# Guest Post: Design Detection

Paul Giem provides the following guest post today:

The following three pictures were made to represent trays with 560 coins with either white (heads) or black (tails) showing.  At least one of them was created by shaking coins and then spreading them out on a table (actually multiple shakes of 20 or so coins) and copying the pattern of heads and tails produced.  Which one or ones are they, and why?  Were the ones, if any, that were not done by this process designed, and if so by whom, and using what method?

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## 128 Replies to “Guest Post: Design Detection”

1. 1
Silver Asiatic says:

Anticipating …

By who? A human who understands English

But I’ll also guess this kind of response:

“Give me the FSCI calculation for each of those images. Failing that, ID cannot determine which one is designed.”

… or something like that.

In my view, (which may conflict with others’ here) we recognize the information string first through observation, pattern matching to references (English language) and discover a symbol set and, in this case, a message. The information has a sender and since we understand the message, we can infer the receiver: People interested in design vs chance arguments. The message is intended as an ironic comment for that audience – so obviously, it’s informational and communicative. It has symbol, medium (the rectangle and coin layout), translation, sender, receiver and functional operation in the end (illustrating a point in this post is its function).

2. 2
ciphertext says:

I like the imagery. When viewing the imagery, some thoughts occurred to me.

1) Wouldn’t it be interesting if, instead of a random (or near random) arrangement of the black and white circles, that a fractal pattern emerged upon shaking?

2) It’s a good thing that you didn’t choose red and green for the colors (despite the season!) as it would make it impossible for those who are red/green color blind to detect the “design” in the third image. Of course, if the site is US Section 508 compliant, you wouldn’t have that issue! (maybe a moot point). But I wonder if the concept (inability to detect design due to “defect” [for lack of better term]) isn’t apropos on a grander scale?

3. 3
liljenborg says:

A truly intelligent agent wouldn’t have left that one black dot in between the random pattern that has the appearance of design similar to the English words “due” and “to”, so we can conclude that image three is obviously not intelligently designed.

4. 4

The 3 patterns have the same probability of randomly occurring = 0.2649734913689×10**-168. So there is no difference between them.

EOIrony

5. 5
gpuccio says:

Paul:

Very good example.

Of course, the designer of number three was a little capricious, inverting colors in that way! At first, I could not detect the “chance” word. What a bad design detector I am. 🙂

However, we remain irremediably biased IDists: this is obviously a case of Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, in all its glory.

6. 6
Mung says:

The sample size is just too small to infer design without assuming the conclusion.

7. 7
Mung says:

Further evidence that design does not and cannot create an objective nested hierarchy and that only unguided evolution can.

8. 8
wd400 says:

Actually, it’s an example of well-defined and tractable chance hypothesi (“spreading coins randomly”) If proponents of CSI-like measures could produce the same they’d have something.

9. 9
gpuccio says:

Mung:

Stop being circular! 🙂

10. 10
Mung says:

From the OP:

At least one of them was created by shaking coins and then spreading them out on a table (actually multiple shakes of 20 or so coins) and copying the pattern of heads and tails produced.

Are you saying one of them is composed of a repeating pattern, or just that one of them was produced by representing actual coin tosses?

11. 11
Silver Asiatic says:

and copying the pattern of heads and tails produced … Were the ones, if any, that were not done by this process designed, and if so by whom, and using what method?

Ahh a trick question! They were all designed by the copyist.

12. 12
Tim says:

I am no good at design detection when it comes to such binary arrays, so I cannot tell which of the first two, if either, are designed, but the third one was designed. It was designed by humans. The method was placing coins to spell English words in an array with object/field contrast based on a color to coin-side definition. I determined this by making some assumptions following “spreading them out on a table” part of the narrative.

Either of the first two could be anything from a random pile, to a code, to a game (very poorly played on a non-standard board) of Go.

13. 13
RodW says:

I’m pretty sure the first 2 are random but the 3rd was designed. Am I correct? One could use this technique to show that proteins are designed if there was no way, other than random assembly, of generating proteins. But of course there is.

14. 14
Paul Giem says:

All,

Silver Asiatic (#1),

So far we got only one comment [now 2?] from an intelligent design denier 🙂 that I recognize (wd400 at #8 [and now RodW at #13]), and that comment agreed with the obvious conclusion and sought to make a distinction between this kind of probability argument and the probability arguments regarding life. It looks like we have an acceptance of the principle of design detection, and the dispute is about details. There is some hope.

What do you all think about the following arguments?
1. All three have heads/tails ratios statistically close to 0.5, and so must be random.
2. A non-random pattern can be misinterpreted as random; therefore a random pattern can be misinterpreted as non-random and the method fails.
3. There was no prior hypothesis by you design detectors; therefore your detection is invalid.
4. Any pattern is equally valid (see niwrad #4), so they are all likely to be random.
5. We can’t detect design unless we know how the design was made.
6. We can’t detect design unless we know who the designer was.
7. Number 3 can’t be designed because it has an imperfection (see liljenborg #3, gpuccio #5).
8. Number 3 can’t be designed because if it is not designed, it is not designed, and if it is designed, it says it is due to chance and it is therefore not designed.
9. It’s a good thing that there are 560 bits in each design, because only half that amount of bits could not reasonably indicate design.

To wd400 [and RodW]: Welcome to the dark side 😉 .

15. 15
Silver Asiatic says:

#8 is the best one. 🙂 Coins don’t tell lies.

16. 16
Mark Frank says:

Paul

I don’t see the point of your OP. No one is denying the ability to detect if something is designed. The dispute is how and when can you detect design, and in particular do you have to know something about the context in which it was created to detect if it was designed or can you tell simply from some intrinsic property of the object itself (as Dembksi would argue). A relevant question would be – could someone or something that knew nothing about human language and writing detect that 3 was designed.

17. 17
kairosfocus says:

The situation is high contingency so necessity does not seem a credible explanation for 1, 2 or 3. 1 & 2 look randomish per “typical” expectations, but I notice 2 has a long run of W’s which truly random processes may put up but if there is a non-random mimic is less likely, so I suspect 2 is best candidate to be truly random; for both, absent spotting a specific separately described pattern I would go with the high contingency default, chance. 3 is definitely designed, on observed FSCO/I. Of course, the design explanatory filter is designed to be reliable on ruling designed at the price of being less reliable on ruling chance in the face of high contingency.

18. 18
Collin says:

Mark at 16 “A relevant question would be – could someone or something that knew nothing about human language and writing detect that 3 was designed.”

I agree. This needs to be shown.

By the way, aren’t you glad that Dempski and others are trying to answer this fascinating scientific question? Wouldn’t it be great if some people stopped putting road-blocks in their way by calling it pseudoscience and religion?

Or do you think that Paul’s example above is an appeal to the scripture?

19. 19
Mung says:

Mark, we get people in here all the time who assert that design is not detectable. E.Seigner comes to mind as a recent example.

Note also that all of a sudden who designed #3 doesn’t seem to be an issue. Hidden and mysterious powers of the putative designer seem to be irrelevant all of a sudden. The motive? Also not relevant. Their religion? Not relevant. Do they have a Wedge document? Not relevant. Are they a secret admirer of the Discovery Institute? Not relevant.

MF:

A relevant question would be – could someone or something that knew nothing about human language and writing detect that 3 was designed.

I’m sorry, but I don’t find that a relevant question at all. We’re talking about humans after all and whether design is detectable by humans. Since that question hasn’t even been answered yet why go off on some wild-goose chase about how non-humans might detect design?

MF:

The dispute is how and when can you detect design, and in particular do you have to know something about the context in which it was created to detect if it was designed or can you tell simply from some intrinsic property of the object itself (as Dembksi would argue).

I think that misrepresents Dembski. Has he dropped specification?

Also, I’d wager that the Smithsonian has more than a few devices we are pretty certain were designed but have no knowledge of the context in which they were created. So that objection fails and you present us with a false dichotomy.

Then there’s Richard Dawkins for whom the appearance of design in living things is overwhelming. But why? Is there anything scientific at all about this, and if not, how can there be a scientific answer to the question of the appearance of design?

I apologize for any snarkiness 😉

20. 20
fifthmonarchyman says:

Mark frank says,

A relevant question would be – could someone or something that knew nothing about human language and writing detect that 3 was designed.

I say,

I think there is a way to move forward on this.

we can if we choose to remove the sequence completely from it’s context and code the string of coins one row at a time top to bottom HHHTTTHTTTH… or even bottom to top HTTTHHTHHH……

Either way I bet we are left with a structure that is obviously different than the two random sequences.

At that point we might look for any known algorithmic process that could conceivably produce the pattern.

We might even try and develop our own algorithm and see if it could produce a pattern close enough the the real one to fool an observer.

If we could not produce any thing like it algorithmically we could tentatively assume design. The more length/complexity in the string the more confident we would be in our inference.

peace

21. 21
computerist says:

If you select an arbitrary point on number 3, atleast 5 pixels from any of the edges, and use 5 pixels (assume these are “pixels”) radius from that point and draw a circle, then compare it to 1 or 2 with the same point, you will find that we cannot determine anything with small sample size, hence the need for a threshold (ie: this is a relatively good sample size to determine design).
However, what Darwinists would say perhaps is that 1, 2 and 3 is no different because we know in advance what English is, and perhaps 1 and 2 is also an “alien” language we do not know of.
Or perhaps the Darwinists will say that 3 doesn’t differ because while 1 and 2 may not “look” pretty and “organized”, they still perform some kind of “function” that has a “selective advantage”, ie: better than nothing.

22. 22
Tim says:

Well, I scrolled down the PI page and never found “DUE to CHANCE” hm. . . scroll longer? Get Dawkins to do it? No, he is satisfied that the “design is just appearance” which he hopes to mean “will just appear”, no need to scroll, it is down there somewhere.

