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Darwin’s followers are going to have to limit access to public records

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Further to: Darwin event at museum scuttled when some engineers ask for equal time for ID, here is a story from the Albuquerque Journal:

Museum plunged into evolution, religion debate

Advocates of “intelligent design” say the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science preferred to cancel Darwin Days events rather than provide an opportunity to present an alternative theory of evolution.

Not so, said Mary Ann Hatchitt, communications director for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the state’s museums.

“There was nothing to cancel because there were no Darwin Days events planned or scheduled” for 2015, she said.

A public records request told a different story:

The emails provided via the IPRA request and shared with the Journal by Edenburn show museum staffers and volunteers were involved in scheduling the speakers; that the fliers were printed and posted with the approval and knowledge of museum staffers; that museum administrators tried to distance themselves as sponsors by asking groups to list the museum as a location “and don’t even use the word hosted”; and that organizers of Darwin Days were under the impression it would become an annual community event hosted by the museum. More.

Surely it would have, had no one complained.

Darwin’s followers, especially the new atheists who were swanning around the publicly funded event, are going to have to limit citizens’ and taxpayers access to public records, right? Such requests create needless contentions about the use of public money. 😉

In any event, the headline is curiously ambiguous: “Museum plunged into evolution, religion debate.” Does this mean “was plunged” or “chose to plunge”? The former would be an innocent mistake; the latter appears correct.

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38 Replies to “Darwin’s followers are going to have to limit access to public records

  1. 1
    Tim says:

    Apart from the “tense verbiage,” the other mistake in the headline is quite obvious. It should have read, “Museum Plunged into an ID, Religion Debate.”

    . . . not there yet? Mr. Kuhn requires patience.

  2. 2
    CHartsil says:

    Here’s a novel concept. If ID is science, then put it through the scientific method. You don’t just get to say it’s a valid alternative when evolution has been put through the wringer and ID proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    CH, done, long since — and cf here at UD for record on how the design inference process applies methodical scientific reasoning (though there is no one size fits all sci method . . . ) if you cared to respect facts. Not that mere facts and evidence will move you beyond what seems to be a record of faked Facebooks and other trollish tactics. Last, design is a cognitive, intensional, intelligent creative process that shapes objects, systems, processes, networks etc conceptually to achieve a purpose, generally reflecting as well forces, materials and constraints of nature and other constraints such as energy, economic cost-effectiveness, socio-cultural acceptability etc. Design is simply not to be reduced to mechanism, but on trillions of examples it often leaves strong signs that are observable and not credibly explicable on blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. If you would doubt or dismiss this, simply ponder that to compose an objection to design thought you were forced to create another case in point of such, the functionally specific complex organisation and associated information in the s-t-r-i-n-g of glyphs in your comment. That is, the very act of objecting exemplifies the main point. KF

    PS: This, on chance, will also help:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....efinition/

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Wiki– yes, Wiki — on design:

    >> Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns).[1] Design has different connotations in different fields (see design disciplines below). In some cases the direct construction of an object (as in pottery, engineering, management, cowboy coding and graphic design) is also considered to be design.

    More formally design has been defined as follows.

    (noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints;
    (verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)[2 . . . expanding: Ralph, P. and Wand, Y. (2009). A proposal for a formal definition of the design concept. In Lyytinen, K., Loucopoulos, P., Mylopoulos, J., and (Robinson, W.,) editors, Design Requirements Workshop (LNBIP 14), pp. 103–136. Springer-Verlag, p. 109 doi:10.1007/978-3-540-92966-6_6.]

    Another definition for design is a roadmap or a strategic approach for someone to achieve a unique expectation. It defines the specifications, plans, parameters, costs, activities, processes and how and what to do within legal, political, social, environmental, safety and economic constraints in achieving that objective.[3]

    Here, a “specification” can be manifested as either a plan or a finished product, and “primitives” are the elements from which the design object is composed.

    With such a broad denotation, there is no universal language or unifying institution for designers of all disciplines. This allows for many differing philosophies and approaches toward the subject (see Philosophies and studies of design, below).

    The person designing is called a designer, which is also a term used for people who work professionally in one of the various design areas, usually also specifying which area is being dealt with (such as a fashion designer, concept designer or web designer). A designer’s sequence of activities is called a design process. The scientific study of design is called design science.[4][5][6][7]

    Designing often necessitates considering the aesthetic, functional, economic and sociopolitical dimensions of both the design object and design process. It may involve considerable research, thought, modeling, interactive adjustment, and re-design. Meanwhile, diverse kinds of objects may be designed, including clothing, graphical user interfaces, skyscrapers, corporate identities, business processes and even methods of designing. >>

    We can safely say that refusal to understand design reflects failure to do something as simple as look it up and read the Wiki article or actually try to understand what design advocates have had to say.

    Indeed, the new preface to NFL, p. xi, OPENS with a discussion of what designers do. Let us see if CH can accurately cite or at least paraphrase what comes after:

    How a designer gets from thought to thing is, at least in broad strokes, straightforward: . . .

    If he answers accurately, he indicts himself as mischaracterising design theory and the substance on what design is. If he cannot answer accurately, he indicts himself as setting up as an activist attack-dog without doing basic homework to get facts straight before launching on a hobby of criticism of design theory.

    So, let us see . . .

    KF

  5. 5
    RexTugwell says:

    KF @ 3: well said

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    CHartsil:

    You don’t just get to say it’s a valid alternative when evolution has been put through the wringer and ID proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design.

