Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

ID Foundations

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

On Active Information, search, Islands of Function and FSCO/I

A current rhetorical tack of objections to the design inference has two facets: (a) suggesting or implying that by moving research focus to Active Information needle in haystack search-challenge linked Specified Complexity has been “dispensed with” [thus,too, related concepts such as FSCO/I]; and (b) setting out to dismiss Active Information, now considered in isolation. Both of these rhetorical gambits are in error. However, just because a rhetorical assertion or strategy is erroneous does not mean that it is unpersuasive; especially for those inclined that way in the first place. So, there is a necessity for a corrective. First, let us observe how Marks and Dembski began their 2010 paper, in its abstract: Needle-in-the-haystack problems look for small targets in large Read More ›

FYI-FTR: To JF (attn EL) on fitness functions, islands of function & bridging active information

Overnight, HT Mung, this was drawn to my attention: JF, TSZ: At the UD thread there were some loud dismissals of models that had genotypes and a fitness surface. It was declared that these genetic algorithms weren’t models of evolution. Actually DEM called such models “evolutionary search”, so they don’t seem to agree with the ID supporters in the UD thread. I think I should headline my reply, FTR: _______________ >> The concern is not whether hill climbing can work incrementally to give local optimisation or some close cousin to that; which can legitimately be described as evolution and tracked to correlate with the actually empirically observed case: microevolution. That hill climbing approach, we all learned in our first calculus Read More ›

Should ID supporters argue in terms of thermodynamics or information or [“basic . . . “] probability?

In the still active discussion thread on failure of compensation arguments, long term maverick ID (and, I think, still YEC-sympathetic) supporter SalC comments: SalC, 570:    . . .  I’ve argued against using information theory type arguments in defense of ID, it adds way too much confusion. Basic probability will do the job, and basic probability is clear and unassailable. The mutliplicities of interest to ID proponents don’t vary with temperature, whereas the multiplicities from a thermodynamic perspective change with temperature. I find that very problematic for invoking 2LOT in defense of ID. Algorithmically controlled metabolisms (such as realized in life) are low multiplicity constructs as a matter of principle. They are high in information content. But why add more jargon Read More ›

Why I Love AVIDA – Detecting Design in Digital Organisms

There are many ID’ers who complain about the AVIDA simulation, and I for the life of me can’t figure out why this is so.
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Piotr (and KS, DNA_Jock, VS, Z et al) and “compensation” arguments vs the energy audit police . . .

It seems to be time to call in the energy audit police. Let us explain, in light of an ongoing sharp exchange on “compensating” arguments in the illusion of organising energy thread. This morning Piotr, an objector (BTW — and this is one time where expertise base is relevant —  a Linguist), at 288 dismissed Niwrad: Stop using the term “2nd law” for something that is your private misconception. You’ve got it all backwards . . . This demands correction, as Niwrad has done little more than appropriately point out that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information cannot cogently be explained away by making appeals to irrelevant energy flows elsewhere. Organisation is not properly to be explained on spontaneous Read More ›

Functionally Specific, Complex Organisation and Associated Information (FSCO/I) is real and relevant

Over the past few months, I noticed objectors to design theory dismissing or studiously ignoring a simple — much simpler than a clock — macroscopic example of Functionally Specific, Complex Organisation and/or associated Information (FSCO/I) and its empirically observed source, the ABU-Garcia Ambassadeur 6500 C3 fishing reel: Yes, FSCO/I is real, and has a known cause. {Added, Feb 6} It seems a few other clearly paradigmatic cases will help rivet the point, such as the organisation of a petroleum refinery: . . . or the wireframe view of a rifle ‘scope (which itself has many carefully arranged components): . . . or a calculator circuit: . . . or the wireframe for a gear tooth (showing how complex and exactingly Read More ›

Salon, on the utter triumph of Darwin — NOT

An article in Salon caught my eye while looking at other things online: Saturday, Jan 3, 2015 10:00 AM -0400 God is on the ropes: The brilliant new science that has creationists and the Christian right terrified A young MIT professor is finishing Darwin’s task — and threatening to undo everything the wacky right holds dear Paul Rosenberg The triumphalistic tone and immediate leap to a socio-cultural and/or aggressive materialistic agenda backed up by denigratory caricatures, published in a seemingly respectable magazine, already speak inadvertent volumes. But the lead-in to the piece (leaving off some rhetorical points-scoring off the bogeymen Mr Rosenberg particularly targets and evidently views as insane) is where the other shoe, proverbially, drops: Darwin also didn’t have Read More ›

Axe on specific barriers to macro-level Darwinian Evolution due to protein formation (and linked islands of specific function)

A week ago, VJT put up a useful set of excerpts from Axe’s 2010 paper on proteins and barriers they pose to Darwinian, blind watchmaker thesis evolution. During onward discussions, it proved useful to focus on some excerpts where Axe spoke to some numerical considerations and the linked idea of islands of specific function deeply isolated in AA sequence and protein fold domain space, though he did not use those exact terms. I think it worth the while to headline the clips, for reference (instead of leaving them deep in a discussion thread): _________________ ABSTRACT: >> Four decades ago, several scientists suggested that the impossibility of any evolutionary process sampling anything but a miniscule fraction of the possible protein sequences Read More ›

FYI-FTR: On the factual reality of FSCO/I (and dFSCI) . . .

