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A Bogey Moment with PZ Myers

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It is interesting to see how evolutionists respond to failures of their theory. For all their talk of following the evidence and adjusting to new data, evolutionists find all kinds of ways to resist learning from their failures. Consider one of the major failures of evolution, its view of the very nature of biological change. Twentieth century evolutionary theory held that biological change is a rather simple process that is blind to the needs of the organism. As Julian Huxley, grandson of Darwin confidant T. H. Huxley, put it, mutations “occur without reference to their possible consequences or biological uses.”   Read more

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Mark Frank: Look what happens next is that I start to refer to papers about fossil records, cladistics, molecular clocks etc and you dispute each step as being speculation and not really evidence. I am sorry I am not going round that merry-go-round for the millionth time. If you think that fossils can demonstrate that undirected natural processes can produce complexity, then yes, that would be a waste of time. Ditto for molecular clocks and cladistics. None of those subject matters even relate to demonstrating that undirected natural forces generate complexity. They aren't relevant. Why even bring them up? You're so used to assuming that something can come from nothing that you don't even see it as the gaping blind spot in your theory. You skip right past it, as if it requires no explanation. But intelligence as a cause? Crazy. Who ever heard of such a thing?ScottAndrews
October 7, 2009
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I’m well aware of the vast tracts of papers exploring natural causes for life. They haven’t found anything. They speculate, and for some people speculation works as evidence, if it points the way they like. Look what happens next is that I start to refer to papers about fossil records, cladistics, molecular clocks etc and you dispute each step as being speculation and not really evidence. I am sorry I am not going round that merry-go-round for the millionth time. You’re looking for equivalent research papers full of unwarranted speculation? Well that would be a start. Any kind of evidence however slight, or even a hypothesis as to the intelligent cause, would be progress.Mark Frank
October 6, 2009
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Mark Frank: Of course there will be no evidence that natural causes can create information. You admitted in #106 that if a natural cause is found then it no longer counts as information So there is no evidence of a natural cause for anything that ID wrongly calls information? Seems like you're going out of your way to avoid supporting your position with evidence. Fine, we'll phrase it that way. Show a case where what ID calls FCSI really isn't, because there is a natural cause. Your position cannot stand without such evidence. I think what you are actually asking for is evidence that there can be natural causes for life. There are vast tracts of scientific papers exploring that subject. I'm well aware of the vast tracts of papers exploring natural causes for life. They haven't found anything. They speculate, and for some people speculation works as evidence, if it points the way they like. No I ask you for the equivalent research looking at intelligent causes of life. You're looking for equivalent research papers full of unwarranted speculation?ScottAndrews
October 6, 2009
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#111 "Even if there were no ID, information and function from chaos would still be nonsense, and there would still be no evidence" Of course there will be no evidence that natural causes can create information. You admitted in #106 that if a natural cause is found then it no longer counts as information (according to the ID definition of information). So it is necessarily true by definition that you cannot get information from natural causes including chaos. I think what you are actually asking for is evidence that there can be natural causes for life. There are vast tracts of scientific papers exploring that subject. I am convinced you are not. No I ask you for the equivalent research looking at intelligent causes of life.Mark Frank
October 5, 2009
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Mark Frank: I don’t agree with this. But tell me, are you able to discuss an intelligent cause non-speculatively? Why, yes I can: the content of this e-mail. It contains specific information, and the cause was intelligent. I don't know why I bother. Either cough up some evidence that a similar amount of information can be produced without intelligence, or stop masquerading your personal beliefs as science. I think perhaps you've gone numb to the repeated statements that there is no evidence. Do you really think no one will notice when time after time, you fail to cite evidence that randomness can generate information? Instead, you look for flaws in the opposing point of view, as if that will make a difference. Do you really not get it? Even if there were no ID, information and function from chaos would still be nonsense, and there would still be no evidence. The burden of proof is on you. If your belief is more than a fantasy, show us the money.ScottAndrews
October 5, 2009
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#110 I don't see how your comment relates to the previous comments - but it has an interesting sentence in it. The point is that you are only able to discuss a non-intelligent cause speculatively I don't agree with this. But tell me, are you able to discuss an intelligent cause non-speculatively?Mark Frank
October 5, 2009
