Intelligent Design

FAQ 1 is Open For Comment

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1] ID is “not science”

On the contrary, as Dr William Dembski, a leading Intelligent Design researcher, has aptly defined:

Intelligent Design is . . . . a scientific investigation into how patterns exhibited by finite arrangements of matter can signify intelligence.”

In turn, science at its best is an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) progressive search for the truth about our world; based on empirical evidence and reasoned analysis. If instead one assumes or asserts the prior constraint that scientific explanations must be “naturalistic” or even — as Lewontin openly said materialistic,” that mistakenly imposes materialistic conclusions before the facts can speak. This blatantly begs the question, but such a blunder is now all too common; even among those who try to speak authoritatively in the name of science, education or the law. Similarly, an obvious alternative to a “natural” cause is an “artificial” — i.e. intelligent – one. And, as experience abundantly confirms, intelligent acts typically result in empirically observable signs of intelligence.

Just look all around you.

Moreover, ID satisfies all the conditions usually required for a scientific theory:

  1. It is based on empirical data: the empirical observation of the process of human design, and specific properties common to human design and biological information (CSI).

  2. It is a quantitative and internally consistent model.

  3. It is falsifiable: any positive demonstration that CSI can easily be generated by non design mechanisms is a potential falsification of the ID theory.

  4. It makes empirically testable and fruitful predictions (see point 4)

101 Replies to “FAQ 1 is Open For Comment

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    I do not know where this question belongs but is it possible for what we call ID to really be separate things.

    For example, when we discuss ID it is often has to do with the work of two specific people, Bill Dembski and Michael Behe. Are they really talking about the same area of science?

    Behe’s work is nearly all in micro biology and its relevance to evolutionary biology. While Dembski’s work is less content specific and can span more than one discipline.

    So are there more than one science here and is it fair to say that Behe’s work should be classified as part of evolutionary biology and the techniques or approaches he uses are similar to what evolutionary biologists would use but that his conclusions are different. So what I am getting at is that one activity that we all identify as ID is in the domain of evolutionary biology.

    The main difference between Behe and other evolutionary biologists is the conclusions they make and not the domain they investigate or the tools they use. Let me give an example. An evolutionary biologist might investigate the genomes of all rodents to see the similarity and differences of the various species and try to identify the pathways that led to each species. Michael Behe could do the same research and use the same data to investigate the same issue but may make different observations and come to different conclusions using his thesis that protein construction over time is constrained. He could use Kirk Durston’s research that proteins must be stable and folding and only appear in isolated bunches in protein space to see if the data from the genome reflects this assumption that there were no breeches or island hopping in protein space.

    How is this not science but the domain is evolutionary biology and is ID not really the science but a conclusion from the science? Maybe someone can provide the answer.

  2. 2
    B L Harville says:

    “Similarly, an obvious alternative to a ‘natural’ cause is an ‘artificial’— i.e. intelligent – one.”

    This would mean that intelligent agents are not part of the natural world. How have you decided that?

    To me, a much more obvious alternative to natural causes are supernatural causes.

  3. 3
    Mark Frank says:

    May I suggest that the definition of what is required for an actitivity to be scientific is too contentious and ambiguous to be worthwhile. You would do better to argue on the lines of accepting this and then going on to list the things that ID has in common with science as currently practicsed.

    However, I strongly disagree with (3) as I have just been explaining to Gpuccio. Unless ID makes some committment as to the powers and motivation of the designer then it is always going to be the “best” explanation of everything. observation can

  4. 4
    felipe says:

    Ido not think ID can be considered as science but rather as a philosopical approach to reality. Both science and Philosophy are stages of the same process, building rartional knowledge. Philosophy is an approach to the ultimate causes of reality. Antony Flew explains that very well. I would say that irreducible complexity of living organisms is a scientific statement itself but whwn you propose the necessity of a supernatural cause you are making a philosophical approach absolutely legitimate. Sorry for my english and best regards to the comunity from Spain.

  5. 5
    B L Harville says:

    “2. It is a quantitative and internally consistent model.”

    Please give a demonstration of how to quantify CSI as part of your FAQ.

  6. 6
    Laminar says:

    4: It makes empirically testable and fruitful predictions (see point 4)

    Is this a typo or is there another point 4 that I managed to miss?

    I don’t think you can make a point that references its self for clarification…

    On other matters, you need to cite some definition of intelligence if you want to invoke one as a cause, would a tool using chimp qualify?

  7. 7
    Laminar says:

    why did it delete the last part of my comment?

    it was … would a tool using chimp qualify?

  8. 8
    gpuccio says:

    A few answers:

    B L Harville (#2):

    “This would mean that intelligent agents are not part of the natural world. How have you decided that?”

    There have been endless discussions about what “natural” means. The only truth is that it means different things to different people. That will be discussed in some of the following points about “naturalism”.

    Personally, I try o avoid the word as much as possible. You may notice that here it is in quotation marks, to show that the meaning must be referred to the context.

    In the context, it is rather obvious that “natural” is used to differentiate what we observe as a result of the so called “natural laws” from what we observe as the result of human intervention. But, probably, the point could be made more explicit. I would never use, however, the word “supernatural”, which has specific philosophical connotations which are completely absent in ID theory.

    For me, intelligent agents (humans) are certainly part of the natural world, provided we define natural as all that we can observe. But if we define “natural” implying other assumptions, like “materialistic, or “completely governed by the known laws of physics” or anything else, then there is a lot to discuss about human beings and their nature, and no specific position can be given as granted.

    All that should be pretty obvious grom what is written: “If instead one assumes or asserts the prior constraint that scientific explanations must be “naturalistic” or even — as Lewontin openly said – “materialistic,” that mistakenly imposes materialistic conclusions before the facts can speak.”

    That can only reinforce my personal intention to use words like “natural” and “naturalism” as little as possible.

  9. 9
    gpuccio says:

    Mark (# 3):

    “You would do better to argue on the lines of accepting this and then going on to list the things that ID has in common with science as currently practicsed.”

    Well, I have listed those things in the second part of the answer.

    “However, I strongly disagree with (3) as I have just been explaining to Gpuccio. Unless ID makes some committment as to the powers and motivation of the designer then it is always going to be the “best” explanation of everything.”

    And I have answered you twice. You are making suppositions about how IDists could behave, instead of just acknowledging what they say. ID theory, as it is, is absolutely falsifiable. Maybe your iea of ID is not.

  10. 10
    gpuccio says:

    B L Harville:

    “Please give a demonstration of how to quantify CSI as part of your FAQ.”

    It is coming. And you may notice that I have given you a specific indication about that in another thread.

  11. 11
    Noremacam says:

    Just a tiny complaint, the font size of the FAQ in some parts seems smaller than on the rest of the site making it less comfortable to read.

    Also, this is mostly off topic, but I don’t know where else to put it. I had a funny idea; you ought to have a top 10 media promoted misconceptions so whenever the media gets it wrong from lack of research you can call them on it. So whenever you comment on an article from the media, you can say “well they broke #1, #3, #6 and #7.

    It would be pretty comical to show how bad the media’s bias is by predicting their bias ahead of time. It wouldn’t require too much work to enable the FAQ to be used that way….

  12. 12
    tribune7 says:

    The only criticism I have is the formatting. I agree with Noremacam that the font size shouldn’t change.

    If you want to break something out consider changing the font type (serif v san serif) or make it bold or italic or just use bullet points.

    Otherwise, nice job.

    Also, Mark’s point about the necessity to address the nature of the designer seems to be a common red-herring type of attack.

    Maybe we should address it.

    ID is science. It objectively and empirically describes an observable event. It is no different than many other things that describe such events.

    That the Big Bang theory is science is not debated. What’s the motivation and powers of the cause of the Big Bang?

    That the First Law of Thermodynamics is science is not debated. So, what was the nature of the source that provided the initial energy to which no more can be added?

    The First Law describes a circumstance just as ID endeavors to do. It’s foolish to demand either to do more.

    And what is the nature of those aliens from whom some hope we get a signal via SETI? Other, than intelligence of course?

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    A short remark:

    Re: the natural vs ARTificial side-track . . .

    a –> First, this is actually a classical allusion; as Plato in the Laws, Book X, makes just such a contrast: [i] things that happen by nature (phusis — whence, Physics; I can’t resist a plug for my very favourite Science!) which he uses in a sense of law],[ii] by accident and [iii] by ART.

    b –> And so, it is very relevant to point out that even today we commonly contrast natural vs artificial, the latter denoting directed contingency. Or, intelligent design.

    c –> Thus, too, the attempt to pretend — and the US NAS itself is guilty on this matter [Cf no 17, which of course also already shows how the various questions and answers interact] — that the only relevant contrast is “natural ve supernatural,” is a tendentious strawman fallacy. One soaked with oil of No 5: “creationist” slanderous ad hominem, and further soaked with No 8: the theocracy slur.

    d –> Set a struck match to the oil-drenched and dripping strawman and voila: all goes up in a spectacular fire, clouding and poisoning the atmosphere for what would have otherwise been a productive discussion.

    So, let us get back on the track of truth.

    e –> For, the usage in No 1 that we may contrast natural vs artificial — an empirical fact of life, whatever the onward status of our origin may be — is entirely in order, as a corrective. (And, of course, intelligence is recognised from its actions, and we cannot a priori rule out the possibility of intelligences beyond our own selves, on pain of begging very big questions.)

    f –> All ID requires is that we accept that intelligence — as is empirically manifest — is a possible causal force, and we then identify its credible presence from its empirically tested, reliable signs.

    g –> In short, ID IS science. And, that was exactly what no 1 points out. [BTW, observe the “science at its best” definition, and the definitions of science and scientific methods — note how law, chance and design are brought out as empirically detectable causal factors — in the associated glossary page.]

    I should note on the last, that one reason for that as an issue is scientific fraud. Famously, Mendel’s assistant is said by was it Fisher — per statistical studies [it does not pay to be TOO perfect, hint, hint, student lab book cookers . . . ) — to have cooked the results of the peas studies that established the genetic combination laws.

    So, we see that detection of design is a valid — and even protective . . . — scientific enterprise.

    [Cf. Sir Cyril Burt’s separated twins studies statistics on alleged inheritance of IQ, used to establish the iniquitous 11+ Common Entrace exam imposed on the Caribbean and other UK jurisdictions in the false name of “science.”]

    Even, if the findings of ID research may be somewhat uncomfortable for evolutionary materialists. [BTW, I recently saw that G K Chesterton used this descriptive term at turn of C20.]

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I agree that the text size in the Weak Arguments FAQ and the glossary to are a bit on the small side. [I think they were originally set at paragraph text no 3 in Times Roman in the HTML form of the page. That usually gives a fairly legible text; as Georgia is a bit troublesome.]

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: on the nature of the designer, cf nos 16 – 25

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: there was some blockquote formatting that, regrettably, seems to have been lost.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    P^4S; Quantification of CSI? Try nos 26 – 28, and the glossary item on CSI. Of course, all of these will doubtless be discussed in their own turn.

  17. 17
    TCS says:

    Everyone seems to agree that the formatting needs to change to be more readable. I will work on that soon (most likely this evening).

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    P^5S: I forgot: intelligence is of course defined in the glossary, as is information, and as is ID itself.

  19. 19
    tribune7 says:

    KF, GP & SB, great job!

  20. 20
    StephenB says:

    —–“This would mean that intelligent agents are not part of the natural world. How have you decided that?”

    —–“To me, a much more obvious alternative to natural causes are supernatural causes.”

    That depends on what you mean by the “natural” world. Clearly, the mind is not part of “physical” nature, since it defines itself as non-material.

    Here’s a story: A Darwinist once tried to convince me that an ancient hunter’s spear emerged from “natural causes,” because, in his judgment the hunter was “in” nature, which is another way of saying that his “mind” is also “in” nature. If that were the case, then the mind could not alter nature, a point that ID contests vigorously. If the mind was “in” nature, there would be no way differentiate between the brain, which really is in nature, in the sense that it can only obey its physical laws, and the mind, which can act as a causal agent on nature.

    To use terms such as “supernatural” and “natural” places the designer in one camp and humans, laws, minds, and brains in the other camp as if there were no distinctions to be made in the latter group. That would be just another way of conceding that mind is nothing more than a brain and cannot be a causal agent, which is precisely the Darwinist argument that we are challenging.

