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BTB, Bob O’H vs the trillion-member observational base of FSCO/I and the design inference on reliable sign

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It seems we need more back to basis by us deplorable lightweight ID-iots, again.

Here, Bob O’H refuses to take the trillion member case observational base that functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I for short] is a reliable sign of intelligently directed configuration as key causal factor.

Accordingly, in the answering ID is religion BTB thread, I just answered him at no. 31:

[KF, 31:] >>Let’s pick up on points:

>>As for FSCO/I, I’ve never seen it been applied to any real example,>>

That is an amazing admission for an objector that has been around UD for years, not only as GP above has spoken to, but the many cases that were used as tests/challenges and the like.

The text of presumably your post is 1269 ASCII characters, at 7 bits per character. The config space implied is 2^8,883 or 1.12*10^2,674. The atomic resources of our sol system or the observed cosmos across ~10^17 s, and at fast rates of 10^12 – 14/s, would not be able to scratch more than a negligibly tiny proportion of the space of possibilities, so blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are not feasible as credible causal explanation. So, we infer to what on a trillion member base is known to reliably produce such FSCO/I. Intelligently directed configuration.

All of this has been explained and exemplified many, many times.

>> and to the extent it has any validity it just seems to be a calculation of the size of a state space.>>

As just seen, it is far more, it is an assessment of the credibility of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity being able to search more than a negligibly tiny fraction of a space of configs.

Where, the underlying point is that complex functionally specific organisation depends on multiple well matched parts with correct arrangements and appropriate coupling if it is to work. Just visit your friendly local mechanic’s shop if you are in doubt as to what this means.

This confines function to isolated islands in the space of possibilities, posing a stiff search challenge to blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.

Then, we see that a complex 3-d organised functional entity, as AutoCAD etc exemplify, is readily reducible to a string of y/n q’s and a’s in a description language, i.e. analysis on bit strings is WLOG.

Going further, a obvious biological case is D/RNA and the protein family of molecules in the living cell. A viable genome size is about 100 – 1,000 kbits at the low end, thus we see the OOL challenge emerging. We have to account for the quantum of coded algorithmic information that shapes proteins. We then have to ponder that algorithms and implementing machines — here built from essentially the same means — are based on codes and purposeful designs that use codes coupled to execution machinery, thus both a hardware and a software engineering challenge, wit codes as a manifestation of language, Yes, even the machine language we see in the living cell.

100 – 1,000 kbits is a bit more than the amount of info that in the case of your comment above, was enough to reliably infer intelligently directed configuration.

We have excellent reason to infer that the living cell, from OOL up is designed, and further that body plans which require ~ 10 – 100++ million bits to effect, are further designed.

Design best accounts for the tree of life from its roots.

All this of course has been laid out again and again here at UD and elsewhere, just studiously brushed aside.

>> But even huge state spaces can be traversed to find optima (and evolution in the natural world isn’t even about finding optima: it’s just about finding something better).>>

You here pose two issues. First, given the architecture of FSCO/I we see isolated islands of function, so you are addressing at level one increments of function within an island, which is not an issue for ID or even YEC for that matter. Micro-evo within the body plan and it seems up tot sometimes the family level in taxonomical terms.

As you know or should know, were you to be actually addressing the substantial issue as presented over many years (and you are a long-term objector at UD), the issue is to find islands of function in large config spaces.

Thus this first level builds on the prior misconceptions.

At second level, the issue is search for golden search. Yes, some searches in certain cases are well adapted and work quite effectively. But there is no one size fits all golden search. Horses for courses, and searches for cases.

More broadly, a search in a space is a subset sampled from it. Thus the set of possible searches is tantamount to the power set of the space. So for a space of n configs, we are looking at a search of order 2^n. So, at the FSCO/I threshold, 2^(10^150) or more.

Search for a golden search is exponentially harder than search for a an island of function.

The oh there is a golden search objection fails.