Ok, just kidding.

23. 23
Me_Think says:

All three are biased. By putting in a tray,the coins have been restricted to certain angular momentum vector . This leads to dynamical Bias (Dynamical Bias in the Coin Toss :Persi Diaconis, Susan Holmes, and Richard Montgomery). By putting in a tray the dynamical bias is more than in flipping a coin. Bias of random shaking too comes into play. Were the batches of 20 coins shaken with same force? Not only do we have dynamical bias, we also have force of shaking bias! Hence this experiment is not valid.

24. 24
rvb8 says:

All three are clearly designed as they use perfect little 5mm circles of clear black and white shadings. The possibility that nature could produce these perfect little black and white circles is… wait a minute, maybe not. The third has words.

What is the point of this post? It should have been produced by ‘News’.

25. 25

Barry Arrington wrote:

Paul Giem provides the following guest post today:
The following three pictures were made to represent trays with 560 coins with either white (heads) or black (tails) showing.

That’s a useful illustration. The main question now seems to be: What does intelligence at work in DNA, RNA and protein coding look like and why is it that way?

IDeas?

26. 26
PaV says:

wd400:

Actually, it’s an example of well-defined and tractable chance hypothesi (“spreading coins randomly”) If proponents of CSI-like measures could produce the same they’d have something.

But we can: “nucleotide bases combine in a completely random fashion.”

Do you have chemical evidence to disprove this thesis?

27. 27
wd400 says:

I don’t not know what you meant by “completely random”, but if you mean the normal lay meaning, then pretty much every molecular biology observation ever is evidence against that.

28. 28
gpuccio says:

Mark:

“No one is denying the ability to detect if something is designed. The dispute is how and when can you detect design, and in particular do you have to know something about the context in which it was created to detect if it was designed or can you tell simply from some intrinsic property of the object itself (as Dembksi would argue). A relevant question would be – could someone or something that knew nothing about human language and writing detect that 3 was designed.”

Is that an argument? Whoever said that design detection has no false negatives?

“to know something about the context in which it was created” is a very generic and ambiguous statement. Obviously we have to know “something” about the context: we have to know the object, the system where it is supposed to have originated, the time span of its origin. And we have to be able to recognize the functional specification. Nobody has ever said anything different.

But that has nothing to do with knowing anything about the designer or how the designer implemented the design, or why he did it, and so on, which are the usual arguments used by your side. All those things, while useful and interesting, in no way are necessary to make a design inference.

29. 29
gpuccio says:

Me_Think and rvb8:

You are just joking, aren’t you? Just to understand.

30. 30
gpuccio says:

wd400:

OK, don’t be fastidious!

Let’s try a more detailed definition:

“Mutations which happen in the genome are the result of biological events which are in no way connected to the functions we observe in the functional genome, and they can be best described by probabilistic distributions”.

Obviously, that definition has nothing to do with NS or with anything that happens after the mutations take place.

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Paul Giem says:

Mark Frank (#14),

You stated that “No one is denying the ability to detect if something is designed.” Welcome also to the dark side 😉 . (If we are not brights, we must be the dark side. 😉 )

I think Mung (19) is more accurate as to how ID deniers 🙂 , at least those who speak up on this site, usually act.

You raise an interesting question.

could someone or something that knew nothing about human language and writing detect that 3 was designed[?]

I don’t know what kind of being you would be writing about. Certainly humans would have to have a very unusual upbringing to know nothing about human language and writing. If there are any intelligent (enough) non-humans around, they are all too familiar with human language and writing. I rather suspect that a Korean or Chinese person with no knowledge of English writing, or even an illiterate person, could pick out number 3 as designed, even if s/he could not read it.

But this is missing the point. Your comments might point to someone with a defect in design detection, just like a person who is color-blind might not be able to tell the difference between design and non-design (see ciphertext at #2). It doesn’t get to the heart of the real question: How do we know that number 3 is designed? Because, of course, it is a correct inference. Finding ways we could be wrong is not as important as knowing why we are right, if we want to learn something and not simply carp.

Tim (#22),

Try converting binary pi to heads and tails and comparing it to number 1 and number 2. I think you will be surprised.

rvb8 (#24),

Welcome also to the dark side 😉 . You see no point in the post. Consider the fact that when Barry Arrington made a very similar post his detractors seemed to argue that semi-random banging on a keyboard was less random than the Hamlet soliloquy. It seems that there was a need to go over the material once again just to nail down the point that sometimes we can detect design, and it is obvious. If you concede that, you can stay for the discussion of how we detect design when we do, then later, once we know (partly) how to detect design, we can discuss if life exhibits evidence of design.

Mung (#19), you say,

Also, I’d wager that the Smithsonian has more than a few devices we are pretty certain were designed but have no knowledge of the context in which they were created. So that objection fails and you present us with a false dichotomy.

You are correct. In fact, there are some objects which, if they were found in any context that could reasonably be examined (the surface of the Sun doesn’t count), would be morally certainly designed. Examples would be 747’s, or any man-made airplane, or computer for that matter. If we found one on Pluto, we would know that someone intelligent had to have been there. The question is, how do we know?

PaV (#26),

You are right that that is the next step. Many ID deniers are afraid of that step, because they know what is coming next, and they don’t want to follow this thought to its logical conclusion. That is why they played dumb when Barry A offered his two strings of letters, spaces, and punctuation.

But right now we want to solidify our gains. So far, everyone who has commented, ID proponent or opponent, has recognized the fact that number 3 is designed. Soon they will recognize that one of the others is also unquestionably designed. The shaking coins (or flipping coins, or any reasonably random process) hypothesis is simply untenable. When we can nail down why, we can apply that insight into detecting design in life. If we try to accomplish too much here, the underlying point being made will be muddied.

gpuccio (#28, 29),
Well said. I don’t know about Me_Think (#23) (he may be making a valid point about layers of design), but rvb8 (#24) is trying to belittle the point while conceding it. He may be right that it is rather pedestrian, but since it has been disputed, I think it is still worth making. [#30–see my reply to PaV]

32. 32

Compared to the others #3 is designed because contains 11 linear orthogonal geometric shapes inscribed into rectangles of equal size (5×7 pixels) perfectly evenly spaced and aligned in two parallel rows.

Also illiterates and aliens would detect design because any intelligent being grasps geometry.

33. 33
Mark Frank says:

Paul #31

I don’t know what kind of being you would be writing about. Certainly humans would have to have a very unusual upbringing to know nothing about human language and writing. If there are any intelligent (enough) non-humans around, they are all too familiar with human language and writing. I rather suspect that a Korean or Chinese person with no knowledge of English writing, or even an illiterate person, could pick out number 3 as designed, even if s/he could not read it.

But this is missing the point.

Agreed. It is a hypothetical example whether such people actually exist is not relevant.

Your comments might point to someone with a defect in design detection, just like a person who is color-blind might not be able to tell the difference between design and non-design (see ciphertext at #2).

I am talking about a defect in background knowledge. If they had the background knowledge then they would be able to detect is was designed.

It doesn’t get to the heart of the real question: How do we know that number 3 is designed? Because, of course, it is a correct inference. Finding ways we could be wrong is not as important as knowing why we are right, if we want to learn something and not simply carp.

Identifying the additional knowledge required to make the inference is surely relevant to understanding why it is correct? To put it positively I would suggest the inference is correct because:

1) We know that pattern 3 is of interest to humans.

2) We know that humans have the ability to arrange the coins

In my example I did the thought experiment of someone who did not have knowledge of 1.

34. 34
Box says:

Paul Giem: How do we know that number 3 is designed?

In all 3 pictures a bird’s-eye view is offered. We are hovering above the coins. Intelligent agent’s have a bird’s-eye view – contrary to blind processes who have no view whatsoever.

How do we know that a designer with bird’s-eye view (overview) manipulated the coins? We, as intelligent agents, know this when we see (top-down) the same thing that the designer intended.
It is at this very moment – that the designer’s view and ours blend – that we immediately infer design.

35. 35
PaV says:

wd400

But I said, “chemical evidence,” not “biological” evidence.

36. 36
kairosfocus says:

F/N: I should add a comment on an odd property of writing pi in binary or decimal, place value notation. As, there is no credible correlation between the number system’s conventions and the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle, there will be a tendency that arbitrary blocs of pi will show apparent randomness similar to random number tables — and BTW the audio of digits of pi sounds much like white noise. Though of course this has not been strictly proved and it is not wise to use something that can be decoded like that. The pattern is similar to the old statistician’s trick of using line codes as poor man’s random number tables due to lack of correlation. KF

37. 37
kairosfocus says:

Box, 34: Very well said — the moment of Gestalt. KF

38. 38
kairosfocus says:

MF: With high reliability the presence of organised blocs and lines following arcs or straight patterns will clue an experienced observer that 3 is designed, as such extended straightness and curves in a context of high contingency are not typical of natural processes. And, here, the pattern is sustained across 506 bits of info in 2-state pixels. KF

39. 39
Me_Think says:

Box @ 34

Intelligent agent’s have a bird’s-eye view

Since you don’t know about the designer how do you know he/she/it has a bird’s eye view ? 🙂

40. 40
wd400 says:

PaV,

I said molecular biology, which, as the first word hints at, is pretty much chemistry. Even if it wasn’t, why would you exclude biological evidence. Has ID regressed to trying to restore vitalism?

GP,

I don’t think that’s what PaV means, and such an understanding doesn’t get us much closer to calculating the probability that this or that enzyme organ or regulatory network evolved anyway.

41. 41
PaV says:

wd400:

The question before us is whether or not life is “designed” by an intelligent designer, or is the result of, relatively speaking, random processes.

To use the results of biology to press the case of ‘non-randomness’ is to argue circularly. That is why I said ‘chemical’ evidence.

