both for protein coding and for regulation/control

6 –> In addition, it is worth pausing to highlight the recent development of artificially creating and inserting two new bases, X and Y for short into the DNA of an actual organism, showing that the DNA communication system reflects contingency and particularly protocols . . . GCAT/U is an option that is standardised in life forms, not something driven by mechanical necessity of bare natural law. Let’s clip:

>>Nature, May, 2014. 10.1038/nature13314

A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet

Denis A. Malyshev, Kirandeep Dhami, Thomas Lavergne, Tingjian Chen, Nan Dai, Jeremy M. Foster, Ivan R. Corrêa, Floyd E. Romesberg


Organisms are defined by the information encoded in their genomes, and since the origin of life this information has been encoded using a two-base-pair genetic alphabet (A-T and G-C). In vitro, the alphabet has been expanded to include several unnatural base pairs (UBPs). We have developed a class of UBPs formed between nucleotides bearing hydrophobic nucleobases, exemplified by the pair formed between d5SICS and dNaM (d5SICS-dNaM), which is efficiently PCR-amplified and transcribed in vitro, and whose unique mechanism of replication has been characterized. However, expansion of an organism/’s genetic alphabet presents new and unprecedented challenges: the unnatural nucleoside triphosphates must be available inside the cell; endogenous polymerases must be able to use the unnatural triphosphates to faithfully replicate DNA containing the UBP within the complex cellular milieu; and finally, the UBP must be stable in the presence of pathways that maintain the integrity of DNA. Here we show that an exogenously expressed algal nucleotide triphosphate transporter efficiently imports the triphosphates of both d5SICS and dNaM (d5SICSTP and dNaMTP) into Escherichia coli, and that the endogenous replication machinery uses them to accurately replicate a plasmid containing d5SICS-dNaM. Neither the presence of the unnatural triphosphates nor the replication of the UBP introduces a notable growth burden. Lastly, we find that the UBP is not efficiently excised by DNA repair pathways. Thus, the resulting bacterium is the first organism to propagate stably an expanded genetic alphabet.>>

. . . illustrating:

exded_dna_code7 –> In other words, we see demonstration of lab level manipulation of DNA and other molecular nanotech of cell based life, demonstrating that FSCO/I in the living cell can be explained on intelligently directed configuration as adequate cause.

>>And they never will until ID proposes the nature of the Designer (AKA God)>>

8 –> We here see of course the rhetorical fixation on changing the subject from inference to design as causal process per empirically grounded sign in light of the known generic causal trichotomy: chance and/or necessity and/or design, to trying to debate designers multiplied by god of the gaps dismissive fallacies and appeal to anti-theistic sentiment driven by the false dichotomy, natural vs supernatural. (Cf. previous articles so far.)

9 –> We may freely infer inductively on well tested sign to causal process involving intelligently directed configuration, even without further having indicators as to likely candidates. Even, as investigators routinely infer to arson or burglary on convincing signs  — without necessarily knowing a short list of particular suspects.

10 –> It is also to be noted that ever since Thaxton et al in the early 1980’s, design thinkers have consistently pointed out that design as process implicates intelligent causation, not the nature or identity of the designer as such. In my case, I have pointed out over and over again, that a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al would be sufficient to do what we see on earth.

11 –> That is, the appropriate contrast is the natural [= blind chance and/or mechanical necessity] vs the ART-ificial [= the intelligently directed configuring of an entity] . Even as we routinely find on food package labels these days.

12 –> If one wishes to explore the question of the reasonableness of a theistic worldview and its legitimacy as a context to engage in science etc, that has been tackled in previous articles in this series.

>>and the mechanisms used (AKA “poof).>>

13 –> Above, I pointed to a feasible mechanism, illustrating by way of actual current manipulation of life forms in the lab that opens a door to a whole new world of intelligently directed configuration of cell based life.

14 –> By contrast, the consistent failure to find an adequate blind watchmaker mechanism is duly noted.

15 –> That decades-long failure being further noted in light of a consistent trajectory of findings that is unfavourable.

16 –> Where, OOL is the root of the tree of life, insofar as a tree architecture is applicable, raising the onward implication that design sits at the table as of right, from the root on up.


It seems, then that the “poof” magic problem is on the a priori evolutionary materialist scientism side of the problem. END

PS: I just noticed, today is the D-Day Anniversary. Let us remember the price paid for liberty, and let us never ever surrender it to fascists, political messianism cultists, brown shirted street toughs, over-reaching bureaucrats, out of control judges [why didn’t Hitler face the proper penalty for treason and attempted overthrow in the 1920’s?], media manipulators, advocates of marches of folly and the like, of various stripes.