Intelligent Design

Does ID Rest on Metaphysical Claims About Dualism?

Spread the love

RDFish seems to think so.  I summarize his argument as follows:

  1. The ID explanatory filter works as follows:

(a)  The explanatory filter first asks whether the phenomenon is contingent.  If it is not, then it is probably best explained as the result of a natural regularity.

(b)  If the phenomenon is contingent, the filter asks whether it is complex and specified.  If it is neither complex nor specified, then chance is the most viable explanation.  While there may be false negatives, there can be no reliable design inference.

(c)  But if the phenomenon is contingent, complex and specified, then an abductive inference to design is warranted.

  1. Therefore, under the explanatory filter design is inferred only after law and chance have been eliminated.
  1. If physicalist monism is true, everything must be reducible to the operation of law and chance.
  1. Therefore, if physicalist monism is true, the residual after the elimination of law and chance is always an empty set.
  1. It follows that the ID explanatory filter sneaks in a base assumption of dualism.
  1. Dualism is a metaphysical proposition that cannot be tested empirically. It follows that ID is based on metaphysical premises that cannot be tested empirically.  And because one of its key assumptions cannot be tested empirically, ID cannot be considered a valid scientific hypothesis.

RDFish’s claim is wrong, and I will refute it with a simple thought experiment.

  1. Let us assume for the sake of argument that physicalist monism is true.
  1. Let us suppose that all life on earth dies out.
  1. A million years from now an alien is exploring this barren planet and he finds Mount Rushmore and decides to apply the explanatory filter to it.
  1. The alien concludes that the carving is highly contingent. It cannot be attributed to any law-like natural regularity.
  1. The alien concludes the carving is specified. It is an image of four members of the former inhabitants of this barren planet.
  1. The alien concludes that the carving is highly complex/improbable, i.e., one would not expect the images to be carved by chance processes (e.g., erosion caused by wind and rain).
  1. Therefore, the alien concludes, correctly, that the best explanation for the carving is an intelligent agent carved it.
  1. The alien’s design inference would be correct even if physicalist monism is true, because the plain fact of the matter is that Mount Rushmore was caused by an intelligent agent, i.e., an agent with the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose.

Not so fast, RDFish will probably argue.  If physicalist monism is true, then the intelligent agents who carved Mount Rushmore where themselves the result of law/chance and acting according to law/chance.  Therefore, the conclusion that Mount Rushmore was not ultimately the result of law/chance would be false.

But RDFish would be wrong.  Design exists as a category of causation.  To suggest otherwise is absurd and self-defeating.  Not only does design exist, designers leave objective markers of design.  Therefore, if RDFish is going to stick to his guns and say that design cannot be detected, he is stuck with this syllogism:

  1. If monist physicalism is true, it is impossible objectively to infer design.
  2. But it is possible objectively to infer design.
  3. Therefore, monist physicalism is false.

How can physicalist monism be reconciled with the obvious existence of design as a category of causation?  The following reasoning would apply:

  1. Design, meaning the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose, exists as a category of causation.
  2. The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose can be reduced to any force that is able to arrange matter in the present such that it will have an effect in the future.
  3. There are at least two candidates for causal forces that have the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose. (a)  intelligent agents who have immaterial mental capacity; (b) an impersonal non-conscious yet-to-be-discovered natural telic force.
  4. The monist rejects the existence of intelligent agents with immaterial mental capacities, because the existence of such agents obviously entails dualism.
  5. Instead, the monist can resort to the natural telic force.
  6. If such a natural telic force exists, the existence of design as a category of causation is no obstacle to accepting the truth of monist physicalism.

This get us to:

  1. If monist physicalism is true and a natural telic force exists, it is nevertheless possible objectively to infer design.
  2. Therefore, design may be inferred under monist physicalism using the explanatory filter.
  3. Therefore, ID does not depend on dualist metaphysical assumptions.

In summary, ID does not depend on dualism.  As Dembski has observed, ID is compatible with a natural telic force.

The problem the monist has, of course, is that in order to account for the obvious existence of design, he can no longer say everything in the universe is reducible to law/chance.  He has to say everything in the universe is reducible to law/chance/not-yet-discovered natural telic force.  ID is OK with allowing such a natural telic force as a candidate for the source of design (and therefore does not depend on dualism).  Obviously, however, based on observations of known intelligent agents, ID is also perfectly comfortable with dualism.

162 Replies to “Does ID Rest on Metaphysical Claims About Dualism?

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    I am not so sure about this. RDFish claims:

    Dualism is a metaphysical proposition that cannot be tested empirically.

    I am a hardcore yin-yang dualist. I personally agree with RDFish that the explanatory filter detects not just intelligent design but conscious intelligent design, which calls for a duality. But he is wrong that it cannot be tested empirically. IMO, the detection of design is the test and here is why.

    Only a fool would deny that a purely stochastic physical search mechanism (e.g., abiogenesis or evolution) is impotent in the face of the combinatorial explosion. IOW, only a non-stochastic (telic) mechanism can reach the high complexity we observe in nature. Such a mechanism cannot exist in a purely physical realm. It requires the existence of a parallel and complementary realm.

    Duality is the name of the game. Everything points to it.

  2. 2
    Tiger131 says:

    Dear Mr Arrington

    Thanks for highlighting this interesting question.

    If physicalist monism is true, then the method of eliminating law/chance and identifying the remainder as ID doesn’t work … does it?

    So the aliens in your example must be using some other method to identify ID.

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    Tiger,

    The whole purpose of my post, which you apparently either ignored or don’t understand (don’t worry; there are some subtle concepts there; not everyone is going to get them), is to answer the question you asked. Read it again (or for the first time, as the case may be). And when you have, you can come back and discuss my reasoning. But don’t insult me by pretending I did not reason to begin with.

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mapou, the explanatory filter detects the arrangement of matter for a purpose. It does not detect mentation. Now, I personally believe that the most obvious candidate for the designer is something that shares the capacities of the most prodigious designer of which we have first-hand observations (i.e., humans). And the human capacity to design obviously involves mentation. And therefore it is reasonable to assume that the designer does as well.

    But while that assumption is reasonable, the point of the post is that it is not necessary.

  5. 5
    StephenB says:

    Barry is right. ID, as understood by its proponents, is consistent with an impersonal telic force an nature–Hence, the compatibility of ID with monism.

    According to my personal philosophy, a telic principle in nature could not exist in the absence of a transcendent designer, but ID is not beholden to my personal philosophy.

  6. 6
    Tiger131 says:

    Dear Mr Arrington

    There is no need to chide me. I am a dualist myself. I am honestly trying to follow along, and I did read the post carefully.

    I suspect what I am not understanding is what is meant by a “natural telic force”.

    If a natural telic force is distinct from law/chance, then it does not exist if physicalism is true.

    If a natural telic force is coterminous with law/chance, then one cannot identify it by the method of eliminating law/chance .

    I agree we can identify things arranged for a purpose but I doubt whether we can do so empirically by eliminating law/chance.

  7. 7

    Really nice post.

    Unfortunately, RDF is not sincerly available for reason. Yesterday, I watched StephenB make very plain statesments about the distinction between his personal philosophical views and standard ID process and reason.

    In his very next post RDF ignored everything that had been said. It simply didn’t matter.

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    Tiger, read the last paragraph of the OP and see if your question is not answered.

  9. 9
    Virgil Cain says:

    A million years from now an alien is exploring this barren planet and he finds Mount Rushmore and decides to apply the explanatory filter to it.

    A millions years would be pushing it a bit

  10. 10
    Jack Jones says:

    I agree with UP. Nice post Mr Arrington.

    If everything is by chance then nothing is by chance because the word chance then loses its meaning,words get their meaning from from contrast and difference. He would be trying to annihilate a word that gives the word chance any meaning in the first place.

  11. 11
    Jack Jones says:

    That is meant to be that I agree with UB about it being a nice post.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, well argued. KF

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    Thank you to SB, UB, KF, and JJ.

    And also thank you to RDFish. You are a maddening pain in the ass and I often suspect you of bad faith. On the other hand, you make us think and that is valuable.

  14. 14
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry,

    …And because one of its key assumptions cannot be tested empirically, ID cannot be considered a valid scientific hypothesis.
    RDFish’s claim is wrong, and I will refute it with a simple thought experiment.

    Thank you for fairly representing my argument.

    Let us assume for the sake of argument that physicalist monism is true.
    Let us suppose that all life on earth dies out.
    A million years from now an alien is exploring this barren planet and he finds Mount Rushmore and decides to apply the explanatory filter to it.

    If you landed on a planet somewhere and saw some heads of aliens carved into rocks, what would you think? Would you start going off about contingency, or regularity, or complexity, or probability, or chance, or specification? Of course you wouldn’t. You would say, “Wow – look! Some alien life form carved faces into that mountain!” Since humans make similar artifacts, you would recognize them as sculptures. Nobody would think to compute levels of CSI, look for irreducible complexity, or compute probabilities of erosion producing the pattern.

    Therefore, the alien concludes, correctly, that the best explanation for the carving is an intelligent agent carved it.

    Since the term “intelligent agent” tells you exactly nothing about what was involved, the best answer would be “alien life form”.

    The alien’s design inference would be correct even if physicalist monism is true, because the plain fact of the matter is that Mount Rushmore was caused by an intelligent agent, i.e., an agent with the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose.

    The reason we know there was a purpose was because life forms like us have conscious intentions, and we would infer that these aliens likewise had conscious intentions.

    Not so fast, RDFish will probably argue. If physicalist monism is true, then the intelligent agents who carved Mount Rushmore where themselves the result of law/chance and acting according to law/chance. Therefore, the conclusion that Mount Rushmore was not ultimately the result of law/chance would be false.

    No, this has nothing to do with monism or dualism or any metaphysics. Instead, this has to do with our inferences when faced with artifacts that are similar to human artifacts. We infer that humans were responsible, or if humans could not have been responsible (i.e. on another planet), we infer that something similar was responsible for these artifacts that are similar to human artifacts.

    You’ve gone off track trying to attack my arguments, Barry. I made two arguments in the previous thread:

    1) ID’s core arguments require dualism, rendering ID a philosophical rather than a scientific explanation
    2) There is no definition for “intelligence” that can be empirically supported in the context of ID

    You are trying to attack my first argument, but your response is actually directed at the second argument. Let’s look at my second argument, then, which you attempt to refute with your Mt. Rushmore example.

    The fact that we can recognize complex, specified patterns does not allow us to infer the existence of entities that are not themselves complex physical organisms, since that is all we know of that can produce such artifacts. And if ID does wish to hypothesize such a thing (an “intelligent agent” that is not itself a complex life form), it needs to say something about its the attributes – aside from the hypothesized ability to produce CSI of course. Otherwise the hypothesis is vacuous. But any such claim about specific attributes (e.g. the ability to use natural language, or the ability to learn new skills, or the ability to experience conscious awareness) cannot be supported by scientific evidence.

    This is a fatal problem for ID, but it has nothing to do with metaphysical ontology.

    Now, let’s look at my first argument – the one you are trying to refute here. It’s also fatal for ID, and this one does involved metaphysics.

    Design exists as a category of causation. To suggest otherwise is absurd and self-defeating. Not only does design exist, designers leave objective markers of design.

    We always agree on such statements; it’s the meanings of the words that we disagree about, and make our arguments so frustrating.

    To me “design” refers to what people do when they think up complex artifacts. We don’t understand how people’s mental abilities operate, but by studying the brain and doing experiments on people we are learning a great deal about it. Humans, as well as other animals, leave tell-tale traces of things they build – what you call “markers of design” – that derive from both their physical and mental abilities.

    To you – and to ID – “design” refers to the activity of an immaterial mind that operates independently of the complex physical mechanism of the brain. In fact, it operates in a way that transcends (or even violates) physical cause. In ID parlance, the mental in mind/body dualism is called “intelligence” or “design”, and the physical is called “law + chance” or “blind, natural processes”. When ID says that “law + chance” is unable to produce the CSI we observe in ID, it is making a statement that only makes sense if dualism is true.

    If monist physicalism is true, it is impossible objectively to infer design.

    Nope. Instead: If monist physicalism is true, it is impossible to scientifically infer “design” if “design” means “transcends or violates physical cause”.

    But it is possible objectively to infer design.

    Not when “design” is defined as “the compliment of law + chance”. It is not possible to show that something besides “law + chance” exists, even in human intelligence.

    If you don’t want to use that definition, then you avoid the dualism problem for ID. But then you run smack dab into the other problem, which is that now you don’t have a specific definition for “intelligence”. I’ve encountered literally dozens of different definitions for “intelligence” in the context of ID, but lately you (and StephenB) have settled on this one: Design, meaning the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose, exists as a category of causation.
    Lets look at this definition, then.

    The first problem is that “purpose” is not an objectively detectable attribute. StephenB suggested that detecting “purpose” was so basic that even a child could do it. My 9 year old neighbor, Brain, confirmed that he knew the purpose of gravity (to keep us from floating away), rain (to grow flowers), flowers (to makes us happy). StephenB was unable to say why Brian was wrong; you are also unable to give Brian an objective reason why his detection of purpose was wrong.

    This is because “purpose” is not something we can detect objectively; we simply think about how something interacts with the rest of the world, and sometimes we say it’s purposeful (when we think a conscious intention was involved).

    There are at least two candidates for causal forces that have the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose. (a) intelligent agents who have immaterial mental capacity;

    This again entails dualism; there is no scientific way to determine if any such thing exists.

    (b) an impersonal non-conscious yet-to-be-discovered natural telic force.

    Obviously there is no evidence that any such thing exists.

    The monist rejects the existence of intelligent agents with immaterial mental capacities, because the existence of such agents obviously entails dualism.

    Right – so this is not a scientific hypothesis.

    Instead, the monist can resort to the natural telic force.

    This isn’t a scientific hypothesis either. In order for this to be a scientific hypothesis, one would have to empirically charcterize this “telic force” – most importantly, what does it do, and what can’t it do?. Otherwise, we have no idea what we’re proposing and no way to discover if it exists.

    The problem the monist has, of course, is that in order to account for the obvious existence of design, he can no longer say everything in the universe is reducible to law/chance. He has to say everything in the universe is reducible to law/chance/not-yet-discovered natural telic force.

    Scientists don’t really talk about “law/chance” when they work – they just look for explanations that can be supported by objective, empirical evidence. They’ve discovered experimentally discovered phenomena that violate various deeply-held concepts of physicalism (e.g. locality and realism).

    If we eventually come up with a scientific theory that explains origin of life, it won’t matter if it refers to something describable with classical physics, exotic quantum physics, or some sort of physics we haven’t imagined yet. It will – because it is scientific – just have to be objectively testable against empirical evidence.

    As of now, no such theory exists.

    And also thank you to RDFish. You are a maddening pain in the ass and I often suspect you of bad faith. On the other hand, you make us think and that is valuable.

    I am never in bad faith here (although if I’m treated badly I will respond in kind, tit-for-tat).

