Intelligent Design

An open letter to BSU President Jo Ann Gora

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Dear President Gora,

As an intelligent design advocate (Web page here) who contributes regularly to the ID Website Uncommon Descent, I would like to thank you for your recent statement to the faculty and staff of Ball State University, which clarifies your university’s official position regarding the teaching of intelligent design theory.

I hope you will not object if I ask you a few questions which your own faculty staff might want to pose to you, in future meetings.

Question 1

You referred to “intelligent design” in your email to Ball State University faculty and staff, without saying what you meant by the term. So I’d like to ask: exactly how do you define “intelligent design”? Specifically: does it include the cosmological fine-tuning argument, which purports to show that the the laws and constants of Nature were designed by some intelligent being? Does it include the scientific theory proposed by physicist Silas Beane (see here and here) that the universe we live in is a giant computer simulation? (The same idea was proposed back in 2003 in an influential paper by the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom.) Does it include the theory that life on Earth was seeded by aliens, at some point in the past (never mind where they came from)? Does it include the evolutionary theory championed by Alfred Russel Wallace, who fully accepted evolution by natural selection as a fact which explained the diversity of living things, but who also believed on empirical grounds that unguided natural processes were, by themselves, unable to account for: (a) the origin of life; (b) the appearance of sentience in animals; and (c) the emergence of human intelligence?

Would a science lecturer at your university get into trouble for discussing these theories in a science classroom? Where do you draw the line, President Gora? What’s “in” and what’s “out,” at your university?

The reason why I ask is that the official definition of intelligent design at the Intelligent Design Website Uncommon Descent, on a Webpage entitled ID Defined, is quite broad:

The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.

If you construe “intelligent design” more narrowly, could you please tell us what you mean by the term?

Question 2

Would you agree that the discussion of a bad scientific theory – even one whose claims has been soundly refuted by scientific testing, such as aether theories in physics, the phlogiston theory in chemistry, and vitalism in biology – can be productive and genuinely illuminating, in a university science classroom? The history of science, after all, is littered with dead ends and blind alleys, and scientists have learned a lot about the world – and about how to do science properly – from their past mistakes. Would you therefore agree, then, that even if the theory of intelligent design were found to be riddled with factual or theoretical flaws on a scientific level, that would not be a sufficient reason by itself to keep discussion of intelligent design out of the science classroom?

Question 3

If you answered “Yes” to question 2, as I expect you did, then I shall assume that for you, the decisive reason for keeping intelligent design out of the science classroom is that it is essentially religious in nature. As you wrote in your email: “Teaching religious ideas in a science course is clearly not appropriate.”

I would now invite you to consider the following two quotes by the late Sir Fred Hoyle, FRS, an outspoken opponent of religion and a life-long atheist, as Jane Gregory notes in her biography, Fred Hoyle’s Universe (Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0 780198 507918, p. 143), and to indicate: (i) whether you think they are religious claims, and (ii) whether you think a discussion of their scientific merits belongs in a science classroom at your university.

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.
(The Universe: Past and Present Reflections, Engineering and Science, November 1981, p. 12.)

If one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as high a possibility of being true.
(Hoyle, Fred, Evolution from Space, Omni Lecture, Royal Institution, London, 12 January 1982; Evolution from Space (1982) pp. 27–28 ISBN 0-89490-083-8; Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism (1984) ISBN 0-671-49263-2)

I am of course well aware of the scientific literature relating to “Hoyle’s fallacy”, which Professor Richard Dawkins has taken great pains to refute. (Biologist Stephen Jones’ article, Fred Hoyle about the 747, the tornado and the junkyard, contains a very fair-minded discussion of the relevant issues, for those who are interested.) The point I’m making here is that if Hoyle’s claims are scientifically refutable, as neo-Darwinian biologists assert, then surely a discussion of the flaws in those claims belongs in a university science classroom. But since Hoyle referred to his own theory as “intelligent design,” it follows that a discussion of the flaws in intelligent design belongs in a university science classroom.

Now I hope you can see where I’m heading with this line of inquiry. If the discussion of the flaws in intelligent design theory belongs in a university science classroom, it logically follows that discussion of the theory itself belongs in a university science classroom. But that contradicts your email, which states that “[d]iscussions of intelligent design and creation science can have their place at Ball State in humanities or social science courses,” clearly implying that a discussion of intelligent design has no place in a science classroom. Elsewhere in your email, you state that “intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses,” which once again implies that any discussion of intelligent design is off-bounds at a Ball State University science course.

Indeed, a consistent application of your injunction to faculty staff to keep intelligent design out of the science classroom would mean that any science professor who gave a lecture exposing the errors in intelligent design theory would be in violation of your university’s official policy. Is that correct, President Gora?

Question 4

In your email, you state that “Intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory.” I’m sure you can cite court decisions to back up that assertion of yours – notably the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District court case of 2005.

I wonder if you have heard of the late Professor Richard Smalley (1943-2005), winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In a letter sent to the Hope College Alumni Banquet where he was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award in May 2005, Dr. Richard Smalley wrote:

Recently I have gone back to church regularly with a new focus to understand as best I can what it is that makes Christianity so vital and powerful in the lives of billions of people today, even though almost 2000 years have passed since the death and resurrection of Christ.

Although I suspect I will never fully understand, I now think the answer is very simple: it’s true. God did create the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and of necessity has involved Himself with His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life. We are somehow critically involved in His purpose. Our job is to sense that purpose as best we can, love one another, and help Him get that job done. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

Towards the end of his life, Dr. Richard Smalley became an Old Earth creationist, after reading the books “Origins of Life” and “Who Was Adam?”, written by Dr. Hugh Ross (an astrophysicist) and Dr. Fazale Rana (a biochemist). Dr. Smalley explained his change of heart as follows:

Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading “Origins of Life”, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred. The new book, “Who Was Adam?”, is the silver bullet that puts the evolutionary model to death. (Emphasis mine – VJT.)

I’m quite sure you will tell me that most biologists and chemists disagree with the late Nobel Prize Laureate, Dr. Richard Smalley, on whether the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution can account for the origin and diversity of life. Be that as it may, what interests me is that Dr. Smalley evidently felt that the question of whether life and the universe were intelligently designed was scientifically tractable. What’s more, he felt that science had already found the answer: “it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life.” That’s intelligent design.

So my question to you is: if a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry thought that intelligent design belongs in the category of “science”, what makes you so sure that it belongs in the category of religion? For that matter, was the late Sir Fred Hoyle, FRS, being religious when he argued on scientific grounds that “superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology”? Is that what you are saying?

Finally, I note that you remark in your email that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory” (italics mine – VJT). However, the scientific community’s very rejection intelligent design as a scientific theory logically implies that it is a scientific theory – even if a bad one. Are you prepared to grant this point?

Question 5

In your email, you state:

Discussions of intelligent design and creation science can have their place at Ball State in humanities or social science courses. However, even in such contexts, faculty must avoid endorsing one point of view over others.

I’d now like you to consider the hypothetical case of a humanities or social science lecturer at your university who is asked a very direct, personal question by a student: “Do you believe in intelligent design?” Let’s suppose that the lecturer answers like this:

Personally, I do. I should point out in all fairness that the vast majority of scientists currently reject intelligent design, and if you want to know why, then I’d invite you to have a look at the official statements on the Websites of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Astronomical Society, and the American Physical Society. I’ve spent some time sifting the arguments on both sides. I’m not a trained scientist; but I do have some (philosophical) training in spotting a bad argument. In my humble opinion, the scientific arguments against intelligent design are not very convincing; at most, they merely refute some of the more naive versions of intelligent design. Regarding the arguments in favor of intelligent design, I do think they raise some very real questions which science has not yet answered. Now you might say that some day it will answer those questions. And maybe you’re right. My own opinion – and I’d invite you to read the best books on both sides in order to arrive at yours – is that we already have enough information at our fingertips to conclude that most likely, the Universe itself – and life – was a put-up job. Who or what the “Putter-Upper” is, I leave for you to speculate, if you agree with my line of thinking.

In answering in this way, has the lecturer said anything that is “out of line” with your university’s policy on the separation of church and state? It should be noted that up to this point, the lecturer has not even expressed a belief in theism, let alone the tenets of any particular religion. Saying that the universe was designed (passive voice) says nothing, by itself, about the identity of the Designer.

Now suppose that the inquisitive student presses further: “Do you believe the Designer of life and the universe to be God?” and the lecturer answers, “Yes, that is my personal belief.” Does that answer qualify as “endorsing one point of view over others” – something which your email expressly prohibits? If not, why not?

What if, instead, the lecturer had answered the student’s question as follows: “I’m an atheist, and I think intelligent design is a load of pseudo-scientific religious claptrap.” Would such an answer constitute “endorsing one point of view over others”? If not, why not?

Well, I think five questions are quite enough for one day. Over to you, President Gora. Thank you taking the time and trouble to read this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Vincent Torley

152 Replies to “An open letter to BSU President Jo Ann Gora

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to Gora’s statement:

    “Intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory.”

    It might surprise Dr. Gora to learn that it is in fact Darwinism that is a religious belief and not a scientific theory. First and foremost Darwinian evolution has no rigid falsification criteria as to demarcate it as a true science rather than a pseudo-science. In fact, including Dr. Gora’s ‘official’ opinion, I’ve been told for what seems like the millionth time that Intelligent Design is not science but a pseudo-science. Many seemingly intelligent people disagree with this assessment (Dissent from Darwinism list). So to clear the matter up perhaps a real scientist (i.e. a Darwinist) can be so kind as to show those of us who are not so convinced that undirected processes can produce sophisticated functional complexity the exact mathematical demarcation criteria of neo-Darwinism so that we may finally learn how to properly designate real Darwinian science from the pseudo-scientific tripe that is called Intelligent Design?

    “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture

    Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician — May 5th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Grand theories in physics are usually expressed in mathematics. Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity are essentially equations. Words are needed only to interpret the terms. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has obstinately remained in words since 1859. …
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....emagician/

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

    Macroevolution, microevolution and chemistry: the devil is in the details – Dr. V. J. Torley – February 27, 2013
    Excerpt: After all, mathematics, scientific laws and observed processes are supposed to form the basis of all scientific explanation. If none of these provides support for Darwinian macroevolution, then why on earth should we accept it? Indeed, why does macroevolution belong in the province of science at all, if its scientific basis cannot be demonstrated?
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-details/

    Whereas nobody can seem to come up with a rigid demarcation criteria for Darwinism, Intelligent Design (ID) does not suffer from such a lack of mathematical rigor:

    Evolutionary Informatics Lab – Main Publications
    http://evoinfo.org/publications/

    ,, the empirical falsification criteria of ID is much easier to understand than the math is, and is as such:

    “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

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    http://www-qa.scitopics.com/Th.....iency.html

    Well, do Darwinists, excuse me ‘scientists’, have evidence of even one molecular machine arising by Darwinian processes?,,, Despite asking for an example for years I have yet to see even a single novel protein arise by neo-Darwinian processes much less a entire molecular machine! Without such a demonstration that Darwinian processes can actually do what is claimed of them, and still the dogmatic insistence that Darwinism is true, then as far as I can tell, the actual demarcation threshold for believing neo-Darwinism is true is something along this line:

    Darwinism Not Proved Impossible Therefore Its True – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/10285716/

    How Darwinists React to Improbability Arguments (Dumb and Dumber) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9IgLueodZA

    ,, I hope that a neo-Darwinist, i.e. ‘a scientist’, can help us to designate a more rigid threshold for neo-Darwinism, since as far as I can tell, without such a rigid demarcation criteria, neo-Darwinism is in actuality the pseudo-science they accuse Intelligent Design of being!

    Moreover, on top of the fact that Darwinism has no demarcation criteria so as to demarcate it as a true science (and that ID does have a demarcation criteria), it turns out that, contrary to the claims that Darwinism is not religious, Darwinism is religious to its core. Darwinists, instead of ever providing positive evidence that Darwinian processes can actually build functional complexity, are notorious for using theologically based ‘Bad Design arguments’ as to how God should or should not act in the universe. This was true of Darwinism in the beginning,,

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human begins are not justfied in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, this form of theological argumentation (Theodicy) continues from neo-Darwinists to this day.

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    Dr. Seuss Biology | Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVx42Izp1ek

    In this following video Dr. William Lane Craig is surprised to find that evolutionary biologist Dr. Ayala uses theological argumentation in his book to support Darwinism and invites him to present evidence, any evidence at all, that Darwinian processes can do what he claims they can:

    Refuting The Myth Of ‘Bad Design’ vs. Intelligent Design – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

    Here, at about the 55:00 minute mark in the following video, Phillip Johnson sums up his, in my opinion, excellent lecture by noting that the refutation of his book, ‘Darwin On Trial’, in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, was a theological argument about what God would and would not do and therefore Darwinism must be true, and the critique from Nature was not a refutation based on any substantiating scientific evidence for Darwinism that one would expect to be brought forth in such a prestigious venue:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9h9Zx6Mw

    And in the following quote, Dr. John Avise explicitly uses Theodicy (reconciling a good God with natural evil) to try to make his case for Darwinism:

    It Is Unfathomable That a Loving Higher Intelligence Created the Species – Cornelius Hunter – June 2012
    Excerpt: “Approximately 0.1% of humans who survive to birth carry a duplicon-related disability, meaning that several million people worldwide currently are afflicted by this particular subcategory of inborn metabolic errors. Many more afflicted individuals probably die in utero before their conditions are diagnosed. Clearly, humanity bears a substantial health burden from duplicon-mediated genomic malfunctions. This inescapable empirical truth is as understandable in the light of mechanistic genetic operations as it is unfathomable as the act of a loving higher intelligence. [112]” – Dr. John Avise – “Inside The Human Genome”
    There you have it. Evil exists and a loving higher intelligence wouldn’t have done it that way.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....it-is.html

    What’s ironic in all this is that Dr. John Avise’s theological argumentation from detrimental mutations, as to what a loving God would and would not do in this universe, turns out to be, (without Darwinian Theological blinders on), a very powerful ‘scientific’ argument against Darwinism:
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....7430067209

    In fact, there is currently a ‘scientific’ site on the web named Panda’s Thumb. A name which is based on this theological form of ‘bad design’ argumentation (Theodicy):

    From Discovering Intelligent Design: Two Thumbs Up – May 27, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould argued that “odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution — paths that a sensible God would never tread.” Likewise Miller claims that an intelligent designer would have “been capable of remodeling a complete digit, like the thumb of a primate, to hold the panda’s food.”
    It turns out that the panda’s thumb is not a clumsy design. A study published in Nature used MRI and computer tomography to analyze the thumb and concluded that the bones “form a double pincer-like apparatus” thus “enabling the panda to manipulate objects with great dexterity.”
    The critics’ objection is backed by little more than their subjective opinion about what a “sensible God” should have made.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....72531.html

    Moreover, the now falsified ‘Junk’ DNA argument (ENCODE SEpt. 2012), where over 90% of the genome was, at one time, considered junk by Darwinists, was driven in large measure by this form of Theological argumentation and the concept of Junk DNA was not derived from scientific investigation.

    “The human genome is littered with pseudogenes, gene fragments, “orphaned” genes, “junk” DNA, and so many repeated copies of pointless DNA sequences that it cannot be attributed to anything that resembles intelligent design. . . . In fact, the genome resembles nothing so much as a hodgepodge of borrowed, copied, mutated, and discarded sequences and commands that has been cobbled together by millions of years of trial and error against the relentless test of survival. It works, and it works brilliantly; not because of intelligent design, but because of the great blind power of natural selection.”
    – Ken Miller

    “Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer. Imperfect design is the mark of evolution … we expect to find, in the genomes of many species, silenced, or ‘dead,’ genes: genes that once were useful but are no longer intact or expressed … the evolutionary prediction that we’ll find pseudogenes has been fulfilled—amply … our genome—and that of other species—are truly well populated graveyards of dead genes”
    – Jerry Coyne

    “We have to wonder why the Intelligent Designer added to our genome junk DNA, repeated copies of useless DNA, orphan genes, gene fragments, tandem repeats, and pseudo¬genes, none of which are involved directly in the making of a human being. In fact, of the entire human genome, it appears that only a tiny percentage is actively involved in useful protein production. Rather than being intelligently designed, the human genome looks more and more like a mosaic of mutations, fragment copies, borrowed sequences, and discarded strings of DNA that were jerry-built over millions of years of evolution.”
    – Michael Shermer

    Vestigial organs were also derived from this form of theological argumentation. As was the ‘inverted retina’ argument. The basis point being is that, contrary to Dr. Gora’s belief, Darwinism, not ID, is the one position that is absolutely dependent on Theological presuppositions, as to what God would and would not do in this universe, in order to make its case.

    Of note: it is impossible to ‘do science’ in the first place without some form of Theological presupposition:

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Of Note: ENV has two articles up on this topic:

    Ball State University President Imposes Gag Order on Scientists Supportive of Intelligent Design – July 31, 2013 3:07 PM
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....75021.html

    Ball State President’s Orwellian Attack on Academic Freedom – John G. West – August 1, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....75041.html

  4. 4
    Graham2 says:

    vjt: Do you believe the intelligent designer is god ?

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    Graham,

    It doesn’t matter who the designer is. If God did it then it is science as science only cares about reality.

  6. 6
    DonaldM says:

    Good points all around Dr. Torley. The question I would want to ask her is “what is your definition of science?” TO me it seems that in her letter she is more or less parroting the party line, most likely provided for her, by the major Science organizations which always toe the Naturalism line. She tries to draw a fine distinction between defending academic freedom and academic integrity, but in doing so, fails to show how considering ID in the broader context of Dr. Hedin’s course violates either!

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    Pardon my $0.02:

    When science, especially on origins becomes little more than a priori materialist ideology and scientism wrapped up in a lab coat using institutional power to push that ideology as a substitute for humility before evidence, fair discussion and truth, our vaunted academic freedom is dying. Where also, given the importance of both science and the academy to our civilisation, our civilisation is in mortal peril as a direct result.

    (Cf. my recent remarks here.)

    Those ideologues who have seized control of dominant institutions may well imagine they have power to decide the result. Long run — as the fate of the Soviet Union warns — they don’t.

    But learning that the hard way (why is it we are so often so stubborn?) is going to be costly indeed, for our whole civilisation.

    KF

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    G2:

    Before returning to more pressing concerns . . .

    You know or should know that from the beginnings of modern, scientific — label and dismiss ideological rhetorical games played by a priori materialists pushing “war of religion against science” myths fall of their own weight — design thought, the inference to design in the world of life has been freely acknowledged as not in itself identifying a designer within or beyond the cosmos. That tweredun on decisive signs, is different from and prior to whodunit.

    But the older arm of design theory is cosmological.

    You know, or should know of the large and growing body of evidence pointing to fine tuning of the observed cosmos (the ONLY observed cosmos) that fits it for life. We are talking here of monkeying with the physics of the cosmos in ways that are utterly characteristic of purposeful design. Starting with the circumstances that set up H, He, C and O as the first four most abundant elements, with N close by. As in, getting us to stars, the periodic table, water and organic chemistry, then proteins.

    We also live in an observed cosmos that is contingent, and cries out for causal explanation. Where, a speculative multiverse just multiplies contingency. Such radical contingency points to an underlying necessary being as cause.

    Now, consider: a necessary being with purpose, knowledge, skill and power to create a cosmos such as we inhabit. Purpose points to mind, cosmos points to power, necessity of being to being without beginning or end — being eternal.

