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They said it: “in the spirit of Carthago delenda est . . . ” — AF issues a strawman fallacy-tainted challenge to design thought

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Longtime design objector AF has just issued an inadvertently revealing challenge in the Info by accident thread:

AF, 224: >> And in the spirit of Carthago delenda est if anyone has a testable hypothesis of “Intelligent Design”, that would be good, too!>>

This is brazen, and utterly revealing.

Cato’s “Carthage must fall” was a declaration of implacable ruthless enmity that led to the final destruction of Carthage through a third war in a century, on a flimsy excuse.

Here is my response at 225 (images added):

KF, 225: >> AF has been at UD from the beginning. Eight years.

He therefore full well knows — it having been stated in his presence umpteen times — that, for instance, a clear case of observation where genuinely blind chance and mechanical necessity are observed to generate an increment of 500 – 1,0000 bits or more of FSCO/I (equivalent, roughly to a protein code of 250 – 500 AA’s/codons) would be decisive against ID. (Cf. here and here on. Likewise, Durston’s one-pager here and here at ENV are helpful. Meyer’s essay on methodological equivalence of design and descent approaches here will also be useful.)

In short, it is a longstanding test-point of ID that beyond a relevant bound set by solar system or observed cosmos scale atomic resources, FSCO/I (or any similar form) will not credibly be accessible by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

Explanatory Filter
The Design Inference from FSCO/I, per aspect of an entity or process

{The protein-assembling ribosome, an example of code based FSCO/I in action:}

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)
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)

{Video:}

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

{The case of ATP synthetase, a motor-using enzyme that makes the critical ATP molecule:}

ATP Synthetase -- a rotaryu molecular motor that makes the ATP "energy battery" molecules of the living cell (HT: Nobel Foundation)
ATP Synthetase — a rotary molecular motor that makes the ATP “energy battery” molecules of the living cell (HT: Nobel Foundation)

{Animation:}

The rotary action of the ATP Synthetase as it makes ATP's (Source: Wiki)
The rotary action of the ATP Synthetase as it makes ATP’s (Source: Wiki)

{For comparison, we can look at computer paper tape and readers:}

Punched paper Tape, as used in older computers and numerically controlled machine tools (Courtesy Wiki & Siemens)
Punched paper Tape, as used in older computers and numerically controlled machine tools (Courtesy Wiki & Siemens)

{. . . and electrical motors:}

electric_motor
A typical electrical motor (HT: Arthur’s free engineering clipart)

{Where, in answer to the common objection that living things reproduce and so are not comparable to technological objects, we call up the requisites for that capacity, shown by the von Neumann self-replicator:}

jvn_self_replicator

{Namely: following von Neumann generally (and as previously noted), such a machine uses . . .

(i) an underlying storable code to record the required information to create not only (a) the primary functional machine [[here, for a “clanking replicator” as illustrated, a Turing-type “universal computer”; in a cell this would be the metabolic entity that transforms environmental materials into required components etc.] but also (b) the self-replicating facility; and, that (c) can express step by step finite procedures for using the facility;
(ii) a coded blueprint/tape record of such specifications and (explicit or implicit) instructions, together with
(iii) a tape reader [[called “the constructor” by von Neumann] that reads and interprets the coded specifications and associated instructions; thus controlling:
(iv) position-arm implementing machines with “tool tips” controlled by the tape reader and used to carry out the action-steps for the specified replication (including replication of the constructor itself); backed up by
(v) either:
(1) a pre-existing reservoir of required parts and energy sources, or
(2) associated “metabolic” machines carrying out activities that as a part of their function, can provide required specific materials/parts and forms of energy for the replication facility, by using the generic resources in the surrounding environment.
Also, parts (ii), (iii) and (iv) are each necessary for and together are jointly sufficient to implement a self-replicating machine with an integral von Neumann universal constructor.That is, we see here an irreducibly complex set of core components that must all be present in a properly organised fashion for a successful self-replicating machine to exist. [[Take just one core part out, and self-replicating functionality ceases: the self-replicating machine is irreducibly complex (IC).]This irreducible complexity is compounded by the requirement (i) for codes, requiring organised symbols and rules to specify both steps to take and formats for storing information, and (v) for appropriate material resources and energy sources.

Immediately, we are looking at islands of organised function for both the machinery and the information in the wider sea of possible (but mostly non-functional) configurations.

In short, outside such functionally specific — thus, isolated — information-rich hot (or, “target”) zones, want of correct components and/or of proper organisation and/or co-ordination will block function from emerging or being sustained across time from generation to generation. So, once the set of possible configurations is large enough and the islands of function are credibly sufficiently specific/isolated, it is unreasonable to expect such function to arise from chance, or from chance circumstances driving blind natural forces under the known laws of nature.}

{Where also, Mignea, 2012 — slide show; fair use. Presentation speech is here — highlighted the minimal requisites for a self replicating life form:}

self_replication_mignea

 

Of course, there have been many attempts [to show creation of FSCO/I by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity] over the years.

Every one of them, from canals perceived on Mars by astronomers 100+ years ago, to the infamously misleading Weasel and genetic algorithms, to a YouTube video of clocks allegedly evolving blindly, have been shown to depend crucially on subtle or blatant injection of active information that narrows the target zone.

