Back to Basics of ID Complex Specified Information Darwinist rhetorical tactics Functionally Specified Complex Information & Organization ID Foundations Intelligent Design

BTB, Q: Where does the FSCO/I concept come from? (Is it reasonable/ credible?)

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A: One of the old sayings of WW II era bomber pilots was that flak gets heaviest over a sensitive target. So, when something as intuitively obvious and easily demonstrated as configuration-based, functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated (explicit or implicit) information — FSCO/I — becomes a focus for objections, that is an implicit sign of its central importance and potential impact on the prevailing a priori materialism school of thought. So, it is appropriate to pause, headline and note for record its source in the works of Orgel, Wicken and Thaxton et al (where Dembski’s link to CSI is also important, cf here from a few days ago; as is the metric approach by Trevors, Abel, Durston Chiu et al, cf. this 2007 paper).

So, let’s start with noted OoL researcher, J. S. Wicken, in 1979, who brought the ingredients together in an article in the peer reviewed literature — and yes, this is before there was an ID movement (indeed this helped spark its emergence):

>>‘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 therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ [–> specification] with a high information content [–> chain of y/n q’s in some structured description language to specify nodes- and- arcs mesh towards function based on the configured elements interacting to give a systems level synergistic effect] . . . 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.)]>>

This is already enough to be decisive.

We have here all the elements of FSCO/I, only requiring setting up an acronym. And, in the peer-reviewed literature. With the wiring diagram reference already pointing to the world of technology to indicate just how pervasive and familiar this phenomenon is. Further to this, obviously, a

s-t-r-i-n-g-_-o-f-_-g-l-y-p-h-s-_-e-x-p-r-e-s-s-i-n-g-_-a-_-c-o-d-e-d-_-m-e-s-s-a-g-e

. . . is an instantiation of the wiring diagram based, element by element assembled nodes-arcs mesh.

This instantly means texts of original posts, comments (including those composed to object to the FSCO/I concept) and D/RNA alike, are manifestations of the same phenomenon, FSCO/I. Here, let us behold the ribosome in action as compared to FSCO/I in a PC-based punched tape reader:

fscoi_factsAnd again:

Fig I.0: DNA as a stored code exhibiting functionally specific complex digital information (HT: NIH)
Fig I.0: DNA as a stored code exhibiting functionally specific complex digital information (HT: NIH)

Where also, just for fun, let’s look yet again at the good old 6500 C3 CT Mag fishing reel, showing the wiring diagram, nodes-arcs pattern that is patently informational:

abu_6500c3mag

Back in 1973, Orgel went on record, too:

>>. . . In brief, 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 “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 [–> of course, that novel FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits can be formed by even evolutionary processes is the precise issue at stake . . . the search space based and empirical observation answer is, no, incremental evolutionary change is within an island of function, not something that is observed to give rise to a novel body plan. And this holds with redoubled force for the OoL; hence the design theory movement].

[The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196. Of course, that immediately highlights OOL, where the required self-replicating entity is part of what has to be explained (cf. Paley here), a notorious conundrum for advocates of evolutionary materialism; one, that has led to mutual ruin documented by Shapiro and Orgel between metabolism first and genes first schools of thought, cf here. Behe would go on to point out that irreducibly complex structures are not credibly formed by incremental evolutionary processes and Menuge et al would bring up serious issues for the suggested exaptation alternative, cf. his challenges C1 – 5 in the just linked. Finally, Dembski highlights that CSI comes in deeply isolated islands T in much larger configuration spaces W, for biological systems functional islands. That puts up serious questions for origin of dozens of body plans reasonably requiring some 10 – 100+ mn bases of fresh genetic information to account for cell types, tissues, organs and multiple coherently integrated systems. Wicken’s remarks a few years later as already were cited now take on fuller force in light of the further points from Orgel at pp. 190 and 196 . . . ]>>

No surprise then, that Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen, in the first technical ID book, The Mystery of Life’s Origin [TMLO], would summarise the state of play c. 1981 – 84:

>>Yockey7 and Wickens5 [sic] develop the same distinction, that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity. In short, the redundant order of crystals cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future. [–> save as dismissive rhetoric, of course] [TMLO, Thaxton et al [TBO], (Dallas, TX: Lewis & Stanley, 1984), p.130. ]>>

(This passage is in fact the specific source of my abbreviation- for- convenience; in response to Patrick May et al, Dr Torley, a medical doctor active at Loma Linda whose name escapes me at the moment [U/D, 111:12 loc: Paul Giem] and I constructed a simplified metric approach that in the end is linked to the Dembski metric via a log reduction that converts to the information form, as appears in an infographic above. The Durston et al approach can be fed into that simple metric, as is shown.)

So, we can see for the record just where the abbreviation FSCO/I comes from, and that as such it does not need any grand elaboration in the literature, as the relevant underlying analysis is there in increasing abundance.

Instead of a secondary and in the end distractive debate over credibility or otherwise of terminology . . . here, an acrostic summary of a descriptive phrase, let us re-focus on the substantial issues. END

63 Replies to “BTB, Q: Where does the FSCO/I concept come from? (Is it reasonable/ credible?)

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Where does KF’s “FSCO/I” terminology come from? Is it reasonable? What about related ones such as FSCI, dFSCI, FCSI etc?

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    Silly Germans. They should have concentrated the flak in areas of absolutely no relevance to the war effort. 🙂

  3. 3
    rvb8 says:

    So chrystals and snowflakes have ‘complexity’ but no ‘specificity’? And if crystals lack ‘complexity’ because they are repeated molecules, can they gain, develop, evolve, complexity?

    You are saying some things are plainly designed because they have, ‘complexity’ and ‘specificity’? You, that is Kairos, have taken Dembski’s CSI and invented a new acronym FSCO/I, to what end exactly? To convince whom exactly?

    Design detection appears to be your goal, and what happens when you detect design? Will you use the eternal science stopper; ‘no need for further investigation, the designer has left Her/His/Its undeniable mark’?

    At some point you must realise no one, but us here, are paying attention. Being noticed, and being popular are two massive motivations that Darwin realised are central to compitition, survival, and evolution.

    Thank you for proving our case!

    You waste a lot of ink repeating the same thing, and each time you expect a different outcome? This is the defintion of something that escapes me at the moment.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    rvb8:

    So chrystals and snowflakes have ‘complexity’ but no ‘specificity’? And if crystals lack ‘complexity’ because they are repeated molecules, can they gain, develop, evolve, complexity?

    Make up your mind. Please.

  5. 5
    rvb8 says:

    Sorry Mung,

    but after these posts on CSI (no where recognized) and FSCO/I (no where recognized) I do get confused.

    A snow flake has ‘complexity’ but not ‘specificity’, right? But Orgel said,

    ‘The crystal fails as living because they lack complexity; the lines of polymers fail because they lack specificity.’

    Now I don’t want to get in a definition war here but some clarity would be nice. If, as Orgel (Is this the Orgel who said; ‘Evolution is cleverer than you are’?)says the crystal is not complex, what is? I thought Dembski said the crystal and snowflakes are both complex but lack specificity.

    If there is no agreement in ID as to what is ‘complex’, and what is ‘specified’ what chance a rank pleb, like myself?