    Pray, tell us, what name or title would most reasonable people use to describe such an eternal author and maker of the heavens and the earth, the root of reality?

    And, in so answering, can you tell us the relevant distinction and relationship between the God of philosophy, and that of theistic Theology?

    KF

  9. 9
    CLAVDIVS says:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

    If that’s the definition of ID, and no more, then no wonder they don’t want to teach it as science.

    The bare explanation “it has an intelligent cause” could apply to absolutely anything. It may be a useful metaphysical intuition, but it’s not science because it can’t be either confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.

  10. 10
    Upright BiPed says:

    Claudius, they are perfectly happy to teach that life began as an undirected event in chemical history. What is the test of that thesis? If there is not one, then why is it allowed as the prevailing scientific theory? From what material evidence exactly does it derive it’s scientific status?

  11. 11
    jerry says:

    but it’s not science

    But it sure is basic logic and reasoning. So if science prevents such a thought process from the curriculum, then science is seriously flawed.

    And by the way all forms of the ideas of Darwin are not science either except for the very trivial aspects of it. It does not mean that these trivial aspects are not important for things like medicine and disease but they are trivial in the evolution debate. So they should be excluded from the curriculum too.

    Also some in the ID debate are developing mathematical analysis techniques to estimate the probability that something is designed. That would classify as science in most definitions of the word. If not where would you put it?

  12. 12
    DonaldM says:

    Claudius in #9

    The bare explanation “it has an intelligent cause” could apply to absolutely anything. It may be a useful metaphysical intuition, but it’s not science because it can’t be either confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.

    Well, if the measure of what is and is not scientific is what is testable, then are your ready to toss the Uniformity Principle (UP) out the door? And while you’re at it, the scientific method itself? Neither of those can be confirmed or refuted by any sort of test. Yet both are considered essential to science. Indeed, where the UP is concerned, it is difficult to imagine anyone even bothering to do science if that principle did not hold. Yet, by itself, the UP, completely detached from any hypothesis, theory or law is neither testable, falsifiable, makes no predictions nor has any of the other characteristics oft cited as reasons to exclude ID from science. Yet, its a foundational a principle to science as you’re ever going to find. Same for the scientific method. There’s no none circular way to test the sci-meth. You have to assume its efficacy in order to employ it to demonstrate its efficacy in producing reliable results.

    Perhaps there’s some additional required condition that ID fails to meet? If so, what is that and why does ID fail to meet this necessary condition to be considered scientific?

    I raise these questions to point out that determining what is and is not science is not as straightforward and simple as “Is it testable?” Even if it were, ID is very testable. Indeed, you could easily argue that every attempt by evolutionary biologists to show undirected, natural causes produce irreducibly complex biological systems, or systems that exhibit complex specified information, are ultimately attempts to falsify ID…the idea that CSI and IC require intelligent cause. So far, if there’s one thing that evolutionary biologists have failed miserably at is providing just such an undirected, natural cause explanation. In other words, every attempt to falsify ID (that is test it), has failed! And hundreds, if not thousands of attempts have been made. I’d say ID has withstood falsification rather well.

  13. 13
    vjtorley says:

    CLAVDIVS

    Thank you for your comment. You write that “The bare explanation ‘It has an intelligent cause’ could apply to absolutely anything,” and you add that “it’s not science because it can’t be confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.”

    May I invite you to look at the definition of Intelligent Design a little more carefully:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

    In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. (Italics mine – VJT.)

    What the definition tells us is that there are certain patterns found in Nature which indicate that an object exhibiting those patterns is best explained as the product of an intelligent cause. That’s a non-trivial statement. Professor William Dembski has long admitted that for all we know, any object might have been designed, but his concern was to find a set of criteria which reliably signal that an object is best explained as the product of an intelligent cause.

    What might those criteria be? Dembski provides a good general account of his methodology in an article he wrote on 2003 for Lindsay Jones’s Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd edition, entitled, “Intelligent Design.” A few highlights:

    Intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? To see what’s at stake, consider Mount Rushmore. The evidence for Mount Rushmore’s design is direct — eyewitnesses saw the sculptor Gutzon Borglum spend the better part of his life designing and building this structure. But what if there were no direct evidence for Mount Rushmore’s design? What if humans went extinct and aliens, visiting the earth, discovered Mount Rushmore in substantially the same condition as it is now?

    In that case, what about this rock formation would provide convincing circumstantial evidence that it was due to a designing intelligence and not merely to wind and erosion? Designed objects like Mount Rushmore exhibit characteristic features or patterns that point to an intelligence. Such features or patterns constitute signs of intelligence. Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence...

    For design to be a fruitful scientific concept, scientists have to be sure that they can reliably determine whether something is designed. Johannes Kepler, for instance, thought the craters on the moon were intelligently designed by moon dwellers. We now know that the craters were formed by purely material factors (like meteor impacts). This fear of falsely attributing something to design, only to have it overturned later, has hindered design from entering the scientific mainstream. But design theorists argue that they now have formulated precise methods for discriminating designed from undesigned objects. These methods, they contend, enable them to avoid Kepler’s mistake and reliably locate design in biological systems.

    As a theory of biological origins and development, intelligent design’s central claim is that only intelligent causes adequately explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable. To say intelligent causes are empirically detectable is to say there exist well-defined methods that, based on observable features of the world, can reliably distinguish intelligent causes from undirected natural causes. Many special sciences have already developed such methods for drawing this distinction—notably forensic science, cryptography, archeology, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Essential to all these methods is the ability to eliminate chance and necessity…

    Intelligence leaves behind a characteristic trademark or signature—what within the intelligent design community is now called specified complexity. An event exhibits specified complexity if it is contingent and therefore not necessary; if it is complex and therefore not readily repeatable by chance; and if it is specified in the sense of exhibiting an independently given pattern. Note that a merely improbable event is not sufficient to eliminate chance—by flipping a coin long enough, one will witness a highly complex or improbable event. Even so, one will have no reason to attribute it to anything other than chance.

    The important thing about specifications is that they be objectively given and not arbitrarily imposed on events after the fact. For instance, if an archer fires arrows at a wall and then paints bull’s-eyes around them, the archer imposes a pattern after the fact. On the other hand, if the targets are set up in advance (“specified”), and then the archer hits them accurately, one legitimately concludes that it was by design…

    Design theorists contend that specified complexity provides compelling circumstantial evidence for intelligence. Accordingly, specified complexity is a reliable empirical marker of intelligence in the same way that fingerprints are a reliable empirical marker of an individual’s presence. Moreover, design theorists argue that purely material factors cannot adequately account for specified complexity.

    In determining whether biological organisms exhibit specified complexity, design theorists focus on identifiable systems (e.g., individual enzymes, metabolic pathways, and molecular machines). These systems are not only specified by their independent functional requirements but also exhibit a high degree of complexity.

    That, in broad brush strokes, is the general approach adopted by Intelligent Design. You may or may not agree with it; plenty of ID critics have attacked the very concept of specified complexity, for instance, or contended that even large amounts of specified complexity can arise in the absence of intelligence. But what has been said here should at least convince you that the research project that Intelligent Design is engaging in is a non-trivial one.

    I hope that helps.

  14. 14
    OldArmy94 says:

    I am always amazed by the accusations of the naturalist that ID is inferior science or voodoo. When you consider that evolutionary “science” is full of just so stories and tales of how something might’ve arisen, then you are confronted with the reality that it is a philosophical system. The sheer hypocrisy and denial is amazing; unfortunately, for the sake of truth, the philosophical grounding of atheism prevents real science from occurring. That’s why you have the Dr. Goras of the world in their ivory towers proclaiming that everybody knows that the only legitimate form of scientific inquiry into the origins of life is through a Darwinian paradigm.

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Looking at Jo-Ann Gora’s statements provide some insight and an approach.

    Gora stated that academic freedom, while important, is not an issue in this case.

    It is important to note here that Jo-Ann has placed herself in a position of being the arbiter and judge of whether academic freedom is an issue on a case-by-case basis. This abuses the word “freedom.”

    “Teaching intelligent design as a scientific theory is not a matter of academic freedom – it is an issue of academic integrity,”

    Here, Jo-Ann clearly lays out how she decides each case: whether the case is one of obvious academic freedom (i.e. orthodoxy) versus one of obvious academic integrity (i.e. heresy).

    Gora wrote. “[Academic freedom] cannot be used as a shield to teach theories that have been rejected by the discipline under which a science course is taught.”

    And here is Jo-Ann’s self-damning, sweeping generalization. Rejected by whom in the discipline? The leading authorities? The presumed consensus opinion? How is this consensus determined? By ballot measure with full professors getting 3 votes and untenured assistant professors getting 2/3 of a vote?

    Does Science make progress by consensus alone? Would any of the Luminaries of Science have survived under such a stifling environment? What are students of scientific disciplines learning through such a philosophy? Knuckle under the current consensus dogma? Investigate only approved lines of inquiry? Get permission before you publish?

    Would it not be correct to conclude that Jo-Ann’s philosophy is smug, authoritarian, and anti-science?

  16. 16
    OldArmy94 says:

    Dr. Gora,

    I have read about your decision to silence the Intelligent Design voice at Ball State, and I commend you on your fervent devotion to the status quo. By decrying ID as being out of touch with the mainstream of scientific thought, you are demonstrating that you understand the necessity of marching lock-step with the loud and influential voices. Truth? That is necessarily of secondary importance, particularly when you are dealing with donors, grants and the egos of research faculty. Consensus is the key thing in science. We cannot afford to question, much less abandon, the Darwinian line of thought as there is no other conceivable alternative to the order and complexity that we find in our world. Let us never doubt for one second that we are monkeys with enlarged brains; it’s self-evident. After all, if we didn’t evolve, we wouldn’t be here, right?

    In closing, thank you for showing the fools who dare to question authority and to challenge the system that they have no forum at Ball State, a genuinely materialist institution that has no room for anything unorthodox.

  17. 17
    Bilbo I says:

    Very good letter, VJ. I hope Dr. Gora reads it and responds.

  18. 18
    DinoV says:

    Metaphysical materialism is an absurd belief system. The notion that hold ALL of reality is compromised of ONLY physical individual things will never be proven via science; there is a limit to reductionism – Godel proved that in mathematics the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts! What an upsetting fraud.

  19. 19
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Claudius, they are perfectly happy to teach that life began as an undirected event in chemical history. What is the test of that thesis?

    Let’s grant for the sake of discussion that this is being taught and it’s not testable.

    That’s completely irrelevant to my point that the explanation “intelligent cause” is consistent with absolutely any measurement or observation, and thus cannot be checked or tested in any way, so this explanation is not a scientific one.

  20. 20
    CLAVDIVS says:

    jerry @ 11

    CLAVDIVS: The bare explanation “it has an intelligent cause” could apply to absolutely anything. It may be a useful metaphysical intuition, but it’s not science because it can’t be either confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.

    jerry: But it sure is basic logic and reasoning. So if science prevents such a thought process from the curriculum, then science is seriously flawed.

    Sure, the intution that something may be “caused by an intelligence” can be logical can reasonable. But it’s not science if it can’t be checked in any way against reality.

    I don’t believe you can stretch the word “science” to include ideas that can never be checked against reality. Such ideas are usually referred to as metaphysical or philosophical. Science refers to ideas and explanations that we can check.

    And by the way all forms of the ideas of Darwin are not science either except for the very trivial aspects of it.

    Pointing out other theories that may not be science either is not really relevant to my point about ID not being science, is it?

  21. 21
    CLAVDIVS says:

    DonaldM @ 12

    CLAVDIVS: The bare explanation “it has an intelligent cause” could apply to absolutely anything. It may be a useful metaphysical intuition, but it’s not science because it can’t be either confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.

    DonaldM: Well, if the measure of what is and is not scientific is what is testable, then are your ready to toss the Uniformity Principle (UP) out the door? And while you’re at it, the scientific method itself? Neither of those can be confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.

    Of course uniformitarianism and the scientific method itself are not scientifically testable. The scientific method assumes uniformitarianism as a metaphysical principle, because rational investigation of causes and testing of explanations would be impossible without it, as you correctly point out. Why on earth would I be willing to throw it out the door? Agreeing that it’s not a scientific idea is not the same as wanting to throw it out the door.

    Perhaps there’s some additional required condition that ID fails to meet? If so, what is that and why does ID fail to meet this necessary condition to be considered scientific?

    The explanation “it has an intelligent cause” is much too unqualified, unlimited and unbounded to allow for any kind of scentific checking; no observation can be inconsistent with it. The ID explanation needs to more limited in some way.

    I raise these questions to point out that determining what is and is not science is not as straightforward and simple as “Is it testable?”

    I think the problem is deeper than that. In my view “intelligent cause” doesn’t quite rise to the level of being an explanation at all, let alone a scientifically testable one. Usually when we give an explanation, we give a reason why things are one way, and not another way. An assertion that is compatible with all possible states of affairs, including opposite or contradictory ones, can’t really count as an explanation.

  22. 22
    CLAVDIVS says:

    vjtorley @ 13

    Hi

    Professor William Dembski has long admitted that for all we know, any object might have been designed, but his concern was to find a set of criteria which reliably signal that an object is best explained as the product of an intelligent cause.

    The problem is, the explanation “intelligently caused”, with qualification, is reliably true of all objects and events, because it can’t not be true – it’s so broad in power and scope it can explain anything. Accordingly it is trivial and unscientific.

  23. 23
    CLAVDIVS says:

    OldArmy94 @ 16

    I am always amazed by the accusations of the naturalist that ID is inferior science or voodoo. When you consider that evolutionary “science” is full of just so stories and tales of how something might’ve arisen, then you are confronted with the reality that it is a philosophical system. The sheer hypocrisy and denial is amazing; unfortunately, for the sake of truth, the philosophical grounding of atheism prevents real science from occurring.

    That there are hypocrites and denialists in the world, and philosophical systems that may or may not be masquerading as science, are irrelevant to the question of whether the unqualified ID claim of “intelligent cause” is a scientific explanation.

    This is precisely what the University President’s letter is about – whether ID belongs in the science classroom.

    And what I’ve been saying is, because the bare claim of “intelligent cause” is so broad that it covers all possible patterns or measurements – even contradictory ones – then it doesn’t qualify as a scientific explanation. It may well be an “important and relevant form of human inquiry” as the letter states, but it’s not science.

  24. 24
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Querius @ 15

    Don’t you agree that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory”?

    I’m not asking you to agree that they’re right, just whether it is fair to say scholars, practising scientists and scientific societies in general have rejected ID as science?

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS you complain that ‘intelligent cause’ doesn’t qualify as a scientific explanation:

    Oh Really? So everything you see in your life, including the computer you are using right now, has no intelligent cause according to ‘science’? What do you think that the computer you are using somehow randomly assembled itself? As well I’m sure the Christian founders of modern science would soundly laugh at such an insane notion of ‘randomness’ being the quote unquote ‘scientific’ explanation over and above Intelligence. It has been observed by no less than the noted physicist Wolfgang Pauli that the word ‘random chance’, as used by Biologists, is synonymous with the word ‘miracle’:

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: While they (Darwinian Biologists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    Talbott humorously reflects on the awkward situation between Atheists and Theists here:

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    CLAVDIVS, moreover invoking randomness, instead of Intelligence, besides being an impediment to the founding of modern science (Jaki) leads to the epistemological failure of modern science itself. (Boltzmann’s Brain, Plantinga EAAN)

    A few more assorted notes

    “Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism.”
    ~ Alvin Plantinga

    “Atheists may do science, but they cannot justify what they do. When they assume the world is rational, approachable, and understandable, they plagiarize Judeo-Christian presuppositions about the nature of reality and the moral need to seek the truth. As an exercise, try generating a philosophy of science from hydrogen coming out of the big bang. It cannot be done. It’s impossible even in principle, because philosophy and science presuppose concepts that are not composed of particles and forces. They refer to ideas that must be true, universal, necessary and certain.” Creation-Evolution Headlines

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

    “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin(ism) can be described as scientific” –
    Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, quote was as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture

    Evolutionists Are Now Saying Their Thinking is Flawed (But Evolution is Still a Fact) – Cornelius Hunter – May 2012
    Excerpt: But the point here is that these “researchers” are making an assertion (human reasoning evolved and is flawed) which undermines their very argument. If human reasoning evolved and is flawed, then how can we know that evolution is a fact, much less any particular details of said evolutionary process that they think they understand via their “research”?
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....their.html

    “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears… unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    —C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry (aka the Argument from Reason)

    Physicalism and Reason – May 2013
    Summary: So we find ourselves affirming two contradictory propositions:
    1. Everything is governed by cause-and-effect.
    2. Our brains can process and be changed by ground-consequent logical relationships.
    To achieve consistency, we must either deny that everything is governed by cause-and-effect, and open our worldviews to something beyond physicalism, or we must deny that our brains are influenced by ground-consequence reasoning, and abandon the idea that we are rational creatures.
    Ask yourself: are humans like falling dominoes, entirely subject to natural law, or may we stand up and walk in the direction that reason shows us?
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2.....nd-reason/

    Verse and music:

    Isaiah 1:18
    “Come now, and let us reason together,”,,,

    Hurricane – Natalie Grant
    http://myktis.com/songs/hurricane/

  26. 26
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain @ 24

    CLAVDIVS you complain that ‘intelligent cause’ doesn’t qualify as a scientific explanation:

    Oh Really? So everything you see in your life, including the computer you are using right now, has no intelligent cause according to ‘science’? What do you think that the computer you are using somehow randomly assembled itself?

    No bornagain77, you have misunderstood.

    We don’t just say that the computer had an “intelligent cause”, without any detail or qualification, because this could be true of absolutely anything, and thus is trivial and unscientific.

    What we do say is that the computer was made at a specific time and place, using specific components of specific composition from specific sources, in a specific order, by specific intelligent humans, all of which can be checked and confirmed (or perhaps refuted). Therefore, the idea that the computer was caused to exist by intelligent human beings using particular materials and processes is a scientific explanation.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    And ‘Randomness’ qualifies over and above Intelligence as to ultimate causality, i.e. ‘science’, exactly how pray tell?

  28. 28
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 26

    And ‘Randomness’ qualifies over and above Intelligence as to ultimate causality, i.e. ‘science’, exactly how pray tell?

    I have no idea what this question means. But it doesn’t matter because it appears to be irrelevant to what I’ve been saying about whether the ID claim “intelligent cause” is a scientific explanation.

  29. 29
    jerry says:

    Pointing out other theories that may not be science either is not really relevant to my point about ID not being science, is it?

    Thank you for agreeing with my point that Darwinian evolution is not science. I just wanted to make sure you were consistent in your beliefs.

    Now to whether some aspects of ID are science or not. A typical science study includes 4 parts, introduction/background, methods, results/findings and conclusions. The conclusion could consider several things as possible explanation from the results. One thing it could include is that the data represent a pattern that shows characteristics only of things that were designed.

    In other words the study is identical to another study but this study considers the possible conclusion that the results could only have come about because of design. Not that is could possibly be designed but that is the only way the findings are plausible. Thus, the legitimate conclusion based on logic, reason and the scientific process is that the thing under investigation was probably designed.

    We are not talking here about “not a single sparrow can fall to the ground” or that every position of every molecule could be placed and guided by an intelligence. We are talking about a specific arrangement of molecules that could not have happened without the involvement of an intelligence. Not only is there certain characteristics of design present but that there is no known natural forces that could have produced the configuration.

    That is science in any sense of the word.