    Design is a mechanism. Intelligent agencies manipulating nature for their purpose is a mechanism. “Built-in responses to environmental cues” is a mechanism posited back in 1997 (Spetner “Not By Chance”). GAs and EAs exemplify other design mechanisms- targeted searches for problem solving.

    The design inference is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. It is based on our knowledge gleaned through observations and experiences. ID posits testable entailments which have all been confirmed.

  7. 7
    Andre says:

    Joe you forgot engineering and reverse engineering

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe, I think “mechanism” tends to be used in a sense that implies or suggests lack of creative mind — where if one shuts one’s thoughts to the question of where algorithms and coding come from, one can imagine that computing on object code is mechanical. I think means or method backed up by the fact that we experience designing from the inside are a needed counter. I have given CH a challenge to quote or paraphrase accurately the opening of the preface to NFL; which will show if he has even read the basic books before launching his hobby of criticism. Further to this, I find NFL covers quite well much of the ground that has been subjected to talking point pretzel games. WmAD simply is not the hapless bumbler portrayed by too many objectors to design theory. KF

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    RT, thanks for kind words. Let’s see if CH can pass the basic test — and an accurate cite will not help him with his talking points just above. And BTW, the clip is all over the Internet — public records speak, again. KF

    PS: The clock is ticking . . .

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: While we wait, text of Query 31 of Opticks, 1718, which outlines what is sometimes taught in schools as the scientific method:

    ____________

    >> All these things being consider’d, it seems probable to me, that God in the Beginning form’d Matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable Particles, of such Sizes and Figures, and with such other Properties, and in such Proportion to Space, as most conduced to the End for which he form’d them; and that these primitive Particles being Solids, are incomparably harder than any porous Bodies compounded of them; even so very hard, as never to wear or break in pieces: No ordinary Power being able to divide what God himself made one in the first Creation. While the Particles continue entire, they may compose Bodies of one and the same Nature and Texture in all Ages: But should they wear away, or break in pieces, the Nature of Things depending on them, would be changed. Water and Earth composed of old worn Particles and Fragments of Particles, would not be of the same Nature and Texture now, with Water and Earth composed of entire Particles, in the Beginning. And therefore that Nature may be lasting, the Changes of corporeal Things are to be placed only in the various Separations and new Associations and Motions of these permanent Particles; compound Bodies being apt to break, not in the midst of solid Particles, but where those Particles are laid together, and only touch in a few Points.

    It seems to me farther, that these Particles have not only a Vis inertiæ, accompanied with such passive Laws of Motion as naturally result from that Force, but also that they are moved by certain active Principles, such as is that of Gravity, and that which causes Fermentation, and the Cohesion of Bodies. These Principles I consider not as occult Qualities, supposed to result from the specifick Forms of Things, but as general Laws of Nature, by which the Things themselves are form’d: their Truth appearing to us by Phænomena, though their Causes be not yet discover’d. For these are manifest Qualities, and their Causes only are occult. And the Aristotelians gave the Name of occult Qualities not to manifest Qualities, but to such Qualities only as they supposed to lie hid in Bodies, and to be the unknown Causes of manifest Effects: Such as would be the Causes of Gravity, and of magnetick and electrick Attractions, and of Fermentations, if we should suppose that these Forces or Actions arose from Qualities unknown to us, and uncapable of being discovered and made manifest. Such occult Qualities put a stop to the Improvement of natural Philosophy, and therefore of late Years have been rejected. To tell us that every Species of Things is endow’d with an occult specifick Quality by which it acts an produces manifest Effects, is to tell us nothing: But to derive two or three general Principles of Motion from Phænomena, and afterwards to tell us how the Properties and Actions of all corporeal Things follow from those manifest Principles, would be a very great step in Philosophy, though the Causes of those Principles were not yet discover’d: And therefore I scruple not to propose the Principles of Motion above mention’d, they being of very general Extent, and leave their Causes to be found out.

    Now by the help of these Principles, all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages. For while Comets move in very excentrick Orbs in all manner of Positions, blind Fate could never make all the Planets move one and the same way in Orbs concentrick, some inconsiderable Irregularities excepted which may have risen from the mutual Actions of Comets and Planets upon one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this System wants a Reformation. Such a wonderful Uniformity in the Planetary System must be allowed the Effect of Choice. And so must the Uniformity in the Bodies of Animals, they having generally a right and a left side shaped alike, and on either side of their Bodies two Legs behind, and either two Arms, or two Legs, or two Wings before upon their Shoulders, and between their Shoulders a Neck running down into a Back-bone, and a Head upon it; and in the Head two Ears, two Eyes, a Nose, a Mouth and a Tongue, alike situated. Also the first Contrivance of those very artificial Parts of Animals, the Eyes, Ears, Brain, Muscles, Heart, Lungs, Midriff, Glands, Larynx, Hands, Wings, Swimming Bladders, na tural Spectacles, and other Organs of Sense and Motion; and the Instinct of Brutes and Insects, can be the effect of nothing else than the Wisdom and Skill of a powerful ever-living Agent, who being in all Places, is more able by his Will to move the Bodies within his boundless uniform Sensorium, and thereby to form and reform the Parts of the Universe, than we are by our Will to move the Parts of our own Bodies. And yet we are not to consider the World as the Body of God, or the several Parts thereof, as the Parts of God. He is an uniform Being, void of Organs, Members or Parts, and they are his Creatures subordinate to him, and subservient to his Will; and he is no more the Soul of them, than the Soul of a Man is the Soul of the Species of Things carried through the Organs of Sense into the place of its Sensation, where it perceives them by means of its immediate Presence, without the Intervention of any third thing. The Organs of Sense are not for enabling the Soul to perceive the Species of Things in its Sensorium, but only for conveying them thither; and God has no need of such Organs, he being every where present to the Things themselves. And since Space is divisible in infinitum, and Matter is not necessarily in all places, it may be also allow’d that God is able to create Particles of Matter of several Sizes and Figures, and in several Proportions to Space, and perhaps of different Densities and Forces, and thereby to vary the Laws of Nature, and make Worlds of several sorts in several Parts of the Universe. At least, I see nothing of Contradiction in all this.

