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Are there ID implications in the detection of insider trading?

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A friend wants to know:

The professors examined stock option movements — when an investor buys an option to acquire a stock in the future at a set price — as a way of determining whether unusual activity took place in the 30 days before a deal’s announcement.

The results are persuasive and disturbing, suggesting that law enforcement is woefully behind — or perhaps is so overwhelmed that it simply looks for the most egregious examples of insider trading, or for prominent targets who can attract headlines.

The professors are so confident in their findings of pervasive insider trading that they determined statistically that the odds of the trading “arising out of chance” were “about three in a trillion.” (It’s easier, in other words, to hit the lottery.) More.

Naw. All just randomly firing neurons.

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39 Replies to “Are there ID implications in the detection of insider trading?

  1. 1
    Mark Frank says:

    Surely this is utterly irrelevant to any supposed process for identifying intelligent design. All decisions to buy and sell options are the result of intelligent decisions. The researchers are just hypothesising that these decisions were based on different information.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    Surely this is utterly irrelevant to any supposed process for identifying intelligent design.

    Insider trading is always by intelligent design, Mark, so how can it be irrelevant?

  3. 3
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mark Frank, you do not understand the issue.

    The question is not whether the trading happens by decision (at some level we could argue that it always does). The question is whether that decision of trading matches up with a specification (in this case, an increase in stock price).

    The whole trading scandal that broke several years ago was identified precisely by looking at these kinds of patterns, and it is most definitely an example of intelligent design detection in action.

    Today (and partly as a result of the trading scandal) many companies have their officers and directors enter into pre-scheduled trades. For example, a CEO might decide he wants to offload 120,000 shares. So the trading may be put on an automatic schedule that says, for example, “Sell 10,000 shares on the first day of the month for the next 12 months.” Now, some of those trades may end up being great for the CEO; some less so. But as long as he can demonstrate to the SEC that the trades were pre-scheduled and automatic, he is in the clear. Furthermore, in such a pre-scheduled situation, his trades are not likely to attract attention in the first place, because some will be up, perhaps some down, etc.

    In stark contrast, what was happening several years ago that provoked the scandal was that option holders were being given a certain amount of lag time to complete paperwork, get documents filed, report trades, etc. That is a natural result of typical bureaucracy and red tape and human nature. That wasn’t a problem. But eventually some enterprising folks started taking advantage of that lag time to doctor paperwork to show, for example, that CEO Bob just “happened” to buy shares 15 days ago before the big run-up in the stock price week.

    Very convenient. And perhaps CEO Bob did time his purchases just right a few times. But when it started to happen over and over and over, the guy starts to look suspiciously more than “lucky.” Eventually with more and more of a pattern, the evidence becomes pretty clear that it was not luck (meaning, in the ID parlance, it was not chance), but purposeful (meaning, in the ID parlance, by design).

    Inappropriate trading practices have been uncovered by design detection principles, and it is a good example of design detection in action. That is true even though the odds of, say, life arising by purely natural processes is orders of magnitude less likely than what we accept as “proof” of inappropriate trading practices.

    The useful (and successful) application of these principles to inappropriate trading practices is just one more example of every sane person being perfectly fine with the concept of design detection in real life. As long as it doesn’t interfere with their a priori philosophical presumptions about the universe and life . . .

    —–

    Incidentally, just a pedantic note on terminology: “insider trading” is not illegal. “Insider trading” simply means that stock was traded by certain individuals (officers, directors, etc.) who happen to be classified as “insiders.” It is perfectly legal as long as the rules are followed.

  4. 4
    Mark Frank says:

    Joe – insider trading is always done by intelligent people – but so is all trading. So any method that purports to detect insider trading among other types of trading is not detecting intelligence – we already knew that.

  5. 5
    scordova says:

    All decisions to buy and sell options are the result of intelligent decisions.

    Detecting design of known intelligent designers is legitimate design detection. Sometimes it is important to detect layers or higher levels of design.

    When reverse engineering is done, it’s not merely trying to determine if the object is designed (that is blatantly obvious) but seeing the layers of design.

    For example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....eale_1.svg

    clearly this document was designed (since it is written by a human), but what are the layers of design. The Specified Improbability is recognized if one sees that it is a Beale Cipher and has access to the decrypting book.

    There maybe polyconstrained layers of design in DNA. Here is an example of layers of steganography design involving a prank played on AN Wilson in some seemingly ordinary text.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nicer-guy/

    I believe God made DNA. The question now for me is are there polyconstrained structures in DNA, and what are they.