    That is why the proper categories should be listed as [A] Intelligence, Divine, superhuman, human etc. [B] law, and [C] chance. The terms Supernatural and natural muddy the debate waters and forces ID to carry on as if there are no minds. It assumes that ALL non-supernatural things must be physical and material, which rules out the presence of a non-material, non physical mind.

    In truth, it imposes (and confuses) philosophical paradigms in the context of scientific formulations. Philosophically, the moderate dualist places God, angels, minds, souls in the spiritual world and laws, chance, bodies, brains in the material world. In parallel fashion, materialist monist simply rejects the non-materialist category altogether.

    If we are going to do philosophy, then we need to keep our categories and their constitutive elements in order. That means placing an immaterial “mind” in a higher (and nobler) order than a material brain (and nature).

    On the other hand, if we are going to do science, the appropriate categories are agency, law, and chance.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    Laminar:

    “Point 4” is Question no 4.

    Cheerio

    GEM of TKI

  22. 22
    StephenB says:

    —-“May I suggest that the definition of what is required for an actitivity to be scientific is too contentious and ambiguous to be worthwhile.”

    If you were a scientist and your adversaries expelled you from the academic community on the grounds that you were not really doing science, you might feel differently.

    .

    —-“However, I strongly disagree with (3) as I have just been explaining to Gpuccio. Unless ID makes some committment as to the powers and motivation of the designer then it is always going to be the “best” explanation of everything.”

    Intelligent agency is not a perfect parallel to physical laws and cannot therefore be subjected to the same standards. Mozart created beautiful compositions for the piano and also played them. However, the creative genius that [A] conceived the music is of a different texture than [B] the physical laws by which the hammer hits the string and causes the sounds.

    In effect, you are asking ID to define, describe, and explain [A] in terms of [B]. That’s simply not the way the world works.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    MF:

    Re: list the things that ID has in common with science as currently practicsed.

    1 –> We don’t get to impose temporal dictatorship on what science is or is not.

    2 –> What science is across the several centuries of Modern Science, is a matter of history and related phil of sci.

    3 –> By those canons, ID long since has passed any reasonable test. For, most great scientists right up to turn of last Century were design thinkers, and so were open to design as a part of the scientific world.

    4 –> Indeed, if we open up across civilisational boundes, a great many scientists outside of the parochial domain of Evolutionary Materialism, are design thinkers.

    5 –> And even in that domain, if they were free to say what they really think [Expelled documents why they are not], a very significant fraction of scientists would acknowledge design as a valid component of their scientific and general thought.

    6 –> Indeed, as the glossary definition on scientific methods brings out, we cannot coherently address science in praxis without valid methods for recognising and distinguishing chance, necessity and design.

    7 –> What is going on is imposition of a question begging, censoring criterion: methodological naturalism, because of the historical accident of the current institutional dominance of a certain worldview: Evolutionary Materialism. That is discussed at Qs 17 ff.

    8 –> To borrow from the Marxists and the Pomo’s, the contradictions are surfacing and the process of deconstruction of the imposed totalising metanarrative has begun.

    _______

    It’s going to be a wild ride, but the outcome is not in serious doubt. For, the very fact that to recognise signal from noise we must implicitly accept the reality of empirically observable and reliable signs of design already me4ans that he price of imposing meth nat is reductio ad absurdum via self referential incoherence and selective hyperskepticism.

    Methinks that funny noise you hear is the peanut gallery already laughing, mixed with the sound of a foundation cracking and groaning as the edifice of evolutionary materialism begins to collapse!

    GEM of TKI

  24. 24
    GSV says:

    To kairosfocus
    “intelligence is of course defined in the glossary, as is information”

    I think these definitions require quantifying in the glossary can you expand it to include that? If we’re talking about CSI for example we need to talk about figures.

    Great job btw apreciate all the work.

  25. 25
    JayM says:

    kairosfocus @16

    Quantification of CSI? Try nos 26 – 28, and the glossary item on CSI.

    Unfortunately, none of those references demonstrate how to calculate the CSI of a real world biological structure like a cell, or even a flagellum, given what is known about the mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory (MET).

    If the answer to this FAQ is to claim that ID is a “quantitative” model, it needs to include a clear explanation of how to objectively determine the CSI of real biological components.

    JJ

  26. 26
    JayM says:

    It makes empirically testable and fruitful predictions

    This would be a much stronger answer with some examples. I’d like to see a clear statement of ID theory, followed by a few predictions that distinguish it from MET. Ideally, some of those predictions will have been tested already and demonstrated to provide support for ID, while others will point to areas of current or future research.

    JJ

  27. 27
    jerry says:

    The FAQ is whether ID is science of not. And off we go to the fatuous comments about super natural or the motivations of the designer.

    Why don’t we focus on the issue of the FAQ. Does it fit the template of what others call science. In comment #1 I brought up the question as to whether Behe’s form of ID is really evolutionary biology. If it is, then even if misguided it is science. So at least a major part of what is discussed as ID is definitely science.

  28. 28
    jerry says:

    I think a tool using chimp is an instance of intelligent design. The range of functionality is limited which means the intelligence is limited. But I do not see what this has to do with the FAQ. It is quite clear that most animals have some limited degree of intelligence. But what has that got to do with whether ID is science of not.

  29. 29
    daveB says:

    I didn’t find the answer persuasive. In part, because:

    -The definition of intelligent design doesn’t fully encompass the claims of intelligent design. There should be some indication that the “finite arrangements of matter” in question include –in fact, seem limited to — biological systems; and that the “intelligence” in question is an agent possesing such advanced knowledge and technology that it can produce fully-formed living beings. At the least, ID claims to detect an intelligence of arbitrary ability in forms of arbitrary composition. I’m also disappointed to see that Behe’s work is neglected.

    -When people object that ID isn’t science, they almost always mean that ID violates methodological naturalism, as it is commonly practiced. It’s interesting, as always, that by your own admission you must change the current understanding of science in order to be considered science. That fact alone means that the argument is not “weak,” but is of central importance to the issue. I’ll revisit this in another post.

    -Sorry to nitpick about formatting, but the italics are distracting and unnecessary.

  30. 30
    daveB says:

    The argument against methodological naturalism should be more fully developed, starting with a clear statement of why orthodox science requires naturalism in the first place. Methodological naturalism is justified because any supernatural (unnatural? preternatural? paranormal?) explanation would be, by definition, unobservable, immeasurable, and therefore unintelligible. There is a danger that scientists might overreach and assume a natural cause where it would be more appropriate to say, “We don’t know yet, and may never know,” but removing the constraints of naturalism does nothing to solve that problem. You might say that the design of the universe prohibits ideal solutions.

    As a skeptic, I’d like to know one thing about methodology. What is the alternative to methodological naturalism that you propose? You have to impose some kind of systematic constraints on supernatural hypotheses. Please give it a name and define it. If I’m going to trade it for methodological naturalism, I’d like to know what I’m buying, please.

    In the big picture, I wonder how relevant this issue is. After all, if ID can persuade enough scientists that they are detecting a designer — detecting intelligence or design is insufficient, as the evolutionary hypothesis predicts design as a result of a naturalistic artificial intelligence search — then the methodological question will answer itself.

  31. 31
    StephenB says:

    —-Jerry: “The FAQ is whether ID is science of not. And off we go to the fatuous comments about super natural or the motivations of the designer.”

    This is typical. The purpose of the diversion is to reframe the issue from agency, law, and chance to “natural” and “supernatural.” If your adversary can change the terms of the debate to serve his interests, he wins. Too often, ID advocates allow their critics to set the agenda. Darwinists come here primarily to attack ID, but if you ask them to defend NDE, they head for the tall grass. The idea is to always be scrutinizing while remaining impervious to scrutinization.

  32. 32
    wasabi says:

    Responses inline.

    Moreover, ID satisfies all the conditions usually required for a scientific theory:

    1. It is based on empirical data: the empirical observation of the process of human design, and specific properties common to human design and biological information (CSI).

    >>> Nobody has ever stated which ’empirical data’ that it is based on. Instead, non-specfic claims are raised, such as “this motor is ‘too complex’ to have evolved by chance.” Nobody has defined what ‘to complex is’. Complex specified information talks about the idea of ‘too complex’, but it never puts a number to it. Until a number can be put to ‘too complex’, there’s no basis for an argument, and it most certainly is not empirical.

    2. It is a quantitative and internally consistent model.

    >>> What quanties? A model for what? It models nothing. It does nothing more than say “in these few cases that we’ve hand picked, we think they were designed.” A model has predictive value. This predicts nothing.

    3. It is falsifiable: any positive demonstration that CSI can easily be generated by non design mechanisms is a potential falsification of the ID theory.

    >>> Specific claims raised by ID are falsifiable. For instance, the claim ‘the flagellum canont possibly have evolved’ is a claim which can be proven false. We can show or even mearly hypothesize a single way that could happen in reality that could evolve a motor, and the claim would be wrong: it would no longer be impossible. But ID itself does not rest on it’s individual claims. ID is defiend as “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection”. Certain features. ID itself does not specify which features. The question is, if we can imagine a way that the molecular flagellum motor could have evolved through selection, is ID in general false? It’s not. ID would just move onto the next unexplained thing. ID itself would not be changed. Thus ID itself is not falsifiable, though certain narrow claims made by ID proponents might be.

    4. It makes empirically testable and fruitful predictions (see point 4)

    >>> I find it ironic in the max that point 4 refers to point 4. Usually ID arguments are circular, so this is of course ironic. To address the point. Which predictions exactly and how can we test them? I’ve not heard one.

  33. 33
    wasabi says:

    Addon:

    3. It is falsifiable: any positive demonstration that CSI can easily be generated by non design mechanisms is a potential falsification of the ID theory.

    >>> The idea of ‘easily’ is itself flawed. It places no barrier which we can cross to demonstrate falseness. What is easy, what isn’t easy? Who is to judge. Until ‘easily’ is defined its a moving target, and not falsifiable.

  34. 34
    TCS says:

    Please see the FAQ now. I have reformatted it with a different font size. The glossary is included at the bottom. If everyone likes it better, I will split the glossary back out with the new formatting.

  35. 35
    jerry says:

    TCS,

    I think you should put a link into # 4 for (see point 4.) Right now it is confusing even though KF explained it later.

  36. 36
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    see my comment to Upright Biped a couple minutes ago

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-303703

  37. 37
    TCS says:

    Jerry…done in the post and in the FAQ.

  38. 38
    B L Harville says:

    “It [a demonstration of the calculation of CSI] is coming. And you may notice that I have given you a specific indication about that in another thread.”

    The only thing close to a calculation of CSI I could find was a calculation of getting all spades when dealt 13 cards from a deck of cards. My question is: is the hand of cards allowed to evolve? If not, you’re assuming your conclusion. Also, the probability of getting all spades is exactly the same as the probability of getting any particular 13 cards – so what’s the point?

  39. 39
    Mark Frank says:

    Gpuccion [9]

    And I have answered you twice. You are making suppositions about how IDists could behave, instead of just acknowledging what they say. ID theory, as it is, is absolutely falsifiable. Maybe your iea of ID is not.

    It is good to move the debate about falsifiability here rather the 300 odd comments about Kirk.

    You have written two answers but neither of them answered my question. Which I will repeat again.

    If we discovered that there was an RM+NS account of the flagellum which you found plausible would it still be possible that the flagellum had an intelligent cause?

    This is nothing to do with how ID people behave. It is a fairly straightforward question to which the answer is yes or no. But you seem very reluctant to answer it.

    The definition of ID on this web site quite clearly breaks down ID into two parts:

    (A) The belief that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause

    (B)The method for detecting design.

    A method cannot be true or false. It is just a method. So if ID is falsifiable then there must certain conditions under which proposition (A) can be shown to be false. If there is a good RM+NS account of any phenomenon does that show that (A) is false?

    Obviously I don’t think so. The designer has undefined powers and motives and can therefore do anything. But I want your take on it.

  40. 40
    Mark Frank says:

    PS Re [34]

    I am sorry I keep mistyping Gpuccio – the addtional “n” seems to happen without me thinking.

  41. 41
    gpuccio says:

    Mark:

    That’s how it should be stated:

    (A) The hypothesis that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, because they exhibit observable evidence of design.

    (B)The method for detecting (recognizing) such observable evidence.

    Tha’s what ID is. The “belief that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause”, if unsupported by any evidence, is just a belief. There is no place for unsupported belief in a scientific theory. But if a belief is ecpressed as a hypothesis and theory, then we can evaluate how supported it is by facts, and how good an explanation it is for existing data.

