Intelligent Design

A Quiz for Intelligent Design Critics

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In the near decade that I’ve been watching the Intelligent Design movement, one thing has consistently amazed me: the pathological inability of many ID critics to accurately represent what ID actually is, what claims and assumptions are made on the part of the most noteworthy ID proponents, and so on. Even ID critics who have been repeatedly informed about what ID is seem to have a knack for forgetting this in later exchanges. It’s frustrating – and this from a guy who’s not even a defender of ID as science.

But I’m interested in progress on this front, and I think I’ve come up with a good solution: let’s have an ID quiz. And let’s put this quiz to critics, in public, so at the very least we can see whether or not they’re even on the same page as the ID proponents they are criticizing.

I want to stress here: the goal of this quiz isn’t to score points, or force ID proponents to concede controversial things – asking ‘Is there a complete and satisfactory origin of life theory?’ is an important question, but it’s not what I’m after here. I’m talking about the bare and basic essentials of Intelligent Design arguments, as offered by Dembski, Behe and others.

To that end, here’s the quiz I’ve come up with, just by recalling off the top of my head the systematic mistakes I see made:

1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?

5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?

10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

This list could be tweaked or expanded, I’m sure. But I have a suspicion here: I think many ID critics, at least critics of public note, would be unable to pass the quiz I just outlined. Not just unable, but unwilling – because to answer it would be to obliterate some common misrepresentations of Intelligent Design, and for whatever reason, those misrepresentations are very important to people. And pardon the repeated inclusion of ‘as offered by its most noteworthy proponents’ bit – I’m being stuffy about that because I don’t want to see someone exploit a loophole and run off on a tangent.

Regardless, I offer this quiz for ID regulars – critics and supporters alike. Feel free to take it in the comments if you’re interested! I can already name a few ID critics on UD I think would successfully pass the test, and maybe some ID proponents would actually fail it. Perhaps we’ll see.

192 Replies to “A Quiz for Intelligent Design Critics

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    Nice quiz, small problem-> you may have to make the rounds on anti-ID sites to observe any responses. Not too many left hanging here-

    My answers: Y,Y,N,N,Y,N,Y,X,N,N

    X- Everything is completely front loaded, right from the start? I would say if it is indishtiguishable from nature, operating freely, then you cannot infer design. I will stick with that.

  2. 2
    nullasalus says:

    Joe,

    Actually, once I get some feedback from some UD regulars, I may actually start sending this quiz around to ID critics by email.

    Regarding 8: interesting, I’ll have to think about that. Either way I didn’t mean to say ‘indistinguishable from nature, operating freely’. In that case we know of the hypothetical designer. It’s just 7 with an engineer specifically cited instead of a ‘God’ or the like.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    nullasalus,

    I see an engineer in 7 & 8. 7- just requires more engineering involvement whereas 8 is like Star Trek’s “Genesis Project” in “The Wrath of Khan”.

    And I said “if it is indishtiguishable from nature, operating freely, then you cannot infer design.” You didn’t say nor imply such a thing. I was/ am unclear what 8 entails. Is it front-loading, right from the start?

    Good luck with your emails. Once you get it refined let us know. I want to take it to the local schools and talk with the science teachers. I know a few at the high school and college levels.

  4. 4
    nullasalus says:

    Joe,

    Yes, it’s front-loading. I’ll try to make that more clear in a revision.

    And thanks. We’ll see what happens. I have a theory about these questions, especially if they get tightened up a bit more: I think many ID critics will be completely unable to answer them correctly. Not out of ignorance – I could supply links to quotes from Behe, Dembski, Meyer, etc, to help them get all the right answers.

    I really think that many of them would rather choke than present ID as ID proponents themselves see and offer it, because to do so would be to undercut their most common criticisms and complicate their goals. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. That’s part of the fun.

  5. 5
    NeilBJ says:

    Questions 4 and 5 are not easy to answer for me.

    If there is design in nature, as I believe there is, there must be a designer.

    Regarding Q4, it is true that ID propenents do not propose who the designer is, but as I said there must be a designer.

    To propose a biological entity of some kind only moves the question back a level. I will not accept an infinite regression either.

    A previous post linked to a comment by Dr. James F. McGrath, who said:

    Can God make a universe capable of self-organization? If so, then there is no way to make the case that complexity reflects direct design by a tinkering God, as opposed to natural processes in a universe made by an extremely clever God. And if not, why do you posit a god that is so limited?

    I have some problems with that observation. What does Dr. McGrath mean by natural processes? Processes set up to somehow create life are not “natural”, since natural processes as the ID folks consider them are not capable of creating living organisms. Is Dr. McGrath proposing not only am extremely clever god, but a trickster god?

    I suppose a God who creates the world but chooses to hide from it would be compatible with atheism.

  6. 6
    nullasalus says:

    To propose a biological entity of some kind only moves the question back a level. I will not accept an infinite regression either.

    Alright, but at that point you’re no longer engaged in ID reasoning. You’re off into some other field – philosophy, metaphysics, etc. Which is great, and I encourage people to deal with those questions. They’re just not ID questions.

    James McGrath is actually someone I have in mind here for hopefully taking this quiz sometime.

  7. 7

    Thanks, nullasalus. Pretty good list.

    I’m not clear, however, on #8.

    8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

    Could you maybe rephrase it or give me an example of a scenario (even a thought experiment would be helpful) that falls in this category?

    Thanks,

  8. 8
    nullasalus says:

    Eric,

    Could you maybe rephrase it or give me an example of a scenario (even a thought experiment would be helpful) that falls in this category?

    Sure thing.

    Take a hypothetical scientist. Very intelligent, and he has a lot of technology at his disposal. He places organism A into environment 1. He’s trying to ‘produce’ organism B. He knows that by placing A in 1, over time he’s going to get organism B. Say he knows with certainty when and where B will even show up – it will take so many generations, these interactions will take place, these mutations will take place, and so on. He’s not omniscient, he’s just very smart and knows what’s going to transpire in the environment in all relevant ways. He can do this without interacting with either 1 (the environment) or A (the organism) past the initial introduction of A into 1. As he predicted and expected, the combination of A plus 1 eventually produces B.

    It’s just artificial breeding on another scale, really.

    Here’s where I think people may be thrown: what’s important here isn’t whether or not ID proponents would be able to detect the hypothetical scientist’s design. We’re not looking at this from the perspective of uninformed outsiders. We’re looking at this from the perspective of informed insiders – we know that this hypothetical scientist (for the purposes of the example) does exist, we know his intentions, we know he knows all these things about A and 1 and the results, we know what he’s trying to do with A and 1, we know that he succeeds.

    So is B an instance of intelligent design?

  9. 9
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hi Null,

    In #7 and #8 you start your description with “a designer starts an evolutionary process” …which requires the very thing most in question -> the rise of an functional translation system (i.e. the origin of the first instance of specification on earth).

  10. 10

    Good questions, but if I.D. is such a big tent, including theists and atheists, creationists and evolutionists, even front-loaded Darwinians, then why do some people including Shapiro have to explain to you guys why he does not call himself an “I.D.ist?”

    And if “I.D. is so broad as to include folks who can’t agree whether the scientific evidence points in the direction of the cosmos being 6,000 or billions of years old, and who can’t agree whether the scientific evidence points to organisms having popped into existence out of thin air in the past, or their genes were directly manipulated countless times over billions of years, or their genes evolved due to natural forces front-loaded since the Big Bang,” then that’s not exactly supporting “science” as a way of “knowing,” it’s more like a big happy grab bag called, “I.D.” Either science has or science has not a preponderance of evidence that supports a slightly narrower field of options than the “Discovery Institute” wishes to keep open? Might as well call such a wide field “philosophy” rather than “science.”

    In fact the Discovery Institute seems a lot like the Institute for Creation Research, in that I don’t see scientists rushing to join it. It’s the same old small cadre of faces, and the same in-house funded journal.

    Meanwhile, in the world of science at large, we have new fields opening up all the time, including new sub-fields in complexity theory and information theory. I.D.ists don’t seem to realize that science investigates connections, without ceasing just because someone says “we have reached a point of so-called “irreducibility.” Science keeps probing for connections in time, space, genetics, etc.

    Another thing I.D.ists seem prone to doing is assuming that the mere mention of words like “design,” “intelligence,” “complexity” and “information” are proof of something in and of themselves, as if such words, concepts and mathematical theories were superimposed on top of reality instead of being words and mathematical models that humans invent to try and model how the cosmos is connected and interacts with other parts of the cosmos. The point that I.D.ists seem to forget is that it is doubtful to argue that words are equal to things, maps are equal to the territory, and that models equal reality. “What reality does” is what is being modeled, not the other way round. (Unless one is a mathematical Platonist. But that is more a philosophical question than a scientific one.)

  11. 11

    nullasalus:

    Understood, thanks. As you’ve described it, I would say that it is an example of intelligent design. Maybe #8 needs to be worded a bit differently, though, to make it clear that the designer is actually doing something — i.e., reviewing, analyzing, making determinations about what will or won’t happen, and then placing initial conditions such that X will result. In other words, it is a combination of great knowledge, plus the ability to set up the initial conditions of the experiment.

    The part that threw me was the phrase “only used completely ‘natural’ means in setting up the experiment . . .”

    What you described in comment #8, is more like “allowed only completely ‘natural’ processes to operate after setting up the experiment.” I’m not sure how “natural means” could set up an experiment, so presumably the designer had to act to set up the experiment? Unless all you are driving at is the old red herring of “supernatural” action . . . ?

    Anyway, just a couple of thoughts on perhaps making #8 a bit clearer.

  12. 12

    Apologies I’m just getting to these piecemeal . . .

    “10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?”

    What is an “Intelligent Design claim”?

    Are you asking whether the creationist has made a valid critique of intelligent design? Are you asking whether the creationist has said anything relevant to intelligent design? Or are you asking whether the creationist has used an intelligent design argument?

  13. 13
    Upright BiPed says:

    Babinski, you try way too hard to be a critic. You come off as a bit of an uninformed ass instead. Are you trying to shake off your former fundamentalism by projecting it onto others?

    And for some reason, you seem to think science needs your defense. So please allow me to ask: Does the science you’re defending demonstrate how the local regularities in genetic translation came to be instantiated by unguided processes, or does it simply assume that they did. If it is merely an assumption, then what do they do with the universal contrary evidence?

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    What’s a “front-loaded Darwinian”? Is that a darwinian front-loaded with BS? 🙂

    As for Shapiro, he says, without evidence, that his natural genetic engineering evolved via blind and undirected chemical processes.

    Hey Ed, are scientists still looking for a way that Mother Nature could have produced Stonehenge? Or have they ceased “just because someone says “we have reached a point of so-called “irreducibility.” “?

  15. 15
    scordova says:

    1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?
    YES

    2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?
    YES

    3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?
    NO

    4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?
    NO

    5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?
    YES

    6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)
    NO

    7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?
    YES

    8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?
    YES

    9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?
    NO

    10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?
    NO

    ID is the study of patterns that signify intelligence. It’s not some grand philosophical or theological or scientific statement. Those are interesting questions but go outside the basic question, “Does something look designed?”

  16. 16
    tvarhegyi says:

    My answer is 1=N, 2=N, 3=N, 4=N, 5=N, 6=N, 7=Y, 8=?, 9=N, 10=N.

    On #8, I would like someone to explain to me just what exactly would starting an experiment using only “natural means” entail ? Natural as atheists and evolutionists use means only one thing : no intelligent agency. So doing #8 would read : Can an intelligent designer set up an experiment without using intelligent causes? The answer is clearly no. Then #8 is a trick question, the answer must be ? or not applicable.

  17. 17
    nullasalus says:

    tvarhegyi,

    My answer is 1=N, 2=N, 3=N, 4=N, 5=N, 6=N, 7=Y, 8=?, 9=N, 10=N.

    You were wrong about 1, 2 and 5.

    Regarding 8 – they’d better not mean ‘no intelligent agency’, or they’d have to define all known acts of intelligent agents as non-natural.

    8 seems to be the trickiest question I’ve asked so far, so I’ll revise it.

    Eric,

    What is an “Intelligent Design claim”?

    A claim that relies exclusively on the reasoning offered and outlined by ID’s most noteworthy proponents.

    Babinski,

    Thank you for illustrating my point.

    Everyone, take a good look at Babinski. He won’t even answer the questions – he skips past them and flies headlong into panic mode, because answering the questions would be detrimental to his religion.

    Upright Biped,

    In #7 and #8 you start your description with “a designer starts an evolutionary process” …which requires the very thing most in question -> the rise of an functional translation system (i.e. the origin of the first instance of specification on earth).

    It does indeed – but the question is whether that particular act is an incident of intelligent design. The relevant issue isn’t ultimate origins in that case, but proximate origins.

  18. 18
    littlejohn says:

    #10, Would not Shapiro be fired, if he call himself an ID’st? (sorry if off topic)

  19. 19
    nullasalus says:

    For any critics with the tenacity to answer the questions, I want to stress something.

    The key to answering these questions is to answer them according to the most prominent ID proponents’ own views on these matters.

    Take a look at question 1:

    1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

    Now, you may believe deep down inside that ID proponents hate and despise evolution and want to prove that it never takes place and all species were created fully formed 6000 years ago, blah blah. Have whatever conspiracy theory you want, that’s fine by me for the purpose of this conversation.

    But what’s key here is ID, not as someone imagines it to secretly be, but ID as Behe, etc, offer it. Part of this is an exercise in the principle of charity – present the ID position as ID proponents themselves present it. And in that case, it’s trivially and obviously true that ID is compatible with the truth of evolution so defined. It’s likewise compatible with common descent – you only have to go as far as Michael Behe to see this.

    To use a comparison – if you were to ask me ‘Does the NCSE argue that it’s important to get people to accept the truth of Darwinian evolution wholly reasons of science literacy, and not for any social/political reasons?’, the answer would be yes. That’s what they argue. Now, I may well believe that they actually don’t care about science or science literacy, and far and away most of their motivation on that front is due to sociopolitical considerations – and in fact, I do believe that. But you’re asking me what they argue, how they present their own case, and that has a clear answer.

    That’s the answer I want here.

  20. 20
    Upright BiPed says:

    Null,

    “The relevant issue isn’t ultimate origins in that case, but proximate origins.”

    You might get some push back on that deal. I think there might be some reasonable confusion on what “proximate origin” means in this context. But if it means the same thing as proximate cause, then materialism is false by necessity.

  21. 21
    nullasalus says:

    Upright Biped,

    You might get some push back on that deal. I think there might be some reasonable confusion on what “proximate origin” means in this context. But if it means the same thing as proximate cause, then materialism is false by necessity.

    Right – I’m going to tweak and revise these questions, so I’m grateful for the people helping me out with that.

    One thing I’m trying to stress with 7 and 8 is that ‘Intelligent Design’ obviously doesn’t just apply to hypothetical actions by God. We see ID all the time. This thread is filled with incidents of intelligent design – we’re stringing together words to form sentences in order to communicate, etc. Artificial selection is a classic example of intelligent design.

    But I need to be clearer and remove wiggle room, so on areas where things aren’t reasonably clear, I’ll amend them. (Past a certain point I won’t care. Really determined skeptics will manipulate the questions to their hearts’ content, but it will be obvious.)

  22. 22
    nullasalus says:

    Here’s one revision possibility.

    7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

    becomes

    Hypothetical scenario: A designer arranges an environment and places organisms in said environment. The designer knows in advance what behaviors said organisms will engage in in this environment, as well as what their offspring will be like, and which traits will show up as a result. The designer at no point intervenes in the environment past the original creation of the environment and introduction of organisms to it. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

    Getting into talk of front loading may be too intellectually tricky to reasonably include in this quiz, so I may scrap it altogether or replace it with a simpler concept. ‘Is artificial selection an example of intelligent design, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?’ etc.

  23. 23
    Upright BiPed says:

    Null at #21

    Then in that vein…

    To do as you say “start an evolutionary process” … requires a genotype and a phenotype if the evolution being spoken of is Darwinian evolution.

    Well, if that is the case (and it is) then design is already on the table, because you can’t get from a genotype to a phenotype without a physical discontinuity and a system instantiated with the means (local arbitrary rules) to resolve that discontinuity (while at the same time preserving it). In other words, the onset of an actual representation instantiated in matter. The only mechanism that can be demonstrated as adequate for the origin of such a thing is design.

    All I am trying to point out is that if a design inference is already on the table in the set up of the question, then what takes place after that is sort of moot (IMO). Perhaps, looking back at the original intent of your questions, it might be said that there are design arguments being made that are perhaps distinct from the “basic essentials of Intelligent Design arguments, as offered by Dembski, Behe and others”. Obviously, your questions needn’t be a test of that idea.

    In any case, I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  24. 24
    bevets says:

    10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

    I dont know any creationists who would make this argument. (For starters, you have not defined ‘evolution’). Creationist believe the accepted time scales contradict the clear meaning of the biblical text.

  25. 25
    nullasalus says:

    I dont know any creationists who would make this argument. (For starters, you have not defined ‘evolution’).

    That wasn’t meant to be a knock at creationists. It’s just an example of someone using the bible to argue against evolution – I can probably improve that somewhat.

  26. 26
    scordova says:

    10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible.

    Suggested wording.

    A creationist argues common descent must be false because the a literal reading of Genesis and the Luke Chapter 3 argues Adam was assembled from the dust of the Earth, not begotten by some pre-existing creature. Is this argument an inference to Design as laid out by the methods of Design Inference?

    I answered the question according to my understanding of the question which is basically the alternative wording I suggested. And my answer is NO. That’s not how to make an inference to Design.

  27. 27
    nullasalus says:

    Scordova,

    That sounds a bit better. Maybe truncated – ‘A creationist argues common descent must be false because they claim a proper reading of Genesis depicts Adam being created with no precursors or biological ancestors. Is this an example of an Intelligent Design inference as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?’

    I think Intelligent Design is easily identifiable as its own intellectual idea enough that people should be able to differentiate it from calling a straight up biblical inference a ‘design inference’.

  28. 28
    Mapou says:

    2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

    In my opinion, in a truly comprehensive ID theory, the answer should be NO. As an advanced intelligent designer, I would find common descent to be a tremendous limitation to my design freedom. I would want to be free to reuse designs across distant branches of the hierarchy.

    When I write object oriented software using a language like Java or C# that does not allow multiple inheritance, I find myself having to copy code (as opposed to inheriting code) from one branch of the class hierarchy to another because the single inheritance mechanism (analogous to common descent) is way too restrictive.

    I propose that the intelligent designers who designed life on earth also used multiple inheritance (so-called lateral gene transfers), a fact that is becoming more and more evident as we unravel the genomes of various species.

  29. 29
    nullasalus says:

    Mapou,

    In my opinion, in a truly comprehensive ID theory, the answer should be NO. As an advanced intelligent designer, I would find common descent to be a tremendous limitation to my design freedom. I would want to be free to reuse designs across distant branches of the hierarchy.

