Intelligent Design

Darwinian Debating Device # 18: “Me or Your Lying Eyes”

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The chutzpah Darwinists sometimes bring to the table is often breathtaking. This tactic is based on the old saw about the wife who catches her husband in flagrante delicto with another woman and the following exchange ensues:

Wife: “How could you?”

Husband: “How could I what?”

Wife: “Be in bed with another woman of course!”

Husband: “I’m not in bed with another woman.”

Wife: “I see her right there.”

Husband: “No you don’t.”

Wife: “Yes I do”

Husband: “Who are you going to believe, me our your lying eyes?”

It is not unusual for an exchange with a Darwinist to go like this:

Darwinist unambiguously advances proposition X.

IDer quotes the Darwinist and demonstrates that proposition X is an error.

Darwinist: “I didn’t advance proposition X. You are lying when you say I did.”

IDer: “Yes you did. I quoted you advancing proposition X just now.”

Darwinist: “No, you didn’t.”

IDer. “Uh, yes I did.”

Darwinist: [always implied; never stated]: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Here’s an example with a Darwinist who goes by Adapa :

In a previous thread William J. Murray advanced this proposition:

If something with CSI over the threshold limit can be shown at least in principle to be plausibly generated from some combination of natural laws and chance, then ID as a theory is falsified.

Adapa responded:

Since science has already conclusively demonstrated that the observed natural process of random genetic variations filtered by selection and retaining heritable traits is sufficient to produce the biological life variations we see today, what you call “CSI”, then ID speculation (it’s never been a theory) has been falsified. You can go home now.

It is glaringly obvious that Adapa is saying not only that unguided natural forces are sufficient to produce the diversity of life but in fact have been demonstrated to have done so and therefore the ID position (i.e., that the process is guided) has been falsified.

If the idea “ID has been falsified” means anything at all, it means that Adapa is saying that the process has been shown to be unguided. That is, in fact, the whole point of Adapa’s comment. In summary, he is saying: “The idea that evolution is “guided” has been falsified. Go home now.”

William J. Murray asked Adapa to back up his assertion. Instead of backing up his position Adapa hurls verbal abuse at WJM.

Realizing that he is fighting a losing battle, Adapa then resorts to the “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes tactic.” He denies saying what he has just been quoted as saying:

Adapa again:

I [only] said then ID has been falsified by WJM’s offered falsification criteria.

In other words instead of admitting his error and retracting it, Adapa resorts to the “me or your lying eyes tactic.” He says he did not make the unqualified assertion that science has demonstrated that evolution is unguided. He says he made that assertion only in a qualified way. Adapa is saying that everything in his assertion is qualified by the phrase: “what you call ‘CSI.’” Blithering nonsense. Take the clause out and the meaning of the sentence does not change one iota. Adapa says ID has been falsified. Period. Indeed, that is the whole point of his assertion.

The “me or your lying eyes” tactic is hilarious in a sense, but at a more basic and important level, it is sad and pathetic.

Update: HT to Vishnu for point out that in the same thread Adapa had affirmatively used the word “unguided” to characterize his proposition: Here and Here

Adapa said:

The process itself is unguided just like in the real world.

All evolution requires is imperfect self-replicators competing for resources and the unguided processes take over from there.

84 Replies to “Darwinian Debating Device # 18: “Me or Your Lying Eyes”

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    I think we should give proper appreciation to the admission that certain aspects of living organisms exhibit CSI.

    Perhaps if we ask nicely Adapa will compile a list for us.

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    Mung – I think it’s up to the people promoting the use of CSI to do the work & produce such a list.

  3. 3
    Adapa says:

    William J Murray

    Adapa: Science has conclusive demonstrated that evolution is unguided

    Still waiting for WJM to retract this blatant lie.

  4. 4
    Adapa says:

    BTW Barry, me describing evolutionary processes as unguided and claiming science has conclusive demonstrated they are unguided are still two very different things.

    Keep flogging that strawman, show everyone just how honest the ID position really is.

  5. 5
    groovamos says:

    Bob @ 2:

    I think it’s up to the people promoting the use of CSI to do the work & produce such a list.

    Nobody needs to promote the “use” of something that obviously exists and which doesn’t need our permission for its utilization. Somewhere is information storage for the specification for human face morphology. There have probably been 12 billion humans, each with unique facial attributes. If we assign say a conservative 1 billion as the number of facial attributes governing soft tissue, cranium, pigmentation, hair distribution, etc etc and assign a conservative 9 bit resolution to those attributes, then facial specification would require (12 x 512 / log 2) x (9 + 9) or 2 x 10^24 bits of CSI to select one face out of the 12 billion. Now it is a problem for you OR us to speculate on where the human facial morphology is specified, that is to say where is this information storage. This is a crude illustration as I’m leaving out the expression accuracy deviation from the specification as I did in the discussion with Adapta in a previous thread. Adapta thinks they have the answer: It’s called the PAX3 gene.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    Adapa,

    Hopefully, I will be in Proverbs 26:5 territory (and not Proverbs 26:4 territory) when I point out the following: Here’s what you said:

    Since science has already conclusively demonstrated that the observed natural process of random genetic variations filtered by selection and retaining heritable traits is sufficient to produce the biological life variations we see today, what you call “CSI”, then ID speculation (it’s never been a theory) has been falsified. You can go home now.

    Let us say that proposition “X” is your statement: “observed natural process of random genetic variations filtered by selection and retaining heritable traits is sufficient to produce the biological life variations we see today.”

    Your statement can be shortened to: “Since science has already conclusively demonstrated X then ID . . . has been falsified.”

    I am sure you will admit that this sentence is incoherent if X is a guided process, because if X were a guided process, far from falsifying ID, it would be perfectly consistent with ID. Therefore, in order for your statement to be coherent, you must mean that X is an unguided process.

    BTW, your reference to CSI does not qualify the statement in any way. You are merely saying that CSI is another word for “the biological life variations we see today.”

    This is all I am going to say. Indeed, by definition it makes no sense to argue with someone using the “me or your lying eyes” tactic.

  7. 7
    Learned Hand says:

    Of course, he could simply have been assuming that “random genetic variations filtered by selection and retaining heritable traits” is an unguided process, since it’s a reasonable and logical thing to assume. Assuming that is not the same thing as asserting that it is conclusively proven to be so.

    You guys, this is an exciting time for ID and UD! CSI has collapsed in on itself so rapidly and thoroughly that the dense remaining core is surely proof against all criticism, and one day soon a use will be found for it. Just not, you know, detecting design.

    I think we may be just a couple of DDD or FYI-FTR posts away from seeing real progress!

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    Barry, you really should know better than to think that an ID critic cannot reasonably hold a self-contradictory position, or that something said elsewhere in a prior post by that critic represents a position that can be applied to any other reasoning made by that critic in a later post.

    Asking for consistency? Have you learned nothing in all your years here?

  9. 9
    Adapa says:

    Barry Arrington

    Hopefully, I will be in Proverbs 26:5 territory (and not Proverbs 26:4 territory) when I point out the following:

    As long as you keep willfully misrepresenting what I said you’re in Exodus 23:1 territory.

  10. 10
    groovamos says:

    Adapta:

    show everyone just how honest the ID position really is

    I’ve heard this a few times, like when we explain to the public what we believe, that there is some issue over honesty. If you are concerned with honesty show us why we would say we believe something that we don’t actually believe. If you are thinking there was an issue of honesty in my showing you how in tightening the tolerances on a specification, one reduces uncertainty which in turn increases Shannon entropy, explain. Go ahead. Do it. BTW why do you spend so much time posting here if we’re so full of it? Why can’t you just move on and have discussions with the much more intelligent materialists who don’t waste your time on philosophical topics of which don’t support you?

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Now we hear that it can be “reasonable and logical” to assume something for which there is absolutely no evidence, and no known way of obtaining the evidence.

    What will they think up next?

  12. 12
    Adapa says:

    Learned Hand

    Of course, he could simply have been assuming that “random genetic variations filtered by selection and retaining heritable traits” is an unguided process, since it’s a reasonable and logical thing to assume. Assuming that is not the same thing as asserting that it is conclusively proven to be so.

    Yes. Science has no reason to think observed evolutionary processes are being guided by some invisible intelligent hand. That’s not the same as claiming science has conclusively demonstrated such a guiding invisible intelligent hand doesn’t exist.

    This whole episode is a huge embarrassment and a big black eye for ID proponents. It’s a clear demonstration of just how low in the gutter ID proponents are willing to crawl.

  13. 13
    groovamos says:

    Hee hee. “Science” has reasons to “think” something or not.

