Fine tuning Intelligent Design Nature of reality

At Reasons.org: Is the Universe the Way It Is Because It’s the Only Way It Could Be?

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Reasons.org

Hugh Ross writes:

Question of the week: How do you respond to the argument against fine-tuning as evidence for God by those who say the universe and its laws of physics are the way they are because that’s the only way they could be?

My answer: As I have documented in my books, The Creator and the Cosmos4th edition, Improbable Planet, and Designed to the Core, there are hundreds of independent features of the universe, its laws of physics, and its space-time dimensions that must be exquisitely fine-tuned to make the existence of humans, or their equivalent, possible in the universe. However, that pervasive fine-tuning is not the only way the universe and the laws of physics could be.

From a biblical perspective, the angelic realm has different dimensions and different laws of physics. Similarly, the future home of Christians, the new creation (see Revelation 21–22) has different dimensions and different laws of physics. Readers can see our book, Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, for the scientific physical evidence for angels and the angelic realm.

As I explain in my books on fine-tuning, the universe can be fine-tuned in a different way to allow for the existence of certain kinds of bacteria but not allow for the existence of animals and humans. I also show how the laws of physics can remain unchanged but the universe structured so that no physical life is possible anywhere, anytime in the universe.

As I demonstrate in Designed to the Core, it is not just the laws of physics and the universe as a whole that are fine-tuned to make the existence of humans possible. All the universe’s subcomponents, from those on the largest size scales to those on the smallest size scales must be fine-tuned for humans to possibly exist.

Unlike the universe, the observed sample size of the universe’s subcomponents is not one. For example, there are a trillion trillion stars in the observable universe. So far, however, astronomers have detected only one star, our Sun, that possesses the fine-tuned history and features that make it possible for the existence of humans on a planet orbiting it. The Sun is not the only way stars can be. The same argument can be made for our Laniakea Supergalaxy Cluster, our Virgo Cluster of galaxies, our Local Group of galaxies, our Milky Way Galaxy, our local spiral arm, our Local Bubble, our planetary system, our planet, and our moon. The fine-tuning of the universe and all its subcomponents also vary according to the intended purposes for humans. As I show in Why the Universe Is the Way It IsImprobable Planet, and Designed to the Core, the fine-tuning that allows billions of humans on one planet to be redeemed from their sin and evil within a time span of several tens of thousands of years is orders of magnitude more constrained than the fine-tuning that allows for the existence of a tiny population of technology-free humans with lifespans briefer than 30 years.  

Reasons.org

Dr. Ross refers to scientific observations that show evidence of fine-tuning, not just for the existence of life, but to sustain life as we know it on Earth, with millions of species of plant and animal life, and a multi-billion population of humans with a technologically advanced global civilization. Often, arguments against intelligent design boil down to bad theology. Dr. Ross provides here a very brief connection between physical design parameters and a biblically-based theology.

313 Replies to “At Reasons.org: Is the Universe the Way It Is Because It’s the Only Way It Could Be?

  1. 1
    chuckdarwin says:

    Often, arguments against intelligent design boil down to bad theology. Dr. Ross provides here a very brief connection between physical design parameters and a biblically-based theology.

    Bad theology? What in the world does theology have to do with ID? Isn’t that the mantra? ID is pure science, unadulterated by theology, right? What exactly is this “brief connection” between “design parameters and a biblically-based theology?” Is it causal? Does the intelligent designer really hold our tiny corner of the universe in the palm of his hand? Angels–for crying out loud–live in a different “dimensional realm” and have different laws of physics? There are a “trillion trillion” stars in the universe, the vast majority which we cannot see, yet we’ve already ruled out other life?

    The more I read and hear about the whole ID notion, including its explicit (and increasing) ties to Christian theology, I am reminded of a famous passage from Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea: “The word Absurdity is now born beneath my pen….”

  2. 2
    Sir Giles says:

    CD: What exactly is this “brief connection” between “design parameters and a biblically-based theology?

    Creationism ==> Scientific Creationism ==> Intelligent Design. The evolution of theology.

  3. 3
    Origenes says:

    Chuckdarwin, Sir Giles
    I sense that you share a concern that a Christian outlook hampers objectivity in science. Do you have a similar concern about scientists with an atheistic outlook, if not, why not?

  4. 4
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @3

    I sense that you share a concern that a Christian outlook hampers objectivity in science. Do you have a similar concern about scientists with an atheistic outlook, if not, why not?

    I think their point was that Uncommon Descent used to present ID as a theologically neutral theory, just pure evidence and no metaphysical bias one way or the other, but now it seems as if promoting Christianity is much more central to the ID movement.

    At any rate, there certainly was a time when the party line at UD was that both evolutionary theory and design theory are theologically neutral, both compatible with atheism and with theism, and that the choice between evolutionary theory and design theory was strictly scientific, with no theological or metaphysical stakes either way.

    But lately it’s come to seem as if evolutionary theory entails atheism, and intelligent design entails theism of some sort, and that the main reason why evolutionary theorists are against intelligent design is because they don’t want theism to be true.

    The quality of discourse at UD would be much elevated if there were more theistic evolutionists here. With all the advocates of evolution being atheist and agnostic, and all the advocates of ID being theists (and I surmise all Christians, though I haven’t asked), it’s easy to get the sense of a polar opposition between two “camps”. Whereas in fact there are lots of positions that just aren’t represented at UD right now.

  5. 5
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 4,

    What is a Theistic Evolutionist?

    What are these “lots of positions”?

  6. 6
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @5

    What is a Theistic Evolutionist?

    The view that God created by guiding mutation and selection. Kenneth Miller, Francis Collins, Simon Conway Morris, Francisco Ayala, etc. I used to classify BioLogos as theistic evolution but apparently they prefer the term “evolutionary creation”

    What are these “lots of positions”?

    Apart from reductive materialism at one extreme and intelligent design + dualism or idealism at the other, there’s non-reductive materialism, Indigenous spirituality, polytheism, lots of non-Western philosophies (Buddhism being of particular interest to me), panpsychism, emergentism, pantheism, panentheism, and theistic naturalism. (And doubtless more I’m forgetting right now.)

  7. 7
    chuckdarwin says:

    PM1
    You point is well taken. Unfortunately, the ID side, including the Discovery Institute, has gone out of its way to discredit the Theistic Evolution position. For example, few months back they ran a number of articles in Evolution News which were extremely critical (and nasty) directed at Francis Collins and Darrel Falk of BioLogos. Prior to that they published a book entitled Theistic Evolution that was equally critical of TE, followed by a number of podcasts with the same theme. To the ID contingent, it is a zero-sum game.

    I have found the claim that “even atheists” can subscribe to ID disingenuous at best. ID folks, having (more or less) rejected panspermia or a similar explanation for the origin of life, I don’t see the viability of an “atheistic” intelligent design model. I may be missing something, but it seems inconsistent to me……

  8. 8
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 6,

    I honestly don’t know what Kenneth Miller believes.

    From the document, Communion and Stewardship:

    ’64. Pope John Paul II stated some years ago that “new knowledge leads to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge”(“Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Evolution”1996). In continuity with previous twentieth century papal teaching on evolution (especially Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis ), the Holy Father’s message acknowledges that there are “several theories of evolution” that are “materialist, reductionist and spiritualist” and thus incompatible with the Catholic faith. It follows that the message of Pope John Paul II cannot be read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe. Mainly concerned with evolution as it “involves the question of man,” however, Pope John Paul’s message is specifically critical of materialistic theories of human origins and insists on the relevance of philosophy and theology for an adequate understanding of the “ontological leap” to the human which cannot be explained in purely scientific terms. The Church’s interest in evolution thus focuses particularly on “the conception of man” who, as created in the image of God, “cannot be subordinated as a pure means or instrument either to the species or to society.” As a person created in the image of God, he is capable of forming relationships of communion with other persons and with the triune God, as well as of exercising sovereignty and stewardship in the created universe. The implication of these remarks is that theories of evolution and of the origin of the universe possess particular theological interest when they touch on the doctrines of the creation ex nihilo and the creation of man in the image of God.”

    From part 69. “… But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence. Divine causality and created causality radically differ in kind and not only in degree. Thus, even the outcome of a truly contingent natural process can nonetheless fall within God’s providential plan for creation. According to St. Thomas Aquinas: “The effect of divine providence is not only that things should happen somehow, but that they should happen either by necessity or by contingency. Therefore, whatsoever divine providence ordains to happen infallibly and of necessity happens infallibly and of necessity; and that happens from contingency, which the divine providence conceives to happen from contingency” (Summa theologiae, I, 22,4 ad 1). In the Catholic perspective, neo-Darwinians who adduce random genetic variation and natural selection as evidence that the process of evolution is absolutely unguided are straying beyond what can be demonstrated by science. Divine causality can be active in a process that is both contingent and guided. Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so. An unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist because “the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles….It necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence” (Summa theologiae I, 22, 2).’

    This is the whole, complete answer.

    Here, it appears some want evolution to happen independent of any outside control.

    Some allow for God’s limited involvement. God started a process like winding up a toy, putting it on the ground and it went wherever it went. God walked away after this.

    Intelligent Design, as science, identifies design in living things, codes and switches that regulate function. As science, it cannot identify the designer. However, the average person, upon learning that he was designed as opposed to an accident, will attach the science to his theology.

    One poster here remarked that Buddhism is so loose in structure that you could believe almost anything and still call yourself a Buddhist. Some Hippies promoted Buddhism. In the early 1970s, I walked into a bookstore on the edge of my college campus. One wall was covered, from floor to ceiling, with books about Eastern beliefs. As long as it wasn’t Christian, it was promoted. By the way, who put those books there?

    At the time, listening to your priest or parents was discouraged. The Hippies had lots of illegal, and dangerous, drugs to sell you. Drop acid referred to taking LSD, a very dangerous hallucinogen. Kids were told the falsehood that it would “expand your mind.”

  9. 9
    relatd says:

    CD at 7,

    Panspermia? Seriously? And where did that material come from? It appears you want nothing but atheism.

    A comment about that book on Theistic Evolution is appropriate:

    “This book offers a much-needed, comprehensive critique of evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution), covering its scientific, philosophical, theological, and biblical deficiencies. It devotes much space in particular to the scientific side. This focus is needed because of the common, unwarranted assumption that Darwinism is doing well as measured by scientific evidence. Several articles, from different angles, show how much Darwinism depends on seeing all biological evidence through the lens of a prior commitment to faith in the philosophy of naturalism, particularly the ungrounded assumption that unguided natural forces must suffice as a complete account of origins.”
    Vern S. Poythress, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Biblical Interpretation, and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary’

  10. 10
    Origenes says:

    Chuckdarwin

    Unfortunately, the ID side, including the Discovery Institute, has gone out of its way to discredit the Theistic Evolution position.

    So, for ID folks scientific arguments are more important than the fact that theistic evolutionists are (allegedly) fellow Christians. This “unfortunately” shows their Christian bias how exactly?
    – – – –
    BTW how about my question in #3 ?

  11. 11
    Origenes says:

    S.Meyer:

    Abrams explained as how he thought that intelligent design was “dishonest.” In his opinion, it was a stealth form of creationism that refused to mention God in order to conceal a religious agenda. He also alleged that the theory wasn’t scientific. Not only had advocates of the theory “provided no new evidence”; there were no “peer-reviewed studies” in support of it, or so he claimed. After getting the other guest on the program, my old nemesis Eugenie Scott (see Chapter 6), to confirm this (falsely, as it happens), Abrams initiated a line of questioning to establish
    that intelligent design was “religion.” To do this, he tried to get me to say that I thought the designing intelligence responsible for life was God.
    But Abrams was setting a trap, one that, by this time, I knew all too well. If I answered truthfully (which I did) and told him that neither the evidence from biology nor the theory of intelligent design could prove the identity of the designer, he would accuse me of dishonesty and “refusing to come clean” about the religious nature of the theory (which he also did). If, on the other hand, I told him—again truthfully—that I personally thought that God had designed the universe and life, he would seize upon my words as proof that the theory of intelligent design was “religion,” thus establishing in his mind that it must lack any scientific basis. “Just admit it, it’s religion,” he kept demanding.
    As a Christian, I’ve never made any secret about my belief in God or even why I think theism makes more sense of the totality of human experience than any other worldview. But I was on Mr. Abrams’s show to discuss the theory of intelligent design, and the theory does not make claims about a deity, nor can it. It makes a more modest claim based upon our uniform experience about the kind of cause—namely, an intelligent cause—that was responsible for the origin of biological form and information.
    Of course, that modest claim raises a separate question, indeed, an important religious or philosophical question, namely, the very question about identity of the designing intelligence that Abrams was pressing me to answer. Clearly, his question was legitimate.
    But I wanted to answer it after I had explained what the theory of intelligent design is and after I had established that there is scientific evidence for it. Otherwise, I knew the minute I said that I personally thought that God was the designer, he would dismiss the case for intelligent design as “religion” because he, and perhaps many of his viewers, assume that if an idea is religious it has no basis in fact or evidence. And so a little tug-of-war ensued. To get me to either “admit it” or look evasive, Abrams asked two different questions in rapid succession: “What is intelligent design?” and “Who is the intelligent designer?” As I tried to answer his first question by defining intelligent design and describing some of the evidence that supports it, he kept demanding that I admit the designer is God. He was playing the journalist on the scent of a scandal, and the scandal he wanted to reveal was my belief in God. If I “admitted” that I thought God had designed the universe, then that would invalidate my position by showing intelligent design to be “religion.” And so he peppered me with a series of questions: “Is it religion or not?” “You just can’t…It’s religion.” “Is it religion or not?”
    “Just admit it. It’s religion.”

  12. 12
    Sir Giles says:

    O: I sense that you share a concern that a Christian outlook hampers objectivity in science.

    Nope. Extensive evidence suggests otherwise. But that is not what we see here at UD. Here, we see Christian fundamentalists (ie, KF, BA77, Relatd, etc) demonize and vilify anyone who has a view that differs from their personal religious views and label the opposition as atheists, materialists, nihilists, perverts, Democrats, progressives, pedophiles, groomers, anarchists, trolls, and any number of isms, in an attempt to justify dismissing their arguments.

  13. 13
    relatd says:

    Origenes at 11,

    This was not an interview but an interrogation. In this case, the interrogator wanted his ‘guest’ to tell him what he wanted to hear. To ‘expose’ Intelligent Design as a solely religious project. And in so doing, get his followers to believe it has no scientific merit. That is wrong. It’s very wrong to mislead people.

  14. 14
    relatd says:

    SG at 12,

    You should be ashamed of yourself. Tar and feather anyone recently in real life? You just did it here.

  15. 15
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: You should be ashamed of yourself. Tar and feather anyone recently in real life? You just did it here.

    But, and it is telling, no attempt to argue that I am incorrect.

  16. 16
    relatd says:

    SG at 15,

    Ah, the bait. I am sure I never called anyone a Democrat or a groomer.

    By the way, I have no political party affiliation.

  17. 17
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: Ah, the bait. I am sure I never called anyone a Democrat or a groomer.

    But you are a fundamentalist.

    By the way, I have no political party affiliation.

    Neither do I. I have voted for liberals, conservatives and socialists.

  18. 18
    relatd says:

    SG at 17,

    A fundamentalist? You do realize there are a number of Christian denominations. I am a Catholic.

  19. 19
    Origenes says:

    Relatd:

    I am sure I never called anyone a Democrat …

    Even in the heat of debate, there are, of course, limits to what one can say.

  20. 20
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: A fundamentalist? You do realize there are a number of Christian denominations. I am a Catholic.

    And, if I am not mistaken, you believe everything written in the Bible. That, by definition, makes you a fundamentalist.

  21. 21
    relatd says:

    SG at 20,

    I think your meaning goes beyond the Bible. Perhaps you could explain the characteristics of a ‘fundamentalist’ aside from believing what’s written in the Bible.

  22. 22
    Origenes says:

    Sir Giles (Matthew 7:1-5)

    Here, we see Christian fundamentalists (ie, KF, BA77, Relatd, etc) demonize and vilify anyone who has a view that differs from their personal religious views and label the opposition as atheists, materialists, nihilists, perverts, Democrats, progressives, pedophiles, groomers, anarchists, trolls, and any number of isms, in an attempt to justify dismissing their arguments.

    Also Sir Giles (in a transparent attempt to justify dismissing Relatd’s arguments):

    But you are a fundamentalist.
    That, by definition, makes you a fundamentalist..

  23. 23
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: Perhaps you could explain the characteristics of a ‘fundamentalist’ aside from believing what’s written in the Bible.

    It is pretty obvious. A fundamentalist never questions what is written in the Bible, as opposed to most Christian’s who view the Bible as a guide as to how to lead their life.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this question: “Is The Universe The Way It Is Because It’s The Only Way It Could Be?”

    The belief that the universe does not have a necessary existence, but that ‘the universe could have been otherwise’, i.e. ‘contingency’, was an essential presupposition that was necessary for the rise of modern science in medieval Christian Europe.

    First a little background,,,, at the founding of the University system, which was an outgrowth of Christianity,

    Another development in the history of Christian education was the founding of universities. The origins of the university can be traced to the 12th century, and by the 13th century the medieval university had reached its mature form. Universities were founded during the rest of the Middle Ages throughout Europe and spread from there to other continents after the 16th century.,,
    Universities provided instruction in the liberal arts and advanced study in the disciplines of law, medicine, and, most importantly, theology. Many of the great theologians of the era, notably St. Thomas Aquinas, were associated with the universities.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christianity/Forms-of-Christian-education

    At the founding of Universities in Medieval Christian Europe, ancient Greek philosophy was vigorously discussed and debated. As the following article notes, during the 12th to 16th Century, “Scholasticism is best known for its application in medieval Christian theology, especially in attempts to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers (particularly Aristotle) with Christian theology.

    Scholasticism
    Scholasticism is a Medieval school of philosophy (or, perhaps more accurately, a method of learning) taught by the academics of medieval universities and cathedrals in the period from the 12th to 16th Century. It combined Logic, Metaphysics and semantics into one discipline, and is generally recognized to have developed our understanding of Logic significantly.,,,
    Scholasticism is best known for its application in medieval Christian theology, especially in attempts to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers (particularly Aristotle) with Christian theology. However, in the High Scholastic period of the 14th Century, it moved beyond theology, and had applications in many other fields of study including Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, philosophy of nature, psychology and even economic theory.
    https://www.philosophybasics.com/movements_scholasticism.html

    During the period of intense discussion and debate in the Medieval Christian universities about the similarities and differences between Greek philosophy and Christian theology, one of the main conflicts that was found to exist between ancient Greek philosophy and Christian theology was the realization that Greek philosophy held to, basically, a deterministic and necessitarian view of creation, wherein the universe itself was considered to be eternal in its existence, whereas in Christian theology it was/is held that the universe was created by God and that the universe is, therefore, ‘contingent’, and/or dependent, upon the will of God for its existence.

    As the following article notes, “Aristotle,,, believed in the eternity of the world,,,, This view conflicted with the view of the Catholic Church that the world had a beginning in time. The Aristotelian view was prohibited in the Condemnations of 1210–1277”

    Eternity of the world
    Excerpt: The question of the eternity of the world was a concern for both ancient philosophers and the medieval theologians and philosophers of the 13th century. The question is whether the world has a beginning in time, or whether it has existed from eternity. The problem became a focus of a dispute in the 13th century, when some of the works of Aristotle, who believed in the eternity of the world, were rediscovered in the Latin West. This view conflicted with the view of the Catholic Church that the world had a beginning in time. The Aristotelian view was prohibited in the Condemnations of 1210–1277.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternity_of_the_world

    And in fact, it was this necessitarian and/or deterministic view of the universe in which the universe was held be eternally existent that prevented the ancient Greek philosophers from ever making the crucial breakthrough into experimental science.

    As the following article makes clear, “Both Greek and biblical thought asserted that the world is orderly and intelligible. But the Greeks held that this order is necessary and that one can therefore deduce its structure from first principles. Only biblical thought held that God created both form and matter, meaning that the world did not have to be as it is and that the details of its order can be discovered only by observation.”

    Is Christianity Unscientific? – Peter S. Williams
    “Both Greek and biblical thought asserted that the world is orderly and intelligible. But the Greeks held that this order is necessary and that one can therefore deduce its structure from first principles. Only biblical thought held that God created both form and matter, meaning that the world did not have to be as it is and that the details of its order can be discovered only by observation.”
    http://www.bethinking.org/does.....scientific

    In fact, it was only with the Church’s quote unquote, ‘outlawing’ of Aristotle’s deterministic and necessitarian view of creation, in which the universe itself was held to be eternally existent, that experimental science was finally able to find fertile ground, take root, and eventually flourish in Medieval Christian Europe,

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: …With this in mind one can also hope to understand why the Muslims, who for five hundred years had studied Aristotle’s works and produced many commentaries on them failed to make a breakthrough. The latter came in medieval Christian context and just about within a hundred years from the availability of Aristotle’s works in Latin,,
    If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences.,,,
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

    As the preceding article goes on to explain, in the Christian’s view of creation, “The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.”

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.
    – ibid

    Stephen Meyer put it like this, “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.”

    Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature
    “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,,
    “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. the scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.”
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA

    The exact ‘logical details’ behind this ‘radical’ shift in reasoning from the Ancient Greek’s ‘necessitarian’ view of the universe, in which Greek philosophers “pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”,,,,

    “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”
    – Henry F. Schaefer III – Making Sense of Faith and Science – 23:30 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/C7Py_qeFW4s?t=1415

    ,,, (this ‘radical’ shift) to the Christian’s ‘contingent’ view of creation, (in which it was held that the universe ‘could have been otherwise’),,, the ‘logical details of this ‘radical’ shift apparently took a few centuries to work out. But this ‘radical’ new form of reasoning was eventually, and famously, elucidated by Francis Bacon in 1620 in his book “Novum Organum”. Which is translated as ‘New Method’.

    In the title of that book, Bacon is specifically referencing Aristotle’s work ‘Organon’, which was Aristotle’s treatise on logic and syllogism.

    The Organon and the logic perspective of computation – 2016
    Excerpt: The works of Aristotle on logic are collectively known as the Organon, that is, the ” instrument ” or ” tool ” of thought. In the ” Prior Analytics “, Aristotle introduced a list of inference rules that concern with the relation of premises to conclusion in arguments (syllogisms). His aim was to determine which kinds of arguments are valid. The validity of an argument is characterized and inferred based on its logical form (deduction) and for this reason Aristotle is considered as the father of formal logic.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303407444_The_Organon_and_the_logic_perspective_of_computation

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Specifically, this ‘radical’ shift from a necessitarian view of the universe, to a contingent view of creation, represented a radical shift from the ‘top-down’ deductive form of reasoning of the Ancient Greeks, (which was the predominant form of reasoning for a few thousand years up until that time), to a ‘bottom-up’ inductive form of reasoning.

    Deductive and Inductive Reasoning (Bacon vs Aristotle – Scientific Revolution) – video
    Excerpt: Deductive reasoning, which uses general premises to arrive at a certain conclusion, has been around since Aristotle. In his book Novum Organum (1620, translated ‘new method’), Sir Francis Bacon advanced a new way of philosophical inquiry known as inductive reasoning, in which the inquirer comes to a probable conclusion based on several specific observations.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAdpPABoTzE

    Deductive vs. Inductive reasoning – top-down vs. bottom-up – graph
    https://i2.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/28/9351128/slides/slide_2.jpg

    And indeed, ‘bottom-up’ inductive reasoning to a general truth, via repeated experimentation, ever since it was championed by Francis Bacon, has been the cornerstone of the scientific method. And has indeed been very, very, fruitful for man in gaining more accurate knowledge of the universe in that repeated experiments lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions than is possible with the quote-unquote, “educated guesses” that follow from Aristotle’s deductive form of reasoning.

    Francis Bacon, 1561–1626
    Excerpt: Called the father of empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon is credited with establishing and popularizing the “scientific method” of inquiry into natural phenomena. In stark contrast to deductive reasoning, which had dominated science since the days of Aristotle, Bacon introduced inductive methodology—testing and refining hypotheses by observing, measuring, and experimenting. An Aristotelian might logically deduce that water is necessary for life by arguing that its lack causes death. Aren’t deserts arid and lifeless? But that is really an educated guess, limited to the subjective experience of the observer and not based on any objective facts gathered about the observed. A Baconian would want to test the hypothesis by experimenting with water deprivation under different conditions, using various forms of life. The results of those experiments would lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions about life’s dependency on water.
    https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/thematic-maps/bacon/bacon.html

    Thus, the ancient Greek’s necessitarian belief that “The Universe (is) The Way It Is Because It’s The Only Way It Could Be” actually prevented them from from ever making the crucial breakthrough into modern science, whereas, on the other hand, it was only when the Christian’s belief that the universe is ‘contingent’ upon the will of God, and that the universe “could have been otherwise”, that experimental science finally found fertile ground, took root, and flourished.

    As Stephen Meyer noted, contingency “was a huge concept” that was important for the founding of modern science. “It could have been otherwise.”

    “That (contingency) was a huge concept (that was important for the founding of modern science). The historians of science call that ‘contingency’. The idea that nature has an order that is built into it. But it is an order that is contingent upon the will of the Creator. It could have been otherwise. Just as there are many ways to make a timepiece, or a clock,,, there are many different ways God could have ordered the universe. And it is up to us not to deduce that order from first principles, or from some intuitions that we have about how nature ought to be, but rather it is important to go out and see how nature actually is.”
    – Stephen Meyer – 5:00 minute mark – Andrew Klavan and Stephen Meyer Talk God and Science
    https://idthefuture.com/1530/

    And indeed, the Christian belief that the universe is ‘contingent’ upon the will of God played an integral role in Sir Isaac Newton’s founding of modern physics.

    “Newton’s Rejection of the “Newtonian World View”: The Role of Divine Will in Newton’s Natural Philosophy – (Davis, 1991)
    Abstract Excerpt: Finally, Newton held that, since the world is a product of divine freedom rather than necessity, the laws of nature must be inferred from the phenomena of nature, not deduced from metaphysical axioms — as both Descartes and Leibniz were wont to do.
    http://home.messiah.edu/~tdavis/newton.htm

    ‘Without all doubt this world…could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God… From this fountain (what) we call the laws of nature have flowed, in which there appear many traces indeed of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures, but learn them from observations and experiments.”,,,
    – Sir Isaac Newton – (Cited from Religion and the Rise of Modern Science by Hooykaas page 49).

    At the 16:47 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Stephen Meyer, (who has a PhD in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge,, which was Newton’s alma mater), states that, (contrary to popular belief), Sir Isaac Newton himself believed that God was “constantly sustaining the universe by the word of His power”.

    Stephen Meyer Answers Questions about the Judeo-Christian Origins of Science – video
    https://youtu.be/YBwRC8qJSoI?t=994

    Seeing that the ‘divine will’ of God, (sustaining the universe in its continual existence), i.e. ‘contingency’ played such an integral part in Newton’s ‘science’, (and although modern science has certainly come a long way since Newton first started the Scientific Revolution), let’s just simply say that Newton would be very pleased to see the recent closing of the “freedom of choice” loophole within quantum mechanics,

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    Moreover, when we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, (as the Christian founders of modern science originally held with the presupposition of ‘contingency’), and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the “freedom-of-choice” loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), then rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and provides us with an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”

    Oct. 2022 – And although, (via Godel), it is now known that there will never be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between quantum mechanics and general relativity, all hope is not lost in finding the correct ‘theory if everything’.,,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/cosmology/from-iai-news-how-infinity-threatens-cosmology/#comment-766384

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  26. 26
    AaronS1978 says:

    @16 and 17

    I’m pretty sure I could finish up that old thread about abortion and clearly find examples of what you both are politically

    Relatd you’re definitely conservative and yes, you have said some outstanding about liberals, you’ve made that abundantly clear

    Sir Giles you’re definitely liberal you’ve said some very liberal things and it’s disheartening to see that you voted for Socialism but you have also made it very abundantly clear you lean one way

    Instead of skirting around and saying that you’re not any type of party, when you both definitely are, wear it on your sleeve like I do instead of attempting to hide that you’re biased

    I’m a pissed off libertarian Catholic that leans towards conservative (although I think a lot of conservatives are stupid) I do not like Democrats and I certainly do not like socialists as I have an economics background. Trump was an idiot, and Biden is a clown.

  27. 27
    AaronS1978 says:

    @26 correction “fish up” gotta love talk to text

  28. 28
    relatd says:

    SG at 23,

    The Bible is the Word of God. It is the Word of God. The Catholic Church has received many questions over the centuries and has answered these questions. It has been given the authority to interpret Scripture correctly. You don’t appear to either know or understand that. The Church is unafraid of questions. It has been called: The greatest truth-telling organization in the world.

    And what do you actually know about “most Christians” and what they believe? A Gallup poll? Anything else? I don’t think you are in a position to comment on ‘most Christians’ as a group.

  29. 29
    relatd says:

    AS1978 at 26,

    Don’t assume anything about me, OK? The political parties in the United States are now cults. I shun them. I vote for issues that matter not just to me but everyone. Again, assuming anything is not gaining knowledge. I hope I’m clear on that.

    There are different flavors of ice cream but not different types of Catholics. Got that? By virtue of Baptism and other Sacraments, Catholics are only Catholics.

    If you enjoy ‘party politics wars’ fine. I don’t.

  30. 30
    Sir Giles says:

    Aaron: Sir Giles you’re definitely liberal you’ve said some very liberal things and it’s disheartening to see that you voted for Socialism but you have also made it very abundantly clear you lean one way.

    Actually, I would classify myself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.

    When I vote, I vote for the individual in my riding that presents the best arguments for government policy. Sometimes that is conservative, sometimes Liberal and sometimes New Democrat (socialist). I support LGBQ, women’s rights, pro-choice and gun laws. I oppose government over-reach, government funding of the arts, etc.

  31. 31
    chuckdarwin says:

    I’m a Marxist–of the Groucho, Chico and Harpo kind. Let’s see how badly the pinheads on this blog can misconstrue that…. 😉

  32. 32
    relatd says:

    CD at 31,

    I suspected as much…

    🙂

  33. 33
    Seversky says:

    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

    — Groucho Marx

  34. 34
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 33,

    “You can’t always get what you want.”

    – Mick Jagger

  35. 35
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @26

    Instead of skirting around and saying that you’re not any type of party, when you both definitely are, wear it on your sleeve like I do instead of attempting to hide that you’re biased.

    I appreciate your point that it’s important to be aware of one’s biases and express them clearly and sincerely.

    But, I also think that it’s important to be aware of the role of stereotyping about what we imagine various labels to mean. Liberals have all sorts of stereotypes about what conservatives desire and believe, and conservatives have their own stereotypes about what liberals desire and believe.

    The stereotypes reinforce polarization, which in turn reinforces the stereotypes. And the polarization has multiple dimensions, including geography (rural/urban split), economic, etc. It’s really easy to believe all sorts of terrible things about liberals (or conservatives) if you don’t know any and all you know is what you hear on Fox (or MSNBC).

    Communication is hard enough as it is without stereotypes and assumptions getting in the way. That’s not to discourage from disclosing their political views, but I won’t be doing so myself.

  36. 36
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @31

    I’m a Marxist–of the Groucho, Chico and Harpo kind. Let’s see how badly the pinheads on this blog can misconstrue that….

    But are you also a (John) Lennonist?

  37. 37
    Sir Giles says:

    PM1@35, I agree. Stereotyping and labeling are just lazy tactics at best and dishonest at worst. No single individual is a perfect fit for any stereotype. I have a friend who is a Republican but supports pro-choice and gun control. I have another friend who is a Democrat but opposes gun control.

    My views have been developed over a lifetime of experiences, not by a political party or by whatever label KF, BA77 or others apply to me.

  38. 38
    AaronS1978 says:

    “I’m a Marxist–of the Groucho, Chico and Harpo kind. Let’s see how badly the pinheads on this blog can misconstrue that…. ?“

    I felt that like a dad joke right to the brain.

  39. 39
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    Anyway, getting back to the OP:

    it is not just the laws of physics and the universe as a whole that are fine-tuned to make the existence of humans possible. All the universe’s subcomponents, from those on the largest size scales to those on the smallest size scales must be fine-tuned for humans to possibly exist.

    Can anyone explain why this isn’t a fallacy of post hoc ergo prompter hoc?

    From the claim “the universe, galaxy, and solar system had to have specific conditions in order for life to emerge on this planet” it doesn’t obviously follow that “therefore, these conditions were chosen in advance by some intelligent being because it intended that life emerge on this planet”.

  40. 40
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @39.

    Do you see a difference with the ‘puddle argument’?

  41. 41
    asauber says:

    “the universe, galaxy, and solar system had to have specific conditions in order for life to emerge on this planet”

    I’m not sure this accurately describes the situation, and a variation of the “E” word is there again, like continuing to repeat it over and over gives it more gravitas.

    Andrew

  42. 42
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @41

    I’m not sure this accurately describes the situation, and a variation of the “E” word is there again, like continuing to repeat it over and over gives it more gravitas.

    Fair enough — I guess I do have ’emergence on the brain’. Then allow me to rephrase my 39 as follows:

    From the claim “the universe, galaxy, and solar system had to have specific conditions in order for life to appear on this planet” it doesn’t obviously follow that “therefore, these conditions were chosen in advance by some intelligent being because it intended that life appear on this planet”.

  43. 43
    Seversky says:

    it is not just the laws of physics and the universe as a whole that are fine-tuned to make the existence of humans possible. All the universe’s subcomponents, from those on the largest size scales to those on the smallest size scales must be fine-tuned for humans to possibly exist.

    Fine-tuned for humans to exist? The overwhelming majority of the observable Universe is implacably hostile not just to human beings but all terrestrial life. Even our little world is not exactly risk-free. I would say it’s something of a stretch to infer that this was all set up with us in mind – much like Adams’s puddle.

  44. 44
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 43,

    Just because parts of the Earth are hostile does not mean you and 8 billion people are not living your lives here. Not perfect enough for you? Get over it. You can order carryout, eat chocolate chip cookies and all the rest. And no need to worry about the universe. Without a faster than light drive, no one will ever see it, beyond Mars – maybe.