All of this is rather obvious. It is only because people don’t want to accept what they fear make come from such common sense understandings that they protest against the obvious. But, perhaps, they “protesteth too much.”

42. 42
anthropic says:

Thought I had it: Number one is also designed, with the value of pi: (dark coins) 3 space 1 space 4 space 1. But then the pattern didn’t fit, probably because I’m lousy at puzzles!

43. 43
wd400 says:

You are now talking about the origin of life, so to use CSI you would have to define a minimal-replicator/metabolsim as the target. Even then, I don’t think anyone thinks life started as the result of nucleotides bumping into each other in a “completely random fashion” (though, again, it’s not entirely clear what you mean by this phrase).

44. 44
Silver Asiatic says:

anthropic 42

Thought I had it: Number one is also designed, with the value of pi: (dark coins) 3 space 1 space 4 space 1. But then the pattern didn’t fit, probably because I’m lousy at puzzles!

If you count the black dots sequentially, disregarding the spaces, it maps to pi. It would be more specified if the white spaces segmented the numbers but it wouldn’t look as random.

45. 45
fifthmonarchyman says:

I would argue that number 2 also corresponds to an irrational constant.

We don’t know what that constant is but an algorithm that computes it could be expressed as……

What happened as Paul Giem was preparing the second sequence of coins.

If we knew the constant we could reproduce the 2nd sequence exactly.

There really is no such thing as random. Only apparent randomness. IMHO

peace

46. 46
Paul Giem says:

anthropic (#42), Silver Asiatic (#44), and fifthmonarchyman (#45), also kairosfocus (#36),

Go to the website, and get the first 20 digits of the binary form of pi:
11.00100100 00111111 01
Transform them into heads and tails:
HHTTHTTHTTTTHHHHHHTH or conversely
TTHHTHHTHHHHTTTTTTHT
Do either of these match any sequences in number 1 or number 2? If you find a match, see how far out it goes.

Box (#34),

I agree with Kairosfocus (#37). That is why the impression of design, once seen, is so hard to shake. That is why I am allowing people to discover which of the other two pictures are designed, rather than just saying.

I hope you all get it soon. Once you do, I think there are lessons to be learned.

47. 47
48. 48
Me_Think says:

Gary S. Gaulin @ 47
No idea why you referred to Pseudorandomness. Paul Giem’s idea is to show 1 is random, 2 is complex and 3 is Complex and specified.

49. 49
kairosfocus says:

PG:

I clip the first several blocs of binary pi:

00100100 00111111 01101010

In block 2, I see 4 B, 6 W in a bloc, then BWWBWB, which fits the pi pattern.

Of course, as noted, the distribution of 1’s and 0’s in pi will reflect the lack of correlation between the place value notation scheme, and the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle.

So, the distribution of digits should mimic a random one.

But, when one discerns a separate functionality or pattern marking a specification, that then points to complexity plus specificity thus design.

KF

50. 50
kairosfocus says:

PS: One of the many fallacies that surround the debates over design is the notion that the design inference process ought somehow to be a universal decoder and puzzle solver. But, we already know that algorithms are very limited, so we have no right to expect or demand a universal decoder or puzzle solver. In answer, I say, first we identify or recognise a pattern or function depending on wiring diagram interaction and specific configuration, and then we address the complexity-specificity criterion, before we may reasonably infer design on signs such as FSCO/I. Of course, it turns out that in a great many relevant contexts, that is not hard to do, indeed we actually saw recognition of FSCO/I in the 1970’s before the significance of that was drawn out and a technical design inference on FSCO/I was made.

51. 51

Me_Think:

Gary S. Gaulin @ 47
No idea why you referred to Pseudorandomness. Paul Giem’s idea is to show 1 is random, 2 is complex and 3 is Complex and specified.

The following formed a “pseudorandom” string:

Go to the website, and get the first 20 digits of the binary form of pi:
11.00100100 00111111 01
Transform them into heads and tails:
HHTTHTTHTTTTHHHHHHTH or conversely
TTHHTHHTHHHHTTTTTTHT
Do either of these match any sequences in number 1 or number 2? If you find a match, see how far out it goes.

52. 52
Seqenenre says:

The first two look like a game of go between two beginners.

53. 53
Paul Giem says:

kairosfocus (#49),

I clip the first several blocs of binary pi:

00100100 00111111 01101010

In block 2, I see 4 B, 6 W in a bloc, then BWWBWB, which fits the pi pattern.

Actually, if you look at the first line of block 2, you not only have the bolded part of the sequence matching, but also the next two digits, and the first 6 digits, which leaves only the first 2 digits of pi (11), which match the first 2 coins assuming white is 1 and black is 0. You can then see how far out it goes. The sequence either exactly, or very closely, matches the ones and zeros of binary pi.

Now, the question I have from that is, is there anyone out there that wants to make the case that number 2 was made by shaking coins and spreading them out, now that we have this kind of a match to pi? If so, or if not, why?

Do you detect design? If so, or if not, why?

54. 54
cklester says:

I, as an English speaker, can feel confident in saying “3 is designed,” but I cannot determine if 1 or 2 is designed (could be a code in binary or some other pattern in a code with which I’m not familiar).

So, the least I can ever say is, “It doesn’t look designed.” To say something is “not designed” will always be an argument from ignorance, won’t it? Just like “junk DNA” or “vestigial organs.” It will always be possible that we just don’t have enough info, yet.

Can I ever, with 100% confidence, say, “It is designed?”

55. 55
Silver Asiatic says:

In image #1 I see this much of the sequence in black 3.141 left to right just counting.

I’m not finding the binary representation though but I haven’t checked every direction.

56. 56
Paul Giem says:

Silver Asiatic (#55),

The reason why you are not finding a binary representation of pi in image #1 is because there isn’t one. That is the one created by shaking coins (multiple times) and lining them up and recording the heads and tails. It would take tremendous luck to get pi to be represented in a random string of ones and zeros.

It is interesting that you were able to find 3 black, then 1 black, then 4 black, then 1 black at the beginning. That is unusual, especially when another image has an exact (or nearly exact–someone should check my work) binary representation of pi. However, it is not quite as unusual as one might think. In a linear array, half of all black series should be single (giving 1 by your method), and another quarter should be 2’s, an eighth should be in a series of 3, and a sixteenth should be in a series of 4. The series stalls out at 3.14159 because a 5 is fairly improbable (1/32), and 9 is extremely improbable (1/512) and not likely to happen even once in our picture.

By my calculations the probability of getting 3141 as the first 4 digits by your method is (1/2*1/8*1/2*1/16=) 1/512, a small but not astronomically small probability. The fact that one cannot continue the series reduces the probability that this was in fact designed. As the person who created that series, I can assure you that in fact image #1 does not have the series of black and white circles designed. It is rather reproducing a series that uses a method that reliably gives random results.

If you want to find a binary representation of pi, check image #2.

57. 57
PaV says:

You are now talking about the origin of life, so to use CSI you would have to define a minimal-replicator/metabolsim as the target.

It seems to me that you want it both ways; i.e., you simply dismiss the chemistry as being an issue for OOL, which, once solved, puts us in a different position where “non-random” effects might come into play. Yet, if “random” forces need “non-random” effects to bring about evolution, then how, unaided by “non-random” effects, did life come about in the first place?

You just can’t have it both ways.

OOL is vastly more complicated a ‘trick’ to accomplish than is even ‘macroevolution.’ Are you a believer in “panspermia” as was Sir Fred Hoyle?

But even panspermia doesn’t help. It’s biology version of the ‘multiverse,’ just pushing things farther and farther back in time. IOW, you give yourself an “eternity.” Well, in an infinite amount of time, infinite odds can be overcome. This renders science meaningless.

58. 58
PaV says:

Paul Giem:

Now, the question I have from that is, is there anyone out there that wants to make the case that number 2 was made by shaking coins and spreading them out, now that we have this kind of a match to pi? If so, or if not, why?

Do you detect design? If so, or if not, why?

Paul,

I have very limited time to discuss this. Over the next two days, I will likely not be able to get back to you.

Here goes:

I have difficulty concluding that this is design for one simple reason: in a certain sense there is NO “pattern” here. You have a string of numbers that, combined, are the ‘representation’ of Pi. But pi is irrational and quasi-random.

While this fulfills all of Dembski’s requirements, it’s randomness makes the design conclusion an uneasy one.

Dembski’s example of 500 binary digits which, in ascii, form the first 100 prime numbers is different. There one has the “pattern” of ‘prime numbers’ emerging. With pi, OTOH, no such “pattern” emerges.

Whereas I would be comfortable concluding design in Dembski’s case, in yours I would hesitate.

Obviously, #3 has a “pattern.”

59. 59
Paul Giem says:

Me_Think (#48),

Gary S. Gaulin @ 47
No idea why you referred to Pseudorandomness. Paul Giem’s idea is to show 1 is random, 2 is complex and 3 is Complex and specified.

You are close. 1 is random, and 2 and 3 are both complex and specified. It is just that 3 looks non-random to the naked human eye, whereas 2 does not, whereas, unless I have made a mistake, 2 is actually slightly less random than 3. Incidentally, to a computer reading the rows and putting them into a linear array, once a hypothesis has been suggested, it is algorithmically easier for the computer to check and find 2 to be non-random than 3.

60. 60
wd400 says:

PaV,

I’ve no idea how life started, but you seem to think there is a way to calculate CSI or something like it for the origin of life. I don’t really see how — neither the chance hypothesis nor the target-space seem well defined to me.

61. 61
Paul Giem says:

PaV (#58),

I fully understand your inability to reply rapidly. I can be out of communication for days at a time, as I have a real job. Hopefully our communication is worth waiting a few days for, when necessary.

