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Darwinian evolution is not a valid research program

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Darwinian evolution is not a valid research program

I do not have a cat entered in the fight, so I don’t really care that much.

But look at this post, and the ensuing comments, and ask yourself, why should any of Darwin’s followers’ rubbish be publicly funded?

If you were an investor, would you invest? Note: Your money, not the government’s (= other people’s)

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65 Replies to “Darwinian evolution is not a valid research program

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Darwinian evolution is a non-falsifiable pseudo-science.

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    “The National Academy of Sciences has objected that intelligent design is not falsifiable, and I think that’s just the opposite of the truth. Intelligent design is very open to falsification. I claim, for example, that the bacterial flagellum could not be produced by natural selection; it needed to be deliberately intelligently designed. Well, all a scientist has to do to prove me wrong is to take a bacterium without a flagellum, or knock out the genes for the flagellum in a bacterium, go into his lab and grow that bug for a long time and see if it produces anything resembling a flagellum. If that happened, intelligent design, as I understand it, would be knocked out of the water. I certainly don’t expect it to happen, but it’s easily falsified by a series of such experiments.
    Now let’s turn that around and ask, How do we falsify the contention that natural selection produced the bacterial flagellum? If that same scientist went into the lab and knocked out the bacterial flagellum genes, grew the bacterium for a long time, and nothing much happened, well, he’d say maybe we didn’t start with the right bacterium, maybe we didn’t wait long enough, maybe we need a bigger population, and it would be very much more difficult to falsify the Darwinian hypothesis.
    I think the very opposite is true. I think intelligent design is easily testable, easily falsifiable, although it has not been falsified, and Darwinism is very resistant to being falsified. They can always claim something was not right.”
    – Dr Michael Behe

    The primary reasons why Darwinism is a pseudo-science instead of a proper science are as such:

    1. No Rigid Mathematical Basis (i.e. Demarcation/Falsification Criteria) to test against to potentially falsify it
    2. No Demonstrated Empirical Basis
    3. Random Mutation and Natural Selection are both grossly inadequate as ‘creative engines’
    4. Information is not reducible to a material basis, (in fact, in quantum teleportation experiments it is found that material ultimately reduces to a information basis)
    5. Darwinism, per Imre Lakatos, is found to be a ‘degenerating programme’ where ‘theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”
    6. Darwinism hinders scientific progress by making fundamental false predictions (i.e. falsely predicted Junk DNA, vestigial organs, etc..),

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    etc.. etc..

    Of related note:

    Imre Lakatos tipped toed around the fact that Darwinism does not have demarcation criteria to test against so as to potentially falsify it,,,

    A Philosophical Question…Does Evolution have a Hard Core ?
    Some Concluding Food for Thought
    In my research on the demarcation problem, I have noticed philosophers of science attempting to balance (usually unconsciously) a consistent demarcation criteria against the the disruptive effects that it’s application might have with regard to the academic status quo (and evolution in particular)… Few philosophers of science will even touch such matters, but (perhaps unintentionally) Imre Lakatos does offer us a peek at how one might go about balancing these schizophrenic demands (in Motterlini1999: 24)

    “Let us call the first school militant positivism; you will understand why later on. The problem of this school was to find certain demarcation criteria similar to those I have outlined, but these also had to satisfy certain boundary conditions, as a mathematician would say. I am referring to a definite set of people to which most scientists as well as Popper and Carnap would belong. These people think that there are goodies and baddies among scientific theories, and once you have defined a demarcation criterion. you should divide all your theories between the two groups. You would end up. for example, with a goodies list including Copernicus’s (Theory1), Galileo’s (T2), Kepler’s (T3), Newton’s (T4) … and Einstein’s (T5), along with (but this is just my supposition) Darwin’s (T6). Let me just anticipate that nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific, but this is exactly what we are looking for.”

    So basically, the demarcation problem is a fun game philosophers enjoy playing, but when they realize the implications regarding the theory of evolution, they quickly back off…
    http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/cosm.....ore_pg.htm

    Lakatos, although he tipped toed around the failure of Darwinism to have a rigid demarcation criteria, he was brave enough to state that a good scientific theory will make successful predictions in science and a bad theory will generate ‘epicycle theories’ to cover up embarrassing failed predictions:

    Science and Pseudoscience (transcript) –
    “In degenerating programmes, however, theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, , quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture
    http://www2.lse.ac.uk/philosop.....cript.aspx

    In his 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture 1[12] he also claimed that “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific”.
    Almost 20 years after Lakatos’s 1973 challenge to the scientificity of Darwin, in her 1991 The Ant and the Peacock, LSE lecturer and ex-colleague of Lakatos, Helena Cronin, attempted to establish that Darwinian theory was empirically scientific in respect of at least being supported by evidence of likeness in the diversity of life forms in the world, explained by descent with modification. She wrote that

    “our usual idea of corroboration as requiring the successful prediction of novel facts…Darwinian theory was not strong on temporally novel predictions.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....27s_theory

    and even in that loose criteria for falsification, i.e. relying merely on failed predictions instead of rigid experimentation, it is found that Darwinism is a ‘degenerating programme’

    Darwin’s (failed) Predictions – Cornelius G. Hunter – 2015
    This paper evaluates 23 fundamental (false) predictions of evolutionary theory from a wide range of different categories. The paper begins with a brief introduction to the nature of scientific predictions, and typical concerns evolutionists raise against investigating predictions of evolution. The paper next presents the individual predictions in seven categories: early evolution, evolutionary causes, molecular evolution, common descent, evolutionary phylogenies, evolutionary pathways, and behavior. Finally the conclusion summarizes these various predictions, their implications for evolution’s capacity to explain phenomena, and how they bear on evolutionist’s claims about their theory.

    *Introduction
    Why investigate evolution’s false predictions?
    Responses to common objections

    *Early evolution predictions
    The DNA code is not unique
    The cell’s fundamental molecules are universal

    *Evolutionary causes predictions
    Mutations are not adaptive
    Embryology and common descent
    Competition is greatest between neighbors

    *Molecular evolution predictions
    Protein evolution
    Histone proteins cannot tolerate much change
    The molecular clock keeps evolutionary time

    *Common descent predictions
    The pentadactyl pattern and common descent
    Serological tests reveal evolutionary relationships
    Biology is not lineage specific
    Similar species share similar genes
    MicroRNA

    *Evolutionary phylogenies predictions
    Genomic features are not sporadically distributed
    Gene and host phylogenies are congruent
    Gene phylogenies are congruent
    The species should form an evolutionary tree

    *Evolutionary pathways predictions
    Complex structures evolved from simpler structures
    Structures do not evolve before there is a need for them
    Functionally unconstrained DNA is not conserved
    Nature does not make leaps

    *Behavior
    Altruism
    Cell death

    *Conclusions
    What false predictions tell us about evolution
    https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/home

    Why investigate evolution’s false predictions?
    Excerpt: The predictions examined in this paper were selected according to several criteria. They cover a wide spectrum of evolutionary theory and are fundamental to the theory, reflecting major tenets of evolutionary thought. They were widely held by the consensus rather than reflecting one viewpoint of several competing viewpoints. Each prediction was a natural and fundamental expectation of the theory of evolution, and constituted mainstream evolutionary science. Furthermore, the selected predictions are not vague but rather are specific and can be objectively evaluated. They have been tested and evaluated and the outcome is not controversial or in question. And finally the predictions have implications for evolution’s (in)capacity to explain phenomena, as discussed in the conclusions.
    https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/why-investigate-evolution-s-false-predictions

    podcast – Dr. Cornelius Hunter: False Predictions of Darwinian Evolution, pt. 1
    In this first podcast of a series, he discusses why he was inspired to pursue this work.
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....tion-pt-1/

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    BA77, I’m thinking Darwinian Evolution has already been falsified. Math has falsified it for most scientists, common sense for the non scientists.

    The latest new improved modern neo synthesis model of evolution is hard to falsify sure. Hard but not impossible.

    The ONLY idea that is truly impossible to falsify is God. That is Awesomness:)

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    ppolish:

    Using Numerical Simulation to Test the Validity of Neo-Darwinian Theory – 2008
    Abstract: Evolutionary genetic theory has a series of apparent “fatal flaws” which are well known to population geneticists, but which have not been effectively communicated to other scientists or the public. These fatal flaws have been recognized by leaders in the field for many decades—based upon logic and mathematical formulations. However population geneticists have generally been very reluctant to openly acknowledge these theoretical problems, and a cloud of confusion has come to surround each issue.
    Numerical simulation provides a definitive tool for empirically testing the reality of these fatal flaws and can resolve the confusion. The program Mendel’s Accountant (Mendel) was developed for this purpose, and it is the first biologically-realistic forward-time population genetics numerical simulation program. This new program is a powerful research and teaching tool. When any reasonable set of biological parameters are used, Mendel provides overwhelming empirical evidence that all of the “fatal flaws” inherent in evolutionary genetic theory are real. This leaves evolutionary genetic theory effectively falsified—with a degree of certainty which should satisfy any reasonable and open-minded person.
    http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/techn.....Theory.pdf

    Using Computer Simulation to Understand Mutation Accumulation Dynamics and Genetic Load:
    Excerpt: We apply a biologically realistic forward-time population genetics program to study human mutation accumulation under a wide-range of circumstances.,, Our numerical simulations consistently show that deleterious mutations accumulate linearly across a large portion of the relevant parameter space.
    http://bioinformatics.cau.edu......aproof.pdf
    MENDEL’S ACCOUNTANT: J. SANFORD†, J. BAUMGARDNER‡, W. BREWER§, P. GIBSON¶, AND W. REMINE
    http://mendelsaccount.sourceforge.net

    Biological Information – Purifying Selection (Mendel’s Accountant) 12-20-2014 by Paul Giem
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGJZDsQG4kQ

    Using Numerical Simulation to Better Understand Fixation Rates, and Establishment of a New Principle – “Haldane’s Ratchet” – Christopher L. Rupe and John C. Sanford – 2013
    Excerpt: Previous analyses have focused exclusively on beneficial mutations. When deleterious mutations were included in our simulations, using a realistic ratio of beneficial to deleterious mutation rate, deleterious fixations vastly outnumbered beneficial fixations. Because of this, the net effect of mutation fixation should clearly create a ratchet-type mechanism which should cause continuous loss of information and decline in the size of the functional genome. We name this phenomenon “Haldane’s Ratchet”.
    http://media.wix.com/ugd/a704d.....fa9c20.pdf

  4. 4
    Daniel King says:

    Should any science be funded?