    Yeah, and you apparently believe in the spontaneous generation of life.

  45. 45
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 41,

    Life just emerges. Let’s all bow down and worship the word emerge. Name the planet, make sure the “building blocks of life” – amino acids – are there and POOF – Life. Automatic. Spontaneous. What fiction…

  46. 46
    chuckdarwin says:

    PM1/36
    No, but I now and again Imagine that I could be one someday…..

  47. 47
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @43

    Fine-tuned for humans to exist? The overwhelming majority of the observable Universe is implacably hostile not just to human beings but all terrestrial life. Even our little world is not exactly risk-free. I would say it’s something of a stretch to infer that this was all set up with us in mind – much like Adams’s puddle.

    Well, Ross isn’t wrong to point out that lots of parameters in fundamental physics had to be just right in order for electrons, protons and neutrons to form hydrogen and helium, and for hydrogen to form stars, and thus all other elements.

    Or that a life-giving planet would need to have lots of liquid water, lots of not-too-heavy elements (carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, some metals), close enough to a major energy source, and in order for life to develop over a long period of time, buffered from asteroids and other mass extinction-causing events by the gravitational wells of gas giants.

    Still, not sure how this justifies the inference that therefore, all of these parameters had to be set up in advance by some intelligence who intended that complex life appear.

    In the sci-fi novel Calculating God, it turns out that the universe really was fine-tuned by God, but that once in a while, He has to intervene in the systems He set up, just to nudge them back on course for the outcomes He desires. The last time He did that for Earth, it was when He allowed an asteroid to wipe out the dinosaurs so that mammals could flourish in their stead.

  48. 48
    Origenes says:

    PM1

    Still, not sure how this justifies the inference that therefore, all of these parameters had to be set up in advance by some intelligence who intended that complex life appear.

    What is the best explanation for all these parameters to be just in the right position to produce life? Dumb luck or design?

  49. 49
    jerry says:

    Still, not sure how this justifies the inference that therefore, all of these parameters had to be set up in advance by some intelligence who intended that complex life appear.

    What is the source of the fine tuning?

    Chance? Incredibly unlikely. The numbers are huge. But then this begs the question why anything should exist let alone this particular combination.

    Necessity? What necessity dictates the constants? No one has found a reason for this. Again begs the question on why anything should exist.

    Planned – would explain it. But then why this combination?

    And if planned, what kind of power and intellect did it take to produce what we see? Raises questions about the nature of the creator and the purpose of the creation

    Aside: we speculate that it was set up for life as we know it. But there could be many more implications for the combination of constants besides life for us. We just don’t know what they are.

    This is not a post hoc ergo prompter hoc situation.

  50. 50
    chuckdarwin says:

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that we were never intended to inhabit the entire planet. We were supposed to just hang out naked in the Garden of Eden forever, picking an orange now and again, petting the grizzlies and the triceratops, kind of like being in a big petting zoo with free food. So, the whole idea of “fine tuning” seems to suggest that the designer (a/k/a God), by making this “Privileged Planet”, knew beforehand that we were going to screw it up and need a lot more real estate than planned…..

  51. 51
    AaronS1978 says:

    So we claim that people like KF, Retald, and BA77 demonize the atheists on UD for their views but how often it is that their views are mocked by the others and we wonder why there is so much sh!t slinging here…….. and for a moment there this thread was moving in a good direction.

  52. 52
    Sir Giles says:

    … but how often it is that their views are mocked by the others…

    I don’t mock their views, I mock the ridiculous tactics and logic they use to defend their views.

  53. 53
    Seversky says:

    Chuckdarwin/46

    PM1/36
    No, but I now and again Imagine that I could be one someday…..

    That reminded me – as so many things do – of Star Trek , specifically The Original Series episode “Bread and Circuses”, and a line from Dr McCoy just after they land on an alien planet that’s a sort of 20th century Rome, “”Once, just once, I’d like to be able to land someplace and say, ‘Behold, I am the Archangel Gabriel!'”

  54. 54
    Seversky says:

    PyrrhoManiac1/47

    Well, Ross isn’t wrong to point out that lots of parameters in fundamental physics had to be just right in order for electrons, protons and neutrons to form hydrogen and helium, and for hydrogen to form stars, and thus all other elements.

    No, he isn’t and there’s no doubt that how and why everything came to be as we observe is a profound mystery.

    In the sci-fi novel Calculating God, it turns out that the universe really was fine-tuned by God, but that once in a while, He has to intervene in the systems He set up, just to nudge them back on course for the outcomes He desires. The last time He did that for Earth, it was when He allowed an asteroid to wipe out the dinosaurs so that mammals could flourish in their stead.

    I have no problem with the idea of some vast alien intelligence that has been tinkering with life on this and possibly many other planets but it would still fall short of the omniscience and omnipotence attributed to the Christian God. The problem with the Christian God as the Creator is why would He create a Universe that required constant maintenance in the first place when He is more than capable of designing a Universe which runs perfectly well on its own and would even include batteries.

    The Calculating God sounds like an interesting book. In return, I would recommend – if you haven’t already read it – Fred Hoyle’s 1957 SF novel The Black Cloud.

  55. 55
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ Sir Giles
    Much like our universe it is no coincidence I referenced that particular commentary immediately under 50 and I’m not specifically pointing you out.

  56. 56
    AaronS1978 says:

    @54
    “The problem with the Christian God as the Creator is why would He create a Universe that required constant maintenance in the first place when He is more than capable of designing a Universe which runs perfectly well on its own and would even include batteries.”

    How do you know this universe doesn’t?
    How does this universe work exactly?
    Doesn’t our knowledge of it seem to consistently change? Didn’t it just change with the most recent deep space photos? You seem to assert quite a bit about the nature of God and the universe given our minimal amount of knowledge on both. God apparently created heaven, the very place you constantly describe God should’ve created in the first place. God apparently created hell, the opposite of heaven, and us, the seemingly neutral in between. I suppose God can create whatever God wants to create for whatever reason God wants too. I’m also guessing God might not think like us (alien mind and all far above us) so applying our logic might not be sufficient to describe God’s motives.

    Now when discussing the such matters I would expect the individual doing criticizing would be an expert at the things they are criticizing the other individual for. (In this case God) I don’t believe you are an expert on the workings of the whole universe. No one is. And I certainly don’t believe you’re an expert on God. No one is, and I’m not sure of a single priest that would proclaim they were.

  57. 57
    Marfin says:

    The vastness of the universe hence it probably must be teeming with life I dont buy that. Life requires much more than just enough area to make it happen, and you cannot extrapolate from, if in a small area such and such exists then in a tremendously vast area many more must exist.
    In small bodies of water in Africa you may get 20 or 30 Hippo`s s, so using the vast size logic in the pacific ocean there must be hundreds of thousands of Hippo`s , well no.
    Whats the criteria for Hippos being in that small body of water in Africa that does that translate to that vast body of water ,the pacific ocean.
    Whats the criteria for how life got started on earth and how improbable that was to happen without design , we all know the tornado sweeping thru a junkyard analogy, so getting life just because the universe is vast is not a given by any stretch of the imagination.
    Someone please explain how life got started here, and then we can see does the vastness of the universe mean life everywhere.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, again, I just noticed. I see I am accused of demonising atheists and atheism. Sorry, across C20 atheists did that already for themselves to the tune of 100+ million victims of totalitarian regimes; individuals caught up in this scheme of thought may well be a lot better than that, of course, but that — thank God! — has to do with admirable character traits and responsiveness to conscience, not the [il-]logic of the worldview they have taken up. What I have indeed done, and stand by for cause, is to point out the utter, irretrievable incoherence of evolutionary materialistic scientism as a worldview . . . which extends to fellow travellers. Notice, view, not personalities; it is fair comment that in my observation of UD it has been objectors to design thought who usually start a trifecta fallacy downspiral: red herrings > strawman caricatures soaked in ad homs and set alight > toxic clouds that frustrate sound discussion. For case in point, contrast the OP to what I just realised I need to speak to. Likewise, it is public knowledge that this view undermines both moral government [as in, opening the door to the sort of nihilism alluded to above] and responsible rational freedom, ending in incoherent self-discrediting chaos. Don’t take my bare assertion, try Provine, say, in his cat out of the bag moment, Darwin Day Address in Tennessee in 1998:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent

    [==> key theses of nihilism. Citing the just linked IEP: “Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.” As without rational, responsible freedom, rationality collapses, Provine implies self referential incoherence. Similarly, ethical foundations include our self evident, pervasive first duties of reason: to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, fairness and justice etc. Provine has given a recipe for gross (and all too common) intellectual irresponsibility.]

    . . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So, I think the cat out of the bag self exposure did the job long since.

    I suggest, that evolutionary materialistic scientism is self defeatingly incoherent and nihilistic, so it should be abandoned. It has failed to even be consistent with rationality.

    FTR, warning, BRIDGE OUT is not demonisation, and that warning was on the table by the 1830’s.

    KF

    PS: Heine’s 1831 warning:

    Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered [–> the Swastika, visually, is a twisted, broken cross . . do not overlook the obvious], the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame [–> an irrational battle- and blood- lust]. …

    The old stone gods will then rise from long ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor will leap to life with his giant hammer and smash the Gothic cathedrals. …

    Do not smile at my advice — the advice of a dreamer who warns you against Kantians [–> the ugly gulch between appearance to us and being as it is], Fichteans [–> subjectivity i/l/o the gulch and i/l/o chance and mechanical necessity, rejection of revelation beyond moral law], thesis-antithesis-synthesis triad etc], and philosophers of nature [–> Scientists]. Do not smile at the visionary who anticipates the same revolution in the realm of the visible as has taken place in the spiritual. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder … comes rolling somewhat slowly, but … its crash … will be unlike anything before in the history of the world.

    At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead [–> cf. air warfare, symbol of the USA], and lions in farthest Africa [–> the lion is a key symbol of Britain, cf. also the North African campaigns] will draw in their tails and slink away. … A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll. [Religion and Philosophy in Germany, 1831]

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, SG, you need to respond to Wikipedia’s confessions on the state of want of actual knowledge on HOW pyramids were built, with of course the wider point that we can infer design on signs without knowing the how of the design.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    Prince Caspian:

    Dr. Ross refers to scientific observations that show evidence of fine-tuning, not just for the existence of life, but to sustain life as we know it on Earth, with millions of species of plant and animal life, and a multi-billion population of humans with a technologically advanced global civilization. Often, arguments against intelligent design boil down to bad theology. Dr. Ross provides here a very brief connection between physical design parameters and a biblically-based theology.

    I find the theme interesting: “Is the Universe the Way It Is Because It’s the Only Way It Could Be?”

    I doubt that the mathematical framework for a cosmos is a matter of necessary being through and through so any given possible world will have the same physics as ours. Where, as Math is about the logic of structure and quantity, I find that that framework specifies N,Z,Q,R,C,R* etc not parameters for a cosmos.

    What I have recently realised is that fine tuning is at the the core — heart, centre — of design and the design inference. For, complex function on many well matched, properly oriented, arranged and coupled parts naturally leads to zones of function isolated in the space of possible clumped or scattered configurations. So, FSCO/I is another expression of fine tuning, but in a narrower setting than the cosmos. Of course, irreducible complexity is a special form/case of functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information.

    At cosmos level, Ross is right: “there are hundreds of independent features of the universe, its laws of physics, and its space-time dimensions that must be exquisitely fine-tuned to make the existence of humans, or their equivalent, possible in the universe.”

    He is also right on manifest contingency: “that pervasive fine-tuning is not the only way the universe and the laws of physics could be.”

    Of course, in other physically possible worlds we will see that overwhelmingly, they are not fitted for C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based life, much less intelligent life, or other architectures we might conceive.

    Deeply isolated islands of function, in short.

    KF

    PS, what happens is that there is a lot of poor worldview thinking that hampers science and particularly leads to warped views of God and creation, which then feed into the underlying hostility to the Christian heritage of our civilisation. In the philosophical sense, bad theology. This for instance comes out in misuse of bad design and problem of evils arguments that are all too commonly seen; starting with Darwin, Wallace, was much better and lo, he was a pioneering ID thinker as his The World of Life reveals. As for SG and his bad history on roots of ID, I refer him to the weak argument correctives and to Plato in The Laws Bk X. The design inference is independent of the Christian faith, and objectively warrants inference to design of life and cosmos fine tuned for life. Objectively.

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    Sir Giles @ 52

    AaronS1978: “… but how often it is that their (Christian) views are mocked by the others…”

    Sir Giles: “I don’t mock their views, I mock the ridiculous tactics and logic they use to defend their views.”

    Hmmm, very interesting claim coming from an atheistic naturalist. It presupposes that the atheistic naturalist has better ‘tactics and logic’ than a Christian does. Yet, in order for atheistic naturalists to have better ‘tactics and logic’ than Christians do, it is, obviously, first necessary for the atheistic naturalists to have the capacity to ground ‘tactics and logic’ in their worldview in the first place.

    Yet the atheistic naturalist, in his rejection of God, has forsaken any coherent foundation on which to ground ‘tactics and logic’, i.e. rationality, in his worldview the first place.

    As Dr. Egnor explains, “logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism?,,, Even to define naturalism is to refute it.”

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    The atheistic naturalist simply has no way to ground logic, (and therefore no way to ground rationality itself), within his worldview,

    Is God Real? Evidence from the Laws of Logic – J. Warner Wallace January 9, 2019
    Excerpt: All rational discussions (even those about the existence or non-existence of God) require the prior foundation of logical absolutes. You’d have a hard time making sense of any conversation if the Laws of Logic weren’t available to guide the discussion and provide rational boundaries.,,,
    The Christian Worldview accounts for the existence of the transcendent Laws of Logic. If God exists, He is the absolute, objective, transcendent standard of truth. The Laws of Logic are simply a reflection of the nature of God. God did not create these laws. They are a reflection of His rational thinking, and for this reason, they are as eternal as God Himself. You and I, as humans, have the ability to discover these laws because we have been created in the image of God, but we don’t create or invent the laws.
    https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-god-real-evidence-from-the-laws-of-logic/

    In fact, in his rejection of God, the atheistic naturalist is forced to appeal to ‘untethered randomness and/or chance’, i.e. chaos, as his ultimate explanatory principle in his attempt to explain where life, (and the universe), came from.

    True Darwinism Is All About Chance – – Noah Berlatsky – Jun 14, 2017
    Excerpt: Chance is an uncomfortable thing. So Curtis Johnson argues in Darwin’s Dice: The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin, and he makes a compelling case. The central controversy, and the central innovation, in Darwin’s work is not the theory of natural selection itself, according to Johnson, but Darwin’s more basic, and more innovative, turn to randomness as a way to explain natural phenomena. This application of randomness was so controversial, Johnson argues, that Darwin tried to cover it up, replacing words like “accident” and “chance” with terms like “spontaneous variation” in later editions of his work. Nonetheless, the terminological shift was cosmetic: Randomness remained, and still remains, the disturbing center of Darwin’s theories.
    https://psmag.com/environment/wealth-rich-chance-charles-darwin-darwinism-chance-meritocracy-89764

    “It necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, and of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among many other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition – or the hope – that on this score our position is ever likely to be revised. There is no scientific concept, in any of the sciences, more destructive of anthropocentrism than this one.”
    – Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology

    Yet, it is their presupposition of ‘Pure chance, absolutely free but blind’, instead of God, as the creator of life that precludes the Darwinist from ever being rational, or even from ever being ‘scientific’.

    As Wolfgang Pauli himself pointed out, “While they (Darwinists) 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.’”

    “As a physicist, I should like to critically object that this model has not been supported by an affirmative estimate of probabilities so far. Such an estimate of the theoretical time scale of evolution as implied by the model should be compared with the empirical time scale. One would need to show that, according to the assumed model, the probability of de facto existing purposeful features to evolve was sufficiently high on the empirically known time scale. Such an estimate has nowhere been attempted though.” (p. 27)
    “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they 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 – Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science – Harald Atmanspacher – (pp. 27-28) – 2006
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c374/50c4ef317ac03685450b6dce4acff47295fa.pdf

    The key difference between ‘pure chance’ and miracles being, of course, there is no reason, nor rationale, to ever be found for why something happens by ‘pure chance’, while there is always a reason, or rationale, for why God might do a ‘miracle’.

    As Dr. Bruce Gordon explains, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle. Yet, In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose. Therefore, Scientific materialism, (Naturalism), is epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.
    – Contemporary Physics and God – Part 2 – Dr Bruce Gordon – video (25:17 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/ff_sNyGNSko?t=1517

    As a shining example of the catastrophic epistemological failure that results from the atheistic naturalist’s appeal to ‘random miracles’ as an explanatory principle, and as Dr. Bruce Gordon further explains, “What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.”

    Bruce Gordon: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,, What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science. ,,,
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Shoot, as Cicero pointed out all the way back in 45 B.C., it has been known since ancient times that chance cannot possibly ground the rationality that we perceive to be behind the world.

    “Is he worthy to be called a man who attributes to chance, not to an intelligent cause, the constant motion of the heavens, the regular courses of the stars, the agreeable proportion and connection of all things, conducted with so much reason that our intellect itself is unable to estimate it rightly? When we see machines move artificially, as a sphere, a clock, or the like, do we doubt whether they are the productions of reason?”
    – Cicero (45 BC)

    Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and academic skeptic,,,,
    His influence on the Latin language was immense. He wrote more than three-quarters of extant Latin literature that is known to have existed in his lifetime,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicero

  62. 62
    bornagain77 says:

    In short, to presuppose the universe is rational is to presuppose Theism to be true.

    As Paul Davies explained, “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

    “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
    —Paul Davies (cited in, The Historic Alliance of Christianity and Science)

    Moreover, besides his appeal to ‘pure chance’ as an explanatory principle making him “very irrational”, (W. Pauli), the Darwinist’s denial of the reality of free will also precludes the atheist from ever being rational.

    As Martin Cothran explains, “By their (Darwinists’) own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.”

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Of note: Martin Cothran is author of several textbooks on traditional logic
    https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Cothran/e/B00J249LUA/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Here are a few more notes on how the atheist’s denial of free will makes him ‘very irrational’ and drives him into catastrophic epistemological failure,

    To further illustrate just how insane the Atheistic Naturalist’s position is, in their denial of free will, atheists are forced to hold that, “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/mind/the-thought-that-stops-thought/#comment-770722

    So thus in conclusion, Sir Giles may claim that he mocks “the ridiculous tactics and logic they (Christians) use to defend their views”, but alas for him, his criticism of Christianity might carry much greater weight if not for the fact that his own atheistic worldview is a self-refuting morass of insane irrationality.

    As I’ve stated before, it would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to science, even to reality itself, than atheistic naturalism has turned out to be.

    Quotes and Verse:

    ‘the Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

    John 1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

  63. 63
    chuckdarwin says:

    Seversky/53
    Bones always was the smart a** of the trio….

  64. 64
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @49

    Chance? Incredibly unlikely. The numbers are huge. But then this begs the question why anything should exist let alone this particular combination.

    Necessity? What necessity dictates the constants? No one has found a reason for this. Again begs the question on why anything should exist.

    In order to rule out both “chance” and “necessity”, and apply the explanatory filter to the universe as a whole, we would need to know some things. I doubt it’s possible for us to know those things. Hence I don’t think that it’s possible for us to know what we would need to know in order to rule out “chance” and “necessity”.

    “Chance and necessity” — or more precisely, randomness and lawfulness — are concepts that we know how to use in describing physical systems. When we use these concepts, we are using them to describe what we know how to measure: that is, what we are able to detect and track as well as the setting-up of a system of measurement.

    But we have no idea how to measure anything that is not part of this universe. So we cannot use the concepts of randomness or lawfulness in their scientific uses.

    This forces us back onto purely a priori reasoning, and specifically, onto the principle of sufficient reason.

    In this respect you’re quite right: it would be intellectually disappointing if the origin of the parameters of this universe were unknowable, and so it is tempting to conjecture a ‘supernatural’ intelligent being to explain why this universe has the fundamental structure that it does.

    I don’t have any particular objections to this line of reasoning, but I don’t think it’s an intellectual obligation, either. As the Jewish theologian Hans Jonas put it, speculation about the origins of the universe and God’s role in that origin is a “luxury of reason,” not a “need of reason”.

  65. 65
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @61

    Yet the atheistic naturalist, in his rejection of God, has forsaken any coherent foundation on which to ground ‘tactics and logic’, i.e. rationality, in his worldview the first place.

    Nope; see “Logic without Ontology

    On naturalistic theories of rationality, recent work by Mercier and Sperber is quite good. On naturalistic theories of autonomy and agency, Mossio and Moreno’s Biological Autonomy and Ginsburg and Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul can be read as fleshing out the concept of “natural freedom” that Hagglund contrasts with “spiritual freedom” in This Life.

    For naturalism and free will, here’s a range of views: Just Deserts (Dennett vs Caruso), A Metaphysics for Freedom (this is the sort of view I would endorse), and The Self Beyond Itself.

    And, just in case one were interested in the compatibility of naturalism and theism, there’s God, Value, and Nature by Fiona Ellis.

    Of course, I know, no one can be bothered to read anything any more. Reading runs the terrible risk of being invited to change one’s mind. Far better to remain ignorant and proud of one’s ignorance, I suppose. Learning something might induce a certain humility, and how awful that would be!

  66. 66
    Sir Giles says:

    CD: Bones always was the smart a** of the trio….

    If I learned anything from Star Trek, it was to never wear a red shirt when I travel.

  67. 67
    bornagain77 says:

    PM1 claims that the atheistic naturalist has no problem grounding rationality.

    PM1 does not directly address the facts I laid out in 61 and 62, but instead he references a 1944 Earnst Nagel article. An article with no associated abstract and, from what little was available for reading, does not come anywhere near grounding rationality within atheistic naturalism.

    Logic Without Ontology
    Ernest Nagel
    Journal of Symbolic Logic 10 (1):16-18 (1944) Copy BIBTEX
    Abstract
    This article has no associated abstract
    https://philpapers.org/rec/NAGLWO

    PM1 references more recent work, but provides no citation.

    PMI goes on to throw out a bunch of other references to try to say free will, and even Theism itself, is somehow not incompatible with his atheistic naturalism. No where does PM1 actually address any of the arguments that I presented in 61 and 62, but he instead expects me to dig through his references to see if there might be any argument in them that refutes the arguments I have presented.

    In short, PMI is pulling what is commonly known as a ‘literature bluff’,,,, which is old hat among Darwinists,,,

    The Art Of Literature Bluffing – June 28, 2007
    It works like this: Claim that “such and so has been conclusively refuted…” or “the author ignores research that has demonstrated…” or “this issue was addressed and resolved long ago…” and then cite a publication.
    Those using this tactic know that very few people will actually check out the references. However, in cases like that of hostile reviews of Behe’s new book, it would be wise to do so. You will most likely discover that the “refutations, demonstrations and resolutions” are nothing of the kind, but are fanciful storytelling, speculation, misrepresentation, or wildly imaginative extrapolation from the trivially obvious.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-art-of-literature-bluffing/

    “The response I have received from repeating Behe’s claim about the evolutionary literature, which simply brings out the point being made implicitly by many others, such as Chris Dutton and so on, is that I obviously have not read the right books. There are, I am sure, evolutionists who have described how the transitions in question could have occurred.” And he continues, “When I ask in which books I can find these discussions, however, I either get no answer or else some titles that, upon examination, do not, in fact, contain the promised accounts. That such accounts exist seems to be something that is widely known, but I have yet to encounter anyone who knows where they exist.”
    – David Ray Griffin – retired professor of philosophy of religion and theology

  68. 68
    jerry says:

    In this respect you’re quite right: it would be intellectually disappointing if the origin of the parameters of this universe were unknowable, and so it is tempting to conjecture a ‘supernatural’ intelligent

    Two things:

    First, it is probably unknowable by design. That is what I would do and I am less than a slug compared to the creator of this universe.

    Second, there is no implication according to ID that the creator is supernatural, whatever that means. The creator must have have had immense intelligence and power at a minimum though.

    This will rub a lot of those here wrong on both sides of the debate. But do they really want a legitimate debate? In my almost 17 years here only one anti ID person was willing to enter into such a legitimate debate.

    For most of the nature of the creator, one has to go outside of ID. For example, many here cite the Bible. It may be legitimate but that is not ID.

  69. 69
    relatd says:

    The Bible is legitimate. ID is not a cult. It is science. Those who argue against ID here appear to have nothing of substance. If there is design then there is a designer. Period.

  70. 70
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: If there is design then there is a designer. Period.

    And all you have to do to prove this is show us a proven example of design in nature. We can wait.

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, all we need is what we already know, the fine tuning. KF

  72. 72
  73. 73
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: PM1, all we need is what we already know, the fine tuning. KF

    The sloppy use of language is not proof of design. When Crick and others refer to the genetic code, they are not saying that there was coding (verb) happening. When scientists talk about fine tuning, they are not claiming that there was an intelligence actively “tuning” the physical constants. But if the misrepresentation of these concepts is all you have to hang your ID hat on, knock your socks off. But don’t be surprised when nobody knowledgeable on the subjects take you seriously.

  74. 74
    relatd says:

    SG at 73,

    So you speak for everyone? A sloppy bit of usage on your part.

  75. 75
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @61

    Your “facts” include a neurosurgeon’s interpretation of a 13th century theologian (Egnor), some remarks about logic by homicide detective who became a Christian apologist (Wallace), and a sloppy argument by a private high school teacher with a MA in in Christian Apologetics (Cothran). Apparently the word “facts” means something different to you than it does to me.

    PMI goes on to throw out a bunch of other references to try to say free will, and even Theism itself, is somehow not incompatible with his atheistic naturalism. No where does PM1 actually address any of the arguments that I presented in 61 and 62, but he instead expects me to dig through his references to see if there might be any argument in them that refutes the arguments I have presented.

    I’m encouraging you to think for yourself and stop taking the word of second-rate apologists. I’m inviting you to take seriously the adage of John Stuart Mill: “he who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that”. If you only your own own position, and you’ve never considered the strongest, most plausible presentations of the opposing side, you don’t really understand the reasons for why you’re right and the other side is wrong.

    I’ve studied Plato, and Aristotle, and Aquinas, plus Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and a lot of other philosophers. Now, you might look down on the study of philosophy, and that’s your prerogative. But if you had studied it, perhaps you would not commit such laughable errors in reasoning as you constantly do.

    To identify but two:

    1. You like to identify the medieval Scholastic worldview as the birth of modern science, but you also like to credit the birth of modern science to Bacon’s rejection of Scholastic reasoning. The birth of modern science can be credited to Scholasticism, or to its rejection, but not both at the same time, as you insist.

    2. You like to champion Bacon’s inductivism, even though inductivism has ceased to be the method of contemporary science. Yet you also like to champion Popper’s falsificationism. The problem here is that Popper developed falsificationism precisely because he rejected induction as a basis for science. So you can be an inductivisit, or an anti-inductivist, but not both.

    And needless to say, you constantly cite the papers that agree with your assumptions, but it seemingly never occurs to you to inquire into whether anyone has made plausible counter-arguments. This is not the behavior of someone who truly values careful reasoning and sound argument.

    I don’t really care if you take my advice seriously, or not. To quote Captain Reynolds, “My days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.” I’m sure the feeling is mutual and that’s fine with me.

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, we both know I referred to a significant body of literature coming from competent investigators as I spoke of fine tuning, starting with the likes of Sir Fred Hoyle and continuing down to the present. Summary reference is not sloppy. It is time for you to cease from your seemingly habitual, supercilious, sneering dismissiveness, especially given the parallel case of pyramid construction. KF

    PS, you and those like you need to answer to Lehninger et al on your desperation to not acknowledge what is otherwise uncontroversial regarding coded algorithmic information in D/RNA:

    “The information in DNA is encoded in its linear (one-dimensional) sequence of deoxyribonucleotide subunits . . . . A linear sequence of deoxyribonucleotides in DNA codes (through an intermediary, RNA) for the production of a protein with a corresponding linear sequence of amino acids . . . Although the final shape of the folded protein is dictated by its amino acid sequence, the folding of many proteins is aided by “molecular chaperones” . . . The precise three-dimensional structure, or native conformation, of the protein is crucial to its function.” [Principles of Biochemistry, 8th Edn, 2021, pp 194 – 5. Now authored by Nelson, Cox et al, Lehninger having passed on in 1986. Attempts to rhetorically pretend on claimed superior knowledge of Biochemistry, that D/RNA does not contain coded information expressing algorithms using string data structures, collapse. We now have to address the implications of language, goal directed stepwise processes and underlying sophisticated polymer chemistry and molecular nanotech in the heart of cellular metabolism and replication.]

    See https://uncommondescent.com/darwinist-debaterhetorical-tactics/protein-synthesis-what-frequent-objector-af-cannot-acknowledge/

  77. 77
    bornagain77 says:

    PM1 at 75, issues the usual ad hominems of the people I cited. And then goes off on tangents as to the birth of modern science. i.e. PM1 still has not directly addressed the arguments I presented in 61 and 62.

    After not directly addressing the arguments I presented, PM1 even states “I’m encouraging you to think for yourself and stop taking the word of second-rate apologists.” Which is very interesting seeing that it is coming from an atheistic naturalist who, just the other day, claimed that we are not in control of our thoughts

    Origenes: 1. Does rationality require a person who is in control of his thoughts?

    PM1: “No, I don’t think so.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/mind/the-thought-that-stops-thought/#comment-771074
    also see Origenes response to PMI at post 72 of the same thread

    Might it be too obvious to point out that PM1 is not nearly as smart as he think he is?

    Anyways, my arguments at 61 and 62 are simple. Number 1, Atheistic naturalism, due to its appeal to ‘pure chance, i.e. chaos, as the ultimate creator of all things cannot possibly ground a rational universe.

    As Einstein himself stated, under atheistic naturalism, “a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way”,,, “There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    Number 2 atheistic naturalism, due to its denial of the reality of free will, cannot possibly ground our ability to make rational arguments. Again, I appeal to Einstein to make my case. “if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

    To further illustrate just how insane the Atheistic Naturalist’s position is, in their denial of free will, atheists are forced to hold that, “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.”

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism
    Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    If denying that you are the author of your very own writing is not an irrational position for a person to hold, then nothing else is to be considered irrational.

    Moreover, nobody, not even atheists themselves, actually live their lives as if they had no free will,

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt: ,,, Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    https://www.sott.net/article/260160-The-Heretic-Who-is-Thomas-Nagel-and-why-are-so-many-of-his-fellow-academics-condemning-him

    Even leading Darwinian atheists themselves have honestly admitted that it impossible for them to actually live their lives as if they did not have free will,

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Even Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if his atheistic materialism were actually true and that he had no free will, i.e. no moral agency,

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to consistently live your life as if your worldview were actually true, (and as if you don’t actually have free will in some real and meaningful sense), then your worldview can’t possibly reflect reality as it really is, but instead your worldview must be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    – per answers for hope

  78. 78
    bornagain77 says:

    And whereas PMI is stuck appealing to overhyped atheistic philosophers to try to defend the insanity of his position, I can appeal directly to the empirical evidence itself to defend my position.

    Which is to say, Empirically speaking, the Atheist’s denial of free will is now shown, experimentally, to be false. As brain surgeon Michael Egnor has shown, neuroscience itself, despite the atheist’s constant denial to the contrary, shows that we most certainly do have free will,

    Michael Egnor Shows You’re Not A Meat Robot (Science Uprising EP2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQo6SWjwQIk

    Michael Egnor: Is free will a dangerous myth? – October 6, 2018
    Excerpt: 4.,,, the neuroscientific evidence unequivocally supports the existence of free will. The first neuroscientist to map the brains of conscious subjects, Wilder Penfield, noted that there is an immaterial power of volition in the human mind that he could not stimulate with electrodes. The pioneer in the neuroscience of free will was Benjamin Libet, who demonstrated clearly that, while there is an unconscious material predisposition to acts as shown by electrical brain activity, we retain an immaterial “free won’t,” which is the ability to veto an unconscious urge to act. Many experiments have followed on Libet’s work, most of which use fMRI imaging of brain activity. They all confirm Libet’s observations by showing what is at most a loose correlation between brain activity and volition (for example, nearly half the time the brain activity that precedes the act is on the wrong side of the brain for the activity to determine the will)—the looseness of correlation being best explained as evidence for libertarian free will. Modern neuroscience clearly demonstrates an immaterial component to volition.
    Harari is wrong about free will. It is not a myth. Free will is a real and fundamental aspect of being human, and the denial of free will is junk science and self-refuting logical nonsense.
    https://mindmatters.ai/2018/10/is-free-will-a-dangerous-myth/

    In further scientifically demonstrating that the atheist’s denial of the reality of free will does not “reflect reality as it really is’, in quantum mechanics we also find that, via their free will, “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,,”

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    As newly minted Nobel Laureate Anton Zeilinger stated, “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    – Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    Moreover, the belief in the reality of free will, especially the free will of God, (via ‘contingency”), played a central role in founding of modern science in medieval Christian Europe,

    “That (contingency) was a huge concept (that was important for the founding of modern science). The historians of science call that ‘contingency’. The idea that nature has an order that is built into it. But it is an order that is contingent upon the will of the Creator. It could have been otherwise. Just as there are many ways to make a timepiece, or a clock,,, there are many different ways God could have ordered the universe. And it is up to us not to deduce that order from first principles, or from some intuitions that we have about how nature ought to be, but rather it is important to go out and see how nature actually is.”
    – Stephen Meyer – 5:00 minute mark – Andrew Klavan and Stephen Meyer Talk God and Science
    https://idthefuture.com/1530/

    ‘Without all doubt this world…could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God… From this fountain (what) we call the laws of nature have flowed, in which there appear many traces indeed of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures, but learn them from observations and experiments.”,,,
    – Sir Isaac Newton – (Cited from Religion and the Rise of Modern Science by Hooykaas page 49).
    https://thirdspace.org.au/comment/237

    Moreover, when we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, (as the Christian founders of modern science originally held with the presupposition of ‘contingency’), and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the “freedom-of-choice” loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), then rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and provides us with an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”

    Oct. 2022 – And although there will never be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between quantum mechanics and general relativity, all hope is not lost in finding the correct ‘theory if everything’.,,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/cosmology/from-iai-news-how-infinity-threatens-cosmology/#comment-766384

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  79. 79
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, we both know I referred to a significant body of literature coming from competent investigators as I spoke of fine tuning…

    My apologies. I must have missed the research that tested tuning any of these constants to a different value, resulting in a universe incompatible with life. Could you please provide me a link.