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design – video
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    LOGIC 101

    If intelligent design is unprovable, Darwinism (unintelligent design) is unfalsifiable.

    If intelligent design is unfalsifiable, Darwinism is unprovable.

    If intelligent design is both unprovable and unfalsifiable (untestable), Darwinism is both unprovable and unfalsifiable (untestable).

    If intelligent design is both provable and falsifiable (testable), Darwinism is both provable and falsifiable (testable).

    Conclusion: Either both are science (testable) or neither are science (untestable).

    It’s grade school logic, folks.

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    Is Life Unique? David L. Abel – January 2012
    Concluding Statement: The scientific method itself cannot be reduced to mass and energy. Neither can language, translation, coding and decoding, mathematics, logic theory, programming, symbol systems, the integration of circuits, computation, categorizations, results tabulation, the drawing and discussion of conclusions. The prevailing Kuhnian paradigm rut of philosophic physicalism is obstructing scientific progress, biology in particular. There is more to life than chemistry. All known life is cybernetic. Control is choice-contingent and formal, not physicodynamic.
    http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/

  31. 31
    OldArmy94 says:

    Again, there is no requirement that an intelligent designer be God, Allah, or any other supernatural creator. The designer may be a giant computer or an alien species, though that begs the question of who or what designed THEM.

    Do I, personally, think that the designer is God? Yes, I do, but that is when my analysis from a scientific perspective ends and my beliefs from a historical and judicial perspective begins. If I had no scientific evidence that intelligent design is involved, I still have mountains of evidence from history, psychology, and sociology that there are Divine forces at work in this universe, particularly God as revealed in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

    At the end of the day, if all that intelligent design accomplishes is to force the proponents of Darwinian evolution to find concrete, evidence-supported and experimentally verifiable data about their theory, then it has played a tremendous role in the progress of science. Unfortunately, most evolutionary scientists are merely reactionary and withdraw to their still well-guarded ivory towers of indignation.

  32. 32
    CLAVDIVS says:

    jerry @ 28

    Thank you for agreeing with my point that Darwinian evolution is not science. I just wanted to make sure you were consistent in your beliefs.

    I said “may”, jerry. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but in any case it’s irrelevant. The existence of other unscientific ideas, and indeed the existence of people who may be inconsistent, are just irrelevant to the question of whether the ID claim of “intelligent cause” is science.

    Now to whether some aspects of ID are science or not. …
    We are not talking here about “not a single sparrow can fall to the ground” or that every position of every molecule could be placed and guided by an intelligence. We are talking about a specific arrangement of molecules that could not have happened without the involvement of an intelligence. Not only is there certain characteristics of design present but that there is no known natural forces that could have produced the configuration.

    That is science in any sense of the word.

    Your rearrangement of the ID claim to “could not have happened without intelligence” is yet another assertion we can’t check even in principle, because we are not all-knowing. We can only confirm that something could not have happened by any process we know enough about to check it thoroughly. Thus the the claim “X did not happen due to process Q, R or S” can be squarely scientific, albeit a bit iffy, depending on how good our knowledge of Q, R and S is.

    But of course this does not tell us how X did happen, nor whether intelligence was required or even involved at all.

    In fact, if you think about it, the claim “intelligence was required” is just as impossible to disprove as the claim “intelligence was involved” – since we are not omniscient, there will always be unknown areas in the nature and origin of the principles that govern the behaviour of all things we can observe, and one can always point to those unknown areas and say “intelligence was required” without fear of disproof, because they’re unknown.

  33. 33
    LarTanner says:

    OldArmy94,

    At the end of the day, if all that intelligent design accomplishes is to force the proponents of Darwinian evolution to find concrete, evidence-supported and experimentally verifiable data about their theory, then it has played a tremendous role in the progress of science.

    Maybe, but don’t you think “the theory of Intelligent Design” ought to be an actual theory of intelligent design?

    Since UD presents itself as a champion of ID, shouldn’t the site be more concerned with the “concrete, evidence-supported and experimentally verifiable data about their theory”?

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner, you yourself provide concrete evidence for intelligent design every time you write a single post.

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/docume.....k_726.html

    Or do you deny that you are intelligent? So why the games LT? You provide one example of Darwinism doing what you yourself do so easily and then you might be able to call Darwinism scientific instead of lying and saying ID is unscientific!

  35. 35
    LarTanner says:

    BA,

    You really don’t get it, do you? (This is a rhetorical question.)

    ID has been around long enough to have well started down the path of a body of “concrete, evidence-supported and experimentally verifiable data about their theory.” Where is it? Where?

    Don’t feed us a shabby excerpt from Meyer’s pedestrian and misinformed efforts. Everyone knows he’s just cashing in on the hopes and fears of those like you that have so little faith as to need their religion be more sciency.

    But the basic question — the one you skipped — is when “the theory of Intelligent Design” will mature into an actual theory of intelligent design.

    Don’t you think it’s odd that your pet theory has no theory?

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner, you, in your atheistic/materialistic worldview which you have such unquestioned faith in, hold that information ’emerges’ from a material basis, but the fact of the matter is that science now shows us that material reduces to information:

    Here are my references for the claim that “energy and mass both reduce to information”:

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,,
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo.....ammeup.asp

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....1769/posts

    Physicists set new record for quantum teleportation with matter qubits – Apr 16, 2013
    Excerpt: “The greatest significance of our work is the dramatic increase in efficiency compared to previous realizations of matter-matter teleportation,” Nölleke said. “Besides, it is the first demonstration of matter-matter teleportation between truly independent systems and constitutes the current record in distance of 21 m. The previous record was 1 m.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-04-p.....ubits.html

    How Teleportation Will Work –
    Excerpt: In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed. — As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica was made.
    http://science.howstuffworks.c.....ation1.htm

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://researcher.ibm.com/view_project.php?id=2862

    Unconditional Quantum Teleportation – abstract
    Excerpt: This is the first realization of unconditional quantum teleportation where every state entering the device is actually teleported,,
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont.....6.abstract

    It is also very interesting to note that the quantum state of a photon is actually defined as ‘infinite information’ in its uncollapsed quantum wave state:

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Additionally, encoded ‘classical’ information such as what we find encoded in computer programs, and yes, as we find encoded in DNA, is found to be a subset of conserved ‘non-local’ (beyond space and time) quantum entanglement/information by the following method:
    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy. Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover LT, science now shows us that “information reduces to consciousness”:

    The argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.

    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Leggett’s Inequalities, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice; Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries; )

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    The Galileo Affair and Life/Consciousness as the true “Center of the Universe”
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    Of related note: The following site is very interesting to the subject of consciousness preceding ‘material’ reality:
    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph (recently updated in 2012 with cool features)
    http://htwins.net/scale2/scale.....olor=white

    The preceding interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality (not just ‘nearly’ in the exponential center!). i.e. 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle;

  38. 38
    Axel says:

    Information, schminformation! eh, Lars? You tell him!

  39. 39
    Alan Fox says:

    The question “what is the theory of intelligent design” could, presumably, be answered by someone telling us what the theory of intelligent design is.

    Any takers?

  40. 40
    LarTanner says:

    Why, it’s the ‘best explanation’! Har, har.

  41. 41
    Phinehas says:

    AF:

    See post #13 above.

  42. 42
    LarTanner says:

    Sorry for a blunt opinion, but post #13 is garbage.

    A proper scientific theory of intelligent design starts with two primary concepts, ‘design’ and ‘intelligent design.’ It will classify different kinds of designs and intelligent designs and talk about how each might arise.

    The sad thing is that such a theory is do-able and would be exceedingly interesting if it were unhampered in its progress by religious ideologues.

  43. 43
    Alan Fox says:

    See post #13 above.

    Seen and read, Phinehas. What, exactly, would you think merits my attention that I might have missed?

  44. 44
    vjtorley says:

    CLAVDIVS

    I’d like to respond to a remark you made in #31 above:

    Your rearrangement of the ID claim to “could not have happened without intelligence” is yet another assertion we can’t check even in principle, because we are not all-knowing. We can only confirm that something could not have happened by any process we know enough about to check it thoroughly. Thus the the claim “X did not happen due to process Q, R or S” can be squarely scientific, albeit a bit iffy, depending on how good our knowledge of Q, R and S is.

    But of course this does not tell us how X did happen, nor whether intelligence was required or even involved at all.

    So you think SETI is unscientific?

    You think that if we found the monolith in 2001, the only rational conclusion we could draw is that no unintelligent natural process that we know of could have produced it?

    You think that if we found a signal in space containing the first 100 prime numbers, then all we could legitimately claim is that some unknown process created the signal?

    You think that if we found a digital code, or even a computer program, embedded in a physical entity, that a similarly modest conclusion would be all that we would be warranted in drawing?

    Finally, I’d like to address your complaint that knowing that Q, R and S did not produce a pattern X “does not tell us how X did happen.” You seem to be assuming here that the only kind of legitimate explanation of a pattern, signal or process is one which tells us how it was produced. But if a pattern, signal or process had been produced by an intelligent agent far more advanced than we are, it may not even be possible in principle for us to understand how it was produced: for instance, the explanation might be so long and convoluted that our brains would be incapable of assimilating it all. However, one fact that we could immediately recognize from examining it is the fact that it was produced by an intelligent agent.

    “Intelligence” is not the name of a mechanism.

  45. 45
    Querius says:

    CLAVDIVS,

    Don’t you agree that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory”?

    The question is an ipse dixit, and is irrelevant to scientific truth.

    Even so, I’m not sure whether there is a “scientific community” that votes on what they corporately agree to believe. But I agree that there are some outspoken advocates of evolution that represent themselves as the consensus of ALL scientists, regardless of their discipline.

    I’d suggest that scientific progress tends to be hindered rather than facilitated by consensus and orthodoxy. To be fair, orthodoxy does hinder some of the kookier theories, but then some of these have eventually become orthodox. For example, continental drift was considered a fringe idea supported only by a few crackpots in the 1960s, and was “overwhelmingly rejected” by “the scientific community” of the time.

    At that time, you could easily have asked me the same question about the overwhelming consensus regarding continental drift, and it would have been just as pointless.

    I’m not asking you to agree that they’re right, just whether it is fair to say scholars, practising scientists and scientific societies in general have rejected ID as science?

    First of all, I think that ID should be considered a paradigm rather than a theory.

    Let’s do a utilitarian thought experiment. Let’s imagine that there’s no God or aliens from another world that had anything to do with engineering life on Earth. Next, let’s say that you’re Dr. Susumu Ohno, credited with the discovery of non-coding regions of DNA.

    Which of the following two choices would be more efficient in facilitating scientific progress:

    a. Assuming that these regions have no function and calling them “junk” DNA?

    b. Assuming that these regions were intelligently designed and have a purpose?

    Hint: Even if God or space aliens did not exist, accepting the blind (or not) watchmaker (ID) paradigm (b) would have proved to facilitate scientific progress!

    I’d also like to say that I don’t believe that ID is a form of “Biblical creationism” nor would I advocate that religious beliefs should be taught in any science classroom.

  46. 46
    Axel says:

    ‘Don’t you agree that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory”?’

    Do you deny then that a totalitarian suppression of dissidents pointing to the incontrovertible evidence for ID, as well as, indeed, for theism in quantum mechanics, is being perpetrated by the authorities over the scientific community?

    Well, actually nothing can suppress either now, since the ‘genie is out of the bottle’: You lose, Savonagora!

    The dissidents are decrying the obstinate refusal of the Consensus to join the logical dots, renounce their insane ‘auto da fe’, put up their hands, and promise never to presume to teach metaphysics to dissidents or anyone else, ever again.

  47. 47
    Axel says:

    … and they’re being punished for it.

  48. 48
    Axel says:

    ‘So you think SETI is unscientific?

    You think that if we found the monolith in 2001, the only rational conclusion we could draw is that no unintelligent natural process that we know of could have produced it?

    You think that if we found a signal in space containing the first 100 prime numbers, then all we could legitimately claim is that some unknown process created the signal?

    You think that if we found a digital code, or even a computer program, embedded in a physical entity, that a similarly modest conclusion would be all that we would be warranted in drawing?’

    Don’t be nasty, vjt! They must take baby-steps before they can learn to walk. Those pop-up picture books, I believe, are very popular with toddlers.

  49. 49
    DonaldM says:

    Claudius

    The problem is, the explanation “intelligently caused”, with qualification, is reliably true of all objects and events, because it can’t not be true – it’s so broad in power and scope it can explain anything. Accordingly it is trivial and unscientific.

    And

    I think the problem is deeper than that. In my view “intelligent cause” doesn’t quite rise to the level of being an explanation at all, let alone a scientifically testable one. Usually when we give an explanation, we give a reason why things are one way, and not another way. An assertion that is compatible with all possible states of affairs, including opposite or contradictory ones, can’t really count as an explanation.

    Then by your own standard, ID is great shape as science. Evolutionary biology has failed miserably at providing any sort of explanation via undirected, natural causes for the complex, specified information we observe throughout biological systems. However, we also know from observation and experience that any artifact that exhibits CSI and we know its causal history, intelligence is always the cause. So, its not to big a leap to infer that if we observe CSI in a biological artifact or system, that some intelligence or other had to be the cause. That’s a far cry from “explaining anything and everything”…which ID does not purport to do anyway. ID is not not compatible with all states of affairs because, as science, ID recognizes the role that natural cause and effect plays throughout off of Nature. But it also recognizes that Nature is not capable, even in principle, of producing CSI. Why not in principle? Because CSI by its very nature requires intelligence.

    That means that ID is very scientific and easily testable by the normative means of science. All you have to do, Claudius, is observe CSI in some natural system, and then provide a detailed, testable and potentially falsifiable model as to how undirected, natural causes can account for it. To date, no such scientific research study has ever been published in any peer reviewed scientific journal to explain CSI via undirected, natural causes. In effect, all such tests have are attempts at falsifying ID (thus testing it!) and it has, so far, withstood all attempts at falsification.

    The further problem with your statement is that suppose the actual state of affairs throughout the Cosmos is that all of it really was intelligently caused. If that’s the true state of affairs, then saying it isn’t “scientific” to say so is bogus! But even worse is claiming that undirected, natural causes account for all natural systems with absolutely no detailed, testable, model as to how that took place. If the true state of affairs is design, but science can only consider undirected, natural causes, then science…not Nature…has a problem. In other words, Nature is where we look to create a true picture of the world…not “consensus” philosophical opinions, which is precisely what Dr. Gora was doing with her naive statement!

  50. 50
    CLAVDIVS says:

    vjtorley @ 43

    CLAVDIVS: Your rearrangement of the ID claim to “could not have happened without intelligence” is yet another assertion we can’t check even in principle, because we are not all-knowing. …
    But of course this does not tell us how X did happen, nor whether intelligence was required or even involved at all.

    vjtorley: So you think SETI is unscientific?

    For the most part, yes, as I think many in the scientific community would agree – e.g. in 2009 a Nature article noted that SETI was “arguably not a falsifiable experiment” and has been for most of its history “on the edge of mainstream astronomy” (Nature 461, 316 17/9/2009).

    You think that if we found the monolith in 2001, the only rational conclusion we could draw is that no unintelligent natural process that we know of could have produced it?

    No, I don’t think that at all. I think if we found the 2001 monolith on the Moon any reasonable person would ascribe it to an intelligent cause. However that would be a metaphysical speculation and not a scientific explanation because, however reasonable it may be in this particular example, the fact remains that the claim “intelligent cause” is far too vague and unqualified to actually check.

    What would happen, of course – with great energy and excitement I suspect – is we would follow up that initial metaphysical speculation of intelligent cause with a battery of genuinely scientifically testable explanations about the origin of the monolith – like it was made at a particular time, from particular materials, with particular tools or methods; and we could follow its radio signal to the outer planets and check all sorts of scientific explanations along the way.

    There’s nothing irrational or even disreputable about speculating about an intelligent cause; but on its own, that is not a sufficiently specific claim to be testable, so it’s not science.

    Finally, I’d like to address your complaint that knowing that Q, R and S did not produce a pattern X “does not tell us how X did happen.” You seem to be assuming here that the only kind of legitimate explanation of a pattern, signal or process is one which tells us how it was produced.

    No, I do not assume that at all. It is perfectly legitimate to speculate about and proffer an explanation for a pattern without knowing how it was produced.

    What I have been saying all along is, however legitimate and rational your speculations and explanations may be, they are not scientific explanations unless they can be checked against reality.

  51. 51
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Querius @ 44

    CLAVDIVS: Don’t you agree that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory”?

    Querius: The question is an ipse dixit, and is irrelevant to scientific truth.

    Even so, I’m not sure whether there is a “scientific community” that votes on what they corporately agree to believe. But I agree that there are some outspoken advocates of evolution that represent themselves as the consensus of ALL scientists, regardless of their discipline.

    The question may be irrelevant to scientific “truth” but it is was apparently highly relevant for the University President to consider the advice of scholars and the scientific community on whether ID should be taught in science class.

    In my view it’s plain as the nose on your face that the consensus of the scientific community is that ID is not science. I can’t even tell from reading your post whether you agree or disagree with this – perhaps you could clarify.

    Let’s do a utilitarian thought experiment. Let’s imagine that there’s no God or aliens from another world that had anything to do with engineering life on Earth. Next, let’s say that you’re Dr. Susumu Ohno, credited with the discovery of non-coding regions of DNA.

    Which of the following two choices would be more efficient in facilitating scientific progress:

    a. Assuming that these regions have no function and calling them “junk” DNA?

    b. Assuming that these regions were intelligently designed and have a purpose?

    Umm – I’ll go with option c. – the one that Ohno actually chose – which was that he expected the so-called “junk DNA” to actually have function on the grounds that he believed Darwinian mechanisms would remove non-functional DNA from the genome.

    Ohno explained this in an interview immediately after the conference where he coined the term “junk DNA” – the transcript is in Ohno, S. (1973) “Evolutional reason for having so much junk DNA”, Modern Aspects of Cytogenetics: Constitutive Heterochromatin in Man (ed. R.A. Pfeiffer), pp. 169-173. F.K. Schattauer Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

    In fact, in 1971 before Ohno first coined the term “junk DNA”, biologists had discovered large portions of the genome that did not code for proteins and/or was repetitive, and had no known function. Nonetheless, they proposed numerous possible functions for such DNA, and subsequent research has shown some of their proposals to be correct:

    Ever since the initial demonstration of the existence of repetitive DNA there has been no dearth of theories on the function of this material. … Following is a list of functions that have been proposed …
    1. Recognition of centromeres of common origin.
    2. Recognition between homologous chromosomes during pairing.
    3. Regions involved in the initiation of replication and/or transcription.
    4. Sites concerned with specifying the folding patterns of chromosomes.
    5. Recognition sites for the process of genetic recombination.
    6. Provision of raw material for genetic divergence.
    7. Reflection of similarities in the structure of different proteins.
    8. DNA concerned with the regulation of gene expression (regulatory DNA).
    9. Reflection of multiplicity of repeated genes, as for example, in the master and slave or multistranded chromosome hypothesis.

    None of the recognition functions, i.e., recognition of centromeres, initiation sites, pairing sites, recombination sites, folding sites, or regulatory sites, that we have discussed is mutually exclusive of the others. They all relate to cellular phenomena that have been demonstrated or inferred from other data. All these phenomena probably exist within every higher organism. Therefore, DNA involved in each of these functions could contribute in varying degrees to the repeated portion of the genome.