    Sure, but some designers intentionally work within artificial limitations. More than that, this is back to ID as the most prominent proponents put it – and that’s going to include Behe, who flat out accepts common descent.

  30. 30
    Mapou says:

    Mapou,

    In my opinion, in a truly comprehensive ID theory, the answer should be NO. As an advanced intelligent designer, I would find common descent to be a tremendous limitation to my design freedom. I would want to be free to reuse designs across distant branches of the hierarchy.

    Sure, but some designers intentionally work within artificial limitations. More than that, this is back to ID as the most prominent proponents put it – and that’s going to include Behe, who flat out accepts common descent.

    I see what you are saying and nobody is belittling Behe’s contribution to the ID hypothesis. That being said, Behe is neither a prophet from God nor is he an ambassador of some advanced alien civilization. I think it is a terrible mistake to accept common descent. No intelligent designers in their right minds, especially designers with the knowledge and resources to engineer life on earth would tie their hands behind their backs just because they think common descent is good for grins and giggles. That would not make a lick of sense. Just one man’s opinion, of course.

  31. 31
    tvarhegyi says:

    By marking my “NO” answer to #5 as incorrect you claim that ID is compatible with atheism. I would say that if there is one issue both the atheists and ID proponents would agree it is that they are not compatible. Otherwise there would be no contest between the two camps. Atheists deny the existence of any intelligent agency in the origins of the universe, our solar system, Earth and all living beings.
    Can you explain where you are coming from ?

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks:

    As one of the co-authors of UD’s Weak Arguments Correctives (BTW, one of the most visited pages in this blog) Let me take up Null’s quiz:

    >>1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?>>

    Yes, cf. Michael Behe — one of the top three technical proponents of ID.

    >>2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?>>

    Yes, again cf. Michael Behe.

    >>3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?>>

    No, at least as far as the implied focus on the world of life goes.

    As should be better known and more widely discussed, the older “half” of ID is cosmological, that the cosmos shows remarkable signs of fine tuning that fit it from basic physics up, for C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life.

    Even allowing for a multiverse speculation, at root this points to design beyond the cosmos. Such could be argued as a case where science points to something beyond nature as its author. Which also is a point strongly suggested since the 1920’s on cosmic expansion pointing to a beginning.

    >>4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?>>

    Not on the world of life. On cosmological design cf above.

    >>5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?>>

    Strange as it may seem, yes. This is because “atheism” as a worldview level concept is broader than evolutionary materialist, physicalist scientism such as is championed by Lewontin or the new atheists. Some types of atheism and agnosticism are therefore open to or even approving of intelligent design.

    >>6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)>>

    No, it is strictly empirical and works by the inductive inference to best, empirically supported explanation.

    >>7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?>>

    Yes, this would be a form of front loading. The use of engineered retroviri or the like would be similar.

    >>8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?>>

    Yes, 8 is implicit in 7.

    >>9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?>>

    Nope, it would precisely fit in with the observation since Thaxton et al in TMLO, that ID is compatible with a designer of observed life — and so far we have only observed life on earth — being within the cosmos.

    >>10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?>>

    No, that would be a scriptural tradition based claim and is outside the limits of ID. However, the creationist would be entirely in order to point out this bit of ancient wisdom as a dramatisation of the humility challenge faced by all suggested accounts of origins:

    Job 38

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,

    2 Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

    3 Gird up now your loins like a man, and I will demand of you, and you declare to Me.

    4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare to Me, if you have and know understanding.

    5 Who determined the measures of the earth, if you know? Or who stretched the measuring line upon it?

    6 Upon what were the foundations of it fastened, or who laid its cornerstone,

    7 When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

    Our accounts of origins are provisional (as are all scientific explanations) but are further constrained by the simple fact that we cannot directly observe the actual past of origins. So, we in the end explain in light of the vera causa principle of comparing traces of the past to observed present causes capable of causing substantially similar phenomena. Where the cause is the only empirically warranted source of a phenomenon, that phenomenon is a sign. This especially speaks to FSCO/I and dFSCI.

    For, complex functionally specific organisation and associated information (esp coded symbolic, algorithmic or linguistic info) are only seen coming from design. And the needle in haystack analysis easily shows why.

    Call Based Life is full of such.

    KF

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    SalC & Null: I think theistic evolutionists will point out that we today are made from the dust of the earth — cf. “dust to dust, ashes to ashes” etc as is a traditional final pronouncement at funerals and burials [sometimes while decanting a trowel with earth and ashes on it], at least in my part of the world — and that one should not over-read a poetic phrase. KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    ETB, re 10:

    Have you considered the impact of well funded, smearing, willfully distorting and demonising, well poisoning, expelling activism?

    As in the sort of stuff that misrepresented Sternberg as an academic fraud, insinuated political motivation, suggested he was a patty thief [we gotta change our door locks], put him under unprecedented restrictions under a hostile supervisor, and eventually seems to have cost him his marriage?

    (And when the NCSE was confronted on what it was patently up to its neck in, there was a who, me who cares attitude. As in ideological bully-boyism of the worst sort.)

    And more, much more as in the slaughter of the dissidents.

    KF

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    TVH, re 31: Cf my response on 5 at 32, please. As in there is more to atheism than evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat. KF

  36. 36
    Joe says:

    tvarhegyi:

    Atheists deny the existence of any intelligent agency in the origins of the universe, our solar system, Earth and all living beings.

    Reference please. Methinks you are confusing and atheist for a materialist/ naturalist.

  37. 37
    Joe says:

    Neil Rickert conflates IDists with ID:

    It has been my impression that Nullasalus holds a view of ID that is compatible with theistic evolution. But many ID proponents at UD are clearly opposed to theistic evolution. Nullasalus has no problem with common descent, but other ID proponents are clearly against the idea that humans descended from earlier apes.

    IDists don’t like theistic evolutionists because TE’s deny science can detect design on that level. And ID does not argue against UCD, however, seeing that the premise is untestable, IDists can.

    Neil Rickert, confused and it shows.

  38. 38
    Joe says:

    Joe Felsenstein chokes:

    If we divide the arguments of the ID movement into two categories:

    1. Positive predictions as to what a Designer would do, and
    2. Negative arguments that ordinary evolutionary processes can’t explain adaptations that we see

    then we can see that the ID movement has done almost entirely #2. Nullasalus’s questions are almost entirely about #1. Which, as it has been mostly avoided by the ID movement, makes it hard to grapple with.

    LoL! As if archaeologists can prdict what some ancient people’s would have designed.

    But anyway, JF, ID, as with archaeology, forensics and SETI, predicts that when intelligent agencies act they tend to leave traces of their actions behind. And then other intelligent agencies can come along and detect those traces.

    But if you are in love with predictions then please tell us what unguided evolution predicts. PLease be specific and support your claims.

  39. 39
    Joe says:

    Why is it that the skeptical zone NEVER leads by example? They are quick to say that ID is wrong but very slow in demonstrating what is correct.

    What are the predictions of unguided evolution? And how can we tst the claim that unguided evolution produced a bacterial flagellum? They never say.

    I find that very cowardly and very disturbing- meaning I find our opponents to be very disturbed.

  40. 40
    Mark Frank says:

    I just saw this. I should like to say that in the near decade that I’ve been watching the Intelligent Design movement, one thing has consistently amazed me: the pathological inability of many ID proponents to accurately represent what ID actually is, what claims and assumptions are made on the part of the most noteworthy ID proponents, and so on.
    My answers (with comments):

      1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

    Yes – it is compatible with almost anything.

    2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

    Yes – it is compatible with almost anything.

    3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

    No – it doesn’t offer any explanation of any purported incident of design.

    4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?

    No

    5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

    Interesting – in one sense yes but actually it is almost impossible to imagine non-divine creator designing life

    6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

    No

    7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

    Yes

    8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

    Yes but it remains to be seen whether this would be possible in practice.

    9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?

    No.

    10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

    No.

    Here’s quiz on ID for you ID proponents:

    On page 21 of Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence William Dembksi defines the context dependent specified complexity of T given H as –log2[M·N·?S(T)·P(T|H)]

    Consider the context of the bacterial flagellum.

    1. What is T?

    2. What is the function ?S ?

    3. How is ?S(T) estimated?

    4. What is H?

    5. How is P(T|H) estimated?

    6. M·N·?S(T)·P(T|H) is meant to be a probability. Under what conditions might the answer exceed 1?

  41. 41
    Joe says:

    Mark FRank:

    Yes – it is compatible with almost anything.

    It isn’t compatible with evolutionism and it isn’t compatible with materialism.

    No – it doesn’t offer any explanation of any purported incident of design.

    Design is an explanation.

    Interesting – in one sense yes but actually it is almost impossible to imagine non-divine creator designing life

    No, it is pretty easy to imagine a non-devine designer.

    As for Mark’s question- he needs to email Dembski

  42. 42
    Mark Frank says:

    #41 Joe

    Joe – I know the answer to the quiz questions thanks. So I don’t need to e-mail anyone. Just interested to see how many ID proponents do.

  43. 43
    Joe says:

    Really Mark? Then tell us how to determine the probability wrt unguided evolution. If you know the answers to your questions you should be able to do that.

  44. 44
    nullasalus says:

    tvar,

    By marking my “NO” answer to #5 as incorrect you claim that ID is compatible with atheism. I would say that if there is one issue both the atheists and ID proponents would agree it is that they are not compatible. Otherwise there would be no contest between the two camps. Atheists deny the existence of any intelligent agency in the origins of the universe, our solar system, Earth and all living beings.
    Can you explain where you are coming from ?

    I think the mistake you’re making is with thinking ‘there would be no contest between the two camps’. Atheism is compatible with ID, but for activist atheists, it’s still regarded (for now anyway) as a rhetorical net loss. To use a comparison from religion – the existence of a historical Jesus is compatible with atheism. You can say Jesus existed but He performed no miracles, He wasn’t God, etc, etc. But there’s still a big contingent of more lunatic atheists who will insist ‘Jesus didn’t exist at ALL’ precisely because they’re so animated against Christianity that giving any ground whatsoever is avoided.

  45. 45
    Joe says:

    Kantian Naturalist is confused:

    ID is a dead-end of inquiry because it’s untestable, and it’s untestable because (among other things) it refuses to posit anything at all about the nature of the designer.

    LoL! As if we need to know anything about the designer to test the design inference. Finding out about the designer comes AFTER you made the design inference and AFTER studying all the evidence.

    But anyway IDists have said exactly how to test and falsify ID. So why do anti-IDists continue to think that their willful ignorance means something?

    Also TSZ ilk are saying ID is too vague- LoL! take a look at evolutioism if you want to see vague…

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe:

    Actually, MF needs to actually read the paper with care to understand what it intends to argue.

    Then on the practical matter of detecting design through FSCO/I and measuring same, he and others who try that now favourite distraction need to understand that:

    1 –> If you turn the 10^57 atoms of our solar system into observers

    2 –> then give each a tray with a line of 500 fair H/T coins,

    3 –> And toss and observe state of the 10^57 sets of coins every 10^-14 s [as fast as ionic chem rxns], with the resulting binomial distribution quite well known,

    4 –> then in the reasonable time since origin of solar system . . . use 10^17 s,

    5 –> You would sample about 1 straw to a cubical haystack 1,000 LY across as a ratio to population of 3.27*10^150 possibilities for 500 coins.

    6 –> Such a config is a stronger blind search than can be constructed on the scope of the solar system and would dominate any genuinely blind search.

    7 –> So, it is a more generous search than anything we could practically implement or the solar system — our practical cosmos for chemical scale interactions — could carry out, so a result for this dominates any actual really chance based blind search.

    8 –> Where if you insist, simply scale up to 1,0000 bits and that covers the search potential of the observed cosmos.

    9 –> And where also, mechanical necessity does not cause high contingency under similar enough initial circumstances, so combining the two boils down to chance writing the variations (especially in the chance variation less culling out by differential reproductive success scenario envisioned for Darwinist style models of evolution . . . in which chance writes the variations).

    10 –> Under these circumstances of blind, minuscule fraction samples, it takes no genius to see that the samples will with all but certainty reflect the bulk of the distribution of possibilities, and will with all but absolute certainty miss rare clusters of possibilities. (There are several ways to see that, the simplest is go watch a video of a Quincunx Dalton Box with 5,000 beads poured and see how few make it to the far tails.)

    11 –> So, we see why on analytical grounds, we should expect to see the result dominated by the cluster of coins at near 50-50 distribution in no particular order. As is abundantly vindicated empirically, e.g. by random text exercises that are nowhere near getting 72 ASCII characters in coherent English. (They have got up to about 24, a factor of 10^100 too short.)

    12 –> In this context, the analysis backs up the observation.

    13 –> And it is reasonable as a practical model to measure FSCO/I as:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold. Where S is a dummy variable defaulting to 0 and going to 1 for cases where there is good reason to infer functional specificity.

    14 –> This expression, of course, makes the prediction that with high reliability cases of functionally specific complex info beyond 500 bits will be designed, which is on billions of cases reliable.

    15 –> Where of course this comes from fitting in the dominant value and log reducing the Dembski expression MF and others love to play blind em with math games over. (Cf. here.)

    16 –> In short MF et al know better or full well should know better. The Mathgrrl stolen identity sock puppet game played by Patrick May was nigh on four years ago now [if my memory that says 2010 is correct, if not it was 2011] — and the final straw was when he could not correctly identify a log reduction that converted p-values into the more useful info metrics. (Where also, it is often fairly easy to get such info metrics directly, e,g. 500 fair coins stores 500 bits.)

    17 –> But when all else fails they trot out this distractor to try to change the subject.

    18 –> In this case, from the willfully continued deceitful misrepresentation of ID that is a too common standard rhetorical device of objectors.

    ___________

    We cannot stop such from those tactics but we can expose them and red ring fence off those who insist on such tactics.

    Unfortunately, their name is Legion.
    KF

  47. 47
    nullasalus says:

    Mark Frank,

    First off, congratulations. You answered every question correctly. You’ve got more guts than a number of your peers.

    Here’s quiz on ID for you ID proponents:

    On page 21 of Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence William Dembksi defines the context dependent specified complexity of T given H as –log2[M·N·?S(T)·P(T|H)]

    Consider the context of the bacterial flagellum.

    Most ID proponents – in the sense of ‘people in comboxes, non-professional supporters of ID’ could not answer that question.

    And most ID *critics* in the same vein could not answer that question, and answers related to that question are absolutely not the basis on which ID is typically criticized. Could you imagine Richard Dawkins being made to answer that question in the middle of his denouncing ID? Or better yet, Zack Kopplin? It would be comedy.

    My questions were very (save for possibly #8) simple and basic – and they are precisely the questions that critics systematically mangle when describing ID.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe:

    KN — sadly — is simply tossing up what he knows or full well should know, is false but is persuasive to the naive.

    If one can show that credibly one can show 500 bits of FSCO/I coming about by blind chance and mechanical necessity, the design inference would be dead.

    Period, and as is well known.

    The sorts of resorts we now see are because they know this is unlikely to be practically met for reasons as just explained.

    The flip side though is that per vera causa (roughly: first SHOW that a claimed cause, empirically is seen to give rise to a key effect before arguing that it is a best explanation), FSCO/I is a highly reliable sign of design backed up by billions of tests, formal and informal; The real problem is, FSCO/I easily gives the strong indication that cell based life and major body plan features are designed, just on genome requisites — 100k – 1 mn bits for 1st life, 10 – 100+ mn dozens of times over for body plans.

    And, it also indicates cosmological design given the pattern of fine tuned physics pointing to setting up an operational point for cell based life. They all know this or should know this.

    The issue is ideology not logic and evidence on induction.

    As it increasingly was with the Marxists a generation ago.

    The outcome will be the same sooner or later: ideological collapse on empirical failure, as the failure is more and more glaringly obvious: SHOW us blind chance and necessity creating FSCO/I or else yield that the best explanation is the commonly seen one, design.

    KF

  49. 49
    jerry says:

    As it increasingly was with the Marxists a generation ago.

    I believe Kantian Naturalist is some form of a Marxist too so he is an ideologue first and not primarily a thinker. In most of these types of arguments ideology trumps everything and determines what one will assert to.

    I thought he wasn’t commenting anymore on this stuff.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    Null: you are precisely right, and that is why it is a useful squid ink obfuscatory argument resorted to by a certain class of objectors when all else fails to distract. Sad, really, but predictable. KF

  51. 51
    vjtorley says:

    Hi nullasalus,

    Thanks for an excellent post. I think questions 5 and 8 are the only ones that need commenting on.

    As kairosfocus points out, atheists come in a variety of flavors. Someone who accepted the reality of spirits but denied the reality of a Supreme Creator Spirit would be an atheist, for instance. In that sense, ID is quite compatible with atheism.

    Many proponents of the cosmological design argument (e.g. Dr. Robin Collins) argue on scientific grounds that even a multiverse would still need to have been designed. While that takes us to a supernatural Designer who is not bound by the laws of Nature, it does not necessarily imply theism. A Designer who was not constrained by laws of any sort would not be a corporeal agent; however, such a Designer may or may not be unique, may or may not be infinite, and may or may not be an ex nihilo Creator.

    As for question 8: the critical question is how far back in time we go. Certainly if the act of arrangement is performed subsequent to the Big Bang, then the answer is clearly Yes. But what about the Designer’s act of setting the initial conditions of the universe (or multiverse, if you believe in one), and of defining the laws of Nature? Such an act could hardly be called natural, as it defines Nature; but it is not a miracle either, as it violates no law of Nature.

    To my mind, the most interesting questions that might be asked are:

    Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with metaphysical naturalism?

    Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with the view that the cause of all activity of all intelligent agents can be reduced to physical causes?

    I addressed these questions over two years ago in my post, “The four tiers of Intelligent Design – an ecumenical proposal” at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-proposal/ .

  52. 52
    nullasalus says:

    vjtorley,

    As kairosfocus points out, atheists come in a variety of flavors. Someone who accepted the reality of spirits but denied the reality of a Supreme Creator Spirit would be an atheist, for instance. In that sense, ID is quite compatible with atheism.

    I recall that Dembski included options beyond even these. A demiurge, an ancient intelligent civilizations, aliens, a Matrix situation – contra some people in this thread, I’m not convinced that ID, according to its main proponents, even needs to run counter to physicalism. I think physicalism is just complete nonsense, of course, but superficially it looks like – so long as ID is concerned with proximate rather than ultimate causes – it’s pretty easy to imagine ‘physical’ beings qualifying for just about every case of inferred ID.

    Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with metaphysical naturalism?

    Tough one. I think the answer is currently no, but – and here’s the trick – there’s no principled reason for that statement. I think what’s gone on is that ID proponents have successfully identified atheists and metaphysical naturalists as their primary intellectual components, while in reality neither atheism nor metaphysical naturalism is incompatible with ID.

    But that gets into a more intellectual question. My concern is just in having ID explained as its proponents explain it, even if said proponents make a mistake.

  53. 53
    jerry says:

    while in reality neither atheism nor metaphysical naturalism is incompatible with ID.

