Intelligent Design

A third way between evolution and design?

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Some, who are aware of the absurdity of Darwinian macroevolution but, in the same time, dislike intelligent design (ID), believe that a third way is possible between the two, a third way able to explain the origin of living beings.
Their position can be expressed in many manners, e.g.:
(1) “natural substances have built-in capabilities to produce complexity” or “an intrinsic teleology is built into the universe”;
(2) “cells have an internal intelligence, sort of natural internal engineering. […] Evolution by natural genetic engineering has the capacity to generate complex novelties.” (James A. Shapiro, “A Third Way”);
(3)”self-assembly to produce complexes which have capabilities far beyond component pieces seems built into creation at multiple levels”. (Loren Haarsma, “Models of evolving interlocking complexity in biology and economics”).

In other words, between naturalism and teleology they believe in something like natural teleology. This third way, natural teleology, seems to them to be consistent with their methodological naturalism. Because, in a sense, built-in teleology is positing intelligence within the system, rather than without it. This way they hope to have expelled the designer once and for all.

Here I will argue that this alleged built-in third way, supposed to be non Darwinian and non ID, is instead cent-percent ID and doesn’t at all expel the designer. I mean that the third way position is inconsistent and, between evolutionism (natural unguided causation) and design (intelligent guided causation), tertium non datur. In fact the third way simply sums up to shift the information along the process. It doesn’t create the information from thin air. Hence the problem of the origin of information remains perfectly unresolved, if one denies a designer. See the picture:

builtin

The picture represents two cases. In the “standard ID” scenario (above) we have more information injected at the final design stage. We say we have a “final designer”. Differently, in the “built-in ID” scenario (below) we have more information injected at the intermediate parts stage, then we have an “intermediate designer”. This is symbolized by the adjective “designed”, which is prefixed to the “system” term in the former while is prefixed the “parts” term in the latter. More a stage is “designed” more information is involved inside.

Both scenarios in the picture share an identical starting point, unintelligent “matter”, and the final point, the biological system. The ID theory “law of conservation of information” (LCI) tells us that the amount of information in the “built-in ID” scenario, after the information leftward shift, must be equal or greater than in the “standard ID” scenario. Simply most information has moved from the final stage to the intermediate previous stage. Speaking in terms of the designer, the designer role has changed place, but continues to be fundamental.

Another perspective to understand what I mean is to use the concept of “factory”. A factory of a product X is an organized system with an internal teleology for X. In the “built-in ID” the middle “parts” box can be considered an automatic “factory”, in the sense that, thanks to its internal teleology, it is able to output the final system X, without the need of a final designer. The third way proponents would say that in this scenario the parts “self-organize” and finally give X as output. “Self-organization” is in fact the illusion that an automatic factory shows. In reality the factory itself, before it can work, must be aptly organized by an intelligent agent, different from itself, specifically, an intermediate designer. Therefore “self-organization” of a factory is not “self” at all, because an external agent organizes it. Since a factory is always more complex than its products one sees that we don’t at all get information from free when we pass from the “standard ID” scenario to the “built-in ID” one. Even we worse the problem in a sense, because in general a factory is more complex than its products (more information). We see that, from this perspective, we reach the identical conclusion based on LCI. No wonder.

Let us note in passing that this explains because a total front-loaded biological macroevolution would imply intelligent design at the highest level. In fact to construct a system involves intelligent design. To construct a system able to morph at run time into many different systems is far more difficult and involves intelligent design raised to n-th power.

Now, to clear more the issue, consider this practical example. Let’s suppose the final design is a Lego construction. All know what Lego is:

“Lego consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks […that] can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects. (Wikipedia)

Usually Lego constructions are made by children or teenagers (eventually with the help of their parents, you know…), who work as “final designers”. Then the Lego’s world is a typical “standard ID” scenario.

Now, let us assume, for the sake of argument, to pass to a Lego “built-in ID” scenario. What would that entail? It would entail that the Lego bricks are able to automatically self-assembly to produce “vehicles, buildings, and even working robots”, without the need of a final designer. I bet that the Lego’s producer would say, with the hands on his head, that our request is too difficult to realize. Also the Lego’s engineers would be extremely puzzled before this task, in which they would work as “intermediate designers”.