    Here is a celebrated design but the design details have never been detected. Even if it is hoax it is still designed, and if it is not, then it is still designed, but no one knows the design.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript

  6. 6
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mark, the confusion may result from thinking that the act of trading itself is what is at issue. It is not.

    Yes, every act of trading is arguably a decision — whether directly, or indirectly through an pre-scheduled trading schedule, a trading algorithm or otherwise.

    The issue in the so-called “insider trading” cases is not whether the insider made a trade. The issue is whether that decision to trade coincided with other timing factors to the extent that a pattern of illegal behavior could be established.

    Don’t focus on the act of the trade itself; rather the timing of the trade. That is where the pattern lies. That is where the chance vs. design analysis lies in these kinds of cases.

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    Joe – insider trading is always done by intelligent people – but so is all trading. So any method that purports to detect insider trading among other types of trading is not detecting intelligence – we already knew that.

    It is detecting intelligent design, Mark.

  8. 8
    Mark Frank says:

    Sal, Eric

    What is going on here is that two hypotheses are being compared as to the pattern of trading (including its timing).

    1) The trading was performed as usual by intelligent people with no insider knowledge.

    2) The trading was performed by intelligent people some of whom had insider knowledge.

    The pattern appears to be far more likely given (2) than (1).

    This is straightforward reasoning by comparison of likelihoods. If that is all ID means then it is not controversial. But note that the two hypotheses both involve design and are formulated in some detail.

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    This is straightforward reasoning by comparison of likelihoods. If that is all ID means then it is not controversial.

    That is not all ID means but it is part of it.

  10. 10
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mark @8:

    You’re getting closer. Just to repeat:

    The fact that making a trade involved some kind of intentional decision is not relevant. The issue in these cases is the timing. Was the timing intentional and did it match up with an independent specified event or pattern? That is what is being investigated.

    The pattern appears to be far more likely given (2) than (1).

    This is straightforward reasoning by comparison of likelihoods. If that is all ID means then it is not controversial.

    Like I said, the design inference is used all the time in practice in the real world and it isn’t one bit controversial.

    Until, of course, it starts to impinge on some folks’ philosophical beliefs about the origin of the universe or life . . .

  11. 11
    Mark Frank says:

    #10 Eric

    I don’t get your point about timing. Of course we are looking at timing. It is relevant under both hypotheses. People usually buy and sell things at a certain time in response to public or personal events (or a computer does it for them under an algorithm that tells it when to buy and sell). These guys were investigating if some trading was related to future events which implies insider information. So what?

    More relevant:

    “Like I said, the design inference is used all the time in practice in the real world and it isn’t one bit controversial.

    Until, of course, it starts to impinge on some folks’ philosophical beliefs about the origin of the universe or life . . .”

    It is not controversial to use normal statistical reasoning such as comparison of likelihoods to make inferences about intelligent causes such as insider trading. However, this implies making clear what the competing hypotheses are and comparing the probability of the outcome given each of the hypotheses. ID refuses to do this. For me, that is where it gets controversial.

    ID is like saying – that pattern of buying and selling was unusual therefore the cause was X without saying what X is or calculating how likely the pattern would be given X.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    It is not controversial to use normal statistical reasoning such as comparison of likelihoods to make inferences about intelligent causes such as insider trading. However, this implies making clear what the competing hypotheses are and comparing the probability of the outcome given each of the hypotheses. ID refuses to do this. For me, that is where it gets controversial.

    What a joke- the anti-IDists cannot supply the probabilities for their position and its ID’s fault. The anti-IDists don’t have any testable hypotheses and it’s ID’s fault.

    ID is like saying – that pattern of buying and selling was unusual therefore the cause was X without saying what X is or calculating how likely the pattern would be given X.

    That is incorrect ande shows signs of personal ignorance.

  13. 13
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mark @11:

    I don’t get your point about timing. Of course we are looking at timing. . . . These guys were investigating if some trading was related to future events which implies insider information. So what?

    Yes. The investigation relates primarily to the timing. The question is whether the timing relationship between two events (the trade and the corporate event such as an M&A announcement) was designed or not.

    I repeat: it is not whether a trade, in and of itself, is designed; it is whether the timing relationship was designed. The two possibilities are (i) yes, it was designed, or (ii) no, it wasn’t designed (“chance” or “necessity”). This is precisely the kind of competing approach that is analyzed in any design inference scenario: Was it design or chance/necessity? We are squarely in the design inference field of play.

