Intelligent Design

An Instructive Discussion, Led by Alan Fox, at The Skeptical Zone

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Over at The Skeptical Zone, there has been an amusing discussion. It can be found under the column “The Reality of Intelligent Design!” by Alan Fox. I want to respond to this discussion, as I believe it is instructive concerning the state of mind over at TSZ.  I am sure that Alan will again find my comments here “a bit wordy,” but hopefully he will not be able to say that they are “grumpy.” 🙂

Let’s start with the column itself. Alan Fox is one of those (relatively few) Skeptical Zone writers whose tone is actually merely skeptical, as opposed to polemical. However, some of his comments here leave something to be desired.

Alan writes: “I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that ID has some scientific merit into reality.”

Really? Has Alan not read the peer-reviewed online journal BioComplexity, which publishes several articles per year, and has done so for several years now? Has Alan not read the latest book by Stephen Meyer, which has garnered praise from a number of scientists, including some not previously associated with ID? (Heck, even geneticist Darrel Falk, arch-foe of ID, has on BioLogos praised Meyer for his grasp of many aspects of the science he has written about, and has admitted that some of Meyer’s criticisms of current evolutionary theory are cogent.) Has Alan not read Jonathan Wells’s book on junk DNA, which documents the rise of the “junk DNA” view, and the increasing difficulty in maintaining that view, with reference to several hundred technical articles in the peer-reviewed literature? Is he not aware that ID proponents said, long before Wells’s book, the ENCODE results, etc., that “junk DNA” was a presumptuous inference and that over time more and more of the DNA would be found to have some function?

I’m not saying that Alan has to accept the conclusions of all these books and articles, but it is certainly unfair of him to say that there has been “no genuine effort” on the part of ID people to do scientific work within an ID paradigm. (I leave aside the point that “effort” is only part of what generates results, the other part being access to institutional resources. ID would have produced much more scientific work by now if it had more funding, but ID proponents have largely been denied funding, being virtually shut out of academic jobs, post-doctoral fellowships, etc. by a largely hostile, atheist/agnostic/secular humanist biological community. If Ernst Mayr, Gaylord Simpson, Gould, Dawkins, Coyne, etc. had had to finance their researches into evolutionary biology largely by collecting handouts from private non-scientist donors, I wonder how much research neo-Darwinism would have been able to conduct. But to discuss that subject properly would require many more columns.)

Alan makes some rather shaky sociological inferences about UD commenters. He has decided that there are not many young or female commenters. How does he know this? Most commenters here write under pseudonyms, and one cannot often reliably infer the age or sex of a writer where the contents of the posts don’t provide that information. It is likely, of course, that most UD commenters are male, because male commenters dominate the internet on creation/evolution/design issues generally; but I don’t know how Alan converts that from “likely” to “certain” in the case of UD. As for age, it seems to me, based on internal references and literary style, that the commenters on UD are pretty well spread across the spectrum from people in their 20s to people in perhaps their 60s or even 70s. But I don’t claim knowledge here, only loose inference, and I don’t know how Alan can claim more. (Anyhow, I’m not sure what age has to do with the quality of one’s argument, but if age is understood to constitute some sort of intellectual disqualification to talk about religion/science issues, one might add that many of the Skeptical Zone luminaries are not exactly spring chickens: Alan’s own biographical remarks indicate a man of retirement age, and Elizabeth Liddle, the founder of TSZ, is, I believe, now over 60, and its leading evolutionary biologist commentator is, I believe, in his 60s or even 70s. Others of the New Atheist and skeptical crowds admired by many at TSZ — Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Eugenie Scott, Michael Shermer — are getting “up there” as well. People who live in glass houses …)

Alan closes his column by asking: “Who’s left there [at UD] with anything interesting to say?” Well, it depends of course on what one means by “interesting.” Many of the items highlighted by News, concerning recent developments in the various natural sciences, are interesting. They are usually not covered or even mentioned on other sites (including BioLogos and The Skeptical Zone). I have also found the columns of Vincent Torley (trained philosopher) and Rob Sheldon (trained physicist and space scientist) quite informative and thoughtful.

In the discussion following the column, Alan adds this historical comment: “science does not really get going until the end of the seventeenth century, the start of “The Enlightenment” when the shackles of religious authority began to be shrugged off.” This is an instructive comment, not for its historical value but for the insight it provides into Alan’s notions of intellectual history. Where to begin? Well, we can grant that the end of the seventeenth century might be called the start of the Enlightenment (as a matter of convention, the term “Enlightenment” is usually used to refer to the period starting about 50 to 70 years later than that, but we needn’t get sticky), and we can grant that modern science got going in the seventeenth century (though the “end” of the century is inaccurate, as there were numerous triumphs quite early in the century, with Gilbert and Galileo and Kepler, and by the middle of the century, with contributions from Descartes and others, modern science was well underway). But what about “the shackles of religious authority” being “shrugged off”? A modern historian of science would blush to write such rhetorical prose. This view of the history of science was already being seriously questioned by scholars in the 1950s (though the word hadn’t got out to the popular press, which was still pushing the “warfare” view of science and theology), and over the past 40 years it has now become clear that the rise of modern science in the 17th century was a complicated phenomenon with many causes, among which religious belief was a significant one. This can be seen in the writings of Hooykaas, Jaki, Oakley, Osler and many others (many of whom, I might add, are not personally religious individuals). It is only popular historians that are still pushing the “warfare” notion about science having to burst the “shackles” of religion. (Indeed, some of Darwin’s early supporters including leading Anglican clergymen.)

But enough regarding Alan’s comments. Even more interesting is the challenge put forward by William J. Murray, which for the sake of brevity I will paraphrase as: “You guys keep saying that ID has no substance, cannot be taken seriously, is dead or moribund, etc. So why are you so obsessed with shooting it down? Aren’t there more important ideas to be skeptical about — including religious ideas that have led to murder and terrorism — which on your own account affect the world far more than ID does?” The responses to this are quite revealing.

Some of the commenters frankly admitted that attacking ID is a sort of blood sport for them, an internet recreation, an activity of culture-war gamesmanship. (In the words of Spock to McCoy: “As I always suspected.”) Others attempted to dignify their obsession with a pretense of social concern. For example, one commenter implicitly charged that ID supporters are trying to get ID taught in the schools, and that it is responsible to keep ID out of the schools, as it is to keep astrology out of the schools. But of course ID supporters aren’t trying to get ID into the schools; Discovery repudiated that goal long ago, even before the Dover Trial. The focus of ID supporters has been on getting substantive criticism of neo-Darwinian theory into the schools — the kind of criticism that is found even in peer-reviewed scientific literature written by religious unbelievers. The Dover Trial was a very rare exception, where one small-town school board contemplated actually teaching ID in a biology class. But even there, at the end of the day, the total ID content was a 4-paragraph statement read to the students, which mentioned criticisms of Darwinian evolution within modern science, mentioned ID as an alternative, and indicated the existence of a book in the school library for anyone interested in reading up on ID. Not a single class was taught on ID, and after the two-minute reading of the statement, the ninth-grade biology curriculum carried on as it always had, teaching Darwinian evolution as the scientific explanation of origins which could not and should not be doubted. That is the full extent of ID teaching so far in the public schools of the USA. Wow! What a dangerous threat to the scientific education of American students!

Glen Davidson, that paragon of the scientific attitude (readers might want to check out his old website — if it is still up — on the mystical connections between electricity and life, when measuring his status as a spokesperson for modern science), repeats the long-refuted charge that ID is creationism, even though he must be fully aware that many ID leaders, including Behe, Denton, and several people on UD (including Torley and, last I heard, O’Leary) are not creationists in the normal sense of that word, because they accept common descent and do not use the stories in Genesis against the results of modern science. Why he deliberately misleads readers on this point, I do not know.

Alan Fox’s column certainly started off a revealing discussion. It seems to remain true that, while a variety of subjects are discussed on TSZ — the most interesting of which frequently involve the academic philosopher Kantian Naturalist — the main raison d’etre of the site has been to attack ID. But since the consensus of almost all columnists on TSZ is that ID is dead or dying, with all its credibility draining away, what purpose has TSZ any longer? In countries which have abolished capital punishment, there is no longer any abolitionist movement, because the thing being opposed no longer exists. And no one attacks the views of Erich von Daniken about chariots of the gods any longer, because no one any longer takes that hypothesis seriously. So if ID is not worth taking seriously, why doesn’t TSZ dissolve itself — or at least find some new focus for its “skepticism”? (I would suggest the more extreme claims of the AGW lobby as a suitable object for a healthy, detached skepticism which cares only about the truth about climate change and carries no brief for left-wing, anti-Western global politics.)

Indeed, it seems that only Elizabeth Liddle, the founder of TSZ, is being logical here, if current TSZ writers are correct about the impending death of ID. She hasn’t posted columns or comments in months on her own web site — which would make sense if she now thinks that ID is so outdated and irrelevant that her opposition (which was formerly constant and fierce) is no longer necessary. Yet on the site she started, her allies and followers are carrying on the fight which seems to bore her. One wonders why.

245 Replies to “An Instructive Discussion, Led by Alan Fox, at The Skeptical Zone

  1. 1
    MiddleStMan says:

    Meyer’s ‘historical science’ comedy is noteworthy for number of many people even non-fundamentalist scholars it has tricked. Meyer even started same ideas in his dissertation at Cambridge (ideas come from Harmke Kamminga), supported finance of David and Natalie Moneymaker. Funny as protestant Meyer quotes from Sirach at end of Preface. Meyer’s departure is strange, to say minimum and Cambridge Department is sure not amused. Conflate human and natural on purpose Meyer wears too much makeup for ID.

    “to do scientific work within an ID paradigm.”

    Oh, so now ID is a ‘paradigm’?! Inflation. Distortion. Typical.

    “there are not many young or female commenters”

    They could just stand up and be counted. Seems pretty white male here. ID leaders too are mainly white and mainly male.

    “ID is not worth taking seriously”

    Those who simply or fanatically take ID seriously are worth taking seriously as subjects. Argument for design is classic theistic. Claim ID is best science in 21 century: a joke.

    I read nothing new from Timeas not already said by others about ID except he/she no require scientific. Theists no understand how much warped in such short period of time ID people have become, even usual nice do-gooders. Jaded. Does Timeas know he swallowed it a hook & sinker? Soft pat on back, but kennel barking is too loud & crude. Soft, sorry, nice, gentle, persecuted, deserving, innocent, propagandist.

    “of course ID supporters aren’t trying to get ID into the schools”

    Some still are trying this. For real. Cash for attempts, apologists. So Timeas’ belief ‘Discovery repudiated’ is meaningless.

    All ID people believe in Creation (except for rare, occasional not sure about religion person). ID means theistic implied.

    Somebody needs to stay ‘in business’ speaking against ID because it continue mainly among postcreationist protestants despite logic, convincing persuasion or humility. TSZ didn’t reveal weak ID. Mainstream Protestant, Orthodox & Catholic Christians, Jews & Muslims did it already.

    Badly confused & still sinning “ID community” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlBIa8z_Mts

    Challenge: Name one thing *NOT* ‘intelligently designed’ in this Video

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MiddleStMan

    Genesis: Land of Confusion

    The uploader has not made this video available in your country

    Too bad.

    But anyway, I don’t know. Maybe evolution caused Phil Collins to lose all his hair?

    Or some sort of change in the ozone layer caused Peter Gabriel to leave the band in 1976?

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Thanks for a very interesting post.

    I’m not saying that Alan has to accept the conclusions of all these books and articles, but it is certainly unfair of him to say that there has been “no genuine effort” on the part of ID people to do scientific work within an ID paradigm.

    To say that ID makes no scientific effort is unjust and inaccurate – for the reasons given.

    I’m not sure what age has to do with the quality of one’s argument

    If the age of the participants on this blog is considered an argument against ID then our opponents really don’t have anything to say.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    > Has Alan not read the peer-reviewed online journal BioComplexity, which publishes several articles per year, and has done so for several years now?

    I’m going to have to go with no on this one.

    > Has Alan not read the latest book by Stephen Meyer, which has garnered praise from a number of scientists, including some not previously associated with ID?

    Probably not. I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that he has into reality.

    > Has Alan not read Jonathan Wells’s book on junk DNA…?

    Unlikely.

    > I’m not saying that Alan has to accept the conclusions of all these books and articles, but it is certainly unfair of him to say that there has been “no genuine effort” on the part of ID people to do scientific work within an ID paradigm.

    Depends on how you define “unfair” and “genuine” and “effort.” Oh, and also on how you define “no.”

    But you got to give it to TSZ, they are the “true skeptics” here. I didn’t mean to sound skeptical.

  5. 5
    News says:

    MiddleStMan at 1, sober up or get out of here. – News (mod)

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    Alan and the ilk of TSZ are blissfully and willfully ignorant of what is being debated. They have no idea what Intelligent Design is nor what it claims. And it seems that they have no idea what evolutionism (Mayr) is nor what it entails.

    They are a pathetic lot…

  7. 7
    MiddleStMan says:

    “One wonders why.”

    Easy to answer, if right stomach to hear proper answer. Most ID people developed bad stomach for digesting knowledge. Or just sympathy for the attempt; this I suspect biggest motivation for colourful presentations – pity song.

    (& TSZ laughs naughtily at wrong pity)

    “One wonders why” – Answer: It makes into public record they were against ID, which still is credible position. Very important take a position on some certain ‘theories’ when they become visible. Theologians who dare be against ID now courageous in protestant America. Do they report these people at UD too or never? It is only credible position, some say. I agree anti-ID like main Theology bodies show only responsible position.

    Now in 2015 already anti-ID Disco dancing is smoothest tune for dancing. When promanant theists sing forget ID memory laments – Seattle Shadow of reverent Middle Earth in peace time, ugly pretending beauty – ID dwindling proponents put on their headphones to ignore sound … they have ‘ears to hear’ that are plugged in elsewhere, don’t want to presently work, take a message please, come back another time, busy we are protesting here. Protest for pity. ID.

    They have lost spirit of change & spacetime, not thousands only, but millions of years, History Big, but smaller than the Biggest source of Cosmos & Human. Happy hints 🙂 theory ID no big deal. Shut media Discovery Institute circus USA spectacle idolatry, poor West.

    Design is already in many places modern studies. Just stop OoL covert theology in philosophy of science pretending not so. We see that east. Far outside of faithful approach.

  8. 8
    Cross says:

    MiddleStMan @ 8

    Hows the day job translating equipment manuals going?

    Cheers

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Most ID people developed bad stomach for digesting knowledge nonsense.

    Fixed that for ya.

  10. 10
    MiddleStMan says:

    Middle position allows both science and faith. This is apparently frightening prospect – middle way – for some ID people.

    Theist says ok creation, not ok creationism, ok design, not ok ID, ok evolution, not ok evolutionism. Good balance.

    Design obvious already in many places. Too many to ignore. All artefacts. Already design in science.

    Organisms grow naturally, but sometimes artificially. Still organic.

    Design stolen term cannot cash trade in foreign country.

  11. 11
    Timaeus says:

    Note from Author:

    I see that Glen Davidson has read my comments and replied to them over on The Skeptical Zone. I don’t know why he doesn’t post his objections here. I’m not stopping him, and last I heard, he hasn’t been banned from the site.

    Regarding “creationism,” it seems that G.D. is insisting on his own definition — belief in a creator — which is not what “creationism” in these discussions means. Otherwise, Ken Miller would be a “creationist” — and Miller does not refer to himself as that; nor do any of his secular allies at the NCSE (except possibly Coyne) label him as a creationist.

    “Creationism” in these discussions means a belief that the origin of the world, life, species and man occurred more or less as described in Genesis 1 and 2. A creationist gives Genesis significant veto power over what science is allowed to discover about origins, and appeals to Genesis as an unquestionable authority, since it is a truth from God, as opposed to the speculations of man. A creationist also — when common parlance is being employed — is by definition against “evolution” — at least, against macroevolutionary change such as “bacterium to man” or even “fish to man” or “apelike ancestor to man.” The creationist at most allows some microevolutionary change within families or genera, while excluding man from that process.

    This is how the word is in fact used in US discourse on these subjects. And by this definition, Behe, Denton, Torley, Sternberg (as of last public statement, though I don’t have recent info on his views), Dave Scot, myself, and many other ID proponents are not creationists, since none of us base any arguments for design on the Bible, and since all of either accept common descent or have no religious problem at all with it if it happens to be true.

    Even the passage from Phil Johnson quoted by G.D. doesn’t indicate creationism as defined above. (Whether Phil Johnson is privately a creationist — old earth or young earth — I have no idea, nor do I care.) It merely argues that you need an intelligent mind behind purposive structures in nature, hence a God of some sort. But that doesn’t require belief in Christianity, the Bible, etc. Ancient philosophers who had never heard of the Bible came to similar conclusions.

    Obviously if a “creationist” is anyone who believes the world was created, then all Muslims, Jews and Christians are automatically creationists. But in that case, “creationism” can’t be used scornfully, as if it’s a doctrine only for stupid country bumpkins, since “creationists” would include Augustine, Aquinas, William of Ockham, Erasmus, Newton, Kepler, Boyle, Clerk-Maxwell, Alfred Russel Wallace, and many other highly intelligent people who have nothing intellectually in common with Ken Ham etc.

    It seems to me that G.D. is doing what many others do — trying to cash in on the public disrespect for the word “creationism” and sneakily applying the term to people who would disavow it. I have more respect for outright attacks on theistic religion religion as such — for people who say that theistic religion is just plain wrong — than for those who, instead of directly confronting theistic religion, intimate that it is not theism they are against, but only “creationism.”

    If I have misunderstood Glen Davidson’s position, I am open to correction. As I say, as far as I am concerned, Glen Davidson is more than welcome to come here and clarify his position. Whether he has some issues to straighten out with management before he can post again — I have no knowledge of that.

  12. 12
    skram says:

    Timaeus:

    Alan writes: “I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that ID has some scientific merit into reality.”

    Really? Has Alan not read the peer-reviewed online journal BioComplexity, which publishes several articles per year, and has done so for several years now? Has Alan not read the latest book by Stephen Meyer, which has garnered praise from a number of scientists, including some not previously associated with ID?

    I have followed BIO-Complexity since its launch. One might call it a peer-reviewed journal, but only with a caveat. Let’s have a closer look at its output. I will only count research papers but not critical reviews and such. We’re talking ID research here.

    2010, 3 papers. Axe*; Montañez, Ewert, Dembski*, and Marks*; Gauger*, Ebnet, Fahey, and Seelke*.

    2011, 2 papers: Axe*, Lu, and Flatau; Gauger* and Axe*.

    2012, 2 papers: Castro-Chavez; Ewert, Dembski*, and Marks*.

    2013, 1 paper: Ewert, Dembski*, and Marks*.

    2014, 1 paper: Reeves, Gauger*, and Axe*.

    Two things jump out immediately. First, all papers except one are coauthored by one or more members of the editorial board (marked with asterisks). Second, the number of paper is minuscule and going down with time. (In fact, the number of editors exceeds the number of authors.)

    BIO-Complexity is a vanity journal. It continues the tradition of its predecessor PCID, which ceased publication after a few years. This one isn’t going to do better.

    We can discuss the merits of the articles. They aren’t really about research inspired by the ID paradigm. They are criticisms of evolutionary this and evolutionary that.

    Dembski and Marks, for instance, keep writing the same stuff about no free lunch. If a usable search algorithm is asked to perform in a random jagged landscape, it does no better than a blind search. Quelle surprise! And when it is pointed out to them that landscapes are not entirely random and tend to be smooth at least at the short scale, they say “Aha! The landscape smuggles the information in!” Well of course it does. Life happens on Earth, in specific environments! I am not sure what their results are good for except as (misguided) criticisms of evolutionary theory.

    Do you have a different opinion of stuff in BIO-Complexity? Can you back it up? Please go ahead.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Timaeus, knowing how much you value proper English, its just too funny to see MiddleStMan butchering it so badly on your thread. It is the Odd Couple on steroids! 🙂 LOL

  14. 14
    wd400 says:

    Alan Fox’s column certainly started off a revealing discussion. It seems to remain true that, while a variety of subjects are discussed on TSZ — the most interesting of which frequently involve the academic philosopher Kantian Naturalist — the main raison d’etre of the site has been to attack ID. But since the consensus of almost all columnists on TSZ is that ID is dead or dying, with all its credibility draining away, what purpose has TSZ any longer?