Similarly, he full well knows that it is now ten full months since a direct challenge to address warrant for the evolutionary materialist picture of origins for the world of life through a ~ 6,000 word essay [maximum reasonable length for a blog post] with onward links to more and obvious provision for images and videos [as this would be a hosted original post] was put on the table by the undersigned, to address OOL and body plan macro-evolution, including the resolution of the pivotal tree of life icon.

This has been a free shot at goal offer, and it is utterly telling that after ten months, there have been no serious takers.

It is clear then that we are not dealing with reasonable discussion but implacable enmity, which is exactly what [Cato’s  –oops]  Carthage must fall [by implication in light of the history of the Punic wars, by any means deemed effective . . . ] catchphrase represented.

So, AF is here repeating a talking point he full well knows is false and misleading, the better to enmesh the naive or unwary. That is sad, but we need to face the reality of the sort of implacable, ruthless ideological enmity we are dealing with.>>

So, now, let us see where the real balance on the merits lies. END

34 Replies to “They said it: “in the spirit of Carthago delenda est . . . ” — AF issues a strawman fallacy-tainted challenge to design thought

  1. 1
    ldvgvnbtvn says:

    And the misconception thus perpetuates…

    Whenever someone pulls the “not comparable because it dynamically reproduces” line on me, I just respond with “So what? All that means is that NS+RM would have to build it instead, but if that is a woefully inadequate explanation (which we know it is, since it has never produced anything even remotely comparable to most of cellular machinery despite well-beyond-sufficient opportunities), the comparison stands.”

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Hi LD:

    First, welcome to UD. (Quite a handle there . . . )

    You have a valid point, until CV + DRS –> IDWUM has been empirically shown capable of creating significant body plan features, advocates of such should not be allowed to get away with huge extrapolations from minor variation mostly reflecting breakdown of functions.

    Besides, as I hinted above [cf. earlier post here], Paley long since anticipated Darwin by 50 years in Ch 2 of his Nat Theol:

    Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch should after some time discover, that in addition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself—the thing is conceivable ; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts—a mould, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, files, and other tools—evidently and separately calculated for this purpose; let us inquire what effect ought such a discovery to have upon his former conclusion.

    I. The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done— for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art. If that construction witliout this property, or which is the same thing, before this property had been noticed, proved intention and art to have been employed about it, still more strong would the proof appear when he came to the knowledge of this further property, the crown and perfection of all the rest.

    II. He would reflect, that though the watch before him were in some sense the maker of the watch which was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair—the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use. With respect to these, the first watch was no cause at all to the second: in no such sense as this was it the author of the constitution and order, either of the parts which the new watch contained, or of the parts by the aid and instrumentality of which it was produced. We might possibly say, but with great latitude of expression, that a stream of water ground corn; but no latitude of expression would allow us to say, no stretch cf conjecture could lead us to think, that the stream of water built the mill, though it were too ancient for us to know who the builder was. What the stream of water does in the affair is neither more nor less than this: by the application of an unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, arranged independently of it and arranged by intelligence, an effect is produced, namely, the corn is ground. But the effect results from the arrangement. The force of the stream cannot be said to be the cause or the author of the effect, still less of the arrangement. Understanding and plan in the formation of the mill were not the less necessary for any share which the water has in grinding the corn; yet is this share the same as that which the watch would have contributed to the production of the new watch, upon the supposition assumed in the last section. Therefore,

    III. Though it be now no longer probable that the individual watch which our observer had found was made immediately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not this alteration in anywise affect the inference, that an artificer had been originally employed and concerned in the production. The argument from design remains as it was. Marks of design and contrivance are no more accounted for now than they were before. In the same thing, we may ask for the cause of different properties. We may ask for the cause of the color of a body, of its hardness, of its heat; and these causes may be all different. We are now asking for the cause of that subserviency to a use, that relation to an end, which we have remarked in the watch before us. No answer is given to this question, by telling us that a preceding watch produced it. There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance, without a contriver; order, without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose, without that which could intend a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally believe that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the mechanism we so much admire m it—could be truly said to have constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assigned their office, determined their order, action, and mutual dependency, combined their several motions into one result, and that also a result connected with the utilities of other beings. All these properties, therefore, are as much unaccounted for as they were before.

    IV. Nor is any thing gained by running the difficulty farther back, that is, by supposing the watch before us to have been produced from another watch, that from a former, and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the subject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. “We still want a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied by this supposition nor dispensed with. If the difficulty were diminished the farther we went back, by going back indefinitely we might exhaust it. And this is the only case to which this sort of reasoning applies. “Where there is a tendency, or, as we increase the number of terms, a continual approach towards a limit, there, by supposing the number of terms to be what is called infinite, we may conceive the limit to be attained ; but where there is no such tendency or approach, nothing is effected by lengthening the series. There is no difference as to the point in question, whatever there may be as to many points, between one series and another—between a series which is finite, and a series which is infinite.