  14. 14

    Adapa statement 1:

    >=… science has already conclusively demonstrated that the observed natural process of random genetic variations filtered by selection and retaining heritable traits is sufficient to produce the biological life variations we see today …

    Adapa statement 2:

    Science has no reason to think observed evolutionary processes are being guided by some invisible intelligent hand.

    Adapa seems to think that “having no reason to think unguided forces are insufficient” is the same thing as “having scientifically, conclusively demonstrated unguided forces sufficient”.

    Assumption is not demonstration.

    If science had no reason to think unguided forces were insufficient, why on earth would they take the time conclusively demonstrate them sufficient, as Adapa has claimed?

  15. 15
    Adapa says:

    William J Murray

    Adapa: Science has conclusive demonstrated that evolution is unguided

    Still waiting for WJM to retract this despicable lie.

  16. 16
    Axel says:

    I don’t know how you guys can bring yourselves to argue with atheist materialists, such as Adapa, keith s and co., and philosophers, if you please, when their most primordial assumption was comprehensively falsified by quantum mechanics 80 or so years ago, when Planck, Bohr and the other pioneers of QM were in their pomp; proving mathematically that consciousness, mind, was the primordial reality.

    And what has happened in the intervening years. It has been confirmed MATHEMATICALLY with, by now, boring and wholly unremarkable regularity.

    Well, you demean yourselves, but I suppose the question remains what choice do you have, when the inmates are running the asylum? I suppose you can’t just refuse to engage with them, curl up and sink into a catatonic coma. But when I read these exchanges, I sympathise with you deeply. I know WJM must hurt a lot, as he’s sometimes commented on the Sysyphean/Black Knight futility of it all. You know… that definition of madness.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Adapa,

    can you kindly show us how

    (1) blind chance and mechanical necessity have been observed — not inferred or assumed or as imposed by a school of thought on the unobservable deep past — to produce functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information beyond 500 – 1,000 bits?

    (2) blind watchmaker thesis chance and necessity as plausibly present in a Darwin’s warm pond or the like have been observed — not inferred or assumed or as imposed by a school of thought on the unobservable deep past — as causally adequate to account for the sort of FSCO/I found in the living cell?

    (3) blind watchmaker thesis chance and necessity as plausibly present in early unicellular organisms or reasonable current analogous organisms, have been observed — not inferred or assumed or as imposed by a school of thought on the unobservable deep past — as causally adequate to account for the sort of FSCO/I found in major body plans of organisms?

    Absent such, you are simply ideologically begging questions by in effect deeming the “consensus” of a certain school of thought on deep past unobserved (and in fact unobservable) origins as fact.

    An observation, FYI, is something actually experienced by an observer similar to how Eratosthenes and co observed shadows in Alexandra and Syene and by measuring shadows had information to calculate the circumference of Earth, or how Galileo saw a pendulum swinging in a church or Newton saw apples falling to the ground and the Moon in the sky as it moved in orbit (and inferred therefrom his law of Gravitation which is an explanatory model not an observation), or reasonable extensions by instruments such as telescopes or microscopes, spectroscopes, cameras etc.

    In short, you are conflating a speculative reconstruction of the remote past that you happen to believe with the direct observation of same. A category error, comparable to those who want to claim a factual certainty of their preferred accounts of the past of origins comparable to that heavy items near earth when unsupported drop at 9.8 N/kg, or the roundness of the earth. That too as noted is a category error.

    Next, you are asserting that the supposed evolutionary process that accounts for the world of life is unguided, i.e. blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. I suggest to you that it is a lot easier to assert or assume blind chance and mechanical necessity than it is to actually show it in any situation. Such observation based conclusions are strictly of inductive character (due to our bounded rationality) and as such are inescapably provisional. Thus if you look carefully at the design inference explanatory filter you will see that mechanical necessity is a first default, which per a large body of experiences is surrendered on seeing high contingency on closely similar initial circumstances. Heavy dropped objects fall near Earth at 9.8 N/kg, but if it is a fair die we deal with the value is scattered across 1 to 6 with roughly equal chance in most cases, but in others there may be a decided bias but still high contingency.

    In taking the default of an evident regularity of our world to be a mechanical necessity (and especially a given one such as F = ma), we accept the possibility of an error as shown by future evidence.

    High contingency on closely similar initial circumstances can be accounted for on two widely known empirically warranted factors, chance and/or intelligently directed configuration. In the case of dice, fair dice are held to tumble to a value by chance. Biased dice may have an error or the dice may be loaded by many means well known to houses in Las Vegas. The latter is a design pattern.

    Now, FSCO/I is a well known phenomenon in our common world, as I have exemplified by the Abu 6500 c3 reel. Function depends on the proper organisation and coupling of well matched parts in accord with a definite wiring diagram, a nodes-arcs pattern that specifies a very limited set of arrangements compared to the other possible clumped or scattered ones that are overwhelmingly not compatible with the relevant functions.

    When that pattern requires a structured set of 500 – 1,000 or more y/n q’s to be answered in a certain way to implement it, that is a threshold of complexity beyond which we have reason to be maximally confident that the possible search resources of the sol system or the observable cosmos at the upper end, cannot do more than an extremely sparse search and so are utterly unlikely to find blindly the zones T of functional configs in the space of possible configs. And on trillions of actually observed cases this is consistently found to be true.

    So, the inference to intelligently directed configuration as cause on observing FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits is inductively strong and backed by a search/sampling analysis that draws out why that is so.

    I note your remarks as cited above and as you have made onwards in this thread, and find them both ill informed and ill advised, not to mention reflective of an undue polarisation. Indeed, I think you should consider the following, from a discussion of selective hyperskepticism.

    These words are sharp, as they deal with a serious disease of thought in a world of indoctrination and manipulative ideological movements, but they need to be faced:

    CLOSED-MINDEDNESS: Stubbornly irrational, question-begging resistance to correction and/or alternative views . . .

    This fallacy manifests itself in a habitual pattern of thought, feelings and argument that is:

    (a) question-beggingly committed to and/or

    (b) indoctrinated into thinking in the circle of a particular view or position and/or

    (c) blindly adherent to “the consensus” or vision and school of thought or paradigm of a particular set of authorities. [NB: This last includes today’s new Magisterium: “Science.”]

    As a result,

    (d) the victim of closed-mindedness becomes unwarrantedly (i.e. fallaciously and often abusively) resistant to new or alternative ideas, information or correction . . .

    That is, it is not a matter of mere disagreement that is at stake here, but of

    (e) stubborn and objectively unjustified refusal to be corrected or to entertain or fairly discuss on the merits ideas or points of view outside of a favoured circle of thought.

    In extreme cases,

    (f) the closed minded person who has access to power or influence may engage in the willfully deceptive (and even demonic) practice of actively suppressing the inconvenient truth that s/he knows or should know.

    (By contrast, a properly educated person is open-minded but critically aware: s/he is aware of the possibility and prevalence of error, and so (i) habitually investigates and then (ii) accurately, objectively and fairly describes major alternative views, fact claims and lines of argument on a topic, (iii) comparing them on congruence to his/her real-world experience and that of others s/he knows and respects, general factual correctness, logical coherence and degree of explanatory power; thus (iv) holds a personal view that results from such a process of comparative difficulties, while (v) recognising and respecting that on major matters of debate or controversy, different people will hold different views.)

    I trust that this will help.

    KF

    PS: The essay challenge is still open. If you have actually adequately grounded the sort of certainty you assert to the point of implying that those who differ with you are ignorant- stupid- insane- or- wicked, it should be easy to summarise in a feature length article of up to about 6,000 or so words. I take the above and onward remarks you have made as an informal offer to take it up.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: DDD 8 on denying the reality of FSCO/I is relevant:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-of-fscoi/

    DDD 12 on hyperskepticism too:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-evidence/

    DDD 16 on denial also:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-in-egypt/

    –> I note the category for DDs should be added

  19. 19
    sparc says:

    KF, did relevant figures in the ID field like Dr. Dembski, Dr. Behe or Dr. Marks ever refer to your FSCO/I?
    My impression is that even Winston Ewert avoided this term in his recent posts. Isn’t this frustrating or don’t you have the impression that your posts are being ignored.

  20. 20
    Axel says:

    sparc, Kairosfocus is an extraordinary polymath by any standards, so don’t hold it against Dembski, Behe and Marks, if they find acronymic neologisms KF comes up with not easy to fall in with and adopt, straight away.

  21. 21
    keith s says:

    LOL @ Axel #20.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    Sparc,

    Pardon but you are recirculating long since — many months ago — adequately answered objections. That seems to reflect the message dominance view on which reasoned discussion based on evident fact takes a back seat to manipulation creating perceptions and impressions that dominate how people think.

    Sorry, that is not the way to actually seek to learn and ground truth.

    Let me speak for record, I have little time for tedious cycles of confronting endless recirculation of long since adequately answered talking points.