    When was the last time the TSZ or Panda’s thumb has a post taking on an ID argument? Indeed, it’s not that long since UD was making a point of TSZ’s decline. Seems perfectly consistent with ID’s evaporating relevance.

    As long as evolution is entangled in the US culture war there will be interest in ID, but as a scientific endeavor it seems pretty much dead.

  15. 15
    Timaeus says:

    Sorry, skram, but I won’t let you draw me into a discussion about the merits of either the editorial practices or the articles in BioComplexity. My point was that the ID folks are *trying* to quantify some of their original insights — with studies of how hard it is to generate novel proteins, how hard it is to generate specified complexity without sneaking in information in the very search procedure you are employing, etc. Years ago, they were accused of not doing that, of only philosophizing vaguely about design versus chance, with no numbers or empirical studies. Now they are trying to generate numbers and do empirical studies, and they still get slammed for not having any research program. That’s not fair. One can declare their research program inadequate, but one can’t say they aren’t trying. Thus I maintain what I said against Alan Fox: it isn’t fair to say that ID folks are making no effort.

    By the way, I consider your “research papers only” criterion to be stuffy, narrow-minded, and a bit anally retentive — there is good, thoughtful stuff about evolutionary theory and design in the B-C papers that you are not counting, but again, I won’t get into that, because it’s off-topic here, and because I think you have a much narrower, and I a much broader, idea of what constitutes the activity of “natural science,” and such differences are not likely to be bridged any time soon. (And I think if you were in the Arts rather than the Natural Sciences, we would have exactly the same sort of differences about what constitutes “history” or or “philosophy” or “scholarship.”)

    My focus here is on The Skeptical Zone and its odd, quasi-parasitic relationship with ID. I think that if ID were removed from the world tomorrow, TSZ would fade out of existence within six months. I may be wrong about that, but if I am wrong, I’d like to hear what the core purpose of TSZ now is. I’m not dismissing all the individuals there — they write many intelligent posts. But I don’t see that the site as a whole has any focus other than the attack on ID.

  16. 16
    MiddleStMan says:

    ID parasitic on Paley, distorted Aquinas and engineer metaphor.

    “I think that if ID were removed from the world tomorrow, TSZ would fade out of existence within six months.”

    Agreed. But in 2 weeks fade. And the world would be better from both results.

    “ID folks are *trying* to quantify some of their original insights”

    What makes think they were ‘insights’ in the first place? Meyer’s PhD is a mess of ‘history’ theory perversion in light of Oparin. He’s trying to redefine science to fit his protestant theology, that part obvious. And Dembski’s ‘ID mathematics’ is just as flimsy.

    No content to read here, just English mistakes! ; )

    Causes trumps statistics, you know.

    This thread should be about what is wrong with ID, the many examples that ID people here avoid or ignore, rather than how TSZ resist backwards idea & danger it could cause in education and society.

  17. 17
    Querius says:

    Cross @ 8,

    Hilarious!

    I think an argument can be made that MiddleStMan could be a random phrase generator based on the vocabulary used here. For example, consider this pithy gem, the last one in post 11:

    Design stolen term cannot cash trade in foreign country.

    I don’t have any idea what this phrase is supposed to mean. It reads with approximately the same degree of cogency in reverse. I give up. I’m not detecting intelligent design in the phrase. Perhaps wd400 will volunteer a possible explanation or predict what thought this phrase is in process of evolving into. 😉

    – Q

  18. 18
    rvb8 says:

    I believe TSZ was started by a poster at this site who was banned for the effrontery of making Dembski’s and other’s ideas appear fatuous.

    SHE, was so good at pointing out the irrelevance of ID with HER nimble thought and inhuman politeness, that SHE was deemed persona non grata and banned.

    SHE felt that to get her balanced arguments heard she needed to create a site where ID could seriously be engaged with, and its essential hollowness exposed; hence TSZ.

    Timaeus, skram’s observations about BioComplexity are sincere. Here is a journal posing as the intellectual foundation of ID, not to mention its pretensions as a ‘scientific’ journal, which doesn’t actually produce anything worth studying further, it is scientfically barren. Really 9 papers in 4 years, authored by the same pretenders? I mean, lying to others is wrong, but lying to yourself is, in evolutionary terms, not optimal; best bag the rag!

  19. 19
    rvb8 says:

    Actually people, I believe MiddleStMan is a poser. He/She is an ID creation set up so that you can feel moderately bright. If you lost all arguments based upon evidence and science you could start second guessing your untenable position. Baring this in mind the powers here created a moron for you to feel superior to.

    P.S. Don’t go to TSZ or Pandasthumb or Phyrangula, or Whyevolutionistrue, the people there won’t put up with your shanannigins.

    Heh!:)

  20. 20
    REC says:

    Biocomplexity is a very sad affair. If anyone wants to debate the merits of the “publications” there, by all means, start some posts here and let us talk. But, the authors there, and Ann Gauger, in particular, I believe, have been instructed not to engage in public discussion after the public “yeah, we isolated fitness-granting mutations in small populations….ooops…” debacle.

    Axe, on the other hand, should take a look at his most famous publication (PNAS, true quality work) which concludes:

    “Since attainment of crude function is the critical initial step in evolutionary innovation, the relatively scant requirements contributed by the hydrophobic core would greatly reduce the initial hurdle on the evolutionary pathway to novel enzymes”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8643620

    I just don’t get how a scientist shuns his own data…..

  21. 21
    Timaeus says:

    rvb8:

    Now that I’ve finally got your attention, when are you going to respond to my critique of your position on the “Should Christians Be Eradicated?” thread?

    If “MiddleStMan” is a fake created by someone here, I’m not in on the joke. I consider the possibility rather remote: Barry, News, etc. have better things to do than invent multiple fake posts of someone who attacks ID. It is, however, possible that MiddleStMan is only affecting his Tarzan-talk — his middle paragraph in 16 above suddenly sounds almost academic in syntax and tone, before he drops back to the unbelievably bad writing. He could be faking his substandard literacy, for some boyish, immature reason (e.g., just to “yank the chains” of people here and see what they do). In any case, who cares? The guy is insignificant in the public debate over origins. Nobody knows who he is and nobody is going to take the effort to figure out what he means. He’s consigned himself to oblivion, and the punishment is entirely self-inflicted.

    Whether or not skram is “sincere” is utterly beside the point. The point is that ID people — and not just in BioComplexity, but in many other places (journals of engineering/computer science/information theory, for example)– are trying to carry out and present quantitative research. That makes Alan Fox’s statement unfair. I stand by my point.

    I’m curious to know, rvb8, how you know that the articles in BioComplexity — many of which I have read — are not worth studying and scientifically barren. Do you have graduate-level expertise in the areas of information theory, biology, biochemistry, etc.? If so, tell us a bit about yourself. If not, why are you offering such blanket opinions without personal expertise?

    And by all means, finish up your story about that poor little American girl sitting sadly out in the hall, while inside the classroom that religious authoritarian teacher is having the students say school prayers. Remind us of what American school this happened in, and in which American states that occurrence would be legal and constitutional. And tell us why it was that the girl’s parents didn’t do what the parents in Dover, Pennsylvania did, i.e., sue the school board and get the practice abolished. I’m sure we’re all eager here to correct this manifest injustice. All you have to do is provide the specifics, so the investigation can begin.

  22. 22
    Timaeus says:

    REC:

    See my reply to skram. This thread is not about BioComplexity, and I won’t let you hijack it. The subject is the relationship of TSZ to UD and ID in general. Stay on topic.

    I would never censor anyone for disagreeing with my conclusions, but I do insist that people stay on topic. I put a lot of work into writing my column and I want comments pertinent to the column, not a scattered assortment of gripes against ID. If you have something to say about Alan Fox’s column, or about the comments on Alan’s column at TSZ, or about the relationship between TSZ and ID, then say it. If not, save your complaints about BioComplexity for a more appropriate column.

    (And don’t bother retorting that I’m the one who raised the subject of BioComplexity, because I clearly raised it only for the very limited purpose of showing Alan Fox that ID people were trying to do research, not for the purpose of vindicating that research. Your attempt to change the subject to whether or not BioComplexity is a good journal etc. is a diversion from the conversation I’m trying to generate here.)

  23. 23
    REC says:

    Timaeus

    Point taken. UD moderators have received the Memo that Bio-complexity is a sore subject, even on threads where Bio-complexity has been brought up by said moderators.

    So, Last comment by me on this thread…..

    Feel free to start a new one if anyone wants to discuss ID “science”……

  24. 24
    skram says:

    Timaeus:

    Years ago, they were accused of not doing that, of only philosophizing vaguely about design versus chance, with no numbers or empirical studies. Now they are trying to generate numbers and do empirical studies, and they still get slammed for not having any research program. That’s not fair. One can declare their research program inadequate, but one can’t say they aren’t trying.

    Alright, they get a sticker for a valiant effort. Now what? Eking out 9 research papers in 4 years isn’t a sign of life in a scientific field. And what about the quality of those papers?

    And I do think BIO-Complexity is relevant to this discussion. You said that Alan Fox didn’t read this journal. Maybe so. I did. I am familiar with this side of ID. It does not indicate the presence of a healthy research program.

  25. 25
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    Thank you for granting my point. BioComplexity represents an effort to make ID concrete in terms of detailed studies. Therefore Alan was wrong to say that ID was making no effort.

    It is not BioComplexity alone, of course. Dembski, Marks and others have published papers in peer-reviewed engineering, information theory, etc. venues. I don’t offhand remember the journal names. Probably you can find the list of peer-reviewed papers on the Discovery web site; it is updated periodically. And then there are the books, which, even though published by trade presses rather than academic presses in most cases, have earned some high praise. Take a look at the endorsements of Meyer’s second book. Some of those people are well-respected research scientists in biology, biochemistry, etc. Jonathan Wells’s book on junk DNA cites something like 500 peer-reviewed technical articles; whatever you might think about his conclusions, he keeps up with the literature. Wells and Nelson also gave a poster session at a large Biology conference a couple of years back. So ID writers are trying very hard to engage with mainstream biological science, to comment on it, and to produce new data. One can judge the overall result as a failure, if one wishes, but one cannot help but notice how much more active ID people are than they were at the time of the Dover Trial 10 years ago. ID research and publication activity is not (contra the view expressed on TSZ) winding down, but gearing up.

    If I might ask you a question: Did you not tell me in our last discussion that your research field is *physics*? Do you feel that a Ph.D. in physics makes you competent to comment on the contents of the papers in BioComplexity, which are in the fields of biochemistry, biology, and information theory? Or are you restricting your critique to the low quantity of the papers and to the possible conflict of interest in the overlap between writers and editors, and refraining from making judgments of contents on the papers themselves? I just want to get that straight. Most of the scientists I have known *in the flesh* are very hesitant to comment on scientific work outside of their particular fields, even of their particular subfields. But for some reason, *on the internet* everyone who claims the title “scientist” seems to feel qualified to pass judgment on everything from the multiverse through the origin of life to anthropogenic global warming to neurological disproofs of free will to particular evolutionary mechanisms, no matter what his or her actual scientific field is. I’m trying to find out if you are one of those scientists who claims such omnicompetence, or one of those scientists who is diffident in speaking outside of his field.

  26. 26
    Graham2 says:

    Timaeus,
    Im not sure why TSZ is so important, its just a blog.
    Of more interest is ID as a whole. We (heathens) are continually told that the ‘growing number of ID theorists’ are on the march. Evolution is dead. If so, there is not much to see. A handful of articles per year from BioComplexity. That’s about the output you would expect from (rather slack)researcher. Books by Meyer, Wells etc, that have been pretty well shredded by the any biologist that reads them.

    All in all, a pretty pathetic performance for ID. And whatever happened to all those IDEA clubs ?

  27. 27
    Timaeus says:

    Note from Author:

    I’m sorry to see that Glen Davidson has responded (over at TSZ) in a very negative tone to my offer of conversation about creationism here.

    I will take part of the blame for that, since I made a negative remark about his theory of electricity, life, and consciousness. That negative remark was based on the sketchy and impressionistic presentation of the theory on an old website. Perhaps if I saw a fuller exposition, I would judge the theory more favorably.

    However, all is not lost. If this venue is unpleasant to Glen, why doesn’t he post his theory of electricity and consciousness on TSZ? New columns have been pretty scarce there in the past few months; they could use some new topics. And he wouldn’t have to fear a hostile “creationist” audience for his ideas on TSZ. I would very much like to see what keiths, Alan Fox, Kantian Naturalist and others there would say about Glen’s ideas. And after observing the conversation, if I decided that Glen’s theory was sensible after all, I would issue a retraction here for my remark. Perhaps that would go some way toward establishing friendly relations.

    I continue to maintain that calling ID itself “creationism” or “a form of creationism” — as opposed to saying that many ID proponents are *also* creationists (which is true and therefore fair to observe) is polemical in intent. When Eugenie Scott repeatedly used the phrase “intelligent design creationism” on every conceivable occasion, she was evidently trying to invoke the cultural associations that “creationism” has with ignorance, illiteracy, backwoods settings, etc. — in fact, to poison the well, so that anyone opening a book by Behe or Denton would bring to that book a whole set of prejudices (e.g., “Bible thumpers”) about what those authors believed and would argue. This was a low intellectual tactic, and in any proper academic setting, e.g., delivering a paper at a scholarly conference, would have earned Eugenie the chastisement of the chair of the meeting for the improper use of rhetorical devices. But Eugenie was not operating in the academic world at the time, but in the political world of culture-war advocacy, and to a culture warrior, all tactics are fair. Bending the truth, stretching the truth, telling half the truth, etc. are standard practice in the political/cultural sphere. But people who have earned a Ph.D. have the moral and intellectual responsibility to rise above those popular tactics.

    The ID people told the NCSE that their theory did not depend on the Bible and that ID was not intrinsically opposed to evolution (though it was opposed to the Darwinian mechanism); by haughtily dismissing ID’s own self-definition, and giving it her own definition, Eugenie Scott was debating in bad faith, showing a fundamental disrespect for her opponents’ self-definition. In my Ph.D. program, we were taught never to do such a thing to an academic opponent; we were taught that our first duty was to understand that opponent as he understood himself, not to remake the opponent’s position into our own categories. I guess the Anthropology professors in her own Ph.D program instilled in her quite different values regarding intellectual integrity and collegial conversation; or perhaps she did not take to heart what they did teach her.

    Again, the issue is not whether some ID proponents are creationists; obviously many are, probably the majority — though it should be added that the majority are probably not young-earth creationists. The issue is whether ID is intrinsically connected to Christian creationism or to Christianity at all. And the answer is: as a theory, it is not. To put it bluntly, if the Bible were shown tomorrow to be a 5th-century A.D. forgery, not a single argument in favor of ID would be affected in any way, and not a single piece of lab work conducted by Doug Axe or Ann Gauger would be done in any different a manner. The *theory* would be unaffected. That the popular support for ID among churchgoers would be greatly diminished by the destruction of Christian faith, I do not doubt. But I’m a thinker and scholar, and I’m not concerned about popular support. My reasons for being attracted to ID are the reasons of Plato, not the reasons of Duane Gish or Ken Ham. I resent being lumped in with Gish and Ham, and I am outraged to see careful thinkers like Behe and Denton lumped in with Gish and Ham. Critics of ID should have the decency to stop using this rhetorical device. That’s the last word I’ll say on this subject to Glen, until he decides to grace us with his presence.

  28. 28
    Timaeus says:

    Graham2:

    You may think that TSZ is unimportant; that’s your right. But that’s what we are discussing here, the relationship of TSZ to ID. If you have any comments on Alan Fox’s column or on mine, you are welcome to share them.

    I have never said that “evolution is dead” — nor is ID per se opposed to evolution — though it is opposed to the Darwinian explanation of evolution. One of the most important ID theorists, Michael Denton, is an ardent exponent of evolution. He has published articles endorsing (non-Darwinian) evolution in the very journal you are panning. The fact that BioComplexity would give Denton space in its journal indicates that the journal has no built-in anti-evolutionary position.

    Evidently you have not noted the scientific qualifications of the people who endorsed Meyer’s second book. I would guess that you have not read Meyer’s second book, either, and are basing your judgment of it on hearsay. But even if you have read it, we will have to debate that book under another column. The subject here is TSZ.

  29. 29
    Mark Frank says:

    Timaeus

    I see that Glen Davidson has read my comments and replied to them over on The Skeptical Zone. I don’t know why he doesn’t post his objections here.

    I guess for much the same reasons that you did not post your objection to Alan Fox’s column on TSZ.

  30. 30
    DillyGill says:

    ‘I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that ID has some scientific merit into reality’

    So this for me is the fundamental problem that the proponents of materialism never seem to be able to see past. If it is wilful or not is a matter of debate.

    So the observations are the observations. The narrative is the narrative. The philosophical commitment to materialism gives the materialistic evolutionist the unwarranted privilege to claim all the observations as his own no matter how poor or unlikely the narrative is.

    Here is a prediction, the ool issue will never be resolved under the materialistic scientism world view because life requires a designer.

    What ID has done is point out the difference between what has been observed over what has been claimed or assumed. The fact that these observations go by default to the credit of materialism is not the fault of ID. They have a causally adequate account of what is going on where as the materialist does not.

    If the philosophical commitment did not exist the evo dept would not be able to make the grand claims they do (dumb luck, deep time and chemical reactions can lead to complex machines and information) in the name of science.

    Oh and another one from my personal predictions. Life is designed by a designer intellectually superior to humans by orders of magnitude. Messing around the the ‘natural’ order of DNA will result in utter disaster.

    All materialism is, is a narrative that runs along side the observations of science. So in respect to ID having merit I would say it is doing exceptionally well as the sole explanation that is causally adequate to account for the complexity of life.

  31. 31
    Me_Think says:

    Timaeus @ 25 to skr:

    Do you feel that a Ph.D. in physics makes you competent to comment on the contents of the papers in BioComplexity, which are in the fields of biochemistry, biology, and information theory?

    Hmmm…you have far less qualified IDers posting articles and commenting on everything under the sun. Would you say they all are incompetent ?

  32. 32
    Graham2 says:

    I really don’t see the point of this entire thread. Whats the obsession with TSZ ?

  33. 33
    Cross says:

    DillyGill @ 30

    Great post, absolutely agree.

    Cheers

  34. 34
    Bob O'H says:

    Timaeus –

    Whether or not skram is “sincere” is utterly beside the point. The point is that ID people — and not just in BioComplexity, but in many other places (journals of engineering/computer science/information theory, for example)– are trying to carry out and present quantitative research.

    Sorry for pulling this away from the topic again, but do you have a list of academic ID publications? The Biologic Institute has one that may or may not be complete, and it’s not very impressive: they only list 4 papers for last year, which is not very impressive for an institute that lists 14 senior researchers (5 explicitly at the BI).

    Perhaps it might be worth starting another thread?

  35. 35
    Piotr says:

    #35, Bob O’H

    Sorry for pulling this away from the topic again, but do you have a list of academic ID publications? The Biologic Institute has one that may or may not be complete, and it’s not very impressive: they only list 4 papers for last year, which is not very impressive for an institute that lists 14 senior researchers (5 explicitly at the BI).

    Of those four papers two were published in BioComplexity (IF = 0.000), one in a collection of papers, and only one in a real science journal, Mycological Progress (IF = 1.543). Here is the link to the article; please, folks, do have a look at it:

    Shamekh et a. 2014

    The only little problem for the ID community is that it’s a technical article about truffle cultivation in Finland, and not at all about evolution or intelligent design. The key words “evolution”, “intelligent”, “design” and “information” do not occur in the article. DNA is mentioned, but only as a means of detecting the presence of truffles. What on earth makes this article a product of ID research? The fact that the creationist biotechnologist Matti Leisola is one of the authors? But Leisola’s views about evolution have nothing to do with the topic of the article.

    I’m puzzled. It looks as if the only reason why the Biologic Institute lists this article were the fact that it appeared in a real journal. Creating an appearance of respectability in this way tells us something about the ethical standards of the BI crew.