    Who should decide?

    What criteria should be employed?

  5. 5
    Daniel King says:

    News:

    If you were an investor, would you invest?

    Absolutely! I’m invested in Biotech!

    You’re a fool if you’re not.

  6. 6
    RDFish says:

    Hi BA77,

    1. No Rigid Mathematical Basis (i.e. Demarcation/Falsification Criteria) to test against to potentially falsify it

    Also true of ID theory.

    2. No Demonstrated Empirical Basis

    Also true of ID theory.

    3. Random Mutation and Natural Selection are both grossly inadequate as ‘creative engines’

    Agreed.

    4. Information is not reducible to a material basis, (in fact, in quantum teleportation experiments it is found that material ultimately reduces to a information basis)

    This is speculative (not all theorists agree “information” is sufficient as an ontology for physics), but in any case, this is completely irrelevant to evolutionary theory!

    5. Darwinism, per Imre Lakatos, is found to be a ‘degenerating programme’ where ‘theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”

    Also true of ID theory, which fabricates the existence of some intelligent being(s) in order to account for our observations, but fails to provide any way of ascertaining if said being exists.

    6. Darwinism hinders scientific progress by making fundamental false predictions (i.e. falsely predicted Junk DNA, vestigial organs, etc..),

    The point here is that evolutionary theory actually does make a number of testable predictions, just as you show, and this allows for us to find the problems with evolutionary theory and seek to move forward to some other testable theory.

    In contrast, ID makes virtually no testable predictions, since anything and everything is compatible with “intelligent causation”. The predictions ID does claim are either too general to test or wrong, e.g. ID predicts “rapid infusion of information into systems” by intelligent agents, yet even the most rapid information infusions recorded (in the Cambrian) took many millions of years!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  7. 7
    ppolish says:

    Rdfish, big pharma is profiting from design not Darwin. No one invests in Darwin anymore. Darwin lives off handouts. Not that there is anything wrong with taking care of the senile:)

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    I am accepting funding offers for my new Randomly Generated Software Solutions (RAGSS) company. I am hoping to go from raggs to riches. Won’t you help me?

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    RDFish

    1. No Rigid Mathematical Basis (i.e. Demarcation/Falsification Criteria) to test against to potentially falsify it

    Also true of ID theory.

    Actually, unlike Darwinian evolution, ID does have a rigid mathematical basis to test against to potentially falsify ID, per Marks and Dembski, that ‘is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics.’

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96931.html

    All one has to do to falsify ID is to provide just one instance of unguided material processes creating non-trivial functional information:

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery. We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.
    http://cosmicfingerprints.com/solve/

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

    as to:

    2. No Demonstrated Empirical Basis

    Also true of ID theory.

    Also completely false. We know for a 100% certainty that intelligence can create functional information. In fact you yourself, in your own post, just created more functional information than has ever been seen being created by unguided material processes. What no one has ever seen is unguided material processes create non-trivial functional information

    “Our experience-based knowledge of information-flow confirms that systems with large amounts of specified complexity (especially codes and languages) invariably originate from an intelligent source — from a mind or personal agent.”
    (Stephen C. Meyer, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2):213-239 (2004).)

    “As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler once observed, “the creation of information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” And, of course, he was right. Whenever we find information—whether embedded in a radio signal, carved in a stone monument, written in a book or etched on a magnetic disc—and we trace it back to its source, invariably we come to mind, not merely a material process. Thus, the discovery of functionally specified, digitally encoded information along the spine of DNA, provides compelling positive evidence of the activity of a prior designing intelligence. This conclusion is not based upon what we don’t know. It is based upon what we do know from our uniform experience about the cause and effect structure of the world—specifically, what we know about what does, and does not, have the power to produce large amounts of specified information.”
    – Stephen Meyer

    as to:

    3. Random Mutation and Natural Selection are both grossly inadequate as ‘creative engines’

    Agreed.

    And that gargantuan concession leaves you, as an atheist, with nothing whatsoever to explain where the functional information comes from. But hey, don’t let giving the entire game away stop you from making a further fool out of yourself

    4. Information is not reducible to a material basis, (in fact, in quantum teleportation experiments it is found that material ultimately reduces to a information basis)

    This is speculative (not all theorists agree “information” is sufficient as an ontology for physics), but in any case, this is completely irrelevant to evolutionary theory!

    Actually it has everything to do with evolutionary theory. Especially neo-Darwinism as it is currently being taught in public schools. Since information, in principle, cannot possibly be ’emergent’ from a material basis. (in fact energy-matter is subservient to information), then neo-Darwinism is dead as a scientific project. End of story!

    “Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day.”
    Norbert Weiner – MIT Mathematician -(Cybernetics, 2nd edition, p.132) Norbert Wiener created the modern field of control and communication systems, utilizing concepts like negative feedback. His seminal 1948 book Cybernetics both defined and named the new field.

    “One of the things I do in my classes, to get this idea across to students, is I hold up two computer disks. One is loaded with software, and the other one is blank. And I ask them, ‘what is the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they posses’? And of course the answer is, ‘Zero! None! There is no difference as a result of the information. And that’s because information is a mass-less quantity. Now, if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation account for its origin? How can any material cause explain it’s origin?
    And this is the real and fundamental problem that the presence of information in biology has posed. It creates a fundamental challenge to the materialistic, evolutionary scenarios because information is a different kind of entity that matter and energy cannot produce.
    In the nineteenth century we thought that there were two fundamental entities in science; matter, and energy. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we now recognize that there’s a third fundamental entity; and its ‘information’. It’s not reducible to matter. It’s not reducible to energy. But it’s still a very important thing that is real; we buy it, we sell it, we send it down wires.
    Now, what do we make of the fact, that information is present at the very root of all biological function? In biology, we have matter, we have energy, but we also have this third, very important entity; information. I think the biology of the information age, poses a fundamental challenge to any materialistic approach to the origin of life.”
    -Dr. Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

    Intelligent design: Why can’t biological information originate through a materialistic process? – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqiXNxyoof8

    as to:

    5. Darwinism, per Imre Lakatos, is found to be a ‘degenerating programme’ where ‘theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”

    Also true of ID theory, which fabricates the existence of some intelligent being(s) in order to account for our observations, but fails to provide any way of ascertaining if said being exists.

    Actually the presupposition of God as a causal agent was at the Christian founding of modern science. Moreover, the denial of God as a causal agent by atheistic materialists, and even the denial of humans as ‘free will’ causal agents by atheistic materialists, leads to the epistemological failure of science in general and to complete irrationality of our personal lives.

    The God Particle: Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – Monday, Aug. 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    http://www.christianpost.com/n.....how-80307/

    The Genius and Faith of Faraday and Maxwell – Ian H. Hutchinson – 2014
    Conclusion: Lawfulness was not, in their thinking, inert, abstract, logical necessity, or complete reducibility to Cartesian mechanism; rather, it was an expectation they attributed to the existence of a divine lawgiver. These men’s insights into physics were made possible by their religious commitments. For them, the coherence of nature resulted from its origin in the mind of its Creator.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nd-maxwell

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that ‘you’, as a personal agent, choose to take:

    “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t open the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    What should be needless to say, if raising your arm is enough to refute your supposedly ‘scientific’ worldview of atheistic materialism, then perhaps it is time for you to seriously consider getting a new scientific worldview?

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    6. Darwinism hinders scientific progress by making fundamental false predictions (i.e. falsely predicted Junk DNA, vestigial organs, etc..),

    The point here is that evolutionary theory actually does make a number of testable predictions, just as you show, and this allows for us to find the problems with evolutionary theory and seek to move forward to some other testable theory.

    You are a terrible apologist for Darwinian evolution. ALL the major fundamental predictions of Darwinian evolution have turned out to be wrong.
    For you to pretend these are just minor adjustments to a better ‘testable’ theory of evolution, and are not in fact solid indications that you are not even in the right ballpark with your ‘theory’ to begin with, is ‘not even wrong’ in your thinking.