    As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phænomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phæ nomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations.

    In the two first Books of these Opticks, I proceeded by this Analysis to discover and prove the original Differences of the Rays of Light in respect of Refrangibility, Reflexibility, and Colour, and their alternate Fits of easy Reflexion and easy Transmission, and the Properties of Bodies, both opake and pellucid, on which their Reflexions and Colours depend. And these Discoveries being proved, may be assumed in the Method of Composition for explaining the Phænomena arising from them: An Instance of which Method I gave in the End of the first Book. In this third Book I have only begun the Analysis of what remains to be discover’d about Light and its Effects upon the Frame of Nature, hinting several things about it, and leaving the Hints to be examin’d and improved by the farther Experiments and Observations of such as are inquisitive. And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. And no doubt, if the Worship of false Gods had not blinded the Heathen, their moral Philosophy would have gone farther than to the four Cardinal Virtues; and instead of teaching the Transmigration of Souls, and to worship the Sun and Moon, and dead Heroes, they would have taught us to worship our true Author and Benefactor.

    FINIS. >>
    ____________

    This should suffice to show that a design frame of thought is not merely compatible with sound scientific methods, but was the context in which they were formulated in more or less the classic form familiar from school.

    Okay, tick tock, tick tock . . .

    KF

  11. 11
    CHartsil says:

    kf, an inference is not a scientific model. You have to have testable mechanisms and be able to use them to make falsifiable predictions.

    I’ve explained this to you… over and over and over and over and over and over.

  12. 12
    CHartsil says:

    “Design is a mechanism. Intelligent agencies manipulating nature for their purpose is a mechanism. ”

    How do you build a car?

    “Design”

    vs

    “Stamping, welding, riveting, bolting”

    So no, just asserting ‘design’ is not a mechanism.

  13. 13
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ CHartsil- the definition of design makes it a mechanism. Your ignorance means nothing. ID has testable entailments. Those are used to make falsifiable predictions.

    So yes, design is a mechanism and no amount of whining will ever change that. Also ID has testable entailments and whining will not change that either.

  14. 14
    CHartsil says:

    “the definition of design makes it a mechanism.”

    Not when design is the claim. You’re claiming that life is designed and haven’t moved past this bare assertion yet.

    So no, ID is not a mechanism and no amount of ad nauseum repetition will change that.

    “Also ID has testable entailments and whining will not change that either.”

    Such as?

  15. 15
    cantor says:

    2 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 12:45 am

    Here’s a novel concept. If ID is science, then put it through the scientific method.

    Here’s a novel concept: if macroevolution via RMNS is science, then put it through the scientific method.

    Oh wait… that’s been tried. Doesn’t work.

  16. 16
    cantor says:

    2 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 12:45 am

    ID proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design.

    Evolution proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of macroevolution that works.

  17. 17
    cantor says:

    11 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    You have to have testable mechanisms and be able to use them to make falsifiable predictions.

    What’s your “testable mechanism” for macroevolution and when/how was it “put through the scientific method”.

  18. 18
    CHartsil says:

    “Oh wait… that’s been tried. Doesn’t work.”

    Yeah that’s why ID is already dead in the water and evolution is still accepted by every biologist on the planet

    “Evolution proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design that works.”

    Probably because we aren’t claiming design

  19. 19
    cantor says:

    14 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    You’re claiming that life is designed and haven’t moved past this bare assertion yet.

    You’re claiming that life is not designed and haven’t moved past that bare assertion yet: You’ve proposed no mechanism that has been “put through the scientific method” and shown to be plausible.

  20. 20
    cantor says:

    18 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    evolution is still accepted by every biologist on the planet

    “Evolution” is accepted by every human on the planet, depending on what you mean by “evolution”.

    Here’s a novel concept: if macroevolution via RMNS is science, then “put it through the scientific method”.

    So what’s your “testable mechanism” for macroevolution and when/how was it “put through the scientific method”.

  21. 21
    RexTugwell says:

    I think I understand what CHartsil is trying to say. For instance, the mechanism for writing a sonnet is ink and quill and paper combined with motions of the wrist.
    Is that about write? 😉

  22. 22
    CHartsil says:

    “You’re claiming that life is not designed and haven’t moved past that bare assertion yet”

    An argument from ignorance is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false, it is “generally accepted” (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four, (1) true, (2) false, (3) unknown between true or false, and (4) being unknowable (among the first three). In debates, appeals to ignorance are sometimes used to shift the burden of proof.

    “So what’s your “testable mechanism” for macroevolution and when/how was it “put through the scientific method”.”

    Descent with modification followed by differential reproductive success. Over the last 150 years

    “For instance, the mechanism for writing a sonnet is ink and quill and paper combined with motions of the wrist.”