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    I am never in bad faith here (although if I’m treated badly I will respond in kind, tit-for-tat).

    So that explains your behavior in the recent Upright BiPed thread. He treated you so badly that you responded with insults, tit for tat. That’s your story?

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish: If you landed on a planet somewhere and saw some heads of aliens carved into rocks, what would you think? Would you start going off about contingency, or regularity, or complexity, or probability, or chance, or specification? Of course you wouldn’t. You would say, “Wow – look! Some alien life form carved faces into that mountain!”

    The point is that designers leave objective indicia of design. I’m glad you agree.

    RDFish: Since the term “intelligent agent” tells you exactly nothing about what was involved . . .

    Fish, you are obviously an intelligent man. So it is hard to understand why you make gobsmackingly stupid statements like this. I don’t even have to refute it. It is absurd on its face. Don’t bother saying this again. If you can’t be serious leave the discussion to the grownups.

    RDFish: The reason we know there was a purpose was because life forms like us have conscious intentions, and we would infer that these aliens likewise had conscious intentions.

    As I explained to Mapou, the explanatory filter detects the arrangement of matter for a purpose. It does not detect mentation. Now, I agree with you that the most obvious candidate for the designer is something that shares the capacities of the most prodigious designer of which we have first-hand observations (i.e., humans). And the human capacity to design obviously involves mentation. And therefore it is reasonable to assume that the designer’s does as well.
    But while that assumption is reasonable, the point of the post is that it is not necessary.

    RDFish: We infer that humans were responsible, or if humans could not have been responsible (i.e. on another planet), we infer that something similar was responsible for these artifacts that are similar to human artifacts.

    Exactly correct. And what is the key similarity? Intelligence, the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose.

    RDFish: You are trying to attack my first argument . . .

    Yes, and succeeding to the point of demolishing it.

    RDFish: But any such claim about specific attributes (e.g. the ability to use natural language, or the ability to learn new skills, or the ability to experience conscious awareness) cannot be supported by scientific evidence.

    Your desperation is showing. You need to attribute to me arguments that I did not make in order to rebut a conclusion I did not reach. Read the OP Fish. Did I say anything about natural language? Did I say anything about the ability to learn new skills? Did I say anything about the ability to experience conscious awareness? No, no and no. And you know I did not. You are now arguing in total bad faith, as you are wont to do when you are backed into a corner. That is cowardly Fish. Stop it. It is unseemly.

    RDFish: To me “design” refers to what people do when they think up complex artifacts.

    Who the hell cares about what your personal definition of design is Fish? We are not talking about your personal definition of design. It is a non-factor in this argument. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

    We are talking about ID. And when you are critiquing ID you don’t get to substitute your personally preferred meaning of words for the meaning used by ID proponents. The ID definition of design is: The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose. That is the sole relevant definition.

    R

    DFish: To you – and to ID – “design” refers to the activity of an immaterial mind that operates independently of the complex physical mechanism of the brain.

    Fish, you are acting in complete and total bad faith, again. When I use a word in an argument and specify the meaning of the word, you don’t get to say “no Barry, you mean something else completely.”

    Again, your bad faith pops out as a function of your desperation. You know you cannot defeat the argument of the OP. So you make up a different argument, attribute the different argument to me, and slay that straw man.

    What is the purpose of this transparent bad faith Fish? You are not fooling anyone. Everyone knows what you are doing. It makes you look dishonest and cowardly. Again, stop it.

    If you can’t meet the argument I’ve made on its own terms, admit defeat. But don’t lie.

    RDFish: The first problem is that “purpose” is not an objectively detectable attribute.

    Blithering nonsense. I imagine spittle flying from your lips as you say these words. Get a high-powered telescope Fish. Point it at the sky and look at the space station. Then point it at the sky and look at a meteor.

    Now, consider the following proposition: That the space station was designed for a purpose and the meteor was not is objectively detectable.

    Go ahead. Deny the proposition and look like an idiot. I assume you won’t. Therefore, the entire fundamental premise of your argument crumbles.

    Barry: There are at least two candidates for causal forces that have the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose . . . (b) an impersonal non-conscious yet-to-be-discovered natural telic force.

    RDFish: Obviously there is no evidence that any such thing exists.

    Thomas Nagel disagrees. Nagel, who has forgotten more than you will ever know, says the only way to save physicalist monism is to develop a robust theory of natural teleology. Now, whose word am I going to take on the matter? An anonymous, often trollish Internet hack (talking about you there Fish) or one of the most famous thinkers in the world in the last 40 years? Not looking good for the troll.

    RDFish: one would have to empirically charcterize this “telic force” – most importantly, what does it do,

    Uh, Fish, if it exists, it “arranges matter for a purpose.”

    RDFish: If we eventually come up with a scientific theory that explains origin of life, it won’t matter if it refers to something describable with classical physics, exotic quantum physics, or some sort of physics we haven’t imagined yet. It will – because it is scientific – just have to be objectively testable against empirical evidence.

    I agree that if monists physicalists come up with such a theory, for it to be scientific it would have to be testable against empirical evidence – just like ID.

    RDFish: I am never in bad faith here

    Liar. You are frequently, demonstrably in bad faith. Indeed, your antics that I exposed above are a classic example.

  17. 17
    StephenB says:

    Hi RD,

    StephenB suggested that detecting “purpose” was so basic that even a child could do it……

    Let’s break down the paragraph:

    Bad faith example #1: You conveniently ignored the conditions that make such detection possible, recognizable patterns of matter arranged for a purpose.

    My 9 year old neighbor, Brain, confirmed that he knew the purpose of gravity (to keep us from floating away), rain (to grow flowers), flowers (to makes us happy).

    Bad faith example #2: No doubt you chose that example because it has nothing to do with recognizable patterns of arranged matter.

    Bad faith example #3: You should know that Brian cannot detect purpose unless the patterns of arranged matter are observed. There is no such observable patterns in gravity or raindrops.

    Bad faith example #4: I have pointed this out more than once, so what does it say about you willingness to debate in good faith that you would repeat the same error over and over again.

    The StephenB was unable to say why Brian was wrong; you are also unable to give Brian an objective reason why his detection of purpose was wrong.

    Bad faith example #5: You are not telling the truth. I explained that Brian did not detect patterns of purposefully arranged matter.

    This is because “purpose” is not something we can detect objectively; we simply think about how something interacts with the rest of the world, and sometimes we say it’s purposeful (when we think a conscious intention was involved) (my emphasis SB).

    And why would you think that conscious intentions were involved? I say that those conscious intentions (and sense of purpose) can be found in the arranged matter of 27 stab wounds in the murdered victim’s back (assuming there is no other evidence).

    Since you say that evidence for intention and purpose cannot be found in that pattern, please tell me where it can be found. If that pattern of arranged matter does not indicate intentions and purpose, what does?’

    I say that RD will not answer the question.

  18. 18
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry,

    The point is that designers leave objective indicia of design. I’m glad you agree.

    That point was never in doubt of course. What is in doubt, as always, is what is meant by “designer” in the context of ID.

    RDFish: Since the term “intelligent agent” tells you exactly nothing about what was involved . . .
    BA: Fish, you are obviously an intelligent man.

    Thank you.

    So it is hard to understand why you make gobsmackingly stupid statements like this. I don’t even have to refute it. It is absurd on its face. Don’t bother saying this again. If you can’t be serious leave the discussion to the grownups.

    First, you acknowledge that I’m intelligent. Then you read something that strikes you as being so incredibly stupid, you can’t understand how an otherwise intelligent person could utter it. There are two possible explanations for this circumstance:
    1) While I am generally intelligent, I somehow believe things that no reasonable person could ever entertain.
    2) You misunderstood what I said.
    Obviously, you chose to believe the first explanation. That was a poor abduction on your part, because the better explanation is that you did not understand what I was trying to say – either because of poor articulation on my part, poor comprehension on your part, or a combination of both.

    Anyway, what I meant was that nothing you can observe can be inferred from saying something is “intelligent”, without further qualification.

    This illustrates the point: I’m thinking of something, and until I say something about it, you have no information about what it is at all. If, for example, I tell you it is in the top drawer of my desk, you might now infer something that you could observe about its size (not bigger than the drawer), its temperature (not hot enough to burn the desk) and so on. If I tell you it is blue, you could infer something that you could observe about what wavelengths of light it would absorb or reflect. But if I tell you it is “intelligent”, there is not one thing you could observe that you could infer about this thing.

    RDFish: But any such claim about specific attributes (e.g. the ability to use natural language, or the ability to learn new skills, or the ability to experience conscious awareness) cannot be supported by scientific evidence.
    BA: Your desperation is showing. You need to attribute to me arguments that I did not make in order to rebut a conclusion I did not reach. Read the OP Fish. Did I say anything about natural language? Did I say anything about the ability to learn new skills? Did I say anything about the ability to experience conscious awareness? No, no and no. And you know I did not. You are now arguing in total bad faith, as you are wont to do when you are backed into a corner. That is cowardly Fish. Stop it. It is unseemly.

    What is unseemly is how you jump to mistake misunderstanding for bad faith. It’s so annoying that you do that. Why in the world, Barry, would I sit here and try to explain these points to you if I myself did not think they were cogent and correct?

    Now, of course you didn’t mention these mental attributes – that is the point! To understand the point, read the sentence preceding the one you quoted:

    RDF: And if ID does wish to hypothesize such a thing (an “intelligent agent” that is not itself a complex life form), it needs to say something about its the attributes – aside from the hypothesized ability to produce CSI of course. Otherwise the hypothesis is vacuous.

    I’m saying that ID’s definition of “intelligence” needs to be specific and empirically accessible. Unless you say something specific about what you mean, the term “intelligence” doesn’t refer to anything that can be objectively measured. These attributes – language use and so on – are specific mental attributes and abilities.

    As I said, you do not use these attributes in your definition of “intelligence”; rather, you define intelligence in terms of “purpose”. I went on to argue that the concept of “purpose” is not amenable to scientific investigation.

    RDFish: To me “design” refers to what people do when they think up complex artifacts.
    BA: Who the hell cares about what your personal definition of design is Fish? We are not talking about your personal definition of design. It is a non-factor in this argument. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

    You’ve missed the point again. I think maybe you get too angry about these issues and read carelessly. Anyway, the point here was not that my opinion was relevant, but rather that my definition of “design” (and of course that of many other people) could be read in your sentences without contradiction, but also without reference to being outside of law/chance.

    We are talking about ID. And when you are critiquing ID you don’t get to substitute your personally preferred meaning of words for the meaning used by ID proponents. The ID definition of design is: The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose. That is the sole relevant definition.

    I understand that you and StephenB are using this definition, and I’m responding directly to it. You should also understand that many others here – as well as many published ID authors – have given very different definitions for the term.

    Here I address “purpose”:

    RDFish: The first problem is that “purpose” is not an objectively detectable attribute.
    BA: Blithering nonsense. I imagine spittle flying from your lips as you say these words. Get a high-powered telescope Fish. Point it at the sky and look at the space station. Then point it at the sky and look at a meteor.

    The issue here is, how does one objectively detect “purpose”. I say I know of no general method for detecting purpose. Rather than providing the criteria for detecting “purpose”, you insult me and mention a human artifact and a natural object, as though you have somehow answered the question at hand.

    Now, consider the following proposition: That the space station was designed for a purpose and the meteor was not is objectively detectable.Go ahead. Deny the proposition and look like an idiot. I assume you won’t. Therefore, the entire fundamental premise of your argument crumbles.

    The reason we know the space station was designed for a purpose is because we built it, and we humans experience conscious intent.

    Is the purpose of the Sun to warm and light the Earth? Is the purpose of the rain to water the crops? Many people would answer these questions “yes”. Would you? Why or why not? If the distinction here is “Complex Specified Information”, then you need to say so, because that is not part of the typical definition of “purpose”.

    Unless you can provide an objective method for determining what things are “for a purpose” and what things aren’t, then you need to admit that “purpose” is not an objectively detectable feature of things.

    Barry: There are at least two candidates for causal forces that have the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose . . . (b) an impersonal non-conscious yet-to-be-discovered natural telic force.
    RDFish: Obviously there is no evidence that any such thing exists.
    BA: Thomas Nagel disagrees. Nagel, who has forgotten more than you will ever know, says the only way to save physicalist monism is to develop a robust theory of natural teleology.

    I tend to agree with Nagel about this. But my statement is still true of course: Nagel wants someone to start developing a theory of natural teleology, but nobody has yet. Until we have a theory, we cannot say we have evidence for it, can we? Therefore what I said was true.

    Now, whose word am I going to take on the matter? An anonymous, often trollish Internet hack (talking about you there Fish) or one of the most famous thinkers in the world in the last 40 years? Not looking good for the troll.

    Your first error here is to imagine I disagreed with Nagel on this matter, and as it happens I don’t. Your second error is called appeal to authority. Your third error is argumentum ad hominem. Otherwise, good thinking!

    RDFish: one would have to empirically charcterize this “telic force” – most importantly, what does it do,
    BA: Uh, Fish, if it exists, it “arranges matter for a purpose.”

    Again, without an objective way to detect “purpose”, this is not useful.

    I agree that if monists physicalists come up with such a theory, for it to be scientific it would have to be testable against empirical evidence – just like ID.

    Actually, ID isn’t really testable in the way other scientific theories are. The only way to falsify ID is to prove some other competing explanation is better. But you can’t falsify ID without reference to other theories, the way you can with scientific theories. For example, ID people falsify evolutionary theory by finding biological systems that cannot have arisen by evolutionary mechanisms. But there is not one single thing that could ever be observed that was inconsistent with the abilities of “intelligent agency”.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  19. 19
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    Since you say that evidence for intention and purpose cannot be found in that pattern, please tell me where they can be found. If that pattern of arranged matter does not indicate intentions and purpose, what does?’

    I say that RD will not answer the question.

    The last sentence in your post is as plainly false as everything else you said. Here is my answer:

    The evidence for intention and purpose is from our knowledge of human beings, of course. We know that human beings form conscious intentions, of course. We know that it was a human being involved in the stabbing, of course. We therefore infer that the killer had conscious intent to kill the person, of course.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  20. 20

    Intelligent design does rest on metaphysical claims of dualism. 1 designer 2 design. That is 2, and they are metaphysically different, or otherwise the English language has no meaning.

    In creationism what is good, loving and beautiful is a matter of opinion relevant to the designer as agency of the decisions.

    It is obviously social darwinists who oppose validating subjectivity. Who use natural selection theory to inform them about what is good, loving and beautiful as pseudoscientific fact.

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry: Therefore, the alien concludes, correctly, that the best explanation for Mount Rushmore is an intelligent agent carved it.

    RDFish: Since the term “intelligent agent” tells you exactly nothing about what was involved . . .

    Barry: That is gobsmackingly stupid.

    RDFish: You misunderstand me.

