Design inference Functionally Specified Complex Information & Organization ID Foundations

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

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Lego Pile A:

lego_pile

Lego “Pile” B:

Lego_Castle

What’s the difference, and why is it there?

What does this tell us about functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I), why?

So, bearing in mind this needle in haystack search challenge:

csi_defn. . . also, the design inference process flowchart:

explan_filter

. . . and the use of coded paper tapes in older computers and Numerically Controlled machines:

Punched paper Tape, as used in older computers and numerically controlled machine tools (Courtesy Wiki & Siemens)
Punched paper Tape, as used in older computers and numerically controlled machine tools (Courtesy Wiki & Siemens)

. . . what can and should we infer concerning the FSCO/I involved in the protein synthesis process (including the coded mRNA tape)?

Protein Synthesis (HT: Wiki Media)
Protein Synthesis (HT: Wiki Media)

What, then, does this tell us about the causal factors credibly involved in the origin of cell based life crucially dependent on protein synthesis for it to carry out its functions? Why? END

PS: As a supplement (post meeting), I would like us to reflect on the configuration of two dirt piles,

CASE C: About six miles south of where I type:

Soufriere Hills Volcano dome, Montserrat, at night
Soufriere Hills Volcano dome, Montserrat, at night

CASE D: On some beach or other:

A sand castle
A sand castle

Let’s pose the first two questions again:

What’s the difference, and why is it there?

What does this tell us about functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I), why?

92 Replies to “Two Lego block piles — what’s the difference, why?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Two Lego brick piles, what’s the difference, why?

    (This has been coming up in recent threads, so let us put up some pictures.)

  2. 2
    rich says:

    How much more FSCO/I does A have than B?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. 3
    cantor says:

    2 rich October 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    How much more FSCO/I does A have than B?

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

  4. 4
    rich says:

    Oh please, Cantor. I’m simply asking for details of concepts brought up in the post:

    “What does this tell us about functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I), why?”

    Its a very relevant question and if ID can answer it it has made empirical headway.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    rich, cantor has a point. KF asked first. Answer his question and I will answer yours.

  6. 6
    tintinnid says:

    “Two Lego brick piles, what’s the difference, why?”

    They are both designed and built by humans. There, that was easy. Any other questions?

    Oh, there is another difference. It is not possible to assemble the second picture from the material in the first.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    tin, Your first sentence is especially staggeringly stupid. Saying how they are the same is the exact opposite of saying how they are different. See “Darwinist Derangement Syndrome” in the glossary for why you answered the question that way. Your dodge of the question, like rich’s, is duly noted. Any other Darwinist want to step up and dodge/divert?

  8. 8
    rich says:

    I shall try my best, Barry.

    Just to check – you are referring to: “Two Lego block piles — what’s the difference, why?”

    A – is more primary colours, more regular blocks (“basic” Lego I think)

    B – has more grey pieces, more specialty pieces (medieval / “caste” lego) and appears to used to construct a medieval diorama.

    based on my experience with Lego.

    Is that what you were after?

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    Yes rich. Good for you. Design inference duly noted. That wasn’t so hard was it? Maybe you can talk to tin for us.

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    My turn rich. I don’t know. But you didn’t have to know to make the design inference did you?

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    Yes rich, that is what we have come to expect from you and your ilk. Thank you for not disappointing.

  12. 12
    rich says:

    I think they’re both designed, but at different levels / configurations?

    AND.. I know who the designer is 😉

    Design inferences aren’t hard or that controversial in domains where we have familiarity and design / designer knowledge, I think.

    Now if someone like to take a stab at my question, I’d be grateful.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    The more important question is whether you believe that the configuration in the second picture could have been constructed by chance/law processes.

  14. 14
    rich says:

    I see you’ve already replied Barry, thanks.

    If I may have a little semantic quibble:

    You say – “But you didn’t have to know to make the design inference did you?”

    But I think “But you didn’t have to know to make *this* design inference did you?” more correct.

    For a universal tool, don’t we need CSI or FSCO/I to resolve to an actual number that beats a confidence level (UPB?)

    Thanks

  15. 15
    rich says:

    Barry:

    “In what meaningful sense of the word is a pile of Lego’s designed?:

    The bricks themselves are designed. Made for a purpose, an extensible children’s toy?

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    Rich, we have competing questions again. I’ll answer yours first. “no.” Of course I meant the second question rich (i.e., the only question in my edited comment 13)

  17. 17

    rich said:

    I think they’re both designed, but at different levels / configurations?

    If the bet was that one or both of the lego arrangements might have been intelligently designed, but you had to pick one that was intelligently designed, which one would you pick? Why?

  18. 18

    Rich apparently wants us to believe that he cannot discern which noun the term “designed” refers to – the Legos themselves, or the pile/arrangement.

    It’s this kind of dishonest debate tactic we can expect until the refuse gets taken out again.

  19. 19
    tintinnid says:

    Barry, I keep asking the question, but nobody answers. Not even with a staggeringly stupid comment.