    It is not controversial to use normal statistical reasoning such as comparison of likelihoods to make inferences about intelligent causes such as insider trading.

    Agreed.

    However, this implies making clear what the competing hypotheses are and comparing the probability of the outcome given each of the hypotheses.

    The competing hypotheses are very simple in this case, as you agree.

    ID refuses to do this. For me, that is where it gets controversial.

    Why would you think that?

    The competing hypotheses are pretty simple: (i) x was designed on purpose; (ii) x came about by chance; (iii) x came about by force of natural law-like processes.

    The probability analysis relates primarily to (ii) chance. It sounds like your complaint is that (a) ID theorists are responsible to set forth the probabilities of chance (rather than those theorists who posit chance as their explanation), and (b) you don’t agree with the ID probability assessments.

    It is quite simple to make the calculation, as the authors did in this case.

    Ironically (as it relates to your complaint), if we are talking about, say, the origin of life, whenever ID proponents provide a sample calculation they give every conceivable chance to purely natural processes to do the job (typically the entire age of the universe, all the particles in the known universe, the fastest possible chemical reactions, etc.), and all those probabilistic resources still come up as but a pathetic rounding error against the awful probabilities of producing something like simple first life by chance.

    On the other side of the coin, the materialists — the ones who should be strenuously and carefully coming up with calculations to support their own theory after all — fail to provide anything even remotely approaching a reasonable probabilistic analysis. Their approach amounts to (i) “trust us,” coupled with (ii) maybe we’ll discover something in the future that will answer the problem. Not impressive.

    ID is like saying – that pattern of buying and selling was unusual therefore the cause was X without saying what X is or calculating how likely the pattern would be given X.

    No. The trading pattern is not simply “unusual”. It is specifically related to an independent specification — events geared toward making the trader a profit.
    You have fallen into the old anti-ID trap of thinking that ID just notices that something is complex and then throws up its hands and proclaims it must be designed. That is not how the inference works, whether in biology or in the illegal insider trading situation. You have been around long enough that you should know that is not how the design inference works.

    The observation of complexity is important, yes. But it is coupled with (i) a knowledge of a source (an intelligent actor/designer) that is capable of producing that class of pattern (in this case a timing relationship of trades), (ii) the lack of reasonable chance occurrence, and (iii) the lack of law-like explanations.

    This is precisely the same kind of analysis that occurs in any design inference.

    Again, this is very basic, straight-forward stuff. We do it all the time in the real world. It isn’t at all controversial.

    Until it challenges someone’s philosophical beliefs. Then they put up all kinds of red herring challenges and roadblocks . . .

  14. 14
    OldArmy94 says:

    Baboom! Great response, Eric Anderson.

  15. 15
    Axel says:

    Apparently, statistical analyses are the bedrock of ‘common or garden’, fraud prosecutions in the courts, as fraud is so hard to ‘nail’ under the law, by other means.

  16. 16
    Mung says:

    Mark Frank:

    1) The trading was performed as usual by intelligent people with no insider knowledge.

    2) The trading was performed by intelligent people some of whom had insider knowledge.

    The pattern appears to be far more likely given (2) than (1).

    Exactly! That’s ID in a nutshell. You’ve done a concise job of answering the question raised in the title of the OP with a resounding yes.

    Now takes this same reasoning and employ it elsewhere grasshopper.

    Can we take it as a given that people with insider knowledge are known to be causes of improper insider trading?

    Do you have examples of people without insider knowledge who are just trading randomly being convicted of SEC violations? How about people without insider knowledge who set up scheduled trades on a regular basis like Eric pointed out? How many of them do you know who have been convicted?

    Heck, we have here a veritable explanatory filter!

    People trading in a law-like pre-programmed manner, people trading randomly who just get lucky but don’t meet any independent specification, and those who “got lucky” but also had insider knowledge.

    This is so ID 101.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    Eric, if you’re saying it’s the timing of the event, or even the profit making that is the specification, I am going to disagree.

    The independent specification, imho, is the possession of information not available to the general public.

    regards sir!

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    Eric, would it be any less “insider trading” if the principle intentionally lost money? Now that would be an interesting SEC issue to investigate!

  19. 19
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mung @17:

    Eric, if you’re saying it’s the timing of the event, or even the profit making that is the specification, I am going to disagree.

    The independent specification, imho, is the possession of information not available to the general public.

    Then you would be wrong! 🙂

    Possession of inside information is not illegal. There are tons of people who have inside information. The key is that they cannot act on that information at certain times. That is the whole point of the insider trading rules.