    First, as may be readily ascertained, I am in effect synthesising terms used by OOL researchers Orgel and Wicken in the 1970’s about characteristic patterns of biological life.

    Second, I an describing a commonplace observable phenomenon — your objection implicitly pivots on denying the patent fact of interactive function based on complex, specific arrangement of correctly matched parts that sharply constrains configuration if function is to be achieved. Go to a sporting goods store and get an Abu 6500 c3 reel (it is very common) and satisfy yourself that I am not making things up. Notice the exploded view diagram that gives the information rich specification, leaving off the deeper one in the drawings for the parts held by Abu-Garcia and their partners.

    FSCO/I is instantly recognisable as an objective phenomenon.

    And if you imagine that any or many arbitrary clumped or scattered arrangements of parts will do sometghing relevant then go dump a set of parts in a bag and try to assemble by shaking. Predictable fail.

    And if you think that does not relate to biological life take a little time to ponder the cellular protein synthesis process.

    Third, actually Dembski and Meyer use terms that cover much the same ground, and Behe in speaking of irreducible complexity speaks to a subset. For that matter, GP in emphasising dFSCI, speaks to another subset. CSI is an abstracted super-set where specification is abstracted. In NFL pp. 144 and 148, WmAD stresses that in biological life specification is on function.

    After two calls I am summoned to a zero notice meeting and must go. Later.

    KF

  23. 23
    Learned Hand says:

    First, as may be readily ascertained, I am in effect synthesising terms used by OOL researchers Orgel and Wicken in the 1970?s about characteristic patterns of biological life.

    No, you aren’t. I keep asking, how do you justify saying this when Orgel apparently means “complex” in the colloquial sense while Dembski is talking about probability? Why does Orgel consider a crystal not complex, while the creationist version of specified complexity (of whatever subspecies) calls improbable but regular shapes complex?

    Using the same word is not “synthesizing terms.”

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    Not to mention a log measure of information has been known for decades. And I’m not talking about Shannon, I’m talking decades before Shannon. Wasn’t it 1928 kf?

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    Adapa, is it a lie to say that you admit that certain aspects of living organisms exhibit CSI. Just wondering if you’re going to disavow that claim too.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N Let’s give clips:

    Dembski: >> We know from experience that intelligent agents build intricate machines that need all their parts to function [[–> i.e. he is specifically discussing “irreducibly complex” objects, structures or processes for which there is a core group of parts all of which must be present and properly arranged for the entity to function (cf. here, here and here)], things like mousetraps and motors. And we know how they do it — by looking to a future goal and then purposefully assembling a set of parts until they’re a working whole. Intelligent agents, in fact, are the one and only type of thing we have ever seen doing this sort of thing from scratch. In other words, our common experience provides positive evidence of only one kind of cause able to assemble such machines. It’s not electricity. It’s not magnetism. It’s not natural selection working on random variation. It’s not any purely mindless process. It’s intelligence . . . .

    When we attribute intelligent design to complex biological machines that need all of their parts to work, we’re doing what historical scientists do generally. Think of it as a three-step process: (1) locate a type of cause active in the present that routinely produces the thing in question; (2) make a thorough search to determine if it is the only known cause of this type of thing; and (3) if it is, offer it as the best explanation for the thing in question. [–> Notice the vera causa based inference]

    [[William Dembski and Jonathan Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy, pp. 20-21, 53 (InterVarsity Press, 2010). HT, CL of ENV & DI.]>>

    MEYER: >> [[W]e now have a wealth of experience showing that what I call specified or functional information (especially if encoded in digital form) does not arise from purely physical or chemical antecedents [[–> i.e. by blind, undirected forces of chance and necessity]. Indeed, the ribozyme engineering and pre-biotic simulation experiments that Professor Falk commends to my attention actually lend additional inductive support to this generalization. On the other hand, we do know of a cause—a type of cause—that has demonstrated the power to produce functionally-specified information. That cause is intelligence or conscious rational deliberation. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler once observed, “the creation of information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” And, of course, he was right. Whenever we find information—whether embedded in a radio signal, carved in a stone monument, written in a book or etched on a magnetic disc—and we trace it back to its source, invariably we come to mind, not merely a material process. Thus, the discovery of functionally specified, digitally encoded information along the spine of DNA [–> notice the direct parallel to dFSCI, and the case being used parallel to GP’s discussions], provides compelling positive evidence of the activity of a prior designing intelligence. This conclusion is not based upon what we don’t know. It is based upon what we do know from our uniform experience about the cause and effect structure of the world—specifically, what we know about what does, and does not, have the power to produce large amounts of specified information . . . . [Meyer, Stephen C: Response to Darrel Falk’s Review of Signature in the Cell, SITC web site, 2009. (Emphases and parentheses added.)] >>

    That should suffice to show that the terms I have used are not merely idiosyncratic, especially when the onward context of Orgel and Wicken is brought to bear with the underlying observable wiring diagram based functionality. KF

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung, you are going back to Hartley. KF

  28. 28
    Me_Think says:

    KF
    ID should clearly state that the ID agent is omnipotent. I don’t know why IDer are afraid to go beyond ‘ID just detects design and does nothing else’ stance.
    As it stands now, ID offers no mechanism, no sense of ID agent (if omnipotent) or thousands of non-omnipotent ID agents. No alternate mechanisms is being debated. How is ID theory any different from just CSI ?

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, let me simply clip what Orgel and wicken said, as noted in the recent FTR, just for the most recent citation:

    >> ORGEL, 1973:

    . . . 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 [–> joint complexity-specificity criterion in the context of the organisation and function of life forms at micro, molecular level especially, per OOL]. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189.]

    WICKEN, 1979:

    ‘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’ 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.)] >>

    The source of and even words used in “functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information are obvious. There are even hints that the wiring diagram is a way to move to information content quantification.

    I cannot stop you from laying at message dominance manipulative games, but I can simply speak the direct truth as I earned it over the years. And no I am not indulging any group think or the like games, nor am I doing anything more than pointing out what is a common observable fact of functional systems based on interaction of parts that I have dealt with since the days of my Mitchell 602A round reel when I was a teen.

    KF

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    MT: where did you ever get the notion from that design theory per se is about an omnipotent agent? That is a rhetorical, loaded projection on what design theory is coming from objectors of the ilk of the misleading accusation “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.” From Thaxton et al on, those who make the design inference on the world of life have been quite plain that evidence that is pointing to design of life does not of itself characterise a relevant designer as within or beyond the cosmos; in my words a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al would be a sufficient cause for cell based life. Fine tuning evidence raises the issue of a cosmos building designer, but even a powerful designer at that level is not to be automatically equated to an all-powerful one, a philosophical term. Belief in an Omnipotent being is a worldview level matter, in a different province of thought entirely. KF

  31. 31
    Learned Hand says:

    KF, all that does is establish that Orgel used the word “complex.” You’re trying to establish that when he used it, he meant the same thing that you and Dembski mean.

    It’s fine for Dembski to define “complex” differently than Orgel did–language isn’t much good if it isn’t flexible. But when I keep asking, “How do you justify claiming that they used the word in the same way?” And you keep responding with copied-and-pasted excerpts that are completely nonresponsive, you give me the very strong impression that you are unable or unwilling to answer the question.

    You’ve taken a position on the issue. It’s OK–I promise, it’s really and truly OK–to say, “I was wrong,” or even, “I might not have been right about that.” It would be a lot easier than pounding the table over and over and over again with the same nonresponsive mantra.

    But hey, maybe I’m the one who’s wrong. So let me ask again:

    What makes you think that Dembski and Orgel were defining “complex” in the same way, given (a) Dembski’s nonstandard, probabilistic definition and (b) their apparently different views on whether regular forms like crystals are complex?

    FYI-FTR, simply repeating that Orgel used the word “complex” is not an answer. I know he used the word “complex.” The question is whether he and Dembski are using it in the same sense.

  32. 32
    Mung says:

    KF: “Mung, you are going back to Hartley.”

    Indeed. 🙂

    Transmission of Information

    Do you know of anything earlier? Nyquist perhaps?

    The critics seem to think you just make this stuff up. The fundamentals of the theory have been out there for almost a century now.

    What was that infamous quote by G.N. Lewis? When was that, 1933? I have a book of his on thermodynamics, btw.

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    sparc:

    KF, did relevant figures in the ID field like Dr. Dembski, Dr. Behe or Dr. Marks ever refer to your FSCO/I?

    Who cares?

    The concept of information as something quantifiable and measurable has been around for almost a century now (if not longer).

    KF doesn’t need the approval or recognition of Dembksi, Behe or Meyer for him to have a valid argument.

    So, just another way to avoid the argument. And this constitutes a challenge to ID how?