    There is always the possibility that intelligence formed in some other way than what we have witnessed. Maybe there is some combination of molecules that leads to a different type of entity that eventually designed our form of life. For example, one that is silicon based.

    One of the necessary conclusions of materialism is that there must be zillions of ways complicated systems could arise. There is no necessity they will say it must be DNA based though we know that system works. This is the only probabilistic argument that would work for them. If DNA is the only thing that can work then one has to examine the laws of nature that led to particular result.

    They will say that because DNA based life arose here it prevented any other form from arising. In other words the first form wins. This may not be the case in other areas of the universe. Which case one of these other inevitable forms arose and eventually created us. All this is compatible with ID and materialism.

    Since we have no examples of this other entity we can not speculate on how probable or improbable it is.

  54. 54
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Mark Frank,

    I’d like to make a quick comment on your questions. You are assuming that ID is tied to Professor Dembski’s definition of specified complexity in the paper you quote. But the definition of information used by Dembski and Marks in their more recent paper, Life’s Conservation Law, had nothing to do with specified complexity: it was simply anything that improves on a blind search. Dembski’s point was that you cannot explain a system’s ability to hit a target (say, conscious life) better than chance would, by going back in time. No matter how far back you go, you confront the dilemma: either the system itself is built with an internal bias to reach that goal, or something has to be added to it to bias it in that direction – and the level of bias required never decreases as you go back in time. That’s why you can’t start with a simple unbiased universe, and arrive at us.

    Some skeptics object that we don’t have enough information to assess whether the emergence of life in our universe is improbable. If we define life broadly, in terms of “self-movement” for instance, then we can certainly argue that the emergence of life is probable. But if we define life more narrowly (and sensibly) in terms of the features that distinguish it most from other forms of matter – in particular, the possession of a genetic code, as well as a genetic program that specifies an organism’s chemical make-up – then we can indeed say that the emergence of a system exemplifying these general properties is vastly improbable, in our cosmos. Hence going back in time does not solve the origin of life problem: the “bias problem” still needs to be addressed.

  55. 55
    tvarhegyi says:

    nullasalus responded to my NO answer to #5

    I think the mistake you’re making is with thinking ‘there would be no contest between the two camps’. Atheism is compatible with ID, but for activist atheists, it’s still regarded (for now anyway) as a rhetorical net loss. To use a comparison from religion – the existence of a historical Jesus is compatible with atheism. You can say Jesus existed but He performed no miracles, He wasn’t God, etc, etc. But there’s still a big contingent of more lunatic atheists who will insist ‘Jesus didn’t exist at ALL’ precisely because they’re so animated against Christianity that giving any ground whatsoever is avoided.

    My comments #16, #31, nullasalus responses #17, #44

    No mistake here! As far as I can tell atheists categorically deny the existence of any intelligent agency in the universe, ID proponents affirm the possibility of it.
    So with respect to ID, atheists say NO, ID proponents say YES. If this is compatibility then NO must be compatible with YES. I am afraid to ask if there are any circumstances when YES and NO are compatible. You might come up with one.

    There is no such a thing as a division within the atheist camps which could be classified as activist vs. nice. The only atheists who are not activists are the ones who are no longer with us.

    Oh, no, the Bible and Jesus again. I always know I just won an argument when somebody shoves the Bible in my face. Just pray tell me, what the Bible has to do with ID vs. atheism compatibility? What are you going to quote next? The Book of Mormons, the Koran? By the way I do not believe that if someone doubts the existence of Jesus he should be called a lunatic. I don’t believe the story in the Book of Mormons, am I a lunatic too?

  56. 56
    nullasalus says:

    No mistake here! As far as I can tell atheists categorically deny the existence of any intelligent agency in the universe, ID proponents affirm the possibility of it.

    They’d have to deny their own existence. I agree that a philosophically consistent materialist would probably have to walk this incoherent route – but individual atheists are not atheism, and atheism can be detached from materialism. It may not be popular, but again, I’m not interested in the individuals, but the idea.

    It’s trivial to come up with examples of atheists who are at least open to the idea of the universe or particular parts of it being designed: subscribers to Nick Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis and (from what I know of them) the Raelians.

    Oh, no, the Bible and Jesus again. I always know I just won an argument when somebody shoves the Bible in my face.

    Considering you don’t seem to be able to tell when the Bible has been shoved in your face, I’m skeptical of your ability to accurately tell when you’ve won an argument.

    By the way I do not believe that if someone doubts the existence of Jesus he should be called a lunatic. I don’t believe the story in the Book of Mormons, am I a lunatic too?

    If you doubt the bare existence of Joseph Smith, yep, I think it’d fair to call you either a lunatic or dramatically misinformed.

    Calm down, or leave the thread. I have little time, and less patience, for hysterical people.

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    As far as I can tell atheists categorically deny the existence of any intelligent agency in the universe, ID proponents affirm the possibility of it.

    Sounds like a “no black swans” ‘argument’ to me.

  58. 58
    Mark Frank says:

    #54 VJ

    You are assuming that ID is tied to Professor Dembski’s definition of specified complexity in the paper you quote

    I am not assuming anything. The OP was about how ID opponents don’t understand ID. My point is simply to show that most of the ID supporters only have the vaguest idea as well. The paper I referred to, although quite old, is Dembski’s most recent definition of CSI and explicitly supersedes all previous definitions. So here we have the definitive definition of a key concept by one of the leading lights in the field. Surely anyone who considers themselves knowledgeable about ID would have a firm understanding of it?

    It is true Dembski and Marks papers on LCI avoid talking about CSI. Suppose I prepared a similar set of questions about those papers (it would take a bit longer as it is some time since I studied them). How many ID supporters on this forum do you honestly think will be able to answer them?

  59. 59
    nullasalus says:

    Mark Frank,

    No, the OP was not about ‘how ID opponents don’t understand ID’. Not entirely. It was about how ID opponents are typically incapable of fairly representing basic ID claims. Part of the reason I’m trying to assemble this list of questions is to send it off to ID critics to see if they can answer them correctly, knowing their replies would be made public. I think most critics prefer to argue with ‘ID as they like to imagine it’ rather than ‘ID as its proponents actually present it.’

    As I said – how many ID *critics* do you think would be able to understand what you quoted? Do you think James McGrath, to give one example, could – without advance warning and study – comment meaningfully on Dembski’s work? Or really, most other critics? Hell, do you think the average evolution supporter could respond meaningfully to detailed, math-intensive queries about mutation rates from pro-mainstream-evolution sources?

    But my post was not asking ID critics to properly understand and explain highly technical, math-heavy facets of ID. I asked them to give answers to fairly basic yes-or-no questions. There’s simply no comparison there.

    Now, if you assembled a list along the lines of questions like… “True or false: Mainstream evolutionary theory maintains that complex orgasms and organisms are assembled over time by a combination of random mutation and natural selection”, how many ID proponents do you think would be troubled?

  60. 60
    Mapou says:

    nullasalus:

    I think most critics prefer to argue with ‘ID as they like to imagine it’ rather than ‘ID as its proponents actually present it.’

    Most ID critics prefer to ignore ID entirely and find it more effective for their nefarious purposes to aim their arrows toward the soft underbelly of the anti-Darwinian beast: Young Earth Creationism, aka YEC. And why shouldn’t they? It has worked beautifully for them.

  61. 61
    nullasalus says:

    Mapou,

    Well, that’s actually part of it. Treating ID as ‘YEC, but sneaky!’ is a common move.

  62. 62
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    The paper I referred to, although quite old, is Dembski’s most recent definition of CSI and explicitly supersedes all previous definitions.

    From the abstract:

    This paper reviews, clarifies, and extends previous work on specification in my books The Design Inference and No Free Lunch.

    Nothing on “explicitly supersedes”.

  63. 63
    Joe says:

    This is too funny. TSZ’s Richie Cupcake Hughes has latched on to Mark Frank’s “ID quiz”. Mark said he knew the answers to his quiz, so I said:

    Then tell us how to determine the probability wrt unguided evolution. If you know the answers to your questions you should be able to do that.

    That went right over all of their pointy little heads. Let me help them:

    YOURS is the chance hypothesis, Richie. And YOU cannot give us any numbers to plug in. We look to you to support the claims of your position.

    IOW to consider Dembski’s equation wrt bacterial flagellum, well, you cannot provide a chance hypothesis- nor a necessity and chance hypothesis. There isn’t any way to test any chance hypotehsis. And it’s as if you are proud taht your position is a failure and you think your failure somehow refutes ID. BTW, see the paper, page 24- Dembski gave it a go wrt the bacterial flagellum…

    Hilarious.

  64. 64
    Graham2 says:

    It would be easier to say what ID is if it actually produced anything. Youve had about 20 years now, and the impact on science is exactly zero.
    Until you actually produce something useful that defines what ID is, I think we are free to speculate.

  65. 65
    Mark Frank says:

    #62 Joe

    From the abstract:

    This paper reviews, clarifies, and extends previous work on specification in my books The Design Inference and No Free Lunch.

    Try reading the whole paper.

  66. 66
    nullasalus says:

    It would be easier to say what ID is if it actually produced anything.

    No, Graham2. Pay attention, please. The issue here is simple: how do ID proponents – guys like Behe, Dembski, Meyer – actually define ID. What questions does ID ask? What approaches does it take towards science? Evolution? Common descent? Does it involve supernatural claims? Appeals to God?

    Mark Frank was able to answer the quiz correctly. Can you do it? Even granting that you can look at Mark’s answers for yourself – could you bring yourself to answer those questions correctly?

    Let’s see.

  67. 67
    Joe says:

    I read the paper Mark, years ago. It doesn’t explicity supersede the previous works. Also he tackled your quiz- and he shows why his technique isn’t the best when no probabilities can be given.

  68. 68
    Joe says:

    Richie Hughes proves that he is clueless:

    Joe still maintains we should do his work for him.

    LoL! By asking Richie to put up the numbers his position should have if it is science, he sez it is my work? How is it my work when it is Richie’s position that lacks numbers?

    Heck I infer design for all bacterial flagellums because it matches the criteria- there isn’t any evidence for any bacterial flagellum evolving via culled genetic accidents and it has a specification.

    Again, don’t blame us because your position has nothing beyond personal agendas to form an inference from.

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    Lizzie,

    The only eleP(T|H)ants in the room are you, Joe F and Alan Fox. Just because you can mangle the math doesn’t mean it is flawed.

  70. 70
    nullasalus says:

    Joe,

    I have no great respect for TSZ. I like some of the individuals – KN and Neil Reckert are people who I can have a conversation with – but in general, the site is completely off my radar. That utterly obnoxious, tragically self-unaware site tagline in particular makes me roll my eyes.

    The thing is, when most of them were chased off here – originally for flat out failing to accept fundamental laws of logic, last I recall – I lost interest in discussing things with them. So I’d request you don’t conduct back and forth conversations with them in any thread I’m hosting. That’s not a knock on any gripe you have with them, I just have zero interest in extended conversations with that originate on that site. I’d rather let them (at least the bulk of swampers that make up their group) fade into obscurity along with their weird, personal hatred of ID proponents.

  71. 71
    Joe says:

    Sorry, got carried away. I have something for them I can post on my guest thread- you may like it too.

  72. 72
    nullasalus says:

    No sweat, Joe. Thanks for understanding.

  73. 73
    tvarhegyi says:

    To Joe, #57 and nullasalus #56

    Sounds like a “no black swans” ‘argument’ to me.

    So do you agree that ID and atheism are compatible ?
    If yes, can you give some examples of such compatibilities, the more the better ?

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    Null:

    Treating ID as ‘YEC, but sneaky!’ is a common move.

    It is also willfully dishonest to willfully so caricature in order to gain an advantage rhetorically by misleading the naive about what ID actually is as presented, especially where correction is easily accessible as it is.

    and no, I don’t buy the double-down twist-about accusations presented as conspiracy narratives on those sneaky ID Creationists in cheap tuxedos. Some design thinkers are creationists of various sorts, and they separate such beliefs from what ID is about. Others, simply are not, as the UD WACs take time to point out.

    What those who play such tactics — having had reasonable opportunity to correct genuine misunderstandings — leave me with, is the impression that they are calculated slanderers and cold blooded liars, or enablers of such. In short, pretty much as the nihilistic bully-boy ideologies I confronted in my youth, and the somewhat older ones notorious for big lie tactics I read about.

    It looks like time to be pretty plain about how too many objectors to ID have been acting.

    Whether or not they want to spew up fuss and feathers about being told straight what they have been doing and the price some of the victims of their agit prop have paid. Perps simply do not have the moral standing of those they smear, lie upon or enable smearing and lying against.

    KF

    PS: The tactics of mangling and mocking Dembski’s work in that 2005 paper simply don’t impress me, save how they further show what we are dealing with; and note the issues I pointed out above on why such seriously miss the mark. And yes, what we are seeing is not pretty. But when the genteel are enabling or spreading destructive smears and lies that they have every duty of care to know and do better than, they have joined with ideological thugs. And I have no more sympathy for such than I do for those who willfully turned a blind eye to what the Communists did in S E Asia — especially Cambodia — when the agit-prop abandoned helpless millions to their tender mercies. Do I need to explicitly say, the killing fields of Cambodia? (BTW, such is much as is happening again in the ME as we speak. This time we are at nuke threshold, and the price to be paid is going to be predictably stiff, horrible beyond words.)

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    TVH, you have been given an answer above, not only by me but by VJT — who is a full bore philosopher. Kindly show some sign of attending to it. KF

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    Null: You are right, it is time to come back full circle to whether typical objectors to design theory can pass a basic test of fairly and correctly presenting its basic points. KF

    PS: I do continue to note the differences between ID on the world of life and ID on evident cosmological fine tuning.

  77. 77
    Joe says:

    tvar:

    So do you agree that ID and atheism are compatible ?

    They are not incompatible.- ID does not require God/ a deity and it does not require the supernatural.

    What definition of atheism are you using? Perhaps we are all just talking past each other.

  78. 78
    tvarhegyi says:

    Atheists not only deny the existence of God but reject any intelligent agency in the origins of the universe, our solar system, as well as the origin and development of all living beings. According to atheists the universe came into being by accident, most claim that it came from nothing. They still have no idea how the first living cell emerged, but they insist that Intelligent Design had nothing to do with it. According to them not a single plant, animal including human beings was designed, everything came into existence via materialistic Darwinian mechanisms.

    ID proponents claim the opposite. Where is the compatibility then ?

  79. 79
    nullasalus says:

    Atheists not only deny the existence of God but reject any intelligent agency in the origins of the universe, our solar system, as well as the origin and development of all living beings.

    You’re simply wrong, and I already gave you a great example: Nick Bostrom’s simulation theory.

    I can point at John Gribbin’s speculation about our universe (indeed, most universes) being designed as well – just by intelligent beings, not ‘God’.

    That’s why both Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins treat the idea that our universe is a simulation (and therefore designed) as distinct from the God question. Now, you can arguably make an argument that those beings would qualify as small-g gods – and I’d be sympathetic there. But you’ve got atheists all over the place who entertain the possibility as a live one, and clearly don’t regard the truth of that matter as a threat to their atheism.

    Hell, Francis Crick is legendary for being a diehard atheist who still backed directed panspermia, which is arguably just another design view.

    You are confusing individual atheists with atheism. A lot of atheists tend to have political opinion X, but political opinion X is not part of atheism technically.

  80. 80
    Mark Frank says:

    Nullasalus #59

    I agree that I misinterpreted your OP. However, the point remains that many of your critics understand the ID literature better than most of the ID supporters. I don’t know who James McGrath is, but I think you will find that most of the regulars on TSZ could answer my questions.  The regulars are for the most part scientifically oriented and the paper and the formula frequently feature in debates there. It is hardly maths intensive. Aside from taking a logarithm, which I did not ask about, the formula only requires multiplying  four quantities . The key point is what do the quantities mean and how are they estimated.
    I also think you will find the likes of Lizzie, Joe Felsenstein and KN can give quote detailed answers to questions on evolutionary theory – but the comparison is not really the point.

  81. 81
    gpuccio says:

    nullasalus:

    Maybe a little late, but I would like to give my answers.

    A couple of clarifications will help:

    a) I am not a fan of front loading theories, but I believe that they are legit ID theories, provided they satisfy the requirements about functional complexity (see next point).

    b) ID theory is a scientific theory, not philosophy. Therefore, it is not about Intelligent Design in itself, but about empirically detectable Intelligent Design. So, all my answers will be about ID theory as a scientific theory, and nothing else.

    That said, here are my answers:

    1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

    Yes. First of all, that change certainly happens. Second, that change can be caused by design. The only point of ID theory is that change which is not designed cannot explain the appearance of new complex functional information.

    2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

    Absolutely Yes.

    3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

    Maybe the answer is No, but it depends on how we define “miracles” and “supernatural”. Those words are irremediably ambiguous.

    4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?

    No. But again, while God and angels are fine for me, I object to “supernatural”.

    5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

    Definitely Yes. But it can certainly offer reasons for reflection to a sincere atheist.

    6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

    Absolutely No

    7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

    It depends. If we can show that the setting of the environment, and the setting of the organisms in the environment, or the organisms themselves (if they were not present in advance), exhibit complex functional information, then the answer is Yes, but then the design inference is limited to that setting. What happens after is no more a design event, if no new complex functional information appears. That would be a front loading ID theory (for which, IMO, there is absolutely no empirical evidence).

    8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

    Again, objection to “natural”. If “natural” means that there is no violation of physical laws as we know them today, the answer is Yes. But, if it means also that there is no violation of probabilistic laws, then the answer is No. Even if the events were designed, in that case, design would not be detectable, and so that theory is not a scientific ID theory.

    9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?

    Absolutely No, obviously. He has proposed an ID scenario.

    10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

    Obviously No.

  82. 82
    gpuccio says:

    VJ:

    Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with metaphysical naturalism?

    Objection to “naturalism”.

    Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with the view that the cause of all activity of all intelligent agents can be reduced to physical causes?

    Objection to “physical”. I would definitely say that it cannot be reduced to an algorithmic explanation, that does not include conscious representations as a cause.

  83. 83
    Mark Frank says:

    Nullasus #70

    You couldn’t be more wrong about TSZ. Anyone, including you, is completely free to be sceptical about anything and they will not be banned for that. Indeed a fair number of people from UD do comment there.

    When you refer to people being “chased off” UD the reasons vary but mostly they were offering arguments that Barry found unacceptable. In particular I was never clear why Lizzie was banned. No one gets banned from TSZ for offering arguments that are unacceptable – only for SPAM or being extremely rude and personal. (There was an incident when Barry was temporarily banned and this was recognised as being against policy and his ability to post was restored – his comment was actually quite personal and rude but not enough to merit a ban).

    One of the distinguishing characteristics of the ID population is paranoia. Many of you very quickly conclude you are being unreasonably persecuted when anyone raises an objection. In some cases it reaches almost epic proportions as ID is seen as some kind of bastion of all that is right and good against the flood of materialist/evolutionary/atheism or whatever.

  84. 84
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    You couldn’t be more wrong about TSZ.