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Mark Frank: The point is that you are only able to discuss a non-intelligent cause speculatively. Keep rearranging the shells, and perhaps the thing that no one has ever seen or can even imagine in detail will actually become real. Keep clicking your heels.ScottAndrews
October 5, 2009
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#107 Hooray. Thanks. Therefore, you do not discover that intelligent things cause FSCI. It is true by definition.Mark Frank
October 5, 2009
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Mark Frank: If you have a phenomenon such as the bacterial flagellum and you identify a cause other than intelligence then it no longer has FSCI. Got it. Identify such a cause, and the flagellum will no longer contain FCSI.ScottAndrews
October 5, 2009
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#105 I am having trouble getting across a key point. Let me try once more: it just means we currently do not know of anything other than ID that produces such FSCI. If you have a phenomenon such as the bacterial flagellum and you identify a cause other than intelligence then it no longer has FSCI. In the equation ? = – log2[10^120 ·?S(T)·P(T|H)] you have identified an H which has a reasonably high P(T|H) and therefore the information content is low - just do the maths if you don't believe me. It is not possible to identify a cause other than intelligence for FSCI because it is part of the definition of FSCI that there be no other cause. As soon as you find another cause it is no longer complex and the information content is low.Mark Frank
October 4, 2009
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Mark, How else can any theory be the "best explanation" of any phenomena under consideration unless one "rules out" other competing theories? Just because we do not know of any explanation other than ID doesn't mean that the presence of FSCI "rules out" non-ID explanations; it just means we currently do not know of anything other than ID that produces such FSCI. If we find such processes or combinations thereof, then ID pretty much becomes irrelevant.William J. Murray
October 4, 2009
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Recognizing the product of ID is really not some mystical, irrational process. It’s science.
Fine, just how does it work? What is the theory? I have been asking with little luck so far but maybe this time? I read Behe, Denyse O'Leary, Dembski or Corenlius Hunter but I don't get any wiser. Reading ARN doesn't help much either. Guess I am plain stupid.
Cabal
October 4, 2009
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#97 I am going to add to my previous comment just to drive home the point. You write: We have yet to find an undirected process that produces FSCI over 500 bits. The definition of CSI in the glossary is: ? = – log2[10^120 ·?S(T)·P(T|H)] (The information in FSCI is the same type of information so presumably the same definition of complex information applies - it is just the nature of the specification that changes). If you have an undirected process that produces an outcome such as a bacterial flagellum then it is a hypothesis i.e. an H in the formula above. So if you come across an H that can produce the outcome then (O|H) is going to be some reasonable number - not something of the order of 10^-120. So by definition finding such a process means the outcome is not complex.Mark Frank
October 4, 2009
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#97 FSCI is FSCI. The definition doesn’t require that it be the product of ID. To be precise the definition requires that the object in question be so unlikely to be the result of non-intelligent causes that we can rule them out. Otherwise it would not be complex. This is tantamount to saying it must be the result of ID. Or do you have another definition of FSCI?Mark Frank
October 3, 2009
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So, it turns out that the Vargas paper is open access http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jez.b.21319 , and I noted some additional bits of information: * the claim that Kammerer's specimen toured England does come from Koestler * a midwife toad with nursing pads was reportedly found in the wild * Vargas says "Kammerer published photographs, including histological sections, of the nuptial pads" * Stephen Jay Gould was among the nursing-pad believersanonym
October 3, 2009
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I might as well repost links to Sander Gliboff's historical papers about Kammerer: ‘Protoplasm…is soft wax in our hands’: Paul Kammerer and the art of biological transformation http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.endeavour.2005.10.001 The case of Paul Kammerer : Evolution and experimentation in the early 20th century http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18276062 I'll also repeat my earlier plea: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/paul-kammerer-evolutions-legacy-of-shame/#comment-333576 it would be awesome if someone with access to the papers could have a look and report back on what Gliboff says about the nursing-pad controversy. In particular, does he support (or undercut) the claim (apparently made by Koestler) that Kammerer's "anti-Lamarckian" critics in England had been able to examine the specimen themselves some time before Noble's trip to Vienna, presumably before it had been tampered with? (Some more Kammerer linkspam: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10739-007-9130-z http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.325_1194 )anonym
October 3, 2009
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This, if carried into practice, would result in scientific journals being open to arguments from either side of the question.
