Intelligent Design

Evidence Against Chance and Necessity (Also Known As Darwinism) is Evidence for Design

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In another thread, poster madsen presented the following challenge:

I’m holding out hope that the next post will concern positive evidence for ID rather than more critiques of Darwin.

In mathematics there is a method of proof called “proof by contradiction.” The logic behind this proof is the following: Establish two possible alternatives. Assume that one of the alternatives is true, and prove it to be logically contradictory. A superb example of proof by contradiction is Euclid’s (circa 300 BC) proof that the number of primes is infinite.

Let’s apply the method of proof by contradiction to the chance-and-necessity versus design debate.

Of course, this is not a mathematical model, but there are some very illuminating similarities. There are two options: 1) design (foresight and planning), and 2) the materialistic laws of physics, chemistry, and probability – which are purported to have produced all biological phenomena, from the information-processing machinery of the cell to the human mind.

Option 2) might have been believable in the 19th century, when it was thought that life was fundamentally simple, but it is completely unsupportable in light of modern science. The preponderance of scientific evidence and mathematical analysis weighs overwhelming in support of design, as a proof by contradiction.

Let us not hear about “self-organization.” Sodium chloride forms salt crystals, and water freezes into snowflakes, but salt crystals and snowflakes contain no information (other than that about how the molecules mechanically interact as they coalesce), and they certainly don’t form information-processing machinery.

Of course, there is always the possibility that there is a third option, besides design versus chance and necessity, but I’d like to hear it. In the meantime, logic, evidence, and mathematics weigh heavily on the side of design, as a proof by contradiction.

218 Replies to “Evidence Against Chance and Necessity (Also Known As Darwinism) is Evidence for Design

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    Gil,

    I have been making this argument for some time and most recently over on the moderation thread. That naturalistic processes for macro evolution (option A) and for design (option B) are alternatives and make up the only two possibilities. But suppose there is a third or fourth etc alternative that we can not fathom as of yet.

    Then there is the dichotomy of a naturalistic process (option A) and a non naturalistic process (option B’) which includes intelligence as one of the options for B’. Then you could make the distinction between A and B’ so that evidence that falsifies A supports B’.

    If you couch the argument in terms of possibilities, then p is not 1 for either A or B’ but increases or decreases as additional evidence is found. The probability that A is true is p and the probability that B’ is true is 1-p. Thus, every study in evolutionary biology either increases or decreases the value of p or 1-p.

    The argument you get from the anti ID people is that p=1 for A despite what any research result says. It is an axiom, not something to be shown.

  2. 2
    madsen says:

    So the problem has now been reduced to showing that this:

    The preponderance of scientific evidence and mathematical analysis weighs overwhelming in support of design, as a proof by contradiction.

    is true. I’d like to see evidence in support of this assertion.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    madsen,

    How many studies support the origin of complex novel capabilities through naturalistic processes? Do you know of any? We have been asking for one since as long as I have been posting here which is almost 3 1/2 years.

    If none exist because none have every been tried then it is time that evolutionary biology look into it. If all have failed then each one represent support for ID.

  4. 4
    B L Harville says:

    GilDodgen:

    In mathematics there is a method of proof called “proof by contradiction.” The logic behind this proof is the following: Establish two possible alternatives. Assume that one of the alternatives is true, and prove it to be logically contradictory. A superb example of proof by contradiction is Euclid’s (circa 300 BC) proof that the number of primes is infinite.

    Let’s apply the method of proof by contradiction to the chance-and-necessity versus design debate.

    This isn’t mathematics, this is biology. Proof by contradiction doesn’t apply here. You can’t just assume that evolution and ID are the only possible explanations of life and then say that if you somehow disprove evolution then you’ve proven ID. If you want an example of a different explanation see Johnjoe McFadden’s book “Quantum Evolution” in which the author enlists quantum physical explanations to explain evolution and abiogenesis.

  5. 5
    madsen says:

    jerry,

    madsen,

    How many studies support the origin of complex novel capabilities through naturalistic processes? Do you know of any? We have been asking for one since as long as I have been posting here which is almost 3 1/2 years.

    If none exist because none have every been tried then it is time that evolutionary biology look into it. If all have failed then each one represent support for ID.

    While I said earlier that I am interested in ID, I disagree with this type of logic. Let’s say we are considering flagella, for example. They were either designed (by some intelligent agent presumably) or not designed. Not being a biologist, I have no reason to think either option is more likely than the other. I cannot cite any studies that completely explain their possible naturalistic origin, but I also don’t know of any that explain how they could have been designed.

    Now for some reason, my inability to explain the naturalistic origin of flagella is supposed to count in favor of the design hypothesis. On the other hand, someone else’s inability to explain how flagella were designed does not count in favor of a naturalistic origin. Why the lack of symmetry?

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Intelligent Design conjectures that evolutionary mechanisms like natural selection and genetic drift are insufficient to account for all the variety and complexity of living things we observe and that an additional explanation is required. It claims that only the intervention of an unspecified intelligent agent can fill the explanatory gap.

    Unfortunately, while Design proponents are long on expressions of disbelief in the sufficiency of evolutionary explanations, they are short on evidence. Mostly, it consists of pointing to gaps in the evidence that already exists for evolution plus some controversial probability estimates and claims about a concept of information that is problematical.

    What we do have is essentially an argument from incredulity. What we don’t have is a clear proof by contradiction since it depends on there being two mutually-exclusive alternatives but, by acknowledging common descent and microevolution, Design proponents have undermined any such possibility.

  7. 7
    GilDodgen says:

    madsen:
    I’d like to see evidence in support of this assertion.

    Read Behe’s Edge, and check out the desperate, lame attempts to refute his evidence, logic, and mathematical analysis.

    Harville:
    You can’t just assume that evolution and ID are… if you somehow disprove evolution…

    I said nothing about evolution. I referred only to the purported mechanism of chance and necessity as a complex information-producing mechanism, and as the source of highly sophisticated, functionally integrated, information-processing machinery.

    “Quantum Evolution” is pure fantasy, conjecture, and storytelling, with no empirical support, designed as a desperate attempt to support a conclusion that has already been reached, despite the evidence. The supply of fantasies and stories is unlimited.

    I could make up a story about a “quantum largest prime” that can’t be detected or imagined, in an attempt to refute Euclid’s logic. How could you argue against that?

    In the meantime, there are only two options: chance and necessity and design. There is no evidence that the former has the creative capabilities attributed to it (and plenty of evidence that it does not), while there is plenty of evidence that intelligent agents do have the creative capabilities to produce complex information and the requisite machinery to process it.

  8. 8
    mikev6 says:

    Hmm. First, you need to mathematically prove that there are no other alternatives to Design or non-design. The only proof suggested so far is “no one has mentioned one to me”. A single third option, no matter how outlandish, invalidates the ‘proof’. Second, assuming you’ve done that, you need to find a logical contradiction. Suddenly shifting gears to “see! – look at all the evidence” is not a contradiction.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    madsen,

    Anyone’s opinion would not matter for much nor a half assed study by a novice. But a meticulous study by a trained researcher may be admissible depending on the content. There are plenty of those.

    Seversky, you have to read some more about the debate. You are talking nonsense. You are just spouting irrelevant words. Maybe because you heard them some place else. I suggest you read

    “Disparity, adaptation, exaptation, bookkeeping, and contingency at the genome level

    Jürgen Brosius1
    1 Jürgen Brosius. Institute of Experimental Pathology, ZMBE, University of Münster, Von-Esmarch-Strasse 56, Münster, Germany. RNA.world@uni-muenster.de

    The application of molecular genetics, in particular comparative genomics, to the field of evolutionary biology is paving the way to an enhanced “New Synthesis.” Apart from their power to establish and refine phylogenies, understanding such genomic processes as the dynamics of change in genomes, even in hypothetical RNA-based genomes and the in vitro evolution of RNA molecules, helps to clarify evolutionary principles that are otherwise hidden among the nested hierarchies of evolutionary units. To this end, I outline the course of hereditary material and examine several issues including disparity, causation, or bookkeeping of genes, adaptation, and exaptation, as well as evolutionary contingency at the genomic level—issues at the heart of some of Stephen Jay Gould’s intellectual battlegrounds. Interestingly, where relevant, the genomic perspective is consistent with Gould’s agenda. Extensive documentation makes it particularly clear that exaptation plays a role in evolutionary processes that is at least as significant as—and perhaps more significant than—that played by adaptation.”

    and then we can discuss the implications for or against ID.

  10. 10
    GilDodgen says:

    What we do have is essentially an argument from incredulity.

    Arguments from incredulity are perfectly justified when a thesis is preposterous, based on century-and-a-half-old ignorance, and propped up with endless excuses in an attempt to deny a steadily growing mountain of contrary evidence. Such an attempt was made to defend the steady-state universe, until it died of natural causes. This will eventually be the fate of chance-and-necessity Darwinism.

  11. 11
    madsen says:

    jerry,

    madsen,

    Anyone’s opinion would not matter for much nor a half assed study by a novice. But a meticulous study by a trained researcher may be admissible depending on the content. There are plenty of those.

    Can you give me a reference to a meticulous study by a trained researcher which explains how flagella (or some other structures) were designed?

  12. 12
    B L Harville says:

    GilDodgen:

    “Quantum Evolution” is pure fantasy, conjecture, and storytelling, with no empirical support, designed as a desperate attempt to support a conclusion that has already been reached, despite the evidence.

    Intelligent Design is pure fantasy, conjecture, and storytelling, with no empirical support, designed as a desperate attempt to support a conclusion that has already been reached, despite the evidence.

  13. 13
    vjtorley says:

    OK, I’ve got a question for the mathematicians here. How much raw, number-crunching power (i.e. how many flops, Teraflops or whatever) would it take for a computer to simulate a realistic model of the Earth’s environment 4 billion years ago, and then run through all possible pathways to the first RNA molecule / DNA molecule / bacterial cell, starting from a set of amino acids, in order to ascertain whether there is a gradualistic Darwinian pathway or not?

    Until we can construct such a model, neo-Darwinians and ID proponents are probably wasting time arguing at each other.

    I have another question for neo-Darwinians. What is their response to this paper at http://creation.com/images/pdf.....11-117.pdf ?

    I’m not a biologist, but the three key points I took away were that:

    (i) the coding on the DNA molecule is incredibly sophisticated – “No human engineer has ever even imagined, let alone designed an information storage device anything like it”;

    (ii) it’s so complex that even our best scientific brains can’t understand it yet – “These results present us with a spectacle never before encountered in science — an information structure so complex that it defies description”; and

    (iii) “Moreover, the vast majority of its content is metainformation
    information about how to use information. Meta-information cannot arise by chance because it only makes sense in context of the information it relates to.”

    Any comments?

  14. 14
    Animateclay says:

    Forgive me for posting on this thread – but in my google search it lead me to this site. I looked but can’t find a way to contact the admin here.

    A guy who goes by the name of TheJaredJammer on YouTube had his account suspended when I was watching a series of videos called ….

    Ken Miller on Intelligent Design REFUTED (1/9)

    It seems to be the reason for his suspension because when I tried to find the duplicate videos on YouTube with the same title, those accounts had that video removed as well all at the same time.

    It looked like a great video, but I don’t know who the speaker was in it in order to find it anywhere else.

    Was it posted by this site? A google search for TheJaredJammer listed the link back here. Anyway forgive me again for an off-topic post. But I really would like to know if anyone knows more about that video or where I could find it.

  15. 15
    tyharris says:

    Mr. Harville-

    I would put the notion of “quantum evolution” on a par with Douglas Adam’s assertion that the universe was sneezed out of the nose of the “Great Green Arkleseizure”. There is an equal amount of evidence to support both theories being true. Give me a break! If you want to make a claim that Life arose as the result of an unguided naturalistic process, hadnt you better come up with a better explanation of how it all got started than wild speculation of this sort? Tell me how abiogenesis happened without design. Show me how it happened. Explain it to me. If you cant’ then naturalistic explanations for life have no basis whatsoever for deserving anything from me but skepticism. Science is supposed to be about seeing what you see, not what you want to see. You cant just start with a pre-determined ideology-based dogma and then try and explain it with a bunch of crazy, unsubstantiated hooey like “quantum evolution”! It reminds me of that part of the movie “expelled” where ben Stein is laughing about those crazy “joyriding crystals” ( some darwinist true-believer was trying to explain to him that crystals were a plausible explanation for abiogenesis.) So what else have you got for me? How about the flying spaghetti monster? I like that one myself.

  16. 16
    Upright BiPed says:

    Apparently, Madsen will only be moved by a level of evidence that he can’t even provide for his own beliefs. Meanwhile he ignores the data from “meticulous studies” by “trained researchers” working in their field of expertise. What then provides him with the certainty of is beliefs? He is seemingly hesitant to say.

    On the other hand, Harville wants to proceed by proclamation: “Intelligent Design is pure fantasy, conjecture, and storytelling, with no empirical support, designed as a desperate attempt to support a conclusion that has already been reached, despite the evidence.”

    While ignoring the same evidence as Madsen, he describes the position that materialism is in, but throws it back and hope it sticks to ID instead. His whole post is devoid of the history between the two positions. Materialism became the default explanation long before the advent of molecular biology – and it hasn’t been able to explain things since. Imagine, mankind finally looks inside the cells that make up his body, and desperately acts as if he knew it all along.

    What we found says otherwise. Quit ignoring the evidence.

  17. 17
    madsen says:

    Upright BiPed,

    Apparently, Madsen will only be moved by a level of evidence that he can’t even provide for his own beliefs. Meanwhile he ignores the data from “meticulous studies” by “trained researchers” working in their field of expertise. What then provides him with the certainty of is beliefs? He is seemingly hesitant to say.

    Which beliefs are you referring to? I’m not taking any particular position on ID here. I’m just asking whether or not jerry’s logic is fair. It seems to be rigged in favor of the ID position.

  18. 18
    mullerpr says:

    For those who propose that there are more than two options when it comes to chance and necessity. I like to ask how many concepts are available if you consistently manage to proof that “CHANCE” processes just has no success?

    The fact remains that all the proposed alternatives can be exposed for its logical “USE OF DESIGN”. Call it front loading, “importing a loaded dice”, what ever you like. It boils down to one thing… DESIGN is the only alternative to CHANCE. Live with it or continue to make yourselves sound like irrational beings, ranting about with no comprehension of the obvious.

    You are now welcome to revert to your irrational belief that when it comes to the origin of life CHANCE cannot be falsified. That is what you imply with so much proud smug on your faces that you are unaware of the foaming madness still on your faces after this ranting about alternatives to CHANCE processes.

  19. 19
    mullerpr says:

    vjtorley in #13,

    You are dead wrong if you think the stalemate can be solved by a computer with such advanced computing power, to model the earth. What you need is a simple random generator ranting through at least 10^250 iterations of energy states as it relate to the fundamental equations where all the known physical constants are variable according to pure chance. That model should at least come up with some gene sequences that can code for life. (The wonderful thing is that biological life can now be modeled as a mathematical entity, thanks to information theory. See Shannon and Yockey)

    The computer your need for this is certainly not that complicated and if it succeed then you have your evidence that life came from chance processes otherwise you have to assume design.

    Now it is up to you CHANCE guys to find a new and novel way to load the dice, or keep on ranting that pure chance is an unfair disadvantage… Sorry guys that is what pure chance is.

  20. 20
    Avonwatches says:

    @6:

    What we do have is essentially an argument from incredulity. What we don’t have is a clear proof by contradiction since it depends on there being two mutually-exclusive alternatives but, by acknowledging common descent and microevolution, Design proponents have undermined any such possibility.

    That’s a nice conclusion, but incorrect. Let me help. There are two-mutually exclusive alternatives: macroevolution by the same forces (chance/time) as microevolution or macroevolution needing design.

    Remember that ID’s main ‘beef’ with darwinism is its claim that new species can be produced from chance/time. Common descent does not contribute to this.

    Remember, way up above, that the original post is framing this argument in terms of: “design exists vs no design {everything materialistic}”. Notice how it doesn’t say “ONLY design (no material-random processes) vs no design”.

    Does this illustrate? (using an old example)->

    1) Look at mt. Rushmore.

    2) Materialism says that it was made purely from erosion.

    3) “Design Exists” acknowledges that erosion can wear away at rock (microevolution), but states that this is insufficient to create mt. Rushmore and other stone works (macroevolution) e.t.c. Some part must have been designed.

    “Design exists” is not arrayed against materialistic processes – it is aligned against materialistic processes creating everything .

    I hope you understand now.

    ===

    @ the charge of “argument from incredulity”, what’s wrong with it? It is not a proof in itself, but a prompt from human rationality that we should examine other options.

  21. 21
    vjtorley says:

    mullerpr:

    I’m not sure if we understand each other. The reason why I did not ask about a computer that could simulate all the different values of physical constants is that atheists could easily retort that we already have one: the multiverse. Personally I think the idea of a multiverse is philosophically unsatisfactory, for reasons discussed by Robin Collins at http://home.messiah.edu/~rcollins/ft.htm . What I wanted to focus on was the narrower question: given the constants we have now, and given the conditions on the early Earth, can we show in a mathematically rigorous way that there is no gradulaistic pathway from a swirl of amino acids to proto-RNA to DNA to a bacterial cell? To do that, we would need to run through every single possible pathway: I can’t see any other knockdown way to do it. What I wanted to know is: how many mathematical operations would be involved for this calculation?

    I’d also like to suggest that instead of pitting the concepts of chance and design (which are NOT mutually exclusive) against each other, we would do better to speak of directed vs. undirected processes. That DOES cover everything.

    Finally, I’d like to return to the original point made in the paper I cited above, in #13: anything that can code better than I can must be intelligent. That’s a pretty safe bet. If nature can create DNA, and subsequent investigation reveals that the coding in DNA is more efficient than anything our best scientists can create, then nature must have been guided by some Intelligence.

  22. 22
    Clive Hayden says:

    GilDodgen,

    “Arguments from incredulity are perfectly justified when a thesis is preposterous…”

    I couldn’t agree more. The argument from incredulity is a perfectly valid argument in certain circumstances. This is one. I’m personally tired of people reading from Coach Dawkins’ playbook and running this same play.

  23. 23
    vpr says:

    “This isn’t mathematics, this is biology. Proof by contradiction doesn’t apply here”

    No, it’s engineering! I think the time has come for biologist to concede that they are not engineers.

    Why is it that so many helpful heuristics “just” don’t apply to biology.

  24. 24
    mullerpr says:

    Hi vjtorley,

    I did get your point, and I am still convinced that modeling the pathways will not resolve the issue for the simple reason that you allow Darwinists to lighten the burden they have selected for themselves by resorting to “chance and necessity”. If they want to be considered as responsible scientists they have to weigh in on their claims.

    That include weighing in on the possible contradiction in terms when you use the concepts “chance and necessity”. If necessity exceeds the limits of the pure random system, like necessitating one of six sides of a dice per event, then you can apply necessity to mean anything you would want it to mean, like the initial conditions on earth (which is also statistically impossible when you logically reject the multi-verse or any infinite regress of causality) or then you claim a literally infinite number of pathways, that cannot be computed regardless of your computing power.

    You have to bound their fantasy to the finite number of physical events that took place since the Big Bang, including physical constants as random events. Darwinists need to face up to the fact that given the necessary initial conditions there is no way that chance could achieve anything close to any form of life within the total number of known events that took place since the Big Bang.