    He is quite correct about TSZ. Look Lizzie is totally clueless wrt darwinian evolution, genetic algorithms and CSI. She has been corrected many times and she refuses to change. That alone says she has serious issues.

    Mike Elzinga loves to chastize us and yet he NEVER shows us how his position does things properly.

    TSZ is a joke- an evo stroke and echo chamber.

  85. 85
    Joe says:

    tvar:

    Atheists not only deny the existence of God but reject any intelligent agency in the origins of the universe, our solar system, as well as the origin and development of all living beings.

    Referennce pleae- it sounds like you just made that up.

    According to atheists the universe came into being by accident, most claim that it came from nothing.

    That’s materialism/ natiralism, not atheism.

  86. 86

    tvarhegyi,

    As Joe has pointed out, you are confusing atheism with materialism/naturalism. Not all atheists are materialists.

  87. 87
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    However, the point remains that many of your critics understand the ID literature better than most of the ID supporters.

    Bull- however IDists understand evolutionism better than most of the evo supporters. Lizzie is a prefect example of someone who doesn’t understand darwinism.

    The regulars are for the most part scientifically oriented

    And yet they cannot post any science that supports evolutionism. Strange, that.

    I also think you will find the likes of Lizzie, Joe Felsenstein and KN can give quote detailed answers to questions on evolutionary theory –

    And yet Lizzie and Joe have both mangled it. Lizzie doesn’t even understand the basics.

    Heck I can give a better account of evolutionism than Lizzie can. And Dembski equation is meaningless for the reason Dembski provided in that paper- YOU can’t produce a chance hypothesis nor any numbers for your positions. Might as well just plug in zeros for those.

  88. 88
    nullasalus says:

    Mark,

    However, the point remains that many of your critics understand the ID literature better than most of the ID supporters.

    And many critics of evolutionary theory understand it better than its supporters. Parroting ‘evolution is true! Common descent is true!’ doesn’t magically make you well-informed about much of anything.

    The point is ID is misrepresented. I’m trying to take a very easy step to help solve that. And I don’t even think ID is science. I’m just tired of the tiring misrepresentations.

    You couldn’t be more wrong about TSZ. Anyone, including you, is completely free to be sceptical about anything and they will not be banned for that.

    I didn’t say otherwise. I’m sure they have a very lenient comment policy, and will so long as the upper echelons desperately crave attention and are not outnumbered by their opponents. Regardless, I find their swamper origins pretty foul. I hear Stormfront welcomes most commenters, but I still don’t care to deal with the place.

    When you refer to people being “chased off” UD the reasons vary but mostly they were offering arguments that Barry found unacceptable.

    Yes, refusing to admit that the law of non-contradiction holds at all times wasn’t something Barry would tolerate. I endorse him on that front. What’s the point of arguing with people who will squirm when asked to affirm basic laws of logic?

    One of the distinguishing characteristics of the ID population is paranoia.

    It’s also a characteristic of Christians in the middle east, gays in Russia, and pro-lifers in the Democratic party. Sometimes, people really are out to get you.

    Look Mark – once again, this is not about esoteric criticisms of highly technical aspects of Intelligent Design. This is about very basic representation of ID when it’s being discussed. That’s where I have seen systematic misrepresentation of ID – and I’ve seen it even among people who damn well know better. Nothing in my list of questions required one to conclude ID claims were correct – it’s just a matter of representing it accurately and charitably. A little along the lines of asking ‘Was Darwin inspired by atheism to spread evolution in order to undermine Christian moral teaching, according to mainstream proponents of Neo-Darwinism?’ If you can’t answer ‘No’ to that question, you’ve got a problem.

    Anyway, I really mean it about TSZ. I am singularly unimpressed with the bulk of their critics’ personal behavior, and most of their intellectual arguments. (I’m sure this will provoke some rage in their associated swamp, complete with expletives and sexual slurs. Par for the course.) If UD regulars want to post there, they’re free to waste their time as they see fit. I have no interest in discussing them, even to knock them – I’m only responding here since you’ve brought them up. They’re simply unimportant.

  89. 89
    nullasalus says:

    gpuccio,

    I like your responses, particularly the miracle comments.

    I’m also grateful for the responses generally in this thread. I may post a revised list of questions soon, giving the UD community one more pass to be sure I’ve got a list of 10 questions that have clear answers with regards to representing the ID view. Then, we’ll see who’s willing to take the quiz.

  90. 90
    Joe says:

    Using the Explanatory Filter to detect design in biology.

  91. 91
    Mark Frank says:

    nullasalus,

    Look Mark – once again, this is not about esoteric criticisms of highly technical aspects of Intelligent Design. This is about very basic representation of ID when it’s being discussed. That’s where I have seen systematic misrepresentation of ID – and I’ve seen it even among people who damn well know better. Nothing in my list of questions required one to conclude ID claims were correct – it’s just a matter of representing it accurately and charitably. A little along the lines of asking ‘Was Darwin inspired by atheism to spread evolution in order to undermine Christian moral teaching, according to mainstream proponents of Neo-Darwinism?’ If you can’t answer ‘No’ to that question, you’ve got a problem.

    Can you provide some examples of this misrepresentation?
    What is esoteric about knowing the meanings of the terms in the formula that defines CSI?

    Anyway, I really mean it about TSZ. I am singularly unimpressed with the bulk of their critics’ personal behavior, and most of their intellectual arguments. (I’m sure this will provoke some rage in their associated swamp, complete with expletives and sexual slurs. Par for the course.)

    Interesting – are you perhaps thinking of ATBc? – I am not aware of any sexual slurs on TSZ.  There is probably a more lax attitude to expletives on TSZ  than here (although Joe does his best to balance things).  But there is no shortage of personal abuse here. I know. I get a lot of it. Just read this thread.

    If UD regulars want to post there, they’re free to waste their time as they see fit. I have no interest in discussing them, even to knock them – I’m only responding here since you’ve brought them up. They’re simply unimportant.

    It is a question of whether you are interested in hearing criticism or just want to be praised by your colleagues –  I prefer hostile territory. I respect those such as WJM who are prepared to expose their views to those who don’t agree.

  92. 92
    nullasalus says:

    Can you provide some examples of this misrepresentation?

    Every time ID is called ‘creationism’? Every time ID is presented as a theory that requires miracles, rejects evolution, etc? Here’s a stock case.

    What is esoteric about knowing the meanings of the terms in the formula that defines CSI?

    What’s so esoteric about knowing the names of the proteins involved in mutations? How many typical people do you think could name a single one, even among boosters of evolution?

    I’m describing unbelievably basic mistakes. “log2[M·N·?S(T)·P(T|H)]”‘s meaning and calculation is not freaking basic.

    Interesting – are you perhaps thinking of ATBc? – I am not aware of any sexual slurs on TSZ.

    ATBc’s association with TSZ is close. I don’t think it’s much of an improvement to have people pretending to be courteous, and then to go there and really let loose. ATBc is rotten, and always has been. Note that my problem here is not ‘Oh no these CRITICS how dare they disagree’. It’s about their behavior towards people they disagree with.

    But hey, clearly you have no trouble calling them your friends. No doubt this is a testament to your tolerance. Tip: add some race supremacists to your phone address book. It’s on a similar level.

    It is a question of whether you are interested in hearing criticism or just want to be praised by your colleagues – I prefer hostile territory.

    No, it’s really not. See, that’s the thing: there is no shortage of ID critics available. There’s no need to associate with people who have very, very personal grudges not only against ID, but against individuals. ATBc is a cesspool that overflows with namecalling, personal insults, tough talk, defacing of RL pictures, and more – much to the tolerance and acceptance of many ‘critics’ on TSZ. Obviously so, since many of them are one and the same.

    Critics can be had in abundance, elsewhere. I see no reason to give TSZ attention – they are irrelevant.

    And, get your defense of them out of your system here, because I’m not going to let any future thread of mine turn into a TSZ discussion. But I haven’t posted here in a while, so I’m letting this run loose aside from some general warnings.

  93. 93
    kairosfocus says:

    Null: Notice, GP is a second main author of the expanded UD Weak Argument Correctives. Notice, too, the similarities and differences showing individual perspectives but a common clear core. KF

    PS: I took time to respond to MF above at 46, on his assertions (along lines that have been pointed out ever so many times and which are patently cogent . . . the use of a conservative bound to establish a threshold is a commonplace, where going from p to I values on the Dembski expression shows that we have an info beyond a threshold metric as was pointed out years ago). Predictably, sadly, MF has drummed on with his talking points.

  94. 94
    Optimus says:

    Null, thanks for the terrific post!
    My answers:
    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. No
    4. No
    5. Yes
    6. No
    7. Yes
    8. Yes (as ID makes no attempt to affirm supernaturalism)
    9. No
    10. No

  95. 95
  96. 96
    Mark Frank says:

    Null

    Every time ID is called ‘creationism’? Every time ID is presented as a theory that requires miracles, rejects evolution, etc? Here’s a stock case.

    The main point in this example is that ID is a negative case – evolution is not true therefore there must be a designer – this was not in your quiz and I entirely support Miller. As for whether the designer is supernatural or whether miracles are required  – as I said in my answer to your quiz it is hard to see how the designer could be anything else. Miller’s case is a completely reasonable representation of ID and its consequences which I support. Creationism could mean almost anything.

    “log2[M·N·?S(T)·P(T|H)]“‘s meaning and calculation is not freaking basic.

    It is absolutely fundamental to CSI and not at all complicated if you have actually read the literature.  The point being that almost no one on this forum actually knows what they are talking about!

    ATBc’s association with TSZ is close. I don’t think it’s much of an improvement to have people pretending to be courteous, and then to go there and really let loose. ATBc is rotten, and always has been. Note that my problem here is not ‘Oh no these CRITICS how dare they disagree’. It’s about their behavior towards people they disagree with.

    So actually you don’t have a problem with TSZ – just with how the people on it behave elsewhere. Have you seen some of Joe’s posts elsewhere? Are you going to continue to associate with him?

  97. 97
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    The main point in this example is that ID is a negative case – evolution is not true therefore there must be a designer…

    And that is false. ALL design inferences have to eliminate necessity and chance. That is the nature of the beast, Mark. However that is only phase 1. Phase 2 is the positive case in which the design criteria has to be met.

    It is absolutely fundamental to CSI and not at all complicated if you have actually read the literature.

    No, it isn’t complicated at all. Your position has nothing, therefor H = 0, and all is lost- for you.

    And sometimes the EF works just fine and we don’t need the equation: The Explanatory Filter and Biology- the Ribosome .

    As for my posts elsewhere, well, the truth hurts, doesn’t it. 😛

  98. 98
    nullasalus says:

    Mark,

    The main point in this example is that ID is a negative case – evolution is not true therefore there must be a designer – this was not in your quiz and I entirely support Miller.

    It was on the quiz, Mark. Specifically questions 3 and 4.

    When Miller defines ID as saying, “It is what a philosopher might call the argument from ignorance, which is to say that, because we don’t understand something, we assume we never will, and therefore we can invoke a cause outside of nature, a supernatural creator or supernatural designer.”, he’s wrong. On multiple points, but definitely points 3 and 4 as per the quiz.

    The funny thing is, you knew as much – until I provided this quote. But now that you see Miller making this claim, now you’re changing your answer. Gotta have that united front against ID, right?

    It is absolutely fundamental to CSI and not at all complicated if you have actually read the literature.

    Fascinating claims! I’m not interested, and it’s irrelevant to the OP. Let every ID proponent on UD be completely ignorant of Dembski. Let them say they never read any of Dembski’s books. It doesn’t impact my OP in the least, because we’re still left with critics mangling and misrepresenting ID on vastly easier to understand, more basic fronts.

    So actually you don’t have a problem with TSZ – just with how the people on it behave elsewhere.

    No, I do have a problem with TSZ, which includes how the people on it behave not only elsewhere, but towards the very people they desperately want attention from. Why, exactly, should I spend time talking with people with that amount of visceral hatred? Because what, I’m lacking people to discuss things with? This is the internet. I can’t go to a single site without finding 50 people to argue with if I so choose. I don’t need to tolerate TSZ’s swampers to find debate.

    Are you going to continue to associate with him?

    If I see Joe throwing sexual slurs at Liddle, putting up picture of her RL self to deface, and half the things the swampers do when they’re particularly riled, I’m going to pull no punches and call him out on that immediately. Anyone who does that, not just Joe, will be disinvited from any thread I host until they apologize and knock it off – regardless of where they do it. This isn’t about merely saying that Liddle’s full of it. That’s not a nasty personal insult. That’s, half the time, putting it mildly.

    How about you, Mark? Will you commit to the same? Tip: if you do, you’ll be cutting yourself off from a lot of your TSZ friends. This is where you play up how mature and open-minded you are by tolerating that sort of scum-behavior.

  99. 99
    Optimus says:

    Mark Frank @ 96

    It is absolutely fundamental to CSI and not at all complicated if you have actually read the literature. The point being that almost no one on this forum actually knows what they are talking about!

    It’s not necessary for having a reasonable grasp of the concept. Meyer’s exposition of CSI in Signature in the Cell is lucid and very accessible without really getting into Dembski’s formula.

  100. 100
    Joe says:

    If I see Joe throwing sexual slurs at Liddle,

    I may have thrown everything else at her, but not that.

    putting up picture of her RL self to deface, and half the things the swampers do when they’re particularly riled, I’m going to pull no punches and call him out on that immediately.

    I call her out just as I do all evos who misrepresent and over state their position and mangle ID, Behe, Dembski, Meyer, et al. She speaks from a postion of a scientist so I tend to go after those types a little harder.

    If she can’t take it then perhaps she should learn and change. Or come up with a defense other than repeating herself in the face of referenced refutations of her claims.

    I was banned from TSZ for getting into it with the evos who refused to comment in good faith. Ooops, that was all of them but in this case it was the evos who were just attacking me and obviously had nothing to say.

    What I posted was not directed at Lizzie- it was directed at OM, aka OMagain, aka oldmaninskydidnotdoit- evo hooligan. And what I posted was spot-on for the situation.

  101. 101
    Optimus says:

    The main point in this example is that ID is a negative case – evolution is not true therefore there must be a designer – this was not in your quiz and I entirely support Miller. As for whether the designer is supernatural or whether miracles are required – as I said in my answer to your quiz it is hard to see how the designer could be anything else. Miller’s case is a completely reasonable representation of ID and its consequences which I support. Creationism could mean almost anything.

    That’s bogus, and you should know that by now. It’s incoherent to on the one hand affirm that ID doesn’t make claims about the supernatural or appeal to Biblical authority but then conflate it with creationism.

  102. 102
    nullasalus says:

    Joe,

    I’m sure you didn’t. Look, I’ve been around this site for years. Yes, you namecall. Yes, you do in fact go over the line at times – and every time I’ve seen you called out over that, you’ve backed off. I think you should stay calmer, I think you go for namecalling too fast. I’m being direct here.

    The thing is, Mark’s comparing you to the swamp, which is a complete joke. I’ve seen that place. I didn’t see much talk about me, but what I did see about others was damn vile. Now maybe I missed something you did – always possible – but like I said, there’s just no comparison based on what I’ve seen. This isn’t mere ‘X is stupid! X has no clue! X should go back to school!’ namecalling I’ve seen there, but pretty vile fueled-by-hate stuff. No thanks, not interested.

    I don’t even care to bitch about them, but they scream for attention – not interested. I’ll deal with whatever critics show up at UD, and ones I personally seek out. I have plenty of options for critics aside from TSZ, so why should I boter with ’em?

  103. 103
    Optimus says:

    BTW – Go Hawks!!!

  104. 104
    Joe says:

    Yes, calmer. And what is the proper amount of time or personal attacks before retaliation is acceptable?

  105. 105
    Joe says:

    @Optimus-

    Stopped watching when the first interception happened. Probably should have stopped after the first snap… 😉

  106. 106
    Optimus says:

    I missed the first snap. Oh well; that’s what Tivo’s for…

  107. 107
    Joe says:

    It was an omen…

  108. 108
    Upright BiPed says:

    I second Null’s take on TSZ.

    I only add that I spent over two and a half months there on one of the five or six threads devoted to semiosis. I focused primarity on one opponent, as the remaining crew offered little more than constant insult and absurdity. And after that one opponent abandoned his two main points, Liddle closed the thread under the auspices that I had violated her rules. She wanted to “ensure that emotional baggage and assumptions about other posters’ motivations are rigorously excluded. Let’s conduct this in an academically rigorous way”.

    I’m happy to let any reader decide for themselves if those were the qualities she was after:

    “your effort seem like a naive and pretentious attempt to replace well-understood phenomena with something woo-woo … I find both UBP and WJM excruciatingly boring; and I suspect that the reason is that there is a remarkable similarity to other crackpots … one begins to wonder if there is any thought process there at all. I would suggest not … they hone their marketing shtick for their presentations to the gullible … There is another frequent correlation one sees among crackpotists; they often quote scripture from the Christian bible … has an instinctive hatred and distrust of science and any other perceived “competing authority” … don’t even appear to understand the question … a familiar characteristic of pseudo-science … you have no idea what you are talking about or what it is that you are attempting … Your obvious distain for age, experience, knowledge, and the female gender … YOU – I repeat – YOU were the one … you don’t have the slightest clue … You have no idea … you really have no clue … You have made no “material observations” … You have never taken a chemistry or physics class … comes from the socio/political culture of ID/creationism … The words don’t matter … bury his reification of ID/creationist misconceptions … an increasingly complex labyrinth of obfuscation and condescension … simply gussies it all up … an air-tight bundle of circular reasoning … Another would be ID “theorist” bites the dust … it too dissolves into nothingness … such lengthy, turgid prose … a quagmire of words … Crackpots never let go voluntarily; they will ride you to death” … His language has another purpose, namely, to establish a sectarian version of the universe …this is what UB is trying to do … As is evident in all of UB’s communication, he has never freed himself from projection … his own inner demons onto others … The Semiotic Theory of Intelligent Scattering … It is curious that ID/creationists don’t jump on things … Making a caricature of science and then shooting it down with great fanfare has been the socio/political tactic of creationists … every ID/creationist does it, and their rube followers – such as UB here … Just make up stuff and simply assert that anyone who knows anything about science is stupid … the fundamentalists who are against everything secular and the educational dropouts who harbor intense hatreds for those who actually try to learn … his rants pretty much revealed that he is engaged in a game of revenge … impressions I sometimes get from UB’s turgid writing … UB doesn’t appear to have any sense of humor whatsoever …This isn’t an intellectual discussion for him … it’s a personal vendetta against all smart people… The argument from ignorance is no way to go through life … UPB, and most ID advocates have not studied the history of science, or have learned nothing from it …UPB is arguing that because the templating process involved in translation is so complicated, it isn’t templating … Creationists (a group which includes ID-pushers) explicitly reject … The magic threshold … Why, then, do Creationists think … I think it touches on their “designer” … UPB’s argument relies on the following premises: If you haven’t observed it, it doesn’t exist … Perhaps we should all adopt a worldview that doesn’t require this pathetic level of detail … Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory … The goal is NOT to understand how something came to be … FIRST, assume goddidit as the default … and POOF using our conclusions as our assumptions once again “proves” our conclusions … In all of these efforts, the creationists make abundant use of a simple tactic: They lie. They lie continually, they lie prodigiously, and they lie because they must … What do you do to support a lie? You lie!