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, yes you obviously did fail to attend to the investigations starting with Hoyle in the 1950s, and your posing collapses again. Just as with oh we know how the pyramids were built. The laws of physics, quantities and many other things are, independently in many cases, fine tuned; we have good reason to trust these laws, and the mathematics they are expressed in. That tells us what happens with fairly minor perturbations. Even if there were an as yet unknown forcing super law, that too would then be a case of super fine tuning. Similarly, if you demand that we create separate universes, you know we cannot yet do that and so are setting a hyperskeptical demand. By contrast we are quite capable of testing for blind chance and necessity causing FSCO/I see PS; that anticipates what you likely imagine is a clever rhetorical trap. [And, onlookers, we see why we have to give so many details and nuances in argument, based on what sort of objectors we are dealing with.] There is a significant body of literature on the topic that is readily accessible so your remarks are irresponsible. Here is a simple summary with a key diagram: https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-fine-tuning-of-natures-laws KF

    PS, The infinite monkeys theorem:

    [Wikipedia confesses regarding the infinite monkeys theorem:] The theorem concerns a thought experiment which cannot be fully carried out in practice, since it is predicted to require prohibitive amounts of time and resources. Nonetheless, it has inspired efforts in finite random text generation.

    One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed,

    “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t”

    The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[26]

    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulated a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:

    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…

    [ACC: Dec 17, 2019. NB: Where, also, as this is a digital age, we will readily see that we can compose a description language and then create a string of yes/no questions to specify any reasonable object — as say AutoCAD etc do. Thus, our seemingly simplistic discussion on bit strings *-*-*- . . . is in fact without loss of generality [WLOG].]

    [Comment: 16 – 24 ASCII characters is far short of the relevant thresholds, at best, a factor of about 1 in 10^100. Yes, the article goes on to note that “instead of simply generating random characters one restricts the generator to a meaningful vocabulary and conservatively following grammar rules, like using a context-free grammar, then a random document generated this way can even fool some humans.” But, that is simply implicitly conceding that design makes a big difference to what can be done. ]

    PPS, I notice you are still missing in action in the pregnancy thread, now that I have cited Wiki’s confessions on just what we do not know about how the pyramids were built, even as we obviously know they are designed on key signs.

  81. 81
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, yes you obviously did fail to attend to the investigations starting with Hoyle in the 1950s, and your posing collapses again.

    You are incorrect. I have read a fair amount on the subject but what o fail to see is any experiment altering any of these physical constants, even in a localized area, to see what the impact would be.

    Just as with oh we know how the pyramids were built.

    I didn’t say that we know how they were built, although we know some of the details and have hypotheses on others. I just said that we know that they were built and that we didn’t need any FSCO/I calculations to determine this.

    The laws of physics, quantities and many other things are, independently in many cases, fine tuned;

    Assume your conclusion much?

    we have good reason to trust these laws, and the mathematics they are expressed in.

    Agreed. But you do realize that “law” and “fine tuned” are just terms that are used, sloppily in my opinion. It is not intended to be interpreted as being imposed by intelligent beings, as human laws and the tuning of instruments are.

    That tells us what happens with fairly minor perturbations.

    Yet you can’t demonstrate that any perturbations are even possible. If perturbations aren’t possible then there is no tuning involved.

    Even if there were an as yet unknown forcing super law, that too would then be a case of super fine tuning.

    Cart before the horse. First prove that the physical constants can be changed.

    PPS, I notice you are still missing in action in the pregnancy thread, now that I have cited Wiki’s confessions on just what we do not know about how the pyramids were built, even as we obviously know they are designed on key signs.

    Yes, tool marks and tools, written records of parts of the construction, comparisons with other smaller pyramids, continuous habitation in the area and documented history of the area, etc. none of which required ID’s bragged about powerful tools to detect design.

  82. 82
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    Which is very interesting seeing that it is coming from an atheistic naturalist who, just the other day, claimed that we are not in control of our thoughts

    And I then proceeded to explain how we can be held responsible for our actions and assertions even though we’re not in control of everything that we think. A crucial point that you missed.

    Number 1, Atheistic naturalism, due to its appeal to ‘pure chance, i.e. chaos, as the ultimate creator of all things cannot possibly ground a rational universe.

    I don’t know any version of naturalism that appeals to ‘pure chance’ or ‘chaos’ as “the ultimate creator of all things.” This is just a strawman, not to be taken seriously.

    Number 2 atheistic naturalism, due to its denial of the reality of free will, cannot possibly ground our ability to make rational arguments.

    Some versions of naturalism exclude free will. Other versions of naturalism accept it. I’m with the naturalists who accept it. If you want to argue against naturalists who deny free will, by all means feel free to do so, and good luck finding one.

  83. 83
    Origenes says:

    PM1: “A Metaphysics for Freedom” (this is the sort of view I would endorse)

    Helen Steward is her name. I can understand why PM1 doesn’t come up with a summary, because her ‘theory’ is, frankly, an incoherent mess. She clings to naturalism like there is no tomorrow, but wants real self-moving agent causality nonetheless. In her (inevitably) incoherent attempts to get there she, amongst other things, invokes, of course, ‘emergence’ (whirlpool’s emergence, the whirlpool is an agent; yes really).
    Incomprehensibly, in a world with only particles in the void obeying mindless regularities, she posits pluralistic causality, where causation is separated no less than THREE ontological categories: ‘movers’, ‘matterers’, ‘makers-happen’. Yes, I kid you not.
    She also argues that science is fallible, and that agent causality is a brute fact as if these make her position any less unintelligible.

    Admittedly, I cannot stomach Steward’s texts; almost every sentence screams **incoherence.** So, I leave it to PM1.

  84. 84
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @83

    Well, I’ve explained the concept of emergence as best I know how, and I’ve linked to several theorists who explain it better than I can. So I’ve done all I can there.

    Nevertheless, the point remains that she rejects determinism, or more precisely, rejects the idea that determinism as metaphysics is a direct consequence of physics. She argues that thinking carefully about biology and why biology is irreducible to physics shows the way to naturalizing agent causation.

    So while there are (I think) very good arguments for why should reject supernatural agent causation (both epistemological and ethical), that doesn’t rule out naturalistic agent causation — no more than arguments against a supernatural conception of God rule out an expansive naturalism that allows for God.

    I would add that there’s a lot of growing interest in naturalistic theories of teleology, esp with recent work by Kaufman and Deacon.

  85. 85
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @83, Kairosfocus

    Well, I’ve explained the concept of emergence as best I know how …

    No one can explain an incoherent concept. Secondly, your attempts have been meticulously taken apart by Kairosfocus — here.
    Your strategy seems to be to keep at it and completely ignore the fact that your position is untenable. Why is that?

  86. 86
    bornagain77 says:

    Origenes at 83, that was humorous, thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning. 🙂

  87. 87
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @83

    <blockquote<No one can explain an incoherent concept.

    Well, if one insists on assuming a priori that a concept is incoherent, then one will be unable to grasp any explanation of it, no matter how lucid.

    Secondly, your attempts have been meticulously taken apart by Kairosfocus — here.

    Kairosofocus (here) just begs the question against emergentism by assuming a strict dichotomy between “order” and “organization” (his terms), which is precisely what emergentism rejects.

    In addition, Kairosfocus’s response would need to be revised in light of Deacon’s argument that one can generate complex functionally specified information from unintelligent material processes in a step-by-step chemically realistic scenario.

    Your strategy seems to be to keep at it and completely ignore the fact that your position is untenable. Why is that?

    So far, no one at Uncommon Descent has taken the time and energy necessary to understand the theoretical basis of emergence. I’ve seen a lot of mockery, condescension, and plenty of red herrings, but no real effort at understanding.

    Which is fine, I guess — it doesn’t bother me that people have trouble understanding emergence. There are lots of things I don’t understand myself, which is why I’m always trying to learn more (especially from people I disagree with).

    It does bother me that people assume that emergence is nonsense because it just has to be. And it bothers me when people assume that naturalism must be reductive, because non-reductive naturalism is incoherent, because it just has to be. And that people assume that naturalism must be incompatible with libertarian freedom and God because it just has to be.

  88. 88
    asauber says:

    “It does bother me that people assume that emergence is nonsense because it just has to be.”

    PM1,

    This is incorrect. You’ve presented what some of us assume to be the best you have, which are just wordy flights of fancy. There’s no reason to dig deeper. We would just slip farther down in the latrine pit.

    Andrew

  89. 89
    Origenes says:

    @PM1, Kairosfocus

    Kairosofocus (here) just begs the question against emergentism by assuming a strict dichotomy between “order” and “organization” (his terms), which is precisely what emergentism rejects.
    In addition, Kairosfocus’s response would need to be revised in light of Deacon’s argument that one can generate complex functionally specified information from unintelligent material processes in a step-by-step chemically realistic scenario.

    Do present Deacon’s argument, so it can be refuted.

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, you know exactly what is confessed by Wikipedia, and you know precisely the list of alternative proposals for how they could have been built. Your strawman tactics are on display yet again:

    Egyptian pyramid construction techniques are the controversial subject of many hypotheses. These techniques seem to have developed over time; later pyramids were not constructed in the same way as earlier ones. Most of the construction hypotheses are based on the belief that huge stones were carved from quarries with copper chisels, and these blocks were then dragged and lifted into position. Disagreements chiefly concern the methods used to move and place the stones.

    In addition to the many unresolved arguments about the construction techniques, there have been disagreements as to the kind of workforce used.

    Details follow there and some were excerpted in the previous thread. What remains is that I was demonstrably right to highlight that on sign we know the pyramids were designed, even though we do not know the how of their construction (and that logistics challenges are pivotal, see the debate on how blocks were brought to be put in place and the proposal on casting a primitive concrete). Thus, we can see that we may indeed aptly infer design on sign even absent knowledge of precise technique, management, organisation etc. Of course, you have further extended an unenviable track record. KF

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, whether or no there are borderline cases, there is a highly recognisable OBSERVED — not question begged — difference between crystal structure like order and Wicken wiring diagram configuration to achieve function. The implicit information in order is low, e.g. set up unit cell, replicate n times. That in a functionally organised system is far more complex, and leads to growing description length as complexity rises. Note, there is an identified threshold where necessity and/or chance become utterly implausible, 500 – 1,000 bits, implying that there is an approact towards it but that it cannot credibly pass that band on blind processes. Thus, you have set up and knocked over a strawman caricature, description of an OBSERVATION is not at all the same as a question begging verbal assertion. KF

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, insofar as Deacon actually carried out experiments, predictably, experimenter intervention will be highly material as Tour has pointed out (as the latest observer to notice the problem). If instead we have mainly a paper chemistry argument, tracing it will predictably lead to the same concerns. Let PM1 provide an answer to these concerns and tell us when Deacon will take up Tour’s offer. KF

  93. 93
    bornagain77 says:

    PM1: “In addition, Kairosfocus’s response would need to be revised in light of Deacon’s argument that one can generate complex functionally specified information from unintelligent material processes in a step-by-step chemically realistic scenario.”

    Call me when Deacon collects the 10 million dollar Origin of Life prize.

    Artificial Intelligence + Origin of Life Prize, $10 Million USD
    Excerpt: What You Must Do to Win The Prize
    You must arrange for a digital communication system to emerge or self-evolve without “cheating.” The diagram below describes the system. Without explicitly designing the system, your experiment must generate an encoder that sends digital code to a decoder. Your system needs to transmit at least five bits of information. (In other words it has to be able to represent 32 states. The genetic code supports 64.)
    You have to be able to draw an encoding and decoding table and determine whether or not the data has been transmitted successfully.
    So, for example, an RNA based origin of life experiment will be considered successful if it contains an encoder, message and decoder as described above. To our knowledge, this has never been done.
    https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

  94. 94
    JVL says:

    Origenes: Do present Deacon’s argument, so it can be refuted.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12304-021-09453-9

    How Molecules Became Signs

    To explore how molecules became signs I will ask: “What sort of process is necessary and sufficient to treat a molecule as a sign?” This requires focusing on the interpreting system and its interpretive competence. To avoid assuming any properties that need to be explained I develop what I consider to be a simplest possible molecular model system which only assumes known physics and chemistry but nevertheless exemplifies the interpretive properties of interest. Three progressively more complex variants of this model of interpretive competence are developed that roughly parallel an icon-index-symbol hierarchic scaffolding logic. The implication of this analysis is a reversal of the current dogma of molecular and evolutionary biology which treats molecules like DNA and RNA as the original sources of biological information. Instead I argue that the structural characteristics of these molecules have provided semiotic affordances that the interpretive dynamics of viruses and cells have taken advantage of. These molecules are not the source of biological information but are instead semiotic artifacts onto which dynamical functional constraints have been progressively offloaded during the course of evolution.

    I assume you can read and understand the paper but I shall post the conclusion:

    The sequence of hypothetical molecular models discussed here falls well short of explaining the origins of the “genetic code.” Indeed, it posits an evolutionary sequence that assumes that protein-like molecules are present long before nucleic acids (possibly arising from the prebiotic formation of hydrogen cyanide polymers; see Das et al. (2019) for a current review). This inverts the currently popular view that replicating molecules intrinsically constitute biological information. This popular assumption has implicitly reduced the concept of information to pattern replication without reference. As a result it begs the question of the origin of functional significance.

    The logic of the autogenic approach, though not able to directly account for the evolution of the DNA-to-amino acid “code,” provides something more basic. It provides a “proof of principle” of a sort, showing step-by-chemically-realistic-step how a molecule like RNA or DNA could acquire the property of recording and instructing the dynamical molecular relationships that constitute and maintain the molecular system of which it is a part. In short, it explains how a molecule can become about other molecules. Importantly, this analysis inverts the logic that treats RNA and DNA replication as intrinsically informational and instead shows how the information-bearing function of nucleic acids is due to their ability to embody constraints inherited from the codependent dynamics of an open molecular` system able to repair itself. This may point the way to an alternative strategy for exploring the origin of the genetic code. Rather than thinking of the problem from an information molecule first perspective (how nucleic acid structure came to inform protein dynamics), it might be instructive to ask the question the other way around (how protein dynamics came to be reflected in nucleic acid structure). In other words, it might make sense to invert the order of Crick’s central dogma when considering the evolution of the genetic code.

    If you can find any error in the paper please point it out.

  95. 95
    JVL says:

    Asauber: This is incorrect. You’ve presented what some of us assume to be the best you have, which are just wordy flights of fancy. There’s no reason to dig deeper. We would just slip farther down in the latrine pit.

    Does that mean you don’t actually have a scientific counter-argument?

  96. 96
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @89

    Do present Deacon’s argument, so it can be refuted.

    I read the paper but I’ll need to think about how to convey his ideas with a bit less jargon. He’s building on the information theory developed by Charles S. Peirce, which is not for the faint of heart.

    The gist of “How Molecules Became Signs” has to do with the origin of a genetic template given a very simplistic kind of teleological system — basically a theoretical non-parasitic virus that he calls an autogen.

    Autogens themselves require two distinct constraints: a reciprocal catalysis and self-assembly. In reciprocal catalysis, the product of one reaction acts as a catalyst for a second reaction that produces a product that catalyzes the first reaction.

    (As the number of molecules increases linearly, the number of possible combinations increases geometrically, but very few of those combinations will allow the autogen to persist. So it becomes mathematically intractable to hit upon the right reactions. This is where genetic information becomes crucial: by vastly constraining the possible reaction types.)

    The other constraint is self-assembly, where minimizing free energy leads to the spontaneous formation of sheets, tubules, polyhedra, etc.

    Reciprocal catalysis and self-assembly are interlocking processes, because each constrains the other: self-assembling structures are necessary for driving up the concentration of molecules so that reciprocal catalysis can take place, and reciprocal catalysis is necessary for generating the components that are used for self-assembly.

    In other words, an autogen is a hypothetical self-organizing structure that is precisely on the cusp between non-life and life: it is vastly more simple than even the simplest known cell, but exhibits the recursive self-maintenance that distinguishes life from crystals, flames, and dissipative structures.

    More on this later — need to think about how to explain why Deacon thinks that Peirce has the right way of thinking about what information is.

  97. 97
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @94

    If you can find any error in the paper please point it out.

    They need this stuff spoon-fed to them. I don’t mind too much — it’s a useful exercise.

    @95

    Does that mean you don’t actually have a scientific counter-argument?

    Of course they don’t. They just know with absolute certainty that emergence is nonsense, so it would be a waste of their time to try to understand it.

  98. 98
    asauber says:

    “Does that mean you don’t actually have a scientific counter-argument?”

    JVL,

    IF I was presented with science, I might respond with a scientific counter-argument.

    Andrew

  99. 99
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, you know exactly what is confessed by Wikipedia, and you know precisely the list of alternative proposals for how they could have been built. Your strawman tactics are on display yet again:

    ;
    My strawman tactics? Turnabout projection, thy name is Gordon.

    Your misrepresentations of what people say is epic. I never said that we knew all the details of how they were built. I said that we knew they were designed without relying on ID’s design detection tools. But rather than address this claim, you choose to raise a strawman based on a lie, so that you can topple it. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  100. 100
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @
    Some initial questions and remarks concerning Deacon’s paper.

    The model I will use for this purpose is a hypothetical but physically realizable minimally complex molecular process. I first introduced this sort of molecular model in a 2006 paper and have modified it slightly in the years since to ensure that it is both empirically realizable and adequate to its explanatory purpose.

    In the meantime, has an attempt been made to test it empirically?

    One candidate process is reciprocal catalysis. The simplest form of reciprocal catalysis occurs when one catalytic reaction produces a product that catalyzes a second reaction which produces a product that catalyzes the first, and so on.

    I take it that Deacon is talking about catalytic RNA. So, this is simply RNA-world “origin of life” stuff right? Pick any article and weep.

    Viral capsids self-assemble (as do cell membranes, microtubules, and many other complex molecular structures within cells). Self-assembly is essentially a variant of the process of crystalization. Because of the way that the regular geometries and affinities of these molecules cause them to associate with one another they can spontaneously form into sheets, polyhedrons, or tubes.

    How am I to read this? Is the process of crystalization offered as an explanation for the incredibly complicated information-rich self-assembly of complex molecular structures in the cell? In effect, is Deacon saying here that “self-assembly” doesn’t require any further explanation; it is …. “spontaneous”?

  101. 101
    bornagain77 says:

    “The model I will use for this purpose is a hypothetical but physically realizable minimally complex molecular process”

    ,,, hypothetical but physically realizable???… Really?? So we have what exactly? A promise of experimental proof sometime later???? You guys are kidding right???

    Again, call me when Deacon does the experimental work, falsifies ID, and actually collects the 10 million dollar OOL prize, (not to mention the Nobel prize).

    Artificial Intelligence + Origin of Life Prize, $10 Million USD
    Excerpt: What You Must Do to Win The Prize
    You must arrange for a digital communication system to emerge or self-evolve without “cheating.” The diagram below describes the system. Without explicitly designing the system, your experiment must generate an encoder that sends digital code to a decoder. Your system needs to transmit at least five bits of information. (In other words it has to be able to represent 32 states. The genetic code supports 64.)
    You have to be able to draw an encoding and decoding table and determine whether or not the data has been transmitted successfully.
    So, for example, an RNA based origin of life experiment will be considered successful if it contains an encoder, message and decoder as described above. To our knowledge, this has never been done.
    https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

  102. 102
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @
    I retract my second question in post #100. Deacon is certainly not talking about RNA. He has abandoned the RNA-world hypothesis and criticizes it. Instead, he does not propose molecules by name at all. His whole storyline of chemical reactions is abstract, hypothetical; a “model.”

    The sequence of hypothetical molecular models discussed here falls well short of explaining the origins of the “genetic code.” Indeed, it posits an evolutionary sequence that assumes that protein-like molecules are present long before nucleic acids …

    Deacon posits hypothetical “protein-like molecules”, which can do catalytic reactions in a pre-RNA world. No concrete candidates are proposed.
    However, Kaufmann has reported that finding such a molecule is extremely difficult. Why didn’t Deacon mention this problem?

    Those who have abandoned the RNA-world hypothesis still seek a self-replicating molecule to qualify as the climax of chemical-origin of life scenarios–the “pre-RNA world.” However, Shapiro observes not only that “no trace of this hypothetical primal replicator and catalyst has been recognized so far in modern biology,” but also that “the spontaneous appearance of any such replicator without the assistance of a chemist faces implausibilities that dwarf those involved in the preparation of a mere nucleotide soup.”

    The reason that producing such a special self-replicator is so difficult is that a self-replicating molecule would have to incorporate nothing but the right nucleotides (or nucleotide-analog molecules) in a long chain, never splitting into two chains and never incorporating other random organic molecules which would mess up replication. He explains: “There is no reason to presume than an indifferent nature would not combine units at random, producing an immense variety of hybrid short, terminated chains, rather than the much longer one of uniform backbone geometry needed to support replicator and catalytic functions.”

    Shapiro doesn’t even begin to address the problem of getting the “nucleotides” of this “pre-RNA” molecule in an order such that self-replication is possible. (more)

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1 & JVL, the paper openly confesses its inconclusive and apparently irrelevant nature to the origin of actual, observed life. Note how it admits to falling short of the relevant coded information, much less the integrated molecular nanotech that uses it. This is directly relevant to my observation on the issue of interaction, organisation and information in system behaviour and function. Emergence is still poof magic. KF

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, We duly note that your attempt to evade the force of even Wikipedia’s confessions on what we do not know about how pyramids were built fails. That you are so stoutly insistent on doubling down in the teeth of documented failure shows that you are not a serious participant in discussion, and further Alinski rules for radicals tactics on your part confirm the now regrettably well established pattern on your part. KF

  105. 105
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    Thanks for the link. I find this clip tells a key tale:

    Ironically, I suggest that one of the most enigmatic unsolved mysteries in biology can provide the best place to look for insight into the physical implementation of interpretation. I am referring to the mystery of the origin of life. Why should this unlikely subject offer a privileged view of the issue? First, because it arose by accident, not design, the first life-forms almost certainly were constituted by quite simple molecular processes. Second, despite its simplicity, this molecular complex must have locally inverted one of the most ubiquitous regularities of the universe: the second law of thermodynamics. Though living functions act to compensate for this increase of entropy internally, organisms accomplish this by doing work that ultimately “exports” entropy to the environment at a rate higher than if they were just dissipating heat as they fell to equilibrium. So the origin of life problem brings together three seemingly incommensurate properties. It involves an extremely simple spontaneously produced molecule system that persists far from thermodynamic equilibrium (unlike almost all other chemical processes), and selectively interacts with its immediate environment in ways that support the persistence of these processes. This latter disposition is what demands a simple form of interpretive competence. To persist and even reproduce its unstable far from equilibrium condition this tiny first step toward life required an ability to re-presentFootnote 1 itself in ever new substrates ultimately borrowed from its environment. In other words, it was adapted to its environment.

    The highlighted part is enough to identify key gaps here.

    KF

  106. 106
    JVL says:

    Asauber: IF I was presented with science, I might respond with a scientific counter-argument.

    Did you even look at the paper? I think you probably didn’t.

    Also, are you saying semiotics is not science?

    Since I’m sure you won’t actually attempt to read the paper I’m going to mark you down as having no scientific or otherwise counter-argument.

    I’ll be happy to change my mind if I get new evidence.

  107. 107
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: The highlighted part is enough to identify key gaps here.

    The certainly identify gaps in your knowledge.

    What, specifically, in the highlighted portion, are you saying is incorrect?

    the paper openly confesses its inconclusive and apparently irrelevant nature to the origin of actual, observed life

    Uh huh. From the conclusion:

    It provides a “proof of principle” of a sort, showing step-by-chemically-realistic-step how a molecule like RNA or DNA could acquire the property of recording and instructing the dynamical molecular relationships that constitute and maintain the molecular system of which it is a part. In short, it explains how a molecule can become about other molecules.

    In other words it directly addresses the situation with a step-by-step process.

    Again, aside from disagreeing with the paper, can you find a specific mistake made in it?

    Don’t wax on and on about some ideal or deeply held conviction; just point to a mistake that we can examine.

  108. 108
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: Again, call me when Deacon does the experimental work, falsifies ID, and actually collects the 10 million dollar OOL prize,

    Does that mean that you find no fault with the paper? Should we ask the local semiotics expert Upright BiPed if you don’t understand the argument? Upright BiPed finds semiotic arguments sounds and definitive.

  109. 109
    JVL says:

    Origenes: How am I to read this? Is the process of crystalization offered as an explanation for the incredibly complicated information-rich self-assembly of complex molecular structures in the cell? In effect, is Deacon saying here that “self-assembly” doesn’t require any further explanation; it is …. “spontaneous”?

    Are you saying you don’t understand his argument? That some of the reasoning escapes you? Are you saying that he has made a mistake?

  110. 110
    bornagain77 says:

    “Does that mean that you find no fault with the paper?”

    LOL, Yeah right. it also means that I find no fault with Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. 🙂

    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    – Through the Looking Glass.

    But alas, there is one impossible thing that I just can’t bring myself to believe. Namely, that that which is material can be the cause of that which is immaterial,

    “The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.”
    – George Ellis – Recognising Top-Down Causation

    How Does The World Work: Top-Down or Bottom-Up? – September 29, 2013
    Excerpt: To get an handle on how top-down causation works, Ellis focuses on what’s in front of all us so much of the time: the computer. Computers are structured systems. They are built as a hierarchy of layers, extending from the wires in the transistors all the way up to the fully assembled machine, gleaming metal case and all.
    Because of this layering, what happens at the uppermost levels — like you hitting the escape key — flows downward. This action determines the behavior of the lowest levels — like the flow of electrons through the wires — in ways that simply could not be predicted by just knowing the laws of electrons. As Ellis puts it:
    “Structured systems such as a computer constrain lower level interactions, and thereby paradoxically create new possibilities of complex behavior.”
    Ellis likes to emphasize how the hierarchy of structure — from fully assembled machine through logic gates, down to transistors — changes everything for the lowly electrons. In particular, it “breaks the symmetry” of their possible behavior since their movements in the computer hardware are very different from what would occur if they were just floating around in a plasma blob in space.
    But the hardware, of course, is just one piece of the puzzle. This is where things get interesting. As Ellis explains:
    “Hardware is only causally effective because of the software which animates it: by itself hardware can do nothing. Both hardware and software are hierarchically structured with the higher level logic driving the lower level events.”
    In other words, it’s software at the top level of structure that determines how the electrons at the bottom level flow. Hitting escape while running Word moves the electrons in the wires in different ways than hitting escape does when running Photoshop. This is causation flowing from top to bottom.
    For Ellis, anything producing causes is real in the most basic sense of the word. Thus the software, which is not physical like the electrons, is just as real as those electrons. As Ellis puts it:
    “Hence, although they are the ultimate in algorithmic causation as characterized so precisely by Turing, digital computers embody and demonstrate the causal efficacy of non-physical entities. The physics allows this; it does not control what takes place. Computers exemplify the emergence of new kinds of causation out of the underlying physics, not implied by physics but rather by the logic of higher-level possibilities. … A combination of bottom-up causation and contextual affects (top-down influences) enables their complex functioning.”
    The consequences of this perspective for our view of the mind are straightforward and radical:
    “The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.”
    http://www.npr.org/sections/13.....-bottom-up

  111. 111
    Origenes says:

    JVL @109

    Are you saying you don’t understand his argument? That some of the reasoning escapes you? Are you saying that he has made a mistake?

    Deacon hypothesizes a model organism and has to explain “self-assembly” and “reproduction.” It seems to me that he is saying: “well, self-assembly is easy to explain”

    Self-assembly is essentially a variant of the process of crystalization. Because of the way that the regular geometries and affinities of these molecules cause them to associate with one another they can spontaneously form into sheets, polyhedrons, or tubes.

    To me, this comes across as not a real explanation. Think of it, Deacon posits unnamed model “protein-like molecules” which are copying themselves (there are some real-world problems with this; see #102). Next, these unknown abstract self-copying molecules have to be spontaneously encapsulated by model self-assembling “capsids”. How does this self-assembly of abstract capsids work? Deacon doesn’t say. It seems that this is already ‘explained’ by the reference to crystalization. Do you see my problem with this?

  112. 112
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: SG, We duly note that your attempt to evade the force of even Wikipedia’s confessions on what we do not know about how pyramids were built fails.

    That you are so stoutly insistent on doubling down in the teeth of documented failure shows that you are not a serious participant in discussion, and further Alinski rules for radicals tactics on your part confirm the now regrettably well established pattern on your part. KF

    Rather than addressing my point you choose to intentionally lie about what I said so that you can justify assigning malevolent intentions to my comments. That is nothing more than outright and blatant dishonesty. I guess your Christian values only apply to other people. I wonder what your mother would think about your dishonest tactics.

  113. 113
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77:LOL, Yeah right. it also means that I find no fault with Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. ?

    Recorded: Bornagain77 registers no specific fault with the paper cited.

    If something is wrong you should be able to say, specifically, why it is wrong. Can you do that?

  114. 114
    JVL says:

    Origenes: Deacon hypothesizes a model organism and has to explain “self-assembly” and “reproduction.” It seems to me that he is saying: “well, self-assembly is easy to explain” …

    What specific scientific statement does he make that you think is false?

    How does this self-assembly of abstract capsids work? Deacon doesn’t say. It seems that this is already ‘explained’ by the reference to crystalization. Do you see my problem with this?

    And you’re really, really sure he doesn’t address that somewhere in the paper? Or in his references?

  115. 115
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL, the burden is not on me to prove that perpetual motion machines are impossible. The burden is on atheistic naturalists to EXPERIMENTALLY prove that which is physically impossible is possible.

    “trying to argue that life originated through natural processes is like trying to create a perpetual motion machine, or to market alchemy. It is a scientific impossibility.”,,,
    – Brian Miller – Thermodynamics, the Origin of Life, and Intelligent Design – video – 24:17 mark
    https://youtu.be/YAXiHRPZz0s?t=1453

    “No system without assistance ever moves both toward lower entropy and higher energy which is required for the formation of a cell.”
    – Brian Miller, Ph. D. –
    – Episode 0/13: Reasons // A Course on Abiogenesis by Dr. James Tour
    https://youtu.be/71dqAFUb-v0?t=1434

    Physicist Brian Miller: Two Conundrums for Strictly Materialist Views of Biology – January 2020
    Excerpt: “Nothing in nature will ever simultaneously go to both low entropy and high energy at the same time. It’s a physical impossibility. Yet life had to do that. Life had to take simple chemicals and go to a state of high energy and of low entropy. That’s a physical impossibility.”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2020/01/physicist-brian-miller-two-conundrums-for-strictly-materialist-views-of-biology/

    So again, call me when Deacon does the experimental work, falsifies ID, and actually collects the 10 million dollar OOL prize, (not to mention collecting the Nobel prize).

    Artificial Intelligence + Origin of Life Prize, $10 Million USD
    Excerpt: What You Must Do to Win The Prize
    You must arrange for a digital communication system to emerge or self-evolve without “cheating.” The diagram below describes the system. Without explicitly designing the system, your experiment must generate an encoder that sends digital code to a decoder. Your system needs to transmit at least five bits of information. (In other words it has to be able to represent 32 states. The genetic code supports 64.)
    You have to be able to draw an encoding and decoding table and determine whether or not the data has been transmitted successfully.
    So, for example, an RNA based origin of life experiment will be considered successful if it contains an encoder, message and decoder as described above. To our knowledge, this has never been done.
    https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

  116. 116
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: the burden is not on me to prove that perpetual motion machines are impossible.

    I’m not asking you about a general, theoretical issue. I am asking you to find a specific fault in a specific paper which you have said is false.

    If you gave me a paper by a person claiming to have invented a perpetual motion machine then I should be able to spot the assumption or mistake in testing they made. Otherwise my objection would be in question.

    So, again, can you find a specific fault in Deacon’s paper? Granted that he is talking about a plausible step-by-step process. Are you saying you can’t find a fault but you are not convinced? That’s easy enough to say.

  117. 117
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL, “I am asking you to find a specific fault in a specific paper which you have said is false.”

    it is not about me finding the specific fault(s) in his reasoning, it is about Deacon providing actual experimental proof that his conjectures are true.. if his theoretical underpinnings for the creation of immaterial information from a material basis are true, then it should be relatively easy enough for Deacon to provide knock-down experimental proof of the creation of immaterial information from a material substrate,,, and to forever silence all doubters. And again, it is not like Deacon does not have more than enough motivation to provide experimental proof to silence those who may question his extraordinary claim for the creation of immaterial information.

    So again, call me when Deacon does the experimental work, falsifies ID, and actually collects the 10 million dollar OOL prize, (not to mention collecting the Nobel prize).

    Artificial Intelligence + Origin of Life Prize, $10 Million USD
    Excerpt: What You Must Do to Win The Prize
    You must arrange for a digital communication system to emerge or self-evolve without “cheating.” The diagram below describes the system. Without explicitly designing the system, your experiment must generate an encoder that sends digital code to a decoder. Your system needs to transmit at least five bits of information. (In other words it has to be able to represent 32 states. The genetic code supports 64.)
    You have to be able to draw an encoding and decoding table and determine whether or not the data has been transmitted successfully.
    So, for example, an RNA based origin of life experiment will be considered successful if it contains an encoder, message and decoder as described above. To our knowledge, this has never been done.
    https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  118. 118
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: it is not about me finding the specific fault(s) in his reasoning, it is about Deacon providing actual experimental proof that his conjectures are true.