    A chain composed of an infinite number of links can no more support itself than a chain composed of a finite number of links. And of this we are assured, though we never can have tried the experiment; because, by increasing the number of links, from ten, for instance, to a hundred, from a hundred to a thousand, etc., we make not the smallest approach, we observe not the smallest tendency towards self support. There is no difference in this respect—yet there may be a great difference in several respects—between a chain of a greater or less length, between one chain and another, between one that is finite and one that is infinite. This very much resembles the case before us. The machine which we are inspecting demonstrates, by its construction, contrivance and design. Contrivance must have had a contriver, design a designer, whether the machine immediately proceeded from another machine or not. That circumstance alters not the case . . . [Natural Theology, Ch 2, 1806.]

    I find it astonishing that while I have seen many a dismissal of the point Paley said in Ch 1, I find little or nothing that seriously engages his thought exercise in Ch 2. Much less, addresses the linked issues on the von Neumann Kinematic Self Replicating Automaton. Where of course the first level of this is origin of cell based life, but the implications extend to any major contrivance in the world of life.

    Strawman burning, looks like.

    KF

  3. 3
    ldvgvnbtvn says:

    Thanks for the welcome. I’ve been lurking here for a few weeks now, mostly digging up material via the search function for use in debates.

    I agree with you, but what is “CV + DRS –> IDWUM”? I have never seen any of those acronyms before.

    I never knew that Paley wrote that – thank you for sharing! I’m definitely using it in future arguments.

  4. 4
    CLAVDIVS says:

    kairosfocus

    … for instance, a clear case of observation where genuinely blind chance and mechanical necessity are observed to generate an increment of 500 – 1,0000 bits or more of FSCO/I (equivalent, roughly to a protein code of 250 – 500 AA’s/codons) would be decisive against ID.

    But is it possible in principle scientifically to demonstrate genuine blind chance and mechanical necessity?

    What if information was intelligently embedded into the structure and properties of the fundamental particles and forces of nature at the beginning of the universe i.e. a fine-tuning argument that has been made many times? If this is true – which cannot be disproved – then absolutely every object and event we can observe ultimately derives from an intelligent cause, and therefore it is simply not possible to demonstrate anything operating by “blind chance and mechanical necessity”.

    Accordingly, any claim where the purported falsification is to demonstrate something operating without intelligent influence is in principle not falsifiable, and therefore is not scientific.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    LD: Forgive me, I thought I had had an expansion in the above. (I have had other things on my mind.)

    I am trying to more accurately capture the usual natural selection theme, using Darwin’s phrases where possible:

    Chance variation [CV] + Differential reproductive success [DRS] –> Incremental descent with unlimited modification [IDWUM}

    CV + DRS –> IDWUM

    KF

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Claudius:

    These days I have other things on the mind, so I will be delayed.

    Chance processes are fairly common in physical contexts, we can see this as cases where clashing uncorrelated causal streams give rise to contingencies that follow stochastic patterns that match pretty well mathematical models of chance. A rolling die, with butterfly effect — sensitive dependence on initial conditions — and subtle want of correlation between tosses leading to the famed flat distribution of a fair die is a goods illustration. Alpha decay, the distribution of molecular momenta and positions in a gas etc are similar.

    As for blind mechanical necessity, I am speaking of things that are governed by forces similar to F = m*a, for which we have no credible reason to infer that foresight is involved in outcomes as such.

    These two patterns would obtain in Darwin’s warm little pond or the equivalent, as models of pre-life situations.

    In living systems, irradiation leading to creation of ions and radicals out of H2O molecules that will then react based on mere proximity with the macromolecules of life, is a classic for causing mutations. Such mutations are unavoidable in a world of partly radioactive molecules, and irradiation from cosmic rays and environmental radioactivity. [Geiger counters here is the Caribbean typically have a ~ 15 count per minute background, for example. Oddly, Montserrat — a volcanic island, is not significantly different from either Kingston Jamaica [sedimentary] and Bridgetown Barbadeos [coral limestone].]

    In short we are looking here at blind watchmaker mechanisms.

    Notice further, in the design inference, the DEFAULT is that blind chance and blind necessity acts, unless there is positive, objective reason to infer otherwise.

    The difference, is that there is recognition of the reality of config spaces and the implications of function resting on multiple, well matched properly arranged and coupled parts. Namely, beyond astronomical config space complexity, and sharp constraint of sets of configs that will work relative to that space. That is, the islands of function phenomenon.

    Intelligent, purposeful directed arrangement, i.e. contrivance or design, is the only empirically grounded and analytically plausible means for getting such functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I. (As a very simp0le example, on seeing your post above, I did not infer blind chance and mechanical necessity as best most reasonable explanations, but saw that design is reasonable. So long as designers are at all possible, we must not impose ideological a prioris to bar the door to such.)

    It should be noted, that the focus of design theory is not that here are not chance variations and differential reproductive success, but that incremental descent with modification is not credibly able to bridge the config space to islands of function.

    In short the point is there is a qualitative difference between micro-evo variations as are documented, and the sort of configuration from nothing in effect required for OOL and for OO major body plans. Given the analytical and empirical reasons to see the reality of islands of function.

    If you disagree, show us good observati0onal evidenced on OOL and OO body plans by blind mechanisms as outlined or similar.

    KF

  7. 7
    Alan Fox says:

    Ah, I see KF has opened comments now.