  109. 109
    Mark Frank says:

    #98 Null

    It was on the quiz, Mark. Specifically questions 3 and 4.
    When Miller defines ID as saying, “It is what a philosopher might call the argument from ignorance, which is to say that, because we don’t understand something, we assume we never will, and therefore we can invoke a cause outside of nature, a supernatural creator or supernatural designer.”, he’s wrong. On multiple points, but definitely points 3 and 4 as per the quiz.
    The funny thing is, you knew as much – until I provided this quote. But now that you see Miller making this claim, now you’re changing your answer. Gotta have that united front against ID, right?

    Millers claim falls into two parts:

    It is what a philosopher might call the argument from ignorance, which is to say that, because we don’t understand something, we assume we never will,

    At no point did you include a question about whether ID was an argument from ignorance. I absolutely believe it is.

    therefore we can invoke a cause outside of nature, a supernatural creator or supernatural designer

    Miller is pointing out that a consequence of ID is a cause outside of nature, not as saying that this is what ID proponents claim (although I am sure they believe it to be true). I agree with his deduction. The only conceivable designer would be something that does not conform to the laws of nature. It is a consequence of ID although not strictly part of its definition. So while its most noteworthy proponents never propose or argue that the designer is supernatural (which is what you asked in 3 and 4) they obviously believe it to be true and it is a consequence of ID.

  110. 110
    Mark Frank says:

    #109 Null

    If I see Joe throwing sexual slurs at Liddle, putting up picture of her RL self to deface, and half the things the swampers do when they’re particularly riled, I’m going to pull no punches and call him out on that immediately. Anyone who does that, not just Joe, will be disinvited from any thread I host until they apologize and knock it off – regardless of where they do it. This isn’t about merely saying that Liddle’s full of it. That’s not a nasty personal insult. That’s, half the time, putting it mildly.

    Just to remind you what Joe actually wrote:

    LoL! Discuss YOUR position you dumbass hack. Also Dembski’s is NOT  the absolutely key concept, you are full of shit.

    This is not a nasty personal insult?

    How about you, Mark? Will you commit to the same? Tip: if you do, you’ll be cutting yourself off from a lot of your TSZ friends. This is where you play up how mature and open-minded you are by tolerating that sort of scum-behavior.

    I have my own approach and I believe I apply it consistently. I try to ignore personal comments and insults whether they be sexual/scatological or anything else or who makes them. Internet discussion is like that and anyone who wants to try and stem the tide is onto a losing cause. I only point out how foul-mouthed Joe is because it seemed to me that you were being hypocritical. In general it just leads me to ignore most of his comments.

  111. 111
    Mark Frank says:

    Sorry that last comment should have referred back to Null #98 not Null #109.

  112. 112
    coldcoffee says:

    A quiz for us at TSZ posted here

  113. 113
    Mark Frank says:

    UB #108

    If that is all you can assemble after two and half months then I have to say TSZ comes out pretty well. I collected this lot from this thread alone:

    Babinski, you try way too hard to be a critic. You come off as a bit of an uninformed ass instead.
    Everyone, take a good look at Babinski. He won’t even answer the questions – he skips past them and flies headlong into panic mode, because answering the questions would be detrimental to his religion.
    I find that very cowardly and very disturbing- meaning I find our opponents to be very disturbed.
    So why do anti-IDists continue to think that their willful ignorance means something?
    They all know this or should know this.
    The issue is ideology not logic and evidence on induction.
    As it increasingly was with the Marxists a generation ago.
    I believe Kantian Naturalist is some form of a Marxist too so he is an ideologue first and not primarily a thinker.
    and that is why it is a useful squid ink obfuscatory argument resorted to by a certain class of objectors when all else fails to distract
    Considering you don’t seem to be able to tell when the Bible has been shoved in your face, I’m skeptical of your ability to accurately tell when you’ve won an argument
    If you doubt the bare existence of Joseph Smith, yep, I think it’d fair to call you either a lunatic or dramatically misinformed.
    Most ID critics prefer to ignore ID entirely and find it more effective for their nefarious purposes to aim their arrows toward the soft underbelly of the anti-Darwinian beast:
    TSZ’s Richie Cupcake Hughes has latched on to Mark Frank’s “ID quiz”.
    That went right over all of their pointy little heads.
    Richie Hughes proves that he is clueless:
    The only eleP(T|H)ants in the room are you, Joe F and Alan Fox.
    What those who play such tactics — having had reasonable opportunity to correct genuine misunderstandings — leave me with, is the impression that they are calculated slanderers and cold blooded liars, or enablers of such. In short, pretty much as the nihilistic bully-boy ideologies I confronted in my youth, and the somewhat older ones notorious for big lie tactics I read about.
    Look Lizzie is totally clueless wrt darwinian evolution, genetic algorithms and CSI.
    Lizzie is a prefect example of someone who doesn’t understand darwinism.
    And yet Lizzie and Joe have both mangled it. Lizzie doesn’t even understand the basics.
    Predictably, sadly, MF has drummed on with his talking points.

  114. 114
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    At no point did you include a question about whether ID was an argument from ignorance. I absolutely believe it is.

    The ignorance is all yours, Mark. REally what is your position besides “an argument from ignorance”? You don’t have any details. Heck most of your position relies on Father Time.

    And Mark, natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for its origins, which science said it had.

  115. 115
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    This is not a nasty personal insult?

    Nope, it is an observation. You and your ilk, Lizzie included, need to focus on your lame position. You should say the heck with ID as the EF makes it very clear that if you ever demonstrate that natural selection is a real designer mimic, ID falls. But you cannot do that- you cannot support your dogma so you are forced to flail away at ID. Unfortunately you guys do so by misrepresenting ID.

    I have my own approach and I believe I apply it consistently….

    Yes you do-> ignore reality and misrepresent your opposition. Nice job, Mark.

  116. 116
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank@113-

    Mark takes exception to our OBSERVATIONS. Look Mark it isn’t our fault that our opponents are dishonest and misrepresent ID and IDists. People can only take so much of that crap before they are going to respond to it.

    Grow up you old cry-baby

  117. 117
    Upright BiPed says:

    MF “If that is all you can assemble”

    You’re kidding, right? Only you can deadpan this well Mark.

  118. 118
    Joe says:

    LKizzie can’t even get the facts staright and that ismpathetic:

    Joe G was banned here for posting a sexual slur, consisting of a link to a pornographic image with a misogyinistic title, and a message apparently directed at me (although it wouldn’t have mattered at whom).

    Man you are dense. It was directed at OM, not Lizzie, just as I sad above. And what I posted was NOT pornographic.

    My Lizzie, way to try to rewrite history.

    Nobody is banned for “getting into it with the evos” at TSZ.

    That is what led to it. Again I see that yoiu ahve difficulty understanding what I post.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    Null:

    It seems Gregory is now hanging out at TSZ and has tried a counter-quiz, posed as a “simple” yes/no exercise. Unfortunately, from get-go it is loaded with complex question fallacies. The contrast to what Null has done is obvious.

    First shot quick comments on the way out the door:

    >> 1. Is the DI-led IDM>>

    –> Loaded, question begging. The Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture is a significant design theory centre, especially on ID on the world of life, but it is not the head of a monolith, nor is it particularly active on the other half of design theory, Cosmological ID.

    >> making a concentrated, dedicated effort to distinguish good science from bad science by actively and publically rejecting the outdated ‘young Earth’ views of many undereducated, anti-science, evangelical Christians in the USA?>>

    –> Irrelevant. The design inference is an empirical, inductive logic based scientific investigatory exercise, not a movement in itself.

    –> And that is quite a string of accusations loaded into the”simple” Y/N question.

    >>2. Have IDM leaders Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski and Phillip Johnson *all* linked their own version of IDT to their personal Christian faith in public statements, interviews and/or articles?>>

    –> Loaded again in many ways and addresses a wide range of people with different bases.

    –> Johnson when he was active (he is now in old age) was a lawyer and analyst of argumentation with an eye to worldview assumptions. That has no relevance to whether or no he was a Christian. (Do you want us to drag in the common atheistical, evolutionary materialist ideologies and associations with things like the humanist movement on the part of many Darwinist advocates? Let us instead focus on issues and evidence and on reasoning.)

    –> Meyer is a philosopher of science with Geophysics background as well and significant knowledge of relevant history of science.

    –> On the part of Behe and Dembski, they have plainly distinguished their Christian worldview from the issue of scientific empirical warrant. The design inference rests on that warrant. As Gregory has been repeatedly told and just as repeatedly has ignored.

    >>3. Have several prominent Abrahamic theists (particularly those active in science, philosophy & theology/worldview conversations) openly rejected IDT on the basis of distinguishing Uppercase ‘Intelligent Design’ Theory (the Discovery Institute’s ‘strictly scientific’ theory) from lowercase ‘intelligent design’ (aka the non-scientific, theological/worldview ‘design argument’)?>>

    –> This issue of case is a Gregory hobby horse and is of little significance. The issue that is pivotal is the empirically grounded warrant for the inference to design on signs.

    >>4. Does it make sense for IDists to openly admit that IDT is more properly viewed as an interdisciplinary topic for ‘science, philosophy & theology/worldview’ discourse rather than as a ‘strictly scientific’ theory?>>

    –> The design inference is a matter of empirical warrant. If it can be shown that blind chance and mechanical necessity are sufficient to produce FSCO/I especially dFSCI, the design theory would be finished. Existence of a huypothetical movement and inferred grand cultural conspiracy would immediately collapse.

    –> Of course the problem here is that on billions of cases FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design and credible counter examples are nowhere to be found after hundreds of tries in aggregate.

    –> So the game is to change the subject asnd resort to conspiracy theorism, which is the underlying fallacy behind this string of questions.

    >>5. When the ‘Wedge Document’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy) was leaked by the Discovery Institute, did it specifically stipulate that IDT was to be restricted *only* to natural-physical sciences?>>

    –> As Gregory knows or should know, origins science is inevitably linked to origins thought, one any side of the questions.

    –> It is highly significant that he has chosen to go to a notoriously biased site driven by ideologues to find a hatchet job. Apart from hysteria whipped up there is nothing of any remarkable significance in the Wedge fundraising document from years past. Nothing certainly by contrast with what we could find in say Dawkins’ God Delusion and any number of other examples.

    >>6. Has anyone in the IDM come up with an IDT where the ‘Designer/designer(s)’ can actually be studied?>>

    –> Gregory here again wishes to change the subject from inference to design as process to debating on potential designers.

    >>7. Are any of “the most noteworthy ID proponents” (as ‘nullasalus’ calls them) atheists? If so, who (please don’t count David Berlinski; he is self-confessed “warm, but distant”)?>>

    –> And, so what? Is atheism a qualification to study science and inductive logic and apply it to cases of interest?

    >>8. Do any of “the most noteworthy ID proponents” (as ‘nullasalus’ calls them) outright reject the category ‘supernatural’ or not personally believe that the Uppercase ‘Designer’ behind the so-called ID in their IDT does not transcend the merely ‘natural?’ If so, who?>>

    –> Irrelevant again, and loaded projection.

    >>9. Does the DI receive a vast majority of its institutional funding from right-wing conservative evangelicals (e.g. Ahmanson, the Maclellan Foundation) in the USA?>>

    –> Again, irrelevant to the actual issue at stake, warrant. Do you want to invite counter arguments on capturing tax funding to push evo mat atheism as a new de facto establishment?

    >>10. Do any non-IDists (read: normal people) educated beyond the high school level actually accept the argument by some IDists that ‘aliens’ is really what they mean ; ) when they posit that IDT has *nothing* at all to do with their personal/community religious worldview?>>

    –> Loaded again, and the point is that design is different from designers, as Gregory knows or should know.

    Later.

    KF

    PS: MF, clipping comments out of context to complain makes you look like an innocent victim.

  120. 120
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Ironically, it is the other half of ID that does raise serious questions on a designer beyond rthe cosmos. But, by and large objectors, especially of the TSZ-ATBC-AntiEvo etc ilk, keep away from that. One wonders why. KF

    PS: Joe, kindly watch your language, it has begun to slip into terms that encourager emotional reactions and invite finger-pointing recriminations.

    PPS: MF, it is a fact that in my youth I had to deal with a uni campus full of marxist radicals, which gave me ample opportunity to see their tactics. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that I find a serious echo of those tactics on the part of too many Darwinist zealots today. It gets worse, I have the experience of exposing destructive religious sects and rescuing victims from about the same time. Too many tactics I am seeing from Darwinist zealots remind me uncomfortably of those tactics also. And it is quite plain that the Big Lie tactic is in routine use on your side of these issues, what else do you think I must conclude from willfully sustained misrepresentations promoted to the naive public as if they were the truth. Misrepresentations that have shaped at least one major and harmful court decision, in Dover PA. Misrepresentations that have been used to unjustly damage careers and reputations. Last but not least, I find too many people who should know and do better persistently enabling such behaviour, even in the teeth of correction, where even the focus of the original post in this thread is such a correction. And even more unfortunately, I find that I must ask you to address this matter yourself.

  121. 121
    Mark Frank says:

    Joe #118

    I can’t resist asking – are you saying that you never made a comment on TSZ that linked to a pornographic web site? That Lizzie just made up the idea?

  122. 122
    Joe says:

    I never linked to pornography, Mark. And I supported that claim. Also that comment was directed at OM, not Lizzie.

    It isn’t my fault that you guys are on an agenda that keeps you from actualizing reality.

  123. 123
    Mark Frank says:

    KF

    The comments I quoted in #113 are simply to compare to UB’s collection and show what it looks like if you copy and paste all the personal comments from a typical internet debate. They are not intended to be a fair representation of anyone’s views.

  124. 124
    Mark Frank says:

    #122 Joe

    I am not sure which comment caused you to be banned but it was sufficient for Lizzie to introduce a new house rule explicitly forbidding linking to pornography and to write this OP:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=959

    Are you saying this was all a figment of her imagination?

  125. 125
    Joe says:

    Mark,

    I did not link to pornography. Yes Lizzie is mistaken- she usually is.

    But nice to see it still bothers you chumps two years later. Talk about the need to get a life…

  126. 126
    nullasalus says:

    Mark,

    As I stated, the problem with TSZ isn’t ‘They say negative things!’ This isn’t about a bit of taunting or mockery or dismissal. It’s about the swampers and their habit of elevating it to the levels of very personal, RL hatred. But the thing is, I repeated this – you know it. But instead of copping to it, you equivocate. Like with the quiz: I ask simple fundamental questions about ID, your counter is ‘Some ID proponents probably can’t explain this math equation that shows up in one of Dembski’s books!’ I point out the swamp involves defacing RL pictures, sexual slurs, etc. You fire back that I pointed out Babinski showed up and couldn’t even answer my quiz.

    Let Matzke be the one who sticks to misrepresentation. He’s better at it than you are.

    Miller is pointing out that a consequence of ID is a cause outside of nature, not as saying that this is what ID proponents claim (although I am sure they believe it to be true).

    And Miller is lying. By all means, Mark, here’s your singular challenge: illustrate how the bacterial flagellum being designed necessitates a supernatural cause. If you can’t do this – and spoiler, you can’t – then Miller’s claim dies, and so does your defense of him.

    I try to ignore personal comments and insults whether they be sexual/scatological or anything else or who makes them. Internet discussion is like that and anyone who wants to try and stem the tide is onto a losing cause.

    Not at all, Mark. It simply requires moderation – it always did. Believe it or not, if you eliminate everyone who calls someone a ‘****sucker!’ or a slut from the ID conversation, you’ll still be left with abundant critics and proponents. You just won’t be left with many swampers.

    At no point did you include a question about whether ID was an argument from ignorance. I absolutely believe it is.

    An argument from ignorance requires no positive evidence being brought to bear for a claim. Please Mark – tell me that ID proponents cannot point to any intelligent agents designing irreducibly complex things. If you concede that they can, then ‘argument from ignorance’ dies. They have positive evidence. They may be wrong, but they’re not shooting in the dark.

  127. 127
    Mark Frank says:

    #125 Joe

    But nice to see it still bothers you chumps two years later. Talk about the need to get a life…

    Well you raised the issue of your 2 year old banning (see #100). I am just relaxing having submitted my dissertation for upgrade this morning.

    What do you think made Lizzie think you were linking to porn?

    There is a comment from you in Guano that just reads:

    Have some tunie

    followed by a comment from the moderator that the link was removed as NSFW (not safe for work). Is that the one?

  128. 128
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    Well you raised the issue of your 2 year old banning (see #100).

    In response to Lizzie, who raised it first.

    What do you think made Lizzie think you were linking to porn?

    She’s irrational, emotional and on an agenda.

    There is a comment from you in Guano that just reads:

    Have some tunie

    followed by a comment from the moderator that the link was removed as NSFW (not safe for work). Is that the one?

    Yup.

  129. 129
    Mark Frank says:

    So what were you linking to?

  130. 130
    Joe says:

    It wasn’t porn.

  131. 131
    Mark Frank says:

    nullasalusFebruary 3, 2014 at 8:31 am

    But instead of copping to it, you equivocate. Like with the quiz: I ask simple fundamental questions about ID, your counter is ‘Some ID proponents probably can’t explain this math equation that shows up in one of Dembski’s books!’

    What am I equivocating on?  I took the quiz – got all the answers right according to your marking scheme. My point was simply  that actually ID proponents don’t know that much about ID as many critics. You seem to accept that as well. End of story.

    I point out the swamp involves defacing RL pictures, sexual slurs, etc. You fire back that I pointed out Babinski showed up and couldn’t even answer my quiz.

    I don’t remember mentioning Babinski except as the first quote in my list of quotes from the thread.  My response was that no one on TSZ behaves worse than Joe. End of story. This was just to try and show you that really it isn’t a big deal. Personally I couldn’t care less what kind of personal language anyone uses on some other forum. Again I don’t see the equivocation.

    By all means, Mark, here’s your singular challenge: illustrate how the bacterial flagellum being designed necessitates a supernatural cause. If you can’t do this – and spoiler, you can’t – then Miller’s claim dies, and so does your defense of him.

    Elliot Sober has done it very nicely thanks. It is not logically absolutely certain but it is a very reasonable conclusion. Given four entirely reasonable assumptions it follows.

    Not at all, Mark. It simply requires moderation – it always did. Believe it or not, if you eliminate everyone who calls someone a ‘****sucker!’ or a slut from the ID conversation, you’ll still be left with abundant critics and proponents. You just won’t be left with many swampers.

    Are you seriously going to moderate people on the basis of what they wrote elsewhere (except of course Joe)?  Best of luck. 

