Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

ID Foundations

Foundational concepts and evidence for inferring design in light of empirically tested, reliable, observable signs

UD Guest Post: Dr Eugen S on the second law of thermodynamics (plus . . . ) vs. “evolution”

Our Physicist and Computer Scientist from Russia — and each element of that balance is very relevant — is back, with more.  MOAR, in fact. This time, he tackles the “terror-fitted depths” of thermodynamics and biosemiotics. (NB: Those needing a backgrounder may find an old UD post here and a more recent one here, helpful.) More rich food for thought for the science-hungry masses, red hot off the press: _________________ >>On the Second Law of Thermodynamics in the context of the origin of life Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888) This note was motivated by my discussions with Russian interlocutors. One of UD readers here has asked me to produce a summary of those discussions, which I am happy to do now. I Read More ›

BTB: Points to ponder as we look at Crick’s understanding of DNA as text, since March 19, 1953

A few days back, I headlined a clip from Crick’s letter to his son Michael, March 19, 1953: The main text is accessible here (with page scans). Sans diagrams: >>My Dear Michael, Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery. We have built a model for the structure of des-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid (read it carefully) called D.N.A. for short. You may remember that the genes of the chromosomes — which carry the hereditary factors — are made up of protein and D.N.A. Our structure is very beautiful. D.N.A. can be thought of roughly as a very long chain with flat bits sticking out. The flat bits are called the “bases”. […] Now we have two of these chains winding Read More ›

BTB, Q: Where does the FSCO/I concept come from? (Is it reasonable/ credible?)

A: One of the old sayings of WW II era bomber pilots was that flak gets heaviest over a sensitive target. So, when something as intuitively obvious and easily demonstrated as configuration-based, functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated (explicit or implicit) information — FSCO/I — becomes a focus for objections, that is an implicit sign of its central importance and potential impact on the prevailing a priori materialism school of thought. So, it is appropriate to pause, headline and note for record its source in the works of Orgel, Wicken and Thaxton et al (where Dembski’s link to CSI is also important, cf here from a few days ago; as is the metric approach by Trevors, Abel, Durston Chiu et Read More ›

Back to Basics of ID: Induction, scientific reasoning and the design inference

In the current VJT thread on 31 scientists who did not follow methodological naturalism, it has been noteworthy that objectors have studiously avoided addressing the basic warrant for the design inference.  Since this is absolutely pivotal but seems to be widely misunderstood or even dismissed without good reason, it seems useful to summarise this for consideration. This having been done at comment 170 in the thread, it seems further useful to headline it and invite discussion: _________________ >>F/N: It seems advisable to again go back to basics, here, inductive reasoning and why it has significance in scientific work; which then has implications for the design inference. A good point to begin is IEP in its article on induction and deduction Read More ›

Foundational Philosophical Alternatives

Criminologist and former atheist Mike Adams summarizes the three foundational philosophical alternatives to the Cosmos:

First, we can say that it came into being spontaneously – in other words, that it came to be without a cause. Second, we can say that it has always been. Third, we can posit some cause outside the physical universe to explain its existence. The second option is no longer reasonable. Science has been leading inexorably to the conclusion that the universe is not infinite but instead had a beginning. . . . Reasonable people grasp intuitively that it makes far more sense to say that something came from something than to say that something came from nothing. Of course, admitting that the universe was caused by something rather than nothing comes with a price. Any cause predating the physical universe must therefore be non-physical in nature.

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The Relationship Between ID and Common Descent

Since this has popped up a lot in the last few weeks, I wanted to repost an old post of mine describing the relationship between ID and Common Descent. I think it is pretty much as relevant now as when I originally posted it almost 6 years ago.
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Chains of warrant and of causation in Origins Science

As has come up as pivotal in recent discussions here at UD, we must recognise that logic and first principles underlie any serious discussion, including origins science, and in sciences  — especially those addressing origins — the issue of chains of cause will be pivotal. The two are connected, as can be seen by first examining chains of warrant: Now, Peter D. Klein, in the Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, highlights: The epistemic regress problem is considered the most crucial in the entire theory of knowledge and it is a major concern for many contemporary epistemologists. However, only two of the three alternative solutions have been developed in any detail, foundationalism and coherentism. Infinitism was not seriously considered as a solution Read More ›

Following up Bostrom’s argument from simulation of universes . . .

That is, why inferring design on functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, e.g.: and equally: . . . makes good sense. Now, overnight, UD’s Newsdesk posted on a Space dot com article, Is Our Universe a Fake? The article features “Philosopher Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University.” I think Bostrom’s argument raises a point worth pondering, one oddly parallel to the Boltzmann brain popping up by fluctuation from an underlying sea of quantum chaos argument, as he discusses “richly detailed software simulation[s] of people, including their historical predecessors, by a very technologically advanced civilization”: >>Bostrom is not saying that humanity is living in such a simulation. Rather, his “Simulation Argument” seeks to show Read More ›

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>>

It has become apparent that a major objection by EL et al, is that ” . . . What undermines the “case for design” chiefly, is that there isn’t a case for a designer” — clearly implying God as Designer/ Creator. This objection is closely backed by the now far too common atheistical/ secularist notion that belief in God (especially the God of the Bible) is utterly irrational and therefore a menace to the community. As we continue this for record* response series — 1st, 2nd, so far . . .  —  we need to address this objection. Not, because design theory is “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” [a canard that should long since have been apologised for by those Read More ›

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>>

Further for record* on the case for a designer: EL, here: >> . . . What undermines the “case for design” chiefly, is that there isn’t a case for a designer. If current models are inadequate (and actually all [the?] models are), and indeed we do not yet have good OoL models, that does not in itself make a case for design. It merely makes a case for “our current models are inadequate”. Even if it could be shown that some observed feature has no possible evolutionary pathway, that wouldn’t make the case for design. What might would be some evidence of a design process, or fabrication process, or some observable force that moved, say, strands of DNA into novel Read More ›

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 . . . >>

In a current UD thread, Mung clips and comments: >> OT: Over at TSZ, fossils of reason occasionally appear, quite by accident. Elizabeth Liddle: I do not think the ID case holds up. I think it is undermined by any evidence for the putative designer – no hypothesis about what the designer was trying to do, how she was doing it, what her capacities were, etc. Mung: The ID case does not hold up because it is undermined by any evidence for the designer. Classic.>> I added: >> identification of an empirically detectable, reliable sign of intelligently directed configuration — thus of a design process — is a strong sign of a designer back of that process. Further, designs typically Read More ›

FYI-FTR: Communication system framework model . . . relevance to the cell

Andre just asked me: can you please embed a flowchart of how communication works for [XXXX] … You know the one that goes like this input encoder medium decoder output. I don’t think [XXXX] understands the problems such a system has with accidental processes nor does he understand IC. Please KF. With a little bit of luck a light bulb might go on for him. I don’t know how to embed an image in a comment here at UD, which — for cause — is quite restrictive as a WP blog. Here is my slightly expanded version of the classic diagram used by Shannon (a version of what I usually used in the classroom, sometimes with modulator/demodulator rather than encoder/decoder*): Read More ›