    P.S. This is Leslie Orgel, right? The English chemist who coined, ‘specified complexity’? He’s no friend of ID you know?

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8,

    Please, first note carefully just who is speaking, why.

    It is the late Leslie Orgel, noted OoL researcher, pioneering discussion of what marks out life and its chemistry etc from the sort of phenomena that would go on in a Darwin warm pond or comet core or hydrothermal vent or whatever prebiotic zone, c 1973. (And yes, the book is literally next to me as I type.)

    Orgel is trying to clarify the ways in which the organisation of life differs from randomness and order. Along the way he contrasts the complexity of randomness [resistance to compressed description], the simplicity of repetitive, periodic order [easily compressed: set out unit cell, repeat n times], and what six years later Wicken would describe as the wiring diagram, step by step, functionally constrained, information-rich organisation that marks out living cells and the like.

    In more recent years, Abel, Trevors, Durston et al have spoken in terms of orderly, random and functional sequence complexity and have developed metrics in terms of functional bits. Where, it is fairly easy to show that discussion on string sequences is WLOG.

    So, if anything, your quarrel is with leading OoL researchers with world class reputations writing literally over a decade before there was any significant ID movement, not with some random easily dismissed ID-iot off in cyberspace.

    In short, CSI and FSCO/I etc — these are abbreviations for descriptive phrases, and I showed what you refuse to acknowledge, the concepts being described were present in 1973 to 1979 in Orgel and Wicken — come out of the first task of science: to accurately and substantially describe key features of the empirical world. Orgel and others were doing that on the cusp of the molecular biology revolution 40 years ago, and they had in the back of their mind statistical thermodynamics and information considerations. (Indeed, I can see echoes of where Orgel is fighting hard to simplify without becoming simplistic, to understand, communicate and discuss. For instance, the entropy of a system can be seen in terms of the amount of info about its typical microstates uncommunicated by a description in terms of macro-state variables. Where, with living systems that pivot on molecular nanotech, we are probing ever deeper into the micro scale and are finding advanced info tech talking back to us. Which then reflects back as macro-observable, state confining behaviour. So it becomes necessary to understand the difference between randomness [complex but not specific]. order [algorithmically highly compressible so short description length and low info], and organised [wiring diagram guided step by step assembly, highly informational and complex, but not effectively incompressible algorithmically].)

    That is where we need to go back to, if we are going to soundly describe, explain, understand so we can predict and influence.

    And, as I have pointed out, down this road lies an industrial civilisation reboot based on the von Neumann kinematic self replicator and universal constructor. Development transformation and beyond solar system colonisation beckon to us.

    That is the magnitude of what is lurking behind these debates and rhetorical confusion is no aid to clarity.

    Nonsense about science stopping becomes particularly fallacious given that a part of the discussion across these threads has been precisely that reverse engineering life (and perhaps the cosmos’ design!) is a vast and ongoing challenge. As Sheldon put it — but was obviously not taken seriously — detecting design is just the easy step, understanding the role of info in the architecture of life (and the cosmos by extension to ID’s other domain), is where the major task begins, once blinding materialism has been removed. And I have been pointing to the issue of industrial transformation long since.

    As for the probative value of a telling admission against interest, it seems this is discarded at convenience.

    Yet another barbed fallacious dismissive talking point agenda is exposed for what it is.

    Time for rethinking.

    KF

  7. 7
    gpuccio says:

    rvb8:

    It’s really very simple, but you will never admit it.

    The concept is simply:

    complexity tied to the implementation of a function

    So, let’s say that we use as specification a well defined function F. And let’s say that we verify that, in order to implement that function, we need at least 2000 bits of specific information. Then the function is complex, because it requires at least 2000 bits of specific information (which is well beyond any proposed threshold of complexity to detect design).

    Therefore, if we find an object which can implement the function, because its configuration includes those 2000 bits, we infer design for that object.

    This kind of inference is supported by all that we can observe, and has never been falsified, in any case.

    It’s as simple as that.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    GP, I would add, that the function emerges from being in one of a cluster of related configurations of interacting parts; which is where the info comes in. KF

  9. 9
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio,
    Your clear explanation of functional specified complex information is understandable to anyone who desires to understand it, but it’s difficult to understand for anybody who is not interested in the subject.
    I have relatives and friends who wouldn’t even try to understand such a relatively simple concept, because they just don’t care about it. Hence to them it doesn’t make sense.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    rvb8 @ 5

    Sorry Mung,

    but after these posts on CSI (no where recognized) and FSCO/I (no where recognized) I do get confused.

    You are not alone. On October 6, 2009 UD published an OP by William Dembski entitled “Jeff Shallit — leveling the charge of incompetence incompetently”. You can Google it. In that article, Dembski mentions that Seth Lloyd, professor of mechanical engineering and physics at MIT, had compiled a list of upwards of forty definitions if complexity and information at that time. He admitted that there was probably some duplication but it was obvious that these were not simple, agreed, unitary concepts. Unless the definitions of these terms are clearly defined and agreed in advance any discussions are bound to be prone to ambiguity and equivocation.

    There is also the common assumption here – and elsewhere – that information, whatever that might be, is a property of the physical universe rather than – as I believe – being a property of the mental model or simulation of that external reality in which we live our daily lives.

    As an example, consider the red car I can see in the parking-lot. The color of that car is information I have about it. Yet physics tells us that what we see as red is just one wavelength or narrow band of wavelengths from the visible spectrum, no different, apart from the wavelength, from any other wavelength in the EM spectrum. In other words, the “redness” I experience is the way that wavelength of reflected EM energy is represented in my mental model. That information is a property of the model not the car itself.

    If you are interested, there is a paper called “A deflationary account of information in biology.” by philosopher of science John S Wilkins which discusses the problems with the concept of information as a property of living things. It can be downloaded as a .pdf file here.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev,

    You have posted a comment comprising a few thousand bits worth of ASCII characters. Is this informational, and is that metric in bits a mere figment of imagination?

    What then does the bitwise capacity of a file mean, and what does the bit rate for transfer of information mean?

    Yes, there are all sorts of views on information, complexity, function dependent on specific arrangement and interaction of parts, and more.

    That diversity does not change the reality that these things are observable and subject to reasonable metrics. Where, even length and volume are subject to different metrics.

    Nor does this change the force of the point GP just underscored: once we go past 500 – 1,000 bits of info, FSCO/I is — with trillions of cases observed — reliably produced by intelligently directed configuration.

    Nor, that search challenge is a highly relevant explanation for that.

    As for trying to dismiss information in biology, including coded information, I simply draw your attention to DNA, RNA, the ribosome and protein synthesis. Including, the genetic code.

    While you are at it, cf. a punched paper tape reader and the reading of mRNA in a Ribosome.

    KF

  12. 12
    REW says:

    The cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 protein is vitally important for producing energy in all living things. Its a chain of 513 amino acids. The odds of getting this sequence by luck from randomly hooking together amino acids is about 1 in 10^667 – therefore it couldn’t have evolved. Isn’t the argument for FSCO/I just an elaboration of this same argument.

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    REW @12:

    That’s an interesting question.