    First let me repeat a correction to KF, who has read far more into my remark about Cato the Elder than was warranted. Cato was a Roman senator (d 149BC) who, during his later years appended all his senate speeches with the phrase “moreover I advise that Carthage must be destroyed” no matter what the subject at hand. I was suggesting I append “please supply a scientific theory of Intelligent Design” to all my future comments, hoping that, like Cato, someone would eventually take notice.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Claudius

    Let me add a comment or two on the cosmological design inference.

    The issue at stake for design theory is not a philosophical one. It is an inductive, empirical one.

    As it turns out, on multiple lines of evidence connected to fine tuning of the physics of the cosmos, there is reason to infer that the cosmos shows evidence of design. We can look at the resonance that sets up the first four most common elements as H, He, C, O, and we can note N being close. That gives us stars, the periodic table, water, organic chemistry and proteins. There are many more.

    This is independent of similarly empirical evidence that points to design of C-chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life.

    And, it is quite legitimate to ask of objects and phenomena, whether per empirical, logical and analytical investigation, they show empirically reliable and/or analytically credible signs of design as best causal explanation.

    KF

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    Mr Fox:

    Re:

    Ah, I see KF has opened comments now.

    Whoever gave you any right to insinuate that I have ever made a FYI FTR post without a live thread in which the matter at hand could be discussed onwards?

    I find the implication of this remark out of order.

    Your continual misrepresentations and insinuations, and longstanding un-apologised for association with slanders, make me sick.

    I ask you to stop such, forthwith.

    As for your attempt to correct me, YOU WERE MAKING A MISREPRESENTATION OF DESIGN THEORY AND SPECIFICALLY THE FACT THAT THERE ARE STATED MEANS OF ARRIVING AT FSCO/I METRICS BASED ON OBSERVED INFORMATION CONTENT. You may wish to disagree with the metrics to your heart’s content, you are NOT free to assert or imply that such do not exist, e.g. one that is based on something as common as file sizes for documents, and which simply says in effect that if contents are functionally specific and beyond a certain complexity, then they are FSCO/I, e.g.:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold of search resources

    So, it was natural and reasonable to highlight that the context of the third punic war was a ruthless destruction of Carthage by Rome on a flimsy pretext [a punitive expedition against Numidians who took advantage of Carthage’s forced lack of arms after the first two wars).

    This, I noted in brief in the thread that provoked a FYI-FTR.

    There is no right to make a continual loaded misrepresentation and propose to append it to everything you say, which is what Cato — I accepted that correction (having noticed and fixed my error myself) — did with the infamous incendiary phrase.

    Do better next time.

    Good day sir

    GEM of TKI

  10. 10
    Alan Fox says:

    Whoever gave you any right to insinuate that I have ever made a FYI FTR post without a live thread in which the matter at hand could be discussed onwards?

    I find the implication of this remark out of order.

    Your continual misrepresentations and insinuations, and longstanding un-apologised for association with slanders, make me sick.

    I ask you to stop such, forthwith.

    Let’s stick to facts. This post originally had comments closed. Now they are open.

    As to the rest of your comment (and the initial post), it is apparent there is as yet no scientific theory of Intelligent Design. If there were, it should be easy to rebut my assertion by stating the theory, giving a summary or linking to the appropriate text.

  11. 11
    Alan Fox says:

    BTW KF,

    It has been pointed out there are at least six other threads of yours entitled “FTR” or “For record” with comments closed. Here is one addressed to me. I saved it “for record”! 🙂

  12. 12
    Alan Fox says:

    Oops on HTML

    Here is one addressed to me.

  13. 13
    Alan Fox says:

    Whoever gave you any right to insinuate that I have ever made a FYI FTR post without a live thread in which the matter at hand could be discussed onwards?

    I see now I may have missed the fig leaf! Is KF saying there is nothing stopping someone discussing the content of his “FTR” posts in another thread comment section? Well, other than being off-topic, I guess not.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers: Mr Fox is — on long track record — incorrigible, and an object lesson on what has gone so drastically wrong with too many objectors to design theory.

    He full well knows or should know:

    1: In making FYI-FTR posts I have headlined matters that have come up in discussions, and that

    2: in so doing, AUTOMATICALLY, there is a thread in which discussion may easily continue.

    3: Meanwhile, the little matter of a serious and willful misrepresentation on an important point — that FSCO/I is measurable (cf. original post above and onward linked thread as well as references) — is being diverted from. As in, what Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold is about.

    4: Recall, the whole point of AF’s citation of the Carthage must fall/be destroyed quote was that he intended to append a demonstrably false and pejorative insinuation to the contrary to his posts.

    5: So, it is in order for me to point out an aspect of the history of the third punic war and Cato’s propaganda technique of drumbeat repetition that AF does not wish to face.

    6: Namely the implacable hostility and utter ruthlessness that seized on a flimsy excuse — a failed punitive expedition against raiders exploiting the overly strict restrictions placed on the remnant state of Carthage after the first two wars, to destroy Carthage. (It seems that the basic agenda was that Carthage had recovered after 50 years under restrictions that were probably meant to gradually bleed it out.)

    7: so, we have every right to draw lessons from that history and refuse to allow is to be hamstrung and straight-jacketed by the demands and rhetoric of the patently ruthlessly and implacably hostile.

    Take-home lesson: headlining FYI-FTR works.