Scientific journals, unlike blogs, are far more interested in publishing new research findings than to publishing arguments.Adel DiBagno
October 3, 2009
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The only reason to not see human-generated ID as just another kind of explanatory that actually exists in the real world, and that it might exist similarly in other entities or similarly be responsible for some phenomena even if it isn't associated with human activity, is to hold human ID as special or unique in some way. Do we hold our ability to see as unique? Our ability to dig holes, breath, or defecate? Do we hold earth vulcanism as special, and refuse to translate what we know about earthbound vulcanism to other planets? Humans make tools; do refuse to consider that animals make tools, even when it seems that they are? When humans communicate, is that something special? Can other creatures not communicate? Can we rcognize when other creatures are mating, courting, communicating, using tools? Recognizing the product of ID is really not some mystical, irrational process. It's science. We've been applying ID principles intuitively for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, and just lately - with information and communication and probability theory - have we started refining the math and the theory thereof.William J. Murray
October 3, 2009
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Mark Frank said:Is this something we have discovered by observation? We have observed that humans can deliberately create high levels (above 500 bits) of FSCI. We have not seen gravity, electromagetism, vulcanism, erosion, or any other process undirected by intelligence create such amounts of FSCI. However, we find a very high degree of FSCI in DNA. Therefore, we suspect that ID might be involved. Mark Frank said: But hang on, if it had a non-intelligent cause it would no longer be CSI or FSCI. So it is true by definition. No. FSCI is FSCI. The definition doesn't require that it be the product of ID. We have yet to find an undirected process that produces FSCI over 500 bits. We have found many processes that create information, comlex information, and specified information, but none so far - including chance and observable physiodynamic forces that we are aware of - that generate FSCI above 500 bits from scratch. ID isn't about human intelligence per se; it just uses human ID as an example of ID at work and what it can do, in the same way that we use volcanic or weather activity on earth to make "best explanations" of what may be occurring on other planets or in deep history. Whether or not humans were present is irrelevant.William J. Murray
October 3, 2009
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#95 Why is it then that scientific journals are not open to arguments from both sides? Why, for instance, was Steve Meyer’s article retracted from the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington? Haven’t you just labeled such behavior irrational? I am afraid don't know the content of Steve Meyer's article. Did it discuss the evidence for a proposed intelligent cause of some aspects of life?Mark Frank
October 3, 2009
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Mark Frank (#92, #94) I agree that the "rational thing to do is to reject neither" that a very complex object such as the bacterial flagellum is more like products of human intelligence nor that it is more like natural causes without obvious intelligence (I say it this way because there is some dispute whether nature itself requires intelligence), "admit you don't know, and continue to look for a plausible account of some kind." This, if carried into practice, would result in scientific journals being open to arguments from either side of the question. Why is it then that scientific journals are not open to arguments from both sides? Why, for instance, was Steve Meyer's article retracted from the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington? Haven't you just labeled such behavior irrational?Paul Giem
October 3, 2009
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#93 If you reject the possibility of something akin to(c), (a) is all you are left with. Conversely if you reject the possibility of something akin to (a) then intelligence is all you are left with. Which is the ID argument. The rational thing to do is to reject neither, admit you don't know, and continue to look for a plausible account of some kind.Mark Frank
October 3, 2009
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It is more reasonable to believe the explanation for (d) is something akin to (c) than to believe it is (a). If you reject the possibility of something akin to(c), (a) is all you are left with.suckerspawn
October 3, 2009