    Is the complexity of that protein which has such an important function in the biological systems associated with the current topic? Most probable it is.

    However, isn’t that just the tip of the iceberg?

    What about the signaling pathways and regulatory networks associated with the production of such a protein in the right location at the right time and in the required amount?

    Is that part of the ‘big picture’ functional specified complexity too?

    What about the mechanisms underlying the actual use of the given protein in combination with other proteins within the appropriate context?

    Should these things be considered in the whole informational enchilada too?

  14. 14
    rvb8 says:

    Dionisio,

    “That’s an interesting question.”

    Agreed! And after REW explains the improbabilit of evolution to create such complex pathways you volunteer other (irreducible?) systems I suppose you believe knock Evolution on its arse.

    What I do know is that all of these systems are keenly researched. The scientists who do this universally disagree with your attempted road blocking.

    Ask the scientists (a few religious) their opinion on the matter and the answer would dissapoint you. Just ask the ones from ‘Project Steve’.

    Pointing to a system (immune system for example) and saying it points to a designer is not helpful. When Behe denied major work on the immune system at Dover he was surrounded by a mountain of published work, and texts, all explaining possible evolutionary pathways.

  15. 15
    Marfin says:

    rvb8- You are saying that if the majority of scientist say something then that must be right , and how dare anyone disagree with them , that is the most unscientific thing I have ever heard.
    Please check out Ignaz Semmelweis and get back to me just to see if he or the majority of scientists who opposed his ideas were right .

  16. 16
    Marfin says:

    rvb8- And another thing Ireland 40 New Zealand 29 And everyone said the all Blacks would win

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8,

    you have put cart before donkey.

    Remember, cell based life, involving things like

    –> ribosomes as molecular nanotech protein assemblers

    –> the DNA-mRNA NC controlled code based production of proteins in same

    –> ATP synthase and the pervasive ATP/ADP energy battery system (integrated with the above)

    –> all wrapped up in a vNSR facility-using automaton

    –> In a cosmos at a fine tuned, deeply isolated operating point that enables C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life

    –> and much more

    . . . is the architecture of life we have to address.

    This involves FSCO/I in huge quantity. So, particular examples must be understood as illustrative cases against a wider context. One, where just the genome scope for first cell based life is of order 100 – 1,000 k bases, two to three orders of magnitude beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold that points reliably to design (on a trillion-member observation base backed up by search challenge analysis).

    In short, you have to start from the root of the tree of life model, in a Darwin’s warm little pond, or a hydrothermal vent or a gas giant moon or a comet core or some other such pre-biotic, OOL scenario. That is, the first pivotal matter to be explained is not (a) oh, we can extrapolate micro-adaptations within a body-plan level island of function and fudge OoL issues (Darwin’s rhetorical strategy). But instead, (b) we have to credibly get to the cellular architecture of life with its FSCO/I rich context, thus to body plans starting with the very first, the living cell.

    The only responsible solution — one, not blinkered by a priori imposition of Lewontin’s a priori ideological evolutionary materialism and institutionalised censorship of scientific, empirically based inference — is, the cell, the root of the tree of life, is a convincing case for intelligently directed configuration as causal source.

    That is, the design inference on FSCO/I sits at the table as of right from the root of the tree of life on up.

    In that context, major body plan changes such as multi-cellular life, kingdoms, phyla, sub phyla and equivalent, down to families or equivalent, clearly fit best into a design framework of explanation. So do integrative concepts such as ecosystems and linked energy and materials flow mesh networks of organisms. Not to mention life forms showing metamorphosis, where a first . . . or even more than just one . . . body plan is reproductively ineffective and in effect dies to give rise to a reproductive form. And more.

    A point strongly backed up by the pervasive pattern of fossil record gaps [with 150 years worth of investigations leading to near unmanageable richness], sudden top-down emergence of life forms then general stasis of form and disappearance rather than smooth incremental transformations into other major plans showing how features arise. The Cambrian revolution being perhaps the most familiar case in point.

    Not that ever so many talking points cannot be brought out to blunt the impact of the pattern. Of course they can (the Marxists were busy spinning out explanations right up to the point where their system collapsed), but that is the point, being forced to explain away evidence.

    One is led in the end to a conclusion, much as Philip Johnson put it in his reply to Lewontin in November 1997 in First Things:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And it is not an appeal to ever- diminishing- ignorance to point out that design, rooted in intelligent action, routinely configures systems exhibiting functionally specific, often fine tuned complex organisation and associated information. Nor, that it is the only observed cause of such, nor that the search challenge of our observed cosmos makes it maximally implausible that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can account for such.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    Evolutionary materialism is intellectually bankrupt and its intellectual promissory notes are now — for cause — discounted to zero.

    KF

  18. 18
  19. 19

    rvb8 said:

    Pointing to a system (immune system for example) and saying it points to a designer is not helpful. When Behe denied major work on the immune system at Dover he was surrounded by a mountain of published work, and texts, all explaining possible evolutionary pathways.

    rvb8, like so many of his ilk, cling to ignorance about what the “designer” perspective brings to the table, and then clings to ignorance about the difference between a “probability” and a bare “possibility”.

    No ID advocate claims that evolution without design is not possible, rvb8. In fact, every argument presented about such a system includes a discussion about the improbability of the possibility that undirected natural forces generated the phenomena in question. Yes, it’s possible, but stating that it is possible gains no traction towards a conclusion that it is the best explanation. There are all sorts of possible explanations, but until someone demonstrates an explanation’s probability by describing the principles and math that makes such a route a good, probabilistic explanation, you’ve done nothing more than make a case that such a sequence is not impossible.

    Nobody was claiming it was a literal impossibility. Until a possibility is shown to be more than merely “not impossible”, Behe (and everyone else) should ignore such assertions of bare possibility.

    As for the design inference “not being helpful”, all of modern science is predicated upon principles extracted from the design inference. More pointedly, there is a world of difference in biological research and standard medical practice when based on designed vs non-designed expectations.

    For example, both tonsils and the appendix were quick to be labeled “vestigial organs” that were detrimental or neutral to human health and an enormous amount of genetic material was classified as “junk” based upon non-design expectations and research parameters. Money is funded into research in certain ways based upon expectations. When your paradigm holds that certain organs are useless and large amounts of DNA is junk, you make both operational and research decisions based upon that view.

    Who knows what lives were lost or what discoveries were delayed because of the general assumption of the non-design perspective?

  20. 20
    REW says:

    Dionisio@ #13

    However, isn’t that just the tip of the iceberg?

    Yes but that’s irrelevant. If cytochrome c couldnt have evolved then ID has been irrefutably proven. Theres no need to bring up any other topic, its just fluff. If on the other hand natural processes can produce complex integrated systems then IDers can bring up as many examples as they like and nothing has been proven. IF gene A could have evolved then whats the point of bringing up gene B?
    It seems to me that the main thinkers in the ID movement (Behe, Dembski etc) have moved away from this argument at least a decade ago. Both would agree that complex integrated systems can evolve in principle. They argue against the probability of the evolution of particular systems.

  21. 21
    Dionisio says:

    REW,

    I think I see your point: first things first.