    I really can’t understand why you insist on this point, which to me seems completely mistaken.

    Just to have all the aspects of the debate in one place, I paste here my last answer to you on the other thread (#301):

    Mark:

    ““All I am saying is – how do you know the designer is not responsible for any given phenomenon on earth if you don’t specify the powers and motivation? As Dembski (correctly) explains – the explanatory filter can give false positives. So even if we find an account of the evolution of the flagellum through RM+NS it is still also possible that the flagellum was designed. Do you deny this?

    On what grounds would you prefer the RM+NS account?”

    I am confused by your arguments. Let’s start again, briefly:

    1) ID is about “design detection”. There are designed things where design cannot be detected. That kind of things are not the object of the ID theory and methodology. So, even if biological information were really designed, if that design cannot be detected, ID would be falsified just the same. Again, believing in a designer is one thing (whether it be God or not). Detecting design by objective methodology is another. ID is about the second thing, not the first.

    2) The EF is built in a way that it can have false negatives, not false positives. If biological information were a false negative, just the same ID would be falsified, as clarified in point 1. If instead it is demonstrated to be a positive, then we believe it is a true positive, because the EF is planned not to give (empirically) false positives (false positives remain always logically possible, as discussed many times).

    3) If we find an account of the evolution of biological information (obviously, the flagellum alone could not be enough, but it would certainly be an important start) through RV + NS, by definition biological information becomes a negative to the EF. Therefore ID is falsified. There is no question or doubt about that. There is nothing to “prefer”. If design is not objectively detected, there is no more any ID account.

    I think that should be clear. If you insist with your objection, could you please specify what is not clear in the above points?”

    To this post of mine you answered:

    “gpuccio [301]

    What confuses me is that I ask a question for which the answer is “yes” or “no” and you answer with 260 words and I still don’t know whether the answer is “yes” or “no”.

    Let me try to make the question as clear as I can.

    “For outcomes where RM+NS is shown to be a plausible explanation, is it also possible that the outcome was designed by an intelligence of undefined power and motives?”

    I am not asking you whether God was involved. I am not making an argument. I am just asking a question.”

    And I give you the answer you look for. First, again the question:

    “For outcomes where RM+NS is shown to be a plausible explanation, is it also possible that the outcome was designed by an intelligence of undefined power and motives?”

    And the answer:

    “From a philosophical perspective, yes, it is possible. But that has nothing to do with the ID theory. According to the ID theory, in that case design is not detected, and RM+NS is the best scientific explanation available.”

    Is that a clear answer? What do you object to it?

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    A few comments:

    1] TCS: FAQ appearance

    In my Firefox 3.0X, I get a bleedover of the text to the columns to the right. This, I have also previously seen at UD with say long URLs that are put into the body of a comment, and sometimes diagrams put6 into comments.

    Maybe, using a sans serif or high screen legibility font like Verdana would help?

    Oh, the joys of debugging and troubleshooting!
    _______

    2] Distractions and reframing: is ID science?

    Jerry and SB are right on the need to focus on the FAQ question.

    So far, it seems pretty clear that the major objection to seeing ID as valid science is that it allegedly implicitly injects “the supernatural” into science. (Oddly, those who made the objection above, did not pick up on the comparative problem of injecting materialism as an a priori presumption into science and thus subverting it from being an unfettered, intellectually and ethically responsible pursuit of the truth about our world based on empirical evidence.)

    In turn, the main objection is expressed in the dichotomy: natural vs supernatural, as QN 17 highlights for US’s NAS.

    But, immediately, that raises the much older comparison that is in Plato as immemorial in his day: nature vs art, or expanded slightly: mechanical necessity and/or chance vs directed contingency [i.e. design].

    In short, the natural vs supernatural dichotomy is not the only reasonable way to look at the empirical evidence of:

    (i) natural regularities tracing to mechanical necessity vs contingencies that may be

    (ii)credibly undirected [the default] or

    (iii) directed [i.e. designed, the product of “art” i.e. intelligence and purpose].

    So, the natural vs supernatural objection fails as an epistemological issue: there is a credible alternative, one that does not censor the explanatory possibilities away from discovering the truth about our world.

    Therefore, the latter is plainly to be preferred.

    Moreover, it is in fact common to have to distinguish undirected from directed contingency, e.g. signal vs noise in Informatics, and even on the question of scientific fraud. So, the issue of inference to design per credibly reliable signs of intelligence is already deeply embedded in science.

    For, once we see an aspect of an empirical phenomenon that exhibits not5 natural regularity but high contingency — e.g which face of a die is uppermost — the issue is now whether the contingency is undirected or directed.

    So, ID plainly is about science. At least, if we are not going to play self-referentially inconsistent selective hyperskeprtical power games with science.

    FAQ 1 is thus answered, at least well enough for the man at the Clapham Bus stop. (A term of art for the ordinary, unprejudiced man, for those not familiar with UK-style legal thought.)

    This then brings up the linked question of CSI/FSCI, and its quantification. That is, the next objection; which is somewhat distractive but is at least partly relevant:
    _________

    3] But is CSI calculable or measurable?

    The objection here is (i) that there is only one calculation provided, and (ii) that it is of an artificial and simplistic example.

    Actually, first, there are FOUR distinct metrics of CSI mentioned in Qn 27.

    The first one is so simple and ubiquitous that it was not felt necessary to specifically detail an example [maybe that needs to change . . .].

    The second (islands of function in the search space . . .)leads up to the third: Fits, which is not detailed in the text but is linked to an entire peer reviewed paper that has a whole table of examples of measures of FSC in Fits for dozens of proteins. (Maybe we need to give an excerpted example as below . . . were we “too concise”?)

    Then, fourthly, Dembski’s Chi-metric metric is presented and illustrated with a simple calculation of complex SPECIFIED info. [NB: BLH, you are missing the issue of specification, a common error, and one repeatedly warned against. Not all hands of cards are equally comparable on the specification in view. And the four such hands — the relevant archipelago in the search space — are factored into the metric.]

    4] Specifically:

    (i)Functionally specific bits, the simplest:

    As a first step, it is possible to measure the number of bits used to store any functionally specific information, and we could term such bits “functionally specific bits.”

    –> This is the refocused description of a very common metric: bits at work in a functional context. E.g. ASCII text is based on 7-bit characters so we can easily enough count the characters and multiply by 7 to get a metric in bits.

    –> In the cell we know enough about the mechanism by which DNA-coded information is translated into proteins to see that as a first approximation, each DNA base holds 4 states, and so encompasses 2 bits; and that protein monomers are coded for with 3-digit codons.

    –> thus, the DNA strand for a typical 300-AA protein would require 900 * 3 = 2,700 functionally specific bits, exclusive of start/stop and regulatory codes [which last are but little known about or understood].

    –> But, already, this is enough to put us well over a very interesting threshold. For, 1,000 bits specifies a config space of some 10^301 states. That is, ten times the SQUARE of the number of quantum states credibly possible for the atoms of our cosmos across its reasonably [thermodynamically] estimated lifespan.

    –> So already, we know that for at least DNA, which controls protein expression, we are able to routinely measure its information content in functionally specific bits, and that his puts us easily beyond the credible reach of chance-driven searches or the equivalent; on the gamut of our observed cosmos.

    –> That brings us to the second metric:

    (ii) Fits:

    . . . the complexity of a functionally specified unit of information (like a functional protein) could be measured directly or indirectly based on the reasonable probability of finding such a sequence through a random walk based search or its functional equivalent. This approach is based on the observation that functionality of information is rather specific to a given context, so if the islands of function are sufficiently sparse in the wider search space of all possible sequences, beyond a certain scope of search, it becomes implausible that such a search on a planet wide scale or even on a scale comparable to our observed cosmos, will find it. But, we know that, routinely, intelligent actors create such functionally specific complex information; e.g. this paragraph. (And, we may contrast (i) a “typical” random alphanumeric character string showing random sequence complexity: kbnvusgwpsvbcvfel;’.. jiw[w;xb xqg[l;am . . . and/or (ii) a structured string showing orderly sequence complexity: atatatatatatatatatatatatatat . . . [The contrast also shows that a designed, complex specified object may also incorporate random and simply ordered components or aspects.])

    –> Once we are beyond about 500 – 1,000 bits, we are well into territory where we have excellent reason to believe that any reasonable archipelagos of function will be swamped by the search requisites of a random walk or searches that do not use active info to overcome the islands of function isolation problem.

    –> Indeed, I just saw a Pop Mech article on possible hardware Trojan Horses that points out that we have long since passed the point where an exhaustive search of combinations of inputs and stored information can be made. So alternative means of securing processors and PLAs etc from such hacking [which may be for military or surveillance purposes . . . imagine your printer reading every document you print and on command feeding it quietly to “big brother”] have to be made now.

    –> but routinely intelligent agents produce digital strings and structures or at least digitsable ones, that are well beyond teh threshold.

    –> For instance, can anyone here identify a string of at least 143 ASCII characters that is grammatically and orthographically correct English text and functional within a reasonable context, that is the reliably observed product of a random walk or the equivalent? [And Genetic Algorithms with their broadcasting warmer/colder oracles are intelligently designed and use active information fed in at the start. The standard remark that they are based on biological evolution is highly misleading at best. For the issue at stake is teh spontaneous origin of complex bio-function and associated DNA code, starting from Darwin’s warm salty pond or the substantial equivalent; which itself is the subject of issues on the underlying physics and chemistry. (Cf my always linked for a survey discussion.)]

    –> Recall, too: the reasonable estimates for the minimum DNA to code for a functional, independent life form are of order 300,000 bases. 4^600k ~ 9.9 *10^361,235, i.e. the search space is well beyond the reasonable reach of chance + necessity only.

    –> The only empirically observed, known causal force capable of generating FSCI on the order of 600 kbits is directed contingency, i.e. design. [These days, that is less than one picture worth of bits, or a fairly short program.]

    –> This is of course the sort of calculation and measure discussed by KD, in the recently discussed video.

    –> In that video, he pointed out that Axe et al show that on a functionality metric,t eh degree of isolat5ion of individual proteins is of order 1 in 10^65 – 70 or so, EACH. Multiply that by the need to get a cluster of 100’s of such proteins, in the correct spatial config well within 10^-6 m,a nd working under step by step processes to carry out the functions of life and you soon enough get beyond the same 1,000 bit threshold.

    (iii)Then there is the average bits per symbol approach:

    Another empirical approach to measuring functional information in proteins has been suggested by Durston, Chiu, Abel and Trevors in their paper “Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins”, and is based on an application of Shannon’s H (that is “average” or “expected” information communicated per symbol: H(Xf(t)) = -?P(Xf(t)) logP(Xf(t)) ) to known protein sequences in different species.

    –> Here, the ordered, random and functional sequence complexity metric pioneered by T & A is extended and applied to actual cases, as is linked in the response to Q 27.

    –> Their Table 1 gives the results for several dozen proteins, peaking at Flu PB2, with 608 aa, 1,692 sequences, 2628 bits in null state, FSC 2,416 Fits, and FSC density 4.0 Fits/aa.

    –> in short, there are several dozen specific real world cases out there, just two clicks and a read away from Qn 27. [But, that seems to be the problem. So, it seems we have Weak Arguments FAQ revision no 1 identified: put in a Fits example from table 1 as liked above.]

    (iv)This then brings us to Dembskli’s Chi metric [which was discussed with the simple spades illustration to show that it is a real metric]:

    X = – log2[10^120 ·fS(T)·P(T|H)]. [I substitute English letters as WP in comments seems to gag on Greek ones . . . ]

    –> This boils down to first getting a probability metric on getting to archipelagos of relevant function per a chance random walk search hyp [and NB WD and Marks on the issues of search costs and search for search costs; i.e., there is no free lunch . . . ]

    –> That metric is modified, by two factors that reflect the number of similarly functional specifications and the available search resources, moving right to left.

    –> Then, we convert to bits through the usual log transformation.

    –> We gave a calculation based on a challenge from MF, to illustrate that the Dembski Chi-Metric is coherent and can yield a result. So far as we know, no-one has as yet done this metric for, say, a flagellum. (I gather some folks out there may be working on it . . . but we have a proof of concept case study, which we have presented.)

    –> Looks, though, like we will need to underscore that the metrics already mentioned have sufficiently removed the cogent force of this objection. And that is quite enough to show that it is a weak objection.