    – Bostock, C. (1971) “Repetitious DNA” Advances in Cell Biology 2: 153-223

  52. 52
    equate65 says:

    I completely agree the ID hypothesis is scientific, but also feel you guys need to do more scientific work geared towards ID and push Scientific Journals and conferences. If you had more visibility in these areas, whether you get through or not, would present a strong position you are trying in regards to research and a desire to submit to Journals etc. Just my two cents as an observer.

  53. 53
    Joe says:

    CLAVDIVS:

    We don’t just say that the computer had an “intelligent cause”, without any detail or qualification, because this could be true of absolutely anything, and thus is trivial and unscientific.

    Pure tard. If we just had a computer and no knowledge of how it came to be, how do you suggest we get those details? Look at evolutionism- 150+ years and it is void of details.

    What we do say is that the computer was made at a specific time and place, using specific components of specific composition from specific sources, in a specific order, by specific intelligent humans, all of which can be checked and confirmed (or perhaps refuted).

    Say you were an Amazon tribesman and you came across a computer in the jungle- left there by some scientist. How would you get those details?

  54. 54
    Joe says:

    LarTanner:

    ID has been around long enough to have well started down the path of a body of “concrete, evidence-supported and experimentally verifiable data about their theory.” Where is it? Where?

    And evolutionism has been around long enough to have well started down the path of a body of “concrete, evidence-supported and experimentally verifiable data about their theory.” Where is it? Where?

    But I digress- the evidence for ID is in peer-reviewed journals- read up on ATP synthase and the ribosome, for starters.

  55. 55
    LarTanner says:

    Joe, I understand your point about reading up on ATP synthase and ribosomes, but that’s not the level this discussion needs to be at. We can talk more effectively at a higher level.

    Just do this for me: Enumerate the different main strands of evidence that make up the body of data supporting ID theory. Just list–1,2,3–the main categories under which the evidence can be classed.

    I get that you think evolutionism or “blind watchmaker” is untenable. Your opinion on this is clear. No need to reiterate.

  56. 56
    Joe says:

    LarTanner:

    Enumerate the different main strands of evidence that make up the body of data supporting ID theory. Just list–1,2,3–the main categories under which the evidence can be classed.

    Could you please give me an example- does evolutionism have something like that? (I am not sure what you are asking- also Mike Gene’s “The Design Matrix” may have already covered it).

    Also consider these:

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

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

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

    To any non-design scenario that is all just sheer dumb luck.

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    Neil Rickert wrote a post trying to respond to this OP. Unfiortunately for Neil he choked again.

    Earth to Neil- the purpose of asking how she defines ID is because it is a given that she doesn’t know anything about it. Getting her definition would be the first step in curing her ignorance.

    As for the rest of your tripe, well, the anti-ID position isn’t science, Neil. It doesn’t make any predictions and cannot be tested. That screws up your “academic integrity” pap.

  58. 58
    LarTanner says:

    Joe,

    I’ll give you an example from a different discipline, i.e., not biology. It still should be illustrative enough for you to do the same thing with ID theory. After all, it’s the theory you yourself advocate!

    Anyways, here’s my example of an enumerated list of different types of evidence. In the discipline of biblical studies, the Torah (or Pentateuch) is generally considered to have been built by, well, and evolutionary process.

    According to the documentary hypothesis, the Torah as we have it today developed from early oral and written sources that coagulated into four main sources–J, E, P, and D. Between 922 BCE and 400 BCE, the four sources were compiled and woven together to produce the Torah.

    The documentary hypothesis has several different scholarly variations, and some folks do reject it, it must be said. Religious people are naturally predisposed against it because it potentially undermines claims of divine origin and/or authority.

    In any case, the evidence types that make the documentary hypothesis not only compelling but also better attested than rival hypotheses fall into seven categories:

    (1) the Hebrew language of different periods in the Torah,
    (2) the use and quantity of terms in the different sources,
    (3) consistent content (such as the revelation of God’s name,
    (4) the narrative flow of each source,
    (5) the connection between parts of the Torah and other parts of the Bible,
    (6) the relationships of the sources to each other and to history, and
    (7) the convergence of the different lines of evidence.

    What I am asking from you is a similar list of types of evidence supporting design theory.

    And again, we can take it as given that evolutionism has no evidence or testable hypotheses. Let’s just stipulate that now and no longer mention it. We can just focus on ID theory now.

  59. 59
    Querius says:

    Claudius,

    Here’s what wrong with talking about the “scientific community” and “the scientific consensus” in this case.

    If you wanted to get an expert opinion on the ID paradigm in relation to the origin and development of life on Earth, would you go to

    o A scientist with a PhD in Materials Science?
    o A scientist researching electromagnetic resonances?
    o A professor in the Dairy Science department?
    o A professor specializing in Endocrinology?
    .
    .
    .
    o A professor whose field is specifically the study of Darwinian Evolution?

    Obviously (to me anyway), the only expert opinion that would count in such an issue would be precisely the person who has a diametrically opposed view to ID. Note that the “leading experts” in any field most likely represent the orthodox view.

    I’m familiar with Ohno’s paper, having recently read it several times in its entirety at Elizabeth’s provocation, and I found it interesting, if short. The original 1972 paper was titled, SO MUCH “JUNK” DNA IN OUR GENOME. The word “junk” implies that this DNA is non-functional. In fact, in Ohno’s paper, you might have read the following sentence:

    “Our view is that they are the remains of nature’s experiments which failed.”

    So, your answer c. is incorrect.

    But thank you for taking the time to research the subsequent adjustments to his position. Nevertheless, assuming that the non-coding regions of DNA is “junk” was a mistake.

    BSU President Jo-Ann Gora should be providing a safe haven for a diversity of viewpoints rather than conjuring “academic integrity” to suppress some of them.

  60. 60
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Querius @ 59

    CLAVDIVS @ 24: Don’t you agree that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory”?

    CLAVDIVS @ 51: In my view it’s plain as the nose on your face that the consensus of the scientific community is that ID is not science. I can’t even tell from reading your post whether you agree or disagree with this – perhaps you could clarify.

    Querius @ 59: Here’s what wrong with talking about the “scientific community” and “the scientific consensus” in this case.

    From reading your latest I still don’t know whether you agree that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory”? This was the basis of University President’s decision not to teach ID in science classes. What I’m wondering is, do you agree that the scientific community (rightly or wrongly) has rejected ID as science?

    If you wanted to get an expert opinion on the ID paradigm in relation to the origin and development of life on Earth, would you go to
    o A scientist with a PhD in Materials Science?
    …. etc.
    o A professor whose field is specifically the study of Darwinian Evolution?
    Obviously (to me anyway), the only expert opinion that would count in such an issue would be precisely the person who has a diametrically opposed view to ID. Note that the “leading experts” in any field most likely represent the orthodox view.

    The question at issue here is “Ought we to teach ID in science class?” or “Is ID science?” This is a question about the methods and practices of ID, and whether they are science. So it would be appropriate and relevant to get the views of as many practicing scientists, philosophers of science, science scholars and scientific societies as possible.

    And the wide consensus appears very plainly to be that ID is not science. And this is from a group (scientists) that recent research shows about 51% are believers in God or a higher power, and a further 8% “don’t know”; viz. they are not philosophical atheists/materialists by a clear majority. Add to this the fact that ID is not inconsistent with the mainstream scientific views of common descent or the mechanisms of variation and selection, as has been pointed out many times by ID proponents on this site. You are left with the clear picture that ID is rejected as science not because of philosophical bias or conflict with the current paradigm, but for the reason that it does not propose an explanation that we can test using the methods of science.

    Which is what I’ve been saying all along.

    CLAVDIVS: Umm – I’ll go with option c. – the one that Ohno actually chose – which was that he expected the so-called “junk DNA” to actually have function on the grounds that he believed Darwinian mechanisms would remove non-functional DNA from the genome.

    Querius: I’m familiar with Ohno’s paper, having recently read it several times in its entirety at Elizabeth’s provocation, and I found it interesting, if short. The original 1972 paper was titled, SO MUCH “JUNK” DNA IN OUR GENOME. The word “junk” implies that this DNA is non-functional. In fact, in Ohno’s paper, you might have read the following sentence:

    “Our view is that they are the remains of nature’s experiments which failed.”

    So, your answer c. is incorrect.

    Sorry, Querius, you don’t get to substitute your personal opinion about what is “implied” by the term “junk” in place of Ohno’s actual opinion about whether non-coding DNA was likely to have function. Both he and other scientists did think it was likely to be functional – even though it might be the remnants of “failed experiments”, they believed it was likely co-opted for some function – they said so at the conference proceedings where he presented his paper, it is there in black and white in the transcript, and I even gave you the reference.

    Not only that, I showed you how prior to Ohno coining the term “junk DNA”, the existence of non-coding DNA was known to scientists and even at that early stage they suspected it was functional and they had already proposed quite a number of possible functions, some of which turned out to be correct. You didn’t even comment on that.

    In other words, opinions on connotations of the word “junk”, a mere label for a complex genomic phenomenon, are simply irrelevant to the question of what did the scientists actually think about whether non-coding DNA was functional. And we know that many thought it had function, because we have their thoughts in writing, as I have showed.

    BSU President Jo-Ann Gora should be providing a safe haven for a diversity of viewpoints rather than conjuring “academic integrity” to suppress some of them.

    There’s no suppression. The President stated ID was suitable for teaching at Ball State University, just not in science classes.

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS, while your appeal to the politics of consensus to try to establish Darwinism as scientific and to establish Intelligent Design as non-scientific may play to those who are not so fussy about evidence, that simply does not cut the mustard here as to establishing whether Darwinism is science and ID is not.,,, There is something called a demarcation criteria to separate science from pseudo-science Claude. And I hold falsifiability (testability) of a theory to be the most important demarcation criteria of a theory to judge whether it is truly science or not (Popper). (Although Imre Lakatos added some important nuances to the demarcation criteria (i.e. falsified predictions)). But for our purposes now, to show that Darwinism is in fact a pseudo-science and that ID is indeed a proper science, strict falsifiability (testability) will be sufficient to demonstrate as such. Grand Theories of science, such as GR and QM, are always been tested in ingenious ways,,

    The Most Precisely Tested Theory in the History of Science – May 5, 2011
    Excerpt: So, which of the two (general relativity or QED) is The Most Precisely Tested Theory in the History of Science?
    It’s a little tough to quantify a title like that, but I think relativity can claim to have tested the smallest effects. Things like the aluminum ion clock experiments showing shifts in the rate of a clock set moving at a few m/s, or raised by a foot, measure relativistic shifts of a few parts in 10^16. That is, if one clock ticks 10,000,000,000,000,000 times, the other ticks 9,999,999,999,999,999 times. That’s an impressively tiny effect, but the measured value is in good agreement with the predictions of relativity.
    In the end, though, I have to give the nod to QED, because while the absolute effects in relativity may be smaller, the precision of the measurements in QED is more impressive. Experimental tests of relativity measure tiny shifts, but to only a few decimal places. Experimental tests of QED measure small shifts, but to an absurd number of decimal places. The most impressive of these is the “anomalous magnetic moment of the electron,” expressed is terms of a number g whose best measured value is:
    g/2 = 1.001 159 652 180 73 (28)
    Depending on how you want to count it, that’s either 11 or 14 digits of precision (the value you would expect without QED is exactly 1, so in some sense, the shift really starts with the first non-zero decimal place), which is just incredible. And QED correctly predicts all those decimal places (at least to within the measurement uncertainty, given by the two digits in parentheses at the end of that).
    http://scienceblogs.com/princi.....sted-theo/

    Moreover, a test has actually been performed showing that Quantum Theory will not be exceeded in predictive power by another future theory:

    Can quantum theory be improved? – July 23, 2012
    Excerpt: However, in the new paper, the physicists have experimentally demonstrated that there cannot exist any alternative theory that increases the predictive probability of quantum theory by more than 0.165, with the only assumption being that measurement (observation) parameters can be chosen independently (free choice assumption) of the other parameters of the theory.,,,
    ,, the experimental results provide the tightest constraints yet on alternatives to quantum theory. The findings imply that quantum theory is close to optimal in terms of its predictive power, even when the predictions are completely random.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-quantum-theory.html

    Now this is completely unheard of in science as far as I know. i.e. That a mathematical description of reality would advance to the point that one can actually perform a experiment showing that your current theory will not be exceeded in predictive power by another future theory is simply unprecedented in science! It is certainly worthy of more attention than it has received thus far!,, But to the main point of showing that Darwinism is a pseudo-science,, there is simply nothing like that in Darwinism:

    Macroevolution, microevolution and chemistry: the devil is in the details – Dr. V. J. Torley – February 27, 2013
    Excerpt: After all, mathematics, scientific laws and observed processes are supposed to form the basis of all scientific explanation. If none of these provides support for Darwinian macroevolution, then why on earth should we accept it? Indeed, why does macroevolution belong in the province of science at all, if its scientific basis cannot be demonstrated?
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-details/

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

    Whereas ID does not suffer from such an severe embarrassment of non-falsifiability as Darwinism does:

    This short sentence, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is calculated by Winston Ewert, in this following video at the 10 minute mark, to contain 1000 bits of algorithmic specified complexity, and thus to exceed the Universal Probability Bound (UPB) of 500 bits set by Dr. Dembski
    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm3mm3ofAYU

    Here are the slides of preceding video with a clear view of the calculation of the information content of the preceding sentence on page 14
    http://www.blythinstitute.org/.....t_info.pdf

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    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

    Well CLAVDIVS, science is not the politics of consensus, and as such, why are you not concerned with Darwinism lack of mathematical rigor? i.e. why the games?

  62. 62
    CLAVDIVS says:

    DonaldM @ 49

    CLAVDIVS: The problem is, the explanation “intelligently caused”, with qualification, is reliably true of all objects and events, because it can’t not be true – it’s so broad in power and scope it can explain anything. Accordingly it is trivial and unscientific.

    DonaldM: … we also know from observation and experience that any artifact that exhibits CSI and we know its causal history, intelligence is always the cause. So, its not to big a leap to infer that if we observe CSI in a biological artifact or system, that some intelligence or other had to be the cause.

    If we assume that it’s true that, where we can check things out, intelligence is always the cause of CSI, it would be perfectly reasonable to infer that biological CSI has an intelligent cause.

    The problem is, as I have stated repeatedly, the explanation “it had an intelligent cause” is not scientifically testable. Reasonableness does not entail scientific testability. The reason for this is that one can make the claim of “intelligent cause” for any pattern, observation or state of affairs whatsoever – even contradictory ones – and the claim cannot be refuted. Triangular planetary orbits? An intelligence caused them to be that way. See how easy that is? That’s the problem.

    To be testable the claim has to be more limited or qualified. For example, the claim “human beings made the computer in 1984” would be scientifically testable, because the claim is limited to human beings and all the historical and physical limitations that that entails, as well as focussing on a specific timeframe. The claim is not consistent with any possible observation; in fact it is consistent with only a very narrow range of observations. That’s what makes it something we can check out versus reality, which is what science is all about.

    That means that ID is very scientific and easily testable by the normative means of science. All you have to do, Claudius, is observe CSI in some natural system, and then provide a detailed, testable and potentially falsifiable model as to how undirected, natural causes can account for it. To date, no such scientific research study has ever been published in any peer reviewed scientific journal to explain CSI via undirected, natural causes. In effect, all such tests have are attempts at falsifying ID (thus testing it!) and it has, so far, withstood all attempts at falsification.

    I already explained @ 32 why testing “undirected, natural causes” doesn’t somehow make the claim “intelligent cause” scientifically testable.

    The primary problem is, we cannot in principle test the claim “X is not explained by any undirected, natural cause”, because we are not omniscient: we can only test things we know enough about to test; we can’t test what we don’t know about. What is worse, we don’t even know the proportion of what we do know to what we don’t know. Therefore, any claim along the lines of “X is not explained by any Y” is simply not scientifically testable, because we can never know if we have tested every Y.

    A secondary problem with the claim “X is not explained by any undirected, natural cause” is around the term “undirected”. Is it possible in principle to conduct tests to see if something is undirected? How do we disentangle the experimenter’s “direction” of the experiment? What about other intelligences down the chain e.g. people who manufactured equipment used in the test: are we getting a reading from their intelligent input instead from the things we are testing? Who can tell? I don’t know – you tell me, these are your tests.

    In sum, because the claim “X is not explained by any undirected, natural cause” can’t be tested in principle, it’s not a scientific explanation.

    The further problem with your statement is that suppose the actual state of affairs throughout the Cosmos is that all of it really was intelligently caused. If that’s the true state of affairs, then saying it isn’t “scientific” to say so is bogus!

    Not bogus at all. If everything was intelligently caused, there’s no scientific test we could perform for intelligent cause, is there? Every test would come back “Intelligent cause!” That doesn’t make science useless generally, it just makes it useless for that sort of metaphysical question. Science is not some kind of universal truth detector; it is limited to specific domains of applicability and specific methods, in particular, the ability to test ideas by comparing them to observations from reality. Something we can’t test in that way just isn’t science, however valid or true it may be.

  63. 63
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 61

    CLAVDIVS, while your appeal to the politics of consensus to try to establish Darwinism as scientific and to establish Intelligent Design as non-scientific may play to those who are not so fussy about evidence, that simply does not cut the mustard here as to establishing whether Darwinism is science and ID is not.

    bornagain77, you have misunderstood again.

    I do not appeal to the politics of consensus to establish Darwinism as scientific. I think Darwinism is irrelevant to this discussion.

    I do not appeal to the politics of consensus to establish establish Intelligent Design as non-scientific. I appeal to it as justification for the University President’s decision not to teach ID in science classes, whilst allowing it to continue to be taught in non-science classes. The President should be relying upon advice from scholars and experts in the field for such a decision, and that’s what she did. Whether the scholars and experts are right or wrong is an entirely separate question.

    And I have argued that the ID claim of “intelligent cause”, bare and unqualified, is not a scientific explanation, because it is too vague and unlimited to be be tested by scientific methods. In other words, the consensus of scholars and experts in the field of science about ID being unscientific is well-founded.

    I am quite prepared to grant, just for the purposes of this thread’s discussion, that Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous, because that’s simply irrelevant to the point I am making about the ID claim of “intelligent cause” being too unqualified for scientific testing.

  64. 64
    Querius says:

    Claudius,

    From reading your latest I still don’t know whether you agree that “the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected intelligent design as a scientific theory”?

    That’s because you didn’t actually read my post, where I tried to explain to you that attempting to claim consensus among disparate scientists outside their fields is irrelevant, and it is not Science.

    The question at issue here is “Ought we to teach ID in science class?” or “Is ID science?”

    If you had read my previous post that ID is a paradigm, you would understand that it’s not a matter of “teaching” ID in a science class, but following a scientific approach that assumes design and purpose, the result of a blind (or not so blind) watchmaker.

    Sorry, Querius, you don’t get to substitute your personal opinion about what is “implied” by the term “junk” in place of Ohno’s actual opinion about whether non-coding DNA was likely to have function.

    Implied? LOL! Look up “junk” in a dictionary! This is not my “personal” opinion. Once again, Ohno wrote in his paper

    “Our view is that they are the remains of nature’s experiments which failed.”

    That’s why he called it “junk.” Duh! He was wrong, and you’re now just arguing to be arguing.

    Goodbye.

  65. 65
    vjtorley says:

    LarTanner:

    Thank you for your post. You asked:

    Enumerate the different main strands of evidence that make up the body of data supporting ID theory. Just list–1,2,3–the main categories under which the evidence can be classed.