    However, what I meant was that if someone would like to say “hey, let’s assume just for a moment that we borrow the ‘ready-to-use’ MT-CO1 from somewhere” then the biology conundrum enchilada isn’t resolved anyway.

    It’s a long and winding road of research and discoveries that seems unending.

    Could it be that the current bottom-up reverse engineering of a complex system that seems designed top-down may take forever?

  22. 22
    Dionisio says:

    Marfin @16:

    Go Ireland!

    How’s the weather there now?

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    … it was obvious that these were not simple, agreed, unitary concepts. Unless the definitions of these terms are clearly defined and agreed in advance any discussions are bound to be prone to ambiguity and equivocation.

    There are several approaches to the definition of complexity and information. When ID opponents argue this way, it concedes the study of information science to ID, since this is where there efforts to refine and improve definitions are taken seriously. The addition of “functional” to complex specified information is simply one more advance in understanding of information (Trevors, Durston, Abel). In other words, as rbv8 seems to say “CSI doesn’t exist because there are conflicting definitions of it”. This is one tactic used to simply avoid the discussion. “Come up with a universally agreed-upon exact definition of complex specificity and then we will get interested in the topic.” That’s really an anti-science view. There is some difficulty in nailing down the exact definition so you’re not interested in learning about it? This is a case where ID is pushing science forward – building expertise in what functional information actually is. It’s a fight against the obfuscation and outright denial that complex functional specificity even exists – a denial built on the threat that exists to evolutionary theory (let’s mention the double-standard regarding definitions of what “evolution” really is).

    There is also the common assumption here – and elsewhere – that information, whatever that might be, is a property of the physical universe rather than – as I believe – being a property of the mental model or simulation of that external reality in which we live our daily lives.

    That may be fine but the challenge extends beyond a definition. You’d need to define clearly what you mean by functional complex information, in contrast to Shannon or Kolmogorov complexity. Then it needs to be demonstrated how unintelligent natural processes can create FCSI.

    As an example, consider the red car I can see in the parking-lot. The color of that car is information I have about it. Yet physics tells us that what we see as red is just one wavelength or narrow band of wavelengths from the visible spectrum, no different, apart from the wavelength, from any other wavelength in the EM spectrum. In other words, the “redness” I experience is the way that wavelength of reflected EM energy is represented in my mental model. That information is a property of the model not the car itself.

    There are problems here, of course. The red carries information because it exists through intent. It’s a signal that was created by design. In the same way, letters on the screen, reduced to physics, are pixels of light and darkness. “Information does not exist” in the English language letters I am producing. But we, the observers, recognize a design, intentionality in my writing. These letters are specified, not random or determined by natural laws. They are the product of intelligent choice. That’s how we differentiate between design and non-design.
    To claim that “design is all in the mind” is Kantian and a form of Solipsism. The paper you cited circles around that very point and is ultimately destructive of reason itself – but that’s the problem with anti-realist philosophy.

    If you are interested, there is a paper called “A deflationary account of information in biology.” by philosopher of science John S Wilkins which discusses the problems with the concept of information as a property of living things. It can be downloaded as a .pdf file here.

    Thanks for this reference. For one thing, people like rvb need to read it to observe that CSI is not “nowhere admitted” but is in fact a concept that has taken on a lot of study and analysis from academics who are “no friends of ID” (and that’s a problem?).
    So, in that regard I found it to be quite good in giving a clear summary of kinds of information and the issues at stake. I disagree with Wilkins, however, and I don’t think his arguments are consistent.
    For example:

    a bird seeking prey but avoiding certain markings because they signal toxicity. Under a Dretskean account, there is a strong causal component to this kind of information. Clearly the signal causally correlates with the toxicity (due to natural selection), and so Dretskean information relies upon that for the account that he offers of the “knowledge” (scare quoted to prevent begging the question) the bird has of the toxicity.

    This is circular since he needs to show that this kind of information is the product of selection and not merely assume that it is. In this case, the bird picks up and retains the signal from the toxic prey. How is this information communicated to future generations? How is it retained? How was it originally learned? There’s no evidence that selection created this information network (signal, translation, retention, application to future events, transmission to offspring) was created by natural selection. Or, more simply, we need to see how it could happen. Dawkins’ Weasel was an attempt to do this. But nobody can take that seriously.

    Millikan is concerned with functions, and argues that the proper function of any thing, including organic components, is effectively what it was selected for in a chain of reproduction

    This is the classic tautology. The proper function is what was selected for to make the organism fit for the environment. Fitness is whatever features the organism possesses since that is what was selected for. But again, this defines away the challenge in the origin of information and how function supposedly can evolve from non-function.

    So we will continue to say only learning systems can instantiate Dretskean semantic causal information.

    This was a bold statement, and admirable for that fact. He’s putting it out there for us … only learning systems can instantiate. So, he needs to show that biological information is not a learning system – and he fails there, as I see it.

    We know there are objects that do have information; we are such objects. The question is whether, as the informationalists claim, information arises in biology, and we have one instance of this in our heads, or whether it arises in our heads and heads very like them, and we apply it retrograde to things that we interpret in intentional ways.

    Here he bumps into a major problem. It’s a lot easier just to say, “information does not exist”, “there is no CSI”, or “FCSI cannot be found anywhere since nobody can define it”. Wilkins again takes a risk: “there are objects that do have information”. Ok! We know something for certain at least. What objects? “we are such objects”. Ahh- we are biological objects that contain information. Plus! “heads very like” ours also have it!
    It’s a big problem now. We have an analogy of “heads like ours”. But in the evolutionary continuum, all heads emerged from non-living matter. So, it doesn’t matter where biological information exists, even if only “in our heads”, these biological objects that contain information had to arise through physics. Wilkins struggles with that.

    Of course, any token of an abstraction exists somewhere – in a head or group of heads – but the abstract entity “information” exists nowhere in time and space.

    It’s a very good argument against atheistic materialism and scientism. Information exists in objects, as Wilkins admits. But, it exists only as immaterial abstractions – it has causal power (Wilkins admits) but is not reducible to materialism. It’s exactly the same with Design itself.

    But I want to propose that we can eliminate information talk except when we are talking about representations, that is, when we are analyzing data or models of the biological systems

    Well, it’s a good try! If we can eliminate talk about information, then we won’t have a problem in dealing with it’s supposed origin from unintelligent, deterministic forces. But that’s just the same as the information denialism that we see when people object to FCSI, claiming “it doesn’t exist”, or “nobody can define it”.
    The task of science is to explain what is observed. We observe information, as Wilkins’ paper does make very clear. To then conclude that we should just ignore it at the same time is certainly a philosophical position that one can take, but it leaves the question wide open for those who would not ignore it but rather attempt to provide clear answers.
    That’s what ID is, and has been doing.

  24. 24
    Silver Asiatic says:

    rvb8

    What I do know is that all of these systems are keenly researched. The scientists who do this universally disagree with your attempted road blocking.

    Ask the scientists (a few religious) their opinion on the matter and the answer would dissapoint you. Just ask the ones from ‘Project Steve’.

    Pointing to a system (immune system for example) and saying it points to a designer is not helpful. When Behe denied major work on the immune system at Dover he was surrounded by a mountain of published work, and texts, all explaining possible evolutionary pathways.

