Intelligent Design

A Materialist Gets It (Almost)

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A recent exchange with Allan Keith illustrates how materialists have allowed their intellect to become literally enslaved to their metaphysical commitments.  Allan proves one can understand the logic fully and even accept the logic.  And then turn right around and deny the conclusions compelled by the logic.  Let’s see how:

We will pick up the exchange where Allan has admitted that we have countless trillions of examples of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity caused by humans.

___________________________________________________________

Barry:

You admit that we have countless trillions of examples of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity from humans. So far so good.

What is it about humans that enables them to cause those things Allan? Intelligence.

So now we have countless trillions of examples of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity from humans on account of their intelligence.

We have observed exactly ZERO instances of any other cause accounting for functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity.

Put it together Allan. Human intelligence is the only certainly known source of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity.

Therefore, when we see functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity whose origins we do not know, we have a choice:

1 Attribute it to the only cause known with certainty to produce it, i.e. intelligence.
2 Attribute it to causes that have never been observed producing it.

Answer 1 is obviously best.

Allan responds:

Option 1 does not follow from your logic. The logical option 1 would be:  Attribute it to the only cause known with certainty to produce it, i.e. Human intelligence.

___________________________________________________________

I understand Allan’s metaphysical commitments prevent him from following the logic beyond a certain point, but his response is still very sad.  I wonder if he ever gets tired of wearing those blinkers.

What is wrong with Allan’s reply?  It steadfastly ignores the glaringly obvious fact that intelligence (not the more narrow “human intelligence”) is the causal factor.

In other words, the thing about humans that makes them a special case is not that they are a member of the Animalia kingdom, or the Chordata phylum, or the Mammalia class, or the Primate order, or the Homo genus or the Homo sapiens species.  The thing that distinguishes humans is reflected in the name of the species.  (“Homo sapiens” means literally “wise man.”) The distinguishing characteristic of the species is intelligence.

It is that characteristic and nothing else that accounts for the ability of Homo sapiens to cause functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity.*

Now it is certainly true that the species Homo sapiens is the only species of which we have observational evidence that it causes functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity.  Allan seems to believe that fact compels the conclusion that we can infer only “human design” from an observed instance of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity.

Nonsense.  Not even Allan’s fellow materialists agree with him:

BEN STEIN: What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in Darwinian evolution.

DAWKINS: Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer. . . . And that Designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe.  But that higher intelligence would itself have had to have come about by some explicable, or ultimately explicable process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously. That’s the point

Dawkins understands, as Allan apparently does not, that it is the intelligence, not its instantiation in any particular species, that is important when it comes to inferring design.

UPDATE:

To his credit, Allan now admits the obvious:

Design inference is based almost solely on a comparison to human design. This can certainly be used to infer design in biology . . .

But he cannot resist adding an unwarranted disclaimer:

. . . but with only one known source of intelligence as a frame of reference, the inference is weak. That is statistical reality speaking, not me. But even a weak inference can strengthen support for ID if there were other avenues of examination that support ID.

Why does Allan consider the inference weak?  Because his metaphysical commitments, not logic, compel that conclusion.  Again, here is the logic:

  1. Object X exhibits functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity.
  2. The ONLY KNOWN CAUSE of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent.
  3. Inferring to best explanation, the only known cause of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity (i.e., intelligent design) is the cause of the functional complexity, semiosis or  irreducible complexity in Object X.

Allan insists the inference is “weak,” even though he admits the inference as to cause is to the only known cause of the phenomenon.  Why?  Statistics.  Nonsense.  It is not a statistical analysis.  It is a logical analysis.

 

 

 

_____________

*Let’s not get bogged down with beavers and bees.  The international space station is obviously different in kind and not merely degree from a beaver dam.  Anyone who denies this disqualifies themselves from being considered serious.

 

341 Replies to “A Materialist Gets It (Almost)

  1. 1
    outside_observer says:

    But that higher intelligence would itself have had to have come about by some explicable, or ultimately explicable process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously. That’s the point

    Another instance of the ancient alien fallacy. There is no ultimate creator. Even if ID is true for creatures on earth, it’s only because some other race of extraterrestrial beings evolved before us. It doesn’t matter that the same challenges of Darwinian evolution that we see on earth would likely apply to them. We can’t observe it, so we can just assume it happened.
    Anything just so long as we don’t have to believe in God.

  2. 2
    EricMH says:

    Allan’s point is understandable with probability.

    Say E is the designed event. I is the intelligence hypothesis and R is the random hypothesis.

    Obviously, Pr{E|I} >> Pr{E|R}. But, we do not know the probabilities for I and R.

    Pr{I} and Pr{R} could be such that Pr{E,R} >> Pr{E,I}. In this case, R is actually the best explanation for E.

    Another way to put it, imagine the explanation that makes computers most likely is outer space gnomes from the planet Xenon. We might then be tempted to explain computers with the gnomes. But, these gnomes cannot exist. Therefore, they are a bad explanation, despite being the explanation that makes computers most likely.

  3. 3
    groovamos says:

    Anything just so long as we don’t have to believe in God.

    Of course you don’t. But your other race of extraterrestrial beings would have to believe in a sort of demigod intellectual figurehead equivalent of Darwin if materialism is true. Have you thought about how you would reconcile their likely rejection of the demigod Darwin in favor of theirs, if you were to meet them? Would you be able to laugh with them at the 19th century non-scientist held out as such a revered figure, sort of like how Mohammed and Darwin are ridiculed by some nowadays? Or would you proselytise for Darwin and get defensive such as materialists always do?

  4. 4
    outside_observer says:

    @3 groovamos
    I was not arguing for not believing in God. Quite the contrary. I was trying to illustrate that the materialistic dogma is so determined for there to be no God that it would rather believe in aliens that we have no evidence for than believe in an Ultimate Creator of any kind.

    Even if Intelligent Design is proved beyond a shadow of a doubt on earth, then the materialistic dodge would be to ascribe it to an unknown alien race in the distant past who someway, somehow, just *must* have evolved from nothing. Because someway, somehow, materialism must be right.

    And so, in essence they just kick the can down the road, substituting the distant unobserved past of earth, with the distant, unobserved past of an unknown alien planet. But it really brings nothing new to the table. Because, even if there was such a race of beings, we could still argue about whether they were created or whether they were just the product of their own kind of random evolution. OR, maybe the evidence would be so strong that they were the product of intelligent design that we would have to conclude that there was yet ANOTHER race of extraterrestrial beings prior to them that was responsible for their creation. But were they created or did they just come from nothing? And so on and so forth ad infinitum.

    The point is that, even if there are no options left, the materialist dogma would still rather believe in speculations such as ancient aliens than to believe in an Ultimate Creator.

  5. 5
    john_a_designer says:

    To be fair I think Dawkins later tried to walk back his position… But the point remains, until you prove how life first originated by natural causes alone intelligent design is a logical possibility.

    Dawkins is not the only atheist to discuss the possibility of intelligent design. I discuss that more in the following post.

    https://uncommondescent.com/origin-of-life/jad-on-self-replicating-machines-and-ool/#comment-654388

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    John
    “Dawkins later tried to walk back his position”

    Of course he did. What else was he going to do after being caught in a moment of honesty?

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    Eric,

    Again, the argument is not a statistical one. It not a probabilistic one. It is a logical one. Why is that so hard to grasp Eric?

  8. 8
    Eugene says:

    To outside_observer@1,

    If ID is true then the designer is most likely outside of this universe. And the universe itself is part of the design.

  9. 9
    JVL says:

    The ONLY KNOWN CAUSE of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent.

    Even if that were true (and it’s only a hypothesis) then you haven’t shown the presence of an intelligent agent at the time you claim design was implemented.

    No designer arounds means there couldn’t have been design.

  10. 10
    gpuccio says:

    EricMH:

    This is the usual Bayesian objection to the ID inference for biological objects. I remember I debated it long time ago with Mark Frank.

    But the simple point is:

    Pr{E|R} is indeed so infinitesimal that it is not a viable explanation at all.

    Gnomes from the planet Xenon would definitely be preferable to an explanation which is empirically impossible. An explanation that is empirically impossible is the denial of science and of all its principles.

    It’s not a case that “scientists” are recurring to multiverse and similar scenarios as an extreme defense of that ridiculous idea.

    Now, let’s go to the problem of Pr{I}.

    The simple truth is that no prior probability can be assessed for that hypothesis.

    Why?

    Because, as I have said many times, while it is possible that the biological designer(s) acted through a physical body (as we humans do), it is also perfectly possible, and indeed more likely, that the biological designer(s) was some conscious and intelligent agent who has not a physical body, but can interact with physical matter through some form of interface.

    So, as you can say, this is not any more a problem of prior probability: it is a problem of general worldview.

    I suppose that you will agree that there are worldviews that have no difficulties at all in admitting the existence of possible conscious agents who have not a physical body, and there are worldviews who deny that possibility.

    Both types of worldview are widely shared among humans, and have philosophical counterparts.

    So, you can certainly see that your:

    Pr{I}

    is not a prior probability at all: it is just a prior commitment to a specific ideology.

    Science cannot accept such an ideological bias.

  11. 11
    gpuccio says:

    JVL:

    “Even if that were true (and it’s only a hypothesis) then you haven’t shown the presence of an intelligent agent at the time you claim design was implemented.

    No designer arounds means there couldn’t have been design.”

    Please, read my previous comment at #10.

    The presence of an intelligent agent is clearly shown by the designed objects.

    As there is no other credible explanation for those objects, the scientific approach is to accept design as the best theory. Because design has the explanatory power needed for functional information, and all the rest.

    To falsify that perfectly viable theory, it’s you who should demonstrate that there were “no designers around”. At present, that’s only the personal belief of some people.

  12. 12

    Regarding cellular machinery: if we landed on a planet in a different star system, and on an otherwise barren planet we found a massive, self-sustaining and self-replicating metallic machine comprised mainly of alloyed materials found nowhere else on the planet other than as a material manufactured by the machine for it’s own duplication and repair, what would be the materialist’s reaction? Further, what if the machine was run by a library of code and a code-processing system?

    Would they accept the machine as evidence of non-human intelligent design? If they found no archaeological evidence on the planet supporting the idea that an intelligent race of beings at any time in history constructed that machine, would they turn to naturalistic explanations? Would they insist that somehow humans had been there before and left the machine without any other trace of their presence?

    Or, would they come to the conclusion that an intelligent agency of some sort designed and built the machine, even though they didn’t know what that intelligent agency was?

    Regarding the fine-tuning of the universe: what if we were exploring space in distance areas of the galaxy and came across a habitat floating in space, perfectly balanced to be self-supporting for a rich and diverse spectrum of life. Let’s say this habitat is enclosed by some form of unknown energy with no apparent source. Everything in the habitat is finely tuned for the flourishing and preservation of that life.

    Would the materialist conclude that there must be countless other such habitats floating around, produced by some as yet unknown unintelligent process, each tuned differently and most not capable of supporting life? Or, would they conclude that some intelligent agency must have designed and built the habitat for the purpose of sustaining life? Would they insist other humans must have built it? Would they ever even imagine that a non-human intelligence might be responsible?

    It’s easy to recognize that what is going on with many materialists is nothing more than an ideologically driven aversion to the obviously warranted conclusion of non-human intelligent design in both cases. We’re not living in the Middle Ages; non-human intelligence is not a difficult or taboo concept to imagine.

    One doesn’t have to become a Christian and accept Jesus as their personal savior and swallow the Bible on faith (or do something similar with any other religious or spiritual view) in order to simply admit the obvious: it appears that our universe was designed and finely tuned for life, and it appears that life itself is the product of highly advanced intelligent design.

    One doesn’t even have to ideologically commit to that belief simply to admit that, from the best evidence we have now, this is the most logical conclusion.

    Yet, materialists contort themselves as if they are headed toward some horrible, painful experience simply by admitting this. They do similar such contortions when confronted by the hard problem of consciousness and the problem of subjective morality, when admitting that objective morality must exist, and admitting that consciousness exists beyond the material, commits them to no spiritual or religious doctrine whatsoever. It’s just admitting what evidence indicates and what is logically necessary.

    Why fight it tooth and nail? Why contort, obfuscate, and run from these things? Why deny the obvious and the logical to the point of saying such foolish things like “consciousness is an illusion” or “morality is subjective”, when they cannot even act or speak as if such things are true?

    Materialists: what are you so afraid of? Do you think you are the last line of defense against an oppressive theocracy just waiting for you to agree to these basic premises before they appoint inquisitors? Do you think that if you give an inch, the next thing you know we’ll be prepping the military for a global crusade? What is it that drives you to deny evidence and logic, when it doesn’t even require you commit to any religious perspective?

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, we already know that given the configuration space of even something ogf complexity 500 – 1,000 bits, that on teh gamut of the observed sol system to cosmos, it is maximally implausible that any island of complex function would be found per the needle in haystack search challenge. Try 10^13 – 15 searches per second and 10^57 to 10^80 atoms as observers, for 10^17 s and see how search to space goes to negligible scope. That is, you are appealing to statistical miracle. The reason such is inferred is that it is metaphysically preferred. In fact the logic of being points to a necessary being as world root, and that we are morally governed and responsible, rationally free creatures points not only to intelligence but to moral intelligence as world root, defining the necessary being. Odds of a necessary being on an observed actual world are effectively 1. KF

  14. 14
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Even if that were true (and it’s only a hypothesis) then you haven’t shown the presence of an intelligent agent at the time you claim design was implemented.

    It is true and the presence of the intelligent design is evidence there was an intelligent designer around at the time.

    And it still remains that the anti-ID side has all of the power. They can refute any given design inference just by stepping up and demonstrating non-telic processes can produce what we claim was intelligently designed. Whining about it isn’t going to get it done.

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    JVL:

    No designer arounds means there couldn’t have been design.

    LoL!

    How many murderers stick around and wait for the police to show up?

    Homicide Detective: Well, no murderers here, so this can’t have been a murder.

    Doh!

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL proves Cicero’s dictum:

    JVL: Even if it is true that the ONLY KNOWN CAUSE of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent, you haven’t shown the presence of an intelligent agent at the time you claim design was implemented.

    Cicero: There is no statement so absurd that no philosopher will make it.

    Let me spell it out for JVL.

    If you admit that the only known cause of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent, the presence of an object exhibiting functional complexity, semiosis or irreducible complexity is, itself, proof of design by an intelligent agent. And if we have proof of design by intelligent agent, it follows that we have proof of the presence of an intelligent agent at the time the design was implemented.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    But isn’t that obvious?

  18. 18
    Bob O'H says:

    If you admit that the only known cause of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent, the presence of an object exhibiting functional complexity, semiosis or irreducible complexity is, itself, proof of design by an intelligent agent.

    Or it could be an unknown cause.

  19. 19
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob,
    “Or it could be an unknown cause”

    Which does not affect the conclusion one whit Bob. The best explanation remains the single known cause.

  20. 20
    harry says:

    Barry @16

    If you admit that the only known cause of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent, the presence of an object exhibiting functional complexity, semiosis or irreducible complexity is, itself, proof of design by an intelligent agent. And if we have proof of design by intelligent agent, it follows that we have proof of the presence of an intelligent agent at the time the design was implemented.

    Extremely well put, as was your initial post. But it will be to no avail for those who lack the objectivity rational analysis requires. There is an inclination in all of to believe that which we want to be true, rather than what logic demands we believe is true. Atheistic materialists never overcome this inclination, which is why they remain atheistic materialists. Atheism is irrationality that springs from a lack of objectivity.

    It has always been this way. Fourth century bishop Gregory of Nyssa explained the necessity of the existence of the non-material soul capable of rationality this way:

    A Definition of the soul is then given, for the sake of clearness in the succeeding discussion. It is a created, living, intellectual being, with the power, as long as it is provided with organs, of sensuous perception. For “the mind sees,” not the eye. … The objection that the “organic machine” of the body produces all thought is met by the instance of the water-organ. Such machines, if thought were really an attribute of matter, ought to build themselves spontaneously: whereas they are a direct proof of an invisible thinking power in man.

    The water organ is a kind of pipe organ powered by water that was first invented by the ancient Greeks in the 3rd century BC. It was “high-tech” in its time. Today we would say “If thought were really an attribute of matter, computers ought to build themselves spontaneously.”

    A contemporary version of Gregory’s argument for the existence of the non-material mind (which it is obvious was required to bring about life’s functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity) might go something like this:

    If you imagine a bright red apple you see one in your mind’s eye. If we were able to observe and analyze the electro-chemical activity of your brain right down to the last subatomic particle, we would find no image of an apple. We would find electro-chemical activity that corresponded to your imagining a bright red apple, but no image of one in your physical brain, similar to the way the binary data in a gif file corresponds to an image, but is not the image itself.

    Yet an image of the apple exists. You see it. Where is that image’s physical location? It has none because its existence is non-material.

    It has always been obvious that there are non-material realities; strict materialism has always been irrational.

    It is also obvious that intelligence and its ability to perceive reality is not an attribute of matter, but springs from a non-material reality. With this in mind, the truth of your remark is clear:

    Allan seems to believe that fact compels the conclusion that we can infer only “human design” from an observed instance of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity.

    Nonsense.

    Those capable of objectivity will recognize the truth of your remarks.

  21. 21
    Bob O'H says:

    But the only known cause is human intelligence – we don’t know of any other intelligences capable of causing functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity(*)!

    As a matter of logic, if we accept that the only known cause of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent then when we see functional complexity, semiosis or irreducible complexity we have to conclude that the cause was either
    1. humans
    2. an unknown intelligence
    3. another unknown cause

    So if the best explanation remains the single known cause then we are back to Allan’s point. Otherwise we have to invoke an unknown cause, whether it be an unknown intelligence (very Star Trek!) or something else.

    I think the point is that if you are going to invoke non-human intelligence, then you have to have some other evidence for this intelligence, otherwise you are bootstrapping.

    (*) actually, I’m not sure this is true, but other intelligences that may be able to use semiosis, e.g. parrots, seem to be only able to do this at a very basic level.

  22. 22
    asauber says:

    1. humans
    2. an unknown intelligence
    3. another unknown cause

    Bob, I’m glad you were astute enough to exclude evolution from this list, as it would be silly to include it.

    Andrew

  23. 23
    Bob O'H says:

    asauber – I had said that this would be the list if we accept that the only known cause of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent.

  24. 24
    asauber says:

    if we accept that the only known cause of functional complexity, semiosis and irreducible complexity is design by an intelligent agent

    It *is* the only known cause, Bob.

    Andrew

  25. 25
    john_a_designer says:

    It is now widely accepted that there are three distinct approaches to logic: (1) inductive logic, (2) deductive logic and (3) abductive logic. In his 1998 article, A New Design Argument, Charles B. Thaxton argued that when we consider the problem of origins, specifically the origin of life, we have to rely on abductive reasoning or the inference to the best explanation.

    Reasoning from experience and linking cause to effect developed over several centuries and became a recognized scientific method of causal inference. It has been a part of science since the Scientific Revolution, which culminated in the great synthesis of Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century. Over the course of the development of modern experimental science, Western culture learned to rely on sensory experience to gain knowledge about natural phenomena. By following experience scientists learned to infer causes from effects, i.e., to work backward from the character of the effects to the cause.

    A cause is that necessary and sufficient condition that alone can give rise to the occurrence of a given event. And it does not matter if the cause is natural or intelligent. In the words of David Hume, who gave a formal analysis of this approach, “From causes which appear similar we expect similar effects.” (Emphasis his.) Later in the same book he added, “the same rule holds, whether the cause assigned be brute unconscious matter, or a rational intelligent being.”

    The inferential methods we usually learn in school are deductive, i.e., inference from the general to the particular, and inductive, i.e., inference from the particular to the general. There has always been a third method of inference, though not clearly described and formally analyzed until the 1870s, this being abductive, i.e., inference from experience. The method of abductive inference is particularly important in the historical sciences, reasoning backward from phenomena to the cause…

    The abductive method gives us a way to approach phenomena and be completely open to either natural or intelligent causes. The assignment of causal category depends on the character of the effects. To illustrate the method, suppose we are detectives investigating someone’s death. Is this a case of death by natural causes (accident) or death by design (murder or suicide)? We do not know the answer in advance.

    An important purpose of the investigation is to determine whether this was a case of intelligent cause (murder or suicide) or natural death. We need a method that is open to either possibility. The abductive method of reasoning backward from the effects considers and evaluates various candidate natural and intelligent cause hypotheses, and eliminates those that do not agree with experience. Such openness to the full spectrum of natural and intelligent cause scenarios gives confidence that the abductive inference does yield the best explanation.

    Despite the above explanation, some people, especially among scientists, suggest that science may not entertain intelligent causes. This notion is certainly mistaken. The abductive inference is very much at home in modern science. Retrospective causal reasoning is routinely used by NASA scientists as they explore the heavens looking for signs of intelligence in their SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) program.

    http://www.discovery.org/a/137

    So called origin science, which Thaxton argues (correctly IMO) did not exist prior to the 18th and 19th Century, does not and cannot rely on inductive inferences. The question of origins rests totally on an unproven metaphysical assumption that “natural causes” alone are sufficient to explain not only the origin of life but the origin of the universe as well as mind and consciousness. However, a metaphysical assumptions cannot be proven “scientifically.”

    PS See my following post where I quote Thaxton about why the origin of life poses unique challenges for “origin science.”

    https://uncommondescent.com/origin-of-life/jad-on-self-replicating-machines-and-ool/#comment-654305

  26. 26
    JVL says:

    gpuccio

    As there is no other credible explanation for those objects, the scientific approach is to accept design as the best theory. Because design has the explanatory power needed for functional information, and all the rest.

    To falsify that perfectly viable theory, it’s you who should demonstrate that there were “no designers around”. At present, that’s only the personal belief of some people.

    Well, some people think there is another credible explanation and they’ve been researching that explanation for 150 years now.

    I don’t see any evidence (aside from the disputed designed things) that there were any designers around . . . when do you think design was implemented? You haven’t said. I’m not sure what your design hypothesis is actually . . . that it happened? But no when?

    ET

    It is true and the presence of the intelligent design is evidence there was an intelligent designer around at the time.

    Not if your design inference is incorrect. Then the whole ID paradigm falls flat.

    Mung

    How many murderers stick around and wait for the police to show up?

    Murders leave evidence behind aside from the crime. Also, we know there are murders/designers around to commit the murder. And if your designers left then . . . where did they go? And when?

    Look, the design inference is contentious, i.e. the vast majority of working scientists dispute its validity. And because there is no other evidence of any kind of designer being around at the time. . . . when do you claim design was implemented? . . . . it all sounds a bit shaky. You’ve built the whole ID edifice on design detection without having a clear, useable mathematical method to display. That house is built on sand and not stone.

    I know about Dr Dembski’s 2005 paper and I have yet to see anyone compute some of the terms in that formula. If you want to rest on that you’ve got to show how it can be used by applying it to examples; showing that it has good, robust results that are unlikely to be false positives or negatives.

  27. 27
    Allan Keith says:

    Barry,

    Again, the argument is not a statistical one. It not a probabilistic one. It is a logical one. Why is that so hard to grasp Eric?

    The argument is about inference based on comparison to human design. When I Google “Inference Testing” all of the hits on the first page include “Statistical” in the title.

    Anyone can make an inference about anything. But without incorporating statistics or probability, you can’t make any statement about the strength of the inference. Given that the inference is based on comparison to a single source of intelligence, there is no way to claim that it is a strong inference.

    But, again, this does not mean that ID cannot be a strong argument. Just that if you rely solely on the inference from human design, which much of ID is based on, the argument is weak.

  28. 28
    gpuccio says:

    JVL:

    “Well, some people think there is another credible explanation and they’ve been researching that explanation for 150 years now.”

    So, they should be able to put on some active defense of their theory, against the falsifying arguments I have orivided and discussed in my OPs. Would you like to try?

    “when do you think design was implemented? You haven’t said. I’m not sure what your design hypothesis is actually . . . that it happened? But no when?”

    Not true. the when is clearly indicated in all my reasonings.

    For example, I have dedicated a whole OP (and a lot of work) to a quantification of the engineering that took place at the transition to vertebrates. Here it is:

    The amazing level of engineering in the transition to the vertebrate proteome: a global analysis

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-amazing-level-of-engineering-in-the-transition-to-the-vertebrate-proteome-a-global-analysis/

    If you read that OP, you will say that I have made an evaluation of the total engineering in relation to the whole human genome which took place during that transition:

    1,764,427 bits

    When did that design take place?

    In a well defined window of evolutionary time, about 30 million years, approximately between 440 million years ago and 410 million years ago.

    A rather precise “when”.

  29. 29

    Allan, have you let the institutions of science know that they are wasting their time looking for narrow-band radio waves from the stars?

    I’m sure they be disheartened to know if they detect such a signal, they’d have nothing (given that radio transmitters are only a product of human intelligence). It’s probably best to go ahead and face the facts now and get it over with.

  30. 30
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    Your list:

    1. humans
    2. an unknown intelligence
    3. another unknown cause

    OK. But the positive argument for design is not only based on the empirical connection between functional complexity and human design. It is also supported by a well defined rationale, which adds credibility to the connection.

    The rationale is the following: there is a precise reason why a conscious intelligent purposeful agent can overcome the probabilistic barriers that make the generation of complex functional information impossible in non design systems. The reason is that a conscious intelligent purposeful agent can have the two following subjective experiences:

    a) The experience of understanding meanings

    b) The experience of having purposes.

    Those two experiences are the secret. They make it possible to define functions and to apply reasonings to meanings linked to those functions. That’s why conscious intelligent purposeful beings can develop machines, software, language, while non design systems cannot.

    That idea is not a simple assumption: it can be easily derived by a careful observation of how our personal consciouness works when we design objects, and generate new complex functional information. The experiences of meaning and purpose are always central to the process.

    So, while your list is potentially valid, option number 3 is not supported by any rationale (and, of course, by any empirical observation).

    Instead, option number 2 is supported by the rationale I have descirbed, and by the observation of the link between conscious experiences and design.

    So, if option 1 is unlikely, option 2 is by far the best explanation.

    But, to be precise, it should read as follows:

    2) some unknown conscious intelligent purposeful being

  31. 31
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL doubles down on Cicero’s dictum:

    I don’t see any evidence (aside from the disputed designed things) that there were any designers around

  32. 32
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan and Bob:

    I here quote WJM’s question above.

    Regarding cellular machinery: if we landed on a planet in a different star system, and on an otherwise barren planet we found a massive, self-sustaining and self-replicating metallic machine comprised mainly of alloyed materials found nowhere else on the planet other than as a material manufactured by the machine for it’s own duplication and repair, what would be the materialist’s reaction? Further, what if the machine was run by a library of code and a code-processing system?

    Would they accept the machine as evidence of non-human intelligent design?

    How would you answer it?

  33. 33
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Not if your design inference is incorrect. Then the whole ID paradigm falls flat.

    That holds for all design inferences. However given that materialists don’t even know how to test their claims ID’s inferences are very safe.

    If someone can show mother nature can produce a structure like Stonehenge then archaeologists will have a difficult task determining natural formations from artifacts.

    Murders leave evidence behind aside from the crime.

    Not always. Sometimes there isn’t even a body.

    Well, some people think there is another credible explanation and they’ve been researching that explanation for 150 years now.

    And still nothing. If they had something then ID would be easily falsified and the evolutionists wouldn’t have had to lie and bluff their way through the Dover trial.

    Dispute the design inference all you want. But until you have something more than stuff happens and here we are all you are really doing is whining.

  34. 34
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    The argument is about inference based on comparison to human design.

    Sometimes. And so what? It is called knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    Outside of biology just look at the earth/ moon system. And think of how many just-so cosmic collisions would have had to have happened to get it the way it is. If the earth didn’t rotate we wouldn’t have a magnetic field and the atmospheric gasses wouldn’t get mixed. No life. No axis of rotation stabilizing moon and again no life. If the moon has too much mass the tides would be severe.

    “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”

    “The one place that has observers is the one place that also has perfect solar eclipses.”

    “There is a final, even more bizarre twist. Because of Moon-induced tides, the Moon is gradually receding from Earth at 3.82 centimeters per year. In ten million years will seem noticeably smaller. At the same time, the Sun’s apparent girth has been swelling by six centimeters per year for ages, as is normal in stellar evolution. These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the Earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.”

    “The Privileged Planet” extends the design inference beyond biology.

  35. 35

    BA @ 19: “The best explanation remains the single known cause.”

    This statement is true and should be uncontroversial, but even logic is undermined in a post-modern world.

  36. 36
    john_a_designer says:

    I concede (A) that it’s possible there is some unknown natural cause x that could account for the origin of life.

    However, (B) it’s also logically possible that there is some unknown intelligent cause y that could account for the origin of life.

    Logically there is no difference between A and B (both are logically possible) since we do not know how life originated. However, if we scratch beneath the surface we discover that ‘B some unknown intelligent cause’ has more explanatory scope and power than A (that natural causes are sufficient) for the unique features which we find in every living cell.

    Even well-known atheists agree that living things have the appearance of design.

    For example, notice that all of the following quotes are from men who believe that evolution is a mindless and purposeless process. (ht: BA77)

    “This appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature…. Accounting for this apparent purposefulness is a basic problem for any system of philosophy or of science.”

    George Gaylord Simpson – “The Problem of Plan and Purpose in Nature” – 1947

    “…living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”

    Richard C. Lewontin – Adaptation,” Scientific American, and Scientific American book ‘Evolution’ (September 1978)

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”

    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 138 (1990)

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.1

    If something appears to be designed isn’t it logically possible it really could be designed?

    The main premise then for an argument for design then can be stated very simply:

    If it looks designed, it really could be designed.

    However, again, when we look more deeply we find that there are some thing in living systems which are explained better by design than dysteleological natural processes.

  37. 37
    EricMH says:

    @BA & GP, the issue is that science mathematical models can only describe the R hypothesis, or a gap. There is no model of I, beside just saying intelligence did it. So, insofar as modern science is driven by mathematical modeling, this is effectively the same as saying Pr{I} = 0, and so Pr{E,I} = 0. Thus, P{R}, no matter how small, as long as it is non-zero, is seen as the only viable route for current scientific discourse.

    Of course, you can object to mathematical model driven science, and its dictation of our worldview, but the other side will say, “Mathematical modeling is precisely what has lead to the glories of the modern world. Do you want to drag us back to the dark ages?”

    This is the same reason Francis Bacon initially rejected final causality from scientific explanations, since philosophical speculation about final causality seemed so ineffective in his day. He kept formal causality, which is the mathematical modeling approach we have today.

    So, if we are really serious about ID being science, and not speculative philosophy, we need a mathematical model of I. Something that shows Francis Bacon was wrong in his rejection of teleological explanations.

  38. 38
    harry says:

    A few thoughts for the irrational atheists posting here:

    The Discoveries of Modern Science Have Rendered Contemporary Atheism Irrational

    Yet there are those still willing to take contemporary atheism seriously, mostly those who are more committed to being accepted by atheistic academia than they are to promulgating rational truth.

    For the fact is that modern science now has very well corroborated evidence that the natural universe (time, space, matter, and energy) had a beginning. That fact making it irrational to take the very unscientific position that things popped into existence uncaused, from true nothingness (nothingness in terms of the absence of time, space, matter, and energy), the rational person concludes that the natural universe must have been caused by a reality that transcends the natural, that is, by a supernatural reality that transcends time, space, matter and energy.

    Modern science now knows that even the simplest reproducing, single-celled life form consists of ultra-sophisticated, digital-information- based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch. It would be far easier to explain how a laptop computer might come about mindlessly and accidentally than to come up with a plausible explanation of how such beyond-our-own nanotechnology might have been produced that way.

    The computer you use everyday is crude technology compared to that of a living organism. Can your computer replicate itself, or even a simpler version of itself, using available resources? Can it build and install new parts for itself? Single-celled, reproducing life forms do all that and more utilizing digitally stored assembly instructions.

    Technology, by definition, is the result of the application of knowledge for a purpose. That is why technology never comes about mindlessly and accidentally. It is utterly obvious that life is technology that is astoundingly superior to our own, and therefore it must be the result of the application of knowledge (tremendously superior to our own) for a purpose. Denying this is like claiming that self-replicating robotic equipment might come about mindlessly and accidentally. It is irrational.

    More Certain Than Gravity

    There are individuals who, because they are extremely naive about what it takes to develop software, could be convinced that a given suite of functionally complex applications running on a computer actually came about mindlessly and accidentally. But there are very, very few individuals who would believe, in addition to that, that the computer itself came about mindlessly and accidentally. Yet that is basically what contemporary atheism is asking the world to believe.

    Life is a suite of complex applications running in an environment that was far more unlikely to be arrived at mindlessly and accidentally than were the computer and operating system required by any functionally complex software. Just how unlikely was it that the Big Bang would produce an environment where life was a possibility? Renowned physicist/mathematician Roger Penrose (Stephen Hawking and Penrose have co-authored books on physics), in his book The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, calculates that the odds of the Big Bang mindlessly and accidentally producing a universe where life was a possibility were one in 10^10^123. The double exponent makes that number so large that one can have far more certainty that the universe was not a mindless accident than one can have that the laws of physics will continue to apply consistently to nature.

    So except, I suppose, for those who have all their possessions tied down just in case gravity stops working, it is now apparent that it is simply irrational to conclude that the universe and the living things within it are mindless accidents.

    Thus, God, in his perfect providence, has mocked the arrogant and darkened minds of the so-called Enlightenment with the results of militantly atheistic science’s own discoveries. It is too bad so few in academia seem to have noticed this, or worse, find it easier to deny the truth than to point out the irrationality of the atheistic establishment.

  39. 39
    ET says:

    Yes, we observe what humans can do. Yes, we observe what other animals can do. And yes, we observe what nature, together with time, can do.

    We have knowledge of cause and effect relationships. We use that knowledge to help us determine the cause of whatever it is we are investigating. And if we follow Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning we should be able to come to a knowledgeable inference. We accept the fact that like all scientific inferences future knowledge may upset it. But whatever the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover is of no consequence today.

  40. 40
    Barry Arrington says:

    Eric,

    What is wrong with “if X is the only known cause of Y, then an instance of Y is evidence of X.”

    No math required. Just good old fashioned logic.

    Also, your response reminds me of the A-Mats who say “if you cannot tell me exactly how many bits of information are in a given instance of claimed complex specified information, then you have no right to claim CSI is present.” That statement is just this side of insane, but they push it anyway. How is what you are saying different? And yes, I do in fact deny your assertion that for something to qualify as scientific it must be modeled mathematically.

  41. 41
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 32 – My reaction would be “oh, that’s interesting and worth investigating further”. From what you describe, I couldn’t rule out intelligent design, but I’m not sure I could rule out other things either.

  42. 42
    Allan Keith says:

    Barry@32, after making sure that my blaster and light saber were fully charged, I would contact the rebel alliance and ask for back up.

  43. 43
    Bob O'H says:

    What is wrong with “if X is the only known cause of Y, then an instance of Y is evidence of X.”

    No math required. Just good old fashioned logic.

    To explain what is wrong? Indeed. See my comment 21.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks,

    There is a basic principle of scientific reasoning espoused by Newton and acknowledged by Lyell and Darwin, vera causa. It is an application and extension of the point that empty speculation is not permitted in science, but only things that have empirical warrant. In effect, it is this: in causally explaining effects we see when causes are not directly observed, we should entertain only those causes that we do see with demonstrated capability to cause the like effect.