    KF

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It is simply false to fact that this thread ever had comments closed. Notice, it is NOT FYI-FTR, and never was. It seems AF ASSUMED it was closed at first but then someone else commented and I responded. He evidently saw the comment exchange in the stream of comments, and spoke in a very loaded fashion, to which I have responded. And even if this thread HAD been FYI-FTR, the previous thread to which it responds remains open. The whole caricature being constructed — recall, by someone who has now repeatedly resorted to calling me “daft” by direct implication — is a smear. KF

  16. 16
    Alan Fox says:

    Recall, the whole point of AF’s citation of the Carthage must fall/be destroyed quote was that he intended to append a demonstrably false and pejorative insinuation to the contrary to his posts.

    False and pejorative insinuation?

    …it is apparent there is as yet no scientific theory of Intelligent Design. If there were, it should be easy to rebut my assertion by stating the theory, giving a summary or linking to the appropriate text.

    Simple statement of fact!

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Another statement of fact:

    it is apparent there is as yet no scientific theory of evolutionism. If there were, it should be easy to rebut my assertion by stating the theory, giving a summary or linking to the appropriate text.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Fox, I noticed that on the Durston thread you never acknowledged your error on citing Lenski and Szostak as proof that Darwinism can build functional complexity. Why is this? Do you consider yourself above empirical rebuke? Or are you just willfully dishonest?

  19. 19
    Alan Fox says:

    Mr. Fox, I noticed that on the Durston thread you never acknowledged your error on citing Lenski and Szostak as proof that Darwinism can build functional complexity. Why is this? Do you consider yourself above empirical rebuke? Or are you just willfully dishonest?

    Don’t accept your premise, Phil. The Lenski experiment clearly demonstrated the power of reiterated variation and selection. I never made any claim about Jack Szostak other than being a pioneer in looking at functionality in unknown proteins. It’s more than likely I’ll comment further if it stays open but it is time-dependent. Please make any further comment in that thread and I’ll monitor it.

    Lack of response need not be interpreted as being stunned into silence. It could be lack of time and/or lack of interest (especially when say, Joe, chimes in with a comment so absurd it needs no response, or when you chime in with a long irrelevant screed with absurd video links). Remember, ID is very much a minority belief these days and:

    …it is apparent there is as yet no scientific theory of Intelligent Design. If there were, it should be easy to rebut my assertion by stating the theory, giving a summary or linking to the appropriate text.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    I’m sorry Mr. Fox, but your willful blindness as to the Lenski results can only be interpreted as you being willfully dishonest in the matter. No functional complexity was ever gained in the Lenski LTEE and the only thing that was clearly demonstrated in the LTEE was the power of material processes (neo-Darwinism) to destroy preexistent functional information. For you to fail to honestly deal with this empirical result, Mr. Fox, clearly illustrates that you could care less about the actual science (truth) of a matter and are only concerned with falsely advancing your Darwinian beliefs no matter what deception you have to put forward to do as such!

    Richard Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiments with E. coli and the Origin of New Biological Information – September 2011
    Excerpt: The results of future work aside, so far, during the course of the longest, most open-ended, and most extensive laboratory investigation of bacterial evolution, a number of adaptive mutations have been identified that endow the bacterial strain with greater fitness compared to that of the ancestral strain in the particular growth medium. The goal of Lenski’s research was not to analyze adaptive mutations in terms of gain or loss of function, as is the focus here, but rather to address other longstanding evolutionary questions. Nonetheless, all of the mutations identified to date can readily be classified as either modification-of-function or loss-of-FCT.
    (Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51051.html

    Mutations : when benefits level off – June 2011 – (Lenski’s e-coli after 50,000 generations)
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7

    New Research on Epistatic Interactions Shows “Overwhelmingly Negative” Fitness Costs and Limits to Evolution – Casey Luskin June 8, 2011
    Excerpt: In essence, these studies found that there is a fitness cost to becoming more fit. As mutations increase, bacteria faced barriers to the amount they could continue to evolve. If this kind of evidence doesn’t run counter to claims that neo-Darwinian evolution can evolve fundamentally new types of organisms and produce the astonishing diversity we observe in life, what does?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47151.html

  21. 21
    Alan Fox says:

    I’m sorry Mr. Fox, but your willful blindness as to the Lenski results can only be interpreted as you being willfully dishonest in the matter. No functional complexity was ever gained in the Lenski LTEE

    Lenski’s experiment amply demonstrates the reality of reiterated variation and selection. Functional complexity is an issue for IDers. A little challenge for you. Find anywhere in writings by Richard Lenski or his associates that discusses “functional complexity”.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Fox, you willful dishonesty of the fact that neo-Darwinian processes never generated functional complexity in LTEE is duly noted. A little challenge for you Mr. Fox, tell me exactly how this following functional complexity came about and offer direct empirical evidence for any Darwinian claim you may be foolish enough to offer!:

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994630

    Souped-Up Hyper-Drive Flagellum Discovered – December 3, 2012
    Excerpt: Get a load of this — a bacterium that packs a gear-driven, seven-engine, magnetic-guided flagellar bundle that gets 0 to 300 micrometers in one second, ten times faster than E. coli.
    If you thought the standard bacterial flagellum made the case for intelligent design, wait till you hear the specs on MO-1,,,
    Harvard’s mastermind of flagellum reverse engineering, this paper describes the Ferrari of flagella.
    “Instead of being a simple helically wound propeller driven by a rotary motor, it is a complex organelle consisting of 7 flagella and 24 fibrils that form a tight bundle enveloped by a glycoprotein sheath…. the flagella of MO-1 must rotate individually, and yet the entire bundle functions as a unit to comprise a motility organelle.”
    To feel the Wow! factor, jump ahead to Figure 6 in the paper. It shows seven engines in one, arranged in a hexagonal array, stylized by the authors in a cross-sectional model that shows them all as gears interacting with 24 smaller gears between them. The flagella rotate one way, and the smaller gears rotate the opposite way to maximize torque while minimizing friction. Download the movie from the Supplemental Information page to see the gears in action.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66921.html

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Fox, Of ‘coincidental’ note:

    What Is the Theory of Intelligent Design?
    Casey Luskin August 10, 2013
    – See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....FlUgt.dpuf

    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”
    – AA saying

  24. 24
    Axel says:

    Silence came the stern reply.

  25. 25
    Alan Fox says:

    @ ID proponents!

    All agreed on Luskin’s article as answering my question?

  26. 26
    Alan Fox says:

    BTW, thanks, Phil, for the link. Onward links lead me on to the Amazon review of Mayer’s “Darwin’s Doubt”.

    Calling a book “Darwin’s Doubt” does make it sound like a critique of evolution rather than a presentation of a scientific theory called “Intelligent Design”. Luskin’s piece appears to be written in response to Nick Matzke’s comments appended to Luskin’s review of “Darwin’s Doubt”.

    On perusing Luskin’s piece, the first part “What Intelligent Design Is Not” is not relevant, so let’s move on hopefully, to the meat in the sandwich – “What the Theory of Intelligent Design Is”!

    Intelligent design is a scientific theory that argues that the best explanation for some natural phenomena is an intelligence cause, especially when we find certain types of information and complexity in nature which in our experience are caused by intelligence.

    Hmm! So what is that best explanation? And that glib phrase “in our experience are caused by intelligence”? Does this mean we are in for a definition of intelligence? Let’s see!

    But where in our experience do things like language, complex and specified information, programming code, or machines come from? They have one and only one known source: intelligence. When we look at nature, we find high levels of CSI [complex and specified information]. A design inference may thus be made. This is the essence of the positive case for design.

    A word appears to be missing here. I’d not disagree with the first sentence if it said “human intelligence” though human intelligence is a poorly defined and unmeasurable concept. But the leap in the dark to “A design inference may thus be made.” seems to lack the middle step (shades of the sock gnomes).

    The rest of the article continues this conflation of reality to an altogether more amorphous “intelligence” that is a better explanation than evolutionary theory for the observed pattern of extant and extinct life that we see. Along the way, there are some egregiously false statements.

    Experimental investigations of DNA indicate that it is full of a CSI-rich, language-based code. Biologists have performed mutational sensitivity tests on proteins and determined that their amino acid sequences are highly specified. Additionally, genetic knockout experiments and other studies have shown that some molecular machines, like the flagellum, are irreducibly complex.

    Studies of the fossil record show that species typically appear abruptly without similar precursors. The Cambrian explosion is a prime example, although there are other examples of explosions in life’s history. Large amounts of complex and specified information had to arise rapidly to explain the abrupt appearance of these forms.

    But as they don’t concern a “theory of intelligent design” we can leave them on one side.

    Where’s the meat?

    As Nick Matzke asks:

    What’s the “scientific theory of ID”? Who or what is the designer and how can we tell? What did it do and how can we tell? How did it do it and how can we tell? Where did it do it and how can we tell? When did it do it and how can we tell?

    and as I said;

    …it is apparent there is as yet no scientific theory of Intelligent Design. If there were, it should be easy to rebut my assertion by stating the theory, giving a summary or linking to the appropriate text.

  27. 27
    Alan Fox says:

    Oops; Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt”.

  28. 28
    Alan Fox says:

    Here is an opportunity for wider discussion of Casey’s article.

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, other participants and onlookers:

    This thread responds to a specific d3eclaration of intent and point of issue raised by AF, cited from a previous (and still open) thread:

    AF, 224: >> And in the spirit of Carthago delenda est if anyone has a testable hypothesis of “Intelligent Design”, that would be good, too!>>

    Notice, the emphasis on a testable hypothesis.

    AF knows or should know that — as was pointed out int he previous thread and as is linked and raised above, a major testable point of design theory is that functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I], per massive empirical observation and linked analysis is reliably a product of design. So, on newtonian unifority thinking, we are entitled to start from trace4s of the past and ask, what in our experience characteristically gives rise to such or similar patterns int eh world. Thence, on empirical investigations that show a pattern of causes that characteristically give rise to similar consequences, we may inductively infer that the results are an empirically reliable sign of cause. (We may sum this up as the like causes like principle.)

    And, this has been quantified, specifically, AF knows or should know that for a fair time now, the Dembski 2005 metric of a threshold beyond which CSI can be taken to reliably indicate intelligent cause, has been turned into an information beyond a threshold metric:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold

    (Where 1,000 bits is a similar threshold for the observed universe.)