    If you follow the link to the Hartley paper:

    Finally the point of view developed is useful in that it provides a ready means of checking whether or not claims made for the transmission possibilities of a complicated system lie withing the range of physical possibility.

  34. 34
    sparc says:

    KF:

    FSCO/I is instantly recognisable as an objective phenomenon.>/blockquote>
    Well, when you google FDCO/I it becomes obvious that FSCO/I not so recognisable as an objective phenomenon as you think. Despite all your efforts here and elsewhere it remains your always linked to and even more often copied and pasted private idea without any relevance even among ID proponents other than maybe JoeG and BA77. If you continue claiming that FSCO/I is of any importance please show us who else actually ever discussed seriously. And please don’t stop pretending that dead scientists like Orgel were referring to and actually meant FSCO/I when they were discussing something different.

  35. 35
    sparc says:

    Sorry for messing up the HTML tags and forgetting the word “it” further down in my previous comment. It should have read:

    FSCO/I is instantly recognisable as an objective phenomenon.

    Well, when you google FDCO/I it becomes obvious that FSCO/I not so recognisable as an objective phenomenon as you think. Despite all your efforts here and elsewhere it remains your always linked to and even more often copied and pasted private idea without any relevance even among ID proponents other than maybe JoeG and BA77. If you continue claiming that FSCO/I is of any importance please show us who else actually ever discussed it seriously. And please don’t stop pretending that dead scientists like Orgel were referring to and actually meant FSCO/I when they were discussing something different.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    Sparc, I spotted a remark you made. I ask you, go to a sporting goods shop or better a specialty tackle shop. Ask for and inspect an Abu 6500 C3 reel. Can you see the wiring diagram in the insert and recognise the fitted together parts in your hand? Do you see how the parts fit together in quite specific ways such that by correct interaction they achieve a functionality that would not be achieved by vastly many more ways the same parts could be clumped together or scattered? If your heart tells you but of course, you have instantly recognised FSCO/I, not in a big and complicated case like a 747 Jumbo Jet, but in something that is a lot simpler than a watch. FSCO/I, I repeat is highly and readily evident to the senses, so much so that to deny it while staring it in the face is patently absurd. Next, this is a commonplace in a world of wiring diagram functionality. By using those engineering terms, Wicken acknowledged that this is familiar from an age of technology. Both he and Orgel saw this same pattern in the world of cell based life in the further context of investigating OOL. Meyer, Behe and Dembski are speaking to this overwhelmingly evident reality also, and are in effect building on the recognition across the 1970’s. Where also, the very point of a wiring diagram is that specific orientation and arrangement of parts to form a functional whole may be described graphically by a nodes-arcs network. (The most familiar such being a circuit diagram.) As AutoCAD etc show, that can be reduced to a structured string of answers to y/n q’s, which can be captioned to highlight the description language being used. This is of course already a metric of functionally specific complex organisation in bits, an information metric. More sophisticated metrics can be constructed on observing statistical patterns etc but that is already good enough for purpose. The objectivity of functionality is readily apparent from whether or no the reel works in relevant ways. Where also, one may generalise from functional specificity to an abstract zone T in an equally abstract config space W. That’s what Dembski explored in NFL and subsequently constructed a metric model. I simply point out that a log reduction to info beyond a threshold is readily seen, and that a reasonable I-value and threshold value can be given. That such a dog and pony skeptics’ show of who do you believe, me or your lying eyes and hands has had to be constructed to deny the patent inadvertently underscores the force of the point on the objectivity of FSCO/I and its only actually– and readily — observed cause. We are fully entitled to hold on that familiarity that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design, and therefore at minimum design should sit at the table to account for the FSCO/I in life forms by right not sufferance. And for sure the ideologically loaded refusal to allow that is a sobering warning sign on the breakdown of scientific objectivity in our day. It is time for fresh and reasonable thinking in light of evident facts such as FSCO/I. KF

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Please distinguish an abbreviation and a particular descriptive phrasing from the underlying observable and recognisable reality and the widespread concept familiar from wiring diagrams, exploded views etc.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, do you notice how you did not cite what Orgel actually wrote, namely SPECIFIED COMPLEXITY? No, he did not actually just use the word, “complex.” He took time to highlight the context of functional life forms and the difference between that type of aperiodic organisation that is pointing to a function and random (dusted salt like) mixes of granite crystals or the order of a common crystal. Functional, complex specificity based on interactive arrangement and coupling of parts. Wicken adds, that the organisation on a wiring diagram is informational, which is instantly demonstrable on reducing to nodes and arcs then using a description language equivalent to a string of Y/N q’s to specify state. I suggest to you, that the difference between what Orgel wrote and how you tried to distance my comments from it by twisting them into Orgel spoke in effect only of complexity (as opposed tot he actual SPECIFIED complexity), is unfortunately sufficient to constitute a strawman caricature, given the fact that I highlighted the key words so that they could not be missed by a reader of reasonable diligence in a controversial context. Please correct that gap and then re-address the matter. KF

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung,

    Nyquist is one of the early contributors too.

    GN Lewis, as cited by Wiki:

    . . . in the words of G. N. Lewis writing about chemical entropy in 1930, “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more”. To be more concrete, in the discrete case using base two logarithms, the reduced Gibbs entropy is equal to the minimum number of yes–no questions needed to be answered in order to fully specify the microstate, given that we know the macrostate.

    KF

  40. 40
    Learned Hand says:

    KF, your answer is a non sequitor. I asked how we know that Orgel and Dembski had the same definition of complex, given Dembski’s non-standard probabilistic approach and their different approach to regular forms like crystals. Saying that Orgel also talked about specificity doesn’t answer that question; it begs the question of whether they defined specificity the same way. (Someone else argued earlier that they didn’t, since Dembski’s is pre- and Orgel’s is post-hoc, but I don’t understand Dembski’s specification arguments well enough to have an opinion).

    Saying you don’t know, or that they defined the terms differently, are perfectly fine answers. Avoiding the question is just acknowledging that without getting credit for being straightforward about it.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, please re-read what Orgel said. He very emphatically speaks of a joint specificity-complexity pattern in life forms [thus, implicitly of function], contrasting that with the order of a crystal [which has a unit cell periodically repeated] and the [salt-grain scatter like] randomness of minerals mixed in granite. That complexity-specificity jointness is pivotal, he is not merely speaking of complexity simpliciter. If you do not get that jointness- by- contrast, you will not correctly understand what he is saying. Wicken explicitly uses function, speaking of functional organisation, in accordance with a wiring diagram and the associated high information content. KF

    PS: Have you ever wired up a complex electronic circuit in accord with such a diagram or the like? Do you know what a crystal unit cell is and how it is replicated in space to form a mass of crystalline substance? Are you familiar with the pattern of crystals that can be seen in many examples of granite?

  42. 42
    Learned Hand says:

    KF, one of us is failing to communicate. My question is so simple that I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s not me.

    Orgel obviously does not think of “complexity” as a question of likelihood. Dembski does. Orgel does not think crystals are complex (and note that he does address that question without tying complexity and specificity together); I think Dembski would call them complex, although I don’t know that for a fact. I thought you might be able to say one way or another, but I honestly can’t even tell if you’re trying to answer the question at this point.

    Orgel and Dembski do not define “complex” the same way. I think that makes it unrealistic to say that they mean the same thing by “specified complexity,” which is no surprise as Orgel certainly didn’t think of it in terms of intelligence or design. And to his credit, I don’t think Dembski ever claimed they were the same concept–I think he was pretty clear that he developed his own concept but pointed to Orgel as one inspiration.

    I think you’re going to go on telling people that intelligent design goes all the way back to Orgel, citing the fact that he uses the words “specified complexity,” without ever coming to terms with the fact that Orgel meant something completely different. And I think you’re going to respond with another dense non sequitor that utterly fails to address the underlying question, perhaps by ironically accusing me of using distracting, turnaround tactics.

    But just in case, could you please try answering the question simply and concisely? I’d love to hear something along the lines of, “Dembski and Orgel meant the same thing by specified complexity because…” or “They didn’t mean exactly the same thing because…”

    To be clear, I don’t mean this as a criticism of Dembski. I think it’s fine and dandy to extend on a previous idea, even if it means changing it substantively. My interest in this specific question came partly from your repeated citation of Orgel’s work, relying on a few short excerpts without context or any attempt to actually show that the concepts are the same. And then my interest was piqued when Barry Arrington told me, with his characteristic bullish confidence and factual sloppiness, that Orgel and Dembski meant “exactly” the same thing.

    Since then, I’ve been looking to see what it takes to just get an IDer (or UDer, if there’s a difference in this case) to say, “Yes, that was wrong. They’re not quite the same thing.”

    Apparently it takes more than simply being wrong to admit being wrong.