    Its basis is obvious, as if we do not know of ANY cause capable of an effect we assign, genuinely unknown cause. When we see several known causes, we can only infer to the cluster and perhaps argue as to the best candidate. When we see only one known cause, then we have a unique candidate and often the link is strong enough that the effect is regarded as a SIGN of its cause.

    In this case, the best explanation is the known cause, and it remains for those who would overturn it that they put up a demonstrated credible actual cause as alternative.

    That is what we have here.

    Functionally specific, complex coherent organisation and associated information are observed. (FSCO/I.) This is a commonplace phenomenon, with trillions of instances directly observed. It has just one reliably observed cause, intelligently directed configuration. This already is a basis for a strong inference on sign.

    What we are seeing above is that the warranted best explanation (provisional as with all of science, but obviously highly reliable and confident) is repugnant to deeply entrenched ideologies. Lo and behold, two extraneous notions are put up to becloud the matter and artificially dilute its strength.

    But first, notice what else is under attack. For 2350++ years, we have routinely observed three major classes of cause: [a] lawlike mechanical necessity, [b] stochastically distributed chance, [c] intelligently directed configuration or art. This is actually deeply embedded in the practice of science, and thus when some imagined fourth way is inserted just to provide a barrier against inference to best explanation per known list of alternatives, that becomes a gross case of selective hyperskepticism willing to burn down scientific and statistical and inductive reasoning [modern sense, which takes in abduction] in order to protect a metaphysical commitment THAT HAS NO EMPIRICAL WARRANT ON THE MATTER AT STAKE.

    Now, we know that FSCO/I can be described in some language based on a chain of y/n q’s as say autocad carries out. That means that we have the reduction to a binary digit string. When it is at least 500 – 1,000 bits, the blind search capacity of the observed sol system or cosmos will be grossly inadequate to carry out an appreciable search of the configuration space of possibilities. So, finding islands of FSCO/I in such a space by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity on the relevant gamut is utterly implausible.

    What we are therefore seeing is a back-handed concession of the strength of the design inference and of the associated explanatory filter. Objectors are forced to inject an empirically unjustified, utterly unknown, blind faith alternative to put up what is little more than a rhetorical obstacle.

    The game is over on the merits.

    As to oh, we only see human intelligence, that too is dubious. Humans are contingent and cannot exhaust the set of possible intelligences. Though, we demonstrate that intelligence is possible.

    Once intelligence is possible signs that reliably trace to such must be allowed to speak.

    In the world of life, in the set-up of the sol system that hosts such life, in the fine tuning of a cosmos that enables such life.

    Game over.

    KF

  45. 45
    EricMH says:

    @BA There is nothing wrong with the logic, but in this case X (intelligence) is without mathematically modeled content. Science currently operates (regrettably) under a form of positivism, where the only scientifically meaningful statements are quantifiable ones. Of course, this is self referentially incoherent, but that is how science operates for the most part. The more quantifiable and measurable, the more scientific. It is much harder to perform experiments and create technology from qualitative statements.

    We see something similar with color. Common sense would say Red is not a wavelength, the wavelength transmits Red to us, and we can see Red even without light, such as in dreams, in our imagination, pressing down on eyelids, etc. But science today cannot deal with such a concept. As far as science is concerned, Red is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. There is no scientific theory of my imagination of a Red apple. Despite the fact that Redness has an empirical effect through my desire to have a Red porsche. I want a Red porsche not because of a certain segment of the electromagnetic spectrum, but because I like how Red looks. If Red did not exist I would not choose to have my porsche absorb that certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Likewise with intelligence. Common sense tells us intelligence is essentially a magical force in our world, capable of achieving things beyond any physical force, as well as controlling all physical forces, at least in theory. Yet, I could not walk into a physics lecture and declare that intelligence is the most fundamental force in our universe without anything more substantial. “Why couldn’t intelligence be reducible to some physical phenomenon in the way we’ve reduced Red to electromagnetic waves?” would be the response.

    I face this issue acutely in my own research. If ID is correct, then the human mind must be able to do something spectacular in a computer science setting. But, demonstrating such in a highly quantitative and formal still eludes me, at least. On the other hand, it is very obvious that we have yet to create any algorithm that even has a hint of approaching the human mind’s ability to write code. Many other quite trivial human tasks remain far out of reach of any algorithmic solution. Yet if I were to point to this fact to refute AI, a skeptic would just fire back with an ‘algorithm of the gaps’ objection and put me in the category of Bill Gates saying 64k is enough for anyone, or those who said man will never fly.

    So, that’s a mouthful, but while ID is quite correct and persuasive in pointing out the impossibility of producing information through physical processes, it appears to me we are speaking past our interlocutors if we cannot put more substance behind what ‘intelligence’ is.

  46. 46
    Origenes says:

    Bob: To explain what is wrong? Indeed. See my comment 21.

    Your comment in 21 does not argue against Barry’s “if X is the only known cause of Y, then an instance of Y is evidence of X.”
    BTW your inability to abstract intelligence is not something to be proud of.

  47. 47
    Bob O'H says:

    Origenes – why not? It shows that logically there are several possible explanations for Y even if there is one known cause of Y. As Barry wrote, not maths required, jut good old-fashioned logic.

  48. 48
    JVL says:

    gpuccio

    In a well defined window of evolutionary time, about 30 million years, approximately between 440 million years ago and 410 million years ago.

    A rather precise “when”.

    ONLY during that time? No design implementation before or since?

    So, life developed along strictly unguided lines before that and after that?

    I’m just trying to figure out what your hypothesis is.

    KF

    In this case, the best explanation is the known cause, and it remains for those who would overturn it that they put up a demonstrated credible actual cause as alternative.

    Yes but you have to have an agent around at the time . .. .what time are you saying? . . . to act. I don’t see any evidence, aside from your hypothesised design which happened when? . . . for a designer.

    No designer means no design. Clearly. And if the design inference is wrong then . . . ID falls flat.

    ET

    And still nothing. If they had something then ID would be easily falsified and the evolutionists wouldn’t have had to lie and bluff their way through the Dover trial.

    Dispute the design inference all you want. But until you have something more than stuff happens and here we are all you are really doing is whining.

    This idea that the design assumption is the default is false. That assumes that a designer being around is more likely that one NOT being around.

    Aside from your contentious design inference there is no evidence of a designer being around ever. And you have no rigorous, scientific, method of design detection that you can show being used for known examples.

    The vast majority of working scientists deny the design inference. The vast majority of working scientists accept the evidence for another way for DNA to have arisen aside from some undefined designer to have done something at sometime.

    You can bitch and moan as much as you like but the onus is on you to provide extraordinary evidence for your extraordinary claim. Extraordinary because it subverts decades of work and research. You’ve got to have something really good and rock-solid to dislodge that.

  49. 49
    JVL says:

    ET

    But whatever the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover is of no consequence today.

    Really? You don’t feel the necessity to accept that you might be incorrect?

  50. 50
    gpuccio says:

    JVL:

    “ONLY during that time? No design implementation before or since?”

    No, of course! That was just one example.

    So, let’s be more complete.

    The design for LUCA (OOL) took place on our planet, more or less between 4 billion years ago and 3.5 billion years ago.

    The design for eukaryotes is still less well localized, probably about 2 billion years ago.

    The main design for metazoa and the basic phyla took place, very likely, at the Cambrian explosion.

    For the transition to vertebrates, I have already given an estimate.

    The design for the transition to mammals took place about 100 million years ago.

    The design for the transition to humans took place in the last few million years.

    These are just some of the major events.

    But, as I have always said, each time that a new protein superfamily appears in evolutionary history, that is an act of design. And we have about 2000 different protein superfamilies.

    So, is design continuous? No. The acts of design are punctuated, and they correspong to the rather sudden appearance of big amounts of new functional information that is added to what already exists. They are acts of engineering, limited in time, but occurring thorughout natural history.

    Is that clear enough?

  51. 51
    EricMH says:

    @BA The upshot of what I said is that Darwinism is also not very scientific as there is not agreed upon mathematical model. Whenever a model is proposed then Dr. Ewert and Dr. Marks show why it cannot create information.

    So, the horns of the dilemma are either both Darwinism and ID are not science, or they both are. It cannot be Darwinism is science and ID is not, because they both suffer from the same quantification objection.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH,

    in this case X (intelligence) is without mathematically modeled content. Science currently operates (regrettably) under a form of positivism, where the only scientifically meaningful statements are quantifiable ones.

    However, mathematically modelled content is not a criterion of establishing empirical reality. Indeed, absent intelligence, there is no mathematics.

    The attempted criterion is incoherent.

    Indeed, conscious intelligence is a first truth of our mental lives and is there before not only Mathematics but Science begins.

    To simply observe what intelligence routinely does — create FSCO/I — that goes beyond what blind chance and mechanical necessity on the gamut of the observed cosmos credibly can, is itself a key observation.

    One, with powerful implications.

    KF

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL:

    Yes but you have to have an agent around at the time . .. .what time are you saying? . . . to act. I don’t see any evidence, aside from your hypothesised design which happened when? . . . for a designer.

    No designer means no design. Clearly. And if the design inference is wrong then . . . ID falls flat.

    Cart before horse.

    We exemplify but given contingency of being cannot exhaust relevant possibilities for intelligent beings. where that intelligence is prior to math and sci etc.

    Next, intelligence is possible and FSCO/I is a characteristic, observable, well-tested sign of such intelligence in action.

    So, observation of FSCO/I is in itself evidence that warrants instant inference to intelligently directed configuration as best causal explanation. Intelligent action then points to intelligent agent as actor.

    Where in relevant cases we look at alphanumeric digital, meaningful, algorithmically functional machine code and associated molecular nanotech execution machinery. Venter et al are already at initial stages of such technologies.

    We have very good reason to infer from reliable sign to its clearly established cause, intelligent design as process. In turn that points to intelligent agent as designer.

    There are no good inductive grounds for dismissing evidence in hand on what boils down to a hyperskeptical demand to separately establish the existence of a designer. The aim of such an argument is clearly to artificially block what is actually a clear case of logical, inductive [modern sense] inference.

    KF

  54. 54
    Origenes says:

    EricMH @45

    Suppose such an algorithm would be found. Let’s even suppose that the algorithm would be found, which explains all human thought.
    Would we have ground to trust our thoughts?
    What if our thought-algorithm was produced by random blind events? Do we have ground to trust any of our thoughts? Including our thoughts concerning AI?
    Looking for this algorithm seems to be an incoherent attempt.

  55. 55
    ET says:

    JVL:

    You don’t feel the necessity to accept that you might be incorrect?

    Of course I do. But given the alternatives I am very comfortable with the design inference.

    This idea that the design assumption is the default is false.

    Of course it is. That isn’t what ID is, though. We reach the design inference after careful consideration of other possible causes. And even after those elimination rounds there still must be something and that is where IC and CSI come in.

    That assumes that a designer being around is more likely that one NOT being around.

    The only assumption is that we can use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships to come to a reasonable inference when investigating something we didn’t observe happening.

    Aside from your contentious design inference there is no evidence of a designer being around ever.

    Contentious? What else is there to explain what we observe?

    And you have no rigorous, scientific, method of design detection that you can show being used for known examples

    Of course we do. You don’t have anything to support your position. That is what has you all confused.

    The vast majority of working scientists deny the design inference.

    Question begging and not an argument. Your alleged vast majority don’t even use the concept of blind watchmaker evolution to guide their research.

    The evidence has been presented. The evidence is from astronomy, cosmology, physics, chemistry and biology. To counter it all you have is “it just happened. here take another hit and forget about it. it’s settled science.”

    There isn’t any research that shows blind and mindless processes can do anything beyond produce genetic diseases and deformities.

  56. 56
    buffalo says:

    @ eugene 8

    Exactly. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem – in a nutshell.

    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume but cannot prove.”

    https://idvolution.blogspot.com/2012/09/godels-incompleteness-theorem-in.html

  57. 57
    EricMH says:

    @GP If there were a thought algorithm then I think there would be no grounds to trust our thoughts, even if we could prove the thought algorithm was intelligently designed by a benevolent God. This is because all of our thoughts would be a formal system. Godel’s second incompleteness theorem proved that all formal systems either cannot prove their consistency, or are inconsistent. Thus, we could never know if our thoughts, if a formal system, have any grounding in truth whatsoever, not even in a probabilistic sense. Complete Humean skepticism would be the order of the day.

    Of course, this means that AI is self defeating, in just the same way that Darwinian evolution undermines epistemology. If these theories were true, it would be impossible for us to know.

    I believe KF’s response is along these same lines. There is no arguing with the fact that consciousness is our first datum by which all other data is gathered. Thus, data that proved consciousness did not exist would render itself incomprehensible to us. This is probably a strong enough claim to also imply with certainty that no such consciousness denying data can possibly exist.

    However, while logically coherent, this argument does not produce anything scientific or technological, at least by itself, and remains in the realm of philosophy, not science.

  58. 58
    vividbleau says:

    JVL re 48

    “The vast majority of working scientists accept the evidence for another way for DNA to have arisen aside from some undefined designer to have done something at sometime”

    Ok I will bite how did DNA arise?

    “You can bitch and moan as much as you like but the onus is on you to provide extraordinary evidence for your extraordinary claim. Extraordinary because it subverts decades of work and research. You’ve got to have something really good and rock-solid to dislodge that.”

    Talk about extraordinary evidence for an extraordinary claim. How about the claim that something more technologically advanced than the blueprints for the space shuttle came about through the process of trial (natural section) and error ( random mutations).

    Vivid

  59. 59
    JVL says:

    gpuccio

    But, as I have always said, each time that a new protein superfamily appears in evolutionary history, that is an act of design. And we have about 2000 different protein superfamilies.

    So, is design continuous? No. The acts of design are punctuated, and they correspong to the rather sudden appearance of big amounts of new functional information that is added to what already exists. They are acts of engineering, limited in time, but occurring thorughout natural history.

    Thank you, that’s clear.

    So . . . your designer(s) have been around for a long time. Seemingly letting non-directed processes grind away for a while and occasionally dropping in a new protein construct?

    Is that method of design because the designer(s) have/had a final goal in mind and are guiding things along until that goal is achieved?

    Do you think human beings are the final design or might we be supplanted (like the Neanderthals) by something new?

    Is/are the destigner(s) letting nature test the designers to see what is most likely to succeed and then giving the ‘winners’ a boost?

    kairosfocus

    There are no good inductive grounds for dismissing evidence in hand on what boils down to a hyperskeptical demand to separately establish the existence of a designer. The aim of such an argument is clearly to artificially block what is actually a clear case of logical, inductive [modern sense] inference.

    What if your inductive inference is incorrect? You accept that it’s a possibility?

    ET

    Question begging and not an argument. Your alleged vast majority don’t even use the concept of blind watchmaker evolution to guide their research.

    The evidence has been presented. The evidence is from astronomy, cosmology, physics, chemistry and biology. To counter it all you have is “it just happened. here take another hit and forget about it. it’s settled science.”

    There isn’t any research that shows blind and mindless processes can do anything beyond produce genetic diseases and deformities.

    Fine-tuning (if it’s even possible) is a separate issue. And, if the universe has been fine-tuned, it only implies some intervention once a very, very long time ago. It does not grant biological design happening billions of years later.

    There is lots of research supporting blind watchmaker processes. Mutations are random with respect to fitness, that statement is in every evolution textbook.

    vividbleau

    Ok I will bite how did DNA arise?

    No one is sure but there is a lot of work and research going into that question. Some sort of RNA-world precursor perhaps? For sure things had to start off very, very simple. Of course, we can never be 100% sure (since no one was around at the time and/or if someone was there they left no notes or observations) but hopefully some plausible step-by-step, unguided process will be proposed. It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle but people are slowly figuring out the big picture.

    Talk about extraordinary evidence for an extraordinary claim. How about the claim that something more technologically advanced than the blueprints for the space shuttle came about through the process of trial (natural section) and error ( random mutations).

    Read any good evolution textbook. I like the one written by Futuyma.

  60. 60
    JVL says:

    Just curious . . . .

    Do you all agree with gpuccio’s hypothesis that design was implemented every time a new protein superfamily (his words) appeared?

    That design was/is an ongoing, punctuated process?

    See comment 50 above.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, do you or do you not acknowledge that the induction (modern sense) is the logic of support for conclusions rather than that of demonstration as following from given premises? Where, science and many other domains of thought and knowledge are of inductive character. If your answer is yes, the implication is that the design inference is of the same inductive and thus in principle provisional character as the general body of scientific inference. As to its strength, it is at least as strong as any other key inference on the past of origins, noting that the inference to design on sign rests on a trillion-member observed set of cases of the cause of FSCO/I seen to be in action with zero exceptions. This being backed up by the search challenge, needle in haystack analysis of configuration spaces beyond 500 – 1,000 bits on the gamut of sol system or observed cosmos atomic resources (10^57 to 10^80 atoms, fast chem rxn times ~ 10^-13 – 10^ -15 s), and ~ 10^17 s available time since the singularity. And, I have no need to speculate on when or how in detail such design occurred, or who were involved to know that it is well established as an inductive argument that FSCO/I is a strong sign of design as cause. One may infer arson from accelerants without knowing any particular suspect or detailed technique. KF

    PS: An RNA world is dubious and does not escape the issue of origin of FSCO/I. It is also not at all extraordinary for alphanumeric code to come about by intelligence. Where Sagan form Cliffordian evidentialism is little more than a declaration of intent to impose artificial barriers to conclusions in defense of ideological commitments. Claims require adequate warrant, period. That FSCO/I is produced by intelligently directed configuration is routinely observed and it is ONLY seen as coming from that with blind chance and mechanical necessity facing search challenge on steroids.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: That we are invited to accept an intellectual IOU in the face of a trillion-member observational base on the origin of FSCO/I backed by utter search challenge reveals that we are looking at ideological commitments of faith tied to creedal a priori evolutionary materialism, not inductive inference. Newton’s vera causa principle answers to such decisively. Provide clear evidence of non-intelligent, blind processes writing complex, algorithmically functional code based on specific patterns beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity or acknowledge that empty ideological speculation is imposed in the teeth of a trillion-member observational base establishing that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design.

  63. 63
    gpuccio says:

    JVL at #59:

    Good questions. Here are my answers.

    So . . . your designer(s) have been around for a long time. Seemingly letting non-directed processes grind away for a while and occasionally dropping in a new protein construct?

    Yes. Non directed processes of course go on all the time. The design interventions are separated events. They can in principle be at the level of one protein, or more probably of more complex sets of engineering. Facts must guide us in understanding the details.

    Is that method of design because the designer(s) have/had a final goal in mind and are guiding things along until that goal is achieved?

    A designer always has some goal in mind, be it immediate or final.

    We can hypothesize that the designer, or designers, have some final goal, but that remains only an hypothesis at present. Again, facts must guide us. Moreover, if there is more than one designer, finals goals could be different.

    However, a lot of immediate goals can easily be detected in the specific designs.

    One general goal that I could suggest is to allow the expression of new and increasingly complex functions in biological life. Contrary to what is thought in neo-darwinism, that needs not always be connected to survival.

    Do you think human beings are the final design or might we be supplanted (like the Neanderthals) by something new?

    I am totally open about that. Certainly, humans have expressed a lot of new functions that were previously absent, or just dormant. Good and bad, I would say.

    Is/are the destigner(s) letting nature test the designers to see what is most likely to succeed and then giving the ‘winners’ a boost?

    I assume that you meant “letting nature test the designs”. I will answer to that.

    Yes, that’s definitely a possibility.

    I think that the main design must be implemented by guided variation, IOWs directly. But of course, a bottom up strategy is certainly possible. Design strategies can also take advantage of controlled random variation followed by Intelligent Selection (the “boost” you mention). We have good examples of that in antibody affinity maturation, or even in the famous Szostak paper about ATP binding.

    The difference between NS and IS is that in IS the boost is designed, and not necessarily bound to survival advantage, but rather to intelligent function recognition. If you want, you can have a look at my OP about that:

    Natural Selection vs Artificial Selection

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/natural-selection-vs-artificial-selection/

    (Just to avoid confusion: Artificial Selection and Intelligent Selection are the same thing, for me)

  64. 64
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    Any comments to my #30?

  65. 65
    JVL says:

    gpuccio

    Thank you for being so clear. I’m not sure if all ID proponents completely agree with you (many are unwilling to be so specific) so I will take this as your personal view.

    It seems a perfectly rational engineering design approach, much like, say, how bicycles went through various design families until the basic modern frame was arrived at. Of course there are still some significant variations on the theme but you don’t see penny-farthing bicycles being used much any more. This also applies to sub-systems like breaks and gears. As the designs become more and more robust and efficient the rate of variation slows down, occasionally bumped up with the availability of new materials or manufacturing techniques. But that seems a very mechanistic and resource limiting approach.

    I’m not sure what that would say about the designer(s) motivations or methods or techniques. If the designer(s) were engineers then I would expect to see other evidence of their presence. Certainly any engineering work requires resources and energy, some kind of manufacturing process, labs, etc.

    And, if the designer(s) are still around, observing and deciding when next to intervene, they seem to be very well hidden indeed! I wonder what their motivation to remain undetected would be? I’m not sure what purpose would be served by their being so elusive.

    Anyway, lots of questions and issues to explore I guess.

    kairosfocus

    the implication is that the design inference is of the same inductive and thus in principle provisional character as the general body of scientific inference. As to its strength, it is at least as strong as any other key inference on the past of origins, noting that the inference to design on sign rests on a trillion-member observed set of cases of the cause of FSCO/I seen to be in action with zero exceptions. This being backed up by the search challenge, needle in haystack analysis of configuration spaces beyond 500 – 1,000 bits on the gamut of sol system or observed cosmos atomic resources (10^57 to 10^80 atoms, fast chem rxn times ~ 10^-13 – 10^ -15 s), and ~ 10^17 s available time since the singularity.

    I’m not sure what you mean exactly? I don’t think anyone is suggesting that there was some kind of brute force search of large configuration space. That’s not the way I read the proposed models.

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, there is no small-step incrementally functional approach to FSCO/I in general. The deep isolation in AA sequence space of protein fold domains is a very good illustration of the islands of function effect. The general point is, functional specificity demands tight clusters of configurations leading to deeply isolated islands. The key-lock fitting of cellular machinery is again illustrative. Going beyond, we can see that the relevant pre-life context does not have a self-replicating facility that uses code based info to generate a metabolic, self-replicating cell, that too is a big part of the FSCO/I to be accounted for. Where, the three observed causal patterns out there are mechanical necessity, blind chance and intelligently directed configuration; there is no fourth observed highly capable causal factor. We see a further case of putting up the unobserved IOU to artificially block the strength of a massively evident inference. KF

  67. 67
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    I can see you’re making a irreducibly complex kind of argument. I don’t know how life arose but there is a lot of work and research going on. I think it’s prudent to wait to see how that all plays out before declaring game over.

  68. 68
    ET says:

    JVL:

    There is lots of research supporting blind watchmaker processes.

    Liar

    Mutations are random with respect to fitness, that statement is in every evolution textbook.

    That doesn’t support blind watchmaker evolution. Random with respect to fitness does not mean they are happenstance occurrences. And it definitely doesn’t demonstrate they can accumulate in such a way as to produce protein machines.

  69. 69
    ET says:

    There isn’t any research that shows blind and mindless processes can do anything beyond produce genetic diseases and deformities.

  70. 70
    Origenes says:

    Eric @57

    EricMH: Of course, this means that AI is self defeating, in just the same way that Darwinian evolution undermines epistemology. If these theories were true, it would be impossible for us to know.

    However, while logically coherent, this argument does not produce anything scientific or technological, at least by itself, and remains in the realm of philosophy, not science.

    Science better listens up when philosophy points out that its course is self-defeating.

    How would you define “science”?

    J.Bartlett wrote:

    … either you want to define science as an epistemic phenomenon (a unique way of knowing) or as a
    sociological phenomenon (a unique group of people). …
    … most historians and scientists accept a sociological definition: Science is what the scientific community says it is.
    This is a sociological definition. However, most people’s interest in science is not sociological, but epistemic. In other words, people become scientists not because they want to be part of the “cool crowd”, and therefore we look to this crowd of people who call themselves scientists, but rather because they want to know more about reality, and science has put itself out as a uniquely dependable epistemological system.

    If science is merely a sociological affair, then no one needs to pay it any more attention than underwater basket weavers, unless they happen to be interested in the subject. However, society has, over the last few centuries, been increasing the amount of epistemic weight that it has put on science.

    Therefore, definitions of science such as “the thing that scientists do” really hurt the epistemology of science, because it means that it is just about being part of the cool crowd, not having real knowledge about something.

  71. 71
    ET says:

    Outside of biology just look at the earth/ moon system. And think of how many just-so cosmic collisions would have had to have happened to get it the way it is. If the earth didn’t rotate we wouldn’t have a magnetic field and the atmospheric gasses wouldn’t get mixed. No life. No axis of rotation stabilizing moon and again no life. If the moon has too much mass the tides would be severe.

    “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”

    “The one place that has observers is the one place that also has perfect solar eclipses.”

    “There is a final, even more bizarre twist. Because of Moon-induced tides, the Moon is gradually receding from Earth at 3.82 centimeters per year. In ten million years will seem noticeably smaller. At the same time, the Sun’s apparent girth has been swelling by six centimeters per year for ages, as is normal in stellar evolution. These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the Earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.”

    “The Privileged Planet” extends the design inference beyond biology.

  72. 72
    JVL says:

    ET

    Liar

    From the Uncommon Descent comment policy:

    Try to be polite.

    Try to be tolerant.

    Try to keep belligerence and sarcasm in check.

    That doesn’t support blind watchmaker evolution. Random with respect to fitness does not mean they are happenstance occurrences. And it definitely doesn’t demonstrate they can accumulate in such a way as to produce protein machines.

    There isn’t any research that shows blind and mindless processes can do anything beyond produce genetic diseases and deformities.

    I disagree.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, irreducible complexity is a very special kind of FSCO/I. I am making a much more general point, that complex functional systems are coherent entities requiring a large number of parts that must fit together and work together when arranged and coupled to achieve function. That instantly eliminates most of the space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, leading to the island of function pattern. Overwhelmingly, most random text arrangements for a sufficiently long string will be gibberish is a simple illustration and given description languages such as autocad it is WLOG. The search challenge follows as the config space for 500 – 1,000 bits is 3.27*10^150 – 1.07*10^301, doubling for each additional bit in the string. The atoms of the sol system or observed cosmos acting as observers filtering relevant randomly changed bit strings updated every 10^-14 s for 10^17 s can only sample a negligibly small part of such a space, so the big challenge is to reach shores of function so that incremental hill climbing can reach some performance peak. Then, to get to other islands implies descent and crossing seas of nonfunction, leading to compounded challenge. This is the context for the force of GP’s point on protein-domains in AA sequence space. The trend of empirical findings is to make this challenge grow, not shrink. FSCO/I, for cause, is a sign of design. We are well warranted to see design as accounting for OOL, for major body plans and for protein innovations, etc. Further FSWCO/I is manifest in the set up of the Sol system and the physics of a cosmos fitted to C-chemistry, cell-based, aqueous medium, terrestrial planet in a galactic habitable zone life. Research IOU’s don’t cut it any more. KF

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, several years ago, we put up a challenge to account for blind watchmaker based evolution claims on OOL and origin of body plans up to our own, to do a 6,000 word or so feature [links elsewhere can substantiate but the summary has to be substantial]. Above, you have made claims that suggest you can address the challenge. Note, after a full year, I cobbled together various remarks to try to see what an attempt would look like. I think you need to now substantiate or withdraw your claims about the alleged power of blind watchmaker mechanisms, where IOU’s are not good enough. KF

    PS: Philip Johnson’s reply to Lewontin 20+ years ago tells us a lot on the real score:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And it is not an appeal to ever- diminishing- ignorance to point out that design, rooted in intelligent action, routinely configures systems exhibiting functionally specific, often fine tuned complex organisation and associated information. Nor, that it is the only observed cause of such, nor that the search challenge of our observed cosmos makes it maximally implausible that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can account for such.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

  75. 75
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    That instantly eliminates most of the space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, leading to the island of function pattern.

    But . . . evolutionary theory suggests there are no islands of function. Universal common descent means there are always ways to get from one life form to any other.

    I’m not sure what you’re arguing against, it isn’t modern evolutionary theory.

    FSCO/I, for cause, is a sign of design. We are well warranted to see design as accounting for OOL, for major body plans and for protein innovations, etc. Further FSWCO/I is manifest in the set up of the Sol system and the physics of a cosmos fitted to C-chemistry, cell-based, aqueous medium, terrestrial planet in a galactic habitable zone life. Research IOU’s don’t cut it any more.

    Well, since there seems to be a lot of valid research going on into how basic self-replicators could have arisen out of early earth chemistry I think it makes sense to wait and see what comes of the work. If you take some modern life form’s genome it is complex and huge but no one is saying it just popped into existence.

    I think claiming design based on observed complexity (above some arbitrary limit and measure) of modern systems is missing the point of what evolutionary research is saying. In my opinion.

  76. 76
    ET says:

    Yes JVL, lying is not polite. So why do you insist on it? And I don’t care if you disagree. You definitely cannot make a case for your claims.

  77. 77
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    I think it’s prudent to wait to see how that all plays out before declaring game over.

    Well, yes.

    If you are saying ID should not be considered dogma I wholeheartedly agree.

    Now how about Darwinian evolution? That’s one big nub of the problem. It is a dogma. Skeptics of it, especially when they are effective, are hounded from the academy and other institutions.

    Another issue concerns upon what should society be based. “Scientific” principles?

    Or should truths — spiritual truths actually — be held as axiomatically self evident and always take precedence over what happens to be the “scientific” fashion (racism, lobotomies, forced sterilization, repressed memory syndrome, “transgendering” children, sexual mores ) of the moment?

  78. 78
    ET says:

    JVL:

    evolutionary theory suggests there are no islands of function.

    Reference please. Your say-so is meaningless

    Well, since there seems to be a lot of valid research going on into how basic self-replicators could have arisen out of early earth chemistry I think it makes sense to wait and see what comes of the work.

    So far all replicators have been intelligently designed. And then there is Spiegelman’s monster

  79. 79
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    several years ago, we put up a challenge to account for blind watchmaker based evolution claims on OOL and origin of body plans up to our own, to do a 6,000 word or so feature [links elsewhere can substantiate but the summary has to be substantial]. Above, you have made claims that suggest you can address the challenge. Note, after a full year, I cobbled together various remarks to try to see what an attempt would look like. I think you need to now substantiate or withdraw your claims about the alleged power of blind watchmaker mechanisms, where IOU’s are not good enough

    I’d just refer you to the pertinent section of any good evolutionary textbook which addresses the ongoing research. Given that most textbooks are at least a year or two or three out of date it’s likely that even more of the jigsaw puzzle picture has been filled in by now.

    I’m not expert so it’s pointless to ask me to create a summary when such things already exist in the expected places.

  80. 80
    ET says:

    JVL:

    I’d just refer you to the pertinent section of any good evolutionary textbook which addresses the ongoing research.

    Bluff- nothing but a bluff.

  81. 81
    JVL says:

    ET

    Reference please. Your say-so is meaningless

    It’s a basic effect of universal common descent. If there is universal common descent then there is always a (possibly historic) way to get from a life form to any other life form.

  82. 82
    ET says:

    There was a time when people were searching for a natural solution to Stonehenge’s existence. I wonder how they made out?

  83. 83
    ET says:

    OK so JVL cannot produce a reference to support its claims. Typical.

    JVL you don’t have a mechanism capable of producing universal common descent. And until you have a mechanism you don’t know what to expect.

  84. 84
    ET says:

    The problem is, of course, there isn’t any scientific theory of evolution for JVL to reference. All of those scientists and not one could come up with a scientific theory of evolution.

  85. 85
    gpuccio says:

    JVL at #65:

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    “I’m not sure if all ID proponents completely agree with you (many are unwilling to be so specific) so I will take this as your personal view.”

    That’s perfectly fine. I always discuss my personal views, even if of course most of what I say is, IMO, absolutely compatible with the general ID thought.

    About being specific, I have always been clear about that. I absolutely agree that the design inference does not need knowing further details about the deswigner and the design process, and can be done solely from the properties of the designed object. That is completely true.

    But, at the same time, it is equally true that, once the design inference is accepted, any serious ID approach has the duty to evaluate all possible further details that can be inferred from known facts.

    That’s what I try to do.

    “I’m not sure what that would say about the designer(s) motivations or methods or techniques. If the designer(s) were engineers then I would expect to see other evidence of their presence. Certainly any engineering work requires resources and energy, some kind of manufacturing process, labs, etc.

    And, if the designer(s) are still around, observing and deciding when next to intervene, they seem to be very well hidden indeed! I wonder what their motivation to remain undetected would be? I’m not sure what purpose would be served by their being so elusive.”

    The designer(s) is certainly an engineer. And we have all the reasons to believe that he (they) may still be around.

    Of course, the obvious lack of visible tracks of all that is the main reason why I believe that the best hypothesis is that the designer(s) has not a physical body, like us.

    Of course, some interface with physical matter, in particular biological matter, is necessary. So, my idea is of non physical designer(s) who can interface with biological matter.

    That is not so strange as it could seem. I think that a good model is the interaction of our consciousness with our personal brains. If our consciousness is not physica (as I believe, together with many other people), then it certainly has some interface with the biological matter in our brain. Many believe (including me) that the interface can be found at quantum level (see for example Eccles, Penrose).

    In a similar way, the consciousness of the biological designer(s) could interact with biological matter at quantum level, maybe using specific tools (IMO, probably transposons).

    So, the lab and the resources would be the biological wrold itself, and the conscious intelligence of the designer would just be the non physical operator that guides the events.

    “Anyway, lots of questions and issues to explore I guess.”

    I guess you are right! 🙂

  86. 86
    JVL says:

    ET

    Yes JVL, lying is not polite. So why do you insist on it? And I don’t care if you disagree. You definitely cannot make a case for your claims.

    You are calling me a liar again.

    Bluff- nothing but a bluff.

    Your opinion.

    tribune7

    Now how about Darwinian evolution? That’s one big nub of the problem. It is a dogma. Skeptics of it, especially when they are effective, are hounded from the academy and other institutions.

    I don’t think evolutionary theory is dogma. Some people may ‘believe’ it for dogmatic reasons but that’s not the same thing. Universities have hiring and firing procedures which are designed to protect all employees from unfair treatment. In my experience they are protective to the point where it’s difficult in the extreme to ‘hound’ someone away.

    Another issue concerns upon what should society be based. “Scientific” principles?

    Or should truths — spiritual truths actually — be held as axiomatically self evident and always take precedence over what happens to be the “scientific” fashion (racism, lobotomies, forced sterilization, repressed memory syndrome, “transgendering” children, sexual mores ) of the moment?

    Not for me to decide, nothing to do with the science of evolutionary theory. I suggest you get active in the legislative process so your view is clearly heard.

  87. 87
    ET says:

    JVL, stop lying and I won’t call you a liar. And if it is only my opinion it should be easy to refute. But somehow I get the feeling that you never will.

    Not for me to decide, nothing to do with the science of evolutionary theory.

    And yet there isn’t any scientific theory of evolution. And I doubt that JVL understands what science entails

  88. 88
    JVL says:

    gpuccio

    Thank you very much for your candid and lengthy replies. I have a much better grasp on what your hypothesis is. And you are open to it being discussed and explored and I commend you for that.