    No, I understood you well enough. You said that the term “intelligent agent” tells you nothing about what was involved in carving Mount Rushmore. And that is gobsmackingly stupid.

    RDFish: But if I tell you it is “intelligent”, there is not one thing you could observe that you could infer about this thing.

    Your argument is so hopelessly confused as to defy response. But you seem to be suggesting that since “the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose” is not a physical attribute that can be observed in the way that size, temperature, and color can be observed then it cannot be objectively detected.

    Sheer idiocy; again why do you insist on saying things that are obviously false? What possible purpose does it serve?

    The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose can be detected by inferring its existence from purposeful arrangements of matter.

    RDFish: I’m saying that ID’s definition of “intelligence” needs to be specific and empirically accessible.

    The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose is specific and empirically accessible. The definition specifies the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose. Such arrangements are empirically accessible.

    RDFish: The issue here is, how does one objectively detect “purpose”. I say I know of no general method for detecting purpose.

    Then you are a liar.

    RDFish: The reason we know the space station was designed for a purpose is because we built it, and we humans experience conscious intent.

    If an alien who knew absolutely nothing about humans observed the space station they would correctly infer that the space station is matter arranged for a purpose.

    RDFish: Is the purpose of the Sun to warm . . .

    That shtick has grown wearisome. Do not repeat it. SB has refuted it several times.

    RDFish: Unless you can provide an objective method for determining what things are “for a purpose” and what things aren’t, then you need to admit that “purpose” is not an objectively detectable feature of things.

    We have provided such an objective method. It is called the explanatory filter.

    Barry: Nagel, who has forgotten more than you will ever know, says the only way to save physicalist monism is to develop a robust theory of natural teleology.

    RDFish: I tend to agree with Nagel about this.

    Then you just gave away the store.

    RDFish: Nagel wants someone to start developing a theory of natural teleology, but nobody has yet. Until we have a theory, we cannot say we have evidence for it, can we? Therefore, obviously there is no evidence that any such thing exists.

    There was no evidence for gravity until Newton developed his theory? That is what you seem to be saying. Another gobsmacking idiocy that you will doubtless attribute to my misunderstanding instead of your stupidity later.

    The evidence for a natural telic force is the teleology all around us. If monist physicalism is true, such a force must exist; otherwise there is no way to account for the all of that teleology. This is Nagel’s point, which you just said you agree with.

    If by “there is no evidence for it” you mean that no one has even begun to identify such a force, I agree, which is powerful evidence that monist physicalism is false.

    RDFish: Again, without an objective way to detect “purpose”, this is not useful.

    And since we have an objective way to detect purpose, it is useful.

    RDFish: Actually, ID isn’t really testable in the way other scientific theories are.

    Of course it is. All you have to do to falsify ID is to identify even a single instance where the explanatory filter gives a false positive.

  22. 22
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    The evidence for intention and purpose is from our knowledge of human beings, of course.

    That will not do. You have yet to establish that a human being was responsible for the stabbing. Only the 27 wounds could tell you that. Just because humans are known to have intention and purpose doesn’t mean that intention and purpose was present in this case.

    We know that human beings form conscious intentions, of course.

    That will not do. Your knowledge that human beings form conscious intentions cannot tell you anything about this particular stabbing. And you have still not explained how you know that it was a human being in the first place.

    We know that it was a human being involved in the stabbing, of course.

    That will not do. You have no way of knowing that a human being was involved except on the basis of the patterns.

    We therefore infer that the killer had conscious intent to kill the person, of course.

    That will not do. Your first three steps fail, so your conclusion has no foundation.

  23. 23
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish is clueless, as usual:

    1) ID’s core arguments require dualism, rendering ID a philosophical rather than a scientific explanation

    If that is true then all concepts of how biology came to be are philosophical. And most likely all origins questions are philosophical.

    However we know that science takes risks- it is the very nature of science to do so. We can, based on our knowledge, say that dualism exists, if for nothing else for the sake of argument and advancing a concept. And it is very telling that RDFish doesn’t grasp tat simple concept.

    2) There is no definition for “intelligence” that can be empirically supported in the context of ID

    And yet such definitions have been provided. Strange, eh?

    The evidence for intention and purpose is from our knowledge of human beings, of course.

    So we can determine purpose. Make up your mind. You seem to be very, very confused.

  24. 24
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi RDFish:

    The evidence for intention and purpose is from our knowledge of human beings, of course. We know that human beings form conscious intentions, of course. We know that it was a human being involved in the stabbing, of course. We therefore infer that the killer had conscious intent to kill the person, of course.

    A sleepwalking killer is not conscious. A drugged killer most likely doesn’t know what they are doing. The same goes for a hypnotized killer.

    Whoopsie…

  25. 25
    Virgil Cain says:

    And RDFish chokes:

    Actually, ID isn’t really testable in the way other scientific theories are.

    That is your opinion. And when it comes to science your opinion has always been wrong.

    The only way to falsify ID is to prove some other competing explanation is better.

    That is also how it is done in archaeology, forensic science and SETI- to name three other scientific venues.

    But you can’t falsify ID without reference to other theories, the way you can with scientific theories.

    Except evolutionism is NOT a theory. So you lose. Materialism isn’t a theory either. Now what?

    For example, ID people falsify evolutionary theory by finding biological systems that cannot have arisen by evolutionary mechanisms.

    There isn’t any evolutionary theory and seeing that they don’t have any positive methodology, there really isn’t anything to falsify. “That which can be declared without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” Hitchens

    But there is not one single thing that could ever be observed that was inconsistent with the abilities of “intelligent agency”.

    Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation take care of tat bit of nonsense.

    As I said the problem here is RDFish is completely scientifically illiterate.

  26. 26
    Jack Jones says:

    @18 “Actually, ID isn’t really testable in the way other scientific theories are.”

    The presuppositions of science are based on a form of ID, the idea that there is order that can be discovered and that the mind of man can comprehend how the universe operates are based on a belief in a theistic designer, it is what motivated scientists such as Kepler to do their scientific investigation. Modern science is born from a theistic worldview which is a design way of looking at the world.

    To reject design then you should be arguing against the knowability of the world and that there are laws that can be discovered, You are not being consistent with your faith in Unintentionalism.

    To argue against design while arguing for science is not being consistent. You need to make up your mind.

    “For example, ID people falsify evolutionary theory by finding biological systems that cannot have arisen by evolutionary mechanisms.”

    Design and Evolution are not mutually exclusive ideas.

    The scientific community are divided over a theory of evolution, Whatever you are chirping for then it is whatever speculative hypothesis that you adhere too.

  27. 27
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: A million years from now an alien is exploring this barren planet and he finds Mount Rushmore and decides to apply the explanatory filter to it.

    The specification depends on your background knowledge. For instance, you might not recognize the monumental sculpture of the great conqueror Xotz of Xeon.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120229004635/http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/966/45006531.JPG

  28. 28
    Zachriel says:

    Meanwhile, Narcissus observes an almost exact image of a human being, perfect in form and countenance.
    http://www.johnwilliamwaterhou.....ouse64.jpg

  29. 29
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose is specific and empirically accessible.

    What is the empirical test? Or do you simply mean you have no other explanation, that is, law+chance as per the explanatory filter?

  30. 30
    Jack Jones says:

    @29 “What is the empirical test?”

    The ability to empirically test is consistent with the idea that the reasoning apparatus was designed to comprehend reality, the idea that the reasoning apparatus came about by dumb chance provides no grounds

    “Or do you simply mean you have no other explanation, that is, law+chance as per the explanatory filter?”

    The idea of Law(uniformity of nature” has no grounding from your faith in unintentionalism.

    To argue against design and stick to unintentionalism then you should not be talking about law (uniformity of nature) which has no grounding on unintentionalism and should not be arguing for empiricism which is inconsistent with your faith, You are cutting off the branch that you sit on.

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    Read the OP Fish. Did I say anything about natural language? Did I say anything about the ability to learn new skills? Did I say anything about the ability to experience conscious awareness? No, no and no. And you know I did not. You are now arguing in total bad faith, as you are wont to do when you are backed into a corner.

    It’s like the Upright BiPed thread all over again, without all the insults from RDFish.

  32. 32
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: What is the empirical test?

    Jack Jones: The ability to empirically test is consistent with the idea that the reasoning apparatus was designed to comprehend reality …

    In other words, there is no empirical test.

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    That point was never in doubt of course.

    Yep. The Upright BiPed thread all over again.

  34. 34
    Mung says:

    The reason we know the space station was designed for a purpose is because we built it, and we humans experience conscious intent.

    Unless you can provide an objective method for determining what things are “for a purpose” and what things aren’t, then you need to admit that “purpose” is not an objectively detectable feature of things.

    We can know that the space station was designed for a purpose, but we cannot KNOW (objectively) that the space station was designed for a purpose, even though we know the space station was designed for a purpose.

    Can we argue about sand piles and sand castles instead?

  35. 35
    Virgil Cain says:

    What is the empirical test?

    Signs of work or counterflow. Or, as Dr Behe put it:

    “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”

  36. 36
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: We can know that the space station was designed for a purpose, but we cannot KNOW (objectively) that the space station was designed for a purpose, even though we know the space station was designed for a purpose.

    We have objective evidence that the space station was planned and built by humans, a peculiar species of simian inhabiting the third rock from the Sun — and evidence of their purpose.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdjL8WXjlGI

  37. 37
    Jack Jones says:

    @32 “In other words, there is no empirical test.”

    On your position of unintentionalism then chirping about empirical tests is not consistent, Chirping for empiricism is not consistent with an unintentionalist position.

    By accepting presuppositions that are consistent with design then you are contradicting your faith with unintentionalism.

    By being an advocate for empiricism then you have already conceded the debate to design.

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: On your position of unintentionalism then chirping about empirical tests is not consistent

    You may want to define “unintentionalism”.

    In any case, Barry Arrington said “The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose is specific and empirically accessible.” Your argument may be with him.

  39. 39
    Virgil Cain says:

    It is very telling that Zachriel and RDFish think their willful ignorance is not only an argument, but a refutation of ID.

  40. 40
    Jack Jones says:

    “You may want to define “unintentionalism”

    You know what unintentional means. Well it applies to how you believe the universe came about and how human reasoning came about.

    A worldview where everything came to be unintentionally including your cognitive faculties provides no grounds for the presuppositions of science.

    Even if an Atheist who is adamant that there is no Designer does science then he is still accepting the presuppositions that are consistent with design which are not consistent with his worldview of unintentionalism.

    If those that reject design embraced nihilism then they would be very consistent with their position, when they chirp for science and talk about laws in nature and talk about reasoning etc then they are not being consistent with their position.

    And if they moralize about scientists who have been dishonest then they are not being consistent.

    I am waiting for Design deniers to argue against empiricism and embrace nihilism and show they really embrace the rejection of design.

  41. 41

    The unspoken reality is that I gave RD a operational definitonn of intelligence based on material facts which he cannot contest, and indeed, chose not to even address it.

    RD’s arguments against ID in regard to his laundry list of “consciousness”, “intentionality”, “purpose”, etc are emptied by that operational definiton.

    RD does not concede this fact, simply because he cannot concede it. He’s an ideologue. He doesn’t merely have an ideology, but instead, he is no longer allowed to question his ideology.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RD, use your intellect: Our material universe is a place where things must be specified in order to place them under temporal control and organize them into living things. This is undeniable. But, no material object specifies any other material object. How does a thing become specified in a material universe? What is required, and at what time is it required?

    Don’t be afraid. Answer the question.

  42. 42
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: You know what unintentional means.

    Intentionalism is a literary term.
    http://www.oxforddictionaries......ntionalism

    We might suppose it means someone who doesn’t think intention exists in the universe. That’s an unusual position, as most everyone agrees that humans exhibit intent.

    Upright BiPed: The unspoken reality is that I gave RD a operational definitonn of intelligence based on material facts which he cannot contest, and indeed, chose not to even address it.

    What is that operational definition? The word “operational” doesn’t appear previously on this page.

    Barry Arrington seems to base his position on “purpose”, and claims there it is empirically accessible. Still waiting on that.

    Upright BiPed: Our material universe is a place where things must be specified in order to place them under temporal control and organize them into living things. This is undeniable.

    Simply saying it’s undeniable doesn’t make it undeniable. The claim doesn’t follow by necessity from the premises, so of course it’s deniable.

  43. 43
    Jack Jones says:

    “That’s an unusual position”

    That’s the unusual position that you hold.

    “as most everyone agrees that humans exhibit intent.”

    We are not talking about humans exhibiting intent, we are talking about your faith that the universe and humans and their reasoning faculties came about unintentionally.

    When I say you believe in unintentionalism then we are talking about how you believe the universe and humans came to be, not what humans do once they have arrived.

    Arguing for the knowability of the universe and discovering lawfulness etc is not consistent with your position.

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: That’s the unusual position that you hold.

    No, we accept that humans have intention.

    Jack Jones: We are not talking about humans exhibiting intent, we are talking about your faith that the universe and humans and their reasoning faculties came about unintentionally.

    We’re talking about scientific evidence of such intent.

  45. 45
    Jack Jones says:

    “No, we accept that humans have intention.”

    ahhh zach falling back on his game playing when he fails in argumentation.

    You know what I mean by the term unintentionalism and you know that it is not about humans having intent but the origin of the universe and the origin of humans and their reasoning faculties in the first place.

    What we know is that you play games and here you are doing it again.

    Like UB pointed out on another thread, how you can persistently do this to try and hold to a position is something that he couldn’t do.

    When you have to play games to hold to a position then you are really having to lie to yourself zach. that you can keep doing it shows just how determined you are to lie to yourself.

    “We’re talking about scientific evidence of such intent.”

    The pressupositions of science have no grounding on the position that your reasoning apparatus and the universe came about unintentionally.

    You can’t ground them so you play games.

    You’re a failure zach.

    You’re done.

  46. 46
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry,

    You said that the term “intelligent agent” tells you nothing about what was involved in carving Mount Rushmore. And that is gobsmackingly stupid.

    Um, Barry, we know that human beings carved Mount Rushmore, OK? When we see artifacts on Earth, we know that human beings made them, and we know all about human beings. So every single time you come up with scenarios about human beings – forensics, archeology, Mt. Rushmore, and so on – you are just showing that we can recognize the tell-tale signs of human activity, not that “intelligent agency” has any specific, empirical meaning.

    You may wish to include animals as intelligent agents, and point out we can observe tell-tale signs of beavers or termite colonies. You may even wish to imagine scenarios where we find things similar to human (or animal) artifacts on distant planets. None of these scenarios in any way mean that “intelligent agency” is a category of things that can be recognized apart from their similarity to human beings or another animals.

    RDFish: But if I tell you it is “intelligent”, there is not one thing you could observe that you could infer about this thing.
    BA: But you seem to be suggesting that since “the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose” is not a physical attribute that can be observed in the way that size, temperature, and color can be observed then it cannot be objectively detected.

    Yes, that is of course correct.