    Furthermore, it is precisely the timing of trades that the SEC looks at to see if anything looks funny. If nothing looks funny, they usually don’t even proceed from there to a further inquiry. On the other hand, if the timing looks suspicious and the SEC initiates an inquiry, then the timing of certain trades can be explained/justified by the trader either by showing that (i) the trades were pre-scheduled and took place without intervention, or (ii) the individual in fact did not time the trades to coincide with certain events (demonstrating “chance” as the cause).

    Demonstrating (ii) is a lot harder, particularly if the trader is in a position of knowledge with respect to the events that moved the stock.

    Your thought about the possession of information is relevant to (ii) in the following way: A demonstration of lack of knowledge of the relevant information would help show that the timing of the trades was by chance. That showing would help to avoid the conclusion of intentionality (design), and would offer an alternative explanation (chance). But again, the question about what is intentional/designed in this case is the timing of the trades, not the background information that permits the individual to exercise agency and purposely make trades.

    Again, possession of inside information is not the problem. It is acting on that information at a particular time that is the issue.

  20. 20
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mung @18:

    It doesn’t make any difference for violation of the trading rules whether the trader made money or lost money. However, as a matter of enforcement (and due to practical considerations of available resources), the SEC does not spend its time pursuing people who lose money. (After all, the primary penalty usually involves disgorgement of the profits, plus some penalty.)

    I suppose if we thought hard we could imagine a strange situation in which someone would want to purposely lose money, but it would probably not come to the SEC’s attention unless someone else knew about it and tipped off the SEC.

    Heck, if anyone wants to lose money in the stock market it is pretty easy — they can just follow my stock picks. Goodness knows my track record is abysmal. I keep telling my wife I’ll take her out to dinner as soon as I break even. 🙂

    —–

    BTW, well said @16. Good summary.

  21. 21
    Mark Frank says:

    Eric #13

    To use comparative likelihoods to make an inference  you need to know the likelihoods of all competing hypotheses. That is fine in the insider trading example – we have two well defined hypotheses and can make estimates of the probability of the resulting pattern given either of them and compare the two. When the outcome is some form of life then things are different.  The hypotheses that you put forward:

    (i) x was designed on purpose; (ii) x came about by chance; (iii) x came about by force of natural law-like processes

    are far too vague to make any kind of probability estimate. There are just too many conceivable designers, chance processes or natural law processes including those we haven’t thought of yet.
    Indeed I would say Darwinism is too vague to count as a hypothesis. It suggests a general approach for generating hypotheses for specific situations but is not detailed enough to be a hypothesis itself.  However, when it comes to specific outcomes e.g. the evolution of the haemoglobin molecule then it is possible to suggest Darwinian hypotheses and scientists have done this and made fairly detailed estimates of probabilities. However, the ID approach does not generate any kind of equivalent hypothesis on the design side – who did it, when, how – so there is no way of estimating the probability and no way of comparing it to a natural process.  The ID analysis is not the same that occurs in other types of “design inference” such as forensic science or archaeology where it is possible to make some estimate of who the designer might be and the chances of them creating the outcome.

  22. 22
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    There are just too many conceivable designers, chance processes or natural law processes including those we haven’t thought of yet.

    The science of today does not and cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.

    However, when it comes to specific outcomes e.g. the evolution of the haemoglobin molecule then it is possible to suggest Darwinian hypotheses and scientists have done this and made fairly detailed estimates of probabilities.

    That’s crazy talk. Darwinian processes can’t even account for hemoglobin nor the oprganisms that have it.

    However, the ID approach does not generate any kind of equivalent hypothesis on the design side – who did it, when, how – so there is no way of estimating the probability and no way of comparing it to a natural process.

    Such ignorance, Mark. Tell me why we have to know who, how, why and when BEFORE reaching a design inference? And again just because your position doesn’t have any probabilities that is not an issue for ID.

    The ID analysis is not the same that occurs in other types of “design inference” such as forensic science or archaeology where it is possible to make some estimate of who the designer might be and the chances of them creating the outcome.

    More crock. The design inference is the same in ID as it is in forensics, archaeology and SETI. And guess what? We can estimate the designer of life on earth wasn’t from earth. And that is just as good as saying it was a human from earth.

    Just how can we estimate the probability of humans from thousands of years ago building Stonehenge? We can’t because we cannot study them.