The problem is that the final system contains organization. This organization cannot come from nothing or from something less than it (that would be more-from-less logical fallacy). Therefore is useless, even counterproductive, to move the problem leftward in the creation iter. An organization source is necessary in all cases. The “built-in third way” is not “third” at all because is even an advanced intelligent design modality, and therefore it is useless to resort to it to rebut the Designer.

13 Replies to “A third way between evolution and design?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to 1:

    “natural substances have built-in capabilities to produce complexity” or “an intrinsic teleology is built into the universe”;

    I believe Michael Denton held that position in his book ‘Nature’s Destiny’ and that he may still hold that position. In fact I believe he is ‘looking’ for an organizing principle, or something along that line, that God built into the universe, that will explain how functional complexity can arise. But I was always kind of disappointed that Dr. Denton, whom I respect immensely as an ID proponent, would choose this route, for I hold that we have good reason to believe that functional information cannot be front loaded into the universe at the start of the universe:

    The Front-loading Fiction – Dr. Robert Sheldon – 2009
    Excerpt: Historically, the argument for front-loading came from Laplacian determinism based on a Newtonian or mechanical universe–if one could control all the initial conditions, then the outcome was predetermined. First quantum mechanics, and then chaos-theory has basically destroyed it, since no amount of precision can control the outcome far in the future. (The exponential nature of the precision required to predetermine the outcome exceeds the information storage of the medium.),,, Even should God have infinite knowledge of the outcome of such a biological algorithm, the information regarding its outcome cannot be contained within the system itself.
    http://procrustes.blogtownhall.....tion.thtml

    Is Theistic (Front Loaded) Evolution Plausible? – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5337990

    “Limits to Self-Organization (From Initial Conditions)” – podcast
    Excerpt: Dr. Johns shows that Darwinian evolution is actually a type of a self-organizing process, and that it is limited in the types of biological structures it can produce.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_44-07_00

    In fact, despite Dr. Denton’s search for some unknown organizing principle (or something along that line), I hold that we already have abundant evidence for a law, much contrary to what materialists adamantly claim to the contrary, that prevents the generation of functional information by material processes. i.e. The Second Law Of Thermodynamics!

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? …. The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…”
    Tom Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90 – Quotes attributed to Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin in the article

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration (knowledge of a particle’s position) turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    Having a empirically demonstrated direct connection between entropy and the information inherent within a cell is extremely problematic for Darwinists because,,,

    “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.”
    Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.

    Thus, Darwinists are found to be postulating that the irreversible ‘random’ events of entropy of the universe are creating information when in fact it is now shown that,,

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – preeminent Chemist of the first half of last century

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    ,, that these random, i.e. entropic, events in the cell are doing exactly the opposite of what Darwinists claim they are doing. These ‘random’ entropic events are found to be consistently destroying functional information inherent in the cell rather than ever creating it. This is, no matter what materialists/atheists may say to the contrary, directly in line with what the second law predicts should happen.

    Physicist Rob Sheldon offers some thoughts on Sal Cordova vs. Granville Sewell on 2nd Law Thermo – July 5, 2012
    Excerpt: This is where Granville derives the potency of his argument, since a living organism certainly shows unusual permutations of the atoms, and thus has stat mech entropy that via Boltzmann, must obey the 2nd law. If life violates this, then it must not be lawfully possible for evolution to happen (without an input of work or information.)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....aw-thermo/

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to 2.

    “cells have an internal intelligence, sort of natural internal engineering. […] Evolution by natural genetic engineering has the capacity to generate complex novelties.” (James A. Shapiro, “A Third Way”);

    In this scenario, the question of where the information is coming from is never addressed. In fact, like Darwinists, Shapiro suffers from the same exact problem as Darwinists do in that he cannot produce a single example of ‘Natural Genetic Engineering’ ever producing enough functional information sufficient to give rise to a single novel functional protein.