    It’s about time someone gets it, pun intended I’m sure

  23. 23
    RexTugwell says:

    @CHartsil
    No, I don’t get it. I was, in fact, mocking you.

  24. 24
    cantor says:

    22 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    “You’re claiming that life is not designed and haven’t moved past that bare assertion yet”

    An argument from ignorance is a fallacy in informal logic.

    14 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    You’re claiming that life is designed and haven’t moved past this bare assertion yet

    An argument from ignorance is a fallacy in informal logic.

  25. 25
    cantor says:

    22 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    “So what’s your “testable mechanism” for macroevolution and when/how was it “put through the scientific method”.”

    Descent with modification followed by differential reproductive success. Over the last 150 years

    Cite three examples of macroevolution which have occurred over the past 150 years.

  26. 26
    cantor says:

    2 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 12:45 am

    ID proponents have failed to produce so much as a single mechanism of design.

    Descent with modification followed by differential reproductive success. Over the last 150 years.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers,

    Observe that CH has failed to cite or paraphrase and has reverted to repeating assertions he knows or full well should know are false. In a nutshell, the design frame pivots on key empirically rooted and testable signs of design as cause. For instance should FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1000 bits turn out to be credibly observed to be caused by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.

    On trillions of observed cases in point, of course, FSCO/I continues to be a reliable sign of design as cause.

    Now, let us see what Dembski actually said in the preface to NFL, as opposed to the strawman caricature CH et al like to make up and insist on in the teeth of repeated correction:

    How a designer gets from thought to thing is, at least in broad strokes, straightforward:

    (1) A designer conceives a purpose.

    (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan.

    (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions.

    (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials.

    What emerges is a designed object, and the designer is successful to the degree that the object fulfills the designer’s purpose. In the case of human designers, this four-part design process is uncontroversial. Baking a cake, driving a car, embezzling funds, and building a supercomputer each presuppose it. Not only do we repeatedly engage in this four-part design process, but we’ve witnessed other people engage in it countless times. Given a sufficiently detailed causal history, we are able to track this process from start to finish.

    But suppose a detailed causal history is lacking and we are not able to track the design process. Suppose instead that all we have is an object, and we must decide whether it emerged from such a design process. In that case how do we decide whether the object is in fact designed? If the object in question is sufficiently like other objects that we know were designed, then there may be no difficulty inferring design. For instance, if we find a scrap of paper with writing on it, we infer a human author even if we know nothing about the paper’s causal history. We are all familiar with humans writing on scraps of paper, and there is no reason to suppose that this scrap of paper requires a different type of causal story.

    Nevertheless, when it comes to living things, the biological community holds that a very different type of causal story is required. To be sure, the biological community admits that biological systems appear to be designed. For instance, Richard Dawkins writes, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”(1) Likewise, Francis Crick writes, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”(2) Or consider the title of Renato Dulbecco’s biology text — The Design of Life.(3) The term “design” is everywhere in the biological literature. Even so, its use is carefully regulated. According to the biological community the appearance of design in biology is misleading. This is not to deny that biology is filled with marvelous contrivances. Biologists readily admit as much. Yet as far as the biological community is concerned, living things are not the result of the four-part design process described above.

    But how does the biological community know that living things are only apparently and not actually designed? According to Francisco Ayala, Charles Darwin provided the answer: “The functional design of organisms and their features would therefore seem to argue for the existence of a designer. It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent. The origin and adaptation of organisms in their profusion and wondrous variations were thus brought into the realm of science.”(4) Is it really the case, however, that the directive organization of living beings can be explained without recourse to a designer? And would employing a designer in biological explanations necessarily take us out of the realm of science? The purpose of this book is to answer these two questions.

    The title of this book, No Free Lunch, refers to a collection of mathematical theorems proved in the last five years about evolutionary algorithms. The upshot of these theorems is that evolutionary algorithms, far from being universal problem solvers, are in fact quite limited problem solvers that depend crucially on additional information not inherent in the algorithms before they are able to solve any interesting problems. This additional information needs to be carefully specified and fine-tuned, and such specification and fine-tuning is always thoroughly teleological. Consequently, evolutionary algorithms are incapable of providing a computational justification for the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation as the primary creative force in biology. The subtitle, Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence, refers to that form of information, known as specified complexity or complex specified information, that is increasingly coming to be regarded as a reliable empirical marker of purpose, intelligence, and design.

    What is specified complexity? An object, event, or structure exhibits specified complexity if it is both complex (i.e., one of many live possibilities) and specified (i.e., displays an independently given pattern). A long sequence of randomly strewn scrabble pieces is complex without being specified. A short sequence spelling the word “the” is specified without being complex. A sequence corresponding to a Shakespearean sonnet is both complex and specified. In The Design Inference(5) I argued that specified complexity is a reliable empirical marker of intelligence. Nevertheless, critics of my argument have claimed that evolutionary algorithms, and the Darwinian mechanism in particular, can deliver specified complexity apart from intelligence.(6) I anticipated this criticism in The Design Inference but did not address it there in detail. Filling in the details is the task of the present volume.

