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The Fight For Academic Freedom at Ball State University


By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about the academic freedom controversy surrounding Ball State University and the investigation of physics professor, Eric Hedin (pronounced he-deen).  Discovery Institute’s Evolution News and Views has published several stories over the past few weeks, most notably this, this, this and this.  (Articles on the entire saga can be found here.) Today, the DI launched a new web-page so you can help get the message of academic freedom to the BSU Board of Trustees.  If you believe in academic freedom, like I do, then please take a look at the page and add your voice.  The kind of treatment foisted upon Prof. Hedin is what you might expect in a totalitarian regime, not an institution of higher learning in the United States of America.

F/N: I commented here. KF kairosfocus
Hey, today is also a Sunday, Battle of Britain day. The day commemorating when The Few in their Hurricanes (mostly!) and Spitfires stood between civilisation, however flawed, and a nightmare of aggressive barbarism. kairosfocus
Axel, Grace be with you. KF kairosfocus
VJT: Yet another, p. 15 following from 14 just above: __________ >> In addition to the term singleton, other terms, with a similar if not synonymous meaning, have been used to denote proteins and genes having no relatives. Thus, Siew and Fischer define genomic ORFans as orphan open reading frames (ORF) with no significant sequence similarity to other ORFs [103, 104]. Wilson et al. suggest that orphans should be named “taxonomically restricted genes” (TRGs) [105, 106], and state that the abundance of orphan genes is amongst the greatest surprises uncovered by the sequencing of eukaryotic and bacterial genomes [105]. Earlier, Russell Doolittle affirmed that there are large numbers of unidentified genes in a variety of organisms, with the origin and function of these unique sequences remaining “baffling mysteries” [107]. In order to understand why the finding of singletons (ORF-ans, or TRG-s) represented such a great surprise, let us look at the contemporary expectations. They were possibly best outlined by Chothia et al. in 2003 [108]: “all but a small proportion of the protein repertoire is formed by members of families that go back to the origin of eukaryotes or the origin of the different kingdoms.” And further: “The earliest evolution of the protein repertoire must have involved the ab initio invention of new proteins. At a very low level, this may still take place. But it is clear that the dominant mechanisms for expansion of the protein repertoire, in biology as we know it, are gene duplication, divergence and recombination.” Consequently: “we will be able to trace much of the evolution of complexity by examining the duplication and recombination of these families in different genomes.” About 1000 evolutionary independent protein families were expected to encompass all protein diversity [109]. In line with the above, there was an additional expectation of forthcoming grand unification of biology [110]. However, the power-law distribution of protein families and the sheer abundance of singletons have exposed utopian nature of these expectations and, at the same time, opened several important issues. Siew and Fischer succinctly described the issues at stake: “If proteins in different organisms have descended from common ancestral proteins by duplication and adaptive variation, why is that so many today show no similarity to each other?” And further: “Do these rapidly evolving ORFans correspond to nonessential proteins or to species determinants?” [103]. >> ___________ These issues must be fairly widely known among relevant people, and it would be astonishing if the complete faculty of BSU were ignorant. Why then, the imposition of censorship? To protect a reigning orthodoxy adhered to as an establishment for reasons other than that open honest and informed dialogue leads us there in pursuit of the truth? Certainly, resort to censorship in a case where these sorts of questions are on the table does not speak well of BSU. And, looking wider, this has been a headlined story. If the collective staff of BSU are unlikely to be ignorant of such matters, the collective in the USA or world, are certain to know such. So, why is there no outcry against censorship and career busting, indoctrination in what is obviously an established faith -- atheism? Or is it that the real objections about censorship and loss of freedom are about who is censoring and curtailing freedom in defense of what? Something is very rotten in the state of Denmark. KF kairosfocus
Thank you, kairosfocus. That's very kind of you. Yes, very occasionally I'll look at something, and tell her, 'I miss you, Angel', but mercifully it couldn't be described as grief, as, while in one sense, I miss her increasingly with the passage of time, I'm also growing in the certainty that she's often, 'hereabouts', sometimes laughing at me! I find a lot of consolation in the Daily Office. I do believe everyone's already cherishing her in heaven, so I ask them to, more often than I ask them to pray for her. Every best wish to you. Axel