    As to ID predictions: Intelligent Design, contrary to what many Darwinists will say publicly, does in fact make solid predictions for science that we can test. Testable Predictions for ID as they match up to what the scientific evidence is now telling us starts at the 15:23 minute mark of the following video:

    Scientific Evidence for Intelligent Design – Casey Luskin – video (sound clears up at the 5:00 minute mark) – Oct. 2013
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....0Cho#t=923

    Moreover, it is simply impossible to properly do biology anymore without a massive amount ‘design thinking’ being involved behind the scenes:

    “It has become clear in the past ten years that the concept of design is not merely an add-on meta-description of biological systems, of no scientific consequence, but is in fact a driver of science. A whole cohort of young scientists is being trained to “think like engineers” when looking at biological systems, using terms explicitly related to engineering design concepts: design, purpose, optimal tradeoffs for multiple goals, information, control, decision making, etc. This approach is widely seen as a successful, predictive, quantitative theory of biology.”
    David Snoke*, Systems Biology as a Research Program for Intelligent Design

    How the Burgeoning Field of Systems Biology Supports Intelligent Design – July 2014
    Excerpt: Snoke lists various features in biology that have been found to function like goal-directed, top-down engineered systems:
    *”Negative feedback for stable operation.”
    *”Frequency filtering” for extracting a signal from a noisy system.
    *Control and signaling to induce a response.
    *”Information storage” where information is stored for later use. In fact, Snoke observes:
    “This paradigm [of systems biology] is advancing the view that biology is essentially an information science with information operating on multiple hierarchical levels and in complex networks [13]. ”
    *”Timing and synchronization,” where organisms maintain clocks to ensure that different processes and events happen in the right order.
    *”Addressing,” where signaling molecules are tagged with an address to help them arrive at their intended target.
    *”Hierarchies of function,” where organisms maintain clocks to ensure that cellular processes and events happen at the right times and in the right order.
    *”Redundancy,” as organisms contain backup systems or “fail-safes” if primary essential systems fail.
    *”Adaptation,” where organisms are pre-engineered to be able to undergo small-scale adaptations to their environments. As Snoke explains, “These systems use randomization controlled by supersystems, just as the immune system uses randomization in a very controlled way,” and “Only part of the system is allowed to vary randomly, while the rest is highly conserved.”,,,
    Snoke observes that systems biology assumes that biological features are optimized, meaning, in part, that “just about everything in the cell does indeed have a role, i.e., that there is very little ‘junk.'” He explains, “Some systems biologists go further than just assuming that every little thing has a purpose. Some argue that each item is fulfilling its purpose as well as is physically possible,” and quotes additional authorities who assume that biological systems are optimized.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....87871.html

    podcast: “David Snoke: Systems Biology and Intelligent Design, pt. 1”
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_09-07_00
    podcast: David Snoke: Systems Biology and Intelligent Design, pt. 2
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....0_01-07_00

  11. 11
    RDFish says:

    Hi BA77,

    ID does have a rigid mathematical basis to test against to potentially falsify ID, per Marks and Dembski, that ‘is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics.’

    No, what Dembski attempts to do is to prove that no known mechanism can account for complex form and function such as we observe in biology. This does not in any way demonstrate what the cause is. Similarly, Godel’s theorem proves there will be true statements that cannot be proven within an axiomatic system, but says nothing about how how to transcend an axiomatic system, and nothing regarding whether or not human cognition does indeed transcend every axiomatic system.

    All one has to do to falsify ID is to provide just one instance of unguided material processes creating non-trivial functional information…

    False dichotomy. You pretend that if we fail to explain origins except by hypothesizing that some unspecified “intelligent being” did it, that means that we must conclude this unspecified “intelligent being” did in fact create life. But that’s not the case – there is no default answer that becomes justified on the basis that we have no other answer. (I return to this point below).

    And another thing: You talk about “unguided material processes”. Are there guided material processes? Are there unguided immaterial processes? What sort of process is going on when human beings use their brains to design things? How do you know?

    We know for a 100% certainty that intelligence can create…

    No, “intelligence” doesn’t actually do anything, because “intelligence” is not a thing. Rather, “intelligence” is – as far as we know – a property of complex organisms. Complex organisms are the only things that act in ways we call “intelligent”, and we know for a 100% certainty that complex organisms did not create the first complex organisms.

    RDF: Agreed.
    BA77: And that gargantuan concession…

    You are terribly confused here. This is a belief of mine, not a “concession” – no more of a “concession” than any of your beliefs of course.

    … leaves you, as an atheist, with nothing whatsoever to explain where the functional information comes from.

    As I just explained to you, it clearly comes from complex organisms. And as I’ve explained more times than I could ever count, nobody knows where the functional information in living systems came from.

    But hey, don’t let giving the entire game away stop you from making a further fool out of yourself

    Every single thing you say is wrong, but don’t let that stop you from being childish and insulting! 🙂

    Actually it has everything to do with evolutionary theory. Especially neo-Darwinism as it is currently being taught in public schools. Since information, in principle, cannot possibly be ’emergent’ from a material basis. (in fact energy-matter is subservient to information), then neo-Darwinism is dead as a scientific project. End of story!

    Good grief you really haven’t grasped this one at all. In information physics, matter and energy are not subservient to information, and there is no such thing as a “material basis” at all! Information physics is based on a monistic ontology where information is all that there is.

    Actually the presupposition of God as a causal agent was at the Christian founding of modern science.

    And now you’re committing a genetic fallacy (besides hilariously over-simplifying the philosophy of science of course).

    Moreover, the denial of God as a causal agent by atheistic materialists, and even the denial of humans as ‘free will’ causal agents by atheistic materialists, leads to the epistemological failure of science in general and to complete irrationality of our personal lives.

    And now you’re completely off your rocker. So scary.

    RDF: The point here is that evolutionary theory actually does make a number of testable predictions, just as you show, and this allows for us to find the problems with evolutionary theory and seek to move forward to some other testable theory.
    BA77:You are a terrible apologist for Darwinian evolution.

    You are so wrapped up in your bizarre obsessions you’ve failed to notice something that is clear, I believe, to everyone I’ve ever debated here: I am not supporting Darwinian evolution.

    ALL the major fundamental predictions of Darwinian evolution have turned out to be wrong.
    For you to pretend these are just minor adjustments to a better ‘testable’ theory of evolution, and are not in fact solid indications that you are not even in the right ballpark with your ‘theory’ to begin with, is ‘not even wrong’ in your thinking.

    You have these tirades on automatic – they spew from you involuntarily like vomitus. Again, I do not suggest that evolutionary theory is true or can be ammended. Good grief.

    Let’s see if I can explain this to you. Imagine you lived in the year 1900 and were attempting to explain the photoelectric effect. Since classical electromagnetism failed to account for experimental results, you came up with theory that said little demons live inside of atoms and eject electrons in just the way we observe whenever they see light beams. Now, you had no way to provide any evidence that these little demons existed, but you said all anyone had to do was to explain the results with any other theory and your demon theory would be falsified!

    Here’s the point: Your theory would have been wrong, and nobody at that time had even imagined what the solution might be. The true solution was simply unknown. This is the case with origins now: We can’t imagine what the answer to the question is, but that doesn’t mean that little demons (or big demons, or gods, or elves, or angels, or…) constitute a scientifically justified answer!

    Now do you get it? If ID wants to hypothesize some demon or angel or god or spirit – or a whole army of them – that’s fine, but you’ll need to provide evidence that such a thing exists (or existed) – we’re not just going to take your word for it.

    As to ID predictions:…

    You completely ignored my example – let’s try it again: ID predicts that information will be rapidly infused into systems, yet the record shows that information takes tens of millions of years to be infused into genomes. FALSIFIED PREDICTION.

    The rest of your list are observations of biological systems, not “predictions” of ID.

    And finally, if you really wanted to debate these issues, you would stop cluttering up these threads with your long quotes and cites. Anyone can read on the internet – you’re not the only one. You are the only one, however, who spends their entire life mining references to paste into your posts instead of actually arguing the issues.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  12. 12
    Dr JDD says:

    Hi RDF,

    Personally I am more than comfortable with the idea that ID (or certainly creation) has no ultimate rigid mathematical basis. Many here will disagree with this but personally I maintain that and have no problem with it. I do not think that science could ever prove a creative event supernaturally ordained, by very definition.

    Now I do believe evidence can do one or both of 2 things:

    1. Falsify materialstic evolution
    2. Provide evidence where the obvious inference is to design. (Occam’s razor)

    But this point still stands – evolution, as proudly protested as verifiable fact, fails the test as a provable mathematically predictable theory. It is full of just so stories and is accepted a priori regardless of any evidence. It accounts for all possibilities. Therefore it is comparable to the belief in an all powerful God who can simply create through speaking something into existence. Where that leaves us then is, much like string theory, by definition a scientific theory and hypothesis outside the normal boundaries modern science invokes on its study. This it becomes a faith position.

    naturally most here will disagree with me because UD and similar forums are based on the idea that ID is a valid scientific approach. I agree it is, but only because evolution and it’s voodoo and just so stories are also considered science.

    But if you press me I would firmly state that a creative God and the act of creation (whatever form) if performed by a God that is outside of and transcends the physical world, cannot be proven scientifically. However evolution can be disproven, and it really has its just there is no other materialstic explanation for origins that excludes a god therefore it prevails.