    ET

    The problem is, of course, there isn’t any scientific theory of evolution for JVL to reference. All of those scientists and not one could come up with a scientific theory of evolution.

    Evolution by Douglas Futuyma lists fundamental principles of evolution (pages 10 – 11 in the 2005 edition and page 11 – 12 in the 2013 edition). The book discusses all of the principles in depth, what they mean, how they have been established and what work is ongoing.

    No one is lying or hiding anything.

  89. 89
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Evolution by Douglas Futuyma lists fundamental principles of evolution (pages 10 – 11 in the 2005 edition and page 11 – 12 in the 2013 edition). The book discusses all of the principles in depth, what they mean, how they have been established and what work is ongoing.

    That isn’t a scientific theory of evolution. Also the author is full of it. In one of his books he lies about natural selection being the only known mechanism to produce adaptations and yet no one knows any such thing!

  90. 90
    Origenes says:

    JVL @67

    I don’t know how life arose but there is a lot of work and research going on. I think it’s prudent to wait to see how that all plays out before declaring game over.

    James Tour wrote:

    We have no idea how the molecules that compose living systems could have been devised such that they would work in concert to fulfill biology’s functions. We have no idea how the basic set of molecules, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids and proteins, were made and how they could have coupled in proper sequences, and then transformed into the ordered assemblies until there was the construction of a complex system, and eventually to that first cell. Nobody has any idea on how this was done when using our commonly understood mechanisms of chemical science. Those who say that they understand are generally wholly uninformed regarding chemical synthesis.
    From a synthetic chemical perspective, neither I nor any of my colleagues can fathom a prebiotic molecular route to construction of a complex system. We cannot even figure out the prebiotic routes to the basic building blocks of life: carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids and proteins. Chemists are collectively bewildered. Hence I say that no chemist understands prebiotic synthesis of the requisite building blocks, let alone assembly into a complex system.
    That’s how clueless we are. I’ve asked all of my colleagues: National Academy members, Nobel Prize winners. I sit with them in offices. Nobody understands this. So if your professor says, “It’s all worked out,” [or] your teachers say, “It’s all worked out,” they don’t know what they’re talking about. It is not worked out.

    I just saw a presentation by a Nobel prize winner modeling the action of enzymes, and I walked up to him afterward, and I said to him, “I’m writing an article entitled: ‘Abiogenesis: Nightmare.’ Where do these enzymes come from? Since these things are synthesized, … starting from the beginning, where did these things come from?” He says, “What did you write in your article?” I said, “I said, ‘It’s a mystery.’” He said, “That’s exactly what it is: it’s a mystery.”


    All right, now let’s assemble the Dream Team. We’ve got good professors here, so let’s assemble the Dream Team. Let’s further assume that the world’s top 100 synthetic chemists, top 100 biochemists and top 100 evolutionary biologists combined forces into a limitlessly funded Dream Team. The Dream Team has all the carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleic acids stored in freezers in their laboratories… All of them are in 100% enantiomer purity. [Let’s] even give the team all the reagents they wish, the most advanced laboratories, and the analytical facilities, and complete scientific literature, and synthetic and natural non-living coupling agents. Mobilize the Dream Team to assemble the building blocks into a living system – nothing complex, just a single cell. The members scratch their heads and walk away, frustrated…
    So let’s help the Dream Team out by providing the polymerized forms: polypeptides, all the enzymes they desire, the polysaccharides, DNA and RNA in any sequence they desire, cleanly assembled. The level of sophistication in even the simplest of possible living cells is so chemically complex that we are even more clueless now than with anything discussed regarding prebiotic chemistry or macroevolution. The Dream Team will not know where to start. Moving all this off Earth does not solve the problem, because our physical laws are universal.
    You see the problem for the chemists? Welcome to my world. This is what I’m confronted with, every day.

  91. 91
    JVL says:

    ET

    hat isn’t a scientific theory of evolution. Also the author is full of it. In one of his books he lies about natural selection being the only known mechanism to produce adaptations and yet no one knows any such thing!

    That can be found in the introduction to Chapter 11 in the 2018 edition, page 281.

    Again, no one is lying or hiding. All the work and research are referenced and the reasons are discussed.

  92. 92
    ET says:

    That can be found in the introduction to Chapter 11 in the 2018 edition, page 281.

    What can be found there? More lies and bluffs?

  93. 93
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, if evo theory denies the manifest fact and driving force behind the implication that there will be islands of function once FSCO/I is involved, that counts against the theory. Complex coded algorithms in D/RNA or elsewhere are not plausibly incrementally composed through a succession of small changes, where OOL needs 100 – 1,000 k bases and novel body plans 10 – 100+ mn apiece. The demonstrated existence of thousands of deeply isolated protein domains in AA sequence space (many with only a few members or just one) is further demonstration. The observed pattern that mutations are overwhelmingly damaging or worse also supports — thus, e.g. our fear of radioactivity. The Cambrian life revolution in the fossils and other cases bring the tree of life incremental branching model and icon under serious question. And much more. Evolutionary theory is running counter to observable realities and the general requisites of complex coherent functionality. KF

  94. 94
    ET says:

    I just bought Evolution by Douglas Futuyma 2013 on ebay. I will be getting it by April 2

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, I repeat, research IOU’s do not make the grade. The state of research into OOL underscores the FSCO/I challenge to get to first self replicating, metabolising code using cell based life. The evidence on proteins and molecular machinery underscores the info gaps across the world of life. And much more. KF

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The real problem, as is exemplified by this classic clip:

    . . . to put a correct [–> Just who here presume to cornering the market on truth and so demand authority to impose?] view of the universe into people’s heads

    [==> as in, “we” the radically secularist elites have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . where of course “view” is patently short for WORLDVIEW . . . and linked cultural agenda . . . ]

    we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> “explanations of the world” is yet another synonym for WORLDVIEWS; the despised “demon[ic]” “supernatural” being of course an index of animus towards ethical theism and particularly the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition], the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  97. 97
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL at 67 states:

    I can see you’re making a irreducibly complex kind of argument. I don’t know how life arose but there is a lot of work and research going on. I think it’s prudent to wait to see how that all plays out before declaring game over.

    And exactly how is one suppose to ever declare ‘game over’ for the, basically, unfalsifiable pseudosciences of abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution?

    “Normal” sciences have strict falsification criteria that allow them to be testable sciences, and demarcates them from untestable pseudosciences. Abiogenesis and Darwinian Evolution have no such strict falsification criteria to test against.

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    The following videos show us that, despite vehement denials from Darwinists to the contrary, Darwinian evolution does not even qualify as a real science in the first place but is more realistically classified as a unfalsifiable pseudo-science.

    Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7f_fyoPybw

    Darwinian Evolution: A Pseudoscience based on Unrestrained Imagination and Bad Liberal Theology – video
    https://youtu.be/KeDi6gUMQJQ

    The reason why Darwinian evolution (and abiogenesis) lack a strict falsification criteria is because testable sciences are based on laws of nature and yet there are no such laws to be found in the universe for abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution:

    “biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.”
    – Ernst Mayr – The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    Clades reach highest morphological disparity early in their evolution – 2013
    Excerpt: Evolution is usually characterized as an essentially contingent and unpredictable process (1). This makes it very difficult to identify general rules comparable to those that typify the other natural sciences.,,,
    http://www.pnas.org/content/110/34/13875.full

    Perhaps JVL would like to be the first scientist to ever discover the as of yet undiscovered ‘law of abiogenesis’? 🙂

    Until then, abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution will forever be classified as unfalsifiable pseudosciences with no scientific basis in reality.

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    To highlight the fact that abiogenesis is a unfalsifiable pseudoscience,,,,
    ,,, if anything, ‘ongoing research’ has only highlighted the sheer futility of believing that life can ever come from non-life, and yet, as JVL himself makes clear, the ‘faith’ of the atheistic materialist is undeterred in the face of such negative findings from science for his belief (i.e. faith) that life can come from non-life.

    “We have no idea how the molecules that compose living systems could have been devised such that they would work in concert to fulfill biology’s functions. We have no idea how the basic set of molecules, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins, were made and how they could have coupled into the proper sequences, and then transformed into the ordered assemblies until there was the construction of a complex biological system, and eventually to that first cell.
    Nobody has any idea how this was done when using our commonly understood mechanisms of chemical science. Those that say they understand are generally wholly uninformed regarding chemical synthesis. Those that say “Oh, this is well worked out,” they know nothing, nothing about chemical synthesis – Nothing!
    Further cluelessness – From a synthetic chemical perspective, neither I nor any of my colleagues can fathom a prebiotic molecular route to construction of a complex system. We cannot figure out the prebiotic routes to the basic building blocks of life: carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins. Chemists are collectively bewildered. Hence I say that no chemist understands prebiotic synthesis of the requisite building blocks let alone their assembly into a complex system.
    That’s how clueless we are. I’ve asked all of my colleagues – National Academy members, Nobel Prize winners -I sit with them in offices; nobody understands this. So if your professors say it’s all worked out, your teachers say it’s all worked out, they don’t know what they’re talking about. It is not worked out. You cannot just refer this to somebody else; they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
    James Tour – one of the top ten leading chemists in the world
    The Origin of Life: An Inside Story – March 2016 Lecture with James Tour
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQXgJ-dXM4

    An Open Letter to My Colleagues – James Tour – 2017
    Excerpt: We synthetic chemists should state the obvious. The appearance of life on earth is a mystery. We are nowhere near solving this problem. The proposals offered thus far to explain life’s origin make no scientific sense,,,
    Life should not exist anywhere in our universe. Life should not even exist on the surface of the earth.
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....colleagues

    RNA world: Chemists Propose a Seemingly Unlikely Environment for the Origin of Life – February 27, 2013
    Excerpt: Benner and his colleagues consider three major problems with the RNA-world model:
    *The “asphalt problem”: Organic reactions often produce unreactive byproducts. These byproducts are a mixture of pieces of the product or polymerization of the product, but are chemically insignificant and otherwise unpromising. Hence the metaphor of “asphalt.” Typically, avoiding the production of such byproducts requires very specific and controlled conditions, or post-reaction purification steps.
    *The “water problem”: Many of the bonds in RNA will undergo hydrolysis. This occurs when water reacts with the bond, causing it to break apart. In a lab, the problem is easily addressed by using a different solvent. However, the environment of the early Earth could not draw on the resource of various organic solvents.
    *The “impossible bond problem”: The authors refer here to the difficulty in forming certain bonds in RNA. Usually this follows from thermodynamic issues that prohibit bonds from spontaneously forming.
    Conspicuously missing from the authors’ list of critiques are the “chirality problem” and the “information problem.” Later in the paper, however, they concede that their model does not solve the enigma of chirality, and they allude to a potential “fatal flaw” in their proposition, namely that the kinds of RNA molecules that catalyze the destruction of RNA are more likely to emerge than RNA molecules that catalyze the synthesis of RNA. –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....68661.html

    Thus, basically, with no falsification criteria, pseudosciences such as abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution, no matter how contradictory the experimental evidence is to the claims of Darwinian atheists, will forever be kept alive in the imaginations of true believers such a JVL.

  98. 98
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    I don’t think evolutionary theory is dogma.

    I believe you. I actually take your post 67 as a willingness to consider the possibility of ID being correct.

    However, Darwin is obviously held as dogma by those in authority in fact if not in law.

    Look what happened to Dembski at Baylor or Behe at Lehigh.

    This, as per Lehigh, can only be taken as a statement of dogma:

    The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of “intelligent design.” While we respect Prof. Behe’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

    Note that you can’t even get a university department to distance itself from a child molester or cop killer

    You go to any museum you will find Darwinian evolution treated as accepted fact which means they consider it dogma.

    protect all employees from unfair treatment.

    They may not be able to fire them if they have tenure but they certainly can demean them, and they certainly don’t have to give them tenure.

    I suggest you get active in the legislative process so your view is clearly heard.

    And be accused of being anti-science?

    There are those who are using the name of science to advance political and religious causes i.e. as a dogma. Note the irony. This is a bad thing and most of those on this site oppose it.

  99. 99
    Origenes says:

    JVL @88 @91

    JVL: That can be found in the introduction to Chapter 11 in the 2018 edition, page 281.
    …. Again, no one is lying or hiding. All the work and research are referenced and the reasons are discussed.

    You are referring to this:

    Natural selection is the only mechanism known to cause the evolution of adaptations, so many biologists would simply define an adaptation as a characteristic that has evolved by natural selection. The word “adaptation” also refers to the process whereby the members of a population become better suited to some feature of their environment through change in a characteristic that affects their survival or reproduction. …. We will touch on some of these complexities later in this chapter.[Futuyma]

    Nowhere in the chapter do I see any scientific support for the statement that natural selection evolves adaptations. Can you help me out here?

  100. 100
    JVL says:

    ET

    What can be found there? More lies and bluffs?

    The statement you ascribed to him can be found there exactly as you related it.

    I just bought Evolution by Douglas Futuyma 2013 on ebay. I will be getting it by April 2

    Good, it does make a good doorstop if nothing else. I’m not saying we know everything about evolutionary processes, far from it. I’m saying we know quite a lot and all the gaps are being nibbled away with research.

    kairosfocus

    if evo theory denies the manifest fact and driving force behind the implication that there will be islands of function once FSCO/I is involved, that counts against the theory.

    Well, universal comment descent is one of the backbones of evolutionary theory and that precludes islands of function when you consider all the precursors. If you only look at current forms then it might look like there’s no genetic, step-by-step path but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one that’s now lost.

    I repeat, research IOU’s do not make the grade. The state of research into OOL underscores the FSCO/I challenge to get to first self replicating, metabolising code using cell based life. The evidence on proteins and molecular machinery underscores the info gaps across the world of life. And much more.

    Research is being done because people want to know how it might have occurred. No one is banking on research iOUs. But they’re also not throwing up their hands and saying undirected processes couldn’t have been responsible. They trying to find out if undirected processes could have been responsible. And that’s a good thing surely.

    bornagain77

    And exactly how is one suppose to ever declare ‘game over’ for the, basically, unfalsifiable pseudosciences of abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution?

    “Normal” sciences have strict falsification criteria that allow them to be testable sciences, and demarcates them from untestable pseudosciences. Abiogenesis and Darwinian Evolution have no such strict falsification criteria to test against.

    In science it’s never ‘game over’. Sometimes in mathematics it is because math does have theorems and proofs. But science is liable for revision every time new data is discovered. You can see it happening over and over again in history. Evolutionary theory does have falsification criteria, Darwin himself elucidated some.

    tribune7

    The quote from Lehigh University is quite tolerant and reasonable. Dr Behe has not lost his tenure or his position. The University just wants to make sure that all the evo-mats don’t attack them (’cause, I admit, some would do that gleefully) even though they are upholding the rules and regulations pertinent to their education faculty.

    Note that you can’t even get a university department to distance itself from a child molester or cop killer

    What does that have to do with ID and evolutionary theory?

    You go to any museum you will find Darwinian evolution treated as accepted fact which means they consider it dogma.

    Do you consider General Relativity dogma? How about the laws of thermodynamics? Plate tectonics? The germ theory of disease? Those are all models of what we observed that have been shown over and over again to be sound and useful. Same with evolutionary theory.

    They may not be able to fire them if they have tenure but they certainly can demean them, and they certainly don’t have to give them tenure.

    Has Dr Behe said that he has been demeaned in any way? He is an honest man and he behaves quite honourably in my opinion. I would be happy to work at the same institution as he does. In fact, I think I would really like him and enjoy conversing with him. I really believe that. I also suspect he is an excellent teacher as his communication skills are clearly superior.

    Remember though, that tolerance of views means that people can say they think you’re full of rubbish as well.

    And be accused of being anti-science?

    There are those who are using the name of science to advance political and religious causes i.e. as a dogma. Note the irony. This is a bad thing and most of those on this site oppose it.

    Science can be used or . . . let’s say interpreted for various agendas; we all can think of examples where that has happened in the past. Like you I think that is wrong. The science is the science. Physicists thought it would be possible to build an atomic bomb but it was the politicians that paid them to do it. (And before you make any assumptions about me let me tell you my father worked at Los Alamos from the late 60s until his retirement.)

  101. 101
    JVL says:

    Origenes

    Nowhere in the chapter do I see any scientific support for the statement that natural selection evolves adaptations. Can you help me out here?

    I haven’t read the whole chapter but I’ll have a look when I have the time. I pointed that out to confirm that what ET said was correct.

    But we do know that human selection can bring about remarkable changes is physiology. Breeders have known that for millennia. Look at the brassica genus of plants. That may not be ‘adaptation’ but it does point out that the random variation in genomes can generate hugely different forms even in a short period of time, geologically speaking. Even if most mutations are harmful or neutral, as they are.

  102. 102
    Allan Keith says:

    I was going to chime in but JVL is voicing my views better than I ever could.

  103. 103
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL states:

    In science it’s never ‘game over’. Sometimes in mathematics it is because math does have theorems and proofs. But science is liable for revision every time new data is discovered. You can see it happening over and over again in history. Evolutionary theory does have falsification criteria, Darwin himself elucidated some.

    So then why do you not personally accept the falsifications of Darwin’s theory, that Darwin himself set as criteria, that have been brought forth by Behe, Axe, and Meyer (Darwin’s Black Box, Darwin’s Doubt)???

    (as well, why do you not accept the falsification of Darwin’s theory that was brought forth by Lee Spetner ???) etc…???,,

    It is because, number 1, as elucidated, Darwin’s theory has no strict falsification criteria in science since it has no known law within the universe to test against, and, number 2, Darwinism is, in the minds of Darwinists, above empirical reproach since, it is, basically, a religion for them instead of a science.

    As well, I could mention the falsifications of Darwin’s theory that have now been brought forth from Quantum Mechanics and physiology. (Which in my view provide far more robust falsifications of the primary tenets of Darwinian theory)

    But whose counting how many times Darwinism has been proven false by empirical evidence? Certainly not Darwinists!

    Evidence simply does not, and never has, mattered to die-hard Darwinists.

    Darwinism is a pseudoscience!

    Moreover, in so far as the “Zombie Science” of Darwinian evolution continues to flounder on in science, it is in fact strengthening the primary claim of Intelligent Design that only intelligence can generate non-trivial levels of functional information.

    You see JVL, that is what separates science from pseudoscience, ID can be strictly falsified, Darwinism, at least how it is practiced by Darwinists, cannot be strictly falsified.

  104. 104
    JVL says:

    Origenes

    Nowhere in the chapter do I see any scientific support for the statement that natural selection evolves adaptations. Can you help me out here?

    Can you be more specific in what part of the statement you find confusing?

    At first I thought it was WRONG (which is why I looked it up in the first place) because I was thinking of sexual selection, artificial selection and genetic drift all of which can also lead to change in allele frequencies. But I think it’s on firmer ground when you consider his definition of adaption: something that enhances fitness.

    Sexual selection, artificial selection and genetic drift MAY benefit fitness but not necessarily and sometimes they detract from fitness.

    I took the use of the word ‘evolves’ in the statement to mean ‘brings about’.

    So: natural selection brings about adaptions.

  105. 105
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    The quote from Lehigh University is quite tolerant and reasonable.

    Of course. If you hold evolution to be a dogma.

    Note that you can’t even get a university department to distance itself from a child molester or cop killer What does that have to do with ID and evolutionary theory?

    It has to do with academic standards and priorities. Child molestation can be ignored while threats to the dogma of evolution must be contested.

    Has Dr Behe said that he has been demeaned in any way?

    His department issued a statement saying what he says should not be taken seriously. Yes, that is demeaning. Whether he has contested it or felt it wiser to hold his tongue is irrelevant.

    Science can be used or . . . let’s say interpreted for various agendas;

    We are in absolute agreement there. I think Gould was on the right track with his non overlapping magisteria. Where he fell short though was his omission that there are things that must be accepted by all as axiomatic. Two that come to mind is that our existence has a point and that truth is universal. Most of our problems stem from the rejection of these principles.

  106. 106
    JVL says:

    bornagain77

    And why do you not personally accept the falsifications of Darwin’s theory, that Darwin himself set as criteria, that have been brought forth by Behe, Axe, and Meyer (Darwin’s Black Box, Darwin’s Doubt)???

    Because I’ve read the critiques of those works and find the counter-arguments more compelling.

    It is because, number 1, as elucidated, Darwin’s theory has no strict falsification criteria since it has no known law within the universe to test against, and, number 2, Darwinism is, basically in the minds of Darwinists, above empirical reproach since, it is a religion instead of a science.

    Nope. I disagree with your characterisations.

    As well, I could mention the falsifications of Darwin’s theory that have been brought forth from Quantum Mechanics and physiology. (Which in my view provide far more robust falsification of the primary tenets of Darwinian theory)

    Nope. Actually, I’m not sure what quantum mechanics has to do with it at all.

    But whose counting how many times Darwinism has been proven false by empirical evidence???

    “Who’s’ I think you meant. Anyway, I disagree.

    Evidence simply does not, and never has, mattered to die-hard Darwinists.

    Darwinism is a pseudoscience!

    Again, I respectfully disagree.

    Moreover, in so far as the “Zombie Science” of Darwinian evolution continues to flounder on in science, it is in fact strengthening the primary claim of Intelligent Design that only intelligence can generate non-trivial levels of functional inflation.

    I don’t think unguided processes have been examined and tested enough yet to make that inference. We have only really started trying to figure out what might have happened chemically. Speaking of the origin of life that is.

    You see JVL, that is what separates science from pseudoscience, ID can be strictly falsified, Darwinism, at least how it is held by Darwinists, cannot be.

    Evolutionary theory can be falsified, I just don’t think it has.

    I think ID has an interesting idea: that certain biological systems show signs of being designed. The supporting rationals behind that concept have been explored and criticised by working scientists. I find their criticisms valid and backed up with empirical evidence. I’m just trying to be honest here so you know my view.

    I don’t think that means we can’t have a respectful conversation (as I did with gpuccio) about it all. I have lots of friends that I argue with and disagree with perpetually. Nothing wrong with that.

    I promise you I am NOT trying to marginalise or exclude anyone. I find parts of ID . . . unclear. So I’m glad when someone is willing to spell out their ideas.

  107. 107
    JVL says:

    Allan Keith

    You are too kind! I hate it when I think of something two hours later that I should have said!!

  108. 108
    JVL says:

    tribune7

    It has to do with academic standards and priorities. Child molestation can be ignored while threats to the dogma of evolution must be contested.

    I have no idea what incident or incidences you are referring to. And, again, what does that have to do with the science?

    Good science does not need to be propped up with social rules or legislation. But, then again, neither does valid dissent. That all should be worked out in academia.

    His department issued a statement saying what he says should not be taken seriously. Yes, that is demeaning. Whether he has contested it or felt it wiser to hold his tongue is irrelevant.

    One of my best friends argued with me one night for over an hour that crop circles were caused by CIA satellites. I thought that was incredibly stupid and I told her so. But we’re still good friends. We’re honest with each other.

    You want freedom of expression but not if it runs counter to your beliefs? What is wrong with everyone else in his department saying: we disagree with Dr Behe? Given that they haven’t denied him tenure or kicked him out? Like I said, I think I’d love to be his colleague.

    We are in absolute agreement there. I think Gould was on the right track with his non overlapping magisteria. Where he fell short though was his omission that there are things that must be accepted by all as axiomatic. Two that come to mind is that our existence has a point and that truth is universal. Most of our problems stem from the rejection of these principles.

    I’m not sure I would agree with you about those two principles but I’m glad you’re being clear and honest. I suspect we would have some interesting and, dare I say, fun dinner conversations!

  109. 109
    tribune7 says:

    I have no idea what incident or incidences you are referring to. And, again, what does that have to do with the science?

    This incident. and this incident and this incident.

    And, again, what does that have to do with the science?

    The professor in one case (probably two) was making a claim of science to defend this behavior. I could not find where their employers distanced themselves from them via official pronouncements unlike with Lehigh did with Behe. It’s a strong indication that evolution is a dogma.

    One of my best friends argued with me one night for over an hour that crop circles were caused by CIA satellites. I thought that was incredibly stupid and I told her so. But we’re still good friends. We’re honest with each other.

    You are equating Behe with someone who believes the CIA is behind crop circles. Ponder that.

    I suspect we would have some interesting and, dare I say, fun dinner conversations!

    I thank you and I’m sure we would.

  110. 110
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL, you may think you ‘respectfully disagree’, but alas, according to reductive materialism, you do not have the free will necessary to ‘respectfully disagree’. You are only under the illusion that you have made a logically coherent decision in regards to the evidence.

    i.e. argument from reason C.S. Lewis

    As to:

    And why do you not personally accept the falsifications of Darwin’s theory, that Darwin himself set as criteria, that have been brought forth by Behe, Axe, and Meyer (Darwin’s Black Box, Darwin’s Doubt)???

    Because I’ve read the critiques of those works and find the counter-arguments more compelling.

    Contrary to how you think science should operate, opinion and conjecture does not counter actual experimental evidence.

    As to:

    It is because, number 1, as elucidated, Darwin’s theory has no strict falsification criteria since it has no known law within the universe to test against, and, number 2, Darwinism is, basically in the minds of Darwinists, above empirical reproach since, it is a religion instead of a science.

    Nope. I disagree with your characterisations. (I think you meant characterizations, but anyways).

    Again, especially since you have no free will, opinion does not trump actual evidence in science. The facts of the matter are, number 1, there is no known ‘law of evolution’ within the known physical universe (if you ‘respectfully disagree’ then please provide proof for a ‘law of evolution’ in the universe to counter my claim that none exists for Darwinism. Your opinion is worthless in countering the claim), and number 2, Darwin’s book “Origin”, and many major books on evolution subsequent to Darwin’s original book, rely primarily on theological argumentation in place of any actual experimentation. That is a fact, not an opinion!

    As to

    As well, I could mention the falsifications of Darwin’s theory that have been brought forth from Quantum Mechanics and physiology. (Which in my view provide far more robust falsification of the primary tenets of Darwinian theory)

    Nope. Actually, I’m not sure what quantum mechanics has to do with it at all.

    Well, advances in Quantum Biology (and physiology) have basically undermined the entire reductive materialistic framework that Darwinian evolution is built upon,,, (other than that, I guess your ignorance of the implication of quantum biology is excusable)

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – video
    https://youtu.be/LHdD2Am1g5Y

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    as to:

    Evidence simply does not, and never has, mattered to die-hard Darwinists.

    Darwinism is a pseudoscience!

    Again, I respectfully disagree.

    Again, you do not have the free will necessary to ‘respectfully disagree’. And also again, the lack of a strict falsification criteria based on a known law of the universe is what clearly demarcates Darwinian evolution as a pseudoscience. Your personal opinion is worthless in countering my claim. In order to counter my claim you must precisely elucidate the, as of yet, undiscovered ‘law of evolution’ so as to establish Darwinian evolution as a testable science that is subject to reproach, i.e. falsification, from experimental findings.

    as to:

    Moreover, in so far as the “Zombie Science” of Darwinian evolution continues to flounder on in science, it is in fact strengthening the primary claim of Intelligent Design that only intelligence can generate non-trivial levels of functional inflation.

    I don’t think unguided processes have been examined and tested enough yet to make that inference. We have only really started trying to figure out what might have happened chemically. Speaking of the origin of life that is.

    Bull crap! This is precisely the point I have been making, without a strict falsification criteria, Darwinists will forever have ‘faith’ that “someday” they will find evidence to support their grandiose claims. i.e. Your “punt” on the issue of evidence is actually more evidence supporting my claim that Darwinism is, basically in the minds of Darwinists, a pseudoscience instead of a testable science!

    as to:

    You see JVL, that is what separates science from pseudoscience, ID can be strictly falsified, Darwinism, at least how it is held by Darwinists, cannot be.

    Evolutionary theory can be falsified, I just don’t think it has.

    So do I. My claim is not that Darwinian evolution cannot be falsified (in fact, as previously mentioned, It has been falsified) . My claim is that “IN THE MINDS OF DARWINISTS” Darwinism is unfalsifiable.

    That’s a big difference.

  111. 111
    JVL says:

    tribune7

    The incident at Penn State doesn’t seem to have anything to do with evolution or it’s precepts. I think the victim should not have settled out of court if he still feels he was abused.

    The Rutgers case . . . well, clearly someone is just deluded and out of touch. Science should not dictate social norms and behaviour. Or excuse it. That’s just stupid. But, again, what does it have to do with evolutionary theory?

    I’m sure someone will be thinking of the legal defence of diminished responsibility or some such. What I’m getting at is the notion that it’s not the perpetrator’s fault they committed a crime. Well, let me tell you: my view is that, no matter the ‘explanation’, people who kill who aren’t genuinely defending themselves or their loved ones should probably be kept away from the rest of us. If something is broken inside them, no matter what it is, I think we need to sequester them. How you label it isn’t important, just do it.

    The professor in one case (probably two) was making a claim of science to defend this behavior. I could not find where their employers not distanced themselves from them via official pronouncements unlike with Lehigh did with Behe. It’s a strong indication that evolution is a dogma.

    Well, just because some whacko’s say dumb stuff doesn’t mean it’s true or that the scientific community support them. Those cases are clearly matters for the police and the courts NOT science.

    You are equating Behe with someone who believes the CIA is behind crop circles. Ponder that.

    NO! I am not. I am saying that I do not ostracise people because I disagree with them.

    I thank you and I’m sure we would.

    I really, really like have a good discussion, even if it gets heated. I only bother doing so with people I respect. But that doesn’t mean I won’t disagree with them.

  112. 112
    JVL says:

    bornagain77

    JVL, you may think you ‘respectfully disagree’, but alas, according to reductive materialism, you do not have the free will necessary to ‘respectfully disagree’. You are only under the illusion that you have made a logically coherent decision in regards to the evidence.

    Who says I agree with reductive materialism? Don’t lump me in with anyone. Please.

    Contrary to how you think science should operate, opinion and conjecture does not counter actual experimental evidence.

    We all have to fight to make sure dogma doesn’t trump compassion and caring and understanding.

    The facts of the matter are, number 1, there is no known ‘law of evolution’ within the known physical universe (if you ‘respectfully disagree’ then please provide proof for a ‘law of evolution’ in the universe to counter my claim that none exists for Darwinism. Your opinion is worthless in countering the claim), and number 2, Darwin’s book “Origin”, and many major books on evolution subsequent to Darwin’s original book, rely primarily on theological argumentation in place of any actual experimentation. That is a fact, not an opinion!

    I don’t think there is a ‘law’ of evolution. I think there is a ‘theory’ of evolution.

    I disagree about the basis for Darwin’s (and subsequent) argumentation.

    Bull crap! This is precisely the point I have been making, without a strict falsification criteria, Darwinists will forever have ‘faith’ that “someday” they will find evidence to support their grandiose claims. i.e. Your “punt” on the issue of evidence is actually more evidence supporting my claim that Darwinism is, basically in the minds of Darwinists, a pseudoscience instead of a testable science!

    I still think there are clear ways evolutionary theory can be falsified. And I’m sure you’ve already heard them.

    So do I. My claim is not that Darwinian evolution cannot be falsified (in fact, as previously mentioned, It has been falsified) . My claim is that “IN THE MINDS OF DARWINISTS” Darwinism is unfalsifiable.

    That’s a big difference.

    Fine, you might be right about some ‘Darwinists’. But not me. And, again, that has nothing to do with the science. And I can still disagree with you about whether or not evolutionary theory has been falsified without being a dogmatist. It just means I disagree with you.

    I don’t understand why you seem to ascribe to me beliefs and opinions I have not expressed? If you want people to get to know you, listen to your views, to take you seriously then surely you owe that same approach to others?

  113. 113
    Origenes says:

    JVL @101

    JVL: But we do know that human selection can bring about remarkable changes is physiology. Breeders have known that for millennia. Look at the brassica genus of plants.

    For the difference between artificial and natural selection, see GPuccio’s article.

    JVL: That may not be ‘adaptation’ but it does point out that the random variation in genomes can generate hugely different forms even in a short period of time, geologically speaking.

    That variation is random needs to be demonstrated rather than assumed — see James Shapiro.

    JVL: Even if most mutations are harmful or neutral, as they are.

    For the clear limits of natural selection, see here.

  114. 114
    bornagain77 says:

    Since no evidence was presented by JVL to counter my claims, I will let my refutation of his personal opinions stand.

  115. 115
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    But, again, what does it have to do with evolutionary theory?

    It has to do with consistent standards, which is the point. The statement from Lehigh should not have come from the department. If an individual professor (or a group) did it, that would have been fine.

    Actually, the department’s position should have been “You don’t like evolution? Fine, hammer away at it.” Actually, that’s kind of what the position here is with regard to ID.

    Evo-skepticism — unlike anti-vaxxers — is a rather inconsequential outlook with regard to material matters. I suppose if you take it to an extreme, it would cause problems regarding antibiotic resistance and such but I don’t think anybody is close to going there.

    But if everybody were to accept Behe’s position overnight, scientific progress would be unchanged. Actually, it would likely be improved as thinking would become fresh at least until IC stagnated into dogma.

    I am saying that I do not ostracise people because I disagree with them.

    Fair enough.

  116. 116
    ET says:

    JVL can’t even muster a testable hypothesis for blind watchmaker evolution

  117. 117
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Well, universal comment descent is one of the backbones of evolutionary theory and that precludes islands of function when you consider all the precursors.

    Reference please.

  118. 118
    ET says:

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced eukaryotes.

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced vision systems

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced metazoans

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced bacterial flagella

    The list is almost endless. No one uses blind watchmaker evolution for anything. It is a useless heuristic

  119. 119
    ET says:

    I think there is a ‘theory’ of evolution.

    There isn’t any scientific theory of evolution and that is what matters.

  120. 120
    ET says:

    I still think there are clear ways evolutionary theory can be falsified.

    It has to written and approved first. 😉 And you need a way to test its claims. that is missing and has been for over 150 years.

  121. 121
    ET says:

    The supporting rationals behind that concept have been explored and criticised by working scientists. I find their criticisms valid and backed up with empirical evidence.

    What evidence? Methinks you are lying or just fooled.

  122. 122
    ET says:

    Unlike JVL’s position Intelligent Design has the scientific methodology to test its claims. And every time they are tested they are confirmed.

  123. 123
    ET says:

    I was going to chime in but JVL is voicing my views better than I ever could.

    So your views are science free and evidence free, too? Really?

    Perhaps you could help JVL with the science and the evidence

  124. 124
    ET says:

    What can be found there? More lies and bluffs?

    The statement you ascribed to him can be found there exactly as you related it.

    It is a lie which means I was right. I just spent $20 on a book of lies.

  125. 125
    JVL says:

    Origenes

    That variation is random needs to be demonstrated rather than assumed — see James Shapiro.

    I think that has been established. Dr Shapiro asks some interesting questions but I don’t think he refutes that basic premise.

    bornagain77

    Since no evidence was presented by JVL to counter my claims, I will let my refutation of his personal opinions stand.

    I though we were just having a conversation. Never mind.

    tribune7

    It has to do with consistent standards, which is the point. The statement from Lehigh should not have come from the department. If an individual professor (or a group) did it, that would have been fine.

    That’s just your opinion. A department of a university has the right to decide and vote on presenting a statement. That’s their right.

    Actually, the department’s position should have been “You don’t like evolution? Fine, hammer away at it.” Actually, that’s kind of what the position here is with regard to ID.

