Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

ID Foundations

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

Darwinian Debating Device #15: Willfully distorting the ID position

One of the saddest aspects of the debates over the design inference on empirically reliable signs such as FSCO/I, is the way evolutionary materialist objectors and fellow travellers routinely insist on distorting the ID view, even after many corrections. (Kindly, note the weak argument correctives, accessible under the UD Resources Tab, which address many of these.) Indeed, the introduction to the just liked WACs is forced to remark: . . . many critics mistakenly insist that ID, in spite of its well-defined purpose, its supporting evidence, and its mathematically precise paradigms, is not really a valid scientific theory. All too often, they make this charge on the basis of the scientists’ perceived motives. We have noticed that some of these Read More ›

Two Lego block piles — what’s the difference, why?

Lego Pile A: Lego “Pile” B: What’s the difference, and why is it there? What does this tell us about functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I), why? So, bearing in mind this needle in haystack search challenge: . . . also, the design inference process flowchart: . . . and the use of coded paper tapes in older computers and Numerically Controlled machines: . . . what can and should we infer concerning the FSCO/I involved in the protein synthesis process (including the coded mRNA tape)? What, then, does this tell us about the causal factors credibly involved in the origin of cell based life crucially dependent on protein synthesis for it to carry out its functions? Why? Read More ›

Intelligent Design Basics – Information – Part IV – Shannon II

The concept of information is central to intelligent design.  In previous discussions, we have examined the basic concept of information, we have considered the question of when information arises, and we have briefly dipped our toes into the waters of Shannon information.  In the present post, I put forward an additional discussion regarding the latter, both so that the resource is out there front and center and also to counter some of the ambiguity and potential confusion surrounding the Shannon metric. As I have previously suggested, much of the confusion regarding “Shannon information” arises from the unfortunate twin facts that (i) the Shannon measurement has come to be referred to by the word “information,” and (ii) many people fail to Read More ›

Darwinian Debating Device # 8: refusing to acknowledge the reality of FSCO/I and its reliably known, characteristic cause

Let us follow an example being discussed in UD comment threads in recent days, of comparing two piles of “dirt”. (U/D, I add — on advice, a sample from ES, as a PS.) CASE A: The volcanic dome of Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills Volcano, a few miles south of where I am composing this post . . . CASE B: Another pile of “dirt” . . . Q: Is there an observable, material difference between these two piles that can allow an observer to infer as to causal source, even if s/he has not seen the causal process in action directly? A: Yes, and it is patent. A child will instantly and reliably recognise the difference, as will the most primitive Read More ›

HeKS strikes gold again, or, why strong evidence of design is so often stoutly resisted or dismissed

New UD contributor HeKS notes: The evidence of purposeful design [–> in the cosmos and world of life]  is overwhelming on any objective analysis, but due to Methodological Naturalism it is claimed to be merely an appearance of purposeful design, an illusion, while it is claimed that naturalistic processes are sufficient to achieve this appearance of purposeful design, though none have ever been demonstrated to be up to the task. They are claimed to be up to the task only because they are the only plausible sounding naturalistic explanations available. He goes on to add: The argument for ID is an abductive argument. An abductive argument basically takes the form: “We observe an effect, x is causally adequate to explain Read More ›

On FSCO/I vs. Needles and Haystacks (as well as elephants in rooms)

Sometimes, the very dismissiveness of hyperskeptical objections is their undoing, as in this case from TSZ: Pesky EleP(T|H)ant Posted on June 25, 2014 by Richardthughes Over at Uncommon Descent KirosFocus repeats the same old bignum arguments as always. He seems to enjoy the ‘needle in a haystack’ metaphor, but I’d like to counter by asking how does he know he’s not searching for a needle in a needle stack? . . . What had happened, is that on June 24th, I had posted a discussion here at UD on what Functionally Specific Complex Organisation and associated Information (FSCO/I) is about, including this summary infographic: Instead of addressing what this actually does, RTH of TSZ sought to strawmannise and rhetorically dismiss Read More ›

Does ID ASSUME “contra-causal free will” and “intelligence” (and so injects questionable “assumptions”)?