  25. 25
    KRiS_Censored says:

    Let us suppose that we have 2 competing theories, A and B, which are mutually exclusive and exhaustive (meaning that one or the other is necessarily true, and that there are no other valid alternatives). Evidence that A is false can be construed as evidence that B is true. This is because being mutually exclusive and exhaustive, there is no alternative to A except for B if A is false. It sounds like I’m supporting the IDists, right? Not quite.

    The problem is the confusion of “evidence that A is false” and “a lack of evidence that A is true”. A lack of evidence that A is true cannot be construed as evidence that B is true because in this case there are definite alternatives to A that do not require that B be true, the most obvious being that evidence for A simply has yet to be found. For instance, 100 years ago one could point to the fact that there is no evidence for any mechanism by which information could propagate down through populations and use that as evidence for some alternative theory like, say, ID. For many years, “evidence” for ID would “pile up” as no mechanism was found. Then when DNA was discovered, all of that evidence turned out to be no evidence at all, since there was in fact just such a mechanism. There is no reason to assume that a lack of evidence for one theory actually is evidence for another theory. Only evidence that directly contradicts a theory can be considered so, and only if they are mutually exclusive and exhaustive.

    One can try and argue that not finding evidence for A increases ones confidence that B is probably true, so that even if it isn’t direct evidence for B, we can say that it’s now more likely that B is true. However, by not finding evidence for A you simultaneously didn’t find evidence for B and so our confidence in A is increased for exactly the same reason. “But we weren’t looking for evidence for B.” That may be true, but then why have any more confidence in B if you’re not even looking for any independent evidence to support it? And if you are looking for and finding independent evidence for B, why rely on that lack of evidence for A in the first place?

  26. 26
    mullerpr says:

    vpr #22,

    Just to support your view. Here is a quote from the introduction to H. Yockey’s book “Information theory, evolution, and the origin of life”

    “…George Gamow pointed out that the application of Shannon’s information theory breaks genetics and molecular biology out of the descriptive mode into the quantitative mode, and Dr. Yockey develops this theme, discussing how information theory and coding theory can be applied to molecular biology.”

  27. 27
    KRiS_Censored says:

    I think here would be a good place to re-post my original comment on what I call “negative predictions” such as “x will never be found”. It was originally meant to rebut the claim that not finding x can be considered a confirmation of the prediction, where “x will never be found” is considered a prediction and therefore a test of a theory (e.g. “a natural mechanism for the generation of CSI will never be found” is considered a test of ID). I think it applies here in a more general way. I’m just cutting and pasting, though, so it may be a little strangely worded for the current context.

    Any statement in the form “You will never see X” can be more accurately stated as “Given the set of all possible Y, no Y will be found among them which is actually X.” It should be pretty clear when restated in this way that to be in agreement with the statement, and therefore supportive of the hypothesis, all of Y must be searched without finding X. Any number of searches through anything less than all of Y results in either a falsification (X is found) or a necessary continuation of the search (X is not yet found). Not finding X means the search is incomplete and therefore inconclusive. (Not sure of that? Just ask yourself, if X hasn’t been found yet, can you conclusively say that it will therefore never be found? If not, then it is by definition inconclusive)

    Now, since the test of the statement is thus far inconclusive (assuming X has not been found yet, of course), to claim that the statement is therefore supported is to say that an inconclusive result must be considered to be supportive of the statement. This means that any result that isn’t a conclusive falsification must be interpreted to mean that the statement is true. In other words “It’s true because you haven’t proven it to be false.” This is the Argument From Ignorance. Now you can attempt to justify using such an argument (maybe you can claim that inconclusive is still “conclusive enough”, which appears to be the usual claim), but you can’t legitimately claim that it’s not an Argument From Ignorance at all, even if you do flip it around and call it a “test”.

    Of course, one can limit the search space to make it more manageable by using a limited set of Y, rather than the set of all possible Y. However, this necessarily changes the original statement from “You will never see X” to “You will not see X if you search through this limited set of Y”. There better be a very good reason for excluding those areas which are not to be searched. For instance, when you use the fact that X has not yet been found to try and support the original statement you are essentially creating a new statement which is a subset of the original that says “You will not see X if you search through the set of Y which has already been searched.” Obviously this statement is supported by the data, but that’s because it is a simple statement of fact. It’s not a prediction, but a post-diction. I think you’ll agree that limiting Y for the express purpose of making the statement true isn’t a very good reason for limiting Y.

  28. 28
    mullerpr says:

    KRiS,

    You sound stupid… Try to look at the argument and overcome that urge to let your feelings run wild. I will help you with an example.

    In forensic science, say you want to convict a murderer based on the evidence. When will you rule out pure chance and conclude foul play? Will you expect any scientist to go into your suggested perpetual search for more evidence to prove that it was pure chance? You are succumbing to the type of skepticism that Harry Collins, warns us about in the recently discussed “We cannot live by scepticism alone” (NATURE|Vol 458|5 March 2009) when he says that:

    “One can justify anything with scepticism.” (H.Collins)

    You should thank the people of UD who take so much pain in helping to overcome your ignorance.

  29. 29
    mullerpr says:

    Further more KRiS,

    From #26:
    ““It’s true because you haven’t proven it to be false.” This is the Argument From Ignorance.”

    Now let us put your skeptic method that you are ranting about to the test. What can be proven according to your method? Name me one thing in all of the knowledge of man kind that has any value and is in fact in your words, NOT… an “Argument From Ignorance”. Name me one thing, that is not subject to your skeptical definition of ignorance.

    This challenge in all sincerity is designed just to help you see that you cannot even live according to your own scientific method.

  30. 30
    David Kellogg says:

    Gil,

    “Quantum Evolution” Intelligent design is pure fantasy, conjecture, and storytelling, with no empirical support, designed as a desperate attempt to support a conclusion that has already been reached, despite the evidence.

    Fixed that for you.

  31. 31
    mullerpr says:

    David,

    Would you like to explain the method you used to come to that conclusion in #29? Is it called “Strike out the inconvenient truth”? Enjoy the fruits of your naturalist dogma while it lasts.

    We are all still waiting for the scientifically proven method of evolution through “chance and necessity” (…or is, somehow scaling “Mount Improbable” by the mysterious gradual slope that no one seems to find, still your best evidence?). But you also have to thank the great evolutionary biologist who tried so hard and have came up with such resounding evidence that, in fact, the design hypothesis has not been falsified. (in a true Popperian fashion)

    (Remember also to count all the successful convictions based on forensic science as evidence of design detection.)

  32. 32
    KRiS_Censored says:

    mullerpr

    You sound stupid…

    Your logical prowess is undeniable. You have completely refuted all of my claims with that statement! Nevertheless, I feel I must battle on despite such a devastating defeat.

    In forensic science, say you want to convict a murderer based on the evidence.

    This assumes that we actually have evidence of some sort. This discussion is about a lack of evidence. The claim is that a lack of evidence for evolution necessarily indicates positive evidence for ID. I’m saying that a lack of evidence is not evidence for anything except the fact that there is no evidence. Allow me to rephrase your challenge so that it’s actually relevant to the discussion: In forensic science, say you want to convict a murderer based on a lack of evidence. Now, since there is no evidence that he’s innocent will you say that that constitutes evidence that he’s guilty?

    Name me one thing in all of the knowledge of man kind that has any value and is in fact in your words, NOT… an “Argument From Ignorance”.

    Wow. Seriously? I’m gonna toss this over to the ID folks. Not every ID person can be so blinded by their need to “prove” ID that they can’t see the glaring flaws with this kind of a challenge. I’ll post an answer if it turns out that I was wrong about that. Please don’t disappoint me, folks.

  33. 33
    Joseph says:

    BL Harville:

    Intelligent Design is pure fantasy, conjecture, and storytelling, with no empirical support, designed as a desperate attempt to support a conclusion that has already been reached, despite the evidence.

    Ignorance exposed!~

    The empirical support for ID is fouind in cellular functions such as transcription, proof-reading, error-correction, editing, and translation.

    What part of that strikes you as being cobbled together by an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    And BTW seeing there are only TWO possibilities- designed or not designed, then evidence against one is a point for the other.

    And people one of the main/ basic questions that science asks is:

    “How did it come to be this way?”

    And experience has taught us that it matters a great deal to an investigation whether or not that which is being investigated arose via agency involvement or by nature, operating freely.

    IOW the design inference does matter.

  34. 34
    Joseph says:

    KRiS:

    The claim is that a lack of evidence for evolution necessarily indicates positive evidence for ID.

    That is NOT the claim!

    Evolution is NOT being debated.

    Evidence against unguided processes is a point for guided processes.

    And it appears that neither BL, Kellogg nor you understand that point nor do you understand the evidence.

    I will also note that not one of you can support the premise of an accumulation of genetic accidents.

  35. 35
    mullerpr says:

    KRiS,

    Thank you for confirming my simple observation… “you sound stupid”. It is not an argument. It is an observation followed by an argument.

    Then you try so desperately to create new parameters for the argument, that you support my first observation even further… You have to restrain yourself!

    Here’s my argument, preceding was just observations:
    If you read the post of this thread carefully, you will see that it is ALL about the evidence that has been gathered over the past how many years. It is pitiful that you wrongly place the “This discussion is about a lack of evidence” on anything other that Darwinian evolution, that is your fantasy you have to live with. Evidence usually refutes or supports an hypothesis and if your hypothesis invokes “chance and necessity” refuting that logically implies design as stated before. Your only why out of this dilemma is to dogmatically and sadly irrationally stick to naturalism.

    The essence of the argument at hand is that I asked you “how much evidence would be enough in the light of your method to make any conviction based on forensic science?”

    Blabbering, about your own illusions of “lack of evidence” has no bearing on this argument. I therefore conclude that you need to try again.

    What amount of evidence, based on your proposed method would be enough to conclude “foul play” in the example of forensic science? Then because I don’t think you are stupid even though your sound stupid, I expect you to apply your “forensic science” insight to the “change & necessity” vs. design question at hand.

  36. 36
    David Kellogg says:

    mullerpr, my change in [29] is an observational inference. I have never seen anybody from from evolution to ID based on the evidence, but I have seen people move toward evolution because of the evidence.

    I have seen people commit to ID because of other life changes, of course (a religious conversion, for example) — but that’s a different story.

  37. 37
    KRiS_Censored says:

    Joseph

    That is NOT the claim!

    Evolution is NOT being debated.

    You are correct. I’m so used to people bringing up evolution that I automatically fell into that mode of thinking. I apologize for misstating your position.

    That said, the basic logic is still the same.

    Evidence against unguided processes is a point for guided processes.

    I absolutely agree with this statement. Again, the confusion arises from the mistaken idea that “evidence against unguided processes” is the same as “lack of evidence for unguided processes”. They are not equivalent.

    In the first case if there is evidence against one (an unguided process), the only alternative is it’s complement (a guided process). In the second case, if there is no evidence either for or against one, there is at the very least one alternative to it’s complement, and that is that evidence exists but has simply not been found yet. This is true for both ideas for which evidence is lacking, and so they are equivalently supported or refuted by the lack of evidence.

  38. 38
    Joseph says:

    Hermagorus:

    I have never seen anybody from from evolution to ID based on the evidence, but I have seen people move toward evolution because of the evidence.

    Who and what was this alleged evidence?

    I have seen scientists switch from genetic accidents to ID.

    Dr Behe, Dr Wells, Dr Kenyon just to name a few.

    I have seen people commit to ID because of other life changes, of course (a religious conversion, for example) — but that’s a different story.

    Nonsense- ID doesn’t have anything to do with religion so I doubt anyone would switch to ID because of religion.

  39. 39
    Joseph says:

    KRiS:

    Again, the confusion arises from the mistaken idea that “evidence against unguided processes” is the same as “lack of evidence for unguided processes”. They are not equivalent.

    Who said they were equivalent?

    If there isn’t any evidence one way or the other then all positions must be mentioned/ discussed as possibilities.

    Or we say “we don’t know”.

    However “we don’t know” in today’s society means “we don’t know but we know it wasn’t via an intelligent designer.”

  40. 40
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph,

    Behe, Wells, and Kenyon all had previously existing (maybe in the case of Kenyon there was a conversion involved) religious commitments.

  41. 41
    KRiS_Censored says:

    mullerpr

    Your attitude is so disrespectful that I believe I will simply ignore your posts from now on.

    Feel free to interpret this as “You’re too smart for me, and I’m afraid of engaging in real debate with you” if it helps.

  42. 42
    David Kellogg says:

    Wells is hardly a good example of someone who embraced ID because of the evidence. He admitted in print that he went to graduate school with the purpose of destroying Darwinism for religious reasons.

  43. 43
    Joseph says:

    DK

    Behe, Wells, and Kenyon all had previously existing (maybe in the case of Kenyon there was a conversion involved) religious commitments

    They ALL excepted thne theory of evolution until they bagan looking more closely at the data.

    Wells is hardly a good example of someone who embraced ID because of the evidence.

    He said he changes sides because of the data.

    He admitted in print that he went to graduate school with the purpose of destroying Darwinism for religious reasons.

    Darwinism and evolutionism are religions.

    Worsipping eons of time and mother nature counts as being religious.

  44. 44
    Joseph says:

    Oops “accepted”

    They all ACCEPTED the theory of evolution before the began looking more closely at the data.

  45. 45
    Joseph says:

    Dr Gary Parker

    Atheistic evolutionist switched to Creation!

  46. 46
    Joseph says:

    Anthony Flew- was an atheist now he accepts ID because of the DATA!

  47. 47
    Joseph says:

    Dave,

    If religion makes on switch why hasn’t Ken Miller switched?

    Why does the NCSE go through great pains to ensure the public that the ToE is compatible with religion?

  48. 48
    Khan says:

    this biology thread suffers from a lack of biology. in the science of biology, we are in the business of hypothesis testing. you make a hypothesis, perform an experiment and test the data from the experiment against a null hypothesis. if you reject the null hypothesis, then you accept the alternative hypothesis (the one you were testing). If you fail to reject the null, then you accept the null. these null hypotheses take the form of a random distribution of data. so when you test your hypothesis, you are testing against the hypothesis that your data are randomly distributed. ID advocates seem to want ID to be the null hypothesis, but this is absurd.

    let’s say an evo biologist tests the hypothesis that a hox gene is highly conserved among animals. the null hypothesis is that its distribution is random. he finds that it is found in zebras and canaries but nowhere else. thus, he fails to reject the null hypothesis. what does this mean? that his hypothesis was not supported.that’s it.

    now let’s say an ID advocate wants to do the same thing. he has to form a hypothesis and test it against a null. he can’t simply say “my hypthesis was the null in the Darwinist’s test”, unless his hypothesis is that the data would be randomly distributed. and if this was his hypothesis, he would have to carefully describe the logic that led him to this hypothesis. so, what would his hypothesis be, and what would be the logic behind it?

  49. 49
    mullerpr says:

    KRiS in #40,

    You should excuse me if I thought that, if I did not state my observation about your arguments, then I would be disingenuous in the follow up arguments where I gave you the opportunity to redeem yourself, and thereby proving me wrong.

    The only conclusion that I can draw from you being offended is that criticism does not sit well with you.

    I have taken your criticism about what you perceived as disrespectful from my arguments to hart and will act accordingly to rectify it. First in this regards, accept my apologies for making you feel not respected, belief me, I usually do not make conversation with people I disrespect, it is just not worth it.

    Then I have to close by pointing out that I am not that interested in the power of my arguments as I am in the power of yours or others. All my conversation with you can testify to this conviction. So regardless of your position, you should still expect me to comment on what is obvious from your arguments… I will even go out of my way to point out some strengths in your arguments when I come across them.

    P.S. Remember we are just having fun on our virtual soap boxes.

  50. 50
    mullerpr says:

    David from #35,

    I suppose you have been proven to be very selective when you evaluated the reasons for the dissent from evolution. Thank you Joseph.

    I could add Michael Denton to the list of initial dissenters. At the point of writing “Evolution a theory in crisis” he was an agnostic …evaluating the evidence like a “true skeptic”.

    Maybe, if you like, you can take the list of evolutionary dissenters (on the Discovery Institute’s site” and study those scientist’s convictions. I am sure you will find a plethora of diverse views and opinions that only share a very fundamental criticism of Darwinian evolution.

    To conclude you should consider yourselves warned about the dangers of stereotyping.

  51. 51
    jerry says:

    We are witnessing StephenB axiom here. How the anti ID try to turn the debate away from the original ID. By the way it is not mathematics but logic that is being used. The post at #1 expressed it that way.

    We have madsen, BL Harville, Seversky, David Kellogg diverting the discussion from the original idea and Kris misstating it. It is obvious what is being attempted.

    What is the alternative to design? It is some form of naturalistic process using law and chance. If that is not true, then have a good explanation of what it could be rather than some pie in the sky wild idea. Quantum process would be under naturalistic processes even though some contend that this is the way someone from outside this universe controls events in it. But rather than discuss that, just assume quantum events are naturalistic.

  52. 52
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph [44], Parker became a creationist after his religious conversion: http://www.icr.org/article/fro.....testimony/

  53. 53
    Joseph says:

    David [50]

    By that “logic” all Christians should be Creationists.

    Yet the theory of evolution has and is being championed as “religion-neutral”.

  54. 54
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry [49], the original post offered no proof, mathematical or otherwise. It offered some assertions which were then presented as proof. It’s hard to take seriously such an unserious post.

    In any event, science operates very rarely by logical proof. It usually works inductively and provisionally. And the best explanations for all the little events in biological history have been naturalistic. (Even ID supporteres agree with this when they say microevolution is fine.)

    The problem is not incredulity as such but the emptiness of the ID claim. There’s nothing other than incredulity (and — usually — previously held religious commitments) leading to a design view.

  55. 55
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph, I know plenty of Christians who aren’t creationists (in the big tent of Christianity). Scratch an evolutionist, you’ll get all sorts of religious commitments and non-commitments. Scratch an ID supporter, though, you’ll almost always get religion.

  56. 56
    GilDodgen says:

    By the way, for those who are wondering, here is the proof by contradiction that there are infinitely many primes. We begin with the assertion that there are only two possibilities: the number of primes is either finite or infinite.

    Assume that the number of primes is finite, and that P is the largest prime. Multiply all primes less than or equal to P together (2 x 3 x 5 x 7 x 11 x … x P), and add 1 to this number (call the result N). N is not divisible by any prime less than or equal to P, because such a division will always leave a remainder of 1. Therefore, N (which is larger than P) is either a prime itself, or is divisible by a prime larger than P. Therefore P is not the largest prime (the contradiction), and this proves that there are infinitely many primes.

    Euclid was a clever fellow.

  57. 57
    DonaldM says:

    This discussion reminds me of the old canard we often hear from the anti-ID side: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” But is tht even true and universal? Well, let’s see. First a little background. Michael Behe first published Darwin’s Black Box in 1996. One of the more controversial claims that Behe made in the book was

    There has never been a meeting, or a book, or a paper on details of the evolution of complex biochemical system.

    (Absence of evidence) (Behe, Michael, Darwin’s Black Box, Simon and Schuster, pg 179) Later in the same chapter he wrote:

    Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority. There is no publication in the scientific literature…that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system eithe did occur or even migh have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations. Since no one knows molecular evolution evolution by direct experience, and since there is no authority on which to base these claims of knowledge, it can be truly said that…the assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.