    Again, you’re wanting to let Dr Behe say whatever he likes but dictate how his colleagues speak, as a group.

    Evo-skepticism — unlike anti-vaxxers — is a rather inconsequential outlook with regard to material matters. I suppose if you take it to an extreme, it would cause problems regarding antibiotic resistance and such but I don’t think anybody is close to going there.

    Are you sure that’s what you meant? That evo-skeptics are rather inconsequential?

    But if everybody were to accept Behe’s position overnight, scientific progress would be unchanged. Actually, it would likely be improved as thinking would become fresh at least until IC stagnated into dogma.

    Debatable. But why not just go with the science?

    ET

    VL can’t even muster a testable hypothesis for blind watchmaker evolution

    I pointed out many basic principles of evolutionary theory as elucidated in an easily procured book. Which you haven’t read yet. It’s alll being researched.

    Reference please.

    All existing life forms descended via unguided common descent which means for any pair of organisms there is a step-by-step path back to a common ancestor for one member of the pair and then a forward step-by-step path to the other half of the pair. Since you can do that for all possible pairs there are no islands of functions.

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced eukaryotes.

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced vision systems

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced metazoans

    No one is trying to figure out how blind watchmaker evolution produced bacterial flagella

    The list is almost endless. No one uses blind watchmaker evolution for anything. It is a useless heuristic

    It’s really clear from just a basic literature search that all those areas are being studied and researched.

    There isn’t any scientific theory of evolution and that is what matters.

    I gave you a reference from a text book. Which you haven’t read yet. All those issues are addressed.

    It has to written and approved first. ???? And you need a way to test its claims. that is missing and has been for over 150 years.

    I gave you a reference. After you’ve read it then we’ll see what you have to say.

    What evidence? Methinks you are lying or just fooled.

    Read the book you’ve ordered. Look at the citations and references.

    Unlike JVL’s position Intelligent Design has the scientific methodology to test its claims. And every time they are tested they are confirmed.

    That doesn’t make sense. No irreducibly complex structure has been found. Aside from that you just keep asserting that design has been detected without being able to provide a rigorous test for its presence. That’s my experience anyway.

    So your views are science free and evidence free, too? Really?

    Perhaps you could help JVL with the science and the evidence

    You are very free with your insults and insinuations.

    It is a lie which means I was right. I just spent $20 on a book of lies.

    I really think you are pushing the limits of what this site considers good comment behaviour. It’s not my call but . . .

  126. 126
    ET says:

    JVL:

    All existing life forms descended via unguided common descent which means for any pair of organisms there is a step-by-step path back to a common ancestor for one member of the pair and then a forward step-by-step path to the other half of the pair.

    You don’t know how big or small those steps are

    It’s really clear from just a basic literature search that all those areas are being studied and researched.

    Then it should be easy to refute my claim. Pick something and actually make your case.

    I gave you a reference from a text book

    What? Why don’t you just link to the scientific theory of evolution? Who was the author? when was it published? What journal was it published in?

    Stop bluffing.

    No irreducibly complex structure has been found.

    Many have. Just look in peer-review. Start with ATP synthase. Both of its substructures are IC.

    Aside from that you just keep asserting that design has been detected without being able to provide a rigorous test for its presence.

    ID has provided rigorous tests for its claims. And when compared against blind watchmaker evolution it exceeds it by far.

    You are very free with your insults and insinuations.

    Observations based on evidence and experience.

    I really think you are pushing the limits of what this site considers good comment behaviour.

    What? It isn’t my fault that the truth hurts

  127. 127
    ET says:

    I would say that being an insipid troll pierces the limits of what this site considers good comment behavior.

  128. 128
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    That’s just your opinion. A department of a university has the right to decide and vote on presenting a statement. That’s their right.

    It’s not about rights. It’s about wisdom. If there is a standard that applies to one side but not the other there is no hope for unity or common ground and that’s a bad thing.

    Again, you’re wanting to let Dr Behe say whatever he likes but dictate how his colleagues speak, as a group.

    It’s his employer and supervisors, I’m criticizing. As noted, his colleagues can say whatever they like.

    That evo-skeptics are rather inconsequential?

    When it comes to scientific progress sure. IOW, being a skeptic of evolution is not going to impede someone figuring out how to better use energy or create new medicine. Not an iota.

    OTOH, having a dogmatic view that everything is the result of random events will pose a problem at some point. Maybe even now. The multi-verse is getting into angels-dancing-on-a-pin territory.

    But why not just go with the science?

    Because it stopped being science.

  129. 129
    JVL says:

    ET

    You don’t know how big or small those steps are

    No, but they would be a few mutations at most in all likely hood.

    Then it should be easy to refute my claim. Pick something and actually make your case.

    As I said, a basic literature search will provide you a good starting spot.

    What? Why don’t you just link to the scientific theory of evolution? Who was the author? when was it published? What journal was it published in?

    Stop bluffing.

    As I already said, the textbook you’ve ordered discusses quite a number of basic, accepted precepts of evolutionary theory. You can read it when you get the book if you can’t already find them online.

    Many have. Just look in peer-review. Start with ATP synthase. Both of its substructures are IC.

    That’s not been established yet. We haven’t fully exhausted examining the capacities of undirected processes.

    ID has provided rigorous tests for its claims. And when compared against blind watchmaker evolution it exceeds it by far.

    No, it hasn’t been accepted that any know biological structure could not possibly have arisen via undirected processes.

    I would say that being an insipid troll pierces the limits of what this site considers good comment behavior.

    What I find particularly confusing is that generous and kind commenters, like gpuccio, don’t call you on your behaviour. Nor do any of the site moderators. I guess that’s just the way things work here.

    tribune7

    It’s not about rights. It’s about wisdom. If there is a standard that applies to one side but not the other there is no hope for unity or common ground and that’s a bad thing.

    I don’t really see that there’s a double standard in Dr Behe’s case. He’s free to say what he likes as are members of his department, as a group if they want to.

    It’s his employer and supervisors, I’m criticizing. As noted, his colleagues can say whatever they like.

    His department are his colleagues. And they chose to make a statement as a group.

    OTOH, having a dogmatic view that everything is the result of random events will pose a problem at some point. Maybe even now. The multi-verse is getting into angels-dancing-on-a-pin territory.

    I’m a severe multi-verse skeptic myself. Aside from that, what kind of problems do you foresee?

    Because it stopped being science.

    I don’t see that, to be honest. I see that you don’t agree with it but I don’t think it’s dogma or pseudoscience.

  130. 130
    ET says:

    JVL:

    No, but they would be a few mutations at most in all likely hood.

    OK, Dawkins put it this way- you start with a one segment organism. In one step it duplicates and becomes a two segment organism. That us a huge step

    As I said, a basic literature search will provide you a good starting spot.

    I have already done did that. I was recommended a book on the alleged evolution of eyes- “Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved”- it never said. It never unpacked the vision system at a genetic level.

    As I already said, the textbook you’ve ordered discusses quite a number of basic, accepted precepts of evolutionary theory.

    So you can’t find a scientific theory of evolution. You don’t have any idea who the author was or when it was published.

    That’s not been established yet.

    yes, it has.

    We haven’t fully exhausted examining the capacities of undirected processes.

    Umm, that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not IC exists. And it isn’t that you haven’t exhausted something. No one knows where to start. The genome maps have not helped.

    No, it hasn’t been accepted that any know biological structure could not possibly have arisen via undirected processes.

    Then tell the people who don’t accept it to get to work. Right now they are being bypassed for lack of a clue. They can always join back in if they ever actually get something.

    What I find particularly confusing is that generous and kind commenters, like gpuccio, don’t call you on your behaviour.

    Still waiting on the science and the evidence there, pal. Your blah, blah, blah just wait ’til you get the book and the magic will overwhelm you blah, blah, doesn’t cut it. Your denial of the science that is behind detecting design exposes your agenda.

    What happens when the book arrives my suspicion is proven correct? Are you going to be able to defend what the book claims? Or are you just going to refer to the book in support of what the book says?

  131. 131
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    universal comment descent is one of the backbones of evolutionary theory and that precludes islands of function when you consider all the precursors. If you only look at current forms then it might look like there’s no genetic, step-by-step path but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one that’s now lost.

    Question-begging again. The point is, islands of function are a natural result of multiple components that must be properly arranged, fit together and effectively coupled for a function to result. Text in your comment is an example, algorithmically functional code is an example, the flagellum is an example, protein synthesis, etc etc. I pointed out protein domains in AA space as a capital case in point.

    You have not provided contrary evidence, but have simply put up the view of a dominant school of thought. One that happens to be in trouble on exactly this point.

    We are right back at putting up a theory that runs counter to strongly evident patterns in the world.

    Research is being done because people want to know how it might have occurred. No one is banking on research iOUs. But they’re also not throwing up their hands and saying undirected processes couldn’t have been responsible.

    Actually, that is just what you did again. Oh, yes no evidence that shows that neo-darwinian theory mechanisms pass the vera causa test, but it is the dominant school and they keep grinding away. Yes, where at the outset when a claimed causal mechanism has not been shown per observation to have relevant capability, it should not be used in explanation. Again, yes, in a context where it is abundantly shown that ideological impositions are driving the “consensus.” Yet again, yes, where gross extrapolation of minor changes (many being deleterious) into suggesting origin of body plans is utterly without warrant on actual observation of body plan origins, with the Cambrian fossil revolution cutting clean across the gradualist account from Darwin’s day up to now. Yes, too, the OOL issue is begged where origin of code driven cellular reproduction has to be accounted for on physics, thermodynamics and chemistry, with origin of information issues aplenty.

    In short, we see the IOU’s put up. What do you think language like “giving up” implies?

    Has it not registered that a strong inference on empirically tested reliable observed sign is not “giving up,” but rather inductive inference to the best current explanation?

    That, “giving up” is a marker of ideological imposition?

    And more?

    Please, think again.

    KF

  132. 132
    JVL says:

    ET

    OK, Dawkins put it this way- you start with a one segment organism. In one step it duplicates and becomes a two segment organism

    I would like to have a reference to where he said that.

    I have already done did that. I was recommended a book on the alleged evolution of eyes- “Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved”- it never said. It never unpacked the vision system at a genetic level.

    I haven’t read, seen or heard of that book. I can’t comment on it. But a book is not the same as doing a basic online literature search which will give you thousands of research references.

    AND no one has claimed that they have figured out the specific mutational pathways for anything yet. And we might never know that because we weren’t there to witness them. But we can make good educated guesses based on what we can observe and test and replicate.

    So you can’t find a scientific theory of evolution. You don’t have any idea who the author was or when it was published.

    I’ve told you a place where you can find a list of many of the basic precepts of evolutionary theory. It’s not like the theory of gravity which has a simple mathematical expression. But I would say the first person to publish an account of the theory in basic form was Charles Darwin.

    Umm, that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not IC exists. And it isn’t that you haven’t exhausted something. No one knows where to start. The genome maps have not helped.

    I take it you’re not a researcher in biology or chemistry. When I do an online literature search I see lots and lots or work being done regarding the issues you bring up.

    Then tell the people who don’t accept it to get to work. Right now they are being bypassed for lack of a clue. They can always join back in if they ever actually get something.

    They are working actually. And publishing papers. Loads of them.

    Still waiting on the science and the evidence there, pal. Your blah, blah, blah just wait ’til you get the book and the magic will overwhelm you blah, blah, doesn’t cut it. Your denial of the science that is behind detecting design exposes your agenda.

    I didn’t say reading one book will clear everything up. You misrepresent me. I did mention that a particular book contained a list of basic, accepted precepts of evolutionary theory.

    I’m not denying anything. I have yet to see an example of a mathematical design detection technique applied to real world examples. I just haven’t seen that. I have read Dr Dembski’s 2005 paper and there are terms in his formula that I’ve never seen anyone compute. Ever.

    What happens when the book arrives it my suspicion is proven correct? Are you going to be able to defend what the book claims? Or are you just going to refer to the book in support of what the book says?

    You asked for an elucidation of evolutionary theory. I pointed out that a particular book had a list of some basic precepts that are generally accepted as being part of that theory. Because it’s a lengthy list I didn’t feel obligated to type it all in to this forum. You chose to buy the book. I have no idea what you’ll make of it but, again, I was just giving you a reference to a query you put forward.

    It’s a text book. I’m sure there are some mistakes in it, there always are. But I would expect that a vast majority of the statements made are backed up by solid research and results, some of which are referenced in the appropriate section by the index.

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Do we see how damaging it has been to allow establishment of models of the cause of unobservable deep time origins of life and major body plans that have not demonstrated actual causal adequacy on direct observation? The living cell has in it large quantities of alphanumeric, digital, coded, algorithmically functional text using a four-state system. Alphanumerical text like that is a commonplace, and we routinely see just one cause, with a trillion cases in point. Intelligently directed configuration. Once such a phenomenon was established, why did we tolerate discussion of claimed causal means that have never produced 500 – 1,000 bits of such text by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity and which flies in the teeth of config space search challenge? Why have we allowed a dominant school to pretend that it can continue like this without passing the vera causa test, when such an empirically unsupported speculation should not have been allowed in the door to begin with? And do you see the implications of now having the idea that to back away from such an inductive reasoning blunder is “giving up”? Not at all, first show cause that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can and does produce such text beyond a reasonable threshold or yield the point that after nearly seventy years of trying (much of it on the taxpayer’s dime) there is no actual observational empirical basis for holding that such claimed mechanisms are causally adequate. KF

  134. 134
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    Question-begging again. The point is, islands of function are a natural result of multiple components that must be properly arranged, fit together and effectively coupled for a function to result.

    Islands of function with regard to existing life forms are incompatible with universal common descent. Every existing life form had at least one parent who had at least one parent who had at least one parent . . . . backwards through multiple meetings of divergent branches. There is no existing life form which did not descend from a lengthy line of precursors. Some of those ancestors are also the ancestors of other species. All life forms are related via common descent. There are no isolated islands of function.

    You have not provided contrary evidence, but have simply put up the view of a dominant school of thought. One that happens to be in trouble on exactly this point.

    Universal common descent is widely accepted by a vast majority of working biologists and scientists as a whole. Not just because it’s a nice story, because it has quite a lot of evidence to support it

    Has it not registered that a strong inference on empirically tested reliable observed sign is not “giving up,” but rather inductive inference to the best current explanation?

    How can that be the case when we have just started to explore the capacity of unguided processes? What’s wrong with saying: we don’t know yet but we’re working on it?

    Why make a call before we’ve exhausted all the possibilities? You personally might say: there’s still work to be done but I think the final result will be this or that. That’s fine. But you can’t insist that others make the same choice.

    No one is claiming to know exactly how life arose on earth. We will never know for sure because we weren’t there to observe it. But we can do our absolute best to try and determine if unguided processes could have brought it about. There’s no need to conclude that it was the result of intelligent design yet. You might choose to do that but others are not wrong for not making that call. They’re just being cautious.

  135. 135
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    Do we see how damaging it has been to allow establishment of models of the cause of unobservable deep time origins of life and major body plans that have not demonstrated actual causal adequacy on direct observation?

    Damaging? To follow the evidence? To attempt to know how things work?

    Once such a phenomenon was established, why did we tolerate discussion of claimed causal means that have never produced 500 – 1,000 bits of such text by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity and which flies in the teeth of config space search challenge? Why have we allowed a dominant school to pretend that it can continue like this without passing the vera causa test, when such an empirically unsupported speculation should not have been allowed in the door to begin with?

    ‘tolerate’? ‘allow’? Are you saying you’re in favour of suppressing opinions regarding scientific investigations?

    Not at all, first show cause that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can and does produce such text beyond a reasonable threshold or yield the point that after nearly seventy years of trying (much of it on the taxpayer’s dime) there is no actual observational empirical basis for holding that such claimed mechanisms are causally adequate.

    I think modern evolutionary theory has passed that threshold. So do a lot of other people. You may disagree, that’s fine with me. But your claims that there is some dogmatic agenda going on is not true. It’s just science. You disagreeing with it does not alter that.

  136. 136
    Origenes says:

    JVL @

    Again, I point you to GPuccio’s post on The Limits Of Natural Selection.
    It clearly and definitively renders your attempts meaningless.

  137. 137
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, actually islands of function are a natural result of the requisites of FSCO/I and the implication that there are vastly many other ways that parts could be clumped or scattered. And such a result is compatible with UCD (if one wishes to argue for that), just not with UCD claimed to be on blind chance and mechanical necessity. Which we can safely infer was your intent, i.e. we do not actually differ on the inadequacy of the claimed blind watchmaker mechanism. The FSCO/I being manifest in life starting with D/RNA etc, and the only actually adequate causal process being intelligently directed configuration, if one wishes to assert UCD, such would be argued on the use of design to create key step changes in life forms. BTW, after nigh on SEVENTY years, we can hardly be said to be just beginning to look into the matter, just on DNA etc. Where, the damage in view is to inductive, empirically grounded reasoning and by extension to science. I add, Newton’s vera causa principle is vital to preserving the objectivity of scientific theorising on things we cannot or do not directly observe: the only serious candidate causes to be entertained are those which have shown the capability to produce the like effect. Here, to produce FSCO/I of at least 500 – 1,000 bits. Insofar as science becomes an ideologically dominated, social forces driven institution, to that extent it forfeits objectivity and in the end its credibility. Further to this, it is practically impossible to exhaust “all the possibilities” on any significant domain of study; allowing some school of thought to dominate indefinitely. Instead, we see research programmes and schools of thought that may find themselves running out of the intellectual credit built up by former generations. That is what you are inadvertently illustrating in this thread. KF

  138. 138
    JVL says:

    Origenes

    Again, I point you to GPuccio’s post on The Limits Of Natural Selection.
    It clearly and definitively renders your attempts meaningless.

    I just skimmed through that discussion. I actually made a brief contribution to it.

    I found myself agreeing with Cory Devine and Gordon Davisson who both argued against gpuccio’s points because of empirical data and research results.

  139. 139
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    actually islands of function are a natural result of the requisites of FSCO/I and the implication that there are vastly many other ways that parts could be clumped or scattered.

    But if there is universal common descent then everything new is a modification of something old.

    Where, the damage in view is to inductive, empirically grounded reasoning and by extension to science. Insofar as science becomes an ideologically dominated, social forces driven institution, to that extent it forfeits objectivity and in the end its credibility.

    Well, I’m always going to go with results and data over armchair thinking. Unless it’s mathematics. That is different.

    I really don’t see science as being ideologically dominated. I do see people agreeing or disagreeing with scientific results because of their ideology though.

    Anyway, the whole point is that anyone can question anything, try and find contrary data and results. That’s good. Ideas that can’t stand up should be challenged and changed. But evolution has been standing for 150 years and it’s not because it’s ideologically supported. Lots of people have challenged it, some from within the biological sciences. The basic precepts have been modified and changed a bit to account for new data.

    Further to this, it is practically impossible to exhaust “all the possibilities” on any significant domain of study; allowing some school of thought to dominate indefinitely. Instead, we see research programmes and schools of thought that may find themselves running out of the intellectual credit built up by former generations. That is what you are inadvertently illustrating in this thread.

    Well, I don’t see how to evaluate when a school of thought has run out of intellectual credit except fighting an onslaught of contrary data.

    In the last 1000 years science has changed a lot. The earth is not longer considered the centre of the universe. There are now more than four basic elements. Gravity has been codified and then that law has been surpassed. Atoms, once mere objects of speculation have been observed and modelled. We now accept that the surface of the earth is changing as we speak. The advances in cosmology alone are almost too numerous to keep up with.

    If there are any moribund schools of thought in science, then working scientists will find them and tear them down. As they have shown themselves capable and willing to do time and time again. Scientists don’t make their reputations by toeing the party line. They get their names assigned to laws and principles because they find something no one else knew or thought of. They’re not scared or sheeple. They want to figure things out.

  140. 140
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    It’s his employer and supervisors, I’m criticizing. As noted, his colleagues can say whatever they like. His department are his colleagues. And they chose to make a statement as a group.

    No department supervisor who allocates assignments and distribute funding, and influence whether a possibly sympathetic associate gets tenure?

    I’m a severe multi-verse skeptic myself. Aside from that, what kind of problems do you foresee?

    I think science progressed because smart people saw interesting puzzles that they could imagine solving practical problems.

    The multiverse is almost theological. Smart people will be guided by their curiosity and imaginings so there is no point in shaking a fist at it but I don’t see how you can use traditional scientific principles in proving it. So if the multiverse becomes the going model for the science community it is back to the Middle Ages.

  141. 141
    Origenes says:

    JVL: I just skimmed through that discussion. I actually made a brief contribution to it.

    In his article GPuccio puts up a challenge:

    The Challenge.

    Will anyone on the other side answer the following two simple questions?

    1) Is there any conceptual reason why we should believe that complex protein functions can be deconstructed into simpler, naturally selectable steps? That such a ladder exists, in general, or even in specific cases?

    2) Is there any evidence from facts that supports the hypothesis that complex protein functions can be deconstructed into simpler, naturally selectable steps? That such a ladder exists, in general, or even in specific cases?

    Gordon is obviously invited. Corey is invited. Anyone on the other side is invited.

    …. No response …

    In post #142 GPuccio asks you, JVL, to accept his challenge.
    You have remained unresponsive.

  142. 142
    Allan Keith says:

    JVL,

    Scientists don’t make their reputations by toeing the party line. They get their names assigned to laws and principles because they find something no one else knew or thought of. They’re not scared or sheeple. They want to figure things out.

    I agree. I have been on the edges of science long enough to know that there isn’t a scientist who wouldn’t sell his/her soul to the devil to discover something, or propose something, that results in a paradigm shift in current thinking. If a scientist discovered something that they were certain would overturn current evolutionary theory, they wouldn’t hesitate to publish it. Naturally, to cover his/her ass, he/she would make sure that their methodology was sound and arguments logical before publishing. Nobody wants to be the next cold fusion.

  143. 143
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, if is a very big word. A key to science is that facts of observation will have their say in the end. KF

  144. 144
    JVL says:

    tribune7

    No department supervisor who allocates assignments and distribute funding, and influence whether a possibly sympathetic associate gets tenure?

    What? Not sure what you’re asking. Have you been part of an academic department? I have. I had a supervisor who didn’t like me and fought to give me tenure. I got it anyway. There are checks and balances.

    I think science progressed because smart people saw interesting puzzles that they could imagine solving practical problems.

    I agree.

    The multiverse is almost theological. Smart people will be guided by their curiosity and imaginings so there is no point in shaking a fist at it but I don’t see how you can use traditional scientific principles in proving it. So if the multiverse becomes the going model for the science community it is back to the Middle Ages.

    Nope, it’s just speculation. Like string theory. You might get a bunch some funding for some work trying to figure it out but eventually, if nothing comes of it, the money will dry up.

    Let’s be clear, it’s good to pay for speculation. Otherwise it’s only the rich that can afford to experiment. But, eventually, non-productive ideas lose.

    Origenes

    In post #142 GPuccio asks you, JVL, to accept his challenge.
    You have remained unresponsive.

    Well, I’m not an expert by any means. Any response I gave would be easily torn apart by people who really know that field.

    And I’m not sure the scientific community has an answer just yet. But it’s worth looking for one. Surely.

    Allan Keith

    I have been on the edges of science long enough to know that there isn’t a scientist who wouldn’t sell his/her soul to the devil to discover something, or propose something, that results in a paradigm shift in current thinking.

    That’s my experience as well. The attempt to characterise scientists as sheeple who keep their head down and protect their retirement is just wrong. In fact I’ve know quite a few academic scientists who just loved to bite the hand that fed them. Herding academics is like herding cats. You just can’t do it.

  145. 145
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    if is a very big word. A key to science is that facts of observation will have their say in the end.

    Of course, as it should be.

    My contention is that if you look at a modern university-level evolutionary textbook and you focus in on a particular topic you will find a reasoned and laid out argument supporting the accepted science. And if you then check the references and bibliography you will find that the author has based their statements (usually noted in the text) on a myriad of results over long periods of time. And if you check those references you will find that they too are built upon work and results and data that have come before. It’s not a house built upon sand. There’s real bedrock down there.

    That being said, it’s completely okay (and maybe a bit encouraged) to try and challenge or take down an accepted trope of main-stream science. If you can do it your reputation is made, you will have your name perpetually aligned with a new principle. Challenging the accepted paradigm is encouraged in that your idea will be remembered forever. I don’t think non-scientists get this: to be a rebel and to be proved right is the highest accolade you can achieve. Everyone wants it, just about everyone toys with the idea. Very few are sheeple.

  146. 146
    ET says:

    JVL:

    I’ve told you a place where you can find a list of many of the basic precepts of evolutionary theory.

    So that is a no, you cannot find a scientific theory of evolution. Darwin’s doesn’t cut it as he didn’t know how to test his claims.

    When I do an online literature search I see lots and lots or work being done regarding the issues you bring up.

    All under the broad brush of “evolution”. ID is not anti-evolution.

    They are working actually. And publishing papers. Loads of them.

    A lot of speculation but nothing that shows natural selection is the designer mimic Darwin claimed.

    I have yet to see an example of a mathematical design detection technique applied to real world examples.

    Why does it have to be mathematical? Is that how archaeology and forensic science work? Why can’t we use the same tried and true design detection techniques on biology?

    I just haven’t seen that. I have read Dr Dembski’s 2005 paper and there are terms in his formula that I’ve never seen anyone compute. Ever.

    That’s because evolutionary biology is so bankrupt they can’t even provide any numbers. We wouldn’t even need Dembski’s equations if they actually had something. But they don’t. They don’t have any idea if their mechanisms of choice have any chance at all of pulling it off. Total failure.

    You asked for an elucidation of evolutionary theory.

    No, I asked for the scientific theory of evolution. How can someone elucidate that which doesn’t exist? How can we tell if we cannot check?

    The Dawkins’ reference was from the book “Life:
    ‘ with Venter, Dyson, Dawkins, Mayr is in there too. Pages 9-10 is where Dawkins talks about segmentation.

  147. 147
    ET says:

    ID has a scientific methodology to determine if, say, the bacterial flagellum (any) was intelligently designed. There isn’t any methodology to determine if it was the product of natural selection, drift or any other blind and mindless process.

    So JVL and Allan can whine all they want but when it comes to science and evidence ID by far exceeds what evolutionism can muster.

  148. 148
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Scientists don’t make their reputations by toeing the party line.

    Of course they do. How did Dawkins make his- toeing the party line.

    If you go against the party line you have better bring absolute proof and then you earn your stripes.

  149. 149
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Of course they do. How did Dawkins make his- toeing the party line.

    “The Selfish Gene” and “Extended Phenotype” weren’t exactly toeing the party line.

    If you go against the party line you have better bring absolute proof and then you earn your stripes.

    No. You just have to present your views logically, with supporting evidence and with avenues for further research that can further the science. Dawkin’s views are not generally accepted but he presented them in a novel fashion and in a way that led to further research. Thinking outside the box, as long as you present it logically and in a thought provoking and testable way, is how reputations are earned.

  150. 150
    Origenes says:

    JVL: Well, I’m not an expert by any means. Any response I gave would be easily torn apart by people who really know that field.

    Wait a minute. What GPuccio is asking for is an absolute basic requirement for effective natural selection, the existence of naturally selectable steps. If those do not exist, then the whole evolution hypothesis breaks down.
    “Is there any conceptual reason?”, “Is there any evidence from facts?”, GPuccio asks. And you, who defends evolutionary theory, reply with “Well, I’m not an expert by any means”?
    Did Futuyma write about this issue? I guess not.

  151. 151
    Origenes says:

    JVL: I found myself agreeing with Cory Devine and Gordon Davisson who both argued against gpuccio’s points because of empirical data and research results.

    Can you specifically name the empirical data and search results you are referring to, because all that was offered by both Cory Devine and Gordon Davisson turned out to be irrelevant to GPuccio’s argument.

  152. 152
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    What? Not sure what you’re asking.

    I’m pointing out that it’s not just co-workers but supervisors and what Lehigh did should not be defended.

    Let’s be clear, it’s good to pay for speculation.

    You mean experimentation. It depends. There are a lot of scammers.

  153. 153

    While our critics are gathered around, may I submit a question I have asked here before?

    We know that aminoacyl synthetases are the finite set of complex proteins that establish the genetic code. Their task in the cell is to perform a double-recognition and bind a particular amino acid to a particular tRNA adapter prior to the act of translation. We can all conceive of their significance to the system.

    They are synthesized from nucleic memory, and it stands to reason that there was once a time in earth’s history that none of the set of aaRS had ever been synthesized from that memory. Here is my question: Regardless of what anyone thinks preceded that time, at the point in earth’s history that the first ever aaRS was successfully synthesized from memory, how many of the other aaRS had to be in place?

    In response to this question, I am either given no response at all or given a response specifically intended to not answer the question. Can any of our current critics offer an answer?

  154. 154
    JVL says:

    ET

    So that is a no, you cannot find a scientific theory of evolution. Darwin’s doesn’t cut it as he didn’t know how to test his claims.

    Yes, I did find a list of aspects of evolutionary theory agreed upon by biologists.

    All under the broad brush of “evolution”. ID is not anti-evolution.

    If there was designer intervention, a guided process, then that’s not evolution.

    A lot of speculation but nothing that shows natural selection is the designer mimic Darwin claimed.

    I disagree. You’ll find lots of examples in the textbook you bought.

    Why does it have to be mathematical? Is that how archaeology and forensic science work? Why can’t we use the same tried and true design detection techniques on biology?

    I said that because I am aware of Dr Dembski’s attempt at creating a mathematical filter. You can use whatever you like. But you have yet to convince the vast majority of biologists.

    That’s because evolutionary biology is so bankrupt they can’t even provide any numbers. We wouldn’t even need Dembski’s equations if they actually had something. But they don’t. They don’t have any idea if their mechanisms of choice have any chance at all of pulling it off. Total failure

    So . . . you can’t use Dr Dembski’s equation and it’s the biologists fault?

    No, I asked for the scientific theory of evolution. How can someone elucidate that which doesn’t exist? How can we tell if we cannot check?

    I gave you a reference.

    The Dawkins’ reference was from the book “Life:
    ‘ with Venter, Dyson, Dawkins, Mayr is in there too. Pages 9-10 is where Dawkins talks about segmentation.

    That one I don’t have. Oh well.

    ID has a scientific methodology to determine if, say, the bacterial flagellum (any) was intelligently designed. There isn’t any methodology to determine if it was the product of natural selection, drift or any other blind and mindless process.

    Your methodology has yet to convince the vast majority of biologists.

    So JVL and Allan can whine all they want but when it comes to science and evidence ID by far exceeds what evolutionism can muster.

    I’m not whining. You do what you like.

    Of course they do. How did Dawkins make his- toeing the party line.

    That is just not true. I have talked to biologists who know Dawkins personally and disagree with him strongly.

    Origenes

    Wait a minute. What GPuccio is asking for is an absolute basic requirement for effective natural selection, the existence of naturally selectable steps. If those do not exist, then the whole evolution hypothesis breaks down.

    Like I said, there is a lot of research going on trying to figure things like that out. But the evidence in favour of evolutionary theory is overwhelming regardless.

    “Is there any conceptual reason?”, “Is there any evidence from facts?”, GPuccio asks. And you, who defends evolutionary theory, reply with “Well, I’m not an expert by any means”?
    Did Futuyma write about this issue? I guess not.

    Yes, he did write about it. I’m not going to transcribe a 650-page book here. If you’re interested get a copy and read it.

    Can you specifically name the empirical data and search results you are referring to, because all that was offered by both Cory Devine and Gordon Davisson turned out to be irrelevant to GPuccio’s argument.

    They made general references to known results and accepted research. Perhaps you should discuss it with them.

    tribune7

    I’m pointing out that it’s not just co-workers but supervisors and what Lehigh did should not be defended.

    A difference of opinion. Dr Behe hasn’t lost his tenure-track position. As far as I know he’s not been hounded or ostracised by his department or university.

    Upright BiPed

    In response to this question, I am either given no response at all or given a response specifically intended to not answer the question. Can any of our current critics offer an answer?

    I can’t, sorry.

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL:

    My contention is that if you look at a modern university-level evolutionary textbook and you focus in on a particular topic you will find a reasoned and laid out argument supporting the accepted science.

    Actually, not. You will find a circular appeal to the authority of the guild, driven by a priori evolutionary materialism, as Lewontin and Johnson highlighted over twenty years ago now. This becomes especially blatant in how the discovery of algorithmically functional coded text — thus, language — in the living cell has been treated.

    Let me point out what Crick wrote to his son, Michael, March 19, 1953 in a letter that recently sold for a tidy sum:

    “Now we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another)”

    Text like this is FSCO/I and it is vital to life processes in the cell. There is simply no viable blind watchmaker account of how language, code and algorithms much less execution machinery could arise by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. Where, algorithmically functional text is so constrained by linguistic requisites that there is no reasonable doubt that it is in zones deeply isolated in the space of configurational possibilities. If you doubt, hit it with enough random noise and watch the effect.

    The further point is, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity simply cannot search enough of the config space to be significantly different from no search. That is, such is an appeal to statistical miracle in defense of what is patently creedal commitment to evolutionary materialism.

    Going further, we actually do have a serious candidate that easily passes the vera causa test: intelligently directed configuration.

    Why is this not taken seriously in the relevant texts? Why isn’t the logic of inference to best current explanation applied without suppression of a key serious option?

    Ideology, in one word. As Lewontin admitted, and as can be copiously documented.

    You have put faith in an ideologised new magisterium.

    The actual traces from the past of origins point in a different direction. We may freely infer on signs i/l/o vera causa: text implies design as best causal process, as we can see all along this thread. Design is at the table of causal explanation of the world of life from its root, OOL.

    We have every epistemic right to take it seriously across the span of body plans, including our own.

    We may extend to noting cosmological fine tuning that supports such life.

    And, we have a very different frame for understanding our origins i/l/o actually adequate causal factors.

    Yes, this makes the ideological materialists uncomfortable. If they wish to resolve the matter in their favour, let them demonstrate how blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can and does actually cause functional, coded text beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity. Where the result of random text generation exercises to date is at about 20 – 24 ASCII characters, a factor of 10^100 short of searching a space that starts at 10^150 or so.

    KF

    PS: As a reminder, Lewontin, Jan 1997:

    . . . to put a correct [–> Just who here presume to cornering the market on truth and so demand authority to impose?] view of the universe into people’s heads

    [==> as in, “we” the radically secularist elites have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . where of course “view” is patently short for WORLDVIEW . . . and linked cultural agenda . . . ]

    we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> “explanations of the world” is yet another synonym for WORLDVIEWS; the despised “demon[ic]” “supernatural” being of course an index of animus towards ethical theism and particularly the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition], the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  156. 156
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    Actually, not. You will find a circular appeal to the authority of the guild, driven by a priori evolutionary materialism, as Lewontin and Johnson highlighted over twenty years ago now. This becomes especially blatant in how the discovery of algorithmically functional coded text — thus, language — in the living cell has been treated.

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at . . . how the discovery of DNA has been treated? Watson and Crick did get a Nobel prize for the discovery. Ever since then lots and lots of money and time have been spent researching how it works.

    Text like this is FSCO/I and it is vital to life processes in the cell. There is simply no viable blind watchmaker account of how language, code and algorithms much less execution machinery could arise by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.

    Well, quite a lot of people are doing research trying to figure out how it might have arisen via undirected processes. In my understanding they are making progress. I anticipate some very interesting results in the next 10 – 20 years.

