Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

specified complexity

Functionally Specified Complex Information and Organization

Guest Post, Dr YS: “Intelligent Design and arguments against it”

Dr YS, contribtes thoughts again that are well worth pondering: >>I’d like to present a summary of the arguments against the design hypothesis that I have come across either as a reader or as an author of a pro-design blog over the past 8 years since I became interested in intelligent design. The Design Hypothesis Before we do it, let us first recap on what the design hypothesis really is. It states that some configurations of matter in specific conditions are best explained as caused by purposeful activity of one or more intelligent agents. The ‘specific conditions’ means that we could not directly observe how these configurations of matter came into being and can only analyse them post-factum. ‘Intelligence’ in Read More ›

Time’s arrow, the design inference on FSCO/I and the one root of a complex world-order (–> Being, logic & first principles, 25)

On August 7th, News started a discussion on time’s arrow (which ties to the second law of thermodynamics). I found an interesting comment by FF: FF, 4: >> It’s always frustrating to read articles on time’s arrow or time travel. In one camp, we have the Star Trek physics fanatics who believe in time travel in any direction. In the other camp, we have those who believe only in travel toward the future. But both camps are wrong. It is logically impossible for time to change at all, in any direction. We are always in the present, a continually changing present. This is easy to prove. Changing time is self-referential. Changing time (time travel) would require a velocity in time Read More ›

Paley’s Ghost speaks out: the problem of [neo-]darwinist evolutionary incrementalism

One of the common weak arguments against the design inference on functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information (FSCO/I, a functional form of specified complexity) is the idea that body-plan level macro-evolution is “simply” the accumulation of lots and lots of micro-evolutionary adaptations in a grand climb of fitness. It seems to be back on the table, so let us highlight its fundamental flaw through an infographic: Notice, how easy it is to trap a process that depends on loose-sense hill-climbing. Where, too, the FSCO/I origin challenge can be similarly summarised: That fitness peaks will naturally occur as islands of function amidst vast seas of non-function should be obvious from the need for correct, matched, properly arranged and coupled parts Read More ›

ID Breakthrough — Syn61 marks a live case of intelligent design of a life form

Let’s read the Nature abstract: Nature (2019) Article | Published: 15 May 2019 Total synthesis of Escherichia coli with a recoded genome Julius Fredens, Kaihang Wang, Daniel de la Torre, Louise F. H. Funke, Wesley E. Robertson, Yonka Christova, Tiongsun Chia, Wolfgang H. Schmied, Daniel L. Dunkelmann, Václav Beránek, Chayasith Uttamapinant, Andres Gonzalez Llamazares, Thomas S. Elliott & Jason W. Chin AbstractNature uses 64 codons to encode the synthesis of proteins from the genome, and chooses 1 sense codon—out of up to 6 synonyms—to encode each amino acid. Synonymous codon choice has diverse and important roles, and many synonymous substitutions are detrimental. Here we demonstrate that the number of codons used to encode the canonical amino acids can be reduced, Read More ›

Octopuses even have “smart” skin

So much complex, specified information and we are to believe it all just sort of happened via natural selection acting on random mutation (Darwinism)? Interestingly, this particular item doesn't even make that claim. Maybe just too ridiculous. Read More ›

Eric Holloway: How can we measure meaningful information?

Neither randomness nor order alone create meaning. So how can we identify communications in a scientifically meaningful way? Dropping a handful of toothpicks on the table seems to produce a different sort of pattern than spelling out a word with toothpicks. Surprisingly, this intuitive distinction is harder to make in math and the sciences. Algorithmic specified complexity (ASC) enables us to distinguish them. Neither Shannon information nor Kolmogorov complexity work well for this purpose. This leads us to a third concept, algorithmic specified complexity (ASC). ASC solves the problem by combining the two measures. ASC states that an event has a high amount of information if it has both low probability and a concise description. This matches our intuition much Read More ›

Logic and First Principles, 2: How could Induction ever work? (Identity and universality in action . . . )

In a day when first principles of reason are at a steep discount, it is unsurprising to see that inductive reasoning is doubted or dismissed in some quarters. And yet, there is still a huge cultural investment in science, which is generally understood to pivot on inductive reasoning. Where, as the Stanford Enc of Phil notes, in the modern sense, Induction ” includes all inferential processes that “expand knowledge in the face of uncertainty” (Holland et al. 1986: 1), including abductive inference.” That is, inductive reasoning is argument by more or less credible but not certain support, especially empirical support. How could it ever work? A: Surprise — NOT: by being an application of the principle of (stable) distinct identity. Read More ›

“Fairly sophisticated” bacterial communications pose stark question re evolution

From ScienceDaily: A concept known as ‘percolation’ is helping microbiologists explain how communities of bacteria can effectively relay signals across long distances. Once regarded as a simple cluster of microorganisms, communities of bacteria have been found to employ a strategy we use to brew coffee and extract oil from the sea. Percolation helps the microscopic community thrive and survive threats, such as chemical attacks from antibiotics. … Biofilm communities inhabit locations all around us, from soil to drain pipes to the surface of our teeth. Cells at the edge of these communities tend to grow more robustly than their interior counterparts because they have access to more nutrients. To keep this edge growth in check and ensure the entire community Read More ›

JAD on “Self-Replicating Machines and OoL”

Here at UD, we often have commenters whose remarks are well worth headlining. Here, we have JAD in action, suggesting to GP: “Here is something you might consider as a seed for a future topic for a future OP.” Yup, and even as an embryonic thought, it is well worth posting — a first, rough draft on a big topic: >>The origin of life is like the origin of the universe. It appears to be a singular, non-repeating, highly improbable event which occurred very early in earth’s history. Furthermore, all the clues of how and why it occurred have been lost. But then added to that problem are other problems: how does chemistry create code? What is required to create Read More ›

New book: Life is “a flowing stream” and “order does not entail design”

From Oxford University Press, Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology, edited by Daniel J. Nicholson and John Dupre, – A radical new conception of biology and the metaphysics of the living world – Offers a new kind of process philosophy with a naturalistic grounding – The Introduction provides a state-of-the-art survey to orient readers new to the topic Here’s the abstract from a chapter by Daniel J. Nicholson, “Reconceptualizing the Organism: From Complex Machine to Flowing Stream,” This chapter draws on insights from non-equilibrium thermodynamics to demonstrate the ontological inadequacy of the machine conception of the organism. The thermodynamic character of living systems underlies the importance of metabolism and calls for the adoption of a processual view, exemplified Read More ›

A note on state space search challenge

As was recently discussed, contrary to objections being made, the concept of blind search and linked search challenge in a configuration or state space is a reasonable and even recognised concept. As we explore this concept a little more, an illustration may be helpful: With this in mind, we may again look at Dembski’s arrow and target illustration from NFL, p. 11: Now, let us ponder again Wiki on state space search: >>State space search is a process used in the field of computer science, including artificial intelligence (AI), in which successive configurations or states of an instance are considered, with the intention of finding a goal state with a desired property. Problems are often modelled as a state space, Read More ›

Latemarch on the evolution of AI

Sometimes a comment is too good to leave there in the combox. So: LM, 2 in the AI intelligent agency thread: >>It brought to mind the evolution of AI. It all began with lightning (electrons) striking rocks (silicon) for billions of years (might a nearby warm pond be helpful?) until now we have the delicate motions of electrons thru silicon that we know of as computers. The software is the result of random noise in the bits and bytes of the operating system (we’re still working out how that originated. Any day now!) that were duplicated as a separate file and eventually, driven by natural selection, resulting in the wonderful programs we enjoy today. At the furious rate of evolution Read More ›