    Sheer idiocy; again why do you insist on saying things that are obviously false? What possible purpose does it serve?

    Again, you are making a bad abductive inference. The far more likely (and in fact true) explanation here is that we are miscommunicating. For example, you thought I was saying that looking at Mt. Rushmore, we could make no inference about the intelligence or purpose involved in its creation. That would of course be a very stupid thing to say, and so I would never say that. But what I said wasn’t that at all of course. What I said was that the reason we know about the abilities and characteristics of the creators of Mt. Rushmore was because we know they were human beings, not because Mt. Rushmore has “CSI” or any other inherent, empirically detectable property.

    The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose can be detected by inferring its existence from purposeful arrangements of matter.

    AGAIN: I agree with ID folks arguendo that “CSI” is something that can be objectively detected. The original ID arguments here (and the ones Dembski and Meyer use) hold that CSI is what we observe, not “purpose”. Dembski argues that CSI is a reliable indicator of intelligence, but he still does not claim that we somehow directly observe “purpose” in arrangements of matter.

    I have asked you and StephenB perhaps a dozen times now how is “purpose” objectively detected in arrangements of matter”, and all you ever do it describe things that are produced by human beings and animals! That doesn’t help – we already know about human beings and animals! What you need is a method to detect “purpose” in things where we do not know what produced it, and we have no reason to think it was similar to a human being or other animal!

    The capacity to arrange matter for a purpose is specific and empirically accessible. The definition specifies the capacity to arrange matter for a purpose. Such arrangements are empirically accessible.

    You just keep repeating this claim, but you refuse to say how such arrangements are identified. How can we decide what arrangements of matter are for a purpose? Is it by finding CSI? Is it because we think that human beings or another life forms were involved?

    RDFish: The issue here is, how does one objectively detect “purpose”. I say I know of no general method for detecting purpose.
    BA: Then you are a liar.

    Nope, I’m not lying, I’m actually asking you over and over and over again to tell me the general method for detecting purpose. Since you have not done so, I conclude neither of us know a general method for detecting purpose.

    RDFish: The reason we know the space station was designed for a purpose is because we built it, and we humans experience conscious intent.
    BA: If an alien who knew absolutely nothing about humans observed the space station they would correctly infer that the space station is matter arranged for a purpose.

    For the 10,000th time: You are only talking about aliens who are similar to human beings! The aliens would assume that something like them was responsible!!! They would see it was something built to carry life forms into outer space. They would recognize that it was built to house things that were human-sized, not the size of atoms or the size of galaxies. They would see that the occupants breathed oxygen, looked out of windows, and so on. They would conclude that something like the aliens themselves was involved in the creation of this spacestation, and so they would infer that whatever created the spacestation would have mental abilities similar to theirs.

    Now, imagine a different type of alien that is not similar to a human being. It has no eyes and cannot see light or other EM radiation. It has no physical body at all. It doesn’t know what a spacestation is – it doesn’t even know that living things must be housed in things to protect them from outer space. In fact, this alien exists outside of space and time entirely. OK? Is this alien able to recognize the space station as an artifact? We have no way of knowing.

    RDFish: Is the purpose of the Sun to warm . . .
    BA: That shtick has grown wearisome. Do not repeat it. SB has refuted it several times.

    Imagine how wearisome your shtick is! You just keep making these claims about objective methods for detecting purpose, but you never say how to do it! StephenB actually admitted that he has NOT described an objective method for detecting purpose!!!! Here is what he said: “I said nothing about methods. I said that, in many cases, purpose can be detected in arranged matter—period.”.

    Either you have an objective method for detecting purpose, or all you have is a way to detect CSI. If you had the former you would have described it by now.

    We have provided such an objective method. It is called the explanatory filter.

    OK! THANK YOU! All this time, you were talking about Dembski’s explanatory filter. But there are two problems with this: First, it assumes that whatever cannot be currently explained by scientific means must be the result of immaterial intelligence (the assumption of dualism problem), and second that it fails to actually say what is meant by the conclusion of “intelligent cause” (the empirical definition problem).

    Barry: Nagel, who has forgotten more than you will ever know, says the only way to save physicalist monism is to develop a robust theory of natural teleology.
    RDFish: I tend to agree with Nagel about this.
    BA: Then you just gave away the store.

    If that means I gave away the store, then I never had a store in the first place. You just imagined I did.

    RDFish: Nagel wants someone to start developing a theory of natural teleology, but nobody has yet. Until we have a theory, we cannot say we have evidence for it, can we? Therefore, obviously there is no evidence that any such thing exists.
    BA: There was no evidence for gravity until Newton developed his theory?

    There were moving planets in the sky and apples falling from trees, but nobody knew that both sorts of things were caused by the same force. Nobody had the idea that this cause was a force that acted instantaneously across space, or caused an attraction between any two masses on Earth or anywhere else. Nobody had any idea that the strength of this force was related to a specific constant and decreased with the square of the distance between masses. Newton developed a theory with all of these specific claims, and then provided a tremendous amount of evidence that his theory was true. Before Newton, there was no theory of universal gravitation, and therefore there could be no evidence for that theory.

    Likewise, Nagel (and I) note that complex form and function in biology is almost certainly not due to evolutionary processes, but we have no theory that explains it, so we cannot claim we have evidence for any theory that explains it.

    That is what you seem to be saying. Another gobsmacking idiocy that you will doubtless attribute to my misunderstanding instead of your stupidity later.

    Obviously.

    The evidence for a natural telic force is the teleology all around us.

    No, the mystery of complex form and function is what surrounds us. Nobody knows what it means to say “natural telic force”! There is no theory of a “natural telic force”! We can’t detect it because we know nothing of it’s properties!

    Imagine a physicist who is studying X-ray jets emanating from black holes. He decides there is an “X-ray ejecting force” that produces these things. His colleagues say, “What is that supposed to mean? How do you know that an ‘X-ray ejecting force’ exists? How do you characterize this force?” And the physicist says, “Well, I know it exists because… just look at those X-ray jets!!” Needless to say, this physicist would not be well-received, because his solution adds nothing to our understanding.

    If monist physicalism is true, such a force must exist; otherwise there is no way to account for the all of that teleology. This is Nagel’s point, which you just said you agree with.

    No, neither Nagel nor I believe that anyone knows anything about “telic forces”. We both just believe that we do not yet understand biological origins, and believe that people should stop imagining that this problem has already been solved (by evolution). Saying “telic force” explains biology is like saying “X-ray ejecting force” solves the mystery of X-rays emanating from black holes.

    If by “there is no evidence for it” you mean that no one has even begun to identify such a force, I agree, which is powerful evidence that monist physicalism is false.

    No, but it is conclusive evidence that we don’t understand the phenomena. There is no scientific evidence for or against physicalism. Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t have any implications for metaphysics.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  47. 47
    Jack Jones says:

    @46 “What you need is a method to detect “purpose” in things where we do not know what produced it”

    What you need to do is quit arguing for the scientific method as it is not consistent with your faith in unintentionalism for how man and the universe came about.

    “and we have no reason to think it was similar to a human being or other animal”

    Reason, thinking and the ability to logically evaluate cannot be grounded on a position where the human reasoning faculties came about by dumb luck.

    The laws of logic cannot be grounded on your way of looking at the world.

    The idea of law in nature cannot be grounded on your position.

    The fact that you think your reasoning faculties can give you a correct interpretation of how the universe came to be is not consistent with your position that human reasoning faculties were unintended.

    You are presupposing a design worldview in order to argue against design.

    if you embrace nihilism then we could really believe that you reject design.

  48. 48
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    Your knowledge that human beings form conscious intentions cannot tell you anything about this particular stabbing. And you have still not explained how you know that it was a human being in the first place.

    Do you not know human beings are conscious? Sure you do.
    Do you not know that human beings are the only knife-wielding species on the planet? Of course you do. Please read my last post to Barry – especially the part about the alien that is unlike human beings or other animals.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  49. 49
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    RD, use your intellect: Our material universe is a place where things must be specified in order to place them under temporal control and organize them into living things.

    Sure, OK.

    This is undeniable.

    I’m not really sure what “specified” means here, but I’m not denying it.

    But, no material object specifies any other material object. How does a thing become specified in a material universe? What is required, and at what time is it required?

    What do you mean by “specified”? Do you mean when something consciously thinks about something before doing it?

    What if an alien had no brain, no physical body, and no conscious awareness, but it could build semiotic systems, digital codes, and so on. Would you say this alien was “specifying” these systems?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  50. 50
    Mapou says:

    It’s all about order versus disorder. One cannot get order out of disorder. The two are separate but complementary. Both must exist by logical necessity.

    There is a potentially infinite number of ways that physical properties can be expressed and combined. Order cannot emerge from this space. The only way to search through a potentially infinite space of possibilities is to use a non-stochastic search mechanism. Such a mechanism can only come from a pre-existing non-physical order.

    So, again, I agree with RDFish that ID implies a non-physical realm. But so what? Anything that can be logically deduced is just as valid as something that can be observed. One must follow the logic wherever it leads. Anything else is no better than book burning and can only be the result of an evil, Big Brother-like desire to manipulate the minds of others. Atheists, materialists and Darwinists are fascists by nature.

  51. 51
    StephenB says:

    SB: Your knowledge that human beings form conscious intentions cannot tell you anything about this particular stabbing. And you have still not explained how you know that it was a human being in the first place.

    RDFish

    Do you not know human beings are conscious?

    Yep.

    Sure you do.

    Check.

    Do you not know that human beings are the only knife-wielding species on the planet? Of course you do.

    You bet.

    However, you have not addressed the issue. The question is not whether human beings act with intent and purpose. Obviously, they do. The question is this: In the absence of those stab wounds, how would you detect intent and purpose in this situation? What possible way could there be other than to make such a detection than to draw inferences of intent and purpose from the patterns exhibited by the knife wounds?

  52. 52

    What if an alien had no brain, no physical body, and no conscious awareness, but it could build semiotic systems, digital codes, and so on. Would you say this alien was “specifying” these systems?

    I didn’t ask what happens inside an immaterial alien.

  53. 53
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    The question is not whether human beings act with intent and purpose. Obviously, they do.

    Ok, and in my view, “intent and purpose” requires conscious awareness. Do you agree that consciousness is central to the idea of intent and purpose? Or do you think that something can have an intention and do something on purpose – or for a purpose – without any conscious awareness that is what it is doing?

    The question is this: In the absence of those stab wounds, how would you detect intent and purpose in this situation?

    Sorry, but without the stab wounds, what exactly is “this situation”?

    What other possible way could there be to make such a detection than to draw inferences of intent and purpose from the patterns exhibited by the knife wounds? It cannot come from your general knowledge of human beings.

    1) We find a dead person.
    2) We recognize from the body that the person has been killed with a knife.
    3) We know that only humans attack things with knives.
    4) We conclude a human being killed this person.
    5) We know that human beings are conscious things, so we infer the killer was conscious.
    6) We may have questions about intent. Perhaps the person was drugged, or mentally ill, or hallucinating for some other reason, and did not really form a conscious intention to kill the victim. That would require examination of a suspect by a psychologist – we couldn’t tell from the stab wounds.

    Now I’ve answered your questions; answer mine: Imagine an alien who had no brain, no body, no sense organs like eyes or ears, and no conscious awareness, but could produce CSI including digital codes. Would this alien recognize that Mt. Rushmore was an artifact of an intelligent agent, and how do you know?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  54. 54
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    RDF: What if an alien had no brain, no physical body, and no conscious awareness, but it could build semiotic systems, digital codes, and so on. Would you say this alien was “specifying” these systems?

    UB: I didn’t ask what happens inside an immaterial alien.

    If you would like to debate these issues, tell me what you mean by “specifying”, and answer the clarifying questions I ask. I try to answer your questions, but you dodge mine, so we can’t debate.

    Imagine an alien that had no brain, no physical body, and no conscious awareness. Imagine it had no way to communicate ideas with other aliens, no ability to explain what it was doing, no beliefs or desires. All it could do was to somehow produce semiotic systems, digital codes, and so on.

    Would you say this alien was “specifying” these systems? Would you say this alien was “intelligent”?

    If you don’t want to debate these issues, just say so. Otherwise, why not do your best to respond to my requests for clarification, and ask your own which I will respond to? If you did that, we could make progress here.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  55. 55
    StephenB says:

    Following the logic of RDFish:

    RDF: This was murder with malicious intent

    SB: How do you know it was murder?

    RDF: It’s based on our previous knowledge of humans. Humans sometimes commit murder.

    SB: I know that humans sometimes do that, but how do you know a human did it in this instance? Only the stab wounds themselves can tell determine whether or not it was murder

    RDF: No. This man is guilty. All we need to know is that humans sometimes commit murder.

    Same crime science

    RDF: This was not a murder at all.

    SB: How do you know that?

    RDF: Humans sometimes don’t commit murder.

    SB: But how do you know that it wasn’t murder in this case? There would have to be an absence of stab wounds to know that.

    RDF: No. This man is innocent. All we need to know is that humans sometimes don’t commit murder.

  56. 56
    StephenB says:

    RDF:

    Imagine an alien who had no brain, no body, no sense organs like eyes or ears, and no conscious awareness, but could produce CSI including digital codes. Would this alien recognize that Mt. Rushmore was an artifact of an intelligent agent, and how do you know?

    Here is my response, which is conditional on my current understanding of your question:

    According to my philosophy, an alien without a mind or senses will not recognize anything as an artifact, including Mount Rushmore. I know that because it is by the mind and the senses that we recognize things.

    According to my philosophy, an alien who has no brain, body, sense organs, or conscious awareness cannot produce CSI

  57. 57
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    RDF: This was murder with malicious intent
    SB: How do you know it was murder?
    RDF: It’s based on our previous knowledge of humans. Humans sometimes commit murder.

    Uh, no – I knew it was homicide because there was a body that had been stabbed to death with a knife. Only humans do this, so I knew it was a human. When a human stabs somebody to death, it is a homicide. The court will determine if the homicide was murder based on examination of the suspect.

    According to my philosophy, an alien who has no brain, body, sense organs, or conscious awareness cannot produce CSI

    Once again, StephenB, please let’s keep the discussion about scientific claims, not philosophical or religious beliefs. But apparently you believe – for whatever reason – that aliens require brains, bodies, sense organs, and conscious awareness in order to be intelligent agents and produce CSI. Very interesting indeed!!!!!!!!!!!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  58. 58
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish,

    Are you still around? I am not going to respond to your tedious blitherings point by point.

    I will only say again that you have already given away the store with respect to the point made in the OP.

    When you admitted even the possibility of the existence of a natural telic force, you admitted that ID is not necessarily committed to dualism, which is the point of the OP. QED.

  59. 59
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    1) We find a dead person.
    2) We recognize from the body that the person has been killed with a knife.
    3) We know that only humans attack things with knives.
    4) We conclude a human being killed this person.
    5) We know that human beings are conscious things, so we infer the killer was conscious.
    6) We may have questions about intent. Perhaps the person was drugged, or mentally ill, or hallucinating for some other reason, and did not really form a conscious intention to kill the victim. That would require examination of a suspect by a psychologist – we couldn’t tell from the stab wounds.