    OK, this will be very brief, and just on the biological side of ID theory (please read Robin Collins on the fine-tuning argument if you want to learn about cosmological evidence for Intelligent Design).

    A summary of the biological evidence for ID:

    1. Proteins: the astronomical odds against a functional sequence of amino acids arising by chance. Only intelligence can overcome these astronomical odds.

    2. The simplest living cell. Even a minimally complex cell needs at least 250 proteins, for it to work. If Nature cannot even generate one protein, how much less can it generate a living cell with 250 proteins?

    3. Molecular machines, which are made up of dozens of proteins working in sync in a very precise fashion. Some scientists have argued that these molecular machines may have once been simpler, on the grounds that some of the proteins in these machines appear to have been derived from other ones. That’s true, but even when you take out the derived proteins that came along later, you’re still stuck with machines that have dozens or even hundreds of components. So the problem remains.

    4. The eukaryotic cell, which is like a miniature factory. The cell nucleus contains a multitude of robot-like machines working in synchrony, which shuttle a huge range of products and raw materials along conduits leading to and from the various assembly plants in the outer parts of the cell. Everything is precisely choreographed. What’s more, , the technology the cell employs is light years ahead of anything our best scientists could have devised. (DNA information is overlapping-multi-layered and multi-dimensional; it reads both backwards and forwards.) Intelligence produced this.

    5. Animals with complex body plans (e.g. arthropods, annelid worms, molluscs, echinoderms and chordates, as opposed to simple animals like sponges and coelenterates). Complex animals need more cell types in order to perform their diverse functions. New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. But these new proteins also have to be organized into new, hierarchically ordered systems within the cell. What’s more, the only kinds of mutations that are capable of changing living things’ body plans are invariably deleterious, so there’s no way the 30-odd body plans that appeared 530 million years ago in the Cambrian period could have arisen through an unguided process.

    6. The fact that each species is distinguished from other species by hundreds of singleton genes and singleton proteins, which are chemically unrelated to other genes and proteins , and therefore could not have arisen by an incrementally. A look-ahead process was required to generate them – i.e. intelligence.

    That will have to do for now. Got to go.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS, your answer is incoherent

    you state

    “And I have argued that the ID claim of “intelligent cause”, bare and unqualified, is not a scientific explanation, because it is too vague and unlimited to be be tested by scientific methods. In other words, the consensus of scholars and experts in the field of science about ID being unscientific is well-founded.
    I am quite prepared to grant, just for the purposes of this thread’s discussion, that Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous, because that’s simply irrelevant to the point I am making about the ID claim of “intelligent cause” being too unqualified for scientific testing.”

    Why are you “quite prepared to grant, just for the purposes of this thread’s discussion, that Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous” and not grant it elsewhere? Or you or are you not intellectually honest? Since Darwinism in fact has no rigorous mathematical foundation and thus no way to test/falsify it’s claims, why are you not prepared to grant this in all threads from hence forward? Or are you just prepared to admit what you are forced to admit at the present moment because you really are not concerned with the truth of the matter? If you were truly honest in your intellectually inquiry you would be willing to grant that Darwinism is not scientific always until shown otherwise and not just for the purposes of this thread’s discussion,!

    As to your repeated denial of the falsifiability/testability of ID, you have blatantly ignored that I already provided the criteria for falsifying ID:

    This short sentence, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is calculated by Winston Ewert, in this following video at the 10 minute mark, to contain 1000 bits of algorithmic specified complexity, and thus to exceed the Universal Probability Bound (UPB) of 500 bits set by Dr. Dembski
    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm3mm3ofAYU

    Here are the slides of preceding video with a clear view of the calculation of the information content of the preceding sentence
    http://www.blythinstitute.org/.....t_info.pdf

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    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

  67. 67
    Joe says:

    LarTanner:

    And again, we can take it as given that evolutionism has no evidence or testable hypotheses.

    LoL! Evolutionism is the reigning paradigm. And that means all competing scenarios just need to reach its level.

    So if you cannot do for evolutionism what you ask of ID, then don’t ask of it for ID as obviously it isn’t a requirement.

    BTW the quotes from “The Priivileged Planet” are the type of evidence that pulls all of the biological evidence together- see VJT’s comment in 65.

  68. 68
    Joe says:

    CLAVDIVS:

    I do not appeal to the politics of consensus to establish Darwinism as scientific. I think Darwinism is irrelevant to this discussion.

    How can darwinism be irrelevant to this discussion? ID is at least as scientific as darwinism.

    And I have argued that the ID claim of “intelligent cause”, bare and unqualified, is not a scientific explanation, because it is too vague and unlimited to be be tested by scientific methods.

    Yet we test it on a daily basis, via scientific methods.

    In other words, the consensus of scholars and experts in the field of science about ID being unscientific is well-founded.

    And yet those same “scholars” say darwinism is scientific. IOW they lie.

  69. 69
    LarTanner says:

    Joe, I am not fighting you on evolutionism. It’s really not the subject I’m trying to address. The subject is intelligent design theory. I take it you find VJ Torley’s response in #65 satisfactory? No issues there?

  70. 70
    Joe says:

    Larry, I did not say that you were fighting me on evolutionism. I just masde a very valid point and it is very telling that you just ignored it.

    Did you not understand the quotes from TPP?

    As for VJT 65- he just barely touched the tip of the iceberg.

    But anyway:

    ID, wrt biology, is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    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.

  71. 71
    LarTanner says:

    Thanks, Joe. That’s helpful.

    For your #2 item, can you please clarify the argument by naming a representative biological system and telling the quantity of information it contains?

    This should be a pretty standard request, right?

  72. 72
    Joe says:

    Any bacterial flagellum- over 500 bits of specified information.

  73. 73
    LarTanner says:

    Excellent. How did you get that measurement?

  74. 74
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner, to be fair, will you provide the detailed random mutation by random mutation account of how Darwinian evolution produced the flagellum in the first place? (especially since you can’t repeat the feat in the lab!) Or do such questions not interest you since they show how absurd Darwinism is?

  75. 75
    LarTanner says:

    BA,

    Why are you acting all hostile and defensive?

    Just tell me that I am asking something unfair. Just tell me that the question I have asked is improper. All I asked was for high-level, basic lines of evidence.

    Then Joe gives a neat example of the bacterial flagellum. So, I asked the natural follow up: hey, how’d you get the number! Is this too difficult a question? Is it unfair of me to ask?

    So, lump your offensive-sivity. You can review my comment #58 for the main lines of evidence favoring the documentary hypothesis. If it took me 10 minutes. I have done already exactly what I have asked others to do.

    Your defensiveness obviously stems from some insecurity you have with your “beliefs” and the “evidence for ID.” Maybe the Ball State U. decision still smarts. I don’t know. It must hurt that every time ID gets raised to the public policy level it gets shut down for being what it is: creationism.

  76. 76
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner, so instead of being fair and providing the detailed random mutation by random mutation account of how Darwinian evolution produced the flagellum in the first place you tell me to ‘lump your offensive-sivity’? No need to get all belligerent if you don’t have an answer LarTanner. Just admit that you have no answer and take some intellectual responsibility for once in you life for crying out loud!. If you want a detailed discussion on how functional information is measure in proteins I suggest you ask Dr. Kirk Durston who will be back tomorrow on his thread since he is, by far, the expert to ask in that regards:

    Dr. Durston elaborates on how futile an evolutionary search is to find a single functional protein:
    Excerpt: From this, we can come up with a very rough estimate for the total number of stable, folding 3D sequences in 300 residue sequence space … roughly 10^74 sequences that will give stable 3D folds (this is very rough, but it will illustrate my point and help one see why scientists don’t search for novel stable 3D folds from a library of random sequences). One might think that 10^75 sequences is an enormous number, however, it is miniscule in comparison with 20^300, which is the total number of sequences in 300 –residue sequence space. This is why the theory that an evolutionary search, even if it involved all the planets in all the galaxies of the known universe, is utterly implausible.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....arwinists-

    Notes:

    Engineering at Its Finest: Bacterial Chemotaxis and Signal Transduction – JonathanM – September 2011
    Excerpt: The bacterial flagellum represents not just a problem of irreducible complexity. Rather, the problem extends far deeper than that. What we are now observing is the existence of irreducibly complex systems within irreducibly complex systems. How random mutations, coupled with natural selection, could have assembled such a finely set-up system is a question to which I defy any Darwinist to give a sensible answer.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50911.html

    The Bacterial Flagellum: A Paradigm for Design – Jonathan M. – Sept. 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, so striking is the appearance of intelligent design that researchers have modeled the assembly process (of the bacterial flagellum) in view of finding inspiration for enhancing industrial operations (McAuley et al.). Not only does the flagellum manifestly exhibit engineering principles, but the engineering involved is far superior to humanity’s best achievements. The flagellum exhibits irreducible complexity in spades. In all of our experience of cause-and-effect, we know that phenomena of this kind are uniformly associated with only one type of cause – one category of explanation – and that is intelligent mind. Intelligent design succeeds at precisely the point at which evolutionary explanations break down.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/1067.....-Flagellum

    Biologist Howard Berg at Harvard calls the Bacterial Flagellum

    “the most efficient machine in the universe.”

    Souped-Up Hyper-Drive Flagellum Discovered – December 3, 2012
    Excerpt: Get a load of this — a bacterium that packs a gear-driven, seven-engine, magnetic-guided flagellar bundle that gets 0 to 300 micrometers in one second, ten times faster than E. coli.
    If you thought the standard bacterial flagellum made the case for intelligent design, wait till you hear the specs on MO-1,,,
    Harvard’s mastermind of flagellum reverse engineering (Howard Berg), this paper describes the Ferrari of flagella.
    “Instead of being a simple helically wound propeller driven by a rotary motor, it is a complex organelle consisting of 7 flagella and 24 fibrils that form a tight bundle enveloped by a glycoprotein sheath…. the flagella of MO-1 must rotate individually, and yet the entire bundle functions as a unit to comprise a motility organelle.”
    To feel the Wow! factor, jump ahead to Figure 6 in the paper. It shows seven engines in one, arranged in a hexagonal array, stylized by the authors in a cross-sectional model that shows them all as gears interacting with 24 smaller gears between them. The flagella rotate one way, and the smaller gears rotate the opposite way to maximize torque while minimizing friction. Download the movie from the Supplemental Information page to see the gears in action.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66921.html

  77. 77
    LarTanner says:

    Except, BA, I have made no claims whatsoever about Darwinian evolution, so I have nothing to defend about it. In fact, I have taken pains to agree with Joe on his view of evolutionism.

    But Joe has made a positive statement about bacterial flagella each having 500+ bits of information. The fair thing, if you are concerned at all about fairness, is for Joe to respond to my question about how he arrived at that figure. I’m not trying to trip him up; I expect he has the answer readily available. It should not be a big deal at all.

    But Joe and now you keep trying to call me to account for Darwinian evolution, and in your terms too. I don’t know why you keep trying to deflect onto me, nor do I see why I have any obligation to answer for a position I have not asserted.

    I’ll say it again: this conversation is about the theory of intelligent design and nothing else. Really, you ought to be elated to discuss the subject for once.

  78. 78
    bornagain77 says:

    So LarTanner, you state

    “I have taken pains to agree with Joe on his view of evolutionism.”

    Glad to hear that you agree that Darwinism is completely inadequate to explain the unfathomed levels of integrated complexity/information found in life. I hope I never see you again defending such an absurd theory as neo-Darwinism on UD again. But something tells me you are just playing politics with Joe and really have no intention of ever admitting Darwinism is absurd.,,, I’m sure that Joe, like me, can give you a rough ballpark figure for (classical) functional information present in proteins, but for more in depth analysis I once again refer you to Dr. Durston’s thread (which I linked) where, when he returns tomorrow, you can get it straight for the horses mouth as to how to calculate functional information. Myself, since quantum information/entanglement has now been found in proteins and DNA, I would be interested in finding out how much computational capacity (as in quantum computation) is inherent in proteins in regards to information. Now that would be a peer reviewed paper I would read with relish!

  79. 79
    bornagain77 says:

    correction: ‘I would be MUCH MORE interested’,,,

  80. 80
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 66

    Why are you “quite prepared to grant, just for the purposes of this thread’s discussion, that Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous” and not grant it elsewhere? Or you or are you not intellectually honest? Since Darwinism in fact has no rigorous mathematical foundation and thus no way to test/falsify it’s claims, why are you not prepared to grant this in all threads from hence forward? Or are you just prepared to admit what you are forced to admit at the present moment because you really are not concerned with the truth of the matter?

    bornagain77, perhaps your rudeness and false aspersions of dishonesty should be excused simply because you are unfamiliar with the concept of granting a point for the sake of argument. From Wikipedia,

    Arguendo is a Latin legal term meaning for the sake of argument. The phrase “assuming, arguendo, that …” is used in courtroom settings and academic legal settings to designate provisional and unendorsed assumptions that will be made at the beginning of an argument in order to explore their implications.

    So to grant for the sake of argument means, even though one doesn’t necessarily agree with a point, one maintains that the truth or falsity of that point is irrelevant to discussion at hand. Therefore one concedes that point – for present purposes only, reserving the right to dispute that point at a later time or in another venue – so the current discussion can focus on what is relevant rather than being sidetracked by what is irrelevant.

    In this case, the status of Darwinism is simply irrelevant to the point I am arguing about whether or not the unqualified ID claim of “intelligent cause” is scientifically testable. If this claim is not scientifically testable then it’s just not, and the testability of other theories is simply irrelevant.

    As to your repeated denial of the falsifiability/testability of ID, you have blatantly ignored that I already provided the criteria for falsifying ID: …
    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video

    This supposed test is the claim that a particular observation (1000 bits) could not have been produced by any undirected, natural process. I have already explained @ 32 and again @ 62 why the claim “X cannot be produced by any Y” is in principle unfalsifiable, and thus not scientifically testable. There are other problems with this supposed test too – see my post @ 62.

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009

    “[P]hysicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization” — this is yet another supposed test in the form “X cannot be produced by any Y” which is in principle unfalsifiable, as previously explained twice.

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video

    “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.” Yet another supposed test in the form “X cannot be produced by any Y” which is in principle unfalsifiable, as previously explained twice.

    Not only that, but Behe stated in sworn testimony that this was really only a test of natural selection, not a test of intelligent design. And indeed he is right – his proposed test is in the form “X (a complex system) cannot be produced by this particular Y (natural selection)” which of course, with good enough knowledge of natural selection, we can test scientifically.

    So we see in each case the supposed tests you have profferred are not in fact testable in principle. This is what I have been saying all along: ID is unscientific because it does not propose anything testable by the methods of science.

  81. 81
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS, I don’t play politics with science so take your ‘grant for the sake of argument to the trash heap’! Either you can defend your atheistic position or you can’t, period! Since you say that we cannot test to see if material processes can produce functional information, will you be forwarding your conclusion to all origin of life researchers to tell them to stop testing to see if purely material processes (without overt guidance from an intelligent chemist) can produce functional information sufficient for life? Or are you just making outlandish claims here on UD to see if anybody will fall for your nonsense? If not, then please show me the e-mail draft of your letter to OOL researchers to tell them to stop doing research (i.e. testing of material processes to see if they can produce functional information!) and let me help you get the word out!

    Life What A Concept! – Robert Shapiro – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=ku9wUbbPVYg#!

    Professor Robert Shapiro~ quote from preceding video
    “I looked at the papers published on the origin of life and decided that it was absurd that the thought of nature of its own volition putting together a DNA or an RNA molecule was unbelievable.
    I’m always running out of metaphors to try and explain what the difficulty is. But suppose you took Scrabble sets, or any word game sets, blocks with letters, containing every language on Earth, and you heap them together and you then took a scoop and you scooped into that heap, and you flung it out on the lawn there, and the letters fell into a line which contained the words “To be or not to be, that is the question,” that is roughly the odds of an RNA molecule, given no feedback — and there would be no feedback, because it wouldn’t be functional until it attained a certain length and could copy itself — appearing on the Earth.”
    Robert Shapiro was professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University. He is best known for his work on the origin of life, having written two books on the topic: Origins, a Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth and Planetary Dreams.

    As to the Winston Ewert video, your claim that the threshold is not falsifiable is simply laughable, all you have to do to falsify his claim is show the origination of one single functional protein by Darwinian processes. Care to be the first Darwinist on UD to show us the origination of a single functional protein by purely material processes? By the way, I can show the origination of a protein by Intelligent processes:

    Viral-Binding Protein Design Makes the Case for Intelligent Design Sick! (as in cool) – Fazale Rana – June 2011
    Excerpt: When considering this study, it is remarkable to note how much effort it took to design a protein that binds to a specific location on the hemagglutinin molecule. As biochemists Bryan Der and Brian Kuhlman point out while commenting on this work, the design of these proteins required:
    “…cutting-edge software developed by ~20 groups worldwide and 100,000 hours of highly parallel computing time. It also involved using a technique known as yeast display to screen candidate proteins and select those with high binding affinities, as well as x-ray crystallography to validate designs.2”
    If it takes this much work and intellectual input to create a single protein from scratch, is it really reasonable to think that undirected evolutionary processes could accomplish this task routinely?
    In other words, the researchers from the University of Washington and The Scripps Institute have unwittingly provided empirical evidence that the high-precision interactions required for PPIs requires intelligent agency to arise. Sick!
    http://www.reasons.org/viral-b.....-sick-cool

    Computer-designed proteins programmed to disarm variety of flu viruses – June 1, 2012
    Excerpt: The research efforts, akin to docking a space station but on a molecular level, are made possible by computers that can describe the landscapes of forces involved on the submicroscopic scale.,, These maps were used to reprogram the design to achieve a more precise interaction between the inhibitor protein and the virus molecule. It also enabled the scientists, they said, “to leapfrog over bottlenecks” to improve the activity of the binder.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-06-c.....ruses.html

    Funny, that you go on to deny that ID would not be falsified by material processes generating just one molecular machine, all the while completely oblivious to the fact that purely material processes have yet to demonstrate the capacity to produce a single molecular machine. Do you really think we would even be having this conversation is you could produce such an example of material processes generating molecular machines? If so, I got some swampland,,, by the way I can also show you a molecular machine that has been produced by Intelligent processes:

    (Man-Made) DNA nanorobot – video
    https://vimeo.com/36880067

    So LT, your objections are all absurd. And I find you profoundly intellectually dishonest!

  82. 82
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Joe @ 68

    CLAVDIVS: I do not appeal to the politics of consensus to establish Darwinism as scientific. I think Darwinism is irrelevant to this discussion.

    Joe: How can darwinism be irrelevant to this discussion? ID is at least as scientific as darwinism.

    Darwinism is irrelevant because this thread is about whether ID should be taught in university science class. Whether ID is science or should be taught in university science class is a question about the status and methods of ID, not about the status and methods of any other theory.

    You seem to want to make the point there are other subjects taught as science that are just as unscientific as ID. This is also irrelevant:

    1. If true, that would not somehow change ID’s scientific status, which depends on the methods of ID and not any other theory.

    2. If true, the solution would be to remove those other subjects from science class too; however, this thread is about ID and not some other theory, so discussing some other theory is just a red herring and is thus irrelevant.

    3. You’ve repeatedly claimed Darwinism is unscientific, now you state here ID is is “at least as scientific as darwinism”. Well then, logically, your claim tells us nothing about the scientific status of ID – you claim ID may be completely unscientific like, in your view, Darwinism, or it may be more scientific. In other words, your claim amounts to saying ID may or may not be scientific. This tells us nothing and is thus irrelevant.