    So, you can’t find a fault with his theoretical paper. If you could I’m sure you would have pointed it out. Which makes me wonder if you actually read and understood the paper. I’m betting you didn’t read it and couldn’t understand it. You have a biased view which says that certain results are not possible so you don’t actually have to address the science involved. Which means you don’t even bother to read anything which might upset your apple cart.

    At least we got that settled.

    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

    But don’t test views that disagree with yours by actually reading them and trying to understand them. That is not required apparently.

  119. 119
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL, LOL, beat that dead horse until it turns to glue for all I care.

    The issue is simple, Deacon has extraordinary theoretical claims for which he has no experimental proof. If he wants to be taken seriously he needs to provide the experimental proof. It ain’t rocket science.

    So again, call me when Deacon does the experimental work, falsifies ID, and actually collects the 10 million dollar OOL prize, (not to mention collecting the Nobel prize).

    Artificial Intelligence + Origin of Life Prize, $10 Million USD
    Excerpt: What You Must Do to Win The Prize
    You must arrange for a digital communication system to emerge or self-evolve without “cheating.” The diagram below describes the system. Without explicitly designing the system, your experiment must generate an encoder that sends digital code to a decoder. Your system needs to transmit at least five bits of information. (In other words it has to be able to represent 32 states. The genetic code supports 64.)
    You have to be able to draw an encoding and decoding table and determine whether or not the data has been transmitted successfully.
    So, for example, an RNA based origin of life experiment will be considered successful if it contains an encoder, message and decoder as described above. To our knowledge, this has never been done.
    https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  120. 120
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77:The issue is simple, Deacon has extraordinary theoretical claims for which he has no experimental proof. If he wants to be taken seriously he needs to provide the experimental proof. It ain’t rocket science.

    Okay. But, again, you have not pointed out any theoretical mistake he made. We agree on that.

    So, we have a possible, step-by-step, unguided, biological pathway that creates life as we know it now. Correct? One you’d like to see demonstrated but possible.

  121. 121
    whistler says:

    🙂 Some (..)people think that if a scientist tells a “just-so” story then that just-so story become science.
    PS: “just-so” story=an untestable narrative explanation.

  122. 122
    JVL says:

    Whistler: Some (..)people think that if a scientist tells a “just-so” story then that just-so story become science.

    Can you point to a mistake in Deacon’s paper? Yes or no?

  123. 123
    Sir Giles says:

    Whistler: PS: “just-so” story=an untestable narrative explanation.

    That is an excellent description of ID.

  124. 124
    JVL says:

    Can any ID proponent point to a mistake or error in Deacon’s paper? He has proposed an admittedly theoretical process by which life might have arose on earth and I accept that it hasn’t been experimentally verified but . . . can anyone find a mistake?

    Which brings up the question: when is a possible and plausible explanation good enough? Considering that the process may have taken a long time?

  125. 125
    whistler says:

    JVL
    Origenes: Do present Deacon’s argument, so it can be refuted.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12304-021-09453-9

    How Molecules Became Signs

    To explore how molecules became signs I will ask: “What sort of process is necessary and sufficient to treat a molecule as a sign?” This requires focusing on the interpreting system and its interpretive competence. To avoid assuming any properties that need to be explained I develop what I consider to be a simplest possible molecular model system which only assumes known physics and chemistry but nevertheless exemplifies the interpretive properties of interest. Three progressively more complex variants of this model of interpretive competence are developed that roughly parallel an icon-index-symbol hierarchic scaffolding logic. The implication of this analysis is a reversal of the current dogma of molecular and evolutionary biology which treats molecules like DNA and RNA as the original sources of biological information. Instead I argue that the structural characteristics of these molecules have provided semiotic affordances that the interpretive dynamics of viruses and cells have taken advantage of. These molecules are not the source of biological information but are instead semiotic artifacts onto which dynamical functional constraints have been progressively offloaded during the course of evolution.

    I assume you can read and understand the paper but I shall post the conclusion:

    The sequence of hypothetical molecular models discussed here falls well short of explaining the origins of the “genetic code.” Indeed, it posits an evolutionary sequence that assumes that protein-like molecules are present long before nucleic acids (possibly arising from the prebiotic formation of hydrogen cyanide polymers; see Das et al. (2019) for a current review). This inverts the currently popular view that replicating molecules intrinsically constitute biological information. This popular assumption has implicitly reduced the concept of information to pattern replication without reference. As a result it begs the question of the origin of functional significance.

    The logic of the autogenic approach, though not able to directly account for the evolution of the DNA-to-amino acid “code,” provides something more basic. It provides a “proof of principle” of a sort, showing step-by-chemically-realistic-step how a molecule like RNA or DNA could acquire the property of recording and instructing the dynamical molecular relationships that constitute and maintain the molecular system of which it is a part. In short, it explains how a molecule can become about other molecules. Importantly, this analysis inverts the logic that treats RNA and DNA replication as intrinsically informational and instead shows how the information-bearing function of nucleic acids is due to their ability to embody constraints inherited from the codependent dynamics of an open molecular` system able to repair itself. This may point the way to an alternative strategy for exploring the origin of the genetic code. Rather than thinking of the problem from an information molecule first perspective (how nucleic acid structure came to inform protein dynamics), it might be instructive to ask the question the other way around (how protein dynamics came to be reflected in nucleic acid structure). In other words, it might make sense to invert the order of Crick’s central dogma when considering the evolution of the genetic code.

    If you can find any error in the paper please point it out.

    Everything is just-so stories. As Bornagain already said you can’t point to errors in a fairytale because a fairytale is entirely an error if you watch it with a scientific eye.

  126. 126
    Origenes says:

    Paraphrasing Deacon: ….. suppose a model protein-like molecule, [not RNA because we know there are too many problems with that but something similar] which can replicate itself, and let’s further suppose the existence of molecules that spontaneously form model capsids around the copies and next let’s suppose further ….

    JVL: If you can find any error in the paper please point it out.

    What is the error in supposing something? In #102 I refer to fact that the molecules which Deacon supposes are nowhere to be found in nature.
    However, I would like to read Upright Biped’s comments for a more fundamental criticism. I am pretty sure that Deacon’s model fails to produce complex functional specified information. But, perhaps, Upright Biped’s expertise is required to make this argument rigorously.

  127. 127
    JVL says:

    Whistler: Everything is just-so stories. As Bornagain already said you can’t point to errors in a fairytale because a fairytale is entirely an error if you watch it with a scientific eye.

    So, you cannot find a mistake? I’ll write that down shall I?

    If it’s a fairytale then what is the mistake? What axiom is incorrect? Point to a particular statement or result in the paper that is incorrect.

    That’s the way science works. Not based on what you think should be true but what can actually be established. Which means that those who disagree with a result have to find an error. Can you find an error? Yes or no?

    If your view is that Deacon’s ideas have not been verified scientifically that’s fine BUT can you find a mistake in his theoretical views?

    AND, if his theoretical views are sound then why shouldn’t they be considered as possible explanations for the origin of life on earth?

    And, if his views are sound and possible then doesn’t that cast support for unguided evolution and origin of life?

  128. 128
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    “Rather than thinking of the problem from an information molecule first perspective (how nucleic acid structure came to inform protein dynamics), it might be instructive to ask the question the other way around (how protein dynamics came to be reflected in nucleic acid structure). In other words, it might make sense to invert the order of Crick’s central dogma when considering the evolution of the genetic code.”
    – Deacon

    Okie Dokie, the very first experimental step that Deacon needs to accomplish, to get his hypothesized conjecture into the real world of experiment science, is show the origin of a single protein by unguided material processes.

    Yet, there are a few “tiny” problems with that very first step that Deacon needs to experimentally accomplish in order to get his hypothesized conjecture into the real world of experimental science,

    Peptides // A Course on Abiogenesis by Dr. James Tour
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hv6KjB0j8Y
    In this episode, Dr. James Tour teaches the 2nd class of compounds needed for life: peptides. He identifies gross speculatory claims by others, referring to published literature that confirms the implausibility of the sudden emergence of peptides from amino acids. Dr. Tour also walks the viewer through synthesis, showing that without careful activation, side chain protection, and water-free conditions, amino acids do not polymerize into peptides. He then dispels the view that human-made synthesizers, which were not present on prebiotic earth, somehow render polypeptide synthesis as trivial, let alone the fact that amino acids themselves have never been prepared in homochiral fashion using a prebiotically relevant route. Finally, with no solution to the amino acid sequence that comprises functional proteins, Dr. Tour then shows how some ignore the sequence specificity question necessary for the informational code, and how this dilemma is being pushed to the extraterrestrial in a plea to the heavens.

    Origin: Probability of a Single Protein Forming by Chance
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1_KEVaCyaA

    Minimal Complexity Relegates Life Origin Models To Fanciful Speculation – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: Based on the structural requirements of enzyme activity Axe emphatically argued against a global-ascent model of the function landscape in which incremental improvements of an arbitrary starting sequence “lead to a globally optimal final sequence with reasonably high probability”. For a protein made from scratch in a prebiotic soup, the odds of finding such globally optimal solutions are infinitesimally small- somewhere between 1 in 10exp140 and 1 in 10exp164 for a 150 amino acid long sequence if we factor in the probabilities of forming peptide bonds and of incorporating only left handed amino acids.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/minimal-complexity-relegates-life-origin-models-to-wishful-speculation/

    Mathematical Basis for Probability Calculations Used in (the film) Origin
    Excerpt: The probability of getting a properly folded chain of one-handed amino acids, joined by peptide bonds, is one chance in 10^74+45+45, or one in 10^164 (Meyer, p. 212). This means that, on average, you would need to construct 10^164 chains of amino acids 150 units long to expect to find one that is useful.
    http://www.originthefilm.com/mathematics.php

  129. 129
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: Okie Dokie, the very first experimental step that Deacon needs to accomplish, to get his hypothesized conjecture into the real world of experiment science, is show the origin of a single protein by unguided material processes.

    But, again, is there a mistake in his theoretical ideas? Yes or no?

  130. 130
    JVL says:

    Origenes: In #102 I refer to fact that the molecules which Deacon supposes are nowhere to be found in nature.

    Deacon refers to:

    It is modeled after virus structure. In this respect it is not an idealization, just an as yet physically unrealized chemical system. It can be described as a non-parasitic virus that can reproduce autonomously. In this regard it is an autogenic virus, able to autonomously generate copies of itself. A simple virus, like the polio virus, consists of a container or “capsid” shell typically made of protein molecules that assemble themselves into facets of a polyhedral structure that encloses an RNA or DNA molecule. When incorporated into a host cell the viral RNA or DNA commandeers the cell’s systems to make more capsid molecules and more copies of the viral RNA or DNA. Since viral replication requires these complex protein synthesis and polynucleotide synthesis processes, and the molecular machinery to do this involves dozens of molecules arranged in complex structures, viruses replicate parasitically. So a non-parasitic virus would need to use a different and much simpler molecular process to reproduce its parts.

    Surely such things already exists and have been observed?

    I’m not sure Upright BiPed will grace us with his opinion. He tends to avoid having to admit he might be wrong.

  131. 131
    Origenes says:

    JVL

    Surely such things already exists and have been observed?

    No, such things have not been observed yet.
    Since you apparently refuse to scroll up to #102 I will repost the relevant part:

    Those who have abandoned the RNA-world hypothesis still seek a self-replicating molecule to qualify as the climax of chemical-origin of life scenarios–the “pre-RNA world.” However, Shapiro observes not only that “no trace of this hypothetical primal replicator and catalyst has been recognized so far in modern biology,” but also that “the spontaneous appearance of any such replicator without the assistance of a chemist faces implausibilities that dwarf those involved in the preparation of a mere nucleotide soup.”

    The reason that producing such a special self-replicator is so difficult is that a self-replicating molecule would have to incorporate nothing but the right nucleotides (or nucleotide-analog molecules) in a long chain, never splitting into two chains and never incorporating other random organic molecules which would mess up replication. He explains: “There is no reason to presume than an indifferent nature would not combine units at random, producing an immense variety of hybrid short, terminated chains, rather than the much longer one of uniform backbone geometry needed to support replicator and catalytic functions.”

    Shapiro doesn’t even begin to address the problem of getting the “nucleotides” of this “pre-RNA” molecule in an order such that self-replication is possible. (more)

    So, JVL, there is a problem with Deacon supposing the existence of such a [not-RNA] replicating molecule. And that is the first step of his scenario. However, it’s all a “model”, no real-world problems exist here, so how can you go wrong?

  132. 132
    bornagain77 says:

    “is there a mistake in his theoretical ideas?”

    You mean other than the fact that Deacon has no discernible experimental connection to reality? 🙂

    Well, other than that ‘minor’ problem, I guess there is no problem in his imaginary conjecture. But then again, going by that standard of having no discernible connection to reality, then there is no problem imagining that pigs can fly, or imagining that you can fly to the moon on a ten speed bicycle, or imagining etc… Just don’t call what Deacon is doing experimental science. Call it fiction, call it fantasy, call it sci-fi, call it day-dreaming, call it whatever, just don’t call it experimental science.

    Speaking of which, to even do experimental science in the first place, Atheistic Naturalists are forced to reach over and ‘borrow’ experimental science itself from the metaphysics of Intelligent Design proponents. Which is to say, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presuppositions of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presuppositions of Atheistic, and/or methodological, naturalism.

    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is contingent and rational in its foundational nature and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can, therefore, dare understand the rationality that God has imparted onto the universe), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.

    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of Atheistic, and/or methodological, naturalism.

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 2:3
    in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

    Nicole C Mullen My Redeemer lives {Official Video}
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QvX4CwSmwY

  133. 133
    whistler says:

    But, again, is there a mistake in his theoretical ideas? Yes or no?

    Hahaha! Theoretical ideas are perfect as long as you can’t test them. JVL “the science guy” have no clue what science is and what “theoretical ideas” are.
    PS: I’m not sure how JVL see ” Beauty and the Beast”( in the light of darwinism), it’s reality or a fairytale? ….because darwinism is insanely more magical than any fairytale I know.

  134. 134
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, oh, what a clever, snide clip, one that resorts to sneering disrespect rather than addressing substance. That is not good enough. I put substantial points in the F/N following. KF

    F/N: On substance:

    1: Recall, I took time to speak step by step to PM’s emergentism i/l/o systems theory, thermodynamics issues etc here, that is context, and my always linked through my handle is further context. I think, for cause, they provide reason for me and for others to be confident that I have relevant background despite your snide dismissiveness.

    2: Let me follow Origenes in the clip from Deacon he highlights in 111:

    Viral capsids self-assemble (as do cell membranes, microtubules, and many other complex molecular structures within cells). Self-assembly is essentially a variant of the process of crystalization. Because of the way that the regular geometries and affinities of these molecules cause them to associate with one another they can spontaneously form into sheets, polyhedrons, or tubes.

    These two processes—reciprocal catalysis and self-assembly (depicted in Fig. 1)—are chemically complementary to one another because they each tend to produce conditions that are necessary for the other to occur. So reciprocal catalysis produces high locally asymmetric concentrations of a small number of molecular species while self-assembly requires persistently high local concentrations of a single species of component molecules. Likewise, self-assembly produces constraint on molecular diffusion while reciprocal catalysis requires limited diffusion of interdependent catalysts in order to occur. In this way reciprocal catalysis and self-assembly are molecular processes that each produce the boundary conditions that are critical for supporting each other.

    3: Instantly, viri are parasites on pre existing cell based life that carry out informational hijack, they are NOT antecedent to metabolic automata that effect encapsulated smart gating to provide homeostasis, with built in von Neumann kinematic self replication.

    4: Of course, the molecular species viruses hijack the cell to produce show similar self assembly in the cell and encapsulation, they are hijacking cell mechanisms. But at no point has adequate explanation of the system, organisation and information [D/RNA of the virus] been adequately accounted for.

    5: That’s like looking at how the flagellum self assembles and ducking how you get to that point apart from irrelevance about reciprocal catalysis.

    6: We are still under the force of Origenes’ point in 111:

    Deacon posits unnamed model “protein-like molecules” which are copying themselves (there are some real-world problems with this; see #102). Next, these unknown abstract self-copying molecules have to be spontaneously encapsulated by model self-assembling “capsids”. How does this self-assembly of abstract capsids work? Deacon doesn’t say. It seems that this is already ‘explained’ by the reference to crystalization. Do you see my problem with this?

  135. 135
    Alan Fox says:

    From the OP:

    From a biblical perspective, the angelic realm has different dimensions and different laws of physics. Similarly, the future home of Christians, the new creation (see Revelation 21–22) has different dimensions and different laws of physics. Readers can see our book, Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, for the scientific physical evidence for angels and the angelic realm.

    Does anyone happen to have read the book and can say what is the physical evidence for angels?

  136. 136
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Instantly, viri [sic] are parasites on pre existing cell based life that carry out informational hijack, they are NOT antecedent to metabolic automata that effect encapsulated smart gating to provide homeostasis, with built in von Neumann kinematic self replication.

    From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsid

    It has been suggested that many viral capsid proteins have evolved on multiple occasions from functionally diverse cellular proteins. The recruitment of cellular proteins appears to have occurred at different stages of evolution so that some cellular proteins were captured and refunctionalized prior to the divergence of cellular organisms into the three contemporary domains of life, whereas others were hijacked relatively recently. As a result, some capsid proteins are widespread in viruses infecting distantly related organisms (e.g., capsid proteins with the jelly-roll fold), whereas others are restricted to a particular group of viruses (e.g., capsid proteins of alphaviruses).

    A computational model (2015) has shown that capsids may have originated before viruses and that they served as a means of horizontal transfer between replicator communities since these communities could not survive if the number of gene parasites increased, with certain genes being responsible for the formation of these structures and those that favored the survival of self-replicating communities. The displacement of these ancestral genes between cellular organisms could favor the appearance of new viruses during evolution.

    Do you want me to look at all your other statements to see if they too are somewhat askew? Do you expect people to just believe you without checking?

  137. 137
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, your actual clip shows that viruses are derivative. More to the point, the matter is functional. How do viruses propagate? By hijacking cells with existing metabolic machinery. The logic of that implies that they are subsequent to the cells they hijack. That they may be rogue horizontal transfer units may point to a possible origin, it does not change the process logic of dependence. KF

  138. 138
    Alan Fox says:

    …viri are parasites…

    I’m having a slight attack of pedantry. The word “virus” meaning slime, venom and poison, is found in classical Latin only in the singular (being a mass noun). Being 4th declension neutral rather than 2nd declension masculine, if it had a plural, it would be “vira” in nominative and accusative case. The English plural is “viruses”.

    JVL confines himself to a (sic) and KF gets it right in a subsequent comment.

    /pedantry

  139. 139
    Alan Fox says:

    How do viruses propagate? By hijacking cells with existing metabolic machinery. The logic of that implies that they are subsequent to the cells they hijack.

    I’d agree it is implausible that viruses in their current stripped-down parasitic form could have existed prior to the hosts they parasitize.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_evolution

  140. 140
    Origenes says:

    As I understand it, the bulk of Deacon’s paper is about a proposed protein-like molecule, which is just sitting in a capsid, replicating, without being transcribed and translated. IOWs it does not contain any information, because nothing is done with it at all. It makes no difference at all what the sequence of the parts of the protein-like molecule is.
    At a certain point Deacon writes:

    So far the account of the origins of biological information that I have presented does not involve either DNA or RNA. Instead, it has demonstrated that the constraints constituting a recursively self-maintaining molecular system provide the mnemonic, instructional, and normative attributes that we identify with biological information.

    Whatever Deacon means by “biological information” here, it has not to do with the sequence of his proposed protein-like molecule; which just sits in the capsid being completely ignored by its surroundings. Deacon goes on to say:

    But, as the title promises, it is the purpose of this model system approach to go one step further; to eventually explain how a molecule like DNA could come to be used as a source of information about the relationships among other molecules.

    OK, now we are getting somewhere, or are we?

    In order to accomplish this I will offer a somewhat more speculative scenario, that invokes a bit of currently uncharacterized chemistry (though it is also a critical missing step in the RNA-World and all other nucleic acid based scenarios).

    “More speculative”?
    And here his writings get somewhat opaque to me. I suppose he must get to the ’emergence’ of the ribosome, but this particular term is nowhere to be found in the paper. Where does he get the building blocks for such a marvelous invention? How does it evolve without there being replication? Questions Questions.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, the pedants won, in short. Many years ago, I found reference to viri in print, which therefore entered my vocabulary. There is no good reason why that should not be acceptable in English, but then English is hardly the most logical of languages. I thought I could just leave the [sic] stand, but obviously everything will be pounced on in the rhetoric of attack. Understand, therefore, that you objectors are inviting the very thing you have previously attacked as pedantic, painstaking step by step addressing of points and projected counter points issuing in long corrective comments. But then, that is likely part of the point to play heads we win tails you lose. Duly noted for future reference. KF

  142. 142
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, 139, so there is basic agreement that viruses are derivative, not antecedents. So, trying on viruses for size as suggestive of ancestral forms fails. O’s onward remarks at 140 are relevant. KF

  143. 143
    Origenes says:

    Follow-up #140 //

    As I have argued, it seems to me that Deacon must explain the ribosome, or something like it, in order for the supposed protein-like molecule to be transcribed and translated; IOW in order to put its information (arguendo assuming its presence) to work.
    However, let’s suppose Deacon gets the marvelous ribosome, what will it find? It will find a protein-like molecule to transcribe that contains no coherent “information” (if you can call it that). Since, before the advent of this ribosome, the sequence of the parts of the proteine-like molecule has been untouched by natural selection. So, what can the ribosome do? What coherent thing is there to produce? It is as functional as a computer without software.

    A few other hurdles for Deacon’s ribosome:

    – The ribozyme must form spontaneously in plausible prebiotic conditions.
    It must be able to replicate itself before the first cell appears, so that natural selection can kick in.
    – It must do something useful for a future living organism.
    – It must store the information on how to do that useful something.

  144. 144
    kairosfocus says:

    o, in short, we are back at the issues of the von Neumann, kinematic self replicator. KF

  145. 145
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: AF, 139, so there is basic agreement that viruses are derivative, not antecedents. So, trying on viruses for size as suggestive of ancestral forms fails. O’s onward remarks at 140 are relevant. KF

    You obviously don’t understand the concept of sarcasm. If you had bothered to read the linked article, you would have read this.

    Virus-first hypothesis: Viruses evolved from complex molecules of protein and nucleic acid before cells first appeared on earth.[1][2] By this hypothesis, viruses contributed to the rise of cellular life.[7] This is supported by the idea that all viral genomes encode proteins that do not have cellular homologs. The virus-first hypothesis has been dismissed by some scientists because it violates the definition of viruses, in that they require a host cell to replicate.[1]

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    Re SG, here we see his failure to acknowledge the significance of the fact that viruses are observed as parasitical on cells, whatever speculative sci fi just so story worlds may be conceived. But then, he has been part of the recent attempts to discredit Newton’s Rule that constrains such cloud cuckoo land ideological speculation indulged while dressed in a lab coat. KF

  147. 147
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: his failure to acknowledge the significance of the fact that viruses are observed as parasitical on cells,

    Again, you are assigning motivations to those you disagree with. That is very dishonest and disrespectful and only casts doubt on your character. Nobody is denying that viruses as we see them today require living cells to reproduce.

    whatever speculative sci fi just so story worlds may be conceived. But then, he has been part of the recent attempts to discredit Newton’s Rule that constrains such cloud cuckoo land ideological speculation indulged while dressed in a lab coat. KF

    We are talking about hypothesized natural OoL possibilities, not ID. I don’t know if the virus-first hypotheses is likely, but the fact that “ all viral genomes encode proteins that do not have cellular homologs” does lend some credence to the idea. And is well worth following up on.

  148. 148
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus @ PM1, JVL

    … in short, we are back at the issues of the von Neumann, kinematic self replicator. KF

    Indeed. Unless there is a way around the ribosome, which must be able to replicate itself so that natural selection can kick in. Where is PM1? Does he agree that Deacon’s model needs a ribosome-like molecule? If so, where does he think the information comes from? PM1 promised us complex functional specified information, where is it? All Deacon offers is a model of an inert protein-like molecule doing nothing in a capsid, but waiting for a ribosome.
    And where is Alan Fox?
    Where are they now?

    Caspian:

    John von Neumann mathematically showed that the information content of the simplest self-replicating machine is about 1500 bits of information. This is a vast amount of information, since information bits are counted on a logarithmic scale, and it cannot be explained by any natural process, since it far exceeds the information content of the physical (non-living) universe.

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    Re SG, predictably, the Alinsky personalising tactic. I pointed out a fact. That fact, that viruses hijack cells to reproduce, is decisive that they are parasites on cells, observedly. Just so Sci Fi tales of hypothetical pre cell worlds do not count. KF

  150. 150
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, 2^1500 possibilities is indeed a huge search space. 3.5*10^451, vastly beyond threshold. KF

  151. 151
    Alan Fox says:

    Origenes, 2^1500 possibilities is indeed a huge search space. 3.5*10^451, vastly beyond threshold. KF

    Chesil Beach! You don’t have to search the whole beach exhaustively to find one unique pebble. You only need one that serves adequately.

  152. 152
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: Re SG, predictably, the Alinsky personalising tactic. I pointed out a fact. That fact, that viruses hijack cells to reproduce, is decisive that they are parasites on cells, observedly. Just so Sci Fi tales of hypothetical pre cell worlds do not count. KF

    Are you incapable of a civil conversation?

    There are zero scientists suggesting that life started as a fully formed modern cell or a fully firmed modern virus. The virus first hypothesis is simply that the precursor to life may be more akin to a virus than a cell. But you insist on twisting my relaying of a legitimate hypothesis into a nefarious agenda on my part. You really should get this pathology looked at by a professional.

  153. 153
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @148

    Where is PM1?

    Taking the weekend off from being online.

    Does he agree that Deacon’s model needs a ribosome-like molecule?

    No, I don’t think that Deacon’s model of an autogen needs a ribosome or ribozyme like molecule.

    If so, where does he think the information comes from? PM1 promised us complex functional specified information, where is it? All Deacon offers is a model of an inert protein-like molecule doing nothing in a capsid, but waiting for a ribosome.

    This is not a correct specification of Deacon’s model.

    His autogen — short for “autogenic virus” — has two components: a capsid that self-assembles in ways thermodynamically similar to crystallization, and a proto-metabolic network he calls ‘reciprocal catalysis’. The autogen, much like Ganti’s chemotron, is based upon consideration of the logically simplest components something would need to have in order to begin blurring the boundary between “nonlife” and “life”.

    What makes Deacon’s view unique, I think, is how he thinks about the very concept of information to begin with.

    Deacon is a close reader of the American polymath Charles S. Peirce. One of the many breakthroughs that Peirce accomplished in his lifetime was a new theory of meaning based on the idea that there are three kinds of signs: icons, indices, and symbols. Or more specifically, there are three different ways in which a sign can be used: as an icon, as an index, or as a symbol. The different uses of a sign depend on the larger system in which that sign is integrated, and how the sign is related to other signs, to interpreters, and to the world. (Deacon thinks that symbols only arise, strictly speaking, with the evolution of language.)

    So for Deacon, the question “where did the first genetic information come from?” becomes the question, “what is the simplest kind of system that could use signs?” That’s what motivates the introduction of the autogen.

    The autogen basically only does three things: (1) it synthesizes the molecules that perpetuate the cycle of reciprocal synthesis; (2) sequesters the products of those reactions in a self-assembling lattice; (3) acquires the energy and raw materials necessary for continuing (1) and (2).

    Where things get interesting, though, is where Deacon connects the autogen model to the question “why is it that nucleotides are used in both storing and using genetic information and in storing and using chemical energy?”

    Deacon suggests that nucleotides were first used as sources of chemical energy, and that since the autogens needed to store ‘spent’ nucleotides in chemically and themodynamically inert ways, the autogens evolved a preference for nucleotide storage that would prevent their phosphates from interacting, by interspersing them with sugars.

    In other words, nucleic acids evolved first as just energy storage dumps, and only later became repositories of genetic information.

    The emergence of nucleic acids as storing information therefore happened subsequent to and because of the information being consumed and used by the autogen as a whole.

    Whereas most abiogenesis researchers have thought that you need proto-genes in order to get to proto-organisms — hence all the excitement about ribozymes and “the RNA world” — Deacon thinks the opposite — that you need to have proto-organisms (autogens) in order to get to proto-genes.

  154. 154
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @ 153

    Deacon suggests that nucleotides were first used as sources of chemical energy, and that since the autogens needed to store ‘spent’ nucleotides in chemically and themodynamically inert ways, the autogens evolved a preference for nucleotide storage that would prevent their phosphates from interacting, by interspersing them with sugars.
    In other words, nucleic acids evolved first as just energy storage dumps, and only later became repositories of genetic information.

    In order to function as genetic information a ribosome-like molecule is required, right? Otherwise, the sequence of nucleotides is meaningless, without function, and cannot be said to contain information. Correct?

    The emergence of nucleic acids as storing information, therefore, happened subsequent to and because of the information being consumed and used by the autogen as a whole.

    “… the information being consumed and used by the autogen as a whole” Which information about what are you referencing here? And to be clear, we are not talking about the sequence of the nucleotides, right?

  155. 155
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @154

    In order to function as genetic information a ribosome-like molecule is required, right? Otherwise, the sequence of nucleotides is meaningless, without function, and cannot be said to contain information. Correct?

    Yes, there would need to be something that systematically maps nucleotide sequences to metabolic pathways (including the reactions that constrain and enable the nucleotide sequences to be mapped). In all extant cells, that the relation between DNA, mRNA, tRNA, and amino acids. But that common system could be — for all we know presently — quite far removed from the hypothesized autogens or chemotrons.

    “… the information being consumed and used by the autogen as a whole” To which information about what are you referring here? And to be clear, we are not talking about the sequence of the nucleotides, right?

    Right, we’re not talking about nucleotide sequences at this point in the scenario. Rather, Deacon is talking about how autogen distinguishes between itself and its environment and interprets the molecules outside of itself as signaling information for the autogen.

  156. 156
    Alan Fox says:

    In order to function as genetic information a ribosome-like molecule is required, right? Otherwise, the sequence of nucleotides is meaningless, without function, and cannot be said to contain information. Correct?

    Not in RNA world. RNA can act both as replicator (producing copies of itself) and as a catalyst (less efficiently, sure, but like protein enzymes). No translation required.

    Intriguingly, ribosomes are ribozymes, and are so central to cell biochemistry today that evolution has kept them in place by purifying selection, a hangover from RNA world.

  157. 157
    Origenes says:

    Alan Fox @

    Not in RNA world. RNA can act both as replicator (producing copies of itself) and as a catalyst (less efficiently, sure, but like protein enzymes). No translation required.

    Deacon’s model protein-like molecule is proposed to do the same, as I understand it; also no translation required. But RNA (or Deacon’s model molecule) simply producing copies of itself does not contain information. No natural selection acting on the “code.” Their nucleotide sequence has no meaning/function, right? That was my point.

  158. 158
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @

    Right, we’re not talking about nucleotide sequences at this point in the scenario. Rather, Deacon is talking about how autogen distinguishes between itself and its environment and interprets the molecules outside of itself as signaling information for the autogen.

    To put it more succinctly: what we have here is a model protein-like molecule that does not contain information sitting functionless in a capsid. Right?

  159. 159
    Alan Fox says:

    But RNA (or Deacon’s model molecule) simply producing copies of itself does not contain information.

    Well, it does contain the information needed to produce a copy of itself. The reciprocal copy, A-U G-C pairing makes the template for an identical copy. The molecule is the information. That is what is so neat about RNA world.

  160. 160
    Origenes says:

    Alan Fox @

    Well, it does contain the information needed to produce a copy of itself. The reciprocal copy, A-U G-C pairing makes the template for an identical copy.

    But, without a ribosome, any sequence is as functional as any other; that is zero functionality. Natural selection does not prefer any particular sequence, right? So, in what sense can it be said to be “information”?

  161. 161
    Alan Fox says:

    But, without a ribosome, any sequence is as functional as any other; that is zero functionality.

    Ribosomes are ribozymes that are central in protein synthesis in cells today. RNA world is postulated to exist prior to proteins (enzymes are proteins) being involved in metabolism and catalysis was achieved by ribozymes. So RNA based organisms in RNA world didn’t need ribosomes. Ribozymes were functional (as ribosomes are today) and they both replicated and acted as catalysts. If you allow also promiscuity rather than specificity then there is selection through competition, fitter ribozymes get more chances to replicate. I’ll concede this is all highly speculative, and I’m no expert on latest ideas and developments.

  162. 162
    Origenes says:

    Alan Fox @ PM1 @

    I think I’ve stumbled upon some differences between Deacon’s model and RNA world, since in his paper there is no mention of “ribozyme.” And “capsid” is a typical virus thing and does not feature in RNA world.
    As you said, there seem to be lots of issues to be solved for RNA world, and Deacon, as I understand it, rejects it and proposes another start.

    PM1: Whereas most abiogenesis researchers have thought that you need proto-genes in order to get to proto-organisms — hence all the excitement about ribozymes and “the RNA world” — Deacon thinks the opposite — that you need to have proto-organisms (autogens) in order to get to proto-genes.

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, we both know that pebble shaping and sorting has utterly nothing to do with finding a washed up reel and rod on that famous surf fishing venue. And as Paley pointed out in his ch 2, finding that the rod-reel combo was self replicating points to far more information rich contrivance. The fish, crustaceans, sea weeds etc on a beach all testify to the wiring diagram architectural nature of life forms from cell up. That is a strong sign of design, save to those indoctrinated with self referentially incoherent evolutionary materialistic scientism or its fellow travellers. KF

    PS, RNA world is science fictional, until substantial observational evidence is provided. But, it serves the grand myth . . .

  164. 164
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    My apologies to Origenes, he had asked for my comment, but I was away. I had taken several days to do some travel with my wife. On my first day back I tested positive for C19, and now trying to get rid of the lingering effects. My physician tells me he knows from his own staff that some people have a longer row to hoe than others, and I must be one of those lucky ones. I did avoid it for 140-something weeks. 🙂

    Origenes, (blush, blush) I am no expert of course, but thank you for asking me to comment. Frankly you didn’t need my opinion anyway. When you ask “What is the error in supposing something?” you likely already know there is no there there. And someone seriously asking you (like some odd prosecution of your logic) to enumerate what exactly is the biological error or the chemical error in the proposition of something that has never before been seen or recorded in either biology or chemistry — well whatever.