    An argument from ignorance requires no positive evidence being brought to bear for a claim. Please Mark – tell me that ID proponents cannot point to any intelligent agents designing irreducibly complex things. If you concede that they can, then ‘argument from ignorance’ dies. They have positive evidence. They may be wrong, but they’re not shooting in the dark.

    My point was that this did not come up in your quiz. Arguing that ID is an argument from ignorance is not misrepresenting it.  The actual debate is lengthy and gets into quite a lot of detail rather quickly. If you want to go over it I suggest doing it elsewhere.

  132. 132
    Mark Frank says:

    Come on Joe – what was it? Or can’t you remember?

  133. 133
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    Arguing that ID is an argument from ignorance is not misrepresenting it.

    Yes it is as the ignorance is all yours. And Elliot Sober is a crank.

  134. 134
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    Come on Joe – what was it? Or can’t you remember?

    I can remember that it wasn’t porn.

  135. 135
    kairosfocus says:

    MF: You are again dodging the issue. KF

  136. 136
    nullasalus says:

    What am I equivocating on? I took the quiz – got all the answers right according to your marking scheme. My point was simply that actually ID proponents don’t know that much about ID as many critics. You seem to accept that as well. End of story.

    And this, Mark, is flat out dishonesty.

    I have maintained that neither most ID critics *nor* ID proponents would be able to describe the equation you gave. No, I didn’t accept that ‘ID proponents don’t know as much about ID as ID critics’. Not at all. I have maintained the opposite.

    Like I said – don’t play this kind of game with me. You’re bad at it.

    This was just to try and show you that really it isn’t a big deal. Personally I couldn’t care less what kind of personal language anyone uses on some other forum. Again I don’t see the equivocation.

    I point out that the swampers engage in personal attacks – they put up RL pictures of people they hate, laugh at them, mock them, sling sexual slurs at them, etc. I expressly point out the problem isn’t merely negative comments or criticizing someone’s thoughts.

    What you did was a textbook example of equivocation. End of story.

    Elliot Sober has done it very nicely thanks. It is not logically absolutely certain but it is a very reasonable conclusion.

    Congratulations – you’ve conceded the argument. No, it doesn’t follow from ID that the bacterial flagellum needed to be designed by anything supernatural whatsoever. You’re not even disputing this – you’re falling back to what amounts to a metaphysical argument (And metaphysical arguments are not ID.) By the way? There exist metaphysical arguments (from Ed Feser, etc) that *mainstream evolutionary theory* ultimately necessitates the God of classical theism. So I suppose you’d accept evolutionary theory being described as a supernatural theory?

    Are you seriously going to moderate people on the basis of what they wrote elsewhere (except of course Joe)? Best of luck.

    When they cross these lines and I become aware of it? Yep, sure am. I can choose who I associate with. So can you. The difference is I have standards.

    My point was that this did not come up in your quiz. Arguing that ID is an argument from ignorance is not misrepresenting it.

    Miller misrepresented ID on the supernatural front, period. End of story. And yes, ID is not an argument from ignorance – demonstrably.

    Answer my question: are intelligent agents demonstrably capable of creating irreducibly complex structures?

  137. 137
    tvarhegyi says:

    To nullasalus

    Under the “About” menu tab of the Uncommondescent.com website we find the following manifesto :

    “Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted. The problem, therefore, is not merely that science is being used illegitimately to promote a materialistic worldview, but that this worldview is actively undermining scientific inquiry, leading to incorrect and unsupported conclusions about biological and cosmological origins. At the same time, intelligent design (ID) offers a promising scientific alternative to materialistic theories of biological and cosmological evolution — an alternative that is finding increasing theoretical and empirical support. Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project.”

    I hope that I don’t have to prove to you that the atheistic worldview includes and is compatible with materialistic ideology. Yes, there could be atheists who believe in God, reject evolution (Thomas Nagel), love ID, go to Sunday services, read and cherish the Bible, but that does not make the millions of other atheists and the philosophy itself compatible with ID.

    That should settle Quiz question #5

  138. 138
    Mark Frank says:

    nullasalusFebruary 3, 2014 at 10:07 am

      And this, Mark, is flat out dishonesty.

    I have maintained that neither most ID critics *nor* ID proponents would be able to describe the equation you gave. No, I didn’t accept that ‘ID proponents don’t know as much about ID as ID critics’. Not at all. I have maintained the opposite.

    Luckily I didn’t write: ID proponents don’t know as much about ID as ID critics. What I wrote was: “ID proponents don’t know that much about ID as many critics”. You appeared to accept that many people on TSZ would understand my question and  most ID proponents demonstrably do not. QED.
     

    I point out that the swampers engage in personal attacks – they put up RL pictures of people they hate, laugh at them, mock them, sling sexual slurs at them, etc. I expressly point out the problem isn’t merely negative comments or criticizing someone’s thoughts.

    What you did was a textbook example of equivocation. End of story.

    Sorry I still don’t see where the equivocation comes in. Equivocate means “use ambiguous language so as to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself.” What did I write that was ambiguous?

    Congratulations – you’ve conceded the argument. No, it doesn’t follow from ID that the bacterial flagellum needed to be designed by anything supernatural whatsoever. You’re not even disputing this – you’re falling back to what amounts to a metaphysical argument (And metaphysical arguments are not ID.) By the way? There exist metaphysical arguments (from Ed Feser, etc) that *mainstream evolutionary theory* ultimately necessitates the God of classical theism. So I suppose you’d accept evolutionary theory being described as a supernatural theory?

    I don’t know why you call it a metaphysical argument. It is just an argument. But let us suppose it is metaphysical. Being metaphysical doesn’t make it invalid. If it is valid then it follows that if bacterial flagellum was designed the designer was supernatural. You can counter this by challenging the argument, but just to label it “metaphysical” proves nothing. Similarly if Ed Feser’s argument is valid then there is good reason to suppose the God of classical theism exists.

    Answer my question: are intelligent agents demonstrably capable of creating irreducibly complex structures?

    I always have a problem knowing for sure when something is irreducibly complex – but I sort of get the idea and the answer is yes. So what?

  139. 139
    kairosfocus says:

    TVH, all materialists are atheists, but nor all atheists are materialists. Look up idealism for instance. But even more broadly, there are atheists who come in all sort of odd flavours out there, indeed some reportedly pray. KF

  140. 140
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @MF:

    Joe: I can remember that it wasn’t porn.

    It was a “nasty vagina” — a medical picture, not porn. I, too, am a fan of medical pictures. My browser-history is full of them.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    MF, ever had a car refuse to run because of a part that went bad, or been locked out by putting a wrong character on a pass word? If so, you understand irreducible complexity, a functional entity requiring a cluster of core parts each necessary to and together in proper array jointly sufficient for a given specific function. KF

  142. 142
    Mark Frank says:

    140 JWTL

    Thanks. As the entire comment was:

    Have some tunie

    And this was in the middle of a debate with Lizzie which was in no way related to medicine or vaginas. I suggest that this a pretty explicit sexual slur. What are you going to do Nullasus?

  143. 143
    nullasalus says:

    Luckily I didn’t write: ID proponents don’t know as much about ID as ID critics. What I wrote was: “ID proponents don’t know that much about ID as many critics”. You appeared to accept that many people on TSZ would understand my question and most ID proponents demonstrably do not. QED.

    I ‘appeared’ to do no such thing, and your restatement doesn’t help you – because I never agreed to that either. I’ve maintained that it’s ridiculous to talk about how many ID proponents ‘don’t understand’ Dembski’s equation, because it’s not as if ID critics are in a better state to do so. Pointing at someone at TSZ who you claim does understand it does little to advance the claim, anymore than my pointing at several UD regulars who would understand it, would.

    QED, as you’d say.

    Sorry I still don’t see where the equivocation comes in. Equivocate means “use ambiguous language so as to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself.” What did I write that was ambiguous?

    You’re trading on an ambiguity between my reasons for dismissing TSZ – the swampers behavior – and ‘any negative thing said about anyone’.

    I don’t know why you call it a metaphysical argument. It is just an argument. But let us suppose it is metaphysical. Being metaphysical doesn’t make it invalid.

    You’re right, it doesn’t. But a metaphysical argument is not science. You pointed at the mere existence of a metaphysical argument as if that’s enough to excuse the claim that ID involves a commitment to the supernatural – but if that’s the case, then saying that evolution entails atheism (or theism!) is just as valid. There are metaphysical arguments to that effect as well.

    I always have a problem knowing for sure when something is irreducibly complex – but I sort of get the idea and the answer is yes. So what?

    So that alone suffices to show that ID inferences are not arguments from ignorance. If they infer intelligence, they are doing so on the basis of positive data – among other things, the accomplishments of intelligent agents.

  144. 144
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    And this was in the middle of a debate with Lizzie …

    That is a lie. Lizzie wasn’t around. She didn’t even know what it was until someone pointed it out to her.

    The comment was directed at OM. OM was the ass I was responding to. And nothing Mark spews will ever change that fact.

  145. 145
    nullasalus says:

    Mark Frank,

    I suggest that this a pretty explicit sexual slur. What are you going to do Nullasus?

    Why, that’s easy Mark.

    Joe, I didn’t see this thread, much less the picture. And let’s be honest – what Mark here is doing is using you as a cover, reasoning that I’ll be a hypocrite and not condemn you for engaging in the sort of behavior I’ve outlined. So I’m going to make this clear – and this goes for anyone in the thread.

    If it comes to my attention that you’re throwing sexual slurs at people – male or female – over their ID views? I don’t care if it’s on UD. If it’s a public blog that anyone can access and see, even obscure, I don’t want you in any thread I host, and I won’t take part in any threads you host on UD or elsewhere. Period. You throw out porn pics? Same deal. Now, my splendid company isn’t necessary of value you to you – maybe you’ll say ‘Well to heck with you then, Null’. Your prerogative. But I have the standards I do.

    That’s my response, Mark.

    Now the real question is: what are YOU going to do about the swamp? Or are we just going to establish that I have more civility and respect than you or your ilk at TSZ, and leave it at that?

  146. 146
    tvarhegyi says:

    To kairosfocus #139

    I am not sure so please enlighten me : “Is TVH your abbreviation for me, TVARHEGYI or is it denoting somebody else ?”

    TVH, all materialists are atheists, but nor all atheists are materialists. Look up idealism for instance. But even more broadly, there are atheists who come in all sort of odd flavours out there, indeed some reportedly pray. KF

  147. 147
    Mark Frank says:

    I ‘appeared’ to do no such thing, and your restatement doesn’t help you – because I never agreed to that either. I’ve maintained that it’s ridiculous to talk about how many ID proponents ‘don’t understand’ Dembski’s equation, because it’s not as if ID critics are in a better state to do so. Pointing at someone at TSZ who you claim does understand it does little to advance the claim, anymore than my pointing at several UD regulars who would understand it, would.
    QED, as you’d say.

    Looking back I am wrong about that one.  I apologise. You never conceded that ID proponents don’t know that much about ID as many critics. I still don’t see what is ambigous about claiming they don’t. You didn’t seem to find it ambiguous.

    You’re trading on an ambiguity between my reasons for dismissing TSZ – the swampers behavior – and ‘any negative thing said about anyone’.

    Let’s be clear what exactly did I write that was ambiguous?

    You’re right, it doesn’t. But a metaphysical argument is not science. You pointed at the mere existence of a metaphysical argument as if that’s enough to excuse the claim that ID involves a commitment to the supernatural – but if that’s the case, then saying that evolution entails atheism (or theism!) is just as valid. There are metaphysical arguments to that effect as well.

    As I said, it depends on the validity of the argument. You have not done anything to address the validity of Sobers argument.

    So that alone suffices to show that ID inferences are not arguments from ignorance. If they infer intelligence, they are doing so on the basis of positive data – among other things, the accomplishments of intelligent agents.

    As I said the debate about whether ID is an argument from ignorance is a long and detailed one. If you want to have that debate fine but may I suggest you start another OP.

  148. 148
    Mark Frank says:

    #145 Null

    As I said several times I don’t share the same approach as you. I don’t actually care too much what people do elsewhere. I just want to see if you stick to your standards.

    So Joe gets off with a warning? Or do you doubt he did it?

  149. 149
    Joe says:

    nullasalus, I don’t hurl insults over someone’s ID views. I retaliate when attacked and I don’t hold back.

    Lizze may say I posted porn- that is her opinion and not a fact- she is welcome to her opinion but is not welcome to her own facts. And it was NOT directed at Lizzie as she wasn’t part of the discussion at the time.

  150. 150
    Joe says:

    Hey Mark, why are you being such a cry-baby? Why won’t you atone for your lie?

  151. 151
    Joe says:

    And I thought the link was to a selfie of OM….

  152. 152
    nullasalus says:

    nullasalus, I don’t hurl insults over someone’s ID views. I retaliate when attacked and I don’t hold back.

    Lizze may say I posted porn- that is her opinion and not a fact- she is welcome to her opinion but is not welcome to her own facts. And it was NOT directed at Lizzie as she wasn’t part of the discussion at the time.

    Joe, like I said – my standards are mine, and I adhere to them. Believe me, I know what it’s like to deal with people who try to escalate things, who are frustrating, etc. And I am not immune to mockery, even namecalling – I engage in it when I think it’s warranted. But I have a limit for that, and I’m a big believer in having standards of association. I outlined the limits I have – if you think I’m being too weak, I understand, but I adhere to those standards all the same.

    Mark,

    As I said several times I don’t share the same approach as you. I don’t actually care too much what people do elsewhere. I just want to see if you stick to your standards.

    Sure. Let the record show: Mark Frank’s A-OK with sexual slurs and posting porn pics as insults in the course of a debate. That’s right, folks, that’s exactly the kind of community you can hope to join over at The Skeptical Zone! So remember: if you want to discuss things with people who will froth with hate, post your RL details on their sister forum if they get them, and worse… well, you just be sure to sign up there.

    So Joe gets off with a warning? Or do you doubt he did it?

    Joe gets a warning because it’s the first I’ve heard of this, I didn’t witness it myself, and the post is apparently gone. Also, what more do you want? I only have control over my own threads on UD and my own behavior. Watch and see if I knowingly join threads where someone who engages in that without apology is running the show. See if I tolerate them in my own threads.

    I have standards. Which is why I don’t post at the freaking Skeptical Zone.

  153. 153
    Joe says:

    Lizzie has lost it:

    And what was most offensive to me was the title Joe had given it.

    Umm, I didn’t give it a title. Or are you referring to “Here have some tunie”? The other title wasn’t from me, duh.

  154. 154
    Joe says:

    nullasalus,

    When you have evos write to your place of employment spewing their lies, let me know. Yes that has happened to me and the best part is I came out with a much better job making almost double the money.

    And no, you are right in your standards. You would have left TSZ long before it got as heated as it did when I posted the tunie pic. I respect that and if you ban me from your threads there won’t be any hard feelings- if I deserve it then so be it.

  155. 155
    Mark Frank says:

    Null

    Mark Frank’s A-OK with sexual slurs and posting porn pics as insults in the course of a debate.

    I am not A-OK with it. I just don’t think it is that important, particularly elsewhere. It is rather pathetic but certainly not worth banning or sensing or even avoiding contact with those that choose to do it. I am much more disturbed with implications that as an atheist I am somehow ammoral and associated with mass murder – a fairly common accusation here.

  156. 156
    nullasalus says:

    Joe,

    I had no idea they did that. Really? One more reason to tend towards anonymity on the internet, I suppose. Sorry to hear it, but glad you apparently came out ahead.

    Mark,

    I am not A-OK with it. I just don’t think it is that important, particularly elsewhere.

    Sure you are. I mean you yourself keep talking about how it’s no big deal. You see no reason to ban someone for it, or avoid contact with people who do it.

    Be sure to pipe up with this reasoning the next time some feminist on twitter gets lambasted with comments like that. Actually, weren’t multiple female atheists run off the net due to male atheists engaging in that? Clearly they should have had thicker skin by your view.

    I am much more disturbed with implications that as an atheist I am somehow ammoral and associated with mass murder

    Trying very, very hard to change the subject, I see. What, did you think I was bluffing about those standards?

  157. 157
    scordova says:

    Here’s quiz on ID for you ID proponents:

    On page 21 of Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence William Dembksi defines the context dependent specified complexity of T given H as –log2[M·N·?S(T)·P(T|H)]

    Consider the context of the bacterial flagellum.

    1. What is T?

    2. What is the function ?S ?

    3. How is ?S(T) estimated?

    4. What is H?

    5. How is P(T|H) estimated?

    6. M·N·?S(T)·P(T|H) is meant to be a probability. Under what conditions might the answer exceed 1?

    Heck if I know. I fail. Perhaps my colleagues can provide numbers and calculations?

    I’m trying to be fair here and credit Mark for pointing out a difficulty with an ID argument, but on the other hand, I don’t want my recognition of Mark’s legitimate objection on the difficulty of carrying out a particular calculation to imply that we can some how generalize the difficulties Mark has found in one small piece of ID literature as somehow demonstrating there aren’t alternative avenues to using math and science to make a design inference.

    Mark may have a point that the calculations are cumbersome and few ID proponents will be able to execute them. However, let’s not pretend that’s the only way to use math to make an ID inference.

    For example:
    Relevance of coin analogies to homochirality and symbolic organization in biology

    one thing has consistently amazed me: the pathological inability of many ID proponents to accurately represent what ID actually is,

    I wouldn’t say the inability is pathological, it’s lack of education. I will point however, the pathological inability of some to answer a far simpler question than question of Dembski’s math:
    Statistics Question for Nick Matzke

    NOTES

    Some of the alternate approaches for arguing in favor of design started with:
    Siding with Mathgrrl on a point.

    There were other essays that followed:
    The Fundamental Law of ID

    The paradox of almost definite knowledge in the face of maximum uncertainty, the basis of ID

    Illlustrating Embedded Specification and Specified Improbability with Specially Labeled Coins

    To recognize Design is to recognize the products of a like-minded process

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    Null: Pardon, but this thread has been pulled way off track by repeated tangents. The focal issue is back in the original post, and it is highly illuminating that it seems that by and large Darwinist objectors to ID are studiously ignoring a very simple request: show, by filling out a short quiz, that you can accurately and fairly describe the basic case on the merits made by design thinkers. KF

    PS: I have had attempts to expose my family including minor children, and to do things like give out addresses. That crosses the line into cyberstalking and poses implicit threats that are ugly and menacing. The likes of too many of the more genteel objectors seem all too willing to be in such company. As to the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialist worldviews, that has been exposed for all to see at least since Plato in The Laws Bk X, 2350 years ago. As in, what worldview foundation IS can such an evolutionary materialist pose that properly grounds OUGHT as objectively binding? Where as a simple test, it is self evidently and undeniably, so objectively true and binding that it is wrong — ought not to be done — to kidnap, torture, rape and murder a child. Likewise, should we see such a monster at such fell work, we are duty bound to intervene to save the victim. You can see for yourself what happened when this moral yardstick 1 was posed as a basic test here. (And kindly cf. here in context and with onward links re MF’s previous twistabout accusation and toxic strawman argument tactics, for which he specifically owes me an apology.) Sorry, evo mat fails the basic moral yardstick test and so –whether or not this is palatable — is patently morally bankrupt.