    We are not discussing the element of full consent or the subtleties of mental; health. Those are secondary questions. We are discussing intent and purpose. The purpose of the act was to produce a dead person or at least a seriously injured person. People don’t stab other people to bring them back to life.

    No psychologist is needed to know the killer’s objective, and that objective is clearly indicated by the stab wounds, not by the body and not by our knowledge that humans are the only animals that attack things with knives. The body tells us nothing. It is the holes in the body that tell the tale.

  60. 60
    mike1962 says:

    RDFISH: Uh, no – I knew it was murder because there was a body that had been stabbed to death with a knife. Only humans do this, so I knew it was a human.

    A chimp could conceivably do this.

    please let’s keep the discussion about scientific claims, not philosophical or religious beliefs.

    Just curious, how do you know anyone besides yourself is conscious? (Assuming you are.) Is there a scientific way to determine this?

  61. 61

    RD, so you plead that you cannot answer my question because you don’t understand the words used in this context, then turn right around and ask me a question using the same words in the same context.

    You want me to ignore the obvious.

  62. 62
    mike1962 says:

    Mapou It’s all about order versus disorder. One cannot get order out of disorder.

    You can if ordering principles are guiding the disorder. But… oh wait.

    Never mind.

  63. 63
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    Are you still around? I am not going to respond to your tedious blitherings point by point.

    Noted – you have no response to my arguments.

    I will only say again that you have already given away the store with respect to the point made in the OP.

    Not in the least, of course. My argument stands – ID’s core arguments require dualism to be true in order to be coherent.

    When you admitted even the possibility of the existence of a natural telic force, you admitted that ID is not necessarily committed to dualism, which is the point of the OP. QED.

    You’re wrong because:
    Intelligent Design Theory does not argue for “natural telic forces”, it argues for “intelligent agents”, which is why the word “intelligent” is in the name of the theory. If ID argued for “natural telic forces” the way Nagel does, I would have none of these arguments against ID of course (unless ID claimed that there is already a robust theory of natural telic forces).

    ID oversteps the bounds of empiricism when it uses the word “intelligent” to explain living things. The word “intelligent” is associated with a host of mental abilities and characteristics that cannot be empirically supported as being involved in the origin of life.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  64. 64
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    We are not discussing the element of full consent or the subtleties of mental; health. Those are secondary questions. We are discussing intent and purpose.

    That is what distinguishes murder from other forms of homicide.

    The purpose of the act was to produce a dead person or at least a seriously injured person.

    Only if the perpertrator was able to think rationally at the time, which is what the courts will investigate by examining the suspect.

    People don’t stab other people to bring them back to life.

    Yes, I agree.

    No psychologist is needed to know the killer’s objective,…

    Not the case. Many suspects are defended on the basis that the killer was not in a rational frame of mind, and was not aware of what he/she was doing. Psychologists are exactly what they use to figure it out.

    …and that objective is clearly indicated by the stab wounds, not by the body and not by our knowledge that humans are the only animals that attack things with knives. The body tells us nothing. It is the holes in the body that tell the tale.

    Sorry, what’s your point here?

    Now, please confirm what you said: Aliens require brains, bodies, sense organs, and conscious awareness in order to be intelligent agents and produce CSI. Have you changed your mind about this yet?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  65. 65
    RDFish says:

    Hi mike1962,

    A chimp could conceivably do this.

    As you see if you’ve read my posts, I acknowledge that certain other animals – like chimps – have human-like abilities. I also talk about beavers and termite colonies building structures and so on.

    Just curious, how do you know anyone besides yourself is conscious? (Assuming you are.) Is there a scientific way to determine this?

    Again, as I’ve been explaining here, humans are similar to each other in so many observable respects that we infer similar conscious experiences as well. Strengthening our inference is the fact that neurological correlates of consciousness have been discovered in all humans, and of course the fact that we each can verbally confirm our inner conscious awareness. Of course the problem of other minds remains in philosophy, but cognitive science is able to study human consciousness by using the neurological and self-reporting evidence. Consciousness in non-human animals is much more difficult of course.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  66. 66
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    Do you not know human beings are conscious?

    I thought we were supposed to be talking about objective facts.

  67. 67
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    If you’d like to debate, then answer the clarifying questions I ask, and ask your own which I will answer. Otherwise you’re just wasting time for both of us.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  68. 68
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    If you would like to debate these issues, tell me what you mean by “specifying”, and answer the clarifying questions I ask.

    RDFish doesn’t know what it means to specify middle C. I’m not making this up. He actually said that. And yet he somehow manages to put forth the pretense that he understands the argument.

  69. 69
    Mung says:

    Thus, when we specify a middle C, we are talking about the version of the tone C that appears in a particular position relative to lower and higher versions of that tone.

    Music Theory Through Improvisation

    I can’t wait to see how RDFish manages to improvise his way around that one.

  70. 70
    Mapou says:

    mike1862:

    Mapou It’s all about order versus disorder. One cannot get order out of disorder.

    You can if ordering principles are guiding the disorder. But… oh wait.

    Never mind.

    Exactly. And now that you mention ordering principles (or spirits, if you like), it logically follows that, with enough ordering principles around, each doing its own special “ordering” thing, Gods and universes eventually emerge. Yahweh claims to have been the first of the Gods. Interesting that he also claims to be a God of order.

  71. 71
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish: Noted – you have no response to my arguments.

    No, your arguments are irrelevant since you’ve given away the store. So there is no need to respond to your ever-more-tedious bad faith.

    Here is a summary of where we are.

    RDFish: ID’s core arguments require dualism to be true in order to be coherent.

    Barry: Nonsense. Thomas Nagel posits a natural telic force that is operative in a monist universe.

    RDFish: I tend to agree with Nagel.

    Barry: Then you’ve given away the store. The ID designer in a monist universe could be this impersonal, non-conscious, non-dualist (by definition) natural telic force.

    RDFish: ID’s core arguments require dualism to be true in order to be coherent.

    Fish, you have been soundly beaten in this round. Move along.

  72. 72
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    Either you have an objective method for detecting purpose, or all you have is a way to detect CSI.

    We have both, however CSI requires planning so by detecting the presence of CSI you have also uncovered intent/ purpose.

    And yes, we know that is too much for your narrow mind to process.

    Cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  73. 73
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: Again, as I’ve been explaining here, humans are similar to each other in so many observable respects that we infer similar conscious experiences as well.

    The actions of humans are similar. But you don’t know which ones of those humans “acting similar” have consciousness. You only have a data point of one: yourself. Does that warrant a generalization? Scientists can only correlate brain states and actions including self-reported experiences. You can assume that consciousness exists based on actions and self-reporting and correlate brain states with those, but that doesn’t prove consciousness, that assumes it.

    Strengthening our inference is the fact that neurological correlates of consciousness

    If you don’t know the test subjects are conscious in the first place, how can you assign a correlation between some unseen, alleged consciousness and neurons? Consciousness is the thing you need to prove exists in the first place before you can make a correlation.

    have been discovered in all humans, and of course the fact that we each can verbally confirm our inner conscious awareness.

    Verbal confirmations are external actions. There’s no consciousness to be seen there, just mouths moving and words uttered into the air. How do you know there is a consciousness “in there” associated with the movements? Just because they act similar to you (a data point of one)? What compels the inference of consciousness?

    science is able to study human consciousness by using the neurological and self-reporting evidence.

    Scientists have never studied consciousness. Scientists can only study actions and brain states. Why do those actions and brain states require consciousness?

  74. 74

    If you’d like to debate, then answer the clarifying questions I ask, and ask your own which I will answer.

    Great. You can begin by answering the question I asked at the top of our exchange. I asked you about objects becoming specified so that they may be organized into living things. This is not a topic that is foreign to you, so there is no need to pretend you do not understand it. For a protein to be made up of a sequence of objects such as leucine, bound to glycine, bound to alanine, etc, requires leucine to be specified among its alternatives. How does a material system such as the cell specify something in a universe where no object specifies any other object? Please note: this is a physical system in a physcial universe operating under physical law. Whatever one can (only) speculate happens inside an immaterial alien is of absolutely no consequence to this question.

  75. 75
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish: Intelligent Design Theory does not argue for “natural telic forces”, it argues for “intelligent agents”, which is why the word “intelligent” is in the name of the theory.

    Fish you are utterly shameless. Only five days ago you admitted that “as Debmski himself says, the Designer may be a conscious agent, or it may be an ‘impersonal telic process . . .’” See comment 126 to this post.

    Now that that statement is inconvenient for your argument you act as if you never said it. You have lost this round Fish. As you admitted last week, ID allows for an impersonal telic force, just exactly the kind of force you and Nagel posit, as the designer. Therefore, you are plainly wrong when you say ID is necessarily committed to dualism.

  76. 76
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    RDFish: ID’s core arguments require dualism to be true in order to be coherent.
    Barry: Nonsense. Thomas Nagel posits a natural telic force that is operative in a monist universe.

    Yes, but Nagel’s ideas are different from what ID claims. So I agree with Nagel, but not with ID.

    RDFish: I tend to agree with Nagel.
    Barry: Then you’ve given away the store.

    No, I agree with Nagel, not ID. My arguments against ID do not apply to Nagel’s views.

    The ID designer in a monist universe could be this impersonal, non-conscious, non-dualist (by definition) natural telic force.

    Nagel doesn’t say it “could be” this natural telic force, implying that it could be something else. ID is crafted to allow for the appearance of a scientific warrant to the belief that a conscious mind was involved in the origin of life. Nagel doesn’t believe this any more than I do.

    RDFish: ID’s core arguments require dualism to be true in order to be coherent.
    SB: Fish, you have been soundly beaten in this round. Move along.

    On the contrary, both of my arguments are substantiated:
    1) ID’s core argument (the claim that law/chance cannot produce CSI) entails dualism and is thus non-scientific
    2) ID lacks a definition for “intelligence” that can be empirically supported in the context of ID

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  77. 77
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: ID lacks a definition for “intelligence” that can be empirically supported in the context of ID

    There is no empirical, objective definition of consciousness, that can be scientifically supported in any context. What do we do?

  78. 78
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    Only five days ago you admitted that “as Debmski himself says, the Designer may be a conscious agent, or it may be an ‘impersonal telic process . . .’”

    Yes, he has written this.

    Now that that statement is inconvenient for your argument you act as if you never said it. You have lost this round Fish.

    No, both of my arguments against ID are completely intact.

    As you admitted last week, ID allows for an impersonal telic force, just exactly the kind of force you and Nagel posit, as the designer.

    First, neither Nagel nor I are really saying that a “force” has been empirically identified or characterized. But that’s a minor point. The major point is that Nagel and I do not use language intended to suggest that science has evidence that a conscious being was involved. ID (including Dembski) does.

    Therefore, you are plainly wrong when you say ID is necessarily committed to dualism.

    As I’ve explained many times now, the argument that “law+chance” cannot produce CSI, which underlies a great deal of what is written in Dembski’s books and other books about ID, assumes dualism. Thus the explanatory filter, that you say is what detects “purpose”, assumes dualism. Thus, ID assumes dualism.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  79. 79
    Mapou says:

    Mike1962:

    RDFish: Again, as I’ve been explaining here, humans are similar to each other in so many observable respects that we infer similar conscious experiences as well.

    The actions of humans are similar. But you don’t know which ones of those humans “acting similar” have consciousness. You only have a data point of one: yourself. Does that warrant a generalization?

    That’s a good argument. IOW, if a robot was designed to be able to create new objects with specified information, all the explanatory filter could tell you about the objects is that they were created by an intelligent agent but not necessarily a conscious one. One could stop there because it’s enough to arrive at the ID conclusion. However, we all know that we cannot stop there because we are children of a greater deity. We know that ultimately we must explain the agent. We must pursue knowledge wherever it takes us. And it does take us to a duality whether we like it or not. Which is fine by me. We must not be afraid of knowledge.

  80. 80
    Barry Arrington says:

    Dear readers,

    Notice how RDFish is in full bad faith frenetic spin mode, like a logger trying to stay on a log in the water.

    RDFish last week: Dembski says ID allows for an impersonal telic force.

    RDFish this week (getting progressively more red in the face): ID does not allow for an impersonal telic force.

    RDFish last week quotes Demski arguing that Nagel’s impersonal natural telic force is a candidate for ID’s designer.

    RDFish this week: But I agree with Nagel, not ID.

    That won’t do Fish, because as you yourself pointed out only five days ago, ID says Nagel may be right on the very point about which you agree with him.

  81. 81
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    I asked you about objects becoming specified so that they may be organized into living things.

    I have asked you to clarify what you mean by “becoming specified”, and you haven’t answered.

    For a protein to be made up of a sequence of objects such as leucine, bound to glycine, bound to alanine, etc, requires leucine to be specified among its alternatives.

    You mean “associated with”?

    How does a material system such as the cell specify something in a universe where no object specifies any other object?

    I don’t know. How?

    This is not sarcasm, I mean this perfectly literally. In my view, the origin of the genetic code is mysterious, and we have no explanation. What I’m always trying to explain to you is that you have no explanation either.

    If you’d like to disagree, then please present your explanation for how these things become associated the way they are inside the cell. If you’d like to claim this is a scientific explanation, instead of some religious belief or story you’re making up, then you’ll need to use terms that can be grounded in empirical observations.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  82. 82
    Barry Arrington says:

    This is getting fun. RDFish now does not need separate comments to contradict himself. He can do it within the space of a single comment, as he does in 78:

    RDFish reaffirms his prior comment: “as Debmski himself says, the Designer may be a conscious agent, or it may be an ‘impersonal telic process . . .’”

    RDFish: The major point is that Nagel and I do not use language intended to suggest that science has evidence that a conscious being was involved. ID (including Dembski) does.

    Except when, as you yourself admitted like three seconds ago, he doesn’t.

    Keep going Fish. Making the other side look feckless, foolish and dishonest is very helpful to us here at UD. And you are giving us plenty of grist for that mill today.

    On the other hand you can do the honest thing and admit you are wrong. But no one is going to be holding their breath waiting for you to be honest are they?

  83. 83
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    Notice how RDFish is in full bad faith frenetic spin mode, like a logger trying to stay on a log in the water.

    Do these sort of weird tactics work for you in law? I’m actually being incredibly patient with you, Barry – not frenetic at all.

    RDFish last week: Dembski says ID allows for an impersonal telic force.

    Yes – it allows for. But it allows for conscious minds too, and the language ID uses clearly implies the latter. Nagel would never agree to it, which is precisely why Nagel and Dembski publically disagree! Dembski knows that Nagel does not believe in ID, for exactly this reason!

    RDFish this week (getting progressively more red in the face): ID does not allow for an impersonal telic force.