    Deacon begins by asking the question, what is necessary and sufficient to treat a molecule as a sign. He is 50 to 150 years late on that question (depending on how one wants to look at it). In any case (setting aside for the moment his reliance on “uncharacterized” chemistry) he doesn’t get to where he is going, and he tells you as much in his Conclusions. He says his exercise “falls well short” of the origin of the code, but he reckons that his exercise offers something more basic. Regardless of what one might feel about proposing unknown chemistry as a “proof of principle”, his paper doesn’t offer the pathway implied by the title of the paper (a title that Deacon chose to honor the work of Howard Pattee, How does a molecule become a message Pattee, 1969). From my perspective, even with the admitted reliance on unknown chemistry, Deacon still doesn’t get from dynamics to descriptions and doesn’t shed any particular light on the problem.

    I might suggest you look at Howard Pattee’s own response to Deacon’s paper. I do not know where it is available or if it is behind a paywall somewhere, but I have a copy here in front of me. It has a little bit of a cool tone to it. He begins the paper with (first sentence) “Deacon speculates on the origin of interpretation of signs using autocatalytic origin of life models and Peircean terminology” and in the very next sentence takes a rather direct contrary position.

    He begins by offering some background:

    The focus of my paper “How does a molecule become a message?” (Pattee 1969) that Deacon (2021) has honored, was a search for the simplest language in which messages were both heritable and open-ended. I was trying to satisfy Von Neumann’s condition for evolvable self-replication. He argued that it is necessary to have a separate non-dynamic description that (1) resides in memory, (2) can be copied, and (3) can instruct a dynamic universal constructor. (I replaced “description” with “message” simply for alliteration.) I concluded (Pattee 1969, 8): “A molecule becomes a message only in the context of a larger system of physical constraints which I have called a ‘language’ in analogy to our normal usage of the concept of message.” A language consists of a small, fixed set of symbols (an alphabet) and rules (a grammar) in which the symbols can be catenated indefinitely to produce an unlimited number of meaningful or functional sequences (messages).

    … and then goes on to offer some ancillary corrections before addressing Deacons model in full (i.e. “Before discussing Deacon’s main thesis, I need to respond to his misleading history of molecular biology”). He then discusses the (three-dimensional) structuralist and the (one-dimensional) informationalist camps in the OoL field, and then under the heading “Deacon’s Model” he concludes:

    There are three well-known problems with autocatalytic cycle models: (1) limited information capacity (What are the symbol vehicles?), (2) instability of multiple dynamic cycles (error catastrophe), and (3) no known transition to the present nucleic acid-to-protein genetic code. The only known way to mitigate problems (1) and (2) is to solve (3), that is, to transition from dynamic catalysts to a symbol-code-construction system. Deacon recognizes these problems and his solution to (3) is to “offload” autogen catalyst information to RNA-like template molecules:

    “Offloading (or transfer of constraints) is afforded because complementary structural similarities between catalysts and regions of the template molecule facilitate catalyst binding in a particular order that by virtue of their positional correlations biases their interaction probabilities.”

    Deacon’s offloading is the inverse of the Central Dogma’s information flow from inactive one-dimensional sequences to three-dimensional active catalysts. Deacon’s offloading information flow is from three-dimensional active catalysts to one-dimensional inactive sequences. His offloading speculations require many vague chemical steps with unknown probabilities of abiotic occurrence. Deacon claims that these are “chemically realistic” steps, but he gives no example or evidence of this inverse process. Adding to the chemical vagueness of offloading, Deacon applies the Peircean vocabulary, icon, index, and symbol, and the immediate, dynamic and final interpretants. This Peircean terminology does not help explain or support a chemistry of offloading, nor does it make clearer how molecules become signs.

    It appears to me that speculation of unknown chemistry, mixed with language like “proofs”, is an recognizable problem among both experts and laypeople alike.

    Note: Just so no one is mistaken, Howard Pattee is a unguided origin of life proponent, but he strongly believes that the speculation of answers must have a foot in chemical and physical reality. In other words, he believes that genetic symbols have their grounding directly in the folded proteins they specify, but also acknowledges that the triadic sign-relationship (symbol, constraint, referent) is required for the specification of those proteins from a transcribable memory. He doesn’t pretend to have an answer to the problem of the transition from dynamics to descriptions, and he doesn’t write papers like Terrance Deacon.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    JVL: “ I’m not sure Upright BiPed will grace us with his opinion. He tends to avoid having to admit he might be wrong.

    JVL, I gave you researcher’s names, the dates of experiments, and the experimental results. You were forced to agree with all of it. If you’d now like to assert that I’ve made an error in that history, by all means, point it out. I don’t believe you can, and I don’t believe you will. It has to be remembered here that your core position is that the design inference at the origin of life — clearly recorded in the history of science and experiment — is summarily invalidated because the proponents of an unguided OoL simply don’t believe it. Your position (a well-known logical fallacy) deliberately separates conclusions from evidence and destroys science as a methodological approach to knowledge.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    cheers

  165. 165
    kairosfocus says:

    UB, great to hear from you, hope you knock that thing for six, fast. Sunlight, fresh air, nutrient and vitamin C rich fruit. Try garlic, too. Your remarks on symbol systems vs autocatalysis are so relevant, I am going to headline shortly. You have full privileges, this should be an OP. KF

  166. 166
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    KF, thank you and Merry Christmas.

    Frankly, I am not certain how much I will be able to participate over the next several days. I am on a tight clock until mid January. But with that caveat…

  167. 167
    kairosfocus says:

    UB, it is now up, I hope you like my added illustrations and comments. All the best, KF

    PS, I think I will email you shortly on other matters.

  168. 168
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: I gave you researcher’s names, the dates of experiments, and the experimental results. You were forced to agree with all of it.

    I wasn’t ‘forced’ to agree with it; I readily did so.

    If you’d now like to assert that I’ve made an error in that history, by all means, point it out.

    The comment you singled out was because I hadn’t seen where you had responded to Dr Deacon’s paper. You have responded now. And, I noticed, you pointed out that Dr Pattee is not a supporter of ‘guided’ evolution. I think that points deserves repeating: Dr Pattee and Dr Deacon have NOT said that their work supports intelligent design or invention in the development of life on Earth. Anyone who interprets their work as being in support of ID is interpreting their work in a way they do not.

    It has to be remembered here that your core position is that the design inference at the origin of life — clearly recorded in the history of science and experiment — is summarily invalidated because the proponents of an unguided OoL simply don’t believe it.

    Nope, that is not correct. And you know that is incorrect. Why do you choose to misrepresent things other people have said and clearly support?

    Your position (a well-known logical fallacy) deliberately separates conclusions from evidence and destroys science as a methodological approach to knowledge.

    Uh huh. Perhaps you find my position illogical because I consider data and evidence you choose not to address or explain. You do tend to only look at certain things. Which is pretty typical of ID proponents: they pick their particular tack and stick with it instead of looking a ALL the data and evidence. The trouble with picking a hill to die on is because there is a mountain that puts that hill in the shade.

  169. 169
    Querius says:

    JVL @168,

    Nope, that is not correct. And you know that is incorrect. Why do you choose to misrepresent things other people have said and clearly support?

    Thank you! I’ve just now added your excellent, non-specific quote above to my Trollbot Trove ™ of Generic Online Rebuttal Picks (GORP) for use in my AI trollbot. 🙂

    -Q

  170. 170
    Origenes says:

    JVL@

    I think that points deserves repeating: Dr Pattee and Dr Deacon have NOT said that their work supports intelligent design or invention in the development of life on Earth. Anyone who interprets their work as being in support of ID is interpreting their work in a way they do not.

    JVL, suppose you argue against reincarnation by citing a researcher, who confessed that his research spanning several decades has documented not a scintilla of evidence in favor of reincarnation. Now suppose further that this researcher holds the personal belief that reincarnation is true. How would you respond to the claim:
    “This researcher has NOT said that his work supports the notion that reincarnation does not exist. Anyone who interprets his work as being not supportive of reincarnation is interpreting his work in a way he does not.”?

  171. 171
    JVL says:

    Origenes: JVL, suppose you argue against reincarnation by citing a researcher, who confessed that his research spanning several decades has documented not a scintilla of evidence in favor of reincarnation. Now suppose further that this researcher holds the personal belief that reincarnation is true. How would you respond to the claim:
    “This researcher has NOT said that his work supports the notion that reincarnation does not exist. Anyone who interprets his work as being not supportive of reincarnation is interpreting his work in a way he does not.”?

    I don’t think this is exactly equivalent to my disagreement with Upright BiPed on the interpretation of semiotic research by Dr Pattee as being supportive or not supportive of ID but I’ll do my best to answer your question.

    So, there is a researcher who has done years of research which they admit has produced no support for reincarnation but they believe that reincarnation does happen anyway. I’m not sure how we know that they think that but we’ll let that go. My first reaction is, of course, to go with the research assuming it was done soundly and has been scrutinised by others.

    Then someone says: “This researcher has NOT said that his work supports the notion that reincarnation does not exist. ” But, you said he did confess that his research has not found any evidence in favour of reincarnation. Of course, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Then the person says: “Anyone who interprets his work as being not supportive of reincarnation is interpreting his work in a way he does not.”? And, again, the researcher has admitted his work gives no support at all for reincarnation. So, he himself has put that possible interpretation onto his work.

    In the end I would look at the data and work and research, all of it from everyone not just this one person. And then I would say something like: well, we can’t say for sure but, so far, there is nothing in the research that supports reincarnation. AND, I’ll point out again, the researcher you postulate would agree with that statement because they said so themself.

    I don’t see a conflict there at all. There is no evidence as agreed by the cited researcher.

    Oh, by the way, I have found a statement that Dr Pattee made that was critical of ID and, as stated by Upright BiPed Dr Pattee has a unguided paradigm so he has NOT said that, despite his research, he believes in ID. No where has he ever made such a statement.

  172. 172
    Origenes says:

    JVL @171

    I don’t see a conflict there at all. There is no evidence as agreed by the cited researcher.

    So, if you were to argue against reincarnation, you would be rightly citing the work of this researcher.

    Oh, by the way, I have found a statement that Dr Pattee made that was critical of ID and, as stated by Upright BiPed Dr Pattee has a unguided paradigm so he has NOT said that, despite his research, he believes in ID. No where has he ever made such a statement.

    Pattee does not support ID, not only in spite of the fact that research has documented not a scintilla of evidence in favor of his preferred unguided paradigm but also in spite of the fact that his own research shows that biological information requires an irreducible complex symbol-code-construction system:

    Pattee: “A molecule becomes a message only in the context of a larger system of physical constraints which I have called a ‘language’ in analogy to our normal usage of the concept of message.” A language consists of a small, fixed set of symbols (an alphabet) and rules (a grammar) in which the symbols can be catenated indefinitely to produce an unlimited number of meaningful or functional sequences (messages).

    As you are surely aware, irreducibly complex systems are extremely resistant to step-by-step explanations and therefore point to ID.
    Like with our imaginary reincarnation researcher, we are witnessing a disconnect between evidence and conclusion/belief.

  173. 173
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    JVL,

    Again … if you know of an error on my part regarding the relevant history (predictions and experimental results) then name it. Blurt it on out.

    I said you can’t. And you didn’t.

    The physical evidence recorded in the literature (which you happily agree to) confirms that the gene system is a symbol-code-construction system, just as it was predicted to be. Furthermore, the logic of the design inference — that an encoded symbol system is a universal correlate of intelligence — is reasoning that you yourself enthusiastically support.

    You deal with this double conundrum by 1) hiding behind the ridiculous notion that the recorded physical evidence supporting the design inference is invalid because unguided OoL proponents themselves don’t personally believe it or acknowledge it in their papers, and 2) applying an ad hoc double-standard to the design inference in order to deny it.

    As for #1: To take the position that recorded physical evidence is invalid because someone doesn’t believe it (and doesn’t acknowledge it in their research) sounds woefully unscientific and irrational on its face. So you respond to this by claiming “that’s not true, that’s not true”. And then, almost comically unaware, in the very same comment you say “I think that point deserves repeating: Dr Pattee and Dr Deacon have NOT said that their work supports intelligent design”. This is the grand centerpiece of your rebuttal (you’ve said it dozens of times) and you’ve been hiding behind it since you and I first walked through the physical evidence and history three + years ago. You then go on to say “Anyone who interprets their work as being in support of ID is interpreting their work in a way they do not”, which is just a smokescreen intended to obfuscate the specific details in question. Let’s play it out – a researcher believes X and not Y, then does research on the particulars, which ultimately fail to demonstrate X. You then jump in to suggest that the particulars (the actual detailed measurements and observations) recorded in their research are now off-base and cannot not to be used to support Y. And the only reasoning you give for this is — wait for it — the researcher doesn’t acknowledge Y in their research. Good grief JVL, you can call that the end of science. No one in their right mind would buy that. And yet, you are actually serious about it, as evidenced by the fact you relentlessly bring it up in your defense.

    As for #2. We’ve been here before haven’t we. You enthusiastically endorse the exact logic of the design inference, then immediately tack on an ad hoc double-standard when it blows up in your face.

    You have stated:

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    JVL: I would not be surprised at all if we find electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings in other solar systems

    UB: How would we know if we found “electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings”? What would that be?

    JVL: Something like in the movie Contact. A signal that’s very clearly NOT produced by unguided processes. A signal which, after inspection, was shown to have compressed data.

    UB: So you accept encoded symbolic content as a universal inference to the presence of a previously unknown intelligence in one domain, while immediately denying that same physical evidence in another domain.

    Why the double standard?

    JVL: Because there is no plausible designer available.

    (…)

    And after you are asked “Then who is the designer in your signal from space”, suddenly realizing that you cannot answer that question without clearly demonstrating the double-standard in your reasoning, you reply:

    JVL: There isn’t one.

    (thud)

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    And just to finish out this little crash course in your reasoning …

    When we finished walking through the design inference and you had concurred with validity of all the experimental results and history, I ask you to merely acknowledge the validity of the inference itself (i.e. that it would not be scientifically unreasonable for someone in contact with the physical evidence and history to infer the presence of a previously unknown intelligence). I certainly did not ask you to believe in ID or anything else for that matter. I asked you to simply correct your statement that there was no valid evidence for design in biology (i.e. “the inference is valid, but I personally believe that someday it will be shown to be false”). You flatly refused, and have studiously hidden behind your obvious fallacy (#1) and obvious double-standard (#2) ever since.

    JVL, it is truly not my problem that you have become frustrated by my presence here. Frankly, I think it is a bit sad that you are unable to correct yourself of obvious errors. After we walked through the evidence and you launched your fallacies, I commented that if you intended to stay and continue on as if there was no scientific basis to the design inference, then I would reserve the right to occasionally put your words back in front of you – which is where we are today.

    The nail has been hit on the head. If you think I have made an error in the evidence, then name it.

    As before, I don’t think you can, and I don’t think you will. I expect you to continue in complete denial of what you know to be true – that is, the design inference is valid.

  174. 174
    JVL says:

    Origenes & Upright BiPed:

    You both acknowledge that no one in the semiotics community has stated that their work supports ID. And I did find a statement by Dr Pattee in one of his papers explicitly criticising ID.

    You both say you are sure that their work does support ID. Despite the fact that no who does actual research in the field seems to agree with you. You can’t blame me for picking the statements of publicly acknowledged, experienced, published experts over the opinion of two anonymous commenters on a very pro-ID forum. You try to make it look like I am in denial over what the semiotic research says but, in fact, I am in line with what the research says and what the researchers say: their work does not support ID.

    And, just to deal with a possible follow-on comment from you two: you have zero evidence that Dr Pattee or Dr Deacon or any other semiotic researcher secretly does believe ID is true. There is no reason at all that Dr Pattee who is retired, who’s pension cannot be taken away from, should refrain from saying what he really thinks.

    Maybe I’m wrong about what Dr Pattee thinks in his heart-of-hearts. Maybe. But there is zero evidence that he is a closet supporter of ID. Zero. You can continue to argue but everything I’ve said is quite true and easy to verify. If you have any evidence regarding the opinion of the semiotics community regarding its support of ID then please present it. If not then I think we’ve said everything that can be said on the issue.

  175. 175
    JVL says:

    “Towards a Theory of Evolution of Semiotic Systems ” by Kalevi Kull, published in Chinese Semiotic Studies, 2014.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286892978_Towards_a_Theory_of_Evolution_of_Semiotic_Systems

    No mention of intelligent design there. The whole article is at that link and I did look at the whole article and not just the title.

    “A semiotic framework for evolutionary and developmental biology” by Eugenio Andrade, published in Biosystems, 2007

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17134823/

    This work aims at constructing a semiotic framework for an expanded evolutionary synthesis grounded on Peirce’s universal categories and the six space/time/function relations [Taborsky, E., 2004. The nature of the sign as a WFF–a well-formed formula, SEED J. (Semiosis Evol. Energy Dev.) 4 (4), 5-14] that integrate the Lamarckian (internal/external) and Darwinian (individual/population) cuts. According to these guide lines, it is proposed an attempt to formalize developmental systems theory by using the notion of evolving developing agents (EDA) that provides an internalist model of a general transformative tendency driven by organism’s need to cope with environmental uncertainty. Development and evolution are conceived as non-programmed open-ended processes of information increase where EDA reach a functional compromise between: (a) increments of phenotype’s uniqueness (stability and specificity) and (b) anticipation to environmental changes. Accordingly, changes in mutual information content between the phenotype/environment drag subsequent changes in mutual information content between genotype/phenotype and genotype/environment at two interwoven scales: individual life cycle (ontogeny) and species time (phylogeny), respectively. Developmental terminal additions along with increment minimization of developmental steps must be positively selected.

    No ID there either.

    Nor, it seems, in the book Towards a Semiotic Biology: Life is the Action of Signs published in 2011. From an overview:

    This book presents programmatic texts on biosemiotics, written collectively by world leading scholars in the field (Deacon, Emmeche, Favareau, Hoffmeyer, Kull, Marko?, Pattee, Stjernfelt). In addition, the book includes chapters which focus closely on semiotic case studies (Bruni, Kotov, Maran, Neuman, Turovski).
    According to the central thesis of biosemiotics, sign processes characterise all living systems and the very nature of life, and their diverse phenomena can be best explained via the dynamics and typology of sign relations. The authors are therefore presenting a deeper view on biological evolution, intentionality of organisms, the role of communication in the living world and the nature of sign systems – all topics which are described in this volume. This has important consequences on the methodology and epistemology of biology and study of life phenomena in general, which the authors aim to help the reader better understand.

    Funny, no ID there either.

    So, unless you can find some other insights from the semiotics community, my view of it not supporting ID is correct based on the research and the statements of those who actually work in that field and are recognised as experts in that field.

  176. 176
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @174 and 175

    I don’t believe Upright Biped or anyone else here attributed to Pattee a belief in ID.* I believe they said only that Pattee’s work in biosemiotics entails ID, regardless of his own belief that it does not.

    Granted, Upright Biped does owe us an explanation as to why no one in biosemiotics thinks that their work entails ID, when they believes that it does. And if that’s what you’re getting at, I agree.

    Likewise, I agree with you in saying that the vast majority of the biosemiotics research community does not support ID. If Upright Biped wants to argue that they are being irrational or inconsistent in not doing so, that is their prerogative. But I would hope that they would also inquire into why biosemiotics people don’t support ID.

    For all I know, perhaps they don’t have good reasons, and it’s just an dogmatic, knee-jerk hostility to ID.** But, perhaps they do have good reasons, and Upright Biped should find out what those reasons are, if they don’t already know.

    * I use gender-neutral pronouns whenever a user-name does not indicate preferred pronouns.

    ** though not, I think, to religious thought in general. Deacon, at any rate, has engaged with theologians. I find this quite fascinating, as it has recently occurred to me that strong emergence naturally lends itself to theological interpretation.

  177. 177
    Querius says:

    JVL @175,
    Ooh, an appeal to authority! It’s been at least a week since the last one appeared.

    Funny, no ID there either.

    Of course not. Science apparently now operates on the consensus of experts squatting on each discipline and that only after all potential ideological and political issues have been vetted. ID proponents need not apply.

    As a result, scientific progress languishes in several related fields, replaced with lavishly funded science fantasy signifying nothing–as amply demonstrated with the occasionally lamented flood of irreproducible results in journal submissions.

    Aristotle once has a similar effect on science. You’re not under any illusions that you’re smarter than Aristotle, are you?

    -Q

  178. 178
    JVL says:

    Querius: Ooh, an appeal to authority! It’s been at least a week since the last one appeared.

    Well, let’s say your car was acting a bit funny and you took it to a mechanic with over 20 years of experience with a very successful car repair business and they told you one thing. But a couple of people you’ve never met who are not actually car mechanics but have read a couple of books about it have a different opinion. Which of those two opinions are you more likely to take seriously especially if the successful mechanic can explain to why they think the way they do based on past cases? Is that an appeal to authority? Perhaps. But it doesn’t make the argument put forward by the ‘authority’ incorrect.

    Of course not. Science apparently now operates on the consensus of experts squatting on each discipline and that only after all potential ideological and political issues have been vetted.

    Oh here we go again: ID isn’t accepted so THERE MUST be some kind of conspiracy or plot to keep it out of the textbooks and the classrooms. A ‘scientific’ discipline with few published papers, no active journal (none, zero) and no research agenda deserves equal time? Really?

    As a result, scientific progress languishes in several related fields, replaced with lavishly funded science fantasy signifying nothing–as amply demonstrated with the occasionally lamented flood of irreproducible results in journal submissions.

    And which scientific progress is languishing? Be specific please.

    Aristotle once has a similar effect on science. You’re not under any illusions that you’re smarter than Aristotle, are you?

    I benefit from a lot of knowledge that Aristotle did not have access to at the time (over 2400 years ago . . . about). I don’t think it’s about me or any other particular person. It’s about considering all the data and evidence as generated by lots and lots of people working in the pertinent fields over decades or even generations. I don’t have to be smarter than Aristotle to benefit from the collective knowledge of thousands upon thousands of researchers who share their work and criticise work they consider substandard. There is no such culture or structure in ID. It’s NOT an active field of science or research. It’s a political and ideological stance that desperately wants to be taken seriously. And it should be amongst theologians and philosophers because of the kind of argument it offers. But to be taken seriously as a science requires a different kind of effort.

    Also, I must add, that some of the ‘authorities’ I appealed to are semiotic researchers with glowing research and publication records. The kind of people Upright BiPed references but I don’t think he ever expected anyone to check out what those people are saying beyond his selective interpretation of their work. I don’t remember anyone having pushed back against his proclamations before.

  179. 179
    Upright BiPed says:


    Quickly, once again … no errors in the documented history supporting the design inference, JVL?

    No errors in the listings of actual experimental results?

    No demonstrations of symbolic description arising from dynamics?

    All correct then?

  180. 180
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    UB: JVL, your position is that the documented history and physical evidence supporting the design inference at the OoL is rendered invalid because the proponents of an unguided OoL don’t believe it and don’t write about it in their papers.

    JVL: No No that’s not true! Why must you misrepresent me!

    UB: Yes, it is true, and it’s a common logical fallacy that biases authority above empirical evidence.

    JVL: (next comment, #174) You have zero evidence that semiosis experts support ID.

    Pyro: That’s right, ignore the fallacy, UB owes us an explanation!

    (good grief)

  181. 181
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    JVL at #175

    I own that book. You know what else is not in it?

    The unguided rise of a symbol system.

    – cheers

  182. 182
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: Quickly, once again … no errors in the documented history supporting the design inference, eh JVL?

    I’d say you made an error in how you choose to interpret the works of semiotic researchers as supporting ID when they, themselves, do not see their work in that way. But that’s them saying you made a mistake, not me.

    You really are grasping here aren’t you? We’ve established that you are really on a fringe, going against the opinion of the actual researchers and thinkers in the semiotic discipline but you keep claiming you know better than they do. Maybe you do but I shan’t be betting on you.

    All correct then?

    Again, none of the people who generated the work you cite came to the same conclusion you did. I’d say that seems to indicate you made a mistake based on their criteria.

    I own that book. You know what else is not in it? The unguided rise of a symbol system.

    You mean the research is still ongoing? Like Dr Deacon’s paper which is more recent than that book?

    You seem to be desperately trying to uphold a pre-held belief, i.e. that life and the universe were designed by God. And you think you’ve found some sort of scientific justification in that belief in the work of semiotic researchers. But they disagree with your interpretations of their work. So, what are you left with?

    I have no problem with you believing that life was designed with a purpose by a loving, personal god. I’m sure, very sure, you find that concept sustaining and comforting. But that doesn’t mean that there is any actual scientific data or evidence to support that belief. And I don’t understand why you are so desperate to find some. Why not just bathe in the warm glow of your theology and let the scientific argument go? There’s no real ideological war going on; we can all just learn to live and let live I think. You know, love your neighbour as yourself?

    Think about it this way: would you rather be alive now or 500 years ago (in Europe) when most people were Christian? Do you think you would find more acceptance back then than now? Do you think your views would have been tolerated back then? What if you had been determined to be heretical? These days . . . who cares? Live and let live. Back then, you could have found it tough going if you disagreed with the current authority. Remember the conflicts in England during the 1500s when the country vacillated between Protestant and Catholics, she wasn’t called Bloody Mary for nothing you know.

  183. 183
    Querius says:

    JVL @178,

    Well, let’s say your car was acting a bit funny and you took it to a mechanic with over 20 years of experience with a very successful car repair business . . .

    To make your analogy more realistic, these mechanics assumed that cars were assembled at random and while their business was very successful, they often weren’t able to repair their customer’s cars, leaving out pieces that they assumed were “junk.”

    In contrast, my new mechanics believe that cars were intelligently designed and they used manuals. Any unknown parts were assumed to be there for a purpose.

    Oh here we go again: ID isn’t accepted so THERE MUST be some kind of conspiracy or plot to keep it out of the textbooks and the classrooms.

    Discrimination against scientists with an ID perspective or even tolerating their publication is well documented.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsU4styZ52Y

    And which scientific progress is languishing? Be specific please.

    What, again?

    The on-going debacle of so-called “junk” DNA, the misnamed “vestigial” organs, classification of organisms based on genotype rather than phenotype, origin of life research (such as the a priori rejection of ideologically unacceptable alternatives such as the Cairns-smith’s Clay theory), the replacement of the blatantly racist and colonialist theory of evolution and promotion of genocide in the name of eugenics, ignoring out-of-place fossils, ignoring how stretchy tissue and blood cells could have survived 60-70 million years without turning to dust due to background radiation, and on and on.
    https://sites.google.com/site/originsoflifecarlmont/clay-theory

    It’s about considering all the data and evidence as generated by lots and lots of people working in the pertinent fields over decades or even generations.

    I wish.

    No, it’s currently all about politics and ideology. Even in the field of medicine, leaks and new findings are starting to destroy the bureaucratically imposed narrative of COVID-19 and the attempt to hide the evidence of vaccine injuries and increased mortality as a result. Not to mention the totally ineffectiveness of the mask requirements.

    Out of curiosity, do you still believe the lie that vaccines prevent COVID-19 transmission? Apparently now, big pharma in sworn congressional testimony denies that they ever made any such claim.

    -Q

  184. 184
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    JVL at 182,

    Still no errors in the history of documented experimental results? No demonstrations of symbolic control arising from dynamics?

    Why do you think your concerns over social issues (or me) have any bearing on that fact?

    – – – – – – – – –

    And once again, almost comically unaware of yourself, all the strife in history that you lament derived almost exclusively from the insistence of authority over evidence – the very fallacy you commit every time you deny what you know to be documented and true. The same fallacy that you intend to defend at all costs.

    In 1948 did John Von Neumann take a page from Alan Turing’s 1933 Machine and give a series of lectures predicting that a quiescent symbol system and a set of independent constraints would be required for autonomous open-ended self replication? Yes. In 1953 did Francis Crick, along with Watson, discover the sequence structure of that symbol system, calling it a code? Yes. And in 1955 did he further predict that an unknown set of protein constraints would be found working in the system, establishing the necessary code relationships? Yes. In 1956-1958 did Mahlon Hoagland and Paul Zamecnik experimentally confirm Crick’s (and Von Neumann’s) predictions. Yes. In 1961, did Marshal Nirenberg have to demonstrate the first symbolic relationship in the gene system in order to know it? Yes. In 1969 did Howard Pattee set off on a five decade analysis of the gene system, confirming it as symbolic control of a dynamic process? Yes. Do the encoded descriptions of the constraints have to be physically coherent with all the other descriptions (i.e. self-referent) in order to successfully function? Yes. Is the gene system and written human language the only two systems known to science that operate in this way? Yes. Is the appearance of an encoded symbol system considered in science to be a universal correlate of intelligence? Yes.

    You see JVL, I didn’t ask anything of you other than to acknowledge what you know to be true.

    You refused. You refused to acknowledge what you know to be true.

  185. 185
    Origenes says:

    JVL @174

    You both acknowledge that no one in the semiotics community has stated that their work supports ID. And I did find a statement by Dr Pattee in one of his papers explicitly criticising ID.
    You both acknowledge that no one in the semiotics community has stated that their work supports ID. And I did find a statement by Dr Pattee in one of his papers explicitly criticising ID. You both say you are sure that their work does support ID. Despite the fact that no who does actual research in the field seems to agree with you.

    Your assumption here seems to be that for scientists there is no downside to expressing support for ID. I take it that you won’t take into account the reality that questioning the Darwinian paradigm, let alone advocating for intelligent design, entails facing brute censorship, ridicule and putting one’s professional future on the line?

    Pattee has stated that a symbol-code-construction system is necessary for biological information. This system and written human language are the only two systems that operate in this way. It has been argued that such a system is irreducibly complex. No one can even conceive of a step-by-step pathway.
    You be the judge here. Tell me, do these facts support ID or do they not?

  186. 186
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    Origenes, as a quick aside before my day ends…

    You may already know this, but in Pattee’s 50 years of publishing, he commented as much about pizza toppings as he did about design. When JVL talks about “finding a statement” from Pattee critical of ID, he is talking about just that – finding a statement. Howard Pattee generally eschewed what he considered “undecidable” topics, and design may very well fallen into that hole for him. I have no idea and no desire to guess. In the end, it is unimportant. I don’t “require” Howard Pattee (or anyone else) to personally believe one thing or another about design, and I told JVL that Pattee was not an design advocate at the very top of our conversation, now years ago. More importantly, I know what Pattee’s actual position is, and have told JVL exactly that. In Pattee’s view, genetic symbols are grounded directly by the three-dimensional folded proteins they specify (meaning that no interpretation is required in folding), but he also maintains that the symbol-code-construction system is required for the specification of those amino acid sequences from a transcribable medium.

    As for all this within the current conversation, it is very much like JVL suddenly addressing me about sociopolitics and theology. I have never commented to JVL about either of those subjects. He simply needs something to say in order to redirect the conversation away from his fallacies and double standards. Same ole same ole.

    If you’d like to know Pattee’s searing critique of ID that JVL is always promoting, here it is: (Pattee is discussing Von Neumann’s question of “why biological molecules” are the sizes and sorts of things they are:

    After asking this question von Neumann remarked that it was “a very peculiar range” for the parts since they were many orders of magnitude larger than the physically elementary particles. He did not discuss this except to suggest that the size had to do with the reliability of control since in automata there is a direct correlation between number and size of parts and reliability. A certain level of reliability is certainly one requirement in order to prevent error catastrophe, but another way to look at the question is in terms of function. How small could an enzyme be and accurately bind a substrate and catalyze a specific single bond. It would have to be a large enough structure to establish a shape with the necessary specificity to recognize a substrate by folding up a linear chain. Simple models suggest that of the order of 100 amino acids is necessary.

    This size creates two fundamental problems. The first problem is that the number of copolymer sequences of such lengths is immense, well beyond actual enumeration. One of the oldest, non-religious arguments against Darwinian evolution is the apparent improbability of chance mutations producing any successful protein, let alone a species. This is still an argument of “intelligent design” advocates. This argument is based on the assumption of the sparseness of functional sequences and the immensity of the search space. The weakness of this argument is that the actual probabilities of the events in question are largely unknown.

    And there it is, JVL’s burning critique from Howard Pattee. Of course, mentioning he has found a negative statement of ID from Howard Pattee serves his purposes, but actually talking about the content of that statement doesn’t, and that is why he always mentions it, but never goes in any detail. Now you know why. It is much more effective for JVL to just set up the negative image, and then talk about how I am interpreting Pattee’s core findings so differently than Pattee himself. This is yet another example of the intellectual scam JVL is pulling. He will not stop himself. He has no intention of it. I suspect he may not even conceive of it as a problem.

  187. 187
    Querius says:

    Upright BiPed @186,

    As for all this within the current conversation, it is very much like JVL suddenly addressing me about sociopolitics and theology. I have never commented to JVL about either of those subjects. He simply needs something to say in order to redirect the conversation away from his fallacies and double standards.

    Ouch. Unfortunately, this is also true for several other commenters here as well. This also includes condescending analogies to automobile repair to try to reframe an issue in favorable terms.

    This is yet another example of the intellectual scam JVL is pulling. He will not stop himself.

    The motives for commenters here include

    a. To inform based on added information or new perspectives, even when not in agreement.
    b. To simply argue without actually listening to what others have written.
    c. To make noise, divert the discussion, and waste people’s time.

    In that light, I think it’s appropriate to

    a. Respond with appreciation, clarifying questions, or additional points.
    b. Identify the disingenuous motive and abusive responses.
    c. Ignore what’s essentially graffiti on the basis of “Do not feed the trolls.”

    -Q

  188. 188
    Origenes says:

    Upright Biped @186

    Pattee: This argument is based on the assumption of the sparseness of functional sequences and the immensity of the search space. The weakness of this argument is that the actual probabilities of the events in question are largely unknown.

    And there it is, JVL’s burning critique from Howard Pattee.