VJT: Another flash: ___________ >> Dokholyan et al. have attempted to explain their protein domain universe graph (PDUG) in terms of gene duplication and sequence divergence only [21]. In their explanation, however, implicit was the assumption that in the protein structure space there were just two alternatives: the old domain and a new domain, where each one of the two domains conferred functionality to the protein regardless of the sequence divergence. That assumption is not plausible because a vast majority of proteins would be non-functional after extensive divergence by random mutations. The authors used a cutoff value of 25% sequence identity for differentiating domains, corresponding to the sequence divergence of at least 75%. With the mean domain length of about 160 amino acids [97], the 75% divergence corresponds to 120 substitutions. Experimental data for proteins undergoing 120 substitutions are lacking, so it is currently impossible to provide any figure for the fraction of mutant proteins that might be expected to remain active. On the other hand, experimental data with fewer mutations show that the fraction of proteins retaining function declines exponentially with the increasing numbers of amino acid substitutions [98-101]. The exact percentage of the mutants remaining active is dependent on intrinsic properties of each starting protein; for example, only about 1% of the TEM1 ?-lactamase and hen lysozyme mutants remained active after just 5 substitutions [100, 101]. Based on the above, with confidence one can only state that a large fraction of mutant proteins will be inactive following substitution of 75% of the original amino acids. As noted by Drummond et al. [99], exploration of distant regions of sequence space by random mutations alone appears highly inefficient. [--> This strongly points to islands of function, and the high prevalence of singleton proteins and what looks like a flicker "pink" distribution with a relatively few large clusters and mainly small and one member "clusters" with a reasonable maximum likelihood of 1 in 10^20 each, feeds straight into the needle in haystack search problem, with a twist. Namely, we need many hundreds or more proteins all together in co-ordination for each life form and body plan.] Mutations are supposed to arise and get fixed in a population sequentially; in order to estimate how probable this is for 120 substitutions, one would need a population genetics model that demonstrates the feasibility of so many substitutions in one single protein - but current models struggle typically with fewer than 10 substitutions [43-46].>> _____________ In short, there is grist out there for the mill of serious and truth-seeking discussion, which makes the injection of ideologically rooted censorship in the academy as the case in the OP headlines, more and more suspect. KF kairosfocus
VJT: Here is a flash from p 7: _______ >> from an actual library of 6x10 12 proteins each containing 80 contiguous random amino acids, Keefe and Szostak isolated four ATP binding proteins and concluded that the frequency of functional proteins in the sequence space may be as high as 1 in 10 11 , allowing for their discovery by entirely stochastic means [55]. However, subsequent in vivo studies with this man-made ATP binding protein showed that it disrupted the normal energetic balance of the cell, acting essentially as an antibiotic [56]. One can conclude, therefore: had this protein been formed by random mutations, the cell with it would have left no descendants. Furthermore, the probability of its formation in a cell would have been lower than 10 -11 , because random DNA mutations introduce stop codons and frameshifts whereas Keefe and Szostak avoided stop codons and frameshift mutations by experimental design [55]. The importance of distinguishing the results of in vitro from in vivo studies is highlighted by the finding that only a tiny fraction, one in about 10 10 , of the active mutants of triosephosphate isomerase functioned properly in vivo [57]. >> _____________ As in, intelligent interference by investigators that takes out a factor with a basic probability approaching 5%, accidentally getting a stop codon. Similarly, the observation that the alleged high probability of function novelty is deleterious, is interesting indeed, as such drastically lowers the odds of mutation based development, by introducing yet another autodestruct. In context of this thread, if we cannot seriously discuss things like this in a university without censoring out one side, what is that telling us about where the university is going in our time? And, if we are well-thinking, is that somewhere we want so pivotal an institution to be going in our civilisation? KF kairosfocus
Axel, I trust you will continue to find comfort in the face of your loss. All best. KF kairosfocus
VJT, another jewel for the vaults, here from Croatia. Thanks. KF kairosfocus
Hi CLAVDIVS, I'd like to briefly respond to your earlier comment. My original claim was:
If we’re talking about biological ID, then I’d say it stands or falls depending on evidence relating to: (a) the proportion of amino-acid sequences of a given length (say 100) that are actually functional; and (b) the question of whether this proportion is equivalent to the chance in Nature that a change (or mutation) in a given amino-acid sequence will improve its functionality.