  36. 36

    Timaeus,

    Perhaps your point here is to draw attention to the fact that anti-IDists do not engage in rational debate?

    Alan Fox, Keith S, Glen Davidson et al are psychologically invested in their individual narratives. This explains why facts, logic, evidence and history in contradiction to their views don’t give them pause; the truth doesn’t matter. The obvious doesn’t matter. Even the self-evident doesn’t matter. What matters is how their narratives make them and their opponents feel.

    Inasmuch as their narratives intersect, they get along and can even join forces to support their sense of narrative validity. In this post-modern world, validity has nothing to do with facts or evidence or truth; it has to do with feelings. This is why so much of the debate from their side is really nothing more than an attempt to hurt the feelings of their opposition; writing threads about how ID is “dead” or “dying”, continued inappropriate use of the term “creationists”, the reiteration of talking points long since disproven simply because, in their eyes, those talking points “get the goat” of IDists.

    Their debate is always laced with ridicule, subtle or overt, personal jabs, attempts to deny and diminish, etc. because their debate is primarily about feelings. If they can hurt their opponents feelings (or feel like they have), and themselves have a sense of gloating, glee or superiority at what they are causing, then from their perspective they have won the debate.

    Some of them may know what they are doing; Alinsky would be proud. Ridicule may not win a debate, but it wins converts because most people gravitate away from that which makes them feel bad. That’s the way of current western society; it’s all about the Approved Official Narrative and the validity of feelings which trumps truth.

    “Saving the Earth” and “Social Justice” narratives are used to define what one should feel good about and pursue whether or not the facts support such efforts. It doesn’t matter if so-called “green technology” is ultimately far worse for the environment than oil; what matters is that those people feel good and have a sense of good purpose and belong to the right clique. The fact of the collapse of their efforts into ruin gives them no pause.

    It doesn’t matter if materialism or Darwinism have nothing to support them; these people will back the narrative even if it means calling something so absurd as “infinite universes from nothing” a sound explanation for the fine-tuning we find. Or, they can just deny it exists at all. The narrative that chance + time = the functional, coded information and sophisticated engineering of the living cell is what matters; so what if it is astonishingly absurd on the face of it?

    What matters is the narrative that Lewontin explicitly expressed. No divine foot. Period. That is the narrative. All religion, all spirituality is primitive myth, and we are above all that nonsense. Who cares if it is true or not? Who cares if it makes a logical shambles of morality and causation?

    What matters is how the narrative makes them feel, and how it makes those outside of their circle feel.

    On the news this morning they were interviewing some woman who was saying that ISIS was beheading people and burning them alive in cages because they lacked jobs and economic opportunity. I’m sure she feels all warm and fuzzy in a social-justice, progressive, intellectually-superior way, feeling so smart and relevant that she’s evolved to be above the idea of evil and that war is often necessary to stop it.

    This is the overwhelming, pernicious, dangerous nature of a post-modern narrative where truth is relative and what is important is how one feels.

  37. 37
    Hangonasec says:

    Timaeus:

    (I would suggest the more extreme claims of the AGW lobby as a suitable object for a healthy, detached skepticism which cares only about the truth about climate change and carries no brief for left-wing, anti-Western global politics.)

    Ah yes – healthy, detached skepticism in action!

  38. 38
    Hangonasec says:

    WJM @38.

    the truth doesn’t matter. The obvious doesn’t matter. Even the self-evident doesn’t matter. What matters is how their narratives make them and their opponents feel.

    What is true is not always obvious. That which is ‘self-evident’ to one person is clearly not to another, if they disagree. Science actually attempts to arbitrate on such matters by removing ‘feeling’ from the equation, as much as possible. And yet, in the topsy-turvy world you inhabit, it’s science, in the form of evolutionary theory, that is based upon ‘feeling’, while ID is based on the supposed rigour of ‘the obvious’, the ‘self-evident’, and so on.

    It is of course purely incidental that ‘Darwinism’ makes some theists feel distinctly uncomfortable.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    sobering points.

    You will note my onward comment here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....reasoning/

    This will particularly speak to those who tend to dismiss or disparage first principles of right reason and wider actually self evident truths.

    As for truth does not rise above perceptions and opinions backed by strength of feelings, I simply echo Aristotle in Metaphysics 1011b: truth says of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not. Period.

    In that light facts can be simply understood as has always been known to basic common sense: empirically experienced or observed, morally or stronger certain reality.

    I suggest that as Ari long ago pointed out in The Rhetoric Bk I Ch 2, there are three main levers of rhetorical persuasion, pathos, ethos, logos.

    In rough terms as I worked out for myself (then was directed to Ari!):

    1 –> Emotions are the most persuasive but do not in themselves ground conclusions. We must look instead to the soundness or prudence of the underlying perceptions and judgements that drive the emotive responses.

    2 –> No authority (including a presenter or teacher as well as an expert or witness or credible record) is better than his underlying facts, reasoning and assumptions.

    3 –> So it is only credible facts and sound reasoning that are able to actually ground claims to a point where they are trustworthy.

    KF

  40. 40
    Box says:

    WJM #38,

    My inability to understand atheists bothers me to no end. How anyone can accept – or even want – such meaninglessness is beyond my comprehension. How can anyone accept that his ratio, his consciousness, his feelings and so forth, are nothing but lawful interactions of chemicals is utterly mysterious to me. Perhaps the core of my misunderstanding is the mystery of the atheist’s ability to reconcile himself with his concept of death.

    If I were an atheist I would go out of my way in trying to find a way out. I would be open to every faint hint that suggests that there is something more to reality than my lamentable version of it.

    William J Murray:

    What matters is how the narrative makes them feel, and how it makes those outside of their circle feel.

    Your insight would help me if I could imagine any positive feeling wrt atheism/materialism. I CANNOT. For me materialism is: personal death, “consciousness, feelings, thoughts are blind chemical reactions” and overall meaninglessness, so what is positive about it?

  41. 41
    Joe says:

    rvb8:

    I believe TSZ was started by a poster at this site who was banned for the effrontery of making Dembski’s and other’s ideas appear fatuous.

    LoL! Lizzie doesn’t even understand ID nor evolutionism.

    SHE, was so good at pointing out the irrelevance of ID with HER nimble thought and inhuman politeness, that SHE was deemed persona non grata and banned.

    SHE proved to be insipid. SHE has been proven to be ignorant of science and the debate.

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    Evos like to mock Biocomplexity yet they don’t seem to realize that there isn’t anything in peer-review that supports the claims of evolutionism.

    The TSZ ilk and the evos posting here are totally clueless when it comes to peer-review.

  43. 43
    Joe says:

    Aurelio:

    If there were a hypothesis from the ID community that purported to explain something, surely you could link to it.

    If there were a hypothesis from the evo community that purported to explain something, surely you could link to it.

  44. 44
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    As long as evolution is entangled in the US culture war there will be interest in ID, but as a scientific endeavor it seems pretty much dead.

    Sed the person whose position doesn’t have any science to support it.

  45. 45
    Joe says:

    Well Aurelio, if you knew anything about science you would know that ID qualifies as science for the mere fact that it can be tested and either confirmed or refuted. OTOH your position still has nothing.

  46. 46
    Joe says:

    Alan Fox proves he is ignorant:

    And I stand by my statement that no work has been done by anyone that genuinely demonstrates the reality of “Intelligent Design” as a scientific method, approach or hypothesis. Entailments?

    ID’s entailments for Alan, AGAIN:

    1. High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2. Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3. Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4. Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    How, When? Where? What/Who?

    LoL! Alan, those questions come AFTER intelligent design has been detected. Are you really that ignorant that you didn’t know that?

    Criticism of a theory as inadequate to explain X is not an argument that we should adopt,,, well, what?

    There isn’t any “theory of evolution”, Alan. Also science mandates that necessity and chance explanations be eliminated before considering intelligent design. Again your ignorance of science, while amusing, means nothing.

    Unlike Alan’s position ID can be tested as it has testable entailments.

    What work has been done to show that unguided evolution has scientific merit? That is a question no one wants to answer.

  47. 47
    Joe says:

    Aurelio, Darwin has been refuted as natural selection has proven to be impotent.

    There’s plenty of descriptions of the theory of evolution – how, given heritable variation, fecundity and competition for resources, change will occur.

    There isn’t any theory of evolution. And what you described fits in with baraminology.

    But surely you don’t want to distract from establishing what the theory of Intelligent Design” says and the evidence for it.

    Comment 49 and the evidence for ID is in peer-review- see ATP synthase, for example.

  48. 48
    Joe says:

    Aurelio, are you daft? You ask how ID can be tested AFTER I posted its entailments.

  49. 49
    Zachriel says:

    Box: How can anyone accept that his ratio, his consciousness, his feelings and so forth, are nothing but lawful interactions of chemicals is utterly mysterious to me.

    Once upon a time, people were reassured that the Earth was the physical center of God’s creation, as He looked down from the celestial spheres on human affairs. Most people got used to the idea of hurling through space on the third rock from the Sun.

  50. 50
    Timaeus says:

    Note from Author:

    I see that Alan Fox has posted some more comments over at TSZ, some of which refer to me or my article.

    Yes, Alan, I forgive you for calling me a grumpy old man. (Actually, the “old” hurts more than the “grumpy,” because time is marching on and it gets closer to the truth…) I’m sure that my comments on social/political matters, to some of our young left-wing sunshine boys here (from socialist paradises like New Zealand, etc.) do make me sound like a grumpy old conservative; on the other hand, you yourself, on social/political/religious matters, sometimes sound like a grumpy old ‘sixties leftist. So we’re even. 🙂 But I have to say that on the scientific and philosophical questions, I’ve generally found your manner of discourse polite and civilized, so I hope you don’t think I have any hard feelings.

    I am sorry to hear that you cannot post here. I know nothing about such administrative answers, and if there is a reason why you are being blocked, I don’t know what it is. All I can say to any administrators that are listening is that, though I have often strongly disagreed with your conclusions, I have not seen you violate any rule of polite discourse here, and I hope that some day you will be reinstated, if you have not committed some egregious sin against persons here of which I am unaware.

    Regarding a matter of substance–

    In defense of one of your points, you have written this clarification:

    [Original statement]
    “Since Dembski’s withdrawal from public discussion, though (well indeed, since I first heard of “Intelligent Design”), I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that ID has some scientific merit into reality.”

    [Reaffirmation]
    “And I stand by my statement that no work has been done by anyone that genuinely demonstrates the reality of “Intelligent Design” as a scientific method, approach or hypothesis.”

    I would point out, Alan, that you make a shift between your original statement and your reaffirmation. Your original statement was that there had been “no genuine effort” to show the scientific merit of ID; in your reaffirmation, you have rearranged the words so that the point is now that there is “no genuine demonstration” of the scientific merit of ID. Do you see the shift? It is one thing to say that ID has failed to demonstrate its merit as a scientific approach; it is another to say that ID proponents have not made a genuine effort to show that it has merit as a scientific approach. I say that they have made a genuine effort. That was the only point I wanted to contest here, under this column.

    (I also disagree with your revised statement, but that is not the statement I was contesting in my column. I was simply disputing your charge of lack of effort, the point being that effort and accomplishment are two different things.)

    If you will concede that, since the Dover Trial, when ID had only a handful of peer-reviewed publications, ID proponents have made a genuine effort to produce numerous publications in non-religious venues (and in many venues other than BioComplexity), publications containing quantitative and theoretical arguments in protein science, information science, etc. — then, even if you judge those efforts fruitless, we have agreement. This is a very small concession I am asking you to make: not even that ID is good science, but just that ID proponents are trying to produce good science. Regarding the quantity and quality of that science you may make whatever judgment you find warranted, but don’t deny the genuine effort that has been made in the past 10 years.

    (Also, when you consider that the Darwinian establishment is funded by the taxpayers of the world to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars (at least) annually (for the salaries of evolutionary biologists and other scientists, the expense of university and government research laboratories, etc.), whereas ID has had to get by on perhaps a few million dollars a year (if even that), and mostly from private donors whose steadiness cannot be counted on the way a university professor’s salary and lab and office space can be counted on, I would say the ID folks are making a noble effort. The average pharmaceutical company probably blows more money annually on ways to improve things like Aspirin and Tylenol than the entire amount of research money ID has at its disposal to study much vaster and more complex scientific matters. If Mayr, Dobzhansky, Gould etc. had had to work on the budgets ID folks have to work on, I think their research output would have been drastically lower than what it was. ID folks need to do more research, and publish more research — I would agree with that. But they are doing something with the meager resources they have.)

  51. 51

    Box said:

    Your insight would help me if I could imagine any positive feeling wrt atheism/materialism. I CANNOT. For me materialism is: personal death, “consciousness, feelings, thoughts are blind chemical reactions” and overall meaninglessness, so what is positive about it?

    Having been an atheist just like many that post here and at TSZ and haunt other venues on the internet, I can tell you exactly what the allure is: primarily, a personal sense of heroism and superiority, that you have the courage to face “reality” without myth or superstition; you have the will to not succumb to threats of hell or exclusion even by some terrible omnipotent overlord; the sense of superiority as you see “the masses” as foolish, ignorant folk incapable of seeing the absurdities of what they believe in (queue up some bible excerpt having to do with dashing children against rocks or giving a stamp of approval for slavery).

    It’s a narrative that lets you think your morality is better than the god others believe in (even if such morality is logically self-annihilating); a narrative that adorns itself being about facts and logic (even while ignoring such things when they disagree with the narrative).

    You revel in your own cleverness at the expense of others, refine your hurtful talking points and take a kind of sick pleasure in goading, ridiculing, and attacking others. When you read over the passages offered by those guys, you can see the sick pleasure they are taking in their personal attacks, and you can see that they smugly think they are oh-so-clever. Virtually everything they write drips with condescension and sarcasm.

    It feels very empowering on their end. Unfortunately, I have years of personal experience doing exactly what they are doing.

    They cannot be talked out of their narrative because they are certain they are right – if not about all the details, certainly about the fact of there being no god. This is why they so easily say such inane things like “there is no evidence for god”; in their narrative, since there is no god, there cannot be any evidence for god. So, they are comfortable making such an assertion.

    Ridicule is their stock in trade; they’ll even turn on each other if there is no fresh meat of “the other” for them to combine and attack. Condescension, belittling and goading others is how they feel good about themselves.

    The larger, more abstract negatives about materialism/atheism – the necessary nihilism, destruction of self, abandonment of morality and free will – aren’t even truly considered. They don’t need to examine these things because they are sure such things work out somehow in a materialist world because they are certain there is no god. So, such things must work out somehow, whether or not they can rationally explain it.

  52. 52
    Joe says:

    Design is a mechanism, Aurelio. “Built-in responses to environmental cues” is also a mechanism.

    As for those entailments, yes they are all testable and have been tested. And guess what? Your position still has nothing.

    Also I see that you are ignorant of the word “default”. The design inference is reached after careful consideration of the alternatives therefor it is not a default. As for assumptions, assuming your position is science is meaningless without entailments, which you cannot provide.

    Irreducible complexity is an argument for ID for the simple reason that only intelligent agencies can produce it.

  53. 53
    Box says:

    Aurelio,

    Do all scientific hypothesis have testable entailments? And can you define “testable”?

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, Has it dawned on you that your accusation of “evidence free meanders” might reflect more of evidentialist selective hyperskepticism on your part than the actual case on my part? As in kindly cf here for a case in point in recent days on the reality and relevance of FSCO/I. In short, manifestly, you are tilting at a strawman target . . . even the posts in this thread are examples of 1-d node-arc frameworks (i.e. strings: *-*-*- . . . -*) tightly constrained by function and illustrating the trillion-case strong pattern that FSCO/I is not only real but consistently comes about by design. KF

  55. 55
    wd400 says:

    If you will concede that, since the Dover Trial, when ID had only a handful of peer-reviewed publications, ID proponents have made a genuine effort to produce numerous publications in non-religious venues (and in many venues other than BioComplexity), publications containing quantitative and theoretical arguments in protein science, information science, etc. — then, even if you judge those efforts fruitless, we have agreement. This is a very small concession I am asking you to make: not even that ID is good science, but just that ID proponents are trying to produce good science. Regarding the quantity and quality of that science you may make whatever judgment you find warranted, but don’t deny the genuine effort that has been made in the past 10 years.

    I guess ID gets a few points for trying. But recall how many times the disco ‘tute or Dembski or others claimed the fall of modern evolutionary biology and the establishment of ID as a real science was near. Compare those aims to the reality: a few articles in a potemkin journal, a short papers list that includes an article on truffle culture, and and some popular press books.

    You can’t claim that meager list is evidence of an active scientific field, or makes the case that ID has much in the way of relevance. Especially not when thousands of evolutionary papers are published each year.

    (added in edit:
    It’s also not clear to what extend any IDers are trying to engage with real science. Axe and Gaguer keep publishing protein croco-duck papers, Wells’ pubished a book on Junk DNA with tacking the genetic load argument, Dembski seems to have withdrawn. Behe comes the closest, but his claims about a recent paper on malaria parasites were misplaced, so maybe there are some points for trying, but not many).

  56. 56
    skram says:

    Timaeus:

    It is not BioComplexity alone, of course. Dembski, Marks and others have published papers in peer-reviewed engineering, information theory, etc. venues. I don’t offhand remember the journal names. Probably you can find the list of peer-reviewed papers on the Discovery web site; it is updated periodically.

    Let’s check your claim, Timaeus. Here is what ISI Web of Science returns for author Dembski WA: link.

    In reverse chronological order:
    2014: 0 papers.
    2013: 2 papers, both in conference proceedings (Southeastern section of IEEE held at—wait for it!—Baylor).
    2012: 0 papers.
    2011: 0 papers.
    2010: 1 paper, proceedings of the same conference.
    2009: 3 papers, 2 of which are in conference proceedings.
    2004-2008: 0 papers.

    Next time you might want to check in advance. I hope you have access to databases.

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    skram- There still aren’t any papers that support unguided evolution-.

  58. 58
    Joe says:

    wd400 is proud to be an equivocator as there aren’t any papers that support unguided evolution.

  59. 59
    Box says:

    William J Murray #58,

    WJM: (…) You revel in your own cleverness at the expense of others,(…) It feels very empowering on their end. (…) The larger, more abstract negatives about materialism/atheism – the necessary nihilism, destruction of self, abandonment of morality and free will – aren’t even truly considered.

    WRT your last point, which relates to my objections to materialism (post #42), I would like to say that this baffles me. See for instance Zachriel’s post #54, he quotes me but there is no signal whatsoever that he registers what he is quoting. Does he realize the implications of materialism? Does he reflect on himself from the perspective of materialism?

    I AM NOTHING BUT PARTICLES IN MOTION

    Say it out loud, whisper it to yourself, look in the mirror, let it sink in and truly feel it … Is there anyone who can stomach this – intellectually and/or emotionally? If so, how? I don’t get it.

    WJM you suggest that they don’t truly consider certain implications of materialism – abstract negatives”. For me that’s a hard act to follow, it seems to require a certain unawareness of oneself that I cannot muster.

  60. 60
    wd400 says:

    Really, Joe. What purpose do you think these catechisms of yours serve?

  61. 61
    Joe says:

    Really, wd400. What purpose do you think your equivocations serve? Or are you really that ignorant about what is being debated?

    What I said is true and I don’t care if that bothers you.

  62. 62
    Joe says:

    The TSZ thread now has a Richie infection. Does he list unguided evolutions many accomplishments? No, he just cries about his perceived shortcoming with ID. He’s just a cupcake, slower Fox – no positive case for unguided evolution but a bunch of mud-slinging.

  63. 63
    Joe says:

    The POSITIVE case for Intelligent Design- AGAIN:

    1. High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2. Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3. Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4. Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    Unguided evolution can’t even muster that much.

  64. 64
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    Did you also run a search for Marks, for Ewert, etc.? I was speaking of the ID community as a whole, not just of Dembski.

    I’m not sure what your apparently sarcastic reference to Baylor is supposed to mean. Are you not aware that Dembski left Baylor some years ago, and that ID generally has been disfavored at Baylor since Dembski’s days there? I hope you are not implying that Baylor has an institutional pro-ID prejudice. If it did, Dembski would never have left the place, would he?