    How can we estimate the probability of life arising by chance? We can’t because no one knows anything about the process. How can we estimate the probability of differing accumulations of genetic accidents producing functional multi-protein complexes? Again we can’t because no one knows if it can be done.

  23. 23
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mark @21:

    There are just too many conceivable designers, chance processes or natural law processes including those we haven’t thought of yet.

    You are certainly welcome to put forward a chance process or natural law-like process that can account for something like the origin of life. Despite decades of struggling mightily to come up with something, the materialists have utterly failed to provide a cogent chance or law-based explanation.

    Furthermore, law-based processes are, by definition, incapable of generating a living organism, so chance is really the only game in town for the materialist. Unfortunately for the materialist creation myth, as I said, every advantages is given to the chance hypothesis and it still comes up woefully inadequate to do much of anything.

    . . . including those we haven’t thought of yet.

    Yep. Typical approach; and one that I precisely foreshadowed.

    As I said in #13, the refuge of the materialist is to say “maybe we’ll discover something in the future that will answer the problem.” Sure. Whatever. But some of us prefer to draw reasonable inferences based on the state of the science as currently understood — based on what we do know — rather than some vague, undefined, unlikely “maybe we’ll discover some new chance process in the future.”

    The ID analysis is not the same that occurs in other types of “design inference” such as forensic science or archaeology where it is possible to make some estimate of who the designer might be and the chances of them creating the outcome.

    Then you do not understand the process of forensics or archaeology. The forensic scientist or the archaeologist does not go around analyzing every known potential designer in order to determine whether the artifact was designed.

    Who designed the artifact is a second order question. It is logically separate from and comes after the question of whether something was designed.

    Yes, the archaeologist might look to known information about various peoples and cultures of the times to try to figure out who might have created X. But she doesn’t have to look around to various peoples and cultures to determine whether X was designed. Indeed, she never even gets to the former question until she has drawn a reasonable inference and determined that the latter is affirmative.

    Your thinking is precisely backwards. The forensic scientist, the archaeologist, the SETI researcher, the investigator — each draws an inference about whether something was designed. Then, and only then, do they move on to the next question of who may have done the designing.

  24. 24
    Mark Frank says:

    #23 Eric

    Why do you concentrate on OOL? There are other puzzles about the development of life where there are well substantiated natural explanations. However, considering OOL, at the moment there is no natural explanation which is supported by overwhelming evidence. Of course, this is always going to be the case for any phenomenon before the answer is known. It was true of bubonic plague once. Do we therefore assume that every phenomenon for which we do not have a current natural explanation that is must have been designed?

    There have been many proposed natural explanations for the OOL which have been criticised and in some cases shown to be implausible. That is how science works. Where is the equivalent process for explanations involving design?

  25. 25
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mark @24:

    Why do you concentrate on OOL? There are other puzzles about the development of life where there are well substantiated natural explanations.

    I don’t have the slightest problem with the idea that certain aspects of life might be well explained by purely natural phenomena. The interesting question is whether there are some aspects of life that are best explained as the result of intelligent activity. ID has no problem with the idea that some aspects of the biotic world are reducible to purely natural phenomena. In contrast, the materialist viewpoint cannot countenance even a single instance of intelligent intervention in the history of life. It is a strange, dogmatic, and myopic viewpoint that refuses to even consider the possibility of design in the history of life.

    As to OOL, certainly we could talk about other aspects of biology in addition to OOL. In this particular thread I have focused on OOL because it is a very straight-forward test case. It avoids the irrelevancies — things like mutations, natural selection, reproduction, horizontal gene transfer, co-option, and any other red-herring nonsense that anti-ID folks tend to throw against the wall, hoping something will stick, whenever their pet materialistic theory is challenged.

    OOL allows us to focus on the basics. If someone is incapable of grasping the basics of ID in the OOL context, then it is unlikely they will grasp the basics in any other context.

    However, considering OOL, at the moment there is no natural explanation which is supported by overwhelming evidence. Of course, this is always going to be the case for any phenomenon before the answer is known.

    Perhaps. But the trajectory of the evidence is moving in the wrong direction for the materialist. The answer to a naturalistic origin of life seemed much nearer when Watson and Crick walked out of that lab in 1953 than it does today. And it seemed even more close at hand when Darwin talked about his warm little pond nearly 100 years before that.

    The ironic thing that the “we-just-need-more-time” proponents don’t seem to grasp, is that the more time and effort that is spent studying OOL, the less likely a naturalistic scenario seems.