    The Design Inference laid the groundwork. This book demonstrates the inadequacy of the Darwinian mechanism to generate specified complexity. Darwinists themselves have made possible such a refutation. By assimilating the Darwinian mechanism to evolutionary algorithms, they have invited a mathematical assessment of the power of the Darwinian mechanism to generate life’s diversity. Such an assessment, begun with the No Free Lunch theorems of David Wolpert and William Macready (see section 4.6), will in this book be taken to its logical conclusion. The conclusion is that Darwinian mechanisms of any kind, whether in nature or in silico, are in principle incapable of generating specified complexity. Coupled with the growing evidence in cosmology and biology that nature is chock-full of specified complexity (cf. the fine-tuning of cosmological constants and the irreducible complexity of biochemical systems), this conclusion implies that naturalistic explanations are incomplete and that design constitutes a legitimate and fundamental mode of scientific explanation.

    In arguing that naturalistic explanations are incomplete or equivalently that natural causes cannot account for all the features of the natural world, I am placing natural causes in contradistinction to intelligent causes. The scientific community has itself drawn this distinction in its use of these twin categories of causation. Thus, in the quote earlier by Francisco Ayala, “Darwin’s greatest accomplishment [was] to show that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent.”(7) Natural causes, as the scientific community understands them, are causes that operate according to deterministic and non-deterministic laws and that can be characterized in terms of chance, necessity, or their combination (cf. Jacques Monod’s Chance and Necessity).(8) To be sure, if one is more liberal about what one means by natural causes, and includes among natural causes telic processes that are not reducible to chance and necessity (like the ancient Stoics did by endowing nature with immanent teleology), then my claim that natural causes are incomplete dissolves. But that is not how the scientific community by and large understands natural causes.

    The distinction between natural and intelligent causes now raises an interesting question when it comes to embodied intelligences like ourselves, who are at once physical systems and intelligent agents: Are embodied intelligences natural causes? Even if the actions of an embodied intelligence proceed solely by natural causes, being determined entirely by the constitution and dynamics of the physical system that embodies it, that does not mean the origin of that system can be explained by reference solely to natural causes. Such systems could exhibit derived intentionality in which the underlying source of intentionality is irreducible to natural causes (cf. a digital computer). I shall argue that intelligent agency, even when conditioned by a physical system that embodies it, cannot be reduced to natural causes without remainder. Moreover, I shall argue that specified complexity is precisely the remainder that remains unaccounted for. Indeed, I shall argue that the defining feature of intelligent causes is their ability to create novel information, and in particular specified complexity.

    Design has had a turbulent intellectual history. The chief difficulty with design to date has consisted in discovering a conceptually powerful formulation of it that will fruitfully advance science. While I fully grant that the history of design arguments warrants misgivings, they do not apply to the present project. The theory of design I envision is not an atavistic return to the design arguments of William Paley and the Bridgewater Treatises. William Paley was in no position to formulate the conceptual framework for design that I shall be developing in this book. This new framework depends on advances in probability theory, computer science, the concept of information, molecular biology, and the philosophy of science — to name but a few. Within this framework design promises to become an effective conceptual tool for investigating and understanding the world.

    Increased philosophical and scientific sophistication, however, is not alone in separating my approach to design from Paley’s. Paley’s approach was closely linked to his prior religious and metaphysical commitments. Mine is not. Paley’s designer was nothing short of the triune God of Christianity, a transcendent, personal, moral being with all the perfections commonly attributed to this God. On the other hand, the designer that emerges from a theory of intelligent design is an intelligence capable of originating the complexity and specificity that we find throughout the cosmos and especially in biological systems. Persons with theological commitments can co-opt this designer and identify this designer with the object of their worship. But this move is strictly optional as far as the actual science of intelligent design is concerned.

    The crucial question for science is whether design helps us understand the world, and especially the biological world, better than we do now when we systematically eschew teleological notions from our scientific theorizing. Thus a scientist may view design and its appeal to a designer as simply a fruitful device for understanding the world, not attaching any significance to questions like whether a theory of design is in some ultimate sense true or whether the designer actually exists. Philosophers of science would call this a constructive empiricist approach to design. Scientists in the business of manufacturing theoretical entities like quarks, strings, and cold dark matter could therefore view the designer as just one more theoretical entity to be added to the list. I follow here Ludwig Wittgenstein, who wrote: “What a Copernicus or a Darwin really achieved was not the discovery of a true theory but of a fertile new point of view.”(9) If design cannot be made into a fertile new point of view that inspires exciting new areas of scientific investigation, then it deserves to wither and die. Yet before that happens, it deserves a fair chance to succeed.

    One of my main motivations in writing this book is to free science from arbitrary constraints that, in my view, stifle inquiry, undermine education, turn scientists into a secular priesthood, and in the end prevent intelligent design from receiving a fair hearing. The subtitle of Richard Dawkins’s The Blind Watchmaker reads Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. Dawkins may be right that design is absent from the universe. But science needs to address not only the evidence that reveals the universe to be without design but also the evidence that reveals the universe to be with design. Evidence is a two-edged sword: Claims capable of being refuted by evidence are also capable of being supported by evidence. Even if design ends up being rejected as an unfruitful explanatory tool for science, such a negative outcome for design needs to result from the evidence for and against design being fairly considered. Darwin himself would have agreed: “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”(10) Consequently, any rejection of design must not result from imposing arbitrary constraints on science that rule out design prior to any consideration of evidence.

    Two main such constraints have historically been used to keep design outside the natural sciences: methodological naturalism and dysteleology. According to methodological naturalism, in explaining any natural phenomenon the natural sciences are properly permitted to invoke only natural causes to the exclusion of intelligent causes. On the other hand, dysteleology refers to inferior design — typically design that is either evil or incompetent. Dysteleology rules out design from the natural sciences on account of the inferior design that nature is said to exhibit. In this book I shall address methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism is a regulative principle that purports to keep science on the straight and narrow by limiting science to natural causes. I intend to show that it does nothing of the sort but instead constitutes a straitjacket that actively impedes the progress of science.