    So, Pattee questions an element of one specific ID argument that arguably becomes relevant only after his research subject, the gene system, sees the light of existence. Pattee’s critique is based on outdated research largely done in the 20th century. Those old findings are being contradicted by research done over the past several years that shows the sparseness of functional sequences to be extremely real. For those interested, this article on evolutionnews.org offers an overview of recent research; Doug Axe’s paper included.
    – – – –
    I note that Patttee does NOT say about his research subject: “ID is wrong to claim that the gene system contains a real code”, “ID is wrong to claim that the gene system is irreducible complex” and/or “there is a conceivable unguided, physical pathway towards the gene-system.”

  189. 189
    JVL says:

    Querius: To make your analogy more realistic, these mechanics assumed that cars were assembled at random and while their business was very successful, they often weren’t able to repair their customer’s cars, leaving out pieces that they assumed were “junk.”

    Oh dear, the old ID wheeze. NO ONE thinks that human bodies or even cells were assembled at random, yours certainly wasn’t. MUTATIONS are random, cumulative selection is not. Of course you’ve been told this over and over and over again. So, the fact that you keep repeating a fallacy must be because you’re a fool or a knave. Which is it?

    Discrimination against scientists with an ID perspective or even tolerating their publication is well documented.

    You mean like Dr Behe who was never, ever discriminated against at his university? Funny considering he is one of the most famous ID supporters in the world. Your clip is over 14 years old now. And some of the cases talked about in that movie have been deconstructed. So, let’s try this: can you name anyone in the last decade who has been persecuted explicitly for being supportive of ID in an academic environment?

    The on-going debacle of so-called “junk” DNA, the misnamed “vestigial” organs, classification of organisms based on genotype rather than phenotype, origin of life research (such as the a priori rejection of ideologically unacceptable alternatives such as the Cairns-smith’s Clay theory), the replacement of the blatantly racist and colonialist theory of evolution and promotion of genocide in the name of eugenics, ignoring out-of-place fossils, ignoring how stretchy tissue and blood cells could have survived 60-70 million years without turning to dust due to background radiation, and on and on.

    Another ID wheeze. Has it ever occurred to you that everything you know about all those topics has come from mainstream scientists doing research and such? Are any pro-ID people doing any of that research? Nope. Let’s try this: can you point to a specific case where a researcher was prevented from researching something because it went against the common paradigm? In one of the above areas would be interesting.

    Out of curiosity, do you still believe the lie that vaccines prevent COVID-19 transmission? Apparently now, big pharma in sworn congressional testimony denies that they ever made any such claim.

    Well gosh, I know how vaccines work, that is they prime your immune system to help fight off a pathogen when you get exposed to it. Which means you have a lower viral load when you do get infected. Which means you are less likely to infect someone else and you’re less likely to have severe symptoms. Everyone knows that. IF anyone said otherwise then they were clearly mistaken. But you know all about vaccines so you would never be taken in by someone mis-speaking or shading the truth would you? So, what’s your problem?

  190. 190
    JVL says:

    Upright BiPed: In 1969 did Howard Pattee set off on a five decade analysis of the gene system, confirming it as symbolic control of a dynamic process? Yes. Do the encoded descriptions of the constraints have to be physically coherent with all the other descriptions (i.e. self-referent) in order to successfully function? Yes. Is the gene system and written human language the only two systems known to science that operate in this way? Yes. Is the appearance of an encoded symbol system considered in science to be a universal correlate of intelligence? Yes.

    What I said is true: No one in semiotic community, including Dr Pattee, has said their work supports ID. Not a single one. If it was as clear as you seem to think then surely someone by now would have broken cover and admitted it. But no one has. Could it be because they really, truly don’t think their work does support ID? Which would me that your conspiracy theory about people being pressured into accepting unguided evolution is not true.

    Could it be that, in fact, you are wrong? And that there is no evidence via experimentation or research or stated opinion of the semiotic researchers that any of that supports ID? That, when it comes down to it, it’s just your opinion that semiotics supports ID? What does the preponderance of the actual evidence say?

  191. 191
    JVL says:

    Origenes: Your assumption here seems to be that for scientists there is no downside to expressing support for ID. I take it that you won’t take into account the reality that questioning the Darwinian paradigm, let alone advocating for intelligent design, entails facing brute censorship, ridicule and putting one’s professional future on the line?

    So some people say. But there are very few, if any, examples of such things happening. Look at Dr Behe, one of the most famous and outspoken supporters of ID on the planet. Did he suffer any kind of pressure or discrimination because of his views? What he fired or censored in any way? Is the Discovery Institute persecuted or investigated by any government or academic institutions? I’m not buying the scare story because it doesn’t actually seem to be true. By the way, your ‘brute censorship’ link is broken so I guess you haven’t checked it before posting it.

    If you can name someone who has been persecuted or censored or prevented from doing some kind of research in the last decade that would be interesting. Let’s see what you come up with.

    Pattee has stated that a symbol-code-construction system is necessary for biological information. This system and written human language are the only two systems that operate in this way. It has been argued that such a system is irreducibly complex. No one can even conceive of a step-by-step pathway. You be the judge here. Tell me, do these facts support ID or do they not?

    It ‘has been argued’ is not the same as ‘it has been established’ is it? Just because you can’t conceived of a step-by-step process doesn’t mean no one can or that no one is working on the problem. And remember the paper by Dr Deacon that was referred to earlier.

    And, AGAIN, no one in the semiotics community, including Dr Pattee, has said their work supports ID. Not one. IF there really is some kind of conspiracy you’d think someone by now would have broken cover and admitted it. But they haven’t. So, it’s either a) the semiotic researchers really don’t think their work supports ID or b) you’re spinning a conspiracy theory to justify your interpretation of their work. Let’s see . . . what does the actual evidence based on research, publications and the publicly made statements of the semiotic researchers say?

  192. 192
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @190

    No one in semiotic community, including Dr Pattee, has said their work supports ID. Not a single one. If it was as clear as you seem to think then surely someone by now would have broken cover and admitted it. But no one has. Could it be because they really, truly don’t think their work does support ID? Which would me that your conspiracy theory about people being pressured into accepting unguided evolution is not true.

    I think it’s perfectly obvious what the party line here is going to be: the entire biosemiotics community refuses to acknowledge that biosemiotics is best explained by intelligent design because they all uncritically accept “materialism” as a dogmatic a priori conviction, whereas only Upright Biped lacks this dogmatic conviction and therefore they alone are able to “follow the evidence wherever it leads”.

    Apparently there is little room here for the idea that Upright Biped also has a priori convictions of their own which leads them to follow the evidence differently than how everyone else does.

  193. 193
    JVL says:

    PyrrhoManiac1:

    The refusal to accept that biosemetic researchers just might think their work supports unguided evolution is particularly amusing in the light of articles such as this:

    “A semiotic framework for evolutionary and developmental biology” by Eugenio Andrade, published in Biosystems, 2006.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17134823/

    This work aims at constructing a semiotic framework for an expanded evolutionary synthesis grounded on Peirce’s universal categories and the six space/time/function relations [Taborsky, E., 2004. The nature of the sign as a WFF–a well-formed formula, SEED J. (Semiosis Evol. Energy Dev.) 4 (4), 5-14] that integrate the Lamarckian (internal/external) and Darwinian (individual/population) cuts. According to these guide lines, it is proposed an attempt to formalize developmental systems theory by using the notion of evolving developing agents (EDA) that provides an internalist model of a general transformative tendency driven by organism’s need to cope with environmental uncertainty. Development and evolution are conceived as non-programmed open-ended processes of information increase where EDA reach a functional compromise between: (a) increments of phenotype’s uniqueness (stability and specificity) and (b) anticipation to environmental changes. Accordingly, changes in mutual information content between the phenotype/environment drag subsequent changes in mutual information content between genotype/phenotype and genotype/environment at two interwoven scales: individual life cycle (ontogeny) and species time (phylogeny), respectively. Developmental terminal additions along with increment minimization of developmental steps must be positively selected.

    That is plainly anti-ID. Plainly. But I suspect we will be told why two non-specialists are correct and the actual researchers in field (some with decades of experience) are wrong.

  194. 194
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL

    What I said is true: No one in semiotic community, including Dr Pattee, has said their work supports ID. Not a single one. If it was as clear as you seem to think then surely someone by now would have broken cover and admitted it.

    I wrote a post showing why your reasoning is wrong JVL. If you are interested in knowing why you are wrong and UB is right, go over there.

  195. 195
    JVL says:

    Barry: The researchers, like JVL, were blinded by their a priori metaphysical commitments. They literally could not see where their own work was leading.

    Really? You think that after decades of work by hundreds of semiotic researchers that they are all blinded by their a priori commitments? Not one has broken cover (as happened in your example remember) to own up to the truth?

    I haven’t reasoned incorrectly. Despite there being no evidence that the semiotic community is blinded by their biases (except for a few anonymous ID proponents who clearly do have a priori commitments and are not professional semiotic researchers) you choose to believe that that is the case. Do you think that your stance would stand up in a court of law let alone the scientific community?

    You are not a semiotic expert. I am not a semiotic expert. Upright BiPed is not a semiotic expert. ALL the evidence (including some articles that are clearly in support of unguided evolution) supports that the entire semiotic community agrees that semiotics bolsters the case for non-intelligent intervention. You think the entire semiotic community can’t see the implications of their own work. No doubt they would disagree. Should I believe a you and some anonymous commenters on a pro-ID website or a community of professional, published researchers who share their theories and discuss them in journals and at publicly held conferences? Professionals who are not under threat by the Church with condemnation and even torture to toe the party line (you left that out of your example didn’t you?).

    Your hypothesis has no evidence to support it. None. Your own a priori convictions don’t count as support.

  196. 196
    Origenes says:

    JVL@

    Should I believe a you and some anonymous commenters on a pro-ID website or a community of professional, published researchers ….

    You seem to labor under the assumption that you cannot understand/interpret the evidence yourself; that you have no choice but to trust/believe someone else’s judgment.
    I have asked you to judge the facts yourself. In response, you, again, start yelling about how “no one in the semiotics community, including Dr Pattee, has said their work supports ID.”
    Perhaps a genuinely modest person, like you, recognizes his limitations, and shies away from forming an independent judgment, but don’t expect others to follow your lead.

  197. 197
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @195

    Despite there being no evidence that the semiotic community is blinded by their biases (except for a few anonymous ID proponents who clearly do have a priori commitments and are not professional semiotic researchers) you choose to believe that that is the case. Do you think that your stance would stand up in a court of law let alone the scientific community?

    You’re missing the point — we know that everyone in the biosemiotics community is blinded by their a priori dogmatic commitment to materialism because if they weren’t, they would have followed the evidence and concluded that intelligent design is a far more plausible explanation of abiogenesis than any naturalistic explanation could be. Their refusal to accept ID is the evidence of their dogmatic commitment to materialism. No other evidence is required.

  198. 198
    JVL says:

    Origenes: You seem to labor under the assumption that you cannot understand/interpret the evidence yourself; that you have no choice but to trust/believe someone else’s judgment.

    Nice assumption. Yours I mean.

    I have asked you to judge the facts yourself. In response, you, again, start yelling about how “no one in the semiotics community, including Dr Pattee, has said their work supports ID.”

    I didn’t yell, funny you interpreted it that way. Almost like you see me as some kind of raving lunatic. Is that one of your a priori assumptions?

    Perhaps a genuinely modest person, like you, recognizes his limitations, and shies away from forming an independent judgment, but don’t expect others to follow your lead.

    Which are you, good cop or bad cop?

    Do you have any actual evidence that the semiotics community is blinded by their a priori assumptions, yes or no? Saying they must be because of their conclusion is just a circular argument based on your a priori assumptions.

  199. 199
    JVL says:

    PyrrhoManiac1: You’re missing the point — we know that everyone in the biosemiotics community is blinded by their a priori dogmatic commitment to materialism because if they weren’t, they would have followed the evidence and concluded that intelligent design is a far more plausible explanation of abiogenesis than any naturalistic explanation could be. Their refusal to accept ID is the evidence of their dogmatic commitment to materialism. No other evidence is required.

    Of course you’re right, how could I have been so blinded by my a priori assumptions.

  200. 200
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @196

    You seem to labor under the assumption that you cannot understand/interpret the evidence yourself; that you have no choice but to trust/believe someone else’s judgment.

    I don’t think there’s any room for doubt about JVL’s main contention, which is that intelligent design is not endorsed by anyone actively working in biosemiotics (writing papers that cite other biosemioticians, getting published in journals like Biosemiotics, teaching classes in the field, contributing to edited volumes like Introduction to Biosemiotics, etc. — doing the work that advances the discipline).

    That said, it’s of course a separate question whether they should endorse it. Should Pattee, Hoffmeyer, Deacon, Kull, Barbieri be ID supporters? Are they being inconsistent or irrational in not endorsing ID?

    I myself couldn’t say — I’ve only started reading Pattee this morning (“How a Molecule Becomes a Message” and “The Necessity of Biosemiotics”). I’m very intrigued by it, due to my interest in Deacon.

    Aside: one aspect of Peirce that Pattee picks up on and that Deacon seems to ignore is the role of the community in interpretation: nothing can function as a sign except insofar as it is used to communicate. So Pattee emphasizes (in his 1969 paper) the idea of a primeval prebiotic network that can function as a proto-interpretative community.

  201. 201
    Jblais says:

    Some here seem to grossly underestimate the grip of metaphysical naturalism that permeates academia at both the conscious and unconscious level.

    Biosemiotics is a field created because although the idea that “life is based on signs and codes, … has been strongly suggested by the discovery of the genetic code, but so far it has made little impact in the scientific world and is largely regarded as a philosophy rather than a science.” Marcello Barbieri, Biosemiotics: a new understanding of life. Naturwissenschaften. 2008 Jul;95(7):577-99.

    In other words, this field was created by people that recognized that a code, and therefore symbolism, cannot be eliminated as the foundation of biology. The reason why this inconvenient fact has been ignored according to Barbieri is that “…modern biology assumes that signs and meanings do not exist at the molecular level…”. And of course the reason why modern biology makes this assumption is simply because the behavior of molecules involved in chemical reactions is governed by electromagnetism and thermodynamics, not systems of symbolic representations (aka codes) ! Thus, the reason why the philosophical implications of the symbolism at the heart of life have been ignored by biology is simply because under reductionist naturalism, a code simply doesn’t make any sense! Outside of living cells, do you know of any other chemical reaction governed by a code ?! Of course, there is none.

    People like Deacon and Pattee and the whole biosemiotics field, are like these brave neuroscientists that keep writing papers hoping to someday solve the hard problem of consciousness by studying the details of sodium, potassium and calcium ions moving back and forth cells and organelles membranes and neurotransmitter molecules released from vesicles into synaptic clefts. Unfortunately, these people are deluded. The problem is indeed philosophical as it involves analysing the philosophical implications of the concepts involved. They simply fail to understand that symbolism implies intentionality but physico-chemical dynamical laws are devoid of intentionality. Therefore, you can’t get symbolism like the genetic code from physico-chemical laws. It’s a qualitative difference, not a quantitative one. To think otherwise is a category mistake. Abstract philosophical thinking is not for everyone, and many people, especially scientists, are quite bad at it.

    It’s the same situation in the philosophy of mind where you have people failing to grasp that you can’t get first person subjectivity from physical objects obeying the laws of physics because the difference is qualitative, not quantitative. Some naturalists do understand this and become eliminativists despite the absurdity of the view, because their naturalistic, atheistic metaphysics/worldview is more important than reason itself. So, yes, biosemiotics researchers are committed to trying to make sense of coding/symbolism in biology under a naturalistic worldview, that’s precisely why the field was created. But like the valorous naturalists trying to make sense of consciousness or free will, they have failed, they are failing, and they will continue to fail. Their failure is the sad result of their fundamental inability to understand the mental nature of intentionality, and its necessary causal connection to symbolism itself. So yes, individual researchers and entire academic fields can be, and often are, completely blind to the philosophical implications of the concepts they’re using in their own research. Sometimes consciously and willingly because the implications threaten their worldview and this is a priori more intolerable than willfull blindness, sometimes unconsciously and sometimes simply because of a lack of philosophical understanding and insight.

  202. 202
    Origenes says:

    @Jblais

    … the reason why modern biology makes this assumption is simply because the behavior of molecules involved in chemical reactions is governed by electromagnetism and thermodynamics, not systems of symbolic representations (aka codes) ! Thus, the reason why the philosophical implications of the symbolism at the heart of life have been ignored by biology is simply because under reductionist naturalism, a code simply doesn’t make any sense!

    Naturalistic science seeks a physical explanation for life. Information, in the true sense, is not part of physics.

    Outside of living cells, do you know of any other chemical reaction governed by a code ?! Of course, there is none.

    People like Deacon and Pattee and the whole biosemiotics field, are like these brave neuroscientists that keep writing papers hoping to someday solve the hard problem of consciousness by studying the details of sodium, potassium and calcium ions moving back and forth cells and organelles membranes and neurotransmitter molecules released from vesicles into synaptic clefts. Unfortunately, these people are deluded. The problem is indeed philosophical as it involves analysing the philosophical implications of the concepts involved.

    A very apt comparison. Rationality requires a person who is in control of his thoughts. For this there is no conceivable physical explanation.

    JVL: just because you can’t conceived of a step-by-step process doesn’t mean no one can or that no one is working on the problem.

    You can work on the ‘problem’ till the cows come home JVL.

    They simply fail to understand that symbolism implies intentionality but physico-chemical dynamical laws are devoid of intentionality. Therefore, you can’t get symbolism like the genetic code from physico-chemical laws. It’s a qualitative difference, not a quantitative one. To think otherwise is a category mistake. Abstract philosophical thinking is not for everyone, and many people, especially scientists, are quite bad at it.

    Perhaps it can be said that intentionality (and rationality) point to a different ontological level. In other words, it points to wholes on a different level (and of a different kind) than the wholes allowed for by naturalism, which are fermions and bosons.

    It’s the same situation in the philosophy of mind where you have people failing to grasp that you can’t get first person subjectivity from physical objects obeying the laws of physics because the difference is qualitative, not quantitative.

    Hear! Hear!

    Some naturalists do understand this and become eliminativists despite the absurdity of the view, because their naturalistic, atheistic metaphysics/worldview is more important than reason itself.

    Absurd and destructive.

  203. 203
    whistler says:

    intelligent design is not endorsed by anyone actively working in biosemiotics

    :))) Nonsense. Biosemiotics is ID all the way. Atheists also occupied and infected this scientific niche and keep it frozen .
    There is no conceivable natural mechanism that would produce functional signs and symbols so the only alternative is Intelligence.

  204. 204
    JVL says:

    Jblais:

    Pardon me but your argument seems a bit . . . scattered. First you say that Biosemetics was created to deal with the fact that codes were found to be at the basis of life. But then you say that some of the most famous and long-standing researchers in the field of biosemetics are deluded because they can’t get away from the basic chemistry. So . . . let me get this straight . . . some of the premier supporters of a symbolic system at the heart of biology didn’t actually believe that a symbolic system was at the heart of biology? Is that what you’re saying? That the symbolism requires agency?

    Is that not an assertion on your part? How do you know that it’s not possible for symbolic representation to arise via unguided processes? Given that it’s humans interpreting the chemical and physical processes as equations.

    Let’s put this another way . . . what if the symbolic nature of the biological realm is just down to our interpretation of the chemical landscape as abstract symbols? Reducing complicated chemical and physical processes to simple alphanumeric equations looks like abstraction and/or arbitrary representations.

    So, yes, biosemiotics researchers are committed to trying to make sense of coding/symbolism in biology under a naturalistic worldview, that’s precisely why the field was created.

    Right . . . so . . . you do or do not accept their research results? You seem to be throwing the whole field into the dust while at the same time you’re using their results as evidence for intelligent design. You trust the researchers to come up with the results but not the proper interpretation? Something like that?

    It seems to me that you need to be a bit more specific and thorough in reinterpreting the work. Which parts do you accept and which parts do you reject? You accept the basic results? But you think that clearly implies intelligence?

  205. 205
    JVL says:

    Origenes: You can work on the ‘problem’ till the cows come home JVL.

    Gosh, is that an a priori assumption I see?

    A very apt comparison. Rationality requires a person who is in control of his thoughts. For this there is no conceivable physical explanation.

    Those a priori assumptions just keep on coming!!

  206. 206
    JVL says:

    Whistler: Biosemiotics is ID all the way.

    And you know that because . . . you are a biosemetic researcher? You’ve published some biosemetic papers that have been read and scrutinised by other biosemetic researchers?

    There is no conceivable natural mechanism that would produce functional signs and symbols so the only alternative is Intelligence.

    Argument from ignorance. I can’t figure it out so it couldn’t have happened. And that’s science?

  207. 207
    JVL says:

    Can someone tell me how semiotics would progress if it allowed divine agents into the equation. How would it progress past: well, this undefined and undetected and untestable being did something. How does that work exactly?

    If you say: well, God must have done it how do you check to see if that’s true? How do you test the divine?

  208. 208
    whistler says:

    Argument from ignorance.

    Argument from present evidences. Science is not about your wishful thinking, unicorns and pink clouds but what can be proved. As of Today.

    How do you test the divine?

    🙂 The divine and a trace of the manifestation of divine intelligence in this universe are 2 very different things. So how do you test a higher intelligence ? Pretty simple : use the same method for admission to a university or for a job. If you can’t solve the test that means there is somebody smarter than you that made(designed) the test. 😉

  209. 209
    Alan Fox says:

    How do you test the divine?

    Confirms my conjecture that questions are easy but answers are hard. 😉

  210. 210
    JVL says:

    Whistler: So how do you test a higher intelligence ? Pretty simple : use the same method for admission to a university or for a job.

    Umm . . . can you give an example?

  211. 211
    bornagain77 says:

    AF: “Confirms my conjecture that questions are easy but answers are hard.”

    Answers are hard for Darwinists? Really??? How can that possibly be when Darwinists already know that their answer will always be “Evolution did it!” no matter what the evidence may say to the contrary?

    “Evolution by natural selection, for instance, which Charles Darwin originally conceived as a great theory, has lately come to function more as an antitheory, called upon to cover up embarrassing experimental shortcomings and legitimize findings that are at best questionable and at worst not even wrong. Your protein defies the laws of mass action? Evolution did it! Your complicated mess of chemical reactions turns into a chicken? Evolution! The human brain works on logical principles no computer can emulate? Evolution is the cause!”
    – Robert B. Laughlin, A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 168-69) – 1998 Nobel Prize in physics

    “We are told dogmatically that Evolution is an established fact; but we are never told who has established it, and by what means. We are told, often enough, that the doctrine is founded upon evidence, and that indeed this evidence ‘is henceforward above all verification, as well as being immune from any subsequent contradiction by experience;’ but we are left entirely in the dark on the crucial question wherein, precisely, this evidence consists.”
    Smith, Wolfgang (1988)
    Teilhardism and the New Religion: A Thorough Analysis of The Teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    “Evolution is slow and gradual except when it is fast. It is dynamic and creates huge changes over time, except when it keeps everything the same for millions of years. It explains both extreme complexity and elegant simplicity. It tells us how birds learned to fly and yet also lost that ability. Evolution made cheetahs fast and turtles slow. Some creatures it made big and others small; some gloriously beautiful and others boringly grey. It forced fish to walk and walking animals to return to the sea. It diverges except when it converges; it produces exquisitely fine-tuned designs except when it produces junk. Evolution is random and without direction except when it moves toward a target. Life under evolution is a cruel battlefield except when it displays altruism. Evolution explains virtues and vice, love and hate, religion and atheism. And it does all this with a growing number of ancillary hypotheses. Modern evolutionary theory is the Rube Goldberg of theoretical constructs. And what is the result of all this speculative ingenuity? Like the defunct theory of phlogiston, it explains everything while explaining nothing well”
    – Matti Leisola – Heretic – p. 199

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

  212. 212
    whistler says:

    Umm… OoL , Darwinism ,Biosemiotics didn’t solve “the life via natural mechanism ” test. Never will. Because a higher intelligence is…higher. 🙂

  213. 213
    Jblais says:

    @JVL
    “How do you know that it’s not possible for symbolic representation to arise via unguided processes?”

    Because from conceptual analysis it follows, from what symbolism means, that it implies intentionality, which itself implies a mental reality.

    “You trust the researchers to come up with the results but not the proper interpretation?”

    The fact that life is based on symbolism follows from the fact that life is based on a code. This is a finding from Francis Crick, not from biosemiotics researchers. The philosophical implication of that fact is that, from what we know of the laws of physics and chemistry, there is no reason to think these laws can produce such symbolism. That in turns means that at best, a naturalist can say that he hopes that it occured via a natural unguided process, but as a hope, this is epistemically speaking, a faith, and a faith that cannot be rationally defended because of the philosophical issue of the intentional nature of any symbolic system. As I said, the same is true for consciousness under naturalism.

  214. 214
    Alan Fox says:

    @ Phil (who asks):

    Answers are hard for Darwinists?

    Answers are hard for everyone.

    As you illustrate on a regular basis.

  215. 215
    bornagain77 says:

    AF, so apparently you have a tough time remembering that “Evolution did it!” is always the correct answer for a Darwinist, no matter what the evidence says to the contrary?

    Shoot, you can ace Coyne’s college class by repeatedly muttering those 3 little words.

    🙂

  216. 216
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, why would anyone make a career suicidal announcement given the current hyper partisan climate in institutions and a significant heavily documented slaughter of the dissidents? I find, that you MUST know of that context, and of earlier similar cases such as to obtain a PhD in the USSR one had to produce a paper in defence of atheism to show that one had the “correct” “scientific” outlook. 1984 two minute hate and doublethink-doubletalk here we come. Therefore, for cause I infer your suppression of this highly relevant and telling context of institutional ideological captivity and baked in ideology dressed up as knowledge is tactical, a strategic half truth. So, it drastically undermines the force of your counter claims to UB. Then, turning focus to what is warranted and credibly true, in reform of knowledge, we may readily see the strength of the evidence that coded language expressing algorithms lies in the heart of the cell. When the rhetorical smoke clears and the institutional captivity is discredited, pointed observations will be made on what was being suppressed. KF

  217. 217
    Origenes says:

    JVL @

    There is no conceivable natural mechanism that would produce functional signs and symbols so the only alternative is Intelligence.

    JVL: Argument from ignorance.

    Rationality requires a person who is in control of his thoughts. For this, there is no conceivable physical explanation.

    JVL: Those a priori assumptions just keep on coming!!

    I hate to break it to you JVL, but, no matter how hard you try, there is only so much that can be explained with fermions and bosons. You can plead and pray with all your heart and all your strength but not a single fermion or boson will ever be persuaded to have an interest in signs & symbols, and perhaps above all, fermions and bosons are absolutely resolute about having zero interest in rationality.

  218. 218
    relatd says:

    The following is fictional but illustrative. The persons named here are fictional and any similarity to persons living or dead is coincidental.

    (AP) The Future. Evolution Laid to Rest. The End of a Discredited Idea.

    (Reporter) Today, my guest is Doctor Bob Smith. The man most credited with toppling evolution. Doctor Smith, what started you on this road?

    Smith: I’ve been a Biologist for 25 years but it began when I was a boy. The beautiful flowers, and watching honeybees going to each one. Dragonflies and their ability to hover and fly. Lizards, frogs, I had to know more. My parents got me a lot of books from the library. It didn’t occur to me then but I saw distinct differences. Differences, I was told, that arose through unguided chance.

    (Reporter) When did your thinking change?

    Smith: I was doing a lot of research for private companies. Most involved humans but a few focused on insects. I slowly realized that the complex organs I was studying along with complex behaviors in insects were too perfect and too complex for unguided chance to bring about. One day, a computer data analyst was brought in on a project. He had a lot of data to sort through, but he also had observations that took my thinking further. This man, I’ll call him John, told me that the level of complexity he was analyzing for us was far beyond anything that could be done by nature alone. That the internal organization of the human body and its functions were based on a code. That molecular switches received precise instructions to turn on and off. Or to stay on for a precise time period before shutting off. I realized that the evolution I had been taught was not a helpful idea. It was never brought in as an explanation for anything.

    I first expressed my views three years ago. I was immediately hit by nasty messages, including those that demanded I be stripped of my awards and that I leave the field of Biology entirely.

    (Reporter): How did you react to all this?

    Smith: At first I was taken aback. Academic freedom had also been taught to me. The exchange of ideas requires open discussion. But when I went back through the messages, I realized one thing: Not one of those people had made a rational argument. They were angry at me and that was it. The accusations included the idea that I was being dishonest, which wasn’t true.

    About a week later, I got a message from a Biologist in France. He agreed with me but he was afraid. If I could be stripped of my awards and perhaps lose my job, so could he. If he spoke up.

    (Reporter): Then what happened?

    Smith: I held a press conference. I expressed my thoughts as clearly as I could. Most of those attending left, a few booed me. But three did stay. They asked me good questions. And then they left. I didn’t know what they would do.

    Then a Doctor Renaud contacted me. He held a press conference. He was in full agreement with me. It snowballed after that. Other scientists contacted me and pledged their support. The National Academy of Sciences was appalled but had no rational arguments, just false accusations. Soon, other people in influential positions gave their support. Articles were published. Then, in a short time, the opposition ended. The public was getting to understand that life is too complex to have arrived at not only a complex assembly of parts but associated complex functions on its own. Who taught a dragonfly to fly? I asked the public that question, and it caused them to see things as they actually are. And that is the way things are.

  219. 219
    Origenes says:

    Jblais @

    … from what we know of the laws of physics and chemistry, there is no reason to think these laws can produce such symbolism.

    There are no laws that compel particles to form organisms and/or code.

    That in turns means that at best, a naturalist can say that he hopes that it occured via a natural unguided process …

    I have a question. Exactly what is it that naturalists seek to explain? I would like to know because they are never quite clear about it. For instance, what exactly is an “organism” in their view? I gather that, under naturalism, an ‘organism’ is nothing over and beyond a bunch of elementary particles. But why is it that they nod in approval when Darwin tells them that ‘it’ (the bunch?) wants to survive? Why would a bunch of elementary particles want to prolong their presence in some organismal form? Why would they care? Why does that notion make perfect sense to the naturalist? Do naturalists see ontological wholes where there are none, as in “the house wants to protect the family”?
    And if they want to ‘explain’ to us that organisms just appear to be wholes, but in fact are not, and that BTW humans also just appear to be wholes (appear to whom?), but are in fact nothing over and beyond fermions & bosons, then to who or what do they think they are explaining stuff exactly? And a follow-up question would be: who or what is doing the explaining?
    I am just asking because sometimes the whole naturalistic project doesn’t make sense to me.

  220. 220
    Jblais says:

    @Origenes
    You raise some of the incoherences inherent in naturalism. I share your bafflement that these problems don’t bother naturalists more, they certainly should ! The problem you refer to is I think related to intentionality and selfhood, in the sense that assigning values, names, categories, symbols, etc… can only be done by selves having intentions and free will expessible with language. Selves in turns, are by definition subjectivities, which means that they are entitities that depend on a distinction between “I” and the rest of the world. There’s no possibilty of making sense of this if your ontology is a monism of physical objects, none of which could claim any “special status” of this sort…

    So intentionality and selfhood are transcendendal conditions (in the sense of being a prerequisite) to there being any science, biology, theory of evolution, and so on, but are incompatible with an ontological monism of physical objects.

  221. 221
    Origenes says:

    Jblais @220

    Hear! Hear!
    – – – – –
    JVL, Poor man! Where art thou now? Thy day is night.

  222. 222
    Alan Fox says:

    The problem… …is I think related to intentionality and selfhood, in the sense that assigning values, names, categories, symbols, etc… can only be done by selves having intentions and free will expessible with language. Selves in turns, are by definition subjectivities, which means that they are entitities that depend on a distinction between “I” and the rest of the world. There’s no possibilty of making sense of this if your ontology is a monism of physical objects, none of which could claim any “special status” of this sort…

    Entitities! Good typo 🙂

    The issue is undecidable. Some folks are emotionally drawn to dualism and attempt post hoc logical argument in
    support. Other folks remain unconvinced. There’s a problem when groups decide their beliefs, ideas and rules should be enforced on others.

  223. 223
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @201

    The problem is indeed philosophical as it involves analysing the philosophical implications of the concepts involved. They simply fail to understand that symbolism implies intentionality but physico-chemical dynamical laws are devoid of intentionality. Therefore, you can’t get symbolism like the genetic code from physico-chemical laws. It’s a qualitative difference, not a quantitative one. To think otherwise is a category mistake.

    I wonder at this “symbolism implies intentionality.” Is this a necessary truth? Is there an argument for it? Or is just one of those things that supposed to be ‘obvious’?

    It’s evident that we language-users can use symbolic systems to express our thoughts, can sometimes think in symbols (but not always), and can create new symbolic systems (computer languages, non-classical logics, Esperanto all come to mind as examples).

    But it doesn’t follow that therefore every symbolic system must be the deliberate creation of some intelligent being.

    Likewise, is “physico-chemical dynamical laws are devoid of intentionality” supposed to be obvious? I’m not saying that I disagree, but I wonder what the argument is supposed to be for this conclusion.

    biosemiotics researchers are committed to trying to make sense of coding/symbolism in biology under a naturalistic worldview, that’s precisely why the field was created. But like the valorous naturalists trying to make sense of consciousness or free will, they have failed, they are failing, and they will continue to fail. Their failure is the sad result of their fundamental inability to understand the mental nature of intentionality, and its necessary causal connection to symbolism itself.

    I’d be interested to know what the symptoms of failure are.

  224. 224
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @219

    Exactly what is it that naturalists seek to explain? I would like to know because they are never quite clear about it. For instance, what exactly is an “organism” in their view?

    I’ve recommend quite a few books and articles on this specific issue. To my knowledge you haven’t looked at any of them. So forgive me, but your bafflement strikes me as less than fully sincere.

    ? I gather that, under naturalism, an ‘organism’ is nothing over and beyond a bunch of elementary particles.