    (Behe, pg 185-186)

    Darwinians were quick to jump all over this claim of the “absence of evidence” with references to the supposedly “Hundereds of studies” that did in fact exist, and which Behe simply overlooked. On careful examination, however, not a single one of the many such citations had anything to do with what Behe claimed was absent — none were a detailed research study on the evolutionary origin of a complex biochemical system. The absence of evidence seemed all pervasive.

    In The Design Revolution, William Dembski made the following comments in a chapter entitled “The Significance of Michael Behe”.

    Behe’s challenge has been so unsettling that many in the biological community find it easier to pretend his work has been discredited than actually engage it…And so a convenient fiction has emerged in which biologists continually reassure each other that Behe been refuted but either fail to provide an actual refutation or attack a caricature of Behe’s case against Darwinian evolution.

    (Dembski, William, The Design Revolution, IVP, Pg 291)Dembski goes to describe that Behe has made three points: a logical point, an empirical point and an explanatory point. The logical point is that

    Certain biological artificial structures are provably inaccessible to a direct Darwinian pathway because they have property P(i.e., irreducible complexity). But certain biological structures also have property P, so they, too, must be inaccessible to a direct Darwinian pathway.

    The empirical point is that no indirect Darwinian pathways are known. The absence of evidence continues to accure! All Darwinians claims to the contrary are so much bluster. The absence of evidence here, as Dembski points out is “pervasive and systemic”. (Dembski, pg 296)

    That leads us to the explanatory point: do chance and/or necessity even have the explanatory resources to explain these complex biological systems. Dembski again, “…when it comes to irreducibly complex biochemical systems, there’s no evidence that material mechanisms are causually adequate to bring them about.” (Dembski, pg 297) On the basis of “causal adequacy”, it appears that intelligent design is a better explanation.

    Thus, Gil’s point in the OP is fully supported by the “systemic and pervasive” absence of evidence for the for causal adequacy of chance and/or necessity. In fact, I’d say Gil’s point is overwhelmingly supported by the “absence of evidence”.

  58. 58
    Joseph says:

    David,

    It is YOUR logic that says Christianity = Creationist.

    You said:

    Parker became a creationist after his religious conversion

    I say the DATA- SCIENTIFIC DATA- led him to be a creationist.

    If you are correct then all Christians should be creationists.

    They are not so you stated something that is misleading.

  59. 59
    vjtorley says:

    Joseph:

    I’d be careful of citing Dr. Gary Parker if I were you:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/closet.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....rence.html
    http://www.holysmoke.org/icr7cult.htm

    David Kellogg

    Behe was raised as a Catholic, who was taught by the nuns at school that evolution was simply God’s way of making the world. Hardly sounds like a guy with an axe to grind against evolution.

  60. 60
    David Kellogg says:

    DonaldM, the problem is one of definition. Behe asked for something that most evolutionary biologists would say exists in spades. But every paper cited was dismissed by Behe as not describing the evolution in sufficient detail, or with all the steps covered. Since every step can be divided into further substeps, I submit that no paper ever will have a chance of meeting Behe’s criteria because he can keep asking for greater specificity and detail. Then he can crow behind the firewall of his comment-free Amazon blog about how his critiques are devastating.

  61. 61
    David Kellogg says:

    vjtorley, I don’t doubt Behe’s sincerity. And in fact everybody says they’re moved solely by evidence, while all of us have complex motivations. It seems, though, that in the larger picture, and granting a mix of motivations in everybody, evolution convinces most of those in a position to judge (that is, Ph.D. biologists) while ID (or creationism) convinces very few: and virtually all of those have previously existing religious commitments.

  62. 62
    Joseph says:

    David

    But every paper cited was dismissed by Behe as not describing the evolution in sufficient detail, or with all the steps covered.

    All that has to be done is DEMONSTRATE that which is being debated.

    Start with a population or populations of non-flagellated bacteria and let them have at it.

    See if a flagellum arises.

    OR if scientists think that IC is an illusion all they have to do is show that in question is reducible.

    Take the bacterial flagellum.

    I have recently read two papers that discuss its alleged evolution.

    All that has to be done now is take some starting population without a flagellum of course- introduce genes as an artificial type of gene duplication- and see if one appears.

    In the absence of that a demonstration of any type of change driven by an accumulation of genetic accidents would help your case.

    And if you want to comment on what Behe says on Amazon feel free to do so on your blog.

    But be prepared to show us the power of an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    If you really want to shut him up that would really go a long way to doing just that.

  63. 63
    Joseph says:

    David:

    It seems, though, that in the larger picture, and granting a mix of motivations in everybody, evolution convinces most of those in a position to judge (that is, Ph.D. biologists)

    Most of which are devote atheists.

    And none of which can actually support their claims.

    Who has switched from ID to the blind wathmaker?

  64. 64
    Joseph says:

    vjtorley,

    I didn’t cite anything Gary Parker said.

    He is an example of an atheistic evolutionist who converted to Creation.

    Period, end of my point.

  65. 65
    DonaldM says:

    David Kellog

    DonaldM, the problem is one of definition. Behe asked for something that most evolutionary biologists would say exists in spades. But every paper cited was dismissed by Behe as not describing the evolution in sufficient detail, or with all the steps covered. Since every step can be divided into further substeps, I submit that no paper ever will have a chance of meeting Behe’s criteria because he can keep asking for greater specificity and detail. Then he can crow behind the firewall of his comment-free Amazon blog about how his critiques are devastating.

    TO which specific papers do you refer? Every single such citation that has ever been made has either been irrelevant to the question (how did evolution actually produce this complex biochemical system) or been of the variety of “we know we can walk from LA to Japan because we disovered the Hawaiin Islands”. Hence all the hoopla over the TTSS as a “possible” evolutionary step towards a full blown baceterial flagellum.

    Even more telling, though, in the “absence of evidence” department is that when Darwinists have the opportunity to make these citations in published research papers, they seem to not have them. Two notable examples. First, is the (in)famous Avida study reported by Lenski et.al. from Mich. State. In their paper The Evolutionary Origin of Complex Features what is notable by is absence is any citation or reference to a detailed research study that mirrors in the biological world what they are trying to show happened in the computer model. If such biological evidence were known, all they had to do was point to it as evidence for the efficacy of their computer model. They didn’t.

    A second example is the review article by Pallen and Matzke, From The Origin of Species to the origin of bacterial flagella. The abstact reads:

    In the recent Dover trial, and elsewhere, the ‘Intelligent Design’ movement has championed the bacterial flagellum as an irreducibly complex system that, it is claimed, could not have evolved through natural selection. Here we explore the arguments in favour of viewing bacterial flagella as evolved, rather than designed, entities. We dismiss the need for any great conceptual leaps in creating a model of flagellar evolution and speculate as to how an experimental programme focused on this topic might look.

    The aim of this paper was to present a research roadmap of how researchers might go about building the detailed evolutionary model for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. Had any such actual research study already existed, they surely would have cited it as an example. Again, notable by absence was any such reference.

    Behe wrote his book 13 years ago. To date his original claim of the absence of evidence still stands. There is not now extant any research study that presents a detailed, testable model of the evolutionary origins for any of the IC systems Behe described in his book. Not one. Zip, zero nada.

    All these claims that what has been cited are dismissed and thus Behe will never be satisfied are examples of Dembski’s point of not engaging Behe’s actual claims, but trying to dismiss them as “already solved”, when in fact they are not.

    The absence of evidence is overwhelming! But you can prove me wrong by simply providing 1 such study. Since neither Lenski nor Pallen & Matzke cited any, perhaps you can succeed where they failed.

    Gil’s point stands unrefuted!

  66. 66
    vjtorley says:

    David Kellogg:

    The problem is not incredulity as such but the emptiness of the ID claim. There’s nothing other than incredulity (and — usually — previously held religious commitments) leading to a design view.

    The greatest puzzle facing evolutionists is the origin of life itself. In order to refute ID, you have to make a strong case that life could have emerged from non-living matter as a result of undirected natural processes (abiogenesis). However, abiogenesis faces formidable scientific problems. See the articles at this link:

    http://www.trueorigin.org/camplist.asp#origin

    I can’t mathematically demonstrate that abiogenesis is scientifically impossible, although the papers cited in the above link make a strong prima facie case that it is unlikely, even over a long time period. However, the lack of a rigorous mathematical proof that abiogenesis is impossible does not entail that it is scientifically possible.

    Even if you could shoot down all the arguments in the papers on abiogenesis which I linked to above, it would still be wrong to conclude that abiogenesis is scientifically possible. The proper scientific attitude would then be one of pure agnosticism. For the fact is, we simply don’t know how life originated.

    In the meantime, one simple rule of thumb for assessing how close scientists are to resolving these problems is to ask them when they think the riddle of life’s origin will be solved. How many more years do we have to wait? If the year envisaged by scientists when the riddle is finally solved keeps receding, then this is a pretty good sign that scientists are talking hot air.

    When I was a child, the science books I read exuded confidence that the riddle of life’s origin was close to being solved, in the wake of the Urey-Miller experiment. Now, the solution appears to be decades or even centuries away. What does that tell you?

  67. 67
    DonaldM says:

    Gil

    Therefore P is not the largest prime (the contradiction), and this proves that there are infinitely many primes.

    Euclid was a clever fellow.

    Sometime within the past 6 months or so I recall reading a report that a team of researchers (French I think) had discovered the largest known prime number…somethink like 100 digits long (can’t recall the exact details). I guess amongst mathematicians and computer whizzes, there a certain level of prestige and braggin’ rights associated with being the team that owns the discovery of the largest known prime. Wonder how long this team keeps the top spot!

  68. 68
    madsen says:

    jerry #49,

    We have madsen, BL Harville, Seversky, David Kellogg diverting the discussion from the original idea and Kris misstating it. It is obvious what is being attempted.

    If you feel that I’ve diverted the discussion or mischaracterized your argument, please explain my error.

  69. 69
    GilDodgen says:

    Donald,

    The largest prime found so far is nearly 13 million digits long (12,978,189 to be exact). It is 2 raised to the 43,112,609th power, minus 1, and is known as a Mersenne prime.

    See the link below for the great Mersenne prime challenge.

    http://www.mersenne.org/

  70. 70
    Borne says:

    What we do have is essentially an argument from incredulity.

    I hear this kind of phoney baloney pseudo-rebuttal all the time when debating Darwinists. It seems to be an old left-over, out-dated and useless crock from TO or such.

    As Gil responded, some incredulity arguments are proper. What he means is that we are in fact not arguing from mere incredulity but from ,statistical mechanics. Something your avergage biologist knows nothing or little about – but should – seeing that the whole genome is a vastly complex information processing, parts building (including spares), machine assembling factory such as no human mind could ever have developed.

    Briefly, it all comes down to the probabilities of building a complex functional machine through chance and necessity vs design.

    Parts of any machine for example, must have the correct mass, shape, size, stress resistance, shear resistance, elasticity, etc. etc. qualities or the end machine will just fail and fall apart as any auto mechanic knows.

    Furthermore, biological machines are not analogies to machines they ARE machines. Nor is the genetic code analogous to code, it IS code, as Yockey demonstrated – it is mathematically identical to human language.

    There is no such thing as functional, working code without intelligence. The very definition of the word ‘code’ requires it.

  71. 71
    R0b says:

    Gil: Your argument looks more like a general disjunctive syllogism than specifically a proof by contradiction. Note that you didn’t actually show a contradiction anywhere in your argument.

    Establish two possible alternatives.

    This step seems to be missing in your argument. Asserting that “design (foresight and planning)” and “the materialistic laws of physics, chemistry, and probability” are disjoint is not the same as establishing it. And not all ID proponents on this site agree that ID theory even asserts it.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that there is a third option, besides design versus chance and necessity, but I’d like to hear it.

    And there’s the possibility that chance and necessity is the only option, with design being reducible to it. In fact, this is necessarily the case if chance and necessity is synonymous with non-determinism and determinism.

    This is a semantically turbid area of ID theory. Some IDists will say that “chance” is not merely non-determinism, but undirected non-determinism. But that is not how the term “chance” is used in probability, so the ID camp should expect misunderstandings surrounding this term. And without a scientific definition for “directed”, ID seems to hinge on metaphysical libertarianism, which is not great position for an ostensible scientific theory.

    (BTW, what is the association between materialism and chance+necessity? Why can’t immaterial phenomena occur by chance, or by necessity?)

  72. 72
    Matteo says:

    The typical Darwinist accusation of arguing from incredulity is wholly spurious, as is the assertion that there is no evidence for ID. The facts of the case are quite simple: tightly integrated information-processing cellular nanomachinery operating on a coherent robustly-encoded genetic database is direct empirical evidence for design. If Darwinists wish to claim otherwise, then they are going to need to make one hell of a detailed airtight argument to the contrary, complete with explication of pertinent pathways, detailed calculations of probability at the crucial steps, etc. Thus far they have not even scratched the surface on any of this, and the only substantial thing they have offered is what amounts to an argument from credulity. The quip about knowing that we can walk from LA to Tokyo because we’ve discovered Hawaii quite aptly sums up the current state of the Darwinist case.

    And as far as the tired “God of the gaps” counterargument, the shoe is precisely on the other foot. The real question is are there any gaps presented by an impartial assessment of biological knowledge large enough for a substantial Darwinism to squeeze into?

    While hardball power politics places the burden of proof entirely on ID, the true intellectual burden of proof is on Darwinists, not IDists.

  73. 73
    Rude says:

    This is a great topic in that it clarifies matters.

    And Gil is surely right for, as Bill Dembski has emphasized, all explanation boils down to chance, necessity, design and combinations thereof. I’ve asked critics to come up with another, and the best they can ever do is throw out fancy words like “chaos” or “self-organization”—simple synonyms of the same.

    For the materialists there can only be some combination of chance and necessity—design is off limits a priori—just as Jacques Monod made clear.

    Darwinism weighs in heavy on chance (“chance worshippers” as you know who would call them), whereas Many Worlders pretty much throw in the towel on necessity. Others such as Einstein in physics and our own Michael Denton in biology favor the determinism of necessity. ID proper would let the foot of Design in the door.

    You have to begin with something. In theory you can make necessity as large or as small as you like. On the one hand necessity will encompass only those things that can be no other way, which suggests mathematics but not the laws of physics, and thus invites the Designer in at a most fundamental level of our existence. And then, on the other hand, necessity can be expanded to include principles of self organization with little or nothing left to chance (which shoos a designer out the door even in biology).

    So we can be absolute determinists and we can be total chance worshippers, but No, No, Nanette, never in a million years can we invoke design. Thus from the standpoint of the materialist it is all necessity (with determinists like Einstein), all chance (which is where Many Worlders are headed), or some combination of the two (classic Neo-Darwinism).

    Conceding the possibility of design does not negate chance and necessity. Ordinary humans—even materialists—are astute at sorting these out in their everyday lives. We weigh the odds, we look for pattern, and we spot motive.

    The question therefore is simple. Do we limit our explanations to chance and necessity and exclude the only other logical possibility which is design? Or do we resist the materialist impulse and let design back in the door?

  74. 74
    DonaldM says:

    Matteo

    And as far as the tired “God of the gaps” counterargument, the shoe is precisely on the other foot. The real question is are there any gaps presented by an impartial assessment of biological knowledge large enough for a substantial Darwinism to squeeze into?

    While hardball power politics places the burden of proof entirely on ID, the true intellectual burden of proof is on Darwinists, not IDists.

    Its probably relevant to bring up William Dembski’s paper The Chance of the Gaps. One of the thins to note here is that in proposing all sorts of multi-verses, the tacit admission of these anti-IDists seems to be that the probablistic resources in this universe (which is the only one we actually know of) appear inadequate to explain the levels of specified complexity we observe in natural systems.

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    Gil and other moderators,

    Since we are getting inundated with comments not relevant to the topic on each thread, moderators might want to consider a general comment thread where the moderator can send comments that are not relevant and people can answer the comments if they want. I know moderators have the power to delete comments but I do not know if this is feasible or would take up too much time.

    The current system is getting out of hand as off topic comments pile up. It worked before when there were fewer people commenting here but at the moment it is getting excessive.

  76. 76
    David Kellogg says:

    vjtorley,

    In order to refute ID, you have to make a strong case that life could have emerged from non-living matter as a result of undirected natural processes (abiogenesis).

    Abiogenesis is certainly an interesting issue. I think talking about “refuting” ID, however, shifts the burden. ID is insufficiently established as a scientific proposition to need refutation.

  77. 77
    R. Martinez says:

    David Kellogg (#39): “Behe, Wells, and Kenyon all had previously existing (maybe in the case of Kenyon there was a conversion involved) religious commitments.”

    And Darwin, Dawkins, Gould and Mayr all had or have previously existing anti-religious commitments, so what is the point?

    Ray

  78. 78
    jerry says:

    madsen said,

    “Which beliefs are you referring to? I’m not taking any particular position on ID here. I’m just asking whether or not jerry’s logic is fair. It seems to be rigged in favor of the ID position.”

    How does it do that. Alternative explanations get as much chance or more than ID. What is missing is the complete exclusion of an ID point of view.

    Also your comment of the ID design of the flagella is a non serious comment. If someone can design and build the cell they would have no problem with the flagella.

    If you want anyone to respond to you in the future, make some serious comments. If you were a serious person you would ask different questions in a different manner. I haven’t got time to respond to all the nonsense that people make up.

  79. 79
    David Kellogg says:

    Ray, my point is made above, and repeated here:

    . . . in the larger picture, and granting a mix of motivations in everybody, evolution convinces most of those in a position to judge (that is, Ph.D. biologists) while ID (or creationism) convinces very few: and virtually all of those have previously existing religious commitments

    Lots of people with religious commitments favor evolution over ID, but who without such commitments favors ID over evolution?

    My point is that the evolution and ID have an asymmetrical relation to religion.

  80. 80
    jerry says:

    “ID is insufficiently established as a scientific proposition to need refutation.”

    What other nonsense. The alternative has no credibility and gets large amounts of financing. So we see bogus theories with no credibility reach a point where they do not need refutation and can lap up the money. Sounds like the stimulus bill. You just have to be on the right side of the money. This is Alice in Wonderland.

  81. 81
    R. Martinez says:

    Joseph (#51): “Yet the theory of evolution has and is being championed as ‘religion-neutral’.”

    This fact shows how brazenly dishonest that Darwinists are since evolution accepts the assumptions of Naturalism, which are, of course, pro-Atheism. This is why all Atheists are Darwinists.

    Darwinism is anti-religion but since most Darwinists are Christians the brazen misrepresentation becomes a necessity because it is logically inexplicable as to why and how Christians could accept pro-Atheism assumptions about reality. Logically, the acceptance is the evidence that these Christians are not Christians. The only thing left to explain is why they THINK that they are Christians while siding with the Atheism view of life and not the Bible?

    According to the Bible, Judas, an original Apostle, was under the direct control of Satan when he betrayed Christ to His face with a kiss.

    We have our explanation.

    Ray

  82. 82
    Arthur Smith says:

    Also your comment of the ID design of the flagella is a non serious comment. If someone can design and build the cell they would have no problem with the flagella.