    On the other hand, I shall not have anything to say about dysteleology. Dysteleology might present a problem if all design in nature were wicked or incompetent and never matched up with our moral and aesthetic yardsticks. But that’s not the case. To be sure, there are microbes that seem designed to do a number on the mammalian nervous system and biological structures that look cobbled together by a long trial-and-error evolutionary process. But there are also biological examples of nano-engineering that surpass anything human engineers have concocted or entertain hopes of concocting. Dysteleology is primarily a theological problem.(11) To exclude design from biology simply because not all examples of biological design live up to our expectations of what a designer should or should not have done is an evasion. The problem of design in biology is real and pervasive, and needs to be addressed head on and not sidestepped because our presuppositions about design happen to rule out imperfect design. Nature is a mixed bag. It is not William Paley’s happy world of everything in delicate harmony and balance. It is not the widely caricatured Darwinian world of nature red in tooth and claw. Nature contains evil design, jerry-built design, and exquisite design. Science needs to come to terms with design as such and not dismiss it in the name of dysteleology.

    There is much more there than one would glean from the sketches provided by critics, and Dembski spends time elaborating and grounding.

    On the particular assertion that design is not a mechanism, in fact design is a creative intelligent and purposeful process that we are all familiar with from the inside. Indeed objectors provide examples of design when they come to UD and post objections, designs that are full of FSCO/I.

    Of course, designs do not stay in the realm of abstractions.

    As Dembski pointed out, techniques, materials, procedures, skills are used to translate ideas into artifacts. And such artifacts often show strong signs of design as cause such as FSCO/I.

    Which, the very objectors themselves manifest in making their objections.

    Now, there is a problem here.

    This has been repeatedly pointed out to CH specifically, just willfully dismissed in disregard to duties of care to truth and fairness, much less reason.

    At this point I cannot view CH in particular as a fair minded or responsible objector, especially given additional concerns on fake Facebook pages and the like.

    For the more serious minded objector, I suggest that on design techniques we are familiar with the point that there is more than one way to skin a catfish.

    And, the empirical reliability of key signs of design such as FSCO/I, does not strongly depend on particular technique. FSCO/I traces to the manifestation of configurations of components where multiple parts are fitted together and coupled in specifically interactive ways that achieve functions. Those trace to actions of intelligence rather than to particular technique and so they are effectively independent of technique.

    It matters not if I touch type or two finger type, or use combox or Word then copy paste etc. All will work and will show FSCO/I.

    On life forms — and as repeatedly pointed out but willfully ignored, a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al would do. We are already making first steps, as any serious minded inquirer will readily recognise.

    As to how the fine tuned observed cosmos could be designed, we don’t yet have a clue. But we still have good reason to take signs of design setting up a cosmos that sits at a narrow operating point that enables C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life seriously.

    KF

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    CHartsil: Here’s a novel concept. If ID is science, then put it through the scientific method.

    There is nothing novel about that concept.

    Furthermore, your post was the result of intelligent design, even though misguided. The claims of ID are put to the test every day here at UD. Your post is just one more in the long line of confirmations.

    That probably went right over your head though. Perhaps we should lower the bar of intelligence.

  29. 29
    CHartsil says:

    “No, I don’t get it. I was, in fact, mocking you.”

    The only time a creationist on this board even sounds remotely intelligent is when they’re pretending to understand evolution. What does that tell you?

    “In a nutshell, the design frame pivots on key empirically rooted and testable signs of design as cause. For instance should FSCO/I ”

    Question begging. You have to demonstrate it’s designed in the first place. You can’t just assert it then post a Gish gallop

    “Cite three examples of macroevolution which have occurred over the past 150 years.

    “Over the last 150 years” was in reply to “and when/how was it “put through the scientific method””

    “The claims of ID are put to the test every day here at UD.”

    I see a lot of creationists making a lot of assertions. Never have I seen anyone post so much as a single mechanism for ID

  30. 30
    Timaeus says:

    CHartsil (29):

    I asked you on a previous thread to clarify what you meant by a mechanism for ID. You still haven’t answered.

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    CHartsil:

    I see a lot of creationists making a lot of assertions. Never have I seen anyone post so much as a single mechanism for ID

    So?

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    CH,

    You have been pushing a talking point on “no mechanism” for design.

    Never mind, this was a blatant thread-jack from comment no 2, I figured News would not mind taking up and addressing this talking point.

    I took a moment to cite Wikipedia’s article on the nature of design, which makes it plain how design works.

    You were unresponsive.

    I have taken time to challenge you to see if you have had even basic familiarity with Dembski’s summary of the nature and main methods/approach to design IN THE OPENING WORDS OF NFL.

    As in, the work and crystallising words of the person most associated with the launch of modern design theory as a coherent research programme, in one of his two foundational works.

    You show no such familiarity nor were you willing to go as far as doing a basic Google search.

    Thus, you have shown the reasonable onlooker that your game is accusation by talking point, not serious discussion, as your resort to alluding to the silly, dishonest, lazy and loaded caricature about design thinkers being “Creationists in cheap tuxedos” directly suggests.