You wrote that the proportion of amino-acid sequences of a given length (say 100) that are actually functional "is unmeasurable at present," but added that "This is a short-term problem." Fair enough. You then wrote that "chance in Nature... cannot even in principle be tested scientifically... [b]ecause we are not omniscient." Specifically, you argued that "we cannot exhaustively test every possible ‘chance’ process that may exist in every corner of the universe." By the same logic, it would be impossible for astronomers to estimate the number of stars in the sky, and yet they do. Spot checks (e.g. counts of stars in tiny areas of the sky) can provide scientists with useful estimates from which they can extrapolate. Similar reasoning applies to the percentages of functional amino acid sequences. If we obtained a consistent figure, using a variety of methods, then we could treat it as well-established. For more information, I suggest you have a look at this article: http://vixra.org/pdf/1105.0025v1.pdf . The list of citations is impressive, and sufficient to persuade me that "a specific, scientifically falsifiable explanation needs to be proposed and tested, and the results published for scientific scrutiny." Cheers. vjtorley
Could you 'unpack' that, Gregory, as Elizabeth would say? No don't laugh, folks... If I engaged, I'd end up as barmy as you lot. Just as following everything my wife said would have. I tried, but we thought in different ways. I'm not saying you think like someone of the female persuasion; just in a mysterious way. Axel
Honestly, what's with people at UD? Simple questions dodged again. I asked: "Ah, but you do currently reside in Australia, do you not?" Spin, insult, rhetoric, fluff. No willingness to engage. The guy said as much before, but now just wants to play. Others at UD get lumped together by such 'community' behaviour. Do you folks still wonder why most people don't take IDism seriously? It is because of behaviour like his. "You’re kidding yourself about ID[T] being a minority belief; yours is the minority belief!" - 'Axel' And what belief do you suppose would that be? Yet another make-up conclusion from an IDist is coming. IDT is a vast minority 'belief.' UD is its dwindling hive. Gregory
Acne, you are talking nonsense again. The IDM deserves an Aussie like you to 'got to war' with them. At least the spread of Expelled Syndrome is lesser there. Keep on your anti-capitalism kick. But don't try telling that to the DI's right-wing fundies; they'll have none of it. No time for your pranks. Gregory
Once again you get even chit-chat wrong, Greg! For crying out loud.... And here you are holding forth about ID! Aren't you a sociologist? What would you know about the price of fish and chips? I'm sure you did think I said I was living in Oz, but I can't imagine for he life of me why I would wish to misrepresent this enormously important residence question - apart from being proud if I could have said I was an Aussie. You're kidding yourself about ID being a minority belief; yours is the minority belief! It just happens that academic disciplines which could impinge on corporate wealth and power are funded by the large corporations, and their very ethos, guided by their ideological aims. Below this link is a quote from the article itself. I don't expect you to appreciate it, but others might appreciate the understanding its author shows of the baneful effects of unbridled corporate power, of which, perhaps not entirely disinterestedly you seems so lamentably uncomprehending: http://www.theautomaticearth.com/Finance/capitalism-a-norwegian-rat-and-some-cockroaches.html 'What makes discussing these things blasphemous is that while you can't escape a critical look at how capitalism functions, in our world capitalism has taken on the role and characteristics of a religion, which typically rejects critical looks. You're not supposed to question it, and if you do anyway, before you know it you get to be Galileo. In the case of capitalism, if you dare criticize the prevailing system, you are a communist or a socialist. And like Galileo, a heretic. From where I'm sitting, all the isms through history have led to the same result: a ruling elite and gagged masses. Most forms of Marxism promise those masses a voice in how their societies are structured, but few if any deliver. Our capitalistic societies call themselves democratic, but doubts about that are self-evident. When you only get to choose between options that are pre-selected by ruling classes, that's at best democracy between huge and thick brackets. Point in case: the masses don't tend to opt for a choice of rapidly increasing income inequality (which leaves them poorer), but it is what we experience. In short, capitalism leads where all other isms lead. People may claim that it's the least worst option, but that remains to be seen. Let it run its course, and then perhaps we can judge. In any case, the pseudo science that comes up with the numbers mentioned above badly needs to be called to task and revealed for what it really is. So let's give it a shot.' Axel