    Sure, if you take the dumbest possible version of naturalism as the only version that there is. I don’t even get exercised about any supposed implications of Rosenberg’s view: his view is internally incoherent. There are very few books I really, passionately hate, but The Atheist’s Guide to Reality is one of them.

    @220

    You raise some of the incoherences inherent in naturalism. I share your bafflement that these problems don’t bother naturalists more, they certainly should !

    There are lots of naturalists who have developed carefully worked out proposals about how to think about subjectivity and intentionality within a naturalistic framework.

    Here are a few: Incomplete Nature< (Deacon), Dynamics in Action (Juarrero), The Mark of the Mental (Neander), Naturalism in Question (Del Caro and Macarthur), Articulating the World (Rouse).

    I don’t really care if this gets dismissed as a literature bluff or whatever — anyway time is limited, and no one can read everything, and there are lots of things I’d love to read that I know I’ll never have time for. Life is short and books are many. But it does irk me when seemingly reasonable people say “why haven’t naturalists thought about _____?”, when in fact, lots of naturalists have thought about that issue. That’s not to say that it’ll be entirely convincing or plausible — maybe it won’t be.

    But just because there’s an incoherence to the dumbest possible version of the view doesn’t mean that there aren’t more sophisticated versions that might not have that incoherence — and how would you know if you haven’t inquired?

  225. 225
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @

    Ori: I gather that, under naturalism, an ‘organism’ is nothing over and beyond a bunch of elementary particles.

    Sure, if you take the dumbest possible version of naturalism as the only version that there is. I don’t even get exercised about any supposed implications of Rosenberg’s view: his view is internally incoherent. There are very few books I really, passionately hate, but The Atheist’s Guide to Reality is one of them.

    Naturalism does not allow for ontological wholes over and beyond fermions and bosons. Rosenberg understands that fact, ’emergentists’ do not.

  226. 226
    Sandy says:

    But it doesn’t follow that therefore every symbolic system must be the deliberate creation of some intelligent being.

    🙂 Only if you can re(present) any symbolic system without using reason and myself receiving and understanding it without using reason . Should be easy if you are right. Good luck!

  227. 227
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @

    Jblais: … biosemiotics researchers are committed to trying to make sense of coding/symbolism in biology under a naturalistic worldview, that’s precisely why the field was created. But like the valorous naturalists trying to make sense of consciousness or free will, they have failed, they are failing, and they will continue to fail. Their failure is the sad result of their fundamental inability to understand the mental nature of intentionality, and its necessary causal connection to symbolism itself.

    I’d be interested to know what the symptoms of failure are.

    One of those symptoms of failure is that, after everything else has failed, some naturalists have proposed **POOF** *magic* as an ‘explanation’ for consciousness. It’s called ’emergentism’, as in “it *poof* somehow!? emerged
    – – – –
    Another symptom of failure was the attempt to explain consciousness away. E.g. Dennett: “consciousness is an illusion.”

  228. 228
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL, still no interest in responding to

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/yet-another-example-of-how-materialism-blinds-is-proponents/

    I can’t really blame you. Everyone knows you’ve got nothing. Why demonstrate that further by getting involved in a debate you can’t possibly win. Amirite?

  229. 229
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @225

    Naturalism does not allow for ontological wholes over and beyond fermions and bosons. Rosenberg understands that fact, ’emergentists’ do not.

    Rosenberg’s project has three glaring problems — problems so significant that if Rosenberg’s view were the only version of naturalism on the market, no one should be a naturalist.

    1. Rosenberg assumes reductionism and gives no response to the many philosophers of science who have argued against the very possibility of inter-theoretic reduction. A really good anti-reductionist in philosophy of science is John Dupre. In The Disorder of Things he points out that we can’t even reduce Mendelian genetics to molecular genetics. If reductionism is going to fail there, it’s going to fail everywhere else. If anything, anti-reductionism is the majority position among philosophers of science these days. (For contemporary anti-reductionism, I found Beyond Reduction to be pretty good and mostly accessible.)

    2. Rosenberg’s incomplete fundamental physics. Rosenberg takes fundamental physics to be ontologically prior to all other forms of inquiry. But he privileges quantum mechanics and ignores general relativity, which is also a theory of fundamental physics. The fact that our two theories of fundamental physics are logically and ontologically incompatible is (I would say) the one of the major obstacles to an acceptable metaphysical naturalism. Not enough naturalists even try to think about this, but Rosenberg completely ignores this huge problem.

    3. Rosenberg’s cartoonish understanding of quantum mechanics. Rosenberg, with a strong background in neoclassical economics and population genetics, thinks in terms of objects interacting with other objects. But when we get down to the ontology of fundamental physics, we don’t really have objects at all. We have fields, forces, impossibly complicated mathematical structures, n-dimensional topologies, and all sorts of metaphysical weirdness that are quite difficult to understand.

    So: Rosenberg’s project doesn’t justify why everything can be reduced to fundamental physics in the first place, it ignores the central problem in philosophy of fundamental physics, and it relies on a cartoonish version of the fundamental physics that it relies upon.

    Heck, it got negatively reviewed even by Philip Kitcher (author of, among other books, Life After Faith and Science in a Democratic Society).

  230. 230
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @226

    Only if you can re(present) any symbolic system without using reason and myself receiving and understanding it without using reason . Should be easy if you are right. Good luck!

    That can’t be right, since reason is involved in all understanding. What you could have said was, can you describe a symbol system from which reasoning is absent in the implementation of the system, not from understanding.

    @227

    One of those symptoms of failure is that, after everything else has failed, some naturalists have proposed **POOF** *magic* as an ‘explanation’ for consciousness. It’s called ’emergentism’, as in “it *poof* somehow!? emerged”

    This just isn’t true. Emergence is a specific kind of causal process that takes place under specific conditions. It is the opposite of magic (something that takes place without any underlying causal processes that connect the prior and posterior states).
    – – – –

    Another symptom of failure was the attempt to explain consciousness away. E.g. Dennett: “consciousness is an illusion.”

    Dennett never actually said that. His project doesn’t explain consciousness away: it explains how and why consciousness feels the way it does. He does dismiss the hard problem of consciousness, if that’s what you’re getting at. But his arguments against the hard problem of consciousness are difficult to refute, once you take the time to understand them (and hardly anyone can be bothered).

  231. 231
    Alan Fox says:

    Why demonstrate that further by getting involved in a debate you can’t possibly win.

    Exactly, Barry. With your finger on the ban button, nobody is going to win any argument with you at Uncommon Descent. 🙂

  232. 232
    jerry says:

    This just isn’t true

    It is true as you have demonstrated several times in recent weeks.

    You can not point to a single example of anything that has emerged let alone a repeatable one. So isn’t it about time to retire the word.

  233. 233
    Origenes says:

    Another symptom of naturalism’s failure is that, in order to deal with criticism, the term has been redefined to the point that it lost almost all meaning.

    The term “naturalism” has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. … So understood, “naturalism” is not a particularly informative term as applied to contemporary philosophers. [Stanford]

    In contrast to Stanford’s cop-out, Wiki’s definition of naturalism reminds us somewhat of the days of old when a man was a man and a woman a woman.

    In philosophy, naturalism is the idea or belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural ones) operate in the universe.

    Naturalism is the idea that everything is physical, and even when things do not seem to be physical, it is its ambition to show that it can be reduced to the physical, in order to uphold the claim that there is nothing else. IOW reduction to the physical was naturalism’s core ambition from the very outset. But these days you have “non-reductive” physicalists, in the same sense that it is now possible for men to become pregnant and give birth to children of their own.

    On the other side stand “non-reductive” physicalists, who hold that the causal efficacy of special causes will be respected as long as the properties they involve are “realized by” physical properties, even if they are not reductively identified with them. [Stanford]

    This is where we are now. It is no longer necessary for naturalists to explain things like consciousness and rationality with physics, you can be a “non-reductive” physicalist now and pretend that you are making perfect sense.

  234. 234
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @233

    I don’t mean to come as being overly harsh, but it seems to be me that you are conflating two wildly different senses of naturalism, then accusing naturalists of being inconsistent because they aren’t make the mistake that you insist on making.

    It’s one thing to be a naturalist in the sense of “refusing to grant ontological status to anything supernatural”. It’s quite another to be a naturalist in the sense of “insisting that everything that does exist can be explained in terms of fundamental physics.”

    The people who call themselves “non-reductive physicalists” are just those who affirm the first sense of naturalism and deny the second.

    To show that this is inconsistent, one would need an argument that shows that once we reject everything supernatural from our metaphysics, everything else must reduce to fundamental physics.

    I know that Rosenberg takes that view, but as I’ve said numerous times, it’s simply not a valid inference. His version of naturalism is logically fallacious.

  235. 235
    Origenes says:

    What is the definition of ‘supernatural’?

    Supernatural:
    1: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe especially: of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
    2 a: departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
    b: attributed to an invisible agent (such as a ghost or spirit).

  236. 236
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @235

    It certainly would be a disaster to define naturalism in terms of non-supernaturalism and supernaturalism in terms of non-naturalism. I think something like this is more or less right, but I’d be curious to know what you think:

    For all X, X is supernatural if it is not possible to manipulate the causal processes that mediate one’s awareness of X

    I’m not happy with it and would appreciate some criticism here.

  237. 237
    Jblais says:

    @PM1
    “I wonder at this “symbolism implies intentionality.” Is this a necessary truth? Is there an argument for it? Or is just one of those things that supposed to be ‘obvious’?”

    Think about what symbolism means: representing something by something that it is not. A symbol has therefore no deterministic physical causal link to what is represented by definition, it is conventional (arbitrary) and therefore cannot have its source in physical necessity but must be intentional. For example, there is nothing in the sequence of nucleotides AUC that compels it to mean isoleucine (indeed AUA or AUU will do just fine), in the same way that there is nothing that necessitates that the sequence of letters “tree” means a large plant with wooden trunk (in french it is “arbre”).

    Whether you see it as obvious or not I can’t help. In this kind of discussion, one inevitably reach at one point or another the level of what’s called metaphysical intuition. If metaphysical intuitions are not shared, the discussion cannot progress further unfortunately.

  238. 238
    Origenes says:

    @236
    I take it that by manipulation you mean physical manipulation as opposed to how one manipulates one’s thoughts? “Everything that exists is physically manipulable?”
    Many physicists hold the laws of physics to be real, to be out there. Given that, they seem to be “supernatural” under your proposed definition.
    There are also problems with the Merriam-Webster definition.

  239. 239
    Origenes says:

    Jblais@

    What is your take on the sort of naturalism that is mentioned by PM1 in posts #224 #234, and is defined with terms like “non-reductive physicalism” and “emergentism”?

  240. 240
    Jblais says:

    @Origenes

    I need to go and will be away for a few days so I’ll just give a short answer for now:
    I don’t think that either “emergentism” (in the sense of strong emergence) and “non-reductive physicalism” are coherent. They don’t make any sense in my opinion. There both an ill-defined appeal to magic.

    At the end of the day, there is only two options. Either your ontology implies that at bottom, our reality is a mindless and purposeless brute fact, which means that there is no reason and no explanation for anything, or it implies that our reality has a reason and explanation for its existence and this can only be a transcendant mindlike and purposeful intentional creative act. It’s clear to me that the former cannot account for the totally of our reality, which includes intentionality, qualia, subjectivity, free will, creativity, symbolism, morality, etc…, while the latter obviously can, so the latter is the only rational ontology from my point of view.

    Happy New Year

  241. 241
    Origenes says:

    Jblais @240
    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that non-reductive physicalism (strong emergentism) wants to have it both ways. It starts off with the good old barren materialistic ontology (reality is at bottom a mindless and purposeless brute fact), and next it attempts, in an act of total disconnect from its basis, to end up with all sorts of wondrous ‘emerging’ things, like “intentionality, qualia, subjectivity, free will, creativity, symbolism, morality, etc…”. And you are saying that this is incoherent, that the two ontological options you describe are mutually exclusive.
    Here I can only agree.

    Have a good trip and a Happy New Year

  242. 242
    Jblais says:

    @Origenes

    Yes that’s pretty much it !

  243. 243
    JVL says:

    Barry A: JVL, still no interest in responding to

    I did respond. Make sure your brief is complete before making assumptions.

  244. 244
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes,

    There are no laws that compel particles to form organisms and/or code

    The laws obviously allow it but contain no oracles.

    That’s the problem, oracles need to be accounted for.

    KF

  245. 245
    kairosfocus says:

    JB:

    Think about what symbolism means: representing something by something that it is not. A symbol has therefore no deterministic physical causal link to what is represented by definition, it is conventional (arbitrary) and therefore cannot have its source in physical necessity but must be intentional. For example, there is nothing in the sequence of nucleotides AUC that compels it to mean isoleucine (indeed AUA or AUU will do just fine), in the same way that there is nothing that necessitates that the sequence of letters “tree” means a large plant with wooden trunk (in french it is “arbre”).

    Well said.

    KF

  246. 246
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus @ 244

    Ori: There are no laws that compel particles to form organisms and/or code.

    The laws obviously allow it but contain no oracles.

    That’s the problem, oracles need to be accounted for.

    Your term “oracle” (or “original source”) may very well be synonymous to the terms I often use, namely “unity” and/or “whole.” Perhaps the key point is the self-relation of the oracle (unity), which in my view points to self-causation, that is, being an ‘original source.’ A concept that naturalism does not allow for. Surely, only an oracle can explain information—CFSI/O.

    Somewhat as an aside, I hold that your argument that emergentism cannot account for CFSI/O kills it. It may prove difficult to directly rebut the out-of-the-blue claim that consciousness **emerges** out of some physical substrate, but no one buys into the idea that information emerges for free. No one believes that from mindless particles in the void information equivalent to Shakespeare’s Hamlett just ‘emerges’ (*poof*), without explanation. Everyone understands that information doesn’t come for free, that it requires work, hard intelligent work.

  247. 247
    Sandy says:

    Only if you can re(present) any symbolic system without using reason and myself receiving and understanding it without using reason . Should be easy if you are right. Good luck!

    That can’t be right, since reason is involved in all understanding.

    🙂 Tough luck! Reason works only with symbols ,signs and languages and also creates symbols,signs and languages. If we detect such things in our Universe the answer is not ambiguous :Some sort of intelligence did it.

  248. 248
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, my use is rooted in the higher order machine Turing envisioned, the oracle machine. Wiki’s confessions, thumbscrews in sight, are a useful reference:

    In complexity theory and computability theory, an oracle machine is an abstract machine used to study decision problems. It can be visualized as a Turing machine with a black box, called an oracle, which is able to solve certain problems in a single operation. [–> one step, decision that puts the TM on a decided trajectory, by being 1 step it is itself halting and not carrying out a stepwise computation] The problem can be of any complexity class. Even undecidable problems, such as the halting problem, can be used . . . . An oracle machine can be conceived as a Turing machine connected to an oracle. The oracle, in this context, is an entity capable of solving some problem, which for example may be a decision problem or a function problem. The problem does not have to be computable; the oracle is not assumed to be a Turing machine or computer program. The oracle is simply a “black box” that is able to produce a solution for any instance of a given computational problem:

    A decision problem is represented as a set A of natural numbers (or strings). An instance of the problem is an arbitrary natural number (or string). The solution to the instance is “YES” if the number (string) is in the set, and “NO” otherwise.

    A function problem is represented by a function f from natural numbers (or strings) to natural numbers (or strings). An instance of the problem is an input x for f. The solution is the value f(x).

    An oracle machine can perform all of the usual operations of a Turing machine, and can also query the oracle to obtain a solution to any instance of the computational problem for that oracle. For example, if the problem is a decision problem for a set A of natural numbers, the oracle machine supplies the oracle with a natural number, and the oracle responds with “yes” or “no” stating whether that number is an element of A.

    This of course points to the two tier controller cybernetic loop envisioned by Derek Smith, and onward opens up themes such as quantum influence and the self moved, free agent.

    That is a far more fruitful context for thought than poof magic emergence.

    KF

  249. 249
    Origenes says:

    Sandy @ 247

    Reason works only with symbols , signs and languages and also creates symbols, signs and languages. If we detect such things in our Universe the answer is not ambiguous: Some sort of intelligence did it.

    A very profound point.
    Let me see if get this right. Some things can be understood in a non-intelligent context. For instance, in water molecules (H2O), hydrogen covalently bonds with a more electronegative oxygen atom. Arguably, there is no intelligent action going on.
    However, some things can only be understood in terms of intelligence (symbols , signs, language, intentionality), such as the symbol-code-construction system under discussion. If I understand you correctly Sandy, you are saying that things that can only be understood in terms of intelligence, can only be produced by intelligence.
    Food for thought.

  250. 250
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, perhaps, not all reasoning is language and symbol based, some is non verbal and sign or pattern or association based, e.g. some animals seem to work things out at that level, going beyond mere instinct. We may argue that bee dance is an analogue communication system with symbolic analogues: angle to sun, distance to target etc. However, when language, symbols, abstract relationships, logic, logic of being, logic of sufficient reason [including cause], logic of structure and quantity, logic of process etc are present, those are strong signs of intelligently directed configuration. KF

  251. 251
    jerry says:

    We make all sorts of judgments/reasoning based on non language (sign and non verbal behaviors are a language,)

    For example, the direction of debris on the street and in the woods tells us the direction of the wind and intensity last night. Also trackers could tell the animal and time it passed by disturbances in the wild. There is all sorts of other things.

    What is smell and sound and of course touch? All communicate.

    Are they all symbols? Have to define what symbol means.

  252. 252
    Origenes says:

    KF @ Sandy@

    KF: However, when language, symbols, abstract relationships, logic, logic of being, logic of sufficient reason [including cause], logic of structure and quantity, logic of process etc are present, those are strong signs of intelligently directed configuration. KF

    If I understand Sandy correctly, hers is a stronger claim: if something can only be understood in terms connected with intelligence, then the only possible explanation for its existence is intelligence (as opposed to being a “strong sign”). Food for thought, I would say.

  253. 253
    Sandy says:

    Kairosfocus
    Origenes, perhaps, not all reasoning is language and symbol based, some is non verbal and sign or pattern or association based

    🙂 Every thought has a tag/sign/symbol attached that make it “identifiable” by the mind.

  254. 254
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @240

    At the end of the day, there is only two options. Either your ontology implies that at bottom, our reality is a mindless and purposeless brute fact, which means that there is no reason and no explanation for anything, or it implies that our reality has a reason and explanation for its existence and this can only be a transcendant mindlike and purposeful intentional creative act. It’s clear to me that the former cannot account for the totally of our reality, which includes intentionality, qualia, subjectivity, free will, creativity, symbolism, morality, etc…, while the latter obviously can, so the latter is the only rational ontology from my point of view.

    I see the emergence/reduction issue as separate from the question whether the universe is a brute fact or has a rational explanation.

    The question about reduction vs emergence is a question about how “the special sciences” (esp. biology) relate to physics (esp fundamental physics, which is distinct from lots of other disciplines within physics that are not fundamental). I am fully persuaded that the metaphysics of biology should be anti-reductionist, non-mechanistic and process-oriented. The only reason why I am interested in emergentism is because there is no other path forward for unifying biology with physics. Reductionism is a dead-end.

    It would be a separate issue as to whether our commitment to the principle of sufficient reason would allow us to accept the existence of the physical universe as a brute fact.

    Here I think it is important to distinguish between a merely ‘local’ PSR and a global PSR. The local PSR says only, “for any given phenomena, don’t accept it as given but inquire into what explains it”. The global PSR says, “for all phenomena, look for the explanation of everything”. (It would be a quantifier shift to deduce the global from the local, hence logically invalid.)

    Nevertheless I can dimly intuit an argument that would take us from the local PSR to the global PSR. It would exploit the fact that we can raise the PSR at a higher order by asking “given some explanation for a phenomena, why is it the case that these phenomena are intelligible?” That is, what explains the fact of explainability?

    If we refuse to take the intelligibility or explainability of the universe as itself a brute fact, then we need to pose the question, “what explains the fact that the universe is explainable?”

    I do not think that question leads us to a transcendent, personal Creator. Here is why.

    Suppose we were to begin with the conception of God as defined by classical theism as a being of absolutely unlimited power and knowledge. Why would such a being choose to create the physical universe?

    If the act of Creation is itself a mystery, then we must abandon the principle of sufficient reason, and just say that God acts in mysterious ways.

    But if we were to insist on the PSR, and yet concede that it would be a mystery as to why God created the physical universe as something distinct from Himself, then we should accept the following conclusion: He did not create the physical universe as something distinct from Himself. The conclusion is not that God must exist, but that only God exists, and that is why the principle of sufficient reason is a global principle that applies to all possible phenomena: because everything that exists, exists only as an aspect of God.

    As a Spinozist myself, I fully embrace this conclusion.

  255. 255
    Sandy says:

    WJM
    The conclusion is not that God must exist, but that only God exists

    🙂 Your conclusion is that God lie and kill .So…if I got it right you say that is not you, is God’s fault for your wrong actions in this world. Haha!

  256. 256
    Seversky says:

    Couldn’t we say that emergence and reductionism are the same process viewed from opposite directions? “Emergence” is the label we paste over the gap in the causal chain that may exist between the substrate and the emergent property or behavior. Heirarchical reductionism runs into the same gap in our knowledge when trying to explain observed phenomena by tracing the causal chain backwards. We do not have an unbroken chain of causation linking the conscious mind to the physical brain so we call it an emergent property.

    But calling something an emergent property implies that it is emerging from something else. If that property were entirely discontinuous from the precursor, why call it emergent at all? If, on the other hand, “emergence” is just a placeholder for an explanation we do not yet have then it is not in itself an explanation.

  257. 257
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @255

    Your conclusion is that God lie and kill .So…if I got it right you say that is not you, is God’s fault for your wrong actions in this world. Haha!

    Not quite. Spinoza would say that we shouldn’t imagine God as some being distinct from ourselves who controls us like a puppetmaster tugging on a puppet’s strings. Instead, he would say that we must reject the false belief that there are any distinct beings at all.

    In other words, you and I and quasars and quarks — none of us exist as fully separate, distinct beings. We — of all us and everything else — exist only as aspects of the single, unitary, indivisible divine being that is also the universe.

  258. 258
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @256

    I don’t think so. The issue lies in the relation between causation and prediction: if X causes Y, does it follow that having a reliable model of X would allow one to predict that Y would follow from X under specific conditions?

    There’s something promising about how Kaufmann presents the issue: the laws of physics do not entail the emergence of life and subsequent evolution of the biosphere, because the dynamical systems studied by physicists are ergodic and the dynamical systems studied by biologists are non-ergodic.

    But this is neither a gap in the causal order (contra what the critics here insist) nor a violation of the laws of physics.

    An emergentist can agree with a reductionist that the universe is causally closed and they would further agree that nothing in this universe can violate the laws of fundamental physics of this universe (i.e. the laws of quantum mechanics, of general relativity, and of whatever theory succeeds either or both of those).

    Where they disagree is whether the weak claim (“no process in this universe can violate the laws of fundamental physics”) entails the strong claim (“every process in this universe can be predicted from the laws of fundamental physics”).

    A coherently formulated reductionism would be committed to the strong claim. (I do not think that Rosenberg’s naturalism is even coherently formulated.)

  259. 259
    whistler says:

    PyrrhoManiac1
    we shouldn’t imagine God as some being distinct from ourselves

    🙂 Poppycock with Taradiddle and Pretentious nonsense were boating…

  260. 260
    Querius says:

    JVL @189,

    Oh dear, the old ID wheeze.

    Thank you! Adding that to my collection of TrollBot Tropes ™.

    NO ONE thinks that human bodies or even cells were assembled at random

    Hah! Glad you’re admitting that your automobile analogy is crap! I was just trying to fix it up a bit to conform to an evolutionary model of automobiles by a succession of small undirected random genome changes.

    Your clip is over 14 years old now.

    Well, 14 years apparently invalidates the documented discrimination for you, which is still going on.

    So, do you think that racial discrimination, which has persisted for centuries is also invalidated by how old it is, or do your thought processes only proceed on a case-by-case basis?

    Are any pro-ID people doing any of that research? Nope. Let’s try this: can you point to a specific case where a researcher was prevented from researching something because it went against the common paradigm? In one of the above areas would be interesting.

    Wrong again. Here’s a case where a researcher was fired as a result of his investigations:
    https://www.cbsnews.com/losangeles/news/scientist-alleges-csun-fired-him-for-discovery-of-soft-tissue-on-dinosaur-fossil/

    Finding stretchy tissue in “fossilized” dinosaur bones has been known for over 50 years now, but has largely been ignored and occasionally been suppressed:
    https://youtu.be/MqDV_MTQSxg?t=218

    Here’s Mark Armitage’s original 2013 paper for which he was fired:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0065128113000020

    Here’s the result of the lawsuit, including a “smoking gun” email that resulted in a “six-figure” settlement against the university for blatant religious discrimination:
    https://www.godreports.com/2017/08/university-settles-lawsuit-with-scientist-fired-after-he-found-soft-tissue-in-dinosaur-bones/

    Well gosh, I know how vaccines work, that is they prime your immune system to help fight off a pathogen when you get exposed to it. Which means you have a lower viral load when you do get infected. Which means you are less likely to infect someone else and you’re less likely to have severe symptoms. Everyone knows that. IF anyone said otherwise then they were clearly mistaken. But you know all about vaccines so you would never be taken in by someone mis-speaking or shading the truth would you? So, what’s your problem?

    Haha! You don’t have a clue how the COVID-19 mRNA “vaccines” screw up people’s immune system. I know of multiple vaccine injuries among my family, neighbors, and friends, including one death.

    You probably don’t know that . . .

    • In 1976, the swine flu vaccine was withdrawn due to 1 serious event per 100,000 vaccinees.
    • In 1999, the rotavirus vaccine, Rotashield, was withdrawn due to 1-2 serious events per 10,000 vaccinees.
    • The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was NOT withdrawn despite 1 serious event per 800 vaccinees.

    The mRNA debacle was published online in the peer reviewed journal, Vaccine, on August 31, 2022 using the publicly available, original Pfizer and Moderna mRNA trial data upon which their authorization was based.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36055877/

    So, now that I’ve done a bunch of “homework” for you, how about you answering a question from me:

    “Why has COVID-19 largely disappeared from African nations with low mRNA vaccine coverage (~20%), such as Uganda as evidenced from hospital data?”

    -Q

  261. 261
    vividbleau says:

    “IF anyone said otherwise then they were clearly mistaken”

    If I’m not mistaken that would be Biden, Fauci and MSM commentators. Probably Trump as well.

    Vivid

  262. 262
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, Pattee on how physical law can readily become non deterministic:

    [H . . . ]The physical basis of the immense number of forms is a con-
    sequence of the immense number of linear sequences of material units
    that laws cannot distinguish because of their similar energy or similar
    stability
    . This is the genetic memory. Only some form of “frozen acci-
    dent” or higher level selection process affects which memory sequen-
    ces survive over time. Not only are the initial sequences unpredictable,
    but their physical structure appears to be largely arbitrary
    . Natural
    selection is also unpredictable because of its complexity and the inde-
    finite time period over which selection continues to work.

    The most obvious, and I would say the most important, similarities
    of genetic language and human natural, formal, and computer
    languages is their expression by such discrete, linear strings using only
    a small, materially arbitrary alphabet. It is just these properties that
    allow simple and reliable writing, reading, and storage in a memory
    that is lawfully undetermined, and that allows practically unlimited
    information capacity
    .

    K. The consistency with physical laws means that everything is depen-
    dent on the laws — none of biological or mental processes is in-
    consistent with any physical law. However, as you say, this does not
    mean that everything is determined by the laws. 3 The “regions of
    indeterminacy” are supposedly those in which life can establish itself
    and evolve. Is it possible to describe these regions of indeterminacy
    and how they arise?

    H. The inexorable character of physical law is often misunderstood to
    imply determinism. This is not the case. There are innumerable struc-
    tures in the universe that physical laws do not determine.
    [ –>
    High contingency on similar start conditions, so chance, chaos, design] It is also
    important to understand why lawfully indeterminate does not mean
    physically indistinguishable.

    Since all the basic laws of physics are expressed in terms of energy,
    systems with two or more states with the same energy are lawfully
    indeterminate. However, in many cases we can distinguish these states
    by measurements of their initial conditions. These law-equivalent
    states are often called degeneracies or symmetries.

    A common example is chirality, or left and right handedness.
    Chemically, amino acids and proteins can be left or right handed, and
    they cannot be distinguished by the laws that they both obey.
    Nevertheless, most types of biochemicals in living organisms must
    stick with one or the other.

    This is like our driving on one side of the road. Either side would
    work just as well as the other, but we have to choose one for traffic to
    function efficiently. Such symmetry-breaking events that persist for
    structural, functional, or selective reasons are appropriately called
    “frozen accidents”.
    [ –> which, obviously can be by design choice,
    i.e, established convention, thence, symbolisation, language, code etc]

    [A biosemiotic conversation: Between physics and semiotics Howard H. Pattee Kalevi Kull]

    This puts us into a rather special regime for cause, mechanical necessity is off the table, a result can be by blind chance and/or intelligently directed configuration. Where, often, design intentionally conceives, constructs or contrives complex, information rich [ cf Wicken’s wiring diagram concept] systematic configurations of components to achieve function. Text in English, computer code, a dot-dwg CAD file for AutoCAD, a fishing reel, Paley’s time keeping self replicating watch in his Ch 2, an oil refinery, a 747 [now out of production] etc all exemplify this, functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I.

    What is interesting is, this is also seen in the world of life from the cell up.

    Refocussing cause.

    I start from a weak, inquiry form principle of sufficient reason. Consider some A, which is, or is not or may be or may not be or is inevitable in any possible world. We may freely ask, why or why not A, etc, and seek an answer. We find, 2 as something that is, cannot begin, cannot cease, it is necessary once there are distinct possible worlds W distinguishable from neighbours W’ etc. And yes this can be extended to NZQRCR* etc being present in any possible world, lending core math universal power. These are necessary beings.

    By contrast, let A be a possible or actual fire, and yes I am using the same case as Copi. The fire may begin, it may be, it can be sustained through the fire tetrahedron that has heat, oxidiser, fuel, a combustion chain reaction. (Recall, a Fluorine fire will burn bricks etc. Oxidiser is not just oxygen.) A is a possible but not necessary being, it is contingent on antecedent and sustaining conditions.

    We may contemplate two close neighbour worlds W, W’ where in W fire A exists but not in W, this helps us identify causal factors that contribute to or extended may block A.

    This is commonplace, cause is not a strange, dubious notion.

    Next, a further extension. What if W vs W’ was about probability, A is more likely in W than in its neighbour but could become actual in either. Here, cause moves up a level, where what is caused is a probability distribution, not determination that A. A simple case is a fair die where say the 5 is made of magnetic particles, so if a B field is induced, the likelihood of faces shifts, possibly all the way to 1 [the opposite face to 6] is inevitable. Of course we may also set a die to a value by design.

    So, of course, this brings in quantum effects, radioactivity etc.

    Cause is a subtle concept.

    Now, coming back to the notion you have been pushing, strong emergentism.

    As has been highlighted previously, system behaviour depends on parts, orientation, coupling, organisation or architecture, thus interaction. This weak form emergence may surprise us but is due to potentially intelligible interactions. In a simple case Na and Cl ions arrange in a crystal lattice and in solution the ions are surrounded by water molecules. With brine, electrolysis can form bleach, or it may cause deadly Cl2 gases to be given off as has happened with some submarines.

    The interaction gives the properties and the organisation is informational. Not particularly complex for salt, much more so for proteins.

    That is where the issue is, the information to create FSCO/I is not plausibly a result from blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    KF

  263. 263
    hnorman42 says:

    PM1 @254
    In your view, does Spinoza’s philosophy harmonize with ID? My impression is that ID is not obligatory for a follower of Spinoza but there’s definitely some compatibility there.

  264. 264
    Sandy says:

    Randomness can’t produce stability . Language has stability and durability.
    Therefore randomness can’t produce language (because need the quality of stability that is opposite to randomness.)

  265. 265
    Origenes says:

    Sandy @ 253, Kairosfocus @250

    Every thought has a tag/sign/symbol attached that make it “identifiable” by the mind.

    The other day I tried to remember the name of an old school friend, but the name refused to pop up. However, somehow I did know what the name ‘felt’ like, if that makes sense. The name itself was beyond my grasp, but ‘how the name felt like’ was not. BTW a feeling that I cannot put into words.
    Later that day, the old school friend’s name came to me unannounced (how does that work?) and it was in perfect harmony with how I remembered what it felt like earlier that day.

  266. 266
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus @ 262

    With respect to life naturalists sure hate the idea that everything is fully determined by physical laws because that would point to front-loaded intelligent design. So, they desperately want randomness for their ‘explanation’ of life. I see that you quote Pattee’s transparent efforts to get randomness. So far, they do not convince me.

    Since all the basic laws of physics are expressed in terms of energy, systems with two or more states with the same energy are lawfully indeterminate. However, in many cases we can distinguish these states by measurements of their initial conditions. These law-equivalent states are often called degeneracies or symmetries.

    Mr. Pattee, if a system can be in two or more same energy states, what explains that it is in state A and not in state B, if not the laws of physics & prior conditions that brought it into existence?

    A common example is chirality, or left and right handedness. Chemically, amino acids and proteins can be left or right handed, and they cannot be distinguished by the laws that they both obey.

    Perhaps they cannot be distinguished by the laws that they both obey, but does that also go for the laws & prior conditions that brought them into existence?

  267. 267
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @263

    PM1 @254
    In your view, does Spinoza’s philosophy harmonize with ID? My impression is that ID is not obligatory for a follower of Spinoza but there’s definitely some compatibility there.

    I think it would depend entirely on how broadly or narrowly ID is defined, and how strict one is in following Spinoza.

    Spinoza helps inspire a 19th century Naturphilosophie, like Schelling in Germany and Coleridge in England. That movement might seem sympathetic to ID insofar as it insists on an immanent teleology at work in nature that brings about increasingly complex forms of organization: life, mind, and reason.

    That could look ID-friendly insofar as it accepts the reality of teleology and the idea that nature has an immanent spiritual dimension.