    The further point is, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity simply cannot search enough of the config space to be significantly different from no search. That is, such is an appeal to statistical miracle in defense of what is patently creedal commitment to evolutionary materialism.

    It’s a good thing research biologists don’t think that’s what happened then. They are trying to figure out how the first basic, simple replicators arose via basic chemistry and environmental conditions.

    Going further, we actually do have a serious candidate that easily passes the vera causa test: intelligently directed configuration.

    Why is this not taken seriously in the relevant texts? Why isn’t the logic of inference to best current explanation applied without suppression of a key serious option?

    I don’t know how to test and measure the methods and procedures of an unspecified and undetected designer especially when most ID proponents won’t specify when design was implemented. I don’t know what there is to study under that paradigm.

    And, so far, the current methodology is progressing nicely. Every day new results are added to our knowledge base. And it all looks unguided.

    Dr Richard Lewotin is an interesting man. He has expressed many criticisms of modern evolutionary theory and he has been listened to. He works within the field providing another point of view. Lynn Margulis did much the same. The science moves forward and absorbs differing points of view after the proponents work hard to show their views are valid. I personally know biologists who openly disagree with Dr Richard Dawkins views. No one is censoring or attempting to suppress these views. They are discussed and argued over constantly. As it should be.

    Anyway, I think you’ll find that there is no sacred dogma in biology. Anything is up for question but you have to be able to back up your dissenting views with hard data and experimental results.

  157. 157
    JVL says:

    ET

    Also, you will note when you get your copy, that Futuyma lists five sub-theories of evolution on pages 7 – 8.

  158. 158
    Origenes says:

    JVL @

    JVL: the evidence in favour of evolutionary theory is overwhelming regardless.

    Not for evolution by natural selection as proposed by e.g. Futuyma. If you would be correct and the evidence was indeed overwhelming how could one explain this:

    Many genomic features could not have emerged without a near-complete disengagement of the power of natural selection.
    [ Michael Lynch, ‘The Origins of Genome Architecture’]

    Or this:

    I think if selection were always the rule, then we’d never have evolved beyond prokaryotes — all that fancy stuff eukaryotes added just gets in the way of the one true business of evolution, reproduction…
    [PZ Myers]

    And how about others like Larry Moran, Nei and so on?
    – – – – – – – –

    JVL: They made general references to known results and accepted research.

    Every paper they offered turned out to be irrelevant to GPuccio’s argument.

    JVL: Perhaps you should discuss it with them.

    I already did. However, since you claim that your position is based on empirical data and research results, and since you say you are agreeing with them, I would like you to name at least one specific paper. Can you do that or not?
    – – – – – – –

    JVL: Yes, he [Futuyma] did write about it [the existence of naturally selectable steps].

    I take it that you cannot quote the relevant passage from the book?

    JVL: I’m not going to transcribe a 650-page book here.

    Not the whole book … just the relevant passage … of course.

    JVL: If you’re interested get a copy and read it.

    Oh well, whatever.

  159. 159
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    the circularity is in the restricted inference to best explanation that ideologically locks out the one known cause of coded, algorithmically functional text, intelligently directed configuration.

    Recall, your “giving up” remarks above?

    It is not “giving up” on inductive logic or science to acknowledge and note that the best current explanation of such text is design, with a trillion member observation base behind it. Or, to note that such is backed up by search challenge needle in haystack analysis.

    Likewise, the KNOWN deep isolation of thousands of protein fold domains in AA sequence space is directly connected to the instructions in D/RNA, as this is direct evidence of islands of function that are isolated in vast seas of non-function; this is not a case of handily placed stepping stones across a little stream. Nor, hill-climbing up a slope to superior function. The challenge is to span vast seas of non-function and hit on shores of function. Then, to go back across further seas to other islands, without intelligent guidance or incremental warmer/colder oracular feedback.

    Now, you may observe “current,” that brings out that inductive reasoning provides empirically based support, not deductive proof, though in many cases it delivers not just high reliability but high confidence. Those who hope to provide some blind mechanism or other capable of creating language (before cell based life much less intelligent life) and codes, algorithms and molecular nanotech executing machinery are welcome to continue. But, they are not welcome to pretend that such mechanisms have passed the Newton vera causa test, or that the search challenge is not utterly adverse, or that there is nothing out there that has passed the vera causa test. Namely, intelligently directed configuration.

    Where, the imposition of ideologically loaded a priori evolutionary materialism is indubitably a major case of question-begging multiplied by abuse of authority to lock out what is currently a superior explanation.

    Johnson’s reply to Lewontin in November 1997 is apt — and I insert stuff that shows that he is not shadow-boxing:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And it is not an appeal to ever- diminishing- ignorance to point out that design, rooted in intelligent action, routinely configures systems exhibiting functionally specific, often fine tuned complex organisation and associated information. Nor, that it is the only observed cause of such, nor that the search challenge of our observed cosmos makes it maximally implausible that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can account for such.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    KF

  160. 160
    EricMH says:

    @GP I totally agree that science should listen up when philosophy proves something. That is part of my interest in ID in the first place. The case for immaterial mind, and the falsity of materialism in general, is fascinating for its implications. But that does not directly translate to science, in my experience.

    I just finished a doctorate, wishing to elucidate these exact issues. But, I found that while the philosophical arguments are personally very compelling, that does not trivially translate into publishable research. To get to that point requires the quantification and mathematical formalization, which I keep harping on.

  161. 161
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    A difference of opinion. Dr Behe hasn’t lost his tenure-track position. As far as I know he’s not been hounded or ostracised by his department or university.

    I’m just pointing out that Lehigh is holding Darwinian evolution as a dogma not as a science.

    The Big Bang is about as established as a theory as it gets. Would a physics department enhance its credibility if placed on its official website a statement disavowing a colleague who is vocally questioning it?

    Or take Pasteur’s Law of Biogensis. This is a principle that has vastly improved living conditions throughout the world. It is, of course, questioned daily by researchers at universities. Should biology departments publicly disavow them?

    ID is solid science which means you are — and should be — free to criticize it and express skepticism to your heart’s content.

    Darwin, OTOH, has become dogma. Why doesn’t Lehigh just carve above its door “Lehigh Biology Department: We Practice Darwin Here”?

  162. 162
    JVL says:

    Origenes

    Not for evolution by natural selection as proposed by e.g. Futuyma. If you would be correct and the evidence was indeed overwhelming how could one explain this:

    I said above that I first I thought his statement was incorrect and then I realised he was strictly talking about adaptations.

    I already did. However, since you claim that your position is based on empirical data and research results, and since you say you are agreeing with them, I would like you to name at least one specific paper. Can you do that or not?

    I’m sure you could find one yourself if you did a literature search.

    Not the whole book … just the relevant passage … of course.

    I do have other things to do with my day to be honest. Especially given that the arguments are lengthy and build upon each other.

    I’m sure you could easily find a copy, get one from a library.

    kairosfocus

    It is not “giving up” on inductive logic or science to acknowledge and note that the best current explanation of such text is design, with a trillion member observation base behind it. Or, to note that such is backed up by search challenge needle in haystack analysis.

    I don’t think it is the best explanation considering that there is no other evidence of a capable designer being present . . . when exactly do you think design was implemented? If there was no designer present then there must be another explanation. And, as it turns out, it doesn’t require an assumption about some cause which has not otherwise been detected.

    Likewise, the KNOWN deep isolation of thousands of protein fold domains in AA sequence space is directly connected to the instructions in D/RNA, as this is direct evidence of islands of function that are isolated in vast seas of non-function; this is not a case of handily placed stepping stones across a little stream. Nor, hill-climbing up a slope to superior function. The challenge is to span vast seas of non-function and hit on shores of function. Then, to go back across further seas to other islands, without intelligent guidance or incremental warmer/colder oracular feedback.

    There are no islands of function in biology. All modern forms descended from functioning past forms back to a common ancestor.

    Now, you may observe “current,” that brings out that inductive reasoning provides empirically based support, not deductive proof, though in many cases it delivers not just high reliability but high confidence. Those who hope to provide some blind mechanism or other capable of creating language (before cell based life much less intelligent life) and codes, algorithms and molecular nanotech executing machinery are welcome to continue. But, they are not welcome to pretend that such mechanisms have passed the Newton vera causa test, or that the search challenge is not utterly adverse, or that there is nothing out there that has passed the vera causa test. Namely, intelligently directed configuration.

    Like I said, with no separate evidence of a designer being present and capable then it must be the case that the complexity of life was arrived at by undirected processes.

    Where, the imposition of ideologically loaded a priori evolutionary materialism is indubitably a major case of question-begging multiplied by abuse of authority to lock out what is currently a superior explanation.

    No designer means no design. No designer means there must have been another unguided process or set of processes. We have observed and recorded those other processes and they seem to do the trick nicely. So, at this point, that is the best explanation.

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, fact no 1, through which we access and process all others — including “quantification and mathematical formalization” — is that we are self-aware, self-moved conscious unified (and embodied) beings; selves in one word. Any scheme of thought that starts from doubting, dismissing or undermining this (e.g. consciousness is delusion) is instantly, patently self-referentially absurd. Thus, it embeds self-contradiction and destabilises reasoning built on it given the principle ex falso quodlibet. Yes, we may explore quantifications and formalisations on the logic of structure and quantity that help us deepen insights but we must never surrender the self evident first truth of all truths. Where, too, we must realise that scientism is self-refuting and absurd. The methods and sociology of science and the guild of scholars more broadly cannot define the borders of truth or knowledge in such a way that science becomes a gold standard. Even mathematics itself is not and can never be science, being a discipline of abstract reflection on the logic of structure and quantity which in key part is not inductive [modern sense]. KF

  164. 164
    tribune7 says:

    EricMN

    The case for immaterial mind, and the falsity of materialism in general, is fascinating for its implications. But that does not directly translate to science, in my experience.

    I agree. What does translate to science, though, is the reality of “design” and the understanding that this phenomenon has quantifiable characteristics.

  165. 165
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    with no separate evidence of a designer being present

    If there is design there is evidence of a designer.

  166. 166
    JVL says:

    tribune7

    I’m just pointing out that Lehigh is holding Darwinian evolution as a dogma not as a science.

    I disagree.

    The Big Bang is about as established as a theory as it gets. Would a physics department enhance its credibility if placed on its official website a statement disavowing a colleague who is vocally questioning it?

    Questioning it in what way? There are some valid criticisms.

    Or take Pasteur’s Law of Biogensis. This is a principle that has vastly improved living conditions throughout the world. It is, of course, questioned daily by researchers at universities. Should biology departments publicly disavow them?

    Really? What are their criticisms?

    ID is solid science which means you are — and should be — free to criticize it and express skepticism to your heart’s content.

    Most biologists disagree that it is solid science. That’s the difference.

    Darwin, OTOH, has become dogma. Why doesn’t Lehigh just carve above its door “Lehigh Biology Department: We Practice Darwin Here”?

    Become evolutionary theory is accepted by a vast, vast majority of working biologists so there’s no need to state that.

    Evolutionary theory is not dogma, parts of it are questioned and examined and argued about every day.

    ID has not been accepted as science; that’s why scientists don’t want it taught in a science class.

  167. 167
    JVL says:

    tribune7

    If there is design there is evidence of a designer.

    The design inference has not been accepted by a vast majority of biologists.

    And, again, even if you think something was designed but there was no designer present then you must be incorrect.

  168. 168
    tribune7 says:

    Questioning it in what way?

    By saying it never happened and the universe has no beginning. Would it enhance the credibility of the University of Lethbridge if it put on its website:

    While we respect Prof. Das’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that steady state has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

    Really? What are their criticisms?

    Every investigator of abiogenesis holds by definition that the theory fails at some point.

    Become evolutionary theory is accepted by a vast, vast majority of working biologists so there’s no need to state that.

    But the heretics must be disavowed, which only happens when you have a dogma.

  169. 169
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    The design inference has not been accepted by a vast majority of biologists.

    You are appealing to the authority of the crowd here.

    Again, it is fair to seek to rebut the methods of inference proposed by Dembski or Behe or anyone else. What you can’t do though is deny that design exists in nature and has quantifiable characteristics because to do so would be to reject the foundation of scientific inquiry and even reason itself.

  170. 170
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    Do you not see how systematically you are begging questions?

    >>No designer means no design.>>

    1 –> Where have you shown that no designer is POSSIBLE at origin of life, for example?

    2 –> This is already a major question-begging, one that drives a chain of onward begged questions.

    3 –> Absent IMPOSSIBILITY of a designer in a relevant setting, traces from the event must be allowed to speak in their own voice. Where the vera causa principle of needing to explain what we did not see on causes shown capable of the like effect also applies.

    4 –> Such IMPOSSIBILITY implies there is no possible world in which a designer as a being exists at the relevant locus. That requires, in effect, internal incoherence of core characteristics [falsified as WE are designers], or at minimum facts amounting to showing that the state of this world is such that a designer at the point in question is infeasible.

    5 –> I suspect the latter, via smuggled-in implicit assumption that designers must be biological, cell based creatures with brains or the equivalent.

    6 –> Inasmuch as we are addressing cell based life on earth, we cannot eliminate even an earlier race of designers internal to our cosmos. Likewise, brains and the like are COMPUTATIONAL substrates, driven by cause-effect signal processing chains and organisation, not by actual contemplative, rational insight. That is, we face a challenge highlighted by Reppert:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    6 –> In short, brains do not adequately explain responsible rational freedom and mindedness.

    7 –> Going beyond, the fine tuning of the observed cosmos (the only actually observed cosmos) points beyond itself to design, and the existence of a world requires an underlying necessary being world root. For, circular cause fails, infinite causal-temporal regress is dubious, and utter non-being has no causal power. If a world is, SOMETHING ever was.

    8 –> Where, even our mindedness is morally governed, pointing to a required necessary being world root capable of grounding OUGHT, thus bridging the IS-OUGHT gap. There is just one serious candidate, and if you think not, kindly provide a coherent alternative: ______ . That candidate is the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    9 –> Of course, inference to design of the coded algorithmically functional text in the heart of the cell is not an inference to design of life on earth by God as such. Design is not equal to designer. Identification of a candidate requires onward examination.

    >> No designer>>

    10 –> Repetition of the begged question.

    >> means there must have been another unguided process or set of processes.>>

    11 –> Inference on a begged question, which fails.

    >>We have observed and recorded those other processes and they seem to do the trick nicely.>>

    12 –> Outright false, you have no blind watchmaker mechanism capable of coded algorithmically functional text.

    >> So, at this point, that is the best explanation.>>

    13 –> You do not have a vera causa plausible mechanism. It should not even be on the table.

    14 –> And by q-begging you have tried to lock out what does pass the vera causa test.

    KF

  171. 171
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    And, again, even if you think something was designed but there was no designer present then you must be incorrect.

    Well, no. If you find ancient artifacts by definition they will be designed and the designer won’t be present.

    OTOH, if you are saying if you think something was designed but it wasn’t then, of course, you would be right.

    So the question becomes how do we know if something is designed.

  172. 172
    JVL says:

    tribune7

    By saying it never happened and the universe has no beginning. Would it enhance the credibility of the University of Lethbridge if it put on its website:

    While we respect Prof. Das’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that steady state has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

    I would first want to hear the arguments against the big bang model. If the arguments were unfounded in science then maybe they would want to do that if the person in question was getting a lot of air time.

    Every investigator of abiogenesis holds by definition that the theory fails at some point.

    Yes, so what are they criticising? Biogenesis or abiogenesis? In what time frame? After life has already arisen or before?

    But the heretics must be disavowed, which only happens when you have a dogma.

    Dr Behe gets a lot of press for his views. His colleagues disagree with him, strongly. If I had been part of the department I’m not sure I would have voted for the statement being published on the website but it’s not harassment, he hasn’t lost his job. Like I said, as far as I know he is an excellent teacher and abides by department rules regarding topics and he is therefore protected by the personnel procedures as would any other tenured instructor. That’s not being disavowed. And I don’t think he’s complained about the statement either.

  173. 173
    kairosfocus says:

    Trib, by exploring and validating empirically reliable signs of design. KF

  174. 174
    JVL says:

    tribune7

    Well, no. If you find ancient artifacts by definition they will be designed and the designer won’t be present.

    But there would have been a designer around at the time of creation. And we would find evidence of them and their methods.

    So the question becomes how do we know if something is designed.

    It can’t have been designed if there was no designer present at the time.

  175. 175
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL:

    >>there would have been a designer around at the time of creation.>>

    Yes, so if a designer is possible, we must be open to evidence of intelligently directed configuration.

    >>And we would find evidence of them>>

    Evidence of intelligently directed configuration is evidence of design as process. It is also evidence of the fundamental method, namely “intelligently directed configuration.”

    Design is consequential on design action, working by art.

    >> and their methods.>>

    Yes, “intelligently directed configuration.”

    KF

  176. 176
    tribune7 says:

    KF, exactly.

  177. 177
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    But there would have been a designer around at the time of creation. And we would find evidence of them and their methods.

    You mean like objects showing the characteristics of design?

    It can’t have been designed if there was no designer present at the time.

    Mantras are signs of dogmas 🙂

  178. 178
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    Yes, so if a designer is possible, we must be open to evidence of intelligently directed configuration.

    What time frame are you thinking of?

    Evidence of intelligently directed configuration is evidence of design as process. It is also evidence of the fundamental method, namely “intelligently directed configuration.”

    Yes but if people disagree with your design inference then you should. . . . well, I would if it were me . . . look for supporting evidence aside from the contested design.

    Yes, “intelligently directed configuration.”

    Hard to detect in this case.

    tribune7

    You mean like objects showing the characteristics of design?

    I mean physical evidence of their presence and tools and methods. Living being need food and shelter. They usually defecate in some fashion. They die and leave corpses. And if they created objects then they needed tools and raw materials. We might find broken objects, ones spoiled during construction, evidence of design progression.

    Mantras are signs of dogmas ????

    It’s not a mantra.

  179. 179
  180. 180
    JVL says:

    kairosfocus

    1 –> Where have you shown that no designer is POSSIBLE at origin of life, for example?

    I haven’t, I just haven’t seen any evidence that one was around.

    2 –> This is already a major question-begging, one that drives a chain of onward begged questions.

    I’m just sayin . . .

    3 –> Absent IMPOSSIBILITY of a designer in a relevant setting, traces from the event must be allowed to speak in their own voice. Where the vera causa principle of needing to explain what we did not see on causes shown capable of the like effect also applies.

    We disagree on genomes, have you got some other evidence a designer was present?

    4 –> Such IMPOSSIBILITY implies there is no possible world in which a designer as a being exists at the relevant locus. That requires, in effect, internal incoherence of core characteristics [falsified as WE are designers], or at minimum facts amounting to showing that the state of this world is such that a designer at the point in question is infeasible.

    I’d just like to see other evidence that a designer with the required capacity was present at the time you think design was implemented.

    6 –> Inasmuch as we are addressing cell based life on earth, we cannot eliminate even an earlier race of designers internal to our cosmos. Likewise, brains and the like are COMPUTATIONAL substrates, driven by cause-effect signal processing chains and organisation, not by actual contemplative, rational insight. That is, we face a challenge highlighted by Reppert:

    I didn’t eliminate anything. I merely pointed out that there is no evidence a designer was present at the time.

    6 –> In short, brains do not adequately explain responsible rational freedom and mindedness.

    Something I’m not confident to discuss I’m afraid.

    12 –> Outright false, you have no blind watchmaker mechanism capable of coded algorithmically functional text.

    Well, I think it arose after some basic replicators occurred and started propagating and competing for resources.

    14 –> And by q-begging you have tried to lock out what does pass the vera causa test.

    I’m not begging anything. I’m merely pointing out that if there was no designer present at the pertinent time then no design occurred. I’m not saying there couldn’t have been some kind of being around but I’ve seen no evidence of such a presence.

  181. 181

    #154

    So, it appears that even the most elementary problems with your position toward ID (those that are both fundamental and obvious) sail past you without even a quiver of curiosity. That sort of puts your attack on ID into perspective, does it not?

  182. 182
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL: Once a designer is not IMPOSSIBLE, such is possible, and indeed we are designers. In that context, empirically well founded and tested, reliable signs of design should be allowed to speak. Digital, coded, algorithmically functional text (a manifestation of language and of mathematics) is one such sign of design. To amazement, it was found in the heart of the living cell. Therefore, we have excellent reason to infer design as best explanation of the cell, precisely on the genetic information. For you to in effect demand that we set decisive evidence aside is a sign, not of its weakness, but of how entrenched the ideologies are that are clearly closed to such unwelcome evidence. No, I will not set the evidence aside and duly note that you do not have an alternative explanation that would pass the vera causa test — or you would have given it. In short, the just above shows that you are reduced to selective hyperskeptical dismissal of the evidence we have. Evidence that is strong. Cells use coded digital algorithmic information. This is so central that it is a trace from their origin. Such coded information (a form of FSCO/I) has but one observed and plausible source: intelligently directed configuration, aka design. The other two generic causal factors, singly or jointly, are not plausible sources, as the search challenge on the gamut of the observed cosmos renders feasible search little different from no search given the scope of relevant configuration spaces. We have every epistemic right to infer that we have here a strong sign of design as cause, and to indicate that it is those who object who need to meet a burden of fulfilling the vera causa standard. The sorts of response we see suggest, there is little hope of doing so, doubtless for the same needle in haystack challenge reasons. The matter is not even close on the merits; though the well warranted answer is obviously not welcomed by the new magisterium. KF

  183. 183
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    Just once more: any comments to my #30?

  184. 184
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    Living being need food and shelter. They usually defecate in some fashion. They die and leave corpses.

    So if you find some drawings on a wall in some barren desert but no corpses, tools, defecation etc. you would reject them as design?

  185. 185
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL

    “As far as I know [Behe has] not been hounded or ostracised by his department or university.”

    You don’t get out much do you? Behe’s department has famously posted a page on the university’s website ostracizing him.

  186. 186
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Yes, I did find a list of aspects of evolutionary theory agreed upon by biologists.

    Are you daft? I asked for a scientific theory of evolution and once again you FAILed.

  187. 187
    EugeneS says:

    Actually, if nothing else, animal intelligence is also capable of creating semiotic “Friend or Foe” type recognition systems.

    Decision making systems can never arise unguidedly, outside of a decision making context. Nature does not care to choose between equilibrium states (min total potential energy states).

  188. 188
    EugeneS says:

    JVL

    “No designer arounds means there couldn’t have been design.”

    First, why are you so sure there wasn’t any?

    Second, what are the alternatives? To accept Hawking’s stupid idea of a universe creating itself out of nothing?!

    This is not even wrong! It is so blatantly stupid. If we had classical education of the past, this kind of ‘reasoning’ could never have occurred. Ph.D. actually means “Doctor of Philosophy”. What kind of philosophy is that?

    As somebody rightly noted here, until such time as one actually demonstrates abiogenesis (on the premise that NO explicit or implicit involvement of an experimenter takes place beyond providing initial chemical conditions), design is a scientifically valid hypothesis. They may keep ridiculing it but that is the bare truth they can do nothing about.

  189. 189
    Allan Keith says:

    Kairosfocus,

    Therefore, we have excellent reason to infer design as best explanation of the cell, precisely on the genetic information.

    You may think that you do. But convincing the people who make a living studying biology, microbiology, genetics, palaeontology and ecology, you will need more evidence than has been presented to date.

    For you to in effect demand that we set decisive evidence aside…

    Where has JVL demanded this? Directly or indirectly? I think that you are reading more into JVL’s comments than is there.

    In short, the just above shows that you are reduced to selective hyperskeptical dismissal of the evidence we have. Evidence that is strong.

    Evidence that has failed to convince the people who actually do biological research.

    Such coded information (a form of FSCO/I) has but one observed and plausible source:…

    Human beings. An inference based on zero degrees of freedom. A weak inference unless it is bolstered by supporting evidence. Such as proposed mechanisms. Gpuccio has already provided a hypothesis that opens further avenues of research (ie, intelligent intervention was required with the appearance of new classes of proteins). Genomic and protein comparisons allow us to narrow down the time frame when a new protein class first appeared. Search for further evidence there.

    We have every epistemic right to infer that we have here a strong sign of design as cause,…

    You have the right to make any inference you would like. Nobody is stopping you. Although, I have no idea what an ‘epistemically right’ is.

    …and to indicate that it is those who object who need to meet a burden of fulfilling the vera causa standard.

    You certainly have the right to claim that it is those you disagree with who have the burden of proof. But, from where I sit, these are the same people who are putting in all of the effort to provide this burden of proof. The ID side, however, do not appear to be doing anything to seek evidence to shore up theirs weak inference.

    The matter is not even close on the merits; though the well warranted answer is obviously not welcomed by the new magisterium. KF

    Why do you expect to be welcomed? Every new idea had to fight for its place at the table by supporting it with compelling hypotheses, testing, evidence, observations. Evolution wasn’t just ‘welcomed’. The theory had to earn its respect. ID has not done this. And until it proposes mechanisms, and tests them, it never will.

  190. 190
    JVL says:

    Upright Biped

    So, it appears that even the most elementary problems with your position toward ID (those that are both fundamental and obvious) sail past you without even a quiver of curiosity. That sort of puts your attack on ID into perspective, does it not?

    I wasn’t ‘attacking’ ID at all. I’ve offered my opinion but it’s not up to me how you guys proceed.

    kairosfocus

    Once a designer is not IMPOSSIBLE, such is possible, and indeed we are designers. In that context, empirically well founded and tested, reliable signs of design should be allowed to speak.

    There are a lot of things that are not impossible. You can’t prove a negative after all.

    A vast majority of biologists don’t think you’ve established your design inference. That coupled with the lack of supporting evidence for a designer present at . . . . what time did you say? . . . . make it hard to progress forward. I’m happy to consider design but I just don’t see that you have much of a case at this point.

    No, I will not set the evidence aside and duly note that you do not have an alternative explanation that would pass the vera causa test — or you would have given it. In short, the just above shows that you are reduced to selective hyperskeptical dismissal of the evidence we have. Evidence that is strong.

    Well, we see things differently.

    We have every epistemic right to infer that we have here a strong sign of design as cause, and to indicate that it is those who object who need to meet a burden of fulfilling the vera causa standard.

    Well, you can always ask but don’t blame me if most of the biologists in the world chose not to alter their behaviour.

    The sorts of response we see suggest, there is little hope of doing so, doubtless for the same needle in haystack challenge reasons. The matter is not even close on the merits; though the well warranted answer is obviously not welcomed by the new magisterium.

    I think you need more evidence. That would help your cause.

    tribune7

    So if you find some drawings on a wall in some barren desert but no corpses, tools, defecation etc. you would reject them as design?

    If they were clearly drawings and not interpreted random patterns then no, I would not reject them as being designed. But inanimate objects are always easier to analyse.

    Barry Arrington

    You don’t get out much do you? Behe’s department has famously posted a page on the university’s website ostracizing him.

    I have already expressed my opinion on this matter earlier in the thread.

    ET

    Are you daft? I asked for a scientific theory of evolution and once again you FAILed.

    And, as I mentioned later, Futuyma also has a list of five sub-theories that make up the whole theory of evolution.

    EugeneS

    First, why are you so sure there wasn’t any?

    I’m not sure but I’ve seen no evidence there were any.

    Second, what are the alternatives? To accept Hawking’s stupid idea of a universe creating itself out of nothing?!

    This is not even wrong! It is so blatantly stupid. If we had classical education of the past, this kind of ‘reasoning’ could never have occurred. Ph.D. actually means “Doctor of Philosophy”. What kind of philosophy is that?

    Cosmology is not something I’m really conversant in. So I’ll just pass I think.

    As somebody rightly noted here, until such time as one actually demonstrates abiogenesis (on the premise that NO explicit or implicit involvement of an experimenter takes place beyond providing initial chemical conditions), design is a scientifically valid hypothesis. They may keep ridiculing it but that is the bare truth they can do nothing about.

    It’s an hypothesis, but mostly a vague and unspecified one. I have a hard time just getting ID proponents to indicate when design was implemented, gpuccio aside.

    Allan Keith

    Every new idea had to fight for its place at the table by supporting it with compelling hypotheses, testing, evidence, observations. Evolution wasn’t just ‘welcomed’. The theory had to earn its respect. ID has not done this. And until it proposes mechanisms, and tests them, it never will.

    Such is the way it always works. If your idea is not gaining traction then you’ve got to do more work. Find more evidence.

  191. 191
    KD Jung says:

    In Bible, there are two verses regarding the design in the creation of earth.

    Job 28:27
    1) Design(Vision), 2) Make 3) Prevision 4) Yes! 5) Examine

    Isaiah 45:18
    1) Design(Form) 2) Make 3) Provision

    This procedure is the same as I was developing network devices in our labs.

    In ancient days, there was no concept for “Design”.
    When you check these verses in Hebrew, you will find the exact meaning of these verses.

    And Bible says that God made the world by Wisdom which is the same meaning of Intelligence.
    Please see Job 28:20~28.

    JVL,
    We cannot see the designer, our God who made all the world.
    We can see Him in faith only.
    The Wisdom is Jesus Christ who came to us 2000 years ago.
    Bible says that the source of intelligence/Wisdom is God.
    God gave the wisdom/intelligence to me and you, so we can think and make sentences now.
    If not? There is nothing!

  192. 192

    UB: So, it appears that even the most elementary problems with your position toward ID (those that are both fundamental and obvious) sail past you without even a quiver of curiosity. That sort of puts your attack on ID into perspective, does it not?

    JVL: I wasn’t ‘attacking’ ID at all. I’ve offered my opinion but it’s not up to me how you guys proceed.

    You defend your lack of curiosity and substance with these measured responses that are both meaningless and trivial. Being that we are all experienced social beings here, I wonder why you think that such things are not immediately obvious. Meanwhile, the empirical evidence of design lay on the table in front of you. All you can do is avoid it and tell us again that it doesn’t exist.

  193. 193

    UB: We know that aminoacyl synthetases are the finite set of complex proteins that establish the genetic code. Their task in the cell is to perform a double-recognition and bind a particular amino acid to a particular tRNA adapter prior to the act of translation. We can all conceive of their significance to the system.

    They are synthesized from nucleic memory, and it stands to reason that there was once a time in earth’s history that none of the set of aaRS had ever been synthesized from that memory. Here is my question: Regardless of what anyone thinks preceded that time, at the point in earth’s history that the first ever aaRS was successfully synthesized from memory, how many of the other aaRS had to be in place?

    In response to this question, I am either given no response at all or given a response specifically intended to not answer the question. Can any of our current critics offer an answer?

    JVL: I can’t, sorry.

    Why not? You say no evidence exist, why are not not able to qualify your words with some evidence that you’ve engaged the argument? After all, this is elementary biology 101, and rudimentary logic.

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    AK, actually, the most relevant expertise is with those who understand information systems. We have discovered — almost seventy years ago now — that the living cell has in it a code based, digital (4-state characters) algorithmic system in the heart of key life processes. That means, present at origin of cell based life and thus the dynamics at work precede biology. Physics, thermodynamics, Chemistry and cybernetics. We know that codes are linguistic and algorithms are mathematical. The search challenge in beyond astronomical configuration spaces implies that blind forces from the first three are not plausible as causal explanations; by overwhelming relative statistical weight such highly specialised clusters of configs would not plausibly appear spontaneously. And indeed, we know from observation just one adequate source of such things: intelligently directed configuration. Until the biologists etc can show empirical, observed warrant for blind forces creating linguistic-mathematical cybernetic, semiotic entities such as we see by blind forces, they are not even in the right ballpark. KF

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, when you can pass the vera causa test, you will have something substantial. So far, nothing on that front. KF

  196. 196
    EugeneS says:

    JVL #190

    Thank you for your honesty.

    “I haven’t seen evidence [of a designer]” .

    A body is lying on the ground with traces of 15 knife blows each of which, upon inspection, is considered by forensic experts deadly beyond reasonable doubt.

    Did the death of the person happen by chance or deliberately? And, further, what kind of intentional event was it, suicide or murder (again beyond reasonable doubt)?

    Now, some ID opponents say that the only thing that matters is if the investigation points to a concrete suspect. However, before this happens, we must decide it was not suicide in order for the investigation to proceed. So answering the above questions is of material importance and is not a trivial thing.

  197. 197
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    If they were clearly drawings and not interpreted random patterns then no, I would not reject them as being designed.

    So corpses and defection are needed to determine design, right?

  198. 198
    JVL says:

    KD Jung

    We cannot see the designer, our God who made all the world.
    We can see Him in faith only.

    I can see you have a deep and abiding faith which gives you great joy and peace. I’m very happy for you. Being a Christian takes effort, it’s hard work. Well done!!

    But I think if the designer is non-coporeal and unable to be examined via research and experimentation then we are no longer doing science.

    Upright Biped

    You defend your lack of curiosity and substance with these measured responses that are both meaningless and trivial. Being that we are all experienced social beings here, I wonder why you think that such things are not immediately obvious. Meanwhile, the empirical evidence of design lay on the table in front of you. All you can do is avoid it and tell us again that it doesn’t exist.

    I’m sorry but I just don’t find the arguments I’ve heard for the existence of design convincing. And I read a lot of counter arguments, including some from theologians such as the former Archbishop of Canterbury. (He was quite well respected during his tenure and frequently appeared on radio and TV programmes.) Add to that the lack of any evidence that a designer was around at . . . . what time did you say? . . . then I think you’ve got a lot of work yet to do to make your case.

    Why not? You say no evidence exist, why are not not able to qualify your words with some evidence that you’ve engaged the argument? After all, this is elementary biology 101, and rudimentary logic.

    Because I’m not familiar with the current stage of research in that particular sub-field. Therefore I’m not going to insult people who know more than I do by wading in with an ill-informed opinion.

    b>kairosfocus

    when you can pass the vera causa test, you will have something substantial. So far, nothing on that front.

    I guess we’ll just have to disagree on that point.

    EugeneS

    Now, some ID opponents say that the only thing that matters is if the investigation points to a concrete suspect. However, before this happens, we must decide it was not suicide in order for the investigation to proceed. So answering the above questions is of material importance and is not a trivial thing.

    If you are convinced that design has been detected then I encourage you to do more work along whatever research agenda you may have. Go for it! I’m convinced your body was murdered (based on your description) but I’m not convinced design in nature has been detected. Additionally, while there are clearly other beings around capable of the attacks documented on the body there is no evidence that there has every been any kind of intelligent designer present on the earth until humans showed up.

    Like I said, I would love to read any research you might do.

    tribune7

    So corpses and defection are needed to determine design, right?

    Of course not, not required. But they provide evidence of the presence of beings around at the time. There are lots of other kinds of indicators and evidence. For example .. . . .

    I once worked at an archaeological site in central Washington where we found clear evidence of ancient fire pits and flint-knapping. No bones, no poop, no pottery, no structures. But clearly humans had been there in the past, probably on a migratory route.

    I have read about a site where an archaeologist was even able to determine the handedness of a flint-knapper based on the spray pattern of the shards. Really lovely work.

    And we can tell the difference between flint-knapping and natural degradation based on the shape and size and distribution of the shards.

  199. 199
    JVL says:

    Hmm . . . I’m being told I don’t have permission to edit my above comment even thought there are still over twelve minutes left of the timer. No big deal I just noticed a formatting error: I mucked up the bold tags around kairosfocus and his comments.

    I suspect that time had actually run out but the browser didn’t reflect that properly. No worries!!