"I’m not an Aussie, but I’d certainly be proud to be one." - Axel Ah, but you do currently reside in Australia, do you not? That's at least what I thought you said before. That is, if truth is something you care about. Committment to truth is unfortunately largely missing in the IDist pantomime that IDT is a 'strictly [natural] scientific' theory. If IDists gave up this fantasy, it might be quite comfortable in a social sciences or literature classroom, as the Ball State University President suggests. But no, IDists are insistent to put up yet another stink because they demand that IDism is 'strictly [natural] scientific' and thus sic John G. West on the case for good measure. Thank goodness Australia hasn't been invaded by IDists/IDism! Gregory
It was a simple question that KF/GEM for some unknown personal reason *still* cannot bring himself to directly answer with a Yes or No. O.k. then I'll do it for him, translating his 'obvious' indirectness into a clear, simple, direct answer. The answer is "No, KF/GEM has never submitted his 'work' on FSCO/I to a scientific journal or to peer review." Easy conclusion.
"I simply have no interest in trying to produce peer reviewed documents on this subject" - KF/GEM
But then you should probably realise why people don't take your 'work' seriously, right? Posting it only at UD or on your blog has little value compared to peer review and potential scholarly publication. Do you understand this socially, even while crusading for IDism here at UD? I proposed the situation of a 'level playing field' for publication about the highly speculative notion of FSCO/I, but no, KF/GEM doesn't seem to care what the playing field is. He instead prefers obscurity and lack of scientific credibility for his pet idea. That's not how scientists usually work, but perhaps for KF/GEM, that's good enough.
"I have been effective to the point that you perceive me as a threat to your agenda."
Effective, only posting at UD?! Give us a break. That's absurd. Lack of courage to submit an article to a scientific journal while claiming scientific relevance and coherence with a 'Revolutionary' new IDist theory is a telltale sign of 'not worth the time'. Respect to your Abrahamic faith, KF/GEM, but none for your lack of courage to try to publish bent by Expelled Syndrome, accusations of unfairness to *all* publishers worldwide, evasiveness to answer simple, direct questions and tendency to blame others for these faults. If this reality stings from a 'civil tongue', you've earned it. Taking the right medicine should have enabled you to answer the initial question directly. Gregory
Evidently, English isn't your first language, Gregoire, so pardon me if I don't dumb down for your benefit. It's just that you need to find your own level, and stop wasting our time. And 'mon petit chou'.... now the thought of Valentine's Day seems an even uglier prospect...! But I had to laugh just now at your 'ordering' KF to respond to some nonsense you'd contrived. Do you remember that - when you got really querulous and said you wouldn't stand for being 'ordered' to answer questions, presumably as you had been unable to do so? Then there was the funny name thing. Please call me Gregory! Reminds me of a lad in the army who didn't answer to his name at the roll-call on parade, so the sergeant bawled at him, 'Are you Brown?' He replied, Yes, Sergeant, but my friends call me Stanley(!)' Though your objection is in the direction of formality, which is a definite comfort to me. Oh, and thanks for the compliment. I'm not an Aussie, but I'd certainly be proud to be one. Don't take all this banter to heart though. Just wise up a little. Axel
Gregory, you just crossed a line, by being outrageously personal and rudely disrespectful. You already have your answer if an answer was what you were interested in. As I stated [and as is obvious from what I have done and said for years], I simply have no interest in trying to produce peer reviewed documents on this subject, that effort on my part is reserved for where it has some use. On this subject, I am acting as a reasonably informed and experienced science educator and analyst of issues, and I have put on the table more than enough to show that FSCO/I is a reasonable term in light of what has been a focal subject for decades. You seem to only be interested to attack, enabling slander and censorship. Your hostile reaction and rudeness are tokens that in fact, I have been effective to the point that you perceive me as a threat to your agenda. I suggest you take a time out until you can get a civil tongue in your head and stop falsely accusing people of dishonesty. KF kairosfocus
Well, first KF/GEM, getting an honest word out of you has proven a challenge. Yes or No: these are easy terms. An answer to my very simple question should not be that hard. But instead you have chosen and stubbornly still do CHOOSE intentionally not to answer, like an Expelled Syndrome victim: The world is against you. Life isn't fair. IDists are being persecuted simply for telling the truth. And 'Intelligent Design' *really IS* a 'revolutionary' strictly [natural] scientific' theory, right? ;) *ALL* the journals in the world and their editors are out to get innocent, friendly, nice, clever, capable, daring, revolutionary IDists, right? Just to note, I didn't read a single word in your quote above as it almost surely irrelevant to the simple question of publication re: FSCO/I - have you tried or haven't you? - asked above.