  159. 159
    Mark Frank says:

    Null #156

    Sure you are. I mean you yourself keep talking about how it’s no big deal. You see no reason to ban someone for it, or avoid contact with people who do it.

    There is a difference between no big deal and A-OK, isn’t there?  If someone drops litter on the street, turns up late for a dinner party, it is not a big deal but it is not A-OK. 

    Be sure to pipe up with this reasoning the next time some feminist on twitter gets lambasted with comments like that. Actually, weren’t multiple female atheists run off the net due to male atheists engaging in that? Clearly they should have had thicker skin by your view.

    There is a clear difference between people saying silly and obscene things in an internet debate and sending offensive tweets directly to the victim.  Do you honestly not recognise that?  I am not aware that their religious views came into the story. Were they atheists?

    Trying very, very hard to change the subject, I see.

    Depends what the subject is. Are we talking specifically about inappropriate language and sexual references or more generally about behaviour on the internet?

    What, did you think I was bluffing about those standards?

    No. So what?

  160. 160
    Joe says:

    Sal, Read the paper, pages 23-25

    1- T is two things. The first T is the pattern and the second T is the evolutionary event that produced it page 25

    2- it is the est. complexity of the pattern, ie 10^20, page 25

    3- Loosely from the BF’s description 10^20- page 25

    4- H is the unknown chance hypothesis

    5- Unknown as no one knows if unguided evolution can produce a BF in a population that never had one- page 25

    6- when it is very probable under H- page 23

  161. 161
    Phinehas says:

    MF:

    I am much more disturbed with implications that as an atheist I am somehow ammoral and associated with mass murder – a fairly common accusation here.

    I’m pretty sure the implications made are not that you are somehow ammoral, but that you leave yourself with no warrant for morality, whether in yourself or others. This is especially problematic when, in practice, morality is largely about the behavior we expect or even require of others and not merely down to internal or personal preferences.

  162. 162
    kairosfocus says:

    MF: Pardon me but I recently had to deal with alive” case of web stalking by the TSZ- ANTI-EVO- ATBC ilk, where the attempt was made to circulate my residential address. That is outright cyber-stalking, and it goes well beyond foolish talk and mere general nastiness. Joe, seems to have had people slander him to his superiors at work in an attempt to cost him his job. A decade ago, what was done to Sternberg coming out of NCSE and manifesting in inexcusable behaviour at the Smithsonian — including false accusations of academic fraud/misrepresentation, false accusations of political and/or religious motivation, insinuating that he was a petty thief [change the locks!] and the like, is simply awful. Shat was done to Gonzalez cannot be justified, and the misleading of the public over what happened as discovered from tell-tale emails, is revealing. There is a wider slaughter of dissidents as Bergman documented. Yancey has shown an underlying prejudice problem that is serious. So, when Null spoke of pursuing or harassing people in real life, coming from the ilk you associate with, he was dead on target; and it also goes on up to much more serious cases. KF

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    Phinehas, you are precisely correct. The issue has always pivoted on the IS-OUGHT gap of any worldview that has in it no foundational IS capable of properly grounding OUGHT. KF

  164. 164
    tvarhegyi says:

    To Joe #85, William J. Murray #86, nullasalus #79, kairosfocus #139

    Re: My answer of NO to Quiz question #5 which is :
    5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

    Well, maybe you will take Dr. Meyer’s word for it, who you might agree is ID’s most noteworthy proponent :
    But unlike strict Darwinian materialism and the New Atheism built atop it, the theory of intelligent design affirms the reality of a designer— a mind or personal intelligence behind life. This case for design restores to Western thought the possibility that human life in particular may have a purpose or significance beyond temporary material utility. It suggests the possibility that life may have been designed by an intelligent person, indeed, one that many would identify as God.
    Meyer, Stephen C. (2013-06-18). Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (Kindle Locations 7667-7671). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

    Nor does the theory of intelligent design merely assert the existence of a creative intelligence behind life. It identifies and detects activity of the designer of life, and does so at different points in the history of life, including the explosive show of creativity on display in the Cambrian event. The ability to detect design makes belief in an intelligent designer (or a creator, or God) not only a tenet of faith, but something to which the evidence of nature now bears witness. In short, it brings science and faith into real harmony.
    Meyer, Stephen C. (2013-06-18). Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (Kindle Locations 7673-7676). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

    Just as importantly, perhaps, the case for design supports us in our existential confrontation with the void and the seeming meaninglessness of physical existence— the sense of survival for survival’s sake that follows inexorably from the materialist worldview. Richard Dawkins and other New Atheists may find it untroubling, even amusing and certainly profitable, to muse over the prospect of a universe without purpose. But for the vast majority of thoughtful people, that idea is tinged with terror. Modern life suspends many of us, so we feel, high over a chasm of despair. It provokes feelings of dizzying anxiety— in a word, vertigo. The evidence of a purposeful design behind life, on the other hand, offers the prospect of significance, wholeness, and hope.
    Meyer, Stephen C. (2013-06-18). Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (Kindle Locations 7677-7682). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

  165. 165
    Joe says:

    tvar- If the NEW atheism is built on top of materialism, then it is not compatible with ID. However the question pertained to atheism, the one not built on top of materialism.

  166. 166
    nullasalus says:

    KF,

    Null: Pardon, but this thread has been pulled way off track by repeated tangents. The focal issue is back in the original post, and it is highly illuminating that it seems that by and large Darwinist objectors to ID are studiously ignoring a very simple request: show, by filling out a short quiz, that you can accurately and fairly describe the basic case on the merits made by design thinkers. KF

    Thank you, I needed this. You know I see this sort of thing happen so many times on UD and I always gripe about it – ‘Great the whole conversation is about TSZ again’ – and here I get sandbagged into it. Lesson learned, it won’t need repeating.

    I’m going to tweak this list – that was the point of this post, after all – and we’ll have this discussion again. And the next time, there will be no TSZ talk, because I’ll moderate anyone who tries to bring them up or have a conversation with whatever crazy parallel thread they put up in a desperate vying for attention.

  167. 167
    kairosfocus says:

    TVH, Joe is right. Some species of atheism are not materialist. An idealist materialism can envision our world as a manifestation of immanent intelligence in the cosmos. Others tend to talk about simulations or even super scientist-tinkerers. Indeed, that may just be — I am guessing — what Hoyle was fishing for; he was famously atheistical/agnostic. And yes, surveys show praying atheists, though maybe that shades off at one end of the spectrum into something like pantheism. I am not saying it all hangs together particularly well, just that it exists on the ground. KF

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    Null, maybe, we can tinker here then? Looks like 7 & 8 are problematic for many. I think the discussion somehow should emphasise the world of life, as cosmological ID moves in a different circl. KF

  169. 169
    kairosfocus says:

    OOPS, idealist atheism. KF

  170. 170
    tvarhegyi says:

    To joe #165, kairosfocus #167

    Quoting from the webpage : http://www.patheos.com/blogs/g.....d-atheism/ Several other Google hits confirm its assessment

    “What’s new about New Atheism? No, not substantive arguments for disbelief, which are as perennial as the case for God. Rather, a tactical lurch toward emotion-laden partisanship and take-no-prisoners rhetoric that might make a Fundamentalist blush. Such tactics win visibility and sales, much like what we get in current U.S. politics and political media. Wolf said the new approach demands uncompromising hostility by folks like himself, “we lax agnostics, we noncommittal non-believers, we vague deists.” The New Atheists insist that such fence-sitters must arise to ”help exorcise this debilitating curse: the curse of faith… They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it’s evil.”
    Thus all religions must be ridiculed, believers scorned as naive or stupid, and even trivial acknowledgments of religious heritage extirpated from public life. Some proponents even think parents should no longer be permitted to raise children in their faith. (It’s unclear whether government should enforce this by law or whether in fairness atheists should likewise be forbidden to press their skepticism upon offspring.) “

    To joe #165 : According to this reference there is no difference between the philosophy of atheism and New Atheism. Where they differ is tactics…looks like they declared an all-out war.

    To kairosfocus #167 : If you keep it up pretty soon you will enroll all atheists in Sunday school. I suppose that there are atheists who pray, and what they probably pray for is that all ID proponents go to hell.

    I now know that I will never convince either of you since you move the goalpost as you see it fit.
    For the record I will take the definition of atheism as Dr. Meyer uses it and leave the new, old, praying, idealist, pantheist materialists to you. ID was, is and will always be incompatible with all of them. I am sure you already knew that.

  171. 171
    nullasalus says:

    kf,

    Looks like 7 & 8 are problematic for many. I think the discussion somehow should emphasise the world of life, as cosmological ID moves in a different circl. KF

    I think 8 is only confusing most people in terms of clarity. There’s no real controversy over 7, is there?

  172. 172
    Joe says:

    OK then please find the definition of atheism that disallows for an Intelligent Designer that is not a deity.

  173. 173
    tvarhegyi says:

    to Joe #172 :

    Thanks, but no more research. I referenced for you the ultimate authority on ID, Dr. Meyer. Ask him.

  174. 174
    scordova says:

    Null,

    Can you tell us who passed the test? Did I pass?

    Sal

  175. 175
    nullasalus says:

    Scordova,

    I think the only people who got any answers ‘wrong’ were the people I directly replied to and said as much. You were entirely correct I think.

  176. 176
    Mark Frank says:

    Sal  #157

    Joe has it partly right.

    1- T is a pattern.

    2- S(T ) is defined on page 17 (not 25). It is the number of patterns which are at least as simple as T where “simple” means highly compressible e.g. a string of heads.

    3- Dembski does this for life forms by considering the minimum number of signs (roughly speaking words) that can be used to describe patterns. So you count the number of patterns that can be described in fewer words than T and that is S(T )

    4- H is a chance hypothesis.

    5- This varies but typically relies on assuming some kind of uniform probability distribution and applying Bernoulli’s principle of indifference.

    6- Joe Felsenstein has pointed out to me that  Dembski may not have intended this to be a probability at all but an expected number of hits on the target. So I withdraw this question.

    I am particularly conscious of how many ID people are not aware of the answers to 1 through 3.

  177. 177
    kairosfocus says:

    TVH:

    Pardon, you are again conflating evolutionary materialists — especially those of the new/gnu atheists stripe — with atheism. Such are only one of many types of atheists across time and today.

    As I pointed out, idealism is an historically important, different variety of worldview that has had atheistical adherents.

    And, in reporting atheists who pray, I am simply reporting and briefly commenting on a survey result.

    That is why I have been inclined to point out that atheism and design theory are not utterly incompatible, though obviously evolutionary materialism and design are. In that discussion, I have pointed to a Nobel Equivalent Prize winning astrophysicist and agnostic/atheist, who is actually a pioneer of modern design thought (especially on the cosmological side, but he made significant suggestions on life forms too), Sir Fred Hoyle.

    Let me clip:

    Once we see that life is cosmic it is sensible to suppose that intelligence is cosmic. Now problems of order, such as the sequences of amino acids in the chains which constitute the enzymes and other proteins, are precisely the problems that become easy once a directed intelligence enters the picture, as was recognised long ago by James Clerk Maxwell in his invention of what is known in physics as the Maxwell demon. The difference between an intelligent ordering, whether of words, fruit boxes, amino acids, or the Rubik cube, and merely random shufflings can be fantastically large, even as large as a number that would fill the whole volume of Shakespeare’s plays with its zeros. So if one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as high a possibility of being true.” [[Evolution from Space (The Omni Lecture[ –> Jan 12th 1982]), Enslow Publishers, 1982, pg. 28.]

    This strongly suggests some sort of intelligence built into the cosmos, at least as a possibility. And this particular case may well have contributed to the name attaching to design theory.

    Likewise, we have from his pen:

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.Cited, Bradley, in “Is There Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God? How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe”. Emphasis added.]

    As well as, in the same talk at Caltech c. 1981:

    The big problem in biology, as I see it, is to understand the origin of the information carried by the explicit structures of biomolecules. The issue isn’t so much the rather crude fact that a protein consists of a chain of amino acids linked together in a certain way, but that the explicit ordering of the amino acids endows the chain with remarkable properties, which other orderings wouldn’t give. The case of the enzymes is well known . . . If amino acids were linked at random, there would be a vast number of arrange-ments that would be useless in serving the pur-poses of a living cell. When you consider that a typical enzyme has a chain of perhaps 200 links and that there are 20 possibilities for each link,it’s easy to see that the number of useless arrangements is enormous, more than the number of atoms in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. This is for one enzyme, and there are upwards of 2000 of them, mainly serving very different purposes. So how did the situation get to where we find it to be? This is, as I see it, the biological problem – the information problem . . . .

    I was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe. So try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes – by what are called the blind forces of nature . . . . By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, not by random processes . . . .

    Now imagine yourself as a superintellect working through possibilities in polymer chemistry. Would you not be astonished that polymers based on the carbon atom turned out in your calculations to have the remarkable properties of the enzymes and other biomolecules? Would you not be bowled over in surprise to find that a living cell was a feasible construct? Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use: Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. Of course you would, and if you were a sensible superintellect you would conclude that the carbon atom is a fix.

    He also noted at the same time:

    I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. [[“The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12]

    Remember, this is a lifelong agnostic/atheist, who was an eminent astrophysicist (he gave the name “Big Bang” to the theory, with which he disagreed for many years) and independent minded thinker on many dimensions.

    I hope this helps you.

    KF

  178. 178
    kairosfocus says:

    Null: 7 and 8 are closely connected, and as I recall, questions were raised above, early in the thread, on both. KF

  179. 179
    scordova says:

    I am particularly conscious of how many ID people are not aware of the answers to 1 through 3.

    I actually was well versed in the paper 8 years ago, but concluded the procedures for design inference were too unwieldy and unnecessarily difficult. I abandoned CSI V2 (as I called it). I liked CSI V1 better! And I like the notion of “specified improbability” (a term Bill is using now himself) even better!

    You can see how I framed less general specialized cases in far simpler and accessible math. I tried to draw on literature that is more familiar, not “ID” literature. And the methods I outline have the pedagogical quality of showing degree of rejection (standard deviations from expectation), than just outright rejection. The formalisms are backed up by intuition and simpler math.

    One can demonstrate “not law, not chance” with far simpler math, imho for select simple cases, and I suspect on more challenging ones (I’m working on it).

    In general, I don’t take too much offense to your criticisms, I find them valuable and only occasionally will I express my frustration when I feel a criticism is unfair.

    When I said, “I fail” it was more an expression of “I give up trying to do inferences this way, it’s like using a sledge hammer to kill a fly that’s resting on your head.”

    What Bill tried to do in his paper was eliminate the post-diction argument by referring to the limited number of ways elementary concepts can be combined to form specifications. I don’t think one has to make a generalized method to handle every case in order to make compelling design inferences.

    That said, RA Herrmann seems to be constructing an alternate proof of how to create specifications. But his writings on ID are incomprehensible to me, but I can sense he is exploring the same body of ideas with a different approach. But if I can ever figure it out, it may be the way to describe specifications for deeply integrated systems. That’s something I’m searching for since my current examples only deal with trivial specifications like homochirality, not algorithmically complex structures.

  180. 180
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    1- T is a pattern.

    It is the pattern AND the event

    2- S(T ) is defined on page 17 (not 25). It is the number of patterns which are at least as simple as T where “simple” means highly compressible e.g. a string of heads.

    WRT the BF it is on page 25- Mark was asking wrt the BF. He can’t even follow his own quiz. LoL!

    And all my other answers were right, too. So I got it all right, not partly.

  181. 181
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: As it seems necessaryu to clear the decks, let me clip from Dembski 2005:

    define ?S as . . . the number of patterns for which [agent] S’s semiotic description of them is at least as simple as S’s semiotic description of [a pattern or target zone] T. [26] . . . . where M is the number of semiotic agents [S’s] that within a context of inquiry might also be witnessing events and N is the number of opportunities for such events to happen . . . . [where also] computer scientist Seth Lloyd has shown that 10^120 constitutes the maximal number of bit operations that the known, observable universe could have performed throughout its entire multi-billion year history.[31] . . . [Then] for any context of inquiry in which S might be endeavoring to determine whether an event that conforms to a pattern T happened by chance, M·N will be bounded above by 10^120. We thus define the specified complexity [?] of T given [chance hypothesis] H [in bits] . . . as [the negative base-2 log of the conditional probability P(T|H) multiplied by the number of similar cases ?S(t) and also by the maximum number of binary search-events in our observed universe 10^120]

    ? = – log2[10^120 ·?S(T)·P(T|H)].

    In my IOSE note, I outlined the log reduction that turns this to a practical metric using an upper bound:

    _____________

    >> ix: At most, it [Weasel] illustrates that once we are already on an island of function, chance variation and differences in reproductive success may lead to specialisation to fit particular niches. Which is accepted by all, including modern Young Earth Creationists. And, more sophisticated genetic algorithms have very similar failings. For, (a) they implicitly start within an island of function, that (b) has a predominantly smoothly rising slope that gently leads to peaks of performance so that “hill-climbing” on “warmer/colder” signals will usually get you pointed the right way.

    x: In short, GA’s do not only start on the shores of an island of function, but also the adaptation targets are implicitly pre-loaded into the program [[even in cases where they are allowed to wiggle about a bit] and so are the “hill-climbing algorithm” means to climb up to them. This point has been highlighted by famed mathematician Gregory Chaitin, in a recent paper, Life as Evolving Software (Sept. 7, 2011):

    . . . we present an information-theoretic analysis of Darwin’s theory of evolution, modeled as a hill-climbing algorithm on a ?tness landscape. Our space of possible organisms consists ofcomputer programs, which are subjected to random mutations. We study the random walk of increasing ?tness made by a single mutating organism. [[p.1]

    xi: Plainly, this more sophisticated approach is a model of optimising adaptation by generic hill-climbing, within an island of function; i.e. this is at best a model of micro-evolution within a body plan, not origin of such complex, integrated body plans.

    xii: So, while engineers — classic intelligent designers! — may well find such algorithms quite useful in some cases of optimisation and system design, they fail the red-herring- strawman test when they are presented as models of microbe to man evolution.

    xiii: For, they do not answer to the real challenge posed by the design theorists: how to get to an island of complex function — i.e. to a new body plan that for first life would require something like 100,000 base pairs of DNA and associated molecular machinery, and for other body plans from trees to bees, bats, birds snakes, worms and us, at least 10 million bases, dozens of times over — without intelligent direction.

    xiv: Instead, we can present a key fact, one that Weasel actually inadvertently demonstrates. That is: in EVERY instance of such a case of CSI, E from such a zone of interest or island of function, T, where we directly know the cause by experience or observation, it originates by similar intelligent design. And, given the long odds involved to get such an E by pure chance — you cannot have a hill-climbing success amplifier until you first have functional success! — that is no surprise at all.