    Jerry,

    Just a hint. Flagella is plural. It is one flagellum, two flagella. It might detract from the seriousness of your comments if you make such glaring spelling errors.

    In all seriousness
    Arthur

  83. 83
    R. Martinez says:

    David Kellogg (#77): “….evolution convinces most of those in a position to judge (that is, Ph.D. biologists)….

    And prior to 1859 there was not one practicing biologist in England who was an evolutionist—not even one.

    Darwin was in the closet until 1858-59.

    Hooker was a Creationist.

    Huxley was a saltationist.

    Lyell was a Creationist.

    All nine great scientific authorities that Darwin mentions on page 310 of the “Origin” were anti-transmutationists, Creationists, species immutabilists.

    You point out that the vast majority of biologists today are evolutionists. But all polls and surveys show that half of all adults in the U.S. are Creationists, IDists or anti-evolutionists. This mass of persons says evolutionary biologists are liars since the evidence supports Creationism-ID.

    “Lots of people with religious commitments favor evolution over ID, but who without such commitments favors ID over evolution?”

    Comment isolates the fact that ALL Atheists are evolutionists.

    The only thing left to explain is why “Christian” evolutionists think they are Christians?

    I have answered this question in (msg.#79)

    Ray

  84. 84
    madsen says:

    madsen said,

    “Which beliefs are you referring to? I’m not taking any particular position on ID here. I’m just asking whether or not jerry’s logic is fair. It seems to be rigged in favor of the ID position.”

    How does it do that. Alternative explanations get as much chance or more than ID. What is missing is the complete exclusion of an ID point of view.

    I think you’ve misinterpreted my posts. Or perhaps I was unclear. Let me try again: Say we are debating the origin of structure X (cells, flagella, whatever). Suppose I take position A, which is that structure X arose through naturalistic processes. You then take position ~A (not A), which is that structure X was designed by some intelligent agent. We know the statement A?~A is true of course.

    Now let’s consider the evidence that has actually been presented to support statements A and ~A. AFAIK, although some results have been presented in favor of A (in the case of flagella), it has not yet been confirmed with any degree of certainty. If A is true, exactly how it happened is still a puzzle.

    On the other hand, no one on the ID side has even attempted to provide analogous evidence for ~A, for any structure. I have never heard any discussion concerning the identity of the intelligent designer, how and when he carried out the designing process, how the design was actually implemented, etc. To summarize:

    # papers explaining (completely) how structure X (flagella, e.g.) arose naturalistically: 0

    # papers explaining how an intelligent agent created structure X (flagella, or anything else for that matter): 0

    You claimed in post #3 that the lack of results from the naturalistic program supports ID. Why doesn’t the opposite conclusion also hold: The even more pronounced lack of results concerning the designer and his methods constitutes evidence in favor of a naturalistic origin.

    Of course the real answer is that neither conclusion follows and the reasoning you laid out in post #3 is not sound.

  85. 85
    madsen says:

    Oops–the expression in the last sentence of my first paragraph should be not be “A?~A” but rather “A wedge ~A” (A or not A). Somehow the wedge got changed to a question mark.

  86. 86
    jerry says:

    “Just a hint. Flagella is plural. It is one flagellum, two flagella. It might detract from the seriousness of your comments if you make such glaring spelling errors.

    In all seriousness
    Arthur”

    An interesting comment. It says more about the person than any comment we could make. Arthur, keep up the good work, these kind of posts help us show that those who object to ID are capable only of trivia.

    Thank you.

  87. 87
    Paul Giem says:

    It is true that Gil’s post, by itself, is an inadequate argument. One cannot establish ID merely by arguing against unguided evolution.

    What is often forgotten in the discussion, however, especially by those who get their arguments from the TO/PT echo chamber, is that there is in fact evidence for design. The evidence may eventually prove to be misleading, but it is in fact positive evidence for design. As George Gaylord Simpson said,

    A telescope, a telephone, or a typewriter is a complex mechanism serving a particular function. Obviously, its manufacturer had a purpose in mind, and the machine was designed and built in order to serve that purpose. An eye, an ear, or a hand is also a complex mechanism serving a particular function. It, too, looks as if it had been made for a purpose. This appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature.

    This appearance of purpose is so strong that, as Francis Crick said,

    Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.

    Richard Dawkins agrees with the premise that the appearance of design is overwhelming. As he said in The Blind Watchmaker,

    Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.

    This quote should be read in its original context, where Dawkins waxes rhapsodic about the appearance of design in nature, all the while denying that this appearance gives any clue to the reality.

    The reason he gives for this denial that the appearance is indicative of reality is that we can in fact reasonably explain the appearance without recourse to actual design. It is not unfair to note, therefore, that if Dawkins is wrong about this, that if we cannot reasonably explain the appearance of design without recourse to actual design, then Dawkins’ argument collapses, and the appearance of design should be recognized for what it would then be, prima facie evidence for design.

    Given this context, GilDodgen’s post is logically coherent, and if the specifics are argued (which I believe they can be), the case for ID becomes persuasive.

    The issue was discussed at some length at
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ed-murder/

  88. 88
    Seversky says:

    GilDodgen @ 10

    Arguments from incredulity are perfectly justified when a thesis is preposterous,…

    An argument from incredulity is not an argument at all, it is a tautology. In effect, you are saying that that you don’t believe something because it is unbelievable or you don’t believe it because you don’t believe it.

    Hard though it may be for those who need the comforting mythologies of religion to accept, the fact is that there is no evidence that the Universe is ordered according to our beliefs. The Sun did not orbit the Earth no matter how many people believed it did and no matter for how many centuries the belief persisted.

    Feeling justified in giving vent to your disbelief is neither here nor there. The Universe will go on being the way it is regardless of what GilDodgen or I or anyone else do or do not believe because frankly, my dear, it couldn’t give a damn.

  89. 89
    KRiS_Censored says:

    madsen @84

    I was waiting with bated breath to see what kind of reply your comment would get. It appears that silence is all that will be forthcoming. I’m guessing it won’t be long before we see the same kind of assertion yet again in spite of such a powerful challenge to its veracity.

  90. 90
    Joseph says:

    David Kellogg:

    I think talking about “refuting” ID, however, shifts the burden. ID is insufficiently established as a scientific proposition to need refutation.

    Then why are scientists trying to refute it?

    And exactly what do you know of science?

    Do you think that an accumulation of genetic accidents is sufficiently established?

    If so you have been duped.

  91. 91
    Joseph says:

    Seversky,

    The geocentric PoV was the SCIENTIFIC PoV for quite a long time.

  92. 92
    madsen says:

    KRiS_Censored #89,

    Thanks—it’s nice to hear someone read it. I now notice you made a similar point in post #37 earlier in the thread.

  93. 93
    DonaldM says:

    Madsen (#84) writes:

    # papers explaining (completely) how structure X (flagella, e.g.) arose naturalistically: 0

    # papers explaining how an intelligent agent created structure X (flagella, or anything else for that matter): 0

    You claimed in post #3 that the lack of results from the naturalistic program supports ID. Why doesn’t the opposite conclusion also hold: The even more pronounced lack of results concerning the designer and his methods constitutes evidence in favor of a naturalistic origin.

    And Kris in #89

    I was waiting with bated breath to see what kind of reply your comment would get. It appears that silence is all that will be forthcoming. I’m guessing it won’t be long before we see the same kind of assertion yet again in spite of such a powerful challenge to its veracity.

    What’s at stake here is whether or not absence of evidence [for chance and/or necessity] constitutes evidence of absence. (see my post #57 above) In that context comparing the number of papers published to explain a particular biological system is irrelevant to general question. We know that intelligence can produce systems that exhibit the feature of specified complexity. Can undirected natural causes acting through chance and/or necessity do the same thing? The systemic, global failure on the part of evolutionary biologists to construct a detailed explanation for complex biochemical systems through undirected chance and/or necessity thus negates that premise and provides confirmation for the alternative – intelligent design. That is Gil’s main point in the OP and it still stands.

    The reason the opposite doesn’t hold is because we already know that intelligence can produce systems that exhibit the feature in question: specified complexity. Even if we don’t know exactly how or under what circumstances this occured with respect to biological systems, the inference itself is not negated becuase we already know by experience of types of systems that intelligence is required. We simply do not know that with respect to undirected natural cause, nor do we have any actual evidence for that.

  94. 94
    Joseph says:

    If you start with 2 and you eliminate 1, what is left?

    The 1 not eliminated.

    But anyway it may be more correct to say that evidence against one strengthens the case for the other.

  95. 95
    mullerpr says:

    Hi Madsen:

    #84:
    “On the other hand, no one on the ID side has even attempted to provide analogous evidence for ~A, for any structure.”

    This discussion is not about independent evidence for you A and ~A. It is about pointing out the value that evidence or the lack of evidence for the opposing statement has for that statement.

    Enough has already been said to confirm the different kinds of value there is in the lack of evidence for “chance and necessity”. I will therefore do nothing more than to show you that your argument is misplaced and again I suppose that is why KRiS was so excited about it.

    Just to indulge you in this misplaced view you prefer to discuss, I can point you to the evidence that Michael Behe has been compiling for how long now. That is positive evidence that NOT-“chance and necessity” (i.e. ~A) is statistically the only valid explanation for the origin of various irreducible complex biological systems.

    Then it will help a lot if you could see that the growing number of studies exposing the complex biological structures that can only be described as irreducibly complex, is evidence for design regardless the assessments that dogmatically conclude that “a naturalistic explanation still has to be found”.

    The fact remains that naturalists can only scream at the top of their voices that “…naturalism is the only valid mechanism!”. If probability tells you that something is improbable to the extent that there is not enough probabilistic resources in this universe or a few fantasy multi-verses put together, concede the obvious… an agent that can design a specific outcome was at work.

    P.S. Demanding evidence for the nature and character of the designing agent is not a prerequisite for science. It has never been and placing it as a prerequisite will effectively stop science in its tracks, because we can only observe effects and hypothesize about causes.

  96. 96
    iconofid says:

    Donald MThe reason the opposite doesn’t hold is because we already know that intelligence can produce systems that exhibit the feature in question: specified complexity.

    Do you know of any examples in which “specified complexity” has been produced by intelligent designers who do not themselves require a greater degree of specified complexity than that which is evident in the designed machine?

    How can I.D. be an explanatory theory for the origin of specified complexity if specified complexity is a prerequisite of the theory’s proposed mechanism?

  97. 97
    Arthur Smith says:

    An interesting comment. It says more about the person than any comment we could make. Arthur, keep up the good work, these kind of posts help us show that those who object to ID are capable only of trivia.

    Thank you.

    Yes, I’m sorry, Jerry. My problem is I can’t take you seriously. Never mind, glad to be of help.

  98. 98
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    Do you know of any examples in which “specified complexity” has been produced by intelligent designers who do not themselves require a greater degree of specified complexity than that which is evident in the designed machine?

    How could we tell if the designer has more SC than that which was designed?

    Do you know of any specified complexity that has been produced by nature, operating freely?

    How can I.D. be an explanatory theory for the origin of specified complexity if specified complexity is a prerequisite of the theory’s proposed mechanism?

    ID is more of a frame-work from which to conduct the investigation.

    IOW first determine design or not and THEN study it in that light so that we may be able to answer the questions its existence brings.

  99. 99
    Joseph says:

    madsen:

    I have never heard any discussion concerning the identity of the intelligent designer, how and when he carried out the designing process, how the design was actually implemented, etc.

    For millionth time:

    In the absence of direct observation or designer input, the ONLY way to scientifically say anything about the designer(s), the process(es) and the implementation, IS BY STUDYING THE DESIGN IN QUESTION.

    As Wm Dembski clearly states in “No Free Lunch” those are SEPARATE questions. And the reasoning is sound.

    So until ID is accepted and therefor gets full funding and more researchers don’t expect it to have the answers.

    However given evolutionary biology’s access to funding and researchers their results are less than impressive.

  100. 100
    madsen says:

    Thanks for the responses, everyone. I’m up to my eyeballs in work today, so it will be a while before I can post many replies.

    Donald M #93:

    We know that intelligence can produce systems that exhibit the feature of specified complexity.

    Then I’d like to hear more about the nature of this hypothesized designer. Certainly humans can use their intelligence to create complex things. Can you, however, produce specific examples of complex systems created by non-human intelligent agents? If not, then I submit that this particular argument for ID also suffers from absence of evidence.

    Can undirected natural causes acting through chance and/or necessity do the same thing? The systemic, global failure on the part of evolutionary biologists to construct a detailed explanation for complex biochemical systems through undirected chance and/or necessity thus negates that premise and provides confirmation for the alternative – intelligent design.

    At the risk of repeating myself, couldn’t I make the same argument against ID by switching a few phrases in your question? Where is the detailed explanation for complex biochemical systems through design? In fact, in view of the fact that the properties and capabilities of the hypothesized designer haven’t even been laid out, it doesn’t seem possible to even address this question yet.

  101. 101
    KRiS_Censored says:

    Joseph @98

    Allow me to clarify iconofid’s statement for the IDists. The original claim upon which all of ID is based is the following:

    “In every directly observed instance where specified complexity is produced, it is always produced by an intelligent agent.”

    This is true. The logical inference is that specified complexity can only be produced by intelligence. According to IDists, only direct evidence to the contrary can legitimately refute such an inference. Anything less is considered a “just so story”, and is immediately tagged as invalid. Now, iconofids statement follows from exactly the same kind of inference. Namely:

    “In every directly observed instance where specified complexity is produced, the producer contains an even greater degree of specified complexity than that what is being produced.”

    This also is true. The logical inference is that specified complexity can only be produced by something more complex than what is being produced. Since it is exactly the same kind of logical inference made based on exactly the same kind of evidence, it should follow exactly the same rules for refutation. That is to say only direct evidence to the contrary is legitimate. Anything less is a “just so story” is must be considered invalid.

    That being the case, what direct evidence do you have that specified complexity is able to be produced by something less complex than what is being produced?

  102. 102
    Joseph says:

    Khan quoting iconofid:

    “In every directly observed instance where specified complexity is produced, the producer contains an even greater degree of specified complexity than that what is being produced.”

    This also is true.

    It is? Can you back that up?

    IOW did you measure the SC of the designer(s) and then the SC of the designed?

    IOW you don’t get to make an assertion and then call it true.

    What if the designer and the designed have the SAME SC?

    When you get around to measuring the SC in designers and their designs get back to me.

  103. 103
    Joseph says:

    Can you, however, produce specific examples of complex systems created by non-human intelligent agents?

    You mean besides living organisms?

    I would say the designer of living organisms is/ was a non-human.

  104. 104
    DonaldM says:

    Madsen

    At the risk of repeating myself, couldn’t I make the same argument against ID by switching a few phrases in your question?

    No, because we’re not starting from ground zero in both cases. With respect to intelligence, we already know by experience that intelligence can produce systems that exhibit specified complexity. We have no experience or evidence that undirected chance and/or necessity can. It does not matter whether at this point we know who or what that intelligence might be or how it produced the system in question.

    If you and I were travel to a planet in some galaxy far, far away and we knew we were the only earthlings to ever go there, and we discovered on this planet a functioning bulldozer like machine, we would both know that intelligence designed and produced it, even if we had no clue as to when, where, who or how. Why? Because we’d both know by experience that intelligence can produce specified complexity. But if you were to say, “Well, there’s no intelligence we know of out here, so chance and/or necessity might have done this just as well”, the burden of proof would be on you to show how chance and/or necessity could produce such a thing. At what point in trying to come up with such an explanation would the absence of evidence become evidence of absence? Would you continue to demand that I define the designers, their methods and processes before conceding that intelligence may after all be involved? I doubt it. Why? Because we’d both know that in inferring intelligent agency, we’re not starting from scratch, but from something we already know by experience. That is not the case with chance and/or necessity.

  105. 105
    KRiS_Censored says:

    It is? Can you back that up?

    Can you back up the fact that every instance of SC produced was by intelligence?

    IOW did you measure the intelligence of the designer(s)?

    IOW you don’t get to make an assertion and then call it true.

    When you get around to measuring the intelligence in designers get back to me.

  106. 106
    KRiS_Censored says:

    Correction:

    Can you back up the fact that every *observed* instance of SC produced was by intelligence?

  107. 107
    madsen says:

    DonaldM #104

    If you and I were travel to a planet in some galaxy far, far away and we knew we were the only earthlings to ever go there, and we discovered on this planet a functioning bulldozer like machine, we would both know that intelligence designed and produced it, even if we had no clue as to when, where, who or how. Why? Because we’d both know by experience that intelligence can produce specified complexity.

    Ok, in your hypothetical bulldozer scenario, I would of course conclude that it was built by some reasonably advanced civilization. I would not, however, conclude that it required the participation of some “Designer” with more power or intelligence than that of humans. Of course bulldozers don’t reproduce or evolve, so I don’t think this scenario says a great deal about the biological examples we are discussing.

  108. 108
    Joseph says:

    KRiS:

    Can you back up the fact that every instance of SC produced was by intelligence?

    I can back up the fact that every time we have observed SC and knew the cause it was always via agency involvement.

    We have made many such observations and on a daily basis.

    Can you back up the fact that every *observed* instance of SC produced was by intelligence?

    It’s called an INFERENCE for a reason.

    Science is a tentative “business”.

    Science goes by the knowledge we currently have.

    Science does not and cannot wait for what the future may or may not reveal.

    And yes the science of today is totally open to refutations from future observations.

    With that in mind, coupled with the fact that it matters to an investigation whether or not that which is being investigated arose via agency involvement or nature, operating freely, we trudge forward under the initial inference.

    IOW did you measure the intelligence of the designer(s)?

    How is it even relevant?

    Get back to me when you can explain why I have to know something about the designer BEFORE I can determine whether or not it was designed, ie SC is present?

  109. 109
    Joseph says:

    KRiS:

    Can you back up the fact that every instance of SC produced was by intelligence?

    I can back up the fact that every time we have observed SC and knew the cause it was always via agency involvement.

    We have made many such observations and on a daily basis.

    Can you back up the fact that every *observed* instance of SC produced was by intelligence?

    It’s called an INFERENCE for a reason.

    Science is a tentative “business”.

    Science goes by the knowledge we currently have.

    Science does not and cannot wait for what the future may or may not reveal.

    And yes the science of today is totally open to refutations from future observations.

    With that in mind, coupled with the fact that it matters to an investigation whether or not that which is being investigated arose via agency involvement or nature, operating freely.

    IOW did you measure the intelligence of the designer(s)?

    How is it even relevant?

    Get back to me when you can explain why I have to know something about the designer BEFORE I can determine whether or not it was designed.

  110. 110
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    Of course bulldozers don’t reproduce or evolve, so I don’t think this scenario says a great deal about the biological examples we are discussing.

    True biological are far more detailed and intricate than any bulldozer example could be.

    Reproduction- that is something you need to explain in the genetic accidents scenario.

    Never-mind the reproduction-

    Do you understand the transcription to translation process?

    And “evolution” is not being debated.

  111. 111
    madsen says:

    Joseph #110,

    True biological are far more detailed and intricate than any bulldozer example could be.

    And more to the point, no one is proposing that bulldozers arose through a naturalistic evolutionary process.

  112. 112
    KRiS_Censored says:

    I can back up the fact that every time we have observed SC and knew the cause it was always via agency involvement.