    1) pile of sand and a sandcastle.
    2) pile of Lego and a Lego castle.
    3) pile of quartz sand and a complex quartz crystal structure.

    Without prior knowledge of human experience, which of these is designed?

  20. 20
    rich says:

    @William – I’d pick the second one because it looks like a medieval diorama, like the ones you see on the box fronts and instructions.

    @Barry (13) No. This would be “Lego in a tumlbe dryer” (TINJY pun) and Lego has no recursive processes available to it that I know of, so I would find chance / necessity / recursion unlikely.

  21. 21
    rich says:

    Settle down Mindpowers Murray. I’ve said they are both designed, at different levels. Do you disagree?

  22. 22
    rich says:

    Barry, so I’ve tried my best. All my answers basically boil down to “Looks designed to me, based on what domain knowledge I have / past examples I’ve seen of this type”

    I’ve done no math nor science, and one can argue my methods are very subjective / nonscientific.

    Is the same true of CSI / FSCO/I?

    Because, pardon the bluntness, FSCO/I seems to want the veneer of science without *doing* any of the science.

    Thanks.

  23. 23
    rich says:

    Really appreciate the dialogue, BTW – I think its been good so far?

  24. 24
    ppolish says:

    1) rocks strewn naturally along a backcountry trail.

    2) rocks stacked to mark a trailhead.

    Is there a difference? Rocks are rocks?

  25. 25
    Barry Arrington says:

    rich @ 23. Yes. Thank you.

    Let’s review.

    You agree that the best explanation (abductive inference) for the second pile is that it is designed for a purpose. You also agree that the second pile is almost certainly beyond the capacity of chance/law forces. You agree that the second pile conforms to a specification (i.e., medieval diorama).

    These observations leap out and are undeniable (though, sadly, all too often they are nevertheless denied; see tin’s continued antics). What has happened here? You’ve taken a quick trip through the explanatory filter.

    Is it contingent? [if no, law-like necessity cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. No law-like mechanical force could possibly account for this configuration of the blocks.

    Is it complex? [if no, chance cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. The “search space” for the various configurations of this number of blocks is enormous.

    Is it specified? [if no, chance cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. It conforms to the specification “medieval diorama.” The possibility that chance could reach this target within the search space is vanishingly small.

    Conclusion: Designed without the slightest possibility for reasonable doubt.

    Now let’s go through the filter with respect to the first pile.

    Is it contingent? [if no, law-like necessity cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. No law-like mechanical force could possibly account for this configuration of the blocks.

    Is it complex? [if no, chance cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. The “search space” for the various configurations of this number of blocks is enormous.

    Is it specified? [if no, chance cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    NO. The possibility that chance could reach this target within the search space is actually quite high. Indeed, most of the search space consists of random piles of blocks. Note that a false negative is possible. Someone might very well have carefully arranged each and every block in the pile with the specific purpose of having the pile of blocks look exactly this way. But we could never know.

    Conclusion: Design inference rejected.

    What is the purpose of this rather mundane and obvious exercise? Simple, it is a toy model of design inferences generally. Let’s see how the same model can work with the DNA code.

    Is it contingent? [if no, law-like necessity cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. No law-like mechanical force could possibly account for a staggeringly complex digital code.

    Is it complex? [if no, chance cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. The “search space” for the various configurations of molecules in the DNA strand is enormous.

    Is it specified? [if no, chance cannot be excluded; reject design inference but possible false negative]

    YES. It conforms to the specification “digital code.” The possibility that chance could reach this target within the search space is vanishingly small.

    Conclusion: Designed without the slightest possibility for reasonable doubt.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have added two more piles, built out of “dirt” . . . including fine stuff, sand (now we know where a lot of that black beach sand here came from and how long it would have taken! Boy was I ever wrong in Physics class when I went with the usual erosion story!) and rocks. Let’s see if the configurational issue will be seriously addressed. KF

    PS: Pile A has no particular specificity so its Chi_500 metric will be an easy – 500 functionally specific bits to go. Pile B can be reduced to a 3-D CAD model, and the number of structured bits to specify config can give a working value for functionally specific info content. Easily beyond 73 ASCII characters worth, about 10 typical English words.

  27. 27
    rich says:

    You’ve omitted recursive forces, Barry. I think DNA could be constructed from RNA and recursion. Which of the categories of the filter does that fall into?

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    BA: A+, Rich, honourable mention, TT, Unfortunately, for cause, F. KF

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Rich: Not coded functionally specific complex protein creating DNA, repeating blocks maybe but such are not relevant to life function. KF

  30. 30
    rich says:

    KF : why not?

  31. 31
    Upright BiPed says:

    Rich, will you please explain how RNA and recursion achieve translation. Thanks.

  32. 32
    Box says:

    This must be what Hell looks like: ‘debating’ with materialists over two Lego block piles for eternity …

  33. 33
    ppolish says:

    Tintinnid, sandcastle, Lego castle, quartz structure are all designed. What is your point?

  34. 34
    Querius says:

    Obviously, the Lego castle proves evolution! Here’s why.