>>So I’m afraid I don’t take the “trillion member empirical base” that seriously. Sorry.>>

This seems to be the root issue. For, by refusing to examine the world of FSCO/I around us and its characteristics, there is a lack of appreciation of the problem at stake.

That is why trivially answered objections keep on being recirculated even here at UD after many years, much less in the echo-chamber objector sites.

And indeed there are trillions of cases in point, ranging from text in this thread to car engines and computers to the threading of nuts and bolts or the teeth of gears. Even, to sustain a smooth optical surface or a precise levelled floor in a factory is non-trivial and manifests FSCO/I. Not to mention things like stonehenge or statues carved in cliff faces (vs natural “man face” phenomena), a circle of stones seemingly arranged to align with astronomical phenomena.

Perhaps, it is time for fresh thinking by objectors to the design inference?>>

Back to basics, yet again. END

19 Replies to “BTB, Bob O’H vs the trillion-member observational base of FSCO/I and the design inference on reliable sign

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Answering Bob O’H: Is the trillion member observational base that shows that reliably FSCO/I is produced by intelligently directed configuration, irrelevant?

  2. 2
    roding says:

    I was curious about the etymology of FSCO/I so did some Googling and a search on Pubmed. All my searches point largely back to this site and specifically to KF. I don’t know for sure but looks this term has been coined by KF himself (presumably FSCO/I is a derivative or alternative to CSI – if so what’s the difference or do they complement each other?)

    I would be interested to know who else in the scientific community is talking about FSCO/I and whether there are any published papers. If not, perhaps KF you should write and publish one so the larger scientific community can get exposure and comment on this idea? Otherwise right now it just seems KF’s own idea he is promoting without any wider support. Not to say it doesn’t have merit, but would be interesting to see whether the concept has any uptake elsewhere.

  3. 3

    Yet another great post. Thank you.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Roding

    Here for a moment. FSCO/I is a simple way to abbreviate a mouthful of a phrase.

    Think of it as CSI in a context where

    (a) the specification is tied to multipart function based on configuration, and

    (b) the information content may be implicit in the functional organisation.

    Phrases substantially equivalent have popped up in the literature.

    Of particular importance is the famous case of D/RNA, which is a family of coded information-bearing string molecules that use more or less prong-height patterns much like the old fashioned Yale lock. Of course text of posts in this thread is an example.

    Nor, strictly do we need to appeal to the authority of a Journal or Conference Editor and peer review board to decide whether or not a discussion is sound on the merits.

    After all, no authority is better than his or her — or their collective — facts, logic and controlling assumptions.

    Of course in some cases we do rely on authorities as the relevant facts and especially heavily mathematised reasoning may not be readily accessible. For some aspects that will be so but this is a case where the main point is quite accessible in a digital information age. We know information is readily translated into strings of y/n elements and that these can be structured through codes. We know that in a string of n binary digits (bits is a contraction), the number of possibilities in the abstract space of possible configurations — config space as I often abbreviate (and yes this is a cut-down phase space or state space) is 2 x 2 x 2 x . . . x2, n times.

    With things based on well-matched parts in configured networks [think, exploded views, wiring diagrams, and node-arc meshes — this last being great for gears etc], there is a rapid mounting up of the constraints to get things to work, and there is usually a cluster of “nearby” configs that will more or less work. That is where the metaphor islands of function comes from . . . and I have seen that tracing back to Dembski quite a few years back.

    Of course AutoCAD etc show how strings can address the world of engineered systems.

    WLOG, we may reduce any FSCO/I rich entity to coded strings so discussion on strings covers the general case.

    We then face the challenge of blind chance and mechanical necessity searching a config space to reach shorelines of function. (Hill climbing incrementally within such an island to achieve superior function is a much easier search problem, and objectors often confuse this for the real challenge.)

    Sol system disposes of 10^57 atoms, about 99% in Sol. The observed cosmos, about 10^80. Dark matter and other exotica are not relevant.