    How Natural Genetic Engineering Solves Problems in Protein Evolution – James Shapiro – May 2012
    Excerpt: When I pointed out the potential of domain shuffling by natural genetic engineering to Intelligent Design advocates who claimed protein evolution by natural mechanisms was impossible, they refused to recognize genomic data as irrefutable evidence and insisted on real-time experiments. I disagree with them strongly on the DNA sequence data.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....41180.html

    Exon Shuffling: Evaluating the Evidence – Jonathan M. – July 2013
    The Problems with Domain Shuffling as an Explanation for Protein Folds
    Excerpt: The domain shuffling hypothesis in many cases requires the formation of new binding interfaces. Since amino acids that comprise polypeptide chains are distinguished from one another by the specificity of their side-chains, however, the binding interfaces that allow units of secondary structure (i.e. ?-helices and ?-strands) to come together to form elements of tertiary structure is dependent upon the specific sequence of amino acids. That is to say, it is non-generic in the sense that it is strictly dependent upon the particulars of the components.
    Domains that must bind and interact with one another can’t simply be pieced together like LEGO bricks.
    In his 2010 paper in the journal BIO-Complexity Douglas Axe reports on an experiment conducted using ?-lactamase enzymes which illustrates this difficulty (Axe, 2010).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74441.html

    Doug Axe’s work on the rarity of proteins is focused exactly on the rarity of individual protein domains/folds themselves. Doug Axe addresses James Shapiro’s mistaken disagreement with Intelligent Design here:

    On Protein Origins, Getting to the Root of Our Disagreement with James Shapiro – Doug Axe – January 2012
    Excerpt: I know of many processes that people talk about as though they can do the job of inventing new proteins (and of many papers that have resulted from such talk), but when these ideas are pushed to the point of demonstration, they all seem to retreat into the realm of the theoretical.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....55471.html

    Thus, while Shapiro can, and does, try to point to all massively integrated functional complexity of the cell as to supporting his theory,,,

    James Shapiro on “dangerous oversimplifications” about the cell – August 6, 2013
    Excerpt: “Depending upon the energy source and other circumstances, these indescribably complex entities can reproduce themselves with great reliability at times as short as 10-20 minutes. Each reproductive cell cycle involves literally hundreds of millions of biochemical and biomechanical events. We must recognize that cells possess a cybernetic capacity beyond our ability to imitate. Therefore, it should not surprise us when we discover extremely dense and interconnected control architectures at all levels. Simplifying assumptions about cell informatics can be more misleading than helpful in understanding the basic principles of biological function.
    Two dangerous oversimplifications have been (i) to consider the genome as a mere physical carrier of hypothetical units called “genes” that determine particular cell or organismal traits, and (ii) to think of the genome as a digitally encoded Read-Only Turing tape that feeds instructions to the rest of the cell about individual characters [4].”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-the-cell/

    ,, Shapiro, as impressive as the complexity is in the cell, cannot use the complexity inherent in the cell to circumvent the fact that he, like Darwinists, cannot explain how even ‘trivial’ levels of that complexity came about in the first place (not even a single protein of that complexity can be demonstrated by him or Darwinists). I believe what Dr. Shapiro is trying to do, as much as I respect the Shapiro and his work, is called ‘trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps’.

    as to 3.

    ”self-assembly to produce complexes which have capabilities far beyond component pieces seems built into creation at multiple levels”.

    Though I’m familiar with the concept, I’ve never really heard of this principle being put forward as a formal argument for design without a designer (natural teleology), but I would argue that the principle of having ‘capabilities far beyond component pieces’ is in fact a argument for Theism in that this principle, when extended to its full extent, points to the necessity of God, since only God, though not being made of the component pieces of the universe, can have, and can therefore give, capabilities to a system that are far beyond the component pieces themselves to explain, I believe Dr. Craig touches a bit on how this principle, if extended to its full extent, would play out, here:

    Is God more complex than the universe? – Dr. Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYZF9fJ_Rb0

    Of related note, I saw this video the other day and was very much impressed at how Dr. Plantinga was able to master the basic principles of science to show ‘divine action’ is not precluded by science in the least:

    How can an Immaterial God Interact with the Physical Universe? (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfzD3ofUb4

    Music and verse:

    TobyMac – Speak Life (Lyrics)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rK6O0YtBRY

    John 1:3-4
    Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  3. 3
    Johnnyfarmer says:

    BA77 I suspect you are correct in that Dr Denton is searching for some kind of organizing principle. He is now a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. The minimum requirement to hold that position is a willingness to follow the evidence even if it leads to design. I just happened to check the “Dissent from Darwin” list a dew days ago and he has not yet signed on …. and I wonder why not as his expressed reservations in his book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” would seem significant enough. And if there is an organizing principle then would it replace random mutation?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Johnnyfarmer you ask,,

    “And if there is an organizing principle then would it replace random mutation?”

    Well Johnnyfarmer, I don’t know how it would work out exactly in regards to ‘randomness’, but I simply can’t fathom how any ‘undiscovered’ law of necessity could do the work that would be required of it to generate specific sequences of functional information:

    note:

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    Excerpt: Three qualitative kinds of sequence complexity exist: random (RSC), ordered (OSC), and functional (FSC).,,, Shannon information theory measures the relative degrees of RSC and OSC. Shannon information theory cannot measure FSC. FSC is invariably associated with all forms of complex biofunction, including biochemical pathways, cycles, positive and negative feedback regulation, and homeostatic metabolism. The algorithmic programming of FSC, not merely its aperiodicity, accounts for biological organization. No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization. Organization invariably manifests FSC rather than successive random events (RSC) or low-informational self-ordering phenomena (OSC).,,,

    Testable hypotheses about FSC

    What testable empirical hypotheses can we make about FSC that might allow us to identify when FSC exists? In any of the following null hypotheses [137], demonstrating a single exception would allow falsification. We invite assistance in the falsification of any of the following null hypotheses:

    Null hypothesis #1
    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #2
    Dynamically-ordered sequences of individual physical units (physicality patterned by natural law causation) cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #3
    Statistically weighted means (e.g., increased availability of certain units in the polymerization environment) giving rise to patterned (compressible) sequences of units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #4
    Computationally successful configurable switches cannot be set by chance, necessity, or any combination of the two, even over large periods of time.

    We repeat that a single incident of nontrivial algorithmic programming success achieved without selection for fitness at the decision-node programming level would falsify any of these null hypotheses. This renders each of these hypotheses scientifically testable. We offer the prediction that none of these four hypotheses will be falsified.
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    Matter did it. Back to Mother Nature. Very scientific.

  6. 6
    cantor says:

    Is Theistic (Front Loaded) Evolution Plausible? – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5337990

    I agree with Meyer’s conclusion, but his argument is flawed.

    He argues that the early universe could not have contained information. This is indefensible.

    What he should have argued is that quantum mechanics and chaos theory prevent any such information from propagating forward through billions of years unscathed to produce life.

  7. 7
    Axel says:

    I think your perspective would be consonant with Max Planck’s, at the most fundamental level, nirwad, wouldn’t it?

    ‘As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.’

    Certainly, with BA’s, above;

    ‘Of related note, I saw this video the other day and was very much impressed at how Dr. Plantinga was able to master the basic principles of science to show ‘divine action’ is not precluded by science in the least:…’

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Indeed Axel, the ultimate irony in observational science (i.e. empirical science) is that, after centuries of research, it is now found that it is the ‘observation’ itself in observational science that turns out to be the key insight which unlocks the Theistic foundation of reality for us:

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    Of note:

    Faith Forum: Dr. Eben Alexander – video
    https://vimeo.com/62725419

    Music and verse:

    Mystery Of Grace-4HIM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcNbzvFylmc

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    NW:

    Useful post.

    The key point is the one made by Paley, in reply to the anticipated attempted dis-analogy between a watch and a living self-replicating or reproducing system, from the immediately following Ch 2 of his Nat Theol that seems to have been syste4matically ignored and/or overlooked since 150 years ago in haste to dismiss the watchmaker inference.