One of the favourite tactics of hyperskepticism is to brazenly dismiss what is objected to as a myth, misconcept or word magic, etc; even while in the real world, one must deal with it day by day as blatant reality. Oops. This has been happening with FSCO/I and linked concepts such as dFSCI. As a simple example of the undeniable reality of functionally specific complex organisation that depends on proper arrangement of parts according to a wiring diagram (which is informational) to achieve function, I again bring to the table a classic, the Abu-Garcia 6500 C3 mag reel, with its exploded view “wiring” diagram: The need for proper functionally specific information rich organisation of correct parts to get it to Read More ›

FYI-FTR: What about the design inference explanatory filter (vs. strawmannish caricatures of how design inferences are made)?

From recent “challenges” by KS as a representative of a certain line of design objection thought, we find various unfortunate examples of a type of objection that pivots on a deep misunderstanding and/or misrepresentation of the design inference, empirical evidence based inductive reasoning process.One that even more regrettably, seems strongly resistant to correction on evidence and reason; raising questions of the fallacy of the closed mind. A representative example (cf. my clip- respond- on- points here)  is the following distortion of Newton’s thought on Gravitation as both scientist and design-oriented, theistic philosophical thinker in his own right: Bob and another friend, an astronomer, observe the positions of the planets over several years. They determine that the planets are moving in Read More ›

FYI-FTR: But, Wiki and Theobald’s 29+ evidences prove evolution is the best explanation of life and its branching tree pattern! — NOT

In recent exchanges  in and around UD on origins and the tree of life, Theobald’s 29 evidences claims (and by implication the sort of summary presented by Wikipedia in its articles on Abiogenesis and Evolution) have come up. [NB: to carry forward discussions, I suggest here on. I intend to do a for reference in support of discussion here in this FTR post.] That leads me to point out the case of the UD pro-darwinism essay challenge and the strange absence of and reluctance to provide a guest essay here at UD over the course of a full year, Sept/Oct 2012 – Sept/Oct 2013. The big issue seemed to be that in my challenge as explained, I required tackling the Read More ›

FYI-FTR: Just what is the core design position and inference, and why is such an inference made?

In the face of confusing, accusatory, polarising and dismissive rhetoric emanating from all too many objectors to design thought in our day, it is useful to put on record the core design view and the pivotal design inference as a marker for reasonable discussion. That is, a key current task is to clear the air of obfuscating, polarising, ill informed and/or confusing or misleading and/or manipulative polarising rhetoric projected by objectors to modern design thought. First, the modern, scientific design view can be reasonably summarised in words from the NWE article on Intelligent Design: Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are Read More ›

FYI-FTR: KS’s bomb fizzles by begging the question . . .

I was just challenged to reply to the KS “bomb” claim, and though I am busy, I will pause to note briefly, and will link this FYI-FTR to the thread of discussion where the challenge was made. I think WJM, in his post on the failure of the bomb, ably put his finger on the first main failure: Ultimately, keiths asks the question of IDists (to paraphrase) – “why did the designer pick just one form of life and utilize just one lineage, when it could have utilized any number of alternate, non-nested systems?” – yet, keiths fails to ask the same question of the natural forces argument – why just one form of life, why one lineage, why one Read More ›

Darwinian Debating Device #16: De Nile is a river in Egypt . . .

. . . and blatant denial is not an appropriate response to the reality of and/or easily known facts concerning functionally specific complex organisation and /or associated information, FSCO/I: Facts are stubborn things, but people can be more stubborn than that. (That is, there are two types of ignorance, I: simple ignorance because one does not know the facts and/or may not understand them, but also II: ideological closed-mindedness due to being controlled by mind-closing agendas hostile to, selectively hyperskeptical towards and dismissive or suppressive of inconvenient facts, . . . such as those we just saw regarding FSCO/I.) Why am I saying this? Poster-boy no 1, rich @ 252  in the UD no bomb thread: [KF:] “Your comment no Read More ›

FYI/FTR: Making basic sense of FSCO/I, functionally specific complex organisation and associated information

There is a current wave of attempts in an around UD to cloud, strawmannise, obfuscate, twist into pretzels and dismiss the observed (and measurable) phenomenon, functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I. Accordingly, let us first note the root of the concept in the work of leading OOL — origin of life — researchers in the 1970’s: ORGEL, 1973:  . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The Read More ›