    After all, it is not as though OOL hasn’t been studied much. Thousands of researchers, decades of dedicated effort, and billions of dollars later, OOL research, rather than giving us a naturalistic answer, has instead highlighted the gaping chasms in the naturalistic story and has underscored the need for the kinds of things that we see in designed systems all the time: symbolic language, code, translation mechanisms, interdependent systems, precision machinery, algorithms, storage and retrieval mechanisms, and on and on.

    The ID narrative is based squarely on what we do know, on what has been discovered.

    Yes, you are free to repose your blind faith in some distant, vague, unidentified, yet-to-be-discovered principle of nature that will overthrow what has been learned over the past century. That is certainly your prerogative.

    I prefer to stick to the science.

    Do we therefore assume that every phenomenon for which we do not have a current natural explanation that is must have been designed?

    You have been around enough to know that is not how the ID argument works. Either you are being lazy or you are purposely misrepresenting the design argument in order to support your position. ID has never simply been: “No natural explanation is yet known. Therefore, design.”

    Is the lack of a natural explanation relevant? Sure. But it is only part of the analysis, as has been explained numerous times, including by me earlier in this thread.

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank- How life originated is directly related tro how it evolved. If the OoL = design then we infer life was designed to evolve and evolved by design. Evolutionary and genetic algorithms are excellent examples of evolution by design.

    On the other side if the OoL = purely materialistic processes then of course we would say they are responsible for the diversity observed.

    That said, just because we have “natural” explanations for some things does NOT mean they are materialistic (blind watchmaker) explanations.

    BTW, figuring out what caused plagues had nothing to do with unguided evolution.

  27. 27
    Acartia_bogart says:

    As an evolutionist, using statistical applications on trading data as evidence of intelligent design makes me sleep easy in the fact that ID will never gain traction with arguments like this.

  28. 28
    Eric Anderson says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    It is an example of the design inference in action. It is obvious to anyone without a philosophical axe to grind.

    You are right, though, that ID will never gain traction with those who are too blind to see how the design inference works or too close-minded to consider the possibility of design.

  29. 29
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Eric, but if you can’t convince a statistician (which I am) with this lame example, how are you going to convince anyone else?

  30. 30
    Mark Frank says:

    Eric

    I wish you had addressed my second paragraph:

    “There have been many proposed natural explanations for the OOL which have been criticised and in some cases shown to be implausible. That is how science works. Where is the equivalent process for explanations involving design?

  31. 31
    Joe says:

    Earth to Mark Frank- Materialism is the mechanistic position, ID is not. With all design inferences the design detection comes first and then we try to figure out the other questions, like how.

    It’s as if Mark is scientifically illiterate.

  32. 32
    Daniel King says:

    Design inferences have been around for millenia.

    Funny how nobody has ever offered a hypothesis of how design was instantiated in flesh.

  33. 33
    Joe says:

    Daniel- what is the chance hypothesis?

  34. 34
    Eric Anderson says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    Eric, but if you can’t convince a statistician (which I am) with this lame example, how are you going to convince anyone else?

    Fortunately, being a statistician is not a prerequisite to understanding the design inference. Being open minded enough to consider design as a possibility, and being willing to set aside materialist philosophical preconceptions, is a prerequisite.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    MF: Take Venter et al, and add a few generations of progress in a molecular nanotech lab, as a starter or reference point — though obviously there is more than one way to skin a cat-fish. Design of molecular scale systems is not in principle remote and implausible. We are already beginning to scratch the surface ourselves. KF

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    MF: Nor is that suggested reference point a novelty around UD or in your presence. KF

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    MF:

    Do we therefore assume that every phenomenon for which we do not have a current natural explanation that is must have been designed?

    After all this time I don’t really expect you to acknowledge the relevance of FSCO/I as an inductively strong, analytically plausible sign of design. It’s all been laid out before you in substantial details.

    What I will do is point the interested onlooker here, where s/he can see some of why design thinkers think as we do, in a parallel thread. (And where the studiously chirping crickets tell a story all of their own.)

    KF

    KF

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    A-B: In your statistical studies, did you do a course in statistical mechanics or in information theory? KF

  39. 39
    Mung says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    Eric, but if you can’t convince a statistician (which I am) with this lame example, how are you going to convince anyone else?

    Acartia_bogart:

    As an evolutionist, using statistical applications on trading data as evidence of intelligent design makes me sleep easy in the fact that ID will never gain traction with arguments like this.

    Stop blaming your cat!

    Which are you, a statistician or an evolutionist?

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