    I notice that you did not answer my question about whether you deem yourself competent to make judgments on the merits of scientific research outside your own field of physics. Did you miss the question, or are you declining to answer it?

  65. 65
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Do all scientific hypothesis have testable entailments?

    All scientific hypotheses should have testable entailments, at least in principle.

    Box: And can you define “testable”?

    It means an empirical prediction entailed in the hypothesis.

    Box: See for instance Zachriel’s post #54, he quotes me but there is no signal whatsoever that he registers what he is quoting.

    Here is the exchange:

    Box: How can anyone accept that his ratio, his consciousness, his feelings and so forth, are nothing but lawful interactions of chemicals is utterly mysterious to me.

    Zachriel: Once upon a time, people were reassured that the Earth was the physical center of God’s creation, as He looked down from the celestial spheres on human affairs. Most people got used to the idea of hurling through space on the third rock from the Sun.

    You asked how anyone could accept an explanation for the mysterious, and we pointed out that people adjust over generations to findings that disrupt their worldview. Your inability to accept what might be a scientific explanation doesn’t entail future generations.

    Box: Does he realize the implications of materialism? Does he reflect on himself from the perspective of materialism?

    Sure. We do reflect from time to time. However, there is no demonstrable argument against materialism per se. Such philosophical discussions used to be rather interesting a couple millennia or so ago.

  66. 66
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    All scientific hypotheses should have testable entailments, at least in principle.

    And it is very telling that unguided evolution doesn’t have any testable entailments.

    Thanks again, Zachriel.

  67. 67
    skram says:

    Timaeus,

    Please go ahead and run a search on Marks and Ewert. They typically publish their ID stuff with Dembski, but perhaps I missed something.

    The sarcastic reference to Baylor was not about Dembski, but rather about Marks. He happens to work at Baylor and to big a big shot at IEEE. He was one of the organizers of those IEEE symposia. So, again we have ID luminaries publishing in venues they control.

    As to my qualifications, I am reasonably competent in probability theory (I teach graduate-level statistical mechanics). Marks and Dembski do not use very sophisticated tools from information theory in their work on searches. This is a typical situation: when a new field forms, it borrows methods from other fields and initial applications are typically not very sophisticated. The entry barrier to such a field remains low until the field matures and becomes narrowly specialized.

    You will notice that I did not comment on ID papers on other topics such as biology and biochemistry. There are other people at TSZ who are competent in those fields.

    For example, Joe Felsenstein is a professor of genome sciences and of biology and and an adjunct professor of computer science and of statistics at U Wash. Bob O’Hara is a biologist and a statistician at the University of Helsinki. Are these fella qualified enough for you?

  68. 68
    Joe says:

    Once upon a time, people were reassured that the Earth was the physical center of God’s creation

    Once upon a time people were reassured that humans share a common ancestor with fish. And then a thing called evidence got in the way…

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    skram, Joe Felsenstein misrepresents ID and overstates the case for evolutionism. Bob doesn’t seem to have a clue, either. They both may be very knowledgeable in their fields but they have nothing to offer with respect to what is actually being debated.

  70. 70
    Zachriel says:

    skram:
    2010, 3 papers. Axe*; Montañez, Ewert, Dembski*, and Marks*; Gauger*, Ebnet, Fahey, and Seelke*.
    2011, 2 papers: Axe*, Lu, and Flatau; Gauger* and Axe*.
    2012, 2 papers: Castro-Chavez; Ewert, Dembski*, and Marks*.
    2013, 1 paper: Ewert, Dembski*, and Marks*.
    2014, 1 paper: Reeves, Gauger*, and Axe*.

    The journals Crustaceana and Fungal Biology publish about that many research articles every month. There’s apparently more to say about molds and lichens than about Intelligent Design.

  71. 71

    Box @ 66,

    Well, I not only stomached it for several years, I lived on it, but in the end I realized my “heroic” effort was not only needlessly futile and self-annihilating, but was alienating me from others and making my life very difficult. It’s just not a practical worldview unless you’re a sociopath.

    Several years ago I started referring to those people as biological automatons. IMO, many humans act as if they are NPCs, to use gamer words. They operate in service to a narrative they are absolutely certain of – like being programmed or brainwashed, only it’s self-induced. A mental algorithm has taken control of their operation.

    That narrative doesn’t consider anything abstract or philosophical to be anything more than a manipulation of semantics and sophistry designed to make oneself feel good and support the narrative; it just reacts according to subroutines activated by certain code words or sequences of input. This is why they will respond to certain things you say with talking points, diatribe and rhetoric long since refuted or off-point, responding with baffling non-sequiturs. Or, deny the fundamental principles of logic or say absurd things like “what is self-evident for you may not be self-evident for everyone”.

    The algorithm of the narrative is running the show. What I don’t know is if anyone is in there or not, so I have to at least act as if someone real is in there somewhere.

    It is also (IMO) why they often have a really hard time understanding some aspects of debate, such as when one is talking from another point of view. Often, it’s like you’re interacting with an AI program that fails when you expect it to understand a nuanced argument that depends on placing yourself in another’s position.

    Remember keith and his whole “Exploded ID” argument? Revisit and view under the light of seeing Keith S as a programmed biological AI automaton whose only purpose is to serve and protect the anti-ID narrative and feel good about himself. Everything he says and does makes perfect sense down to his ongoing insistence that he had won the debate and had destroyed ID, when nothing could have been further from the truth.

  72. 72

    Timaeus said:

    I’m not sure what your apparently sarcastic reference to Baylor is supposed to mean. Are you not aware that Dembski left Baylor some years ago, and that ID generally has been disfavored at Baylor since Dembski’s days there? I hope you are not implying that Baylor has an institutional pro-ID prejudice. If it did, Dembski would never have left the place, would he?

    BTW, the new Baylor Scott & White/Hillcrest hospital in Waco blocks UD on their internal and guest WiFi. Talk about some serious sour grapes!

  73. 73
    Joe says:

    Aurelio Smith:

    calling these statements “testable entailments” and claims that “Irreducible complexity is an argument for ID for the simple reason that only intelligent agencies can produce it.” That would depend on you being able to define some entity or quality or quantity that you can equate with “irreducible complexity” – something observable. How do you do that?

    Exactly how scientists do it. Behe talked about it at length in “Darwin’s Black Box” and Dembski refined it in “No Free Lunch”.

    Irreducible Complexity (No Free Lunch):

    IC– A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, non-arbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system’s basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system. Page 285 NFL

    Numerous and Diverse Parts If the irreducible core of an IC system consists of one or only a few parts, there may be no insuperable obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism explaining how that system arose in one fell swoop. But as the number of indispensable well-fitted, mutually interacting,, non-arbitrarily individuated parts increases in number & diversity, there is no possibility of the Darwinian mechanism achieving that system in one fell swoop. Page 287

    Minimal Complexity and Function Given an IC system with numerous & diverse parts in its core, the Darwinian mechanism must produce it gradually. But if the system needs to operate at a certain minimal level of function before it can be of any use to the organism & if to achieve that level of function it requires a certain minimal level of complexity already possessed by the irreducible core, the Darwinian mechanism has no functional intermediates to exploit. Page 287

    Dr Behe responds to IC criticisms:

    One last charge must be met: Orr maintains that the theory of intelligent design is not falsifiable. He’s wrong. To falsify design theory a scientist need only experimentally demonstrate that a bacterial flagellum, or any other comparably complex system, could arise by natural selection. If that happened I would conclude that neither flagella nor any system of similar or lesser complexity had to have been designed. In short, biochemical design would be neatly disproved.- Dr Behe in 1997

  74. 74
    Joe says:

    Aurelio Smith:

    A hypothesis must make a prediction that can be confirmed by observation or experiment. Being able to produce a result from an observation or experiment that either agrees with or falsifies the hypothesis is what I mean by “testable”.

    Then it is clear that unguided evolution is not testable.

  75. 75
    Orloog says:

    BTW, the new Baylor Scott & White/Hillcrest hospital in Waco blocks UD on their internal and guest WiFi. Talk about some serious sour grapes!

    Don’t think so: UD’s site has malware embedded (that’s the reason that it isn’t listed by google from time to time). Unfortunately, the management of this site hasn’t done anything about this. But they have really no one but themselves to blame if this site is blocked by some providers!

    Here an excerpt from UD’s source code (lines 192-194):
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    [li id=”menu-item-25350″ class=”menu-item menu-item-type-taxonomy menu-item-object-category menu-item-25350″][a href=”http://www.uncommondescent.com/category/news/”]News Desk[/a][/li]

  76. 76
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: there is no demonstrable argument against materialism per se.

    Depends on what you mean by “demonstrable.” If you mean some objective empirical experiment on which everyone can agree? Then you are right. However, there is no demonstrable argument in that sense that I am conscious and that I am experiencing blue in my consciousness right now.

    Thank God I don’t need a demonstrable argument for that.

    In the end, we all face death individually, and the answers we may seek come to us differently, and science has little to do with it.

    To each his own.

    Time will tell.

  77. 77
    Eric Anderson says:

    The fact is that most scientific work (as well as most of our individual lives and work) continues apace without regard for whether, as a historical matter, living systems were designed or came about through purely natural processes. The result of this fact is that the question of origins, while as interesting as any other topic I could imagine, does not impact most people on a daily basis. The topic remains, therefore, as something of a niche area of interest and research, notwithstanding its important implications.

    As a result, it is unlikely that we will ever see a visible quantity of ID research that matches anything like what we see in many other areas of science. However, this does not mean that research is not being done, or that it is not having an impact, or that “ID is dead,” which is just a silly and naïve assertion.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that in another very real sense design-centric research is much more prolific than evolutionary research (at least in the area of evolution’s origins claims about life arising through purely natural processes). Essentially every effort in the medical and biological community to reverse engineer living systems, to understand how they operate, to understand disease and systems failures, to create diagnoses and cures, proceeds on the basis of design principles, assumes that the system is put together in some rational manner, that it can be reverse-engineered, that the parts are there for a functional reason and so on.

    So although such efforts do not depend strictly on the question of where the “design of life” came from, they certainly depend on the idea that the systems work, function, act, and behave like designed systems. We can go beyond Dawkins’ admission that living systems “appear designed.” The anti-ID evolutionary proponent, Shermer, even argues, in effect: “Of course living systems are designed. That is obvious to anyone who looks at them. But the design came about through an evolutionary process.” Thus, even if there is a dispute about the historical question of design by an intelligent agent, essentially every medical professional, biologist, and scientist studying living systems, approaches such systems in their professional practice as though they were designed.

    Furthermore, design-centric research is obviously the norm outside of biology. As someone who has had some minor exposure to computer systems design, I can tell you that the entire process is one of purposeful design, planning and coordination. Indeed, essentially all work in practical applied science proceeds on the basis of the principles articulated by intelligent design.

    In stark contrast, it is worth noting that almost nothing in the applied sciences happens based on the alleged “design” capabilities of Darwinian or similar mechanisms. The pathetically impotent mechanisms of evolutionary change are absolutely worthless in building anything of function and value. Worse than worthless, in almost all cases they would be a distraction and a waste of resources. Thus, in practical day-to-day applications, it is quite clear that the principles espoused by ID are real, practical, and useful, while the alleged designer-substitute principles of traditional evolutionary theory are largely useless.

    In summary, yes, it is true that the origins debate is something of a niche debate that attracts relatively few on all sides of the aisle. But the practical implementation of science and technology, including both new systems as well as understanding living systems, is decidedly design-centric. In contrast, the evolutionary paradigm brings almost nothing of practical value to the table, other than a comforting creation myth for those who are philosophically committed to the materialistic storyline.

  78. 78

    Orloog,

    Not sure if a “content deemed inappropriate” flag would be referring to a malware problem. Generally, I get a malware/virus flag in the block if I run into that problem on someone else’s wifi.

  79. 79
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM in the OP

    You guys keep saying that ID has no substance, cannot be taken seriously, is dead or moribund, etc. So why are you so obsessed with shooting it down?

    I’ve asked that question several times and the answers have always been informative.

    Yes, exactly. Supposedly ID has no value, nobody in science takes it seriously, the public is not interested, this blog is dead, ID is a joke with zero to offer and the scientific arguments against it have been totally victorious.

    Therefore, “I am going to spend hours on an ID blog, posting with hostility and other intense emotions, in order to defeat ID and prove that I win.” Why? “Because ID is obviously a threat to humanity and to science itself.”

    Of course, the threat to science comes from biology teachers who want to corrupt students with ID thinking and ruin the scientific community. And no, biology teachers are not a part of the scientific community – only scientists who reject ID belong to that group.

    So, all true scientists will fight against ID-indoctrinated biology teachers to prevent the destruction of humanity.

    And the good news is, nobody takes ID seriously anyway so I will continue to spend hours here arguing against ID and trying to prove that I’m right.

    wd400

    As long as evolution is entangled in the US culture war there will be interest in ID, but as a scientific endeavor it seems pretty much dead.

    I guess people who fight in the US culture war know nothing about science. The true scientists already killed ID years ago at Dover, so true scientists don’t get involved in the culture war? Or the scientific majority is actually a persecuted minority? Why don’t the true scientists just win the culture war for themselves, since they’re right about everything?

  80. 80
    Eric Anderson says:

    Aurelio @86:

    Please read with a critical eye Matzke’s alleged “plausible” pathway for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. It is a joke; smoke and mirrors all the way. This kind of stuff is rampant in the evolutionary literature. All along the lines of: “Imagine x . . . and then imagine y . . . and then assume z . . .” It’s not just that the “explanation” is less than certain. It doesn’t even contain enough substance to constitute an explanation. In most cases such “explanations” amount to nothing more than a restatement of the theory or a statement of blind faith in the alleged power of Darwinian mechanisms.

  81. 81
    Joe says:

    Aurelio Smith:

    I seem to recall something about a plausible pathway for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. Here.

    In what way is that a plausible explanation for unguided evolution producing a bacterial flagellum?

    Before we start disproving ID hypotheses, we need to know what they involve, what they entail, what they predict.

    I posted that already.

  82. 82
    Orloog says:

    William J Murray,

    I’m not surprised that the Baylor Scott & White/Hillcrest hospital in Waco would find advertisements for shady online suppliers of drugs “inappropriate content” – I suppose that they are especially sensitive in this regard!

  83. 83

    Zachriel said:

    there is no demonstrable argument against materialism per se.

    Besides the pesky science that matter, per se, is an experiential illusion generated by the intersection of fields of quantum potential and the sensory interpretations in the minds of macro-observers.

    You mean, besides that.

    Box said:

    See for instance Zachriel’s post #54, he quotes me but there is no signal whatsoever that he registers what he is quoting.

    Note that he responds from a perspective of certainty that materialism is valid, extrapolating that people will adapt to this fact as they must adapt to all facts of their existence, as if that non-sequitur is a response to your meaning. Zachriel is responding as an algorithm designed to protect the narrative would.

    His statements employ assertions of the narrative as if they were reasoned conclusions of an argument. He doesn’t care what the logic means, even if it means he cannot be right; he is certain he is right (materialism is true), and so what the logic implies is irrelevant to that fact.

  84. 84
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Box @ 42

    My inability to understand atheists bothers me to no end. How anyone can accept – or even want – such meaninglessness is beyond my comprehension. How can anyone accept that his ratio, his consciousness, his feelings and so forth, are nothing but lawful interactions of chemicals is utterly mysterious to me. Perhaps the core of my misunderstanding is the mystery of the atheist’s ability to reconcile himself with his concept of death.

    Interesting, I was thinking about this just this morning.

    If I were an atheist I would go out of my way in trying to find a way out. I would be open to every faint hint that suggests that there is something more to reality than my lamentable version of it.

    I have to agree that I find nothing positive about it. Many of the atheists themselves seem like nice and interesting people. I usually have very little problem with any of them on a personal level. Some are quite thoughtful — but there’s a limit.

    The atheism itself, is the belief in nothing. As you point out, how could that be interesting at all?

    I try to engage atheists on the most important mysteries of life and there’s an absolute wall – barrier that cannot be crossed. It’s a dead-zone where none of the mystery, wonder and excitement of life and nature can penetrate. It’s just the boredom of death.

    Nothing matters. There’s no reason to care about anything. There’s no real purpose. Blind, unintelligent, mindless, dull, chance. Rocks, dirt molecules … nothing.

    I don’t know how much more boring it can get. It’s all based on isolation — total solitude of the individual. It kills any reason even to communicate or try to understand.

    I’d much rather talk with someone who believed in wizards and woodland nymphs. At least there’s something going on in that world.

    I give a lot of credit to atheists who try to break out and discover a different kind of reality. I’ve been very glad to know people who left atheism also.

  85. 85

    Orloog,

    That simply makes no sense wrt what sites I am able to access via the same wifi.

  86. 86
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: matter, per se, is an experiential illusion

    Matter is a phenomenon. In any case, materialism is normally construed to include energy, fields, space, time, etc.

  87. 87
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EA 90

    Please read with a critical eye Matzke’s alleged “plausible” pathway for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. It is a joke; smoke and mirrors all the way. This kind of stuff is rampant in the evolutionary literature. All along the lines of: “Imagine x . . . and then imagine y . . . and then assume z . . .” It’s not just that the “explanation” is less than certain. It doesn’t even contain enough substance to constitute an explanation. In most cases such “explanations” amount to nothing more than a restatement of the theory or a statement of blind faith in the alleged power of Darwinian mechanisms.

    I read that some years ago and I still find it, today, to be one of the most amazing examples of evolutionary fiction available. As you said, it’s purely imaginative. As long as something ‘could have’ then it’s considered part of the explanation.

  88. 88
    wd400 says:

    I guess people who fight in the US culture war know nothing about science. The true scientists already killed ID years ago at Dover, so true scientists don’t get involved in the culture war? Or the scientific majority is actually a persecuted minority? Why don’t the true scientists just win the culture war for themselves, since they’re right about everything

    Most people know very little about science, and that includes most people on both sides of the US’s culture war and most people that argue about evolution (for or against).

    It is a remarkable fact, isn’t it, that the US is the only western country (except perhaps Turkey) where support for evolution is a cultural sticking point and a minority position?

  89. 89
    Orloog says:

    William J Murray

    That simply makes no sense wrt what sites I am able to access via the same wifi.

    Do those other sites also embed invisible links to

    *http://brocprozac.com/
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    *http://lexaproanswers.com/
    *http://buyinglasixonline.com/
    *http://mycitalopramis.com/

    This is a real problem for UD – and I don’t know why it is still being ignored!

  90. 90
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    Most people know very little about science, and that includes most people on both sides of the US’s culture war and most people that argue about evolution (for or against)

    In the US, science education is a requirement in schools. But in spite of that, most people know very little and what they were taught was not sufficient enough to convince them that evolutionary theory is correct?

    It doesn’t follow, as I see it.

  91. 91
    Joe says:

    Aurelio- declaring “homologs” does nothing. You need the right number of subunits AND the proper configuration. After all of that it still needs to be controlled.

    Matzke has not addressed anything beyond possible homologs.

  92. 92

    It’s a much more fulfilling conversation/debate when you think of some anti-ID advocates as being narrative algorithms. The fun lies in leading the algorithm to a self-conficting or self-annihilating conclusion.

    Such as the morality argument, when the atheists/materialists had to admit that under moral subjectivism, their worldview necessarily meant forcing what are held as nothing more than personal views and subjective preferences on others because they feel like doing so, and calling such acts “moral”.

    I mean, no sentient, sane being would agree to such a thing and dare to call it “morality”. However, after trying every diversion in the book, the algorithm had no choice but wind up at that point.

    It is right there, at that point where, if there is a ghost at all in the machine, one has the option of saying “hey, wait, what the …? That can’t be right!” … and revoking the control of the algorithm to figure out where they went wrong.

    It’s just easier to submit to the algorithm of the narrative and not look too closely at the nonsense it spouts.

  93. 93
    wd400 says:

    In the US, science education is a requirement in schools. But in spite of that, most people know very little and what they were taught was not sufficient enough to convince them that evolutionary theory is correct?

    It doesn’t follow, as I see it.