  200. 200
    Allan Keith says:

    Kairosfocus,

    AK, actually, the most relevant expertise is with those who understand information systems.

    Why is that? They are not experts in chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, genetics and physics. Their capabilities and limitations. I don’t go to an information system specialist when I have a genetic disease (which I do). I go to a specialist in genetic diseases and how to minimize the symptoms and ultimate outcome. One of her favourite sayings is that, sometimes, evolution sucks.

    We have discovered — almost seventy years ago now — that the living cell has in it a code based, digital (4-state characters) algorithmic system in the heart of key life processes.

    The discovery of which has led to an exponential explosion in research and discoveries in evolution. Research which, as one of its fundamental assumptions, is that natural selection acts on variation caused by random mutations. Surely if this assumption is as fundamentally wrong as you suggest it is, this research would have run its course long ago.

    We know that codes are linguistic and algorithms are mathematical.

    Human made codes are linguistic and human made algorithms are mathematical. You are till relying on comparison to a single source to make your inference. As such, it remains a weak inference. Surely you see the need to support this inference through other sources of evidence. The strength of evolution is that it is supported by many sources of evidence, from very different fields. Things like chemistry, population genetics, cladistics, geology, nuclear physics, etc. To supplant evolution as the best explanation, ID will have to find support from these disciplines as well. Not impossible, but unlikely.

  201. 201
    JVL says:

    Allan Keith

    Human made codes are linguistic and human made algorithms are mathematical. You are till relying on comparison to a single source to make your inference. As such, it remains a weak inference. Surely you see the need to support this inference through other sources of evidence. The strength of evolution is that it is supported by many sources of evidence, from very different fields. Things like chemistry, population genetics, cladistics, geology, nuclear physics, etc. To supplant evolution as the best explanation, ID will have to find support from these disciplines as well. Not impossible, but unlikely.`

    Nicely put.

  202. 202
    EugeneS says:

    JVL

    “Go for it! I’m convinced your body was murdered”

    Excellent. Now, I suggest you carefully consider the genetic information translation apparatus as evidence for design. There has already been done a lot of research in this area. In fact, evidence suggests that information translation belongs to a class of phenomena that are correlates of intelligence, and that, based on the evidence, inference to design as the explanation that best fits the data, as far as the origin of information translation systems is concerned, is warranted.

    Note that we are dealing here with a special kind of explanations, historic ones. As the origin of life is unique in that it occurred in the past and is not routinely observed now, whatever our explanation, it is necessarily hypothetical. I can see no grounds, other than ideological, to deny intelligent design the status of a scientific hypothesis. It is not a science stopper at all. In fact, contemporary science builds on the seminal idea that the universe is, at least partly, intelligible because it was created by God and therefore we, as created in the image of God, are able to reverse-engineer it and understand how it ‘works’.

  203. 203
    JVL says:

    EugeneS

    In fact, evidence suggests that information translation belongs to a class of phenomena that are correlates of intelligence, and that, based on evidence, inference to design as the best explanation, as far as the origin of information translation systems is concerned, is warranted.

    I haven’t seen that suggestion in the peer reviewed literature, any hints as to where I might find an explanation?

    Would that be equivalent to gene expression?

  204. 204
    JVL says:

    From https://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/biological-information-and-intelligent-design-the-curious-world-of-rna-continued

    Those who follow the Intelligent Design literature will know that philosopher and historian of science Stephen Meyer discusses transcription and translation at length in his 2009 book Signature in the Cell. In this book, Meyer attempts to build a case that the “information” we see in living organisms is in fact information in the same sense as a human code or a language. Part of his case involves casting doubt on the RNA world hypothesis, since this hypothesis suggests a material, chemical origin for the genetic code, even if an incomplete one. One of Meyer’s critiques in Signature is that such a hypothesis would have to explain how ribosomes transitioned from using RNA enzymes to using protein ones: Meyer erroneously claims that the enzyme in the ribosome that joins amino acids together is a protein. This is, of course, incorrect, since present-day ribosomes are ribozymes. As we have seen, proponents of the RNA world hypothesis suspected that the ribosome might still be a ribozyme, since its function may have been difficult to transition from an RNA enzyme to a protein one. When, in 2000, the ribosome was definitively shown to be a ribozyme, it was widely seen as a successful prediction for the RNA world position. That Meyer was unaware of this widely-cited and highly-influential work (it would garner the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the same year that Meyer’s book appeared) came as quite a surprise to biologists reading Signature, especially given its import for Meyer’s claims.

    And the discussion continues . . .

  205. 205
    JVL says:

    From the next page:

    I recall reading Meyer’s argument for an arbitrary code when Signature first came out in 2009, and being surprised by it. The reason for my surprise was simple: in 2009 there was already a detailed body of scientific work that demonstrated exactly what Meyer claimed had never been shown.[1] Though Meyer claimed that “molecular biologists have failed to find any significant chemical interaction between the codons on mRNA (or the anticodons on tRNA) and the amino acids on the acceptor arm of tRNA to which the codons correspond” this was simply not the case.

    One hypothesis about the origin of the genetic code is that the tRNA system is a later addition to a system that originally used direct chemical interactions between amino acids and codons. In this hypothesis, amino acids would directly bind to their codons on mRNA, and then be joined together by a ribozyme (the ancestor of the present-day ribosome). This hypothesis is called “direct templating”, and it predicts that at least some amino acids will directly bind to their codons (or perhaps anticodons, since the codon/anticodon pairing could possibly flip between the mRNA and the tRNA).

    So, is there evidence that amino acids can bind directly to their codons or anticodons on mRNA? Meyer’s claim notwithstanding, yes—very much so! Several amino acids do in fact directly bind to their codon (or in some cases, their anticodon), and the evidence for this has been known since the late 1980s in some cases. Our current understanding is that this applies only to a subset of the 20 amino acids found in present-day proteins. In this model, then, the original code used a subset of amino acids in the current code, and assembled proteins directly on mRNA molecules without tRNAs present. Later, tRNAs would be added to the system, allowing for other amino acids—amino acids that cannot directly bind mRNA—to be added to the code.

    The fact that several amino acids do in fact bind their codons or anticodons is strong evidence that at least part of the code was formed through chemical interactions— and, contra Meyer, is not an arbitrary code. The code we have—or at least for those amino acids for which direct binding was possible—was indeed a chemically favored code. And if it was chemically favored, then it is quite likely that it had a chemical origin, even if we do not yet understand all the details of how it came to be. As such, building an apologetic on the presumed future failings of abiogenesis research, when current research already undercuts one’s thesis, seems to me as problematic for Meyer in 2009 as it did for Edwards in 1696. Do unanswered questions remain? Of course. Should we bank on them never being answered? Or would it be more wise to frame our apologetics on what we know, rather than what we don’t know?[2]

  206. 206
    ET says:

    Intelligent Design has clearly defined terms that can be checked against what we observe in biology. What this means is if we observe something that matches the defined terms and stochastic processes have been eliminated, meaning Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning have been followed, the design inference is warranted.

    IC– A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, non-arbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system’s basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system. Page 285 NFL

    Numerous and Diverse Parts If the irreducible core of an IC system consists of one or only a few parts, there may be no insuperable obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism explaining how that system arose in one fell swoop. But as the number of indispensable well-fitted, mutually interacting,, non-arbitrarily individuated parts increases in number & diversity, there is no possibility of the Darwinian mechanism achieving that system in one fell swoop. Page 287

    Minimal Complexity and Function Given an IC system with numerous & diverse parts in its core, the Darwinian mechanism must produce it gradually. But if the system needs to operate at a certain minimal level of function before it can be of any use to the organism & if to achieve that level of function it requires a certain minimal level of complexity already possessed by the irreducible core, the Darwinian mechanism has no functional intermediates to exploit. Page 287

    To understand what is at stake you need to account for the parts. In the case of a bacterial flagellum you need anywhere from a few residues to thousands, which means you need more than just the genes. You need to have each gene expressed correctly to provide the proper amounts of ach residue. You need this to happen in a timely manner. You need get all of the parts in the same location without cross-reacting with something else along the way. Then you need to properly configure it. The assembly instructions alone are IC. And then to top it off you need a command and control center for this newly evolved appendage or else it is useless, or worse, fatal for its owner. And al of this under the constraints of reality: waiting for two mutations.

    A gene duplication needs a new binding site and then who knows how many specific changes to get a new function. Pure fantasy if your mechanism is blind and mindless.

    Dr Behe responds to IC criticisms:

    One last charge must be met: Orr maintains that the theory of intelligent design is not falsifiable. He’s wrong. To falsify design theory a scientist need only experimentally demonstrate that a bacterial flagellum, or any other comparably complex system, could arise by natural selection. If that happened I would conclude that neither flagella nor any system of similar or lesser complexity had to have been designed. In short, biochemical design would be neatly disproved.- Dr Behe in 1997

    Now compare that to evolution by means of natural selection, drift or any other blind and mindless process.

  207. 207
    tribune7 says:

    JVL

    Design is a phenomenon. It exists in nature. Books, computers, sentences, airplanes all exists in nature. Because design is part of nature it can be addressed by the scientific method. It can be quantified and measured.

    KF (and Dembski) make arguments based on information theory. To me that’s powerful and persuasive.

    So if this method (or others) can be conclusively applied to one part of nature it can be applied to all.

    If you think the method is wrong or flawed that’s fine. You’re allowed and should be respected for disagreement, and encouraged to point out the flaws.

    OTOH, you can’t dismiss these claims by accepting them for one part of nature but not another.

    OK, you can dismiss it but if you do you are rejecting science and reason.

  208. 208
    ET says:

    JVL- Nothing of what biologos says supports evolution by means of blind and mindless processes. And there isn’t any evidence for a RNA world, just a need. Also Spiegelman’s Monster is still an observed barrier for molecular replicators.

  209. 209
    JVL says:

    It’s a really good resource:

    For Meyer, new protein folds are beyond the reach of evolution, he argues, because they are too rare for chance events to produce:

    … experiments establishing the extreme rarity of protein folds in sequence space also show why random changes to existing genes inevitably efface or destroy function before they generate fundamentally new folds or functions … If only one out of every 1077 of the alternate sequences are functional, an evolving gene will inevitably wander down an evolutionary dead-end long before it can ever become a gene capable of producing a new protein fold. The extreme rarity of protein folds also entails their functional isolation from each other in sequence space. (Darwin’s Doubt, page 207)

    Of course, we have already seen that Meyer is mistaken here as well. If de novo protein-coding genes such as nylonase can come into being from scratch, as it were, then it is demonstrably the case that new protein folds can be formed by evolutionary mechanisms without difficulty. Nylonase is filled with stable protein folds, as you would expect since it is a functional enzyme. Moreover, its folds have now been extensively characterized at the molecular level, and, not surprisingly, they contain alpha helices and beta sheets. So, if Meyer had understood de novo gene formation—as we have seen, he mistakenly thought it was an unexplained process—he would have known that new protein folds could indeed be easily developed by evolutionary processes.

  210. 210
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    To supplant evolution as the best explanation,…

    Intelligent Design is not anti-evolution. And blind watchmaker evolution is the best explanation for genetic diseases and deformities but that’s it.

    Again I see you have a problem with us using our KNOWLEDGE to make scientific inferences. Who cares how many references points you have- you have to use what you do have. Mother nature doesn’t get magical abilities just because we have only one or a few reference points. Mother nature doesn’t get any magical abilities just because we don’t know who else could have done it.

    And it still remains that any given design inference can be falsified just by showing mother nature is capable of producing the event/ structure/ object in question.

  211. 211
    ET says:

    If de novo protein-coding genes such as nylonase can come into being from scratch…

    It didn’t come from scratch. And there isn’t any evidence it was via a copying error or mistake- no evidence for the blind watchmaker

  212. 212
    ET says:

    JVL:

    And, as I mentioned later, Futuyma also has a list of five sub-theories that make up the whole theory of evolution.

    And yet without the actual scientific theory of evolution to check he could be just making it all up. I bet he equivocates throughout the book- equivocating “evolution” with “evolution by means of blind and mindless processes”.

  213. 213
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Every new idea had to fight for its place at the table by supporting it with compelling hypotheses, testing, evidence, observations. Evolution wasn’t just ‘welcomed’. The theory had to earn its respect. ID has not done this. And until it proposes mechanisms, and tests them, it never will.

    Umm, evolution by means of natural selection, drift and other blind and mindless processes can’t even be tested. It has never been shown to be the designer mimic Darwin hoped for.

    ID has a scientifically testable methodology and it pertains to the DESIGN. We don’t even ask about the “how” until AFTER design is detected. That said, design is a mechanism. Evolution by means of intelligent design is a mechanism used by genetic algorithms. Built-in responses to environmental cues is a mechanism proposed by Dr. Spetner in 1997 and confirmed by epigenetics.

    ID’s “mechanism” is for detecting intelligent design. Evolutionism is the mechanistic theory, not ID. Evolutionism claims there is a step-by-step process for producing the biodiversity we observe, not ID. ID does not make the same claims evolutionism does so it’s sort of stupid to ask it to defend something it doesn’t claim.

  214. 214
    JVL says:

    ET

    Intelligent Design has clearly defined terms that can be checked against what we observe in biology. What this means is if we observe something that matches the defined terms and stochastic processes have been eliminated, meaning Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning have been followed, the design inference is warranted.

    It seems apparent that unguided processes have not been eliminated from consideration. The quotes I’ve been giving are from a lengthy series of posts that address many concerns promoted here. I only wish I’d found the posts before.

    To understand what is at stake you need to account for the parts. In the case of a bacterial flagellum you need anywhere from a few residues to thousands, which means you need more than just the genes. You need to have each gene expressed correctly to provide the proper amounts of ach residue. You need this to happen in a timely manner. You need get all of the parts in the same location without cross-reacting with something else along the way. Then you need to properly configure it. The assembly instructions alone are IC. And then to top it off you need a command and control center for this newly evolved appendage or else it is useless, or worse, fatal for its owner. And al of this under the constraints of reality: waiting for two mutations.

    I think that objection has been dealt with quite well already.

    Nothing of what biologos says supports evolution by means of blind and mindless processes. And there isn’t any evidence for a RNA world, just a need. Also Spiegelman’s Monster is still an observed barrier for molecular replicators.

    I’m afraid the evidence and research suggest otherwise. An RNA-world is looking more and more plausible.

    tribune7

    Design is a phenomenon. It exists in nature. Books, computers, sentences, airplanes all exists in nature. Because design is part of nature it can be addressed by the scientific method. It can be quantified and measured.

    I’m not sure about the last bit but okay.

    KF (and Dembski) make arguments based on information theory. To me that’s powerful and persuasive.

    I can see you feel that way.

    So if this method (or others) can be conclusively applied to one part of nature it can be applied to all.

    If you think the method is wrong or flawed that’s fine. You’re allowed and should be respected for disagreement, and encouraged to point out the flaws.

    OTOH, you can’t dismiss these claims by accepting them for one part of nature but not another.

    OK, you can dismiss it but if you do you are rejecting science and reason.

    I think it has not been shown that unguided processes are incapable of producing the myriad of life forms we observe. In fact, it sounds to me like it’s getting clearer and clearer that they certainly could do that. You should read the entire series of posts I’ve been quoting from. It’s lovely stuff, very clear and well written.

    If unguided natural processes are being shown to be more and more ‘powerful’ then the design inference gets weaker and weaker. We may never fill in all the gaps in knowledge but it looks to me that the ledge upon which design inference stands is getting smaller and smaller.

  215. 215
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Yes but if people disagree with your design inference then you should. . . . well, I would if it were me . . . look for supporting evidence aside from the contested design.

    1- The people who disagree don’t have a viable alternative

    2- Intelligent Design has evidence in biology- plenty there- and from other scientific venues as well. And again those who disagree don’t have any viable alternatives- things just happen isn’t an alternative

  216. 216
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Again I see you have a problem with us using our KNOWLEDGE to make scientific inferences.

    Why would that bother me? If you can make a strong inference to design, supported with compelling evidence from multiple other disciplines, you will win a Nobel. I will congratulate you.

  217. 217
    ET says:

    JVL:

    It seems apparent that unguided processes have not been eliminated from consideration.

    It seems quote apparent that unguided processes have clearly been eliminated from consideration. There isn’t even any testable hypotheses

    I think that objection has been dealt with quite well already.

    Where? Not in peer-review

    I’m afraid the evidence and research suggest otherwise. An RNA-world is looking more and more plausible.

    No, you are just gullible and hopeful

  218. 218
    Origenes says:

    JVL@

    Venema’s nylonase story has been thoroughly debunked by Ann Gauger in a series of articles.

    Venema does not know what he is talking about. This one made me laugh:

    Venema: Nylonase is chock full of protein folds— exactly the sort of folds Meyer claims must be the result of design because evolution could not have produced them even with all the time since the origin of life.

    “Chock full of protein folds”? Surely, nylonase has only one single fold ….
    Ann Gauger:

    Unfortunately, Venema doesn’t have the story straight. Nylonase has a particular fold, a particular three-dimensional, stable shape. Most proteins have a distinct fold — there are several thousand kinds of folds known so far, each with a distinct topology and structure. Folds are typically made up of small secondary structures called alpha helices and beta strands, which help to assemble the tertiary structure — the fold as a whole. Venema seems unclear about what a protein fold is, and the distinction between secondary and tertiary structures. Nylonase is not “chock full of folds.” No structural biologist would describe nylonase as “chock full of protein folds.” Indeed, no protein is “chock full of folds.” Perhaps Venema was referring to the smaller units of secondary structure I mentioned above, the alpha helices or beta strands. But it would appear he doesn’t know what a protein fold is.

  219. 219
    ET says:

    Alan Keith:

    If you can make a strong inference to design, supported with compelling evidence from multiple other disciplines, you will win a Nobel.

    Unfortunately you aren’t anyone who can make such a proclamation. Also I notice that no one has ever won a Nobel for advances from blind watchmaker evolution, or for making a strong case for “it all just happened, man”.

    The strong inference to design, supported with compelling evidence from multiple other disciplines, has been made. What are the alternatives and how can we test them?

  220. 220
    Eric Anderson says:

    JVL:

    A self-replicating molecule as a starting place for OOL is a complete dead end.

    The work by leading researchers like Joyce, Lincoln and others does not support such a scenario (despite their catchy paper titles and news headlines), and the RNA-world approach generally has come to naught.

    If you are sincerely interested in the issue (as opposed to some commentators who are just regurgitating the latest OOL news report they read), let me know and I’ll take a few minutes to point you to a few additional things on this site to read.

    Regards,

  221. 221
    kairosfocus says:

    AK, it is those with knowledge of info and cybernetic systems who understand what it takes to get one to work. As this is about a pre life context, Chemistry, Thermodynamics and Physics are also relevant. James Tour, molecule builder (including the famous nanocar) has weighed in on the challenge, you may find this discussion here at UD illuminating. KF

    PS: JVL, if one has not shown causal adequacy of a claimed causal factor then one is simply speculating. There is just one observationally known adequate cause of codes, text that functions algorithmically and associated execution machinery. That observation is no accident, given the config space needle in haystack search challenge. This more than warrants an inference on tested, reliable sign to that cause, intelligently directed configuration.

  222. 222
    ET says:

    Evidence for Intelligent Design in the details of ATP synthase- the external tether:

    Take a look at the the architecture and subunit composition of ATP synthase. Notice the external tethering that has nothing to do with the function of either subunit but without it there isn’t any ATP synthase. And it has to be the proper length. Details. Sometimes the devil is in the and sometimes the design inference is confirmed by them.

  223. 223

    This conversation has moved on considerably since this morning.

    This looks just exactly like trying to convince one of those science deniers that NASA actually did land on the moon. There is no amount of argument that can penetrate a willfully closed mind.

    JVL, you say you’ve never seen anything convincing, but you also say you can’t engage in a Biology 101 observation (of half-century old settled science) because you’re “not familiar with the current stage of research in that particular sub-field”.

    Good grief.

  224. 224

    JVL and AK,

    Are either of the two of you familiar with the Periodic Table of Elements?

    It’s a table that list all the chemical elements in the known universe, arranged by their atomic number. For instance the table includes such elements as Iron, Oxygen, Helium, Barium, Neodymium, and 113 others. It is from these basic elements that all material objects in the universe are made.

    Are you familiar with the axiom in science that none of those elements refers to anything else? This is to say that they have no inherent “meaning”. A philosopher might say that they have no “stands for” relation to anything else in the universe. They just are what they are. Ever heard of that? Is there any chance that either of you are familiar with and understand that observation, which is again, axiomatic throughout the sciences?

  225. 225

    Okay okay, let’s just assume that at least one of you is familiar with the Periodic Table of Elements and coincidentally also understands the axiom that there is no inherent meaning in matter.

    So now let me ask about your familiarity with DNA? It’s a series of four different nucleobases attached to a long sugar-phosphate backbone. It’s often called “the information molecule” because it holds the genetic information that tells an organism how to build and maintain itself across its lifespan. It was first understood how it holds that information in 1953, and it exist in every cell of your body. Are either of you familiar with this?

  226. 226
    Allan Keith says:

    UB,

    Are either of the two of you familiar with the Periodic Table of Elements?

    I have two degrees in chemistry and have run an accredited testing lab for over twenty years. What would you like to know?

  227. 227

    How many discrete arrangements of matter does the cellular translation apparatus use to specify a particular amino acid from among alternatives during protein synthesis?

  228. 228

    I’m assuming you already know that the dynamic properties of a codon do not determine which amino acid is specified by that codon.

  229. 229
    JVL says:

    ET

    t didn’t come from scratch. And there isn’t any evidence it was via a copying error or mistake- no evidence for the blind watchmaker

    Read through the articles.

    And yet without the actual scientific theory of evolution to check he could be just making it all up. I bet he equivocates throughout the book- equivocating “evolution” with “evolution by means of blind and mindless processes”.

    Perhaps you should wait until you read what he actually says.

    1- The people who disagree don’t have a viable alternative

    2- Intelligent Design has evidence in biology- plenty there- and from other scientific venues as well. And again those who disagree don’t have any viable alternatives- things just happen isn’t an alternative

    Well, I guess you’ll just have to live with the vast majority of biologists disagreeing with you then.

    It seems quote apparent that unguided processes have clearly been eliminated from consideration. There isn’t even any testable hypotheses

    Well, that lengthy series of posts I was quoting from say otherwise.

    Where? Not in peer-review

    Have you read all the pertinent papers?

    The strong inference to design, supported with compelling evidence from multiple other disciplines, has been made. What are the alternatives and how can we test them?

    You’re going to get a big thick textbook all about it soon.

    Origenes

    Venema’s nylonase story has been thoroughly debunked by Ann Gauger in a series of articles.

    Seems like a lot of people disagree.

    Eric Anderson

    If you are sincerely interested in the issue (as opposed to some commentators who are just regurgitating the latest OOL news report they read), let me know and I’ll take a few minutes to point you to a few additional things on this site to read.

    I’m enjoying the BioLogos series of articles very much at the moment but thanks.

    kairosfocus

    JVL, if one has not shown causal adequacy of a claimed causal factor then one is simply speculating. There is just one observationally known adequate cause of codes, text that functions algorithmically and associated execution machinery. That observation is no accident, given the config space needle in haystack search challenge. This more than warrants an inference on tested, reliable sign to that cause, intelligently directed configuration.

    The BioLogos series spends quite a bit of time discussing what kind of ‘code’ DNA is. You should read it, it’s very interesting. And backed up with recent research.

    Upright Biped

    JVL, you say you’ve never seen anything convincing, but you also say you can’t engage in a Biology 101 observation (of half-century old settled science) because you’re “not familiar with the current stage of research in that particular sub-field”.

    I’ve take Biology 101 and that topic wasn’t covered. I’m not ashamed to say I don’t understand something.

    Are either of the two of you familiar with the Periodic Table of Elements?

    It’s a table that list all the chemical elements in the known universe, arranged by their atomic number. For instance the table includes such elements as Iron, Oxygen, Helium, Barium, Neodymium, and 113 others. It is from these basic elements that all material objects in the universe are made.

    Of course, I have a tea cup with the periodic table on it.

    So now let me ask about your familiarity with DNA? It’s a series of four different nucleobases attached to a long sugar-phosphate backbone. It’s often called “the information molecule” because it holds the genetic information that tells an organism how to build and maintain itself across its lifespan. It was first understood how it holds that information in 1953, and it exist in every cell of your body. Are either of you familiar with this?

    Good heavens, we are being a bit condescending aren’t we? Yes, I am familiar with DNA.

    How many discrete arrangements of matter does the cellular translation apparatus use to specify a particular amino acid from among alternatives during protein synthesis?

    Oh go on, tell us!!

    Look, I’m sure you are heading towards some important point in which case it would be nice if you just made it and then I could check and see what other make of it. That makes sense yes?

  230. 230
    JVL says:

    Upright Biped

    I’m assuming you already know that the dynamic properties of a codon do not determine which amino acid is specified by that codon.

    This sounds pretty pertinent:

    One of the key challenges for abiogenesis research is to explain the origin of the genetic code—how it came to be that certain codons specify certain amino acids. Recall that tRNA molecules recognize and bind codons on mRNA through their anticodons—and bring the correct amino acid for that codon to the ribosome in the process. One feature of the tRNA system is that there is no direct chemical or physical connection between an amino acid and its codon or anticodon. Amino acids are connected to tRNA molecules at the “acceptor stem” section (the yellow region in the above diagram). Moreover, the acceptor stem is the same sequence for every tRNA, regardless of what amino acid it carries. Connecting the proper amino acids to their tRNA molecules is the job of a set of protein enzymes called aminoacyl tRNA synthetases. These enzymes recognize free amino acids and their proper tRNA molecules and specifically connect them together. Because there is no direct interaction between an amino acid and its codon, in principle it seems that any codon could have been assigned to any amino acid. If so, how might this system have arisen without any chemical connections to guide its formation?

    Significantly, the lack of a direct chemical or physical connection between amino acids and their codons or anticodons forms a critical part of the Intelligent Design (ID) argument that the “genetic code” is in fact a genuine code of the sort that is determined and manufactured by a designing intelligence, and is not the product of what scientists would call a natural origin. This argument rests on the claim that since there is no physical connection between amino acids and codons (or anticodons) in the present-day system, the “genetic code” is an arbitrary, symbolic code – that the list of codons and their corresponding amino acids are not connected through chemistry. Since there is no connecting chemistry, so the argument goes, then there is no chemical path that could bring the system into being. And if there is no material, chemical process that can bring it into being, then it must have its origin through another means—such as by a designing intelligence that produced it directly, and not through a material process.

    Meyer lays out his argument for an arbitrary genetic code on pages 247-248 of Signature (emphases mine).

    Self-organizational theories have failed to explain the origin of the genetic code for several reasons. First, to explain the origin of the genetic code, scientists need to explain the precise set of correspondences between specific nucleotide triplets in DNA (or codons on the messenger RNA) and specific amino acids (carried by transfer RNA). Yet molecular biologists have failed to find any significant chemical interaction between the codons on mRNA (or the anticodons on tRNA) and the amino acids on the acceptor arm of tRNA to which the codons correspond. This means that forces of chemical attraction between amino acids and these groups of bases do not explain the correspondences that constitute the genetic code…

    Thus, chemical affinities between nucleotide codons and amino acids do not determine the correspondences between codons and amino acids that define the genetic code. From the standpoint of the properties of the constituents that comprise the code, the code is physically and chemically arbitrary. All possible codes are equally likely; none is favored chemically.

    Here we can see Meyer’s argument clearly: in order to provide a material explanation for the origin of the genetic code, scientists need to explain how the specific correspondences between codons and amino acids came about. But, as he notes, there is no physical connection between them in the present system that can explain the correspondences. The code is arbitrary—and for Meyer, this indicates design.

    Crisps or chips?

    Having recently returned from a family vacation in Europe, my kids and I have a new appreciation for this line of argument. Travelling to the UK put our family into a similar, yet distinct linguistic context. Learning the words for various things in the UK was part of the fun. For example, the kids soon learned that if they wanted a bag of potato chips, they needed to ask for “crisps” instead of “chips”—“chips” being what they thought of as “French fries” (though curiously retained in the common UK/North American construction, “fish and chips”). Now, does it matter if a group settles on “chips” or “crisps”? No, not really—what matters is that people know what you are talking about. In principle, any word could be used for thinly sliced and deep-fried potatoes, as long as everyone in the group agreed on what that word meant. Languages thus have an element of arbitrariness to them, and manufactured codes even more so. In fact, a human code benefits from arbitrary associations in that it makes it much harder to crack.

    I recall reading Meyer’s argument for an arbitrary code when Signature first came out in 2009, and being surprised by it. The reason for my surprise was simple: in 2009 there was already a detailed body of scientific work that demonstrated exactly what Meyer claimed had never been shown.[1] Though Meyer claimed that “molecular biologists have failed to find any significant chemical interaction between the codons on mRNA (or the anticodons on tRNA) and the amino acids on the acceptor arm of tRNA to which the codons correspond” this was simply not the case.

    One hypothesis about the origin of the genetic code is that the tRNA system is a later addition to a system that originally used direct chemical interactions between amino acids and codons. In this hypothesis, amino acids would directly bind to their codons on mRNA, and then be joined together by a ribozyme (the ancestor of the present-day ribosome). This hypothesis is called “direct templating”, and it predicts that at least some amino acids will directly bind to their codons (or perhaps anticodons, since the codon/anticodon pairing could possibly flip between the mRNA and the tRNA).

    So, is there evidence that amino acids can bind directly to their codons or anticodons on mRNA? Meyer’s claim notwithstanding, yes—very much so! Several amino acids do in fact directly bind to their codon (or in some cases, their anticodon), and the evidence for this has been known since the late 1980s in some cases. Our current understanding is that this applies only to a subset of the 20 amino acids found in present-day proteins. In this model, then, the original code used a subset of amino acids in the current code, and assembled proteins directly on mRNA molecules without tRNAs present. Later, tRNAs would be added to the system, allowing for other amino acids—amino acids that cannot directly bind mRNA—to be added to the code.

    The fact that several amino acids do in fact bind their codons or anticodons is strong evidence that at least part of the code was formed through chemical interactions— and, contra Meyer, is not an arbitrary code. The code we have—or at least for those amino acids for which direct binding was possible—was indeed a chemically favored code. And if it was chemically favored, then it is quite likely that it had a chemical origin, even if we do not yet understand all the details of how it came to be. As such, building an apologetic on the presumed future failings of abiogenesis research, when current research already undercuts one’s thesis, seems to me as problematic for Meyer in 2009 as it did for Edwards in 1696. Do unanswered questions remain? Of course. Should we bank on them never being answered? Or would it be more wise to frame our apologetics on what we know, rather than what we don’t know?[2]

  231. 231
    EugeneS says:

    JVL

    “I haven’t seen that suggestion in the peer reviewed literature, any hints as to where I might find an explanation?”

    You probably want me to show you the words “intelligent design” in black and white, no less. I agree that ID is not mainstream but to dismiss it as not being an item on the scientific agenda would not be fair. There is a certain caveat that goes with peer review as an objective criterion for separation science from non-science because there is a noticeable influence of consensus on peer review. And consensus, in certain circumstances, could be a science stopper.

    Not everything that is formally labeled ‘evolutionary’ in the preface is in fact counter-design. Evolution itself as a thesis is not necessarily counter-design as such (putting aside the question about what evolution can actually physically achieve in nature). So I guess a reader should learn to read between the lines nowadays. It reminds me of the times of the Soviet Union when to get something published you had to mention Marx, Engels and Lenin, together with the decisions of the most recent Communist party congress upfront, even if your paper was to do with particle physics or inorganic chemistry 😉

    There is no bona fide naturalistic explanation to semiotic state. Here ‘naturalistic’ means ’caused ultimately by any combination of the four basic types of physical interactions’.

    Semiosis, in physical terms, is a local effect of the organization of the system, i.e. boundary conditions on the motion of particles of matter in the system, not of the motion itself.

    There is a load of literature on the thesis of complementarity of sign and matter (that organization does not reduce to natural regularities alone). You need to do you homework yourself, I am afraid. There’s Pierce, Pattee, Polanyi, von Neumann, Abel and many others. And yes, there are recent peer-reviewed things. So I suggest you look into the peer-reviewed literature hard enough 😉

  232. 232
    gpuccio says:

    JVL and Allan Keith:

    Human made codes are linguistic and human made algorithms are mathematical. You are till relying on comparison to a single source to make your inference. As such, it remains a weak inference.

    Excuse nme, I have already said that the real issue is exactly that: we are relying on a single source because there are no others!

    That is the important point. Non design systems are incapable to generate complex functional information and symbolic codes.

    The absolute absence of any other sources for those features, except for human design, makes the inference absolutely strong, and not weak! It demonstrates that conscious understanding and purpose are absolutely necessary to produce that kind of outcome.

    You are defeating your own argument.

  233. 233
    EugeneS says:

    JVL

    “Later, tRNAs would be added to the system, allowing for other amino acids—amino acids that cannot directly bind mRNA—to be added to the code.”

    Ok, how? (c) James Tour

    Given that, what is the chemical basis for this later extension? When/how does a core of chemical reactions decide to extend itself? “Decide” = “choose from among chemical/energy alternatives”.

    There is hardly any chemical bias in nucleotide polymerization. Correct me if I am wrong, but the bias that exists is too weak to account for an entirely chemical source of the mRNA’s information carrying capacity. This lack of bias is in fact what makes information translation possible. Without that it would not have been possible for mRNAs to carry information at all.

    I admit that this is down to personal views, but the bottom up explanation will never work. It just does not happen that way. Bifurcation is not a proper choice but for chemistry based software to come about decisions need to be made. There is no way for a decision making system to appear other than by decision making. Not in this world, at least.

  234. 234
    JVL says:

    EugeneS

    You probably want me to show you the words “intelligent design” in black and white, no less. I agree that ID is not mainstream but to dismiss it as not being an item on the scientific agenda would not be fair. There is a certain caveat that goes with peer review as an objective criterion for separation science from non-science because there is a noticeable influence of consensus on peer review. And consensus, in certain circumstances, could be a science stopper.

    I didn’t dismiss it, I merely asked for some guidance so I could find the pertinent work more quickly.

    Not everything that is formally labeled ‘evolutionary’ in the preface is in fact counter-design. Evolution itself as a thesis is not necessarily counter-design as such (putting aside the question about what evolution can actually physically achieve in nature). So I guess a reader should learn to read between the lines nowadays. It reminds me of the times of the Soviet Union when to get something published you had to mention Marx, Engels and Lenin, together with the decisions of the most recent Communist party congress upfront, even if your paper was to do with particle physics or inorganic chemistry ????

    But reading between the lines might lead to mis-interpretations. This series of articles I’ve been reading on BioLogos (starting here: https://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/biological-information-and-intelligent-design-introduction) is very clear and open about addressing many of the issues brought up here and so I don’t have to interpret it.

    here is no bona fide naturalistic explanation to semiotic state. Here ‘naturalistic’ means ’caused ultimately by any combination of the four basic types of physical interactions’.

    But what if the genetic code had a chemical basis?

    There is a load of literature on the thesis of complementarity of sign and matter (that organization does not reduce to natural regularities alone). You need to do you homework yourself, I am afraid. There’s Pierce, Pattee, Polanyi, von Neumann, Abel and many others. And yes, there are recent peer-reviewed things. So I suggest you look into the peer-reviewed literature hard enough ????