  13. 13
    News says:

    Summation to date re Darwinian evolution is not a valid research program

    Well, this has been an interesting discussion! Much thanks to BA77 for useful background info. Recommended.

    Some respondents also attempted to interject the claim that ID does not have a valid research program (RDFish?)

    First, whether any intellectual enterprise has a “valid” research program isn’t a reasonable question unless the public is being asked to buy in (public funding, legislation, curricula, etc.).

    Private parties should be free to spend their money on any not-obviously criminal enterprise they wish.

    Is it valid to spend (waste?) money on the search for ET? Origin of life? In the absence of useful answers, that must remain an open question.

    My own view (O’Leary for News) favors spending a certain amount of money on stuff taxpayers are just plain interested in. It’s their money, after all. But not if it all becomes a big, stupid public fight.

    Second, I am not aware of any claim that ID should be tax-funded. The only group that could possibly advocate that would be Discovery Institute, which doesn’t advocate it.

    Darwin’s followers, by contrast, think that every third- or fourth-rate Darwin shout should be publicly funded.

    Maybe that is the secret of their success, in a world where people still listen to airheads and bimbos in legacy media?

    Note to investors: Biotech obviously does not depend on Darwinism but rather on design. Darwinism did not even correctly predict antibiotic resistance. If you think Darwinism matters in biotech, and need the portfolio for your retirement, put your affairs in the hands of a trustee.

    Let’s hope the professionals there are smarter than some of the investors.

    Follow UD News at Twitter!

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    RDFish you are the poster child for ‘not even wrong’.
    Marks and Dembski have indeed worked out a rigid mathematical basis for ID that can be tested against by experiment. And as pointed out previously, and as you have characteristically completely ignored, all one has to do to falsify ID is to show by experiment any, i.e. JUST ONE INSTANCE OF, non-trivial functional information being generated by unguided material processes.

    LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW – William Dembski – Robert Marks – Pg. 13
    Excerpt: (Computer) Simulations such as Dawkins’s WEASEL, Adami’s AVIDA, Ray’s Tierra, and Schneider’s ev appear to support Darwinian evolution, but only for lack of clear accounting practices that track the information smuggled into them.,,, Information does not magically materialize. It can be created by intelligence or it can be shunted around by natural forces. But natural forces, and Darwinian processes in particular, do not create information. Active information enables us to see why this is the case.
    http://evoinfo.org/publication.....ation-law/

    Conservation of Information Made Simple – William A. Dembski – August, 2012
    Excerpt: Biological configuration spaces of possible genes and proteins, for instance, are immense, and finding a functional gene or protein in such spaces via blind search can be vastly more improbable than finding an arbitrary electron in the known physical universe. ,,,
    ,,,Given this background discussion and motivation, we are now in a position to give a reasonably precise formulation of conservation of information, namely: raising the probability of success of a search does nothing to make attaining the target easier, and may in fact make it more difficult, once the informational costs involved in raising the probability of success are taken into account. Search is costly, and the cost must be paid in terms of information. Searches achieve success not by creating information but by taking advantage of existing information. The information that leads to successful search admits no bargains, only apparent bargains that must be paid in full elsewhere.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63671.html

    I’m not holding my breath for anyone to falsify ID anytime soon nor am I holding my breath for you ever to be honest to the evidence. But that does not negate the fact that ID does indeed have a rigid mathematical standard to test against by experiment.

    Moreover, would you please, as a intelligent agent, stop generating information whenever you claim that intelligence is the not the best explanation for information? The hypocrisy of your unjust standard is killing you! 🙂 Or perhaps you are claiming that you are not really an intelligent agent? (If that is your claim, then you finally might have a scientifically defensible argument against ID 🙂 )

    The rest of your blather is more of the same ole, same ole, unsubstantiated dog crap that you have become notorious for.

    You complain about me backing up my points by reference, and yet your entire post is a steaming pile of unsubstantiated conjecture (to put it nicely).

    Your blatant philosophical bias against ID has literally blinded you intellectually speaking.

    You would not know real science even if it hit you on the head.

  15. 15
    Virgil Cain says:

    Earth to RDFish- Intelligent Design can be scientifically tested and potentially falsified. We have said exactly how to do so. BTW that means it has an empirical basis.

    You lose, again.

    Also intelligence is a thing. It is a thing possessed by intelligent agencies.

    We ascertain an intelligent agent from the evidence of intelligent design. Just how archaeologists and forensic science does it. The same way SETI does it.

    And there isn’t any evolutionary theory. All evolutionism predicts is change and/ or stasis.

  16. 16
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish proves it is clueless:

    All one has to do to falsify ID is to provide just one instance of unguided material processes creating non-trivial functional information…

    False dichotomy.

    LoL! You don’t know what a “false dichotomy” is. To FALSIFY ID one just needs to show that unguided material processes could do it. Tat is how it works in archaeology, forensics and SETI- well ALL design-centric venues.

    To infer ID it takes more than just eliminating unguided materialistic processes.

    since anything and everything is compatible with “intelligent causation”.

    Wrong again. If unguided materialistic processes can do it then it isn’t compatible with ID.

    What is wrong with you?

  17. 17
  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Box @ 17 OH yeah! 🙂 nice!

  19. 19
    wd400 says:

    Darwinian evolution is not a valid research program

    As I asked in the other thread: how would you know?

    You’re talking about a thread in which you start by demonstrating you ignorance of evolutionary biology as it is taught and practiced. IDers in the comments follow that up with incomprehensible ramblings about snow and property rights in Canada and whole bunch of made-up factoids about what Darwin thought about species (as if that was important to modern evolutionary biology).

    There’s certainly some blather in that thread, but it’s not coming from people that understand evolutionary biology…

  20. 20
    Virgil Cain says:

    I know that Darwinian evolution is not a valid research program because it cannot be modeled and can’t even muster a testable hypothesis.

  21. 21
    jerry says:

    Darwinian evolution is not a valid research program

    It most certainly is a valid research program. It just has not produced any significant conclusions in terms of the evolution debate.

    I will repeat that the evolution debate is about the origin of new alleles or how did all the coding sections of the genomes arise? (also coding regions for non protein molecules) We all recognize that variations of proteins exist and many of these proteins arose by normal cellular division processes. But what about all protiens?

    The various hypotheses for their source are testable by traditional scientific techniques. So far, there is little evidence that novel proteins arose by naturalistic processes.

    But if they did, the evidence should be in the genomes of various species. If it is not, then that raises the probability that an intelligent source is the cause of some of the coding for proteins and other molecular entities necessary for life.

  22. 22
    RDFish says:

    Hi Dr JDD,

    But if you press me I would firmly state that a creative God and the act of creation (whatever form) if performed by a God that is outside of and transcends the physical world, cannot be proven scientifically.

    We agree!

    However evolution can be disproven, and it really has its just there is no other materialstic explanation for origins that excludes a god therefore it prevails.

    I agree about evolution. However, supernatural explanations ought not to be considered to “prevail” simply because some phenomenon remains unexplained; such theories have a very long history of failure.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  23. 23
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    Also intelligence is a thing. It is a thing possessed by intelligent agencies.

    I don’t know, then, what you might mean by a “thing”. Is “beauty” a thing possessed by beautiful agents? Is “athleticism” a thing possessed by athletic agents? Can these “things” exist apart from the agents that possess them?

    We ascertain an intelligent agent from the evidence of intelligent design. Just how archaeologists and forensic science does it.

    Archeaology and forensics exclusively study human activity, so are not relevant.

    The same way SETI does it.

    SETI looks for extra-terrestrial life forms, and has never found anything.

    LoL! You don’t know what a “false dichotomy” is.

    Actually I do. It means you are implying that there are only two possible choices, whereas there are more than two. In this context, ID implies that “Intelligent Design” and “Darwinism” are the only possible choices regarding theories of origins. This is false; hence, the false dichotomy.

    To FALSIFY ID one just needs to show that unguided material processes could do it.

    I constantly ask these questions about “unguided material processes” but nobody seems able to answer them: Are there any guided material processes? Are there any unguided immaterial (or non-material?) processes? What are guided processes guided by? How are they guided?

    RDF: since anything and everything is compatible with “intelligent causation”.
    VC: If unguided materialistic processes can do it then it isn’t compatible with ID.

    That’s quite ridiculous. A thundercloud can produce a lightning without human intervention. However, a human being can also produce a lightning bolt in a laboratory using knowledge of electrical engineering. Does that mean that the lightning bolt the human creates is “not compatible with ID” just because “unguided materialistic processes” can do the same thing? Of course not.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  24. 24
    RDFish says:

    Hi BA77,

    You failed to respond to any of my points.

    1) In your claim that disproving evolution constitutes support for “ID” you are posing a false dichotomy.
    2) Are there guided material processes? Are there unguided immaterial processes? What sort of process is going on when human beings use their brains to design things? How do you know?
    3) In reifying “intelligence” you are making a category error.
    4) You misunderstand information physics by stating that “material processes” are described therein.
    5) My example regarding the photoelectric effect is a perfect illustration of your conceptual error that you have no response to.
    6) You’ve twice failed to respond to the failed prediction of ID regarding timescales

    Instead of responding to anything I say, you paste more stuff from the internet and call me names. That just makes you look like you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    RDFish, it is you who refuses to address the evidence in good faith.