    –> So, in a context where we already have THREE other viable metrics, (a) one being so ubiquitous that it is of commonplace familiarity, (b) one being foundational to the more complex ones, and (c) one being presented with a table of dozens of results for specific proteins, then (d) it can hardly be fairly said that CSI/FSCI is not quantitiative or measurable!, or (e) that it has not been measured for real world cases.

    –> In short, this objection smacks of not doing due diligence [An intellectual responsibility issue] and/or putting up a strawman [a consequential, ethical responsibility issue].

    –> The most that can be said for it, is that it shows us that perhaps we do need to EXPLICITLY cite and/or link table 1 in the linked peer reviewed paper.

    –> So, company of peers: Is the cited value above enough for that purpose?

    __________

    I trust the above continues to be helpful.

    G’day to all!

    GEM of TKI

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I see a discussion on the Explanatory Filter has come up.

    This issue appears in the WA FAQ Q29 – 30. In particular, No 30 outlines (with onward links):

    . . . we may summarize the “in-practice EF” a bit more precisely as:

    1] Observe an object, system, event or situation, identifying key aspects.

    2] For each such aspect, identify if there is high/low contingency. (If low, seek to identify and characterize the relevant law(s) at work.)

    3] For high contingency, identify if there is complexity + specification. (If there is no recognizable independent specification and/or the aspect is insufficiently complex relative to the universal probability bound, chance cannot be ruled out as the dominant factor; and it is the default explanation for high contingency. [Also, one may then try to characterize the relevant probability distribution.])

    4] Where CSI is present, design is inferred as the best current explanation for the relevant aspect; as there is abundant empirical support for that inference. (One may then try to infer the possible purposes, identify candidate designers, and may even reverse-engineer the design (e.g. using TRIZ), etc. [This is one reason why inferring design does not “stop” either scientific investigation or creative invention. Indeed, given their motto “thinking God’s thoughts after him,” the founders of modern science were trying to reverse-engineer what they understood to be God’s creation.])

    5] On completing the exercise for the set of key aspects, compose an overall explanatory narrative for the object, event, system or situation that incorporates aspects dominated by law-like necessity, chance and design. (Such may include recommendations for onward investigations and/or applications.)

    The EF cheerfully accepts the possibility of false negatives [missed cases of design] by setting so stringent a criterion for moving from chance as default to design as credibly the best explanation, that it gives high confidence when it rules design.

    Using the simplest metric and the simple square the number of quantum states threshold, can anyone here identify a reliably observed case in which a functionally specific, complex information bearing entity storing at least 1,000 bits to carry out that function, has been produced spontaneously by undirected nature? (That is, by chance + necessity only.)

    Even the longer comments on this thread [at least 143 functional, contextually responsive, English text alphanumerical characters] provide abundant examples where FSCI beyond that 1,000 bit threshold are examples of intelligent action.

    Nor is the “we can get a short program to generate the long functional data string” objection helpful. As, such coded algorithms require a language to be specified and instantiated in inputting, interpreting, executing and outputting machinery. That puts us right back over the threshold, very fast indeed.

    In short: “there is no free lunch.”

    And, where in our observation do such artificial languages, codes and algorithms come from [i.e originate], also the associated hardware that makes them work on the ground?

    For a longer discussion with a diagram [h’mm: would that help in the FAQ — we avoided diagrams due to the formatting headaches that such may pose in putting up . . . ], onlookers might want to look at my online note here.

    GEM of TKI

  44. 44
    Laminar says:

    Kairosfocus – 21

    Slightly OT but looking at Question No 4 I don’t understand why ID theory predicts that no DNA would be junk. It would be nice if some examples like this were actually explained rather than just stated because it helps to understand the mechanics of the theory when you can see what elements of it lead to these predictions.

  45. 45
    Mark Frank says:

    gpuccio [36]

    Thanks for answering.

    Also please stick with this. It may look like philosophical trickery to you – but to me it goes straight to the heart of what is wrong with ID.

    You wrote:

    And the answer:

    “From a philosophical perspective, yes, it is possible. But that has nothing to do with the ID theory. According to the ID theory, in that case design is not detected, and RM+NS is the best scientific explanation available.”

    Is that a clear answer? What do you object to it?

    It is reasonably clear – but:

    1) Why the phrase “from a philosophical perspective”. The statement is either true or it is not – it isn’t a matter of perspective.

    2) Why do you say it is nothing to do with ID theory? The key assertion of ID is that life has an intelligent cause. Surely the conditions under which this statement can be proven false are fundamental to the theory?

    3) Why would RM+NS be the best scientific explanation? A designer with sufficent power and motivation would be a perfect explanation. The observed outcome would be 100% certain to follow from the premise – whereas any RM+NS explanation, however good, is bound to have an element of uncertainty.

  46. 46
    Laminar says:

    Sorry if this seems pedantic but shouldn’t FAQ1 either be re-categorised as FMS1 (Frequently Made Statements) or changed from:

    ID is ‘not science’

    to:

    Is ID science?

    In its current form it is not an ‘asked question’ but a ‘made statement’.

  47. 47
    pk4_paul says:

    Mark Frank wrote:
    However, I strongly disagree with (3) as I have just been explaining to Gpuccio. Unless ID makes some committment as to the powers and motivation of the designer then it is always going to be the “best” explanation of everything.

    The minimal powers of a designer would entail an ability to generate a unicellular organism. That’s no small feat and is beyond the capabilities of 21st century technology. It also appears beyond the capabilites of nature given the absence of selection criteria to nucleic acid polymers existing outside cellular environments if indeed they even do so. If a nucleotide polymer were to form having random sequences why is it presumed that subsequent developments would favor changes with sequences and length conferring autocatalytic properties? If you assume an existing self-replicator then what process would generate pathways to a cell?

    The reason for mentioning the foregoing is to stress the point that observed outcomes (complex cells with replication capacities) indicate no natural process (the default presumption for non-intelligent causation) as a causal origin. We can then level the playing field by applying the same criteria to both intelligently guided and non-intelligent causal sources. The minimal capacities of both entail an ability to generate a unicellular organism.

  48. 48
    gpuccio says:

    Mark:

    I am afraid we have problems of epistemology here.

    1) “Why the phrase “from a philosophical perspective”. The statement is either true or it is not – it isn’t a matter of perspective.

    What do you mean? Philosophical statements are different from scientific statements. Although both disciplines are about reality, the methods and many other aspects are different.

    But before we get engaged in even more vague discussions, I will just restate the first part of my answer as follows:

    “If you intend your question as a philosophical question, then the answer is obviously that it is possible to suggest some philosophical scenario where, even for outcomes where RM+NS is shown to be a plausible explanation, the outcome was designed by an intelligence of undefined power and motives. Such a philosophical scenario, however, while remaining IMO scarcely convincing even from a philosophical point of view, would obviously not have any of the characteristics of a scientific explanation, because it would not be supported by any data, and would not be empirically falsifiable.” You see, sometimes Popper comes useful!

    2) “Why do you say it is nothing to do with ID theory? The key assertion of ID is that life has an intelligent cause. Surely the conditions under which this statement can be proven false are fundamental to the theory?”

    No, again the same misunderstanding. The key assertion of ID is that life has a “detectable” intelligent cause. It is a completely different statement. And certainly, the conditions under which “that” statement can be proven false are fundamental to the theory. Your statement is simply the wrong statement. Your statement could at best describe the concept of a generic “design philosophy”, not the scientific theory which we call ID. My statement, instead, describes correctly the ID theory.

    3) “Why would RM+NS be the best scientific explanation? A designer with sufficent power and motivation would be a perfect explanation. The observed outcome would be 100% certain to follow from the premise – whereas any RM+NS explanation, however good, is bound to have an element of uncertainty.”

    Again, problems of epistemology. We are discussing science here, not philosophy or pure logic. A good scientific explanation is one which is rooted in observed facts. In your (fictional!) case, observed facts are well explained by a convincing scientific theory based on RV + NS. That’s a good explanation. The idea that some unknown designer could have designed things so that they “appear” to be explained by a RV + NS theory is a logical possibility, but in no way a scientific explanation. Indeed, which are the facts it would be based upon? The outcome would be following from the premise just because the premise includes the properties of the outcome (“some unknown designer could have designed things so that they “appear” to be explained by a RV + NS theory “). And you would be perfectly right affirming that such an argument is circular, and I would absolutely second you.

    But the scientific theory of ID is completely different: it affirms that biological information appears designed because it positively shows properties which are exhibited by known designed things, and which are never observed in systems where design is not implied, and which cannot be explained by non design theories. This reasoning, as I have shown many times, is not circular, and is empirically grounded. This is the reasoning we are debating here, and not something else.

    And finally, scientific theories “must” have “an element of uncertainty”. That’s because they are scientific theories, and not logical demonstrations. Logical demonstrations are found only in logic and mathematics. They are deductive. They are certain, as long as we accept the premises of logical reasoning (and we don’t make mistakes in the reasoning itself). But empirical science if inferential. Absolute logical certainty is not one of its properties. So, both darwinian evolution and ID, being both empirical scientific theories, must have “an element of uncertainty”, which will never be canceled, not even for the best empirical scientific theory.

  49. 49
    gpuccio says:

    Everybody:

    Just for the sake of order, I would suggest that the discussion be kept, as far as it is possible, to the individual point of the post, given that we will discuss the other points of the FAQ individually, according to Barry’s intentions.

    Obviously, we can make all the connections we want, but let’s just remember that an “extensive” discussion of the other points will take place in the near (I hope) future.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    MF:

    A quick note: the key issue on philosophy is the imposition of implicit or — per Lewontinn — EXPLICIT materialism. this subverts science from being an empirically anchored, unfettered but responsible search for the truth about our world and, here, its origins.

    This is — notoriously — being done through a tendentious, historically and philosophically unjustifiable redefinition of science under the name “methodological naturalism.”

    the point of ID as a scientific discipline is that it applies well known concepts and approaches to distinguish causal factors to relevant cases. In particular, we know that the routine — and only OBSERVED — source of FSCI is intelligence.

    This first poses serious challenges for biology when it tries to address origin of lifre [OOL] in a straight jacket thaqt rtries to pretend that we have reasonable ways to explain the FSCI in cell based life as observed per chance + necessity only. then, when we go on form first life to body-plan lefvel biodiversity, the FSCI challenge actually compounds in terms of the numbers of functional bits to be explained.

    Per empirical evidence — the frame of science as a discipline that seeks provisional knowledge on phenomena in the world of experience — chance variation plus natural selection has not been observed in a single case to credibly give rise to FSCI beyond the 1,00 bits threshold.

    Inded,the relevant evidence in hand, on malaria parasites [cf Q no 34 and its neighbours], suggests that he limit for such mechanisms is only a few effective mutations per 10^20 reproduction events. And that is more than the total number of reproductive events that is credible for the entire class of mammals across all time on earth.

    So, while it is of course in the abstract logically possible for lucky noise to generate any contingent outcome [just as violations of the 2nd law of thermodynamics are logically possible per statistics of microstates and their assumed equiprobability that leads to clustering in identifiable macrostates of vastly different statistical weights] , the epistemological/ scientific point is that the search space challenge is so plainly daunting that the OBSERVED, routine source of FSCI is a far superior explanation. Namely, intelligence.

    At least, once the materialism straight-jacket is removed.

    And, indeed, you yourself routinely accept that the apparent messages in this blog thread are real messages, not lucky noise mimics.

    So, you also face a self referentially incoherent selective hyperskepticism challenge here.

    And, it is again underscored that the Intelligent design project is a valid scientific endeavour.

    Which is the set issue on WA FAQ Qn no 1

    GEM of TKI

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: GP, I appreciate the point to remain on topic.

    I also note as a balance point that the discussion above in part shows that the individual questions cannot stand in isolation; i.e. there is indeed a certain minimal core that has to be seen together and taken under consideration when we assess for instance whether ID is a legitimate scientific endeavour.

    that said, it is also important to avoid following red herrings out to strawmen soaked in ad hominem oil, that can be ignited to blind us with the spectacle, cloud the atmosphere and poison it with choking smoke.

    So, we need to keep on topic [and avoid incivility!], but recognise that from time to time some clarification of incidental issues is needed; for which the links to Qs and the glossary will be helpful.

    So far, too, the legitimacy of ID is being strongly underscored, once the materialism straight-jacket is removed from science.