Those who have been following recent exchanges at UD will recognise that the headlined summarises the current objection highlighted by objector RDFish, an AI advocate and researcher. A bit of backdrop will be useful; a clip from Luke Muehlhauser in the blog/site “Common Sense Atheism” will aid us in understanding claim and context: Contra-causal free will is the power to do something without yourself being fully caused to do it. This is what most people mean by “free will.” Contra-causal free will is distinct from what you might call caused free will, which is the type of free will compatibilists like Frankfurt and Dennett accept. Those with caused free will are able to do what they want. But this doesn’t mean that their actions Read More ›

BA77’s observation: “many influential people in academia simply don’t want Design to be true no matter what evidence . . .”

The inimitable BA77 observes: I [used] to think that if ID could only get its evidence to the right people in the right places then they would change their mind about Darwinian evolution and we would have a fundamental ‘paradigm shift’ from the ‘top down’. But after a few years of banging my head on that wall to no avail, I realized that it is not a head problem with these people so much as it is a heart problem. i.e. many influential people in academia simply don’t want Design to be true no matter what evidence you present to them. Indeed, in many educational institutions, there is a systematic effort in academia to Expel anyone who does not toe Read More ›

John Lennox responds to the God Delusion thesis, pivoting on the power of agent explanation (vs. scientism)

John Lennox is always a treat, here in a video in reply to the God Delusion thesis: [youtube Z9jHp9tzCAE] Food for thought and comment, starting with, what is a delusion and then pivoting on the power of agent explanation. What do we think, why? END

Intelligent Design Basics – Information – Part III – Shannon

In this post I want to consider another aspect of information.  Specifically, I want to consider the concept of “Shannon information.” First of all, I admit to having ruffled a few feathers when I mentioned in passing in a prior post that “Shannon information is not really information.”  As I have also written before in comments on UD, I don’t begrudge anyone referring to the Shannon metric as “information.”  That terminology has penetrated the English language and has become regularly-used in information theory.  So, no, I am not going to police everyone who puts the words “Shannon” and “information” next to each other. However, no small amount of misunderstanding has resulted from the unfortunate term “Shannon information.”  In particular, as Read More ›

Just what is the CSI/ FSCO/I concept trying to say to us?

When I was maybe five or six years old, my mother (a distinguished teacher) said to me about problem solving, more or less: if you can draw a picture of a problem-situation, you can understand it well enough to solve it. Over the many years since, that has served me well. Where, after so many months of debates over FSCO/I and/or CSI, I think many of us may well be losing sight of the fundamental point in the midst of the fog that is almost inevitably created by vexed and complex rhetorical exchanges. So, here is my initial attempt at a picture — an info-graphic really — of what the Complex Specified Information [CSI] – Functionally Specific Complex Organisation and/or Read More ›

Clearing the air for cogent discussion of the design inference, by going back to basics (a response to RDF)

Sometimes, an objector to design theory brings to the table a key remark that inadvertently focuses the debate back on the core basics. In his comment at 339 in the ongoing nature/detection of intelligence thread here at UD, longtime objector RDFish does so in these initial remarks: Intelligent Design Theory 1) No current theory of evolutionary biology can account for the complex form and function of living organisms. 2) This sort of complex form and function (let’s call it “CSI”) is, in our experience, produced only by human beings. 3) ID argues that the best explanation (let’s call it the “Designer”) for biological complexity can therefore be inferred to be similar to human beings in that both human beings and Read More ›

Putting the mind back on the table for discussion

Design theory infers to design on inductive inference on tested reliable empirical signs. While many are disinclined to accept such inferences on matters linked to origins, that says more about lab coat clad materialist ideological a prioris and their cultural influences than it does about the actual balance of evidence on the merits. But also, design implies designer. One who exhibits creative, purposeful, imaginative, skilled intelligence adequate to configure a functionally specific, complex organised information-rich entity. Ranging from the text of this contribution (well beyond the 500 – 1,000 bits of FSCO/I that are easily shown to be beyond the plausible reach of blind chance and mechanical necessity on the gamut of solar system or observed cosmos), to complex body Read More ›

Kirk Durston on “God and Science – Is there a Conflict?” . . . food for thought

I think we need to watch a video by Friend of UD, Kirk Durston. But first, a loop-back note: I have been rather busy elsewhere with issues like AS-AD, Kondratiev waves, Hayek’s investment triangle, SD and Schumpeterian creative destruction.(Pardon the resulting absence.) BTW, this line of thought leads me to hold that the oh- so- dominant . . . and too often, domineering . . . evolutionary materialism of the past few generations has run its course and is about to be overtaken by ideational creative destruction in an information age.  A patently superior idea — we live in an obviously designed world, and we and other living creatures show further compelling signs of design — is going to prevail, Read More ›