    You never admit that you are wrong on any of your claims even when you are corrected multiple times.

    Do you think that I don’t have much better things to do than to endlessly debate someone who is as intellectually dishonest as you have proven yourself to be?

    If so, that would be another thing that you are completely wrong on.

    i.e. ‘dog see tail, chase in circle, repeat etc…’

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish,

    In reifying “intelligence” you are making a category error.

    Speaking of reification errors, you never responded to this post: How to Land a Red Fish

    I will take your four days’ of silence as conceding the point.

  27. 27
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish

    Can these “things” exist apart from the agents that possess them?

    You seem to believe that “properties like electric charge, color charge, or quantum spin” exist independently of the things of which they are a property. So your question seems ironic to me.

  28. 28
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    Archeaology and forensics exclusively study human activity, so are not relevant.

    BZZZZT- Archeaology and forensics exclusively study intelligent agent activity, humans are intelligent agencies and because of that they are very relevant- they give us knowledge of what designing agencies can do with nature.

    SETI looks for extra-terrestrial life forms, and has never found anything.

    BZZZZT- Strike two- SETI looks for signs of artificiality, again based on knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    It means you are implying that there are only two possible choices, whereas there are more than two. In this context, ID implies that “Intelligent Design” and “Darwinism” are the only possible choices regarding theories of origins.

    BZZZZT- Strike three, you’re OUT. ID never says anything about there only being one other choice- never. It takes on ALL materialistic claims.

    I constantly ask these questions about “unguided material processes” but nobody seems able to answer them: Are there any guided material processes? Are there any unguided immaterial (or non-material?) processes? What are guided processes guided by? How are they guided?

    Get over yourself- this has been answered over and over again. Natural selection is blind and mindless, hence unguided. Men working would be a guided material process.

    That’s quite ridiculous. A thundercloud can produce a lightning without human intervention. However, a human being can also produce a lightning bolt in a laboratory using knowledge of electrical engineering. Does that mean that the lightning bolt the human creates is “not compatible with ID” just because “unguided materialistic processes” can do the same thing? Of course not.

    LoL! There is a huge difference between the two bolts- the main one being how they are created.

  29. 29
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF: SETI looks for extra-terrestrial life forms, and has never found anything.

    RD was speaking a little loosely here, and may not waste too much energy defending this sentence in the form he posted it. He clearly understands that SETI does not look for “extra-terrestrial life forms” simply because there is no method available that would allow us to detect or measure such a thing. Instead, SETI is very clear about their methodology; they look for narrow-band radio signals because – in our universal experience – narrow-band radio signals are produced only by a radio transmitter, which makes the detection of such signals a reliable correlate of intelligent action.

    In a strict sense, it is not “life forms” that they search for; it is this reliable correlate of intelligence that can be potentially measured across space — or as SETI describes it, “the capacity to transmit a narrow band signal detectable from earth”.

  30. 30
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry,

    I missed your “red fish” post – I’ll respond there in a bit.

    You seem to believe that “properties like electric charge, color charge, or quantum spin” exist independently of the things of which they are a property. So your question seems ironic to me.

    Actually no, that’s not what I think. Not only are those properties not things, the “particles” that they are properties of are not “things” either, as Heisenberg famously said.

    The main point here is that ID reifies “intelligence” as though it is a known causal entity apart from the complex organism that behaves intelligently. This is like imagining “athleticism” is a causal thing, or “beauty” or “personality”. It is the old semantic sleight-of-hand that ID uses to pretend it is offering a causal agent that is known to us as the explanation for life origins, when it does no such thing: What we know from our experience is that complex organisms act intelligently (i.e. they learn, solve problems, and so on). We do not have any experience of anything else that does these things.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  31. 31
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    You are quite right – SETI looks specifically for “the capacity to transmit a narrow band signal detectable from earth”. That is their operational definition of “intelligence”. Whatever other inferences might be made if a signal is ever received is currently outside the scope of SETI (which, after all, is not a theory nor a scientific discipline, but merely a search for these signals).

    Likewise, ID’s operational definition of “intelligence” appears to be “the capacity to produce complex specified information”. Granting that biological systems are chock-full of just that, ID validly infers that whatever produced this CSI in living systems was indeed capable of producing it. By itself, that is a perfectly vacuous conclusion of course – no matter what caused the CSI in living systems it would have to be – by definition! – capable of producing it! ID cannot tell us anything about the cause, however – not even if it meets the operational defintion of “intelligence” that SETI uses!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  32. 32
    RDFish says:

    By the way, nobody has taken a crack at my questions regarding “unguided material processes”.

    1) Are there any guided material processes?
    2) Are there any unguided immaterial (or non-material?) processes?
    3) What are guided processes guided by? How are they guided?
    4) What sort of processes are responsible for human cognition? How do you know?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  33. 33
    Box says:

    RDFish: 1) Are there any guided material processes?

    How about you typing a post? A material process guided by an intelligent agent.

    RDFish: 2) Are there any unguided immaterial (or non-material?) processes?

    Unguided by an intelligent agent? The coming into existence of a desire for the truth, for instance, is not something that one creates/guides.

    RDFish: 3) What are guided processes guided by?

    Well the creation of a post is obviously guided by an intelligent agent.

    RDFish: How are they guided?

    What do you mean? Are you asking how mind influences matter?

    RDFish: 4) What sort of processes are responsible for human cognition?

    An immaterial mind.

    RDFish: How do you know?

    For one thing because the alternative — non-rational blind material forces — is an insufficient cause; see e.g. the argument from reason.

  34. 34
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    Likewise, ID’s operational definition of “intelligence” appears to be “the capacity to produce complex specified information”.

    The ability to manipulate nature for a purpose.

    The main point here is that ID reifies “intelligence” as though it is a known causal entity apart from the complex organism that behaves intelligently.

    ID doesn’t say anything about the intelligence.

    The point about CSI and intelligence is that through our observations and experiences CSI arises only via intelligent agency activity. We have never seen nature producing anything close to it. That means when we see CSI and didn’t directly observe it arise, we can safely infer some intelligent agency did it.

  35. 35
    Mung says:

    RDBoring:

    By the way, nobody has taken a crack at my questions regarding “unguided material processes”.

    1) Are there any guided material processes?

    3) What are guided processes guided by? How are they guided?

    I took a dump. The matter ended up in the toilet. It was guided to it’s location by, well, you know.

  36. 36
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    1) Are there any guided material processes?

    Have you given up your silly claim that “modern” matter is not composed of particles that collide with each other?

    Splash.

  37. 37
    ppolish says:

    Flinging poop is also a guided material process. A pro throwing a fastball a bit more guided. Most of the material processes we witness daily are guided. Can’t think of any unguided ones I saw today, at the moment. Nothing but guided atoms in motion on the material process front.

  38. 38
    Upright BiPed says:

    You are quite right – SETI looks specifically for “the capacity to transmit a narrow band signal detectable from earth”. That is their operational definition of “intelligence”.

    Correct. And we can see that their operational definition is based on our universal observation of effects caused by intelligent agents.

    Whatever other inferences might be made if a signal is ever received is currently outside the scope of SETI (which, after all, is not a theory nor a scientific discipline, but merely a search for these signals).

    Again correct. They would have confirmed an instance of intelligent action; made valid without additional knowledge of the source.

    ID’s operational definition of “intelligence” appears to be “the capacity to produce complex specified information”. Granting that biological systems are chock-full of just that, ID validly infers that whatever produced this CSI in living systems was indeed capable of producing it. By itself, that is a perfectly vacuous conclusion of course – no matter what caused the CSI in living systems it would have to be – by definition! – capable of producing it!

    This is more than slightly gratuitous.

  39. 39
    RDFish says:

    Hi Box,

    RDFish: 1) Are there any guided material processes?
    BOX: How about you typing a post? A material process guided by an intelligent agent.

    Hmm, in that case, what would constitute a guided immaterial process?

    RDFish: 2) Are there any unguided immaterial (or non-material?) processes?
    Box: Unguided by an intelligent agent?

    You tell me! I’m confused by this talk of “material” vs “immaterial”. After all, BA77 just argued that all of physical reality is nothing but information (and I think that may have some truth to it), but people here keep talking about “unguided material processes” so I’m trying to figure out what they mean.

    The coming into existence of a desire for the truth, for instance, is not something that one creates/guides.

    OK, so when people desire the truth, that is “unguided” and “immaterial” – got it.

    RDFish: 3) What are guided processes guided by?
    BOX: Well the creation of a post is obviously guided by an intelligent agent.

    Well, it’s performed by a human being, if that is what you mean. But is my behavior “guided” or “unguided”?

    RDFish: How are they guided?
    BOX: What do you mean? Are you asking how mind influences matter?

    I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking. Are you saying that mind is ontologically distinct from matter, but the former somehow influences the latter? In that case yes, I’d like to understand how this “influence” takes place, and how you know about it. I’d also like to know why that influence is “immaterial”, but an influence like quantum entanglement or even gravity is “material”.

    RDFish: 4) What sort of processes are responsible for human cognition?
    BOX: An immaterial mind.