  43. 43
    Mung says:

    kf:

    As AutoCAD etc show, that can be reduced to a structured string of answers to y/n q’s, which can be captioned to highlight the description language being used. This is of course already a metric of functionally specific complex organisation in bits, an information metric. More sophisticated metrics can be constructed on observing statistical patterns etc but that is already good enough for purpose.

    You’re asking an ID critic to admit to the obvious. Good luck with that.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, I repeat, Orgel speaks, not simply of complexity but of specified complexity, which once one sees the tightly constraining context of functionality as setting the specification, leads to a distinct isolated zone T in the field of possible configs, W. Complexity, by itself, is not in need of any elaborate explanation beyond chance — a jumbled pile of fishing reel parts can be exceedingly complex, but because there isn’t any particular reason for any one jumbled state to be significantly marked off from the others, being in a jumbled state requires no particular special explanation beyond blind chance and mechanical necessity . . . once we take the parts as givens. A set of parts assembled in accord with the Abu 6500 C3 wiring diagram, and turning out to be in a state of very good value for money fishing reel function is an utterly different kettle of fish. That state is maximally implausible and of utterly low probability on blind chance plus mechanical necessity. It is however not implausible on the action of a reasonably skilled assembler following the wiring diagram. So, yes, probabilities and their linked information metrics, are quite organically relevant to what Orgel said. And, your consistent missing of the significance of Orgel’s actual phrase, specified complexity, is significant also. KF

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I am not here to defend either BA or WmAD, I am looking at the matter for myself. Orgel is the source who put specified complexity into play in recent decades, and Thaxton et al picked up on it and its significance in a thermodynamic context that brought to bear not only classical but statistical issues [hence the signigicance of Boltzmann’s W or the alternative Omega in these discussions]. Thaxton et al juxtaposed Wicken, and the two together are the source of my own descriptive abbreviation, FSCO/I (and also, bearing in mind DNA, dFSCI) — functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information. FSCO/I is readily observed from wiring diagram organisation, linked interaction and resulting function dependent on being specifically configured. A commonplace, I simply use the Abu 6500 C3 as it is very convenient. This same pattern is found in life forms, including esp. the protein synthesis process. It is consistently associated with design, even just as simple induction. Elaboration of metric models of specified complexity is an onward step, but it is organically connected. The one elaborated by Dembski in 2005, turns out on log reduction, to be an info beyond a threshold metric. That can be turned into a simple model that can be readily used to come up with specified, functional info values and thresholds that make it implausible for that much FSCO/I to have arisen by blind chance and mechanical necessity. Yes, there is a grand apparatus of dismissive critique and not a little personal ridicule connected. But the basic problem with such is readily apparent once one sees that the critics are hyperskeptical to the point of being unable to bring themselves to acknowledge a commonplace of a technological world. Specific function based on complexity described by a wiring diagram; which BTW may readily be turned into a string of structured — description language — Y/N q’s that specify the functional state in the wiring diagram and measure its info content in functionally specific bits. That selective hyperskepticism in the teeth of patent readily observed realities, should speak volumes to you.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: I note that just the gear train — gears are not simple things! — and slipping clutch drag mechanism are more than enough to infer FSCO/I beyond plausible reach of chance and necessity.

  47. 47
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 42:

    I think Dembski would call them [crystals] complex . . .

    And you would be wrong. As I have told you before, citing the specific passage in his book. That you still think this suggests that your opinions are impervious to conclusive evidence to the contrary.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, let me snip TMLO by Thaxton et al Ch 8:

    ___________

    >> Order vs. Complexity in the Question of Information
    Only recently has it been appreciated that the distinguishing feature of living systems is complexity rather than order.4 This distinction has come from the observation that the essential ingredients for a replicating system—enzymes and nucleic acids—are all information-bearing molecules. In contrast, consider crystals. They are very orderly, spatially periodic arrangements of atoms (or molecules) but they carry very little information. Nylon is another example of an orderly, periodic polymer (a polyamide) which carries little information. Nucleic acids and protein are aperiodic polymers, and this aperiodicity is what makes them able to carry much more information. By definition then, a periodic structure has order. An aperiodic structure has complexity. In terms of information, periodic polymers (like nylon) and crystals are analogous to a book in which the same sentence is repeated throughout. The arrangement of “letters” in the book is highly ordered, but the book contains little information since the information presented—the single word or sentence—is highly redundant.

    It should be noted that aperiodic polypeptides or polynucleotides do not necessarily represent meaningful information or biologically useful functions. A random arrangement of letters in a book is aperiodic but contains little if any useful information since it is devoid of meaning.

    [NOTE: H.P. Yockey, personal communication, 9/29/82. Meaning is extraneous to the sequence, arbitrary, and depends on some symbol convention. For example, the word “gift,” which in English means a present and in German poison, in French is meaningless].

    Only certain sequences of letters correspond to sentences, and only certain sequences of sentences correspond to paragraphs, etc. In the same way only certain sequences of amino acids in polypeptides and bases along polynucleotide chains correspond to useful biological functions. Thus, informational macro-molecules may be described as being and in a specified sequence.5 Orgel notes:

    Living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.6

    Three sets of letter arrangements show nicely the difference between order and complexity in relation to information:

    1. An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:

    THE END THE END THE END THE END

    Example: Nylon, or a crystal.

    [NOTE: Here we use “THE END” even though there is no reason to suspect that nylon or a crystal would carry even this much information. Our point, of course, is that even if they did, the bit of information would be drowned in a sea of redundancy].

    2. A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:

    AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG

    Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

    3. A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:

    THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE!

    Example: DNA, protein.

    Yockey7 and Wickens5 develop the same distinction, that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as could 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.
    Information and Entropy
    There is a general relationship between information and entropy. This is fortunate because it allows an analysis to be developed in the formalism of classical thermodynamics, giving us a powerful tool for calculating the work to be done by energy flow through the system to synthesize protein and DNA (if indeed energy flow is capable of producing information). The information content in a given sequence of units, be they digits in a number, letters in a sentence, or amino acids in a polypeptide or protein, depends on the minimum number of instructions needed to specify or describe the structure. Many instructions are needed to specify a complex, information-bearing structure such as DNA. Only a few instructions are needed to specify an ordered structure such as a crystal. In this case we have a description of the initial sequence or unit arrangement which is then repeated ad infinitum according to the packing instructions.

    Orgel9 illustrates the concept in the following way. To describe a crystal, one would need only to specify the substance to be used and the way in which the molecules were to be packed together. A couple of sentences would suffice, followed by the instructions “and keep on doing the same,” since the packing sequence in a crystal is regular. The description would be about as brief as specifying a DNA-like polynucleotide with a random sequence. Here one would need only to specify the proportions of the four nucleotides in the final product, along with instructions to assemble them randomly. The chemist could then make the polymer with the proper composition but with a random sequence.

    It would be quite impossible to produce a correspondingly simple set of instructions that would enable a chemist to synthesize the DNA of an E. coli bacterium. In this case the sequence matters. Only by specifying the sequence letter-by-letter (about 4,000,000 instructions) could we tell a chemist what to make. Our instructions would occupy not a few short sentences, but a large book instead! . . . >>
    _____________

    I trust this begins to give some context. (Please read on at the linked as they go into further relevant points. I use Dolphin as this is in HTML format.)

    KF

  49. 49
    keith s says:

    Barry,

    By Dembski’s own equation, something exhibits CSI/specified complexity if P(T|H) is sufficiently low.

    P(T|H) is a probability, not a measure of complexity.

    A cylindrical crystal of pure silicon is not complex at all, yet it is highly improbable by purely natural processes. That’s why we have to grow them to make silicon wafers instead of just mining them somewhere. Dembski’s equation would therefore attribute CSI/specified complexity to such a crystal, despite its simplicity.

    “Complex specified information” is really “improbable (under natural processes) specified information”. “CSI” is a misnomer.

  50. 50
    Joe says:

    keith s is confused. The equation is about whether or the observed specification is the result of intelligent design or not.

    Also improbability is a way to measure complexity. It is very telling that keith doesn’t understand that fact.

  51. 51
    Joe says:

    The equation is about whether the observed specification is the result of intelligent design or not.

  52. 52
    keith s says:

    It’s interesting that KF’s preferred example of design — the Abu 6500 C3 fishing reel, with which he bores us to death — is full of gears, yet only one case of gearing has ever been found in nature.

    Did God the Designer finally get around to taking a mechanical engineering course before designing Issus coleoptratus?

  53. 53
    Learned Hand says:

    BA,

    If you’re referring to this comment, as I wrote before that refers to why crystals aren’t intelligently designed, not why they aren’t complex. His other writing suggests that he doesn’t think crystals are intelligently designed because they have a “physical necessity” cause, not because they aren’t complex. I think he has to call them complex, because otherwise the Kubrick Monolith wouldn’t be complex.

    Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t claim to know Dembski’s mind on this issue very well, but it’s going to take more than a literature bluff to defuse the question.

    The whole conversation shows how Dembski thinks of “complexity” as a function of probability, which is nowhere in any snip, excerpt, or paraphrase of Orgel’s work I’ve ever seen. Or, apparently, that you or KF have ever seen, because all we keep getting are the same copy-and-paste jobs showing a very different concept of “complexity.”

    So why do you think that Orgel and Dembski are using the words in “exactly” the same way? One’s probabilistic, one’s not.

  54. 54
    Learned Hand says:

    KF,

    Thanks, I think that answers the question. Orgel and Dembski definitely don’t think of complexity in the same way.

    If Orgel is looking at complexity in terms of the assembly instructions, then he would not consider a perfect cube of steel sitting on the moon to be complex. Therefore he would not consider it to have specified complexity. Dembski would.

    (This assumes that in the excerpt you provided, the reference to Orgel’s thoughts on assembly instructions is tied to his notion of complexity. Please tell me if you think it’s not.)

    I do not expect this to shift the party line. Orgel = Dembski, the die is cast and shall not be reconsidered.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    LH: Again, you overlook that Orgel particularly addresses specified complexity distinguishing it from order and from the complex randomness of granite crystals etc. And that is a pivotal point. I cannot force you to acknowledge it, but I can highlight it. I simply note for record. KF

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, FTR, Gear trains are just one manifestation of FSCO/I. You leave off the general wiring diagram pattern and the particular case of string data structures carrying coded information. The Wicken wiring diagram pattern easily leads to a structured string of Y/n q’s which is immediately an info metric. And more. KF

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    In “No Free Lunch” Dembski makes it clear that he is using the term “specified complexity” in the way it was always used, that is used by Orgel, Dawkins, Davies, and Kauffman- see page 329. That Dembski tries to quantify it doesn’t make it different.

    BTW, probability is a complexity measurement.

  58. 58
    Joe says:

    Perhaps Dembski isn’t the author of “No Free Lunch”, but the author of “No Free Lunch” bases his specified complexity on that of those who used the term before him, ie that of Orgel, Dawkins, Davies and Kauffman.

  59. 59
    Barry Arrington says:

    Learned Hand on whether Bill Dembski thinks crystals are complex:

    Orgel obviously does not think of “complexity” as a question of likelihood. Dembski does. Orgel does not think crystals are complex (and note that he does address that question without tying complexity and specificity together); I think Dembski would call them complex,

    Bill Dembski on whether Bill Dembski thinks crystals are complex:

    For instance, the formation of a salt crystal follows well-defined laws, produces an independently given repetitive pattern, and is therefore specified; but that pattern will also be simple, not complex.

    Why Natural Selection Can’t Design Anything

    LH, you really should take the time to understand an issue before you comment on it.

  60. 60
    keith s says:

    Barry, see this comment.

  61. 61
    sparc says:

    PPPPPPPPPPPPS: Have Dembski, Meyer, Marks, Behe, Johnson, Nelson, Sewell or even John Sanford ever referred to the particular descriptive phrasing from the underlying observable and recognisable reality and the widespread concept familiar from wiring diagrams, exploded views etc. developed by Kairosfocus.

  62. 62
    Learned Hand says:

    BA,

    Thanks for the citation! I don’t recall you providing it in the last thread–if so, I’m sorry I missed it. I was wrong about whether Dembski would consider a salt or quartz or whatever natural crystal complex.

    In your hurry to be ungracious, though, you’ve overlooked the point I was making just before:

    “If Orgel is looking at complexity in terms of the assembly instructions, then he would not consider a perfect cube of steel sitting on the moon to be complex. Therefore he would not consider it to have specified complexity. Dembski would.”

    Your citation supports that pretty strongly. As Dembski says in the link you provided, a natural crystal would be specified if not complex because it follows “laws (that is, necessities of nature)”. Where a subject is simple without a law-like explanation, for example, 500 fair coins landing heads-up in a row, he would find complexity. Or to stay with shapes, a perfect cubic meter of salt on the moon, where I assume there normally isn’t any salt at all. If you think Dembski would deny that either of those things aren’t complex by his definition, please say so. But I think I’m on firm ground here. As he wrote, “The monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (a homogeneous rectangular solid) exhibits specified complexity. The sphericity of the stars do not. Both are simple according to our intuitive understanding. Yet natural processes spontaneously give rise to spheres but not to homogeneous rectangular solids.”

    It’s the contextual cause of something, not its composition, that gives rise to Dembskian complexity.

    But would Orgel find a crystal to be “complex” just because he found it on the moon? It still doesn’t seem as if any of us have actually read his book. The direct excerpts I’ve seen make it sound like he’s looking at whether the components are homogeneous. The analysis KF linked focuses instead on whether the assembly of something can be simply described. (And not assembly in situ according to natural means; it just refers to a list of components and an ordering of the parts.)

    In other words, Dembski’s complexity depends on the circumstances of the thing. Not just what is it and what is it made of, but where is it? What could have caused it? In other words, what’s its P(T|H)? If you don’t know that, you can’t tell how likely it was. So for example, you need to know whether something has a law-like cause to tell whether it’s complex or not, per your citation.

    Nothing in any of the Orgel material I’ve ever seen requires the same knowledge. He’s not looking at the cause of a thing in its context, is he? He’s looking at its contents and composition.

    If I’m wrong, I’d love to hear why. Your rude aside is quite off target: I comment largely to learn about these things, not because I’m an expert. Thanks for helping me learn more about how Dembski thinks of complexity. I hope this conversation helps refine your thinking as well.

    So do you still think that Orgel and Dembski are using the terms in “exactly” the same way? Kubrick’s monolith, 500 heads in a row, the Caputo sequence: complex to Dembski, probably not to Orgel.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    Sparc,

    Pardon, but you were already answered.

    In summary, the particular phrasing is my own, the result at bottom of synthesising concepts comon in engineering reflected in “wiring diagram” with the discussion in Orgel and Wicken. Dembski abstracts specification from functional terms but notes in NFL, that in bio contexts, specification is cashed out as function. Abel & Trevors spoke to functional vs random vs ordered sequence complexity (providing a most insightful illustration). Meyer, replying to Falk, used terms that are substantially equivalent.

    The underlying concept is widespread, the phrasing varies. The fact of FSCO/I is easily observed, the Abu 6500 c3 is just one of millions of possible examples. One that happens to come from what was originally a watch-making company and is simpler than a watch. Something like the D’Arsonval moving coil meter — a commonplace in older indicating instruments — is I think a little abstract, and clockwork is too complex. The wiring diagram of a fishing reel is intuitively obvious.

    Let me clip from Meyer more extensively (in the context of OOL), on the assumption that your motivation is truth seeking not message dominance:

    The central argument of my book [Sig. in the Cell] is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past [–> historical and particularly origins science]. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form) [–> cf dFSCI as so often used by GP, a subset of FSCO/I]. Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question [–> vera causa applied] . . . . In order to [scientifically refute this inductive conclusion] Falk would need to show that some undirected material cause has [empirically] demonstrated the power to produce functional biological information apart from the guidance or activity a designing mind. Neither Falk, nor anyone working in origin-of-life biology, has succeeded in doing this . . . .

    The central problem facing origin-of-life researchers is neither the synthesis of pre-biotic building blocks (which Sutherland’s work addresses) or even the synthesis of a self-replicating RNA molecule (the plausibility of which Joyce and Tracey’s work seeks to establish, albeit unsuccessfully . . . [Meyer gives details in the linked page]). Instead, the fundamental problem is getting the chemical building blocks to arrange themselves into the large information-bearing molecules (whether DNA or RNA) [–> focuses on dFSCI] . . . .

    For nearly sixty years origin-of-life researchers have attempted to use pre-biotic simulation experiments to find a plausible pathway by which life might have arisen from simpler non-living chemicals, thereby providing support for chemical evolutionary theory. While these experiments have occasionally yielded interesting insights about the conditions under which certain reactions will or won’t produce the various small molecule constituents of larger bio-macromolecules, they have shed no light on how the information in these larger macromolecules (particularly in DNA and RNA) could have arisen. Nor should this be surprising in light of what we have long known about the chemical structure of DNA and RNA. As I show in Signature in the Cell, the chemical structures of DNA and RNA allow them to store information precisely because chemical affinities between their smaller molecular subunits do not determine the specific arrangements of the bases in the DNA and RNA molecules. Instead, the same type of chemical bond (an N-glycosidic bond) forms between the backbone and each one of the four bases, allowing any one of the bases to attach at any site along the backbone, in turn allowing an innumerable variety of different sequences. This chemical indeterminacy is precisely what permits DNA and RNA to function as information carriers. It also dooms attempts to account for the origin of the information—the precise sequencing of the bases—in these molecules as the result of deterministic chemical interactions . . . .