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William Murray 89, 90, 91 Think of it this way. A common ID mantra is something like: "All cases of CSI and FSCI that we know of have intelligent causes." Is this something we have discovered by observation? But hang on, if it had a non-intelligent cause it would no longer be CSI or FSCI. So it is true by definition. Here is another way of looking at it. Survey the various phenomena we see around us. We can divide them into four categories based on two dimensions: there is a plausible wholly natural account (yes/no) there is a plausible account involved human intelligence (yes/no) Imagine a 2x2 grid if it helps with quadrants a, b, c and d. (a) We can give a plausible wholly natural account and we pretty sure there is no human intelligence involved e.g. the path a river takes to the sea on an uninhabited island. (b) We can give a plausible wholly natural account but it is also possible to give an account involving human intelligence. e.g. a bundle of rocks damming a river in an inhabited area (c) We cannot give a plausible natural account but we have good reason to believe includes some element of human intelligence. e.g. Mount Vernon. (d) We cannot give a plausible natural account or a plausible account involving human intelligence (you would include the evolution of the bacterial flagellum in this) ID lumps (c) and (d) together and calls them CSI. The common property being - no plausible natural account. It then concludes because in (c) human intelligence was associated with no plausible natural account then in (d) some other intelligence must be associated with no plausible natural account. But of course there is actually just no account.Mark Frank
October 2, 2009
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It really is no different than finding features that only water erosion are known to commonly produce, or volcanic action are known to commonly produce; is the phenomena inexplicable otherwise, with only erosion or volcanic activity known to produce those kind of effects? There might be many competing ideas as to what caused a certain feature: different kinds of phenomena or forces regularly generate certain kinds of evidence in the universe. ID is no different from any other recognizable, evidence-producing phenomena or force like gravity or vulcanism.William J. Murray
October 2, 2009
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Let's say we have a feature that is inexplicable via known non-ID forces (physical laws, chance, physiodynamic interactions, etc.). The first question is, does it contain an inexplicable level of FSCI? Mere inexplicability is not sufficient for a finding of ID as better explanation; the phenomena must carry FSCI well beyond what probability bounds for the system predict. This makes ID the better explanation, not because the phenomena is merely inexplicable, but because it contains a level of FSCI that is only known to be produced by intelligent agents.William J. Murray
October 2, 2009
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Mark Frank asks: Why? If there is an independent reason for believing in ID (other than the perceived failure of RM+NS) then surely this reason has to be balanced against the case for RM+NS and may indeed prove stronger? Yes. The independent reason is that we know ID to commonly and often generate features or things that have a high degree of FSCI, whereas without such ID such features are inexplicable.William J. Murray
October 2, 2009
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From Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald Prothero (page 115): "The common European house aparrow is found all over North America today but it is an invader, brought from Europe in 1852. The initial populations escaped and quickly spread all over North America, from the northern boreal forests of Canada down to Costa Rica. We know that the ancestral population was all very similar because they were introduced from a few escaped immigrants. Because they have spread to the many diverse regions of North America, they are rapidly diverging and on the way to becoming many new species. House sparrows now vary widely in body size, with more northern populations being much larger than those that live in the south. This is common phenomenon (sic), known as Bergmann's rule, due to the fact that larger, rounder bodies conserve heat better than smaller bodies. House sparrows from the north are darker in color than their southern cousins, perhaps because dark colors help absorb sunlight and light colors are better at reflecting it in warm climates. Many other changes in wing length, bill shape, and other features have been documented. The differences are so extreme that bird watchers in the south cannot tell that they are looking at the same species as bird watchers in the north." Granted, not yet a separate species but . . . and Prothero's book has several more examples. There are some species of dogs which if fossilized would no doubt be claimed to be different species so dramatic are the morphological differences.ellazimm
October 2, 2009
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if you look at the definition of CSI, FSCI and IC you will find they are defined as being effects which are highly unlikely to arise from non-intelligent causes. Assuming that's the case, doesn't it logically follow that non-intelligent causes are most likely for CSI, FSCI, and IC? You see, there's a new logic. When something is 'highly unlikely' (as in, probably never happened in the history of the universe) then you're supposed to use that as evidence to reason that it almost certainly happened. Improbable = inevitable. Get it?ScottAndrews
October 2, 2009
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#85 “What is the evidential strength of observing that SI, FCSI and IC result from non-intelligence??” Good question Larry. The trouble is - if you look at the definition of CSI, FSCI and IC you will find they are defined as being effects which are highly unlikely to arise from non-intelligent causes. In fact that is their distinguishing characteristic. If you have precisely the same observations but discover they can plausibly arise from non-intelligent causes then they are no longer CSI, FSCI or IC (actually IC is a little bit subtler).Mark Frank
October 2, 2009
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