    So, the test is obvious: if one can empirically identify a case of FSCO/I beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold that in our reliable observation comes from blind chance and mechanical necessity, then the design inference and the associated explanatory filter as shown in the OP would collapse.

    As is noted above and int eh onward thread, many attempts have been made to do that, but all have come to grief, as it has been consistently seen that design is implicated.

    This is no surprise, as an analysis will rapidly show that the chemical action time states of the 10^57 atoms of the solar system will only be able to blindly search out a fraction of the number of possible states for 500 bits that is comparable to drawing a single straw sized sample at random from a cubical haystack 1,000 light years on the side. (That is as thick as the thickest part of our Galaxy. If such a stack were superposed on our galactic neighbourhood, with all but absolute certainty — it would be empirically utterly reliable comparable to the reliability of the second law of thermodynamics, on similar stochastic grounds — such a sample would pick up only straw.)

    So, coming out the starting gates — as an objector to design theory who has been here at UD for 8 years, AF knows or should know that his assertion and its underlying insinuations are false and misleading.

    However, in a polarised situation, it is possible to project such a false impression in w3ays that will mislead the unwary who do not know better.

    Hence the issue of the Cato rhetoric of implacable and ruthless hostility.

    The historic fact is, that Rome destroyed Carthage in the third punic war on very flimsy grounds. They had imposed crippling conditions after the first two wars, but after 50 years Carthage had survived and refused to wither away. Instead, it was again prospering. In generations deep animosity, the flimsy excuse that a failed retaliatory expedition against raiders taking advantage of limitations imposed on Carthage by Rome was a treaty violation was used to attack, besiege and then raze Carthage.

    With that sort of history multiplied by the sort of systematic misrepresenations and ad hominems that are in the context coming from AF and his associates, the declaration AF has made in the previous thread is loaded.

    Notice, for instance, the false assertion that this thread was locked from comments, presented as an assertion of fact. This is part6 of an accusation of censorship against design thinkers and this blog.

    I have repeatedly corrected this above, and there is not even an acknowledgement.

    Similarly, having corrected the insinuation that there are no testable empirically grounded hypotheses of design theory [with onward links accessible for much more] there is no acknowledgement.

    And when it comes to things like insinuating that I am “daft” or earlier slanders AF is directly associated with that tried to push me into the same boat with Nazis by ignoring the fact that a great many people across time and today have principled objections to homosexualisation of our civilisation [an unrelated matter was dragged in at TSZ], there has been trhe same refusal to be reasonable and civil or decent.

    All of these are indicators of implacable hostility, and in fact AF has declared that in his view Design theory is a threatening ideology that he seems to view primarily as a political threat.

    In such a context of implacable culture war polarisation and hostility to design thinkers, it is no surprise to see the attitudes and behaviours that are on display here and elsewhere.

    Refusal to acknowledge well merited correction is thus not surprising.

    There is just a moving of front to a further line of attack, now that there is no framework that can be called a theory of design:

    AF, 16 & 10: >> it is apparent there is as yet no scientific theory of Intelligent Design. If there were, it should be easy to rebut my assertion by stating the theory, giving a summary or linking to the appropriate text. >>

    Notice the shifting of goal-posts to enable a fresh line of attack?

    “Theory” in science is a much vaguer concept than “hypothesis,” and a small and struggling school of thought facing a massively hostile orthodoxy can always be skewered with the accusation that you have no established, generally acknowledged “theory.”

    In truth, any number of scientific investigations and fields of inquiry at a given time will be pioneering, and will not have a neat, comprehensive, generally accepted framework and school of thought. As a direct comparison, Modern Physics between about 1880 and 1930 was in that boat. If we look farther afield, across much of C20, Economics was deeply polarised into competing schools of thought, and there were some heated, barbed feuds between some of these. That led to some very intemperate remarks even in the professional literature — well do I recall a dismissive comment in the very title of an article, that posed the issue as to whether a particular approach was a mainstream or a mud puddle. Similarly, climate studies has become deeply polarised and ideological in recent years. That in turn brings to mind an article that bore as title the insinuation that design theory was a matter of theft of results from other fields rather than toil.

    In short, AF is here erecting a loaded strawman, and is distracting attention from the cogency of the correction of his earlier intended accusation that design theorists have not got testable hypotheses.

    Now, is there a comprehensive theory of design?

    I would say, not as a well established, generally accepted school of thought.

    As a framework of analysis with limited objectives and a cluster of key empirically grounded claims, yes.

    We all know that he central thesis is that there are ways and means of characterising and inferring on causal explanations for things that we did not and cannot directly observe. These trace in modern science to Newton’s rules of investigation. In effect, once an empirically reliable causal link from A –> B is seen, it is reasonable to infer provisionally (all scientific reasoning is provisional in this sense) that B is a reliable sign of A. In crude common sense terms,t his is a glorification of the line of reasoning behind the proverb: where there is smoke, there is a fire.

    In our reliable observation, on literally billions of test cases with essentially zero exceptions, FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause.