    I’ll see what I can find.

    gpuccio

    That is the important point. Non design systems are incapable to generate complex functional information and symbolic codes.

    But what if the genetic code had a basis in chemistry? That very well could be the case in which case . . .

    The absolute absence of any other sources for those features, except for human design, makes the inference absolutely strong, and not weak! It demonstrates that conscious understanding and purpose are absolutely necessary to produce that kind of outcome.

    You are defeating your own argument.

    I think the jury is still out owing to the large amount of research still on going. It’s pretty exciting actually.

    Like I said, I’m really enjoying this series of articles on BioLogos https://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/biological-information-and-intelligent-design-introduction

    There the argument is made that the genetic code seems to have at least a partial chemical basis in which case it’s not arbitrary. That would change things it seems.

  235. 235
    JVL says:

    EugeneS

    I admit that this is down to personal views, but the bottom up explanation will never work. It just does not happen that way. Bifurcation is not a proper choice but for chemistry based software to come about decisions need to be made. There is no way for a decision making system to appear other than by decision making. Not in this world, at least.

    Stay tuned for more results I guess!!

  236. 236

    Well well well. Kick a mule hard enough and it’ll stand up. Suddenly JVL knows elementary biology 101. The problem is, he answered a question I didn’t ask. So I’ll ask again:

    We know that aminoacyl synthetases are the finite set of complex proteins that establish the genetic code. Their task in the cell is to perform a double-recognition and bind a particular amino acid to a particular tRNA adapter prior to the act of translation. We can all conceive of their significance to the system.

    They are synthesized from nucleic memory, and it stands to reason that there was once a time in earth’s history that none of the set of aaRS had ever been synthesized from that memory. Here is my question: Regardless of what anyone thinks preceded that time, at the point in earth’s history that the first ever aaRS was successfully synthesized from memory, how many of the other aaRS had to be in place?

    I’ll check back this evening to see if you’ve attempted to answer.

  237. 237
    Origenes says:

    JVL: If de novo protein-coding genes such as nylonase can come into being from scratch, as it were, then it is demonstrably the case that new protein folds can be formed by evolutionary mechanisms without difficulty …
    Read through the articles.

    Why is it that you want us to read thoroughly debunked articles about protein folds written by someone, Venema, who does not know what protein folds are?

    Venema: “Nylonase is chock full of protein folds— exactly the sort of folds Meyer claims must be the result of design because evolution could not have produced them even with all the time since the origin of life.”

    “Chock full of protein folds”? What? Surely, nylonase has only one single fold ….
    Ann Gauger:

    Unfortunately, Venema doesn’t have the story straight. Nylonase has a particular fold, a particular three-dimensional, stable shape. Most proteins have a distinct fold — there are several thousand kinds of folds known so far, each with a distinct topology and structure. Folds are typically made up of small secondary structures called alpha helices and beta strands, which help to assemble the tertiary structure — the fold as a whole. Venema seems unclear about what a protein fold is, and the distinction between secondary and tertiary structures. Nylonase is not “chock full of folds.” No structural biologist would describe nylonase as “chock full of protein folds.” Indeed, no protein is “chock full of folds.” Perhaps Venema was referring to the smaller units of secondary structure I mentioned above, the alpha helices or beta strands. But it would appear he doesn’t know what a protein fold is.

  238. 238
    kairosfocus says:

    AK, 226 (attn, JVL):

    I have two degrees in chemistry and have run an accredited testing lab for over twenty years. What would you like to know?

    This implies that you have significant exposure to statistical thermodynamics and certainly enough to understand the configuration state issues at the heart of the matter.

    Where, for D/RNA, the chaining chemistry is at right angles to the informational element, in effect serving as a backbone to hang the informational sequence. In which context ANY of A, G, C, T/U (this last distinguishing D/R) can follow any other. This provides the freedom of physical succession thus high contingency required for information storing. This is then imposed upon by coding rules and patterns, which — attn, JVL — are NOT physically forced. Were they physically forced, there would be absence of freedom of state for symbols or characters in the strings. Consequently, we have dialects of the standard genetic code, e.g. Mitochondrial DNA. IIRC there are about two dozen known dialects. Where also in recent years, there has been insertion of two extra elements by researchers, X and Y if memory serves.

    There is of course the well-known double-helix structure for DNA, where two complementary strings fit together much like elements of a zipper.

    Proteins are coded for by using three-letter codons, with a start element and several stop elements. This gives 64 possibilities distributed across 20 main AA’s (yes there are oddball cases that we need not elaborate). Some results suggest that there are regulatory implications from code choice.

    The issue is further multiplied by deep isolation of several thousand protein fold domains in the config space for AA’s. Beyond, lies wider organic chemistry including handedness [chirality] of molecules.

    All of this underscores what I have emphasised. We have digital, alphanumerical code [using prong height in a chain] that functions algorithmically in the heart of the life processes of the living cell. This implies semiotics and communication systems, language, cybernetics, mathematics. All to be addressed before there is a functioning metabolic automaton with integral code using von Neumann self-replication facility. The cell.

    All of this is chock full of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I for convenient short). Such has just one empirically warranted, known adequate cause: intelligently directed configuration, aka design. The observation base is trillions, there are zero credible exceptions that we have actually observed.

    This is backed up by needle in haystack search challenge in relevant config spaces which readily exceed 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity, thus 3.27*10^150 to 1.07*10^301 possibilities. The atomic resources of sol system or observed cosmos are about 10^57 to 10^80 atoms. Factoring in organic chem, 10^-12 to 10^-15 s for interactions allows us to say treat each atom as an observer and allow shuffles of 500 – 1,000 bits [think strings of coins or a weak paramagnetic substance in a B-field such that there are 2 alignments]. Scan for 10^17 s, and see how negligible a fraction of the space of possibilities will be explored. This gives context for the search challenge and shows just how conservative the thresholds of 500 and 1,000 bits are.

    This sets what Abel has termed a set of plausibility bounds, in the spirit of Borel’s work on the effective zero chance in stat thermodynamics. As I have noted, random text search exercises have found ASCII strings of about 20 – 25 characters, a factor of 10^100 short of the low end of the threshold for FSCO/I. A space of 10^50 can be searched (IIRC Borel thought 10^30 was a good threshold), but 10^150 – 301 is a different matter.

    This outline gives context for seeing why the empirical observation makes sense.

    Now, I have to taper off due to RW issues for a little while.

    KF

  239. 239
  240. 240
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Pertinent works to was it March 2017:

    BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND ANNOTATED LIST OF
    PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
    SUPPORTING INTELLIGENT DESIGN
    UPDATED MARCH, 2017

    PART I: INTRODUCTION

    While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications.

    In 2011, the ID movement counted its 50th peer-reviewed scientific paper and new publications continue to appear. As of 2015, the peer-reviewed scientific publication count had reached 90. Many of these papers are recent, published since 2004, when Discovery Institute senior fellow Stephen Meyer published a groundbreaking paper advocating ID in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. There are multiple hubs of ID-related research.

    Biologic Institute, led by molecular biologist Doug Axe, is “developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology.” Biologic conducts laboratory and theoretical research on the origin and role of information in biology, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, and methods of detecting design in nature.

    Another ID research group is the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, founded by senior Discovery Institute fellow William Dembski along with Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Their lab has attracted graduate-student researchers and published multiple peer-reviewed articles in technical science and engineering journals showing that computer programming ”points to the need for an ultimate information source qua intelligent designer.”

    Other pro-ID scientists around the world are publishing peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific papers. These include biologist Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin Superior, Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig who recently retired from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.

    These and other labs and researchers have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some published by mainstream university presses), trade-press books, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books. These papers have appeared in scientific journals such as Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Complexity, Quarterly Review of Biology, Cell Biology International, Physics Essays, Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum, Physics of Life Reviews, Quarterly Review of Biology, Journal of Bacteriology , Annual Review of Genetics, and many others. At the same time, pro-ID scientists have presented their research at conferences worldwide in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science.

    Collectively, this body of research is converging on a consensus: complex biological features cannot arise by unguided Darwinian mechanisms, but require an intelligent cause.

    Despite ID’s publication record, we note parenthetically that recognition in peer-reviewed literature is not an absolute requirement to demonstrate an idea’s scientific merit. Darwin’s own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience — his Origin of Species — not in a peer-reviewed paper. Nonetheless, ID’s peer-reviewed publication record shows that it deserves — and is receiving — serious consideration by the scientific community.

    The purpose of ID’s budding research program is thus to engage open-minded scientists and thoughtful laypersons with credible, persuasive, peer-reviewed, empirical data supporting intelligent design. And this is happening. ID has already gained the kind of scientific recognition you would expect from a young (and vastly underfunded) but promising scientific field . . .

    Click the link.

    KF

  241. 241
    JVL says:

    Upright Biped

    Here is my question: Regardless of what anyone thinks preceded that time, at the point in earth’s history that the first ever aaRS was successfully synthesized from memory, how many of the other aaRS had to be in place?

    I have no idea and I suspect no one else does either. I don’t think anyone was around at the time. Unless it was your designer . . . .

    Origenes

    Why is it that you want us to read thoroughly debunked articles about protein folds written by someone, Venema, who does not know what protein folds are?

    I didn’t know anyone had ‘debunked’ those articles.

    Actually, it’s not clear the articles were ‘debunked’. Dr Gauger participates in the following discussion.

    https://discourse.biologos.org/t/ann-gaugers-latest-salvo-against-dennis-venemas-arguments-against-an-original-pair-of-human-beings/36790/62

    It doesn’t address all the issues but clearly people are taking issue with Dr Gauger.

    Oh and there’s this as well.

    https://www.quora.com/Is-Ann-Gauger-correct-in-her-rebuttal-of-the-claim-that-nylonase-is-an-example-of-a-new-enzyme-arising-from-a-random-frameshift-mutation

    Things are never crystal clear are they?

  242. 242
    JVL says:

    Actually, I see now that many of these discussions are regarding Dr Gauger’s evaluation of a book written by Dr Venema.

    Another article here:

    https://skeptic78240.wordpress.com/tag/ann-gauger/

  243. 243
    JVL says:

    And another critique of her stance on Nylonase:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....nn-gauger/

  244. 244
    EugeneS says:

    JVL

    “But what if the genetic code had a chemical basis?”

    The answer is very simple: it would not have been a code.

    Regarding suggested reading, also, try http://bio-complexity.org where people post their research papers specifically related to intelligent design. Okay, it is not peer-reviewed (as far as I know) but there is interesting stuff there.

    “Stay tuned for more results I guess!!”

    Thank you. I am tuned, but I am not holding my breath 🙂

  245. 245
    EugeneS says:

    JVL

    No natural law restricts the possibility-space of a written (or spoken) text.

    Jesper Hoffmeyer, Claus Emmeche (1991). Code-duality and the semiotics of nature. In On Semiotic Modeling, M. Anderson and F. Merrell (eds.), 117-166. Berlin: Mouton
    de Gruyter.

    Semiotic interactions do not take place of physical necessity.

    Kalevi Kull (1999). Biosemiotics in the twentieth century: A view from biology. Semiotica 127 (1/4), 385 – 414.

    Laws are valued because they express the maximum possible regularity of events. Symbols, by contrast, are valued as information carriers, and information capacity is measured by the minimum regularity of events.[…] The most convincing general argument for this irreducible complementarity of dynamical laws and measurement structures comes again from von Neumann (Neumann 1955). He calls the system being measured, S, and the measuring device, M, that must provide the initial conditions for the dynamic laws of S. Since M is also a physical system obeying the same laws as S, we may try a unified description by considering the combined physical system (S+M). But then we will need a new measuring device, M’, to provide the initial conditions for a larger system (S+M). This leads to an infinite regress; but the main point is that even though any measuring device, M, can in principle be described by the universal laws, the fact is that if you choose to do so you will lose the function of M as a measuring device. This demonstrates that laws cannot describe the semantic function of measurement even if they can correctly and completely describe the physics of the measuring device.

    Howard Pattee (2001). Irreducible and complementary semiotic forms, Semiotica, 134-1/4 (2001), 341-358.

  246. 246
    EricMH says:

    @tribune7 @ 174, how do you know it takes intelligence to generate specified complexity? The only argument I ever see from the ID side is: humans are the only sources of specified complexity we know of.

    Great! But, if humans are artificial intelligences, then they are exactly an example of necessity creating specified complexity, which contradicts the explanatory filter.

    ID only makes sense if the human mind is somehow beyond computation, i.e. not necessity, but we don’t know that is the case.

    Thus, the primary positive argument for ID doesn’t work.

    That being said, the negative arguments against Darwinism are devastating.

    So, anti-Darwinism is certainly science. But, positive ID is not science, at this point in time. It is still in the philosophy camp.

  247. 247
    asauber says:

    So, anti-Darwinism is certainly science. But, positive ID is not science, at this point in time. It is still in the philosophy camp.

    Science is in the philosophy camp.

    Andrew

  248. 248
    EugeneS says:

    Eric,

    “then they are exactly an example of necessity creating specified complexity”

    I don’t understand the “then” bit.

    Necessity cannot create anything, least of all specified complexity. Necessity/regularity corresponds to 0 information. If you have an unfair coin, you know before you toss it, if it will land on heads or tails.

    Choice between physically equivalent states is a valid causal factor. Choice causation is not physical but formal and does not (apparently) happen in inanimate nature, without the aid of intelligence. Decision making boils down to choice contingency as opposed to necessity or chance. The human mind is choice contingent causation in relation to complex functional things we create.

  249. 249
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Read through the articles.

    Already have, you lose. And you cannot make your case

    Well, I guess you’ll just have to live with the vast majority of biologists disagreeing with you then.

    They don’t have a viable alternative so I can easily live with that. They don’t even have a methodology to test their claims so I can easily live with that.

    Well, that lengthy series of posts I was quoting from say otherwise.

    No, they don’t and again you cannot make your case so you lose

  250. 250
    JVL says:

    EugeneS

    The answer is very simple: it would not have been a code.

    Which is exactly what Dr Venema (a Christian by the way) is arguing. The use of the word ‘code’ conveys connotations that are liable to misinterpretation.

    https://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/biological-information-and-intelligent-design-meyer-yarus-and-the-direct-templating-hypothesis

    Some one said that these posts had been debunked, I didn’t see that. I erroneously latched onto a series or critiques made by Dr Gauger about a book Dr Venema had written.

  251. 251
    ET says:

    There isn’t any evidence that nylonase was the product of blind and mindless processes. There isn’t even any way to test the claim. That makes it an unscientific claim.

  252. 252
    ET says:

    If someone could demonstrate that the genetic code arose via blind and mindless processes they would win a Nobel Prize. They would also have a great chance at winning over 10 million dollars.

    Seeing that no one has won either is evidence no one has ever done so.

  253. 253
    JVL says:

    ET

    Already have, you lose. And you cannot make your case

    Dr Venema makes a strong case that the genetic ‘code’ could have, at least partially, arisen via natural processes. And he discusses how the initial research is now being built upon by others.

    Just one excerpt:

    Within the folded structure of ribosomes, several amino acids were found in close association with some of their possible anticodons. Note that within a ribosome, the RNA components are not translated—they are untranslated RNA molecules that act as as a ribozyme, or RNA enzyme. The protein components come from different DNA sequences that are transcribed into RNA and then translated into protein before they join the ribosome complex. As such, the RNA components and the protein components of a ribosome are separate pieces—yet these proteins have some amino acids that are attracted to their anticodon sequences within the RNA components. So, even though these attractions are not useful for translation purposes, they are present within the ribosome structure. These results strongly support the hypothesis that interactions between amino acids and anticodons were biologically important at the time when translation emerged—since they are in large measure determining the three-dimensional structure of what is arguably the most important biochemical complex in life as we know it. Moreover, these results give strong experimental support for the idea that the genetic code was shaped by chemical interactions at its origin and is not a chemically arbitrary code. In response to these results, as well as the prior work by Yarus, a third research group has extended this type of analysis to the protein sets of entire organisms—and found that this pattern of correspondences between amino acids and their codons is widespread across whole genomes. This pattern—first identified by the Yarus group—has now been confirmed by the work of many other scientists, and it continues to make successful predictions.

  254. 254
    ET says:

    No one has ever demonstrated that Yarus’ work applies to living organisms. We already know that protein formation has to happen in a timely manner and Yarus’ work doesn’t come close.

  255. 255
    JVL says:

    ET

    If someone could demonstrate that the genetic code arose via blind and mindless processes they would win a Nobel Prize. They would also have a great chance at winning over 10 million dollars.

    Seeing that no one has won either is evidence no one has ever done so.

    It appears they are heading that way. No one is saying it’s been done yet. But it’s looking better and better. Pure chemistry.

  256. 256
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Dr Venema makes a strong case that the genetic ‘code’ could have, at least partially, arisen via natural processes.

    No, you are just gullible and hopeful. And Venema is stretching as his premises do not follow from the evidece

  257. 257
    JVL says:

    ET

    No one has ever demonstrated that Yarus’ work applies to living organisms. We already know that protein formation has to happen in a timely manner and Yarus’ work doesn’t come close.

    You ask over and over for plausible paths or routes that led to the development of living structures. Researchers are finding them.

    Have you read Dr Yarus’s research? Or the follow-on work done by others?

  258. 258
    ET says:

    JVL:

    It appears they are heading that way.

    You are just gullible and hopeful. They would have a better chance at showing Stonehenge was a natural rock formation

  259. 259
    JVL says:

    ET

    No, you are just gullible and hopeful. And Venema is stretching as his premises do not follow from the evidece

    Others, working research biologists, disagree.

  260. 260
    ET says:

    JVL:

    You ask over and over for plausible paths or routes that led to the development of living structures. Researchers are finding them.

    Nonsense. No one knows if they are plausible And yes I have read Yarus and the follow up papers. They do not apply to biological life

  261. 261
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Others, working research biologists, disagree.

    They cannot make their case so who cares? They don’t have any science so who cares?

  262. 262
    ET says:

    Evidence for Intelligent Design in the details of ATP synthase- the external tether:

    Take a look at the
    architecture and subunit composition of ATP synthase
    . Notice the external tethering that has nothing to do with the function of either subunit but without it there isn’t any ATP synthase. And it has to be the proper length. Details. Sometimes the devil is in the and sometimes the design inference is confirmed by them.

  263. 263
    JVL says:

    ET

    Nonsense. No one knows if they are plausible And yes I have read Yarus and the follow up papers. They do not apply to biological life

    They cannot make their case so who cares? They don’t have any science so who cares?

    Forgive me if I put a certain amount of trust in working, publishing, research scientists who are confirming each other’s work and building upon it year after year after year.

    I’m happy to consider some peer-reviewed published research that suggests otherwise.

  264. 264
    ET says:

    Yes, JVL, you are gullible and hopeful. Maybe someday you will understand how science works. You need a mechanism- something besides “it just happened”

  265. 265
    JVL says:

    ET

    Evidence for Intelligent Design in the details of ATP synthase- the external tether:

    Take a look at the
    architecture and subunit composition of ATP synthase. Notice the external tethering that has nothing to do with the function of either subunit but without it there isn’t any ATP synthase. And it has to be the proper length. Details. Sometimes the devil is in the and sometimes the design inference is confirmed by them.

    A different topic but . . .

    Not knowing a way it could have arisen naturally is not the same as being sure it did not arise naturally.

    It’s an exciting time to be alive; the depth of knowledge science is gaining into what once seemed impenetrably complex biological structures is amazing.

    Besides, are you going to stake you whole claim on a few narrowing ledges of things that couldn’t possibly have arisen by natural causes?

  266. 266
    ET says:

    As for replicating molecules- so far they have all been intelligently designed. And even given that nothing new evolved and Spiegelman’s Monster remained unscathed.

    You can’t even get to the part where the genetic code was allegedly just chemicals

  267. 267
    JVL says:

    ET

    Yes, JVL, you are gullible and hopeful. Maybe someday you will understand how science works. You need a mechanism- something besides “it just happened”

    The work cited by Dr Venema in his series of posts shows that plausible mechanisms and pathways are being discovered. Plausible. And since more work is bing done adding to that knowledge . . . .

    I don’t know how far it will or can go but I wouldn’t like to bet on it hitting a stop anytime soon.

  268. 268
    JVL says:

    ET

    You can’t even get to the part where the genetic code was allegedly just chemicals

    Shall we wait a few years and see? I’m opened minded.

  269. 269
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Not knowing a way it could have arisen naturally is not the same as being sure it did not arise naturally.

    Science doesn’t do arguments from ignorance and that is all you have. Science can only allow so much luck and luck is all that you have.

    Besides, are you going to stake you whole claim on a few narrowing ledges of things that couldn’t possibly have arisen by natural causes?

    LoL! My ledges are as narrow as the universe. And yes, Stonehenge could not have possible arisen via natural processes. And Stonehenge is very, very, very simple compared with biology and biological systems

  270. 270
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Shall we wait a few years and see?

    Wait as long as you want to. Right now all you have are promissory notes and no science.

  271. 271
    ET says:

    JVL:

    The work cited by Dr Venema in his series of posts shows that plausible mechanisms and pathways are being discovered.

    That is your unscientific opinion.

  272. 272
    ET says:

    Sheer dumb luck and contingent serendipity are not scientific mechanisms and those are all unguided/ blind watchmaker evolution has.

  273. 273
    ET says:

    Testable hypotheses- what are the testable hypotheses for blind and mindless processes producing the genetic code? If JVL cannot say then that exposes the bankrupt nature of his “arguments”.

  274. 274
    Eugene S says:

    JVL

    “RNA molecules that act as as a ribozyme, or RNA enzyme.”

    The key giveaway words here are “act as”. In order to “act as”, there must be a proper context established in the first place, that would allow for the role to be acted and interpreted by the rest of the system. This context is necessarily of formal nature. It is a protocol. RNA world hypothesis does not solve anything. Arguably, it even makes things worse. It is question begging.

    There is no way bottom up. At least nobody has come up with anything remotely convincing.

    “at the time when translation emerged”

    Ok, how? I keep encountering this magic word ’emerge’ but every time its meaning escapes me. As Dawkins rightly pointed out in his famous agreement with intelligent design, it could not just ‘pop into existence’, could it? At the point of this putative translation emergence, there must already be a protocol according to which an establishment of the genetic many-to-one code occurred.

    By definition, code assumes physico-chemical arbitrariness. Like I said, nucleotide polymerization has almost no bias at all. If there was bias, there would be no code in the true sense. Code is called code because it specifies from among physical alternatives.

    If this is all chemistry, which is in a nutshell what you are saying, you are contradicting yourself.

  275. 275
    tribune7 says:

    EricMH

    @tribune7 @ 174, how do you know it takes intelligence to generate specified complexity?

    The more appropriate question is “How do you know if something is designed?”

    Still, how do we know it takes intelligence to generate specified complexity? There are three ways something can occur: Law, chance and design.

    Can something with CSI occur by law or chance? What?

  276. 276
    JVL says:

    EugeneS

    If this is all chemistry, which is in a nutshell what you are saying, you are contradicting yourself.

    One of Dr Venema’s point: if it all comes down to pure chemistry and evolution via unguided processes then it’s not a code. It’s just called that. He makes that very, very clear.

    And that’s what the research seems to be saying. The ‘code’ has some basis in chemistry.

    ET

    Testable hypotheses- what are the testable hypotheses for blind and mindless processes producing the genetic code? If JVL cannot say then that exposes the bankrupt nature of his “arguments”.

    I’m not the one doing the research and making the arguments but, if it’s possible that the genetic code arose via chemistry and some modifications then that’s pretty blind and mindless. I’m just pointing out ongoing research and some of its possible implications.

    I understand being skeptical and I’m not saying it’s game over. But these are promising and ongoing areas of research. I will not guess where it will all end up. I would expect it to continue a bit further at least. I am going to be open minded and wait and see what happens. I realise that I may be waiting a while yet but I don’t see the point of prejudicing myself against the eventual outcome.

  277. 277
    Eugene S says:

    ET

    “Sheer dumb luck and contingent serendipity”

    Incidentally, yesterday I watched an old discussion between Lennox and Dawkins about “The God Delusion”. Strikingly, what Dawkins put forward as ‘explanations’ was all based on sheer dumb luck and contingent serendipity. This is science by his standards. By current scientific problems he means anywhere where they don’t have even a just-so story.

    “Who designed the designer?” is the most popular hit of this ‘philosopher’. I guess Dawkins is sure that the outspoken stupidity of this ‘argument’ can debunk the whole of religious thought, no less 😉

  278. 278
    Eugene S says:

    JVL

    “He makes that very, very clear.”

    Ok, he does not contradict himself then. However, it is very, very clear to me that he is wrong 🙂

    “And that’s what the research seems to be saying. The ‘code’ has some basis in chemistry.”

    When people point me to evidence for the claim that ‘pre-biotic or biological evolution did it’ they typically refer me to carefully designed and controlled experiments. I have grown tired of this. In well written papers, there are no universal claims and the authors are being very honest and modest. They safeguard their contributions by carefully posed questions. For this reason, they are not that interesting, ok, they did this and that, and? In poorly written papers or propaganda books like ones by Dawkins, there is no actual science content, just grand claims. The amount of incompetence in such sources is so large that you feel you are wasting your time reading them.

    I have posted here an OP about one such paper a long time ago.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/selensky-shallit-koza-vs-artificial-life-simulations/

    When you actually get to the details all of these universal claims somehow shrink into locality and insignificance. Guided search (rarely in vivo and more often just in silico!) is presented as random walk in a configuration space. Pathetic…

  279. 279
    JVL says:

    EugeneS

    Ok, he does not contradict himself then. However, it is very, very clear to me that he is wrong ????

    Because . . .

    What if it isn’t really a code? It’s not becoming more and more of a possibility.

    When people point me to evidence for the claim (pre-biotic or biological) ‘evolution did it’ they typically refer me to carefully designed and controlled experiments. I have grown tired of looking into the literature. In well written papers there are no universal claims and the authors are being very honest and modest. For this reason, they are not that interesting, ok, they did this and that, and? In poorly written papers or propaganda books like ones by Dawkins, there is no actual science content, just grand claims. The amount of incompetence in such sources is so large that you feel you are wasting your time reading them.

    That’s the way science works though. Not via books written for general readers.

    When you actually get to the details all of these universal claims somehow shrink into locality and insignificance. Guided search (rarely in vivo and more often just in silico!) is presented as random walk in a configuration space. Pathetic…

    Research happens one nibble or bite at a time. The whole meal might not be ready for a while. But it’s exciting to see some promising work being done.

  280. 280
    ET says:

    Even Larry Moran says the genetic code is a real code just like Morse code.

    Testable hypotheses- what are the testable hypotheses for blind and mindless processes producing the genetic code? If JVL cannot say then that exposes the bankrupt nature of his “arguments”.

    And JVL cannot say

  281. 281
    JVL says:

    ET

    Even Larry Moran says the genetic code is a real code just like Morse code.

    I willing to consider that Larry Moran might be wrong. Everybody makes mistakes.

    More likely he was unaware of the strict definition of code.

    It’s kind of like ‘natural selection’. Not the best choice of words but most people know what it means.

    And JVL cannot say

    I’m not doing the research. I don’t know how far they’ve gotten. When data and results are still being collected it’s best to wait and see.

  282. 282
    Eugene S says:

    “What if it isn’t really a code?”

    It is code in the strict sense. In the same sense as your browser software you are using is code.

    It is code now. That is why Venema is simply wrong (and Crick was right btw). It is a different matter, how it came to be. But even there his characterization is wrong for the reasons I mentioned.

    “That’s the way science works though. Not via books written for general readers.”

    Yes, that is exactly my point! They have not got anything worth flagging up in this discussion now as ground breaking, beyond stuff for general readers.

    “But it’s exciting to see some promising work being done.”

    I totally agree. It’s exciting to see how intelligent design agenda wins the audience. Hardly anyone serious is talking about junk DNA any more, right? 😉

  283. 283
    Eugene S says:

    “I don’t know how far they’ve gotten.”

    Not very far beyond the original claims of Darwin 😉 What we really know today though is what Darwin proposed as a mechanism is not what actually happens on average. That’s about it really.

  284. 284
    Mung says:

    JVL:

    There the argument is made that the genetic code seems to have at least a partial chemical basis in which case it’s not arbitrary.

    Have you tried arguing at Biologos that the genetic code isn’t really a code?

    JVL:

    More likely he was unaware of the strict definition of code.

    You seem to both agree and disagree that the genetic code is a code. Would you kindly clarify your stance?

  285. 285
    ET says:

    No JVL, Larry is quite aware of what a code is. And your position doesn’t have any testable hypotheses, so that would be a problem as far as science is concerned

  286. 286
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, the design inference is scientific. Where our membership of a certain species is less germane than our intelligence to our being designers. Where there is no good reason to imagine that we exhaust rather than exemplify possible intelligences. BTW without that intelligence, no science. And scientific work involves acts of design. KF

  287. 287
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, have you ever paused to consider what it would actually imply to discover that the DNA code and associated execution machinery (without which the code is useless) was actually written into the laws of our cosmos? Yes, that would be fine tuning on steroids. However, such is rather unlikely as there are about two dozen variants on the code, which implies high contingency. Thus, not by lawlike necessity. That leaves blind chance vs design as the key options. The former fails the needle in haystack search challenge and vera causa tests. Design is routinely seen to produce codes and coded messages as well as execution machinery. That warrants the inference that what we are seeing is a good sign of design as cause. KF

  288. 288
    Origenes says:

    JVL @

    JVL: It appears they are heading that way. …
    You ask over and over for plausible paths or routes that led to the development of living structures. Researchers are finding them.

    No, sir, you are being untruthful. In reality, researchers have no clue. See James Tour #90.

    … neither I nor any of my colleagues can fathom a prebiotic molecular route to construction of a complex system. We cannot even figure out the prebiotic routes to the basic building blocks of life: carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids and proteins. Chemists are collectively bewildered. Hence I say that no chemist understands prebiotic synthesis of the requisite building blocks, let alone assembly into a complex system.

  289. 289
  290. 290
    ET says:

    Origenes- James Tour is clearly in denial and has given up before the race is over. Geez 🙄

  291. 291
    Allan Keith says:

    Kairosfocus,

    Design is routinely seen to produce codes and coded messages as well as execution machinery.

    Human design is routinely seen to produce codes and coded messages as well as execution machinery.

    I hate to keep harping on this little distinction, but we could just as easily argue that codes and coded messages, as well as execution machinery, are routinely produced by beings with a cerebral cortex that makes up more than 80% of their brain. Therefore, we can infer that the best explanation for all coded messages found in nature are beings who’s cerebral cortex makes up over 80% of their brain. I think that we would all agree that this is a very weak inference, but it is just as strong a the design inference used by ID.

  292. 292
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Human design is routinely seen to produce codes and coded messages as well as execution machinery.

    So what? Mother nature has never been observed producing any code.

  293. 293
    ET says:

    Technology Prize for Origin of Information– submissions have been made but the prize remains uncollected.

  294. 294
    Eric Anderson says:

    JVL @255:

    “Pure chemistry.”

    Wow. LOL!

    Maybe you should actually spend some more time understanding what the issues on the table even are before you start making laughable claims.

    —-

    UB: I’m afraid you are not going to get very far with the discussion, until there is a basic understanding of the issues on the table. Maybe it isn’t worth any more effort until JVL can articulate (i) what the fundamental issues are, and (ii) why current materialistic scenarios have failed to date. He doesn’t have to buy into ID. Might even still hold out hope for some future discovery. But if he can’t even articulate the basic issues, you’re going to be talking to a wall.

  295. 295
    JVL says:

    MUng

    Have you tried arguing at Biologos that the genetic code isn’t really a code?

    No.

    You seem to both agree and disagree that the genetic code is a code. Would you kindly clarify your stance?

    What’s most important is understanding what the ‘genetic code’ does and how it might have arisen. There seems to be a disagreement over definitions. I suggest we focus on what the science tells us.

    ET

    No JVL, Larry is quite aware of what a code is. And your position doesn’t have any testable hypotheses, so that would be a problem as far as science is concerned

    Well, let’s just see what the research tells us then.

    kairosfocus

    JVL, have you ever paused to consider what it would actually imply to discover that the DNA code and associated execution machinery (without which the code is useless) was actually written into the laws of our cosmos? Yes, that would be fine tuning on steroids.

    Or extreme determinism.

    Design is routinely seen to produce codes and coded messages as well as execution machinery. That warrants the inference that what we are seeing is a good sign of design as cause.

    But, if a ‘code’ could have arose through blind and unguided processes then the inference changes.

    Origenes

    No, sir, you are being untruthful. In reality, researchers have no clue.

    Then your disagreement is with them and not with me. I am merely a messenger. You can read the posts and see what they say.

    Yet another debunked article …
    >>> ‘Of Molecules and (Straw) Men‘, by Stephen Meyer.
    Keep them coming JVL!

    Well, we shall just have to wait and see what the research turns up eh?

    Allan Keith

    I hate to keep harping on this little distinction, but we could just as easily argue that codes and coded messages, as well as execution machinery, are routinely produced by beings with a cerebral cortex that makes up more than 80% of their brain. Therefore, we can infer that the best explanation for all coded messages found in nature are beings who’s cerebral cortex makes up over 80% of their brain. I think that we would all agree that this is a very weak inference, but it is just as strong a the design inference used by ID.

    Sometime I get the feeling it’s not about the science.

    ET

    So what? Mother nature has never been observed producing any code.

    It’s looking more and more like that has happened.

    Look, folks . . . there is some new and exciting research being done which seems to suggest that there might be a chemical basis for the development of the ‘genetic code’. That’s astonishing and fascinating. We should be intrigued and glad we live in such times.

    I find it confusing that when I present such work to this forum it seems to be met with derision. I don’t know about you but I really want to know what is true. I don’t care if it demolishes my own personal beliefs. I just want to know the truth. And that means supporting work that is chasing down the base, chemical behaviours of our genomes. Surely.

    We care about the science. We should all keep an open mind and wait and see what the research says.

  296. 296
    JVL says:

    Eric Anderson

    Maybe you should actually spend some more time understanding what the issues on the table even are before you start making laughable claims.

    It’s not me, read the posts I linked to.

    If you can find fault with the methods or conclusions then fair enough. But I am not the one claiming anything.

  297. 297
    mike1962 says:

    A code is a symbol that can be translated. This assumes a shared informational context with the creator of a particular symbol and the translator of the symbol.

    The genetic code obviously qualifies because the codons bear no chemical similarity or affinity to the amino acids that they are translated into by the ribosomes. Not only that, humans are able to monkey with the code to effect desired outcomes. Monsanto does this with gene splicing by inserting sections of gene codons into a genome for a desired effect. The fact that humans can make intelligently designed modifications to a genome by manipulating the codons is stark evidence that it is a full code by any reasonable definition. Humans are literally doing genetic programming.

    This is really a no-brainer.

  298. 298
    JVL says:

    mike1982

    The genetic code obviously qualifies because the codons bear no chemical similarity or affinity to the amino acids that they are translated into by the ribosomes.

    The research suggests this is not completely the case!! Did you read the posts I linked to?

    I am only reporting what I have read.

  299. 299
    gpuccio says:

    JVL at #234:

    I am well aware of the wrok of Yarus et al. Believe it or not, it does not prove anything. It is rather a desperate attempt at giving some vague support, completely indirect and not bound to any real viable hypothesis, to the idea that perhaps, maybe, if we really believe it with all our faith, there could be a distant hope that someday we can explain how the genetic code evolved without needing design.