    OK, so you are declaring that substance dualism is true, got it. Would you agree that if substance dualism was not true, then the arguments for ID would fall apart?

    RDFish: How do you know?
    BOX: For one thing because the alternative — non-rational blind material forces — is an insufficient cause; see e.g. the argument from reason.

    How do you know material forces are “blind”? Haven’t you been reading what BA77 posts regarding, say, delayed-choice quantum eraser experiments?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  40. 40
    RDFish says:

    Hi Virgil Cain,

    RDFish: Likewise, ID’s operational definition of “intelligence” appears to be “the capacity to produce complex specified information”.
    VC: The ability to manipulate nature for a purpose.

    Well there’s yet another definition I’ve seen, OK. But inferring “purpose” from causality is subjective, isn’t it? For example, doesn’t water manipulate the earth to carve a riverbed for the purpose of flowing to lower ground? Doesn’t the moon reflect sunlight for the purpose of making our nights more romantic? I think you need to add another element to this particular definition in order to make it work for you – you need to add “libertarian free will”.

    RDF: The main point here is that ID reifies “intelligence” as though it is a known causal entity apart from the complex organism that behaves intelligently.
    VC: ID doesn’t say anything about the intelligence.

    On the contrary – simply read this thread and you will see that ID says intelligence was the cause of living things on Earth! In addition, at least some ID proponents say that intelligence transcends physical causality, and that it is ontologically distinct from matter.

    The point about CSI and intelligence is that through our observations and experiences CSI arises only via intelligent agency activity.

    And this very same set of observations and experience confirm that intelligent agency invariably arises from complex mechanism. Right?

    We have never seen nature producing anything close to it.

    You are assuming here that “nature” for some reason excludes “human beings”. What is your basis for that distinction?

    That means when we see CSI and didn’t directly observe it arise, we can safely infer some intelligent agency did it.

    So that means we can just as safely infer that some complex organism was responsible.

    So if we really follow the evidence instead of religious teachings, we end up inferring that life on Earth came from complex life elsewhere. And if we came from complex life elsewhere, it’s more likely that we are simply the descendents of those life forms rather than the products of their advanced bioengineering.

    Once you actually follow the evidence, that is where you end up.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  41. 41
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    Correct. And we can see that their [SETI’s] operational definition is based on our universal observation of effects caused by intelligent agents.

    Well no, our universal observation of effects caused by intelligent agents are not equivalent to “creating narrow-band transmissions” obviously. In fact very few people or animals are capable of doing that, right?

    Again correct. They would have confirmed an instance of intelligent action; made valid without additional knowledge of the source.

    Yes. And again, they make clear that by the term “intelligent” they mean nothing more or less than “capable of producing narrow-band transmission”. There may be something out in the universe that produces narrow-band transmissions but has nothing else in common with human beings – it isn’t conscious, can’t solve novel problems, can’t learn, etc. – but by SETI’s definition it would still be “intelligent”.

    The case is the same with ID: There may be something out in the universe that satisfies the operational definition (given by some, but not all, ID authors) for “intelligence”, viz. “capable of producing CSI”, but has nothing else in common with human beings – it isn’t conscious, can’t solve novel problems, can’t learn, and so on.

    That is the point that seems so challenging for most people here to grasp.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  42. 42
    Upright BiPed says:

    RD: You are quite right – SETI looks specifically for “the capacity to transmit a narrow band signal detectable from earth”. That is their operational definition of “intelligence”.

    UB: Correct. And we can see that their operational definition is based on our universal observation of effects caused by intelligent agents.

    RD: Well no, our universal observation of effects caused by intelligent agents are not equivalent to “creating narrow-band transmissions” obviously. In fact very few people or animals are capable of doing that, right?

    Our universal observation of narrow band radio signals is that they are only produced by “a purposely built transmitter” (SETI). SETI explicitly considers such signals as a reliable correlate of intelligent action (i.e. an effect caused by an intelligent agent). The fact that few people actually know how to build a transmitter has nothing to do with it. What is universal is our *observation* of the source of narrow-band signals, not the *number* of agents capable of building a transmitter.

    RD: Whatever other inferences might be made if a signal is ever received is currently outside the scope of SETI (which, after all, is not a theory nor a scientific discipline, but merely a search for these signals).

    UB: Again correct. They would have confirmed an instance of intelligent action; made valid without additional knowledge of the source.

    RD: Yes. And again, they make clear that by the term “intelligent” they mean nothing more or less than “capable of producing narrow-band transmission”. There may be something out in the universe that produces narrow-band transmissions but has nothing else in common with human beings – it isn’t conscious, can’t solve novel problems, can’t learn, etc. – but by SETI’s definition it would still be “intelligent”.

    This is where you part from SETI, for what can only be personal reasons. You may envision the possibility of some distant planet containing a rock formation or some simple tube worm that emits narrow band radio signals, but SETI is explicitly clear that they view the receiving of such a signal as evidence of a “transmitting civilization” and “technically-sophisticated beings” and “technological civilizations” that are at a “technological level at least as advanced as our own” (SETI). This is the central primary feature of the SETI project, made evident throughout their activities.

    We can look at your descriptors (non-conscious some-things, unable to solve problems and unable to learn) and we can directly compare those to SETI’s published statements (technologically-sophisticated civilizations, capable of constructing radio transmitters for communication, advanced in technologies at least as much as our own civilization) and we easily see the level of disconnect at work in your comments. I have no desire to argue a point that is obvious to anyone who grasps the distinction between “nothing in common with human beings” and “technologically-advanced civilization”. The only point I am making is that they would have confirmed an act of intelligence (via an operational definition of intelligence) without knowing any else about the source of that intelligence.

  43. 43
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    Well there’s yet another definition I’ve seen, OK.

    Many times. You seem to want to lock it down to one, which means you are on some agenda.

    But inferring “purpose” from causality is subjective, isn’t it?

    Not to people who know what they are doing.

    For example, doesn’t water manipulate the earth to carve a riverbed for the purpose of flowing to lower ground?

    No.

    I think you need to add another element to this particular definition in order to make it work for you – you need to add “libertarian free will”.

    I think you have never investigated anything and as such don’t understand investigations.

    On the contrary – simply read this thread and you will see that ID says intelligence was the cause of living things on Earth!

    ID doesn’t say anything about the intelligence.

    In addition, at least some ID proponents say that intelligence transcends physical causality, and that it is ontologically distinct from matter.

    Irrelevant to ID.

    And this very same set of observations and experience confirm that intelligent agency invariably arises from complex mechanism.

    No, all we know is intelligence comes from intelligence.

    You are assuming here that “nature” for some reason excludes “human beings”. What is your basis for that distinction?

    Forensic science, archaeology and SETI depend on that distinction. If someone can show that nature can produce humans then ID fails.

    So that means we can just as safely infer that some complex organism was responsible.

    That would be where to start.

    So if we really follow the evidence instead of religious teachings, we end up inferring that life on Earth came from complex life elsewhere.

    It’s still ID.

    And if we came from complex life elsewhere, it’s more likely that we are simply the descendents of those life forms rather than the products of their advanced bioengineering.

    That’s OK with ID. It would mean that life on Earth was not the result of differing accumulations of countless genetic accidents- which is untestable anyway.

    Once you actually follow the evidence, that is where you end up.

    So what?

  44. 44
    Box says:

    RDFish: 1) Are there any guided material processes?
    BOX: How about you typing a post? A material process guided by an intelligent agent.

    RDFish: Hmm, in that case, what would constitute a guided immaterial process?

    Rational inference is an immaterial process guided by an understanding mind.

    RDFish: I’m confused by this talk of “material” vs “immaterial”. After all, BA77 just argued that all of physical reality is nothing but information (and I think that may have some truth to it), but people here keep talking about “unguided material processes” so I’m trying to figure out what they mean.

    So you are confused by the concept that matter is ultimately dependent on mind? Now you see no difference between e.g. a rock and e.g. your consciousness whatsoever. I find that hard to believe. Blind watchmaker evolution is posited as a non-teleological “unguided material process” and I think you know full well what is meant by that.

    RDFish: 3) What are guided processes guided by?
    BOX: Well the creation of a post is obviously guided by an intelligent agent.

    RDFish: Well, it’s performed by a human being, if that is what you mean. But is my behavior “guided” or “unguided”?

    Obviously your material fingers are guided by you — as an intelligent agent.

    RDFish: Are you saying that mind is ontologically distinct from matter, but the former somehow influences the latter? In that case yes, I’d like to understand how this “influence” takes place, and how you know about it.

    Mind-body and body-mind causal interaction is a well known problem — even for materialism.
    BTW I’m spiritual monist.

    RDFish:
    I’d also like to know why that influence is “immaterial”, but an influence like quantum entanglement or even gravity is “material”.

    The defining feature here is that the influence from the mind is teleological. Purpose — having a goal in mind — is something we do not ascribe to material processes that behave according to natural law and quantum physics.

    RDFish: 4) What sort of processes are responsible for human cognition?
    BOX: An immaterial mind.

    RDFish:
    OK, so you are declaring that substance dualism is true, got it. Would you agree that if substance dualism was not true, then the arguments for ID would fall apart?