    1. Each piece was formed by some incompletely understood process, called the Origin of Legos (OOL).

    2. By the shape of each piece, we can demonstrate that certain conjunctions of any two blocks are more stable than others. When squeezed together blocks can require a lot of energy to separate.

    3. Over billions of years of random collisions, it is more likely that the more stable configurations will outlast the less stable ones. Large arrangements are likely to incorporate smaller arrangements than other large arrangements. As long as there is a supply of the Building Blocks of Lego, the largeer arrangements will continue to grow. This is a ratcheting function.

    4. Wall-shaped arrangements are less likely to suffer disruption during random interactions (shaking) than arrangements with ends sticking out.

    5. The “castle” shape appears to be designed, but it could have been anything—a fire station, a fortress, a university, or a nearly infinite number of other recognizable structures.

    6. While we’re not currently observing a lot of new structures being created, this is due to the slow processes involved. Sometimes when a piece is removed, the structure’s overall utility is improved, and we have observed a few examples of these.

    7. There’s no such thing as Intelligent Play. It’s not necessary since we can demonstrate each intermediate step can occur naturally through random collisions.

    8. There are lots of parts left over from evolution, which we call “junk Legos.”

    Anyone who doesn’t agree is anti-science, anti-math, and an idiot who imagines some huge child-in-the-sky fairy tale.

    -Q

  35. 35
    Joe says:

    LoL!@ Box 32- Nice. The sweet thing about here is we can ignore them. It is our choice to try to engage them even when they cannot engage reality.

  36. 36
    Mung says:

    Very illuminating. Thank you kf.

    What is the form of a lego?

    How many legos does it take to make a pile of legos?

    Isn’t this just simply a difference in the number of legos involved?

    I bet if you dump enough legos on top of Lego Pile B you won’t be able to tell the difference.

  37. 37
    Querius says:

    And, of course I’m fully prepared to defend my castle with logic, artifices, personal attacks, moving goal posts, and anything else for what is undeniably The Truth of the Evolution of Legos! 😉

    -Q

  38. 38
    Mung says:

    It’s pretty amazing the choice that must have been involved to gather legos all of the same color for some of those structures [patterns, forms, shapes, designs].

  39. 39
    Box says:

    Querius #34 #37
    You have convinced me!

  40. 40
    Barry Arrington says:

    rich

    You’ve omitted recursive forces, Barry. I think DNA could be constructed from RNA and recursion. Which of the categories of the filter does that fall into?

    Category 1: Is it contingent?

    Recursive is defined as “relating to or involving the repeated application of a rule, definition, or procedure to successive results” In other words a “law-like process.”

    First, you don’t get to start with RNA. Second, as in all historical sciences we are looking for an abductive inference – what is the “best” explanation for the data. Here we have a complex digital code. “Recursive forces” have never been observed to generated a complex digital code. Conversely, intelligent agents create complex digital codes routinely.

    So I ask you:

    Cause A (recursive force) has never been observed to account for phenomenon X

    Cause B (intelligent agency) is routinely observed to account for phenomenon X

    We have an example of phenomenon X (digital code). Setting aside our metaphysical commitments, what is the best explanation for this particular example of phenomenon X?

    Hint. It does no good to say “recursive forces” are a “possible explanation;” therefore they are the best explanation for phenomenon X. We are looking for the best explanation, not all possible explanations. Therefore, even if I grant that recursive forces are a possible explanation (which I do not BTW), it simply does not follow that they are the best explanation.

  41. 41
    Joe says:

    rich:

    I think DNA could be constructed from RNA and recursion.

    Great, we await your experiment and peer-reviewed article that supports that claim.

  42. 42
    tjguy says:

    Rich @12

    Design inferences aren’t hard or that controversial in domains where we have familiarity and design / designer knowledge, I think.

    So Rich, you are saying that the design inference is invalid unless we have knowledge about who the designer is?

    I guess that means that SETI is out of luck! Any design inference they make will be invalid unless we have actual knowledge of the designer? Is that what you are saying?

    Personally, I think that is a pretty weak argument and is not likely to convince too many people except those who really want to believe in Materialism.

    We could switch the tables and ask you to tell us why you will not even allow the design inference to be an option. If you have some real evidence that a designer is impossible, that would be one thing, but it certainly seems like it should be an option.

    Even if we can’t determine the identity of the designer at this point, why does that mean that the design option should automatically be eliminated?

    I’m having trouble following your logic here and it really does seem like you are just trying to avoid the obvious conclusion.

    It’s no wonder you don’t want this taught in school. Everyone would see right through it and Materialism would look silly!

  43. 43
    tjguy says:

    Rich @27

    I think DNA could be constructed from RNA and recursion.

    “I think” is not a scientific statement. We think it could not be constructed from RNA and recursion. Opinions are fine. Beliefs are fine.

    Your Materialism comes down to this? What you THINK? That’s it? How scientific is that?!