"Red herrings led away to strawmen soaked in ad hominems and knocked over."
Such low-level sophistry, disguised as 'philosophy' is really not worth responding to. KF will repeat and repeat those same 3 claims until he is blue in the face. So what? Yawn.
"In short, the pretence that the descriptive summary abbreviation that I use frequently, FSCO/I — functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated info, is a dubious novelty that needs to be passed by some jury of duly anointed and anonymous scientists before it can be deemed of merit to be thought about is a silly bit of distractive rhetoric that reveals the sophomoric mentality and irresponsibility of too much that passes for critique of design thought." - KF
What if it actually doesn't have merit, KF/GEM? What if an honest and impartial jury of persons much more qualified than you were looking at some paper on FSCO/I that you submitted to be published and pointed out massive flaws in your 'model,' in your 'paradigm,' in your 'dubious novelty'? Would you want to go to your grave a crackpot, insisting that everyone else was wrong, but that you, American-Carribean scientist-extraordinaire was actually onto something great, that noone else could possibly appreciate other than a few on-line fellow protestors who claimed to hold the same ideology (IDism) as you? Has that thought ever crossed your mind? Your persistent appeal to 'Onlookers' (which really means 'IDists of the World Unite!') is duly noted and dismissed as rallying the troops without substance. The Communists do this on loud speakers, KF; I've heard it with my own ears. "Dance like IDists do" by avoiding SIMPLE QUESTIONS as I asked you above is basically what your appeal to 'Onlookers' actually says. Have you ever submitted a paper to be published in a scientific journal about FSCO/I or not? Yes or no? This will be the last time I ask. Are you a sincere and open communicator or not? Gregory
Onlookers, It seems that, faced with an issue of a basic core point on the inductive logic of science applied to empirical evidence that highlights FSCO/I as a reliable sign of design, in reply to distortions and slanderous false accusations [cf TSZ] multiplied by censorship [cf BSU] the best that objectors can come up with is that I refuse to try to jump through hoops to publish a discussion of a simple descriptive abbreviation. Red herrings led away to strawmen soaked in ad hominems and knocked over. Well there is a place to answer to folly in order to expose it. Let me simply pause and note for record, the following from the relevant foundational literature, to document where the terms I use come from -- the roots of FUNCTIONALLY specific complex organisation and/or associated information:
WICKEN, 1979: ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [[i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ [--> thus, specification] with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [[“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. ORGEL, 1973: . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [[The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189.] HOYLE, 1982: Once we see that life is cosmic it is sensible to suppose that intelligence is cosmic. Now problems of order [--> I would speak in terms of organisation, order having a too closely related usage in thermodynamics that can be confusing], such as the sequences of amino acids in the chains which constitute the enzymes and other proteins, are precisely the problems that become easy once a directed intelligence enters the picture, as was recognised long ago by James Clerk Maxwell in his invention of what is known in physics as the Maxwell demon. The difference between an intelligent ordering, whether of words, fruit boxes, amino acids, or the Rubik cube, and merely random shufflings can be fantastically large, even as large as a number that would fill the whole volume of Shakespeare’s plays with its zeros. So if one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as high a possibility of being true.” [[Evolution from Space (The Omni Lecture[ --> Jan 12th 1982]), Enslow Publishers, 1982, pg. 28.] DAWKINS, 1987: Hitting upon the lucky number that opens the bank's safe [NB: cf. here the case in Brown's The Da Vinci Code] is the equivalent, in our analogy, of hurling scrap metal around at random and happening to assemble a Boeing 747. [NB: originally, this imagery is due to Sir Fred Hoyle, who used it to argue that life on earth bears characteristics that strongly suggest design. His suggestion: panspermia -- i.e. life drifted here, or else was planted here.] Of all the millions of unique and, with hindsight equally improbable, positions of the combination lock, only one opens the lock. Similarly, of all the millions of unique and, with hindsight equally improbable, arrangements of a heap of junk, only one (or very few) will fly. The uniqueness of the arrangement that flies, or that opens the safe, has nothing to do with hindsight. It is specified in advance. [The Blind Watchmaker (1987), p. 8. Emphases and parenthetical note added, in tribute to the late Sir Fred Hoyle. (NB: This case also shows that we need not see boxes labelled "encoders/decoders" or "transmitters/receivers" and "channels" etc. for the model in Fig. 1 above to be applicable; i.e. the model is abstract rather than concrete: the critical issue is functional, complex information, not electronics.)] TBO in TMLO, 1984: Three sets of letter arrangements show nicely the difference between order and complexity in relation to information: 1. An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement: THE END THE END THE END THE END Example: Nylon, or a crystal. [NOTE: Here we use "THE END" even though there is no reason to suspect that nylon or a crystal would carry even this much information. Our point, of course, is that even if they did, the bit of information would be drowned in a sea of redundancy]. 2. A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement: AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG Example: Random polymers (polypeptides). 3. A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement: THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE! Example: DNA, protein. Yockey7 and Wickens5 develop the same distinction, that "order" is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as could might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, "organization" refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity. In short, the redundant order of crystals cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future. [TMLO, Ch 8] DEMBSKI, NFL: p. 148: “The great myth of contemporary evolutionary biology is that the information needed to explain complex biological structures can be purchased without intelligence. My aim throughout this book is to dispel that myth . . . . Eigen and his colleagues must have something else in mind besides information simpliciter when they describe the origin of information as the central problem of biology. I submit that what they have in mind is specified complexity [[cf. here below], or what equivalently we have been calling in this Chapter Complex Specified information or CSI . . . . Biological specification always refers to function . . . In virtue of their function [[a living organism's subsystems] embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the sense required by the complexity-specificity criterion . . . the specification can be cashed out in any number of ways [[through observing the requisites of functional organisation within the cell, or in organs and tissues or at the level of the organism as a whole] . . .” p. 144: [[Specified complexity can be defined:] “. . . since a universal probability bound of 1 [[chance] in 10^150 corresponds to a universal complexity bound of 500 bits of information, [[the cluster] (T, E) constitutes CSI because T [[ effectively the target hot zone in the field of possibilities] subsumes E [[ effectively the observed event from that field], T is detachable from E, and and T measures at least 500 bits of information . . . ” MEYER, 2009: [[W]e now have a wealth of experience showing that what I call ,b>specified or functional information (especially if encoded in digital form) does not arise from purely physical or chemical antecedents [[--> i.e. by blind, undirected forces of chance and necessity]. Indeed, the ribozyme engineering and pre-biotic simulation experiments that Professor Falk commends to my attention actually lend additional inductive support to this generalization. On the other hand, we do know of a cause—a type of cause—that has demonstrated the power to produce functionally-specified information. That cause is intelligence or conscious rational deliberation. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler once observed, “the creation of information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” And, of course, he was right. Whenever we find information—whether embedded in a radio signal, carved in a stone monument, written in a book or etched on a magnetic disc—and we trace it back to its source, invariably we come to mind, not merely a material process. Thus, the discovery of functionally specified, digitally encoded information along the spine of DNA, provides compelling positive evidence of the activity of a prior designing intelligence. This conclusion is not based upon what we don’t know. It is based upon what we do know from our uniform experience about the cause and effect structure of the world—specifically, what we know about what does, and does not, have the power to produce large amounts of specified information . . . . [[In conclusion,] it needs to be noted that the [[now