    I will suggest that Dionisio has already reviewed a mountain of published work where no such pathways are even hypothesized. Check out his threads.

  25. 25
    Dionisio says:

    Silver Asiatic @24:

    Definitely you’re a thinking person.
    Sadly, that’s quite rare these days.

    We’re commanded to test everything and hold onto what’s good. That requires thinking seriously, open-minded, outside of any kind of preconceived boxes.

    Sometimes we encounter in the biology research papers expressions like ‘surprisingly’ or ‘unexpectedly’ which give the impression that the authors expected something else or nothing at all. Is that a serious approach to biology research?

  26. 26
    Marfin says:

    Dionisio-Weather in Ireland is as per usual cold, sunny,rainy, calm , windy,take you pick.

  27. 27
    Dionisio says:

    Marfin, thank you for the accurate weather report. 🙂

    Have a good week.

  28. 28
    Fordgreen says:

    REW: “It seems to me that the main thinkers in the ID movement (Behe, Dembski etc) have moved away from this argument at least a decade ago.”

    That raises an interesting point – since Dembski has officially “retired” from ID, who is carrying the mantle for continuing research in CSI and related matters? Is it Stephen Meyer or somebody else in the DI? Seems like an important area of research so just curious as what is happening here in the space, or what might be planned to promote CSI going forward.

  29. 29
    Pindi says:

    Marfin, a lot of people here in NZ celebrated that win with you. Congratulations!

  30. 30
    AhmedKiaan says:

    I’m going to be celebrating a win tomorrow night.

  31. 31
    Daniel King says:

    Murray:

    There are all sorts of possible explanations, but until someone demonstrates an explanation’s probability by describing the principles and math that makes such a route a good, probabilistic explanation, you’ve done nothing more than make a case that such a sequence is not impossible.

    Have you read, as an example, Evidence and Evolution by Elliott Sober for the statistical evaluation of evidence for evolution? (Statistics has empirically based principles and requires mathematics, as you may be aware.)

    Looking forward to your critique when you’ve read it.

  32. 32
    bb says:

    Marfin,

    My friend is visiting CA from Ireland and will return to Waterford December 2.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    DK, the nature of search challenge of the order implied by FSCO/I is such that it does not depend on any sophisticated analysis of probabilities. The sheer scope of config space and the utter want of resources on a solar system or cosmological scale locks out ANY blind chance and/or mechanical necessity solution as credibly feasible. Moreover, the fundamental point raised by Newton still stands, vera causa: until and unless a claimed causal means has been empirically demonstrated to be capable of producing an effect it should not be considered as a credible scientific explanation for said effect. This starts with the chemistry and physics of Darwin’s warm pond or the like OoL environment, and it goes on to the necessity of originating major body plans for multi-cellular organisms through increments of 10 – 100+ mn bases just for genomes. Neither OoL nor body plan origin level macro evolution by mechanisms rooted in blind chance and/or mechanical necessity has been able to pass the vera causa test. As Lewontin inadvertently showed, they are ideologically, not scientifically sustained. KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Lewontin’s inadvertent admission against interest:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Johnson’s response:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And it is not an appeal to ever- diminishing- ignorance to point out that design, rooted in intelligent action, routinely configures systems exhibiting functionally specific, often fine tuned complex organisation and associated information. Nor, that it is the only observed cause of such, nor that the search challenge of our observed cosmos makes it maximally implausible that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can account for such.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    per DK at 31:

    Douglas Theobald Tests Universal Common Ancestry by Refuting a Preposterous Null Hypothesis – Casey Luskin November 29, 2010
    Excerpt: National Geographic notes in a subheadline: “Creationism called ‘absolutely horrible hypothesis’ — statistically speaking.” The problem is that Theobald didn’t test universal common ancestry against “creationism.” He tested universal common ancestry against the impossibly unlikely hypothesis that these genes independently arrived at highly similar sequences via blind, unguided convergent evolution. Given his outlandish null hypothesis, no wonder common descent came out looking so good.
    Again, if you don’t believe me, consider what reviewers of a critique of Theobald’s paper had to say (approving the critique!):
    Cogniscenti cringed when they saw the Theobald paper, knowing that “it is trivial”. It is trivial because the straw man that Theobald attacks in a text largely formulated in convoluted legalese, is that significant sequence similarity might arise by chance as opposed to descent with modification.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41021.html

    Douglas Theobald’s Test Of Common Ancestry Ignores Common Design – December 1, 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41071.html

    But Isn’t There a Consilience of Data That Corroborates Common Descent? – Casey Luskin – December 2, 2010
    Excerpt: Dr. Theobald might have had a point, were it not for the fact that:
    (1) Phylogeny and biogeography don’t always agree.
    (2) Phylogeny and paleontology don’t always agree.
    (3) Transitional fossils are often missing (or the “predicted” transitional fossils fall apart on closer inspection).
    (4) Hierarchical classifications often fail.
    (5) “Homologous” structures often have different developmental pathways or different structures often have “homologous” developmental pathways.
    (6) Morphological and molecular phylogenies are often incongruent.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41111.html

    Statistics and Truth in Phylogenomics – 2011
    Excerpt: phylogenomics is becoming synonymous with evolutionary analysis of genome-scale and taxonomically densely sampled data sets. In phylogenetic inference applications, this translates into very large data sets that yield evolutionary and functional inferences with extremely small variances and high statistical confidence (P value). However, reports of highly significant P values are increasing even for contrasting phylogenetic hypotheses depending on the evolutionary model and inference method used, making it difficult to establish true relationships.
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/.....2/457.full

    Does Natural Selection Leave “Detectable Statistical Evidence in the Genome”? More Problems with Matzke’s Critique of Darwin’s Doubt – Casey Luskin August 7, 2013
    Excerpt: A critical review of these statistical methods has shown that their theoretical foundation is not well established and they often give false-positive and false-negative results.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....75171.html

    The following site gives an overview of the many problems inherent to the statistical method that Theobald used to try to establish ‘statistical significance’ for common ancestry;:

    Scientific method: Statistical errors – P values, the ‘gold standard’ of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume. – Regina Nuzzo – 12 February 2014
    Excerpt: “P values are not doing their job, because they can’t,” says Stephen Ziliak, an economist at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and a frequent critic of the way statistics are used.,,,
    “Change your statistical philosophy and all of a sudden different things become important,” says Steven Goodman, a physician and statistician at Stanford. “Then ‘laws’ handed down from God are no longer handed down from God. They’re actually handed down to us by ourselves, through the methodology we adopt.”,,
    One researcher suggested rechristening the methodology “statistical hypothesis inference testing”3, presumably for the acronym it would yield.,,
    The irony is that when UK statistician Ronald Fisher introduced the P value in the 1920s, he did not mean it to be a definitive test. He intended it simply as an informal way to judge whether evidence was significant in the old-fashioned sense: worthy of a second look. The idea was to run an experiment, then see if the results were consistent with what random chance might produce.,,,
    Neyman called some of Fisher’s work mathematically “worse than useless”,,,
    “The P value was never meant to be used the way it’s used today,” says Goodman.,,,
    The more implausible the hypothesis — telepathy, aliens, homeopathy — the greater the chance that an exciting finding is a false alarm, no matter what the P value is.,,,
    “It is almost impossible to drag authors away from their p-values, and the more zeroes after the decimal point, the harder people cling to them”11,,
    http://www.nature.com/news/sci.....E-20140213

    Thus when Darwinists tell you they have ‘statistical significance’ for their theory reach for your wallet because, as usual, they are trying to play you for a sucker

  37. 37
    rvb8 says:

    Marfin, Heh:)

    Yes NZ lost to Ireland, and I hope I don’t offend Pindi, but I have loathed the sport since I realised it dominated our culture; much the same reason I rejected our Saviour; too easy to follow the heard, much harder to make your own choices, but more rewarding!