    If you could only perform an experiment to demonstrate that your faith in recursion and natural forces acting on RNA. This would show that your beliefs have a real basis in reality. Wouldn’t that be great?

    Oh, and then you could not only tell us but show us by experiment that RNA could also emerge by totally blind, random natural forces.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: recursion ~ looping. Hence, repetition, not functional aperiodicity such as in complex proteins or program code or text or CAD DWG files, etc etc. Tangent, trending red herring. Let us get back on track. KF

  45. 45
    gpuccio says:

    rich:

    You say:

    “You’ve omitted recursive forces, Barry. I think DNA could be constructed from RNA and recursion. Which of the categories of the filter does that fall into?”

    I will take your statement seriously, even if it is not very clear what you mean. I will interpret it as “I think DNA could be constructed from some necessity mechanism present in natural systems”. OK?

    Now, let’s clarify. We are not talking, here, of the DNA molecule itself. That would be like talking of the existence of the Lego bricks themselves, which in a sense are difficult to explain, as it is difficult to explain the existence of nucleotides or even of a DNA chain. But that’s not what we are discussing here. So, let’s say that we accept the Lego bricks as already in the system, ans we accept the DNA nucleotides, and some biochemical system that can synthesize them, as part of the system. We also accept some natural mechanism which can “shale up” the bricks, IOWs we accept that random variation happens in the system. That’s another way to say that our system already includes living cells which reproduce (we are nor debating, for the moment, OOL, but simply evolution). OK?

    So, what we are trying to explain is not the Lego bricks, but their configuration. Not the pieces, but the castle. Bot DNA chains, but DNA chains which code for functional proteins. OK?

    So your statement becomes:

    “I think DNA chains coding for functional proteins could be constructed from RNA and recursion.” (or any other necessity mechanism present in the system).

    Of course, if that were true, it would fall into the filter category: “Natural regularity, law like necessity”.

    But the statement is simply not true.

    Obviously, you made the proposal, so it’s up to you to show how recursion, or any other mechanism, can explain the configuration of protein coding genes.

    I will make only a very simple comment: in our efforts to engineer new proteins (indeed sacrcely successful up to now) we can do two different things (or a mix of the two):

    1) Apply our knowledge of biochemistry and of how proteins fold to build some functional sequence in a “top-down” procedure. That is extremely difficult, and requires a lot of previous knowledge and a lot of intelligent computational resources. So, you should show that some necessity mechanism already exists in the biological system which has detailed knowledge of the biochemical laws, of how proteins fold, and a lot of intelligent computational power. Good luck.

    2) Try to engineer a functional protein by starting from existing sequences and applying controlled random variation and intelligent selection for some biochemical activity to them. That can be more efficient, but it requires some starting configuration which is already “specific” (either because it was engineered top-down, or because we simply start from some already existing functional state which is near to what we want to achieve). It also requires the choice of a specific biochemical activity to be searched, and a very efficient way to measure it even at very low levels, and to select outcomes according to the measured activity. IOWs, intelligent selection.

    Please note that the simple application of intelligent selection to random configurations can give some result, but that those results are very gross and limited (see the famous Szostak paper about ATP binding).

    Anyway, what you have to show is simply that in biological systems there is some well defined mechanism which can apply intelligent selection for specific activities to existing configuration which are good starting points for that activity.

    Or, IOWs, that NS operating on RV can work efficiently to generate the 2000 protein superfamilies we know of starting from some unrelated sequence. The alpha and beta chains of ATP synthase will be a good starting point for your explanation.

    OK, it’s your turn.

  46. 46
    MrCollins says:

    I think perhaps we should go back a few steps to set some examples to build on for those who want to disagree. Here’s my example.

    Let’s say you are the first and only human on earth and have been around for several years. One day you came to a sandcastle, like the one in the picture above, on the beach.

    The question is would you consider it natural or unnatural.

    I personally would consider it unnatural because it does not match or resemble anything I’ve seen in nature. We can then progress from there

  47. 47
    gpuccio says:

    MrCollins:

    The point is not that it does not resemble anything in nature, but that it does resemble a castle. If a castle has no meaning from me, there is no specification. Any configuration can be considered unique, is complex enough to be unlikely. Any deck of cards is probably unique. That is not the point.

    The point is that some subsets of configurations are specified. So, any sand “sculpture” which resembles in detail a complex form of something which exists independently, would be specified as a sculpture resembling an independent object.

    That point has been discussed recently here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....hannon-ii/

    I quote, for example, from my post #23 in that thread:

    “We can derive information from any object about the object itself. So, any object is a source of information about itself. But that does not mean that the object conveys meaningful information about something else.

    A DNA protein coding gene certainly can give us information about itself, like any other object: it is a molecule, made of atoms, and so on. It has molecular weight, and so on.

    But the sequence of nucleotides in it is all another matter: it describes something else, a functional protein. With the correct procedures, it can convey that meaningful information to a protein synthesis system, and indeed it does exactly that in the cell.

    So, a water molecule is a molecule, but it has no meaningful information about anything else. A protein coding gene is a molecule, but it conveys in its symbolic sequence a very meaningful information about something else.”