    I can similarly back up the fact that every time we have observed SC being produced, the producer has always been more complex than what was being produced. Feel free to reference any observation to the contrary.

    It’s called an INFERENCE for a reason.

    Science is a tentative “business”.

    Science goes by the knowledge we currently have.

    Science does not and cannot wait for what the future may or may not reveal.

    And yes the science of today is totally open to refutations from future observations.

    I agree wholeheartedly. This is true whether you’re referring to the existence of a designer, or to an attribute of the designer.

    Get back to me when you can explain why I have to know something about the designer BEFORE I can determine whether or not it was designed, ie SC is present?

    You don’t have to know something about the designer. The simple fact is that you do know something about the designer, whether you want to admit it or not. Yes, it’s tentative. Yes, it’s based solely on knowledge that we currently have. No, we do not and cannot wait for what the future may or may not reveal. And yes, it is totally open to refutations from future observations. This doesn’t change in any way the fact that this attribute can be inferred right now with what knowledge we currently have. The only way that you can refute this is to provide observable evidence that an intelligence can produce something more complex than itself.

  113. 113
    KRiS_Censored says:

    Ooo…missed this opportunity. Oh well, here goes:

    Get back to me when you can explain why I cannot know something about the designer BEFORE I can determine whether or not it was designed, ie SC is present?

  114. 114
    madsen says:

    Hi mullerpr #95,

    Just to indulge you in this misplaced view you prefer to discuss, I can point you to the evidence that Michael Behe has been compiling for how long now. That is positive evidence that NOT-”chance and necessity” (i.e. ~A) is statistically the only valid explanation for the origin of various irreducible complex biological systems.

    This could very well be the case, but it’s not what jerry was arguing in post #3, which is what I have a problem with.

  115. 115
    Joseph says:

    KRiS:
    Get back to me when you can explain why I cannot know something about the designer BEFORE I can determine whether or not it was designed, ie SC is present?

    I never saqid you cannot know something about the designer.

    However if you know something about THE designer then you are not trying to determine if it was designed or not.

    I can similarly back up the fact that every time we have observed SC being produced, the producer has always been more complex than what was being produced.

    You can?

    Do it.

  116. 116
    Joseph says:

    And more to the point, no one is proposing that bulldozers arose through a naturalistic evolutionary process.

    And why couldn’t they?

    What prevents naturalistic evolutionary processes from putting together a bulldozer?

  117. 117
    David Kellogg says:

    The dispute between KRiS_Censored and Joseph is predicated on the notion that specified complexity (and I suppose CSI) is a rigorously defined concept. It’s hard to know what to say if you think, as I do, that the notion is woolly and ill-defined.

  118. 118
    Joseph says:

    And just what exactly is rigorously defined in the theory of evolution?

    Species? Not yet and ever-changing to boot.

    That said I would bet SC/ CSI is more rigorously defined then anything the anti-ID position can muster.

  119. 119
    Joseph says:

    Ooops- “than” instead of “then”

  120. 120
    KRiS_Censored says:

    However if you know something about THE designer then you are not trying to determine if it was designed or not.

    Not necessarily. It’s known as a thought experiment, whereby you assume something to be true to test it’s logical veracity. I’m not saying that a designer definitely exists. I’m saying that if a designer does exists, then he must be more complex than what he has designed. Again, this is a logical inference of exactly the same kind that leads to the idea that there is a designer in the first place, subject to all of the same strengths and weaknesses of that type of inference.

    Do it.

    Okay. In the meantime, demonstrate to me that every observed instance of SC production was done by intelligence.

    I’ll start with the simple observation that biological systems are known to be vastly more complex than non-biological systems (please provide evidence to the contrary if you dispute this). That means that every time we’ve observed any biological agent producing non-biological SC by design, the producing agent has definitely been more complex then what was produced.

    Second, as for producing biological SC, I know of no case where any scientist has ever produced by design anything even approaching the complexity of another human. I similarly know of no other animal that has produced by design another biological or non-biological agent which approached it’s own level of complexity (again please provide evidence to the contrary if you dispute this). So for every observed case that I know of where biological agents have been produced, the producer has again been of greater complexity than what was produced.

    Finally we come to the option of a non-biological agent producing SC. I know of no directly observed instance of this ever occurring.

    As I stated twice above, please provide evidence to the contrary if you dispute any claim that I’ve made here. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for your own demonstration.

  121. 121
    madsen says:

    Joseph #116,

    And why couldn’t they?

    What prevents naturalistic evolutionary processes from putting together a bulldozer?

    I have never heard of bulldozers reproducing, mutating, being subject to natural selection, etc. That’s why my first reaction on seeing DonaldM’s hypothetical bulldozer would be to suspect it was manufactured by someone and not that it arose through evolution. If you can spell out a plausible bulldozer evolution scenario, I might reconsider.

  122. 122
    Joseph says:

    I will also add that if anyone demonstrated that the currently defined version of SC- whether or not one thinks it is rigorous enough- can arise via nature, operatiung freely, ID as it currently stands, would be refuted.

    So instead of whining about SC you would think that ID critics and anti-IDists should take what is there and set out to support THEIR claims by showing nature, operating freely can indeed acount for it.

    Reduce and simplify-

    Once something is reduced to matter, energy, chance and necessity the requirement for a designer vanishes.

  123. 123
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    I have never heard of bulldozers reproducing, mutating, being subject to natural selection, etc.

    That wasn’t my question.

    What prevents them from doing so?

    Ya see in the anti-ID scenario non-living matter somehow became able to mate, reproduce and become subject to selection, etc.

  124. 124
    Joseph says:

    However if you know something about THE designer then you are not trying to determine if it was designed or not.

    Not necessarily

    LoL! If you know something about the agency who designed it then you are not trying to determine whether or not it was designed.

    You already know it was.

    In the meantime, demonstrate to me that every observed instance of SC production was done by intelligence.

    As I have already said that is done every day.

    So on any given day the premise that SC requires a designer is tested.

    I’ll start with the simple observation that biological systems are known to be vastly more complex than non-biological systems (please provide evidence to the contrary if you dispute this).

    Which should tell you that if those non-biological systems required a designer then most likely biological systems did too.

    So what is your point?

    That is other than helping us confirm the design inference?

    Thanks

  125. 125
    iconofid says:

    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    Of course bulldozers don’t reproduce or evolve, so I don’t think this scenario says a great deal about the biological examples we are discussing.

    I’ve not mentioned bulldozers on this blog, Joseph. Wrong person, I guess.

    What I did ask further up the thread was whether anyone knew of a designed machine with specified complexity that hadn’t been designed by designers with even greater complexity.

    You asked a good question, which was how could I tell that the designer would have more SC than the designed machine.

    And indeed, how can we measure such things as how specified something is, and how complex something is? Isn’t that a problem in developing the design hypothesis into a theory?

    I’d argue that humans have more SC than their inventions on several grounds, one of which is that the inventions can’t invent themselves.

    If we managed to produce a robot that could design and build an airplane, we’d still be one step ahead, because the robot would have to be able to design another robot that could design and build an airplane in an attempt to equal us, but would automatically put us another step ahead in doing so.

    I think you also asked if I knew of an example of nature producing SC.

    My answer is yes, but as you probably regard life as being unnatural, an inevitable I.D. position, and one for which there’s no evidence, then you won’t accept the ones that come to mind.

    Incidentally, do viruses have SC? Do you think they require design?

    And are proviruses in the human genome that perform important functions designed? Do they have SC?

  126. 126
    DonaldM says:

    Madsen

    Ok, in your hypothetical bulldozer scenario, I would of course conclude that it was built by some reasonably advanced civilization. I would not, however, conclude that it required the participation of some “Designer” with more power or intelligence than that of humans. Of course bulldozers don’t reproduce or evolve, so I don’t think this scenario says a great deal about the biological examples we are discussing.

    Okay, so inferring actual design by an intelligent agency isn’t all that problematic. So, what level of specified complexity would you need to see to infer an intelligence greater than human? Would a complex biochemical system qualify, for example?

    The point, of course, is that with respect to Gil’s OP, and my thought experiment, we already know by experience that specified complexity requires intelligence to produce. We know of no case where unguided chance and/or necessity did so. With respect to certain biological systems, the absence of evidence is pervasive and systemic. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that it is also evidence of absence and that intelligence cause is involved—even if at this point don’t know who, what, or how that intelligence may have caused things to be.

    Gil’s main point in the OP still stands unrefuted!

  127. 127
    jerry says:

    “The dispute between KRiS_Censored and Joseph is predicated on the notion that specified complexity (and I suppose CSI) is a rigorously defined concept. It’s hard to know what to say if you think, as I do, that the notion is woolly and ill-defined.”

    The evolution debate is actually based on a related concept to CSI called Complex specified functional information or FSCI or FCSI. It is information that is complex and specifies something else that is functional.

    DNA is complex and specifies other biological elements that are also complex and functional. Similar processes are seen in language where words are used to specify other concepts that are functional and more explicitly in written language where letters, words, sentences etc specify concepts that have meaning and function. A second related example is computer programming where lines of code specify processes in a computer.

    The only place this is seen is in DNA and human activity. No where else in nature is such a phenomena present. So the argument goes, if intelligence can produce it and nature cannot then the origin of it in life, the example under investigation, is likely to be that intelligence created the DNA.

    Until nature can show the capability of producing FSCI, then the proposition that intelligence created it, is very likely. Never absolute but very likely.

    So the debate in evolution is not something that is wooly and ill-defined but clearly laid out.

  128. 128
    Joseph says:

    What I did ask further up the thread was whether anyone knew of a designed machine with specified complexity that hadn’t been designed by designers with even greater complexity.

    I don’t know of anything tat prevents it- that is something of X SC designing something with an SC of X + 1.

    I think you also asked if I knew of an example of nature producing SC.

    My answer is yes, but as you probably regard life as being unnatural, an inevitable I.D. position, and one for which there’s no evidence, then you won’t accept the ones that come to mind.

    It was nature, operating freely- and if you can then do so.

    But you had better be prepared to demonstrate that nature, operating freely did it.

    Incidentally, do viruses have SC? Do you think they require design?

    Can viruses be reduced to matter, energy, chance and necessity?

    I would say they were either designed or “evolved” from the design.

    And are proviruses in the human genome that perform important functions designed?

    proviruses yes, amateur viruses no. 🙂

    But anyway it would take some investigating to figure out exactly what was designed and what wasn’t.

    That is why science is needed- to help us figure that out.

  129. 129
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry [127], FCSI or FSCI (it can’t even decide!) is even more woolly than CSI. Its main proponent seems to be kairosfocus, whose writing is impenetrable.

    I’m not aware of the concept being used in the scientific literature. If I type FCSI in Google Scholar, I get “flavor changing scalar interactions” and other non-related terms. If I type FSCI, I get “freehand subcoronary implantation” and other terms.

    A Google Scholar search for

    “functional specified complex information”

    “functional complex specified information”

    “specified complex functional information”

    and

    “complex specified functional information”

    (all in quotes, so as to get the phrase as a term)

    yields 0 results in in every case.

  130. 130
    David Kellogg says:

    Further finding: a search for all four terms in Web of Science (the gold standard proprietary database) yields 32 results. None of these use the terms together, and none (from a the abstracts) is using an idea such as proposed by jerry.

    Searches for FCSI and FSCI were similarly unproductive.

    (By the way, a search for “complex specified information” yielded precisely one reference, an anti-ID paper by Robert Pennock.)

    Bottom line: if nobody in science uses your preferred term, it’s just your pet term.

  131. 131
    madsen says:

    Joseph,

    madsen,

    I have never heard of bulldozers reproducing, mutating, being subject to natural selection, etc.

    That wasn’t my question.

    What prevents them from doing so?

    Ya see in the anti-ID scenario non-living matter somehow became able to mate, reproduce and become subject to selection, etc.

    If you’re asking what is stopping bulldozers from suddenly coming to life and evolving, I think reproduction would be a major issue. By what mechanism would a bulldozer replicate itself?

    Abiogenesis is unsolved, of course, but I take it self-replication is perhaps not so problematic at the molecular level.

  132. 132
    Arthur Smith says:

    So is (Functional)Complex Specified Information something concrete, observable, measurable? How do you detect it? What units is it measured in?

  133. 133
    KRiS_Censored says:

    Joseph

    If you know something about the agency who designed it then you are not trying to determine whether or not it was designed.

    You already know it was.

    What I have inferred is information that is not specific to any designer, but is a general attribute of any designer, whether it be a human, an ant, or an extraterrestrial. This is true regardless of whether an ultimate designer actually exists. Here’s an example of what I mean. I know that every living thing that we’ve ever observed has been carbon based. There is a question of whether Big Foot exists. I can know that if he exists he’s almost certainly a carbon based life form. And I can know this without knowing whether he actually exists. Similarly, I can know that if an ultimate designer exists, s/he is almost certainly more complex than any living creature. And I can know this without knowing whether s/he actually exists.

    As I have already said that is done every day.

    Way to side step the challenge. But then it’s really not that surprising that you are quite unwilling to answer the same kinds of questions that you expect everyone else to answer.

    Which should tell you that if those non-biological systems required a designer then most likely biological systems did too.

    So what is your point?

    Another side step. My point in this particular case was simply to demonstrate that every observed case where SC is produced, the producer is more complex than the produced. What I provided was intended as no more or less than evidence for that claim. If you want to pretend that I was answering a different question so that you can claim that I’m supporting your position, feel free.

    I don’t know of anything tat prevents it- that is something of X SC designing something with an SC of X + 1.

    What direct evidence do you have that this is the case? If you have none, then this is a “just so story” and isn’t the least bit convincing.

    I really have to get some sleep, so I probably won’t post again until tomorrow. In the meantime, think about the fact that if you accept the logical inference that an intelligent designer must exist, then you must also accept the logical inference that he is more complex than anything that he designs (again, exact same type of evidence, exact same use of logic, exact same type of conclusion). Think about the consequences of that. Then by all means, feel free to prove it wrong, but remember, only direct evidence counts. Everything else is only a “just so story”.

  134. 134
  135. 135
    Arthur Smith says:

    BTW Joe,

    Did you see this article on the synthesis of an artificial ribosome?

  136. 136
  137. 137
    Arthur Smith says:

    The paper you cite (Trevors and Abel) mentions Functional Sequence Complexity (and Shannon information, a well understood and useful concept). Has this anything to do with complex specified information as used by, for example, Kariosfocus?

  138. 138
    David Kellogg says:

    Upright BiPed,

    “functional specified complexity”

    is what was offered You offered

    “functional sequence complexity.”

    If they are the same thing, you’ve got me: two papers by overlapping authors.

  139. 139
    iconofid says:

    Joseph: “It was nature, operating freely- and if you can then do so.

    But you had better be prepared to demonstrate that nature, operating freely did it.”

    How can anyone ever demonstrate that nature is operating freely? When invisible intelligent designers are being proposed, and the supernatural is being discussed, supernaturalists can always claim that the spirits had a hand in things.

    If geneticists identify a new gene that creates a new feature in an organism, thus increasing complexity in both the phenotype and the genotype, and having a specified function, meaning a natural increase in SC, who’s to say that the invisible designers haven’t been practising a bit of genetic modification?

    Bring the supernatural (something for which there’s no evidence) into play, and anyone can make up anything.

    So, old myths, like the evil spirits that were thought to be responsible for contagious diseases, can be brought back into play. Although we thought they were killed off by germ theory, and the evidence that supports it, who’s to say that the spirits don’t play a role in the design of pathogens and in guiding them towards their targets?

    We hear about the limits of evolution, but what limits are there on I.D.?

    I propose the succession of skulls in the fossil record ranging in size from close to those of other apes up to our own as very strong evidence for a natural increase in SC in the brains of our own lineage.

    But I can’t prove that the mysterious designers didn’t design all these, step by step, in order to make it look like natural evolution.

    In fact, if we do have invisible designers of life on this planet, that must be what they’re trying to do. Make it look natural!

    Proviruses with function, I mentioned, but you don’t know if they were designed or not.

    What about when we see systems with high SC used by pathogens to attack their hosts, and systems with high SC in the hosts which defend against them.

    Evolutionary theory explains the build up of opposing complex systems like this as an arms race.

    Would it be reasonable to suggest that I.D. requires two or more competing designers to explain such phenomena?

  140. 140
    Joseph says:

    Arthur,

    The link doesn’t work but I did read this article but not the paper.

    This is important:

    Fellow Michael Jewett extracted the bacteria’s natural ribosomes, broke them down into their constituent parts, removed the key ribosomal RNA, and then synthesized the ribosomal RNA anew from molecules.

    Why? The program that runs the “synthesized” ribosome is getting passed down from the “natural” ribosome.

    I touch on this in Biological information in 3 dimensions.

    However this is all good.

    Now what should be done- now or whenever- is to remove completely the use of “natural” ribosomes.

    IOW once one is synthesized from scratch and functions like the “natural” ribosomes, it would show that ribosomal function is reducible to its chemical make-up.

    That would neatly refute my premise that ribosomes are programmed/ require programming.

    But thank you very much.

    This is now getting to the heart of the matter- for me anyway.

    Reduce and simplify- that is the way to refute ID.

    And that can be done by slowly removing the involvement of living organisms.

    A good start this is…

  141. 141
    Joseph says:

    iconofid

    How can anyone ever demonstrate that nature is operating freely?

    By reducing and simplfying- peel back the onion.

    When invisible intelligent designers are being proposed, and the supernatural is being discussed, supernaturalists can always claim that the spirits had a hand in things.

    The designers of Stonehenge are invisible to us. So are most of the designers who didn’t leave behind anything more than the structure we are observing.

    What supernatural is being discussed?

    Do you realize that your position regresses back to the SAME point as does ID?

    If geneticists identify a new gene that creates a new feature in an organism, thus increasing complexity in both the phenotype and the genotype, and having a specified function, meaning a natural increase in SC, who’s to say that the invisible designers haven’t been practising a bit of genetic modification?

    When they do it can then be discussed.

    We pretty much have a grasp on what blind searches can do.

    If we see some feature that requires several mutations arise in a few generations then it could be a perfect example of Dr Spetner’s thesis.

    Evolutionary theory may “explain” a lot but very little can be demonstrated.

    We don’t know what makes us human so we don’t know if any amount of mutational accumulation can account for the evolution of humans from non-humans.

    IOW that “pattern” of fossils is all in your head- Shermer calls it “patternicity”.

  142. 142
    jerry says:

    FCSI or whatever we want to call it is the same thing as the Central Dogma as outlined by Francis Crick. It is the same idea just expressed in terms of information (the DNA) specifying functional entities (proteins and RNA polymers) through the transcription and then the translation process to create proteins.

    It is a simple concept easily understood when explained to people. As I said once, my niece in 4th grade thought it was a neat idea.

    If you want to criticize a simple idea like this, then go ahead. Those who are doing so are not acting smart and cannot be considered serious. Now I expect the return will be attempted jokes and put downs about the word serious or something else but those who do that say more about themselves than anything we could say. So have at the facetious comments or maybe attempt to address the substance some time.

    It is because you cannot address substance that we have the litany of irrelevant comments.

  143. 143
    B L Harville says:

    Jerry,
    Weeks ago I asked if someone could please post a demonstration of a meaningful calculation of “CSI”. By meaningful I mean something in the realm of genes not a toy example involving hands of cards. I was told by some moderator that such a demonstration was forthcoming. I’m still waiting. If “FCSI” is so easy to understand that your niece in fourth grade had no trouble with it perhaps you could do the demonstration?