    I’m saying as long as some scientific subjects are entangled in cultural disputes (climate science in most places, evolution in the US), how much science someone knows or was taught will have little impact on what they think about that subject.

    The evidence for this position is pretty clear cut.

  94. 94
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    I’m saying as long as some scientific subjects are entangled in cultural disputes (climate science in most places, evolution in the US), how much science someone knows or was taught will have little impact on what they think about that subject.

    The evidence for this position is pretty clear cut.

    This suggests that culture is more important than science. If so, I think it would be fair to conclude that cultural concerns bias what we hear from the scientific community.

  95. 95
    Box says:

    William J Murray #80,

    WJM: The algorithm of the narrative is running the show. What I don’t know is if anyone is in there or not, (…).

    The dominance of the narrative over the person is a very interesting idea. I’ve never thought about it that way, although it is in full accord with my own impressions. Indeed I cannot recall to ever get past the narrative, during my discussions with atheists – impenetrable.

    WJM: Often, it’s like you’re interacting with an AI program that fails when you expect it to understand a nuanced argument that depends on placing yourself in another’s position. (…) it just reacts according to subroutines activated by certain code words or sequences of input. This is why they will respond to certain things you say with talking points, diatribe and rhetoric long since refuted or off-point, responding with baffling non-sequiturs.

    Zachriel at #72 is a clear example. I stated that I find it utterly mysterious that there are people who can accept the idea that their consciousness, reason and so forth are nothing but particles in motion. As a true NPC he goes after the code word “mysterious”:
    “You asked how anyone could accept an explanation for the mysterious …”
    and goes on about ‘scientific explanations’ and other unrelated stuff.

    This is frightening!

  96. 96
    wd400 says:

    This suggests that culture is more important than science. If so, I think it would be fair to conclude that cultural concerns bias what we hear from the scientific community.

    Maybe. Ideally, we’d all be aware of our biases and work to confront them.In the end facts are facts. It’s just true that evolutionary biology is a very profitable scientific paradigm, the same can’t be said for ID.

  97. 97
    Zachriel says:

    Box: I stated that I find it utterly mysterious that there are people who can accept the idea that their consciousness, reason and so forth are nothing but particles in motion.

    Some people believe there is enough scientific evidence that consciousness and reason are the result of physical processes in the brain. That’s certainly the ruling paradigm in neuroscience. That you find it utterly mysterious seems to just be a personal reaction.

    Box: … and goes on about ‘scientific explanations’ and other unrelated stuff.

    As the basis for the belief that consciousness and reason are the result of physical processes in the brain is scientific, then scientific explanations are relevant.

    Box: This is frightening!

    http://gallery.mailchimp.com/e.....er_boo.png

  98. 98
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    It’s just true that evolutionary biology is a very profitable scientific paradigm, the same can’t be said for ID.

    As I see it, evolutionary biology (as a story of origins) has very little scientific (or any) value.

  99. 99
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Box @ 106

    This is frightening!

    It is frightening. It’s also important to remember that we’re trying to understand that point of view. As mentioned, materialistic reductionism does what it claims – it reduces. All of the wonder of human life is eliminated. When there is no meaning, there is no rationality. There’s no science.
    It’s pretty clear that when we try to point this out, the discussion ends. Atheism just kills intelligence in that way – it cannot defend or explain itself without appealing to purpose and rationality.

    So, it’s anti-human. It’s an expression of nothingness or lifelessness.

    We try to understand – it takes quite a lot of effort, and it takes facing ridicule and arrogance, etc.

    I just try to imagine how anyone else would ever understand that mindset? People aren’t like that. They love their families, they mourn at tragedies, they don’t ridicule people who pray for each other, they see something more to life, they have desires that go beyond the grave, they have a basic spiritual sense.

    So who is going to listen to that dull sound of atheism?

  100. 100
    Starbuck says:

    Hard to believe that some IDists still have the gall to deny that ID is creationism. It’s just blatant dishonesty at this point.

  101. 101
    Mapou says:

    Starbuck:

    Hard to believe that some IDists still have the gall to deny that ID is creationism. It’s just blatant dishonesty at this point.

    It depends on what you mean by creationism. It’s such a loaded word. If by creationism, you mean the belief that life on earth was designed and engineered by one or more advanced entities, then certainly, ID implies creationism. But nobody needs to be a young earth creationist or even Christian to believe in ID.

  102. 102
    Silver Asiatic says:

    creationism: Belief in the supernatural origin of the universe or of humans and other living things, especially as based on the literal interpretation of the account of the creation related in the Bible.

    … and following Mapou above … what difference does it make what you call ID? People think that if they call ID ‘creationism’ that they’ve made an argument against it.

  103. 103
    wd400 says:

    As I see it, evolutionary biology (as a story of origins) has very little scientific (or any) value.

    Then you should read (as a start) some genomics papers.

  104. 104
    Mapou says:

    William J Murray:

    Having been an atheist just like many that post here and at TSZ and haunt other venues on the internet, I can tell you exactly what the allure is: primarily, a personal sense of heroism and superiority, that you have the courage to face “reality” without myth or superstition; you have the will to not succumb to threats of hell or exclusion even by some terrible omnipotent overlord; the sense of superiority as you see “the masses” as foolish, ignorant folk incapable of seeing the absurdities of what they believe in (queue up some bible excerpt having to do with dashing children against rocks or giving a stamp of approval for slavery).

    In other words, the atheist’s position has nothing to do with science. It’s just a rebellion against religions and ideologies other than his/her own. It’s weak.

  105. 105
    Orloog says:

    When Google delists Uncommon Descent from it searches the next time, you cannot say that you weren’t warned:

    Hiding text or links in your content to manipulate Google’s search rankings can be seen as deceptive and is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

  106. 106
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    DNA analysis can proceed just as well under the idea of common design as it does with common descent.

  107. 107
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: As the basis for the belief that consciousness and reason are the result of physical processes in the brain is scientific, then scientific explanations are relevant.

    Not only is there no scientific evidence that explains how the brain alledgely produces consciousness, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that any particular person is conscious.

    What assumptions are you making?

  108. 108
    Joe says:

    Evolutionary biology can’t even tell us what makes an organism what it is. Evolutionary biology doesn’t have a mechanism for getting beyond the given starting populations of prokaryotes.

  109. 109
    wd400 says:

    DNA analysis can proceed just as well under the idea of common design as it does with common descent.

    It really can’t. You should read some genomics papers.

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    Skram: IEEE is one of the largest professional bodies in the world, and your remarks above are frankly quite irresponsible. If Marks is a big shot in IEEE, he earned it the old fashioned way by showing serious technical achievement. And the notion that any one individual or small group would control the IEEE or any significant division is ludicrous on the face. The big difference is, electrical, electronics and computer engineering and related fields are not under the same a priori evolutionary materialist ideological control that so patently dominates in too much of academic science these days. Which you and a lot of others need to face seriously before the credibility of science blows up. KF

  111. 111
    Joe says:

    wd400- Please explain why DNA analysis could not proceed just as well under a common design framework. Unguided evolution isn’t of any help when it comes to DNA analysis.

  112. 112

    Mapau said:

    In other words, the atheist’s position has nothing to do with science. It’s just a rebellion against religions and ideologies other than his/her own. It’s weak.

    Some atheists were raised as atheists. Depending on the nature of that upbringing, they can be quite ambivalent about religion and spirituality. However, that’s not the kind of atheist that runs around insulting theists for the sport of it.

    I don’t see how atheism could possibly be related in any rational way to science – science is just used (and used badly) in a rather hamfisted way to support the narrative. The term “science” and “scientific” are just thrown into the mix to lend the narrative the imprimatur of some kind of objectivity and fact-based evidence.

    These atheistic materialists are generally blind to the fact that modern science, and the scientific method, and the principles of scientific inquiry are all the consequence of theistic thought, the rigor of religion, and the infrastructure supplied by the church. It involves a philosophical conceptualization of the world and our place in it unavailable from atheism/materialism.

    Science, for them, is just a repository of words and phrases to use to manipulate their feelings and the feelings of others into compliance with their narrative.

  113. 113
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    … and following Mapou above … what difference does it make what you call ID? People think that if they call ID ‘creationism’ that they’ve made an argument against it.

    Legal reasons, creationism cannot be taught in science class

  114. 114
    Joe says:

    Legal reasons, creationism cannot be taught in science class

    LoL! 1- Science cannot be adjudicated and 2- Only in the USA would we have such a perverse law that allows for the indoctrination of the non-science unguided evolution and disallow the claims that can actually be tested.

  115. 115
    mike1962 says:

    velikovskys: Legal reasons, creationism cannot be taught in science class

    ID does not entail creationism. That is, it does not entail supernatural God or gods nor any particular religious beliefs or sources. Nor does ID seek to identify the designer(s).

    The designer(s) could be aliens.

    Therefore ID is not unconstitutional.

  116. 116
    Joe says:

    mike1962- The reason our opponents call it “Intelligent Design Creationism” is so they can get it classified as religious.

  117. 117
    Timaeus says:

    skram:

    I have no problem with your offering criticism of work by ID proponents that involves mathematics you are familiar with. I have no problem with the biologists you mention criticizing work by ID proponents that involves aspects of biology that they are familiar with. I was merely noting a certain habit of the internet anti-ID crowd: many anti-ID folks seem to think that, because they have a science Ph.D., they can comment authoritatively on anything any ID proponent writes about any branch of science. (And for that matter, think they can comment authoritatively even on matters of science not connected with ID; e.g., I’ve seen scores of internet scientists — or people feigning to be scientists — who pronounce authoritatively on AGW, even though their scientific field is nowhere near climatology.) I’m glad you are not one of those people who thinks that a Ph.D. in a particular science automatically makes you the grand vizier and guardian of good science in general, with veto power over all conclusions and even investigations that you dislike or don’t agree with.

    Regarding ID publications, I can provide the link to the latest compilation of the Discovery Institute:

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....8;id=10141

    Bear in mind that the list is nearly a year old, and there are probably many publications out, or pending, since then. Bear in mind also that because of job-related fears, many young scientists without tenure do not want attention drawn to aspects of their work that could be taken as sympathetic to ID, and don’t want their articles listed in such compilations until after they get tenure, so Discovery has probably suppressed mention of some articles to protect those authors. (It shouldn’t have to be that way in science, but unfortunately it is.)

    Finally, bear in mind the main point that I was trying to make, i.e., that 10 years ago, at the time of the Dover Trial, ID proponents had almost no research publications, and now they have many.

    I warn you that I have no intention of going over the list with you, blow by blow, and hearing you say: “That doesn’t count, it’s just a conference paper; that doesn’t count, the venue is pro-ID; that doesn’t count, it’s as much philosophy of biology as biology; that doesn’t count, it’s an overview paper rather than an original research paper; that doesn’t count, that journal has a low impact factor; that paper has been refuted already; that paper contains a biochemical error on page 52 so this man is not competent; etc.” If you have the urge to publish such an elimination process, I would ask not to do it here, under my column. My point here has not been to prove that ID papers are all good, or all without flaw, or all in line with some narrow conception of “scientific research” that ID’s foes demand; my point has been to insist that ID folks have been busy *trying to do things* — from original lab work on the generation of new proteins and original computer science work showing the smuggling of information into simulations of Darwinian “random” searches, to big-picture thinking about structuralism vs. functionalism in evolutionary theory, to discussions of the broader implications of cosmic fine-tuning, etc. And my point in all of this was merely to refute *one remark* by Alan Fox — that ID proponents were making “no genuine effort” produce any scientific validation of the ID concept.

    If you want to argue about the quality or validity or categorization of individual ID publications, *this* particular page is not the place to do it. There are many other columns on UD where direct criticism of particular books and articles by ID proponents would be relevant to the subject raised by the columnist; this isn’t one of them. My goal in this column was to discuss aspects of the culture-war relationship between ID and TSZ. That’s all I want to talk about *here*. So I’m counting on you to drop this particular part of the discussion, though of course you are welcome to say anything relevant to all the other remarks I’ve made in my column, or to Alan Fox’s original article.

  118. 118
    Silver Asiatic says:

    V

    Legal reasons, creationism cannot be taught in science class

    Which brings us back to how one defines creationism.

  119. 119
    Graham2 says:

    Timeaus, *trying to do things*. But not getting very far. Oh, but its because ID is suppressed. The great Jewish conspiracy. Jeeez.

  120. 120

    I have a few questions for the Theory of Evolution (TOE) advocates.

    For the sake of discussion we can even accept temporary that the living organisms are the results of evolution.

    Q1: Is a living organism resulted from evolutionary process designed?

    Q2: Does a living organism resulted from evolutionary process exhibit appearance of design?

    Q3. Is the capability of living organisms to reproduce or self-replicate an unmistakable manifestation of design?

    Q4. Do you understand the unimaginable complexity involved in the self-replication of the simplest cell?

    Q5. Do you understand the immense complexity and intricacy involved in sexual reproduction?

    Q6. Are you aware that the technical, objective complexity required for successful self-replication of the simplest cell is much beyond the most advanced humankind engineering and technological abilities?

    Q7. Are you aware that the most advanced research labs in the world would be absolutely incapable to design and build the simplest material artifact that is capable to self replicate – using just raw materials available in the artifact environment?

    Q8. Do you realize that any claim that living organisms are not exhibiting overwhelming, unmistakable signs of being designed is absurd, ridiculous and anti-scientific? When it is very well known and understood by anyone (no scientific background is required, just a healthy mind) that any mammal has abilities to develop a dynamic representation of its environment in terms of visuals, sounds, smells, tastes and touching, abilities that are the basis for its successful feeding, defending, offensive and reproduction behaviors, is not absurd to claim that there is NO SIGN OF DESIGN? Is any human artifact (robot or anything else) even by far coming close in exhibiting such complex, coordinated and successful behaviors and autonomous functionality?

    Q9. Is the scientific research based on an assumption that living organisms of a certain species manifest uniform internal structures, manifest uniform repeatable internal workings, manifest at any scale (molecular, biochemical, cell, tissue, organ) interactions and coordinations that are expected to be logical, rational and conducive to success of local and integrated functions? In other words isn’t all scientific research based on a strong assumption that the organism being investigated is designed?

    Q10. Will any scientific research that will operate on a contrary assumption characterized by: there is no organization, no sense, no discernible functional patterns, no repeatable, invariant processing patterns, will any such scientific endeavor be non-sense, absurd and ridiculous?

    Q11. Aren’t all real scientific discoveries, isn’t any scientific progress in understanding the inner workings of the living organisms an advancement of knowledge in the realm of Intelligent Design? Isn’t thus any productive, successful scientific research a new affirmation of richness and omnipresence and universal manifestation of the intelligent design ?

    Q12. Isn’t and wasn’t the Intelligent Design the de facto default and legitimate interpretation of the natural world around us for centuries and millennia?

    Q13. Isn’t the aberration of darwinian evolution just an invention of the last one hundred and fifty years an invention of crooked minds of unchecked thinking? Isn’t the failure of the Theory of Evolution (TOE) to find any empirical and scientific supporting evidence a strong signal for its supporters and advocates that it is time to abandon it in the trash bin of the dubious scientific chronicles? Isn’t the time to let the clear, overwhelming, omnipresent evidence of design of excellent, exquisite design bury for ever the strange myths and superstitions of the Darwin religion?

  121. 121
    Silver Asiatic says:

    An ID conference coming up in March …

    http://www.wts.edu/stayinforme.....faith.html

  122. 122
    mike1962 says:

    Graham2,

    You don’t think there is an entrenched anti-ID position in academia? You sound like some Jesuit in the middle ages retorting that the Church is not suppressing anyone’s ideas. Yeah right. Just follow the money.

  123. 123
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400 @62:

    I guess ID gets a few points for trying. But recall how many times the disco ‘tute or Dembski or others claimed the fall of modern evolutionary biology and the establishment of ID as a real science was near.

    Let’s address the part that is a bit off first:

    I don’t think anyone has claimed that ID would cause the fall of all modern evolutionary biology. A fall of the purely materialistic philosophy that is masquerading as science, yes.

    —–

    You are right, though, that the hopeful expectations of ID leaders like Johnson and Dembski (among others) have been a bit slow in arriving. This is partly due to their mistaken view of what was driving the materialistic storyline. I think at first they felt that once the evidence for design were presented and the paucity of the materialistic evidence highlighted that scientists would quickly come on board. Some have; even many in some circles; but the traditional materialistic storyline remains firmly entrenched for the most part (though perhaps with some growing cracks in the foundation).

    In fairness to Johnson and Dembski, they were no doubt led astray partly due to the claim by evolutionary biologists that they were objective seekers of truth, that they were interested in evidence, that they were not philosophically motivated. That has turned out to be an utter falsehood in so many cases. Indeed, it turns out that so many evolutionists seem to care very little about the actual evidence and have no interest in following it where it leads. Instead, they are driven by a nearly-religious fanaticism to push the materialistic (and in many cases an ardent atheistic) creation story. Add to this the general inertia of a comfortable career built on a particular viewpoint, and change will be slow indeed.

    So, unfortunately, the expectations of Johnson and Dembski that scientists would engage objectively with ID and take a fair look at the evidence have not been realized as broadly as they would have liked.

    But this state of affairs says much more about the evolutionary community as a whole than it does about ID proponents.

  124. 124
    Eric Anderson says:

    It really can’t. You should read some genomics papers.

    Nonsense.

    What you might mean to say is that “DNA analysis that attempts to put together a historical storyline of how organism A came from (or is related to by evolutionary processes) organism B, can’t proceed without the evolutionary storyline.” Fair enough. But that is entirely unhelpful and uninteresting, because it is circular.

    Analysis of what DNA does, how it functions, how it can be modified, which organisms share related features, and on and on, depends not a whit on some hypothetical story about how life arose through natural processes and proceeded to its current state of diversity and complexity through things like natural selection. The historical origins question is foundationally different from the current functional questions.

    Furthermore, ID does not dispute much of what you are interested in, such as population genetics, which, though perhaps not perfect, is a largely solid area of science that can be examined and verified. The origins story is nothing like that.

    Of course those who are stuck in a mindset that paints everything they see as a part of the grand process of evolution seem to be unable to draw the distinction. But once a person escapes from that mental trap, it becomes quite clear that we are dealing with two different things.

  125. 125
    mike1962 says:

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” “Science progresses one funeral at a time.” — Max Planck

  126. 126
    Piotr says:

    I work in the humanites (linguistics). For rather obvious reasons we publish fewer articles in JCR/Web of Science journals (the list has traditionally been dominated by the sciences). Only last year (2014) people from our Faculty have produced 156 publications, including 19 articles in JCR journals with an IF, and 20 articles in journals listed in the European Reference Index for the Humanities (they are generally good quality, though not ranked by the JCR). That’s certainly less than our colleagues from, say, the Faculty of Biology can boast of, but still far better than the total output claimed by the ID movement in the last decade. And — mind you — we are only one medium-size faculty at one university in one Central European country. So much for proportions.

  127. 127
    Mapou says:

    Graham2:

    Timeaus, *trying to do things*. But not getting very far. Oh, but its because ID is suppressed. The great Jewish conspiracy. Jeeez.

    The great Jewish conspiracy? Wow. Where did that come from? Many of my Jewish friends are creationists.

    Of course, ID is being suppressed in academia. So is any talk about consciousness requiring more than just matter interacting with matter. Now, thanks to materialist and atheist propaganda, we now hear people complaining about a robot dog being kicked, as if the robot was a conscious being that felt pain. It’s ridiculous and depressing.

  128. 128
    Joe says:

    Piotr, Your equivocation is duly noted.

  129. 129
    Mapou says:

    Piotr:

    That’s certainly less than our colleagues from, say, the Faculty of Biology can boast of, but still far better than the total output claimed by the ID movement in the last decade. And — mind you — we are only one medium-size faculty at one university in one Central European country. So much for proportions.

    I suspect that there are many closet IDists who publish their work in mainstream biology journals but are afraid to come out of the closet for fear of being ostracized by the usual “free speech” advocates in academia. I guess everybody has to make a living. So, they make sure that their submissions contain the requisite Darwin butt kissing.

  130. 130
    Piotr says:

    I’ll be obliged if you explain where I equivocate, Joe.