I disagree on the ability to be sure that image 2 is designed. This is not just because I happen to know it was designed, as I was the designer. It is also because I know how hard it is to get the first 560 binary digits of pi (which is itself the pattern that emerges). If one is randomly guessing, the probability is 1 in 2^560, which is roughly 1 in 3.8 x 10^168. That number is well above the Dembski universal probability bound, let alone the (IMO more reasonable) Dawkins reasonable bound of 10^50.

One could reduce the probability by saying that black could stand for 1 and white could stand for 0, but that only multiplies the probability by 2. One could further increase the probability by saying that we could start at the right (factor of 2), or perhaps go back and forth (factor of 2), or start at the bottom (factor of 2), or go up and down (factor of 2 for all variations). We could even spiral in or out or in (much less than a factor of 2 at this point). After trying all these variations we will have reduced the odds to somewhat worse than 1 in 2^554, or 5 x 10^166, which is trivial odds.

One can claim that there are other special numbers, such as 2*pi, pi/2, and pi/4, but they all have the same binary digits; one simply moves the decimal binary place over. Perhaps one can simply divide by 3, multiply by 3, divide by 5, or multiply by 5, and still get a special number, but this only raises our odds by 5. Besides, the fact that we hit dead on a very special number makes these hypotheses seem ad hoc. One could argue for e, or perhaps the square root of 2 (= the square root of 1/2 in binary except for the decimal binary place), but this only raises the probability by a factor of 3. This is still way beyond the Dembski universal probability bound. Even if there is somehow an error in the transcription (point mutation, or single frameshift deletion, or addition of 1 or 0), this gives us about 2,237, or roughly 2^11, rise in probability. This is peanuts in comparison to 2^560, or even 2^554.

That is why, after I had created image 1, I didn’t even bother to check to see if the binary digits of pi, or any of those other numbers, could be found in it. I am mildly surprised to note that Silver Asiatic found a variant (not perfect–there are 2 white separators at one point) of 3.141 at the beginning. I would have been totally astounded if the pattern had continued to the next 2 digits, 5 and 9.

While I agree with cklester (#54) that one cannot be 100% sure that #2 is designed, after the pattern is pointed out and verified, one can be 99.9999[160 more 9’s]% sure that it is designed, and that would be good enough for me. Also, without knowing the backstory, one could not be sure that #1 was not designed (or at least the heads-tails string was not designed), it seems reasonable in the absence of convincing evidence otherwise to accept it as random.

62. 62
Paul Giem says:

To all,

My own thoughts (at present) on the subject of design detection are as follows: We recognize design when we find a pattern that makes sense from a design perspective and is not required by law, not likely by chance, and not made likely by some combination of chance and law.

Law is a possible explanation, and in the case of 500 coins all with the heads up, although almost all chance explanations can be ruled out, the law explanation of two-headed coins cannot be ruled out, and in fact explains the phenomenon perfectly. That is why my illustrations avoided that example.

Pure chance cannot explain images 2 and 3, but can explain image 1, and therefore we can assume image 1 is random, but can assume with well over (1 – 2^-500) probability that both image 2 and image 3 are not due to chance. I have not seen any law-like process that causes the binary digits of pi to be laid out, and neither have I seen any law-like processes that cause English words to be laid out in binary code, that have not been designed (this requirement excludes computer programs). In the absence of such law-like processes, or law-and-chance like processes, that could explain the appearance of design, the appearance is best taken at face value.

This evaluation would have to change if such processes were discovered. But science has to deal with the known, and it is reasonable to draw the apparently obvious conclusion until such time as its obviousness comes under challenge.

One can claim that in the case of image 3, the target area is large. This is true. It is certainly larger than the area of the pi target (see my comments in #61). The pattern of heads and tails could have been reversed (increasing the target area by a factor of 2), the top half (or the bottom half) could have been reversed (another factor of 2), a different font could have been selected (perhaps a factor of 1,024 or 2^10), different (short) English words could have been chosen (perhaps a factor of 1,048,576 or 2^20), or a different written language could have been chosen (perhaps a factor of 16,384 or 2^14, although to be fair, English is the second most common language, and the most common on the internet), and there is one mistake which could have happened in any of 560, or roughly 2^9 spots. This makes our target sequence somewhere in the neighborhood of 2^55 sequences, thus increasing the probability of hitting the target randomly to roughly 1 in 2^505 (or less). The positive evidence for design, plus the extremely low probability of finding that target by either chance or any known chance/law combination, rationally supports our instinctive reaction that image 3 must have been designed.

But perhaps someone else has a better explanation of how we (accurately) detect design.

63. 63
Paul Giem says:

PS. image 3 is specified by language and meaning (although ironic), whereas image 2 is specified by function. So don’t be surprised if you don’t immediately see the meaning in a long string of DNA bases.

64. 64
gpuccio says:

Paul:

65. 65
E.Seigner says:

Mung #19

Mark, we get people in here all the time who assert that design is not detectable. E.Seigner comes to mind as a recent example.

You are referring to this statement by Mark: “No one is denying the ability to detect if something is designed.” But note what immediately followed: “The dispute is how and when can you detect design, and in particular do you have to know something about the context in which it was created to detect if it was designed or can you tell simply from some intrinsic property of the object itself…” which is precisely what the debate is about. I have been saying nothing else but that context is everything, and context includes the metaphysical presuppositions of the observer.

Mung #19

Note also that all of a sudden who designed #3 doesn’t seem to be an issue. Hidden and mysterious powers of the putative designer seem to be irrelevant all of a sudden. The motive? Also not relevant. Their religion? Not relevant. Do they have a Wedge document? Not relevant. Are they a secret admirer of the Discovery Institute? Not relevant.

Note also that, partly because of lack of answers to these questions, the exercise of the OP is scientifically irrelevant and philosophically uninteresting.

All answers seem to be applicable to the OP. Yes, all three are designed because they are all made of designed coins or they all have a structured distinction of black and white sides. No, none of the three is designed because they are computer-generated images consisting of bits and bytes in virtual webspace, and any perception of structure, colour, words, etc. is objectively not there in the fundamental constituents of the images, but read into them by the observer.

Thus the OP is scientifically irrelevant and philosophically uninteresting, until further relevant distinctions and purposes have been clarified.

66. 66
Zachriel says:

E.Seigner: I have been saying nothing else but that context is everything, and context includes the metaphysical presuppositions of the observer.

According to Dembski in “Specification: The Pattern That. Signifies Intelligence”, there is a methodological determination. Indeed, if it depends on the metaphysics of the observer, it is neither objective nor scientific.

67. 67
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac said,

if it depends on the metaphysics of the observer, it is neither objective nor scientific.

I say,

Metaphysics is by definition above and beyond physics. There are no objective facts that are above and beyond Metaphysics.

Worldview trumps everything.

As far as being not scientific. Are you claiming that you must have a materialistic worldview to do science?

Or are you claiming that the only evidences that can be considered scientific are those that don’t challenge your materialistic worldview?

peace

68. 68
logically_speaking says:

Paul Giem,

Wonderful post and great thread. Very educational.

Thankyou.

69. 69
fifthmonarchyman says:

Paul,

I also agree this is good stuff.
As for me My reaction went like this

1) I quickly inferred design in block 3 but not in 1 or 2

2) I inferred design in 3 and 1 because of the (3.1.4)in the first row

Then at your prompting to dig deeper

I find this chain of events to be interesting.

Apparently the strength of the inference in some cases does depend on knowledge of the intent of the designer.

In other more obvious cases knowledge of intent is evidently not necessary.

peace

70. 70
PaV says:

Paul:

Quickly: is “pi” designed? Or is it the residue of “design”?

Going back to Dembski’s example of the first 100 prime numbers (IIRC), there the point would be that there is, indeed, a “pattern,” IOW, if I catch onto the “pattern” after the number ’23,’ then I’d expect the next number to be ’29’. Thus, there is a kind of confirmation of the ‘pattern’ within the pattern itself. Like your #3, I can see how all the elements fit into an ‘overall’ pattern.

So, if “pi” had ‘repeat sections,’ then I would be more accepting of it as “design.”

But pi= Cirdumference/Diameter. Is a ‘circle’ designed? Are Saturn’s rings “designed” or a residue of natural forces.

I’m just not comfortable saying a non-repeating irrational number is “designed.” You “designed” #2, but that doesn’t mean I can necessarily ‘discover’ it using Dembski’s method.

Why don’t we just say that non-repeating irrational numbers fall outside of design-detection?

71. 71
Seqenenre says:

Ofcourse 1 and 2 are designed. They are the final position of a game of go. Not very good players and a strange board, but nevertheless a game of go.

So, yes, you have to have some knowledge of the designer or the designed item. But that is not allowed if I understand your policy.

72. 72
Paul Giem says:

gpuccio (#64) and logically_speaking (#68),

Thanks.

fifthmonarchyman (#69),

Thanks. You almost have it. You stated that “Apparently the strength of the inference in some cases does depend on knowledge of the intent of the designer.” In one sense (IMO) it always does, and in another sense it rarely or never does.

An intelligent designer always has to intend to create the designed object in order for us to detect intelligent design. It could be argued that this is a trivial requirement, or even a tautology. On the other hand, it is not necessary to understand why the designer chose to execute that particular design. I meant number 3 to illustrate some points. Someone else may have meant it as a joke, and someone else may have even meant to convey a message that was intended to be believed (although if so it is not very effective). You may not know simply by looking at the product which underlying motive (or some other one) is correct. But you can be sure that someone intended that the product exist, and took steps to make that happen.

Seqenenre (#71),

I will address your posts once. Your first sentence is an unsupported claim which I know to be false. So the conclusion you draw is not valid. I suspect you know this and are trolling. Without a significant positive change in your behavior, I feel no need to further respond to you.