    You’ve made two errors in this sentence. First, I am not red in the face – that is just your weird way of taunting people. Second, you are mistaken (you would say “lying”) about me saying that of course. I have never said ID does not allow for an impersonal telic force, since I was the one who brought Dembski’s words to your attention in the first place!

    RDFish last week quotes Demski arguing that Nagel’s impersonal natural telic force is a candidate for ID’s designer.

    RDFish this week: But I agree with Nagel, not ID.

    Yes, this is exactly right.

    That won’t do Fish, because as you yourself pointed out only five days ago, ID says Nagel may be right on the very point about which you agree with him.

    Nagel and I disagree with Dembski because Dembski tries to draw broader conclusions than Nagel – conclusions that go beyond the evidence. ID allows for impersonal telic force, but also allows for and alludes to a conscious mind. That is why Nagel disagrees with Dembski, and Dembski disagrees with Nagel, and I agree with Nagel but not Dembski.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  84. 84
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish As I’ve explained many times now, the argument that “law+chance” cannot produce CSI, which underlies a great deal of what is written in Dembski’s books and other books about ID, assumes dualism. Thus the explanatory filter, that you say is what detects “purpose”, assumes dualism. Thus, ID assumes dualism.

    Not logically necessary. Within the universe there could be a CSI-seeking impersonal force that is unified at the sub-quantum level, that drives the course of the macro scale by biasing the seemingly-from-our-perspective “random” quantum events ever-so-slowly in certain directions. Over eons of time macro changes happen that lead to CSI. You may ask how this CSI-seeking force got its nature, but that applies to all primary forces. Point is, CSI generators need not be “supernatural.” Strict dualism not logically necessary. (Although I think a good case can be made for a “relative dualism”, but that’s another subject.)

  85. 85
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish:

    ID allows for impersonal telic force, but also allows for . . . a conscious mind.

    That is exactly the point of the OP. Thank you for conceding defeat.

  86. 86
    Mapou says:

    Case closed?

  87. 87
    Barry Arrington says:

    Yes, Mapou, case closed.

  88. 88
    RDFish says:

    Hi mike1962,

    Not logically necessary…Point is, CSI generators need not be “supernatural.” Dualism not logically necessary.

    The dualism I refer to is “mind/body” dualism (as I’ve pointed out above), not a dualism between “natural” and “supernatural”. ID’s core arguments depend on “law/chance” being incapable of producing CSI, leaving only “intelligence”. That is an argument that depends upon dualism.

    Some quantum force like this, biasing changes as you say, would not be “intelligence” and it wouldn’t be “supernatural”; it would be just a new form of “law/chance”. I’ve been trying to explain that here for a long time.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  89. 89
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    ID allows for impersonal telic force, but also allows for . . . a conscious mind.
    That is exactly the point of the OP. Thank you for conceding defeat.

    Well, when all else fails, simply declare victory!

    The part of ID that requires dualism is not the part that infers an impersonal telic force; it is the part that infers a “conscious rational agent” (as Stephen Meyer says) or an “intelligent agency” as most people here say, that requires dualism. ID’s core arguments regarding law/chance being incapable of producing CSI require dualism.

    Why do you think Nagel and Dembski disagree?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  90. 90
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: Some quantum force like this, biasing changes as you say, would not be “intelligence”

    I suppose it depends on how you define it. (I know, I know.) But I don’t think it does violence to the notion that people typically have, such as goal seeking, foresight, etc. I admit I could be missing something here. Would “telic force” be appropriate in your view? Some sub-quantum force with an impetus toward manipulating the quantum level toward the effect of macro-level objects having foresight and goals?

  91. 91
    RDFish says:

    Hi mike1962,

    I suppose it depends on how you define it. (I know, I know.)

    Ah, truer words have ne’er been spoken.

    But I don’t think it does violence to the notion that people typically have, such as goal seeking, foresight, etc.

    Just look at those two words. “Goal seeking” can be clearly defined – cybernetics uses the term perfectly operationally. “Foresight”, however, doesn’t really make sense unless you assume conscious foresight.

    Would “telic force” be appropriate in your view?

    It’s not that it’s not appropriate, it’s just that there isn’t much meaning to saying that, and certainly no scientific meaning.

    The correct answer, for the time being, is “we do not know”. I can’t figure out why people hate that answer so much.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  92. 92
    Barry Arrington says:

    Fish @ 89.

    Stop it. You’ve lost this round. Now all you are doing is embarrassing yourself.

  93. 93
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    Here is what I’ve shown:

    1) ID’s core arguments – including the explanatory filter – cast “intelligence” as dichotomous with “law+chance”, which is a dualist assumption. Since dualism cannot be scientifically established, ID’s arguments fail as scientific justifications for ID.

    2) The definition of “intelligent agency” as “able to arrange matter for a purpose” is non-scientific because there is no scientific method to distinguish matter arranged for a purpose. The explanatory filter, which Barry suggested was the method ID uses to identify matter arranged for a purpose, depends upon a dualist assumption.

    You are now attempting two counter-arguments:

    i) Dembski allows for “impersonal telic force” as the designer, which (according to Barry) means that ID does not assume dualism.
    If ID was called “Natural Teleology Theory”, drop its dualist arguments, and agreed with Nagel, I would not disagree with it. But that isn’t the case. ContraNagel, Dembski calls it “Intelligent Design Theory”, and fails to characterize what sort of “Designer” is being proposed for the purpose of implying that living things were designed by a conscious mind. ID bases it all on arguments and “explanatory filters” that assume dualism, things Nagel never does. These are my objections, to which you have no response.

    ii) I agree with Thomas Nagel, so I must agree with ID
    But Nagel disagrees with Dembski and ID on the same grounds I do.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  94. 94

    For a protein to be made up of a sequence of objects such as leucine, bound to glycine, bound to alanine, etc, requires leucine to be specified among its alternatives.

    You mean “associated with”?

    There is no length to which RD will not go in order to avoid empirical evidence.

  95. 95
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright Biped,

    There is no length to which RD will not go in order to avoid empirical evidence.

    There is no length to which UB will not go in order to avoid debate.

    You spend all this time reading and writing here, but you refuse to engage the debate. You just huff and puff and complain and insult, but you won’t actually quote what I say and respond to it, and you won’t try and make any arguments to counter what I say.

    The most reasonable conclusion would be that you know you’re wrong and are afraid to engage the debate because you will lose.

    You won’t tell me what you mean by “specify”, and so you make me guess. When I guess you say I’m wrong, but won’t say what you mean instead. You’ll do ANYTHING to avoid debate.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  96. 96
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish @ 93:

    Here is what I’ve shown:

    Every single word after the colon is irrelevant. You have admitted that ID allows for a natural telic force to explain the goal-directedness found in nature. Game over. ID does not depend on dualism.

  97. 97
    Barry Arrington says:

    Dear readers,

    Notice that RDFish has gone into full-on INSANE DENIAL mode.

    When RDFish admitted five days ago that ID allows for an impersonal telic force as the designer, it completely undermined his later effort to argue that ID absolutely depends on a dualist assumption. His first argument cannot be reconciled with his second argument.

    Apparently, RDFish was counting on us not noticing his prior argument. But we did. And when we pointed it out to him there was nowhere for him to run.

    But did he concede? Of course not. He is a zealot and zealots never concede. They go down in flames. And that is what RDFish is doing now. It is an ugly thing to watch, but we won’t stop him if he insists.

  98. 98
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    Every single word after the colon is irrelevant. You have admitted that ID allows for a natural telic force to explain the goal-directedness found in nature. Game over. ID does not depend on dualism.

    If you insist that ID claims only to support the notion of “natural telic force” as the cause of living things, then we indeed agree. That means there is nothing about consciousness, intent, beliefs, desires, reason, or any other aspect of human mentality that can be scientifically inferred. Is that what you are saying?

    If so, then your theory of “Intelligent Design” is misnamed and misrepresented in books by Dembski and Meyer.

    If not, then whatever else you’re saying entails assumptions of dualism and cannot be scientifically supported.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  99. 99

    Comment removed.

    (I’m not going to give you cover from the beating that BA is already giving you)

  100. 100
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    For leucine to be the first in this sequence, it must be specified among the alternatives.

    The root of our disagreement centers on the meaning and implications of the word “specified” in this sentence. Why won’t you tell me what you mean by “specified” in this sentence?

    If you tell me what you mean by that word in that sentence, we can move forward in debate. If you won’t tell me what you mean, then it’s pointless to continue.

    [edited to add: TOO LATE 🙂 You can hide behind Barry, but that won’t remove the fact that you are afraid to even engage the questions.]

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  101. 101
    Virgil Cain says:

    1) ID’s core arguments – including the explanatory filter – cast “intelligence” as dichotomous with “law+chance”, which is a dualist assumption.

    And yet those core arguments flow from Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning. Also archaeology, forensic science and SETI, to name three, use those same core arguments.

    2) The definition of “intelligent agency” as “able to arrange matter for a purpose” is non-scientific because there is no scientific method to distinguish matter arranged for a purpose.

    AGAIN, archaeology, forensic science and SETI rely on our ability to do just that. We have objective criteria that allows us to do exactly that.

    ID’s core arguments depend on “law/chance” being incapable of producing CSI, leaving only “intelligence”.

    And if anyone ever demonstrates necessity and chance producing CSI ID would fall. History is riddled with science going out on limbs, ie scientists making leaps based on the current understanding. Why RDFish thinks that is fatal to ID is beyond me.

    So what we have here is a RDFish who is willfully ignorant and scientifically illiterate.

    Cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  102. 102
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    The root of our disagreement centers on the meaning and implications of the word “specified” in this sentence. Why won’t you tell me what you mean by “specified” in this sentence?

    Meyer, who you have claimed to have read, goes over that. It is the same as Crick meant when he said:

    “Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or on amino acid residues in the protein.”

    And then there is No Free lunch pages 148-49

    Biological specification always refers to function. An organism is a functional system comprising many functional subsystems. In virtue of their function, these systems embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the same sense required by the complexity-specification criterion (see sections 1.3 and 2.5). The specification of organisms can be crashed out in any number of ways. Arno Wouters cashes it out globally in terms of the viability of whole organisms. Michael Behe cashes it out in terms of minimal function of biochemical systems. Darwinist Richard Dawkins cashes out biological specification in terms of the reproduction of genes. Thus, in The Blind Watchmaker Dawkins writes, “Complicated things have some quality, specifiable in advance, that is highly unlikely to have been acquired by random chance alone. In the case of living things, the quality is specified in advance is…the ability to propagate genes in reproduction.”

    The central problem of biology is therefore not simply the origin of information but the origin of complex specified information. Paul Davies emphasized this point in his recent book The Fifth Miracle where he summarizes the current state of origin-of-life research: “Living organisms are mysterious not for their complexity per se, but for their tightly specified complexity.” The problem of specified complexity has dogged origin-of-life research now for decades. Leslie Orgel recognized the problem in the early 1970s: “Living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals such as granite fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.”

    Where, then, does complex specified information or CSI come from, and where is it incapable of coming from? According to Manfred Eigen, CSI comes from algorithms and natural laws. As he puts it, “Our task is to find an algorithm, a natural law that leads to the origin of [complex specified] information.” The only question for Eigen is which algorithms and natural laws explain the origin of CSI. The logically prior question of whether algorithms and natural laws are even in principle capable of explaining the origin of CSI is one he ignores. And yet it is this very question that undermines the entire project of naturalistic origins-of-life research. Algorithms and natural laws are in principle incapable of explaining the origin of CSI. To be sure, algorithms and natural laws can explain the flow of CSI. Indeed, algorithms and natural laws are ideally suited for transmitting already existing CSI. As we shall see next, what they cannot do is explain its origin.

    All of this is easily found unless you are willfully ignorant.

    Cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  103. 103
    mike1962 says:

    RDFish: “Foresight”, however, doesn’t really make sense unless you assume conscious foresight.

    Computer chess games have goals. Don’t computer chess games have foresight? I doubt they are conscious. The way I’m using it refers to running contingent assessments about the future based on what is currently known and acting on the best assessments toward a goal. How is that vacuous?

  104. 104
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish: Is that what you are saying?

    I am saying that I agree with Dembski who (contra your assertion) agrees with Nagel. I admit that Dembski’s earlier reviews of Mind and Cosmos were more skeptical. But he had a change of heart. In his latest work on the matter (Being as Communion) he writes this of Nagel:

    Specifically, Nagel proposes to understand teleology in terms of natural teleological laws. These laws would be radically different from the laws of physics and chemistry that currently are paradigmatic of the laws of nature. And yet, as we shall see, such teleological laws fit quite naturally within an information-theoretic framework . . . I quote his proposal, given in Mind and Cosmos, here in full because it connects point for point with the account of information given in this book. Indeed, Nagel’s teleological laws are none other than the directed searches (or alternative searches) that are the basis of Conservation of Information . . . of this book.

    RDFish: If so, then your theory of “Intelligent Design” is misnamed and misrepresented in books by Dembski

    Nope. See above excerpt from Being as Communion.

    The bottom line, RDFish, is that Dembski has very much aligned himself with Nagel. Dembski’s conception of ID is perfectly consistent with Nagel’s natural teleological laws. Your assertion that Dembski disagrees with Nagel is simply wrong.

    And if that was all that was keeping you from agreeing with Dembski, then welcome to the ID movement Mr. Fish.

  105. 105
    RDFish says:

    Hi Barry Arrington,

    I am saying that I agree with Dembski who (contra your assertion) agrees with Nagel. I admit that Dembski’s earlier reviews of Mind and Cosmos were more skeptical. But he had a change of heart. In his latest work on the matter (Being as Communion) he writes this of Nagel:

    Specifically, Nagel proposes to understand teleology in terms of natural teleological laws. These laws would be radically different from the laws of physics and chemistry that currently are paradigmatic of the laws of nature. And yet, as we shall see, such teleological laws fit quite naturally within an information-theoretic framework . . . I quote his proposal, given in Mind and Cosmos, here in full because it connects point for point with the account of information given in this book. Indeed, Nagel’s teleological laws are none other than the directed searches (or alternative searches) that are the basis of Conservation of Information . . . of this book.

    I’d not read this of Dembski – I’d only read Dembski’s previous comments and Nagels’ responses – and I agree with you that here Dembski has backed off from his mentalistic connotations a great deal and is converging with Nagel’s (and my own) views!

    These views of Dembski as expressed in your citation eliminate the complaints I’ve voiced regarding Dembski’s other books, about Meyer’s arguments and those of you and people on this forum. I have long argued for exactly the same point: Something that we do not currently understand is able to produce the sort of CSI we observe in biology, and whatever it is may be as radically different from today’s understanding of physics and chemistry as modern physics is radically different from Newtonian physics!

    RDFish: If so, then your theory of “Intelligent Design” is misnamed and misrepresented in books by Dembski
    SB: Nope. See above excerpt from Being as Communion.

    As you just finished saying, this represents a change of heart on Dembski’s part. The aspects of ID I argue against on this forum is not this new view, but rather the view represented by the explanatory filter, stating that a “rational conscious mind” was responsible for biological systems, and so on.