  131. 131
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Not only is there no scientific evidence that explains how the brain alledgely produces consciousness, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that any particular person is conscious.

    Depends on your definition of consciousness. Can you provide a usable scientific definition?

    It used to be that solving problems was considered unique to organic brains, especially human brains, but now machine intelligence can solve complex problems. Consider that chess programs can now defeat even the best human players, even though chess was once considered the ultimate test of human foresight and intelligence (problem-solving ability).

    We know that consciousness depends on the state of the brain, that interference with the brain can change intelligence, that psychoactive drugs change the reporting of conscious experience, that organisms with larger brains are generally more intelligent, that there is an evolution of intelligence over evolutionary history. You may not consider this conclusive, but it is certainly indicative.

  132. 132
    Piotr says:

    #140

    What, Mapou? Are you suggesting that ID proponents are a bunch of simpering cowards (to borrow a term from our good host Barry)? I thought they were going to take over the world, weren’t they?

  133. 133
    Mapou says:

    Piotr:

    What, Mapou? Are you suggesting that ID proponents are a bunch of simpering cowards (to borrow a term from our good host Barry)? I thought they were going to take over the world, weren’t they?

    No. They just got mouths to feed. If you’re living under ISIS, you don’t carry a sign around your neck saying you’re a Yazidi or a Copt. No, you grow a beard and you pray five times a day just like everybody else.

  134. 134
    Timaeus says:

    Joe @ 127:

    Yes, I’m sure that you have correctly identified one of the reasons. All the courts agree that creationism is religious and cannot be taught in science class, so if ID can be classified as “creationism” then it would be banned from science class, too.

    Also, I think there is the reason I have already pointed out, i.e., using mockery to create prejudice. “Creationism” suggests gap-toothed hillbillies, or angry mobs of Bible thumpers ready to string up any teacher of evolution. “Creationist,” in the mainstream media, is an indirect way of saying “scientifically ignorant” “lacking in education,” “anti-science,” “anti-education,” “anti-progress,” etc. So if you are a typical, non-fundamentalist American, starting out with no fixed opinion regarding ID, but are then told that Behe and Denton are “creationists,” you open their books with the thought: “What sort of religious B.S. is this scientifically uneducated fool going to try to put over on me? I must resolve to doubt and cavil over and sneer at everything he writes, showing no mercy for his conclusions, making no concession at all of the reasonableness of any of his criticism of the current consensus, and showing no intellectual sympathy for any of his questions.” It’s called “poisoning the well,” and the NCSE is a master of that.

    Of course, underlying all of this is the “big lie” that ID proponents want to see ID made a compulsory part of high school biology programs. In fact, Discovery has been saying for more than 10 years that it *doesn’t* want ID mandated in the schools, but instead wants Darwinian theory taught more thoroughly and better, with the inclusion of criticism of neo-Darwinism based on the criticism found in secular, peer-reviewed literature. Discovery in fact tried to talk the Dover Board out of its ill-advised ID policy.

    I certainly would not want to see ID imposed on the curriculum of any state or school board. But the view championed at Dover, i.e., that for a teacher even to mention the existence of ID theorists or to briefly summarize their critique of neo-Darwinism would constitute “religion in the schools” and would therefore be unconstitutional, is not only just plain wrong regarding the contents of ID, but dangerous from a civil rights point of view, from an intellectual freedom point of view, etc. It sends the message that dissenting scientific views should be squelched by court order rather than by rational argument – which is the *last* thing we should wish to teach ninth-grade biology students, or any science students at all.

  135. 135
    Joe says:

    Evolution is NOT being debated, Piotr. ID is OK with evolution. So is YEC’s baraminology. Biology isn’t being debated either. That means that papers on biology and evolution do not necessarily support unguided evolution and it is only equivocation that says they do.

  136. 136
    Piotr says:

    So there’s no hope for ID. With such spirits and such dedication they have as much chance of taking over the world as Pinky and the Brain.

  137. 137
    Joe says:

    Timaeus- In the words of Jack Nicholson “They can’t handle the truth!”

    Teach ID? No, just present the evidence and all plausible explanations for it.

  138. 138
    Joe says:

    Piotr, Unlike your position at least ID is testable and has a methodology.

  139. 139
    Joe says:

    Zachriel, clueless until the end:

    It used to be that solving problems was considered unique to organic brains, especially human brains, but now machine intelligence can solve complex problems.

    Umm machine “intelligence” traces back to the human intelligence that designed it.

  140. 140
    Piotr says:

    Joe: That means that papers on biology and evolution do not necessarily support unguided evolution…

    I didn’t say they did. I referred to lists of ID achievements compiled by eminent ID proponents. They had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to make their lists appear less pathetic than they are. Where’s all that ID research? Joe, the situation is serious. If your friends don’t work harder, the movement is doomed (OK, just kidding — it’s doomed anyway).

  141. 141
    Mapou says:

    Piotr @147,

    Both ISIS and the Darwinist/atheist charlatans who control academia and education will get their comeuppance when the time comes. Wait for it. It won’t be too long now and it won’t be pretty either. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ll be watching the whole thing unfold with a beer in one hand, a bag of cheetos in the other and a smirk on my face.

    ahahaha…AHAHAHA…ahahaha…

  142. 142
    wd400 says:

    You should read some genomics papers too. Selection and conserved (ie shared by descent) sequences are central to how we understand how genomes work. Check out how many articles use dN/dS ratios, conservation measures, Fu and Li’s D statistic, allele spectrum data… All those methods stem from evolutionary biology and require a shared ancestral sequence from which modern sequences evolved.

    You can pick and choose which bits of evolutionary biology you do and don’t believe, but it’s just true that evolutionary biology, with the assumption of common descent, is central to understanding genomes.

  143. 143
    Joe says:

    Piotr- There isn’t any unguided evolutionary research.

  144. 144
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    Selection and conserved (ie shared by descent) sequences are central to how we understand how genomes work.

    Your opinion and an only an opinion.

    All those methods stem from evolutionary biology and require a shared ancestral sequence from which modern sequences evolved.

    Common design is the same- you have one design that all the rest are derived from.

    You can pick and choose which bits of evolutionary biology you do and don’t believe, but it’s just true that evolutionary biology, with the assumption of common descent, is central to understanding genomes.

    Nonsense. We don’t even know what makes an organism what it is. And we have no idea what genetic changes have to be made in order to get new body plans requiring novel body parts.

  145. 145
    AnimatedDust says:

    Z,

    Simple request: please describe in detail how unguided natural processes make a tube. (As in vein)

  146. 146
    Box says:

    Silver #110,
    I could not agree more.

  147. 147
    Timaeus says:

    Graham2:

    Your remark about the “great Jewish conspiracy” was tasteless and uncalled for. Given that you uttered it in the context of a sarcastic summary of my argument, it could easily be taken that you were imputing “Jewish conspiracy” theories to me. I would find that highly offensive. I demand an explanation of your use of the phrase. You can say anything you like here against my ideas, arguments, and conclusions, but you can’t say anything you like about my motivations or personal attitudes. If I don’t get a satisfactory answer within 24 hours, you may well find your post deleted.

  148. 148
    velikovskys says:

    Mike:
    ID does not entail creationism. That is, it does not entail supernatural God or gods nor any particular religious beliefs or sources. Nor does ID seek to identify the designer(s).

    It avoids it, curious because almost all design inference seeks to discover the how ,who and when of the design

    The designer(s) could be aliens.

    Considering how much of the discussion concerns the evil of materialism, those aliens better be immaterial beings

    Therefore ID is not unconstitutional.

    In at least one case it was found to be in violation of the Establishment Clause

    Joe:LoL! 1- Science cannot be adjudicated and

    But it seems ID can

    2- Only in the USA would we have such a perverse law

    Perhaps you should move to Syria ,Joe, I believe they don’t have any perverse law forbidding state sanctioned religion, and they are not fond of evolution either

    Sa, creationism: Belief in the supernatural origin of the universe or of humans and other living things, especially as based on the literal interpretation of the account of the creation related in the Bible. That seems like a pretty good definition to begin with

  149. 149
    mike1962 says:

    velikovskys: It avoids it

    Correct. As well it should.

    … curious because almost all design inference seeks to discover the how ,who and when of the design

    It may not be possible in this case. We do what we can.

    Considering how much of the discussion concerns the evil of materialism, those aliens better be immaterial beings

    I’ve never seen anyone claim that material itself is evil. (Gnostics may claim this, but I’ve never encountered a Gnostic.) Only materialism. Big difference.

    In at least one case it was found to be in violation of the Establishment Clause

    Lots of courts make lots of bogus rulings. It happens all the time. And in this case to which I believe you refer, the ruling has very limited jurisdiction.

  150. 150
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: Not only is there no scientific evidence that explains how the brain alledgely produces consciousness, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that any particular person is conscious.

    Zachriel: Depends on your definition of consciousness. Can you provide a usable scientific definition?

    No, and neither can you. Which supports my point.

    We know that consciousness depends on the state of the brain

    Since you cannot define consciousness in an objective way, your statement is scientifically vacuous.

    As for your personal, intuitive notions of consciousness, assuming you have them, you don’t even know if any other brain besides your own is associated with that sort of consciousness. Therefore scientifically you cannot know to what degree consciousness depends on the state of the brain.

    The best you’ve got is what you suspect are the effects of consciousness based on your own personal intuitive notions of your own consciousness (assuming you have those.) You have absolutely no objective empirical evidence that there is anything more “behind” those effects.

    My original statement stands.

  151. 151
    Zachriel says:

    AnimatedDust: please describe in detail how unguided natural processes make a tube. (As in vein)

    Primitive circulation was through a network of cavities formed by adjacent layers of epithelia, which allowed the sharing of of nutrients. These were then lined with mesodermal cells forming a more efficient structure.

  152. 152
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: No, and neither can you.

    We provided a simple definition suitable for scientific investigation, foresight and intelligence.

    mike1962: Therefore scientifically you cannot know to what degree consciousness depends on the state of the brain.

    We have evidence, such as self-reporting of how people experience consciousness, and how this is affected by manipulation of the brain.

  153. 153
    Graham2 says:

    Timaeus: You are rather prone to ‘making demands’, aren’t you ?

    Its a reference to the (so called) ‘grand Jewish conspiracy’ theory.

    Im mocking your suggestion that there is some sort of grand plan to suppress the truth (of ID).

  154. 154
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: We provided a simple definition suitable for scientific investigation, foresight and intelligence.

    You didn’t provide that as a definition. You merely asked that I “consider that chess programs can now defeat even the best human players, even though chess was once considered the ultimate test of human foresight and intelligence (problem-solving ability).”

    That’s not a definition of consciousness. That’s a description of an algorithmic process. Nor is foresight and intelligence (whatever that means – talk to RDFish) any sort of test of consciousness. When I was a small child I had very little foresight and intelligence yet was fully conscious. What about you? If I drink a pint of Jack Daniels I have very little foresight and intelligence yet I am fully conscious. What about you?

    Does your definition (whatever it may be) of consciousness fully cover what you yourself experience as an instance of consciousness (assuming you are one)? If not, then you haven’t defined or described consciousness.

    We have evidence, such as self-reporting of how people experience consciousness, and how this is affected by manipulation of the brain.

    When they see a blue object and say “I see blue”, how can you objectively demonstrate that they have an internal subjective experience of “blue” as you do (assuming you are conscious)? You can’t. They could be zombies. You have no way to verify that the entities that are self-reporting are conscious.

    My statement @85 stands.

  155. 155
    Mapou says:

    Graham2 @164,

    Who are you kidding? You are clearly implying that Timaeus is an anti-semite and that you are Jewish, as if being Jewish had anything to do with the discussion. You wear your insecurity on your sleeve, don’t you, amigo? Just be cool.

  156. 156
    Graham2 says:

    Mapou: look up the expression ‘conspiracy theory’.

  157. 157
    Joe says:

    vel:

    It avoids it, curious because almost all design inference seeks to discover the how ,who and when of the design

    Nothing prevents anyone from trying to answer those questions wrt ID. However even with things that are within our capabilities we cannot answer those questions.

    LoL! 1- Science cannot be adjudicated and

    But it seems ID can

    Nope. ID has a methodology and can be tested- very unlike unguided evolution.

    And only the ignorant think ID violates the establishment clause.

  158. 158
    Mapou says:

    Graham2 @167,

    First, there is no conspiracy. It’s just one group (atheists) competing against another (theists). Second, it has nothing to do with being Jewish. In a sense, I, too, am Jewish (I have some Jewish ancestry somewhere) since I believe in the Jewish God, Yahweh. But so what? Just retract your nonsense and everything will be cool.

  159. 159
    AnimatedDust says:

    @Zachriel

    “Primitive circulation was through a network of cavities formed by adjacent layers of epithelia, which allowed the sharing of of nutrients. These were then lined with mesodermal cells forming a more efficient structure.”

    Network. “A group of interconnected people or things.”

    Interconnection requires purpose.

    Circulation describes the motion of substances or things from place to place. Before primitive circulation, there was, if one goes back far enough, no circulation. Describe specifically how no circulation became primitive circulation. Primitive implies simpler. As we know now, and Darwin didn’t know then, there are no “simpler” forms of life.

    How did the mesodermal cells know where to go and how to stick together in harmony to achieve function? If you can’t know what function is desired by becoming more efficient, how do you get there?

    And a human infant has 60,000 MILES of perfectly formed tubes, all with a specific purpose and placement.

    You’ve provided a couple sentences of generalized speculation. None of it is even slightly coherent when unpacked. Same with Dawkins attempting to describe scientifically how vision “emerged.”

    Help me out with that?

  160. 160
    Timaeus says:

    Graham2:

    I am aware of what is meant by “grand Jewish conspiracy”; what was not clear to me — due to your elliptical syntax and the general sarcastic tone of your post — was whether you were simply using “grand Jewish conspiracy” as a parallel to the claim of repression of ID supporters, or were actually imputing a grand Jewish conspiracy theory to me. I take it that you intended only the former.

    Generally speaking, it is not a wise policy to toss off witty remarks concerning Jews or other ethnic or religious groups. Unless the context is crystal-clear, it is too easy to misunderstand such remarks. You could have made the same point by speaking of “conspiracy theories” without reference to Jews.

  161. 161
    Graham2 says:

    Timaeus: Yes, it was the former. I thought the meaning was sort of bleeding obvious.

  162. 162
    velikovskys says:

    mike:
    It may not be possible in this case. We do what we can.

    That seems a bit of a drawback for a scientific theory of origins. Design therefore design.

    I’ve never seen anyone claim that material itself is evil. (Gnostics may claim this, but I’ve never encountered a Gnostic.) Only materialism. Big difference.

    Material is the Darwin of materialism, no material no materialism.

    Lots of courts make lots of bogus rulings. It happens all the time. And in this case to which I believe you refer,the ruling has very limited jurisdiction

    Good thing then they didn’t appeal

  163. 163
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    Nothing prevents anyone from trying to answer those questions wrt ID. However even with things that are within our capabilities we cannot answer those questions.

    Yet you find the same explanation a weakness in evolutionary theory, you demand specificity and cannot even provide generalities.


    Nope. ID has a methodology and can be tested- very unlike unguided evolution.

    Without a who ,what, how or when, what exactly are you testing? Congeniality?

    And only the ignorant think ID violates the establishment clause.

    Want some cheese with that whine?

  164. 164
    Mung says:

    wd400: When was the last time the TSZ or Panda’s thumb has a post taking on an ID argument? Indeed, it’s not that long since UD was making a point of TSZ’s decline. Seems perfectly consistent with ID’s evaporating relevance.

    L O Freaking L.

  165. 165
    Timaeus says:

    Graham2:

    Neither Mapou nor myself thought that the connection you were making was “bleeding obvious.”

    I’ll offer you a helpful word: “conjunctions”. Two sentences joined into one by a conjunction are usually clearer than two sentences sitting in syntactic isolation. The conjunction, if carefully selected, removes all doubt in the reader’s mind regarding the intended connection between the two ideas. If the reader is left to infer the connection without any grammatical indication, confusion or uncertainty is often the result.

  166. 166
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: You didn’t provide that as a definition.

    We used foresight, intelligence and problem-solving ability. If you have another definition, then we’d be happy to consider it.

    mike1962: If I drink a pint of Jack Daniels I have very little foresight and intelligence yet I am fully conscious.

    Good example. People can lose consciousness, in whole or in part, from drinking alcohol.

  167. 167
    Zachriel says:

    AnimatedDust: Interconnection requires purpose.

    Cave labyrinth
    http://www.wkistler.de/more4/Sieber_Labyrinth.jpg

    AnimatedDust: Before primitive circulation, there was, if one goes back far enough, no circulation.

    As long as organisms are very small, then circulation can occur by diffusion.

    AnimatedDust: Describe specifically how no circulation became primitive circulation.

    The first step is a cavity, then cells that move materials into the cavity. Think sponge.

  168. 168
    Joe says:

    velikovskys:

    Yet you find the same explanation a weakness in evolutionary theory, you demand specificity and cannot even provide generalities.

    LoL! Evolutionism claims that it has a step-by-step process to produce the diversity of living organisms. We just ask evos to support that claim. ID does NOT make such a claim. Grow up.

    Without a who ,what, how or when, what exactly are you testing?

    We have the “what”, duh.

    Want some cheese with that whine?

    Education can cure your ignorance.

  169. 169
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    LoL! Evolutionism claims that it has a step-by-step process to produce the diversity of living organisms.

    It claims it knows exactly every step that created the diversity of life?

    We just ask evos to support that claim

    Then it might be fair to ask you to back up that claim. Evolutionary science seems to be spending a lot of time trying to discover that which you claim they know

    ID does NOT make such a claim.

    True, ID makes no claim that it can explain how ID contributed to the diversity of life.

    We have the “what”, duh.

    What is the ” what ” ?

    Education can cure your ignorance.

    At least there is hope for mine.

  170. 170
    velikovskys says:

    Mike:
    If I drink a pint of Jack Daniels I have very little foresight and intelligence yet I am fully conscious.

    If you drink a pint of Jack, you had very little foresight or intelligence to begin with.

  171. 171
    Joe says:

    vel:

    It claims it knows exactly every step that created the diversity of life?

    Try reading and responding to what i actually post.

    Then it might be fair to ask you to back up that claim. Evolutionary science seems to be spending a lot of time trying to discover that which you claim they know

    And yet evolutionism doesn’t have any answers.

    True, ID makes no claim that it can explain how ID contributed to the diversity of life.

    Your position makes claims it cannot support.

    What is the ” what ” ?

    The intelligent design- for example living organisms.

    At least there is hope for mine.

    Nope, education will demonstrate yours is a vacuous position.

  172. 172
    Joe says:

    If you drink a pint of Jack, you had very little foresight or intelligence to begin with.

    That doesn’t follow.

  173. 173
    Zachriel says:

    velikovskys: If you drink a pint of Jack, you had very little foresight or intelligence to begin with.

    Certainly not the foresight.
    http://radioactivekittens.com/.....mals-1.jpg

  174. 174
    Eric Anderson says:

    wd400 @153:

    Selection and conserved (ie shared by descent) sequences are central to how we understand how genomes work.

    OK, I’ll bite. Please give me an example or two of how our understanding of how genomes work fundamentally depends on the idea that the particular genome being studied came about through purely natural processes, with no intelligent guidance or intervention along the way, rather than by design.

    —–

    Hint to avoid one back and forth: saying that our understanding of how the genome came about does not count, because that is precisely the issue in question and would be circular. Presumably your examples will relate to actual functionality of the genome.

  175. 175
    velikovskys says:

    Joe,
    Try reading and responding to what i actually post.

    That is known as a question, trying to clarify your statement. Evolutionism claims that it has a step-by-step process to produce the diversity of living organisms.

    Is the claim that like the rest of nature,evolutionary processes are limited in their scope, or is the claim that evolutionary science has near perfect knowledge of every step?

    And yet evolutionism doesn’t have any answers.

    What is evolutionism? How does it differ from evolutionary science? So you are claiming that even micro evolution does not occur?

    And yet you have no idea how the alternative occurs, strange to be so sure that unlike human design which often use natural processes in its designs the Design does not.

    Your position makes claims it cannot support.