    In ~10^17 s at 10^12 to 10^14 actions/s (fast chem rxn rates, esp in an organic context) only a near-infinitesimal fraction of the space can be searched when we talk of config spaces of 500 – 1,000 or more bits: 3.27*10^150 – 1.07*10^301 possibilities. That is, the search scope is not credibly effective relative to the space. Likewise, the search for a golden search is easily seen to be exponentially harder. As, searches are subsets by sample, so the space of possible searches is the power set of the original search. 2^(10^150) is calculator-smoking territory, just the log is ~ 10^149.

    No this cannot be rhetorically dismissed as just big numbers, this is the sort of problem faced in trying to blindly get to FSCO/I.

    This is the context where, on trillions of cases (just the www etc is over that threshold now) the only actually observed adequate cause of such FSCO/I is intelligently directed configuration.

    So, it is not laziness or anti-science to draw the inductive, empirical evidence based conclusion that FSCO/I is a strong sign of design as cause.

    Note, design process, not any particular designer. Evidence of arson — e.g. accelerants and a set-up ignition scheme — comes before looking for particular arsonists.

    Onward, we can then think through what it means to be dealing with an information-rich, credibly designed world.

    Right now, many are still struggling with ABC basics.

    I really want to go on to reverse engineering and adapting to things like industrial civ 2.0 and development transformation then onward solar system colonisation.

    The real sci-tech challenge of this century.

    KF

  5. 5
    roding says:

    KF: “Nor, strictly do we need to appeal to the authority of a Journal or Conference Editor and peer review board to decide whether or not a discussion is sound on the merits.”

    Sure, but on the other hand if ID wants to be regarded as science (as discussed in another post), then there would be merit in pursuing traditional avenues of validation and peer review. Right now the promotion of FSCO/I, while intriguing, seems to be solely in your hands. I don’t honestly understand most of what you write about the intricacies of FCSO/I, that’s what I’m curious to see if others have also taken up the cause who can provide alternative perspectives. But it appears they don’t exist.

    Scientific ideas if they are to survive should be able to stand the rigor of opposition and probing. So why not take the plunge and publish so this idea can enjoy a wider and more critically qualified audience rather than a blog?

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    roding, other folks have done a significant amount of that work (try here for a peek); a thankless task given the ideological establishment and ruthlessness of some factions out there. Here at UD, the focus is different — this is not by and large an online graduate seminar room. There is a need to address informal and publicly accessible education, fairly serious discussion and updating. Also, wider issues relevant to the future of our civilisation, as these issues are much more broadly relevant than to just those who read journals on a regular basis; these issues speak to worldview foundations and cultural trends too. That’s why for instance a main issue over the past year or so has been, what does it mean to claim an infinite actual past for a [quasi-]physical, temporal cosmos. And, if someone needs to go to a journal to make sense of the acronym FSCO/I and its import as a sign of design, that speaks to deeper problems than can be validated through journal references. KF

  7. 7
  8. 8
    roding says:

    I look at it from a critical thinking perspective:

    * Who is making the claim – and what is their expertise, training and academic qualifications?
    * What other corrobatory evidence is there for the claim? Have others (for example) repeated the experience with the same results?
    * What are the opposing ideas? What is the overall scientific community in general saying about the idea?

    This are all valid questions (at least in my mind), which in this case cannot really be addressed (KF, we don’t really even know who you are). So forgive me for remaining skeptical.

    But again, it feels like you want to claim ID is science, but seem to want to change the rules of how science is practiced. Yes, I think if this is an important and valuable scientific idea, then it isn’t unreasonable at all to expect a proper scientific presentation, which would include journals. Why not. If you want validity to your idea, then do the work. I’m not an expert in information theory so I cannot assess if your idea has merit without some external perspective by actual experts (again I have no idea of what your background is in this field, other than that you are an interested amateur).