    Let me clip my cite from two months ago here at UD, noting the linked discussion by VJT:

    Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch [–> [i.e. in the field] should after some time discover, that in addition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself—the thing is conceivable ; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts—a mould, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, files, and other tools—evidently and separately calculated for this purpose; let us inquire what effect ought such a discovery to have upon his former conclusion.

    I. The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done— for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art. If that construction without this property, or which is the same thing, before this property had been noticed, proved intention and art to have been employed about it, still more strong would the proof appear when he came to the knowledge of this further property, the crown and perfection of all the rest.

    II. He would reflect, that though the watch before him were in some sense the maker of the watch which was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair—the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use. With respect to these, the first watch was no cause at all to the second: in no such sense as this was it the author of the constitution and order, either of the parts which the new watch contained, or of the parts by the aid and instrumentality of which it was produced. We might possibly say, but with great latitude of expression, that a stream of water ground corn; but no latitude of expression would allow us to say, no stretch cf conjecture could lead us to think, that the stream of water built the mill, though it were too ancient for us to know who the builder was. What the stream of water does in the affair is neither more nor less than this: by the application of an unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, arranged independently of it and arranged by intelligence, an effect is produced, namely, the corn is ground. But the effect results from the arrangement. The force of the stream cannot be said to be the cause or the author of the effect, still less of the arrangement. Understanding and plan in the formation of the mill were not the less necessary for any share which the water has in grinding the corn; yet is this share the same as that which the watch would have contributed to the production of the new watch, upon the supposition assumed in the last section. Therefore,

    III. Though it be now no longer probable that the individual watch which our observer had found was made immediately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not this alteration in anywise affect the inference, that an artificer had been originally employed and concerned in the production. The argument from design remains as it was. Marks of design and contrivance are no more accounted for now than they were before. In the same thing, we may ask for the cause of different properties. We may ask for the cause of the color of a body, of its hardness, of its heat; and these causes may be all different. We are now asking for the cause of that subserviency to a use, that relation to an end, which we have remarked in the watch before us. No answer is given to this question, by telling us that a preceding watch produced it. There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance, without a contriver; order, without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose, without that which could intend a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally believe that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the mechanism we so much admire m it—could be truly said to have constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assigned their office, determined their order, action, and mutual dependency, combined their several motions into one result, and that also a result connected with the utilities of other beings. All these properties, therefore, are as much unaccounted for as they were before.

    IV. Nor is any thing gained by running the difficulty farther back, that is, by supposing the watch before us to have been produced from another watch, that from a former, and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the subject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. [–> This answers to Darwinists, Lyell et al, and the csomologists who suggest that a matter or millions or billions of years allows us to escape this point] “We still want a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied by this supposition nor dispensed with. If the difficulty were diminished the farther we went back, by going back indefinitely we might exhaust it. And this is the only case to which this sort of reasoning applies. “Where there is a tendency, or, as we increase the number of terms, a continual approach towards a limit, there, by supposing the number of terms to be what is called infinite, we may conceive the limit to be attained ; but where there is no such tendency or approach, nothing is effected by lengthening the series. There is no difference as to the point in question, whatever there may be as to many points, between one series and another—between a series which is finite, and a series which is infinite.

    A chain composed of an infinite [–> notice his point about a chain of infinite length] number of links can no more support itself than a chain composed of a finite number of links. And of this we are assured, though we never can have tried the experiment; because, by increasing the number of links, from ten, for instance, to a hundred, from a hundred to a thousand, etc., we make not the smallest approach, we observe not the smallest tendency towards self support. There is no difference in this respect—yet there may be a great difference in several respects—between a chain of a greater or less length, between one chain and another, between one that is finite and one that is infinite. This very much resembles the case before us. The machine which we are inspecting demonstrates, by its construction, contrivance and design. Contrivance must have had a contriver, design a designer, whether the machine immediately proceeded from another machine or not. That circumstance alters not the case . . . [Natural Theology, Ch 2, 1806.]