    Well done Ireland, I really did celebrate their victory.

    Now, we can also use this mentality in our present discussion. The majority of the world has a belief about their own importance, a small group of people, scientists, say we are actually only a part of an evolved, evolving living natural system. This offends deeply the beliefs of people hell bent on advancing their own significance.

    Are people important? Certainly! Are they worthy of laws and protection? Certainly, and I will join you in this effort. Are they as significant as the religious would have us believe? Hell no.

    Answer this question. What was your grandmother’s favourite book? dress? food? grandchild? A few people know, the rest couldn’t care less. Now, when you pass away, and your grandchildren are grown, ask them the same questions about you. What will they say? “who cares.”

    You will say God cares, and I will say, “then change UD to an apologetics site, and be done.”

  38. 38
    Pindi says:

    Hi rvb8, that’s blasphemy…..but no offence taken 🙂

  39. 39
    Marfin says:

    rvb8-I like most sports but am not so taken with it that it makes any real difference if Ireland win or lose, as I always say it does not matter if Ireland win or lose I still have to go to work the next day.I find it funny when people say my team or our team , but it is just a case of humans wanting to belong and wanting to feel like they belong to something bigger.
    So is the herd those who believe in design or those who believe in evolution
    In Ireland as a bible believing christian I would be in the .001% , in Ireland you are catholic , agnostic or atheist everything else is a tiny minority, and you take flak for being a minority.
    Its the same in all walks of life those who go against the norm , and the status quo will always take some flak. Did you read about Ignaz Semmelweis how he ended up committed to an asylum for standing for his proven belief that doctors and surgeons needed to wash before seeing women in labour .He was ridiculed , mocked and ostracised for this belief , why because he stood against the scientific orthodoxy of the day , sure how could all the other scientist be wrong on this and this lone doctor be right.What we find in all walks of life is that all great advances in science, medicine, engineering etc come about when individuals go against the norm, just like those who have shown intelligent design is much more likely than RM and NS in the creation of life as we know it.

  40. 40

    Daniel King said:

    Have you read, as an example, Evidence and Evolution by Elliott Sober for the statistical evaluation of evidence for evolution? (Statistics has empirically based principles and requires mathematics, as you may be aware.)

    Looking forward to your critique when you’ve read it.

    Pointing at some book without any quotes an summation of relevant information in response to a challenge is the equivalent of saying “I’ve got nothing.” If you have a response to the challenge based upon your understanding of that book, feel free to present it along with quotes and your analysis. Otherwise, it’s a literature bluff.

    I will say this, though; logically speaking, there can be no mathematical, statistical support of naturalistic evolution unless that same metric conversely indicates ID (non-naturalistic, artificial) when what is being analyzed falls outside of reasonable naturalistic reach. Without a bounding parameter that describes when naturalism is (for the sake of the metric) falsified, any such mathematical and statistical reasoning in support of naturalism is trivial.

    So, if you are familiar with work that provides statistical, mathematical support of naturalistic evolution, feel free to make your case here. The FSCO/I metric at least attempts to provide a boundary demarcation between natural processes and ID.

  41. 41

    rvb8 admits his reasons for adopting his worldview has nothing whatsoever to do with science or logic, but is largely based on nothing more than his personal psychology and how his choices make him feel:

    Yes NZ lost to Ireland, and I hope I don’t offend Pindi, but I have loathed the sport since I realised it dominated our culture; much the same reason I rejected our Saviour; too easy to follow the heard, much harder to make your own choices, but more rewarding!

  42. 42
    Silver Asiatic says:

    rvb8

    You wonder if humans are significant since we cannot remember our grandmother’s favorite book. Then you ask:

    Are they as significant as the religious would have us believe? Hell no.

    Well, it’s you who introduced religion here.

    To ask about the views of religious, and then object when someone talks about God is illogical.

    But even more, to ask about the religious view on the importance of human life, and when you get an answer about God’s perspective, you then claim that ID is apologetics is just entrapment.

    Humans are important in the Christian view because they were created by the supreme source of goodness – out of an act of love.

  43. 43
    Dionisio says:

    Marfin @39:

    Excellent commentary! Thank you.

    Rev. 22:21

  44. 44
    Dionisio says:

    WJM @40:

    Very well stated! Thank you.
    Now let’s hope your politely dissenting interlocutors will seriously try to understand what you wrote so clearly. Just don’t hold your breath while waiting for that to occur. 🙂

  45. 45
    Dionisio says:

    Silver Asiatic @42:

    Excellent point! Thank you.

    We all, including your politely dissenting interlocutors, were created in what is called ‘Imago Dei’ hence we all share the same dignity that comes from that special characteristic. No other concept expresses the Creator-creature relationship in higher terms, not even close.
    Blessed are the poor in spirit who humbly accept that by faith.
    One day every knee will bow and very tongue will confess that Christ is Lord. But unfortunately for many it will be too late by then.
    The moment to repent and embrace the King of kings is now.
    Rev. 22:21

    PS. As you well stated, this thread is not about philosophy or theology. It’s about the presence of FSCO/I in biological systems. Glad you clarified this to your politely dissenting interlocutor.
    Let’s keep the discussion within the boundaries of the OP subject.

  46. 46
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Thanks, Dionisio.

    Yes, ID does not require that human beings need to see themselves as divinely created. The observation of design in nature is evidence of intelligence, and thus a purposeful, intelligent agent.

    But the fact is that many atheists immediately conclude that is God, and then they just oppose the scientific evidence itself on that basis.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, cognitive dissonance and closed mind? KF

  48. 48
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF, I think you’re right.

    There is an anti-religious bias built-in. Intelligence=designer … =God=fear/dislike/opposition.

    But the “…” here does not point to a direct equivalency. It’s only when the anti-God mind is locked into that path that the argument goes directly from ID to God-hatred.

    Then we have to deal with the hatred/opposition to God which has its source from personal experience, religious training, moral concerns … and lots of non-scientific matters like that.

  49. 49
    Daniel King says:

    Murray:

    Pointing at some book without any quotes an summation of relevant information in response to a challenge is the equivalent of saying “I’ve got nothing.”

    What challenge? You made a rash statement. You’ve been directed to a scholarly refutation of that claim. Ignore it if you like. Your bias (deeply held belief) seems more important to you than an opportunity to learn something.

  50. 50
    Phinehas says:

    AhmedKiaan must be off celebrating that win of his. I wonder what it could have been?