73. 73
MrMosis says:

Not sure if it has been said, but image 3 is the most compressible. So there are more possibilities for #3 to devolve into. (like images #1 and #2)

What is interesting is the prospect of showing that in very precisely specified contexts (with generous bounds/constraints even) such and such biological system’s undergoing a particular necessary change (that can be deemed to have been necessary in order for the living system to have transitioned from point A to point B) is precisely like image #3 being converted to a fourth image depicting differing text within X number of coin tosses. (In this case there would be no search and no target- as the smallest increment of change within the system and its context is the phenomenon under consideration.) (Emphasis on arrival, so survival is as of yet of no concern.)

74. 74
Paul Giem says:

PaV (#70),

Quickly: is “pi” designed? Or is it the residue of “design”?

I am inclined to assume that pi is the result of natural mathematical law. I can conceive of a universe in which the law of gravity is different; I cannot conceive of a universe in which pi is different, any more than I can conceive of a universe in which 1 + 1 = 3.

But I think the question misses the point. I chose to copy the digits of pi (or at least the alleged digits of pi; I did not calculate out more than the first about 10 digits myself), and the match is, AFAIK, perfect. That makes image 2 specified, and thus meets a design criterion. If someone else repeats the same procedure I did, I expect his/her image 3 and especially image 2 to look like mine, but if image 1 matched mine, I should make a design inference (I was copied) even though my original image was random, as his/her image 1 now matches an independent specification. The source of the image is not as important as the fact that it can be independently specified.

Going back to Dembski’s example of the first 100 prime numbers (IIRC), there the point would be that there is, indeed, a “pattern,” IOW, if I catch onto the “pattern” after the number ’23,’ then I’d expect the next number to be ’29?. Thus, there is a kind of confirmation of the ‘pattern’ within the pattern itself. Like your #3, I can see how all the elements fit into an ‘overall’ pattern.

So, if “pi” had ‘repeat sections,’ then I would be more accepting of it as “design.”

Again, the misunderstanding is that the issue is not whether pi itself repeats; the issue is whether at any given digit pi has a definite value, and whether the coin value of image 2 at that place matches pi at that place. And pi can be calculated to any desired number of places; see Wickipedia under pi for examples.

In fact, if you were a math nerd and had memorized the first 20 or so binary digits of pi, and you look at image 2, you would go, “that looks like pi”, and check the rest of it out, and image 2 would look just as designed as image 3 does to you now.

But pi= Cirdumference/Diameter. Is a ‘circle’ designed? Are Saturn’s rings “designed” or a residue of natural forces.

Again, the issue is not whether the circle is designed; it may or may not be. What is designed is the copying of the binary digits of pi.

I’m just not comfortable saying a non-repeating irrational number is “designed.” You “designed” #2, but that doesn’t mean I can necessarily ‘discover’ it using Dembski’s method.

Why don’t we just say that non-repeating irrational numbers fall outside of design-detection?

Repeating numbers may or may not be designed. Copying them where physical necessity does not require that copy is designed. It may be hard for us to find that design, but the detection of design is different from the existence of design.

I hope that helps.

75. 75
MrMosis says:

(follow-up)
So one is perfectly free to “believe” (that is, find rest in) the prospect of the “power of chance” underlying precise changes in precisely defined biological systems, but…

One is also required to come to an understanding that believing in such can in no way be different from tossing the tray of coins and going from image #3 to image #4 (which says “CHANCE=POWER”, let us say) to image #5, which says something wholly different, etc. etc… within 5 tosses of the tray of coins. (Or 55 million or however many) And of course these are purposely maximally small increments- so search is blind- each toss of the tray that misses the target must be reset to the preceding image before the next toss.

*(for each subsequent image that needs to be arrived at, substitute something else with equivalently low entropy out of the probability space- which doesn’t even need to be symbols we like to use- it just needs to model in probabilistic terms the changes that the given bio-system has undergone as a matter of record.)

The people in denial must be forced to reconcile biology with contexts they can not hide from (to avoid having to get their arms around.) You will be no longer be able to believe in biology magic while denying coin magic at the same time. Of course, this magic is logically consistent and thusly doesn’t necessarily warrant invoking the “supernatural”. But it does warrant being absurd. And people of course are free to find their rest in absurd ideas. But they will no longer be able to hide from others or even themselves the fact that they are doing so.

76. 76
Paul Giem says:

MrMosis (#73),

You are actually not quite correct. Image 2 can be compressed into “binary pi”, which is shorter than the compression of image 3.

77. 77
MrMosis says:

Paul Giem (#76)

Okay thanks. I should read the comments perhaps. I will have to think about or look into how “binary pi” is not a sleight of hand. Am not familiar.

78. 78
kairosfocus says:

PG: While I understand the 1 in 10^50 odds, I note that a random doc search has hit on 24 ascii characters, which is of that order. 500 bits is a safe solar system scale threshold. KF

PS: That variant of pi in no 1 is indeed interesting. I repeat, the design inference process is not a universal puzzle solver or decoder.

79. 79
Paul Giem says:

E.Seigner (#65),

You said,

I have been saying nothing else but that context is everything, and context includes the metaphysical presuppositions of the observer.

Could you perhaps explain to me the metaphysical presuppositions that will give, create, or support a context in which we should legitimately argue that image 3 is not designed?

Mung #19

Note also that all of a sudden who designed #3 doesn’t seem to be an issue. Hidden and mysterious powers of the putative designer seem to be irrelevant all of a sudden. The motive? Also not relevant. Their religion? Not relevant. Do they have a Wedge document? Not relevant. Are they a secret admirer of the Discovery Institute? Not relevant.

Note also that, partly because of lack of answers to these questions, the exercise of the OP is scientifically irrelevant and philosophically uninteresting

Yes, so uninteresting that you had to read all the way down into the comments, read Mung’s comment, and then spend time commenting on it. (The lady doth protest too much, methinks.)

All answers seem to be applicable to the OP. Yes, all three are designed because they are all made of designed coins or they all have a structured distinction of black and white sides.

You are correct. There can be layers of design. In fact, it is even possible (some of us actually think it is correct) that the entire universe is designed, and that in the “random” parts, it is designed to look random, but is not actually so. After all, even in random collections of atoms, the atoms themselves are anything but random. They are digitized and all have discrete sizes. The detection of design in some objects does not preclude undetectable design in other objects. I just illustrated that point to the satisfaction of most of the readers with image 2.

No, none of the three is designed because they are computer-generated images consisting of bits and bytes in virtual webspace, and any perception of structure, colour, words, etc. is objectively not there in the fundamental constituents of the images, but read into them by the observer.

You are trying to tell me, and onlookers, that I didn’t design image 3, and that computers, and therefore computer-generated images, aren’t designed? That virtual webspace isn’t highly designed? That “any perception of structure, colour, words, etc. is objectively not there in the fundamental constituents of the images, but read into them by the observer”?

Wow!

I’ve got one thing to say; you haven’t gone over to the dark side. 😉

80. 80
MrMosis says:

Yes, after looking up binary pi compression, I can not conceive of how it is not a neat parlor trick. If a number can be “compressed” in binary pi and not be larger than the original number itself (not to mention the result of other actual compression methods) it must either be not that big of a number or a rare but interesting “happenstance”/curiosity. I would imagine. I apologize if this has already been beaten to death up above, but I don’t have time to read it all before bed.

81. 81
Paul Giem says:

Kairosfocus (#78),

I am not sure to what you have reference when you mention a random doc search that has hit on 24 ascii characters. Could you enlighten me?

82. 82
E.Seigner says:

Paul Giem #79

Could you perhaps explain to me the metaphysical presuppositions that will give, create, or support a context in which we should legitimately argue that image 3 is not designed?

I did. I gave some presuppositions based on which all three can be designed or none of them designed. And you replied to it too.

Paul Giem #79

You are trying to tell me, and onlookers, that I didn’t design image 3, and that computers, and therefore computer-generated images, aren’t designed? That virtual webspace isn’t highly designed? That “any perception of structure, colour, words, etc. is objectively not there in the fundamental constituents of the images, but read into them by the observer”?

Wow!

Obviously, I am saying that it depends on the perspective. The bits and bytes are invisible and they are not letters. If you tell me that letters, words, etc. are designed, then you are taking a whole different level for your analysis – the level of English grammar and orthography – and you will have to specifically justify your selection of the level of analysis. As long as you have not done it – and you have not – the noise of basic bits and bytes is just as good as any other level.

83. 83
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: Worldview trumps everything.

And if the claim is dependent on the worldview of the observer, then the claim is not objective, but subjective — by definition.

fifthmonarchyman: Are you claiming that you must have a materialistic worldview to do science?

Not at all. You can be a Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist and be a scientist. Your motivation can be religious or secular or simple curiosity. But scientific claims have to be independent of your worldview. Non-scientific claims are not so bound.

fifthmonarchyman: Or are you claiming that the only evidences that can be considered scientific are those that don’t challenge your materialistic worldview?

Not sure much of anything can challenge a view we don’t hold.

Paul Giem: I cannot conceive of a universe in which pi is different

Your lack of imagination is not evidence. Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, can be different in non-Euclidean geometries.

84. 84
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac says,

But scientific claims have to be independent of your worldview. Non-scientific claims are not so bound.

I say,

Worldview is simply the lens by which we see reality. How can a claim about reality be made that is independent of how we see reality?

I see reality as following the law of non-contradiction.

How could I possibly make a claim (scientific or otherwise) that was independent of that?

peace

85. 85
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: How can a claim about reality be made that is independent of how we see reality?

Objectivity means based on shared observation independent of the individual mind.

Subjective: Led Zepplin is the best rock band of all
Objective: Jupiter is larger than Earth.

86. 86
Silver Asiatic says:

Paul

That is why, after I had created image 1, I didn’t even bother to check to see if the binary digits of pi, or any of those other numbers, could be found in it. I am mildly surprised to note that Silver Asiatic found a variant (not perfect–there are 2 white separators at one point) of 3.141 at the beginning.