    4. If ID is not taught in science class but some other unscientific subject is, you may have a point about hypocrisy and double-standards. However, the existence of hypocrites and people with double-standards doesn’t change the scientific status of ID. Either ID is testable by the methods of science, or it is not, regardless of the existence of hypocrisy and double-standards, so this too is irrelevant.

    CLAVDIVS: And I have argued that the ID claim of “intelligent cause”, bare and unqualified, is not a scientific explanation, because it is too vague and unlimited to be be tested by scientific methods.

    Joe: Yet we test it on a daily basis, via scientific methods.

    And test it via scientific methods you may, but the problem is, as I have said repeatedly, those tests always come back “true: intelligent cause” because the unqualified claim of “intelligent cause” is consistent with any conceivable fact, measurement, observation or state of affairs, and thus cannot ever be refuted. Therefore, it is not a scientific explanation.

  83. 83
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 81

    CLAVDIVS, I don’t play politics with science so take your ‘grant for the sake of argument to the trash heap’!

    It’s not politics, bornagain77, just a commonplace tool of academic discussion to bring focus to what is relevant and avoid what is irrelevant. If you want to keep talking about irrelevant things, by all means do so, but please stop pretending that they are relevant to my arguments on this thread, because they’re not.

    Either you can defend your atheistic position or you can’t, period!

    I’m not an atheist. And my argument that ID’s unqualified claim of “intelligent cause” is not scientifically testable is not an atheistic argument. It is purely a logical argument, based on the fact that a claim that is consistent with any possible state of affairs – even contradictory ones – can never be disproved, and thus is not the sort of explanation testable by the methods of science.

    Since you say that we cannot test to see if material processes can produce functional information, will you be forwarding your conclusion to all origin of life researchers to tell them to stop testing to see if purely material processes (without overt guidance from an intelligent chemist) can produce functional information sufficient for life?

    Once again, you have misunderstood.

    I do not claim that we cannot test material processes. Of course we can.

    What I am saying is that the ID claim “intelligent cause”, without any limit or qualification, cannot be tested. Testing whether material processes can do something is not a scientific test of the claim of “intelligent cause”, as I have previously explained in detail @ 32 and @ 62. You really need to deal with my arguments on this point, and stop bringing up irrelevant subjects.

  84. 84
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS, you have no argument! For if you concede ‘for the sake of argument’ that undirected processes cannot produce life, being that life was created or it was not, then you have conceded that Intelligent Design is responsible for life. There is no other option! Thanks for playing!

  85. 85
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain @ 84

    CLAVDIVS, you have no argument! For if you concede ‘for the sake of argument’ that undirected processes cannot produce life, being that life was created or it was not, then you have conceded that Intelligent Design is responsible for life. There is no other option! Thanks for playing!

    Goodness, bornagain77, please try to pay attention.

    I have not conceded for the sake of argument that “undirected processes cannot produce life”.

    The only things I have conceded for the sake of argument in this thread are:

    1. The idea that “life began as an undirected event in chemical history” is being taught at Ball State as science and it’s not testable (@ 19).

    2. “Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous” (@ 63).

    What I have argued for and supported is that the ID claim of “intelligent cause”, bare and unqualified, is too vague and unlimited to be tested by the methods of science, and therefore it is not a scientific explanation.

    I have also explained, numerous times, that a claim of the form “X cannot be explained by any Y” (e.g. “undirected processes cannot produce life”) is also not a scientifically testable claim, because we are not omniscient and can never know if we have checked out every possible Y, as I pointed out @ 32 and @ 62.

    Furthermore, this particular claim about “undirected” processes suffers from operational problems in testing whether some process is in fact “undirected” e.g. how do you disentangle the “direction” of the experimenter from the processes being experimented upon? This problem has not been addressed.

    You seem to want to discuss anything and everything other than the actual arguments I have put forward and points relevant to them. Please try to do better.

  86. 86
    bornagain77 says:

    Claude, please try to pay attention! You have no argument!

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    Claude, the probability that Intelligence can produce functional information is 1. You provide concrete ‘scientific’ evidence for Intelligence every single time you write a single post with more than a few words in it. If you want to get into the details of ‘Intelligent Cause’ we can go into Consciousness and its relation to quantum mechanics, the ‘information theoretic’ foundation of reality, and what it means for humans to uniquely be made in the image of God. All of which are very interesting points and I could list copious notes for you in each of those regards (as unqualified as I am).

  88. 88
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 86

    As it seems you have nothing substantive to add at this stage, I’ll just let my unaddressed arguments and points stand.

    Cheers
    CLAVDIVS

  89. 89
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS, contrary to what you imagine, you have nothing of substance to address.

  90. 90
    Breckmin says:

    #9 CLAVDIVS

    RE: Intelligent Causation in biological systems

    “but it’s not science because it can’t be either confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.”

    But you can test how useful and schematic information is always formed. You can test mechanical working systems and see that factories never self-assemble. You can test programming and see that not algorithms or engineering with contingencies ever occur without a programmer (intelligent programmer).

    Based on our repeated experience and experimentation – ALL current finds demonstrate that sequences of arranged useful information always come from Intelligence.

    It’s open for falsification so falsify it.

    A conclusion of intelligent causation based on scientific observation is indeed science. (unless you have the blinders of circular assumptions and false definitions for what science really is).

    Science can test this level of informational arrangement.

    It is NOT a general design claim…it deals with the exact nature of information.

    The conclusion of intelligent causation (ID) is even distinct from the implications of agnostic theism.

    ID comes “before” agnostic theism in a cumulative case argument. And agnostic theism comes before the religious implications of agnostic theism…so you have not 1 but 2 steps before the religious implications of those conclusions.

    ID is therefore not religion it’s science! And any counter claim is just “ignoring” (what do you call the state of ignoring?) the distinctions made between (1)ID (2)agnostic theism and (3)the religious ‘implications’ of agnostic theism which are distinct from both. Question everything.

  91. 91
    Querius says:

    Joe,

    This is just an FYI.

    You wrote:

    Any bacterial flagellum- over 500 bits of specified information.

    LarsTanner replied:

    Excellent. How did you get that measurement?

    Bornagain77 quoted this number in @34, which was mentioned in an estimated computation in a book review by John Walker of Signature in the Cell by Stephen C. Meyer. I’m not sure whether Meyer or Walker performed the calculation. The review is on Walker’s Web page, Fourmilab.

    Walker wrote:

    Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.

    It’s an interesting review. However, I’m always leary of combinatorial math when applied to organic molecules and living structures. A lot of the combinations would never occur.

  92. 92
    Querius says:

    Breckmin,

    With “billions upon billions of stars,” there’s also a reasonable probability of sentient alien life (think Astrobiology). Then, there’s a much smaller but finite possibility that alien life was responsible for designing life and seeding planet Earth (I’d imagine that when an alien kid turned in his “platypus” project, he got an F for genetic plagiarism).

    This version of panspermia seems to have been linked to severe cogitive dissonance, irritable forum comments, and eating disorders among some folks who cannot accept the possibility of ID, and that it might actually be Science (gasp).

    I believe some notable exceptions to the paranoia include Hoyle, Hawking, and Crick.

  93. 93
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 87

    Claude, the probability that Intelligence can produce functional information is 1. You provide concrete ‘scientific’ evidence for Intelligence every single time you write a single post with more than a few words in it. If you want to get into the details of ‘Intelligent Cause’ we can go into Consciousness and its relation to quantum mechanics, the ‘information theoretic’ foundation of reality, and what it means for humans to uniquely be made in the image of God. All of which are very interesting points and I could list copious notes for you in each of those regards (as unqualified as I am).

    bornagain77, whilst we have our differences, would it surprise you to learn I actually agree with you on the mysteriousness and irreducibility of consciousness to any known mechanisms, and its possible links with quantum physics, as well as the ineffable quality of information?

    However, in spite of our agreement on these points, I continue to disagree with you that the ID claim of “intelligent cause” can be tested scientifically, because it is too vague. One reason for this is that science simply hasn’t developed the methods to investigate concepts like intelligence, consciousness and information in any useful way. There’s nothing disreputable, in my view, about something that can’t be investigated by science – it’s a reflection of the limitations of science, not of the truth or importance of the thing that can’t be so investigated.

  94. 94
    bornagain77 says:

    Clavdivs, you claim:

    science simply hasn’t developed the methods to investigate concepts like intelligence, consciousness and information in any useful way.

    Really??? So you are saying that it is completely impossible for you to ‘scientifically’ discern between conscious intelligent activity and unconscious non-intelligent activity? Quick Claude, did a conscious intelligence write this post of functional information to you of was it the results of marbles falling on a keyboard somewhere that wrote this post of functional information to you? (Jeopardy theme song plays in background)

  95. 95
    bornagain77 says:

    Querius

    ‘I’m always leary of combinatorial math when applied to organic molecules and living structures. A lot of the combinations would never occur.’

    I don’t understand why you would be leery since it illustrates the problem that Darwinism is facing quite well. Perhaps this similar hypothetical situation derived from the empirical evidence will clarify the actual situation that Darwinists are facing;

    How Proteins Evolved – Cornelius Hunter – December 2010
    Excerpt: Comparing ATP binding with the incredible feats of hemoglobin, for example, is like comparing a tricycle with a jet airplane. And even the one in 10^12 shot, though it pales in comparison to the odds of constructing a more useful protein machine, is no small barrier. If that is what is required to even achieve simple ATP binding, then evolution would need to be incessantly running unsuccessful trials. The machinery to construct, use and benefit from a potential protein product would have to be in place, while failure after failure results. Evolution would make Thomas Edison appear lazy, running millions of trials after millions of trials before finding even the tiniest of function.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....olved.html

  96. 96
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Breckmin @ 90

    CLAVDIVS: “but it’s not science because it can’t be either confirmed or refuted by any sort of test.”

    But you can test how useful and schematic information is always formed. You can test mechanical working systems and see that factories never self-assemble. You can test programming and see that not algorithms or engineering with contingencies ever occur without a programmer (intelligent programmer).

    Based on our repeated experience and experimentation – ALL current finds demonstrate that sequences of arranged useful information always come from Intelligence.

    It’s open for falsification so falsify it.

    Hi Breckmin.

    Your claim appears to be that, since many instances of a particular type of information (useful, schematic, algorithmic etc.) have been observed to derive from an intelligent cause, then we are justified in inferring that all instances of such information, including from biology, have an intelligent cause.

    There are several problems with this.

    Firstly, you claim the argument “all As are B” can be scientifically tested because it can be falsified by finding an instance of A that is not B. Sorry, no, not if B is so vague and unlimited that it is impossible in principle to find an instance of A that is not B. And that’s the case here: it is impossible in principle to find any observation that is inconsistent with an unlimited “intelligent cause”. Therefore, the claim “all As are due to an intelligent cause” is impossible in principle to falsify, and thus the claim not scientifically testable.

    Secondly, the argument “every instance of A we have observed has been B, therefore all As are B” is simply a fallacy. Every swan ever observed was white, up until the discovery of Australian black swans.

    And thirdly, you claim “ALL current finds demonstrate that sequences of arranged useful information always come from intelligence.” Actually, no; we do not know whether the arranged useful information in biological life came from an intelligent cause, which is of course the very question we are supposed to be answering, so this is begging the question.

  97. 97
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 94

    CLAVDIVS: … science simply hasn’t developed the methods to investigate concepts like intelligence, consciousness and information in any useful way.

    bornagain77: Really??? So you are saying that it is completely impossible for you to ‘scientifically’ discern between conscious intelligent activity and unconscious non-intelligent activity?

    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Can you prove by any scientific test that I am in fact conscious, and that I am not a philosophical zombie?

  98. 98
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS, so basically you want a scientific instrument that can measure consciousness? And if you don’t have that scientific instrument you are prepared to argue for solipsism? Something tells me your definition of science is what is screwing you up in this matter! Moreover Eugene Wigner would disagree wholeheartedly with you that other minds cannot be measured ‘scientifically’. Here is Wigner commenting on the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries,,,

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: When I returned to Berlin, the excellent crystallographer Weissenberg asked me to study: why is it that in a crystal the atoms like to sit in a symmetry plane or symmetry axis. After a short time of thinking I understood:,,,, To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    Further comments from Wigner:

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.
    http://eugene-wigner.co.tv/

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” –
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’
    http://www.informationphilosop.....ts/wigner/

    Eugene Wigner receives his Nobel Prize for Quantum Symmetries – video 1963
    http://www.nobelprize.org/medi.....hp?id=1111

    Further Notes:

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    (Max Planck, as cited in de Purucker, Gottfried. 1940. The Esoteric Tradition. California: Theosophical University Press, ch. 13).

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    (Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.)

    Another interesting argument comes from the leading philosopher and Christian, Alvin Plantinga—he asked, what evidence does anyone have for the existence of other people’s minds? He argued cogently that the evidence for God is just as good as the evidence for other minds; and conversely, if there isn’t any evidence for God, then there is also no evidence that other minds exist—see God and Other Minds, Cornell University Press, repr. 1990.
    http://creation.com/atheism-is-more-rational

    Solipsist Humor from Plantinga
    ,,,At a recent Lecture I attended by Philosopher Alvin Plantinga, he warmed up the crowd with a few solipsist jokes.,,,
    FYI, solipsism is the rather odd idea that there is only one individual in the universe and that you are it. Everyone else is just a figment of your imagination.
    1. British philosopher Bertrand Russell was a solipsist for a time (why does that not surprise me?), and he once received a letter from a woman who found his arguments very convincing. Well, I suppose it’s not so hard to convince a figment of your imagination that your arguments are brilliant. Anyway, the woman commented in her letter that his description of solipsism made a lot of sense and that, “I’m surprised there aren’t more of us.”
    2. Plantinga also told of an accomplished academic who was a well-known solipsist (I forget the guys name). And Plantinga thought it would be fun to meet a real life solipsist, so he went to visit him. He was treated fairly well considering he was only figment. I mean, it’s not a given that a solipsist would feel the need to be polite to his imaginary friends. After a brief conversation, Plantinga left and on the way out one of the man’s assistants said, “We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go.”
    http://www.fellowtravelerblog......plantinga/

    What is a Properly Basic Belief? (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7377jU2a8Y

  99. 99
    Joe says:

    CLAVDIVS:

    Darwinism is irrelevant because this thread is about whether ID should be taught in university science class.

    As I said ID is at least as scientific as darwinism. Therefor if darwinism is being taught then ID should be allowed.

    Whether ID is science or should be taught in university science class is a question about the status and methods of ID, not about the status and methods of any other theory.

    That is incorrect. Ya see if ID is on the same or a higher level than the current paradigm, then that is all it needs.

    You seem to want to make the point there are other subjects taught as science that are just as unscientific as ID.

    No, darwinism isn’t scientific. ID is.

    And test it via scientific methods you may, but the problem is, as I have said repeatedly, those tests always come back “true: intelligent cause” because the unqualified claim of “intelligent cause” is consistent with any conceivable fact, measurement, observation or state of affairs, and thus cannot ever be refuted.

    Dude, I have told you how to refute any design inference. The EF shows you how to do it too.

    IOW you are just a willfully ignorant punk on an agenda.

  100. 100
    Joe says:

    LarTanner:

    Excellent. How did you get that measurement?

    Research. You could do it too. Just find the simplest bacterial flagellum, count the number of proteins required and do the math:

    With that said, to measure biological information, ie biological specification, all you have to do is count the coding nucleotides of the genes involved for that functioning system, then multiply by 2 (four possible nucleotides = 2^2) and then factor in the variation tolerance:

    from Kirk K. Durston, David K. Y. Chiu, David L. Abel, Jack T. Trevors, “Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins,” Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Vol. 4:47 (2007):

    [N]either RSC [Random Sequence Complexity] nor OSC [Ordered Sequence Complexity], or any combination of the two, is sufficient to describe the functional complexity observed in living organisms, for neither includes the additional dimension of functionality, which is essential for life. FSC [Functional Sequence Complexity] includes the dimension of functionality. Szostak argued that neither Shannon’s original measure of uncertainty nor the measure of algorithmic complexity are sufficient. Shannon’s classical information theory does not consider the meaning, or function, of a message. Algorithmic complexity fails to account for the observation that “different molecular structures may be functionally equivalent.” For this reason, Szostak suggested that a new measure of information—functional information—is required.

    Here is a formal way of measuring functional information:

    Robert M. Hazen, Patrick L. Griffin, James M. Carothers, and Jack W. Szostak, “Functional information and the emergence of biocomplexity,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 104:8574–8581 (May 15, 2007).

    See also:

    Jack W. Szostak, “Molecular messages,” Nature, Vol. 423:689 (June 12, 2003).

  101. 101
    LarTanner says:

    Joe @ 100, Thanks again.

    Now, would a specific ID claim concern what the origin is of “the coding nucleotides of the genes involved”? That is, according to ID, the naturalistic evolution of coding nucleotides is impossible?

  102. 102
    Joe says:

    Now, would a specific ID claim concern what the origin is of “the coding nucleotides of the genes involved”?

    Yes, it would.

    That is, according to ID, the naturalistic evolution of coding nucleotides is impossible?

    Arbitrary codes, like the gentic codes, cannot come about via blind and undirected chemical and physical processes- well to date there isn’t any evidence for such a thing.

  103. 103
    LarTanner says:

    Joe @ 102:

    Great, so then the theory of intelligent design should have something specific to say about how nucleotides first began to code.

  104. 104
    CLAVDIVS says:

    bornagain77 @ 98

    CLAVDIVS, so basically you want a scientific instrument that can measure consciousness? And if you don’t have that scientific instrument you are prepared to argue for solipsism?

    No, bornagain77, you have misunderstood – yet again – with the result that you are imputing a position to me I do not hold, have not argued for and in fact have explicitly argued against. It is starting to look like you are doing this on purpose – please try to do better next time.

    I am not prepared to argue for solipsism on the basis that science cannot measure consciousness. Just because something cannot be scientifically tested does not make it false or unreasonble. In fact I think solipsism is irrational, regardless of the scientific testability of consciousness. As I said @ 62, “There’s nothing disreputable … about something that can’t be investigated by science – it’s a reflection of the limitations of science, not of the truth or importance of the thing that can’t be so investigated.”

    As a matter of fact I think Wigner may be on to something (along with Alain Aspect and others) regarding the links between consciousness and the interpretation of quantum physics, and I have thought this for a long time (since about 1989 I believe). I think if ID is to make any progress as a science it needs to be reasearching and publishing in areas like this, which currently is not being done by any ID proponents I am aware of.

    However, it is interesting that you bring this up, because a scientific consciousness detector – specifically an intentionality or “purpose” detector – is precisely what ID claims to have developed, and this is precisely what I am arguing against in this thread. The reason I argue this is because the explanation put forward by ID for certain phenomena – “intelligent cause”, without any limitations – is simply too vague to test.

  105. 105
    vjtorley says:

    CLAVDIVS

    I’ve finally got a bit of spare time, so I’d like to respond to your claims in detail. I’ll list the relevant quotes of yours, for ease of reference (emphases mine):

    (#50)
    I think if we found the 2001 monolith on the Moon any reasonable person would ascribe it to an intelligent cause. However that would be a metaphysical speculation and not a scientific explanation because, however reasonable it may be in this particular example, the fact remains that the claim “intelligent cause” is far too vague and unqualified to actually check.

    What would happen, of course – with great energy and excitement I suspect – is we would follow up that initial metaphysical speculation of intelligent cause with a battery of genuinely scientifically testable explanations about the origin of the monolith – like it was made at a particular time, from particular materials, with particular tools or methods; and we could follow its radio signal to the outer planets and check all sorts of scientific explanations along the way.