  144. 144
    madsen says:

    DonaldM,

    Okay, so inferring actual design by an intelligent agency isn’t all that problematic. So, what level of specified complexity would you need to see to infer an intelligence greater than human? Would a complex biochemical system qualify, for example?

    A major part of why I concluded the bulldozer was designed was that I assumed it was built from scratch similarly to the way all bulldozers on earth are built—in a factory perhaps, by some advanced civilization.

    If instead of a bulldozer, we had seen what appeared to be an exotic animal, I wouldn’t have drawn any conclusions about design. That’s because in my experience, animals are not created in factories, but rather are the offspring of their parents. Animals may have been designed certainly, but nothing in my experience allows me to conclude that with any certainty.

    I would ask about this complex biochemical system you refer to—is it the offspring of other complex biochemical system(s), or is it the only such system of its kind that has existed?

  145. 145
    iconofid says:

    Joseph The designers of Stonehenge are invisible to us. So are most of the designers who didn’t leave behind anything more than the structure we are observing.

    The designers of Stonehenge left behind far more than the structures they built, things like their tombs, their bones and their tools.

    As always with intelligent designers, it’s easy to identify what creature they are, and what they leave behind tells us something about them.

    “When they do it can then be discussed.

    When? They have.

    IOW that “pattern” of fossils is all in your head- Shermer calls it “patternicity”.

    Assertions and pretty words do not an argument make. My fossils exist.

    But there’s overwhelming evidence that human beings make up invisible imaginary friends. Could your intelligent designers who design both sides of the biological arms race exist only in your head?

  146. 146
    Atom says:

    iconofid wrote:

    The designers of Stonehenge left behind far more than the structures they built, things like their tombs, their bones and their tools.

    As always with intelligent designers, it’s easy to identify what creature they are, and what they leave behind tells us something about them.

    What about designers that didn’t leave any traces behind as to who they were, such as whoever designed (unknown currently) the Paracas Candelabra? Must we pretend we don’t know whether or not it was designed until we can identify the Designer?

    Furthermore, even when you find bones from creatures who could have possibly designed something, how can you tell they were intelligent agents, rather than mere brute human-like apes who couldn’t have designed a thing if they wanted to? Face it, you infer the existence of intelligent designers (or designers in general) by their artifacts. Bones won’t tell you if they were intelligent or not; only their material culture will.

    Therefore, it must be possible to infer the existence of designing intelligences from artifacts alone.

    Atom

    PS See the multiple threads where this topic has been discussed, as well as the “Frequently Used Arguments” section.

  147. 147
    SaintMartinoftheFields says:

    This is very interesting. Gil you should contribute more often, you rock!

  148. 148
    iconofid says:

    Atom: What about designers that didn’t leave any traces behind as to who they were, such as whoever designed (unknown currently) the Paracas Candelabra? Must we pretend we don’t know whether or not it was designed until we can identify the Designer?

    Of course we can tell it’s designed. But we do know the creature that designed that, even when we can’t know the specific culture. We can recognise our own work, and we can do the same for things made by other animals.

    We can also be mistaken, and people in the past have mistaken things like the giants’ causeway in Ireland as having been designed. Then there were those canals on Mars!

    Furthermore, even when you find bones from creatures who could have possibly designed something, how can you tell they were intelligent agents, rather than mere brute human-like apes who couldn’t have designed a thing if they wanted to? Face it, you infer the existence of intelligent designers (or designers in general) by their artifacts. Bones won’t tell you if they were intelligent or not; only their material culture will.

    If they have skulls like ours, they’re intelligent. But I agree, we recognize our own designs.

    Joseph brought up Stonehenge for some reason when I mentioned invisible supernatural designers, saying that its designers are invisible to us.

    The designer of the Victorian house I’m in now fits the same category. I’ve no idea who he was, but I recognise the house as a human design.

    Therefore, it must be possible to infer the existence of designing intelligences from artifacts alone.

    It is possible. Certainly. And it is possible to be mistaken, but rarely with human stuff.

    But whether or not we can recognise human designs was not something I was discussing. I was asking if I.D.ers thought that the useful proviruses in our genomes were designed. They have “FCSI”.

    You’re an expert on recognising design. What do you think?

    And the other things I was asking about were the complex mechanisms that some parasites use to attack other organisms, and the complex defense mechanisms of the potential victims. Can you infer intelligent design when examining these, and if so, do you think that an intelligent design hypothesis of two competing designers is reasonable?

  149. 149
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry [142], it’s not a matter of your seriousness, it’s a matter of whether FCSI (or FSCI) is a recognized scientific concept. I have shown that the concept has literally no impact in science as measured by appearances in the scientific literature. A concept gets recognized in science by being used, and in no other manner. Put another way, science organizes around key terms and concepts. If scientists found it at all useful, it would show up in the literature. It doesn’t; therefore, they don’t. End of story.

    Now, your niece may be precocious, and you may have explained something interesting to her, but you haven’t taught her any real science. When I was in fourth grade, my friend Len and I wondered what’s outside the universe, and we decided it was God — God was outside the universe, holding it in his embrace. It may have been a mildly interesting way for 10 year olds to think about infinity God, but we weren’t going real philosophy or even real theology. In short, your neice’s ability to “get” your version of FSCI/FCSI has no bearing on its scientific status, which is nil.

    As Richard Bentley said of Alexander Pope’s translation of the Iliad,

    It is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but you must not call it Homer.

  150. 150
    jerry says:

    David Kellogg,

    The English language is an example of FSCI. Do you understand English? If you do then you should be able to understand FSCI. Your argument seems to be to mock or ridicule or nitpick or to snipe. Which indicates you have nothing else and the substance of evolution seems to be beyond most here. I explained to people what it was. Who cares if people don’t use the exact phraseology, they understand the concept. As I said the English language is an example and so is computer programming and so is DNA.

    Is this all you can do is pretend you don’t understand a simple concept? And then pretend it has no meaning. You are desperate.

    I suggest you go back to google and search for

    “functional sequence complexity”

    Our use of FCSI is a way of simplifying this concept so all can easily understand it which is why my niece picked it up quickly. Somehow the people here who are anti ID have a problem. FSCI sounds fairly complex but is really just what we say it is and distinguishes the information in DNA from other types of sequences. By the way some DNA may not be FSCI but a lot of it is. Just as some sequences of letters are not FSCI.

  151. 151
    sparc says:

    David Kellog @ 129

    jerry [127], FCSI or FSCI (it can’t even decide!) is even more woolly than CSI. […] I’m not aware of the concept being used in the scientific literature.

    Even UD regulars initially had problems grasping the advanced concept of FCSI that goes well beyond Dembski’s CSI. Since FCSI has been discussed in depth at UD ( here, here and here) and links to other FCSI discussions in the internet have been provided (see especially here) KF surely doesn’t have to match your pathetic level of detail, especially because FCSI is a newly emerging concept that has not received the attention it deserved by other ID theorists . Still, taking into account the warm welcome the concept of FCSI experienced at UD I am optimistic that Drs. Dembski and Behe will include it in future peer reviewed publications.

  152. 152
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry, I said the term had not been defined rigorously and that it was woolly. You respond that your 4th grade niece can understand and that the English langauge is FCSI. I’m afraid this does not answer the questio. Your niece may als means something very specific when she says a doll is “pretty,” and I may say the English language is “pretty” also. But “pretty” is nto a scientifically rigourous term.

  153. 153
    jerry says:

    “I’m afraid this does not answer the questio.”

    I am afraid it does. It is an easy to understand concept and if you have trouble with it, then it might explain the incoherence of many of your comments here.

    Let’s try again

    Information – DNA; letters, words, sentences; computer code

    complex – the inability to compress the information. Use your intuitive understanding of complex and it will do.

    specifies – designate something else that is independent of the information.

    functional – the thing designated or specified has a function.

    DNA is complex information that specifies a protein that has a function. There it is as simple as that.

    It is not wooly but is quite simple. If you can not understand this, then I suggest you find something else to criticize that is commensurate with your abilities.

  154. 154
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    The designers of Stonehenge left behind far more than the structures they built, things like their tombs, their bones and their tools.

    How do you know they are from the designers and noot the builders?

    How do you know whether or not those artifacts belonged to some people who just happened upon Stonehenge?

    You don’t.

    As always with intelligent designers, it’s easy to identify what creature they are,

    Only if you have some experience with them.

    and what they leave behind tells us something about them.

    It could. But in reality the best it can tell us is there was something other than nature, operating freely, at work.

    IOW that “pattern” of fossils is all in your head- Shermer calls it “patternicity”.

    My fossils exist.

    And the PATTERN they make is in your head.

    That means there isn’t any genetic evidence that shows the changes required are even possible.

    But there’s overwhelming evidence that human beings make up invisible imaginary friends.

    And imaginary invisble processes- like the processes involved in your scenario.

    Could your intelligent designers who design both sides of the biological arms race exist only in your head?

    Yes, that is a possibility.

    However to show that all YOU have to do is show that living organisms are reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    But you have failed to do so.

  155. 155
    Joseph says:

    David Kellogg:

    I said the term had not been defined rigorously and that it was woolly.

    Please give us an example of something from the anti-ID position that is rigorously defined and not wooly.

    That way we can compare.

    Or do you not want to expose your position for what it is?

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    I see the selectively hyperskeptical claim that FSCI is not recognised as a scientific concept is being raised here again.

    In fact, as the WAC and the glossary as above linked point out, this is that subset of complex specified information that is FUNCTIONALLY specified, and the idea originated in the 1970’s – 80’s with the OOL community of scientists, BEFORE there was an ID movement.

    Currently, Functional Sequence Complexity [FSC] is the formally, peer-reviewed, published version of the concept, and in 2007 Durston et al have published 35 measured values in that literature.

    But, inconvenient evidendce is always going to be dismissed by the selectively hyperskeptical, e.g. by claiming:

    [1] an obvious, plainly descriptive and easily exemplified term is not ‘clear’; and/or

    [2] what is in the peer-reviewed literature since 1973 over the name Orgel, and is now published to the extent of 35 measured values on the H-metric, is not scientifically grounded or accepted.

    That says a lot about what is really going on, but let’s move the ball forward.

    To do so, let us excerpt here the UD glossary item on FSCI:

    ____________________

    >>FSCI — “functionally specified complex information” (or, “function-specifying complex information” or — rarely — “functionally complex, specified information” [FCSI])) is a commonplace in engineered systems: complex functional entities that are based on specific target-zone configurations and operations of multiple parts with large configuration spaces equivalent to at least 500 – 1,000 bits; i.e. well beyond the Dembski-type universal probability bound.

    In the UD context, it is often seen as a descriptive term for a useful subset of CSI first identified by origin of life researchers in the 1970s – 80’s. As Thaxton et al summed up in their 1984 technical work that launched the design theory movement, The Mystery of Life’s Origin:

    “. . . “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as could might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity.” [TMLO (FTE, 1984), Ch 8, p. 130.]

    So, since in the cases of known origin such are invariably the result of design, it is confidently but provisionally inferred that FSCI is a reliable sign of intelligent design.>>

    –> Observe the originating context of CSI: molecular bio-function, and the explicit use of the term function in the context of CSI.

    –> Further observe the contrast: order, vs. organisation that manifests itself thusly: . . . “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts.
    ______________________

    Orgel, 1973, on specified complexity:

    >> Living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [ L.E. Orgel, 1973. The Origins of Life. New York: John Wiley, p. 189.] >>

    –> Observe, that the specification in view is by bio-function.

    _____________________

    Kindly explain to us what is [i] unclear, [ii] not frequently encountered and exemplified about this concept.

    Also, [iii] given the Orgel statement of 1973 — which identifies specified complexity in the context of bio-function — AND the work of Trevors, Abel, Chiu and Durston; what specifically is there about the FSCI descriptive term, the FSC concept, aqnd associated metrics (and published values) that are scientifically objectionable?

    [iv] WHY so?

    [NB: Since any digital data structure is reducible to a string type structure with some context, and since analogue information is digitisable, FSC and FSCI refer to essentially the same concept.]

    Unless cogent and clear answers are forthcoming on these and similar points, the objections we are seeing are simply selectively hyperskeptical manifestations. In fact, right now their best explanation on the preponderance of evidence — given that the WAC and glossary are easily accessible — is already: willful obtuseness and refusal to face or accept inconvenient facts.

    Mr Kellogg et al: please, please, help us overturn that sad conclusion.

    GEM of TKI

  157. 157
    Joseph says:

    Kellogg sez:

    If scientists found it at all useful, it would show up in the literature

    Are you talking about those atheistic scientists with an agenda?

    You know those scientists who now want to dispense with the word “design”?

    The people who will do ANYTHING to keep their place in the world?

    Yeah what they do counts for nothing- that is until they can find some actual data that supports their claims.

  158. 158
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    The designer of the Victorian house I’m in now fits the same category. I’ve no idea who he was, but I recognise the house as a human design.

    The designer(s) of living organisms also fit that category.

    We have no idea who it/ they was/ were but I recognize living organisms as being designed, information-rich systems.

  159. 159
    DonaldM says:

    Madsen

    If instead of a bulldozer, we had seen what appeared to be an exotic animal, I wouldn’t have drawn any conclusions about design. That’s because in my experience, animals are not created in factories, but rather are the offspring of their parents. Animals may have been designed certainly, but nothing in my experience allows me to conclude that with any certainty.

    You seem to be suggesting here that if something is actually designed it comes from a factory. If something as complex as a bulldozer requires intelligent design why assume that something far more complex — a living organism — doesn’t require any design at all? The fact that organisms are offspring of their parents is really irrelevant. In a sense bulldozers are the “offspring” of the factories that produce them and those factories were in turn designed to produce them. The point is that any system that produces specified complexity is itself the result of intelligent design. We have no experience whatsoever that unguided chance and/or necessity can produce such a system. That applies to biological systems as well.

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    PS:

    WAC item 28 on FSCI:

    _____________________

    28] What about FSCI [Functionally Specific, Complex Information] ? Isn’t it just a “pet idea” of some dubious commenters at UD?

    Not at all. FSCI — Functionally Specific, Complex Information or Function-Specifying Complex Information (occasionally FCSI: Functionally Complex, Specified Information) – is a descriptive summary of the particular subset of CSI identified by several prominent origins of life [OOL] researchers in the 1970’s – 80’s. For at that time, the leading researchers on OOL sought to understand the differences between (a) the highly informational, highly contingent functional macromolecules of life and (b) crystals formed through forces of mechanical necessity, or (c) random polymer strings. In short, FSCI is a descriptive summary of a categorization that emerged as pre-ID movement OOL researchers struggled to understand the difference between crystals, random polymers and informational macromolecules.

    Indeed, by 1984, Thaxton, Bradley and Olson, writing in the technical level book that launched modern design theory, The Mystery of Life’s Origin [Download here], in Chapter 8, could summarize from two key origin of life [OOL] researchers as follows:

    Yockey [7] and Wickens [5] develop the same distinction [as Orgel], explaining that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity. In short, the redundant order of crystals cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future. [TMLO, (Dallas, TX: Lewis and Stanley reprint), 1992, erratum insert, p. 130. Emphases added.]

    The source of the abbreviation FSCI should thus be obvious – and it is one thing to airily dismiss blog commenters; it is another thing entirely to have to squarely face the result of the work of men like Orgel, Yockey and Wickens as they pursued serious studies on the origin of life. But also, while the cluster of concepts came up in origin of life studies, these same ideas are very familiar in engineering: engineering designs are all about stipulating functionally specific, complex information. Indeed, FSCI is a hallmark of engineered or designed systems.

    So, FSCI is actually a functionally specified subset of CSI, i.e. the relevant specification is connected to the presence of a contingent function due to interacting parts that work together in a specified context per requirements of a system, interface, object or process. For practical purposes, once an aspect of a system, process or object of interest has at least 500 – 1,000 bits or the equivalent of information storing capacity, and uses that capacity to specify a function that can be disrupted by moderate perturbations, then it manifests FSCI, thus CSI. This also leads to a simple metric for FSCI, the functionally specified bit; as with those that are used to display this text on your PC screen. (For instance, where such a screen has 800 x 600 pixels of 24 bits, that requires 11.52 million functionally specified bits. This is well above the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold.)

    On massive evidence, such cases are reliably the product of intelligent design, once we independently know the causal story. So, we are entitled to (provisionally of course; as per usual with scientific work) induce that FSCI is a reliable, empirically observable sign of design.

    ____________________________

    Just what about this is — on reasonable grounds — unclear, non-rigorous, not quantitiative, and useless or confusing, and precisely why?

  161. 161
    jerry says:

    kairosfocus,

    The anti ID people here are not here to engage in a conversation. They have nothing to offer and are not hear to listen to our point of view. They can not defend the part of evolutionary theory that we challenge which is telling and so they must take another tact. To them it is a game, a joust, a disruption.

    The amazing thing is they believe something they cannot defend but make farcical, frivolous, irrelevant, childish remarks. You could find probably 50 more adjectives to describe the behavior. Trying to reason with them is useless. They will go back to their dens and joke about how they are disrupting things here and feel proud about themselves. For that is their objective.

    The sad thing is that some of these people are in their mid 40’s to 60 years old and this is what they find useful with their lives. This is their self image. So I think a special pleading with them is just what they want. They want to distract and demean people here not converse with them.

  162. 162
    iconofid says:

    Jerry:

    [cite]”The English language is an example of FSCI.”[/cite]

    That’s interesting. It certainly seems to contain functionally specific complex information. Who designed the Saxon and Norman invasions of England, I wonder?

  163. 163
    tribune7 says:

    To them it is a game . . .

    Jerry, I disagree. It’s not a game, but a religion with internal inconsistencies that don’t stand up to reason, and that’s why we get the irrational (and quite anti-intellectual) responses to our arguments.

  164. 164
    jerry says:

    “Animals may have been designed certainly, but nothing in my experience allows me to conclude that with any certainty.”

    To clear a point about ID. There is no declaration by ID that anything is absolute. Only that certain things are probable and other things are highly probable and other things are of very low probability. ID always holds out the possibility of a naturalistic cause for any specific phenomenon but will continually point out that no cause has ever been found for the issues under debate or that there are physical obstacles to many naturalistic processes claimed to be operating in the evolution of life.

    So there is no claim that is absolute. The only absolute claim in this debate is the one proffered by the Darwinists that no intelligence was involved or even possible in the creation of life or any of its evolution.

  165. 165
    madsen says:

    DonaldM,

    You seem to be suggesting here that if something is actually designed it comes from a factory. If something as complex as a bulldozer requires intelligent design why assume that something far more complex — a living organism — doesn’t require any design at all? The fact that organisms are offspring of their parents is really irrelevant. In a sense bulldozers are the “offspring” of the factories that produce them and those factories were in turn designed to produce them. The point is that any system that produces specified complexity is itself the result of intelligent design. We have no experience whatsoever that unguided chance and/or necessity can produce such a system. That applies to biological systems as well.

    My only assumption here is what I’ve actually observed: Things such as bulldozers, 747s, skyscrapers, etc., are built from scratch by humans, and are therefore designed. If you present me with one of these machines or structures, I would likely be able to trace back its history, determine its manufacturer, and probably discover the engineers or architects who did the designing.