    G

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: MF and GP:

    Even for Mathematics, post Godel, we know that . . .

    (i) no sufficiently rich mathematical system can have axioms that are both complete and internally consistent, and

    (ii) there is no constructive procedure that gives rise to sets of axioms that are demonstrably free of inconsistencies.

    So, even mathematics is not certain beyond all reasonable doubt.

    G

  53. 53
    Mark Frank says:

    Gpuccio

    I think you are overcomplicating things by distinguishing between philosophical and scientific statements. As far as I am concerned there is a statement which is a documented part of the ID theory which is true or false. If it is philosophical and not scientific then that’s ID’s problem (if indeed it is a problem).

    However, you have amended the statement to:

    “The key assertion of ID is that life has a “detectable” intelligent cause.”

    (Perhaps you should get the web site changed?)

    So what kind of observation is going to falsify this new proposition? Whenever, you come across a case when there is no evidence of design you can claim that it is not a refutation because you were only talking about detectable design!

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Mark

    Philosophy is about meta issues and is pursued by comparative difficulties across live option alternatives.

    Science — at its best — is about the empirically anchored unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) exploration of he truth about our world through means of investigation tied to observation, experiment and related locgico-mathematical analysis.

    And, most of all, what is logically strictly possible may often be empirically so improbable or implausible that other alternatives make for a better explanation.

    in the case of ID, once the materialism straight-jacket is put to one side, we can see that, per the original post and the WA FAQ 1:

    1] It [ID] is based on empirical data: the empirical observation of the process of human design, and specific properties common to human design and biological information (CSI).

    2] It is a quantitative and internally consistent model.

    3] It is falsifiable: any positive demonstration that CSI can easily be generated by non design mechanisms is a potential falsification of the ID theory.

    4] It makes empirically testable and fruitful predictions

    It is therefore a legitimate scientific endeavour.

    Also, it has produced the only observationally supported explanation for the FSCI in cell based life.

    (While chance plus selection forces can in principle give rise to contingent molecular configs and clusters of molecules, the isolation of the archipelagos of function in the resulting beyond merely astronomical config spaces is so deep that intelligence is the only empirically reasonable explanation.)

    G

  55. 55
    halo says:

    A few suggestions:

    1) I didn’t see the common ‘God-of-the-gaps’ objection in the list. That is perhaps the most common phrase a journalist would look for.

    2) The most common questions should be listed at the top as journalists are unlikely to read through the whole list, e.g ‘Who designed the Designer’ should be a top 5 Question, as should ‘God-of-the-gaps’.

    3) The phraseology is too technical and would put off the average journalist e.g ‘by finite arrangements of matter’ could be simplified to ‘in nature’ or ‘in nature and the cosmos’.

    You have made a great start but IMO there is way too much technical jargon to put people off – you may be able to handle it fine but you are not the people ID needs explaining to!!!!

    Great start!

  56. 56
    gpuccio says:

    Mark:

    “So what kind of observation is going to falsify this new proposition?”

    It’s easy. You may have noticed that ID is stating that there are detectable signs of design in very specific objects, and in particular in the strings of digital information constituting the genomes and proteomes. We have also given many examples, starting form complex functional proteins, to molecular machines like the flagellum.

    Now, for utmost clarity, here is the ID statement to be falsified, and then the possible falsification:

    Statement: The existing, observed genomes and proteomes, or at least great part of them, exhibit objectively detectable signs of design. The EF (tool for design detection) tells us that they are functionally specified and that they cannot be explained by any existing theory based on chance and necessity.

    Falsification: No, that is not true. We have a credible, consistent and empirically supported theory which can very well explain those objects. Here it is…

    In that case, ID theory is falsified. (Some parts of it, like cosmological ID, could still be debated, because they are based on different arguments, but biological ID could not survive that).

    A couple of further specifications, to avoid misunderstanding: falsifying biological ID (the detection of design in genomes and proteomes) does not necessarily falsify any theory of design detection. What we are trying to falsify here is the detection of design in biology. I think that is the relevant point, and the core of ID theory. Just to make an example, Dembski’s work has some aspects which go beyond the simple detection of design in biology, and have broader consequences. Those aspects must be falsified independently, but I don’t think that’s the problem of ID. ID is about design detection in biology.

    “As far as I am concerned there is a statement which is a documented part of the ID theory which is true or false.” and “Perhaps you should get the web site changed?”

    Please, could you quote the entire statement? I cannot find it on the site (maybe it was removed). If you quot it, I will say my opinion about it, and if it should be changed. Anyway, I don’t think that any single statement can change the history of ID theory. ID has always been about objective design detection, and nothing else. That is very clear, both in Dembski and in Behe, and it is very clear also in almost all the discussions we have here. So, I think you are really misrepresenting ID by sticking to a single phrase, which probably does not mean what you mean (but I would rather see it before judging).

    “Whenever, you come across a case when there is no evidence of design you can claim that it is not a refutation because you were only talking about detectable design!”

    I really can’t understand what you mean. As IDists, we suggest real cases (proteins, genes) where we can find detectable design. We are not saying that in some cases design could not be undetectable (indeed, some simpler proteins could fall into that category). But we are definitely stating that many proteins, and many other more complex sttructures (sucg as multi-protein machines), exhibit signs of design. And we are giving examples of that. Now, it’s very simple, you just falsify those examples.

    You may say: but if I can falsify one case, you will require the falsification of another one, and then another one. But that’s not true. I can agree that the falsification of a theory should not rely on one single case. But it is not necessary that each single protein or molecular structure be explained. What is required is that a reasonable, convincing, consistent and empirically supported mechanism be shown for at least a few general cases, so that it may be obvious that a similar mechanism can potentially explain most known cases. That’s how science works. By inference. But inference has to be based on reliable data and models.

  57. 57
    Mark Frank says:

    I take back my last paragraph in #46

    So what kind of observation is going to falsify this new proposition? Whenever, you come across a case when there is no evidence of design you can claim that it is not a refutation because you were only talking about detectable design!

    I was not thinking straight. There is something really weird about a hypothesis that includes “detectable” in it – but that is not the problem. I will try to articulate the problem in another comment.

  58. 58
    Mark Frank says:

    KF

    To save you some time .. I never read your comments. It is nothing personal. I just find them too hard to digest. My fault probably.

    Mark

  59. 59
    Mark Frank says:

    Gpuccio

    You asked for the definition of ID that I was using. It is here

    The first sentence reads:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

    You will see it makes no reference as to whether that intelligent cause is detectable.

    However, I see that in #49 you have come with another hypothesis. Is this the one I should work with?

    If nothing else this exercise should help you accurately articulate the ID hypothesis 🙂

  60. 60
    JayM says:

    kairosfocus @37

    That’s a lot of material that may or may not answer the question about whether or not CSI can be or has been calculated for real biological systems. While I appreciate your effort, almost no one is going to read and try to follow all that. In fact, the very existence of that much verbiage, here and in other areas where CSI calculation is discussed, suggests that the straightforward answer is “No, we don’t have an example of CSI calculated for a real biological construct.”

    For the purposes of this FAQ, we should either admit that this is an open question or provide a clear example of using an objective technique to calculate CSI. Don’t bring in discussions of playing cards, or Fits, or other complexity measurements, just CSI, Dr. Dembski’s measurement for the detection of design.

    Once we have that clear, objective example, we can see how well it maps to known MET mechanisms. There is still the problem that CSI as described fails to take into consideration the non-uniform distribution of solutions in genome space and the non-uniform generation of candidate solutions by MET mechanisms. From what I’ve read, there does seem to be an assumption of creation ex nihilo. This will be easily confirmed or dispensed with once we have a clear example of calculating CSI.

    JJ

  61. 61
    jerry says:

    CSI has a checkered history on this site. There are discussions that took place over two years ago in which all here through up their hands in exasperation at the concept. No one could define it accurately or give examples of it that satisfied everyone.

    Hands of cards, DNA, coin flips, computer programs, Mt. Rushmore, language, choice of places on the ballot etc. were offered as examples but none could find a common thread to each except they were all of human origin (except DNA which was the topic under consideration) and not random. And then one of our members said that CSI specifies another thing and this thing has a function. Now a subset of my examples immediately falls out, namely DNA, computer programs and language but coin flips, card hand and Mt. Rushmore remained as ambiguous as to how they are CSI.

    I don’t know who first coined the phrase functional complex specified information or FCSI but this subset of the CSI universe is what is appropriate for life and hence it is used frequently to provide examples of ID and life. Now Dembski’s endeavors are much wider than the discussion of life so he came up with a metric that attempts to reach a wider range of phenomena and therein lies the problem. This attempt to be more general is what is leading us into this abyss of CSI definition and calculating. Maybe Kirk Durston’s thoughts might clarify this but he works in the domain of DNA and proteins so my guess the concept of functionality will be essential.

    Now how much of this has to do whether ID is science or not. CSI is not essential for ID but is used by one of its most prominent advocates. Can ID be science without a clear definition of CSI. I think so and I look at CSI as a millstone and not essential. But FCSI is easy to calculate and useful for ID.

    I will have a second comment but rather than getting it buried I will add it next. I have already made it but no one has said one word about it and it was the first comment..

  62. 62
    StephenB says:

    —-Mark Frank: (to GPuccio) “However, I see that in #49 you have come with another hypothesis. Is this the one I should work with?”

    ID definitions vary only to the extent that they change emphasis on related topics. Describing the effects of intelligent innovation is different than alluding to that which caused them, yet both are relevant and can be discussed separately or as a whole. In any case, you seem to hearkening back to the “character” of the designer as a standard for scientific investigation. Please go back and read my brief comments at 22 and respond to them since they seem relevant to your difficulty. Also, I have not heard from you since I explained why the “natural”/”supernatural dichotomy is inappropriate. Was it sufficient to address your concerns?

  63. 63
    jerry says:

    Is there anything in Michael Behe’s work that uses the concept of CSI and which of the two areas of work, Dembski or Behe, is more convincing? I happen to think both are useful but Behe’s work underlies most of our arguments and maybe Durston’s work might be a bridge between both. But isn’t Behe’s work science and isn’t it ID?

    So these long rambling discussions should be on another thread and we should just pay attention to whether ID is science. Some may argue it is bad science but does it follow scientific procedures. I have often made the claim that nearly every study in evolutionary biology is ID. What is the difference is not the methods or procedures or the findings but the conclusions. Someone doing work on the mapping of a genome and comparing two species of the same genera or family and looking at the differences in the genomes and how each could have arisen could just as well be an ID scientist. What will be different is that the ID scientist will look at a wider range of conclusions than the Darwinian scientist because the ID scientist can accept a Darwinian solution while a Darwinian scientist cannot accept a non Darwinian solution.

    So I suggest that people here consider that the main difference between ID and other science is the possible range of conclusions from the data and if so then why isn’t ID as much science as that practiced by those who are now called scientists. The EF is just one technique that ID uses and can be criticized on its applicability or not but it is not the essence of whether ID is science of not.

  64. 64
    gpuccio says:

    Mark (#52):

    Excuse me, b ut perhaps you shoud have read the whole piece, instead of just quoting the beginning. The part you quote (the beginning) is as follows:

    “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.”

    Obviously, here the author is stating the “conclusions” of the ID theory, not its premises. That is very clear if you go on reading:

    “In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.”

    and:

    “An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.”

    and:

    “Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the “messages,” and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life.”

    So, it seems to me that I have come with no new hypothesis. Maybe the above definition could have been articulated in more clear order, but I think that all the essential parts are there.

    IOW, the theory of intelligent design, through the science of design detection, searchs for positive evidence of design in living systems, and by the application of the EF it tests the inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause, and according to the results of that it holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. That is the way to read it, and as you can see that there is no difference with what I have said.

    It is perfectly obvious to whomever has read the ID literature that the design inference is the result of a process, that it derives form the finding of positive evidence of design in living systems through the appropriate methodology of design detection. That is, and always has been, the ID theory.

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    A few follow-up points:

    1] JJ, 53: No CSI measures of real biosystems

    JJ, I cited from and linked a table that gives nearly three dozen CSI values, from the peer reviewed literature.

    Further to this, I discussed the various metrics that may be encountered,and explained their meaning and interconnexion. I also pointed out the limitations on work on Dembski’s Chi-metric, to date.

    But the onward research challenges on this front [i.e this is a potentially fruitful research challenge . . . ] have nothing to do with whether CSI is measurable and has been measured: it is measurable, is routinely measured and has in particular been measured and PUBLISHEED for biological systems.