    [W]e now have a wealth of experience showing that what I call specified or functional information (especially if encoded in digital form) does not arise from purely physical or chemical antecedents [–> i.e. by blind, undirected forces of chance and necessity]. Indeed, the ribozyme engineering and pre-biotic simulation experiments that Professor Falk commends to my attention actually lend additional inductive support to this generalization. On the other hand, we do know of a cause—a type of cause—that has demonstrated the power to produce functionally-specified information. That cause is intelligence or conscious rational deliberation. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler once observed, “the creation of information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” And, of course, he was right. Whenever we find information—whether embedded in a radio signal, carved in a stone monument, written in a book or etched on a magnetic disc—and we trace it back to its source, invariably we come to mind, not merely a material process. Thus, the discovery of functionally specified, digitally encoded information along the spine of DNA, provides compelling positive evidence of the activity of a prior designing intelligence. This conclusion is not based upon what we don’t know. It is based upon what we do know from our uniform experience about the cause and effect structure of the world—specifically, what we know about what does, and does not, have the power to produce large amounts of specified information . . . .

    [In conclusion,] it needs to be noted that the [[now commonly asserted and imposed limiting rule on scientific knowledge, the] principle of methodological naturalism [[ that scientific explanations may only infer to “natural[istic] causes”] is an arbitrary philosophical assumption, not a principle that can be established or justified by scientific observation itself. Others of us, having long ago seen the pattern in pre-biotic simulation experiments, to say nothing of the clear testimony of thousands of years of human experience, have decided to move on. We see in the information-rich structure of life a clear indicator of intelligent activity and have begun to investigate living systems accordingly. If, by Professor Falk’s definition, that makes us philosophers rather than scientists, then so be it. But I suspect that the shoe is now, instead, firmly on the other foot. [Meyer, Stephen C: Response to Darrel Falk’s Review of Signature in the Cell, SITC web site, 2009. (Emphases and parentheses added.)]

    That should be quite clear.

    I speak to FSCO/I as that enfolds dFSCI, Irreducible Complexity and the Wicken wiring diagram. A 3-d nodes-arcs pattern can be reduced to a structured set of y/n q’s that describe it with sufficient exactness to produce it, as AutoCAD etc routinely are used for. That is, discussion on strings is WLOG.

    And, just to underscore, the joint specificity AND complexity focussed on the same aspect of an object or process is pivotal. Where wiring diagram interactive functionality that depends on specific configuration is also pivotal.

    Lastly, such is an utter commonplace, so the consistent absence of admission of that fact of life in a technological world on the part of too many doctrinaire objectors to scientific design thought speaks inadvertent but sadly revealing volumes.

    FSCO/I is real, is observable, is reasonably quantifiable. Starting with y/n q chains at one bit per member, and capable of statistical refinement. That is linked to info as a measure or at least index of complexity, and onward to probability as a similar index. (Joe, above is quite right.)

    Can we at least acknowledge these things?

    One consequence, in terms of abstract configuration spaces (which are inherently multidimensional, to address yet another ill advised recent critique used as a point of inappropriate contempt-laced ridicule and mockery) is that FSCO/I naturally comes in deeply isolated clusters, metaphorically, islands of function. That terminology comes originally from Dembski BTW, though I picked it up from I believe GP’s use here at UD years ago. It is apt.

    The result is that highly sparse blind search for such islands T1 . . . Tn will with maximal likelihood fail. Whether a saltshaker sprinkle dust or a connected dynamic-stochastic random walk with drift makes little difference. Nor does dust plus walk. Too little atomic and temporal resource, too much space. Sparse blind search for needles in haystacks will predictably fail. In this case, one straw sized sample to astronomically large haystacks.

    Designers instead use a well-proved approach: intelligently directed configuration based on knowledge, skill, creative imagination, precedent, applying or adapting the wheel, etc etc. And arguably we can spot traces of such design patterns in a more realistic tangled hedge with cross-links view of the iconic tree of life.

    (No, there is good reason to reject the idea of an out there observable single branching tree with broad-scale preservation of keys once acquired leading to a certain objector’s claimed objective nested hierarchy. There are too many ad hoc auxiliary hyps on convergence, gene transfer and mosaics, there are too many disparities between traditional and various molecular trees. Tree-like trends with mods, reuse and adaptation of parts, diversities in embryological development programs, etc.)

    So, when one sees FSCO/I in protein synthesis, or in the materials and process flow network of cellular metabolism, or the digital code in D/RNA, that at minimum seriously puts design at the table as of right. On which, as Meyer pointed out Vera Causa kicks in.

    Decisively.

    KF

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    LH:

    The term specified complexity — used by Orgel, followed up by design theorists — is certainly being used by Orgel and by Dembski et al in a substantially equivalent way. (Kindly notice that second joint term, which implies that there is a core in common that meets reasonable criteria for being treated as effectively the same.)

    I state this, with particular reference to

    1: wiring diagram, complex organisation and

    2: resulting constraints on configuration, as opposed to

    3: repetitive order (think, crystal unit cells) and to

    4: chance-based randomness (think, the mixture of various crystals found in granite).

    Where also,

    5: specified complexity,

    6: understood in terms of the informational implications of wiring diagram nodes-arcs arrangement, leads straight to

    7: information and its measurement, thence immediately onwards to

    8: probability metrics.

    KF

  65. 65
    Andre says:

    KF

    Unfortunately this is what we have to deal with……. Lies, obtrusiveness, denial. Frankly I’m tired of it and I think this is the average materialist modus operandi, to eventually get their opponents to give up and then declare victory. Intellectual honour really has sunk very low in our age; I give this example of DNA_Jock and I in a previous thread…..

    The exchange

    DNA_JOCK said;

    Andre,

    Very interesting.

    gup1 strains are “incapable of undergoing apoptosis” yet they grow fine. rho-zero cells grow too, albeit slower.

    “PCD is essential to life”

    Game, set and match indeed.

    What I actually said;

    We demonstrate that gup1? mutant strain present a significantly reduced chronological lifespan comparing to Wt. Moreover, this mutant showed to be highly sensitive to acetic acid. Yet, while chronologically aged and acetic acid treated Wt cells die exhibiting apoptotic markers, gup1? mutant cells under the same conditions seems to be incapable of undergoing apoptosis. Instead, these cells appeared to be experiencing a necrotic cell death process.

    this type of dishonesty is very tiresome…….

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Scientific reasoning is provisional and observation-controlled. In that context, chance based blind search hyps need to be empirically supported. I therefore can freely state that no hyps compatible with known or plausible physics, chemistry and thermodynamics in Darwin’s pond or the like scenario is anywhere near a hope of being sufficient to cross the FSCO/I islands of function needle in haystack barrier to make a plausible OOL scenario. Much less, actually demonstrate capacity to generate relevant FSCO/I y solving the needle in haystack search problem. That’s the root of the tree of life. The various chance and necessity based mechanisms for mutations etc that have some empirical plausibility have no credible capacity to bridge resource to config space ratio constraints, reasonable mut rates and pop scales with generation spans, to synthesise body plans needing 10 – 100+ mn bases of additional functionally specific bio info. While there has been much gleeful dancing around the term p(T|H), the rhetoric is not answering to what the actual evidence of FSCO/I in life forms and the source of FSCO/I point to. Particularly when we see that a search in a level 1 space of cardinality W is a subset so the blind search for a golden search comes from ste set of subsets of cardinality 2^W. Where, for 500 bits W = 3.27*10^150 already. Vera causa clearly points, design from the root up.