commonly asserted and imposed limiting rule on scientific knowledge, the] principle of methodological naturalism [[ that scientific explanations may only infer to "natural[[istic] causes"] is an arbitrary philosophical assumption, not a principle that can be established or justified by scientific observation itself. Others of us, having long ago seen the pattern in pre-biotic simulation experiments, to say nothing of the clear testimony of thousands of years of human experience, have decided to move on. We see in the information-rich structure of life a clear indicator of intelligent activity and have begun to investigate living systems accordingly. If, by Professor Falk’s definition, that makes us philosophers rather than scientists, then so be it. But I suspect that the shoe is now, instead, firmly on the other foot. [[Meyer, Stephen C: Response to Darrel Falk’s Review of Signature in the Cell, SITC web site, 2009. (Emphases and parentheses added.)] DEMBSKI & WITT, 2010: We know from experience that intelligent agents build intricate machines that need all their parts to function [[--> i.e. he is specifically discussing "irreducibly complex" objects, structures or processes for which there is a core group of parts all of which must be present and properly arranged for the entity to function (cf. here, here and here)], things like mousetraps and motors. And we know how they do it -- by looking to a future goal and then purposefully assembling a set of parts until they’re a working whole. Intelligent agents, in fact, are the one and only type of thing we have ever seen doing this sort of thing from scratch. In other words, our common experience provides positive evidence of only one kind of cause able to assemble such machines. It’s not electricity. It’s not magnetism. It’s not natural selection working on random variation. It’s not any purely mindless process. It’s intelligence . . . . When we attribute intelligent design to complex biological machines that need all of their parts to work, we’re doing what historical scientists do generally. Think of it as a three-step process: (1) locate a type of cause active in the present that routinely produces the thing in question; (2) make a thorough search to determine if it is the only known cause of this type of thing; and (3) if it is, offer it as the best explanation for the thing in question. [William Dembski and Jonathan Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy, pp. 20-21, 53 (InterVarsity Press, 2010). HT, CL of ENV & DI.]
In short, the pretence that the descriptive summary abbreviation that I use frequently, FSCO/I -- functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated info, is a dubious novelty that needs to be passed by some jury of duly anointed and anonymous scientists before it can be deemed of merit to be thought about is a silly bit of distractive rhetoric that reveals the sophomoric mentality and irresponsibility of too much that passes for critique of design thought. Far too serious matters are on the table to tolerate further distractions on this line. Thus, a for record comment. Meanwhile, there is slander [at TSZ] and there is censorship [at BSU] that need to be soberly addressed. KF kairosfocus
Axel, mon petit chou, is it that hard of a question for KF/GEM to answer, really? No, it's rather simple. He has 'will' issues and a whole horse load of pretense. And what's this with "the authority of the large corporations with their looted money, on your side"? Do you have 'une araignée au plafond'? What's with this crazy talk in the name of IDism, my dear Aussie? Gregory
Gregory why don't you try reading ID foundation series right here at UD instead of complaining. https://uncommondescent.com/category/intelligent-design/id-foundations/page/6/ Eugen
Of course KF hasn't published anything on "FSCO/I" anywhere except here and his own blogs. I just wonder why, if he thinks his argument has merit, he does not approach The Biologic Institute. According to their site:
Scientists affiliated with Biologic Institute are working from the idea that life appears to have been designed because it really was designed. That’s a hypothesis, not a theory, and while it obviously has huge philosophical implications (made even more huge by the the fact it appears to be correct) it doesn’t do much for biology if left at that. Yet it could be the gateway to big things if interested biologists are allowed to work from that starting point. The science establishment is decidedly against this, but the truth is that no one will know how much the design-centered approach will benefit biology until that approach is taken by enough people for a full theory to come out of it. Our role as an organization is to assist those who can tackle this challenge now and to grow the number who can continue that work by introducing future scientists to the field.