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    DK, with all due respect; wake up. You gave a broad-brush, no substantiation (or even link) appeal to an authority not immediately accessible as though that were enough to base a dismissive challenge. You were corrected, for cause, as indulging the academic-rhetorical fallacy of literary bluff. You have doubled down on the bluff. That already tells us what we need to know. Substantiate or stand corrected. KF

    PS: The empirical — actually directly observed — evidence for specific function based on particular organisation of multiple components beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of explicit or implicit information arising by blind chance and mechanical necessity sans intelligently directed configuration is: _________ ? (As you are a long time objector in and around UD, I can safely answer: NIL. There are trillions of cases of such FSCO/I arising by design. Grand extrapolation of minor incremental adaptations by in effect hill climbing within islands of function is not an apt explanation for arrival at deeply isolated zones T in an ocean of possibilities W, where relevant observed cosmos and/or solar system resources are grossly inadequate to carry out a blind search; where yes this points to Dembski in NFL AND onward to well over 100 years of statistical thermodynamics as underpinning for the second law: relative statistical weight of clusters of microstates under conditions of spontaneous “walks” of largely random character pushes such to predominant “equilibrium” clusters . . . in effect the valid form of the so called law of averages (with implications regarding observability of fluctuations . . . think of how Brownian motion fades out as suspended particles in a liquid become larger and larger). This is already evident from simply imagining and modelling coin tosses of a string of 500 – 1,000 coins as L K Nash discusses as case no 1 in his well known introductory text. Switch to Mandl’s toy exercise of a paramagnetic substance with two alignment states and as many elements, and coin tosses become directly applicable to the micro world. And so we readily see how search challenge is a pivotal issue, first at OoL then at origin of major body plans all the way to our own with our peculiar linguistic ability. We are not so naive as to miss the point that perpetual distraction from or evasion of a central argument has implications that the objectors do not have an answer that can stand light of day but are motivated to find ways to rhetorically frustrate it.)

  52. 52
    Dionisio says:

    Phinehas @50

    AhmedKiaan must be off celebrating that win of his. I wonder what it could have been?

    Wasn’t his comment related to Ireland winning a sports game with NZ? Maybe he was referring to another game?

    AhmedKiaan @30:

    November 7, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I’m going to be celebrating a win tomorrow night.

    Was an important game the night of November 8?
    What sport? Which teams?

    In any case, it was a little digression from the main topic of this interesting thread, wasn’t it?

    At the end of the day, the politely dissenting interlocutors make some annoying noise, but are unable to articulate any serious arguments against the presence of FSCO/I in biological systems and its possible origin.

    As KF expressed it so eloquently @51:

    We are not so naive as to miss the point that perpetual distraction from or evasion of a central argument has implications that the objectors do not have an answer that can stand light of day but are motivated to find ways to rhetorically frustrate it.

    Ongoing and future biology research will make their situation even more uncomfortable and even unbearable. They won’t have anything to celebrate here, hence they’re going to find other excuses for imaginary celebrations, maybe using some kinds of VR gadgets? Hopefully they’ll realize their mistaken position and will try to correct it.

  53. 53

    Daniel King:

    Do you understand what a literature bluff is? It is citing a book or paper that supposedly refutes an argument while providing absolutely no quotes whatsoever nor any summary of relevant evidence/argument contained in that reference.

    Do you really expect anyone to be bothered to go read an entire book when you won’t even bother to present relevant quotes and summary from that book?

    Until you do so, I’m calling your bluff.

  54. 54
    Phinehas says:

    Dionisio:

    Was an important game the night of November 8?

    November 8th was election day in the US. 🙂

  55. 55
    Daniel King says:

    Murray:

    Do you understand what a literature bluff is?

    A person who accuses another of a literature bluff is a person who is too lazy to be bothered to give the reference a glance or is too afraid of what the reference might contain.

    However, here is the back cover blurb, since it was too much trouble for you to take a look:

    How should the concept of evidence be understood? And how does the concept of evidence apply to the controversy about creationism as well as to work in evolutionary biology about natural selection and common ancestry? In this rich and wide-ranging book, Elliott Sober investigates general questions about probability and evidence and shows how the answers he develops to those questions apply to the specifics of evolutionary biology. Drawing on a set of fascinating examples, he analyzes whether claims about intelligent design are untestable; whether they are discredited by the fact that many adaptations are imperfect; how evidence bears on whether present species trace back to common ancestors; how hypotheses about natural selection can be tested, and many other issues. His book will interest all readers who want to understand philosophical questions about evidence and evolution, as they arise both in Darwin’s work and in contemporary biological research.

    Read further, if you dare…

  56. 56

    Daniel,

    Posting yet another claim that the book meets the challenge is not the same as quoting pertinent materials from the book and a brief summary that explains how the challenge was met.

    If you cannot be bothered to provide that bare minimum of effort, why should I bother to read the whole book?

    I don’t think you’ve read the book, Daniel. I think you googled some key words, found that book, read whatever was available about it and it seemed to you to be a good match for the challenge. Which is why you will neither quote any pertinent info in the book, nor explain how the author met the challenge.

    I think you’re an empty anti-ID cheerleader who can provide no argument of your own because you really don’t understand either side, which is why you resort to literature bluffs that only seem to you to support your position.

  57. 57
    bornagain77 says:

    Daniel King cited a ‘back cover’ blurb to cover his own behind. 🙂

    Yet, there is absolutely nothing within that ‘cover my own behind blurb’ that can be remotely construed as offering empirical confirmation of Darwinian evolution or, its antecedent, offering empirical falsification of Intelligent Design, (i.e. falsifying the specific claim that only Intelligence can generate complex, and specifically, ‘integrated’ functional information and/or systems.)

    To give an example of just how far disconnected Darwinian evolution is from actual empirical science, i.e, from the actual testing of its specific claims in the lab, even in the oft cited Szostak protein paper, which is often cited by Darwinists to counter the claim that proteins are exceeding rare (1 in 10^77 D. Axe), found that the rarity of proteins is ‘only’ 1 in 10^12. Moreover, the supposedly non-rare 1 in 10^12 proteins proteins are ‘man-made’.

    A Man-Made ATP-Binding Protein Evolved Independent of Nature Causes Abnormal Growth in Bacterial Cells – 2009
    Excerpt: “Recent advances in de novo protein evolution have made it possible to create synthetic proteins from unbiased libraries that fold into stable tertiary structures with predefined functions. However, it is not known whether such proteins will be functional when expressed inside living cells or how a host organism would respond to an encounter with a non-biological protein. Here, we examine the physiology and morphology of Escherichia coli cells engineered to express a synthetic ATP-binding protein evolved entirely from non-biological origins. We show that this man-made protein disrupts the normal energetic balance of the cell by altering the levels of intracellular ATP. This disruption cascades into a series of events that ultimately limit reproductive competency by inhibiting cell division.”
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0007385

    In other words, Darwinists tried to use ‘man-made’ proteins, even ‘disruptive’ man-made proteins, to counter the claim that no intelligence is necessary to generate exceeding rare functional proteins. 🙂

    Such a comedy of errors would be enough to soundly refute any other theory. Yet, Darwinism, at least how Darwinists have it set up in their own ‘illusory’ minds, is impervious to empirical falsification since it in fact has no rigid mathematical basis to test against as other overarching theories have a rigid mathematical basis to test against.