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    GP: Just from the suspiciously uniform but non-repetitive asymmetric pattern of surfaces and features in the sand castle — too many straight lines and arcs of circles or circles, rectangles, cuboids and the like — I would be suspicious. BTW, in lure fishing, too much uniformity is to be avoided, the fish get suspicious: straight lines, overly steady speeds and overly regular noises. Hence the famous Darter used in surf fishing, which is designed to erratically dart especially in a zone with currents and waves . . . BTW, a real bugbear to design and build. IOWs, to use your abbreviation, even smart fish make a design inference on known design patterns and don’t bite! KF

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    TJG:

    Good catch.

    We have empirically tested FSCO/I and on trillions of cases it is a reliable sign of design.

    On the needle in haystack analysis, it is maximally implausible for blind chance and/or mechanical necessity to give rise to it on gamut of solar system or observed cosmos.

    On origins science, we do not have direct, independent access to the actual past so we must reason on traces and signs in light of observed causal patterns capable of accounting for things like those traces . . . the vera causa principle. Either:

    I: we abandon origins investigations as hopeless (but there is a desire to teach a certain school of thought on claims it adequately accounts), or

    II: we show on separate good grounds (not a priori evolutionary materialism) that design is impossible at times in question, or

    III: we allow the FSCO/I etc to speak in its own right as evidence of design.

    To demand separate direct evidence of designers in a context where we know in advance that such is not possible is unreasonable, selective hyperskepticism.

    To further demand that we refuse to entertain the only known, reliably inferred and needle in haystack plausible cause of FSCO/I in favour of blind faith in what is implausible per needle in haystack and not observed, is ideological question-begging.

    To demand that we treat such as though they adequately account for what they don’t is hypercredulous . . . trust us, believe our materialist just so stories. (First, show us the ability of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity to effect the designs, then you have something serious to put on the table . . . )

    Such failure to reason consistently and on evidence, but instead to impose ideologies and demands known to be unreasonable, is utterly, inadvertently revealing.

    Good catch.

    KF

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    Rich, you spent was it about 1/2 this thread on demanding quantification. I gave an outline at 26 above, after I came out of the meeting that “started” 5 mins after the post and ran until I could get back. In effect, the DWG file size in the context of identified functional specificity gives an answer, where any general pile of bricks would have done just as well for pile 1. But, pile 2 is NOT just any pile, you yourself provided an identifying context. KF

  51. 51
    Joe says:

    kairosfocus- rich doesn’t want quantification. He just wants to be a pain.

  52. 52
    niwrad says:

    Excellent post kairosfocus, as always.

    I offer this very simplified count of the difference between pile A vs. B.

    Suppose each Lego piece has volume = 1 cm^3 and the castle space available has volume = 1 m^3 = 10^6 cm^3 (Lego slot).
    Suppose there are 100 different types of Lego piece (shape, colour…), included the void Lego (= no piece).

    Now serialize these 3-dimension 10^6 Lego slots in a 1-dimension slot string. There are 100^(10^6) = 10^2000000 different configurations possible.
    Pile B (order) has probability 1 / 10^2000000 to spontaneously occur (infinitesimal).
    Differently, the set of piles similar to A (chaos) has probability (1 – 1 / 10^2000000) =~ 1 to spontaneously occur (practically certain).

    This difference in probability leads us to infer design.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    Niw, thanks, there may be millions or quadrillions or a googol of possible Castle designs of course, but by comparison with configs to 1-lego block cells in the space of possibilities, a drop in the bucket. KF

  54. 54
    MrCollins says:

    GP @ 47

    So, I understand that it does resemble a castle and that we’re comparing it to something that we do know. I guess what I’m trying to understand is that the purpose of all of this is to decide on the ability of something to be different in such a way that it must not be natural. It makes sense in my head that in order to help prove ID of some type you have to show that something is not naturally occuring.

    I think that it’s like the human mind. It’s not like anything you see in nature, there are no acts of animals that compare with the acts of humans, I’m talking about buildings, organizations, cities, roadways, etc. and not eating, drinking, shelter. To me that shows that the human mind is unnatural and something that is unnatural needs an explanation. kinda like the people that go crazy about UFO’s

    So from your comment, an item can give information about itself, but it seems that if an item shows information that doesn’t exist, then the point is to show that the information must have come from somewhere else.

    I’m just a businessman and not a scientist so I’d rather focus on reality than probability. pretending something is possible at a 10^-280 chance really just means it’s impossible and can only even exist in a realm where reality doesn’t exist. kinda like the box with 10,000 coins and they get randomly launched into the air. There is no way that it will actually end up all heads. especially if it gets extrapolated to the amount of complexity we see in the entire earth

    so with regards to finding something that was weird, the sand castle or any other sculpture, I don’t know of a sciency way to show it’s unnatural, but you can look at it and know that it isn’t natural. So how do you do that?