    (And even if there had been a matter of a problem of a small incidence of errors, the use of multiple cases can be used to reduce the overall likelihood of error to essentially a practical zero. If something is likely to be mistaken 1 in 1,000 times, but we have 10 independent observations, the likelihood that all are in error in the same way, is 1 in 10^30, empirically indistinguishable from zero. Life forms are chock full of FSCO/I manifest in hundreds of distinguishable cases. Once is chance, twice coincidence, three times is a plan is an old soldiers’ and mangers’ rule of thumb.)

    With this in hand, we can then look at the world of life and see that blind chance and mechanical necessity have spectacularly failed over decades to account for OOL. As the OP highlights, the cell manifests macromolecular nanotechnology that uses digital information processing systems, complete with codes that drive assembly of proteins, and much more. The only reasonable explanation on the table for a code based information processing system is the only known source of code: intelligence.

    That is already pivotal, as it means that from the root of the tree of life, we have design sitting at the table as best causal explanation. Absent the imposition of a priori materialism to censor this alternative out. But where also that a priori materialism is a deeply entrenched ideological commitment of a dominant school of thought that refuses to entertain the possibility of design where it is inconvenient for atheism.

    Going on up, as we come to the branches of the tree of life, we find a characteristic and dominant pattern of sudden appearances, stability of major forms/body plans, and disappearances or continuity into the modern age. but, major body plan features require 10 – 100+ million bits of incremental bio-information, as can be judged from order of magnitude calculations and from empirical observation. Starting with the Cambrian revolution and other big bangs.

    This is the reason why it is fast coming on 11 months now since a pro-darwinism essay challenge was issued by the undersigned, to be hosted here at UD — WITH NO SERIOUS TAKERS.

    We can take it to the bank that there is something deeply flawed in the evolutionary materialist school of thought, and that the design inference is raising a serious alternative.

    Carthage was battered and dismissed to a backwater for over a century, but is re emerging.

    So, now we see implacable hostility as Carthage “must” be destroyed.

    In addition, there is a whole separate province of design theory, cosmological evidences of design tracing to the evident fine tuning of the observed cosmos that fits it for C-Chemistry molecular nanotech cell based aqueous medium life. That level of functionally specific, fine tuned organisation of the physics of the observed cosmos points to design as explanation of a cosmos set up for such cell based life.

    Design, by an agent capable of building a universe.

    Design, that sets it up for cell based life.

    Worse, the key initial pioneer was a Nobel equivalent prize holding life long card carrying agnostic, Sir Fred Hoyle.

    Let his ghost be now heard:

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

    And again:

    The big problem in biology, as I see it, is to understand the origin of the information carried by the explicit structures of biomolecules. The issue isn’t so much the rather crude fact that a protein consists of a chain of amino acids linked together in a certain way, but that the explicit ordering of the amino acids endows the chain with remarkable properties, which other orderings wouldn’t give. The case of the enzymes is well known . . . If amino acids were linked at random, there would be a vast number of arrange-ments that would be useless in serving the pur-poses of a living cell. When you consider that a typical enzyme has a chain of perhaps 200 links and that there are 20 possibilities for each link,it’s easy to see that the number of useless arrangements is enormous, more than the number of atoms in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. This is for one enzyme, and there are upwards of 2000 of them, mainly serving very different purposes. So how did the situation get to where we find it to be? This is, as I see it, the biological problem – the information problem . . . .

    I was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe. So try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes – by what are called the blind forces of nature . . . . By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, not by random processes . . . .

    Now imagine yourself as a superintellect working through possibilities in polymer chemistry. Would you not be astonished that polymers based on the carbon atom turned out in your calculations to have the remarkable properties of the enzymes and other biomolecules? Would you not be bowled over in surprise to find that a living cell was a feasible construct? Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use: Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. Of course you would, and if you were a sensible superintellect you would conclude that the carbon atom is a fix.

    And yet again, in the same CalTech talk:

    I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. [[“The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12]

    In short, design theory may be a nascent school of thought, and one widely spoken against, but that does not mean that it is to be dismissed as being utterly without merits and treated with the implacable hostility that says that Carthage must be destroyed — even on the flimsiest of pretexts.

    Surely, AF can do better than this.

    KF

    PS: if you want a better, more elaborated and complete summary from Luskin, I suggest this summary he prepared as a guide for College students (which is linked in the OP). For cosmological design, I suggest a 101 here and the onward linked.

  30. 30
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    All agreed on Luskin’s article as answering my question?

    It is more than your position has- and Casey isn’t finished…

  31. 31
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    Does this mean we are in for a definition of intelligence?

    THAT has already been provided- YEARS AGO.

    Why does Alan think his willful ignorance means something?

  32. 32
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox:

    Lenski’s experiment amply demonstrates the reality of reiterated variation and selection.

    LoL! Yes, Alan, Lenski has demonstrated variation and selection are very, very limited. He pretty much destroyed the concept of universal common descent.

    Only an ignorant person would bring up Lenski’s long-running experiemnt to support evolutionism. And here is Alan, AGAIN!

  33. 33
    Alan Fox says:

    KF:

    Now, is there a comprehensive theory of design?

    I would say, not as a well established, generally accepted school of thought.

    Thank-you for your opinion.

  34. 34
    Alan Fox says:

    BTW the Nick that Casey is responding to is not Nick Matzke. Maybe someone could point that out to Casey Luskin.

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