I find that amazing. Yes, the probability is 1/512 for that series but wouldn’t we add some additional factors? Once we know that the search string is pi, is it even more unlikely that those four numbers show up as the very first numbers in the series? True, those 4 numbers are more likely to appear than anything >5 in the set, but seemed pretty clear to me that you placed those there by design (once I knew we were looking for pi).

It’s another thing to search the entire character set (in any direction, left, right, up, down) for some sequence of pi but to see the first digits in the very first four coins of image #1 seems a lot more unlikely than 1/512. I’m just not sure how to add the additional improbability to it.

Also, regarding the use of pi as an indicator of design – I don’t think it’s a question of repeating digits but that pi already appears in nature as the ratio of any circle’s circumference to diameter. It’s definitely a specified mathematical outcome but it’s similar (more complex obviously) to the geometry of a triangle, for example.

Could a random dispersion of stones falling from a cliff, for example, end up in a circular pattern and thus exhibit pi? It doesn’t seem that hard to imagine if the ground was elevated in a circle (although a perfect circle might appear as designed).

The idea that randomly assorted coins could spell out pi is more obviously an indicator of design, but it’s less clear than something like the binary translation of a well-known English language text or something like image #3.

87. 87
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac say,

Objectivity means based on shared observation independent of the individual mind.

I say,

There is no shared observation independent of the individual mind. I have no objective way of knowing that other minds even exist.

You say.

Objective: Jupiter is larger than Earth.

I say,

what if my worldview entails that measures of distance are illusions?

peace

88. 88
Joe says:

Objectivity means based on shared observation independent of the individual mind.

And that is why evolutionism and materialism are subjective.

Thank you, Zachriel

89. 89
Joe says:

Your lack of imagination is not evidence

I knew Zachriel thought imagination was evidence.

90. 90
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: There is no shared observation independent of the individual mind.

So you’re saying that if two people agree that they see the Sun is at the horizon, it’s not an observation independent of the individual minds?

fifthmonarchyman: what if my worldview entails that measures of distance are illusions?

That’s fine. If you agree that you see the Sun at the horizon, then we have an objectively shared observation —even if you think it is an illusion in the metaphysical sense. Many Buddhists think the world is an illusion, but as long as they report what they observe, then they can do science.

91. 91
Joe says:

Many people have agreed that they observed bigfoot. It must be objective and bigfoot exists…

92. 92
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac says,

If you agree that you see the Sun at the horizon, then we have an objectively shared observation —even if you think it is an illusion in the metaphysical sense.

I say,

That was the view of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. Galileo had a problem with it however.

I’m actually happy to hear you agree with the Cardinal.

It means we can investigate the claim that certain things in the universe are best explained by Intelligent Design even if you think intelligent design or the designer is an illusion in the metaphysical sense.

So that means that ID is definitely a scientific enterprise.

Glad we finally cleared that up

peace

93. 93
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: That was the view of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. Galileo had a problem with it however.

Indeed, not. They shared the observation of the Sun’s relative movement across the sky. They disagreed as to the explanation for the observation.

fifthmonarchyman: It means we can investigate the claim that certain things in the universe are best explained by Intelligent Design even if you think intelligent design or the designer is an illusion in the metaphysical sense.

Sure you can. However, those investigations have been fruitless.

94. 94
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: That was the view of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine.

Another view of Ballarmine was that Church doctrine trumped scientific observation.

95. 95
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac said,

Indeed, not. They shared the observation of the Sun’s relative movement across the sky. They disagreed as to the explanation for the observation.

I say,

from wikipedia

quote:

Bellarmine found no problem with heliocentrism so long as it was treated as a purely hypothetical calculating device and not as a physically real phenomenon, but he did not regard it as permissible to advocate the latter unless it could be conclusively proved through current scientific standards. This put Galileo in a difficult position, because he believed that the available evidence strongly favoured heliocentrism, and he wished to be able to publish his arguments.

end quote:

You say now,

Sure you can. However, those investigations have been fruitless.

I say

Fruitless according to your worldview pretty convincing according to mine.

By the way what would qualify as “fruit” given your worldview?

peace

96. 96
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: from wikipedia

None of that contradicts that they shared the observation of the Sun’s relative movement across the sky. The observation was not dependent on the person making the observation, and others could confirm the observation, just as they could confirm the movements of the Jovian satellites.

fifthmonarchyman: Fruitless according to your worldview pretty convincing according to mine.

Scientifically fruitless.

97. 97
fifthmonarchyman says:

That brings us back to the original question

Are you claiming that you must have a materialistic worldview to do science or are you claiming that the only evidences that can be considered scientific are those that don’t challenge your materialistic worldview?

This is a serious question. I believe the evidence is convincing you believe the investigations have been Scientifically fruitless.

what exactly accounts for our starkly different perceptions in your view?

For example recently you demanded mathematical proof that an algorithm could not produce something before you would consider the possibility that it’s production was unlikely by algorithmic means.

On the other hand I would want actual evidence that an algorithm was capable of producing something before assuming that it was produced by algorithmic means

Why is your view scientific and mine not?

peace

98. 98
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: Are you claiming that you must have a materialistic worldview to do science

Z: No. You can be a Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist and be a scientist. Your motivation can be religious or secular or simple curiosity. But scientific claims have to be independent of your worldview. Non-scientific claims are not so bound.

fifthmonarchyman: or are you claiming that the only evidences that can be considered scientific are those that don’t challenge your materialistic worldview?

Z: Not sure much of anything can challenge a view we don’t hold.

fifthmonarchyman: or are you claiming that the only evidences that can be considered scientific are those that don’t challenge {a} materialistic worldview?

The scientific method requires that hypotheses have empirical entailments that can be objectively tested. If you posit ghosts, and those ghosts have empirical entailments that can be objectively tested, then you can scientifically study ghosts. See Stantz et al., Effects of Ectoplasmic Residue, 1984.

fifthmonarchyman: I believe the evidence is convincing you believe the investigations have been Scientifically fruitless.

You may be convinced, and it may satisfy your spiritual needs, but ID hasn’t been scientifically fruitful.

fifthmonarchyman: recently you demanded mathematical proof that an algorithm could not produce something before you would consider the possibility that it’s production was unlikely by algorithmic means.

That is incorrect. We suggested several methods to demonstrate your point. Mathematical proof was just one of those methods.

fifthmonarchyman: I would want actual evidence that an algorithm was capable of producing something before assuming that it was produced by algorithmic means

The problem with that discussion was that you kept redefining terminology to match your preconceptions. ETA: You are correct that you can’t conclude whether it was capable or not without evidence or proof.

99. 99
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac says,

The problem with that discussion was that you kept redefining terminology to match your preconceptions.

I say,

That is your understanding mine is quite different. From my perspective I have a well defined hypothesis and I made every effort to define my terms so that there would be no ambiguity.

What makes your view scientific and mine not?

You say,

You are correct that you can’t conclude whether it was capable or not without evidence or proof.

I say,

So you agree that we must at most remain agnostic until positive evidence is provided that Darwinian evolution can produce IC* configurations?

*Defined as configurations with a greater amount of information in the repertoire of a whole system regarding its previous state than there is in the sum of the all the mechanisms’ considered individually.

Peace

100. 100
SteRusJon says:

Zachriel,

Your lack of imagination is not evidence. Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, can be different in non-Euclidean geometries.

If you look into it a little, you will find that pi is the same value in the non-Euclidean geometries as it is in the Euclidian one. In practice, since such things as the ratio of the circumference of circle to its diameter can be different than that of another circle in non-Euclidean geometries, the constant Euclidean value of pi is used in non-Euclidean geometries and “corrected” by means of trigonometric functions (which are also based on Euclidean geometry) to compensate for the curvatures of the planes and spaces. The ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is not equal to pi, nor defined to be pi, in non-Euclidean geometries. In non_euclidian geometries, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is just the ratio of that circle’s circumference to its diameter. Nothing more. Pi is always 11.001001000011111101101010100010001000010110100011… (binary) and mathematically demonstrated to be irrational (and therefore non-terminating and non-repeating) and determined by mathematical methods based on the properties of Euclidean circles.

Stephen

101. 101
Zachriel says:

SteRusJon,

If you define pi as 3.14159…, then pi is 3.14159…, of course.

We explicitly defined pi as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. As the question concerned what was conceivable, and as someone living on a curved space might directly measure this ratio, the notion is conceivable, and actually quite common.

102. 102
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: From my perspective I have a well defined hypothesis and I made every effort to define my terms so that there would be no ambiguity.

Your hypothesis only had very indirect entailments, and even then, indistinguishable from more ordinary causes. You did attempt to define your terms, but you confusingly used existing terms with other well-established meanings, and seemed to conflate the meanings.

fifthmonarchyman: So you agree that we must at most remain agnostic until positive evidence is provided that Darwinian evolution can produce IC* configurations?

There has to be evidence, of which there is ample.

fifthmonarchyman: *Defined as configurations with a greater amount of information in the repertoire of a whole system regarding its previous state than there is in the sum of the all the mechanisms’ considered individually.

Yes, even using your strange habit of calling integrated information “IC”. Evolution typically creates highly integrated information.

103. 103
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac said,

There has to be evidence, of which there is ample.Evolution typically creates highly integrated information.

I say,

Not vague possible pathways but detailed step by step repeatable accounts.

peace

104. 104
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: Not vague possible pathways but detailed step by step repeatable accounts.

We start with the evidence for branching descent; the nested hierarchy and fossil succession; which provides the historical context for understanding the specifics of adaptation.

105. 105
Silver Asiatic says:

fifthmonarchyman: or are you claiming that the only evidences that can be considered scientific are those that don’t challenge your materialistic worldview?

Z: Not sure much of anything can challenge a view we don’t hold.