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    C, remember there are different senses of “natural” out there, the issue is signs of the ART-ifical as opposed to the result of blind chance and mechanical necessity without need for intelligent contrivance in the direct creation process. Dirt piles and Lego block piles are in the context of discussion exchanges to highlight the issue of functionally specific configs vs those that are not. KF

  56. 56
    Eugen says:

    Great post Kairos

    Looks like some people have hard time detecting design. I wonder if on the way from work to home they try to “unlock” a pile of construction garbage instead of their car.
    🙂

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, are reliable indicia of design vs blind chance and mechanical necessity. The objectors above and elsewhere are desperately trying to tiptoe around that issue. And such can be reasonably quantified, e.g. the common file size reports are for functionally specific files, and we can construct a threshold metric:

    Chi_500 = I * S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold (use 1,000 for the observed cosmos)

    I is a reasonable info metric, S is a dummy variable normally 0, for not credibly functionally specific, and goes to 1 if on objective grounds functionally specific. If S = 1 and I exceeds 500 Chi_500 goes positive and will reliably indicate design, on grounds highlighted int eh OP info graphic on sampling search spaces, and the base of trillions of observed cases in point. Design is the only known and only needle in haystack plausible cause of FSCO/I.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Selensky, thanks. And you are right, it is somewhat amusing, until you realise what it implies. Trust things go well back home in la Rodina. (Did I get that part right?) KF

  59. 59
    cantor says:

    22 rich October 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve done no math nor science, and one can argue my methods are very subjective / nonscientific.

    If that is true, then it is also true of Darwin’s “Origin of Species”. No math, no science. Just speculation.

  60. 60
    rich says:

    Hi all, back again. Hope all is well.

    1) On FSCO/I. You keep bringing it up but not actually doing any math. An uncharitable interpretation would be you want the trappings of a mathematical analysis but can’t do one. So just stop.Say “It seems improbable to me” because that’s the actual argument you’re making.

    “We have empirically tested FSCO/I and on trillions of cases it is a reliable sign of design.” Can we see some workings?

    2) tjguy

    No one is going to give a complete and comprehensive history of life. Do you think that is a reasonable hurdle?

    3) Barry@40, you’ve said “intelligent agency” when the precise and truthful answer is “Humans”.

    I found this, not my area of expertise though:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20610545

    Thanks all.

  61. 61
    cantor says:

    60 rich October 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    On FSCO/I. You keep bringing it up but not actually doing any math… So just stop. Say “It seems improbable to me” because that’s the actual argument you’re making.

    On RM+NS. You keep bringing it up but not actually doing any math. So just stop. Say “It seems probable to me” because that’s the actual argument you’re making.

  62. 62
    rich says:

    I’m not pretending to make a probabilistic argument, Cantor. There’s the difference. Bonus points for Tu Quoque.

  63. 63
    cantor says:

    62 rich October 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I’m not pretending to make a probabilistic argument, Cantor.

    Sure you are. You think the probability is 1.

  64. 64
    rich says:

    Actually I don’t. 0/2. Do you know the odds of you getting the next one right?

  65. 65
    cantor says:

    64 rich October 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Actually I don’t.

    Sure you do. You’re a materialist.

    Game… Set… Match…

  66. 66
    rich says:

    Feel free to keep embarrassing yourself, Cantor:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromwell%27s_rule

    Maybe Barry will make a post about you?

  67. 67
    cantor says:

    You seem to be embarrassed to be a materialist, Peter rich.

    You have now denied your RM+NS deity 3 times…

  68. 68
    rich says:

    Not really, Cantor. I suppose I am a materialist, provisionally. Things can change. But it seems you are so wed to your religious lens you must look at all things through it.

  69. 69
    cantor says:

    68 rich October 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    you are so wed to your religious lens you must look at all things through it

    You really stepped into a pile there rich.

    I’m calling your bluff. Links please.

  70. 70
    rich says:

    What exactly would you like links to, Cantor?

  71. 71
    Eric Anderson says:

    rich @2:

    Your question betrays a misunderstanding of how the design inference works. In the example pictures provided in the OP, the question is not about an amount of complexity. The complexity threshold is only relevant to ascertaining whether the functional specification is likely the result of chance.

    It is certainly possible for a non-designed object to have more “complexity” in the sense of simple calculations a la Shannon than a designed object. That is not the issue.

    Thus, in answer to your question @2: the answer is that B has 100% more FSCO/I than A, because A doesn’t have any.

    Whether B has more sheer “complexity” than A is another matter, but is not the issue.

  72. 72
    Barry Arrington says:

    rich:

    But it seems you are so wed to your religious lens you must look at all things through it.

    Do you seriously believe you don’t look at all things through your own religious lens?

    Astounding, because in this very thread you’ve demonstrated that your metaphysical commitments make you almost literally blind to certain propositions of simple logic.

  73. 73
    rich says:

    100% more (or “double”, for the layman like me) than “doesn’t have any” (Zero), is zero.

    This is why I think you guys should get into math a bit more.