    By assuming, per impossible, that blind non-rational purposeless particles in motion are a sufficient cause for our consciousness, rationality and thoughts, we have assumed a material cause for information. However, notice that we only arrive at a sufficient cause for information by (also) assuming a brain. Not “entangled particles” or “gravity” produces information, only the brain does.
    Do ID arguments fall apart under these circumstances? I don’t think so.
    How about the Fine-tuned Universe argument? If fine-tuning is real obviously a brain cannot be posited as a cause. How about the origin of life in our universe? Obviously a brain cannot be a cause. How about the origin of life on earth? Obviously only an alien brain can be posited as a cause. Lastly only an alien brain can be an explanation for the bacterium flagellum or the bat’s echolocation system.
    BTW I’m spiritual monist.

    RDFish:
    How do you know material forces are “blind”? Haven’t you been reading what BA77 posts regarding, say, delayed-choice quantum eraser experiments?

    By “blind” is meant having no goal in mind — being non-teleological.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Barry Arrington says:

    Upright BiPed @ 42

    I have no desire to argue a point that is obvious to anyone who grasps the distinction between “nothing in common with human beings” and “technologically-advanced civilization”.

    Indeed. But you have to understand that obscurantism is RDFish’s game. In my How to Land a Red Fish post I asked him to put up or shut up on his claim that no monist believes there is nothing but matter in motion. He responded with a bunch of gibberish, and this is my response to him:

    You are the one who says over and over that no monist believes that the universe consists of only matter in motion in space-time. I ask you to tell us what monists believe exists in addition to matter in motion in space-time, and you’ve got nothing. Instead you give us some X Files song and dance about how the truth is out there.
    Here’s the bottom line. You have enough sense to know that mindless matter in motion through space-time cannot possibly account for the observations. Yet you absolutely refuse to countenance the most obvious answer – guiding intelligence – because that answer has theological implications you do not like.
    You don’t like the answer that is staring you in the face, but you don’t have another answer. So you resort to obscurantism. I can understand why you want to wallow in obscurantism Fish, but for the life of me I don’t know why you expect the rest of us to wallow with you.

  47. 47
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    Our universal observation of narrow band radio signals is that they are only produced by “a purposely built transmitter” (SETI).

    Purpose is subjective; the objective fact of the matter is that they are produced by “human-built transmitters”.

    SETI explicitly considers such signals as a reliable correlate of intelligent action (i.e. an effect caused by an intelligent agent).

    SETI is not a theory nor a discipline – it is a collection of people searching for signals from outer space. They have adopted an operational definition for “intelligence”, and that is what they are looking for.

    This is where you part from SETI, for what can only be personal reasons.

    I don’t “part from” SETI, for reasons personal or otherwise. They have published an operational definition for the term “intelligence”, which allows scientists to objectively determine what they looking for and establish unambiguously if they find it.

    You may envision the possibility of some distant planet containing a rock formation or some simple tube worm that emits narrow band radio signals,…

    Or some previously unknown effect deriving from quantum loops or non-local retro-causality or – most likely – something entirely beyond our ability to comprehend, just as quantum phenomena were unimagined 100 years ago and still defy our attempts at conceptualizing the underlying reality of these bizarre effects.

    …but SETI is explicitly clear that they view the receiving of such a signal as evidence of a “transmitting civilization” and “technically-sophisticated beings” and “technological civilizations” that are at a “technological level at least as advanced as our own” (SETI).

    Well of course SETI people (many of them astrobiologists!) will assume that complex living beings (“life as we know it”, as the SETI folks say) would be responsible for such a signal! They aren’t going to posit that something completely unknown to us – such as some sort of thing that has human-like mental abilities without the benefit of a brain! That is why they discuss evolution, encephalization quotients, and other aspects of astrobiology when they estimate the likelihood of finding extra-terrestrial life forms.

    So, they provide a clear operational defintion of “intelligence”, and they also explain they are looking for something that we are familiar with (“life as we know it”). Although SETI is not a theory or a discipline, the operational definition makes their search meaningful and coherent, and their focus on astrobiology aligns their motivation with known science. In contrast, ID fails to agree on what the operational definition of “intelligence” is, and seeks to demonstrate the existence of something that transcends “natural processes” – something that would be capable not only of designing eyeballs and flagella, but also of creating a universe and setting the physical constants by acts of will. Such a thing is obviously unknown to science, and thus would require actual evidence in order for anyone to accept it as a scientific result.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  48. 48
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    In contrast, ID fails to agree on what the operational definition of “intelligence” is,

    Incorrect. IDists give you different definitions because they don’t understand your game, which is to obfuscate.

    Such a thing is obviously unknown to science, and thus would require actual evidence in order for anyone to accept it as a scientific result.

    And the evidence has been presented. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

  49. 49
    Upright BiPed says:

    the operational definition makes their search meaningful and coherent

    Try as he might, he just can’t obscure the fact that an operational definition of intelligence (based on nothing but the universal observations of human investigators) is used to identify the action of an entirely unknown intelligence — without any additional properties or characteristics of that intelligence being necessary to the test.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    It must be a drag for you RD. Tell us, what are you going to do if anyone should ever give you an operational definition of intelligence that is appropriate to biology? Obviously, you are not intellectually prepared to accept the empirical data (as would be the case in the proper conduct of science) so what would you do?

    This is, of course, a rhetorical question, but if it weren’t, I would imagine that you’d simply make it easy on yourself and just say it’ll never happen, or that it’s impossible. Perhaps you could flower it up with your normal irrelevant babble.

  50. 50
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    Try as he might, he just can’t obscure the fact that an operational definition of intelligence (based on nothing but the universal observations of human investigators) is used to identify the action of an entirely unknown intelligence — without any additional properties or characteristics of that intelligence being necessary to the test.

    I can’t make sense of this. Are you saying that other characteristics of the source would be empirically warranted if we detected a narrow-band signal? What inferences of characteristics would you say would be empirically justified?

    The reason SETI established an operational definition is precisely because the term “intelligence” is recognized to be unclear and ambiguous.

    It must be a drag for you RD. Tell us, what are you going to do if anyone should ever give you an operational definition of intelligence that is appropriate to biology? Obviously, you are not intellectually prepared to accept the empirical data (as would be the case in the proper conduct of science) so what would you do?

    This is, of course, a rhetorical question, but if it weren’t, I would imagine that you’d simply make it easy on yourself and just say it’ll never happen, or that it’s impossible. Perhaps you could flower it up with your normal irrelevant babble.

    And here is what I’ve been waiting for, where you invariably stop trying to debate the issues and instead resort to childish ad hominems. You have no response to my points about purpose, SETI, astrobiology, and ID. Instead you just declare my arguments are irrelevant babble, as though that was a counter-argument.

    Since you refuse to engage the argument, I once again have no choice but to consider that you concede it. Thanks.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  51. 51
    Upright BiPed says:

    I can’t make sense of this.

    I know better.

    And here is what I’ve been waiting for, where you invariably stop trying to debate the issues and instead resort to childish ad hominems.

    There is no ad hominem is my statement. You are not intellectually prepared to acknowledge any positive empirical evidence for ID based on an operational definition of intelligence. I was merely asking you how you would handle it if you were presented with such a case.

    You have no response to my points about purpose, SETI, astrobiology, and ID.

    The term “purposeful” was not my term; it was used by SETI in describing the presence of an extra-terrestrial narrow-band radio transmitter. Your overall points about SETI are not in conflict with my points about SETI. Your points about astrobiology are not particularly germane to the issue. Your points about ID are mostly self-serving positioning statements, and have become a permanent fixture in your comments here (despite of any amount of correction) and therefore they are not of any particular interest.

    Is there something extra in your comments that you wanted me to respond to? You previously stated that SETI is only looking for a source of intelligence, and you tried very obviously to position their activity as a search for so much as a non-conscious, non-aware, non-problem-solving, non-learning, perhaps even non-biological entity producing narrow-band radio signals. In truth, by their own words, SETI is very clear that they are searching for signs of a sophisticated technologically-advanced civilization on par with our own — presumably because such a civilization would likely be necessary to build the working radio transmitter required to create the type of signal that SETI is looking for. And when presented with SETI’s own words on this matter, you tried to imply that those terms (i.e. “sophisticated”, “technologically, “advanced”, “civilization”) probably resulted from the hopeful and giddy whims of astrobiologists, instead of being based on their cornerstone observation that the only source of a narrow-band radio signal is a “purposely built radio transmitter”. By suggesting that I haven’t responded to your points, are you indicating that you would like to go on defending your characterization of SETI’s intent –or– are you simply trying to obscure your characterization from view?

    Well, don’t sweat it RD, I was only asking what you would do if you were given an operational definition of intelligence on par with that of SETI. You are not going to answer that question, so I’ll move on.

  52. 52
    RDFish says:

    Hi UprightBiPed,

    There is no ad hominem is my statement. You are not intellectually prepared to acknowledge any positive empirical evidence for ID based on an operational definition of intelligence.

    That is hilarious. You deny making an ad hominem statement by immediately making an ad hominem statement regarding my personal intellect. Classic!

    The term “purposeful” was not my term; it was used by SETI in describing the presence of an extra-terrestrial narrow-band radio transmitter.

    Yes, and what might your point be?

    Your overall points about SETI are not in conflict with my points about SETI.