    (The Internet and the major libraries of the world, together, have billions of successful tests of this claim. On years of experience with suggested counter examples, they are consistently dubious or outright errors, as a rule being illustrations of the very point they were meant to oppose. E.g. the drawings of canals on Mars from 100 years ago, if they were of real canals on Mars would be evidence of a Martian civilisation. Alas, they are inaccurate, and instead are drawings that were intelligently designed to show what the astronomers of that time thought they saw on Mars.)

    xv: Why should this be so? Let us consider: in the 10^17 or so seconds on its conventional timeline the 10^57 or so atoms of our solar system (our practical “world”) will have gone through maybe as many as some — oops, corrected 12:06:01 — 10^117 Planck-time quantum states. (We note, it takes about 10^30 such for the fastest chemical reactions, and many more for the organic chemistry type reactions relevant to so much of cell based life.) But 10^150 possibilities is 10^33 times as much as that, so our solar system could not search out more than a negligible fraction of 10^150 possibilities. Where, we can see that a string of 500 bits has 2^ 500 = 3.27*10^150 possible configurations. For just 500 bits [[~ 72 ASCII characters], on the gamut of our solar system, there is just too much haystack to reasonably expect to find the proverbial lost needle.

    xvi: To understand this better, let us work back from how it takes ~ 10^30 Planck time states for the fastest chemical reactions, and use this as a yardstick, i.e. in 10^17 s, our solar system’s 10^57 atoms would undergo ~ 10^87 “chemical time” states, about as fast as anything involving atoms could happen. That is 1 in 10^63 of 10^150. So, let’s do an illustrative haystack calculation:

    Let us take a straw as weighing about a gram and having comparable density to water, so that a haystack weighing 10^63 g [= 10^57 tonnes] would take up as many cubic metres. The stack, assuming a cubical shape, would be 10^19 m across. Now, 1 light year = 9.46 * 10^15 m, or about 1/1,000 of that distance across. If we were to superpose such a notional 1,000 light years on the side haystack on the zone of space centred on the sun, and leave in all stars, planets, comets, rocks, etc, and take a random sample equal in size to one straw, by absolutely overwhelming odds, we would get straw, not star or planet etc. That is, such a sample would be overwhelmingly likely to reflect the bulk of the distribution, not special, isolated zones in it.

    xvii: In the case of biology, since 1953 we have known that in the heart of the cell lies the coded information storing molecule DNA. It is worth excerpting the remark made by Sir Francis Crick, one of the discoverers, to his son Michael in a March 19, 1953 letter:

    “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).” [[Emphases added. From about 1961 on, that code has been identified, and is now routinely used in scientific work.]

    xviii: So, whether we are interested in the origin of life as Dr Eigen was, or in the origin/evolution of new complex structures requiring the equivalent of 500 or more bits of information, we need to look at the CSI information generating hurdle.

    xix: Later on (2005), Dembski provided a slightly more complex formula, that we can quote and simplify, showing that it boils down to a “bits from a zone of interest [[in a wider field of possibilities] beyond a reasonable threshold of complexity” metric:

    ? = – log2[10^120 ·?S(T)·P(T|H)].

    –> ? is “chi” and ? is “phi”

    xx: To simplify and build a more “practical” mathematical model, we note that information theory researchers Shannon and Hartley showed us how to measure information by changing probability into a log measure that allows pieces of information to add up naturally:

    Ip = – log p, in bits if the base is 2. That is where the now familiar unit, the bit, comes from. Where we may observe from say — as just one of many examples of a standard result — Principles of Comm Systems, 2nd edn, Taub and Schilling (McGraw Hill, 1986), p. 512, Sect. 13.2:

    Let us consider a communication system in which the allowable messages are m1, m2, . . ., with probabilities of occurrence p1, p2, . . . . Of course p1 + p2 + . . . = 1. Let the transmitter select message mk of probability pk; let us further assume that the receiver has correctly identified the message [[–> My nb: i.e. the a posteriori probability in my online discussion here is 1]. Then we shall say, by way of definition of the term information, that the system has communicated an amount of information Ik given by

    I_k = (def) log_2 1/p_k (13.2-1)

    xxi: So, since 10^120 ~ 2^398, we may “boil down” the Dembski metric using some algebra — i.e. substituting and simplifying the three terms in order — as log(p*q*r) = log(p) + log(q ) + log(r) and log(1/p) = – log (p):

    Chi = – log2(2^398 * D2 * p), in bits, and where also D2 = ?S(T)

    Chi = Ip – (398 + K2), where now: log2 (D2 ) = K2

    That is, chi is a metric of bits from a zone of interest, beyond a threshold of “sufficient complexity to not plausibly be the result of chance,” (398 + K2). So,

    (a) since (398 + K2) tends to at most 500 bits on the gamut of our solar system [[our practical universe, for chemical interactions! ( . . . if you want , 1,000 bits would be a limit for the observable cosmos)] and

    (b) as we can define and introduce a dummy variable for specificity, S, where

    (c) S = 1 or 0 according as the observed configuration, E, is on objective analysis specific to a narrow and independently describable zone of interest, T:

    Chi = Ip*S – 500, in bits beyond a “complex enough” threshold

    NB: If S = 0, this locks us at Chi = – 500; and, if Ip is less than 500 bits, Chi will be negative even if S is positive.

    E.g.: a string of 501 coins tossed at random will have S = 0, but if the coins are arranged to spell out a message in English using the ASCII code [[notice independent specification of a narrow zone of possible configurations, T], Chi will — unsurprisingly — be positive.

    Following the logic of the per aspect necessity vs chance vs design causal factor explanatory filter, the default value of S is 0, i.e. it is assumed that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are adequate to explain a phenomenon of interest.

    S goes to 1 when we have objective grounds — to be explained case by case — to assign that value.

    That is, we need to justify why we think the observed cases E come from a narrow zone of interest, T, that is independently describable, not just a list of members E1, E2, E3 . . . ; in short, we must have a reasonable criterion that allows us to build or recognise cases Ei from T, without resorting to an arbitrary list.

    A string at random is a list with one member, but if we pick it as a password, it is now a zone with one member. (Where also, a lottery, is a sort of inverse password game where we pay for the privilege; and where the complexity has to be carefully managed to make it winnable. )

    An obvious example of such a zone T, is code symbol strings of a given length that work in a programme or communicate meaningful statements in a language based on its grammar, vocabulary etc. This paragraph is a case in point, which can be contrasted with typical random strings ( . . . 68gsdesnmyw . . . ) or repetitive ones ( . . . ftftftft . . . ); where we can also see by this case how such a case can enfold random and repetitive sub-strings.

    Arguably — and of course this is hotly disputed — DNA protein and regulatory codes are another. Design theorists argue that the only observed adequate cause for such is a process of intelligently directed configuration, i.e. of design, so we are justified in taking such a case as a reliable sign of such a cause having been at work. (Thus, the sign then counts as evidence pointing to a perhaps otherwise unknown designer having been at work.)

    So also, to overthrow the design inference, a valid counter example would be needed, a case where blind mechanical necessity and/or blind chance produces such functionally specific, complex information. (Points xiv – xvi above outline why that will be hard indeed to come up with. There are literally billions of cases where FSCI is observed to come from design.)

    xxii: So, we have some reason to suggest that if something, E, is based on specific information describable in a way that does not just quote E and requires at least 500 specific bits to store the specific information, then the most reasonable explanation for the cause of E is that it was designed. The metric may be directly applied to biological cases:

    Using Durston’s Fits values — functionally specific bits — from his Table 1, to quantify I, so also accepting functionality on specific sequences as showing specificity giving S = 1, we may apply the simplified Chi_500 metric of bits beyond the threshold:

    RecA: 242 AA, 832 fits, Chi: 332 bits beyond
    SecY: 342 AA, 688 fits, Chi: 188 bits beyond
    Corona S2: 445 AA, 1285 fits, Chi: 785 bits beyond

    xxiii: And, this raises the controversial question that biological examples such as DNA — which in a living cell is much more complex than 500 bits — may be designed to carry out particular functions in the cell and the wider organism. >>
    _______________

    Over the years the pretzel-twisting on this by Darwinist objectors has been a sight to behold, and underscores just how telling the above is.

    but then, that is just a part of the wider pretzel twisting being played tot he point where objectors seem willing to do anything but simply address the challenge of fairly representing what Design thinkers have repeatedly publicly argued for years.

    KF

  182. 182
    Lenoxus says:

    Hmm, haven’t been here a while. My last comment got eaten (too many links, perhaps), so here’s a re-try. Hope I don’t sound too frustrated.

    kairosfocus @ 158:

    The focal issue is back in the original post, and it is highly illuminating that it seems that by and large Darwinist objectors to ID are studiously ignoring a very simple request: show, by filling out a short quiz, that you can accurately and fairly describe the basic case on the merits made by design thinkers.

    As Mark Frank suggested in his first post on this thread, the quiz (in combination with its answers) actually shows how there is no ID “case” or “merits” to speak of. It’s just a negatively-argued grumbling that some kind of design is somewhere maybe. Even the two best arguments ID has, Behe’s assertion about the flagellum and Dembski’s questionable equations, are entirely negative-oriented.

    So if the neo-pseudo-Darwino-materio-naturists do understand that ID isn’t the same as YEC or even the same as theology, why do many of them attack it like it is one of those things? I can think of three reasons.

    The biggest one is that if a worldview is content-free, then its attackers are by definition are going to attack it for something it’s “not”. ID isn’t this, it isn’t that. ID can always retreat and say “No, no, I’m not that!” ID has shrunk itself. Opponents bring up God stuff because that’s easily the most substantial thing ID has to offer.

    A second reason is that YEC is such an obvious target — even while its supporting arguments consist of putting down evolution (as with ID) or simply pointing to the Bible, it is additionally responsible for a complete buffet of refutable falsehood (most prominently an Earth-age claim which is refuted by practically every area of scholarship). There is always something for an anti-creationist blogger, whether experienced at it or new to the game, to sample on.

    The third reason spins off the second: ID has not outright rejected nonsense like YEC from its big tent. In fact, it pretty much depends on YEC for its base of support. We bring up YEC time and again for similar reasons that American Democrats in 2012 liked to talk about Barack Obama’s birth certificate — because their Republican opponents could neither afford to reject or embrace that popular but absurd conspiracy theory. As much as ID might try to deflect this point, evolution has nothing on ID when it comes to ancillary nuttiness-baggage.

  183. 183
    Joe says:

    LoL! If you are relying on Mark Frank then you already lost.

    And unguided evolution is content free and that is why it is attacked.

    Thank you, Lenoxus

  184. 184
    Mark Frank says:

    Joe #180 Sal #157

    I am not going to trade insults with Joe ( I couldn’t hope to give as much as I would receive). So take this as clarification of things badly explained by me.

    1. T is defined on page 17 (25 is just a worked example for the BF) and can be either a pattern or the event identified by that pattern. 

    2. Dembski does indeed define S(T ) as the descriptive complexity of T. But this does not tell us much as this is a technical term defined by Dembski earlier in the paper. If you read the definition of S(T ) on page 17 you will see that it is essentially as I have defined it: the number of patterns which are at least as simple as T where “simple” means highly compressible e.g. a string of heads.

    3. I asked how S(T ) was estimated. Joe gave his estimate of 10^20 and referred to page 25. All page 25 does is supply the estimate given a natural language lexicon of 100,000 basic concepts. What I was looking for was an understanding of the method of calculating S(T ) which is kind of fundamental to calculating CSI.

  185. 185
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    1. T is defined on page 17 (25 is just a worked example for the BF) and can be either a pattern or the event identified by that pattern.

    Again, wrt the BF “T” is defined on page 25. Mark’s quiz pertained to the BF

    2. Dembski does indeed define S(T ) as the descriptive complexity of T. But this does not tell us much as this is a technical term defined by Dembski earlier in the paper. If you read the definition of S(T ) on page 17 you will see that it is essentially as I have defined it: the number of patterns which are at least as simple as T where “simple” means highly compressible e.g. a string of heads.

    Dembski defines it as I have defined it also. I took mine from the paper- the part on the BF

    3. I asked how S(T ) was estimated. Joe gave his estimate of 10^20 and referred to page 25. All page 25 does is supply the estimate given a natural language lexicon of 100,000 basic concepts. What I was looking for was an understanding of the method of calculating S(T ) which is kind of fundamental to calculating CSI.

    And I answered “how”.

  186. 186
    kairosfocus says:

    Lenoxus:

    1: Have you recognised — just as a simple example of a much broader pattern long since identified by the likes of Orgel and Wicken from the 1970’s — that [a} a string of meaningful text (like this) is different from [b] random strings like gfiehuehfdvhsuivfh or [c] ordered repetitive ones like FGFGFGFGFG?

    2: What marks that difference between order, randomness and complex organisation to achieve specific function?

    3: What causal process is easily and generally observed to cause the pattern known as complex functional organisation, on billions of cases?

    4: What causal processes singly or in combination have never been reliably observed to do so, once complexity is beyond 500 bits?

    5: What therefore passes the vera causa [actually seen cause] test, and what does not . . . and therefore should not be used in abductive explanations of the traces of the deep past of origins which we have not directly observed, why?

    6: What then allows us to infer on reliable sign from such FSCO/I to its cause, per abductive inference to best empirically grounded explanation, a species of induction in the modern sense?

    *************

    If you cannot answer these correctly, why should we take your dismissals above seriously?

    And, FYI, the original quiz is about the misrepresentations by too many Darwinist objectors. It is not making the sort of inductive case that I outlined just now. instead, it is asking, can objectors accurately and fairly represent the positions and arguments publicly held by leading design theorists?

    Let’s just say that your remarks above come across as another case of failing to do so.

    KF

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let me give short sample answers, confident that objectors will not be able to give correct answers, even on seeing these:

    >>1: Have you recognised — just as a simple example of a much broader pattern long since identified by the likes of Orgel and Wicken from the 1970?s — that [a} a string of meaningful text (like this) is different from [b] random strings like gfiehuehfdvhsuivfh or [c] ordered repetitive ones like FGFGFGFGFG?>>

    ANS: The three are different as order is a product of mechanical necessity, chance of highly contingent clusters of forces yielding stochastic contingency of outcomes, and design produces FSCO/I.

    >>2: What marks that difference between order, randomness and complex organisation to achieve specific function?>>

    ANS: Best clustered first on high/low contingency under similar start conditions. Mechanical necessity leads to lawlike regularities e.g. as a dropped heavy object near earth behaves. Highly contingent outcomes come from chance or design. Chance is marked by stochastic outcomes such that when there is a large bulk “typical” result it dominates outcomes as say a Quincunx Galton box shows (peak vs far skirts). The only reliable source of FSCO/I beyond 500 bits of complexity is design, a process of intelligently directed configuration/ contrivance/ contingency towards function or other targetted outcome.

    >>3: What causal process is easily and generally observed to cause the pattern known as complex functional organisation, on billions of cases?>>

    ANS: Design, a process of intelligently directed configuration/ contrivance/ contingency towards function or other targetted outcome.”

    4: What causal processes singly or in combination have never been reliably observed to do so, once complexity is beyond 500 bits?

    ANS: Blind chance and/or blind mechanical necessity. Despite many erroneous claims tot he contrary and proposed examples that predictably turn out to exemplify design in action.

    >>5: What therefore passes the vera causa [actually seen cause] test, and what does not . . . and therefore should not be used in abductive explanations of the traces of the deep past of origins which we have not directly observed, why?>>

    ANS: Design pases vera causa. Blind chance and/or necessity do not. The latter therefore should not be used to explain observations of FSCO/I, on the grounds that speculative but empirically ungrounded hypotheses should not be used in science. Where, the issue is that to explain OOL, we need a genome of credibly 100 – 1,000 kbits complexity, and for body plans 10 – 100+ mns, dozens of times over (to account for cell types, tissues, organ systems and associated regulation).

    >>6: What then allows us to infer on reliable sign from such FSCO/I to its cause, per abductive inference to best empirically grounded explanation, a species of induction in the modern sense?>>

    ANS: The reliability of design as causal process responsble for FSCO/I, and absence of blind chance and/or necessity being able to do same. This, multiplied by the needle in haystack search challenge faced by blind search, leading tot he LCI cascade of searches for higher and higher order searches, which effectively compound in accordance with the power set cardinality law as a search in a set of possible configs is a subset of the set of possibilities. The order of the power set for a set of n members is 2^n.

    KF

  188. 188
    Phinehas says:

    KF:

    That is why I have been inclined to point out that atheism and design theory are not utterly incompatible, though obviously evolutionary materialism and design are. In that discussion, I have pointed to a Nobel Equivalent Prize winning astrophysicist and agnostic/atheist, who is actually a pioneer of modern design thought (especially on the cosmological side, but he made significant suggestions on life forms too), Sir Fred Hoyle.

    Obviously, Sir Fred Hoyle is No True Scotsman.

  189. 189
    scordova says:

    Mark Frank,

    What I was looking for was an understanding of the method of calculating S(T ) which is kind of fundamental to calculating CSI.

    Exactly my concern. It introduces some estimation methods I was not comfortable endorsing.

    I decided it’s not my role to defend something I don’t feel comfortable endorsing.

    That’s when I decided an alternative approach, one closer to the first approaches of the original Explantory Filter were more accessible and transparent. From the links above, the reader can see that there are easier ways to make certain design inferences that have nothing materially objectionable in them.

  190. 190
    kairosfocus says:

    P: A no true Scotsman of great distinction for decades in astrophysics, who holds a Nobel Equivalent Prize and probably should have got the full Nobel for Physics! KF

  191. 191
    kairosfocus says:

    SC: As I clipped above the real significance of the 2005 model is that it points tot he real issue, informaiton content . . . in praxis fuctionally specific complex info content beyond a reasonable threshold. And, for our solar system scale, I am very comfortable asserting that a realistic probability model will be overwhelmed by 10^57 atoms observing fair coin flips of 500 coins each per 10^-14 s for 10^17 s, which gives us a sampling ratio of the config space for 500 bits of about 1 straw to a cubical haystack 1,000 LY across. Sampling theory will tell us that under such circumstances we can only reasonably expect a blind sample to pick up the dominant cluster, once target zones are rare. So, a 500 bit threshold of complexity is good enough for govt work. For observed cosmos as a whole, 1,000 bits is even more seriously buried. Under these circumstances the Chi_500 expression developed incrementally by VJT, P Giem and the undersigned is in fact functionally equivalent tot he explanatory filter. mechanical necessity will be inherently low informational, and objectively assigned functional specificity will keep us on complexity and specificity. To be objective start by seeing if modest chance disturbances move you off target zone. Start by taking a modest object code pgm and firing a proportion of random bit changes at it, to see the point. Of course, make sure it is not doing anything that catastrophic failure is likely to do damage with. That is the algebraic model with the expression

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, F S bits beyond the solar system threshold,

    identifies info capacity (I), functional specificity (S), and complexity by applying a threshold (- 500), and giving an answer in functionally specific bits beyond a reasonable complexity threshold. KF

  192. 192
    tvarhegyi says:

    To Phinehas #188

    Sir Fred Hoyle departed Scottland in 2001, never to return

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