    That is the question, you have yet to provide any more feasible alternative. If fact you may not to be able to provide any by definition

    The intelligent design- for example living organisms

    Specifically? Start at the beginning.

    Nope, education will demonstrate yours is a vacuous position.

    I had no idea you were capable of irony, Joe

  176. 176
    velikovskys says:

    velikovskys
    If you drink a pint of Jack, you had very little foresight or intelligence to begin with.

    Joe

    That doesn’t follow.

    Q.E.D.

  177. 177
    wd400 says:

    Eric,

    This is a bit of a two-step

    OK, I’ll bite. Please give me an example or two of how our understanding of how genomes work fundamentally depends on the idea that the particular genome being studied came about through purely natural processes, with no intelligent guidance or intervention along the way, rather than by design

    It’s impossible to rule out “intelligent guidance or intervention” in the history of a genome, or the formation of the grand canyon. If ID is reduced to the mere possibility of intervention then it’s untestable.

    The point I’m making is that evolutionary biology, with its assumptions that modern sequences descend from share ancestors, mutations are random and selection acts on mutations, works.

    One small example. If you want to “broken” protein coding genes look at the ratio of synonymous to non-synonmous substitutions. Under neutrality they will be equal, under negative selection the rate of rate of synonymous mutations will greatly exceed the non-syn. rate.

    This so called dN/dS ratio, which is based on an assumption of shared ancestory and random mutation, has been used thousands of times to help understand protein sequences.

  178. 178
    Joe says:

    vel:

    Is the claim that like the rest of nature,evolutionary processes are limited in their scope, or is the claim that evolutionary science has near perfect knowledge of every step?

    Evolutionary science is an oxymoron.

    What is evolutionism?

    Ernst Mayr wrote about it.

    That is the question, you have yet to provide any more feasible alternative.

    That is your ignorant opinion.

    Start at the beginning.

    Living organisms are evidence for ID- and that is because your position cannot explain them and they match the design criteria.

  179. 179
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    It’s impossible to rule out “intelligent guidance or intervention” in the history of a genome, or the formation of the grand canyon. If ID is reduced to the mere possibility of intervention then it’s untestable.

    Unguided evolution can’t be tested.

    he point I’m making is that evolutionary biology, with its assumptions that modern sequences descend from share ancestors, mutations are random and selection acts on mutations, works.

    Natural selection is impotent.

  180. 180
    Mapou says:

    wd400:

    It’s impossible to rule out “intelligent guidance or intervention” in the history of a genome, or the formation of the grand canyon.

    Are you kidding me? The genome cannot come into existence without advanced engineering. No amount of dirt worshiping can change this simple fact.

  181. 181
    Joe says:

    The design criteria as put forth by Dr Behe:

    “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”

    Living organisms haz it..

    (post was for the ignoramus’s at TSZ)

  182. 182
    rhampton7 says:

    Joe,

    Our solar system is also an example of the ordering of separate components (within each planetary body and within the system as a whole) that achieves an identifiable function — a planet capable of supporting life.

    I do not believe Dr. Behe (or any ID scientist) suggests that anything other than natural forces is responsible for the creation of our solar system. Do you disagree?

  183. 183
    Joe says:

    “The Privileged Planet” presents the evidence that our solar system is the result of intelligent design. Thank you very much.

  184. 184
    velikovskys says:

    I see the light Joe, but why limit ID to only things that meet the design criteria, all human design does not meet that criteria. Just curious , is there anything that we can say is not designed?

  185. 185
    Joe says:

    Geez vel, grow up, your question has been answered ad nauseum.

    Do archaeologists think all rocks are artifacts? Are all fires arsons? And all deaths murders?

    But yes, the presence of counterflow or work will suffice in the absence of what Behe said.

  186. 186
    velikovskys says:

    How can the solar system be designed and some rocks are not?

  187. 187
    Joe says:

    How can cars be designed and car accidents not be? How can houses be designed but not all house fires be arsons?

  188. 188
    jerry says:

    “The Privileged Planet” presents the evidence that our solar system is the result of intelligent design. Thank you very much.

    In his book, “Miracles”, Eric Metaxas lists a few more pieces of evidence. Apparently they have discovered some new ones.

  189. 189
    jerry says:

    If ID is reduced to the mere possibility of intervention then it’s untestable.

    But it is not and you should know that. Why distort what you know.

    The point I’m making is that evolutionary biology, with its assumptions that modern sequences descend from share ancestors, mutations are random and selection acts on mutations, works.

    There is nothing in ID that denies this for nearly all cases. So why bring it up? ID just says that not all sequences seem to be able to be explained by this process.

    This should be testable and will either verify modern evolutionary biology or will falsify it. I am betting on the falsification.

    Adios, Darwin.

  190. 190
    jerry says:

    How can the solar system be designed and some rocks are not?

    Solar systems follow from the four forces. But there is the curious example of Earth which seems to defy the capabilities or necessity of the four forces.

    Information in genomes does not flow from the four forces nor does the Eiffel Tower. Both flow from another force.

  191. 191
    Zachriel says:

    jerry: ID just says that not all sequences seem to be able to be explained by this process.

    Then it has the problem of all gap arguments — shrinking gaps. That’s why modern ID concentrates on very ancient structures, such as cellular processes or the bacterial flagellum, because their previous arguments about morphological adaptation within higher taxa have been shown to be within the capabilities of evolutionary processes.

  192. 192
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    How can cars be designed and car accidents not be? How can houses be designed but not all house fires be arsons?

    Of course you cannot know car accidents and house fires are not designed , after all there exists an unknown designer with unknown abilities and unknown goals able to manipulate matter undetected,everything may be deterministic and preplanned. That is the problem of unknown design.Basically the same as conspiracy theories.We cannot know but let’s assume you are correct

    So living organisms can be designed and mutations can not be.

    Living organisms can be designed but differential survival rates can not be

    Living organisms can be but changes in the enviroment can not be.

    Living organisms can be be the rise of CRE superbugs can not be.

    The universe can be but what happens inside it cannot be designed.

  193. 193
    Silver Asiatic says:

    V

    It’s a question of degree.

    Living organisms exhibit evidence of having been designed and mutations do not as much.

    Living organisms exhibit evidence of having been designed but changes in the environment appear to be caused by physical forces.

  194. 194
    jerry says:

    shrinking gaps

    The gaps objection is a bogus argument. The gaps are not shrinking and if anything getting larger.

    because their previous arguments about morphological adaptation within higher taxa have been shown to be within the capabilities of evolutionary processes.

    I have been around this discussion for over 15 years and haven’t a clue what you are talking about with this comment. (Oh, I think I understand. And from what I understand this is an untrue observation.)

    From the beginning, ID has never denied any finding in science. What they have denied is the conclusions of these findings. And the more science discovers, the more ID is supported and the less, naturalistic evolution for all species appearances is supported. It is all going one way. There has not been any gradual or sudden climb up Mt. Improbable.

    If it hasn’t, it must not have been reported in anything I have seen.

  195. 195
    jerry says:

    That is the problem of unknown design

    Yes, that is true but the existence of an alternative explanation(s) is possible too. So one has to look for alternatives and many have been proposed. For example, many supporters of ID say that it all happened at the Big Bang and life and evolution flow from the initial and boundary conditions. But this search for alternatives has ended up empty. Any one who denies this is being disingenuous.

    In some key areas the search for alternatives all end up empty. That is the basic issue, not that unknown possibilities may or may not exist. ID has never denied naturalistic processes where it is shown to be warranted.

  196. 196
    Joe says:

    vel:

    Of course you cannot know car accidents and house fires are not designed

    So much for forensic science.

    So living organisms can be designed and mutations can not be.

    LoL! That is what is being debated, duh.

    Living organisms can be designed but differential survival rates can not be

    Why?

  197. 197
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Then it has the problem of all gap arguments — shrinking gaps.

    So archaeology, forensic science and SETI are gap arguments then.

    That’s why modern ID concentrates on very ancient structures, such as cellular processes or the bacterial flagellum, because their previous arguments about morphological adaptation within higher taxa have been shown to be within the capabilities of evolutionary processes.

    And finish with an equivocation. Nicely done

  198. 198
    velikovskys says:

    jerry:
    Solar systems follow from the four forces. But there is the curious example of Earth which seems to defy the capabilities or necessity of the four forces.

    If the four forces are designed ,can the results not be? Which aspects of the earth are beyond the capabilities?

    Information in genomes does not flow from the four forces nor does the Eiffel Tower.

    So no difference between life and non life?

    Both flow from another force.

    Is it detectable?

  199. 199
    Joe says:

    LoL! A “response” from TSZ (to comment 192):

    Joe, now that we’ve clarified that everything that does anything is designed could you enlighten me as to why ID is not making new discoveries based on that?

    Only an ignoramus on an agenda would jump to that “conclusion”. Enter omagainst reason

  200. 200
    jerry says:

    So no difference between life and non life?

    Why make such a ludicrous statement. No one said that or implied that or ever implied that on this site. There are, however, some very different explanations for many non life entities from each other. Many non life entities can not be explained by the four forces. Neither can life be explained by the four forces so in some ways life and some non life entities have something in common.

    Is it detectable?

    Depends what one means by detectable. There are photos of the building of the Eiffel Tower. There are no photos of the building of the first cell so one has to look for other means of explaining its origin. But the Eiffel Tower if it was discovered in some unknown place would be a marvel but its origin would not be in question in terms of the forces that produced it. No one would try to account for it by the four basic forces. So far no naturalistic means have shown up to explain the origin of life or major changes in life. So detection using the tools of science have ended up empty in this area. It seems to be beyond the capabilities of the four basic forces.

  201. 201
    velikovskys says:

    SA:

    It’s a question of degree.

    That seems reasonable, the question then is how do you determine to which degree.

    Living organisms exhibit evidence of having been designed and mutations do not as much.

    The question is not whether organisms are designed, the Grand Canyon is thought to be designed by erosion and plate tectonics,it is whether only direct intervention of an intelligent agent is necessary to account for the design. After all indirect action is compatible with evolutionary processes.The question remains whether those processes are capable but the existence of intelligent designer is not falsified Agreed?

    Living organisms exhibit evidence of having been designed but changes in the environment appear to be caused by physical forces.

    This is not universally believed, natural occurrences are often attributed to an intelligent agent, do you mind if we just say God? Simplier, after all if one concedes that natural forces can create life and organisms somewhere then much of the evidence for ID is undermined. A theory that says natural forces can create life on Mars but not Earth is disastrous for ID

    A secondary problem for naturally occurring events is accounting for design degradation. The design of the Golden Gate Bridge takes constant maintenance to not be reduced to non intelligent agent design. Mutation, extinction, ice ages , sun engulfing the earth would all need to be taken into account, manipulation the environment itself would be simpler solution then to be constantly repairing the design

    So a capable intelligent designer would seek to eliminate all natural forces effect on His Design. A completely deterministic system would be optimal and seems compatible with ID.

  202. 202
    Piotr says:

    No one would try to account for it by the four basic forces

    So the Eiffel Tower is supernatural?

  203. 203
    velikovskys says:

    Jerry:
    Yes, that is true but the existence of an alternative explanation(s) is possible too.

    True, once one opens up causation beyond the limited realm of science, scientific evidence is meaningless

    So one has to look for alternatives and many have been proposed.

    True, but all do not explain the how.

    For example, many supporters of ID say that it all happened at the Big Bang and life and evolution flow from the initial and boundary conditions.

    Some say those initial conditions occurred an infinitely long time ago, but yes this would create a universe in which science has the ability to discover knowledge

    But this search for alternatives has ended up empty. Any one who denies this is being disingenuous.

    Well that seems open minded. Perhaps you should inform the Catholic Church of that fact. It must be great to be blessed with such complete knowledge of how things came to be, perhaps you might explain how the design was implemented since you are sure how it was not

  204. 204
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    That seems reasonable, the question then is how do you determine to which degree.

    Ok, you’re asking interesting questions and you seem to be open to various possibilities – I appreciate that.

    We have to weigh the evidence and determine what seems more reasonable. As far as we know, natural causes cannot produce some of what we find in nature or the universe. But we know that intelligent causes can produce such things.

    The question is not whether organisms are designed, the Grand Canyon is thought to be designed by erosion and plate tectonics,it is whether only direct intervention of an intelligent agent is necessary to account for the design.

    It does require a “direct intervention of an intelligent agent” – at some point in the process. But we trace back causes. Software, for example, shows evidence of having been designed by intelligence. However, that doesn’t mean that the software we observe necessarily had a direct intervention of intelligence. It could have been produced by other software. But eventually, if we trace back causes, intelligence is required as part of the origin of the software.

    The same is true of the Grand Canyon, actually. We know water, gravity, time and rock produce such a thing. But where did water, gravity, time and matter come from? So, you could trace back to more ultimate causes.

    After all indirect action is compatible with evolutionary processes.The question remains whether those processes are capable but the existence of intelligent designer is not falsified Agreed?

    I think if the processes are capable, then the existence of the designer is falsified for that observance. If mutations and selection can produce the effect, for example, then there’s not much evidence that intelligence was required. However, there’s the whole question of tracing back causes – back to origin of life, or back to origin of matter and natural laws.

    if one concedes that natural forces can create life and organisms somewhere then much of the evidence for ID is undermined.

    Yes, exactly.

    A theory that says natural forces can create life on Mars but not Earth is disastrous for ID

    Agreed. It would take away a huge part of the ID concept. For example, if we could observe directly, inorganic molecules randomly combining to create life forms on Mars that would be very difficult for the ID proposal (at least biological ID).

    Mutation, extinction, ice ages , sun engulfing the earth would all need to be taken into account, manipulation the environment itself would be simpler solution then to be constantly repairing the design

    It’s an interesting idea. The fact that organisms repair themselves, though, is evidence of intelligence at work in the origin of the process. The book “Biotic Message” proposes that the design was intended to be discovered in various ways and places, but not fully exposed. The design is meant as a clue or pathway to understanding nature — the design was meant for discovery, to be revealed a little at a time, in various levels. For example, the complexity of the cell was not evident for centuries and not we’re just at the very edge of the surface of what we can know about the nearly-infinite complexity. Nature may be like a fractal pattern – allowing a deeper and deeper understanding and almost infinite patterns and complexity.
    The same at the other end, in the universe, possibly an infinite complexity and arrangement as we discover more.

    So a capable intelligent designer would seek to eliminate all natural forces effect on His Design. A completely deterministic system would be optimal and seems compatible with ID.

    It’s a great point and I’ve seen some philosophers raise that. If it could be shown that the entire universe and all life on earth emerged from a single mathematical formula, for example – wouldn’t that be a more ideal design and better evidence of ID?

    Maybe – but if the universe is meant to show not only mathematical precision, but also the drama and excitement of a great work of art (a story or painting) then a reduction to mathematic precision may not be the most ideal way to carry out the design.

    In any case — I appreciate your point of view and thanks for a very interesting discussion.

  205. 205
    jerry says:

    So the Eiffel Tower is supernatural?

    One of the more absurd statements ever made here. What process of logic came to this conclusion?

  206. 206
    jerry says:

    Perhaps you should inform the Catholic Church of that fact.

    What has the Catholic Church have to do with this? I just searched this page and only found Catholic mentioned in one previous comment and that was essentially a peripheral mention.

    It must be great to be blessed with such complete knowledge of how things came to be, perhaps you might explain how the design was implemented since you are sure how it was not

    I never said anything that supports this reply. So why make it?

  207. 207
    Zachriel says:

    jerry: The gaps are not shrinking and if anything getting larger.

    You would have to look at cases. For instance, paleontology, there is ample evidence of transitional processes in vertebrates. Each new fossil adds to the overall picture of this transitional process.

    jerry: From the beginning, ID has never denied any finding in science.

    Many deny common descent, for instance.

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry (Attn Piotr): There is a refusal — in the teeth of correction — to acknowledge that the inference to design on FSCO/I or other tested and reliable empirical signs is an inference to intelligently directed configuration, ART, not the “supernatural.” But, that’s what’s been on the table since Plato in The Laws Bk X 2350 years ago: natural (= blind chance and/or mechanical necessity) vs the ART-ificial. At this point I direct attention to the UD weak argument correctives on the point, and if there is stubborn insistence I draw the conclusion we are not dealing with a responsible person interested in accuracy or fair-minded discussion. But then, often we deal with people unable to bring themselves to acknowledge that functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information is a recognisable empirical reality, not even in the face of obvious cases such as a fishing reel or a coded text string. KF

  209. 209
    Piotr says:

    #216 Jerry,

    One of the more absurd statements ever made here. What process of logic came to this conclusion?

    Well, you said “the four basic forces” (I suppose you mean electromagnetic, weak, strong, and gravitational interactions) couldn’t account for the existence of the Eiffel Tower. What other “forces” do you think are necessary?

  210. 210
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    For instance, paleontology, there is ample evidence of transitional processes in vertebrates. Each new fossil adds to the overall picture of this transitional process.

    Unfortunately there isn’t any evidence from genetics that ties those morphological changes to changes in genomes.

    Many deny common descent, for instance.

    Those many all understand that the concept of universal common descent is untestable and out of the realm of science, for now anyway.

  211. 211
    rhampton7 says:

    Joe, Jerry

    Am I correct that you are making the case the one or more ID scientists claim that natural forces alone could not have accounted for the creation of our solar system, thus supernatural forces must have been at work?

  212. 212
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    Well, you said “the four basic forces” (I suppose you mean electromagnetic, weak, strong, and gravitational interactions) couldn’t account for the existence of the Eiffel Tower. What other “forces” do you think are necessary?

    The force of intelligent agencies acting to construct it from a plan.

  213. 213
    rhampton7 says:

    joe, jerry

    To follow up: this claim arises from ID theory and not from their personal opinion or some other line of reasoning?

  214. 214
    Eric Anderson says:

    Piotr @220:

    Seriously?

    Do you or do you not understand the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions?

    Can you explain, based alone on the four forces you listed, how the Eiffel Tower came about? Do not invoke any designer; do not include any purpose or plan; do not recur to intentionality. The four forces acting alone: How did they produce the Eiffel Tower?

  215. 215
    Joe says:

    rhampton- ID does not require the supernatural. Contrast your “natural” with “artificial”. Natural forces did not make automobiles yet they are not the product of the supernatural.

  216. 216
    Mapou says:

    Joe @226,

    Well said.

  217. 217
    jerry says:

    You would have to look at cases. For instance, paleontology, there is ample evidence of transitional processes in vertebrates. Each new fossil adds to the overall picture of this transitional process.

    I believe that Joe has answered this. There will always be some new original fossils. I doubt ID denies this. New fossils suffer from the sampling problem. There is continuing sampling of all the strata and nearly everything is just examples of what has already been identified. Not nearly enough to satisfy what must have been necessary for all the transitions required. There must be a lot of hidden strata that will reveal all these transitions.

    There is always spurts of new stuff. Look at the Cambrian fossils discovered in China. Who knows what future digs might discover. I do not believe ID says that all the fossils have been discovered or even close to it. Just that what has been discovered does not support any natural process for the origin of species.

    An aside comment: if this is the best example for your argument, then the argument is weak and essentially its choice is validation of my point.

    Many deny common descent, for instance.

    Common descent is easily shown. The question is to what level is it applicable. We can do genealogy studies on our families to see who descended from whom. But how proven is common descent up the taxonomy hierarchy? The issue will be the origin of proteins.

    Universal common descent has never been shown. It is a speculative conclusion from the data and is philosophically driven rather than empirically driven.

  218. 218
    Timaeus says:

    To All:

    It’s evident that no one is going to offer any more discussion of the actual subject of my column. I don’t mind a bit of wandering into related subjects, but at this point the original subject has been left far behind. I’ll give people a few more hours to say their last word, and then move to close off comments. Thanks to all those who have participated.

  219. 219
    Piotr says:

    #225 Eric Anderson,

    The Eiffel Tower was designed by M. Gustave Eiffel, who — to my knowledge — was a human being, not a supernatural agent. Physical phenomena (including, importantly, various manifestations of the four fundamental fources) account, in the last analysis, for the existence of Eiffel, as well as his tower.