    You of course can disagree, but then the outcome will be that your ideas will remain largely invisible and banished to the nether regions of the web.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    Roding, you missed the ball. There are three levers of persuasion, pathos, ethos, logos. Of these, our emotions etc are no better than the accuracy of underlying judgements and perceptions. Appeals to credibility of a presenter or source have no more force than their case on the merits. Thus, it is the substance on fact, logic and underlying controlling assumptions that — though least persuasive short term — ultimately count. In this case, the basic facts and reasoning are perfectly accessible in an information age (and judging by Cicero and Plato long before) so there is no call to obfuscate it behind a cloud of esoterica. So, the matters are on the table. FSCO/I is an acronym that abbreviates a phrase. It is readily observable all around us, posts in this thread exemplify. Things like D/RNA are directly parallel in the world of life. The challenge to blind search is obvious and obviously infeasible. Intelligently directed configuration is as readily seen as posts in this thread. The case is so strong that it leaks out around the edges of academic discussions and institutionally powerful objectors are doing highly dubious things — as say Lewontin inadvertently laid out. The issue, then is what each of us is going to do with what is VERY politically incorrect but is staring us the face. KF

    PS: Lewontin:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Strange, a comment on critical thinking perspective I responded to just now seems to have vanished.

    Here’s the snippet from the RH col:

    roding I look at it from a critical thinking perspective:’ *… – BTB, BobO’H vs the trillion-member observational…

    What’s up with WP?

    KF

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    OT:

    podcast – “Jonathan Wells: Why Not Darwinian Medicine? ”
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_05-07_00

    podcast – “Michael Behe, Revolutionary, Polar Bears and Evolution by Breaking Things”
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....5_32-07_00

  12. 12
    Daniel King says:

    roding, other folks have done a significant amount of that work (try here for a peek); a thankless task given the ideological establishment and ruthlessness of some factions out there.

    The system is rigged.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    OT:

    Plants ‘see’ underground by channelling light to their roots – 1 November 2016
    Excerpt: Plants seem to pipe sunlight directly down into underground roots to help them grow.,,,
    They found that the plant stem acts like a fibre-optic cable, conducting light down to receptors in the roots known as phytochromes.,,,
    To check whether light was directly transmitted through the plant rather than it activating signalling chemicals that travelled to the roots, the researchers attached a light source to the stem of plants via an optical fibre. An underground detector at the end of the roots confirmed that light was transmitted through.,,,
    Most plants have phytochromes, suggesting that directly piping sunlight down the stem is a common mechanism used to optimise root growth, says Lee.,,,
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2111027-plants-see-underground-by-channelling-light-to-their-roots/

    File it under ‘no design to see here folks, it’s just an evolutionary accident’

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    DK,

    Actually, yes, the system IS “rigged,” if you want to use that currently over-used term:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

    KF

  15. 15
    rvb8 says:

    The point roding makes about the complexity of the definitions here, of the abstruse language, the length of posts, and the utter lack of understanding, clarity, or reader satisfaction, at the end of the posts, is a valid one.

    Not to say that the writing is poor, it just seems to lack a beginning premise, a middle justification, and a clear conclusion; unlike science.

    And the language always, not sometimes, falls back onto the divine. I have no problem with this, all power to you, it’s just that I would appreciate just a smidgen of honesty when invoking the designer, and Her/His/Its supernatural qualities.

    Unlike roding however, I find FSCO/I to be pure solopsism. And as such it is an idea unhelpful in deducing or investigating biology, origins, or any other related fields. Let me use a favourite Americanism that I have loved since Wendy’s first coined it in 1984; “where’s the beef?”

  16. 16
    Marfin says:

    rvb8- why do you never ask “wheres the beef? when it comes to your atheist , materialist worldview.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8,

    I find it astonishing that you provided an obvious (and already highlighted) example of FSCO/I — that is, functionally specific complex organisation and of associated information — to express a message in English, while professing to find no merit whatsoever in the concept.

    That is, strings of alphanumerical characters that are at 7 bits per character for ASCII code; in the English language.