    Great, we agree! SETI uses a well-defined definition of “intelligence” to frame its search, and is motivated by looking for something known to science (“life as we know it”).

    Your points about astrobiology are not particularly germane to the issue.

    Yes, that was the point about “life as we know it”.

    Your points about ID are mostly self-serving positioning statements, and have become a permanent fixture in your comments here (despite of any amount of correction) and therefore they are not of any particular interest.

    You refuse to ever address my points, apparently because you are unable to.

    Is there something extra in your comments that you wanted me to respond to?

    Well yes: That in contrast with SETI, ID provides no operational definition for “intelligence”, and looks for something completely unknown to science (some sort of human-like conscious mind that is not itself a property of a complex organism and which is capable of creating universes, setting physical constants, etc).

    ID is in many ways the opposite of SETI: SETI looks for things that do not occur in nature outside of human activity, seeking to infer extra-terrestrial life forms; ID looks at things that DO occur in nature outside of human activity, seeking to infer extra-terrestrial NON-life forms!

    You previously stated that SETI is only looking for a source of intelligence, and you tried very obviously to position their activity as a search for so much as a non-conscious, non-aware, non-problem-solving, non-learning, perhaps even non-biological entity producing narrow-band radio signals.

    Huh? No, of course the SETI search is all about looking for alien life forms – everybody knows that!!! How many times must I say it? They hire astrobiologists because they are looking for life as we know it on some other planet! What is wrong with you?

    However, they have operationalized their definition of “intelligence” so their search is well-defined and unambiguous. In SETI, the word “intelligence” means “capable of producing narrow band transmissions”.
    Why can’t you understand this?

    In truth, by their own words, SETI is very clear that they are searching for signs of a sophisticated technologically-advanced civilization on par with our own — presumably because such a civilization would likely be necessary to build the working radio transmitter required to create the type of signal that SETI is looking for.

    Yes of course! A civilization of complex living organisms on some other planet!

    And when presented with SETI’s own words on this matter, you tried to imply that those terms (i.e. “sophisticated”, “technologically, “advanced”, “civilization”) probably resulted from the hopeful and giddy whims of astrobiologists, instead of being based on their cornerstone observation that the only source of a narrow-band radio signal is a “purposely built radio transmitter”.

    Good grief, what planet are you from? How could you misconstrue my points so badly?

    What I said was that their operational definition of “intelligence” referred only to producing transmissions, and not any other aspect normally associated with intelligence (learning, novel problem solving, etc). If the search turns up a narrow-band transmission, it will be up to theorists to argue what particular characteristics we might validly infer as to the source.

    Well, don’t sweat it RD, I was only asking what you would do if you were given an operational definition of intelligence on par with that of SETI. You are not going to answer that question, so I’ll move on.

    Your are consistently wrong, even about this. If you say that ID’s operational definition of “intelligence” is “able to produce CSI”, then I will argue that ID is a vacuous hypothesis: “The CSI in biology is produced by something that is able to produce CSI”. Again as opposed to SETI, ID does not associate “intelligence” with “life as we know it” or with any other entity known to our empirical experience (for obvious reasons), and so has no justification for associating any other attribute beyond the bare operational definition.

    I am pretty sure from our previous encounters that you will refuse to engage this argument, but there you have it.

    Cheers,
    RDFIsh/AIGuy

  53. 53
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    Good grief, what planet are you from? How could you misconstrue my points so badly?

    and

    I am pretty sure from our previous encounters that you will refuse to engage this argument, but there you have it.

    Oh, the irony!

    ID has an operational definition of “intelligence”.

    ID has a methodology to determine design from nature, operating freely.

    All RDFish can do is ignore what ID actually says and hump a strawman in its place.

  54. 54
    Upright BiPed says:

    RD, the reason I say “You are not intellectually prepared to acknowledge any positive empirical evidence for ID based on an operational definition of intelligence” is because you are not intellectually prepared to acknowledge any positive empirical evidence for ID based on an operational definition of intelligence. It runs counter to your stated purpose here, remember?

    That’s why I was asking you what you would do if someone presented you an operational definition of intelligence on par with that used by SETI. Notice also that I did not argue for any particular definition, nor did I attack your repeated arguments against whatever definitions you chose to attack. I simply asked what you would do if presented with a definition as legitimate as that used by SETI, and the question itself is apparently so repugnant to you that (even after being asked again and again and again) you’ve been completely unable to even ponder an answer. It’s clearly not a question you intend to engage, thereby demonstrating the validity of my comment.

  55. 55
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    I simply asked what you would do if presented with a definition as legitimate as that used by SETI

    You aren’t making sense. What I would do (argue) if I was presented with some definition of “intelligence” in the context of ID depends entirely on what that definition is of course. Why don’t you try one and see?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  56. 56
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish- what you ask for has already been provided.

  57. 57
    Upright BiPed says:

    This is the non-engagement that I predicted upthread, demonstrating again the validity of my comment. Not only can you not acknowledge any empirical evidence in support of ID, you can’t even bring yourself to concieve of a response to evidence that even you would not argue with. Hence, your challenge in place of an answer to the question. You took the easy way out.

    What is interesting about this is not that you won’t give up an answer to the hypothetical, it’s that you imagine yourself to be rational about the evidence in support of ID.

  58. 58
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    This is the non-engagement that I predicted upthread, demonstrating again the validity of my comment. Not only can you not acknowledge any empirical evidence in support of ID, you can’t even bring yourself to conceive of a response to evidence that even you would not argue with. Hence, your challenge in place of an answer to the question. You took the easy way out.

    You are asking me to provide a definition of “intelligence” that makes ID into a meaningful, coherent, and empirically supported theory – which of course nobody can do – and then when I don’t you accuse me of dodging your question? This is truly a new height of absurdity, even in this forum!

    You basic error, UB, is this one mistake: I am NOT saying that ID lacks evidence. Rather, I am saying that ID lacks meaning. Read that a few times until you understand it.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  59. 59
    Upright BiPed says:

    You are asking me to provide a definition of “intelligence” that makes ID into a meaningful, coherent, and empirically supported theory – which of course nobody can do – and then when I don’t you accuse me of dodging your question? This is truly a new height of absurdity, even in this forum!

    No rational person reading this exchange thinks that I was asking you to provide an operational definiton of intelligence. This is the type of thing someone says in order to have anything at all to say. A child could see through this RD; it is 100% pure deflection.

    You basic error, UB, is this one mistake: I am NOT saying that ID lacks evidence. Rather, I am saying that ID lacks meaning. Read that a few times until you understand it.

    And so is this.

  60. 60
    Virgil Cain says:

    Good afternoon RDFish:

    I am NOT saying that ID lacks evidence. Rather, I am saying that ID lacks meaning.

    What does that mean? At a minimum ID means we are here intentionally. That means there is a purpose, beyond the mundane, to our existence. And that means we should be figuring out what that is and how to achieve it. It also means there is more to life than physics and chemistry can account for. And that means we have more to figure out with respect to biology.

  61. 61
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    Neither of us know what you are talking about.

    You talk about empirical evidence for “ID”, but you refuse to say what you mean by “ID”. Perhaps you mean “conscious thought”? Perhaps you mean “the ability to produce CSI”? Perhaps you mean “able to learn and solve novel problems”? Perhaps you mean “neither determined nor random”? Perhaps you mean “the ability to choose freely”? Perhaps you mean all of these, or none of them.

    I’ve heard all of these and many other definitions here. Since “intelligence” is the sole explanatory construct of this entire “theory” of ID, one might think there would be some consensus on what it is supposed to be referring to, but no.

    We cannot talk about empirical evidence for something when nobody will say what that something is supposed to be.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  62. 62
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: You talk about empirical evidence for “ID”, but you refuse to say what you mean by “ID”.

    Maybe I can help:

    Something is “intelligent” if it can arrange matter in ways that require three things:

    1. Foresight and imagination

    The ability to “see” possible outcomes prior to acting.

    2. Capability

    The physical resources to instantiate imagined projections in the material world.

    3. Motivation

    The desire/will to do it.

    Is it really that hard to grasp?

    So, then, for example, is something like the DNA/ribosome coded system something that required intelligence to produce or not? This is the sort of question ID deals with. It is certainly not a meaningless question or pursuit. For some reason, you never seem to be able grasp these simple ideas.

  63. 63
    Virgil Cain says:

    intelligence:

    a (1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : reason; also : the skilled use of reason (2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests) [bold added]

    the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment

    And William Dembski offers up the following: Intelligent Design is not Optimal Design

    But then again we have been down this road before and that exposes your agenda of obfuscation.

  64. 64
    Upright BiPed says:

    Neither of us know what you are talking about.

    You say the silliest things RD, straining to say something derogatory.

    You talk about empirical evidence for “ID”…

    No, I wasn’t.

    I was talking about your biases and inabilities. And you walked right into it. Couldn’t help yourself.

    Remember this?

    ”none of you ID folks are able to follow any sort of subtle or conditional argumentation … You have put your fingers in your ears, and you are screaming for me to stop telling you what the truth is, because you don’t want to hear it. “END!” you cry. “Stop, please, don’t say any more … “End!” you cry! “No more evidence, please!”

    It tipped me off that you have a few.

    😐

  65. 65
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed, I do not know what you are talking about. It necessarily follows that you do not know what you are talking about. QED

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