    There is nothing serious or scientific in this. These people should really try to provide a credible hypothesis: but they can’t, because a credible hypothesis does not exist.

    Look you have admitted that you have not a real backgorund in biology. No problem with that, but just one advice: as you cannot really understand the arguments, keep in mind that believing what the majority says is not always the best policy. At least, keep an open mind, and try to understand better what is at stake at the biological level: it is not so difficult, after all.

  300. 300
    mike1962 says:

    JVL: The research suggests this is not completely the case!! Did you read the posts I linked to?

    I’ll be happy to. Please do me a favor and repost the links you think are relevant to that.

    Are you going to address the rest of what I wrote?

  301. 301
    JVL says:

    gpuccio

    I am well aware of the wrok of Yarus et al. Believe it or not, it does not prove anything. It is rather a desperate attempt at giving some vague support, completely indirect and not bound to any real viable hypothesis, to the idea that perhaps, maybe, if we really believe it with all our faith, there could be a distant hope that someday we can explain how the genetic code evolved without needing design.

    So, unlike what is claimed, this work has not led on to other research projects and lines of enquiry?

    There is nothing serious or scientific in this. These people should really try to provide a credible hypothesis: but they can’t, because a credible hypothesis does not exist.

    You are making quite a damning statement against the researchers in question. Are you willing to say so with your real name and reputation on the line?

    Look you have admitted that you have not a real backgorund in biology. No problem with that, but just one advice: as you cannot really understand the arguments, keep in mind that believing what the majority says is not always the best policy. At least, keep an open mind, and try to understand better what is at stake at the biological level: it is not so difficult, after all.

    I’m in my mid-50s. I no longer have the time to pursue a lengthy field of study , personally trying to reconstruct all the decades of work leading up to the results in question. You are suggesting I doubt all of that because why exactly? Given that the work has been peer-reviewed and put out for public scrutiny.

  302. 302
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Look, folks . . . there is some new and exciting research being done which seems to suggest that there might be a chemical basis for the development of the ‘genetic code’.

    Look, JVL, there are many people that absolutely NEED there to be a materialistic answer for the genetic code. These people will say and do anything to keep their hopes alive.

    You are wanting us to believe that blind and mindless processes can do the magical- do something that we can’t even do. That is the reason for any derision.

  303. 303
    JVL says:

    mike1962

    ’ll be happy to. Please do me a favor and repost the links you think are relevant to that.

    Are you going to address the rest of what I wrote?

    You merely have to scroll up through the conversation to find the links.

    It’s late where I live so I will converse more in my morning.

  304. 304
    Eric Anderson says:

    JVL @295:

    Look, folks . . . there is some new and exciting research being done which seems to suggest that there might be a chemical basis for the development of the ‘genetic code’. That’s astonishing and fascinating. We should be intrigued and glad we live in such times.

    I find it confusing that when I present such work to this forum it seems to be met with derision. I don’t know about you but I really want to know what is true. I don’t care if it demolishes my own personal beliefs. I just want to know the truth. And that means supporting work that is chasing down the base, chemical behaviours of our genomes. Surely.

    JVL, this an old concept, thoroughly debunked in the 1970’s. The reason you are getting derision is that it is a complete non-starter and it has been known as a non-starter for decades.

    I’m glad you want to know the truth. In that case, you need to start looking at the issues and not just reading pro-evolution articles from places like Biologos.

    It has been known for many years, on the basis of biochemistry, that there is not a chemical basis for either the genetic code or the ordering of nucleotides in DNA. In addition, it is well known, on the basis of information theory, that an information-rich system requires that there not be a chemical basis. It cannot be “pure chemistry.” Further, the storage medium itself must be contingent. There is an inverse relationship between any process that drives toward a particular outcome (such as would be the case with a chemically-driven process) and the ability of a medium to store information. Serious researchers in the field have known this for decades.

    I don’t know how much background you have in information theory, semiotics, codes and computational systems, but even if you are just starting out, you would be much better served to sit down and deeply think through the issues from the ground up on your own time, rather than spending time with some of the stuff you’ve apparently been spending time with.

    Better yet would be to spend time becoming familiar with some of the key concepts relating to symbolic representation, codes, information storage systems, and the like.

  305. 305
    gpuccio says:

    JVL:

    “You are making quite a damning statement against the researchers in question. Are you willing to say so with your real name and reputation on the line?”

    I do use my real name. What’s the problem?

    “I’m in my mid-50s. I no longer have the time to pursue a lengthy field of study , personally trying to reconstruct all the decades of work leading up to the results in question. You are suggesting I doubt all of that because why exactly? Given that the work has been peer-reviewed and put out for public scrutiny.”

    Just two points: I don’t want you to doubt, you can believe as you like. But becoming a convinced discussant in favor of a theory that you don’t understand at the biological level makes you become just a sounding board for academic authority. Why do you want to personally discuss something that you don’t really understand?

    The second point is: peer review. I am not saying that the data presented by Yarus are wrong (although doubts about his statistical methods have been proposed). But that’s not the point. The point is that his conclusions are practically irrelevant and do not provide any credible scenario for his hypotheses. So his work can be considered as side work which could have some relevance if and when supported by a real theory, but nothing more.

    The simple fact is that the genetic code is symbolic in the only place that counts: observed reality.

  306. 306
    bill cole says:

    JVL

    I’m in my mid-50s. I no longer have the time to pursue a lengthy field of study , personally trying to reconstruct all the decades of work leading up to the results in question. You are suggesting I doubt all of that because why exactly? Given that the work has been peer-reviewed and put out for public scrutiny.

    Salvador Cordova(used to post here) has recently shown through an extensive search that the Nylonese enzyme existed prior to Nylon so Venema”s example is wrong.

    If your were to wake up every morning and make random changes to the direct dial numbers stored in your cell phone do you think you would find new friends?

    DNA and Proteins are sequential information just like your cell phone. Random changes move it to non function over time.

    No experiment has successfully challenged this paradox.

  307. 307
    Eric Anderson says:

    JVL, BTW, one more quick item:

    I don’t have time to go through all the stuff by Venema, but I did take a quick look at the series of web articles you linked to.

    It took me less than 5 minutes to find that a key part of Venema’s argument seems to be that the information in DNA isn’t really information, but is just a convenience label we are applying. Is that consistent with your understanding of what he is saying?

    At that point I stopped reading.

    You can go to your local library and pick up any college textbook on genetics and find numerous references to information. There are numerous companies that have been founded to capture, read, and understand the information contained in DNA. There are many universities that have now established programs specifically focused on biological information. The field of bioinformatics is exploding.

    You are on a very slippery intellectual slope if you allow Venema to be your guide in this area. He is absolutely mistaken — spectacularly so — and your honest search for the truth is in serious jeopardy if you buy into his grasping at straws and rejection of the clear role of information in biology, all so that he can deny the role of design in biology or whatever other agenda he is pushing.

    Do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for your information.

  308. 308
    EricMH says:

    @tribune7 275

    “Can something with CSI occur by law or chance? What?”

    Human created artifacts, if humans are artificial intelligences.

  309. 309
    Eric Anderson says:

    EricMH @308:

    Both a logical fallacy and a non-sequitur.

    The question on the table is how biological systems (like humans) came about. So you cannot refer to humans coming about through natural processes as an answer. That is circular.

    On the second point, many materialists would argue that humans have intelligence. They think it came about through some unknown, unidentified, rare, coincidental process of particles bumping into each other — but they think the intelligence is real. If that is the case, then human-created artifacts are also the result of intelligence. So you still haven’t provided a counter example. And in either case we can’t simply define the issue away by saying, in effect: humans are the result of a natural process without intelligence, so whatever humans produce is also the result of a natural process without intelligence. It simply doesn’t follow.

  310. 310
    kairosfocus says:

    AK, it was long since pointed out that as we are contingent designers, we do not exhaust the set of possible designers. What we demonstrate instead is that designers are possible. Indeed in our cells we bear signs of design not only antecedent to our species but to cell based life. The objection is an irrelevant one. KF

  311. 311
    EricMH says:

    @EA, yes it is circular, but it is also circular when ID proponents use human artifacts to make their argument. That’s my point.

    At any rate, ID doesn’t have a positive case to make. Darwinism doesn’t work mathematically, true. But, to then say intelligence did it adds no content to the discussion, since we have no positive theory of intelligence. All we know is that something other than chance and necessity is at work.

  312. 312
    gpuccio says:

    bill cole:

    Please don’t tell me that they are still using nylonase as an argument pro evolution!

    I am not aware of the discussion by Sal, but I have discussed that topic many times here, in the past. Paul Giem and I also did some good work to show how Ohno’s theory was completely wrong. I remember that we discussed that with Piotr, a very good ID critic that I remember with great esteem. You can find my discussion with Piotr (and Mark Frank, another very good antagonist) in the discussion following my OP:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/four-fallacies-evolutionists-make-when-arguing-about-biological-function-part-1/

    Starting from comment #10 and with a very detailed discussion at comment #21. And very good interventions by Paul Giem too!

    Piotr, being the honest and intelligent interlocutor that he is, admitted in the end that our case against the Ohno hypothesis was quite good. That’s one of the few admissions fron the other field that I have ever witnessed! 🙂

    Piotr, Mark Frank, where are you?

  313. 313
    tribune7 says:

    EricMH

    “Can something with CSI occur by law or chance? What?”. . . Human created artifacts, if humans are artificial intelligences.

    OK, you’ll have to spell this out.

  314. 314
    Allan Keith says:

    Kairosfocus,

    AK, it was long since pointed out that as we are contingent designers, we do not exhaust the set of possible designers.

    And it has long since been pointed out that an equally strong inference can be made between all known design and a being who’s cerebral cortex comprises more than 80% of its brain.

  315. 315
    bill cole says:

    gpuccio

    Please don’t tell me that they are still using nylonase as an argument pro evolution!

    This is the data (Ono’s) that Dennis Venema used when we discussed Doug Axes results. He used this paper to claim that Axe’s experiment could not be right 🙂

    Now we know that Doug’s data is probably conservative for nuclear proteins based on your superb work on the spliceosome.

  316. 316

    EA, I see that. I’ll won’t waste his time or mine.

    JVL you might want to show a little mercy on us all. You’ve staked out your position fairly clearly; you don’t know and don’t want to know. From your comments, you very obviously think we are somewhat deluded, but you’ve adopted the weakest position among us.

  317. 317
    kairosfocus says:

    AK, it has also been shown that no computational substrate by itself rises above cause-effect chains triggered by functional organisation and signals processing. That is, such are NOT carrying out rational, responsible, freely contemplative, meaning-driven insight and inference. Brains are such a substrate. Mind, contrary to the evolutionary materialistic thesis, is not accounted for on brains or the like computational substrate. Design is a result of mind at work. In short, the attempt to artificially inject the evolutionary materialistic reduction of mind to brain fails, and indeed that is further compounded by the idea of programming such by incrementally filtered lucky noise and yet again by the resulting self-referential undermining of reason. KF

    PS: Just as one example, Reppert again:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    Haldane, similarly, long since noted:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

    In short, evolutionary materialism is self-falsifying through self-referential incoherence.

  318. 318
    Allan Keith says:

    Kairosfocus,

    AK, it has also been shown that no computational substrate by itself rises above cause-effect chains triggered by functional organisation and signals processing. That is, such are NOT carrying out rational, responsible, freely contemplative, meaning-driven insight and inference. Brains are such a substrate.

    Unfortunately, there is a huge difference between opinion and fact. This is obviously getting off topic, but there is no evidence that our mind/conscious/id/ego, whatever you want to call it, is not the outcome of the physical and chemical brain. We know that we can alter these by altering the physical or chemical nature of the brain. The mind may be something outside the brain, but their is no compelling evidence to suggest this. Sadly, the best explanation of the soul is that it is wish fulfilling. We would all like to think that there is something beyond what we have physically.

  319. 319
    JVL says:

    ET

    Look, JVL, there are many people that absolutely NEED there to be a materialistic answer for the genetic code. These people will say and do anything to keep their hopes alive.

    You are wanting us to believe that blind and mindless processes can do the magical- do something that we can’t even do. That is the reason for any derision.

    I’m not wanting anyone to ‘believe’ anything. I’m going to keep an open mind about what sounds like a fascinating line of research.

    Eric Anderson

    JVL, this an old concept, thoroughly debunked in the 1970’s. The reason you are getting derision is that it is a complete non-starter and it has been known as a non-starter for decades.

    I’m glad you want to know the truth. In that case, you need to start looking at the issues and not just reading pro-evolution articles from places like Biologos.

    I’ll try and stay unbiased.

    It has been known for many years, on the basis of biochemistry, that there is not a chemical basis for either the genetic code or the ordering of nucleotides in DNA. In addition, it is well known, on the basis of information theory, that an information-rich system requires that there not be a chemical basis. It cannot be “pure chemistry.” Further, the storage medium itself must be contingent. There is an inverse relationship between any process that drives toward a particular outcome (such as would be the case with a chemically-driven process) and the ability of a medium to store information. Serious researchers in the field have known this for decades.

    Like I said, I will try and stay unbiased.

    It took me less than 5 minutes to find that a key part of Venema’s argument seems to be that the information in DNA isn’t really information, but is just a convenience label we are applying. Is that consistent with your understanding of what he is saying?

    I don’t remember that particular point but I will reread that section.

    You are on a very slippery intellectual slope if you allow Venema to be your guide in this area. He is absolutely mistaken — spectacularly so — and your honest search for the truth is in serious jeopardy if you buy into his grasping at straws and rejection of the clear role of information in biology, all so that he can deny the role of design in biology or whatever other agenda he is pushing.

    Do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for your information.

    I will try and think critically and stay unbiased.

    gpuccio

    ust two points: I don’t want you to doubt, you can believe as you like. But becoming a convinced discussant in favor of a theory that you don’t understand at the biological level makes you become just a sounding board for academic authority. Why do you want to personally discuss something that you don’t really understand?

    When I read about peer-reviewed research discussed in a highly visible public forum with a good academic reputation then my inclination is to take it seriously.

    The second point is: peer review. I am not saying that the data presented by Yarus are wrong (although doubts about his statistical methods have been proposed). But that’s not the point. The point is that his conclusions are practically irrelevant and do not provide any credible scenario for his hypotheses. So his work can be considered as side work which could have some relevance if and when supported by a real theory, but nothing more.

    The simple fact is that the genetic code is symbolic in the only place that counts: observed reality.

    I shall do my best to be a critical thinker and be unbiased.

    bill cole

    Salvador Cordova(used to post here) has recently shown through an extensive search that the Nylonese enzyme existed prior to Nylon so Venema”s example is wrong.

    Flavobacterium existed prior to nylon or the strain that digests nylon? According to Wikipedia that strain was discovered in 1975.

    If your were to wake up every morning and make random changes to the direct dial numbers stored in your cell phone do you think you would find new friends?

    DNA and Proteins are sequential information just like your cell phone. Random changes move it to non function over time.

    I understand the basics.

    Upright Biped

    JVL you might want to show a little mercy on us all. You’ve staked out your position fairly clearly; you don’t know and don’t want to know. From your comments, you very obviously think we are somewhat deluded, but you’ve adopted the weakest position among us.

    I don’t think you or anyone else here is deluded. I think the research highlighted sounds fascinating and promising and apparently it has led to much follow-on work. I will do my best to cast a critical eye and stay unbiased.

  320. 320
    Eric Anderson says:

    AK @318:

    So you disagree with Haldane and prefer to saw off the branch on which you are sitting? So be it.

    Also, it is simply silly to assert that there is “no evidence” that the mind is separate from the physical and chemical brain. There is an entire area of research devoted to the mind-body problem, participated in by committed materialists who are at least honest enough to recognize that this is a serious issue and that there are compelling arguments on the other side of the table.

    Oh well, I guess your opinion isn’t surprising, though not to be taken at all seriously. After all, it is but the outcome of chemical reactions, rather than any independent thought . . .

  321. 321
    Eric Anderson says:

    JVL:

    Thank you for your measured and reasonable response @319.

    I do hope you will maintain your goal of being unbiased and casting a critical eye. When we are at the beginning stage of looking into these issues, that is a key component and is perhaps all we can ask. We’ve all been there at one point or another.

    My only caution is that you have received fair warning about the sources you are currently reviewing. Feel free to continue reviewing them. But also look more broadly, including to those with a more critical and skeptical eye toward the traditional evolutionary story. You will discover a fascinating and amazing intellectual journey as soon as you are open to the possibility that the standard story might not be all it is cracked up to be. But you need to be willing to really consider the possibility, sincerely and deeply, not just as a matter of minor curiosity or as lip service.

    Do feel free to return and report once you’ve had a chance to digest a bit more. We’d be happy to discuss the issues in more depth.

    Best,

  322. 322
    JVL says:

    Eric Anderson

    I do hope you will maintain your goal of being unbiased and casting a critical eye. When we are at the beginning stage of looking into these issues, that is a key component and is perhaps all we can ask. We’ve all been there at one point or another.

    I try hard to make sure I always consider input from dissenters; it’s important not to only listen to one choir.

    My only caution is that you have received fair warning about the sources you are currently reviewing. Feel free to continue reviewing them. But also look more broadly, including to those with a more critical and skeptical eye toward the traditional evolutionary story. You will discover a fascinating and amazing intellectual journey as soon as you are open to the possibility that the standard story might not be all it is cracked up to be. But you need to be willing to really consider the possibility, sincerely and deeply, not just as a matter of minor curiosity or as lip service.

    I understand. I think the fact that I did choose to participate here shows that I am trying to consider all points of view.

    Do feel free to return and report once you’ve had a chance to digest a bit more. We’d be happy to discuss the issues in more depth.

    Thanks! You’ve been very kind and I appreciate the time you’ve taken responding to me.

  323. 323
    gpuccio says:

    JVL:

    “Flavobacterium existed prior to nylon or the strain that digests nylon? According to Wikipedia that strain was discovered in 1975.”

    Please look at my comment at #312 and to my linked comments there.

    This is a good example of how a wrong idea is kept in the discussions for years.

    Indeed it has been known for years that Ohno’s hypothesis of the emergence of nylonase by by a frameshit mutation was wrong. Even Wikipedia has been giving the right information for years, however cautiously. See at “nylon eating bacteria”:

    This discovery led geneticist Susumu Ohno in a paper published in April 1984 to speculate that the gene for one of the enzymes, 6-aminohexanoic acid hydrolase, had come about from the combination of a gene duplication event with a frameshift mutation.[3] Ohno suggested that many unique new genes have evolved this way.

    A 2007 paper that described a series of studies by a team led by Seiji Negoro of the University of Hyogo, Japan, suggested that in fact no frameshift mutation was involved in the evolution of the 6-aminohexanoic acid hydrolase[4]

    The reference at [4] is:

    The paper by Negoro which cleraly shows that nylonase is derived from a penicillinase by a couple of AA substitutions is of 2005:

    X-ray crystallographic analysis of 6-aminohexanoate-dimer hydrolase: molecular basis for the birth of a nylon oligomer-degrading enzyme.

    http://www.jbc.org/content/280/47/39644.long

    Abstract
    6-Aminohexanoate-dimer hydrolase (EII), responsible for the degradation of nylon-6 industry by-products, and its analogous enzyme (EII?) that has only ?0.5% of the specific activity toward the 6-aminohexanoate-linear dimer, are encoded on plasmid pOAD2 of Arthrobacter sp. (formerly Flavobacterium sp.) KI72. Here, we report the three-dimensional structure of Hyb-24 (a hybrid between the EII and EII? proteins; EII?-level activity) by x-ray crystallography at 1.8 Å resolution and refined to an R-factor and R-free of 18.5 and 20.3%, respectively. The fold adopted by the 392-amino acid polypeptide generated a two-domain structure that is similar to the folds of the penicillin-recognizing family of serine-reactive hydrolases, especially to those of D-alanyl-D-alanine-carboxypeptidase from Streptomyces and carboxylesterase from Burkholderia. Enzyme assay using purified enzymes revealed that EII and Hyb-24 possess hydrolytic activity for carboxyl esters with short acyl chains but no detectable activity for D-alanyl-D-alanine. In addition, on the basis of the spatial location and role of amino acid residues constituting the active sites of the nylon oligomer hydrolase, carboxylesterase, D-alanyl-D-alanine-peptidase, and ?-lactamases, we conclude that the nylon oligomer hydrolase utilizes nucleophilic Ser112 as a common active site both for nylon oligomer-hydrolytic and esterolytic activities. However, it requires at least two additional amino acid residues (Asp181 and Asn266) specific for nylon oligomer-hydrolytic activity. Here, we propose that amino acid replacements in the catalytic cleft of a preexisting esterase with the beta-lactamase fold resulted in the evolution of the nylon oligomer hydrolase.

    (emphasis mine)

    My personal contribution to the discussion, in the comments linked at #312, together with Paul Giem (we worked privately at the issue, by email exxhange) has been to reconstruct the supposed ancestral protein from the Ohno paper, and show that it has necer existed at all (by blasting it against all existing proteins and demonstrating that it has no detectable homology with any).

    Nylonase is just another example of simple microevolution by a couple of mutations, like penicillin resistance, interestingly mediated by the highly adaptational plasmid system. But a wrong idea of Ohno (1984) is still circulating and is still used as “evidence” against ID, even if the truth has been known at least since 2005. This is a clear example of the cognitive bias that affects biology and the debate about ID.

    As you said:

    “I shall do my best to be a critical thinker and be unbiased.”

    I hope you apply it.

  324. 324
    ET says:

    JVL:

    I’m not wanting anyone to ‘believe’ anything. I’m going to keep an open mind about what sounds like a fascinating line of research.

    And looking for a natural cause for Stonehenge sounds like a fascinating line of research. Looking for unicorns sounds like a fascinating line of research. Looking for the Loch Ness monster sounds like a fascinating line of research.

  325. 325
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Unfortunately, there is a huge difference between opinion and fact. This is obviously getting off topic, but there is no evidence that our mind/conscious/id/ego, whatever you want to call it, is not the outcome of the physical and chemical brain.

    There isn’t any evidence that it is the outcome of the physical and chemical brain.

    We know that we can alter these by altering the physical or chemical nature of the brain.

    And you can alter how the software operates by changing the hardware. Does that mean the software is the hardware?

  326. 326
    kairosfocus says:

    AK,

    Actually, the matter is directly relevant, in terms of the power of plausibility.

    It seems that as is usual with a deeply rooted problem, there is a nest of mutually supportive but fundamentally flawed notions at work. And BTW, J B S Haldane is actually one of the co-founders of the Neo-Darwinian synthesis. His warning is well founded. And so is the force of the logic of self-referential incoherence.

    Let’s look at the core of your response, perhaps just for record for now, as it is really hard to change a socially strongly supported view even if it is manifestly in serious error. Okay:

    >>there is no evidence that>>

    1 –> This is a classic selectively hyperskeptical gambit of dismissing evidence one does not wish to acknowledge. Notice, that’s where you start. A more accurate summary would be that there is no evidence you are willing to acknowledge as having warranting force.

    2 –> Now, I have studied, designed and built computing systems, programming at machine code level. That’s just to give background. Such are dynamic-stochastic entities (we try to keep glitches under control or manage them!), and process inputs based on stored information, feedback and organisation of functional units to give outputs.

    3 –> Where, digital, analogue and for that matter neural systems (memristors being a technology I am currently slowly discussing at UD) all fall under this signal processing paradigm. Computation is about causally connected dynamic-stochastic signal processing, it is not about understanding, meaning, insight, rational inference etc, save where that has gone into the design and development or programming.

    4 –> That is, computation is not rational contemplation, these are categorically distinct phenomena.

    5 –> Where also, the first datum of our action as intelligent, rational, responsible, significantly free agents is that we are self-aware, conscious, rationally contemplative unified entities. It is through this first fact that we access all others and it is through this that we are able to reason, warrant, know, choose, decide and act.

    6 –> Denying this simply engages the logic of self-referential incoherence and self-falsification. Which is what Reppert and Haldane highlighted:

    REPPERT: . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    HALDANE: “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

    >>there is no evidence that our mind/conscious/id/ego, whatever you want to call it, is not the outcome of the physical and chemical brain.>>

    8 –> There is abundant evidence, some of which has been summarised, just you are declaring a policy of selective hyperskepticism.

    >> We know that we can alter these by altering the physical or chemical nature of the brain.>>

    9 –> There is evidence of being able to warp brain and CNS function, that is not evidence that reduces mind to brain. We are cybernetic, reflexively causal embodied entities indeed [cf. my use of Eng Derek Smith’s model here at UD etc] but we also have strong evidence that computation is categorically distinct from rational, insight driven, responsible contemplation.

    >> The mind may be something outside the brain, but their is no compelling evidence to suggest this.>>

    10 –> Again, there is evidence that computational substrates are in effect glorified, refined rock. There is further evidence that such signal processing entities inherently are about mechanical dynamic-stochastic causal chains, not about insight and meaning. Which latter lie at the heart of mindedness.

    11 –> Such evidence points to how mindedness is simply categorically distinct from a mechanically causal process such as computation, thence that matter and material, dynamic-stochastic processes do not exhaust reality as we experience it.

    12 –> Moreover, it is through that rational, responsible contemplative, self-aware mindedness that we access even the physical world as unified selves.

    >> Sadly, the best explanation of the soul is that it is wish fulfilling.>>

    13 –> Sadly, the best explanation for psychologising away the evidence of rational contemplation vs. mechanical, dynamic-stochastic computation, is that it is wish fulfillment. Especially in a day when there is a deeply entrenched, institutionalised ideology of evolutionary materialistic scientism that is in large part motivated by glorified teen ager rebellion against God as Father, seeking to lock God or anything remotely suggestive of God from the domain of what many wish to acknowledge. As, Lewontin so clearly but inadvertently let the cat out of the bag about.

    14 –> In short, your objection has again become self-referential and self-defeating.

    KF

  327. 327
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Lewontin, let us realise the blunders of the entrenched secularist elite:

    . . . to put a correct [–> Just who here presume to cornering the market on truth and so demand authority to impose?] view of the universe into people’s heads

    [==> as in, “we” the radically secularist elites have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . where of course “view” is patently short for WORLDVIEW . . . and linked cultural agenda . . . ]

    we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> “explanations of the world” is yet another synonym for WORLDVIEWS; the despised “demon[ic]” “supernatural” being of course an index of animus towards ethical theism and particularly the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition], the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  328. 328
    EricMH says:

    @tribune7, if humans create the CSI in human artifacts, and humans are artificial intelligences, then since artificial intelligence is a purely a mechanism of chance and necessity, then human artifacts are an example of chance and necessity creating CSI.

  329. 329
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, the if game again. The basic search challenge issue undermines it utterly. KF

  330. 330
    Eric Anderson says:

    EricMH @328:

    So very wrong.

    Maybe you missed my comment in the flurry. Please read 309.

  331. 331
    EricMH says:

    @EA, I did respond, but I’ll respond again.

    The problem is that if human intelligence is the product of chance and necessity, then since chance and necessity cannot produce anything other than chance and necessity, human intelligence must also reduce to chance and necessity.

    So, if we then hold up human artifacts as examples of intelligence creating CSI, all this demonstrates, given the previous paragraph, is that chance and necessity can create CSI.

    We have to first prove that human intelligence is not reducible to chance and necessity, i.e. can do something a Turing machine cannot do, in order use human artifacts as a definitive example of non-chance and necessity creating CSI.

    Otherwise, using human intelligence is circular, as you say.

    @KF, yes, the combinatorics of what humans produce belie a chance and necessity origin. I agree with that. Vertical no free lunch and all. So, either the human mind is some kind of halting oracle, or an artificial intelligence of divine origin. The former would be intelligence proper, the latter is a variant of chance and necessity, so could not properly be said to be the creator of CSI.

  332. 332
    Origenes says:

    EricMH@

    Aren’t you equating ultimate and proximate cause?
    In your scenario, saying that a spaceship comes about by chance and necessity (by way of evolution) is as meaningful as saying that the big bang did it.
    The scientific proximate cause of a spaceship is intelligent design, no matter what.

  333. 333
    EricMH says:

    @Origenes, yes the question is of proximate and ultimate cause. What I am saying is that if the mind is an algorithm, then the proximate cause of all human artifacts (spaceships) is chance and necessity.

    You can argue the ultimate cause of the human mind AI is something other than chance and necessity, this mysterious “intelligence”, but then use of the human mind to support the inference to design is circular.

  334. 334
    gpuccio says:

    EricMH:

    The “if” you suggest (without believing it, I think) completely avoids the problem that intelligence in humans is linked to the conscious experience of understanding meaning, and that no system based on chance and necessity taht we kinow of has conscious experiecnes, least of all the experiecne of meaning.

    A Turing machine is not conscious, therefore it cannot do the things that a human can do, least of all generating new original functional information.

    We don’t have to “first prove that human intelligence is not reducible to chance and necessity”. SWe know that human intelligence depends on conscious experiences, and there there is not even a trace of evidence or of rationale that shows that consciousness can originate from chance and necessity. Indeed, the opposite is true.

    So, anyone who wants to use that “if” in a sceintific reasoning must first prove that chance and necessity can be considered a valid explanation for conscious experiences.

    I am not holding my breath.

    Unless and until someone does that, we can definitely use conscious intelligent experiences as the best, observable explanation for the functional complexity linked to design, and to design only. That reasoning is not circular at all: it is simply the obvious (and true) empirical explanation.

  335. 335
    gpuccio says:

    EricMH:

    “@Origenes, yes the question is of proximate and ultimate cause. What I am saying is that if the mind is an algorithm, then the proximate cause of all human artifacts (spaceships) is chance and necessity.

    You can argue the ultimate cause of the human mind AI is something other than chance and necessity, this mysterious “intelligence”, but then use of the human mind to support the inference to design is circular.”

    This is the error in your reasoning.

    The human mind can be an algorithm (at least part of it certainly is), but it is an algorithm operated by a conscious subject. That makes all the difference.

    It’s like the difference between the demo of a videogame, which goes on algorithmically, and a real play, where a conscious player continuously interacts with the game.

    So, “the ultimate cause of the human mind AI” and of what it can do that non conscious forms of AI cannot do, is not “mysterious” at all. It’s consciousness, the presence of definite subjective experiences, so little mysterious that we can observe them at all times in ourselves.

  336. 336
    Origenes says:

    EricMH: … yes the question is of proximate and ultimate cause. What I am saying is that if the mind is an algorithm, then the proximate cause of all human artifacts (spaceships) is chance and necessity.

    No, it isn’t. Your are equating them again. The proximate cause would be an algorithm — or rather the intelligent design which ensues. Now one could argue that the algorithm itself has an ultimate cause in chance & necessity (e.g. the big bang and/or evolution), but that would, obviously, not be the proximate cause of the spaceship.

  337. 337
    Eric Anderson says:

    EricMH @331:

    Thanks for the additional response.

    The problem is that if human intelligence is the product of chance and necessity, then since chance and necessity cannot produce anything other than chance and necessity, human intelligence must also reduce to chance and necessity.

    I understand where you are heading, but it is the fallacy of begging the question. So there is no point in even pursuing the analogy. It breaks down at step 1.

    So, if we then hold up human artifacts as examples of intelligence creating CSI, all this demonstrates, given the previous paragraph, is that chance and necessity can create CSI.

    Again, I understand where you are trying to go. But consider that many materialists would argue that purely natural processes somehow produced intelligence, which is now a new type of cause that can do things chance and necessity originally on their own could not. Indeed, this is probably the most common approach taken by materialists, other than those who believe (or feign to believe) that intelligence, consciousness, free will and the like are all an illusion.

    I presume you acknowledge that intelligence is real, whatever its origin?

    We have to first prove that human intelligence is not reducible to chance and necessity, i.e. can do something a Turing machine cannot do, in order use human artifacts as a definitive example of non-chance and necessity creating CSI.

    No. That is not correct.

    Let’s suppose that we have good reason to suspect that intelligence is real (i.e., the post you wrote was really produced through your intentional and thoughtful activity, rather than the chance outcome of some particles colliding).

    We are not then forced to explain the ultimate origin of that phenomenon to observe that it can do things that other causes cannot.

    You are committing a fallacy if you think that we cannot contrast what we witness about intelligence with what we witness about chance and necessity, and draw any rational observations.

    It is simply false that we have to “prove” something about the origin of intelligence in order to make the very rational observation (one observed multiple times every single day of your life) that intelligence is capable of things — today, on the ground, in real time — that chance and necessity by themselves are not.

    The “if” proposition you keep proposing is not a good answer. It is the final grasping at straws by the materialist to argue (circularly, as we have noted) that perhaps intelligence itself is the result of chance and necessity, thus saving the materialist’s worldview — a proposition for which there is little good evidence and much contrary evidence.

  338. 338
    tribune7 says:

    EricMH]

    if humans create the CSI in human artifacts, and humans are artificial intelligences, then since artificial intelligence is a purely a mechanism of chance and necessity, then human artifacts are an example of chance and necessity creating CSI.

    Well, that would certainly be an interesting thing to consider at 2 a.m. in a dorm room circa 1978.

    OTOH, your position is basically that chance and necessity is all that there is and this denies practical reality. IOW, if someone stole your credit card and emptied your bank account you would not accept that it was just chance and necessity as a reason why authorities ignore your complaint.

    Design is part of reality and if you say that humans are mere automatons programmed by nature hence all design is chance and necessity then forgive us for thinking you are silly and not taking you seriously.

  339. 339
    LocalMinimum says:

    Eh. I can build algorithms which build other algorithms in response to input; sensory or stored. The issue is, that algorithm can only produce lesser algorithms; or, every potential algorithm must be encoded between the input and the algorithm itself. Also, the effectiveness of the generated algorithms relies directly on a higher order process’ (the coder’s) understanding of the input set.

    For any significant portion of the output algorithms to be stored in the input…well, first, they have to be reliably found in the input. Then the generator algorithm has to be specifically coded to use the algorithm components stored in the input. And, again, it all still descends from a higher order process – the mind of the programmer that foresaw and built the algorithm around those properties of the input.

    So any generator that would build a greater generator would first have to be capable of generating a set of functions from which that greater generator can emerge – then it would have to be fed that larger generator formatted into an input set it understands. This wouldn’t be random at all, of course.

    So, lower order CSI can be expressed by higher order CSI via necessity? (correction is quite welcome) But randomness could only determine what lesser order is expressed; and only within the repertoire of the higher order CSI.

    So, I would infer the human mind necessitates a higher order generator function, which is at the very least encoded with human intellect. For such a function to not be intelligent itself, but to be a pure template instancing function for human intellect…would have me searching eternally for an even greater Intellect preceding.

  340. 340
    ET says:

    EricMH@331:

    The problem is that if human intelligence is the product of chance and necessity, then since chance and necessity cannot produce anything other than chance and necessity, human intelligence must also reduce to chance and necessity.

    Well duh. If human intelligence is the product of chance and necessity then obviously human intelligence is reducible to chance and necessity.

    And yes that would make the word “artifact” superfluous as it would all trace back to mother nature (just as computer programs trace back to their programmers which in turn trace back to mother nature).

    This is why the origin of life is key. If mother nature did it then ID is basically done. On the other hand Intelligently Designed origins means they were intelligently designed with the ability to adapt/ evolve.

  341. 341
    EricMH says:

    @EA my point is yes, it is circular to appeal to human intelligence, on both sides of the debate. ET at 340 gets this.

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