    The bottom line, RDFish, is that Dembski has very much aligned himself with Nagel.

    Honestly, I am very happy to see that! I have not gotten around to reading Being as Communion yet, but now I am more enthused about it. I’ll be interested to see if he retracts his previous arguments that he contended were scientific but relied on dualism and overstated connotations about mental attributes.

    Dembski’s conception of ID is perfectly consistent with Nagel’s natural teleological laws.

    And that is consistent with my views as well, as I’ve said all along. We don’t know what these “laws” may be, but Dembski is no longer saying that law/chance cannot account for CSI. It’s just that the laws are likely to be very different from the ones we understand today.

    Your assertion that Dembski disagrees with Nagel is simply wrong.

    Again, as you said, what Dembski has said previously about Nagel’s ideas was very critical.

    And if that was all that was keeping you from agreeing with Dembski, then welcome to the ID movement Mr. Fish.

    The Intelligent Design Movement is radically different from this new view of natural teleology. ID as presented by most authors – and defended by most people on this forum – is susceptible to the two arguments I presented here, as well as other arguments I’ve made elsewhere on this forum.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  106. 106
    Andre says:

    I have to say, pages and pages of responses from RDFISH on his denial of what intelligent, intelligence and intelligent agents mean and yet his pages and pages of responses are still not a give away to him.

    Then the constant harping that RDFISH just can’t know…. Well RDfish how do you know that you can’t know?

  107. 107
    RDFish says:

    Hi Andre,

    I have to say, pages and pages of responses from RDFISH on his denial of what intelligent, intelligence and intelligent agents mean and yet his pages and pages of responses are still not a give away to him.

    Yes, I have been making the exact same arguments on these pages for years. Apparently William Dembski has come around to agree with me (and with Nagel and James Shapiro and others who believe the same thing): Law+chance may well prove to explain living systems, and there is no way to scientifically support the idea that conscious, rational agency was the cause.

    And now apparently Barry Arrington agrees with me as well! It’s quite satisfying, actually. Perhaps the rest of the folks here will understand these arguments someday.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  108. 108
    Jack Jones says:

    “Law+chance may well prove to explain living systems”

    Law has no grounding on a worldview where the universe came about unintentionally. There is no reason to believe that any order can be discovered if the universe came about unintentionally and no reason to believe that reality can be correctly interpreted if the reasoning faculties came about by chance.

    “and there is no way to scientifically support”

    Incorrect

    The presuppositions of science are born of and consistent with a theistic worldview, they are not consistent with a chance position. Every time you go on about law and science and use words like scientifically then you are contradicting your position of the universe and your mind
    coming about unintentionally.

    By going on about science then you are embracing presuppositions that are consistent with a design origin for the universe and human reasoning and rejecting a chance origin of both.

    “the idea that conscious, rational agency was the cause”

    Is supported by the fact that life does not originate spontaneously in nature. The law of Biogenesis shows that life cannot have originated naturally.

    The ability to do science itself is consistent with a design worldview.

    The more you endorse science then the more you endorse presuppositions that are consistent with design and inconsistent with dumb chance for the origin of the universe and the human mind.

    Every time you go on about law then you are contradicting your faith that the universe came about unintentionally.

    You are trying to argue against design by accepting presuppositions that are consistent with design when you endorse science.

    Your feet are planted firmly in the air.

    You chirp for law even though it is inconsistent with a chance origin of the universe and then when it comes to the law of biogenesis then you ignore law.

    You fail on many counts Mr Fish.

  109. 109

    For leucine to be the first in this sequence, it must be specified among the alternatives.

    The root of our disagreement centers on the meaning and implications of the word “specified” in this sentence. Why won’t you tell me what you mean by “specified” in this sentence?

    RD, your strategy is old, tired, and frankly stupid. You only want me to give you new words to argue with, grist for the mill, because you cannot deal with the words and context already given. You stand there pretending to be baffled about a concept that is known and understood across the entirety of science. We’ve passed out Nobel Prizes to those who figured it out. It’s the basis of modern biology. I ask you a simple question and the first thing you do is hide behind a little bitty word. You demonstrate your fear in the most obvious way.

    Google Search “DNA specifies” 1,700,000 hits
    Google Scholar Title Search “DNA specifies” 126,000 hits

    DNA Specifies Proteins – Nature

    Yeast mitochondrial DNA specifies tRNA… — NBCI

    sequence of DNA nucleotides that specify — Science

    A gene is a segment of DNA that specifies… – Biology Direct

    three-base codons that specify the sequence… — phy-astr.gsu.edu

    specifies the amino acids — biology.iupui.edu

    DNA specifies the nucleic acid sequence — Evolution Dissected, Nelson – Page 123

    each successive “code word” in the DNA specifies – Genetics, Hartl-Ruvolo – Page 22

    information encoded in DNA specifies – Biology, Solomon-Martin

    nucleotides in our DNA specifies the order – Anatomy and Physiology, Clark

    DNA specifies the synthesis of proteins – lavc.edu

    DNA specifies the protein sequence – wisc.edu

    etc., etc., etc.

    What could they all possibly mean? Who could possible know what “specify” means?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    “what do you mean by specify?”

    Really? Your arrogance is seriously unjustified.

  110. 110
    Jack Jones says:

    @109 “Really? Your arrogance is seriously unjustified.”

    UB, Don’t you find it funny how atheists like Mr Fish arrogantly go on about science to try and argue against design when science itself has underlying presuppositions that are consistent with a worldview of design and not consistent with one of chance and when they go on about Law(order that can be discovered) they are chirping for something that is compatible with a design origin but not for a chance origin of the universe and compatible with the idea that humans were created with the ability to discover how the universe operates rather than the idea that human reasoning is an outcome of dumb luck.

    Don’t you find it funny how they try and wrap themselves up in science and claim it for themselves when nihilism is more compatible with their position?

    UB, these atheists are funny with their misplaced arrogance.

  111. 111
    Barry Arrington says:

    RDFish:

    And now apparently Barry Arrington agrees with me as well!

    Fish gets his ass kicked up between his shoulders and acts like it was a great victory. Amusing. That, dear readers, is a variation on the Black Knight Taunt.

    Fish, never forget that at the end of this debate you capitulated and admitted my OP was correct. Not the other way around.

  112. 112
    Dionisio says:

    Virgil Cain @102

    And then there is No Free lunch pages 148-49

    […] The specification of organisms can be crashed out in any number of ways. Arno Wouters cashes it out globally in terms of the viability of whole organisms. Michael Behe cashes it out in terms of minimal function of biochemical systems. Darwinist Richard Dawkins cashes out biological specification in terms of the reproduction of genes. […]

    Is it ‘crash’ or ‘cash’?
    Are both terms fine within that given context?
    Where did you copy the quoted text from?
    Did you type it in yourself?
    Did you copy/paste it from another source?
    Just curious. Thanks.

  113. 113
    Dionisio says:

    Upright BiPed @109

    Good point. Thank you.

    However, your interlocutor may not understand it, unless he’s willing to. Not much you can do about that.

    The best explanation of anything may be misunderstood if the intended audience doesn’t have the desire to understand it. In many cases, understanding may require the desire to understand. Although the desire alone may not be a sufficient condition in some cases. Other conditions might be required.

  114. 114

    2) There is no definition of “intelligence” that can be used to objectively identify “intelligence” in the context of ID.

    This is flatly dishonest. I gave you an operational definition of intelligence. You could not contest it.

  115. 115
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    StephenB here says:

    According to my philosophy, an alien who has no brain, body, sense organs, or conscious awareness cannot produce CSI

    Would you agree with that? Of course you won’t answer, but it is hilarious for him to say that after our discussion on SETI.

    Nagel is an atheist who argues that there is no evidence that a conscious being was responsible for the origin of life. Barry A here says:

    I am saying that I agree with Dembski who (contra your assertion) agrees with Nagel. I admit that Dembski’s earlier reviews of Mind and Cosmos were more skeptical. But he had a change of heart.

    So it looks like both Barry and Dembski admit that ID can’t conclude a conscious designer, or any particular mental characteristics normally associated with “intelligence”.

    Neither Barry nor anyone else can respond to my argument that undercuts the explanatory filter, since the dichotomy between “law/chance” and “intelligence” is a metaphysical assumption. This undermines Barry’s and StephenB’s definition of “intelligence” as “able to arrange matter for a purpose”, since (according to Barry) the explanatory filter is what is supposed to enable the objective detection of purpose.

    So there you go. As these guys are getting tied into knots, I can see you aren’t anxious to join the fray, which is why you won’t actually engage these issues. Perhaps your strategy is the best available to you. 🙂

    Anyway, you will never understand what I am saying and why it renders your work superfluous and your conclusions either meaningless or empirically untestable (or both). You won’t say what you think the valid conclusions of your argument are, so it doesn’t matter.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  116. 116

    Let me guess – nowhere in your post will you contest the operational definition I gave you. You will claim victory in its place?

  117. 117
  118. 118

    You make your statement (#2 above) knowing full well that there is an operational definition that you cannot contest.

    Your statement is false.

  119. 119
    RDFish says:

    Hi Upright BiPed,

    I’ll make you a deal, UB. I think you are afraid to debate the issues because you think you’ll lose. Please prove me wrong: I’ll respond to you once again, to the best of my ability, but then you need to respond to my question. It’s just ridiculous that I keep trying to discuss this with you and you just keep refusing to respond to anything I say.

    Here goes:

    You make your statement (#2 above) knowing full well that there is an operational definition that you cannot contest.
    Your statement is false.

    I believe the operational definition you refer to (it would have been nice to say what that was, so I don’t have to go searching through these long threads to find it) was something about “having dimensional semiotic memory”. In other words, you identify this particular aspect of protein synthesis, and then as an operational definition of “intelligence” you simply say it must be able to produce that particular type of mechanism.

    Let me explain the problem with that.

    Imagine we didn’t understand the Northern Lights, and I said “intelligence” was responsible for it. You asked what I meant by “intelligence” in that context, and I said I was using the operational definition “atmospheric luminosity generation capacity”.

    Or, imagine we didn’t know why Saturn had rings, and I said “intelligence” was responsible for it. You asked me what I meant by “intelligence” in that context, and I said I was using the operational definition “spatially-arrayed small-particulate orbital dispersal ability”.

    See the problem? You’re just picking a term that says it can create what you see in the cell, but it doesn’t tell you anything about what caused that system to exist.

    If you want to use the word “intelligence”, you need to show how you are supporting an inference to the sort of mental abilities normally associated with the word “intelligence”, such as learning, language use, and consciousness. But you refuse to even try to do this, and that is why I say your work is superfluous (because we all already believe in IC structures in the cell) and your conclusions are meaningless (because while you use the word “intelligence” or “design”, you don’t say what exactly you are referring to, and your operational definition does not relate to the criteria normally associated with intelligence.

    OK, that is my answer to you. Now here is your question:

    Imagine an alien who had no brain, no body, no sense organs like eyes or ears, and no conscious awareness, no ability to learn new skills, and no ability to produce sentences in a general purpose language, but it could produce CSI including digital codes. Would you say this alien was “intelligent”?

    If you refuse to answer that question, it will be clear to me (and everyone else) that you really are afraid to engage in this debate, and instead you’re just another ID rodeo clown hiding in a barrel, popping your head up with one-liners but unable to actually debate the issues.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  120. 120
    EugeneS says:

    Barry,

    “Design exists as a category of causation.”

    That’s it. That is empirical basis enough. Designers’ actions are a factor independent of regularities of law or chance. In fact, design itself is a cause of regularities, for example, a deliberately unfair coin; design can also utilize existing regularities and chance. The only thing is I would use the term ‘pragmatic utility’ because it can be measured. Purpose cannot be measured and is therefore vague as a term.

    Whether or not design can be reduced to law and chance is a metaphysical issue. What is enough for empirical science, is it can be observed acting independently.

  121. 121
    EugeneS says:

    RDF,

    Obviously, I am speaking for myself. As regards your question to UB, I would say that what is minimally required of intelligence is being telic or goal-oriented. That includes the capacities of: planning, forethought and acting in the physical world in order to produce the planned result. Now, what is important.

    Because we want to start off with our physical reality being given with the ‘default’ causations of necessity and chance in it, in order to test for (extra) intelligence we need to establish some characteristics of the product of this intelligence that can be detectable in the physical world. These should be easily distinguishable from the products of the default causation. Remarkably, such characteristics can be established. It is functional complexity.

    I think you are wrong in saying that all we have is human intelligence to base our inferences upon. That is wrong because we also have animal intelligence. Whether or not they are related, is a different question. I don’t think they are, BTW. What’s important now, is that they appear to be substantially different with respect to consciousness. But even that is not all we have. We also have AI, which is human intelligence modulo consciousness. So I think that we can safely remove consciousness from this debate and use operational definitions that do not involve it but focus on the physical manifestations/effects of intelligence.

    Now about your examples of the Northern Lights etc. These effects are amenable to explanations involving only the default causation categories. Semiosis does not appear to, as it is non-physicalistic but symbolic, independent of gradients of matter/energy. If you empirically demonstrate that the presence of material symbols can be explained in a purely physicalistic fashion (i.e. ultimately as an effect caused by gradients of matter/energy), the semiosis argument will be debunked.

  122. 122
    kairosfocus says:

    D, the clip is from Dembski’s NFL and it is cashed. KF

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I find intelligently directed configuration reasonable as a definition of design, and this implies purpose. Obviously, intelligence is minimally capable of purposeful configuration, and may be detected from credibly purposeful specificity of configuration that achieves functionality utterly unlikely by blind chance and necessity on the gamut of resources in our solar system or the observed cosmos. This is inductively established on familiarity with effects of chance, mechanical necessity and intelligence acting by design. Where complex and specific functionality, including code that programs or communicates contextually relevant meaning based on symbol strings, would be relevant cases. 500 – 1,000 bits of FSCO/I is adequate for such a threshold; config spaces being 3.27 * 10^150 – 1.97*10^301. Where, FSCO/I normally will come in deeply isolated islands of function in large config spaces as requisites of the right parts correctly arranged and coupled sharply constrains effective configs relative to the space of all potential configs. And, at the threshold, a search using up all available resources would be maximally small relative to the space, effectively not a search. And of course as searches are subsets of the config space, a secondary search for a golden search is in a space that is the power set of the first space.This may be empirically tested by seeking to show such entities arising by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. The rhetoric of obfuscation and/or selectively hyperskeptical denial is in such a context tantamount to a backhanded acknowledgement of the strength of the case. In other words, what you have to do to deny or dismiss or becloud the point becomes a sign in itself. KF

  124. 124
    EugeneS says:

    RDF,

    Obviously, “matter/energy” should read as “mass/energy” in my comment above.

    Cheers.