    KF

  10. 10
    Robert Byers says:

    This YEC thinks there is and must be innate abilities of bodies to change themselves.
    God stopped creating at creation week.
    Yet man and beast since then has physically changed a great deal.
    Look at people differences. its innate. Everyone must explain human colour etc changes from a common original colour.

    The evidence is before our eyes. Creatures that change colour with the season and chameleons .
    I suggest they are just a continuum of how bodies change as needed. Whether in seconds, seasons, or great sudden needs (as in people).
    We can change our colour in a instant as needed.
    This is why there is black people and white ones. Not free will but the same mechanism as the animals.

    Another piece of evidence is human hair growth after puberty.
    It serves no purpose but is there. How?
    it shows the body thought it needed hair under the arms etc to dry the area up. Yet it was from a trigger and when no more triggered it stopped even though it does no good.
    Our bodies were made by God to allow great changes.
    there is a hidden mechanism at least this far.

  11. 11
    ericB says:

    One way to deflate the hazy, hand waving dodge of a vague third way is to pose the issue in terms of a specific challenge.

    For example, every path from lifeless matter to living organisms must sooner or later provide the first instances of implemented chemical systems to translate from symbolic information to proteins. If the “third way” is real, then it must be able to provide some way to get past the barrier of this transition.

    What could that possibly look like (excluding any designer)?

    Yet, though I recently posted details of why a translation system requires intelligent design here @296 with a generous clarification here @302, I’m mostly hearing crickets chirping instead of valiant defenses from evolutionists.

    So far, there does not seem to be even a serious attempt at a plausible, believable story.

    Without any real substance, the suggestion of a third way becomes an expression of desire and wishing, rather than a genuine description of anything real, as in the heartfelt desire, “I wish there were a third option. Anything but a designer.”

  12. 12
    ericB says:

    When Dean Kenyon coauthored Biological Predestination, he believed that there were built-in chemical predispositions in nature that favored and lead to the assembly of life without any direct guidance from a designer.

    However, one particular issue that contributed to his eventual rejection of that view was the observation that there were no chemical forces controlling the sequence of bases in a strand of nucleotides (whether DNA or RNA). The specific sequence is crucial, but chemical attractions provided no help to sequencing.

    If we continue to suppose a third way for some kind of designer-less assembly of a cell, as niwrad argued that pushes the origin issue back from explaining the origin of the cell to the question of explaining the origin of a cell-making mechanism — this is by far a much harder problem as was pointed out.

    In order to impose the proper sequencing on a nucleotide sequence (where that sequence is not required chemically), that would imply that the guidance for this ordering would have to come from something beyond simple chemistry. However this auto-assembly whatever might work, it would have to have a way of “knowing” or “holding” (using the terms very loosely) how to impose the right sequencing.

    Consider how this mechanism might possibly “know” or “hold” such information.

    If we suppose that it “knows” it in the form of an instantiated sequence holding information, that just recreates the same problem at an earlier point.

    If someone supposes that it doesn’t “know” the right sequences but has an ability to “discover” them, that requires translating/decoding the proposed sequences into realized amino acid sequences that could be in some sense evaluated and filtered. But this implies the existence of translating mechanisms. Thus, the built-in whatever mechanism presupposes a built-in ability to construct and use translation mechanisms.

    On top of all that, experimental discovery of viable protein sequences from encoded information is more difficult than exploring protein space directly, since functional encoded sequences are more rare in encoded sequence space than functional protein sequences in amino acid sequence space.

    Plus, the very task of “hunting” for workable proteins (despite overwhelming failures) would imply an intentional undertaking, i.e. a mechanism designed to pursue a distant goal.

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    niwrad says:

    Thanks to all for the good comments.

    Another analogy (beyond Lego) useful to understand that the built-in way is even more … ID than ID is from software.

    Intelligent agents play chess. This is similar to intelligent agents designing systems. If intelligent agents want to front-load in matter (silico) the potentiality of playing chess (this is similar to the third way) they must construct a computer and develop software. So the third way is hardware + software + chess, which is far more than chess alone.

    I do not know if the third way proponents are aware that what they propose to deny ID is advanced ID. I hope this post may help them.

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