    2] MF, 51: “too hard to digest”

    To equally not be personal, this sounds more like an easy rhetorical way out than a serious response on the issues on a serious matter.

    In any case you have had several clarifying responses — across several threads and over many weeks now, from several people — on the difference between empirically based scientific work, and philosophical dialogues.

    Should we not then take your [non-]responses above as an implicit concession on the merits?

    3] JJ, 53: From what I’ve read, there does seem to be an assumption of creation ex nihilo.

    You have been reading strawman misrepresentations, which Q’s 1 – 8 correct.

    In fact, ID starts from empirical facts: the known actions of intelligent agents and their known reliable traces; traces which per our observation over actually thousands of years, are never seen as being due to other causes.

    It then reasons from “like causes like” so that when we see signs of intelligence, we are entitled to infer to agents.

    Show a counterexample that is OBSERVED and the claim will be falsified and therefore surrendered. (And event that possibility is a part of how science works: some promising hyps and theories have from time to time been overturned.)

    However, that is exactly what is not being done. As the answer to Q 1 points out, games are being played with definitions of science that end up straight-jascketing science from being what it ought to be: an unfettered but responsible pursuit of the truth about our world in light of the evidence, wherever it leads.

    The implication of question-begging is thus specious. The onward invited inferences to Creationism and theocratic imposition are even more specious, as is discussed in the Qs 1 – 8.

    4] There is still the problem that CSI as described fails to take into consideration the non-uniform distribution of solutions in genome space and the non-uniform generation of candidate solutions by MET mechanisms. . . .

    In fact, in biological cases, ID is premised on exactly the point that functional states are distinct and form deeply isolated islands and archipelagos in the genome config space.

    “Non-uniform generation” is a claim that there are [presumably as yet unknown] forces that constrain e.g. prebiotic soups to create life forms. That is not shown, nor is it likely to be shown, on the mutually destructive arguments of leading Metabolism first and Genes first thinkers. [Cf discussion in my always linked for details.]

    if you intend that here are as yet undiscovered laws at work that program life under our physics, what you are doing is first moving up tot he level of the question: where do such interesting laws and programs come from?

    Secondly, NDT and its various extensions boil down to chance variation selected based on environmental factors giving rise to differential reproduction. NS, the culling mechanism, is not an innovator of bio-information. So, it is the chance variation that has to get us to body-plan level biodiversity. that very rapidly7 runs up against the seach c=space chalenge as for isntance to get to say an art6hropod form a unicellular organism one has to innovate dozens of new cell types and systems of organisation that give rise to the body architecture, by chance.

    The genome jump from say 10^6 bases to 100+ * 10^6 bases, and the available Cambrian window to do the feat dozens of times over, runs straignt into the searching for islands of function within available search resources problem that is at he heart of ID.

    MET is not the solution, in short.

    5] halo, 48: God of the gaps.

    H’mm, now why didn’t we think of that one specifically!

    Okay, let’s see, it seems closely tied to No 1 as presently composed, so let’s try an exercise of extending the question a bit. [I assume SB and GP are watching, this is live composition as we went through over the past few months.]

    ___________

    Q1 [draft revision, KF, Feb 04]: ID is “not science”; at best it is the same mistake Newton made when he proposed the “God of the gaps hypothesis”

    [incorporate current answer in toto, then add . . . ]

    These points immediately show why ID is not a repetition of Newton’s error when he proposed that God or angels nudged the orbiting planets every now and then, getting them back into proper alignment. (Later scientists were able to show that the perturbations of one planet acting on another are calculable and do not in aggregate derange the solar system.)

    For, ID is not proposing “God” to paper over a gap in current scientific explanation. Instead we are starting from empirically observed, reliable, known facts and generally accepted principles of scientific reasoning:

    (a) Intelligent designers exist and act into the world.

    (b) When they do so, as a rule, they leave reliable signs of such intelligent action behind.

    (c) Indeed, for many of the signs in question such as CSI and IC, (i) intelligent agents are the only observed cause of such effects, and (ii) chance + necessity [the alternative] is not a plausible source as the islands of function are far too sparse in the space of possible relevant configurations.

    (d) On the general uniformitarian principle of science, that “like causes like,” we are therefore entitled to infer from sign to the signified intelligent action.

    (e) While this is of course subject to falsification if it can be observed that undirected chance + mechanical forces do give rise to CSI or IC, that is actually a scientific virtue: ID is falsifiable in principle but well supported in fact.

    In sum, ID is indeed a legitimate scientific endeavour: the science that studies signs of intelligence.

    __________

    How’s that for a very rough draft?

    ++++++++++++

    Okay, let’s see more.

    Moretime . . .

    GEM of TKI

  66. 66
    jerry says:

    One last comment. ID does not say that intelligence can always be detected. If we had a video camera of someone making random marks in the sand, we would conclude these random marks have definitely originated with an intelligence. Without the video camera we would give a lower probability to the event originating with an intelligence but we could use other methods to maybe come to the same conclusion. The conclusion is one based on probability.

    Now some have said they will only believe in an intelligent designer if the video tape is produced or something equivalent but refuse to take any evidence less than that. But ID is one of probability and as we have seen it is often difficult to apply probabilities.

    ID is a science that says intelligence is a possible explanation for observed phenomena and without the video tape or its equivalent, it will always be a probabilistic one. And one way of judging how probabilistic an explanation is to judge the likelihood of the alternatives. But rather than focus on the alternatives, just remember ID is not absolute and never intended to be. It is just the establishment that intelligence could be true. It uses the tools of science to come to its conclusions. And since the only thing different between ID and regular science is its conclusions, it is science. Argue over the conclusions but not whether it is science or not.

  67. 67
    mynym says:

    That’s a lot of material that may or may not answer the question about whether or not CSI can be or has been calculated for real biological systems.

    That may come in time. If proponents of ID argued that intelligence is naturally necessary for scientific progress could they offer you a promissory note about inevitable future progress? Perhaps if they believed in a grand mythology of Progress they could say that science will inevitably progress towards verifying their theories or something similar to them. After all, that’s not without precedent.

    But for now it’s probably for the best that ID is not the established paradigm, it is censored and so on. It will probably ferment well enough.

    However the so-called “theory of evolution” has already been said to be the epistemic equivalent of the theory of gravity for well over a century while ID and criticism or dissent from “evolution” in general have been compared to a denial of gravity*, believing that the earth is flat and so on. So it seems that Darwinian theory must be specified in the language of mathematics and verified in trajectories of adaptation in groups of organisms. Has this been done? You seem to be assuming that ID must meet an epistemic standard that Darwinism has not met.

    *Such arguments have not been uncommon even among leading proponents of the collection of hypotheses sometimes called “evolution” and have been quite common among vulgar popularizers:

    A scientific theory has considerable status, because it must be supported by massive amounts of solid evidence. It is worth remembering that both the theory of gravity, and the theory of relativity have exactly the same status, in science as the theory of evolution.
    (The Toronto Sun
    August 28, 1999, Saturday, Final EDITION
    SECTION: EDITORIAL/OPINION, Pg. 17)

    It is hard for us to believe that some members of the State Board of Education would try to dismiss the force of gravity as “only an untested theory.” Couldn’t they prove it to themselves by jumping off a tall building?
    (Topeka Capital-Journal (Kansas)
    June 15, 1999, Tuesday
    HEADLINE: ‘Letters to the editor)

    The theory of evolution is as accepted today by the scientific community as is the theory of gravity.
    […]
    Keep in mind, Galileo did not know exactly how and why the Earth revolves around the sun, but that did not make him wrong. If creationism were to be placed under the same standards of scrutiny as evolution, creationism would have been abandoned decades ago. And yet evolution still stands strong.
    (Buffalo News (New York)
    February 25, 2005 Friday
    FINAL EDITION
    SECTION: VIEWPOINTS; Pg. A11
    HEADLINE: EVOLUTION IS ACCEPTED BY SCIENTISTS AS THEORY)

    It’s very refreshing to see the debate concerning evolution brought back into public discourse, because it allows me to bring to light some other troubling theories that we should avoid “indoctrinating” our children with, as letter-writer Marjie Shulsinger described the teaching of evolution.
    The first is the theory of gravity.
    (The Denver Post
    January 27, 2005 Thursday
    FINAL EDITION
    SECTION: DENVER & THE WEST; Pg. B-06
    HEADLINE: THE OPEN FORUM – Letters to the editor)

  68. 68
    JayM says:

    kairosfocus @58

    JJ, I cited from and linked a table that gives nearly three dozen CSI values, from the peer reviewed literature.

    I read that paper and the numbers in the table are “Fits” that are computed from a different formula than Dr. Dembski’s CSI. Can you provide, preferably in a single paragraph, a clear explanation of how to compute the CSI of, say, the bacterial flagellum? Not Fits, not other complexity measures, not pages and pages of how we could calculate CSI, but a real calculation that can be repeated by anyone with the requisite math skills and that generates a real number with real units?

    To the best of my knowledge, no ID researcher has ever done this. The vagueness of CSI is why I find Dr. Behe’s approach more likely to succeed.

    JJ

  69. 69
    JayM says:

    kairosfocus @58

    There is still the problem that CSI as described fails to take into consideration the non-uniform distribution of solutions in genome space and the non-uniform generation of candidate solutions by MET mechanisms. . . .

    In fact, in biological cases, ID is premised on exactly the point that functional states are distinct and form deeply isolated islands and archipelagos in the genome config space.

    This is not how CSI is presented. I will be pleasantly surprised to see that this is the case when a real calculation of CSI in a biological construct is provided, but from my fairly extensive reading it appears that CSI calculations incorporate assumptions of uniform probability distributions (cf the NFL theorems) and also include the length of the sequences being considered as part of the formula.

    MET does not claim that all sequences are equally likely nor that they arise in one fell swoop. Given this, the implicit assumption that the length of a genome or protein is relevant makes it likely that any calculations will not reflect biological reality.

    If we’re going to claim that CSI makes ID predictions quantifiable and that it is applicable to observed biological systems, we must have examples to work from, both to show how to calculate it in real world situations and to make any implicit assumptions explicit.

    JJ

  70. 70
    daveB says:

    I see that there will be no discussion of methodological naturalism. That’s smart.

  71. 71
    StephenB says:

    JayM:

    I think that the best way to handle these objections at this point is for you to acknowledge first of all that ID is science under the first definition, that is,” an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) progressive search for the truth about our world; based on empirical evidence and reasoned analysis.”

    If you disagree with that definition, you would do well to raise your objections about that now because that is a large part of what this discussion is supposed to be about.

    In the second part of the statement, we raise the bar a little bit and indicate that ID even meets the “popular” definition as well. Since you object to that point on the grounds that, in your judgment, CSI cannot be measured in a universal way, you should probably wait until question #27 appears, which deals with that issue more directly.

    Right now we are discussing criteria, not measurements. That will come in due time. The answer provided as #1 was not intended to cover every conceibable grievance that ID critics can think of including, the nature of the designer, CSI measurement, non-uniform distributions, fruitful predictions. or other such details that come of later.

    What we are trying to settle here is that claim that ID qualifies as science in the general sensce Whether or not it may be counted as “quality” science is to be discussed on another day. The sooner we focus on the question before us, the sooner we will get the the questions that you wish had been asked.

  72. 72
    JayM says:

    StephenB @63

    What we are trying to settle here is that claim that ID qualifies as science in the general sensce

    That’s fine, but putting in claims about ID theory currently being “quantifiable” is unnecessary and distracting.

    My personal view is that “Is ID science?” isn’t a well formed question. “Is there a scientific theory of ID?” and “Do ID researchers follow the scientific method?” are more to the point.

    The scientific method question is straightforward: Observe, hypothesize, predict, test, repeat. If ID researchers do that, they are “doing science.”

    The scientific theory question simply requires that ID theory be stated clearly and be shown to generate predictions that, if tested and shown to be wrong, would falsify the theory.

    With those two results, all the philosophy of science distractions would vanish.

    JJ

  73. 73
    jerry says:

    I believe that the term CSI should be removed from the FAQ.

    CSI is a technique of analysis and as such should be judged as every other technique should be judged. CSI is not essential for ID let alone the essence of ID so why should it appear in a discussion on whether ID is science or not.

    Again I ask and it continues not to be answered. Does Behe use the concept of CSI? The answer is no and Behe has done more for ID in recent years than anyone.