    Darwinism is, in fact, a pseudo-scientific theory that is held up solely by imagination and also the Atheist’s irrational desire to distance himself from God.

    “Charles Darwin said (paraphrase), ‘If anyone could find anything that could not be had through a number of slight, successive, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’ Well that condition has been met time and time again. Basically every gene, every protein fold. There is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in a gradualist way. It’s a mirage. None of it happens that way.”
    – Doug Axe PhD. – 200 Years After Darwin – What Didn’t Darwin Know? Part 2 of 2
    5:25 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/VKIgNroTj54?list=PLIHsGlleAKaVlItRRFpJ4fzzKBPvAcJoN&t=325

  58. 58
    gpuccio says:

    Daniel King:

    If you want to take part in a serious discussion, you make your arguments, or you quote some argument made by someone else in a complete and clear enough way, so that others can understand it and if necessary criticize it.

    You cannot just say: “someone made that argument in a book, so you read the book and then come back”.

    This is ridiculous: wrong attitude, intellectual laziness and cowardice, silly dogmatism. It is not serious scientific discussion. It is not serious discussion. It is not discussion at all.

    It is simply improper abuse.

  59. 59
    Daniel King says:

    Murray, bornagain77, gpuccio:

    Murray said in comment 19:

    There are all sorts of possible explanations, but until someone demonstrates an explanation’s probability by describing the principles and math that makes such a route a good, probabilistic explanation, you’ve done nothing more than make a case that such a sequence is not impossible.

    My citation of Sober demonstrates that Murray’s claim is false. Sober provides what Murray claimed does not exist.

  60. 60

    Daniel King said:

    My citation of Sober demonstrates that Murray’s claim is false. Sober provides what Murray claimed does not exist.

    First, you are apparently incapable of understanding English. Nowhere in that quote does Sober claim that he demonstrates, in that book, the probability of naturalistic processes in generating evolutionary outcomes. Nowhere. Read it again, slowly this time, for comprehension. All it says is that he asks questions about how evidence should be interpreted and understood and whether or not various claims can be supported by the evidence. It sounds more like a philosophy book about what evidence means and how it should be understood and applied.

    Second, even IF Sober had claimed to have demonstrated the probability of naturalistic evolutionary success, it would still just be that – a claim about the content of a book. Claims are not demonstrations. Claims are not evidence. Claims are not facts. Claims are not math. Claims are not probabilities.

    Third, I didn’t make a claim; I presented a challenge:

    There are all sorts of possible explanations, but until someone demonstrates an explanation’s probability by describing the principles and math that makes such a route a good, probabilistic explanation, you’ve done nothing more than make a case that such a sequence is not impossible.

    Even if Sober had claimed in your quote to have met such a challenge (which, at least in that quote, he did not), that would still not meet the challenge. Try to understand this: claims that a challenge has been met is not the same thing as actually meeting the challenge.

    All you have done for several posts is insist that the challenge has been met; you have provided exactly zero support for that claim. You don’t even understand the quote you offered up to support your case.

    Have you read that book, Daniel?

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    Daniel King, repeating a bluff that has been called is not scientifically establishing the legitimacy of Sober’s ‘statistical’ claim.

    I am familiar with Sober’s statistical bluff that was driven by his atheistic metaphysics:

    Elliott Sober and the Enemy – December 5, 2010
    “it doesn’t matter that common descent is not a good theory. It must be true because the alternative is even worse. Sober refers to this mode of reasoning as Darwin’s Principle. Evolutionists must fight their enemy.
    Evolutionary thought is easily the greatest threat to science today. It turns science on its head in favor of its own metaphysics. Religion drives science, and it matters.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....enemy.html

    Moreover, for Sober and other Darwinists, and, by default, for you to rely on such manipulated statistics in order to try to establish Darwinian evolution as mathematically valid, instead of relying on real-time observational evidence, is, to put it mildly, intellectually dishonest. (see post 36 for more statistical shenanigans by Darwinists).

    Moreover, I seriously don’t think Darwinists should EVER talk about mathematics since,,,
    #1 they do not even pay attention to what their own mathematics from population genetics is telling them about the inadequacies of their own theory
    #2 Darwinists have no rigid mathematical basis to test against, as other overarching theories of science have, so as to qualify their theory as a science instead of a pseudo-science
    #3 The applicability of mathematics is itself a ‘miracle’ that is inexplicable to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists

    Notes:

    #1

    The mathematics of population genetics is not kind to Darwinian claims in the least. Three devastating problems are revealed by population genetics. The Waiting Time problem (John Sanford, Richard Sternberg), Natural selection is falsified (neutral theory), and perception of reality itself is shown to become illusory (Donald Hoffman).

    #2

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

    The main reason that Darwinian theory can offer nothing in comparison to quantum electrodynamics or general relativity is because it has no demarcation criteria based in mathematics to make it a testable theory like quantum electrodynamics and general relativity have a demarcation criteria based in math so as to make them testable and potentially falsifiable.

    Deeper into the Royal Society Evolution Paradigm Shift Meeting – 02/08/2016
    Suzan Mazur: Peter Saunders in his interview comments to me said that neo-Darwinism is not a theory, it’s a paradigm and the reason it’s not a theory is that it’s not falsifiable.
    per huffingtonpost.
    Peter Saunders is Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London; Emeritus professor of Applied Mathematics, King’s College London.
    Peter Saunders has been applying mathematics in biology for over 40 years, in microbiology and physiology as well as in development and evolution. He has been a critic of neo-Darwinism for almost as long.

    read more here
    November 2016 (scroll half way down the post)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-620106

    #3

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    “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.”
    Albert Einstein – Letters to Solovine – New York, Philosophical Library, 1987

    “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind, or the human mind is more than a machine.”
    Kurt Gödel As quoted in Topoi : The Categorial Analysis of Logic (1979) by Robert Goldblatt, p. 13

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF25AA4dgGg

    1. If God did not exist the applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.
    2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

  62. 62
    gpuccio says:

    Daniel King:

    “My citation of Sober demonstrates that Murray’s claim is false. Sober provides what Murray claimed does not exist.”

    Not at all!

    Your “citation” of Sober (indeed, of the back cover blurb of his book) at best “demonstrates” that Sober (or the person who wrote the back cover slurb of his book, if it’s not Sober himself) thinks that he has “demonstrated” something.

    And so? Lots of people believe that they have demonstrated something. Few of them are right.

    A serious behaviour on your part would be to summarize in a clear way at least one argument from Sober that you believe to be true, and that falsifies what has been said here by William J Murray (or anyone else).

    Then, William J Murray, or myself, or anyone else interested, will be able to evaluate the merits of your argument, and, if not convinced, counter it with other arguments.

    That is called a discussion. If it is about science, it can be called a scientific discussion.

    I am sorry, but I must state again that your behaviour is ridiculous: wrong attitude, intellectual laziness and cowardice, silly dogmatism. It is not serious scientific discussion. It is not serious discussion. It is not discussion at all. It is simply improper abuse.

  63. 63
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio,

    Well stated. Thank you.

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