  74. 74
    rich says:

    Barry, as I look at a nice cup of coffee, I think “Hmmmm… that’s a nice cup of coffee”. Sophisticated theologians(c) will have to hep me with the religious bit 😉

    I’ve not accusing you all of being religiously motivated… just trying to start some science here. Which I think would be best for ID?

  75. 75
    Upright BiPed says:

    Rich, you might have missed my question at 31. I’m genuinely interested.

    “Rich, will you please explain how RNA and recursion achieve translation. Thanks.”

  76. 76
    rich says:

    Personally I don’t know. Was that article I linked to any help?

  77. 77
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hello rich,

    I’m sorry, I did not see that you cited the Noller paper (it wasn’t addressed to me).

    I’m fairly familiar with the paper, in fact it’s one of my favorites because it thoroughly lays out ribosomal activity and is so well written – perfect for a non-specialist like myself to study in detail over time.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t give an explanation for the rise of translation, other than to simply acknowledge that it happened (which is not particularly useful).

  78. 78
    rich says:

    Hey UP!

    From the intro:

    “Two specific suggestions are made here to help to address this, involving separate evolution of the peptidyl transferase and decoding functions. First, it is proposed that translation originally arose not to synthesize functional proteins, but to provide simple (perhaps random) peptides that bound to RNA, increasing its available structure space, and therefore its functional capabilities. Second, it is proposed that the decoding site of the ribosome evolved from a mechanism for duplication of RNA. This process involved homodimeric “duplicator RNAs,” resembling the anticodon arms of tRNAs, which directed ligation of trinucleotides in response to an RNA template.”

    Hardly conclusive (more like conjecture!) but at least something amenable to further exploration?

  79. 79
    rich says:

    Whoops, UP > UB. Sorry.

  80. 80
    Upright BiPed says:

    Yes, as I said I am familiar with the content of the paper, and its introduction. On the whole, the paper is an affinity piece. Of course, there is nothing particularly wrong with that; it goes are far as it can go, but the factual resources simply don’t exist to close the loop. Instead, it takes a very informative tour through the individual mechanics of genetic translation, rather like a computer scientist explaining PNP objects. Unfortunately, the fundamental aspects of a translation system, including the organization of translation, are left to the wayside.

  81. 81
    Joe says:

    rich:

    1) On FSCO/I. You keep bringing it up but not actually doing any math. An uncharitable interpretation would be you want the trappings of a mathematical analysis but can’t do one. So just stop.Say “It seems improbable to me” because that’s the actual argument you’re making.

    LoL! The math has been done. And wrt biology is has been done in peer-review.

    As for probabilities it is up to YOUR position to supply them as your position is the one that relies on chance.

    BTW humans are intelligent agencies.

  82. 82
    Joe says:

    rich:

    I found this, not my area of expertise though:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20610545

    Thanks all.

    Speculation based on a world-view is not science, rich. And that article is pure speculation- untestable, untested and purely based on a world-view.

    But you, having no science background, wouldn’t understand that.

  83. 83
    Joe says:

    rich:

    Hardly conclusive (more like conjecture!) but at least something amenable to further exploration?

    Maybe- we shall see. My bet is further exploration will show the conjecture to be pure fantasy based on a world-view.

  84. 84
    gpuccio says:

    rich:

    “Personally I don’t know. Was that article I linked to any help?”

    No.

    By the way, you have answered everybody except me! (post #45). I feel neglected. 🙂

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    Rich, 60:

    On FSCO/I. You keep bringing it up but not actually doing any math.

    False. Joe is correct that the Math was done. Not just general Math on specified complexity, but on the underlying statistical thermodynamics [since 1984 on by Thaxton et al], as well as — in response to the P May Sockpuppet Mathgrrl [who on the amnesty can pop back up . . . ] — three years ago. Not to mention the work by Durston et al using the Shannon H metric.

    I suggest, you read the summary here in context before making such an assertion without merit again. (And BTW, kindly cf the linked briefing note throuhgh my handle, which starts all the way back at info theory 101.)

    KF

  86. 86
    DavidD says:

    Rich:

    “Hardly conclusive (more like conjecture!) but at least something amenable to further exploration?”

    Except when you quoted the Abstract, you deliberately left out the first sentence which was extremely important. Why ?

    “Because of the molecular complexity of the ribosome and protein synthesis, it is a challenge to imagine how translation could have evolved from a primitive RNA World.”

    No problem, I believe I understand the why now. Besides, RNA World works only in cartoons published on YouTube anyways. Often times quote mining can become so creative.

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: You may also find is wise to ponder here, DDD #16, on the tactic of willfully distorting the design inference — often as part of a process of red herrings led away to strawmen soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere of discussion.

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Let’s observe the abstract:

    Because of the molecular complexity of the ribosome and protein synthesis, it is a challenge to imagine how translation could have evolved from a primitive RNA World. [–> which world is already strictly speculative and chemically grossly implausible] Two specific suggestions are made here to help to address this, involving separate evolution of the peptidyl transferase and decoding functions. First, it is proposed that translation originally arose not to synthesize functional proteins, but to provide simple (perhaps random) peptides that bound to RNA, increasing its available structure space, and therefore its functional capabilities. Second, it is proposed that the decoding site of the ribosome evolved from a mechanism for duplication of RNA. This process involved homodimeric “duplicator RNAs,” resembling the anticodon arms of tRNAs, which directed ligation of trinucleotides in response to an RNA template.