    CSI should eventually discussed but as a separate FAQ and not right away because there should be a lot of other things before that.

  74. 74
    tribune7 says:

    JayM –The scientific method question is straightforward: Observe, hypothesize, predict, test, repeat. . . .”

    Which ID researchers do.

    DNA is observed to store information. It is hypothesized that it is designed. It is predicted it will have the same objective characteristics as objects of known design. etc.

    So why is ID accused of not being science?

  75. 75
    StephenB says:

    —-JayM: “My personal view is that “Is ID science?” isn’t a well formed question. “Is there a scientific theory of ID?” and “Do ID researchers follow the scientific method?” are more to the point.”

    We are addressing false accusations that come the Darwinist community one at at time and in logical order. We did not conceive this question (ID is science) in a vaccum (our Darwinist adversaries, I take it that you are in that camp) made the false charge that ID is NOT science. Those words came from them, not from us. So, if you don’t like way the issue if framed, please tell your colleagues to stop framing it that way.

    Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed my first question. Do you agree that science should be an unfettered search for truth?

  76. 76
    tribune7 says:

    It would probably be better if I said It is predicted DNA will have the same objective characteristics that only objects of known design have.

  77. 77
    gpuccio says:

    First of all, I will not discuss here the computation of CSI, because that fundamental point deserves a more complete discussion when its turn comes. For those interested, there is also a similar discussion about that point going on at the second Durston thread.

    A second general point: it should be clear that our FAQ has no pretende to give the final answers to all the questions regarding ID and darwinian evolution. That would be really too much! We have tried to state the ID position as clearly as possible on many controversial points. We don’t expect that everybody agrees with us. we definitely don’t expect that.

    So, the discussion is certainly interesting, and we like it, but in the end most people will remain with their personal convictions. There is nothing wrong with that.

    It is rather obvious that darwinists will not agree with us, because obviously they don’t agree with ID. We are naturally interested in their objections, but it is possible that we already know some of them. We are also interested in the comments of other IDists, as our purpose was above all to express ID positions correctly and clearly.

  78. 78
    gpuccio says:

    Jerry:

    I would like to answer your comments about the presence of the CSI concept in this first point. You say:

    “I believe that the term CSI should be removed from the FAQ.”

    I suppose you mean from the first point: removing CSI from all the FAQ would be a very strange option!

    “CSI is a technique of analysis and as such should be judged as every other technique should be judged. CSI is not essential for ID let alone the essence of ID so why should it appear in a discussion on whether ID is science or not.”

    CSI is explixitly cited in this point twice, and for a reason. In 1), as the observable property which links biological information to the products of human design. And in 2), in the context of an example of potential falsification of the whole ID theory.

    I don’t believe that you are right when you say that CSI is a “technique of analysis”. CSI is a concept, defining an observable property in objects, a property which the ID theory connects to their being designed. That’s why it is cited, and must be cited, in 1), because it is the observable property which is at the root of the empirical reasoning in ID. I don’t see how we could describe the general reasoning in ID without the concept of CSI (or any similar property).

    In point 3), we have just suggested a way to falsify ID. I post it again here, to comment on it:

    “any positive demonstration that CSI can easily be generated by non design mechanisms is a potential falsification of the ID theory”.

    IOW, ID theory connects the presence of CSI in an object to the conclusion that the object is designed. It does that at two different levels: empirically, from the observation that we find CSI only in designed objects; and conceptually, by showing that no model based only on chance and necessity can be reasonably expected to attain CSI.

    That’s why the empirical or conceptual demonstration that CSI can easily be generated by non design mechanisms would certainly be a falsification of ID.

    In the previous posts, I have discussed with Mark another potential way to falsify ID: by demonstrating that the properties which we observe in biological information, and in particular in the genome and proteome, and which ID interprets as CSI and as the product of design, can be instead explained by reasonable and empirically supported non design models.

    These are two very explicit ways that ID can be falsified. Even if they can seem the same thing, they are different. The first kind of falsification would directly deny the concept itself of CSI as a tool for design detection, in any context. The second kind, instead, is more specifically a falsification of the conclusions of ID about biological information. Both, anyway, would essentially falsify the ID theory.

  79. 79
    JayM says:

    tribune7 @70

    The scientific method question is straightforward: Observe, hypothesize, predict, test, repeat. . . .”

    Which ID researchers do.

    DNA is observed to store information. It is hypothesized that it is designed. It is predicted it will have the same objective characteristics as objects of known design. etc.

    So why is ID accused of not being science?

    Because that fact isn’t communicated well. I thought the purpose of the FAQ was to improve on that situation. I’m just tossing in my two cents here.

    JJ

  80. 80
    gpuccio says:

    Jerry:

    “Again I ask and it continues not to be answered. Does Behe use the concept of CSI? The answer is no and Behe has done more for ID in recent years than anyone.”

    And I will answer you. I am not sure if Behe has ever used the concept of CSI directly. Maybe not. But his work is strictly connected to the concept of CSI. And Behe’s work, while really fundamental for ID, would be very limited without the general context of the ID theory.

    You see, Dembski and Behe are two complementary aspects of ID. Dembski gives us a theoretical frame which explains many things, and is a very powerful tool to reason and connect all that we know. Behe is an empirical scientist, and brings us back to specific biological reasoning and empirical models of research and of confirmation. Both are necessary, both are useful.

    Behe’s work has two very different aspects, eac prevailing in each of his books.

    The first is the concept of IC, which is wonderfully explained in DBB. Now, I would like to remark that IC, even if empirically grounded, is in itself a theorical concept, much as CSI. Indeed, IC is probably a special case of CSI, but I will not even try to demonstarte that. IC is a property of complex machines, an onservable property which can be linked to the properties of designed objects, exactly like CSI.

    The second great contribution made by Behe to ID can be found in his second book, TEOE, where he gives a very deep interpratation of existing biological data to show that the observed behaviour of some very objective biological models (like plasmodium falciparum) do confirm the expecattions of ID calculations (including those calculations implicit in the CSI concept).

    Therefore I do believe that, while Behe does not use explicitly the concept of CSI in his work (which is based at another level), still his methodology and his conclusions are firmly grounded in the more general ID theory.

  81. 81
    jerry says:

    gpuccio,

    I disagree. Get rid of CSI from this FAQ. In my comment I said to treat it later, much later. If you do then the morass that is being generated will disappear and you will stay closer to the question which is about science.

    Evolutionary biology is not falsified by falsifying Darwinian processes or even the establishment of ID. Just individual parts of it. Behe operates in evolutionary biology and he is our rock. This just makes my point that CSI is not necessary for ID. So treat it at some later point in time.

    The question should be answered by saying that science is being expanded by the use of techniques introduced by ID and with an expanded philosophy and these techniques are common to science. These techniques and a change in philosophy would not cancel out one bit of science done to date but just expand the potential conclusions.

    I also said I have never seen an understandable definition for CSI and I have been around here longer than most. If one wants to go back and check the endless discussion of this you will see that I started a lot of them and never saw them end anywhere that was easy to understand. But modify this just a little bit and get rid of CSI and introduce FCSI and the discussion takes off with easy to understand relevant concepts and computable results.

    So get rid of CSI at this point and time and we can have the endless discussion of just what is CSI some other time in the future.

  82. 82
    gpuccio says:

    Jerry:

    I appreciate your contribution, but I respectfully disagree. But I don’t think I have anything to add to what I have already said.

  83. 83
    JayM says:

    StephenB @75

    My personal view is that “Is ID science?” isn’t a well formed question. “Is there a scientific theory of ID?” and “Do ID researchers follow the scientific method?” are more to the point.

    We are addressing false accusations that come the Darwinist community one at at time and in logical order. We did not conceive this question (ID is science) in a vaccum (our Darwinist adversaries, I take it that you are in that camp) made the false charge that ID is NOT science.

    Why do you assume I am in “that camp”? If you check my posting history here you’ll see that I’m more of a Behe-ist/Fuller-ist than a Dembski-ist. I suppose heretics are considered worse than heathens….

    In any case, I understand where the question came from. It’s still ill-formed. I am suggesting that pointing that out and focusing on the scientific method as used in ID research and explaining exactly what ID theory is and exactly how it can be falsified will lay these accusations to rest.

    Meanwhile, you have not yet addressed my first question. Do you agree that science should be an unfettered search for truth?

    My apologies, I missed the question previously.

    I would have to say that I don’t necessarily agree. Science is an exploration of the natural world. The scientific method has, dare I say, evolved to eliminate error whenever possible. As Feynman said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” Done well, science eliminates error in the investigation of natural phenomena.

    Science is a means of asymptotically approaching alignment of descriptions of the natural world with the reality of the natural world. Whether that constitutes capital-T “Truth” is a matter for philosophers, not scientists.

    JJ

  84. 84
    tribune7 says:

    So why is ID accused of not being science? Because that fact isn’t communicated well.

    No, it’s because the blinded-by-emotion opponents of ID have arbitrarily added the caveat that scientific endeavors must declare a material end result no matter how faithful to observe, hypothesize, predict, test etc. a method might be.

    This excludes ID since ID limits itself to the observable and refuses to make a conclusion it can’t about how it got there.

    And that is why it is important –arguably of paramount importance — to address the “ID is not science” claim.

    I kind of like that label for ID opponents — emo scientists 🙂

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    —-JayM: “Why do you assume I am in “that camp”? If you check my posting history here you’ll see that I’m more of a Behe-ist/Fuller-ist than a Dembski-ist. I suppose heretics are considered worse than heathens….”

    No, I don’t place anyone in the heretic category. However, you do not come across as someone who accepts ID in principle. Indeed, you do not even seem to accept this most basic proposition that ID is science, or if you do, you have yet to acknowledge it.

    So, I put it to you. Do you agree that ID is science? If so, then why don’t you say so and allow us to move on to the more complicated questions. If you don’t agree that ID is science, then you hardly qualify as a Behe/Fuller ID advocate.

  86. 86
    StephenB says:

    —-“JayM: “In any case, I understand where the question came from. It’s still ill-formed.”

    One of the reasons that I write short posts is to make sure that no one misses my point. So, how is it that you missed my point that we are responding to SOMEONE ELSES FALSE OBJECTION>

  87. 87
    JayM says:

    StephenB @85

    However, you do not come across as someone who accepts ID in principle. Indeed, you do not even seem to accept this most basic proposition that ID is science, or if you do, you have yet to acknowledge it.

    So, I put it to you. Do you agree that ID is science?

    I agree that the scientific method can be used to investigate the presence or absence of design in biological systems. I agree that ID theory could, in principle, be formulated in such a way as to generate testable predictions that could falsify the theory. I have yet to see such a formulation myself.

    To be perfectly clear, I do not agree that the nature of the designer has to be, or even can be, off-limits in ID theory. See my comments on Dr. Fuller’s thread for more detail on that.

    I also do not agree that Dr. Dembski’s CSI is currently sufficiently well-defined to serve as a mechanism of design detection. I would like to see it more formalized.

    My personal view is that Dr. Behe’s approach of investigating the limits of MET mechanisms is likely to be the most fruitful area of ID research in the near future.

    If you’d like any further clarity of my views, you have but to ask.

    JJ

  88. 88
    JayM says:

    StephenB @86

    In any case, I understand where the question came from. It’s still ill-formed.

    One of the reasons that I write short posts is to make sure that no one misses my point. So, how is it that you missed my point that we are responding to SOMEONE ELSES FALSE OBJECTION>

    Someone here is definitely missing the point. If you re-read my post, you’ll see I was suggesting that the FAQ answer should point out that the question is ill-formed and answer the real question, in terms of use of the scientific method and generation of testable predictions.

    When someone asks a question that badly phrased, it’s an opportunity to educate them on what science means and how ID fits that criteria.

    JJ

  89. 89
    gpuccio says:

    Just my opinion about the general “science definition” question. I don’t agree that science is defined by a specific method. I think that science is much more than its methods, and that no final “scientific method” exists. In a sense, I am on Feyerabend’s side. Even if I have respect for the method(s), I do believe that excessive and dogmatic emphasis on the method is more a limit than a facilitation for science.

    That’s probably one of the reasons why we preferred a more open definition for science, based more on its true purpose and moral and cognitive attitude than on its method. Many will disagree, but that’s how we conceive it.