A testable hypothesis sounds just what they are looking for, KF. So I don't think you can claim an evilutionist conspiracy is preventing the news of your "hypothesis" getting out. I am sure Douglas Axe will fearlessly publish your paper, if you produce one. The same applies to Upright Biped and his semiotic argument. Alan Fox
Well, Gregoire, 'mon pauvre vieux', I suppose, if KF has all the great figures of science on his side, as well as most of the brighter scientists of today (not least, physicians, who have an inside track on the interface between life and death), then your desperation is understandable. You have all the authority of the large corporations with their looted money, on your side. What else can you do, but hope that the ubiquitous, if often covert, theistic scientists who have won the day, hands down, in terms of the latest science, will add lustre to your discredited establishment, by seeking the imprimatur of its formal approval. Axel
Are you hoping trying to argue from want of what constitutes a particularly specious and, on occasions, malfeasant authority, Gregory? Is that what you are hoping for? GET LOST. Axel
No, KF/GEM, your time's up. I'm just asking a simple question.
"you know that the concepts behind my summary term have been published."
No, actually, I don't know that. Your 'summary term' (FSCO/I) is openly in question. I doubt your 'scientific' confidence just as I doubt you have a case to argue that would pass muster with a fair-handed scientific publisher.
"I have chosen not to play the silly jump the hoops"
Does this mean YOU HAVE NEVER TRIED TO PUBLISH ANYTHING ON FSCO/I in a credible scientific journal? Just a yes or no will suffice. Thanks. Stop dancing and answer. Gregory
Onlookers, remember all of this is while a live case of slander is ongoing at TSZ on talking points directly related to what has been addressed above. KF kairosfocus
Gregory: Don't be silly, the matter is one of substantial discussion on the merits and you know that the concepts behind my summary term have been published. You are trying to play at appeal to authority and personalisation games to dodge dealing with those merits. The cogency of an inductive case has nothing to do with the fact that I have chosen not to play the silly jump the hoops in a context loaded against you publication game. And others who have have sufficiently backed what I have had to say. Your bluff and subject switching distractors fail. KF kairosfocus
Claudius, stop lying: "edited out". I clipped the introduction save for an unrelated closing line in toto and simply inserted notes point by point. Notes that are fully justified. KF kairosfocus
kairosfocus @ 59 Since you sprinkle your comment @ 59 so liberally with falsehoods, it is clear you refuse to engage with issue of mainstream scientific support for evolution on the merits, and instead pour out your prolix vitriol upon hapless strawmen. Case 1.
Wikipedia [edited out by kairosfocus]: The most prominent organization behind this movement has been the Discovery Institute, the driving force behind the intelligent design movement [+link to highly detailed ID movement article]. kairosfocus: 1 –> Refusal to acknowledge a third view, design inference, fed into an assumed equation of design theory and Creationism.
==> The claim that the Wikipedia article refuses to acknowledge the design inference is a complete falsehood. Case 2.
Wikipedia: An overwhelming majority of the scientific community accepts evolution as the dominant scientific theory of biological diversity. kairosfocus: 8 –> Appeal to consensus of a heavily ideologised elite dominated by Lewontin’s a priori materialism.
==> The claim that the scientific community is dominated by materialism is a complete falsehood - as already pointed out on this very thread, so there can be no excuse - because a clear majority of scientists are not atheists or materialists. Case 3.
Wikipedia: Additionally, US courts have ruled in favor of teaching evolution in science classrooms, and against teaching creationism ... kairosfocus: 10 –> Courts are not competent to rule on matters of science and associated philosophy.
==> Another complete falsehood. Courts are required all the time to rule on whether expert testimony is sufficiently scientifically reliable to be admitted into evidence i.e. whether something is sound, valid science or not. Ever hear of Daubert, or R v Dallagher? I could go on and on but I couldn't be bothered. You're clearly not serious about engaging the issue on the merits, and would rather play rhetorical games. This is sad, as you may well be misleading others not so well informed as you ought to be on such matters. CLAVDIVS
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