    In short, long on speculation concerning the remote past, rather short on demonstrating the feasibiloity of the RNA world in realistic environments. Then, on that shaky foundation, an inverted pyramid of involved speculations with scant empirical warrant on the proposed — note that word! — evolutionary path.

    Here is Shapiro’s rebuke in Sci Am to all such RNA World speculations:

    RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides contain a sugar, a phosphate and one of four nitrogen-containing bases as sub-subunits. Thus, each RNA nucleotide contains 9 or 10 carbon atoms, numerous nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the phosphate group, all connected in a precise three-dimensional pattern . . . . [[S]ome writers have presumed that all of life’s building could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case.

    A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life . . . .

    To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions, normally carried out in water at temperatures observed on Earth . . . .

    Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA . . .

    Orgel, had put his own rebuke to metabolism first speculations:

    If complex cycles analogous to metabolic cycles could have operated on the primitive Earth, before the appearance of enzymes or other informational polymers, many of the obstacles to the construction of a plausible scenario for the origin of life would disappear . . . .

    It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility . . . few would believe that any assembly of minerals on the primitive Earth is likely to have promoted these syntheses in significant yield . . . . Why should one believe that an ensemble of minerals that are capable of catalyzing each of the many steps of [[for instance] the reverse citric acid cycle was present anywhere on the primitive Earth [[8], or that the cycle mysteriously organized itself topographically on a metal sulfide surface [[6]? . . . Theories of the origin of life based on metabolic cycles cannot be justified by the inadequacy of competing theories: they must stand on their own . . . .

    The prebiotic syntheses that have been investigated experimentally almost always lead to the formation of complex mixtures. Proposed polymer replication schemes are unlikely to succeed except with reasonably pure input monomers. No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on “if pigs could fly” hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help.

    Mutual ruin in short. Neither is good enough, absent the sort of ideological a prioris that led to refusal to see the obvious in the OP, and is now well off base on speculative tangents.

    KF

  89. 89
    gpuccio says:

    MrCollins at #54:

    You say:

    “So, I understand that it does resemble a castle and that we’re comparing it to something that we do know. I guess what I’m trying to understand is that the purpose of all of this is to decide on the ability of something to be different in such a way that it must not be natural. It makes sense in my head that in order to help prove ID of some type you have to show that something is not naturally occuring.”

    Indeed, the concept of “natural” has nothing to do with the reasoning here. I will try to be more clear.

    Let’s go back to the beach. We have a sand structure, Let’s say that it is not a castle, but a sand “sculpture” resembling a mountain which can be seen in the far distance. Let’s say that the sculpture is detailed enough, so that it really represents the form of the mountain with a high degree of precision, so that we can assume that its specified complexity as “a configuration of sand which resembles the form of that mountain” is high enough to reject the explanation that the sand assumed that configuration by random events (like the wind or other forces acting in the system).

    Now, to detect design, we need two conditions satisfied:

    a) We reject a random explanation, as said, because the configuration is part of a specified set which is too small to be attainable by random variation.

    b) We know if no credible necessity mechanism which can generate the configuration we observe. In this case, we can safely conclude that no credible mechanism can make the sand assume the form of the mountain.

    So, we reject a random explanation, and we have no necessity explanation. But we have a good alternative explanation: design.

    Indeed, there is only one way that the sand could assume that configuration: if some conscious intelligent agent was there, looked at the mountain in the distance, and intentionally worked on the sand to give it the form of the mountain. That’s what intelligent agents do all the time: it’s called drawing, or sculpting, or modeling. It’s intelligent design.

    So, we infer design.

    As you can see, the concept of “natural” has no role in the reasoning. The problem is that we have to offer some credible explanation for what we observe.

    The mountain is a perfectly natural object. But a reproduction of the mountain, a detailed reproduction, made of sand, and without any direct necessity connection to the mountain itself, can be explained only by design. Because only design generates that kind of configurations of matter: configuration which are at the same time specified and complex.

  90. 90
    Eric Anderson says:

    rich @73:

    Fair enough — LOL at myself! I shouldn’t have referenced “more” with a percentage. Sometimes we comment too quickly. 🙂

    A has no FSCO/I. B does. That’s the difference.

    Now that we’re past the nitpick, do you want to address the substance of my comment?

  91. 91
    rich says:

    No worries Eric 😉

    We are I think now talking about “specification”?

  92. 92
    Eric Anderson says:

    “We are I think now talking about “specification”?”

    Yes. And that is not something that is amenable to numerical calculation. It is a recognition of function or purpose or intentionality.

    So the demand that CSI must be calculated is a category mistake. Kind of like demanding: “Which is more blue? The number 7 or the number 9?”

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