    Plants and animals, on the other hand, are not built by humans. They might have been designed, but if I take one particular animal, say a bird, and try to pin down the point in time in which the designing occurred, I get stuck. The bird was not built from scratch. It is the offspring of its parents. There is no justification for concluding any designing was done by the bird’s parents. We can follow the bird’s ancestors back generation after generation, and I simply cannot locate a point in time where the designing happened. So, unlike in the bulldozer example, I can’t make a case for design with the bird.

    You say that we have no experience that unguided chance and necessity can produce biological systems such as the bird, but that is exactly what is at issue here. I claim that you haven’t ruled out birds as a counterexample.

  166. 166
    jerry says:

    birds are a bad example as an icon for a naturalistic process. The have a unique oxygen delivery system not found in any other species. An oxygen delivery system unbelievably appropriate for flight. It is not something that a species could slowly adapt into or one that could suddenly pop up from large changes to the genome and be exapted.

    “I claim that you haven’t ruled out birds as a counterexample.”

    Again an absolute is being claimed for ID when ID does not make any such claims. Also ID says nothing about when design took place, how often it took place and who did the designing. There are some speculations on when, origin of life and the Cambrian, but more confident predictions will only come when many more genomes are mapped and analyzed and understood.

    If birds were designed specifically, then it would have been much later. Again their oxygen delivery system will be key in what claims are made about birds.

  167. 167
    kairosfocus says:

    ICON:

    Try this one:

    1] A contextually responsive ASCII, English text string

    2] Of at least 143 7-bit characters [i.e. 1,000+ bits]

    3] Constitutes FSCI as a simple and common example, where

    4] In every observed test case, case such a string is the product of design, and

    5] this among other cases allows us to make the strong induction that such FSCI is a reliable sign of intelligence.

    6] Which is subject to empirical test and dis-confirmation by instantiation of counterexample.

    7] but, since we know this and such is simply not forthcoming [including, Weasel is a circular argument]

    8] FSCI is a reliable and successfully tested sign of intelligence.

    Selective hyperskepticism game over, get over it.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: if you doubt me, show me a case where for instance this post (862 characters) can be reasonably and credibly deemed the product of lucky noise, not design.

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry:

    I fear you are right.

    But I have given the specific challenge: put up, or stand exposed as part of the problem that is tearing our civilisation apart; and thus part of why not just ID science is needed but an ID movement as part of a wider reform pushback on the runaway destruction of our civilisation.

    And, I think that we are dealing with people who do not seem to understand the fire they are playing with, if they succeed more and more in wrecking the foundations of our civlisation.

    Do you wield a wrecking ball on the house you are inside of? Why or why not?

    Do you saw off the branch on which you sit? Why or why not?

    GEM of TKI

  169. 169
    madsen says:

    jerry,

    birds are a bad example as an icon for a naturalistic process. The have a unique oxygen delivery system not found in any other species. An oxygen delivery system unbelievably appropriate for flight. It is not something that a species could slowly adapt into or one that could suddenly pop up from large changes to the genome and be exapted.

    I’ll leave the matter of whether the oxygen delivery system could have developed gradually to biologists. I brought up the bird example in the context of DonaldM’s bulldozer scenario. I’m simply saying that the logic used (by me, anyway) to conclude the bulldozer was designed doesn’t work when applied to birds.

    “I claim that you haven’t ruled out birds as a counterexample.”

    Again an absolute is being claimed for ID when ID does not make any such claims.

    I’m not saying anything about ID itself making absolute claims. My point was in response to this statement of DonaldM’s:

    We have no experience whatsoever that unguided chance and/or necessity can produce such a system. That applies to biological systems as well.

    I’m not satisfied that his bulldozer thought experiment rules out the possibility that birds have arisen through naturalistic processes.

  170. 170
    iconofid says:

    The designer(s) of living organisms also fit that category.

    We have no idea who it/ they was/ were but I recognize living organisms as being designed, information-rich systems.

    No, they don’t. I’ve identified the designer(s) of this house as human.

    And, according to your own arguments, information rich systems do not require intelligent design. Intelligent designers are, by their nature, information rich and full of FSCI. FSCI cannot be a prerequisite for its own existence.

    That’s not an argument against the intelligent design of life. I’m merely pointing out that FSCI based arguments cannot possibly support it.

    I fully support the notion that what you describe as FSCI can exist without requiring a designer, and therefore, your mysterious designers could exist.

  171. 171
    Khan says:

    jerry,

    The have a unique oxygen delivery system not found in any other species. An oxygen delivery system unbelievably appropriate for flight.

    un, except that it is found in flightless theropods as well?

    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0003303

  172. 172
    iconofid says:

    kairosfocus:

    “ICON:

    Try this one:”….

    kairo, in the post you’re replying to, I said that the English language certainly seems to contain FSCI as you guys describe it.

    I like FSCI. I see it in the human provirus that produces syncytin, for example. So, I’m wondering whether I.D. people see this as something designed. As you can guess, I don’t.

    FSCI is a reliable and successfully tested sign of intelligence.

    So, test it on functional proviruses, and assess the likelihood of an intelligent design origin for them.

    Selective hyperskepticism game over, get over it.

    You’re skeptical of natural explanations for natural phenomena, and I’m skeptical of supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.

    Were both skeptics, and the game is certainly not over.

    Do you agree with me that intelligence cannot exist without FSCI, and that FSCI can exist without intelligent design. FSCI cannot be a prerequisite for its own existence.

  173. 173
    jerry says:

    khan,

    Thank you for the article. Except your conclusion and their conclusion is not quite the same. I think they found evidence that parts of such a system may have been in this fossil. It certainly supports that such a system could have been there but it is not conclusive.

    I am certainly not one to have a definitive opinion on what has been found. I am just reading the conclusion and the previous paragraph.

    “In sum, although we may never be able to sort out the most important factors behind the origin and evolution of the unique avian pulmonary system, discoveries such as Aerosteon provide clues that help to constrain the timing and circumstances when many of the fundamental features of avian respiration arose.”

    Maybe someone more familiar with bird anatomy and the crux of these findings could comment. The article has a good description of the avian pulmonary system.

  174. 174
    Khan says:

    jerry,
    of course it’s not conclusive. it is the fossil record. and perhaps i was a bit too glib in saying that the same system was in place. but it certainly argues against your proposition that “it is not something that a species could slowly adapt into or one that could suddenly pop up from large changes to the genome and be exapted.”
    this shows evidence that noncervical air sacs, which are responsible for unidirectional air flow in birds, were present in their dinosaur ancestors. whether they served the exact same function is beside the point- these features are not unique to birds and could easily have been exapted from dinosaurs. the latter is actually extremely likely since theropods are the direct ancestors of birds. in other words, this is good evidence that what you say couldn’t happen easily could.

  175. 175
    DonaldM says:

    Madsen

    Plants and animals, on the other hand, are not built by humans. They might have been designed, but if I take one particular animal, say a bird, and try to pin down the point in time in which the designing occurred, I get stuck.

    Forgive me, but this appears to be just grasping at straws. It is irrelevant when, where, how, who or why the design occurred. In my thought experiment we took what we knew from experience here on earth – that bulldozers exhibit the feature of specified complexity at only intelligence can produce that feature — and applied to a similar looking machine on a far distant planet. In encountering the bulldozer the question of who made it or when was it made is irrelevant to the inference that it was, in fact, designed by an intelligence. Why? Because we already know by experience that every time we encounter something that exhibits the feature of specified complexity and where we know the causal history of that something, we find that intelligence is the cause.

    But somehow we get “stuck” when we encounter the very same feature in a biological system. Is this feature also caused by an intelligence or is it the result of unguided chance and/or necessity? We have no experience whatsoever of anything that exhibits the feature of specified complexity being the result of unguided chance and/or necessity, but plenty of experience with it being the result of intelligent design.

    Gil’s point in the OP still stands unrefuted. There is a complete absence of evidence that unguided chance and/or necessity can account for specified complexity and it is pervasive and systemic. It is also evidence of absence and design is thus confirmed as the better alternative, even if we don’t know who, what, when, where, why or how.
    That is the point.

  176. 176
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry, I have found the attempts to justify the rigor of FCSI (and variants) interesting so long as they avoid the ad hominem to which they’ve tended. There’s no need to insult me. The only thing I’ve insulted is kairosfocus’s writing style.

    Back to the issue. As sparc [151] points out, “Even UD regulars initially had problems grasping the advanced concept of FCSI.” So what jerry’s 4th grade niece finds easy was difficult for some. Possibly the most amusing moment in that discussion comes from bFast, whose first sentence agrees with my main point. bFast writes:

    FSCI is a term that doesn’t have very wide acceptance. However, the concept has been on the table for a long time. The concept of CSI is a foundational concept of the ID movement. The CSI that is of particular note is the “functional” subset. I think that the term FSCI clarifies the issue, however the issue has been clearly defined for a long time prior to the GEM’s clarifying terminology.

    So: a “clearly defined” issue was “clarified” by the “clarifying terminology” of GEM (kairosfocus).

    A rule of thumb in technical writing is that if you have to say that something is clear, it’s probably not.

    I’m willing to accept that FCSI (or its scrambled variants) has a more or less stable meaning. However, it seems more to be a philosophical than a scientific term; in any event, the scientific community has utterly ignored it.

    (As to the book The Mystery of Life’s Origin, that has indeed been cited, but almost entirely by creationists and IDists. Its influence is highly constrained and scientifically negligible.)

  177. 177
    iconofid says:

    DonaldM:

    Because we already know by experience that every time we encounter something that exhibits the feature of specified complexity and where we know the causal history of that something, we find that intelligence is the cause.

    And we already know by experience that every time we encounter something that exhibits the feature of specified complexity and where we know the causal history of that something, the intelligence that caused it has specified complexity for which we don’t know the cause.

    The argument that specified complexity has its origins in intelligence automatically falls apart, because all intelligent designers, by definition, require it.

    Gil’s point in the OP still stands unrefuted. There is a complete absence of evidence that unguided chance and/or necessity can account for specified complexity and it is pervasive and systemic.

    Yet no-one answers my questions about functional proviruses. Is their FSCI chance or design?

    And I repeat, for the umpteenth time, FSCI cannot be a prerequisite for its own existence. That obvious point refutes Gil’s.

  178. 178
    kairosfocus says:

    ICON;

    First, please read here from my always linked.

    Second, exactly no-one has said or implied that instantiations of functionally specific complex information in contingent beings (those that are not necessary beings) are self-caused. So, kindly refrain from a strawman argument.

    Instead, we have observed the reliable causal history of sufficient cases of FSCI, and are sufficiently aware of the search space challenges of finding islands of function in large state spaces to infer that design for good reason is a better, EMPIRICALLY WARRANTED explanation than chance for the contingency + specified function. (Forces of mechanical necessity produce reliable regularities, so they do not account for high contingency, i.e. large config spaces.)

    I observe, too, that you are not posing an empirical counter-instance to the example I posed — a contextually responsive text in English — of any consequence, but are resorting to cases where the cause is not directly known, and/or are trying to play around with contingent/ necessary being issue without sufficient care to see that we are talking of caused entities, not absurd self-causing ones.

    Similarly, we are not resorting to infinite regresses of causes, we are simply pointing out that on massive observation FSCI comes from intelligence, so if we see it in a case of otherwise unknown cause, it is reasonable to infer to intelligent cause, not undirected stochastic contingency, aka lucky noise.

    Here, finally, is my comment on bio- viri and the cell’s DNA- RNA- Ribosome- enzyme- Protein system: Viri are the bioworld equivalent of trojan horses that hijack the cell’s nanotech computer, reprogramming it for a destructive purpose.

    But that carries the implication that we have stumbled on — not Paley’s watch in a field — but instead a COMPUTER, complete with codes and associated instructional and data structure/markup languages, digital data, algorithms, alterable programs and implementing machinery, in the heart of life forms.

    Computers are both irreducibly complex and functionally specific and complex information machines. In cases of our observation, such come from intelligences.

    So, we have good reason to infer to design of the entity that has these computers in them. (Complete with the equivalent of today’s malware epidemic running around. There is a REASON we talk of computer viruses!)

    GEM of TKI

  179. 179
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: We tend to have an off-line life, so please remember that a lot of things around UD proceed from day to day, not moment to moment. (For instance I have been with two sets of clients, have been to the local public library, and have done several family chores plus communicated directly with people in three other islands so far today, plus putting up significant materials on an online education project I am working on; all since my previous comment here. And more has to be done, on several fronts.)

  180. 180
    Arthur Smith says:

    Kariofocus,

    Absolutely. How do things stand with the volcano now? Any possibility that the forbidden zone will be reduced?

    Upthread is a question you may have overlooked.

  181. 181
    Arthur Smith says:

    So is (Functional)Complex Specified Information something concrete, observable, measurable? How do you detect it? What units is it measured in?

    (Sorry about broken link)

  182. 182
    jerry says:

    “I’m willing to accept that FCSI (or its scrambled variants) has a more or less stable meaning. However, it seems more to be a philosophical than a scientific term; in any event, the scientific community has utterly ignored it.”

    Utterly wrong. You were told what to google for.

  183. 183
    iconofid says:

    kairosfocus: Instead, we have observed the reliable causal history of sufficient cases of FSCI, and are sufficiently aware of the search space challenges of finding islands of function in large state spaces to infer that design for good reason is a better, EMPIRICALLY WARRANTED explanation than chance for the contingency + specified function. (Forces of mechanical necessity produce reliable regularities, so they do not account for high contingency, i.e. large config spaces.)

    Effectively, kairo, and without all the elaborate phrases, what you’re saying is that the I.D. explanation of the origins of FSCI is….wait for it….FSCI.

    Is this going to give I.D. a great reputation as a theory with explanatory power?

    My point that FSCI cannot be a prerequisite for its own existence means:

    (a) That FSCI could exist in life without a designer.

    (b) That intelligent designers of life could exist without requiring intelligent designers.

    It’s not a point intended to prove life without design, merely that information based arguments do not support I.D. because of their built in contradictions.

    I’ll have a look at your link.

  184. 184
    Arthur Smith says:

    Jerry, great to hear from you.

    So is (Functional)Complex Specified Information something concrete, observable, measurable? How do you detect it? What units is it measured in?

  185. 185
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry [182],

    Utterly wrong. You were told what to google for.

    Wha??? I was told what to google for? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    I mentioned earlier that a different FSC (in which the s) stands for “sequence” was cited in two papers by the same authors. That’s not really mcuh of a blip. What was I told to google for, and how does that change my conclusions?

  186. 186
    jerry says:

    Arthur,

    Take a basic biology course and look for the transcription and translation process.

  187. 187
    madsen says:

    DonaldM,

    Forgive me, but this appears to be just grasping at straws. It is irrelevant when, where, how, who or why the design occurred.

    In the case of the bulldozer example, it is entirely relevant to consider over what time period and how it was constructed, however. I take your point that the time at which it was designed is unimportant.

    As the bulldozer was clearly constructed from scratch in one step or generation, the only alternative to design is a tornado in a junkyard scenario, which is virtually impossible.

    On the other hand, a bird is the product of a millions-of-years long process. I am not forced to posit its origin in a single step. Why is it not possible that this bird belongs to a sequence of organisms in which this “specified complexity” you refer to increased over time, and that at some point in the distant past, its remote ancestor’s specified complexity was below whatever threshold you use for inferring design?

  188. 188
    kairosfocus says:

    Arthur:

    The alert level was just lowered, but area restrictions are still strong.

    Driving my wife back home, we observed ol smoky protesting the reduction, pluming away strongly for the first time in a while. I guess he did get into the locally made Volcano Rum stocks for the St Pat’s day after all.

    Oh well . . .

    GEM of TKI

  189. 189
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Re ICON, DK et al on FSCI. (I will simply note in passing, that DK in recent days has been a lot more ad hominemistic than he is willing to acknowledge above, and has used such to divert issues form the merits.)

    1 –> FSCI is “a simple description in a nutshell,” and it has several feasible metrics, the simplest of which is quite familiar: functionally specific bits (especially if more than 500 – 1,000 are present) — the same sort that are at work on your PC screen’s pixels. (As was a specific example in the WACs and Glossary as excerpted. [I begin to get the impression that some objectors are not reading what they object to . . . which would begin to sound like, sad to have to say, willful obtuseness ] )

    2 –> The second major example provided is contextually responsive English language ASCII text, of more than 143 characters. Again, functionally specific bits beyond a threshold where random walk searches will be maximally unlikely to be successful. All, as has been repeated ad nauseum here at UD; and just as routinely brushed aside in the haste to make immaterial dismissive claims, e.g. just now: we don”t like the writing style. (NB: in this sort of field, the rule of thumb is: expect to read unfamiliar technical material through three times to figure it out initially. More, if you have conceptual blocks because of worldview commitments that are being challenged. My always linked has a bit of a 101 on basics of info theory, with the H-metric explained, and tied to statistical thermodynamics. And yes, there is a conceptual link,as Harry Robertson nicely elaborates.)

    3 –> As has already been linked, the more technical form, FSC, has been explicated in technical details in the recent peer-reviewed literature, complete with a table of 35 published measurements. (Did the objectors even bother to simply click on the link to substantiate that his is a mere matter of brute fact (no need for any deep “understanding”)? Seems, not: which part of “table 1, in a peer-reviewed 2007 journal article by Durston et al, lists 35 measured values of functional sequence complexity for proteins and related molecules” do you not understand; why? [Cf. 156 above.] )

    4 –> As to the attempt to insist that FSCI is a matter of cirular argument, kindly note that empirical facts and their descriptive summary cannot be circular: FSCI is observable [cf examples as cited and linked], and its known source — per empirical observation — is equally a well- established fact.

    5 –> Inductive generalisation, likewise, is a standard move of scientific thought. In short, we are simply observing that like causes like: for empirical reasons and for reasons of isolation of islands of function in configuration spaces of sufficient complexity [1,000+ bits . . . ].

    _____________

    ICON, DK et al: Take the above five points; and see you in the morning to see if the selective hyperskepticism fever has broken the good way . . .

    (If it doesn’t, the prognosis — not just personal, but civilisational — is not good.)

    GEM of TKI

  190. 190
    jerry says:

    David,

    Here is a start

    Functional information and the emergence of biocomplexity
    “Hazen RM, Griffen PL, Carothers JM, Szostak JW (2007).
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104: 8574–8581.”

    Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling
    Kirk K Durston1 , David KY Chiu2 , David L Abel3 and Jack T Trevors, 2007
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/4/1/47

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information.
    Abel DL, Trevors JT:
    Theoretical biology & medical modelling 2005, 2:29.

    Molecular messages
    Szostaka, JW
    Nature (2003) 423:689.

    Functional proteins from a random sequence library
    Keefe, AD, Szostaka, JW
    Nature (2001) 410:715-718.

    The evolutionary origin of complex features.
    Lenski, Richard E.
    Ofria, Charles
    Pennock, Robert T.
    Adami, Christoph
    Source:
    Nature; 5/8/2003, Vol. 423 Issue 6936, p139-144,

    Information theory in molecular biology
    Christoph Adami
    Physics of Life Reviews 1 (2004) 3-22

    Information theory, evolution and the origin of life.
    Yockey HP:
    Information Sciences 2002, 141:219-225.