  125. 125
    Dionisio says:

    kairosfocus @123

    RE: my post @112

    Thank you for the clarification.
    However, still I’m curious to know if the word ‘crashed’ that was quoted by Virgil Cain @102 was copied/pasted from another source or typed in manually. In the latter case the misspelling would make more sense, because it’s easy to mistype any word. But in the former case, it would be interesting to know what source had that misspelled term already in.
    BTW, this is an exercise of simple investigative questioning, which is one of the subjects I’m studying these days, as part of a project I’m working on.
    Thank you.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    Andre says:

    Cool so know RDFISH can know…. whate er happened to we can’t know? Vertical interesting when something corrolates with RDfish’s intentional state it is knowable when it conflicts it’s undetermined. I call that intellectual dishonesty.

  128. 128
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    I think you are afraid to debate the issues because you think you’ll lose.

    You are afraid to debate me because you have already lost your first attempt.

    Imagine we didn’t understand the Northern Lights, and I said “intelligence” was responsible for it.

    Then you would have to actually make your case and when you couldn’t you would be ignored. It is that simple.

    Imagine an alien who had no brain, no body, no sense organs like eyes or ears, and no conscious awareness, no ability to learn new skills, and no ability to produce sentences in a general purpose language, but it could produce CSI including digital codes.

    Imagine? LoL! Imagination is neither science nor a refutation.

    If you refuse to answer that question,

    What a dolt! If you refuse to answer my dumbass and irrelevant question you lose!

    RDFish, so stupid it brings down the IQ of the entire human race.

    Cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  129. 129
    Virgil Cain says:

    FYI- The word “Design” in “Intelligent Design” denotes purpose, planning or intention. And not even Wm Dembski can get around that fact- that is assuming what RDFish said about Dembski is true (there has never been a reference to Dembski that supports RDFish’s claims)

  130. 130
    Mung says:

    What we need is a long list of shared characteristics among all humans with “therefore consciousness” at the end.

    Then we could list all the shared characters humans have with other primates and also end with a “therefore consciousness” at the end.

    On down the line.

    Given that humans are made of matter, they share all sorts of traits with matter. Therefore matter is conscious.

    FishNonsense.

  131. 131
    EugeneS says:

    Mung,

    “Given that humans are made of matter, they share all sorts of traits with matter. Therefore matter is conscious.”

    Great comment. Spot on.

  132. 132
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    This is not sarcasm, I mean this perfectly literally. In my view, the origin of the genetic code is mysterious, and we have no explanation.

    RDFish claims he doesn’t know what it means to specify something. But then he brings up the genetic code. All on his own. Why bring up the genetic code, Mr. Fish?

    What does it have to do with specifying something?

    I think Mr. Fish knows more than he claims to know, or should I say, knows what he claims to not know.

  133. 133
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Now about your examples of the Northern Lights etc. These effects are amenable to explanations involving only the default causation categories.

    The scenario was “Imagine we didn’t understand the Northern Lights”. Try again.

  134. 134
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    The dualism I refer to is “mind/body” dualism (as I’ve pointed out above), not a dualism between “natural” and “supernatural”.

    LoL.

  135. 135
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    You won’t tell me what you mean by “specify”, and so you make me guess.

    I’m sorry, but this is simply false.

    Upright BiPed:

    I asked you about objects becoming specified so that they may be organized into living things. This is not a topic that is foreign to you, so there is no need to pretend you do not understand it. For a protein to be made up of a sequence of objects such as leucine, bound to glycine, bound to alanine, etc, requires leucine to be specified among its alternatives.

  136. 136
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    The scenario was “Imagine we didn’t understand the Northern Lights”

    It was that way and we figured it out. Not that you would understand the implications…

  137. 137
    Andre says:

    Exactly Mung… Whahahahahahahahahaha RDFISH does not know…..

  138. 138
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “Try again”.

    Actually, I was talking to RDF.

  139. 139

    RD,

    Well, I said up front that you would do anything rather than address the material evidence. I have said this for a long, long time now – always readily confirmed by your next round of comments. You’ve done everything. You tried to just agree with me arguendo in order to avoid the details. You’ve tried to dismiss the argument with pointless comments about fairies and pixie dust. You’ve misrepresented it. You’ve tried to change the subject over and over and over again. As much as anything, you’ve tried to insult me into shutting up and going away. And of course, what good is a line of bullshit without propping yourself up, right? So one of your favorite tactics is to express exasperation at how afraid I am to respond to your cogent rebuttals, yet to show your good faith and willingness to debate the issues, you’ll give me one more try.

    I’ve watched this ridiculous display of yours for more than a year now, and I wonder if you realize that all of this is recorded in a searchable database. That fact seems to not matter to you.

    And so what do we have this time? As a counter-example to the Genetic Translation, you now present … drumroll please … the Northern Lights. You sir, are a blithering idiot.

    Oh, you will say “I didn’t present it as a counter-example of translation, only as a hypothetical thing we can pretend we don’t understand”. But we already understand genetic translation, RD, we’ve understood if for almost half a century. As a physical system, we understand that it has nothing whatsoever in common with the Northern Lights.

    So what does your last response tell me? It tells me that you want to start all over at the top – to pretend nothing has ever been said – only to argue the whole thing all over again, complete with all of the same delays and distractions of the first go-round.

    Since it is stupendously clear that you cannot bring yourself to even speak the words in the argument, I’ll turn my attentional elsewhere and make a comment to any poor soul that has followed along this far.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Semiosis is a process whereby an informational medium is translated to produce functional effects. Semiosis exists throughout the living kingdom, but is completely absent in the inanimate world. Such systems are able to produce effects that otherwise would not occur. When you hear a scientist or philosopher make comments about the great importance and unique nature of “information” – it is this quality that they are talking about. It is the distinction between the earth and the moon.

    In order to do what they do, semiotic systems require two objects (or sets of objects) operating in a very specific way. One set must serve as a representation(s), and the other set must establish what is being represented. This is a relational architecture, and it sets up a physical discontinuity in the system. This discontinuity allows an arrangement of matter to actually be a formal representation. In other words, translation can only occur when a medium is translated to produce effects that are not determined by the physical properties of the medium (after all, they are only representations – they evoke effects, but they do not determine what those effects will be).

    This architecture establishes a local independence in the system. It allows for the production of the effects that are required to organize the living cell (and all of life that follows its organization). But there are other vital aspects to the system.

    There two types of semiotic systems. One type uses representations that are reducible to the physical properties of the medium it’s made of. For instance, a pheromone is a perfect example; a chemical compound whose arrangement is recognized in its system by its lawfully-determined three-dimensional properties. This type of semiotic system is found throughout the living kingdom. The second type of semiotic system uses representations that have a spatial-orientation (like the letters on this page) and are not determined by the physical nature of the medium they are made of. These representations are independent of the minimum total potential energy principle, and following on characterizations of this phenomenon by physicists in the field, I have referred to this second type of system as “dimensional semiosis”.

    The key point of dimensionality is the vast increase in utility it imparts on a semiotic system.

    First, by being able to control the arrangement of the medium, it begins to enable the system with an open-ended capacity of information. It accomplished this by enabling the physical possibility of combinatorial expansion. This is critical to being able to efficiently record the amount of information required to organize the living cell. Secondly, a spatially-oriented pattern enables the system to efficiently transfer information from one medium to another. This is another critical aspect of a self-replicating cell.

    However, such systems cannot operate without additional constraints imposed on the system. These additional constraints come in the form of a “reading frame code” (Crick 1961) to establish the dimensional nature of the system itself. In other words, these spatially-oriented “energy independent” patterns (Pattee 1968) must first be established in the system as genuine representations, where the pattern in each representation distinguishes one representation from another. Furthermore, a sequence of dimensional representations must also be read from a particular orientation in order to be properly translated, so a method to establish this orientation must be instantiated in the system as well (along with a method to “start” the translation, to “stop” the translation, and so on).

    These things are the physical conditions that must occur in order to translate information into physical effects. And whereas a ‘typical” semiotic system can be found throughout the living kingdom, a dimensional semiotic system can only be found in recorded language and mathematics – two unambiguous correlates of intelligence.

    These are the pesky details that RD refuses to talk about. They are the basis of the operational definition he wants to obscure in a ridiculous comparison to the Northern Lights.

    He can have his ignorance and his bliss.

    http://www.biosemiosis.org

  140. 140
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed, I will give you one more chance. Then I am done with you sir. Done I say!

  141. 141
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Actually, I was talking to RDF.

    Sure. You were talking TO RDFish, but not listening carefully to RDFish. The scenario was “Imagine we didn’t understand the Northern Lights”. You answered based on having that knowledge.

    Upright BiPed: Semiosis is a process whereby an informational medium is translated to produce functional effects.

    Okay.

    Upright BiPed: One set must serve as a representation(s), and the other set must establish what is being represented. This is a relational architecture, and it sets up a physical discontinuity in the system.

    RNA World is proposed as the historical bridge to that physical discontinuity.

  142. 142

    As we have already discussed Zach, RNA template replicators do not achieve translation, and nothing in that scenario does anything to establish the reading frame code, which the system requires in order to function.

  143. 143
    Zachriel says:

    Upright BiPed: RNA template replicators do not achieve translation

    That’s right. They are a hypothetical bridge to translation.

  144. 144
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: That’s right. They are a hypothetical bridge to translation.

    The bridge to nowhere.

  145. 145
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Your argument has always been incoherent because you do not define your terms or use them in a consistent way. Among many possible examples I could cite, I offer the following two: “Assuming” metaphysical dualism is by no means the same thing as “requiring” metaphysical dualism. Yet you use these formulations in your arguments as if they meant the same thing.

    To assume dualism is to make an apriori commitment. In order to qualify, ID would have to smuggle a metaphysical presupposition into the explanatory filter in some surreptitious fashion. This is not even logically possible since the model has been made explicit and known to all in the form of a flow chart. There is simply no way to add a fourth step to a three-step process since– do I have to explain it?–a three-step process cannot also be a four-step process. So your claim that ID assumes dualism is easily refuted.

    To “require” dualism, on the other hand, a word you mistakenly interchange with “assume,” is to say that ID cannot be true unless dualism is true. The former is a totally different claim than the latter. When you substitute one word for the other, as you often to, you create confusion in your own mind and muddy the debate waters for everyone else.

  146. 146
    Virgil Cain says:

    RNA World is proposed as the historical bridge to that physical discontinuity.

    Except there isn’t any evidence for such a world nor anything that says such a world could be/ build such a bridge. There is just a need for both.

    Cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  147. 147
    Mung says:

    Dualisms in Science:

    Physics: states and forces
    Biology: genotype-phenotype

    Must not rally be science.

  148. 148
    Mapou says:

    Everything is based on yin-yang/dualism. No exception.

  149. 149
    Dionisio says:

    KF @126

    Thank you again for the information.

    The search narrowed down to these potential sources:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=+specification+of+organisms+can+be+crashed+out+in+any+number+of+ways&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=%22specification+of+organisms+can+be+crashed+out+in+any+number+of+ways%22

    Where the earliest one (September 11, 2007) seems to be this:

    http://intelligentreasoning.bl.....i-csi.html

    It’s interesting to see how a misspelled word in a quoted text over 8 years ago still gets referenced and carried over through years without detection/correction.

    One of the explanations seems to be the fact that most people can read scrambled words and still get their contextual meaning as if the words were not misspelled at all. The complex vision mechanisms can ‘correct’ the misspelling automatically for us, hence the errors go undetected.

    This investigative questioning exercise concludes.

    Again, tank you for your assistance with this.

  150. 150
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: To assume dualism is to make an apriori commitment. In order to qualify, ID would have to smuggle a metaphysical presupposition into the explanatory filter in some surreptitious fashion. This is not even logically possible since the model has been made explicit and known to all in the form of a flow chart.

    The chart assumes that law+chance is dichotomous with design, or more specifically, that law, chance and dichotomous form non-overlapping sets.
    http://www.ideacenter.org/stuf.....filter.gif

  151. 151
    Zachriel says:

    Z: The chart assumes that law+chance is dichotomous with design, or more specifically, that law, chance and design form non-overlapping sets.

  152. 152
    Tiger131 says:

    No Zachriel – per the OP, ID is compatible with materialism:

    If such a [not-yet-discovered] natural telic force exists, the existence of design as a category of causation is no obstacle to accepting the truth of monist physicalism.

    The flowchart assumes currently understood law and chance are complementary with design, where design may arise from not-yet-discovered physical laws.

    So it is wrong to say ID assumes dualism, because even a materialistic monist can apply the flow chart and conclude that observed design is the result of mechanistic laws that we don’t currently understand.

  153. 153
    EugeneS says:

    Mapou,

    “Everything is based on yin-yang/dualism. No exception.”

    Sayz who? First, it is a metaphysical stance. Second, your version of dualism equates good and evil as complementary. In my view, evil is no entity. It is the absence of good. Evil is a paradoxical zero-entity ‘thing’, a parasite, an abuse of free will.

  154. 154
    Virgil Cain says:

    No Tiger131, ID is not compatible with materialism. If materialism is true then ID is false. If ID is true then materialism is false.

  155. 155
    Virgil Cain says:

    The chart assumes that law+chance is dichotomous with design,

    And that is how other scientific venues treat them.

  156. 156
    Mung says:

    If the universe was created by a non-material entity, then how is mind-body dualism even relevant?

  157. 157
    Mapou says:

    EugeneS:

    Mapou,

    “Everything is based on yin-yang/dualism. No exception.”

    Sayz who? First, it is a metaphysical stance. Second, your version of dualism equates good and evil as complementary. In my view, evil is no entity. It is the absence of good. Evil is a paradoxical zero-entity ‘thing’, a parasite, an abuse of free will.

    Not at all. Good is that which promotes unity. Bad is that which promotes disunity. This is the reason our master said to his master, “Let them be ONE with us as we are ONE together.” Unity is the balance of Yin and Yang.

  158. 158
    EugeneS says:

    Mapou,

    It depends on the kind of unity. See 2 Cor. 6:15.

  159. 159
    Zachriel says:

    Tiger131: The flowchart assumes currently understood law and chance are complementary with design, where design may arise from not-yet-discovered physical laws.

    The word “understood” is not in the original post; however, with that qualifier, if it’s not currently understood law and chance, then it could be law and chance not currently understood. Assuming that when you don’t understand something means it’s designed is a classic gap fallacy.

  160. 160
    Tiger131 says:

    Dear Mr Cain

    So you disagree with Mr Arrington’s OP?

    OP: … the existence of design as a category of causation is no obstacle to accepting the truth of monist physicalism.

    CARM: There is no real difference between materialism and physicalism…

    Stanford: Physicalism is sometimes known as ‘materialism’…

  161. 161
    Tiger131 says:

    Zachriel

    Its not a gap fallacy when design is defined to include not-yet-understood laws.

  162. 162
    Zachriel says:

    Tiger131: Its not a gap fallacy when design is defined to include not-yet-understood laws.

    Then the word “design” is being stretched beyond its norms. For instance, if we don’t know what keeps planets in their orbits, it’s “design”.

Leave a Reply