  220. 220
    jerry says:

    Am I correct that you are making the case the one or more ID scientists claim that natural forces alone could not have accounted for the creation of our solar system, thus supernatural forces must have been at work?

    I have no clue as to what every person in the world says. Any one person could claim anything but ID itself does not preclude the natural origins of the solar system once the four basic forces are present at the Big Bang with the specific modifying parameters.

  221. 221
    rhampton7 says:

    Joe,

    In #193 I asked: I do not believe Dr. Behe (or any ID scientist) suggests that anything other than natural forces is responsible for the creation of our solar system. Do you disagree?

    Your response seemed to me to say that natural forces were not responsible. What other explanation is there besides the supernatural?

  222. 222
    jerry says:

    I’ll give people a few more hours to say their last word, and then move to close off comments. Thanks to all those who have participated.

    Amen! I came in at the end so I am fairly guilty and this is how an OP should be policed. Get rid of off target comments.

    But the recent comments are instructive. They are illogical arguments and are evidence of the viability of ID. If only their comments were logical could we take them seriously. But they aren’t.

    Long live ID. They are unable to touch it.

  223. 223
    Zachriel says:

    jerry: There is continuing sampling of all the strata and nearly everything is just examples of what has already been identified.

    Except when they’re not. Novel fossil organisms are found fairly often. They all support the overall pattern expected of common descent.

    jerry: Not nearly enough to satisfy what must have been necessary for all the transitions required.

    Every transition doesn’t have to be supported, nor is that what is expected by fossilization. However, there is more than enough evidence to draw a general picture of the history of diversification, as well as details of specific transitions.

    Zachriel: Many deny common descent, for instance.

    jerry: Universal common descent has never been shown.

    Case in point.

    jerry: It is a speculative conclusion from the data and is philosophically driven rather than empirically driven.

    No. It’s a scientific hypothesis that leads to testable entailments that have been repeatedly confirmed.

    Timaeus: It’s evident that no one is going to offer any more discussion of the actual subject of my column.

    Timaeus: Alan writes: “I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that ID has some scientific merit into reality.”

    There are a very few ID proponents who actually make scientific efforts, but their results are stillborn.

  224. 224
    jerry says:

    Timaeus,

    Since you mentioned the Enlightenment, here is a question. Is Rousseau part of the Enlightenment or anti Enlightenment? I just read one book that puts him squarely in the anti Enlightenment camp and actually the main founder of this movement along with Kant. And another putting him as one of the major proponents of the Enlightenment.

    Obviously not related to the OP’s theme but a curious question.

    Many terms are a bit elastic in meaning, and “Enlightenment” is one of them. Originally the term seems to have referred to the thought of the late 18th century, centered in France though with ripples elsewhere in Europe. However, it has sometimes been extended. For example, the “German Enlightenment” started slightly later and runs perhaps into the early 19th century. And some people, noting the continuity between 17th and 18th century thought, would count thinkers such as Spinoza as already Enlightenment thinkers. So there is dispute about the Enlightenment’s boundaries in time and place. (One could say the same thing about Renaissance or Middle Ages.)

    Clearly Rousseau, in terms of his dates, is smack in the middle of the French Enlightenment and was influenced by it; on the other hand — and I think your source is getting at this — he rejects certain emphases of the Enlightenment, and his thought is — depending on which aspect of it you look at — either reactionary — going back to the Greeks (especially on questions of morality) — or more radical (in questions of political theory) — looking beyond the 18th century ideal (which was in favor of the rule of the Enlightened monarch) to a radically egalitarian politics grounded in notions of universalizable rights.

    Kant, I would say, is more thoroughly modern in some ways than Rousseau, accepting the more radical political side of Rousseau’s thought, but lacking Rousseau’s hankering for the Greeks. In any case, clearly Kant was a contemporary of the leading German Enlightenment thinkers and read some of them, so it would be hard to exclude him as an Enlightenment thinker.

    In the end, though, these labels ultimately are only provisionally useful, for introducing a student to a period or for grouping authors and ideas in such a way as to enable us to find things in a library. In the end, we always have to get down to reading an individual author and assessing his work in its own terms, not merely as an example of the period the author allegedly belongs to. We need to study Kant and Rousseau because, regardless of how we classify them, they exercised an immense influence over all succeeding generations, and still do today.

    Allan Bloom, in his great book, The Closing of the American Mind, discusses the ongoing influence of Rousseau. As for Kant, I see in him the foundations of our “fact/value distinction” and ultimately of the compartmentalized, NOMA manner of thinking which undergirds the opinions of many TEs regarding theology and science. He’s not one of my favorite guys. But then, what would expect from someone named –Timaeus ?

  225. 225
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    Physical phenomena (including, importantly, various manifestations of the four fundamental fources) account, in the last analysis, for the existence of Eiffel, as well as his tower.

    That is the propaganda, anyway.

  226. 226
    Joe says:

    rhampton7:

    Your response seemed to me to say that natural forces were not responsible. What other explanation is there besides the supernatural?

    Here we go again- Natural processes only exist in nature and because of that cannot be responsible for its origin. Pre-natural, non-natural and artificial are other explanations.

  227. 227
    rhampton7 says:

    Joe,

    And this is according to Intelligent Design theory or something else?

  228. 228
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    here are a very few ID proponents who actually make scientific efforts, but their results are stillborn.

    That is your uneducated opinion, anyway.

    It’s a scientific hypothesis that leads to testable entailments that have been repeatedly confirmed.

    Except for the facts:

    1- No one knows what makes an organism what it is. Developmental biology (evo-devo) has not helped.

    2- You don’t have a mechanism capable of getting beyond populations of prokaryotes GIVEN starting populations of prokaryotes. Sagan only could account for mitochondria and chloroplasts.

    3- It cannot be measured which is a huge issue in a venue built on measurements

    I could go on, by why bother…

  229. 229
    Joe says:

    rhampton7:

    And this is according to Intelligent Design theory or something else?

    ID does not require the supernatural. Behe testified to that effect during the Kitzmiller witch hunt.

  230. 230
    Joe says:

    Mapou, It’s like people saying that since I question the veracity of the claim of a 4.5x billion year old earth, I am a YEC. To those clowns “YEC” = anyone who can properly assess the evidence- ie anyone who disagrees with them. 😉

  231. 231
    rhampton7 says:

    Joe,

    That Behe said ID does not require the supernatural does not also mean he personally, or ID theory as it now exists, accepts other categories of causation besides natural and supernatural. Are these extra categories a part of ID theory or something else?

  232. 232
    velikovskys says:

    Timaeus:
    It’s evident that no one is going to offer any more discussion of the actual subject of my column.

    I thought this was a demonstration of Alan’s point, that there is no new science behind ID.

    Alan’s point — presuming he meant exactly what he wrote — was that ID proponents had made “no genuine effort” to produce scientific data supportive of ID. I responded to that, and several people here, including skram and myself, have pretty well beaten that discussion to death. The actual detail of the science ID people have done — and how good that science is — was not the subject here. The subject was the existence or non-existence of the *effort*.

    Actually, the question of effort was only *one* of the subjects I raised regarding the comments at TSZ — but as no one seems interested in discussing the other subjects I raised, I think it is time I closed this discussion down. –Timaeus

    I don’t mind a bit of wandering into related subjects, but at this point the original subject has been left far behind.

    Thanks for your relaxed moderation.

  233. 233
    Joe says:

    What extra categories? Intelligent Design is open to all but purely materialistic processes and what emerges from them for explaining what we observe.

  234. 234
    rhampton7 says:

    I’d like to open this question up to everyone – perhaps it should be its own thread.

    According to ID theory, how many types of causation (natural, supernatural) are there? What are the properties of each type that differentiate it from the rest? (because it seems to me that intelligence itself is either natural or supernatural)

    A good question, rhampton. This is something that both ID proponents and their critics are often very unclear about. To answer it properly would take us into questions such as “What constitutes a causal explanation?” and “What sorts of causal explanations are appropriate to natural science?” And of course, this would lead us to look at, among other things, Aristotle, who had a broader and fuller notion of causal explanation than the one generally employed by modern scientists. But such a discussion requires its own column. It is a subject of interest to me, and I may write such a column. If I do, you would be welcome to raise your questions again to ID proponents in that place. — Timaeus

  235. 235
    Joe says:

    vel:

    I thought this was a demonstration of Alan’s point, that there is no new science behind ID.

    New science? Alan’s position doesn’t have any science behind it. ID doesn’t need new science, whatever that is. ID is OK with the accepted science that is behind it now.

  236. 236
    Joe says:

    rhampton7- ID is about INTELLIGENT causation- as in a purposeful arrangement of parts for some function.

    (because it seems to me that intelligence itself is either natural or supernatural)

    And there you have it.

  237. 237
    Graham2 says:

    Timaeus: This thread has wandered way off the topic, like all the other threads, and like human conversation generally. Perhaps you could have chosen a subject that was a richer field of interest than the extremely limited one you chose (like, who cares ?), or you could have made a little more effort to seed the discussion.

    Graham2, if you weren’t interested in the “extremely limited” subject that I chose, then why did you bother to comment under my column? There must be 20 or 30 new columns per week published here; surely there would be some others where the subject was more to your liking?

    If you were in a bar full of baseball fans who had met specifically to talk about baseball, would you try to change the subject to basketball? And if you walked into a church service and found the Christian religion uninteresting, would you call out to the minister to change his sermon topic to Hinduism instead? Wouldn’t it make more sense, in such cases, for you to go to a bar where they are all talking about basketball, or go to a Hindu temple?

    No one ordered you to take an interest in the comments by Alan Fox or others at The Skeptical Zone. If you found my analysis of TSZ boring or irrelevant, the wisest use of your time would have been to go read another column. For you to try to change the topic, just because you are bored, is not particularly good manners. I’m not offended if you are not interested in my topic, but I am a bit irritated if you try to change the topic when you could just as easily join in on a different conversation, thus enjoying yourself more, while not thwarting my aims for the discussion. — Timaeus.

    Yes, my tone is sarcastic as usual, but in this case its really just a comment on these types of discussions, which, like after-dinner converation, tends to just meander. Im not sure what the answer is, if there is one.

    I accept that there will be some wandering in various directions in these discussions. But the analogy with after-dinner conversation isn’t a good one. After-dinner conversation is inherently loose, and therefore one expects a high degree of wandering from subject to subject; conversation *on a particular piece of writing* (in this case, mine, and that of the TSZ crew), one expects to be anchored, even if only loosely, to at least one idea found in the writing. But what happens so often on blog sites is that after about the first 24 hours, only about 10% of the comments bear any clear relation to what was originally talked about; everybody starts side-arguments about everything under the sun, and within about 72 hours all the comments sections look exactly alike — you usually can’t tell from the later comments what the original subject was, and often you could move a whole block of comments from one UD column to another, and no one would notice.

    On this site, there is a tendency for every comments section to turn into arguments for and against biological design, or for and against atheism, or for and against absolute moral standards, no matter what the original subject was. So the comments sections become useless *as commentary on the articles*. I’d like to see a change in that. I’d like to see people arguing about the design of the flagellum primarily under columns that are about the flagellum (or at least about detecting design in biological structures), and I’d like to see comments about the foundations of morality primarily under columns whose subject is morality.

    I realize that this cannot be enforced with 100% strictness, and that I myself have from time to time taken discussions off topic, so I don’t want to be preachy about this; but I do think this site would be much better, and much more useful as a reference tool for people who want to find good discussions on specific topics, if people would restrain themselves from talking about *everything* they are interested in under *every* column, and try to keep focused on the subject at hand.

    And certainly for me as an author, to receive only 40 comments, but all directly or partly on the subject I wrote about, is far more useful than to receive 240 comments, with 40 relevant comments buried somewhere in the pile, so that I have dig through the whole pile to find them. I don’t mean that the other 200 comments would be intrinsically worthless — they might be quite good — but only that they would be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and therefore not as effective or helpful to the author as they would be elsewhere. –Timaeus.

  238. 238
    rhampton7 says:

    Joe,

    So you agree that Intelligent Design theory says there are only two types of causation, natural and supernatural. Intelligent causation is a subcategory that can belong to either one.

  239. 239
    velikovskys says:

    SA

    Ok, you’re asking interesting questions and you seem to be open to various possibilities – I appreciate that.

    It is good exercise from the noggin, I like a good narrative even if I don’t agree with the conclusions

    We have to weigh the evidence and determine what seems more reasonable. As far as we know, natural causes cannot produce some of what we find in nature or the universe. But we know that intelligent causes can produce such things.

    True. Man can manipulate natural mechanisms and forces to create temporary designs which nature is unable to.

    It does require a “direct intervention of an intelligent agent” – at some point in the process.

    True

    But we trace back causes. Software, for example, shows evidence of having been designed by intelligence

    True

    However, that doesn’t mean that the software we observe necessarily had a direct intervention of intelligence. It could have been produced by other software.

    Then technically the other software is a tool, just as a chisel cuts the wood to create a bowl.

    But eventually, if we trace back causes, intelligence is required as part of the origin of the software.

    For some designs intelligence is required, the pattern of the Rockies only requires geology

    The same is true of the Grand Canyon, actually. We know water, gravity, time and rock produce such a thing. But where did water, gravity, time and matter come from?

    That is certainly a question, but so is the small picture, but generally knowledge is solving small problems which reveal another level of explanation needed. Baby steps,

    So, you could trace back to more ultimate causes.

    Sure , equally the proximate cause may be sufficent and possible to gain knowledge about. I don’t need to know the origin of the universe to know when to put gas in my car if that is my question. I don’t even have to know what E stands for.

    I think if the processes are capable, then the existence of the designer is falsified for that observance.

    I disagree, it may be unnecessary but it is not falsified, the GC could be created by an technology beyond our grasp

    If mutations and selection can produce the effect, for example, then there’s not much evidence that intelligence was required.

    Actually I believe there are more proposed mechanisms, but the same evidence for natural design can be evidence for intelligent design. intelligent design can mimic natural design if it chooses.

    However, there’s the whole question of tracing back causes – back to origin of life, or back to origin of matter and natural laws.

    Yes I know, but the problem is you have no entailments in ID as it stands now. There is no prediction of any mechanisms that might be tested for example.Natural causes being more limited have certain entailments.

    It’s an interesting idea. The fact that organisms repair themselves, though, is evidence of intelligence at work in the origin of the process.

    Could be,but more persuasive evidence would be designs that did not have to, that is a goal in human design. Stability

    The book “Biotic Message” proposes that the design was intended to be discovered in various ways and places, but not fully exposed. The design is meant as a clue or pathway to understanding nature — the design was meant for discovery, to be revealed a little at a time, in various levels

    It’s a great point and I’ve seen some philosophers raise that. If it could be shown that the entire universe and all life on earth emerged from a single mathematical formula, for example – wouldn’t that be a more ideal design and better evidence of ID?

    Might depend on what that formula was,

    Maybe – but if the universe is meant to show not only mathematical precision, but also the drama and excitement of a great work of art (a story or painting) then a reduction to mathematic precision may not be the most ideal way to carry out the design.

    Perhaps but to my thinking then the least manipulation the better,Set up initial conditions and let it run .that might just be me, I always prefer to be under managed than over managed

  240. 240
    velikovskys says:

    Timeaus:
    I responded to that, and several people here, including skram and myself, have pretty well beaten that discussion to death. The actual detail of the science ID people have done — and how good that science is — is not the subject here. The subject was the existence or non-existence of the *effort*.

    I see, more like a participation trophy question. It is interesting though Alan’s seemed to devolve in the same way, in fact it became a way to respond got those who could not respond there or here. Again thanks for the cordial atmosphere

  241. 241
    Silver Asiatic says:

    V

    SA I think if the processes are capable, then the existence of the designer is falsified for that observance.

    V I disagree, it may be unnecessary but it is not falsified, the GC could be created by an technology beyond our grasp

    Ok, good point. I didn’t express that correctly. Design wouldn’t be totally falsified but a natural process would be a sufficient explanation for what was observed.

    Actually I believe there are more proposed mechanisms, but the same evidence for natural design can be evidence for intelligent design. intelligent design can mimic natural design if it chooses.

    As above – good point. ID is oriented towards observations that give the strongest indication of intelligence in contrast to other events that we assign to chance or natural causes. But ID cannot positively state that any thing is “not designed” – only that some things show strong evidence of design as compared with others.

    Yes I know, but the problem is you have no entailments in ID as it stands now. There is no prediction of any mechanisms that might be tested for example.Natural causes being more limited have certain entailments.

    I don’t think ID has to test mechanisms to observe evidence of intelligence. It may be that the origin of a thing is not tied to the mechanism but rather to something immaterial like “an idea”. So, we could wonder “what caused Michaelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ painting”? – and we could talk about mechanisms or paint, but it really emerged from an idea he had. That’s what moved the whole process – more than the mechanisms.

    Perhaps but to my thinking then the least manipulation the better,Set up initial conditions and let it run .that might just be me, I always prefer to be under managed than over managed

    A lot of people would agree. At the same time, ID is not saying that there are interventions or manipulations of intelligence at all these points. Some functions, like repair systems, control events at the level of the organism, but that could be a means of displaying variety.
    One of the reasons nature is so beautiful is that it shows a lot of variety of detail — and that might have been missing if everything was controlled from some initial, uniform conditions.

  242. 242
    Joe says:

    rhampton:

    So you agree that Intelligent Design theory says there are only two types of causation, natural and supernatural

    No.

    Intelligent causation is a subcategory that can belong to either one.

    The debate is whether or not natural processes can produce intelligence.

  243. 243
    Joe says:

    Why do our opponents spew that ID doesn’t have any entailments AFTER we present ID’s entailments?

    “Hi, I’m an orphan. Meet my mom and dad.”

  244. 244
    Graham2 says:

    Timaeus: The first part of your response was to vilify me for my personal browsing habits. Thank you, but I don’t need you to tell me what to do with my time.

    I didn’t criticize your *browsing* habits. I don’t care where you browse. I was talking about your *commenting* habits. You were justifying trying to change the topic of discussion because you found that topic boring. My point was that if you (and I don’t mean just you, but anyone to whom this applies) find the discussion on one web page boring, it is good manners to move to another web page, but bad manners to try to change the subject to one that you find interesting.

    If you were in a class on, say, the linguistics of the Finno-Ugric tongues, and you raised a question about macroeconomics to the professor, and he asked you why you were asking about macroeconomics in his linguistics class, and you said it was because you found Finno-Ugric linguistics to be a narrow subject that was of interest only to a few people, and that it bored you, I think the professor would be personally offended. I was making a point about basic social interaction, i.e., good conversational manners, not telling you what to read or not to read. — Timaeus.

    The 2nd part, I actually agree with. Yes, I have also been struck with how discussions almost immediately veer off topic, and usually end up in the broad subjects you listed. And, yes, I also agree that its annoying if you want to keep the discussion on topic. You may police the discussion to keep it on track, but I suspect that you wouldnt end up with any participants at all. Maybe free agents don’t really want your heavy hand ?

    I don’t have time to police the discussions, and therefore won’t be jumping on individuals to say “Talk about this, not that.” But what I can do is shut down the comments when the off-topic posts have left the on-topic posts so far behind that the original subject has faded from memory. I figure that once 30 or 40 posts in a row are showing up that have nothing to do with the the main topic, that it would not be unreasonable to close down that particular discussion. Since in most cases the ongoing posts are discussing perennial themes here, they can be carried on in many other places on this site, so that should pose no inconvenience to the commenters who want to keep on arguing with each other. So I expect to be closing down the comments here very soon. — Timaeus

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    kairosfocus says:

    RH, design theory does not at all address the category, supernatural causation. That is a projection to create a rhetorically and court case convenient strawman. As someone who has been around the issue for some time, if you cannot bring yourself to contemplate the actual categorisation: mechanical necessity and/or blind chance [“natural”] and intelligently directed configuration aka design [“ART-ificial] then, that begins to go to character. I suggest consider — mech necessity leads to low contingency lawlike regularities that are summed up in laws. High contingency has two main causes, stochastically distributed chance and design. Under certain circumstances such as FSCO/I the default of these two — chance — becomes maximally implausible and design is inferred. Ponder the case of the text in this comment vs typical o/p of a random text generator if you cannot understand this. KF

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