    But no Spinozist would accept that God is wholly transcendent with regard to the physical universe, whereas most ID supporters seem to embrace a version of traditional monotheism.

  268. 268
    hnorman42 says:

    I think that the recognition of teleology is common ground between theism and Spinozism. A Spinozist should definitely support teaching the evidence for teleology in schools along with Darwinism.
    Actually, this highlights an interesting point. For those who think it’s dishonest for ID’ers to not identify the designer, there’s a good answer – you don’t want to do an injustice to the Spinozists – or people of similar philosophic persuasion.

  269. 269
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @268

    I think that the recognition of teleology is common ground between theism and Spinozism. A Spinozist should definitely support teaching the evidence for teleology in schools along with Darwinism.

    Perhaps — though this also speaks to the distinction between philosophy and science. To teach Spinozism in schools as philosophy would be one thing, but to teach it as science is something else altogether.

    And Spinoza himself was ruthlessly critical of the belief in teleology, though not all Spinozists have followed him in this regard. (I don’t.)

    Actually, this highlights an interesting point. For those who think it’s dishonest for ID’ers to not identify the designer, there’s a good answer – you don’t want to do an injustice to the Spinozists – or people of similar philosophic persuasion.

    That seems right to me. For one thing, pantheists can hold that there’s an immanent cosmic teleology — that the universe itself ‘evolves’ towards increasingly complexity and that it in some mysterious sense the universe itself is alive and wants to become self-conscious. So a pantheist of that variety could agree with ID that teleology is real and needs to be accounted for, but deny that the source of teleology is something that transcends the universe (i.e. a Creator).

  270. 270
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, randomness will not do, even in combination with mechanical necessity, once we have functionally specific complex Wicken Wiring diagram organisation (so, associated information) beyond 500 – 1,000 bits. And to get a von Neumann self replicator you need 1500 bits. What Pattee has shown is that there are configuration spaces that are not determined by lawlike necessity and so high contingency is compatible with Physics. That is familiar to anyone who has tossed a coin [a two sided die, technically] or a common die of six sides. That opens room for chance hence the hoped for frozen accident. But codes, languages and hardware stores are commonplace evidence of another high contingency source, convention that sets up standards by design. KF

  271. 271
    hnorman42 says:

    Perhaps — though this also speaks to the distinction between philosophy and science. To teach Spinozism in schools as philosophy would be one thing, but to teach it as science is something else altogether.

    I agree that Spinozism should be only taught as philosophy but both Spinozists and theists should be friendly to ID being taught as science.

  272. 272
    Jblais says:

    PM1 @254

    “I see the emergence/reduction issue as separate from the question whether the universe is a brute fact or has a rational explanation… The question about reduction vs emergence is a question about how “the special sciences” (esp. biology) relate to physics (esp fundamental physics, which is distinct from lots of other disciplines within physics that are not fundamental).”
    While the issue of the relationship between the special sciences and physics is an interesting one, there is a much deeper reason why emergence and ontology are related, namely, that the need to invoke emergence only occur in the context of naturalistic ontologies devoid of fundamental mental aspects.

    As for the rest of your post, the sort of ideas you’re proposing are missing the point. What needs to be explained (the empirical datum) is the contingent physical reality we inhabit. It needs to be explained because it cannot be its own explanation, precisely because it is contingent. What is called “the universe” is simply the collection of physical objects we encounter (macroscopic objects, subatomic particles, quantum fields, whatever, in their various states). All those things are contingent and interrelated via a network of cause-and-effect relationships. There is no justification to distinguish between local and global PSR. Either this contingent collection is a brute fact or it has an explanation.
    So there are only two fundamental philosophical questions really:

    1) Why is there a contingent physical reality
    2) Why is this reality the way it is rather than some other way

    Because of its contingent nature, if these two questions have an answer (if reality is not a brute fact), this answer can only be a transcendent source through an intentional purposive (teleological) creative act. Its teleology (final causality), namely to create moral conscious agents with true freedom, autonomy in what they can become and the capacity to share in the transcendental truth, goodness and beauty, obviously explains 2) (e.g. fine tuning, the informational nature of life, etc…).

    While some people (such as yourself if I understand you correctly), have realized the impossibility of explaining this reality (containing minds, meaning, etc…) via a reductionistic materialistic ontology and have instead proposed ontologies with “built-in” mentality like pantheism, panpsychism, various forms of idealism including buddhist and some hindu versions is besides the point. Simply tagging to it an ad hoc fundamental mentality (whether divine in the case of pantheism or mundane in the case of panpsychism or idealism) doesn’t change the contingent nature of our empirical datum. Therefore, the two above questions remain unanswered, and all these “pan-idealistic” philosophies ultimately collapse to a brute fact.

    Moreover, these views are plagued by a much more acute problem of evil than theism. Indeed, if everything IS God (or the universal consciousness or whatever), how can there be any evil, mistakes, errors, alienation etc… ? Thus, in my opinion, not only are these views relying on a brute fact but are ultimately incoherent as well.

  273. 273
    jerry says:

    plagued by a much more acute problem of evil

    There is no problem of evil.

    It is a problem manufactured based on illusions on how a productive existence must actually be. But In any meaningful system there must be trade offs. All trade offs have something not liked. What individuals don’t like about these trade offs is called evil.

    Aside: Are some of the trade offs necessary to cause doubt? Which leads to the question – Could there be a meaningful existence without doubt?

    2) Why is this reality the way it is rather than some other way?

        Is this the best of all possible worlds?

    The only logical answer to this question is – Yes

  274. 274
    whistler says:

    The other day I tried to remember the name of an old school friend, but the name refused to pop up.

    I think you talk about a different “process”. Accessing the database of memory is not the same thing as identifying a thought.

  275. 275
    Jblais says:

    @Jerry
    I fully agree with you, under theism. Under pantheism/panpsychism/idealism though, there is a very acute one.

  276. 276
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus @270

    … randomness will not do, even in combination with mechanical necessity, once we have functionally specific complex Wicken Wiring diagram organisation (so, associated information) beyond 500 – 1,000 bits. And to get a von Neumann self replicator you need 1500 bits.

    Killer argument, I completely agree.
    However, it is amusing to see naturalists like Pattee vehemently arguing against causal closure. It’s rather uncharacteristic for them to do so, right?

  277. 277
    jerry says:

    I fully agree with you, under theism.

    The argument from evil comes up when people question the existence of a benevolent creator, especially the Christian God.

    If there is evil, then how could this all powerful and benevolent God, allow it to happen? Thus, there cannot be an all powerful and benevolent God.

    But if evil does not really exist, this argument disappears. See my comment made a couple days ago.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-reasons-org-why-would-a-good-god-allow-destructive-hurricanes/#comment-772766

  278. 278
    Jblais says:

    @Jerry
    Yes. I agree it’s a pseudoproblem for theists.

  279. 279
    Origenes says:

    Jblais @272

    … the need to invoke emergence only occur in the context of naturalistic ontologies devoid of fundamental mental aspects.

    True. When you find out that certain things cannot be explained by the barren naturalistic ontology, then proceed to do the obvious: reconsider your allegiance to naturalistic ontology. Do not go down the path of irrationality by saying that things cannot be explained, as in “non-reductionism” and/or **POOF** magic (strong emergentism).

    … if everything IS God (or the universal consciousness or whatever), how can there be any evil, mistakes, errors, alienation etc… ? Thus, in my opinion, not only are these views relying on a brute fact but are ultimately incoherent as well.

    I am not sure if I understand your point. Is your concern addressed if it is said that universal consciousness (or whatever) is not perfect?
    Perhaps you are saying that if everything is one thing, then it must be in perfect harmony with itself.
    Another concern would be: if everything is one thing, who am I?

  280. 280
    whistler says:

    Jerry
    If there is evil, then how could this all powerful and benevolent God, allow it to happen? Thus, there cannot be an all powerful and benevolent God.

    But if evil does not really exist, this argument disappears.

    First I thought you are joking but then I realized you really believe such a self-defeating nonsense.

    Jblais
    Yes. I agree it’s a pseudoproblem for theists.

    Jesus came to resolve that “pseudoproblem”.

  281. 281
    Querius says:

    Jblais @272,

    What needs to be explained (the empirical datum) is the contingent physical reality we inhabit. It needs to be explained because it cannot be its own explanation, precisely because it is contingent.

    Nicely articulated!

    Moreover, these views are plagued by a much more acute problem of evil than theism. Indeed, if everything IS God (or the universal consciousness or whatever), how can there be any evil, mistakes, errors, alienation etc… ?

    There seems to be a massive gap between the views you describe and the daily practice and values of those who hold them! On numerous occasions, here people claim that the former and latter are somehow compatible.

    For example, I’ve teased some people here on several occasions on this point. When they argue that abortion is the innate right for a “birthing person” to determine what they do with the fetal tissue of THEIR bodies is their unalienable right, then it’s only LOGICAL that they should be allowed to sell their own fetal tissue for medical experiments and as an exceptionally nourishing source of commercial protein to be distributed to starving populations in exploited parts of the world. Not to mention dog food. They all vigorously deny that the conclusion follows the premise, and that they are not advocates for my “modest proposal.”

    Thus, in my opinion, not only are these views relying on a brute fact but are ultimately incoherent as well.

    Indeed!

    -Q

  282. 282
    vividbleau says:

    Q
    “They all vigorously deny that the conclusion follows the premise, and that they are not advocates for my “modest proposal.”

    Next up the normalization of pedophilia. Notice they are not pedophiles anymore they are “Minor Attracted Persons” To control language is to control thought.

    Vivid

  283. 283
    Jblais says:

    @Origenes

    “I am not sure if I understand your point. Is your concern addressed if it is said that universal consciousness (or whatever) is not perfect?”

    Arguing that the pantheist God or universal consciousness is not perfect could of course alleviate the problem, but at the cost of exacerbating the contingency of the whole construct (why these imperfections rather than others, etc…) and thus makes it even more glaring that it leaves unadressed the two fundamental questions.

    “Perhaps you are saying that if everything is one thing, then it must be in perfect harmony with itself.
    Another concern would be: if everything is one thing, who am I?”

    Indeed, this is the “alienation” aspect I was referring to. Under this kind of monism, the mere possibility of an “I” or “self” that are implied by consciousness is unintelligible and left completely unexplained. For example, buddhists call it an error or an illusion, but never really explain (beyond vague handwaving) why such error is possible in the first place while failing to recognize that consciousness is nothing but the manifestation of subjectivity/selfhood.

  284. 284
    bornagain77 says:

    Origenes at 265 “The other day I tried to remember the name of an old school friend, but the name refused to pop up. ”

    You may enjoy this,

    People who remember every second of their life | 60 Minutes Australia
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpTCZ-hO6iI

  285. 285
    Querius says:

    Vividbleau @282,

    Next up the normalization of pedophilia. Notice they are not pedophiles anymore they are “Minor Attracted Persons” To control language is to control thought.

    Yes, exactly! And anything that doesn’t conform to their mandated language is redefined as “hate speech,” which is now being proposed not to be protected under the First Amendment.

    Hate speech will be broadened to include any speech not in complete compliance with the Current Narrative for this week. Thus, freedom is slavery and slavery is freedom.

    This will all collapse, of course, and the resulting crushing poverty will be attributed to “bad luck” and added to the long list of political systems that apparently weren’t “true socialism.”

    -Q

  286. 286
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @282

    Notice they are not pedophiles anymore they are “Minor Attracted Persons”

    The term “minor attracted persons” was not coined in order to normalize pedophilia; it was coined because in the minds of many people, the word “pedophile” is already synonymous with “sex offender”. The intent behind using the term “minor attracted person” is that people with this affliction will be more likely to seek help if they are less stigmatized. Minor attracted persons generally recognize it would be morally wrong to act on their desires, and consequently experience their own desire as shameful. They can be wracked with intense guilt and can engage in self-harming behaviors. Some of then seek out chemical castration, which can have bad side-effects if not done under medical supervision.

    The phrase has everything to do with helping these people get the help they need, not normalizing the sexual abuse of children.

    To control language is to control thought.

    Language cannot be controlled and the connection between language and thought is not so tight that the control of the former would imply control of the latter.

  287. 287
    vividbleau says:

    PMI
    “The term “minor attracted persons” was not coined in order to normalize pedophilia;”

    Before normalization you start with sympathy then comes normalization and after that shame ing those who object, that’s the playbook. As Q has pointed out part of shaming is to classify something as hate speech, bigotry and the whole list of “phobes”

    Vivid

  288. 288
    whistler says:

    Watch the spin:
    minor attracted persons” is mind control like “methodological naturalism” or “pro-choice people” or “science deniers” or “science is settled” or…”evolution is fact“.

    “minor” ? =”unimportant” this is the first anchor in brain why not “child(underage) attracted persons”
    This are studied first and then launched on the “market”.

  289. 289
    vividbleau says:

    PMI
    “Language cannot be controlled and the connection between language and thought is not so tight that the control of the former would imply control of the latter.”

    You mean like child mutilation redefined as gender affirming care? There is a huge difference between the two and the way people think. Of course to call it what it is , child mutilation instead of gender affirming care puts the former straight into the hate speech camp.

    Vivid

  290. 290
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @272

    While the issue of the relationship between the special sciences and physics is an interesting one, there is a much deeper reason why emergence and ontology are related, namely, that the need to invoke emergence only occur in the context of naturalistic ontologies devoid of fundamental mental aspects.

    I’m afraid I really must disagree.

    Mental states would seem to be absent from a naturalistic ontology only if one were to insist upon physics as the sole basis for constructing a naturalistic ontology in the first place.

    But that move is wholly optional. There is simply no reason why a naturalist must take physics alone as their account of what exists.

    A scientific metaphysics that takes on board biology, psychology, and the other human sciences would have no problem allowing for mental states in its ontology.

    Now, it is true that a naturalistic account of mental states will differ from a non-natural or supernatural account of mental states. But I see no reason why the non-natural account is obviously or clearly the right one — which is to say, the arguments I have encountered thus far purporting to show that mental states cannot be part of the natural world have been question-begging or vacuous.

    I am quite interested in figuring out what exactly a naturalistic account of mental states is (and is not) committed to. Grounding mental states realistically in biology is sufficiently difficult to sustain my interest, and I think that any version of naturalism worth defending would need to take as a premise that biology and physics are very different sciences, e.g. The Dynamical Emergence of Biology From Physics: Branching Causation via Biomolecules.

    This is where my interest connects with the ID movement: the ID movement has been very good at insisting upon the fundamental difference between biology and physics. It has been very good at recognizing that biology is impossible without concepts that have no analog in physics — concepts such as function, purpose, goal, intent, desire, feeling. (The ID movement has less good at recognizing the resurgence of active theorizing about teleology and agency within theoretical biology.)

  291. 291
    Origenes says:

    Bornagain77 @284
    Amazing. Thanks!

  292. 292
    Origenes says:

    JBlais @283

    For example, buddhists call it [consciousness] an error or an illusion, but never really explain (beyond vague handwaving) why such error is possible in the first place while failing to recognize that consciousness is nothing but the manifestation of subjectivity/selfhood.

    This sentence is too difficult for me. I can understand the sentence up till the word “while.”

    For example, buddhists call it [consciousness] an error or an illusion, but never really explain (beyond vague handwaving) why such error is possible in the first place …

    this I can understand. Error or illusion is absurd and, frankly, extremely offensive. I am an error by/to whom? I am an illusion to whom? Who the hell is making these claims? The “universal consciousness”? Why should I care?

  293. 293
    Jblais says:

    @Origenes
    Sorry if I’ve been unclear. What I meant is that buddhist metaphysics treats the “self” as an illusion or error, while considering consciousness as fundamental. This is doubly incoherent because:
    1) not only is the possibility of the self unintelligible under the sort of monism that buddhishm (or any other members of this “pan-idealism” family of ontologies) espouses,
    2) but it is also the necessary precondition of consciousness, the alleged ontological fondation of the whole system (consciousness IS selfhood/subjectivity).

  294. 294
    Querius says:

    PhyrrhoManiac1 @290,

    This is where my interest connects with the ID movement: the ID movement has been very good at insisting upon the fundamental difference between biology and physics. It has been very good at recognizing that biology is impossible without concepts that have no analog in physics — concepts such as function, purpose, goal, intent, desire, feeling. (The ID movement has less good at recognizing the resurgence of active theorizing about teleology and agency within theoretical biology.)

    Sorry, but this a substantial mischaracterization of ID.

    • ID takes the pragmatic position that poorly understood phenomena are more productively studied as if they were intelligently designed. Hence, there’s no presumption that some DNA is “junk” or some organs are “vestigial.”

    • ID takes no position on the source of the intelligent design. It could be Vishnu, space aliens, or the results of an “ancestor simulation.”

    • Anything else is an unwarranted extension or a smear.

    -Q

  295. 295
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, we can take it from your moving on behaviour that you have no cogent answer to several matters above. I note, too, there is a perfectly good word out there for those interested in statutory rape. KF

    PS, language:

    pederasty (?p?d??ræst?) or sometimes paederasty
    n
    homosexual relations between men and boys [–> with particular reference to buggery; which BTW has a public health issue tied to it]
    [C17: from New Latin paederastia, from Greek, from pais boy + erast?s lover, from eran to love]
    ?peder?astic, sometimes ?paeder?astic adj
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

  296. 296
    kairosfocus says:

    Q (attn PM1): ID can be characterised on first an empirically anchored inference to design on tested reliable signs; it extends to a research programme; it has a wider movement of support. It investigates, at core, the question as to whether there are significant cases where intelligently directed configuration can be recognised on empirically observable signs. Questions as to specific means of such contrivance or of identity of causal agent are secondary to this, for good and innocent reasons familiar to any detective. That is, recognising arson on signs is one thing, identifying or demonstrating particular suspects and techniques is another. Where, more broadly, a fruitful understanding of science is, the reverse engineering of nature, rooted in the systems engineering approach. Where, knowledge (focal to science) is not a simple concept/topic. You are right that too often loaded strawman caricatures of ID, its warrants and its purpose as a scientific endeavour are rhetorically set up and knocked over. KF

  297. 297
    vividbleau says:

    For those so inclined pray for Demar Hamlin and family. Bills safety collapsed on the field in tonight’s game. Is it just me it seems to me that a lot of weird stuff is happening to young athletes

    He was given CPR, incubated and is in critical condition

    Vivid

  298. 298
    Querius says:

    Vividbleau @297,

    Oh, no! I’m so sorry to hear that and yes, our family’s prayers are for his life and for his family during this horrible time!

    I agree that there seems to be a big increase lately in unexplained emergencies and deaths. Damar Hamlin’s teammates and many others are praying for him and the game was suspended by the NFL:

    https://news.yahoo.com/bills-hamlin-collapses-field-gets-022157802.html

    -Q

  299. 299
    Origenes says:

    JBlais @293

    2) but it [the self] is also the necessary precondition of consciousness, the alleged ontological foundation of the whole system (consciousness IS selfhood/subjectivity).

    Indeed. Perhaps put differently, observing oneself is constitutive of consciousness/self-awareness.

  300. 300
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @295

    PM1, we can take it from your moving on behaviour that you have no cogent answer to several matters above.

    First, that is a wholly unwarranted inference from the fact that I simply haven’t said anything about the issues you want to talk about.

    Second, I have already said more than once that I categorically reject the whole framing of biology in terms of “FSCO/I “. That framing assumes the conceptual framework taken from engineering (specifically electronic engineering) and communication theory and applies it to biology. I consider that a profound error.

    My critique of ID has nothing to do with theology or politics — it is based entirely about the fact that ID is based upon a complete misunderstanding of the very nature of life itself.

    ID is mostly updated 21st language for Paley’s machine conception of organisms — it just locates Paley’s “intricate contrivances” at the level of subcellular organelles rather than multicellular organs. It’s the same error, just transposed to a different level of organization. But what motivates this error is in part the correct recognition that organisms really are different from machines, because organisms have intrinsic teleology and machines do not.

    I find myself less interested these days in formulating a fully comprehensive metaphysical naturalism and much more interested in the ontology of life — what makes something alive, a living being, an organism? But to that end, I find the notion of “FSCO/I” simply useless and therefore uninteresting.

    @293

    What I meant is that buddhist metaphysics treats the “self” as an illusion or error, while considering consciousness as fundamental. This is doubly incoherent because:
    1) not only is the possibility of the self unintelligible under the sort of monism that buddhishm (or any other members of this “pan-idealism” family of ontologies) espouses,

    I find this quite puzzling. To my knowledge, Mahayana Buddhism (of which I am only familiar with Nagarjuna and Dharmakirti) is not a “monism” or “pan-idealism”. To put their central idea in a Western idiom, what they deny is the existence of substance, what Aristotle called ousia: that which has independent existence. They teach that the the source of suffering is the craving for permanence, including the permanence that the Brahmins attach to the self or soul (that which reincarnates from life to life).

    2) but it is also the necessary precondition of consciousness, the alleged ontological fondation of the whole system (consciousness IS selfhood/subjectivity).

    The identity of consciousness and self-hood is precisely what Buddhists reject. Chandrakirti gives several arguments purporting to show that this identity leads to absurd paradoxes, and the practice of mindful meditation is designed to scaffold practitioners up into the direct experience of the non-existence of self. (Or as Buddhists like to say, self is conventionally real but not ultimately real.)

  301. 301
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, first, you made accusations of conspiracy theories, in a context further associated with antisemitism, specifically that claims regarding culture form marxism and derivative critical theories are conspiracy theories. I took time to cite literature to show there is such a bird, commonly seen in the academy and now beyond it. I suggest, given the gravity of the antisemitic implication, this is slander to be walked back. As for Orgel-Wicken functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, simply to object you added another case to the trillions showing its reliably known cause. In terms of biology, your rejection is irrelevant to the widely known facts of information in D/RNA, protein and enzymes as a subsets, the cellular metabolic process-flow network, many organelles in the cell, then the complexities involved in origin and expression of major body plans. FSCO/I is real for the world of life, it is known to reliably come from design, poof magic emergence cannot, does not account for it with any good observational base. Living beings are far beyond mere mechanisms but they enfold mechanisms and it is entirely in order to point that fairly obvious fact out — e.g. your elbow has a hinge, your femur fits into a ball-socket joint, your eye has a light proof box, an adaptive optics lens, an aperture control iris, a detection array, a neural network processing system (and may be corrected with lenses . . .), colour vision uses a blend of frequency band detecting sensors, your ear has a complex conical apparatus that helps with wave impedance matching, it has a three bone mechanical leverage amplifier, it has a coiled wave guide lined with an array of sensors with position tied to frequency so it performs in effect a fast mechanical fourier transform, and much more. So, using the physics, information processing and chemistry of these aspects of our bodies is entirely in order to address relevant matters. Refusal to accept this, only further confirms want of a cogent argument. KF

  302. 302
    Origenes says:

    PM1@ 300

    I find the notion of “FSCO/I” simply useless and therefore uninteresting.

    The ubiquitous presence of FSCO/I in biology is a brute fact and your position cannot explain it. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to ignore it, simply because it is not a complete explanation of organisms or for any other reason you may think of. Your attempts to do so are completely irrational.

  303. 303
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @302

    The ubiquitous presence of FSCO/I in biology is a brute fact

    Then why is it that only ID theorists ever talk about it?

  304. 304
    Jblais says:

    @300
    “The identity of consciousness and self-hood is precisely what Buddhists reject. Chandrakirti gives several arguments purporting to show that this identity leads to absurd paradoxes, and the practice of mindful meditation is designed to scaffold practitioners up into the direct experience of the non-existence of self. (Or as Buddhists like to say, self is conventionally real but not ultimately real.)”

    Yes I know, and that’s complete incoherent nonsense. The arguments are bad and the view is (no pun intended) self-refuting… If the self is not real, who is gonna “directly experience the non-existence of self” ?… No experiencer, no experience, period.

  305. 305
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @303

    Ori: The ubiquitous presence of FSCO/I in biology is a brute fact.

    Then why is it that only ID theorists ever talk about it?

    “Only ID theorists?” Seriously? What do you think Dawkins’ “METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL” was about?

    I don’t know who it was first pointed out that, given enough time, a monkey bashing away at random on a typewriter could produce all the works of Shakespeare. The operative phrase is, of course, given enough time. Let us limit the task facing our monkey somewhat. Suppose that he has to produce, not the complete works of Shakespeare but just the short sentence ‘Methinks it is like a weasel’, and we shall make it relatively easy by giving him a typewriter with a restricted keyboard, one with just the 26 (capital) letters, and a space bar. How long will he take to write this one little sentence?

    Surely, explaining the information in biology is not just for ID theorists.

  306. 306
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @301,

    . . . .your rejection is irrelevant to the widely known facts of information in D/RNA, protein and enzymes as a subsets, the cellular metabolic process-flow network, many organelles in the cell, then the complexities involved in origin and expression of major body plans. FSCO/I is real for the world of life, it is known to reliably come from design, poof magic emergence cannot, does not account for it with any good observational base.

    What PyrrhoManiac1 does is first assume that biological life must of necessity derive naturally and automatically from non-living elements and processes that create information ex nihilo. This is the basis for his critique of ID.

    Unfortunately for PyrrhoManiac1, the ID model actually works in exposing hidden functionality such as later found in what was originally presumed to be “junk” DNA and “vestigial” organs.

    ID functions on the basis of pragmatism while Darwinism functions on the basis of ideology (as demonstrated by its repeated failures to predict anything successfully, hence all the “surprises” and “rewrites” we encounter every month).

    What PyrrhoManiac1 needs to accept is that all science is based on pragmatic MODELS that should never be confused with REALITY. For example, the Standard Model in physics is recognized in physics as simply a model. It will remain as long as it’s useful. The persistent coexistence of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity with Quantum Mechanics is due to their pragmatic success in their domains even though they’re incompatible due to the failure of anyone to come up with a Grand Unified Field Theory.

    This is how science works when there’s no irrational allegiance to some underlying ideology or religious belief.

    -Q

  307. 307
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @305

    “Only ID theorists?” Seriously? What do you think Dawkins’ “METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL” was about?

    Dawkins beings with an approach to evolutionary theory that I consider entirely misbegotten and communicates it in a style that so condescending as to be genuinely offensive. There is no living science writer for whom I have more contempt.

  308. 308
    Origenes says:

    PM1@ 307

    Your personal animosity toward Dawkins is irrelevant here. Information in biology must be explained. What do you think all the talk about random mutations is about? Stop pretending that it is an ID thing only.

  309. 309
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @307

    Oh, I’m not denying that information is a crucially important concept for biology. I’m denying that “FSCO/I” is a helpful way of conceptualizing it. For one thing, Kairosfocus describes FSCO/I in terms of bits. But bits are only good for describing information as Shannon did, in terms of communication, and specifically, how to compare different messages in order to determine if they are the same or different. Shannon’s communication theory tells us nothing about what the information is about or what it means.

    More generally, Dawkins and Dembski commit the same error: they treat DNA sequences as if they were intrinsically meaningful. Dembski is just more consistent and less self-contradictory than Dawkins. Neither of them realize, as Pattee and Deacon do realize, that there’s no such thing as intrinsically meaningful information. Meaning requires an interpreting system.

    This is why my whole complaint about Kairosfocus is that he takes genetic sequences as having the free-standing meaning that algorithms have, prior to being read or implemented: a gene “means” a protein only in the context of a living cell that is actively keeping itself at far from equilibrium with its environment.

  310. 310
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1,

    pardon, but you are personalising and polarising, rather than dealing with objective facts that are readily accessible; which should be your proper focus (regrettably, rather like Dave Farina in his acrimonious attacks on Dr Tour).

    First, functionally specific organisation is a commonplace readily observable — so objective — phenomenon, including your texts above, the glasses you may be wearing, the computer or phone you may be using, your watch, your car, its engine, even nuts and bolts, etc. The same phenomenon is also present in biology, and it is present to high degrees of complexity that can be measured in information units; using compact description languages, cf. AutoCAD etc. In some cases, it is explicitly informational in the general world and in the world of life.

    (For convenience, I will shortly exhibit clips from Orgel and Wicken who noted on this across the 70’s, in recent years Yockey modelled protein synthesis using an extension of the classic communication system model.).

    Let me again highlight the cases I listed yesterday, let me extend the list more explicitly:

    [KF, 301:] “to the widely known facts of

    [1] information in D/RNA, protein and enzymes as a subsets,
    [2] the cellular metabolic process-flow network,
    [3] many organelles in the cell [ponder, the ribosome], then
    [4] the complexities involved in origin and expression of major body plans . . .
    [5] your elbow has a hinge,
    [6] your femur fits into a ball-socket joint,
    [7] your eye has a light proof box,
    [9] an adaptive optics lens,
    [10] an aperture control iris,
    [11] a detection array,
    [12] a neural network processing system
    [13] (and may be corrected with lenses . . .),
    [14] colour vision uses a blend of frequency band detecting sensors,
    [15] your ear has a complex conical apparatus that helps with wave impedance matching,
    [16] it has a three bone mechanical leverage amplifier,
    [17] it has a coiled wave guide lined with an array of sensors with position tied to frequency so
    [18] it performs in effect a fast mechanical fourier transform, and
    [19] [I add, a favourite example of Wallace, co-founder of modern evolutionary theory, flight feathers and the wings of a bird]
    [xth] much more.”

    The ellipsis: “FSCO/I is real for the world of life, it is known to reliably come from design, poof magic emergence cannot, does not account for it with any good observational base. Living beings are far beyond mere mechanisms but they enfold mechanisms and it is entirely in order to point that fairly obvious fact out — e.g.” Notice, “Living beings are far beyond mere mechanisms but they enfold mechanisms.”

    I will next cite Orgel and Wicken,

    KF

    PS: First, Orgel, 1973:

    living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:]

    These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure.

    [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant J S Wicken “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here,

    here and

    here

    — (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).]

    One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions.  [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes [–> Orgel had high hopes for what Chem evo and body-plan evo could do by way of info generation beyond the FSCO/I threshold, 500 – 1,000 bits.] [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196.]

    Wicken:

    ‘Organized’systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions and/or repetitive stepwise procedures] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [ –> originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    These two remarks are the obvious and actual source of my descriptive phrase and its abbreviation. At first, I spoke of FSCI, then as I further discussed, I found that functional organisation as of right should also be expanded.

    The point is, we here show history of ideas and are able to directly, readily point to easily accessible biological cases. So much so that when in another context I needed to discuss cameras at first technical level involving the notorious f-stop, the three comparatives are the pinhole camera, the lensed camera obscura . . . BTW, there is a plausible case Vermeer used such an apparatus . . . and what is sometimes called the camera eye. And yes, for the first time in decades, I built a pinhole camera, to develop an educational exercise, using a short potato crisps can and my now 40+ year old Swiss Army Knife’s awl.

  311. 311
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, Bits are a natural metric of information and stretch far beyond Shannon’s use as a metric of information carrying capacity. Following Orgel, we can exploit Kolmogorov-Chaitin measures of algorithmic complexity and recognise the difference between a case where random bits would have minimal redundancy and one where functionally specific organised patterns of bits (or reducible to bits) can be distinguished from noise — signal to noise ratio is a key quantity in communication and implies a design inference on signs of message vs noise — and can be measured, routinely. Such messages of course appear in D/RNA as stored coded algorithms giving instructions for the assembly of proteins. There are even reports of a high art familiar from the days of 8-bit microprocessors and expensive memory, interwoven code. The protein assembly code, notoriously runs like “start-load methionine, extend with AAs x1, X2, . . . Xn, stop” [there being three stop codons]. This is code, it is machine readable code, it is in the imperative instruction paradigm, it is goal directed, it is stepwise, it is finite, it halts. Code is inherently symbolic and linguistic, algorithms are goal directed chains of steps that are finite and halt. These may not be welcome, but they are objective. And, DNA sequences take meaning from their context and imposition of conventions, the rules of the code, what goes beyond Pattee’s frozen accidents. Where, it is not just Dembski or Dawkins you must address but a consensus since Crick. Lehninger, whose textbook is epochal, with his heirs:

    “The information in DNA is encoded in its linear (one-dimensional) sequence of deoxyribonucleotide subunits . . . . A linear sequence of deoxyribonucleotides in DNA codes (through an intermediary, RNA) for the production of a protein with a corresponding linear sequence of amino acids . . . Although the final shape of the folded protein is dictated by its amino acid sequence, the folding of many proteins is aided by “molecular chaperones” . . . The precise three-dimensional structure, or native conformation, of the protein is crucial to its function.” [Principles of Biochemistry, 8th Edn, 2021, pp 194 – 5. Now authored by Nelson, Cox et al, Lehninger having passed on in 1986. Attempts to rhetorically pretend on claimed superior knowledge of Biochemistry, that D/RNA does not contain coded information expressing algorithms using string data structures, collapse. We now have to address the implications of language, goal directed stepwise processes and underlying sophisticated polymer chemistry and molecular nanotech in the heart of cellular metabolism and replication.]

    See https://uncommondescent.com/darwinist-debaterhetorical-tactics/protein-synthesis-what-frequent-objector-af-cannot-acknowledge/

  312. 312
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Algorithms have no free standing meaning. They all exist in contexts of computational challenges involving a process logic problem. They have to specify start, onward and stop processes that successively address the problem while being finite and halting and involve symbolic, linguistic and/or graphical representation. They embed conventions and there must be relevant computational devices, including numerically controlled machines. The Ribosome is such. You have again set up and knocked over a strawman. In particular your projection that Dembski, Dawkins and I are unaware of the need for an interpretation system is grossly wrong and a strawman, what do you think symbols, codes, conventions, execution machines, computational devices [Turing Machines being a classic yardstick] etc are about. It seems, frankly, that you are predetermined to object and dismiss so are composing handy targets that bear only passing resemblance to reality. KF

  313. 313
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus @ PM1 @

    KF, thank you for your excellent reply to PM1. Even if we were to accept *emergence* as a valid concept, it utterly fails to explain the specified complexity we observe in biology and elsewhere. Surely, complex functionally specific information/organization is an objective phenomenon. PM1’s attempts to avoid the issue are as laughable as the nonsense he is spouting about Dawkins and Dembski.

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