    And nobody of us has ever thought of referring to a “capital-T “Truth””. In our FAQ, the word truth is not written with a capital T, and is immediately followed by a specification: “about our world”, and preceded by “progressive search for”. So, no absolutes here. Only a humble belief that some form of scientific truth is possible, and that it is good and precious, not in spite of its limits, but because of its limits. Personally, I do love limited truths: they are beautiful, and very, very human.

    And for those who seem to support some internal division between Behe-ism and Dembski-ism, I want to say that we see no such division, and that vwe love and appreciate Behe’s and Dembski’s approach in the same way, deeply convinced that the one strengthens the other. And I am sure to speak also for SB and KF when I say that we do believe in CSI, in its reality, in its importance, in its computability, and in its key role for ID theory.

    Speaking now for myself, I personally believe also that CSI is one of the most important concepts in science today, and that it is at the very center of many controversial aspects of current scientific thought, from darwinist theory to strong AI, to theory of information and theory of meaning. The only reason why darwinists and materialists are so stronly fighting against that concept is, IMO, that they know how fundamental (adn, for them, dangerous) it is. So, I see any attack to CSI as a cognitive suicide if it comes from an IDist, and as a desperate attempt at self-defemse if it comes form the other side.

  90. 90
    JayM says:

    gpuccio @89

    And I am sure to speak also for SB and KF when I say that we do believe in CSI, in its reality, in its importance, in its computability, and in its key role for ID theory.

    “Belief” is well and good, and can lead one to do the work to support that belief, but it holds no water scientifically.

    Whether or not CSI is computable for a real world biological construct, taking into account known mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory, is not a matter of belief. Either it can be done or it cannot. If it can, we need to present it.

    That alone would refute many arguments of ID opponents. Unfortunately, no one has yet provided such a demonstration.

    JJ

  91. 91
    jerry says:

    gpuccio,

    Well I wish you luck on this. But CSI has no accepted definition and to use it as an indication that ID is science is potentially sending it down a road with a dead end.

    If anyone thinks they know what CSI is then maybe they can explain it. FCSI is as simple as eating pie so don’t use that to form a definition of CSI. Remember is has to explain bridge hand, Mr. Rushmore, and coin flips as well as DNA. The problem is in the word specified. In FCSI the information under analysis is doing the specifying and is easily understood when expressed that way. In CSI the information is what is specified (the opposite of FCSI) and does not necessarily have a function nor a logical connection to anything and that is where the morass is.

  92. 92
    gpuccio says:

    jerry:

    I will never understand you. I can agree that the general concept of CSI is more difficult to deal with than the subset of funcrionally specified CSI (FSCI, if you want). But FSCI is still a subset of CSI, one where the specification is functional.

    Restricting the discussion to FSCI is no problem for the applications in biology, because, as we have said many times, the CSI in biology is all of the type of FSCI. And I ususally restrict even more the concept for practical application to biological models, to the subset of FSCI in a string of digital information, such as DNA or proteins. Therefore, where is the problem? The only pertinent application of CSI in biology is FSCI, so if you agree that FSCI can be easily managed, what are you complaining of? If you read the remaining part of the FAQ, or if you wait formthe discussion of it here, you will see that we, being interested only to the applications in biology, practically always deal with FSCI.

    I stay with my idea that the general problem of an universal definition of CSI remains very important, but not so much for biological applications. So, maybe we can agree on that part of the discussion.

    But I have used the term CSI in point one of the FAQ because it is correct and more familiar in the general discussion. It is correct, because FSCI “is” CSI. In biological information, we find FSCI, and therefore we find CSI. But we certainly don’t find Mount Rushmore: we find functional specification.

  93. 93
    StephenB says:

    —–JayM: “I agree that the scientific method can be used to investigate the presence or absence of design in biological systems. I agree that ID theory could, in principle, be formulated in such a way as to generate testable predictions that could falsify the theory. I have yet to see such a formulation myself.”

    So, I take it then, that you do not think ID is science but you think it could be. On the other hand, you have your own definition of science. So, that pretty much puts you in a position to reject ID on the strength of your own definitions until ID decides to come around to your way of thinking.

    —-“To be perfectly clear, I do not agree that the nature of the designer has to be, or even can be, off-limits in ID theory. See my comments on Dr. Fuller’s thread for more detail on that.”

    Yes, you have made it perfectly clear that you do not think ID’s own definition of itself is sufficient. You would like to see ID change its mission and its purpose to conform to your perception of what its mission and purpose ought to be. The only problem with that is that only the scientist can choose his own methods because only the scientist knows what research questions he would like to answers.

    —–“I also do not agree that Dr. Dembski’s CSI is currently sufficiently well-defined to serve as a mechanism of design detection. I would like to see it more formalized.”

    Yes, I get that. You will grant that ID is science when ID agrees to do things your way.

    —–“My personal view is that Dr. Behe’s approach of investigating the limits of MET mechanisms is likely to be the most fruitful area of ID research in the near future.”

    I think I get the idea. Just for fun, do you think Michael Behe is doing science?

    —-“Someone here is definitely missing the point. If you re-read my post, you’ll see I was suggesting that the FAQ answer should point out that the question is ill-formed and answer the real question, in terms of use of the scientific method and generation of testable predictions.”

    Don’t tell me. You don’t like the question because it wasn’t asked in a way that you would have preferred. Let us hope that, someday, we can learn to conform to your mission for ID, your definition of science, your standard for methods, and your judgment about the way the FAQ questions were formed. You do indeed set the bar very high.

  94. 94
    tribune7 says:

    That’s probably one of the reasons why we preferred a more open definition for science,

    GP, it might not be bad to throw in an addendum recognizing the popular definition of science (observation, hypothesis, experimentation etc.) and noting how ID fulfills it anyway.

    And while I’m thinking about it, it might not be a bad idea to point out the inherent limitations of the popular concept of science namely that it is incapable of addressing very real and very important matters.

    A methodology requiring a material answer will inevitably become trapped in an infinite loop if it tries to answer the question “what started it all.” So where did that cause come from, so where did that cause come from et. until it breaks its own rules and presumes multiverses where the physics are different and hence discredits itself.

    A methodology based on logic and philosophy of course has no such problem i.e. “Logic tells us there has to be an uncaused cause hence we hold that to be axiomatic, so now let’s go do something useful.”

    And of course, we can humbly point out that ID is part of the type of science that can’t answer most questions. All it can do is say, “yes, this is designed.”

  95. 95
    tribune7 says:

    Actually, ID can’t even say “this is not designed” since false negatives are expected.

  96. 96
    gpuccio says:

    trib,

    “GP, it might not be bad to throw in an addendum recognizing the popular definition of science (observation, hypothesis, experimentation etc.) and noting how ID fulfills it anyway.”

    well, in the second part we do exactly that. It starts, indeed, with:

    “Moreover, ID satisfies all the conditions usually required for a scientific theory:”

    and goes on with the four points.

    So, the structure of the answers is something like that: we give our definition nof science, keeping it as broad as possible, and at the same time we show how ID is consistent even with a “restricted” definition of science. The only thing ID is not compatible with is a definition of science so restricted that it is “ad hoc” for a specific philosophy, like materialism. In other words, a definition like “Science is only what is compatible with darwinian theroy” will not do, not for us, at least.

    And although I love philosophy of science, I think that a FAQ like this has to keep some limits.

  97. 97
    tribune7 says:

    GP, I think I’m seeing what troubles me about the definition.

    When dealing with people who are very well educated, or who have been following the issue, it’s perfect.

    For those who may be coming to this after not having picked up a science book since high school (or for a high school student writing a paper) It might be good to have something in there that expressly addresses what they were taught.

    This is basically what I remember being taught: Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.”

    IOW, if the words “observation” and “experimentation” can be worked in and it be shown how they apply to ID (and they do) it might have benefits that haven’t been considered.

    I wouldn’t change your wording, btw. I would go with an addendum i.e. For High School Students: Science is commonly taught in high schools to be etc. ID makes observations about nature, hypothesizes they have etc.

    Anyway, it’s just something to mull.

  98. 98
    JayM says:

    StephenB @93

    I agree that the scientific method can be used to investigate the presence or absence of design in biological systems. I agree that ID theory could, in principle, be formulated in such a way as to generate testable predictions that could falsify the theory. I have yet to see such a formulation myself.

    So, I take it then, that you do not think ID is science but you think it could be.

    If in fact there is no explicit ID theory that generates testable predictions, then ID is not science. However, I think you are mistaking my goal. I am trying to contribute to this FAQ by explaining how I would address the ID opponent assertion “ID is not science.”

    Now, it so happens that I personally haven’t seen examples of ID researchers applying the scientific method, nor have I seen an explicit theory of ID stated along with testable predictions. The fact that I haven’t seen those doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I raise the issue because I would like to see someone who does know where to find that information provide it and put it in the FAQ.

    If that information is not available, then I would suggest that ID is an early stage hypothesis that can be investigated further using the tools of science.

    On the other hand, you have your own definition of science.

    I think you will find that the definition of the scientific method and my desire to see ID theory stated in a falsifiable manner are extremely mainstream views of science.

    So, that pretty much puts you in a position to reject ID on the strength of your own definitions until ID decides to come around to your way of thinking.

    Since your premise is wrong, it’s not surprising that your conclusion is as well.

    The scientific method and the criteria for a theory to be considered scientific are basics taught at the high school level. I’m not sure where you’re going with this line of reasoning. Are you saying that ID does not meet the current definition of “science” and so we need to change the definition?

    I also do not agree that Dr. Dembski’s CSI is currently sufficiently well-defined to serve as a mechanism of design detection. I would like to see it more formalized.

    Yes, I get that. You will grant that ID is science when ID agrees to do things your way.

    Your passion for ID is clouding your reading comprehension. First, nothing in my statement about CSI has anything to do with the definition of science. Second, my definition is a very common one.

    I see this type of response unfortunately often from ID proponents. You’re attacking me rather than supporting your own position. If you know of ID researchers using the scientific method, simply produce the results they are generating. If you know of an explicit statement of ID theory that generates testable predictions, show it to us. If you’re certain that CSI can be calculated for real world biological constructs, do the math.

    When all even the most sympathetic questioners get back is vitriol instead of answers, it suggests that vitriol is all ID has to offer.

    I thought the FAQ was supposed to provide real answers.

    My personal view is that Dr. Behe’s approach of investigating the limits of MET mechanisms is likely to be the most fruitful area of ID research in the near future.

    I think I get the idea. Just for fun, do you think Michael Behe is doing science?

    I think that exploring the “edge of evolution” by investigating the limits of MET mechanisms and the topology of viable genome space can be done scientifically. I haven’t checked Dr. Behe’s publications or website recently so I don’t know if he is actively doing scientific research.

    JJ

  99. 99
    tribune7 says:

    JayM

    How ID is science: Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.”

    ID takes an observed natural phenomena, DNA; hypothesis that if it is designed it will have characteristics that exists only objects of known design; quantifies those characteristics and applies them to DNA (i.e. the experiment).

    How to falsify:

    1. Show those characteristics are found in objects of known to form without design (snowflakes for instance).

    2. Show those characteristics do not actually exist in the objects of known design.

    3. Show those characteristics do not exist in the target, in this case DNA.

  100. 100
    StephenB says:

    —–JayM: “I see this type of response unfortunately often from ID proponents. You’re attacking me rather than supporting your own position.”

    I am sorry that you think that I am attacking you. To me, everyone is accountable, and everyone’s ideas are subject to scrutiny, and that includes the scrutinizer. I don’t know how other ID advocates feel about that; I speak only for myself.

    In any case, I asked you if Michael Behe is a scientist, and I must say that I was flabbergasted by your answer.

    You write:

    “I think that exploring the “edge of evolution” by investigating the limits of MET mechanisms and the topology of viable genome space can be done scientifically. I haven’t checked Dr. Behe’s publications or website recently so I don’t know if he is actively doing scientific research.”

    So, you will not even concede that Michael Behe is doing science, or that he is an ID “scientist.” Remarkable. Earlier you identified him as the most promising ID researcher. So, in your judgment, IDs brightest light is not even a scientist, at least not in his role as an ID researcher. You are entitled to your opinion, or course, but that seems like a radical position to take.

    Tell me this, though. If he is not a scientist now, will he become one when he successfully refutes the NDE position? Or, is it your position that he will grow into a scientist during the process?

  101. 101
    Barry Arrington says:

    Thank you one and all. Comments on FAQ 1 are now closed. I will review and revise the FAQ.

Comments are closed.