    Your message is 893 ASCII characters long, or 6251 bits in binary digits. The configuration space so specified is of scope 5.477 *10^1,881 possibilities from 000 . . . 0 to 111 . . . 1 inclusive. The 10^57 atoms of our solar system, acting at 10^12 to 10^14 cases per second, for 10^17 s (about the time since the big bang) would not be able to search through more than a negligible fraction of the possibilities. Nor, relative to what is to be searched, would the 10^80 atoms of the observed cosmos. In short, blind search based on chance and/or mechanical necessity is not a credible means of discovering islands of function such as the text you produced or indeed any meaningful and contextually relevant text string in English.

    So, what accounts for the above remarks?

    Intelligently directed configuration, likely through a keyboard and PC, which themselves are manifestations of FSCO/I. In such cases, 3-d structures that can be analysed in terms of bills of materials and components, wiring diagrams and/or exploded views, assembly instructions that give rise to a functional whole, and more. All of which can be reduced to chains of y/n questions through AutoCAD or the like.

    All of which are a commonplace in our world c 2016.

    So, you sit there professing to find no merits in the concept FSCO/I; but all the while you are producing it using devices based on it, and doubtless you are surrounded by many other cases in point from the trillion member observational basis I spoke of. The basis that shows consistently how intelligently directed configuration is the reliably observed cause of such FSCO/I.

    If you are able to provide counter examples per actually observed cause of entities embedding at least 500 – 1,000 bits of such FSCO/I, kindly list: ________________

    (I am confident that, as many before you over the years here at UD and elsewhere, you will fail. That is there is strong warrant amounting to moral certainty, that he observation of FSCO/I in an entity is a strong indication that the entity is shaped by the process of intelligently directed configuration. That is, FSCO/I is a sign of design as key, relvant causal factor.)

    That already speaks tellingly against your dismissive remarks.

    Next, it should be no surprise to any reasonably educated person c. 2016, to note that in cell based life, as just one example, we find that another example is DNA and RNA, molecules which are used to carry the coded information of life.

    Thus, too, there is an obvious and central direct relevance of FSCO/I to the origin, diversity and operation of cell based life, contrary to your dismissals.

    Third, had you taken time to observe the facts before jumping to the assumptions about natural vs supernatural dichotomies, you would find that from the beginning of the modern design theory in the early 1980’s, Thaxton et al specifically disclaimed that one could scientifically discern whether designers of the cell based life we observe come from within or beyond the cosmos.

    They rightly confined the scientific inferences to the process that FSCO/I or the like point to as empirically reliable sign: intelligently directed configuration.

    As I have noted, that arson is done per signs such as accelerants, comes before questions as to who has done the deed.

    I have also pointed out that wen we turn to the fine tuning of the observed cosmos, we find that this points to design on the scope of the physics and substance of a world. So, this is a level where a designer beyond our observed cosmos (and beyond even multiverse speculations) becomes a highly relevant consideration.

    Where, that this fine tuning connects event the abundances of key elements such as H, He, O, C (the most common four) to stars, the periodic table, water and organic chemistry, with N close to these top four — pointing to proteins — then puts on the table the issue that the cosmos may well have been designed to support the sort of life we observe.

    Thus, the all too common attempts to rhetorically wedge in debates over natural vs supernatural are seen as just that, rhetorical devices, not matters of serious merit.

    Especially as, from the days of Plato in The Laws Bk X, c 360 BC, a far more empirically fruitful distinction was placed on the table in what may be the first document on record to make a design inference in light of discussion of scientifically relevant data. Namely, necessity of nature and accident of chance on the one hand, and purposeful design by a self-moved agent using art [tekne] on the other. Thus, we find the natural vs ART-ificial distinction which we see commonly down to today as close to hand as food package labels. Where, natural is assigned to necessity and/or chance in light of initial circumstances and their dynamical outworking.

    In short, it seems there is need for re-thinking, again.

    KF

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    To the question of FSC

    Kirk K. Durston, David K. Y. Chiu, David L. Abel, Jack T. Trevors, “Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins,” Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Vol. 4:47 (2007).

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, yup. And over in a new thread I gave a fairly extensive clip from Dembski. KF

    PS: The new thread: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-have-csi/

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