    There’s nothing irrational or even disreputable about speculating about an intelligent cause; but on its own, that is not a sufficiently specific claim to be testable, so it’s not science…

    (#62)
    To be testable the claim has to be more limited or qualified. For example, the claim “human beings made the computer in 1984? would be scientifically testable, because the claim is limited to human beings and all the historical and physical limitations that that entails, as well as focussing on a specific timeframe. The claim is not consistent with any possible observation; in fact it is consistent with only a very narrow range of observations. That’s what makes it something we can check out versus reality, which is what science is all about…

    The primary problem is, we cannot in principle test the claim “X is not explained by any undirected, natural cause”, because we are not omniscient: we can only test things we know enough about to test; we can’t test what we don’t know about. What is worse, we don’t even know the proportion of what we do know to what we don’t know. Therefore, any claim along the lines of “X is not explained by any Y” is simply not scientifically testable, because we can never know if we have tested every Y.

    A secondary problem with the claim “X is not explained by any undirected, natural cause” is around the term “undirected”. Is it possible in principle to conduct tests to see if something is undirected? ..

    In sum, because the claim “X is not explained by any undirected, natural cause” can’t be tested in principle, it’s not a scientific explanation…

    (#63)
    …I have argued that the ID claim of “intelligent cause”, bare and unqualified, is not a scientific explanation, because it is too vague and unlimited to be be tested by scientific methods. In other words, the consensus of scholars and experts in the field of science about ID being unscientific is well-founded.

    I am quite prepared to grant, just for the purposes of this thread’s discussion, that Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous, because that’s simply irrelevant to the point I am making about the ID claim of “intelligent cause” being too unqualified for scientific testing.

    In response:

    1. You’ve conceded for argument’s sake that “Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous.” Does that mean that you don’t regard it as science, either? If you accept that Darwinism cannot truly be described as a scientific theory, then you are going against the consensus of scholars and experts in the field of science” that you appealed to in rejecting ID as a science. But if you think that Darwinism can be legitimately described as a science, then I’d like to hear why.

    2. If claim X is not scientifically testable, then by the same token, the claim “not-X” is’t scientifically testable either. So if you reject the claim that life (or for that matter, the diversity of life-forms we see on earth today) was produced by some intelligent agent as unscientific, then you must also reject the claim that life (or the diversity of life-forms existing currently) is the product of some undirected process as equally unscientific.

    In 2005, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity organized the Nobel Laureates Initiative, which consisted of a petition that was sent by 38 Nobel Laureates (most of them scientists) to the Kansas Board of Education on September 9, 2005, asking the Board to vote against the inclusion of intelligent design in the academic curriculum. The petition contained the following statement:

    Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. (Emphasis mine – VJT)

    Do you agree that by the Nobel Laureates’ own definition of “evolution”, evolution is not a scientific theory?

    3. Do you regard the first and second laws of thermodynamics as scientific statements? The first law says that energy can never be created or destroyed; the second says that the entropy of any isolated system will never decrease.

    If you accept these statements as scientific, then it is hard to see why you would reject as unscientific the claim that every independently specifiable pattern observed in Nature whose probability of arising from stochastic and/or law-governed processes is less than 10^-150 is not the result of chance or necessity, but of an intelligent agent. One could certainly think of observations that would falsify the claim.

    4. You write that in order to be truly scientific, a claim about intelligent agency must stipulate that an entity “was made at a particular time, from particular materials, with particular tools or methods.” Fair enough. So even if you consider ID as a whole to be metaphysical rather than scientific, you would be prepared to grant that sub-hypotheses consistent with ID methodology are scientific – e.g. the hypothesis that life was made 3.9 billion years ago (i.e. as soon as the crust was cool enough to support life over the long-term), from DNA (because it’s the best molecule for the job) and by a process of assembling the components of the first cell in order XYZ? Am I reading you aright?

    Got to go now.

  106. 106
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS, since I find your arguments completely unreasonable, even incoherent to the point of absurdity, I refuse to try to ‘do better next time’ and leave you to anyone else on UD who wants to try to make heads or tails out of your ‘ahem’ argument (of which Dr. Torley, who is far more patient than I in regards to nonsense, has tried in his usual meticulous fashion).

  107. 107
    Mung says:

    Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.

    And thus completely indistinguishable from goddidit, or magicdidit, or mydeadunclesghostdidit. Not science.

  108. 108
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Joe @ 99

    CLAVDIVS: Darwinism is irrelevant because this thread is about whether ID should be taught in university science class.

    Joe: As I said ID is at least as scientific as darwinism. Therefor if darwinism is being taught then ID should be allowed.

    No. If Darwinism is unscientific it should not be taught in science class. If ID is unscientific it should not be taught in science class either.

    CLAVDIVS: Whether ID is science or should be taught in university science class is a question about the status and methods of ID, not about the status and methods of any other theory.

    Joe: That is incorrect. Ya see if ID is on the same or a higher level than the current paradigm, then that is all it needs.

    No, what ID needs in order to be taught in science class is to be scientifically testable.

    What “level” ID is on vis-a-vis some other theory is irrelevant. What is relevant to whether ID should be taught in science class is whether it is scientifically testable. If it’s not, then it shouldn’t be taught in science class. It really is that simple.

    CLAVDIVS: And test it via scientific methods you may, but the problem is, as I have said repeatedly, those tests always come back “true: intelligent cause” because the unqualified claim of “intelligent cause” is consistent with any conceivable fact, measurement, observation or state of affairs, and thus cannot ever be refuted.

    Joe: Dude, I have told you how to refute any design inference. The EF shows you how to do it too.

    Joe, I am not talking about just “any design inference”. I am talking specifically about the inference of an unqualified and unlimited “intelligent cause”, which as per this website’s FAQ is supposedly the key scientific explanation offered by ID.

    And – as I have explained many times – this explanation of an unqualified “intelligent cause” cannot possibly be falsified, because it is so vague and unlimited that it is consistent with any conceivable measurement, pattern or observation – even contradictory ones. Something that cannot in principle be falsified is not the sort of thing that counts as a scientific explanation.

    There may be many design inferences that are limited and qualified such that they are scientifically testable; for example, the explanation “this computer was designed and built by humans in 1984”. However, the bare inference of “intelligent cause” has no such limits or qualifications, and can therefore be said to explain absolutely any state of affairs, without the possibility of being proved false. This is not the sort of explanation we can scientifically test.

    IOW you are just a willfully ignorant punk on an agenda.

    That you are now resorting to insults instead of addressing my points reflects on you and the quality of your arguments, as I am sure any reasonable onlooker will note.

  109. 109
    Querius says:

    Joe @ 99

    Sometimes I have interesting and even intense discussions with a dear friend of mine who’s both a Christian and an evolutionist. We respect each other’s intellects, we listen to each other’s points and rebuttals, and we share information. Nevertheless, we rarely agree regarding evolution.

    This same type of cordial disagreement is available here, but some people begin arguing obvious definitions such as what’s meant by the word “junk,” change the subject, refuse to answer a question, circle back, become “willfully ignorant,” and so on.

    At that point, I can’t help but feel that it’s become a complete waste of time and energy to continue, so I say goodbye and leave them to their illusions. 🙂

  110. 110
    Mung says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    Evolution is not blind. It is merely “short-sighted”

  111. 111
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Querius @ 109

    That sort of behaviour is irritating sometimes, isn’t it.

  112. 112
    LarTanner says:

    Joe @ 102,

    What is ID theory’s claim regarding the origin of coding nucleotides?

  113. 113
    Joe says:

    CLAVDIVS:

    If Darwinism is unscientific it should not be taught in science class. If ID is unscientific it should not be taught in science class either.

    Darwinism isn’t science and it is being taught.

    No, what ID needs in order to be taught in science class is to be scientifically testable.

    It is- I and others have told you how to test and potentially falsify it.

    What “level” ID is on vis-a-vis some other theory is irrelevant.

    No, it isn’t. All ID has to do is match the current accepted paradigm, otherwise there are double-standards.

    Joe, I am not talking about just “any design inference”.

    What I said works for ALL design inferences.

    And your “explanation” has been refuted, so shut up already.

  114. 114
    Joe says:

    Lar Tanner:

    What is ID theory’s claim regarding the origin of coding nucleotides?

    That it was designed, intentionally.

  115. 115
    Joe says:

    CLAVDIVS:

    However, the bare inference of “intelligent cause” has no such limits or qualifications, and can therefore be said to explain absolutely any state of affairs, without the possibility of being proved false.

    Yes it can- merely by demonstrating that nature, operating freely, can produce it.

    Now I know that you will just ignore that fact because you have been ignoring it for years. So go wallow in your ignorance.

  116. 116
    CLAVDIVS says:

    vjtorley @ 105

    Hi vjtorley – thanks for the response.

    1. You’ve conceded for argument’s sake that “Darwinism is not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous.” Does that mean that you don’t regard it as science, either? If you accept that Darwinism cannot truly be described as a scientific theory, then you are going against the consensus of scholars and experts in the field of science” that you appealed to in rejecting ID as a science. But if you think that Darwinism can be legitimately described as a science, then I’d like to hear why.

    Perhaps you too are unfamiliar with the concept of granting something for the sake of argument, or in legal latin arguendo:

    Wikipedia: … used in courtroom settings and academic legal settings to designate provisional and unendorsed assumptions that will be made at the beginning of an argument in order to explore their implications.
    YourDictionary/Law: Hypothetically; for the purpose or sake of argument. A term used to assume a fact without waiving the right to question it later on.

    So when I granted arguendo that Darwinism was not falsifiable or mathematically rigorous, it was just another way of saying “even if we assume the truth of your claim about Darwinism, it has no bearing on whether ID is testable”.

    In any case, in my experience, most commenters here on UD who use the term “Darwinism” are in fact referring to a atheistic/materialistic philosophical viewpoint – a viewpoint that I do in fact agree is neither falsifiable nor mathematically rigorous. And I am not aware of any consensus opinion amongst scholars and experts in the field of science that atheism/materialism is falsifiable or mathematically rigorous – indeed that would be astonishing since a clear majority of scientists are either believers in God or a “higher power”, or are “unsure” in that regard.

    But of course, none of this is relevant to the scientific testability of ID, which is what I have been discussing all along.

    Sorry, got to go. TBC.

  117. 117
    LarTanner says:

    Joe @ 110: This is a disappointing answer if this is all you intend to provide.

    Shouldn’t the theory of intelligent design say something more about how the coding nucleotide was designed and manufactured? Was the entire thing designed at one time or in stages? Was everything designed or only some key components? Were any technologies involved in the design? Were there “earlier versions” or “false starts”?

    As far as the concept of intention goes, how does one discern intention? Can a biological system work yet not be what was intended originally? Can it ‘succeed’ yet fail to meet the intention or fail to meet it fully? Can intention change?

    You must agree that a theory of intelligent design should be able to address such questions.

  118. 118
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner, did you intend to write your post or was it just the result of some random motion of molecules in your brain? And if intentionality and free will does not exist in your worldview does that make you an automaton who as no choice but to post insane nonsense??

  119. 119
    LarTanner says:

    BA, Your attempt to sidetrack the discussion is noted, laughed at, and forgotten.

  120. 120
    Axel says:

    Beats trying to think of a rational response, hands down. Top man, Lar!

  121. 121
    Axel says:

    ‘At that point, I can’t help but feel that it’s become a complete waste of time and energy to continue, so I say goodbye and leave them to their illusions. 🙂

    But with a flea in their ear, Joe, and no smiley! It would be a sore loss to a lot of us, I’m sure, if you were to become, Mr Nice Guy, in all circumstances. Don’t do it, I beg you!

  122. 122
    Axel says:

    ‘At that point, I can’t help but feel that it’s become a complete waste of time and energy to continue, so I say goodbye and leave them to their illusions. 🙂

    But with a flea in their ear, Joe, and no smiley! It would be a sore loss to a lot of us, I’m sure, if you were to become, Mr Nice Guy, in all circumstances. Don’t do it. I beseech you!

  123. 123
    Joe says:

    LarTanner:

    Joe @ 110: This is a disappointing answer if this is all you intend to provide.

    That is your opinion. However anyone who has ever conducted an investigation knows saying that says quite a bit.

    Shouldn’t the theory of intelligent design say something more about how the coding nucleotide was designed and manufactured?

    Nope, those are separate questions. IOW once again an anti-IDist proves that ID, ie the design inference, is not a scientific dead-end as it opens up new questions that we will seek answers for.

    Was the entire thing designed at one time or in stages? Was everything designed or only some key components? Were any technologies involved in the design? Were there “earlier versions” or “false starts”?

    Look, reality dictates that in the absence of direct observation or designer input, the only possible way to make any determination about the designer(s) or specific process(es) used, is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

    So first one has to determine design and that doesn’t require knowing anything about the who, how, why, when.

    As far as the concept of intention goes, how does one discern intention?

    Exactly how Behe said in “Darwin’s Black Box:

    “the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”

    Can a biological system work yet not be what was intended originally? Can it ‘succeed’ yet fail to meet the intention or fail to meet it fully? Can intention change?

    Yes the design can change, by design. Dr Spetner calls it “built-in responses to environmental cues”.

    You must agree that a theory of intelligent design should be able to address such questions.

    ID is the detection and study of design in nature.

  124. 124
    LarTanner says:

    Joe @ 123:

    I don’t think you are entirely consistent. In comment 102 you say this:

    LT: Now, would a specific ID claim concern what the origin is of “the coding nucleotides of the genes involved”?

    Joe: Yes, it would.

    Now, in comment 123, you say this:

    LT: Shouldn’t the theory of intelligent design say something more about how the coding nucleotide was designed and manufactured?

    Joe: Nope, those are separate questions.

    So, in 102 ID does have something to say about the origin of coding nucleotides, but in 123 ID is unconcerned with their origin.

    In 123, the concern is only with being able to make an assertion that coding nucleotides were designed. But then I don’t see how we have a theory if it doesn’t go beyond asserting design.

    Look, you called me anti-ID and I am not. I am happy to listen to you assert that coding nucleotides were designed, but if you have nothing else to tell me beyond the assertion then how seriously should I take it?

    I actually agree that you do not need to know “the who, how, why, when” to determine design. But once you determine design, all these questions become mandatory at least to ask — a theory of intelligent design cannot avoid asking them. Agree?

    You also say:

    reality dictates that in the absence of direct observation or designer input, the only possible way to make any determination about the designer(s) or specific process(es) used, is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

    This makes my point above. You study coding nucleotides and all the evidence — and from all this you determine that coding nucleotides were designed. As you say above, you also look at coding nucleotides and try to hypothesize what specific processes were used.

    My point is that an intelligent design theory should include both parts that you yourself have identified, the design assertion and speculation on how design was implemented.

    Isn’t such speculation on how design was implemented exactly what is meant by the “study of design in nature”? Or, what does it mean to study design if not to examine how it might have come to be? Admire its artfulness?

  125. 125
    bornagain77 says:

    LT, after you questioned intentionality,,,

    “As far as the concept of intention goes, how does one discern intention?”

    ,,,I pointed out that either you intended your post or you are an automaton who has no choice but to post insane nonsense that you do. You then indignantly state,,,

    “BA, Your attempt to sidetrack the discussion is noted, laughed at, and forgotten.”

    But LT you were the one who questioned how to discern intentionality. I was merely trying to help you! Please do try to stay up with what you yourself are talking about will you! You really are making atheists look worse than usual when you don’t even try to hide how biased you are. Thus once again I ask you, did you intend to write your post or was it just the result of some random motion of molecules in your brain? And if intentionality and free will does not exist in your worldview does that make you an automaton who as no choice but to post insane nonsense?? Please try to answer honestly for once will you!

  126. 126
    bornagain77 says:

    LT, as to the second part of your question, assuming that you are honest enough the necessity and thus reality of your own mind, then these following videos are along the lines of addressing how God may act within this universe:

    Alvin Plantinga: Divine Action – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5DPneR-Rtc

    Does Science Show That Miracles Can’t Happen? (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcvSSQGYIu8

    John Lennox – Science And Miracles – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB71Vzw71eo

    of note:

    Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. What blows most people away, when they first encounter quantum mechanics, is the quantum foundation of our material reality blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Most people consider defying time and space to be a ‘miraculous & supernatural’ event. I know I certainly do! Moreover, there is certainly nothing within quantum mechanics that precludes miracles from being possible:

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

  127. 127
    bornagain77 says:

    correction: assuming that you are honest enough TO ADMIT the necessity and thus reality of your own mind,

  128. 128
    bornagain77 says:

    corrected link:

    Does Science Show That Miracles Can’t Happen? (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXK5ELicqxo

  129. 129
    LarTanner says:

    BA @ 125.

    I did not question the notion of intentionality. If you were paying attention instead of searching for a new, creepy “jeebus touches me privately” video, you would have discerned that I was asking about Joe’s concept of intention in #114 — Joe’s concept. Direct your inane creationist questions to him. In fact, I really wish you would talk to Joe. I like a good online kook fight.

    Now go away.

  130. 130
    bornagain77 says:

    So LarTanner, you state:

    “I did not question the notion of intentionality.”

    Thus do you admit that you have intention and free will? i.e. Ignoring the personal attack, which is usual from atheists instead of ever honestly addressing the issue especially when they might have to admit to the reality of God, does this now mean you concede that you have a mind? And if not are you an automaton who has no choice but to post the insane nonsense that you do? Please try to focus and answer the question honestly instead of attacking me personally will you!

  131. 131
    Querius says:

    bornagain77 @ 95,

    I don’t understand why you would be leery since it illustrates the problem that Darwinism is facing quite well.

    Oversimplifying to make my point, I’m specifically referring to things like calculating the combinations of atoms that might be randomly assembled to create a protein . . . but out of the full Periodic Table rather than only H, C, N, O, and a few others. It’s too easy to criticize based on the fact that these elements combine in limited configurations, most certainly following a non-random assembly process.

    Besides, the problem of assembling and maintaining a large number of complex chemical processes within the cell should be insurmountable enough. 😉

  132. 132
    Joe says:

    LarTanner:

    So, in 102 ID does have something to say about the origin of coding nucleotides, but in 123 ID is unconcerned with their origin.

    No, I never said ID is unconcerned with their origin. That is all in your head.

    In 123, the concern is only with being able to make an assertion that coding nucleotides were designed. But then I don’t see how we have a theory if it doesn’t go beyond asserting design.

    Larry are you having problems reading what I post? ID is about the detection AND STUDY of design in nature.

    But once you determine design, all these questions become mandatory at least to ask — a theory of intelligent design cannot avoid asking them. Agree?

    The theory doesn’t care- WE DO. And we will ask those questions and seek answers to them. However that is outside of ID.

    My point is that an intelligent design theory should include both parts that you yourself have identified, the design assertion and speculation on how design was implemented.

    I disagree. ID doesn’t prevent anyone from asking nor trying to answer those questions. ID just makes them separate- just as evolutionism tries to make the ooL a separate question.

    Isn’t such speculation on how design was implemented exactly what is meant by the “study of design in nature”?

    We study things so that we can understand them. Heck look at Stonehenge- we don’t know how, by who nor why it was built and it is just stones! So by your “logic” archaeology is useless.

    Just how can we figure out the how wrt something that is way over our heads- designing living organisms?