None of you hold the materialistic worldview?

106. 106
SteRusJon says:

Zachriel,

The notion of pi as a constant that represents the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of all circles is not conceivable in non-Euclidean worlds simply because circles in non-Euclidean worlds do not have that property. At best you can redefine pi as the limit of the ratio of the circumference to the diameter as the diameter approaches zero and arrive at the same value as the Euclidean value and apply the correct formulas such as:

In hyperbolic geometry the circumference of a circle of radius r is greater than 2?r. It is in fact equal to

2pi R sinh r/R. (R is a factor representing the curvature of the system. See wikipedia article on hyperbolic geometry for info))

Where hyperbolic functions (not trig for this geometry) are brought to bear to “correct” for the effect of curvature on properties of circles in such non-Euclidean worlds.

For spherical geometry, if r is the radius of the circle on a sphere (of radius a), then the circumference of the circle is equal to

2pi r ((sin(r/a)/(r/a)) (note the trig function here from Euclidean geometry, as well)

Anyone who conceivably lived in a non-Euclidean world would derive the exact same value for pi as we have and teach their math students formulas such as those above.

If you wish to redefine pi so as to no longer be the constant of the Euclidean world then you are not talking about the same thing as Paul and I are. If you look closely at the definition of pi, you find that it requires a Euclidean context since it is defined as a constant. The ratio of the circumference to diameter is not constant in non-Euclidean worlds so pi cannot be defined in that way in them. By rearranging the formulas I have given above you can solve for pi and arrive at a definition within those worlds for pi, as a constant, which has, lo and behold, the exact same value with which we are so familiar.

Stephen

#1 rule of anti-ID rhetoric– Make no concessions! Ever!

107. 107
Zachriel says:

SteRusJon: The notion of pi as a constant that represents the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of all circles is not conceivable

So not only is it conceivable to have another value, but it’s also conceivable the value may not be constant!

SteRusJon: Anyone who conceivably lived in a non-Euclidean world would derive the exact same value for pi as we have and teach their math students formulas such as those above.

Not necessarily. It’s conceivable that they would define pi as a function.

108. 108
SteRusJon says:

Zachriel,

Like I said. “#1 rule of anti-ID rhetoric– Make no concessions! Ever!”

Pi is by definition a constant in Euclidean geometry. That constant carries over into non-Euclidean geometries intact. If you wish to absurdly redefine a constant as “not a constant” or a “function” then you are out in your own world of your own imaginings and not discussing the same thing as Paul and I. If you are invoking variables and functions as replacements for pi you are not talking about pi.

There is no getting through to some people. Especially when they have an agenda that drives their rhetoric.

I made my case. The last absurdity word is yours.

Stephen

109. 109
Zachriel says:

SteRusJon: Pi is by definition a constant in Euclidean geometry.

As we said, if you define pi as 3.14159… then pi is 3.14159. However, if you define it as the relationship of the measured circumference of the circle to its diameter, then it may not be 3.14159.

110. 110
fifthmonarchyman says:

Zac says,

We start with the evidence for branching descent; the nested hierarchy and fossil succession;

I say,

The nested the nested hierarchy is entailed necessarily in my hypothesis. Remember the y-axes?

Branching descent and fossil succession are irrelevant because knowing that an IC configuration comes at a certain point in time and relational space tells you nothing about what produced it.

Just because I am related to my father and I came after my father in time in no way proves that I can be explained algorithmically

you said.

which provides the historical context for understanding the specifics of adaptation.

I say,

IC configurations are not arrived at by adaptation. That is the lesson of the game.

I could agree with you about all the details of adaptation but until you demonstrate that you can fool an observer with mere adaptation we will be wasting our time and spinning our wheels.

peace

111. 111
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: The nested the nested hierarchy is entailed necessarily in my hypothesis.

The biological nested hierarchy refers to arranging organisms by trait.

fifthmonarchyman: Branching descent and fossil succession are irrelevant because knowing that an IC configuration comes at a certain point in time and relational space tells you nothing about what produced it.

Of course they’re relevant, because they provide historical ordering. Any claim has to be consistent with this historical ordering.

fifthmonarchyman: Just because I am related to my father and I came after my father in time in no way proves that I can be explained algorithmically

However, you are related by descent, and the descendant cannot precede its own ancestor.

fifthmonarchyman: IC configurations are not arrived at by adaptation.

If you mean integrated information, evolutionary algorithms are quite adept at producing integrated information.

112. 112
fifthmonarchyman says:

ZAc says,

The biological nested hierarchy refers to arranging organisms by trait.

I say.

As does the y-axes.
Shakespearean sonnets are arranged within the set of all English sonnets

English sonnets are arranged within the set of all English text

English text is arranged within the set of all text

etc etc

Zach says

However, you are related by descent, and the descendant cannot precede its own ancestor.
I say,
and that is relevant because why?

zac says,

evolutionary algorithms are quite adept at producing integrated information.

I say,

Cool please provide an example of an algorithm producing lossless information integration and you will have disproved the paper and my hypothesis and we can move on

peace

113. 113
Paul Giem says:

Silver Asiatic (#86),

The probability is only 1/512 for 3 dots, 1 dot, 4 dots, 1 dot no matter how many factors you consider. In fact, if one throws in other factors the combined probability becomes less. For example, if the image had started out with white instead of black, it still would have been amazing. That gets us to 1/256. If instead it had started with HHTTHTTHT (the first 9 digits of binary pi), it would have been just as amazing, and if it had started with TTHHTHHTH it still would have had a 1/512 chance of being found. Design detection is generally not on very safe ground if something happens that has a pedestrian probability of occurring. 1/20 is used as a standard cutoff, but that means that 1 in every 20 random sets of numbers will be declared as statistically significant when it really isn’t.

But don’t worry too much about it. My main point in image 2 was that design that is clearly there may not be obvious to the human eye unaided by mathematics.

114. 114
Paul Giem says:

SteRusJon (#100, 106, 108),

You are so right. (#1 rule of anti-ID rhetoric– Make no concessions! Ever!). Zachriel is a troll (you and I both agree on it, so it must be true according to his own reasoning! 🙂 ).

Zachriel misses two important points. First, when pi was defined as the ratio of the diameter to the circumference of a circle, Euclidean geometry was the only kind of geometry known. In that geometry, all circles have the same value for pi, which had other interesting properties. Thus, there was no difference between that definition and “the smallest positive solution in radians for the equation cos(x) = 0”, or “the smallest positive solution in radians for the equation sin(x) = -1” or “the limit for the series
4 – 4/3 + 4/5 – 4/7 + 4/9 – 4/11 + … “, or some equivalent definition. The reason why pi is not defined as 3.14159 is because it is not precise enough, and would no longer match the other definitions. The fact that the other definitions all match each other is interesting mathematically.

In fact, as you pointed out, pi can still be defined as the limit of the relationship between the diameter of a circle to its circumference as the diameter approaches zero. This true in any geometry, Euclidean or non-euclidean, as long as the geometry is continuous and has a continuous first derivative. Thus it would have geometric meaning in a non-Euclidean universe. That is why I said that I cannot conceive of a universe where pi is not accurately approximated by 3.1415926…

As you and Zachriel agree, defining pi in his way leads to the conclusion that pi is not a constant. Thus, almost all the value of defining pi would be removed. But Zachriel doesn’t mind this happening. In fact, he rather likes it, as it allows him to argue that what we say makes no sense. That is why I won’t engage him on that subject at this time. He is obviously trolling.

Second, what he is saying is irrelevant to this post. My point on the design of image 2 stands, whether pi is “really” a number or not. The point is that conventional calculations of pi give the binary series that matches the heads and tails of image 2. This is true even if in some special cases the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference is 3, or 2, or 4. The design inference still stands.

When our opponents have to resort to such tactics to try to deny design, or distract from the discussion, we have won.

115. 115
Paul Giem says:

E.Seigner (#82),

I think I understand you. What you are saying is that if you presuppose that bits and bytes in virtual webspace cannot have any design, then

No, none of the three is designed because they are computer-generated images consisting of bits and bytes in virtual webspace, and any perception of structure, colour, words, etc. is objectively not there in the fundamental constituents of the images, but read into them by the observer.

Well, I suppose you are right; if we start with the presupposition that there is no design anywhere, then the answer we will always get to the question of design is “no.” Somehow I don’t find that a very attractive starting presupposition, and would go so far as to say that its adoption would destroy science.

But if that is what it takes for you to deny design, and you are willing to take it, far be it from me to interfere with your world. However, it would then appear that any further discussion with you would be fruitless, and without a change, I don’t expect to further communicate with you.

116. 116
Paul Giem says:

fifthmonarchyman (various)

Zachriel will argue anything, attempting to either disprove, or failing that distract from, the obvious point of the original post. At a certain point, it is not worth feeding the troll.

He is wrong about the nested series (try nesting the origin of flight in stick insects; a classic non-nested hierarchy, and note that every time horizontal gene transfer is alleged, it destroys the claim of nested hierarchy), but that is a discussion for another day. For now, we note that the only arguments proposed so far against the obvious design of image 3 and the not so obvious, but more certain design of image 2, involve departures from reason.

117. 117
fifthmonarchyman says:

Paul,

You are right of course. sorry about the off topic distraction.

I think irrational constants like Pi are odd and even spooky.

The strange part is that the approximations we see in nature never quite match the perfect form we have in our imagination.

peace

118. 118
Silver Asiatic says:

Paul

@113

The probability is only 1/512 for 3 dots, 1 dot, 4 dots, 1 dot no matter how many factors you consider. In fact, if one throws in other factors the combined probability becomes less.

Yes, strictly speaking, the probability remains the same. But if we start with a reference to match against – say, we were looking for something in the English language, and we found the digits 3.141 we probably wouldn’t even notice it.
But if we’re looking for Pi and we find those digits in the very first characters of the string, doesn’t that add something to our measure? It’s just an interesting thing to consider.