    The evidence is that you are an angry and intellectually incompetent troll, one who has been engaging in tactics such as fraudulent Facebook accounts designed to push an agenda of similar talking points. Nevertheless, I decided let us give CH one last chance.

    I and others have pointed out further to a serious engagement, that you are intimately and unavoidably familiar with the nature and products of design just from posting comments in this thread; which manifest a key sign of design, functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I. This, through s-t-r-i-n-g-s of coded symbols in reasonably meaningful English that goes beyond the reasonable blind search capability of our solar system or even the observed cosmos, 500 – 1,000 bits.

    So, you cannot plead basic ignorance, and have manifest duties of care in the face of facts, fairness, reasonableness and more.

    Willful ideological blindness backed up by closed-minded hostility may lead to ignorance indeed, but it is not innocent ignorance. CH, you know, or should know far better than you have been carrying on.

    Game over.

    Notwithstanding, I took time to — again, you have willfully ignored correction before this, in intent of playing the game of creating a false impression of truth based on drumbeat repetition of adequately answered accusations and talking points — point out that design, primus, is the conceptual, intelligent creative process that specifies an organisation of an entity towards relevant goals. In the words of the definition cited in Wiki:

    (noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints;

    (verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)

    Dembski, in the opening words of NFL’s preface, reflects this then draws out secundus, design as embedded in the manifested entity due to moving “from thought to thing”:

    How a designer gets from thought to thing is, at least in broad strokes, straightforward:

    (1) A designer conceives a purpose.

    (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan.

    (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions.

    (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials.

    What emerges is a designed object, and the designer is successful to the degree that the object fulfills the designer’s purpose . . .

    This thread — including your own comments — is replete with cases in point. The computers of various types being used to compose and read comments, the comments, the Internet we are using and the wider world of technology are replete with cases in point. Such demonstrate to the willing mind how design is inherently intelligent, creative, cognitive, a fruit of rational and purposeful contemplation (as opposed to blindly mechanical GIGO limited algorithmic computation though the aid of such devices is common). There are techniques, systems and even a science of design, TRIZ, the theory of inventive problem solving.

    Were you seriously interested, such could and would have long since been investigated or at least reflected on.

    Designers often uses specialised techniques, especially in processing primitives to produce the entities reflecting the underlying thought.

    In the case of the world of cell based life, I pointed to cases of actual first baby steps intelligent design of life forms, through molecular nanotechnologies, by Venter et al. Beyond, lie the general techniques of biochemistry and organic chemistry.

    That is insofar as “mechanism” — technique is a more correct term — is applicable, design techniques relevant to the world of life are an empirically established fact in a world of genetically modified organisms.

    We could go on, highlighting how built-in ability to undergo at least some degree of incremental adaptation to environment by chance variation and differential reproductive success would manifest the design goal and technique of robustness in the face of a variable environment. Including, some degree of graceful degradation rather than brittle designs overly prone to catastrophic failure on slight variation leading to extinction.

    And more.

    Tertius, I pointed out that in the case of a fine tuned observed cosmos — the only observed cosmos — set to a locally deeply isolated operating point that enables C-chemistry, aqueous medium, terrestrial planet cell based life, we can trace the signs tracing to the concept, but do not have an insight on how a cosmos can be created. Though the strong evidence of a beginning (projected currently at ~ 13.8 BYA) points to an antecedent cause with capability to “monkey” with physics so that “there are no blind forces of consequence” in the world.

    In case you miss my allusions, I cite Nobel-equivalent prize holder and distinguished Astrophysicist, Sir Fred Hoyle, a life-long agnostic (that is, your internalised dismissal about “Creationists” should be switched off):

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

    In short, you need to recognise that just as Newton was able to identify a force factor, gravitation from its signs without having a clear idea of the specific ways and means by which it swings into action, the recognition of signs that mark design as causal factor is a reasonable exercise of the inductive logic of science.

    But at this point, I am pretty well convinced you are only playing at attack rhetoric, rather than even minimally responsive reasoned discussion. So, I must raise one last point.

    Namely, with the accusation Gish gallop you have crossed a serious line, willful false accusation of deceit . . . a definite troll’s tactic and grounds for concluding bad faith on your part beyond possibility of serious or reasonable discussion.

    Stop it, now — and walk it back.

    As it is, you have now earned poster child status.

    KF

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On FSCO/I as a sign of design, with remarks on design:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-relevant/

  34. 34
    RexTugwell says:

    “The only time a creationist on this board even sounds remotely intelligent is when they’re pretending to understand evolution. What does that tell you?”

    It tells me life is full of irony and that sonnets evolve.

    CH, I think it would be enlightening for all of us if you explain what you mean by “mechanism of ID”. Thanks in advance.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    RT, given the rhetorical pattern we have seen, that Ch will never do — he evidently wishes to accuse and dismiss not actually substantially address. Of course, if that is not the case, all he needs to do is actually give a serious response that reckons with what has long since been on the table. On track record, don’t hold your breath. KF

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Dembski explains his reasoning at ENV, giving us a baseline for serious discussion:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64871.html

    >> Logic has a starting point and an end point, and it follows a course or path from the starting to the end point. It thus has a direction, and one can speak of something being “upstream” or “downstream” from a particular point in an argument. The design inference, as I developed it, looks to a marker of design, what I call specified complexity or specified improbability, and from there reasons to a designing intelligence as responsible for this marker. If you think of brute complexity as simply a long random sequence of numbers, specified complexity is likewise a long sequence of numbers, but this time with a salient pattern (e.g., a Unicode representation of meaningful English text) . . . . What’s significant, however, for this discussion is the associated flow of logic, namely, FROM an information-theoretic marker of intelligence (specified complexity) TO an intelligent cause responsible for that marker (a designer). Specified complexity is an information-theoretic property exhibited by certain systems. A combination of mathematical and empirical factors characterizes it. Specified complexity is a sign. A sign of what? An intelligent cause. . . . .