  67. 67
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ keith- keith s, see THIS comment

    I still want to know why our opponents think that their willful ignorance refutes what we say.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    Andre, I hear your concern. When there is a shift from seeking empirically warranted truth about our world and discussion on sound warrant to ideologically polarised, message domination tactics backed by nihilism and enabling behaviour of that nihilism, we face a sobering challenge. We need to recognise such faction tactics for what they are, and firmly block them. Then, we must clearly develop our thoughts and stand steadily in the face of a grinding, wearying slog. Gradually, the balance on the merits will become evident, and the factions will become increasingly obviously at variance with soundness and civility. Just imagine, being up on administrative procedures before folks with firing and resume tarnishing power who think and operate like we are seeing. Actually, we don’t have to imagine too much, just ask many victims. Eventually, enough will wake up for a critical mass to be attained. Then suddenly many are going to jump ship adroitly seeking to land on their feet like cats as though nothing happened, no harm was done and no one was harmed. Just ask UB on why he had to take down his web site over the weekend. Ask those subjected to outing, slander, stereotyping and attempts to hold uninvolved family including minor children hostage. Then, ask the oh so genteel enablers just what they have been enabling. Enabling by tactics — LH this has to be a tactic now — such as refusing to acknowledge that Orgel did speak to specified complexity and did make strong distinctions that set a context for future follow up ten to twenty-five years later. It may seem a small thing, but by that insistence a partyline, Plato’s Cave domineering story tactic is enabled, further enabling the nihilists. Just like that, KS, when you lend an aura of martyrdom to slander and insinuate without good reason, lying, that has consequences. And so on. We need to take due note and see the rot in science, science edu, punditry, policy, and civility. Nor is this just on origins science, awful things have happened in the name of the environment, climate, genetics of all sorts of behaviour [especially criminal, delinquent and disorderly and damaging sexual behaviours . . let’s just say: porn plague], brains vs minds and more, shockingly more. Then we need to understand what happens when rots like that spread across a culture, and we need to stand up to stop the rot. KF

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ Learned Hand!:

    So for example, you need to know whether something has a law-like cause to tell whether it’s complex or not, per your citation.

    Yes LH, science requires knowledge or else you will be lost when trying to do science. Duh

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, please take time to examine the per aspect explanatory filter framework in light of the flowchart and discussion as follows:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ic-method/

    Notice the first decision node and the second with its emphasis on joint complexity and specificity, and the linked explanatory warrant. KF

  71. 71
    Barry Arrington says:

    keiths @ 60. Yes, that you come to exactly the opposite conclusion from Dembski indicates one of two things: (1) you understand Dembski’s theory better than he does; or (2) you are wrong.

  72. 72
    Joe says:

    Barry- I like this one from keith s:

    P(T|H) is a probability, not a measure of complexity.

    Probability is a measure of complexity and Dembski goes over this in “No Free Lunch”. The more complex something is the lower the probability of it arising by chance. Rolling Yahtzee! has a lower probability than rolling 5 different numbers because a Yahtzee! is more complex to achieve.

    That keith cannot grasp that simple concept says quite a bit about keith.

  73. 73
    Learned Hand says:

    KF,

    The term specified complexity — used by Orgel, followed up by design theorists — is certainly being used by Orgel and by Dembski et al in a substantially equivalent way.

    But not “exactly” the same. OK, thanks. I disagree that they’re very similar, and I think that Orgel would too, but that’s a matter of opinion. Your position is reasonable.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, reasonable discussion may be had on the origin of FSCO/I and thus also of specified complexity. On that, we can address inductive reasoning and evidence. Similarly, one may reasonably discuss metric models (though much of what has happened on the part of objectors is patently not reasonable). Bu,t the basic reality of FSCO/I is too broadly present in the world of systems that depend on functionally specific interactions of components wired together on a wiring diagram, to accept that it is reasonable to deny its reality, which is what too many objectors try to do. Likewise, it is not reasonable to fail to acknowledge that Orgel spoke of specified complexity, not merely complexity; the difference in terms is material and “specified complexity” in the context of Orgel’s comparisons and also Wicken’s remarks:

    ORGEL, 1973:

    . . . 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 [–> joint complexity-specificity criterion in the context of the organisation and function of life forms at micro, molecular level especially, per OOL]. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189.]

    WICKEN, 1979:

    ‘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’ 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.)]

    . . . supports the view that Thaxton, Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Trevors & Abel, Durston et al are addressing the same phenomenon. KF

  75. 75
    Joe says:

    LoL! Seeing that Dembski expanded on the term specified complexity it is a given that it won’t be exactly the same. It is still exactly the same concept as Orgel, et al. used.

  76. 76
    DNA_Jock says:

    Andre @65:

    KF
    Unfortunately this is what we have to deal with……. Lies, obtrusiveness, denial. Frankly I’m tired of it and I think this is the average materialist modus operandi, to eventually get their opponents to give up and then declare victory. Intellectual honour really has sunk very low in our age; I give this example of DNA_Jock and I in a previous thread…..
    The exchange

    DNA_JOCK said;
    Andre,
    Very interesting.
    gup1 strains are “incapable of undergoing apoptosis” yet they grow fine. rho-zero cells grow too, albeit slower.
    “PCD is essential to life”
    Game, set and match indeed.

    What actually happens; What I actually said;

    We demonstrate that gup1? mutant strain present a significantly reduced chronological lifespan comparing to Wt. Moreover, this mutant showed to be highly sensitive to acetic acid. Yet, while chronologically aged and acetic acid treated Wt cells die exhibiting apoptotic markers, gup1? mutant cells under the same conditions seems to be incapable of undergoing apoptosis. Instead, these cells appeared to be experiencing a necrotic cell death process.

    this type of dishonesty is very tiresome…….

    I understand that you are upset, but I gave you plenty of opportunity on the now closed “Heks-suggests-a-way-forward” thread to walk back from your wild claims that

    No PCD means there is no cell, they are unable to function without it due to the vast amount of tasks PCD have in cells.

    it is not underrated function it is the only reason a cell can operate, PCD is involved in health and disease aspects of the cell. It is what makes cells work! It’s no Garbage man it is the CEO……

    PCD can not evolve or even change, any type of change to it is lethal to the organism.

    I am guilty of steering you towards the specific case of Type 1 PCD in S. cerevisiae, but you were the one who provided the abstract that states quite clearly that yeast cells lacking PCD still grow, albeit with “significantly reduced chronological lifespan”, thereby proving yourself wrong. Rho-zero cells would be another example.
    Perhaps you are now retreating to the position that PCD or necrosis are essential to life. That’s a much weaker claim.

    I am genuinely puzzled as to what you consider dishonest here. Oh well.

  77. 77
    Andre says:

    DNA_Jock….

    The moment PCD became dysregulated due to a induced mutation, necrosis started on those cells they did not grow, they died….. sheets man why are you so dishonest?

  78. 78
    DNA_Jock says:

    Oh dear, Andre.

    Did you actually read the paper?

    How do you think they grow their gup1-deletion cells?

    “Yeast strains were grown until exponential phase (OD600 = 0.5–0.6) on YNB medium.”

    This isn’t a conditional mutation, it’s a deletion. How on earth did you think they grew up the cells to do their experiments on?

    Yikes! Perhaps you should go easy on accusing others of dishonesty, and double-check whether you have any clue what you are talking about.

  79. 79
    DNA_Jock says:

    For those of you playing along at home, the paper that Andre quoted from (without citation) as proving his point that PCD is essential to life was Tulha et al 2012, PMID: 22617017

    He somehow thinks that gup1-deletion cells cannot grow at all. But if you actually read the paper, this cannot be true.

  80. 80
    DNA_Jock says:

    Correction. Andre did cite this paper in the comment that preceded the comment in which he made the quotation in question. So, from the context, one might infer whence the quoted text came. I withdraw the “without citation” remark.

  81. 81
    keith s says:

    Barry:

    keiths @ 60. Yes, that you come to exactly the opposite conclusion from Dembski indicates one of two things: (1) you understand Dembski’s theory better than he does; or (2) you are wrong.

    You’re neglecting the most likely possibility, which is that you’re learning yet another thing about CSI from the critics.

    Learned Hand already provided a relevant Dembski quote:

    The monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (a homogeneous rectangular solid) exhibits specified complexity. The sphericity of the stars do not. Both are simple according to our intuitive understanding. Yet natural processes spontaneously give rise to spheres but not to homogeneous rectangular solids.

    As I wrote earlier:

    By Dembski’s own equation, something exhibits CSI/specified complexity if P(T|H) is sufficiently low.

    P(T|H) is a probability, not a measure of complexity.

    A cylindrical crystal of pure silicon is not complex at all, yet it is highly improbable by purely natural processes. That’s why we have to grow them to make silicon wafers instead of just mining them somewhere. Dembski’s equation would therefore attribute CSI/specified complexity to such a crystal, despite its simplicity.

    “Complex specified information” is really “improbable (under natural processes) specified information”. “CSI” is a misnomer.

    The cylindrical silicon crystal and the moon monolith are simple but improbable. It is their improbability, not their complexity, that qualifies them as exhibiting CSI.

    P(T|H) is a probability, and it’s right there in Dembski’s equation.

  82. 82
    Joe says:

    You’re neglecting the most likely possibility, which is that you’re learning yet another thing about CSI from the critics.

    We have ruled that out because our critics are ignorant about CSI.

  83. 83
    Joe says:

    P(T|H) is a probability, not a measure of complexity.

    Probability is a compelxity measure. Are you really that ignorant, keith? Really?

    Dembski goes over that in “No Free Lunch”.

  84. 84
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    P(T|H) is a probability

    Anyone here not know that? Anyone? Well, now you know.

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