    The following is an excerpt from the Adami article.

    DNA is a code, and codes do not reveal information from sequence alone. Optimal codes, e.g., are such that the encoded sequences cannot be compressed any further (Cover and Thomas, 1991). While DNA is not optimal (there are some correlations between symbols along the sequence), it is nearly so. The same seems to hold true for proteins: a random protein would have log2 (20) = 4.32 bits of entropy per site (or 1 mer, the entropy of a random monomer introduced above), while the actual entropy is somewhat lower due to biases in the overall abundance (leucine is over three times as abundant as tyrosine, for example), and due to pair and triplet correlations. Depending on the data set used, the protein entropy per site is between 2.5 (Strait and Dewey, 1996) and 4.17 bits (Weiss et al., 2000), or between 0.6 and 0.97 mers. Indeed, it seems that protein sequences can only be compressed by about 1% (Weiss et al. 2000). This is a pretty good code! But this entropy per symbol only allows us to quantify our uncertainty about the sequence identity, but it will not reveal to us the function of the genes. If this is all that information theory could do, we would have to agree with the critics that information theory is nearly useless in molecular biology. Yet, I have promised that information theory is relevant, and I shall presently point out how. First of all, let us return to the concept of information. How should we decide whether or not potential information (a.k.a entropy) is in actuality information, i.e., whether it is shared with another variable?

    The key to information lies in its use to make predictions about other systems. Only in reference to another ensemble can entropy become information, i.e., be promoted from useless to useful, from potential to actual. Information therefore is clearly not stored within a sequence, but rather in the correlations between the sequence and what it describes, or what it corresponds to. What do biomolecular sequences correspond to? What is the meaning of a genomic sequence, what information does it represent? This depends, quite naturally, on what environment the sequence is to be interpreted within. According to the arguments advanced here, no sequence has an intrinsic meaning, but only a relative (or conditional) one with respect to an environment.

  191. 191
    jerry says:

    The preceding comment got killed because the system had logged me off and most of it was saved in a text program. The references above relate to what we call FSCI or information that is complex and specifies something else which is functional and complex. One place on the internet compared this process to the Central Dogma in biology which is the transcription and translation process and made the comment that the Central Dogma operates in life in language and computer software. It is the same process.

    Not all these articles above relate specifically to the whole process but include bits and pieces of it and more than one go into how to measure the complexity.

  192. 192
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    It is instructive to remind ourselves of the original post by Gil:
    ______________

    >>There are two options: 1) design (foresight and planning), and 2) the materialistic laws of physics, chemistry, and probability – which are purported to have produced all biological phenomena, from the information-processing machinery of the cell to the human mind.

    Option 2) might have been believable in the 19th century, when it was thought that life was fundamentally simple, but it is completely unsupportable in light of modern science. The preponderance of scientific evidence and mathematical analysis weighs overwhelming in support of design, as a proof by contradiction.

    Let us not hear about “self-organization.” Sodium chloride forms salt crystals, and water freezes into snowflakes, but salt crystals and snowflakes contain no information (other than that about how the molecules mechanically interact as they coalesce), and they certainly don’t form information-processing machinery.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that there is a third option, besides design versus chance and necessity, but I’d like to hear it. In the meantime, logic, evidence, and mathematics weigh heavily on the side of design, as a proof by contradiction.>>
    ______________

    Now, what Gil is driving at is that we are looking at how the best of alternative explanations is warranted, in a situation where mathematico- deductive proof by contradiction is not applicable. In such a setting, once we have a list of relevant major alternatives and are able to show, comparison by comparison, that one is inferior (on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power), then the champion emerges as the best [current] explanation. In turn, if that explanation is empirically tested and reliable, we usually have high confidence in it. (But, we must recognise that what is accepted on the preponderance of the evidence is subject to onward defeat by a new challenger. That is how Q-theory and relativity prevailed over the beautiful Newtonian system a hundred or so years ago. And, today, it is why the evolutionary materialist paradigm is in deep trouble.)

    In fact, that is NORMALLY how science works: comparative difficulties of empirically anchored theories and models. But in a world of Lewontinian a priori materialism being imposed on life origins science, this process is being censored in our day, censored because of a strong preference for the materialistic worldview among those who dominate the institutions of science and education:

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [NY Review of Books, 1997. Subsequently, thanks to the NAS, NSTA, NCSE, ACLU, judge Jones etc, this is increasingly an official, censoring dogma.]

    This is important backdrop for understanding why it is so many on one side of the current design issue find FSCI so trivially easy a concept to grasp and to exemplify, and why those on the other side either find it all but impossible to understand, or so strongly object to it, that hey are more or less willing to accept any argument that rejects the FSCI concept and what it points to. Worse, precisely because origins of life science exists in a worldviews loaded context, deep passions and major philosophical controversies are implicated or linked as well.

    but in fact, the core FSCI idea is quite simple, as Orgel identified in 1973:

    Living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [ L.E. Orgel, 1973. The Origins of Life. New York: John Wiley, p. 189.]

    a –> We can empirically identify and contrast (i) the specified, complex, functionally integrated organisation of the DNA, RNA, protein etc molecules in living cells, from (ii) the mechanical forces- induced, information- poor order of crystals, and also (iii) from the non-informative stochastic complexity of random mixtures of polymers.

    b –> Thus, we see that crystals are non-complex. [Crystal structure is in essence a repeating block: . . . SOSOSOSOSOSO . . . ]

    [ . . . ]

  193. 193
    kairosfocus says:

    c –> Similarly, random polymers of large string length are as an overwhelming rule, non-functional: . . . wehfhaisdhbhwdgfuogu . . .

    d –> however, in the cell, many complex molecules [with C-atom chains of up to 100’s or 1,000’s] are very specifically manufactured, step by step by the cell’s DNA- RNA- Ribosome- Enzyme system (including these molecules) based on stored codes and instructions in the DNA. these then work together to carry out the functions of life. And, fairly simple derangements of these molecules can very often be massively destructive to function.

    e –> In short, we are looking at islands of integrated functionality, in vast seas of non-functional configurations.

    f –> And, what works in one context, if displaced to another will usually not work. (Think about how you have to have the particular spare part for the particular model and year of your car. Not just any shock absorber or fuel filter or sparking plug will work in just any car. [I do wish there had been a bit more standardisation, though . . . sigh.)

    g –> In short, the FSCI concept — functionally specific, complex information — is very familiar from the world of engineering, and indeed entities that exhibit FSCI are routinely seen to be the products of design.

    h –> That is, FSCI, per massive empirical support, is a reliable sign of intelligent design.

    i –> This is supported as well by the search challenge in large configuration spaces. if a functioning item requires about 1,000 bits of information to specify it, then the number of possible configurations is 2^1,000 ~ 10^301.

    j –> This is about ten times the SQUARE of the number of quantum states of our observed universe across its reasonable lifespan, 10^150 states. So, the observed universe acting as a search engine, could not sample more than 1 in 10^150 of the3 possible configs.

    k –> What that means is this: at random configs are overwhelmingly likely to be non-functional. And, absent a “broadcast” that tells such non-functional configs the direction and/or distance to the nearest island of function, random walks in the config space are very unlikely indeed to find themselves on the shores of islands of function, before exhausting the search resources of our observed universe.

    l –> This is the reason why the Weasel program is set up to broadcast warmer/colder, to attract “nonsense” — i.e. non-functional — phrases to the target phrase. It is also why egvo mat advocates so desperately want to insulate theories of climbing up the gentler slopes of Mt improbable on Dr Moreau’s Isle Improbable through differential functionality of competing populations, from the question of getting to the shores of the island in the first place.

    m –> But, evolution by random variation and natural selection is a hill-climbing theory, not a shore-finding theory. So, evolutionary materialism is in trouble to find a good explanation for the origin of life, and for the origin of body-plan level biodiversity. It works for trivial things like temporary lengthening of Galapagos Island Finch beaks, but fails to cogently address the origin and major diversification of life.

    n –> Why is that? ANS: The OOL — on examination of the DNA of unicellular organisms — credibly requires at least 600,000 bits of information, and the DNA increments for major body plans requires probably 10 – 100+ millions of bits. All of which has to be in place for first function to work, which is the baseline from which we can then see climbing up to the peaks of more or less optimal life functionality.

    o –> That is what prof Lewontin informs us they are NOT teaching our kids in bio classes, in high school or in college (in their self- confessed haste to get rid of what they despise: God- consciousness in our civilisation), and that is what the objectors to FSCI are so desperately opposed to and are ever so eager to distract our attention from.

    _______________

    So, let’s pose a little challenge to DK, et al: address a – o above, and show us where it fails on comparative difficulties, anchored by empirical evidence relevant to body plan diversity of life and OOL.

    Otherwise, your objections to FSCI and the wider design inference tied to it ever since Orgel raised he concept, are simply specious and/or distractive.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: The above is simply a summary of fairly easily accessible information, starting with the WACs and glossary above.

    PPS: Phil Toolkit 101 on comparative difficulties analysis.

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: A common objection to say highlighting that in the heart of the cell, in and surrounding DNA we find a computer, is to point out that life forms reproduce. But in fact, von Neumann in the 1940’s highlighted that automata could be self-replicating if they have a parts-manufacturing and assembly system, fed by a stored blueprint (and of course with suitable quality-control checks etc). that is precisely what we have discovered in the cell ever since 1953. We don’t fully know how to do it ourselves today [especially the building of self-assembling, self-maintaining factories], but we see how it is in-principle possible. So, it turns out the cell embeds a more sophisticated computer than the one sitting on your lap or desktop. Ability to reproduce itself is a sign — not of the power of blind chance and necessity to create function beyond what we can do at present — but of more sophisticated design than we yet have achieved.

  195. 195
    Joseph says:

    David Kellogg:

    I’m willing to accept that FCSI (or its scrambled variants) has a more or less stable meaning. However, it seems more to be a philosophical than a scientific term; in any event, the scientific community has utterly ignored it.

    Which “scientific community” are you talking about?

    And what do they have that is rigorously defined?

  196. 196
    Joseph says:

    madsen:

    As the bulldozer was clearly constructed from scratch in one step or generation, the only alternative to design is a tornado in a junkyard scenario, which is virtually impossible.

    What prevents nature, operating freely, over many years, from cobbling together a bulldozer?

    Heck it is by far less complex than a living organism.

    On the other hand, a bird is the product of a millions-of-years long process.

    That is the bald assertion anyway.

    However there isn’t any genetic evidence that would demonstrate that a bird could “evolve” from a non-bird.

  197. 197
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    Yet no-one answers my questions about functional proviruses. Is their FSCI chance or design?

    I have already answered you.

    It takes science to answer that question.

    Research and time.

    And I repeat, for the umpteenth time, FSCI cannot be a prerequisite for its own existence.

    Why not?

    Just saying it doesn’t make it so.

  198. 198
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    And, according to your own arguments, information rich systems do not require intelligent design.

    My arguments say that information-rich systems cannot arise via nature, operating freely.

    And every information-rich system that had to have come about from scratch requires agency involvement.

  199. 199
    Joseph says:

    iconofid:

    The question of FCSI/ CSI/ SC is one of ORIGINS.

    And until we can study the intelligent designer(s) we cannot even say that it/ they had an origin.

    Ya see ID is NOT about the designer(s). And you appear to be forcing it to be.

  200. 200
    kairosfocus says:

    Joseph, re icon:

    I too have answered Icon on the status of viruses; which turn out to be more than passingly similar to the computer version of the same.

    So, the root design issue is the observed COMPUTER in the heart of the cell, for which the virus is in effect a hijacking program. [It seems too that some viruses are usable as injectors of DNA to reprogram organisms, as a design tool.]

    Computers manifest massive FSCI, and are unquestionably irreducibly complex. they are observed to be produced by design.

    So, it is reasonable on inference to best explanation, to see that the cell is the product of design. Clever design, too.

    in that context, the existence of destructive viruses is highly suggestive of a certain parable of wheat and tares sown by an enemy to disrupt. (For sci fi fans: Are viruses evidence of a primordial bio- war among the designer[s] and engineers of life on earth?

    GEM of TKI

  201. 201
    Joseph says:

    kairofocus,

    My PoV on destructive viruses and other destructive parasites is that they are the result of random effects on both them and us.

    IOW they may have very well been part of a good design at first and then things started to deteriorate.

    And that is why knowledge is so important- the point being is if we gain knowledge of how the design was supposed to be then perhaps we can divert it back to that point.

    Targeted search so to speak…

  202. 202
    DonaldM says:

    madsen

    On the other hand, a bird is the product of a millions-of-years long process. I am not forced to posit its origin in a single step. Why is it not possible that this bird belongs to a sequence of organisms in which this “specified complexity” you refer to increased over time, and that at some point in the distant past, its remote ancestor’s specified complexity was below whatever threshold you use for inferring design?

    You can posit whatever you like. What you can not do is demonstrate it, and that is the point of Gil’s OP. The systemic, global failure of evolution to explain specified complexity in biological systems in terms of unguided chance and/or necessity is a negation and becomes confirmation of the alternative: intelligent design. That’s the point. I don’t know how else to say it or make it clear. But I think we’ve beat this poor horse to death!

  203. 203
    madsen says:

    Joseph,

    What prevents nature, operating freely, over many years, from cobbling together a bulldozer?

    Heck it is by far less complex than a living organism.

    Well, my reasoning regarding the bulldozer’s origin is not so much based on complexity as it is on analogy. My experience is that bulldozers are designed and built by intelligent beings. Therefore I concluded the alien bulldozer had the same origin.

    DonaldM insists that I must have drawn my conclusion based on the “specified complexity” of the machine, but I really don’t think that’s the case. I have no idea how to compute any measure of the specified complexity of a bulldozer or a living organism. Some informal notion of SC might have played a role in my reasoning, but I’m basing my conclusion more on the fact that I would recognize the overall structure and components (gears etc.) of the bulldozer which I take it would appear to be the product of a machine shop.

    All that being said, I would therefore conclude the bulldozer was constructed, as are 100% of bulldozers on earth. 0% have been cobbled together by nature, AFAIK.

    That is the bald assertion anyway.

    However there isn’t any genetic evidence that would demonstrate that a bird could “evolve” from a non-bird.

    This last statement could be true, but there are other kinds of evidence—so it’s not exactly a bald assertion. I’m not sure what DonaldM’s position is on the origin of birds.

  204. 204
    madsen says:

    DonaldM,

    But I think we’ve beat this poor horse to death!

    Yes, it looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree for now. Thanks for the discussion.

  205. 205
    kairosfocus says:

    madsen:

    Re:My experience is that bulldozers are designed and built by intelligent beings. Therefore I concluded the alien bulldozer had the same origin.

    Now, we reason thusly:

    My experience is that bulldozers [instantiations of FSCI and/or irreducible complexity] are designed and built by intelligent beings. Therefore I concluded the alien bulldozer [manifestations of same in the heart of the cell] had the same origin. [On inference to best explanation.]

    GEM of TKI

  206. 206
    kairosfocus says:

    Joseph:

    You might be right too. But, we must bear in mind that there may be malice afoot too.

    G

  207. 207
    Joseph says:

    madsen,

    It has been all of the world’s experience that only life begets life.

    What do you conclude from that?

    What would happen if you didn’t have any experience with machines and machine shops. You lived in the Amazon Rain Forrest and never seen anything but the flora and fauna of your area.

    One day while hunting you came across a clearing- an area that was full of trees just last moon.

    In that clearing is a bulldozer…

    That is another scenario to play with.

  208. 208
    Joseph says:

    kairofocus,

    In that case we run a targeted search to replace the “m” with a space thereby turning “malice” into ” alice”…

  209. 209
    madsen says:

    Joseph,

    madsen,

    It has been all of the world’s experience that only life begets life.

    What do you conclude from that?

    I would conclude that if you show me a particular organism, then it’s probably a safe bet that it is the offspring of parent(s).

    I honestly don’t know what I would think in your revised bulldozer scenario. That’s a very difficult but interesting question.

  210. 210
    Joseph says:

    madsen:

    I would conclude that if you show me a particular organism, then it’s probably a safe bet that it is the offspring of parent(s).

    What does that mean, exactly?

    Can non-living matter have offspring?

  211. 211
    madsen says:

    Joseph,

    What does that mean, exactly?

    Can non-living matter have offspring?

    I would say if we were talking about a “complex” organism such as a mammal, then it’s sure to have parents in the usual sense.

    On the other hand, there could be borderline cases. The RNA enzymes that Joyce and Lincoln are working with are categorized as nonliving, but are able to reproduce themselves.

  212. 212
    Joseph says:

    The RNA enzymes that Joyce and Lincoln are working with are categorized as nonliving, but are able to reproduce themselves.

    Actually there were two and one aided the other in its replication.

    And even then it was only under ideal conditions.

  213. 213
    madsen says:

    Joseph,

    Actually there were two and one aided the other in its replication.

    And even then it was only under ideal conditions.

    True, but the same could be said about human reproduction.

  214. 214
    iconofid says:

    Joseph quoting iconofid: “And I repeat, for the umpteenth time, FSCI cannot be a prerequisite for its own existence.”

    Joseph: “Why not?

    Just saying it doesn’t make it so.”

    Because if so, it could not exist, obviously.

    I.D. is not an explanatory theory for the existence of FSCI.

    Joseph: “The question of FCSI/ CSI/ SC is one of ORIGINS.”

    So what are the origins of FCSI, CSI, and SC. Can you answer without invoking an agency that would require them?

    I suggest “chemical reactions”.

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    Icon:

    1] The ultimate origin of FSCI is an origins question.

    2] The origin of instances of FSCI where we may observe it, is an empirical one. And,t eh answer is: intelligence.

    3] Since FSCI is about functional information that sits in very large configuration spaces, finding it by non-directed contingency is inherently very hard to do, indeed, credibly will exhaust the probabilistic resources of our observed universe.

    4] Polymers can form long chains indeed, but for those chains to be code-bearing and to work together in complex information processing algorithmic systems is a matter of extremely high contingency and functionality. [We are dealing not with orderly sequence complexity or random sequence complexity but with functional sequence complexity.]

    5] On empirically massively supported induction, FSCI traces to intelligence, i.e it manifests purposefully directed contingency. that may not sit comfortably with evolutionary materialist views of origins, but it has this weighty merit: it is empirically warranted, massively so, independent of one’s worldviews.

    6] So much so, tha tit would be wise to adjust one’s worldview to comport with that instead of asking for stochastic miracles while imposing Lewontinan a priorism to question-beggingly exclude the obvious and empirically well supported alternative, as in:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [NY review of Books, 1997. Now made “official” by NAS, NSTA, NCSE, judge Jones et al]

    GEM of TKI

  216. 216
    Joseph says:

    iconofid,

    EVERY time we have observed CSI and knew the cause it has ALWAYS been via agency involvement- ALWAYS.

    Now if we ever observe CSI arising without agency involvement then you will have a point.

    As for chemical reactions- great- just show us that chemical reactions can string together functional macro-molecules.

  217. 217
    Joseph says:

    madsen,

    Human reproduction does not require ideal conditions.

    Unless “ideal” is a wide and varied concept.

  218. 218
    madsen says:

    Joseph,

    Human reproduction does not require ideal conditions.

    Unless “ideal” is a wide and varied concept.

    Nevertheless, it does appear that non-living matter can have offspring.

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