    Intelligent design, as the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the product of intelligence (such patterns exhibit specified complexity), subsumes many special sciences, including archeology, forensics, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. None of these sciences concludes — full stop — with a designer. Rather, once design is inferred, a host of new questions arise. Given an archeological artifact, for instance, what is its function, what group of people was responsible, and what technologies did they have available? Given a death by unnatural causes, who was the perpetrator, how did he do it, and what might have been his motive? Given an intelligently produced radio signal from outer space, where are these aliens, what are they trying to communicate, and are we ever likely to encounter them directly?

    More generally, once the possibility of design detection is raised, the following questions readily present themselves:

    Detectability problem — How is design detected? (answer: specified complexity)
    Functionality problem — What is a designed object’s function?
    Transmission problem — How does an object’s design trace back historically? (the search for narrative)
    Construction problem — How was a designed object constructed?
    Reverse-engineering problem — How could a designed object have been constructed?
    Perturbation problem — How has the original design been modified and what factors have modified it?
    Variability problem — What degree of perturbation allows continued functioning?
    Restoration problem — Once perturbed, how can the original design be recovered?
    Constraints problem — What are the constraints within which a designed object functions well and outside of which it breaks down?
    Optimality problem — In what way is the design optimal?

    Each of these questions falls squarely within the natural and engineering sciences. Such questions are far from exhaustive, but they point up that once we know an intelligence has acted, inquiry proceeds by asking a new set of questions quite different from the questions we would ask if we thought the phenomenon in question were simply the product of blind material forces. So, suppose an intelligence is detected not just among human artifacts, as in archeology, but in cosmology and biology. Doesn’t this make intelligence a fundamental theoretical entity for science, on the order of a quark or black hole or quantum field? Yes it does. And such an entity might even be said to challenge scientific materialism and provide an opening for theism. That said, it goes too far to claim, as one commonly hears, that ID posits God as a theoretical entity for science.

    Identifying the Designer

    Critics of intelligent design think it somehow duplicitous that ID proponents don’t precisely identify the designer or intelligence that they infer from various patterns in nature. Instead, critics charge that they should come right out and admit that the designer is the God of their religious faith. Yet the problem is that nature by itself (leaving aside philosophy and theology) provides little evidence for the God of ethical monotheism. Nature gives us examples of great beauty and extreme ugliness, of gentleness as well as cruelty and indifference. Nor does it say anything about the revelation of God to Abraham or Moses, or in Christ. The intelligence that a design inference tells us is operating in nature may be the direct agency of the Judeo-Christian God. But even if the Judeo-Christian God is real, the intelligence we observe in nature may be acting through teleological surrogates (e.g., telic processes built into nature) that, via secondary causes, realize God’s purposes but don’t represent his direct activity.

    To complicate things further, God is not the only option as the ultimate source of the intelligence we find in nature. It could be that nature is complete in itself, with no need for a personal transcendent God, and that its intelligence is intrinsic. How that could be and whether it is coherent are topics for the philosophy of religion. The point is that intelligent design does not posit God as a theoretical entity. Rather, it infers that intelligence acts in nature, and in the biological world in particular, yet without prejudice for the metaphysics or theology that might say who or what that intelligence is. This is not duplicitous. It is simply being honest about how far the evidence of nature can take us. Intelligent design can infer that a designing intelligence has been active in nature. Such an intelligence, simply in virtue of the tools that ID uses to study intelligence, will have to be characterized in highly generic terms. Identifying that intelligence with God will always require additional philosophical or theological moves extrinsic to ID . . . .

    As far as any scientific theory of intelligent design is concerned, however, the intelligence or designer active in cosmology and biology does one key thing, namely, create novel information — and not just any information, but specified complexity. The term specified complexity has gotten a bad rap from some contemporary critics, as though the term is merely a magic phrase for covering our ignorance of how design inferences really work. But variations of the term specified complexity have been around now for fifty years, with even Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick seeing structures that are at once complex and specified as urgently requiring explanation.

    Intelligent design therefore does not start with positing God as a theoretical entity for science. Rather it starts with finding specified complexity in nature and using this to infer that an intelligence is operating in nature, an intelligence especially implicated in cosmological fine tuning and various forms of biological complexity. What nature tells us about this intelligence, however, is quite limited and doesn’t nearly go the distance of a full-blown metaphysics or theology. In particular, one has to go outside science to make the identification of this intelligence with the God of religious faith. This, by the way, is entirely in line with a view that says science can provide evidence for a premise in an argument for God’s existence. Intelligent design treats specified complexity as evidence that an intelligence operates in nature. >>

    More from the horse’s mouth.

    KF

  37. 37
  38. 38
    cantor says:

    25 cantor March 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Cite three examples of macroevolution which have occurred over the past 150 years.

    29 CHartsilMarch 6, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    “Over the last 150 years” was in reply to “and when/how was it “put through the scientific method””

    .

    So it was “put through the scientific method over the last 150 years” but no macroevolution occurred… and that provides the proof. Hard to have a meaningful dialog with someone who uses logic like that.

    .

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