@116

Zachriel will argue anything, attempting to either disprove, or failing that distract from, the obvious point of the original post.

I’ve had to draw the same conclusion.

@117

But if that is what it takes for you to deny design, and you are willing to take it, far be it from me to interfere with your world. However, it would then appear that any further discussion with you would be fruitless, and without a change, I don’t expect to further communicate with you.

As above, I’ve had to reach that conclusion also.

119. 119
Zachriel says:

fifthmonarchyman: Shakespearean sonnets are arranged within the set of all English sonnets. English sonnets are arranged within the set of all English text. English text is arranged within the set of all text.

Or we might arrange all sonnets together, then by language. Or by author, then by poetic form. Poems don’t form an objective nested hierarchy.

fifthmonarchyman: and that is relevant because why?

It provides historical ordering. Any explanation has to be consistent with this history.

fifthmonarchyman: Cool please provide an example of an algorithm producing lossless information integration and you will have disproved the paper and my hypothesis and we can move on

We already addressed this. Evolution and consciousness are not lossless integration of information. They are lossy.

Paul Giem: First, when pi was defined as the ratio of the diameter to the circumference of a circle, Euclidean geometry was the only kind of geometry known.

That’s right.

Paul Giem: This true in any geometry, Euclidean or non-euclidean, as long as the geometry is continuous and has a continuous first derivative

And if it isn’t, it doesn’t.

Paul Giem: In fact, he rather likes it, as it allows him to argue that what we say makes no sense.

Not at all. You can define it anyway you like, and most people use the constant value. While we admit it to be a nitpick, you had said it was inconceivable to have another value.

Paul Giem: I am inclined to assume that pi is the result of natural mathematical law.

Or more precisely, the result of the choice of geometric or algebraic axioms.

Paul Giem: He is wrong about the nested series (try nesting the origin of flight in stick insects; a classic non-nested hierarchy, and note that every time horizontal gene transfer is alleged, it destroys the claim of nested hierarchy),

The nested hierarchy was never proposed to be a perfect pattern, with anomalies often crucial to the theory. See Darwin 1859.

120. 120
PaV says:

Paul:

Again, the issue is not whether the circle is designed; it may or may not be. What is designed is the copying of the binary digits of pi.

I’ve stated this above, Paul: yes, everything you’ve done, using Dembski’s approach, “formally” meets all the requirements.

And, yes, you, as an intelligent agent, “designed” it. But we’re talking about design ‘detection.’

My objection simply comes down to this: your pattern doesn’t repeat itself in any way, shape or form.

So, e.g., if pi were 3.14279811256333321759—just to throw out some numbers—the repetition of ‘3333’ from time to time would make me comfortable that “I” had found a “pattern.” Technically you’re right; but it is because you’ve told us what you’ve done. We’re I to ‘run into’ this pattern all on my own, I would of course marvel at the discovery; but, I don’t think I would be confident that I was dealing with a true “pattern.”

Now, I’ve built up to sets of numbers, binary digits, one just the result of random tossing, and another designed by me. You can’t really tell the two apart. But, if I told you how I fashioned the ‘designed’ one, then once you verified the numbers, you would indeed feel comfortable saying that you’d found a ‘design.’ Why? Because it exhibits a true pattern, one where once I got you started, you’d know, from background knowledge, what to expect from the rest of the digits.

Beleive me, Paul, I would prefer to say to you: Yes, Paul, you’re right; this really is “design.” But I’m not comfortable doing that. I’m just being honest.

And not knowing why I was having this reservation, upon reflecting, I realized that it had everything to do with the quasi-randomness of pi. (http://mathoverflow.net/questi.....-generator)

121. 121
SteRusJon says:

Zachriel says, “anomalies [are] often crucial to the theory” regarding nested hierarchies.

You gotta just love a theory where anomalies are so welcome. 🙂

Stephen

122. 122
Zachriel says:

SteRusJon: You gotta just love a theory where anomalies are so welcome.

See Darwin 1859.

123. 123
SteRusJon says:

Zachriel,

“See Darwin 1859.” So you are saying that evolution was unscientific pretty much from the beginning. Thanks for the admission. 🙂

Stephen

124. 124
Zachriel says:

SteRusJon: So you are saying that evolution was unscientific pretty much from the beginning.

Not at all. There is a clear signal of the nested hierarchy, so that remains a fundamental observation. Along with the fossil succession, this is strong evidence for branching descent. Some of the mechanisms which cause deviation from the nested hierarchy are discussed by Darwin, including hybridization and convergence.

125. 125
E.Seigner says:

Paul Giem #115

Well, I suppose you are right; if we start with the presupposition that there is no design anywhere, then the answer we will always get to the question of design is “no.” Somehow I don’t find that a very attractive starting presupposition, and would go so far as to say that its adoption would destroy science.

But if that is what it takes for you to deny design, and you are willing to take it, far be it from me to interfere with your world. However, it would then appear that any further discussion with you would be fruitless, and without a change, I don’t expect to further communicate with you.

And you totally ignored that in the same post I said with equal ease that they all can be said to be designed, i.e. you totally ignored my point. The point is that since all options can with equal success be determined as either designed or not, there’s no “design detection” going on at all. It’s mere design assumption that has its force elsewhere, not in empiricism.

126. 126
Paul Giem says:

SteRusJon (#121, 123),

Nice pickup. Evolution can only give us nested hierarchies, we see only nested hierarchies (except for the exceptions), therefore evolution gives us the best explanation for what we see. (move along here; no exceptions worth mentioning to see 😉 ).

But of course, this is irrelevant to the basic problem of design detection; can we detect design, and if so how? Zachriel will do anything to distract from the fact that design can be detected in image 3, and with a little work in image 2, but not in image 1, at least as far as the arrangements of heads and tails is concerned.

127. 127
Paul Giem says:

E.Seigner (#125),

I’ll try one more time. You said,

And you totally ignored that in the same post I said with equal ease that they all can be said to be designed, i.e. you totally ignored my point.

You read that post (#115) and responded to it, but you have forgotten the entire exchange. My #115 was responding to your #82, which was responding to my #79, which was responding to your #65. You may recall that you said in #65,

All answers seem to be applicable to the OP. Yes, all three are designed because they are all made of designed coins or they all have a structured distinction of black and white sides. No, none of the three is designed because they are computer-generated images consisting of bits and bytes in virtual webspace, and any perception of structure, colour, words, etc. is objectively not there in the fundamental constituents of the images, but read into them by the observer.

If I read this correctly, it was a claim that the question of design did not have an unequivocal answer, because about any image one could (rationally) claim that it was either designed or undesigned, depending on one’s presuppositions.

My answer (#79) was to agree with you that they might all be designed, and in a certain sense all were designed:

You are correct. There can be layers of design. In fact, it is even possible (some of us actually think it is correct) that the entire universe is designed, and that in the “random” parts, it is designed to look random, but is not actually so. After all, even in random collections of atoms, the atoms themselves are anything but random. They are digitized and all have discrete sizes. The detection of design in some objects does not preclude undetectable design in other objects. I just illustrated that point to the satisfaction of most of the readers with image 2.

However, I vigorously dissented with your claim that none of them is designed

You are trying to tell me, and onlookers, that I didn’t design image 3, and that computers, and therefore computer-generated images, aren’t designed? That virtual webspace isn’t highly designed? That “any perception of structure, colour, words, etc. is objectively not there in the fundamental constituents of the images, but read into them by the observer”?

Wow!

I’ve got one thing to say; you haven’t gone over to the dark side. 😉

You then defended in #82 your idea that from one perspective none of them were designed:

Obviously, I am saying that it depends on the perspective. The bits and bytes are invisible and they are not letters. If you tell me that letters, words, etc. are designed, then you are taking a whole different level for your analysis – the level of English grammar and orthography – and you will have to specifically justify your selection of the level of analysis. As long as you have not done it – and you have not – the noise of basic bits and bytes is just as good as any other level.

I then thought you were going full postmodern on me, and left you to your own narrative in #115:

Well, I suppose you are right; if we start with the presupposition that there is no design anywhere, then the answer we will always get to the question of design is “no.” Somehow I don’t find that a very attractive starting presupposition, and would go so far as to say that its adoption would destroy science.

But if that is what it takes for you to deny design, and you are willing to take it, far be it from me to interfere with your world. However, it would then appear that any further discussion with you would be fruitless, and without a change, I don’t expect to further communicate with you.

Of course, I didn’t repeat post #79 in detail, as I had already replied to you and we had agreed that in certain aspects of the images they could be said to have all three been designed. But that background was already there. So while in #115 you can claim that I did not mention the point that all three images could be said to be designed, I did not ignore your point, as I had already agree with that part of it and there was no need to repeat it to someone with an adequate memory and good will. However, as your memory seems to be fading, I have repeated it again here.

You said,

The point is that since all options can with equal success be determined as either designed or not, there’s no “design detection” going on at all. It’s mere design assumption that has its force elsewhere, not in empiricism.

If you are saying that you cannot tell that image 3 is designed in a way that is realistically incompatible with shaking coins together multiple times, spreading them out, and recording the heads and tails as white and black (or black and white), whereas image 1 is compatible with that story, then I am afraid I cannot help you.

128. 128
tjguy says:

RodW @13

One could use this technique to show that proteins are designed if there was no way, other than random assembly, of generating proteins. But of course there is.

Rod, if you could only give us some experimental proof that this is indeed possible like you claim, then you would have something.

So the challenge is to produce a protein by the process you believe is responsible for producing the proteins that exist today.

Nothing beats the scientific method when proposing solutions to problems!

Oh, and when you have successfully generated a protein using that process, let us know please. We would be very interested in seeing if we can duplicate the results. Thanks.