  133. 133
    CLAVDIVS says:

    vjtorley @ 105

    … continued

    2. If claim X is not scientifically testable, then by the same token, the claim “not-X” is’t scientifically testable either. So if you reject the claim that life (or for that matter, the diversity of life-forms we see on earth today) was produced by some intelligent agent as unscientific, then you must also reject the claim that life (or the diversity of life-forms existing currently) is the product of some undirected process as equally unscientific.

    Of course I agree. “Life is not the product of some intelligent agent” is equally vague and untestable as “Life is the product of some intelligent agent”.

    Letter from 38 Nobel Laureates against ID, 2005: Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. (Emphasis mine – VJT)

    vjtorley: Do you agree that by the Nobel Laureates’ own definition of “evolution”, evolution is not a scientific theory?

    I certainly agree that the philosophical view that evolution is unguided is not scientifically testable. This letter is very stupidly written for it jumbles up the science of evolution, which is testable, with a philosophical view of evolution which is not testable. It is also completely unrepresentative of the philosophical views of the scientific community: 40% of scientists and 47% of high school biology teachers accept evolution is guided.

    3. Do you regard the first and second laws of thermodynamics as scientific statements? The first law says that energy can never be created or destroyed; the second says that the entropy of any isolated system will never decrease.

    Yes, they are scientific statements.

    If you accept these statements as scientific, then it is hard to see why you would reject as unscientific the claim that every independently specifiable pattern observed in Nature whose probability of arising from stochastic and/or law-governed processes is less than 10^-150 is not the result of chance or necessity, but of an intelligent agent. One could certainly think of observations that would falsify the claim.

    I don’t think it’s hard to see at all. The problem with the claim “certain patterns have an intelligent cause” is exactly the same as the problem with the Nobel Laureates’ claim “evolution is unguided” – neither can be falsified. It’s actually not possible to think of an observation that cannot be explained by saying it had an intelligent cause.

    To illustrate, let’s assume arguendo 😉 that scientology is true, and the entire physical universe is an outgrowth of, and under the control of, the minds of superintelligent spiritual beings called thetans. Under this assumption, absolutely any pattern or observation can be said to be caused by an intelligent agent – namely, the thetans – and thus this claim cannot be falsified, because no conceivable state of affairs is inconsistent with the concept of intelligent thetans causing everything.

    Now the bare claim “intelligent cause”, because it is unqualified, does not rule out the unfalsifiable concept of thetans. Therefore, the claim “intelligent cause” is unfalsifiable too, because no matter what pattern or measurement is observed, one can always claim it was casued by the intelligent action of thetans, which are not ruled out by unqualified the claim of “intelligent cause”.

    In contrast, the claim “energy cannot be created or destroyed” can be falsified by demonstrating the creation or destruction of energy. And the claim “the computer was made by humans in 1984” can be falsified by showing it has an Intel Core i7 chip, which did not exist in 1984.

    4. You write that in order to be truly scientific, a claim about intelligent agency must stipulate that an entity “was made at a particular time, from particular materials, with particular tools or methods.” Fair enough. So even if you consider ID as a whole to be metaphysical rather than scientific, you would be prepared to grant that sub-hypotheses consistent with ID methodology are scientific – e.g. the hypothesis that life was made 3.9 billion years ago (i.e. as soon as the crust was cool enough to support life over the long-term), from DNA (because it’s the best molecule for the job) and by a process of assembling the components of the first cell in order XYZ? Am I reading you aright?

    If there’s an observation we could make that would falsify an idea, then it’s scientifically testable – whether or not it’s consistent with ID methodology.

    I’m not aware of any ID proponent claiming DNA was made 3.9 billion years ago by artifical assembly of atoms and molecules in a particular order. Raelians make a claim like this. How would you propose to test this idea?

  134. 134
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Joe @ 115

    CLAVDIVS: However, the bare inference of “intelligent cause” has no such limits or qualifications, and can therefore be said to explain absolutely any state of affairs, without the possibility of being proved false.

    Joe: Yes it can- merely by demonstrating that nature, operating freely, can produce it.

    But we cannot demonstrate nature operating free from intelligent cause, can we? How do we exclude scientology thetans, for example, from influencing the demonstration?

    The ID claim of “intelligent cause” doesn’t rule such things out, and therefore it is unfalsifiable. That is why I say the ID claim of “intelligent cause” is too vague and unqualified – it needs to be more limited in order to be falsifiable, like the claim “the computer was made by humans in 1984”. This involves intelligent agents – humans – yet it can be falsified e.g. by showing the computer has an Intel Core i7 chip.

  135. 135
    LarTanner says:

    Joe @ 132:

    ID doesn’t prevent anyone from asking nor trying to answer those questions [i.e., questions about how specified designs were built and implemented in nature].

    Fair enough, but then ID is not a theory. You essentially have an ID principle that says, ‘if X has some quantity of functional information, then an intelligent being probably designed some or all of it at some previous point in time.’

    ID just makes them separate- just as evolutionism tries to make the ooL a separate question.

    There are a few problems with this analogy, but the one that I think stands out is that the term “intelligent” in the name of your theory obligates you to deal origin of design-type questions such as how specified designs were built and implemented in nature. By determining that an intelligence acted on or influenced X, you are committing to a position that says X may yield clues to the intentions and foresight of that actor/influencer. To study design is to build a hypothesis about those intentions and foresight.

    If you don’t want to deal with intentions and foresight, then you need to change the theory’s focus to something other than ‘intelligent design.’ Maybe you mean biological design or physical design.

    We study things so that we can understand them. Heck look at Stonehenge- we don’t know how, by who nor why it was built and it is just stones! So by your “logic” archaeology is useless.

    I agree with your first statement, which is why it’s puzzling that a theory of intelligent design, but your account, would avoid inquiring into the intelligent part of it.

    Stonehenge is a perfect illustration of my case. The reason archaeology is useful is that from the physical traces of past civilizations it seeks to reconstruct immediate intentions and foresight, and to reconstruct the communities and cultural emphases/values of the people who left these traces. Stonehenge is interesting for itself, but even more so for the window it potentially opens on its makers.

  136. 136
    Joe says:

    CLAVDIVS:

    But we cannot demonstrate nature operating free from intelligent cause, can we?

    That’s your problem, not mine. Do you think that all deaths are murders and all rocks are artifacts?

    The ID claim of “intelligent cause” doesn’t rule such things out, and therefore it is unfalsifiable.

    Actually it does- all deaths are not murders and all rocks are NOT artifacts!

  137. 137
    Joe says:


    ID doesn’t prevent anyone from asking nor trying to answer those questions [i.e., questions about how specified designs were built and implemented in nature].

    Fair enough, but then ID is not a theory.

    Cuz you baldly assert that it isn’t? LoL!

    You essentially have an ID principle that says, ‘if X has some quantity of functional information, then an intelligent being probably designed some or all of it at some previous point in time.’

    Just like archaeology and forensic science. Perhaps those aren’t theories either.


    ID just makes them separate- just as evolutionism tries to make the ooL a separate question.

    There are a few problems with this analogy, but the one that I think stands out is that the term “intelligent” in the name of your theory obligates you to deal origin of design-type questions such as how specified designs were built and implemented in nature.

    Nope, you just made that up.

    By determining that an intelligence acted on or influenced X, you are committing to a position that says X may yield clues to the intentions and foresight of that actor/influencer. To study design is to build a hypothesis about those intentions and foresight.

    That could be PART of it but it ain’t required. And it ain’t required to determine design is present and then study it.

    If you don’t want to deal with intentions and foresight, then you need to change the theory’s focus to something other than ‘intelligent design.’ Maybe you mean biological design or physical design.

    Intelligent Design works fine for those who know what they are talking about.

    I agree with your first statement, which is why it’s puzzling that a theory of intelligent design, but your account, would avoid inquiring into the intelligent part of it.

    It’s a SEPARATE question Larry. Meaning “how” is separate from the fact it was designed.

    Stonehenge is a perfect illustration of my case.

    No, Stonehenge is a perfect illustration of MY case.

    The reason archaeology is useful is that from the physical traces of past civilizations it seeks to reconstruct immediate intentions and foresight, and to reconstruct the communities and cultural emphases/values of the people who left these traces.

    How do they do that Larry? I bet it is exactly how I said.

    Firsdt they determined it was designed. And THEN they set out studying it and all relevent evidence. And no one knows who built it, how they built it nor why it was built. And Stonehenge is super simple compared to a living organism.

    Just how can we figure out the how wrt something that is way over our heads- designing living organisms?

  138. 138
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Joe @ 136

    CLAVDIVS: But we cannot demonstrate nature operating free from intelligent cause, can we?

    Joe: That’s your problem, not mine.

    No, Joe, it is a problem for the unqualified ID claim of “intelligent cause”, because it means it can’t be tested. It is precisely my point that, if “nature operating free from intelligent cause” cannot possibly be demonstrated – as you tacitly agree right here – then the ID claim of “intelligent cause” cannot possibly be falsified, and thus is unscientific.

    Demonstrating nature doing something free from intelligence is the test you propose for your explanation of “intelligent cause”. I’m only pointing out that your proposed test cannot in principle be carried out, and so it follows as night follows day that your explanation of “intelligent cause” is untestable, unfalsifiable and unscientific. Please don’t try to blame me for the own goal.

    Do you think that all deaths are murders and all rocks are artifacts?

    But the theory of ID, according to this website, makes no claim about murders or artifacts, does it? Its claim is restricted to the explanation “intelligent cause”, without qualification.

    And the claim “all deaths have an intelligent cause” cannot be disproved, can it? This is because the claim does not define or limit the nature of the “intelligence” in any way. Maybe a superintellect with perfect foresight designed the laws of physics at the beginning of time so ultimately biological lifeforms emerge, all of which die in accordance with an intelligent plan. Or maybe all deaths are intelligently caused by scientology thetans who mentally control all aspects of physical reality.

    These sorts of claims, whether true or false, are simply not testable. And since the unqualified claim “intelligent cause” includes such claims under its umbrella (as it must because no boundaries or limits are placed on the nature of the claimed intelligence) then it follows that the unqualified claim of “intelligent cause” is not testable and not scientific.

  139. 139
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Joe @ 137

    First they determined [Stonehenge] was designed. And THEN they set out studying it and all relevent evidence. And no one knows who built it, how they built it nor why it was built. And Stonehenge is super simple compared to a living organism.

    I think you’re right Joe. First the inference of design, then detailed study of evidence.

    The design inference, however, at the level of “this was designed by an intelligence” is not scientific. Rather it is a metaphysical speculation – a speculation I agree is rational, reasonable and indeed true, but unscientific nonetheless.

    The science part is what follows from the speculation, where explanations that are testable by the methods of science are put forward and checked out against the evidence.

  140. 140
    Axel says:

    ‘The science part is what follows from the speculation, where explanations that are testable by the methods of science are put forward and checked out against the evidence.’

    Absolutely. And the science part of ID is being increasingly carried out with enormous success, although ‘small beer’, compared to Nature, itself. It is called, I believe, the ‘reverse engineering biomimetics’.

  141. 141
    Axel says:

    Give an example, CLAVDIVS, of an object which appears to be an artifact, in the sense of its having been designed, fashioned even, and not simply natural, but which was not designed by a human intelligence – or an ape’s, if it’s fashioned.

    Leaving aside the fashioning of tools by animals, there is only Nature and man’s intelligent designs. It is no more than rational to extrapolate a creative intelligence behind the design in nature.

    All the evolutionary conjecture is flim-flam, generated by an overweening pride, hubris and an unsurprising desire to force the facts to fit the evolutionists’ fancies.

    Their nemesis must have been in the pipeline a long time, now, but it can’t be much longer before it manifests.

  142. 142
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Axel @ 140

    And the science part of ID is being increasingly carried out with enormous success, although ‘small beer’, compared to Nature, itself. It is called, I believe, the ‘reverse engineering biomimetics’.

    You’re going to have to tell me what explanations are being tested in the field of biomimetics that you are calling ID science.

    Because if the explanation is just “it had an intelligent cause”, then it’s not scientific because it can’t be tested or falsified, as I have shown many times on this thread.

    But if the explanation is e.g. that beavers build their dams intelligently to hide from predators, then you’re talking about the already established scientific area of ethology, which is part of biology, and is not something that has ever been claimed to be part of ID as far as I am aware.

    So, please explain what explanations are being offered and tested in the area of biomimetics that you’re referring to here.

  143. 143
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Axel @ 142

    Leaving aside the fashioning of tools by animals, there is only Nature and man’s intelligent designs. It is no more than rational to extrapolate a creative intelligence behind the design in nature.

    Absolutely. It is perfectly rational to extrapolate a creative intelligence behind the design in nature.

    However, such an extrapolation is not science unless it is put into the form of a testable explanation. So long as the extrapolation remains in a form that can’t be tested then – however rational and reasonable and generally agreed-upon it may be – it is a metaphysical or philosophical speculation, and not a scientifically testable explanation.

    Which is what I’ve been saying all along.

  144. 144
    Joe says:

    CLAVDIVS:

    No, Joe, it is a problem for the unqualified ID claim of “intelligent cause”, because it means it can’t be tested.

    No, CLAVDIVS, it is a problem for the unqualified materialism claim of nature didit, because it means it can’t be tested.

    But the theory of ID, according to this website, makes no claim about murders or artifacts, does it?

    Murders and artifacts = “intelligent causes”, duh.

    And the claim “all deaths have an intelligent cause” cannot be disproved, can it?

    We seem to be doing a good job of doing exactly that.

    The design inference, however, at the level of “this was designed by an intelligence” is not scientific.

    Of course it is.

    The science part is what follows from the speculation, where explanations that are testable by the methods of science are put forward and checked out against the evidence.

    By your “logic” nothing is testable and science is nonsense.

  145. 145
    Breckmin says:

    Querius @ 92

    The distinction of ID in biological systems can still be first made as a distinction between what intelligence is responsible. The theistic implication is later… Information in biological systems that is identified as the product of Intelligence comes first…then your argument against panspermia can be made when you bring in FTH (fine tuning)also and demonstrate agnostic theism as a scientific conclusion (first you have to argue also that scientific investigation can conclude/include theistic implication). Religious implication comes much later.

  146. 146
    Breckmin says:

    CLAVDIVS @ 96

    CLAVDIVS wrote:

    Your claim appears to be that, since many instances of a particular type of information (useful, schematic, algorithmic etc.) have been observed to derive from an intelligent cause, then we are justified in inferring that all instances of such information, including from biology, have an intelligent cause.

    There are several problems with this.

    Firstly, you claim the argument “all As are B” can be scientifically tested because it can be falsified by finding an instance of A that is not B. Sorry, no, not if B is so vague and unlimited that it is impossible in principle to find an instance of A that is not B. And that’s the case here: it is impossible in principle to find any observation that is inconsistent with an unlimited “intelligent cause”. Therefore, the claim “all As are due to an intelligent cause” is impossible in principle to falsify, and thus the claim not scientifically testable.

    How is “intelligence” or “the result of intelligence” so vague that we can’t test “non-intelligence” natural processes or random ability to generate such order or arrangement. A strand of useful RNA – or RNA that displayed information that was meaningful – would be enough. And you don’t need to identify the “intelligence,” all you need to do is identify what is the result of intelligence. It’s not vague.

    Secondly, the argument “every instance of A we have observed has been B, therefore all As are B” is simply a fallacy. Every swan ever observed was white, up until the discovery of Australian black swans.

    If we knew every swan’s location in the world, however, and there were no black swans, then we could make the assertion (unless we knew that there could be a mutation process that could produce a future black swan). But this is apples and oranges and quite different with information. We are looking a a whole identity NOT a part of it. I would be like saying a swan is or isn’t a bird rather than a characteristic such as a color. Just as we would know all swans are birds, we could no all programs/codes/coding comes from programmers/authors/code makers.

    And thirdly, you claim “ALL current finds demonstrate that sequences of arranged useful information always come from intelligence.” Actually, no; we do not know whether the arranged useful information in biological life came from an intelligent cause, which is of course the very question we are supposed to be answering, so this is begging the question.

    We can test “if any” information can come from random processes…we can also see with RNA could ever be observed to form naturally at the level that would be required for prokaryotes.

  147. 147
    Breckmin says:

    remember CLAVDIVS that “intelligence” in biological systems is not claimed to be equal with theism. Theism is a later conclusion after intelligence is identified first.

  148. 148
    CLAVDIVS says:

    breckmin @ 147

    remember CLAVDIVS that “intelligence” in biological systems is not claimed to be equal with theism. Theism is a later conclusion after intelligence is identified first.

    Think about this for a second. You’ve just acknowledged that the umbrella term “intelligence” is so broad that it includes and is open to intelligences with god-like powers.

    But science cannot test the actions of god-like beings. No matter how “random” or “natural” something appears to us, it may be the planned action of a god-like superintelligence operating undetectably at the level of quantum physics, or by front-loading physical parameters at the beginning of time, or by the miraculous manipulation of matter. This is just not something that can ever be ruled out, therefore it is outside the scope of science.

    This is precisely why the ID claim of “intelligent cause” is too vague and unqualified to be tested scientifically – it is so broad that it can include poltergeists, scientology thetans, or demonic and angelic powers, to name a few. Unless the ID claim of “intelligence” is narrowed down to exclude such scientifically untestable intelligences, then the ID claim of “intelligence cause” will remain untestable and unscientific.

  149. 149
    bornagain77 says:

    CLAVDIVS you claim that,,

    Unless the ID claim of “intelligence” is narrowed down to exclude such scientifically untestable intelligences, then the ID claim of “intelligence cause” will remain untestable and unscientific.

    Why? Just because I cannot rule out an entire population from potentially having committed a murder does not invalidate an inference that a murder has been committed! Moreover, the ‘scientific’ inference to intelligence is the very same method of inference that Darwin used to undergird his theory. Thus if ID is unscientific then so, by default, is Darwinism.

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    Moreover, I hold that Darwinism is unscientific and ID is scientific for the former has no discernible demarcation criteria so as to delineate it as scientific whereas the later, ID, does,,,

    Moreover all the foundational presuppositions undergirding neo-Darwinism are found to be false.

    Reductive materialism is falsified by advances quantum mechanics.

    ‘Randomness’ (entropic processes of the universe) consistently destroy functional information instead of build it.

    Natural selection is ’empty’ of true explanatory power and to the extent that it does do anything, it is found that Natural Selection reduces genetic information instead of creates it.

    see also Denis Nobel’s lecture on the modern synthesis being false.

  150. 150
    Breckmin says:

    CLAVDIVS, this fails to make a distinction between identifying something that is the result of intelligence and having to identify the Intelligence.

  151. 151
    Jul3s says:

    Claiming that intelligence is too vague to be ruled out completely misses the point and is also a double-standard.

    Firstly, although ID cannot be falsified as such, it can be rendered unnecessary. For example, if it is demonstrated that processes that are unintelligent (as far as we know) can produce information and invent new structures, then ID isn’t needed. Also, if the tree of life is a purely nested hierarchy etc., then ID is probably useless and therefore to be rejected.

    Secondly, every time some new finding is unexpected, the powers attributed to evolution are expanded to fit the new finding. Orphan genes, non-nested hierarchies, horizontal transfer, different genes (from the same species) telling different evolutionary stories etc. were not supposed to be possible.

    The advantage of the theory of evolution is supposed to be the fact that it has limits on what it can achieve. Until of course, those limits are found to be broken in nature and now suddenly, evolution can do all those things after all. Somehow.

  152. 152
    Joe says:

    Jul3s,

    Unguided evolution doesn’t predict an objective nested hierarchy. Transitional forms prevent it.

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